stormy weather


True to the old adage, when it rains it pours, I've been having a pretty miserable week health wise. I thought I had caught my spring cold for the season (doesn't seem too long ago that I was last complaining about having a horrid sinus cold), but as luck would have it I'm sick again and I spent the day working from home, sniffling, coughing, wheezing... experiencing all the cliche symptoms of a cold, these symptoms following close on the heels of a two day migraine bender. It's been a riot. Thankfully though, physical misery aside, it's been a rather productive and exciting week at work. I'm working on a couple new projects - both that will lead to new and interesting content on the City blog.

One of the projects is related to a little photographic adventure I went on Wednesday evening. I had offered to photograph a couple public art projects for the Edmonton Arts Council; one, an installation at the Ambleside EcoStation and the second, a new sculpture in front of the Muttart Conservatory. I could have easily found my way to the Muttart via transit, but the gentleman had kindly agreed to drive me to Ambleside. We had originally planned our excursion for a sunny day a weekend or two ago, but we ran out of time. With a deadline looming we had no choice but to reschedule for a gloomy and rainy day in the middle of the week. This mid-week adventure meant that we had to drive to the deep south in the middle of rush hour. We were both exasperated, me on account of my lingering migraine, the gentleman on account of having to deal with insane traffic. Neither of us could understand how people could choose to drive every day (it took us 45 minutes to pass the Century Park LRT station, by train I think that same distance takes less than half that time). Although it took us forever to get out to Ambleside, I was really grateful that the gentleman agreed to act as my chauffeur. He did it without complaint too.

I was rather nervous on the way down that the weather was going to be too gloomy. It was pretty miserable out and I soaked my shoes through standing outside in the rain to take pictures of these art installations. But after I was done I was kind of glad that I had a chance to photograph these pieces when the weather was not the stereotypical blue sky with fluffy clouds. These pieces are exposed to the elements and have to endure all sorts of conditions, during every season. Despite the rain, despite the grey sky, I still had the ability to show how these installations were still beautiful, how different aspects of these pieces might be highlighted against the stormy sky or in the reflection on the wet pavement.

Ambleside Eco Station

Ambleside EcoStation Public Art

I think I'd actually prefer these rainy day images at the EcoStation to ones taken on a sunny day. Perhaps it's because the images are moodier and not so cheery and happy-go-lucky.

Maybe it's because the rain made things seem clean and fresh. The feel of this place would change drastically on a hot day in the middle of the summer. Without the rain, the reflection of this row of bins would be gone, and instead there would just be a row of recycle bins on a huge expanse of asphalt instead of this slick and glossy mirror-like surface.

After our adventures in Ambleside, the gentleman and I headed back the north side of the river, stopping first at a nearby grocery to get some final ingredients for supper (the gentleman was making pad thai). I've never spent any amount of time in these far reaches of the city (with the exception of numerous visits to nearby Ikea), and I remarked to the gentleman how our little excursion felt like we were exploring a completely different place. The gentleman remarked how to him it seemed that some of these developments sprung up seemingly overnight. He could remember when the spot where the grocery store stood was just an empty field, and now only a few years later was a bustling commercial complex. However, it was still a place dominated by vehicle traffic. I don't think I could ever see myself living near there.

On our way back to the apartment we stopped at the newly renovated Muttart Conservatory where I photographed this sculpture in what looks like a soon-to-be-in-use water feature. A photograph of this particular piece would change drastically over the course of the year. Taken from this same angle, in a matter of weeks the view of the pyramid and the sign would be obscured by the leaves on the trees.

Muttart Conservatory

Imagine the same image with people milling about on the plaza, sitting on the edge of the fountain, or resting on the lawn below the glass pyramid. While I feel that the weather accentuated the industrial context of the installation at Ambleside, I feel like it wasn't the time to take this image of the sculpture at the Muttart. A busy day in the summer would be best.

I didn't linger long at any of these locations. The rain, although not torrential, was steady enough to not only give my shoes and stocking a thorough soak, but also to seep through my jacket. Maybe it was this touch of dampness that enhanced my raspy and gravely sounding voice today and worsened my cough. Perhaps it was not the wisest of photo excursions, but never say that I'm not dedicated to my work.