On Saturday August 4 and Sunday August 5th the “Auction of the Century” was held at the Gervais family farm at Alida, SK. I had the gracious invite to come out early and take some photos of the immense collection of Saskatchewan history that was going up for sale. You can check out the Mac Auction site for the sale that includes the complete list of items that were for sale. Words fail 100% at trying to describe the enormity of this collection. It was the lifetime work and passion of Alex Gervais. You can read more in this CBC news article. To say this auction was mind blowing in every conceivable way is a gross understatement!
I went up to check out the sale and took along the FujiFilm XPro-2 with the 23mm f/2 lens. One camera. One lens. One epic location. I primarily shot with my Tri-X film simulation configuration. It’s a very contrasty black and white which helped set the mood for this series of photographs. There was some colour provided also, generally in the Classic Chrome and a few Velvia simulations.
The extreme versatility of the 23mm (35mm full frame) makes it a nearly perfect travel/event lens. It’s pretty fast at f/2. You can get pretty close with it for faux-macro work and yet it’s still fairly wide-ish for the landscape aspect.
And, it’s so, so compact. The more I shoot with my Fuji system the harder it is to return to full frame Nikon setup. I still really like my full frame stuff, but it gets tiresome to lug around all the equipment. The Fuji system makes for a very lightweight, out-of-the-way feeling kit.
I chose to move in and get more detailed/segments of the sale items. This perspective lens a more familiar feel to the images as opposed to a zoomed out/all in aspect that is captured in the sale images. To me it speaks more of Alex’s personal connection to the collection. The vintage vehicles were unbelievable and were in amazing condition for their age. They made for such cool and uncommon photo subjects. The breadth and variety of the Gervais collection was truly staggering.
The detail and character of the vehicles can’t be over stated enough. You could spend hours and hours just staring at the history that was before you!
I regret that I couldn’t be at the actual sale itself. It was the same weekend that my Sister in Law was getting married. I couldn’t really skip out on that as I was officiating the service! 🤣 But the family told me there were thousands and thousands of people that came to partake of this once in a lifetime sale. I was very happy to have been able to capture a bit of the collection for myself in these images.
Every year the Frey family has their Bull Sale. It’s a wonderful family tradition. I was able to attend this year and did a little bit of event photography for them. It was a very difficult sale as Melissa Frey’s father Tommy just passed away literally the night before. As a result there was a very somber mood to the sale that is characteristically upbeat. Everyone carried on and made it through but it was tough.
The sale invites buyers to come to the farm and take a look at the bulls and the heifers. This year they had video footage of the stock and played the videos on a television screen during the auction sale so that you don’t have to get the animals riled up walking through a show ring. It makes for a much better experience all round.
As you can tell from the photos, Freyburn Farms raise Black Angus cattle. The Angus association has done a wonderful job promoting the breed, especially for meat. You can go into many chain restaurants and in the menus they will often boldly say “Black Angus Steak!” They are a very biddable breed and generally good to manage.
It’s really fun to attend the sale. It’s a very family friendly atmosphere and the Frey’s are exceedingly welcoming and gracious hosts. If you like pie, it is the place to be!
I was doing a two camera setup for this shoot. FujiFilm X-Pro2 with a 50mm and my Nikon Df with a 16-35mm. I have always found a super wide angle to be very helpful in event photography and the Fuji system kept the system light and mobile on the telephoto end.
All in all it was a really great sale, despite having to deal with very tough family circumstances. Coming together as family and friends and enduring the challenges in the hard times is what gives prairie people their true grit.
Our SMCAC (Souris Moose Creek Adventure Club) recently did an Intro to Trapping & Skinning event. It goes without saying that trapping fur bearing game is no longer a popular activity. In fact, it is looked down upon and even chastised by the politically-correct
cesspool society we now live in. But nothing can change the fact that the nation of Canada was created by the fur trade. It’s a Canadian tradition and is something that should be upheld, not only for nostalgic and historical reasons but also as a humane way of managing wildlife populations – a responsibility that has fallen to all of mankind.
Our event introduced young and older alike to the art of trapping and skinning. The day began with a racoon skinning demonstration by Trent Lyon, and a discussion of various traps and techniques.
The participants then had their chance to try skinning a muskrat. The kids dove right into the challenge! (Though many of the adults weren’t so keen!)
After the skinning portion, we all went out to an abandoned farm to observe an actual racoon trapline. Many racoons often will inhabit an old farm house as it provides great shelter for them, additionally so if there are grain bins nearby that have a ready supply of winter vittles!
Photographically, it was FujiFilm X-Pro 2 all day long with the 35mm f/2 WR lens. Having it all be totally weather sealed is the only way to go for our harsh Canadian climate. These JPEGs are all from camera with very little post production editing. Provia film simulation for that great Fuji colour. 😎
When chuck wagon racing season is over and winter rolls around… your life gets 17% more fun! We had a blast today going out with Ross & Lee for a 2 Horse Open Sleigh ride! What made it even more fun was tying on some sleds to pull the kids behind. They had an absolute riot! The weather was really perfect for the ride, no wind and a reasonable winter temperature, if slightly below normal.
I threw in the X-PRO2 (which hasn’t left my hands since I got it) with the 35mm f/2 and decided to shoot straight up Provia film simulation. You know, for a simple colour JPEG, it really rocks. Every time I look at the photos, the Fuji just nails colour. Little nuances of colour. Big bold colour. Colour of any kind, Fuji wins. The redness of the cold cheeks, the fluorescent yellow, the skin tones… bang on. I love the look of standard Provia!
