Yesterday I concluded my five day black and white photo challenge from Facebook friends. The task, as I believed it to be, was to go out (actually use your camera for the challenge over the five day period you accepted to be a part of the challenge) and collect five worthwhile black and white photo’s for others to view on Facebook and comment on. So I diligently got out there and searched for items I thought were worth photographing or that drew my attention. A lot of the items I photographed weren’t worth devoting to much time to once I observed them on my computer following each days trip.
Each day I would decide on a direction that I thought, wasn’t to far afield, and may have something geographically interesting to photograph. Most of my travels were north west. The area weather was not ideal for this activity (overcast, snow, and fog). I do enjoy the hunt however! Driving the backroads, you never know what you’ll find. I likened the trips to when I used to go out on my Skidoo, only this time I was a lot more comfortable. On my second days trip, I invited a friend along. The friend indicated we should go into the Lilly Lake district. I love finding the little towns you would not normally encounter in your daily routine. During this trip to the Lilly Lake area, we encountered the little hamlet of Waugh. Basically a few houses, two churches, and a rural roadside post box. One of the churches is a registered historical building built between 1905 – 07.
I found that driving the backroads was a lot safer than the highways in this weather. I observed several vehicles off the highway, in the ditch, in the past five days. However I pressed on, determined to accomplish this task I had accepted, as I understood it. I did see, some of the people involved in the same challenge, had employed photo’s that were not taken locally or within these last five days. So, for me, that muddied the waters and lessened the challenge. My thoughts were basically that the challenge was given to get people out and actively using their camera’s. Not using some old photo’s that were taken some other previous time. I must also include, I never observed anyone indicate there were actually rules to this challenge as I believed. I believed when you issue a challenge, the activity starts then. I would suggest, if I wanted to, I too could have used old photo’s from somewhere else on the planet. But, as I understand it, the point of a challenge is to engage an action or activity then. Not, “I bet you never ever had taken a photo that could be converted to black and white!” and post that as a response to a challenge given. I really enjoyed getting out and trying to capture our environment at this time period no matter the weather.
On my first day out, I travelled due North a mile and came across a barn, that to my eye, was actually black and white. My first success! When I put it into the computer and made the photo actually black and white, the most significant change was the few evergreen trees in the photo. Little else was noted to changed in the conversion. I kept on traveling the area. Although there were other things to photograph, I had only released this barn photo to Facebook as a B&W photograph per the challenge received. The remaining photographs I did not convert to B&W. The second last of this days photographs is of the Sturgeon River. When I saw this area, it occurred to me that it was vaguely similar to another location that has been photographed by many people. The last photograph is the comparison from the internet I was thinking of. I thought it was humorous enough to photograph.
On my second day, I asked my friend if she wanted to come along on a backroads trip? (She had previously expressed an interest in traveling the backroads looking for opportunities as well.) We headed North towards Gibbons and the Lilly Lake area. There were some interesting spots to photograph, and I must say, because of the topography, the best shots were in the rolling hills. Through the fog, we came to the hamlet of Waugh. Very interesting. There were only two things here that drew people to the townsite. The post box, and the two Ukrainian Churches (one on the historical registry). Blink and your out of town. After photographing the town (10 minutes) we headed west to highway two, and lunch at Big Mouth McGee’s restaurant in Legal.
The third day I didn’t have the time to devote to the challenge. I photographed a new bridge over a drainage pond is west Edmonton which I thought met the challenge. I also photographed an old church off highway 16 at the turn off to Stoney Plain. Neither photo was any great thing to write home about. But that was all the time I had.
The fourth day, my travels took me West again, along the North side of Big Lake. There I located another black and white barn nestled in some pines. The snow and overcast helped defuse the light and made the exchange to black and white simple. I had previously been in this area, as it’s not far from home. There are two great golf courses along this road.
Day five, and the final day of the challenge. I headed North West. I wanted to get to the Bilby Natural Area. I tried, but there were to many things to investigate. I found myself in and around Calahoo. Calahoo actually has a store and some other light industry. The area is made up of rolling hills with the rail road snaking its way off to the Northwest. So what to focus on? I used a run and gun theory for my shots. Snowing quite vigorously, and always trying to keep my equipment dry, this is how I spent the final day of the challenge.
I think, in the end, the way I approached this challenge, was correct. Five B&W photographs, producing one each day on Facebook, of the five day period. Any other photographs remained as they were taken, in colour. It got me out of the house, and using my camera, to capture our rural areas we all to easily take for granted as city dwellers. I challenge everyone else to get out and do your level best to capture your environment as you see it. It’s a great activity to enhance your skill as a photographer. Stay true to your values in doing so. Do it safely. Let others know where you’re going and when you can be expected back. Go prepared for the weather. Don’t take unnecessary risks if you are out there alone. Carry a fully charged cell phone.
Best wishes from all of us to you over this festive season. Have a happy new year! God bless everyone.