“Forgotten” Alberta, Canada – Dave Mitchell – Guest Photographer   63 comments




“Forgotten” Alberta, Canada – Dave Mitchell – Guest Photographer

When I saw this photo I couldn’t help, but think how isolated this image feels.  If you ever wondered where the middle of nowhere is, then wonder no more.  I get the feeling this place is still haunted by ghosts that wear overalls and smoke corncob pipes.   Dave does a beautiful job capturing the essence and continues to shoot beautiful landscapes on his Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/simplyimaging/   If you would like to see what he is up to then check out his blog that is full of technical advice and quick tips: www.simplyimaging.wordpress.com

Here is Dave…

On a township road near Drumheller, Alberta, Canada one mid-morning in early November, I was traveling when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed an old abandoned farmhouse.  It was something that one could easily miss since it was at the bottom of a “vee” formed by two rolling hills about two miles in the distance, and so it was only visible along a short stretch of the road.  At the speed I was going, which wasn’t too fast, I had to back up my truck to get it into view once again, and did so until the house was precisely at the bottom of the vee.

For a better vantage point, I stood at the top of the truck box.  I didn’t have a tripod, but my Pentax K20D had in-body shake reduction for my Pentax SMC-A 70-210 mm f/4 lens (automatic aperture, but manual focus), which was needed since I was fully zoomed in at 210 mm, the equivalent of 315 mm on a full-frame sensor.  Not only did this focal length allow me to enlarge the house, but it allowed compression of the hills from foreground to background, their different hues of yellow and brown creating a layered effect.  I was thankful that the sky was slightly overcast as this eliminated any harsh shadows common to the low sun angle in this part of the world in mid-autumn.  I didn’t want to bump up the ISO too much since I wanted to preserve detail and minimize noise, so I chose ISO 200, which allowed me to hand-hold using f/5.6 aperture at 1/640 sec. shutter speed.  For the record, I used aperture-priority mode, which I use almost exclusively for all of my photography.  I believe that I also used multi-segment metering, my favorite for landscape photography.  There were also no filters attached to the lens.

I imported the photo into Adobe Lightroom 3 and noticed the default contrast at +25 to be somewhat low, so I bumped it to +50.  The colors were also a little dull with a greyish hue, so I also slightly increased the saturation to +10.  My favorite modification, however, was done quite by accident as I dragged the Clarity slider to the left; as I pulled it nearly all the way back to -95, it added a dreamy, vintage sort of effect that seemed to make the four hill “layers” more distinct.  I also like how these simple modifications did little to the house, making it literally pop from its surroundings.

Viewing the result, I decided to title the photo “Forgotten” because the house appears lost in its surroundings.  It is by no means a beautiful photo, but it has become my favorite because of the mood it creates in me whenever I view it; there’s a tension in my mind between the peaceful serenity of the landscape and bittersweet nostalgia as I consider who might have once lived in the house and why they had to abandon it.

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63 responses to “Forgotten” Alberta, Canada – Dave Mitchell – Guest Photographer

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  1. to me this photo is strikingly beautiful in its simplicity.. I love Alberta, and especially the Drumheller area.. thanks for submitting your photo.

  2. Judging by the number of comments this photo touched something in a great number of people. It elicits emotion. I am in awe of photos that can do this. I love the desolation it depicts.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  3. I love this photo because it reminds me of home! I am from Alberta, Canada and these kind of sights are common in the Prairies. Thanks for checking out my new blog. I appreciate it. And now I have something to aspire to with my photography!

  4. I love this. It looks like the ground is moving past the stationary house. Nice!

    • I never thought of it that way before! Almost like the ground represents time; it keeps moving as the house gets more lost in time. Last winter was severe in Alberta and some buildings that I wanted to capture were blown over or toppled by the weight of snow, so people like me who love this particular subject need to capture them while we still can.

      • Thought I was already logged in when I posted my reply – guess not. For the record, I’m Dave the guy who took the photo, not “Anonymous”.

  5. a surreal and peaceful effect. i like the dreamy, vintage look. striking image.

  6. Surreal.

  7. LOL

    Reminds me of “Courage the cowardly dog”

    Their house in the middle of nowhere.

    Now to spot Eustace LOL

    Nice pic

  8. My husband would love to live there! Beautiful, isolated, lots of space…great pic!

  9. I’m looking at this the second time…theres never enough good things a man can say about a great photo… In fact, the picture is the one that speaks to him!

