THE PRICE OF THE AMERICAN DREAM

“You are going to give away the 60 best prime years of your life for the 20 poorest years of your health”.

                                                             Bob Wells

After economic circumstances forced Bob Wells to go out and live on the road, he realized that true freedom wasn’t experienced until he became much less dependent on money. 

He stated that the lies that we are fed about the quality of our lives depending on the pursuit of the American Dream – the big house, cars, the 9 to 5 job for 50 weeks of the year, with 2 weeks vacation, the pension and whatever else we can put away for the final couple of decades of our lives where we can retire in style. 

The sad part is that we become slaves to the pursuit of money so we can live out our lives pursuing this fictional dream. Many of us become increasingly unhappy trying to attain this goal that eludes us. Maybe if we try harder, or what am I doing wrong are thoughts that probably go through many of our minds.

Possibly what we are doing wrong is letting the pursuit of money control our lives. It’s no small coincidence that both the Quran and the Bible say the same thing in different words:

“Your riches and your children may be a trial”.

“You cannot serve both God and money”.

It’s obvious that what Bob Wells has to say about our culture is catching on, he has a starring role in the Hollywood film Nomadland, which has been nominated for several Academy Awards.

EYE IN THE SKY

For those of you who haven’t watched some of the TED lectures, we would highly recommend that you make it a must do. If you have a family, get the kids to watch as well.

If this doesn’t inspire them to follow their dreams, nothing will. The two videos we’ve included are talks by Will Marshal, who is the cofounder of Planet Labs. 

Planet Labs was started in a garage by several very smart individuals who had a great idea – to provide Photogrammetry images of the earth unlike anything that had been done before.

Isn’t this just another satellite launched into space to keep an eye on us, or to provide some sort of communication capability? Well, they are doing it in a radically different way. Have a look at the first video and find out what they have done that is so different.

They’ve taken a technology that traditionally only organizations like NASA were involved in, and demonstrated the possibilities for anybody with an idea and the desire to pursue it. 

Not only have they competed with the big boys, but in some ways they have eclipsed them. They miniaturized the satellites they have developed, along with reducing the cost exponentially, and  made the data that they will collect available to everybody. 

It would seem that the challenge from their management team is for other people to use this information to do something good for humanity.

Checkout the 2nd video and let your imagination go with the possibilities of how this data can be utilized to help mankind.

We sum it up in a few words – no limits.

EVERYBODY IS AN ACTOR

Sometimes even we are surprised at where you can find the talent for an ad campaign. 

We were involved in producing a series of safety ads for a mid-sized oil & gas company, and when the question of finding talent came up, we decided to do some internal  PR work for the client as well.

Why not use the clients staff to play the role of themselves! We thought with some good direction from our creative director the idea was quite doable. 

There were definitely a few chuckles and rib poking moments when we were applying the final touches, make-up, styling and propping to a group of guys who were more at home playing hockey, or rugby.

The biggest surprise was how they got right into their roles and started acting in front of the camera and lights.

Their hidden talents were let loose!

Canon EOS R5

For the equipment junkies of the world this camera is the stuff of dreams! A mirrorless camera that captures 45MB raw photos, is able to shoot 8K raw video files, and is the size of professional DSLR camera.

So far all the testing and reviews have proven that Canon has manufactured another winning product. Here is Canon’s official tech specs of the camera for those of you who love the details.

EOS R5

Canon developed a new 45 Megapixel full-frame sensor for the EOS R5, and is the heart of it’s superb image quality. The same sensor allows for 8K DCI cinematic movie capture and the ability to extract 35.4 Megapixel still images from the video frames. 

Continuous capture at speeds of up to 20 frames-per-second are possible and the Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system will capture those frames with tack sharp precision. With its 1,053 Automatic AF zone system, it is easier than ever to photograph anything moving.If you need a bit more stabilization in your photos or video, the 5-axis in-body image stabilization can effectively compensate for camera shake with approximately 8 stops of stabilization when the matching lenses are used.If you need to send the perfect photo or video clip right away, the camera has both   5GHz and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, built-in.

