prairie

Little White Walks: On Omand’s Creek, Part One

The eighth of a series of jaunts in the key of white. This week: the first half of a walk on Omand’s Creek from the Assiniboine River to Brookside Cemetery.

I stand at the mouth of Omand’s Creek. Behind me, the broad Assiniboine River surges by on its way to meet the Red River, just a few kilometres to the east. Ahead is the diminutive Omand’s Creek, my frozen path for the next six-plus kilometres.

It is late February and winter still holds a tight grip on the land. The waters of both the Assiniboine and Omand’s Creek are solid ice and walkable. A thin layer of snow blankets their flat surfaces and the surrounding landscape of bare tree limbs and dead bullrushes. It is a comfortably warm day under the clear prairie sky. The temperature hovers just below freezing. The sun warms the back of my dark parka. Perfect conditions for a walk along one of Winnipeg’s most under-appreciated waterways. (more…)

Camera Tales: Seduced by the Cirkut

There can be no doubt, my Cirkut No. 6 Outfit draws attention wherever it goes. It is a beautiful thing to behold, this wood and brass camera perched atop its spindly wood tripod. And to witness it in motion, engine purring as the camera slowly rotates, is a mesmerizing experience. I see its effect on bystanders as I demonstrate its workings. I watch the giddiness of people, arranged in an arc around the camera, each waiting for the lens to swing around, to briefly point at them and capture their likeness as it continues its sweep across the group. It draws press attention too. The camera has appeared, along with me, in several newspaper articles. CBC television took notice as well, producing a lengthy documentary about my work with the Cirkut camera that was seen across Canada! (more…)

Camera Tales: The Horizont

Push the shutter release button and something unusual happens. No click, just a brief mechanical whir as the narrow slit in a silver drum rotates counterclockwise across the front of the camera. This is the Horizont, a Russian-built swing lens panoramic camera, the first of several devices I would own and use to take long sweeping views of my world.  (more…)

Camera Tales: The Cambo 4” x 5” Monorail View Camera

Did this camera choose me or did I choose it? I can’t be sure. What I do see in the photos taken with my Cambo view camera is a wonderful synchronicity of photographer and machine.

I bought it used, in 1978. Found it advertised in the classified ads of the Winnipeg Free Press. At $300, including a high quality Rodenstock 210mm lens, it was a good deal for this university student.  (more…)