I have been shooting ACROS since I got the X-PRO2 and I LOVE it big time. But even converting a Provia JPEG to black and white works. The X-Trans has oodles of dynamic range even in the JPEG. I shot this one of Ross with a backlit sky and then pushed the levels and upped the clarity in Lightroom. It makes a for a cool gritty portrait.
These colour Provia shots have basically no editing other than resize for web. All shot auto white balance. To my eye, the colours rock the set. I’m always blown away with how great the files look straight out of camera. They are contrasty, colourful and have a metric tonne of pop! In camera settings were H Tone -1, S Tone -1, Colour 0, Sharp +1. That’s it! The last tree shot did have some colour tweaks to bring out the sky and see how far I could push a JPEG. But I’m still over the moon about the X-PRO2! It’s an amazing camera with incredible results!
We made it up to Edmonton for their amazing winter Ice Castles event. It was really a cool event, except that it wasn’t cool. It was melting! Ridiculously warm temperatures were reducing the ice castles to slush condos! Despite the melting mayhem, it was still a very, very great event to take in. We focused our time mainly on the castles. Periodic releases of fireworks added to the ice and lights quite nicely, as did the fire dancers. Very slick!
I used this venue to really try out my new 24mm 1.8G lens. I shot it alone on the Nikon Df. What a combo! Really fast glass with great high ISO performance on the Df made for a great all round experience. The wide open performance of the lens is tremendous and even better when stopped down a smidgeon to f/2 or 2.2.
But it was very challenging conditions. You had the lights illuminating the ice castles from within which was cool but then total darkness. So there was mucho dynamic range difference. If you could have shot from a tripod and maybe layered the images you could really do well with the venue. But I was shooting hand held. I threw in an old SB-600 small flash to use occasionally too but more often than not just shooting the ambient was more desirable.
The ice castles are a must see event! Be sure to check them out. Click here for more info. Take a look at a few extra pics! 😎
As a kids I was involved with Cub Scouts. So when Oxbow got a scouting program we were keen to get involved. Our kids are in Beavers this year and we just had our first camping trip up to Kenosee Lake. It was a blast! We had such a great time and perfect weather. I threw in the trusty FujiFilm X100s. It totally held up in the winter conditions despite a lack of weather sealing. All in all it was a total blast!
It’s that time again! Oxbow celebrated the town light up and got the festive season kicked into gear the other night. We setup our live nativity again and it was great. Substantially warmer than last year which was weather from the depths of hades. This year we had very little wind which made it at least 17% better for man and beast alike!
We had our resident livestock guy Hubert bring us some sheep this year which is always a hit and the kids did great acting out the Bible characters. Nobody yet has volunteered their newborn to be baby Jesus though. Probably the -25ºC temperatures have something to do with that! lol
I threw in the Nikon Df and the ever versatile 16-35 f/4VR lens that I like so much for event photography. The Df lowlight capability makes up for the slower f/4 aperture, but I’m not going to lie, it’d be nice to have Nikon’s new 24 f/1.8G lens for evening event photography. I’m debating picking it up. But then again, I also want a new FujiFilm camera too. And if you get a new FujiFilm camera, chances are I’ll want the new 35mm f/2 lens to go with it… Contentment…Contentment…Contentment… 😎
Happy Halloween! (Reformation Day to all the Lutherans) 😎
Each year on the 31st our crescent comes together to host an event affectionately called the “Hallowiener”. We sell hotdogs and a drink for $5.00 and donate all the proceeds to a cause. This year it was supporting the Za’atari Refugee camp in Jordan. It’s great to help out because any money given the government will match. This year we raised over $600.00 and sold a pile of hotdogs! Thanks to everyone who came out and helped out! 😀
On the weekend I had a career highlight as a photographer! I was honoured to tag along with the Oxbow Enniskillen Fire Department on a training session. An old farm house was available for a controlled burn. This kind of exercise is invaluable for firefighters as they get to practice in a real world setting but without the real world risk of having to rescue anyone inside.
The burn was done in stages. Simulating the fire starting in a living room and a kitchen and eventually the entire house. Tagging along as the photographer allowed me to get some photos that would be impossible to get in a real world house fire. I was suited up for the experience in fire pants, jacket and helmet. But nothing could have prepared me for the extreme heat of that fire.
Up until now I have always had grandiose dreams of grabbing my kids and carrying them out of a burning building if it should ever happen to us (God forbid!) But let me tell you, I was on the opposite end of the house when the fire broke out, taking pics as the firefighters entered. The wall of heat was so intense, the smoke so horrific that you couldn’t see or breathe! It is all manor of awful scary. The conditions that our firefighters endure for our safety cannot be overstated. These men (and women!) are your real heroes! Say thank you, buy them a coffee or a meal any time you can!
In the midst of the seriousness, there was also fun too. One highlight for me was getting a three generations firefighter photo. That is something you don’t see everyday. It is a rare and awesome thing to see! Three generations of heroes!
This was such an amazing experience! It reinforced in my mind fire safety. Make sure your smoke alarms all have fresh batteries and are in good working order!
Take a look at the gallery of images here. It’s only a handful of the shots I took, but I have tried to visually tell the story of the day from beginnings of the fire all the way up until the house was completely burned. There were loads of great candid moments throughout the day and I was super thankful for the opportunity!