For us, we can’t wait to add this camera to our inventory. It will allow us to capture superb stills and video footage from one camera  at the flick of a switch. Its size will also allow us to shoot 8K video from camera positions that until now, were impossible to get to. Outstanding!

For more information, checkout Canon USA’s website.

PUTTING A PERSPECTIVE ON COVID-19

If you think living through this pandemic is awful, and how could this happen to us, look back in history and reflect on what other generations had to deal with.

To put this pandemic into perspective watch this video, and count ourselves lucky that we have the technology to counter this virus within a short period of time.  We should also appreciate some of the other calamities that past generations dealt with as well.

If this doesn’t put life into perspective for you, possibly talk to your Rabbi, your Imam, your priest and family members. We really don’t have an exclusive on hardship, and possibly we should be evaluating our priorities at the end of this pandemic, or pitching in to help those less fortunate. Some good things stand to come out of this.

THE SIMPLE PLEASURES OF LIFE

It would seem that the problems of 2020 will continue well into 2021, and that means that we need to develop a survival guide, if you haven’t already.

For us, we take every opportunity we can to get outdoors and do some sort of activity, and if we can combine some jaw dropping scenery with it, even better. 

The perfect cabin in the right location provides therapy as good as the spa (we had a few arguments about this), especially surrounded by mountains.

If the numbers are correct, it is very encouraging to see so many people getting out and enjoying all that Canada has to offer in the great outdoors. 

We are so blessed to live here, the country is huge and filled with so much to see and experience. Whether it’s your own backyard or a trip to a National Park, please enjoy and leave it untouched so other people can enjoy it as well.

Please also remember to support the local economy as much as you can, these people in the communities that rely on tourism are suffering through this pandemic.

Sharing is good, and is often repaid  when you might need it the most. 

HEARTLAND UPDATE

For fans of the CBC production of Heartland, the good news is that the production crew were able to work through the pandemic and it is now available on television and through CBC GEM.

The bad news, well there isn’t any. The series has stuck to what has made it so popular and successful. All the fans and followers know what brings them back to the series, and for any newcomers we will let you form your own opinion. We do recommend you watch it, and if you have time and the ambition, all of the seasons are available on CBC GEM. 

As many followers know, the series is filmed in a number of locations in and around SW Alberta, with the ranch being located near Millarville. We’ve been to many of the locations and have a few photos that you might recognize.

For those of you who know the area SW of Calgary, you will probably agree that it’s perfect for this series. Rolling forest covered hills that stretch from the prairies to the east and the Rocky Mountains to the west, provide a gorgeous location for the production. 

As for the crew and cast of the series, I can’t imagine there are too many complaints about the working conditions. It’s definitely a great place to go to work!

(We say that with a bit of envy, but no complaints, since we live nearby.)

THE PEOPLE YOU MEET

Sometimes the special moments are about the people you meet.

When we are on a road trip for a project we often meet people that leave a lasting impression on us.  In many instances it’s not how beautiful they were, or the clothes they wear, the house they live in, or the community that they call home. It’s usually the stories they tell or that something that makes them unique. Sometimes it’s the place they work, or how they make a living, but most often it’s the stories they tell about their life and the adventures surrounding it.

We can’t think of a better reason to take time to listen, to show some interest in others, especially when their stories offer some insight into another life or place. 

If you want some interesting stories, don’t go to the general sitting in the office, go to the grunt sitting in the trenches. We usually follow this rule and it has rewarded us with some great stories, and memorable characters. 

NEVER GIVE-UP

Most of us have dreamed about doing something for ourselves at some point in life. Maybe it was a dream job, career or hobby. Regardless of what it is, the one thing that all the dreams had in common was the thought of how satisfied we would feel it we could make it happen.

Unfortunately having a dream and making a dream come true are two different things. If you don’t know this already, 3 out of 4 people are working jobs they don’t like. Chances are  many of these people had a dream of changing that, and put it off till ‘tomorrow’.

