Thursday, 29 December 2016

As we are traveling to Oyen to visit family for Christmas, we decided to take a short detour to Meeting Creek, Alberta. Many of my blogger friends have taken photos and posted the history of this beautifully restored railroad station and grain elevator. The railroad station was built in 1913 and from what information I have the elevator was built in 1915. While I was finding the right position to get a good shot, I noticed all of the peaks and lines of the architecture of these two grand old buildings. I know there is a tremendous amount of history that goes with these two buildings but today's blog is all about how sometimes we manage to compose a great photo with all the angles and peaks of the subject.

Monday, 26 December 2016

I have seen so many beautiful Christmas light displays this year, from the big city to the smallest of towns. I have to say this is probably the most unique we have seen. This two story tall Santa sits beside the Yellowhead Trail west of Stony Plain in someone's driveway. I have traveled north to High Level and south to Oyen and have seen some pretty awesome decorations but this one wins first prize in my books.

Monday, 19 December 2016

On a snowy October Saturday, we were wandering the backroads of northern Alberta, north of Mundare to be exact. As we are driving we spotted the reflection of the silver dome of this grand old church. The Spaca Moskalyk Ukranian Catholic Church stands proudly amongst the grain fields northeast of Mundare. It was built in 1925 on land donated by Ukraine settler Harry Moskalyk, the church is based on a cruciform plan in the tradition of the Byzantine style of church architecture that spread through western Alberta with the establishment of Ukranian communities. Services ceased in the 1980's and it was designated as a Municipal Historic Resource in 2006. The community has since then, had an estimate to refurbish the church but with an estimate of $750,00.00 this great old parish will be lost as many others have due to the high cost of refurbishing them. This has to be one of the most spectacular sights I have encountered in my years of traveling and photographing this province.
I have just received information from a fellow blogger, a week and a half ago the church was moved to a new foundation and residing has started. This is wonderful news that the building is going to be preserved along with the history within.





Sunday, 18 December 2016


Yesterday afternoon Chris and I went into Edmonton to the Northern Alberta Jubilee Theatre, we were entertained by the Singing Christmas Tree. This production is bar none, one of the best stage performances I have ever seen. The Show is produced by local, John Cameron and the stars volunteer all of their time for this production. It has been going on for 46 years, all of the proceeds from the show are donated to charities in the Edmonton area. The tree is 35 feet high and has nine tiers filled with a choir. The entertainers are all local talent, some are professional and some are not. Two young ladies aged 13 and 14 display talent that could easily be seen on shows like The Voice. This was my first time to the Singing Christmas Tree but it will not be my last, I hope next year to include family members so they can also enjoy this spectacular show.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Often times when you are cruising down the road a beautiful surprise presents itself. Chris and I were traveling along highway 45 in Lamont County and we came across this old school. Chris quickly jumped out and grabbed a couple photos of it. Thanks to our friend, The School Jedi, Jenn, we were able to identify the school from Google Earth. The  School is the Jaroslaw School in District 1478, it was commissioned in 1906 and closed in 1956. It is always exciting to find these old treasures and Thanks to our team of school and church guru's Jenn and Dale they always come up with a name for us. Once again being the weekend warriors out there photographing old and abandoned buildings is so rewarding.


Thursday, 15 December 2016

In 2001, I was commissioned by the Gerlitz Rodeo Stock Company to photograph the summer Bull-O-Ramas in Cereal and Oyen, Alberta. This photo was taken in August of 2001 at the Cereal Bull-O-Rama. Sometimes I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with these Brahma Bulls, maybe too close occasionally when I would get home with "BS" on my camera. These events still take place today and draw tremendous crowds. The hospitality in both towns is fantastic with beer gardens, great food, great music and most of all "GREAT BULLS."

