Independent Photography

Posts tagged “Peace River

Closing one door to open another

I didn’t expect to leave Peace River after eight months.

There were several competing circumstances, which eventually led to my decision to change jobs. I have now been in my new home, Whitecourt, Alta. about 300 km southeast of Peace River, or 175 km northwest of Edmonton working at the Whitecourt Star, the weekly newspaper in town, for just over a month.

More to come on Whitecourt, though in another post – for now a wrap up of Peace River.

Below is the text of my final column in the Record-Gazette, it sums up my feelings on leaving the town pretty well. Below that, are a bunch of photos from the summer in Peace River, June – until my departure in early September.

The opening ceremonies of the first day of the Peace River Pow Wow hosted at the fairgrounds in Peace River Alta. on Saturday, June 14, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

The opening ceremonies of the first day of the Peace River Pow Wow hosted at the fairgrounds in Peace River Alta. on Saturday, June 14, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From the Peace River Record-Gazette Sept. 10, 2014

Well Peace River this is it for us.

This will be my final column in the Peace River Record-Gazette and this is the final issue I will be working on.

Starting this Wednesday I will be taking up a position at the Whitecourt Star.

Peace River will forever hold a special place in my heart. Not just because this was my first full-time job in journalism but because Peace River is a truly special place.

This is a town where a trip to the grocery store can involve seeing the northern lights, deer, or a moose or two.

It’s a place of immense natural beauty coupled with great opportunity. Not every small-town is like that.

One of the indicators I noticed are the number of young professionals in town who are from town. The number of kids who move away for post-secondary then return to pursue a career here must be disproportionate, compared to other similar sized towns.

What it says, is that even after ‘getting out,’ seeing the world, and living in the city, lots of the youth still want to come back.

That really says a lot about this place.

What is stunning is the self-awareness of the people here as well. Many of the people I talk to understand not only what a gift a place like this is but also the responsibility it entails.

You see that in the community groups that spring up and the ability of the community to fundraise for certain projects.

Urban centres would pay untold amounts of money to have this kind of community spirit and Peace River has it in spades.

It’s going to take a while to digest all the things that Peace River has taught me.

However, to everyone in this community I want to say thank you, thank you for reading, thank you for caring and thank you for being you.

For all of us here at the Record-Gazette, you stay classy Peace River.

– Adam Dietrich

Mona Weaver has Botox injected during the opening of Zen Spa in Peace River Alberta, on Thursday June 5, 2014. Botox is one of the new services the spa offered. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Mona Weaver has Botox injected during the opening of Zen Spa in Peace River Alberta, on Thursday June 5, 2014. Botox is one of the new services the spa offered. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Neil Parman, a crane operator and inventor, races one of his inventions called a 'head sled' down 99 Avenue in Peace River Alberta on Thursday June 5, 2014. Parman, who is from Nanaimo British Colombia was in Peace River to help with the maintenance at the DMI pulp mill outside of town. The sled can reach speeds of over 90 km/h.  Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Neil Parman, a crane operator and inventor, races one of his inventions called a ‘head sled’ down 99 Avenue in Peace River Alberta on Thursday June 5, 2014. Parman, who is from Nanaimo British Columbia was in Peace River to help with the maintenance at the DMI pulp mill outside of town. The sled can reach speeds of over 90 km/h. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left to right, drag queen Victoria SecRet, Amber Pratt, Mayor Tom Tarpey and Ashley Pratt lead the Peace Regional Pride Parade through downtown Peace River Alberta on Saturday June 7, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left to right, drag queen Victoria SecRet, Amber Pratt, Mayor Tom Tarpey and Ashley Pratt lead the Peace Regional Pride Parade through downtown Peace River Alberta on Saturday June 7, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Half marathon runners run down the dyke path at the start of the Heritage Run in Peace River Alta. on Sunday June 8, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Half marathon runners run down the dyke path at the start of the Heritage Run in Peace River Alta. on Sunday June 8, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

