In the course of my career as a reporter with the Airdrie City View, I have often been tasked with capturing captivating photos of the countryside for our sister paper, the Rocky View Weekly.
While on the job scouring the county for photo opportunities, I have grown to love the rural landscape previously unbeknownst to me.
Each weekend, I venture out into the countryside, hoping to find a front-page subject to photograph that might grab the attention our readers. Sometimes, I resign myself to snapping photos of cows or bales of hay. But other times, I am afforded the chance to capture something really exhilarating.
Every once in a while, I am able to capture a moment in time that truly exemplifies the beauty of our province. I recall one excursion where I got closer to nature than I ever thought possible – it included a bumpy trip down a gravel road east of Airdrie.
During this trip, I came across a hawk, perched atop a barbed wire fence, who was devouring its prey – a small rodent. I’ll be honest, it was a grisly scene and I felt bad for the little guy getting eaten, but I witnessed nature in its truest form that day.
Since then, I have made an effort to find gravel roads that may lead to uncharted territory where Alberta wildlife might be found undisturbed from civilization and the noise pollution so often found near busy roadways.
I have since come across a plethora of wildlife, including a doe and its fawn, a pair of white-tailed deer, and a variety of fowl and fauna. While it can sometimes be a time-consuming challenge to take unique photos each week that represent the diversity of Rocky View County, I find it to be an enjoyable task.
My weekly photo sessions have since transported me back to summers spent exploring and experiencing rural life in the Cypress Hills as a child. Each summer between the ages of six and 12, I travelled to my grandparents’ farm near Medicine Hat – a farm that has been in our family since my great-grandparents immigrated to Canada in the early 1900s.
The trips often consisted of fishing excursions in my grandpa’s red truck, bonfires at Whispering Pines Camp, and hand-picking prairie crocuses nearby a rock that I would sit on and ponder life.
Those summers often remind me that, as J.R.R Tolkien once said, “it is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life” – a life spent in communion with nature and with our creator.
I might be just another city slicker, but I have grown to appreciate and love the rural Albertan way of life – the landscape, the people, and the never-ending wildlife. It is my time spent photographing rural Alberta that has encouraged me to return to my rural roots.
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