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

One Saturday afternoon we decided to take a drive to Cadomin to enjoy and photograph some of the beautiful mountain scenery. When we arrived in Edson it is raining but being the weekend photograph warriors that we are, we forged ahead and ended up in Robb and Cadomin. Cadomin is a unique old coal town with some new homes and some very old homes. After leaving Cadomin we traveled north on the Alberta Trunk Road back towards Hinton and came upon the original Luscar mine which is now a coal cleaning facility.
Luscar lies in an area known as the Alberta Coal Branch, which has a long history of coal mining. The original underground mine at Luscar opened in 1921, and by 1922 the town consisted of about 25 or 30 homes, a small cottage hospital, a school, a general store and other shops. The mine worked the strongly folded Jewel Seam and produced steam coal, primarily for railroad markets. Surface mining began in 1945 and underground mining had ceased by 1954. Fire destroyed the briquette plant in 1956 and later that year all mining ceased due to lack of markets for steam coal, after which the town was abandoned.
In 1970 the old Luscar townsite became the headquarters for an open-pit coal mine owned by Luscar Ltd. and operated by Cardinal River Coals Ltd. It produced coking coal for export to Asian steel mills. That mine closed at the end of 2000. Coal from the Cheviot Mine near Mountain Park is currently trucked to the Luscar site where it is cleaned and loaded into rail cars. 

Monday, 12 December 2016

Traveling around Southern Alberta last summer I encountered another piece of our Alberta history. We arrived in Cardston on a beautiful summer day, I had never seen the LDS Tabernacle and toured around Cardston to find it. This structure is mesmerizing in its size and beauty sitting in the middle of town just 15 miles north if the Canada/US border. Unfortunately, we arrived on a wrong day to go on a tour of the building but I will go back one day. It was opened and dedicated in August of 1923. If you are ever traveling in Southern Alberta it is worth a side trip to Cardston to see this spectacular structure.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Another spectacular site in this beautiful province of Alberta is the Dunvegan Suspension Bridge. On August 31, 1960, the 5 million dollar bridge opened for traffic, Premier Earnest Manning was there to officially open the bridge. In 2008 the deck was completely redone to bring the bridge up to code for today's heavy traffic. It is Alberta's only Suspension Bridge, it is 750 meters long.  I try and shoot a different angle every time I cross over the bridge.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

One of the most beautiful sites I have encountered in my travels is the Dunvegan Historic site on the Peace River south of Fairview, Alberta. It was the most important fur trading site on the Peace River, operating from 1805 until 1918. The site was built by Archibald Norman McLeod of the Northwest Company in order to trade with the Beaver and other First Nations in the northern region. In 1867 the St. Charles Mission was founded by the Oblates of the Mary Immaculate, a Roman Catholic Missionary Congregation. The Mission operated until 1903. Today the site includes a carefully restored and furnished Factor's House and the St. Charles Church and Rectory. After 1821 the Hudsons Bay Company operated the post which was noted for its productive gardens, which still operate today. The Post was also a source of meat and leather goods for other posts in the area. If you are traveling from Grande Prairie north to Peace River, it is well worth a stop at the Post and view  some of the early histories of this province.

Friday, 9 December 2016

The old Grist Mill in the photo above is situated north of the town of Rowley, Alberta, it is missing the windmill that drove it and sat on top of the cone on the roof. The workshop and all of the grain storage buildings are all still on this site.The Grist Mill was described as a fine grist mill which grinds both course and fine flour. The heart of the Grist Mill was it’s grinding stones. Grinding stones were used in pairs. The bottom stone, or bed stone, was fixed into position while the upper stone, or runner stone moved. The stones were connected to the power source, the wind in this case by a wooden counter wheel wedged on the horizontal drive shaft which ran the trundlehead, a small wooden lantern gear. The trundle-head shaft usually called the spindle turned six or eight times as fast as the wind wheel shaft. Grain dribbled from the hopper and was guided by a spout into the while in the runner stone. It was moved outward by the centrifugal force as the stone ground it. The flour and bran were confined by a wooden casing that covered the stones. It could escape only down a chute that led to a wooden bin on the floor below. From there flour and bran were removed, separated and processed ready for use.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

