June sightings on a budget

Something about not having extra gas money has drastically limited my photographic road trips this year.  So my outings were mostly limited to wandering around on my lunch breaks and walking to and from work (which I didn’t do nearly as much as I should have).

The first Monday of June I headed east down the street looking for interesting things to photograph; well, interesting to me at least. And I came across an intriguing lunch patio set up.

There is no sign associated with it as to who it belongs but I would assume it is for the Indian restaurant near it. I also wondered if you have to plug the meter to eat there.

From there I headed south and couldn’t help but notice that all the planters and trees looked so good.

As I got to the end of the street I decided go check out the fairly recently closed Redstone Grill and Wine Bar. My only experience with Redstone was going there with Lynda for our anniversary dinners one year and learning that it was the most expensive meal I ever rented as it went through me in about an hour.

Ppfftt, they shut you down for owing a measly 25K these days?

Heading back to work I noticed just how rough the city parks are looking these days.


A lot to see in a 6 block radius.

A couple days later I decided to head off in the heat (we had a hotter than average June) to Saro’s Restaurant for lunch. As I approached I noticed the “Open” sign was on, however, the door was locked (turns out they had to go man a booth at the Wednesday Market). So I had to come up with a plan B and as I walked past a few places I ended up at Hudsons (Which I had passed earlier). They were already geared up for Canada Day.


Monday, June the 12th found me wandering around City Hall Park. I’ve been working (well, the idea is in my head but not a lot of actual work has happened on it) on a series of photos that are “The view from the bench” in which I just sit on a bench and take a photo of what I see. I’ve been doing it for a while now but have yet to put the series together.

View from the bench

A couple of days later I noticed a piece of paper on our cardboard bin and upon closer inspection found it to be very interesting. I’m very much doubting the wind put it there.


Payday Friday I went out in search of lunch and decided the curry bar at the Timberlands Co-op was the winner. I parked down the road in the developing subdivision and was amazed how they prep the area for new construction.


They have an area of about 20 square blocks that have roads, sidewalks, back alleys and fences all installed before the houses are in. It’s way different than it used to be.

On Saturday, June 17th, Rob Brown from Panasonic was doing an in store demo for us so I grabbed a shot of him hard at work.


He really didn’t have much to do as it was a pretty slow work day but he ended up talking to a couple customers past the time he was supposed to leave.

Tuesday, June 20th found me feeling nostalgic (which is so shocking for me) and I went in search of stuff from the “old days.

It’s been just over 10 years since Dr. Brown passed away and his old clinic is looking pretty worse for wear.


His clinic had been in that building for many years but before that it had been an arcade and pool hall that I spent many an hour frequenting when I was supposed to be in class in high school. Steve MacKay and I would wander down there to see “Dr. Sid” (Sid owned the place) when he was undergoing “physio” for his broken finger. I’m pretty sure playing snooker on the 6×12 foot table really helped his healing.

My nostalgia doesn’t go far enough back to really remember when the building was the Greyhound depot. I’m pretty sure I remember it being there but I don’t recall actually being in it. I’ve been to it’s current location a lot (it is set to move anytime now).

I walked east and south and photographed another building that I spent a lot of money in back in the day.


That building used to house Dad’s Hamburger and Submarine and I spent many, many lunches and suppers in there when I worked at both the Bay and Zellers. I often got the hamburger sub (I can’t believe I used to eat that much at once). I can’t remember the fellow’s name that used to own it but when Coke changed the formula to “New Coke” he went out and bought up as much of the original stuff as he could find. He still had a bit left when Coke bowed to pressure and brought “Coke Classic” back.

Little did I realize just how far my nostalgia would be pushed that day as the beautiful blue sky held no hint as to the storm that would hit early in the evening. Straight line winds of about 110 kmph hit Red Deer and did a lot of damage in a short time.

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My friends Steve Parkin and Carl Ethier came and picked me up to go out and survey the destruction. The damage it did was spread out over a wide area and on the north side of the river near where I live it was amazing to see how much damage there was.

It hadn’t hardly rained during the storm but it started to spit a bit when I went out for a walk to survey the walking paths near my house. After about 10 minutes the rain stopped and the clouds dispersed rapidly. If you weren’t in a area effected by the storm (or had power) you would not believe it had ever happened when the sun came out in time for a most beautiful sunset.

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Our power came back on at about 5:30 in the morning after being out for about 11 hours. Some parts of the city had to wait 3 or 4 days for their power to be reconnected.

I went in search of damage in Kin Kanyon park during my lunch break but didn’t have much time to look as I dodged rain drops.

I ran into one of the parks workers checking the trails and she told me there was a lot of damage not far from where we were but I didn’t have enough time to go look into it.

When I got back to work, Gord Webster from Fuji was at the store to do a demo day and he already had a customer to help out before he even got all set up.


Gord was very knowledgeable and once the store closed he did a staff training for us. It was almost as good as the pizza we had.

Almost a full week went by before I took any more photos. I walked to work on the 27th and saw this beauty just sitting there.


I’ve seen her there a few times this year but never seem to have the time to stop and get a photo.

I liked the look of the hanging baskets on Gaetz Avenue. DSC05536

Many, many moons ago I used to have to look after similar baskets when I worked at Kapps Hobby House. We took them in every night when we closed and put them back out every morning.

Once I got over to the Ross Street Patio I noticed a fellow playing the street piano. After a bit a 2nd gentleman started singing. They were pretty good. This gave me a couple more shots for my bench series.

As I headed back towards work I looked over the renovations going on at the old Ranch House location. (I honestly don’t remember which bar had been in that location since).

I’m not sure what is going in there but it has been totally gutted.