Unfortunately ‘tomorrow’ is by definition the day after today, and they kept telling themselves this, day after day. Guess what, life is not a rehearsal, and there is no second chance at life. Making your dream come true will involve making a decision to do it, and then never give up in pursuing it.

There will always be people who try to convince you that it’s not a good idea, too many risks, no guarantees, and a good chance that it will fail. Well, guess what, if you don’t try there is a 100% chance that it will fail, that your dreams will never happen and you will be guaranteed that you will be disappointed. Your biggest disappointment will be in yourself for not trying!

It will mean hard work, but remember that you are working towards something. See your dream clearly, set some goals, work hard and make it happen.

Check out some of these inspiring messages by people who had a dream, never gave up, and worked hard to make it happen.

One last thing to keep in mind – it’s never too late!

THE REAL COST OF ENERGY SOURCES

Watch this video and pay close attention to the real cost of alternate energy sources versus the oil & gas industry. 

We hope you enjoyed the video and  found it enlightening. We are not suggesting taking sides in the energy argument, but what we are suggesting is possibly having a clear picture of the realities that face mankind in our choice of energy sources.

Maybe it might be more economically viable to spend the money on creating a cleaner waste byproduct of the cheapest and almost inexhaustible energy source we have – oil & gas. 

HAVE MONEY, WILL LAUNDER

Vancouver has been rated as one of the most desirable places to live on the planet. It currently ranks as #3, just behind Zurich and Vienna. The problem is, nobody can afford to live here, it’s also ranked as the 2nd most expensive place to live in North America, just behind San Francisco.  

So why are all those high rise condo’s being built along the west side of downtown and spreading out to Kitsilano and West Vancouver? Unfortunately Vancouver has a dark underbelly to it as well.  It is one of the top places in the world for money laundering in the form of real estate purchases and casinos with very little regulations governing them. 

Many of the high rise condo developments remain virtually empty, even though they may be 100% sold. Most of the sales are foreign ownership, and in many cases being sold, sight unseen. It’s not limited to the condo market only, many of the most desirable neighbourhoods are being bought up by the ‘mystery tenants’. Tenants who never live there, or if they do, it’s for a few weeks of the year. Sometimes a ‘family’ member will move in while they are attending university or working at the ‘business’.

This problem is so widespread and out of control, that another problem has cropped up. There are very few real people living in the neighbourhoods affected by the absent owners, and many local businesses that provide products and services to the general public, have few customers in light of the missing owners.

Another unfortunate side affect to this real estate ‘grab’ is the rising price tags associated with Real Estate in Vancouver. It’s totally unaffordable for 95% of the  people who actually live in the city. Many are forced to relocate to the suburbs, downsize, rent or move completely away from Vancouver.

For many Canadians, born and raised here, or skilled immigrants who come to Canada to follow their dreams by working hard, this is nothing less than a slap in the face. So far the bandaid efforts on the part of the provincial and federal government haven’t slowed the problem down.

Guess what, the problem is now creeping out to other communities in British Columbia, and other provinces as well.

FOR THE LOVE OF FLIGHT

When the opportunity to work on a project that involved aircraft presented itself, we practically fell over ourselves to accept it. Between our personal and professional interests in flight we thought we had just struck gold.

The project just got better and better too, when we stepped into the museum and realized that all the aircraft were vintage, dating from WWI, through to the Vietnam war period. 

When we met some of the staff and volunteers, we realized that they were some of the pilots and crew from the aircraft represented in the museum. It’s a miracle we were even able to finish the project, we were so captivated by their stories. 

It made me reflect on my decision not to join the air force. I was one signature away from the long road ahead to becoming a jet pilot. I don’t regret my decision to follow my other passion, maybe in my next life. 

INDUSTRIAL SHOOT ANATOMY

Working in industrial settings to get photos or video can be very challenging.

In almost all cases we are all required to wear PPE’s (personal protection equipment), adhere to strict safety protocals, and generally, get in and out as quickly as possible (ASAP).

