. . . . it's just
P R A I R I E
WHAT IS THE PRAIRIE ?
Prairie - An extensive area of flat or rolling grassland.
Those of us who live on the prairies tend to expand that definition a bit to include areas of bush and poplar. For this book I have also included areas of lakes and forest, sparsely covered badlands, shifting sand dunes, and unique areas like the Cypress Hills of southern Saskatchewan and Alberta, because to me these areas cannot be isolated from the prairie geography - they are all part of the same landscape.
Photographs for this book have been collected from as far east as the Ontario border and as far west as the foothills of the Rockies; from the Parklands on the edge of the Boreal Forests in the north to the Badlands of South Dakota in the south. A vast area of great diversification in landform, flora and fauna, weather and moods, but all part of what is generally known as the prairies.
Sometimes I was lucky enough to catch a fleeting image by just being at the right place at the right time. Often I had to spend hours or even days waiting for that moment to happen.
Sometimes even a wide angle lens could not capture the whole image seen with the naked eye, as with some sunsets which seem to literally surround us. At other times it would take an extreme closeup lens to capture the minute detail of a tiny summer flower.
Quite often the best time to get a good photograph seemed to be at the most inopportune time, or when the weather was at it's absolute worst - a vicious thunderstorm or hailstorm on a hot, muggy, summer afternoon, a cold winter morning after a night of beautiful hoar-frost, or a heavy midwinter snowstorm. It's at times like these that a photographer must have that little extra bit of dedication to get that special image; when the quality of light is exceptional and gives a special look and feeling to an otherwise ordinary scene. Light can be everything.
Frequently I did not get the photo I was looking for but very seldom did I consider my time wasted. The beauty was there even if I wasn't able to capture it on film.
Over and over we hear the phrase, "Who would want to live on the prairies? It's nothing but flat, boring farmland." Even we who live here often fail to see the beauty that is all around us.
In this book I have tried to capture some of that beauty for both present and future enjoyment.
Some of the scenes I have recorded are common occurances that we see every day; others are fleeting glimpses of nature that most of us might see only once in a lifetime; and other scenes are fast disappearing from our landscape because of changing lifestyles and different priorities than our parents or grandparents had.
We can find
beauty and interest in almost anything if we just take the time to look
for it, and we need to see that beauty in our surroundings so that we
can learn to take better care of them. My hope is that you are inspired
enough by the photographs on these pages that you will take that time
out of your busy schedule to look around you and find some of your own
special memories. Even if you only record them in your mind, they will
be yours forever.
The vast majority of images in this book have been collected over the last four or five years as I made a conscious effort to see and record what the prairie means to me.
Prior to 1990 my photography was only a hobby, which I enjoyed very much but never thought of as a profession. Also, prior to 1990, like so many other prairie people, I didn't think of the prairies as especially photogenic and took photos generally only when I travelled to other places. When I began printing my work for show and sale many years ago I soon discovered that the public is much more interested in photographs of scenes they recognize or can relate to than in pictures of places they've never been.
As a result I soon began to see the real beauty of the prairie for myself, and realized how much I had been overlooking right here at home.
Please don't be disappointed if your favorite spot is not included in the images I have selected. With such a diverse landscape and such a vast area to be covered, choices had to be made. I also made a commitment to myself that there would be no fillers in the book - each photo must stand on it's own.
I wish you great joy and fond memories each time you open this book, whether it be for hours or for only a few minutes at a time.