A Road Trip with the Boys: An Eventful Photo Shoot

Six friends and I gather for coffee early every Thursday morning. Sometimes we solve the problems of the world. Most often we talk photography. We share our work, try to solve each other’s photography issues and generally learn from each other. A great group that we call the Thursday Morning Shooter’s Group.

About a month ago after coffee, we travelled up the Okanagan Connector towards Merritt, B.C. Turning off on the Loon Lake Road and we drove towards the Kentucky Alliene Provincial Park. Our objective, to photograph the golden yellow of the fall aspen leaves that were prevalent in the area.

Unseen occupants in two black luxury vehicles with tinted windows would draw immediate attention from nearby residents. On the other hand, six older guys riding in two run of the mill SUV’s would pass by unnoticed. Their expensive camera equipment might turn a few heads but for the most part they would be anonymous to the landscape.

On the Loon Lake Road, however, this didn’t turn out to be the case.

The road wound its way through mixed forest areas of meadows, marshes, lakes and ponds. Along the roadside cattle grazed. Coming around a curve an abandoned homestead grabbed our attention. We stopped, gathered our gear and hiked the 100 or so metres to the old buildings and set up. For the next hour or so we happily kept our cameras busy making what we hoped would be interesting images.

On our way back to our vehicles a passing pickup truck stopped. A sign on the door identified it as belonging to the Douglas Lake Ranch, at one time one of the largest in the world. The driver, perhaps the ranch foreman, stepped out of the truck.

“What was it about the ‘No Trespassing’ sign that you didn’t understand?” he asked.

I don’t exactly recall our answer but it was lame.

He then stated that we had spooked his cattle and that was a problem for him.

“Sorry,” we said, again, lamely.

And so it went. Pointed questions. Weak answers.

Realizing that we weren’t a menace and that all we wanted was to make photographs he seemed to relax. With a warning that all the land along this road was marked with ‘No Trespassing’ signs he got into his truck and drove off. That was attention we needed to avoid in the future.

We loaded up and drove off. Several other stops were made during the day, all on land not marked by the rancher.

It was a good day. Great camaraderie, some interesting images.

Better days had for sure been experienced here. Yet, the sun and the golden aspen leaves seemed to bring life back to this old homestead.

Better days had for sure been experienced here. Yet, the sun and the golden aspen leaves seemed to bring life back to this old homestead.





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