Monday, May 18, 2015

RandomRoadtrip: SW Saskatchewan Day 1

For the first adventure in my #RandomRoadtrip series I decided a trip around the SW corner of Saskatchewan was a great place to start. I have never been to Saskatchewan before, which is really kind of crazy since I have lived in Alberta for nearly my entire life. I got my camping gear packed, organized all of my camera gear, loaded up a cooler, then bright and early at 8am on a Friday morning I was off. Note, I planned and organized this trip about 2 days before actually doing it :D

I headed directly from Calgary, Alberta to the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park located about 430 KMs away (30 KMs south of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan). Cypress Hills was where I would set up my campsite for the first night of my trip. With it being very early in the summer camping season I was among only 3 others in a 35 spot campground, needless to say it was very quiet.
Once I had my basic camp sot set up I headed back out on the road with my camera gear in hand, ready to shoot.

From Cypress Hills I headed back through Maple Creek and continued north along highway 21 with no real end goal or destination in mind. All I knew is that I was looking for grain elevators and abandoned stuff, and it certainly didn't take too long to find either. A had opted to take a right hand turn off of the highway for no particular reason and was lucky enough to come along the abandoned Ingebrigt schoolhouse. After so much driving it was a real treat to stumble upon and I ended up spending about an hour or so shooting pics and looking around. The weather for the day was quite enjoyable aside from the insane amount of wind, and with Saskatchewan being so flat there wasn't any real escape from it. The clouds and their movement were opportune for some long exposure work, but sadly I currently have the ND filters to achieve the desired effect (next on the never-ending list of gear on the wishlist) 



From the schoolhouse I headed back towards the main highway, next thing I was keen to locate was a grain elevator to shoot. After about 45 minutes or so of heading north again on highway 21, making several stops along the way to take in the great endless landscape, I arrived in the small town of Fox Valley. Here I was happy to encounter my first grain elevator of the trip (which could actually been seen for quite some time beforehand from the highway). I spent about 30 to 45 minutes wandering around the Fox Valley elevator, always looking for unique angles and ways to compose this beautiful structure. For those who are not familiar with grain elevators, these old and often abandoned structures are quickly disappearing from the prairies because the original ones were being constructed with wood and now are prone to fire and can often pose a safety risk if not maintained or leveled.

Fox Valley was the first of two grain elevators I located on day 1. The second was in the town of Leader, located about 45 minutes north of Fox Valley. I spent another 45 minutes or so at this second grain elevator taking in its weathered beauty, snapping many photos as I went. By the time I had finished up in Leader it was getting later in the day and I decided to make the 140 KM journey back south to my campsite in Cypress Hills. In hindsight I would have rather done a loop of sorts so as not to double back the same route that I originally came. It was a good lesson to learn on the first day of my first 2015 road trip, I feel like in the end it worked out alright and I can take advantage of it on future trips. Once back at the campsite it was incredibly rewarding to crack a cold beer, cook up some dinner and reflect back on some of the beautiful landscape and locations I encountered on the day, not to mention it was about 28 degrees out and the wind had died off ... solid ending to day 1.

Full (ongoing) gallery of photos from this trip can be viewed on my website > http://www.neilmcelmon.com/SW-Saskatchewan/


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