    Thanks my friend for your amazing blog

  10. Greetings photobotos please send me a #imagebreakers even if its of one of your superamazing photos…. youre a creative genius!.. I celebrate YOU!

  11. Reminds me a lot of that fabulous song Neil Young covered called “four strong winds”….what a beautiful, thought provoking, and stunning photograph. Thank you!

  12. Another surreal image captured. Love this site!

  13. beautiful!

  14. beautiful beautiful beautiful! it looks soft. it looks like a gorgeous oil painting. thank you for sharing!

  15. Exquisite, more like an oil painting than a photograph. Wow.

  16. Wonderful minimalism

  17. Serenity

  18. Absolutely incredible. It makes me long for a place I have never been to. Top tier.

  19. thanks for the like (:
    i saw this picture and it made me so homesick. i miss alberta !

  20. I absolutely love the stunning minimalism of this image. Would look good printed large on my wall. 😉

  21. Beautiful capture!

  22. Stunning image! This reminds me of why I stay on the prairies…wide open spaces…

  23. Love, love, love that beautiful image

  24. Very nice, makes you think!

  25. Beautiful picture. I lived in Alberta for a few years and visited drumheller it is as isolated as this photo depicts.

  26. This gives a whole new meaning to the word ‘privacy’. It is a magnificent photo both in observation and execution, but it leaves me asking a lot of questions about the practicalities and mental demands of living in such an isolated location.

  27. That is a very well done photo. It does capture the very essence of complete isolation.

  28. Feeling isolation, terribly beautiful though

  29. Excellent Capture.

    This really is a must-follow blog.

  30. My grandparents homesteaded in Camrose, Alberta, in 1898, after Canada gave away free land to anyone who would turn it into farmland. My father and his 9 brothers and sister built barns and a home much like this one, only to lose them all to the bank during The Great Depression. They had to abandon the farm after pulling down trees with teams of horses, and picking the fields of all the rocks and stones to make wheatland. They made Alberta what it is today, only to have to move away and see their children born and raised in New York.

  31. Loved the photo. Thank you for sharing.

  32. Excellent shot – makes a great commentary.

  33. I live in Saskatchewan, and I’ve come across old barren houses in fields and it’s so haunting. This photograph captured that perfectly.

  34. I love this part of Alberta. Thanks for the awesome photo!

  35. Oops, I meant prairie..

  36. Reminded of “Little House on the Prairee” by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

  37. Wow–this brings home, the isolation the expanse and grandeur of the place–NICE!!

  38. Such a powerful, yet serene image!

  39. OMG!! What an amazing photo. Thanks for inviting this photographer!

  40. Having lived in Alberta most of my life, and been down around Drumheller way many, many times I have to say that this is an absolutely beautiful and realistic portrayal of the prairie landscape. Kudos.

  41. Stunning. I truly love my daily photos, thank you!

  42. Sometimes it is our own mood, our insides, that makes the photo beautiful. That aside, this one’s beautiful, too. 🙂

  43. so beautiful….serene…..peacefulness, at last….almost surreal….my kind of picture….a cognizant photographer… myu best to you at photoBotos…..tom

  44. This photo is so beautiful and peaceful, yet it stirs up so many uncomfortable feelings. Thank you for introducing me to Dave’s photography/art!

  45. Spectacular photo – it looks like a painting. I’d also love it hanging on my wall!

  46. Incredible photo! Very beautiful!!!

  47. What a great shot and explanation of how you came to capture this photo.

    All I can say is it won’t be forgotten.

    Thanks for sharing,

  48. What an awesome isolated location… I never thought there is an isolated place like this on land than it is where I am… at sea. Wonderful photo! Cheers! 🙂

  49. How peaceful. I’d love to have a house like that where I could write and write and write.


  50. Strokes of color no brush from anywhere but the hand of God could paint. Excellent capture, not that anything was moving anywhere fast. Light and framing are spot on!

  51. It’s really stunning. Wish I could take something so well focused.

  52. Really nice!

  53. There’s something about this picture that I just love. Maybe because I’d be quite happy to live there!

  54. Nice capture, it would be much nicer if you are closer to the house little bit

    • That would have taken away from the feeling of isolation, although I did center the house and crop the photo a little because the house was originally smaller.

  55. I could get lost out there.

  56. That is a fantastic photo, the kind you want to hang on your wall…

  57. absolutely stunning..thanks for sharing!

  58. That picture is striking…very special…thanks for sharing.

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