I didn’t have a long enough lens to record a shot I saw. There was a landscape crew putting plants in at the building behind work and a long haired, bearded fellow was crouched on the trailer hitch checking the contents of the trailer. From a distance it looked like he was sitting in the trailer and that someone had thrown out a perfectly good hippy.

Just past the workers a bunny was in the park behind work. The grass was shorter than the last time I saw it but now it’s full of clover.


The only real road trip I did in June was to go to my son’s, girlfriend’s high school graduation in Cremona. I took a few photos at the cap and gown ceremony and we headed back to their family farm to do a few more.

I had a lot of fun taking pictures of Randell and her family and we did some with Lynda and Adam as well. Seemed at the time I took lots, but as I edited them I realized I could of taken more.


So that was my June in a nutshell. While it wasn’t all that exciting, all in all it wasn’t terrible either.



Throwback Thursday

I don’t know when Throwback Thursdays started but since I’ve been feeling more and more nostalgic lately I thought I’d participate. College days have been going through my head more and more lately. Maybe it’s because in a few short weeks it’ll be 25 years since I graduated from SAIT or maybe it’s a sign of old age. No matter what the reason, I feel the memories come flooding back . That in itself surprises me as I had to work my ass off to get through college but I usually enjoyed the experience immensely.

School was never my thing when I had to go. Art and drama were my best subjects in high school and the only thing I was better at was not attending class. That’s probably why it took me 4 years to graduate.

When I decided to go back to school I had been out of high school for 5 years so I was considered a mature student. Mature, baahahaha. Even then I found it funny.

While I was there I thought I’d made a few friends but I only keep in touch with one. And I don’t get to see her very often. She was the subject of more than one assignment and I believe this photo is from the first time I had her pose for me.


Ms. Joan Boyes Circa 1989

I got to go to so many different events while I was in school but one of the few things I paid to go see was the Masters at Spruce Meadows. I had heard a rumour that Ian Millar’s horse Big Ben was due to retire and I really wanted to see him before that happened. Turned out it would be a few more years before it happened but it was nice to get to see him jump.


As part of one of my assignments I did a practicum at the Calgary Aerospace Museum. I re-did a few of their brochures and made a portable display for them. As part of it all I took photos of all the aircraft in their collection at the museum. I learned they had a de Havilland Mosquito as part of the collecting located at CFB Cold Lake. I was told it was being restored and would be ready to fly soon. I arranged to go to Cold Lake to document it for them. As this was during the first Gulf War, security was pretty tight on the base. It was a bit disappointing to see the actual condition of the aircraft. Wood rot had been discovered in the main wing spar and it would never fly on it’s own without a total rebuild. It was a bit surreal taking photos of a WWII bomber pushed into a corner of a hanger full of CF-18s.


I did actually shoot a photo or two at school. I miss having a studio to use.



I had been invited to take photos for the SAIT Rodeo Club and happily took about a dozen rolls of film at the event. The very next day we got a sports assignment and I thought I was golden, having a head start and all. My instructor told me I could submit 2 photos from the rodeo. I was hard pressed to find 2 to submit (indoor rodeo in an old arena is a hard thing to shoot) and this is the only one I liked.


My roommate, Lanny Fleming, and I scored media passes for the Husky Men’s Downhill in Lake Louise and happily went out and shot some mediocre photos of men on skies going by very quickly. Neither of us had a long enough lens to do justice to the racers even though we were perched at the last corner before the finish line. One of the skiers (and I honestly don’t remember his name) was a bit wide on the turn and crashed through the safety fence not far from our location. While he didn’t seem too worse for wear, he did injure a 13 year old girl standing at the fence. Safety staff were there right away and I never did get a good shot of the victim, I took a photo of the skier that I was happy with.


I also got a media pass for the 1991 Red Deer International Air Show. I was to take photos for the Airdrie Echo and drop off my film to them. Was a good plan till I found out there was no place to actually drop off film after hours. I took quite a few photos I liked that day but this is one of my favorites. Sailplane Magic over Bower Ponds at Red Deer.


It wasn’t all sunshine and roses while at school though. I had to borrow money and get a job just to stay in school and that was only 1/2 way through my first year. Twenty-seven of 90 of us failed our advertising class and Joan and I were part of the 9 or so that were allowed to write a make up test (we both failed that miserably). Once I realized I would have to take an extra year to finish I organized my classes so I only had photo classes in the final year and that helped me a lot. Over the Easter break both my roommates and I were out of town when we were robbed. Over a year later the police caught the culprit red handed and it turned out it was my roommate Shelley’s ex-boyfriend who was supposed to be watching our place while we were away. He seemed so successful with so much nice stuff. Apparently it was because it wasn’t his stuff. But as far as I know we didn’t steal a plane and go on a joy ride the night he took us up for some touch and go landing at Springbank.


Night shot of Calgary circa 1992

As my final year of school was coming to a close my class got to do a practicum for a month. Since I didn’t drive I knew it would be hard to get a chance to have many pictures published to show my work so I chose to work in the photo lab at the Calgary Sun. For an entire month, pretty much every photo that was published from Monday to Friday n The Sun, I printed in the darkroom. I got to shoot a few things around the building, like documenting part of the new press getting installed. I got out to shoot a Calgary Flames game (NHL hockey is crazy fast at ice level). I got to use my brand new light meter on a food shoot with Stu Dryden. They didn’t need my photos from the shoot but I got to use them for my portfolio.


A lamb dish


This was for an apres ski feature

Joan once told me I was a really nice guy but I spent too much time living in the past. While that is still true at times (I think I’m a nice guy) I don’t worry about living in the past anymore. I look forward to the future almost everyday, but sometimes I like the feeling of nostalgia. While the future often holds promise, for me, the past often holds comfort.