The situation could be dangerous regardless of safety equipment and safety measures taken. Dangerous gases, height, falling objects, slippery surfaces, toxic chemicals, noise levels, air quality and temperatures are all factors that we might encounter.

That’s the safety aspect of it, let’s talk about the technical challenges that we often find ourselves working with. The location may have mixed lighting, possibly 2 or 3 artificial light sources, sometimes mixed with daylight, and vibrations that make video work, or long exposures with photos near impossible. 

The plant site interior portrait was shot in a mixed lighting environment. Additional lighting was supplied by several portable LED video lights, setup to the left, far right and behind our subject for some edge and separation lighting,  

We balanced our exposure and colour temperature using filters on the lighting, and fine tuned the final images on the computer. 

We also had to deal with vibrations coming from all the surrounding industrial equipment. A combination of camera stabilization and shutter speed, provided a remedy for this problem.

Our video footage was captured with much the same solutions, we isolated and stabilized the camera to enable the capture. Stabilization was also added in post-production for our final output footage.

The image on the right was shot entirely outside, using a mix of daylight, mercury vapour lamp and a portable LED light.

Our subject was in one hydraulic bucket, approximately 4 meters below us, and we were in another bucket at a height of 20 meters.

Because of the safety hazards involved, we were in PPE’s, as well as harnesses. Our cameras were also tethered to the bucket to ensure we didn’t have any falling objects.

We had to ensure that the weather cooperated as well, so some careful planning went into this, prior to us even arriving at the job site. 

Low light shooting, longer exposures and things moving are not conducive to a successful shoot under these conditions. We did use camera stabilization on the shoot, and also in post production.

As with the first shoot, we also captured this scene to both photo and video cameras.

HIDDEN GEMS IN ALBERTA

We are all suffering from the confines of the COVID-19 virus and the best we can hope for is a driving vacation. 

We have a number of suggestions for you with this illustrated road guide to hidden gems of Alberta.

Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump

A Unesco World Heritage Site nestled in the heart of the Porcupine Hills in SW Alberta. 7000 years of Blackfoot First Nation history comes to life in the museum built into the cliffs of this historical site. 

Situated a short drive, NW of  Fort Macleod on highway #785

Brooks Aqueduct

Situated a few kilometres SE of the town of Brooks, lies the remains of an irrigation system built by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Construction began in 1912 and was completed in 1914, making this structure over one hundred years old. Spanning a shallow valley, the structure is 3.2 kilometres long, and stands 20 metres high. At the time it was the largest concrete structure in the world. 

The Village of Rosebud

Nestled in the rolling prairie hills of Southern Alberta lies a small community that is reminiscent of a bygone era.

For anybody who has read W.O. Mitchel’s book – ‘Who Has Seen the Wind’, there is a sense of familiarity to the mood of this community.  Life seems slower, the gusts of wind seem to whisper in your ears, and there is no rush to get anywhere. 

It’s a great place to spend a weekend at one of the B&B’s, and  leave your worries behind you.

Medicine Hat & Cypress Hills

Situated in the SE corner of Alberta along the Trans Canada highway (#1), sits the city of Medicine Hat. It’s a sun worshippers paradise with the most sunny days in Canada, and one of the mildest winters to be found in the country.

It’s large enough to have all the amenities, but small enough to have  small community charm. The Medalta Museum is a reminder that during the 19th and early 20th century, Medicine Hat was home to a thriving ceramics industry, thanks largely to the clay from the surrounding bluffs and hills along the South Saskatchewan river.

It was and still is, home to a large number of Blackfoot First Nations people, who have a long and rich history in the area. The Saamis Teepee is a reminder of this historical link that the city has with the First Nations People.

Nearby Cypress Hills Provincial Park is a unique geological feature,  rising 600 metres from the surrounding prairies, it offers a variety of recreational pursuits in all seasons. The views are impressive as well!  

 

SAY A LITTLE PRAYER

For those of you who are doubting the power of prayer, this is a great story to inspire you to rethink your doubt.