 From left, Ali Dalman and Ming Gaunt work to prepare pizza dough in the back of Matt's Pizza prior to opening on Saturday, June 14, 2014 in north-end Peace River, Alberta. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left, Ali Dalman and Ming Gaunt work to prepare pizza dough in the back of Matt’s Pizza prior to opening on Saturday, June 14, 2014 in north-end Peace River, Alberta. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Braider Cyrina Bull, a Cree dancer from Red Pheasant, Sask. braids the hair of Ojibway dancer Rolanda Wilson from Fox Lake, Alta. while Cyrina's son, Bradson Crain watches from the trunk of the car, on the second day of a Pow Wow hosted at the fairgrounds in Peace River Alta. on Sunday, June 15, 2014.  Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Braider Cyrina Bull, a Cree dancer from Red Pheasant, Sask. braids the hair of Ojibway dancer Rolanda Wilson from Fox Lake, Alta. while Cyrina’s son, Bradson Crain watches from the trunk of the car, on the second day of a Pow Wow hosted at the fairgrounds in Peace River Alta. on Sunday, June 15, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Elder Stan Testawich from Duncan's First Nation is pictured at his campsite at the Peace River Pow Wow in Peace River Alta. on Sunday, June 15, 2014. The pow-wow included a gathering of elders from all over, Testawich was one of the ones who made the journey. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Elder Stan Testawich from Duncan’s First Nation is pictured at his campsite at the Peace River Pow Wow in Peace River Alta. on Sunday, June 15, 2014. The pow-wow included a gathering of elders from all over, Testawich was one of the ones who made the journey. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

 Muhammad Ashiq, left, prays with fellow Muslims at the Peace River Islamic Centre in Peace River, Alta. on Friday, June 20, 2014. Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, began on June 28, 2014. During Ramada, Muslims fast and abstain from all food and water from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. In Peace River, a small group of Muslims hold weekly prayers, alternating each week who leads the prayer. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Muhammad Ashiq, left, prays with fellow Muslims at the Peace River Islamic Centre in Peace River, Alta. on Friday, June 20, 2014. Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, began on June 28, 2014. During Ramadan, Muslims fast and abstain from all food and water from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. In Peace River, a small group of Muslims hold weekly prayers, alternating each week who leads the prayer. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Luminaries, used as memorials by those who have been affected by cancer, are pictured next to the Glenmary High School track, while walkers from the Relay for Life walk it during the Relay for Life on Friday, June 20, 2014 in Peace River Alta. After taking 2013 off, the relay this in 2014 hoped to raise $25,000 for cancer research and they succeeded by raising $36,666. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Luminaries, used as memorials by those who have been affected by cancer, are pictured next to the Glenmary High School track, while walkers from the Relay for Life walk it during the Relay for Life on Friday, June 20, 2014 in Peace River Alta. After taking 2013 off, the relay this year head hoped to raise $25,000 for cancer research – they succeeded by raising $36,666. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Luminaries, used as memorials by those who have been affected by cancer and bearing personal messages, are pictured next to the Glenmary High School track, during the Relay for Life on Friday, June 20, 2014 in Peace River Alta. The relay raised over $36,000 for cancer research. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Luminaries, used as memorials by those who have been affected by cancer and bearing personal messages, are pictured next to the Glenmary High School track, during the Relay for Life on Friday, June 20, 2014 in Peace River Alta. The relay raised over $36,000 for cancer research. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left, Aireen Gorman, her daughter Kimberly and her son Clarke play with bubbles during the Relay for life at the Glenmary High School track in Peace River Alta. on Friday, June 20, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left, Aireen Gorman, her daughter Kimberly and her son Clarke play with bubbles during the Relay for life at the Glenmary High School track in Peace River Alta. on Friday, June 20, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

High Level Aurora Boriellas' Kiw'd Up, falls to the ground during the Solstice Slam Jam roller derby at the Baytex Energy Centre in Peace River, Alta. on Saturday, June 21, 2014. Roller Derby, typically popular in urban areas, is starting to gain popularity in Alberta's north. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