When you travel around Alberta there are always some interesting and unique places to add to your adventure. Part of mine last fall, was a trip northward on the Alberta Trunk Road. We came upon a place called Skunk Hollow, after some investigation I discovered that coal was discovered there in 1904 and the town of Skunk Hollow blossomed into a flourishing little town. In the 1920's coal mining became unprofitable and the people moved away. All that remains today are a few coal slack piles, the remnants of an old ice house and this little old car sitting out in the meadow. Skunk Hollow is one of the many true Ghost Towns in Alberta.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

I have mentioned several times, my photography hobby has led me in many directions and I like to travel to the mountains and the foothills. This little gem, The Botterell Store, sits along the Dog Pound Creek NW of Cochrane, Ab. The store opened in 1901, Brothers A.E. and E.H Botterell purchased  the land from the CPR. The Botterells were wealthy furriers from Montreal. When they first moved it was a homestead and a cattle ranch. The store has passed through many owners over time and is now owned by Duane Needham. The store still sponsors the Dog Pound Rodeo and usually attracts 300 to 400 people during that event. One thing unique about the store is, that it faces the creek and since the road was rebuilt the back of the store actually faces the road now. It is a really quaint little place to visit, it sits along Township road 284 between RR 43 and RR 44. Be sure to stop in and say howdy to Duane if you are in the area.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Alberta has some of the most picturesque scenery in Canada, the above photo being one of many I have been fortunate enough to photograph. The Smith-Dorrien Trail winds through the mountains from Canmore to the Peter Lougheed Park Highway. Along the trail, you will come across many small lakes and beautiful spots to enjoy the scenery. On this particular adventure, the sky was bright but overcast which allowed for some stunning photos. I recommend everyone taking this day trip, take a picnic and simply enjoy the day in the great outdoors of Alberta.

Monday, 5 December 2016

This old tractor has been on the same property since it was new, near Esther, Alberta it resides on a farm owned by local ranchers. The original owners were the Ballantine brothers, who purchased it shortly after moving to Esther from Ontario. They farmed for several years and eventually both passed and the farm was sold to Joe Antoni. By this time the tractor was no longer usable and it has been sitting in the grass, weathering the storms as the years go by. I was in the area on Boxing Day of 2015 and was able to capture this photo after the fog had lifted and the setting with the sun on the Hoar Frost presented itself.

Sunday, 4 December 2016





This is an addition to my photography adventures, I have chosen the above 5 photos to be put in a unique barn board frame for a feature wall. We haven't made a decision on which wall it will be but I feel it will be a cool addition to my collection of photos from across this great province of ours.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Traveling around Northern Alberta, I am seeing several old barns of this style. The main frame and walls are often dovetail corner logs and the roof is an exceptionally high hip roof style. I have been told it is a Gothic style hip roof but have not seen a lot of information documenting this. It has become another project to delve into the history of these grand old barns.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

On October 25, 1925, Jim Pratt delivered the first load and Leonard Westerlund delivered the second load of grain to the newly constructed Esther AWP Elevator. Jim was 21 and Leonard was 15. On June 29, 1979 Leonard hauled the last load of grain to the Esther Elevator and in July of 1979 the last grain train passed through Esther. Still standing the Esther Elevator is one of the few remaining representatives of the original elevator design which had become symbolic of prairie agriculture.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

On my way to Fort Assiniboia for a meeting I came across this abandoned service station along highway 33 (The Grizzly Trail). There appears to be an active community about 1/2 km to the west of the service station and there are mailboxes in the yard however it appears like this business has been closed for some time. Often I come across places like this with no explanation as to why they are abandoned. Someday I will find out the story behind this quaint little place.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