Lea contacted us with a request to provide some images for Marks soon to be released album. We were delighted to help out, and then she mentioned the timelines – they were going to production in the next few weeks.

Translated, we were going to have to shoot, do any digital work and provide finished files in the next week. Then the other bomb dropped, they would like something outside, sort of grassroots, with a country spin to it. 

We were right in the middle of a low pressure zone, with lots of rain, clouds and little to no sunshine. Well, we do love a challenge.

Thankfully Lea suggested this location north of the city that just might provide us with all the elements.

We decided to stay overnight closer to our location, which made an early morning start that much easier to deal with.

We met Lea and Mark that evening to go over the layouts and do a bit of planning. One glance out the window and we all decided that a little prayer for good weather would be in order. It was pouring rain out!

The next morning we were all up at the crack of dawn, rushed to the window to check the weather and nothing had changed. At the breakfast table we were sure we heard somebody say, “trust in God”. So we did, packed up the gear, got squared away with our destination and away we went.

As we approached the destination, we drove out of the rain, the clouds started to part and one could almost sense the mood change.

Stepping out of the vehicles we all looked at each other at about the same time and there was a race to see who could thank God for this small miracle!

The morning was spectacular, we got what we needed and more. As we were packing up the clouds rolled back in and the rain started to come down. 

Our prayers were answered and we were on schedule. Thank you God!

NORTH OF 66 DEGREES

For six months of the year it lies in darkness, the sun  never rises above the horizon and the temperatures stay below – 30C. 

The Arctic Circle is a land of ice and snow, extreme temperatures and conditions not suitable for human habitation, and yet there are creatures that find these conditions perfect for their needs.

Polar bears roam the icepacks and shorelines, looking for seals, their favourite food. But they will make a meal of anything,  after-all they are the top predator in this world. 

During the brief summer months it’s a spectacle to see, the sun never sets and the abundance of wildlife is staggering. Millions of migratory birds come here to nest and lay their eggs, which attracts the opportunity predators like the arctic fox, mink, martin and weasels.

Large herds of Muskox call this land home twelve months of the year, and their thick fur insulates them through all but the coldest conditions. 

The most amazing site to witness is the spring and fall migration of the caribou herds from the low lying areas to the higher elevations in the spring, and the reverse move in the fall. These herds can number in the hundreds of thousands and attract the top predators like the Arctic wolf, and grizzly bears.

 

All of this is sitting on vast deposits of oil, both on land and under the Arctic ocean, and Beaufort Sea. The Beaufort Sea is a shallow sea, and provides an opportunity for oil exploration companies to develop drilling platforms that can be moved around to various locations and sunk onto the sea floor, providing a stable platform on which drilling rigs can operate from.

We had numerous opportunities to travel to this land at the top of the world, on assignments for various corporations and government research departments. Summer months were wonderful, many days would find us out in a zodiac boat at 2AM in the morning, under sunny skies and perfect conditions. The same could not be said for the winter months where the sun and temperatures never rose and conditions were harsh, to say the least.

We even had an opportunity to stand on the North Pole, and of course, watch our compass spin around and around. It was actually quite disappointing, just a series of ice pressure ridges, amidst a sea of snow and ice, sprinkled with numerous flags from around the globe.

No matter what the conditions, I would recommend it as a destination to anybody, it is one of the last frontiers left on this planet. 

ATTITUDE

We think it's safe to say that we have the most fun when there's kids in front of the camera.

Kids just make the best models if you are looking for spontaneous expressions, uninhibited emotion and totally unexpected faces. But you better work fast, because one thing they don’t have is patience and staying power. 

Shot on location in Toronto, Sarnia, Denver, Calgary and Ft. McMurray, for a series of safety ads and posters.

These were the rejected images, but some of them were our favourites.

BUILDING AN AD

Creating a player profile image for an advertising campaign to raise awareness for a potential semi-pro soccer team in Calgary. 

