The speed of light

The speed of light is the fastest you can find in nature, wherever you are looking. However you can catch elements that go at the speed of light, if you’re fast enough. Well, the only “thing” you can catch at the speed of light is of course light itself. Now that’s just what we’re doing in photography: catch the light.

To catch a bit more spectacular light we have to be fast, very fast. But signs of these events are there, sometimes long before the events occur.

Tell-tale signs of upcoming thunderstorms Tell-tale signs of upcoming thunderstorms

The signs I am talking about are of course cumulo-nimbus clouds, with the promise of some heavenly fireworks, a.k.a. thunderstorms.

The Stonewall quarries

“Quarrying at Stonewall began ca. 1880 as part of an emerging limestone industry in southern and central Manitoba. The Stonewall quarries were noted for their continuous production of various limestone-based construction materials. The quarries were long the economic mainstay of the town.

While ordinary building stone was taken in the early years of settlement, the more significant aspect of the Stonewall trade was to be the high quality quicklime produced in the kilns by burning limestone. The whiteness of this product placed it in demand for use in plasters. Commercial quarrying ceased in 1967 with the depletion of high quality reserves of Stonewall Formation limestone.”

This is the text on one of the commemorative plaques in the quarry of Stonewall. Now, what does this quarry look like? While I only have pictures from today, we may get an impression of the past. The quarry grounds are still there and have seen little change since the closure.

Overview of the quarry of Stonewall Overview of the quarry of Stonewall

The now barren ground of the quarry starts to get some growth, but nothing really wants to grow on these rocks. These were the places where the original limestone was taken. Right now, some places look like snake pits, but I didn’t spot any snakes. After the quarrying of stone came the more sophisticated quicklime. It had to be burned in ovens called kilns.

Liquid all season

Water. World’s most common element. What would we be without it? Probably dried out. In photography, water also holds its place. Of course not only in the darkroom where the chemicals are mixed with water to obtain your film’s and paper’s images. It also exists far before the processing of your material.

Let’s go outside and forget about the darkroom. Too smelly anyway. In Winnipeg, we don’t have much time to contemplate open water, apparently the season is too short for this. Frozen water, yes, we know all about it. See Freezing Craftsmanship for this. We got lots of experience with that.

Now, liquid water is a whole different approach for photographers. Some people like the reflection of objects in the water, but what about the reflection of water in itself?

 Water reflected in itself Water reflected in itself

That looks more like chaos to me. But nice and shiny. Here in Winnipeg, we have all kinds of quiet water, so I thought I’d start with something more wild.

Night life

Ah, life at night. Some people say that night sees things that sunlight does not support… By that, they mean criminals, vampires, or things they do not like to see themselves. Let’s leave it at that, shall we? The night life I am talking about here is about light. Night light and lighting for photographs. Lots of times we see things in the evening or at night, even in the early morning before sunrise and we say to ourselves: “Wow, that would be a nice picture!”. So, if we have our camera with us (we always have it with us, right?) we prepare to take THE picture.

Comes next morning. What is this picture in my camera? I never took a picture like that? I must have been drunk!. Ok, scrap that last remark, none of my business.

Our first object of choice: The moon. Hmmm. if your moon pictures look like this one,

 Definitely a moon picture, right? Definitely a moon picture, right?

perhaps, you should take a look at another post of mine called Blue moon. Better pictures will follow immediately :-) . The next target of choice is the fire pit in the garden. “Nothing to it”, yeah, right. Except that you will have to have a very steady hand taking the picture. And around a fire pit we mostly have had something to eat or drink that makes the hands not as steady as we think they are.

Handheld fire pit Handheld fire pit

So, we take the fire pit and hope for the best.

Ok, enough talk about missed pictures, how do we do this right? Let’s see…

Wandering boulders

About 100 000 years ago the earth was in an Ice Age. No, this is not about my last date… During that period, most of northern Europe was covered in ice and snow.

In the north-east of Holland lies the province of Drenthe. Nowadays a nice place to be and lots of things to see. However, some of the things you can see are not very common in the world. This province has “Wandering Boulders”. Well, they don’t wander anymore, I can assure you, but they did move a few thousand kilometres during the last ice age, thanks to the moving ice. The boulders came from the north, today’s Scandinavia.

These boulders have been placed in a specific pattern for a specific use about 5000 years ago. That means that these monuments are older than the Egyptian pyramids! The original name of these monuments is “hunebedden” from the old Dutch for Hune or Huyne meaning Giant and Bed.

Hunebedden in Drenthe Hunebedden in Drenthe

Well, the name might explain everything, but… no. It does not. The stones have not been placed here by giants and they have not been used as beds. Anyway, even a giant must have enough brains to understand that this is a rather uncomfortable way to spend the night.

The stones have been compared to the Dolmen in France’s Bretagne, but there are still some significant differences.

Here, the stones are placed together and covered with even bigger stones. The entrance to the chamber is on the long side for example. The stones are placed in an East-West alignment.

Now, the picture above does not give you an inkling of the size of the stones. Let me place myself on one of them and you will see that they are quite big…

DSCF0136 Yours truly standing on a hunebed

Today, we cannot move these stones without heavy equipment. 5000 years ago they did it by hand.