Archive for March 2011

Day 85 – It’s melting!   4 comments

A few days ago, I posted a picture of icicles down by the North Saskatchewan river. They were fresh beautiful clear crystals formed from melting snow dropping off the High Level Bridge and catching on the trees below. The last few days, we’ve been enjoying above-zero temperatures and those icicles have collapsed into a big mess at the bottom of the same trees. The crystal clarity they previously had has given away to this thick, slushy look that happily spells their demise. That’s right! This snow and ice stuff is finally, after five long months, melting!

Process notes: I processed this as an HDR image from 5 bracketed exposures (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2) using Photomatix Pro to combine and tone map the result. I brought the image into Photoshop CS3 and applied the Tonal Contrast filter in Color Efex Pro 3 (Nik Software) to bring out the details in the ice. I then converted it to B&W using Silver Efex Pro 2. In Silver Efex, I added a blue tone to the image, selectively restored colour to the branches, add a soft white vignette and added the border.



Day 84 – What’s My Theme Again?   13 comments

You’d think my theme was currently bridges, but it’s still heritage sites. At least it is for a little while longer. This is the Walterdale Bridge, named for John Walter who had sprawling businesses on the south side of the river between this and the High Level Bridge.

The bridge was built in 1914 and, as previously mentioned here, put the final end to the ferry business. The bridge has reached the end of its useful life and a new bridge is scheduled to be built in 2013-14. (I’m not sure how they know that, but I’m sure some smart engineers have figured out exactly what is going on and how long it will be before the bridge becomes unsafe.) It will be in the same spot which makes me wonder if they’re demolishing this one or are somehow rebuilding around it. Given this is the main bridge into the city I can just imagine the disruptions that will be caused. Perhaps they can get some descendant of John Walter to put in a ferry service while the new bridge is being built!

Processing notes: This image was processed as an HDR shot from 11 exposures using Photomatix Pro. Once tone mapped in Photomatix, I brought it into Photoshop CS3 and used Nik Software’s Viveza 2 plug-in to selectively adjust brightness, contrast and saturation – particularly the bits of blue sky. I then used Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 3 plug-in with the Tonal Contrast filter to add mid-tone and shadow contrast which brings up the contrast and structure substantially without touching the highlights. Finally, I added the frame using Silver Efex Pro 2 (also from Nik).


As a footnote, I really want to thank everyone who dropped by my blog yesterday and today and especially those who took the time to ‘Like’ a photo or leave a comment. Being Freshly Pressed felt like winning the WordPress lotto. It was such a pleasure to hear from so many people. What I really like about WordPress is the global audience. It brings a smile to my face when I get visitors from so far away as well as people who are practically my neighbours. Over the next few days I plan to visit the blogs of everyone who dropped by so I’ll see you there!

Day 83 – Bridges, bridges, bridges   8 comments

Continuing my minor obsession with bridges today. This is the High Level Bridge again, but this time from a perspective that actually lets you see what this bridge looks like. My favourite thing about this photo is that I can imagine, with no other structures in sight, that this is exactly how it looked when it was built 100 years ago.


Day 82 – Spring! Not   9 comments

I’m taking a brief break from my heritage sites theme today to share an image of “spring” in Edmonton, Alberta. Many of the photo blogs I follow are posting happy spring time pictures – flowers in bloom, rivers full and flowing – but not here in the centre of Alberta. While the vernal equinox has come and gone, we’ve not taken notice of the traditional date for the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere.

This being our first winter in Edmonton, we have been expecting an extended winter so this delay in spring is no surprise. We knew we were in for a long, cold winter, but how long will it last? At first, winter was fun – there was snow, skiing, snow forts, sledding. After about three months, we started getting a bit tired of winter. That was two months ago. On the bright side, temperatures are finally creeping above 0C, there’s not nearly as much snow falling, and the local ski hills are still open!

I found these icicles formed from melting water falling from the High Level Bridge. The dark diagonal swath in the background is the North Saskatchewan River which flows fast enough that it’s only frozen over in extreme cold. In a way, I guess this picture does represent spring.

Day 81 – I’m no engineer, but…   7 comments

I don’t know anything about engineering, but I reckon bridge-building must take some serious skills. Figuring out the support structures, the number of piers, the dimensions of the bridge, its load-bearing capacity, and all the other bits is for people a whole lot smarter than me. And no pressure at all, just make sure all the people travelling over them every day don’t plummet to their deaths in a stunning failure of bridge design. A remarkable skill set to be sure.

This photo is, once again, the High Level Bridge in Edmonton. Third time’s a charm? I’ve shot this bridge more than a few times over the past couple of weeks and have more photos I could post. Don’t be surprised if it features again in the near future. This bridge is a truss bridge. In fact, it’s two different kinds of truss bridge – a Pratt truss and a Warren truss.

Apparently I have some sort of thing for bridges. A couple of years back, my family and I went to Sydney, Australia for the weekend (we were living in Melbourne at the time). Sydney harbour sports one of the most iconic bridges in the world. In just a couple of days, I took over 150 images of the bridge. Perhaps my next theme after heritage sites should be bridges!

Day 80 – Rutherford House   8 comments

Alexander Cameron Rutherford was the first premier of Alberta. He served as premier from 1905 when Alberta was first recognized as a province. He had the responsibility of putting in place the foundations for the provincial government. Premier Rutherford resigned in 1910, shortly after winning his second majority government, amid controversy over favouritism to one of the railway companies. Inquiries conducted amidst his resignation largely exonerated him from any intentional wrong-doing, but were not as kind about his capabilities as premier. He later served as the chancellor of the University of Alberta from 1927 until his death in 1941.

Rutherford House was his home after serving as Premier. Rutherford built the house in 1911, which he shared with his wife and two children. Its proximity to the University is due in large part to his lifetime dedication to education.

Today the mansion serves as a museum celebrating Alberta’s history.

Day 79 – Ritchie Mill   7 comments

Constructed in 1892 by Orson and Robert Ritchie, Ritchie Mill is the oldest surviving flour mill in the province of Alberta. Originally known as the Edmonton Milling Company, it was built at the end of the Calgary-Edmonton rail line (the aptly named ‘End of Steel’) on the south side of the North Saskatchewan river.

It employed steel rollers to mill harder grain than was possible with the more common stone rollers of the time, which quickly became pitted trying to grind hard prairie wheat.

Mr. Ritchie was a prominent citizen. At the turn of the century he was one of a committee that enabled Strathcona’s incorporation as a town. In December of 1900, he was elected as the second mayor of Strathcona. At this time, mayors only served a one-year term. In 1904, he served on the Strathcona Rink Association which raised enough money to build the town’s first covered ice hockey rink. He was also one of the first automobile owners in town.

Ritchie sold the flour mill in 1912 to the Northwest Mill and Feed Company, who continued operating the flour mill until 1948. It was then converted into the feed mill and continued that way until the mid ’70s. Empty for many years, it has now been refurbished and serves as home for a restaurant and law offices.