Brainstorming: 

As with so many advertising images, we started with a number of hand drawings of possible images for the campaign. After arranging our selection of ideas on a table, we made our final selections and eventually narrowed it down to one choice. 

The planning & production phase:

Then it came time to figure out how to create the various elements that would be incorporated into the final composite image.  In this case we wanted the bright lights of a soccer stadium as our backdrop, without the stands and structure to distract from the foreground. It was decided to build the background and add the foreground elements to complete the final image. 

The final image incorporated the information of the player and football club logo.

BIG IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER

Macro Photography for an Annual Report

Annual Report time, and this one didn’t require a lot of traveling, in fact we were a bit cramped for space.

The creative director challenged us to come up with a series of photos that highlighted the message – We might be small, but we have a big part to play.

The tech company produced a number of instruments and software that are used by industrial clients.  The products are generally quite small, or as mentioned, software, and our job was to produce images that reflected the ‘small’ idea.

The plan was to supplement some stock photos that they searched online for, with the images we were supplying. Once they saw what we had produced for them, they tossed the stock images and used our work exclusively for the annual report.

That spoke volumes to us that we had done our job. Not to backslap, but I think our guys went above and beyond what was expected.

UPGRADING THE GRID

Documenting the construction of an electrical transmission line between Pincher Creek and Lethbridge, Alberta.

Litebox was contracted to provide video and photo coverage of the construction phase of this project. The anticipated length of the project was 8 months, running through the fall and winter, with completion in early spring. 

Alberta’s electrical grid  has been in need of an upgrade and additional capacity to service the growing population and added industry base. 

Following a series of studies and public presentations it was decided that one of the areas most in need of an upgrade and improvement was the corridor between the far SW corner of the province and the city of Lethbridge. 

This project would facilitate the need for more electricity that was readily available in the neighbouring province of British Columbia. It would also provide the infrastructure for future expansion and demand as the province’s population and industry base grew.

We were very impressed with the level of planning and implementation that went into this project. Prior to it’s beginning, land owners. First Nations People, wildlife biologists, Fish & Wildlife officials, government representatives, engineers and construction managers were consulted and a plan was developed on how best to proceed.

The use of helicopters was a clear indication on how much thought was put into this project in weighing efficiency, environmental concerns, the impact on local people and long term sustainability for electricity demands by future population and industry.

From our perspective it was a very successful project, and clearly a result of good planning and management.

VANCOUVER’S GASTOWN

Standing at the intersection of Carrall and Water street, in downtown Vancouver, we stare up at the  statue of “Gassy” Jack Deighton, the owner of the first saloon in an area we now call ‘Gastown’.

Following the Great Vancouver Fire in 1886, the area was rebuilt and thrived as the centre of the cities produce distribution area, and also the cities drinking life. Within a 12 block area there were 300 licensed saloons, bars and clubs, and catered to the transient maritime crowd, in addition to locals from the area.

When the Great Depression occurred in the 1930’s, this colourful area of the city declined and soon became a largely forgotten area of the city for several decades.

In the 1960’s this area was selected for a possible route for a major highway into the core of the city. Luckily concerned citizens started a campaign to save the historical value of this area, and the plan to build the freeway was scrapped and a restoration effort started to restore many of the buildings.

Within a few decades, ‘Gastown’ became a trendy area  with many boutique shops, clubs and restaurants that continues to attract an ever growing number of international visitors and locals as well.

To dispel any rumours, we were only there for the stories and images we recorded.

PRAIRIE SENTINELS

It's hard not to notice them, they stand out like sentinels on the flat prairie, a beacon to farmers, to residents and visitors alike.

They are a meeting place for local farmers and a hub of information. Business deals are done at the shake of a hand, or a pat on the shoulder, and a promise to be out at a particular field to help the following morning.

Morning coffee time is quite often earlier than what you and I are use to. There’s work to be done and as long as there’s light, there’s work. 

There is a good chance that you will find a number of farmers congregating at the grain elevators early in the morning, just about the time the sun is creeping up over the horizon. 

