This post, originally published in 2013, went missing and I honestly don’t know what happened to it, so I figured I’d repost it. Ah, those cheeky techie gremlins. Thank goodness for backups.
There is a long list of reasons why I love being in the Pincher area. The Canadian Rockies swoon is probably number one, but it’s so very interesting for me to see agriculture in motion. With Alberta littered with wind farms. there is no shortage if you want to photograph the wind turbines. These Alberta wind farms are of course not without controversy and as an someone whose environmental concerns grow daily, seeing the prairies peppered with these structures has killed a bit of the wild fascination I’ve had with them for many years and replaced it with more of a growing interest and curiosity.
I cannot deny when I was arriving in Pincher late at night, I was looking forward to sunrise so I could see not only the mountains, but the turbines. I originally had planned to be in Pincher to chase the wind, but when my main reason for heading south changed, I decided to just go with the flow. I had been trying to find the exact location of a monstrous wind farm I drove right through on the way to the US border in 2007, but with it not being 100% pinpointed, I figured because of our limited time in Pincher, finding that exact location will have to wait for another trek. Even though I’m still undecided on how I truly feel about the growing number of wind farms and I appreciate those companies and owners recognizing the environmental hazards they cause and trying to do something about it, I’m left questioning myself — do I want to continue to photograph these structures?
I had heavily weighed the pros and cons and I came to the conclusion that I’m still really interested in this subject. I may not fully support the operations of the wind farms, but here’s the beauty of what a photographer and a camera can create outside of personal, emotional pieces — stories. Questions. Theories. Education. This is the power and impact we can have with our cameras. Maybe not to a mass audience, and maybe it won’t be immediately obvious to anyone else, but by documenting our landscapes and the goings-on around us, we become a critical part of that landscape right here, right now and for a long time to come, even when the landscape may become forever altered. Because I have questions I would like to answer, I’ll be taking my images and using them to educate myself and see where I can go from there. With so much emphasis being put on gear, gear and hey, more gear, I’m learning to take a step back and really examine what my work is not only doing for me, but others as well. Seeing these images in my inventory has caused me to really ask myself why I want to photograph the outdoors and what I should be doing with my work. This is never a bad thing and I’ll take the opportunity to figure it out.
If you’re interested in the turbines here in Alberta, there is even a site dedicated to wind chasing! Back in the ol’ days, we had to just jump in my little red jeep and drive all over the damn place, chasing these huge structures with no true direction, but that was always half the fun of road trips. No matter how you chase your subject, just keep documenting the landscape around you!
See you in the field!