Successful Travels 'With A Little Help From My Friends' !
Mike Grandmaison, September 10, 2014 at 8:21 PM

For three weeks in August I crisscrossed the province of Alberta in search of new images for an upcoming book about Alberta. In the process, I added some 9,000 kms to my trusty van which also functioned not only as my mode of transportation but also as my 'home away from home'. I already had plenty of excellent images of the province having lived and worked in Alberta for 7 years in addition to having returned dozens of times over the years. But I wanted to see some new locations I had never seen before as well as revisit others for which a good image still eluded me. I seldom pass up a great opportunity to travel and photograph!


From the breathtaking first light on the majestic Rocky Mountain peaks to miniature views of iridescent duckweed illuminated by last light, it proved to be a very successful trip. But it wasn't without its challenges however. Barely into my second day, a mallard duck flew into my path as I was driving down the TransCanada somewhere west of Moose Jaw, SK. I managed to forget about it until a couple of days later when I noticed its head sticking out from my grill just in front of my radiator. When I remembered about the duck another day later, I tried to remove it but realized that the entire duck had lodged itself backwards behind the grill and it took some serious effort to pry it out from behind the grill. He was not a 'lucky duck' that one!


The next day I noticed a small crack in the windshield, my first on this van in 10 years. Before the trip would be over, at least three more rocks would find its mark and I now await a replacement windshield. If that wasn't enough, the aperture on my trusty 70-200mm lens began to stick causing overexposed images as the aperture would remain mostly wide open during the brief exposure. You don't realize just how often you use a particular lens until you can't use it anymore! I called NPS (Nikon Professional Services) immediately and arranged to have a replacement lens shipped to me the next day via The Camera Store in Calgary. While waiting for the lens to arrive, colleague Gail Foster, let me use her own lens for the day to capture images of the Calgary skyline as she drove me about to her favorite locations. I collected my lens later that day from the The Camera Store after shipping mine back to Nikon for repair. A few days later my lens was repaired and shipped back to me via The Camera Store. I would like to thank Julian Ferreira and Teri Wagner for facilitating the transfer of lenses as their timely assistance was a great bonus for me during my Alberta trip. A big thank you also to Gail Foster for lending me her lens and for her assistance in finding great vantage points for skyline images. And of course, a big thank you goes out to the 'good folks' at NPS who have always been there for me when I needed them over the years. If you're a Nikon Pro and earn your living at photography, you should sign up for this great service.


I continued on my merry way for the next couple of weeks to gather more images and experience new destinations. To see more images from those travels, you'll need to browse the book when it is released sometime next spring.

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