It’s an opportunity to exchange news, stories and make plans for the day or week. Priorities and schedules are discussed, maybe the latest grain prices are hotly debated, and equipment and manpower availability are sorted out. 

There’s probably a few other topics discussed as well, these are families we are talking about, so a marriage, death, and birth are sure to enter into the discussion.

There was a time when you could measure a communities prosperity by the number of grain elevators that were nearby.

They were part of the community, your neighbour worked there, and they had a direct line into the community. If you wanted to know something, or get the word out, just stop by the elevator and talk to your neighbour or friend who worked there. It was a hub of commerce and local gossip or information, depending on how you looked at it.

Things are done a little differently now, the grain elevators are still there, but often they aren’t a beacon for a community, and can’t be spotted by standing on Main street.

Most likely they are situated near a main road, or secondary highway, always on a rail line and don’t have a communities name printed on the side of them.

For the sake of efficiency and cost, they generally service a larger area and employ fewer people. Decisions on how they are run and who runs them are generally made by head office. The ‘who’ is most likely the name that sits high up on the side of the elevator silos, and doesn’t reflect any association to a nearby community.

For those of you who have fond memories of what the grain elevators were like when you were a kid, or a young farmer trying to make a go of it, try to keep those memories alive by sharing them, or writing them down.

Remember, memories fade with time.  These prairie sentinels are a reminder of a bygone age, when we were kids, parents or just visitors who were lucky enough to share a moment in time.

HEARTLAND PROJECT

A Photo & 3D Graphics Merge

This was one of the more challenging projects we were involved in and one of the longest.

AltaLink, an electrical utility company that manages the electrical grid through much of the province of Alberta, in Canada, approached us to provide photo and 3D graphic composite images of the proposed route of a transmission line through Central Alberta.

They were looking at two different routes for the project, which meant that our work was extended over a huge area surrounding the capital city of Edmonton. 

The project had several different requirements that the client wanted accomplished:

  • Computer generated 3D models of all the proposed tower styles had to be built to exacting detail and scale.
  • Panoramic photos that would be stitched together showing key areas of the proposed right of way had to be captured and digitally constructed on a computer.. Each of the panoramic photos were located and geo-tagged using GPS coordinates.
  • With many of the panoramic image, computer alterations were done to the images to clear forests, and fill ponds, etc. to represent what the right of way will look like.
  • Tower locations were then located on the photos using GPS coordinates. 
  • From the tower coordinates and location of camera, distances from camera to towers, as well as elevations were calculated.
  • Using the plotted distances from camera, towers were placed on the panoramic images and sized using calculated size, relative to elevations and distance from camera.
  • Once all the towers were placed, sized and rotated to the correct orientation, power lines were digitally added between each tower and visually enhanced with lighting affects and weight factors.
  • This was done at a number of locations through the proposed right of ways.
  • Final images would be a composite of the computer rendered 3D tower images, complete with wires, and the panoramic photos of the different locations. 

This project extended over the better part of a year, and added some other elements to the task at hand, namely the weather. There were a number of days on-site that had us out in the elements in sub-zero temperatures. We were mostly concerned about the digital cameras we were using. The Hasselblad cameras, lenses and PhaseOne digital backs never failed us, a tribute to their construction.

These images are representative of some of the final images we produced for our client. At one of our meetings with the client we overheard the project lead engineer comment that the illustrations we provided were the best he has ever seen.

Our hard work and attention to detail paid off!

Here are some samples of the challenges and images we produced.

We were also faced with another challenge as a result of the scope and time frame of this project – how do you stay on top of the other work coming in from other clients?

This was probably one of the busiest years of our working lives, but also one of the most fulfilling. We would do it again in a heartbeat!

A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP

We are not talking about a marriage, or your job, we’re talking about the RODEO!

This is something that’s been going on for many generations and doesn’t look like it’s going to disappear any time soon. The animal activists are all up in arms over it, and the avid rodeo fans can’t wait to do it again. Some people even argue that some of the animals love the competition too, but we’re wondering which animal spoke up and told them this. 