My photography hobby has become one of an incredible wealth of knowledge. Traveling around this province I come across some pretty awesome sights. Here is a photo I took west of Sundre on the Trunk Road of one of the small bands of Feral Horses. The majority of these horses are descendants of horses used for logging, guiding and outfitting in the early 1900's. When these horses were no longer needed they were abandoned or released. The 2016 Feral horse count produced a number of 851 horses.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Traveling around Alberta always leads to some interesting adventures, one afternoon my friend Dale and I had been catching some great old abandoned barns and houses and we decided to stop for a snack. We ended up stopping in Caroline at the Longbranch Saloon, as we sat down I got the feeling of deja vu, I said to Dale, I have been here before. I worked in Caroline in 1970 on a seismic crew and we stayed in the old Caroline Motel. Well as it turns out the Longbranch is the old Caroline Hotel and I had sat in that bar 47 years before this, the tables and chairs and even the bar are all as they were then. This was another one of those trips that will stick in my mind forever. I had to call my brother and tell him where I was, he had also worked on the same crew but wasn't old enough to go in the bar at that time.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

                                                              Lundbreck Falls
In all of my travels throughout this beautiful province of ours, one of the places I try to stop at often is Lundbreck Falls. It is a small falls that has a drop of only about 30 feet but it is breathtaking. It is backdropped by the lush forest, the modern of the railway and of course our beautiful Rocky Mountains. If you are traveling along Highway 3 between Lethbridge and the BC border, it is a quick 5-minute detour to the south of the Highway a couple km west of the town of Lundbreck. Don't miss it, this little falls is well worth the stop.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

My friend Dale and I traveled to Southern Alberta one Saturday and one of our intriguing sites were the Windmills in Etzicom, Alberta, it is an amazing site and well worth the visit. The Canadian National Historic Windmill Interpretive Centre sits adjacent to the Etzikom Museum.The Windmill site encompasses the history of wind power utilization in Canada, it includes a collection of antique windmills. Over the last couple years of weekend warrior photography trips I have come across so many interesting and unique sites, it is a hobby that has turned into a wealth of knowledge.

Friday, 25 November 2016

While you are here, please have a look at and follow my two friends Blogs. They both photograph and document old abandoned schools and churches,

http://everybodyhastobesomewhere.blogspot.ca/?m=1

https://westofthefifthmeridian.blogspot.ca/2016/11/notre-dame-de-savoie-church.html?showComment=1478445499227#c5460761301384930493
                                                              Airdrie, Alberta Erratic.
Okotoks, Alberta Erratic.

As I travel throughout Alberta there are so many unique opportunities for special photos. I have been intrigued by the "Big Rock" west of Okotoks for many years and decided to do some research as to how it got there. In  my research, I discovered there are several more erratics in Alberta of various sizes, the one at Okotoks being the largest. There is one on the outskirts of Rocky Mountain House, I have not had the opportunity to photograph it yet. There is one about 1 km east of Airdrie and if you don't know it is there you will drive by it without seeing it. There is two more south of Fort McLeod which I have not had the opportunity to photograph yet either. These large erratics, according to scientists rode the eastern slope glacier and as it melted they were deposited in their now new homes. If anyone wishes to learn more about them look up the Foothills Erratic Train and there are several articles about the life of these "Big Rocks,"

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The best days of photography are when you are just driving down the back roads and you come across an old gem. This little house is on a mucky side road in the Lindale, Alberta area, I was on a wrong road and trying to find my way back to the pavement when we came over a hill and there this perfect photo presents itself.
As we travel about northern Alberta, we find some of the most unique and very old homesteads. This one has been abandoned for some time yet there is a functioning hand pump in a water well in back of the house. This particular day was a rainy overcast day which made for some incredible colors popping out from the rain. The roads were a bit slick at times but all in all it was a fun day, travelling with Chrissy and Dale!!

Resurrecting my blog page.

Today is the beginning of the new Blog page from Shutterspeed Photography, as time goes on there will be new, cool and unique blogs involving my photo adventures.