Bus Wrap…

So Calgary has two new CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) buses which apparently, are all the rage around the world but pretty new here in Western Canada. I was commissioned to create an image of a tree wrapping itself around the busses on both sides. The project involved 3D for visualization and creation of the leaves, because after all, it’s still considered winter here in Cow Town and there isn’t a single leaf to be seen. It also involved practical photography of trees and various bits and parts for texturing and building the main trunk and branches. The tree grew from a sapling on the back of the bus and grew over three  more stages to the last stage you see now. A sky plate was added to the top of the bus to help create the illusion. It was unveiled on April 22…Earth Day.

Tree Project Blog

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Tree Illusion Blog

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I’ve always had a fascination with fog ever since I was but a wee lad. October, where I live, seems to see the most, but I’m not sure if thats simply my memory as Halloween approaches. I love the way the street lights play within it and take on a presence that they don’t normally have. But this day, it was thick and mysterious. Driving in and out of pockets I searched for a place where I could explore. Play with it’s depth. I knew I didn’t have much time. The other wonderful aspect was the addition of frost which coated everything in fine white crystals that looked like beautiful decorations in a very gray landscape.

From a photographers point of view, it’s a great opportunity to look at the local contrast of a subject in very flat light. This tree was one of the first images I took. It had a wonderful shape and had nothing behind it to distract from the wonderfully simple yet very complex subject. The only thing I’m still debating is whether to simplify it by taking the foreground snow out to leave the tree isolated.

The second image is at a frozen marsh within the city limits near an industrial area. I love the simple tones and the textures that it contains with the two whimsical trees that sit on the horizon. To the far left, out of frame was a scrap metal yard.

As is normal with fog, it’s unpredictability was very predictable. it was gone within 10 minutes of me taking the last image.

Foggy Tree Sugar Maker

Foggy Pond Sugar Maker

Turners Tree…

The day was chilly I recall. Normally, a windy part of the country, but today, not a breath. A stillness held me as I looked across the field towards this magnificent tree. It sat on the edge of my sister-in-laws  property about five hundred yards from the house. I walked into the field and kept my gaze fixed on it. I moved forward and then cut left sensing a better angle. Eyes up, intent.I was excited as I wanted to shoot this tree for a while. Not a simple snap on the phone as I walked by. The first gentle breeze blew across my face and I could hear nothing but morning sounds of prairie. Birds, horses, and a subtle hum that brushed over everything on this quilted patchwork that this land was. It’s energy, had sound. I set my tripod and placed the camera in the mount. Looking through the viewfinder I framed my shot and started to think about exposure. Suddenly from my left, the calm was broken by the excited presence of Turner. A farm dog who had just been let out of the old abandoned farm house that was now used for storage. He smelled of old carpet, mildew and what he rolled in yesterday, and cat, as he lived three of them, all mousers. His hair was dusty and a little matted, but aside from this, Turner was a beautiful dog. Friendly with a calm knowing. I gave him a rub and went back to work. I got a couple of frames off before he began running around in front of the camera. I yelled out “Turner!” moving my hand in a sideways motion as if he’d understand. I paused, smiled, put my finger on the shutter release and started shooting. A few frames later and he was off chasing something in the field.

A couple of weeks later, we got the bad news that Turner had died. He got sick after eating chicken bones from a neighbours garbage, and when the vet examined him, he found a large inoperable tumor. Sadly, they had to have him put down. A beautiful smelly dog with a wonderful spirit, caught one last time, then gone.


Winters breath gently moves branches left bare by falls passing. This tree, this tree has stood strong, on the side of farmers field, and allowed to grow without the worry of the axe or saw. He leaves it, and plows and sows around it, and maybe in summers heat sits beneath it and eats the sandwich he was given for lunch, it’s shade inviting. Was it his grandfather who let this tree be. Did he lean his head on it’s trunk and think about the day? Did he climb it’s branches as a small boy looking for the fox in the tall prairie grass? Eat sandwiches, and watch the birds dance from branch to branch?  Another harvest, another passing season. It waits for the sleep to end, the bud to leaf, and the laughter of the child to hold in it’s waiting arms. Silent.