From early spring to late fall, you can find a rodeo happening somewhere without having to look too hard. For some it’s a passion and they make a living at it, but it comes with some hard knocks. There’s not too many ‘old, bold rodeo riders’ that don’t have some damage to show for it. Getting onto an 800kg bull who’s sole purpose in life in the next few moments, is to get rid of you, preferably with a few reminders, takes some guts, or maybe blissful ignorance. 

Whatever it may be, the cowboys and cowgirls keep coming back year after year to compete, and they seem to love it. Did we mention that the ladies love it too?

Find a seat close to the corral and watch some of the cowgirls ride hard around those barrels and tell me that doesn’t take some guts. One small slip-up and that rider could be in a world of pain, and possibly a life altering injury. 

After taking in our fair share of rodeos, it’s hard to imagine that some of these rodeo animals, the bucking horses, the bulls and broncos, don’t look forward to it also. The amount of energy and focus that they seem to display, sort of suggests a bit of a passion for it as well.

Maybe there is some truth to the stories and rumours, somebody does talk to the animals and gets their side of the story too. 

After watching countless rodeos, it’s hard to imagine that some of these rodeo animals, the bucking horses, the bulls and broncos, don’t look forward to it also. The amount of energy and focus that they seem to display sort of suggests a bit of a passion for it as well.

Maybe there is some truth to the stories and rumours, somebody does listen to the animals for their side of the story. 

WORTH IT’S WEIGHT IN GOLD

In the not so distant future, fresh water might just be worth it’s weight in gold. 

The availability of fresh water is declining, and consumable water is almost non-existent, without first being treated. In some areas of the planet, people are literally dying of thirst, or having to relocate closer to a water source. 

We’ve taken on a long term project that is about the issues surrounding drinking water and it’s availability. Our images and footage will illustrate the obstacles that we face to maintain an adequate supply and accessibility to water for plants and animals alike.

Our woody and fibrous friends need fresh water as well, and this reinforces how interdependent our world really is. 

 

ARMCHAIR PILOT

Want to soar, want to fly, but still keep your feet on the ground? look no further than the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

It’s no surprise that the museum is the brainchild of the Boeing Corporation, who has their head office in Seattle, Washington, and is built near their Everett, Washington assembly plant.

Step into the foyer and be transported back to the days of the Wright brothers at KittyHawk, or jump forward to what NASA has planned for future space flight. It’s all here at the largest private aviation museum in the world.

Count on spending at least half a day to a full day to take in all the exhibits and interactive displays. Whether you are 7 or 70 years old, there is a variety of exhibits, displays and events that cater to all ages.

HAVE A GOOD FLIGHT!

http://www.museumofflight.org

 

FOREST THERAPY

It’s a proven fact that spending time in the great outdoors is good for us in almost all respects, unless of course you happen to run into a hungry bear. The chances of that happening are almost as good as winning the lottery, but if it does happen, go and immediately buy a lottery ticket, assuming you survive.

For us, we have a special affinity to trees, and the bigger the better. On our recent assignment in Vancouver, we took some time to surround ourselves with some very big trees in The Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver. We were like kids at the playground, it really was pure therapy. I hope our photos will give some sense of the mood we felt, and what we saw.

Walking through an old growth forest, surrounded by huge Cedar, Hemlock and Douglas Fir trees that towered over us made us feel a bit insignificant, and in awe of mother nature. Pretty cool! We would recommend it.

MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY

Whether you are a resident or a visitor to Vancouver, a must see is the Museum of Anthropology. Located on the UBC campus on Point Grey, the museum houses the finest collection of West Coast Canadian First Nations artifacts and art. If the content doesn’t ‘wow’ you, the architecture is outstanding.

In addition to the Canadian content, there are numerous artifacts and exhibits from other indigenous cultures circling the Pacific Ocean, and definitely worth taking some extra time to view.

Count on spending at least 1/2 day on site, and possibly longer. Definitely worth the drive!

https://moa.ubc.ca