High Level Aurora Boriellas’ Kiw’d Up, falls to the ground during the Solstice Slam Jam roller derby at the Baytex Energy Centre in Peace River, Alta. on Saturday, June 21, 2014. Roller Derby, typically popular in urban areas, is starting to gain popularity in Alberta’s north. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Elder Dave Matilpi performs a dance, in front of a crowd of Good Shepherd elementary school students, on the last day of the Sagitawa and DMI living tipi village at Misery Mountain ski hill in Peace River, Alta. on Thursday June 26, 2014. The event was meat to promote reading, literacy and awareness of Aboriginal history. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Elder Dave Matilpi performs a dance, in front of a crowd of Good Shepherd elementary school students, on the last day of the Sagitawa and DMI living tipi village at Misery Mountain ski hill in Peace River, Alta. on Thursday June 26, 2014. The event was meat to promote reading, literacy and awareness of Aboriginal history. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left, Tyler Adamson, Brianna Thibault and Lisa Wedderburn participate in an event called 'Run and Scream,' which helps build endurance on the last day of the Sagitawa and DMI living tipi village at Misery Mountain ski hill in Peace River, Alta. on Thursday June 26, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left, Tyler Adamson, Brianna Thibault and Lisa Wedderburn participate in an event called ‘Run and Scream,’ which helps build endurance on the last day of the Sagitawa and DMI living tipi village at Misery Mountain ski hill in Peace River, Alta. on Thursday June 26, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

A security guard from Patman Productions is tended to after his leg was broken while trying to remove an unruly person from the Peace Fest beer garden on Saturday, July 12, 2014 in Peace River, Alta Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

A security guard from Patman Productions is tended to after his leg was broken while trying to remove an unruly person from the Peace Fest beer garden on Saturday, July 12, 2014 in Peace River, Alta Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

A Peace River firefighter checks out a RCAF Snowbird on display at the Peace Regional Air Show on Sunday, July 13, 201 in Peace River, Alta. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

A Peace River firefighter checks out a RCAF Snowbird on display at the Peace Regional Air Show on Sunday, July 13, 201 in Peace River, Alta. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Steven Turner, from Cochrane, Alta. tries to wrestle a steer during the second day of the North Peace Rodeo on Saturday August 2, 2014 at Lac Cardinal in Grimshaw, Alta. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Steven Turner, from Cochrane, Alta. tries to wrestle a steer during the second day of the North Peace Rodeo on Saturday August 2, 2014 at Lac Cardinal in Grimshaw, Alta. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Left to right, Nicholas Lavoucan and Bryn Lizotte both 15-years-old from Peace River and Jesse Lawson, also 15, from Grimshaw, watch as Darren Kramer, from the Ottawa Senators, demonstrates a drill during a morning dry land hockey camp at Glenmary high school field in Peace River, Alta. on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Kramer, who is originally from Peace River, helped to coach a six-week skills camp for elite Peace Country hockey players by using some of his conditioning knowledge learned in the NHL. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Left to right, Nicholas Lavoucan and Bryn Lizotte both 15-years-old from Peace River and Jesse Lawson, also 15, from Grimshaw, watch as Darren Kramer, from the Ottawa Senators, demonstrates a drill during a morning dry land hockey camp at Glenmary high school field in Peace River, Alta. on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Kramer, who is originally from Peace River, helped to coach a six-week skills camp for elite Peace Country hockey players by using some of his conditioning knowledge learned in the NHL. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Dennis Simoneau, one of the co-owner's of Simoneau's Honey Buzziness in St. Isidore, Alta. checks on his bees. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Dennis Simoneau, one of the co-owner’s of Simoneau’s Honey Buzziness in St. Isidore, Alta. checks on his bees. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Dennis Simoneau, one of the co-owner's of Simoneau's Honey Buzziness in St. Isidore, Alta. drives back from his bee field with his dog after checking on his bees. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Dennis Simoneau, one of the co-owner’s of Simoneau’s Honey Buzziness in St. Isidore, Alta. drives back from his bee hives with his dog after checking on his bees. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Jessica Raymond, from Peace River, celebrates completing the Paddle the Peace event in Peace River, Alta. on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Jessica Raymond, from Peace River, celebrates after completing the Paddle the Peace event in Peace River, Alta. on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Parmdalip Goais runs through a field outside St. Isidore, Alta. during the Guru Nanak Shahi Langar celebration at Hilltop Auto Wreckers on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. The event is a Sikh religious and community event where a member of the community opens a free kitchen to the community. Sikhs from Alberta and B.C. came to celebrate. Non-Sikhs from the region also came out to join in the event, which was organized by Bill Singh Dhaliwal, who owns the auto wreckers. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Parmdalip Goais runs through a field outside St. Isidore, Alta. during the Guru Nanak Shahi Langar celebration at Hilltop Auto Wreckers on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. The event is a Sikh religious and community event where a member of the community opens a free kitchen to the community. Sikhs from Alberta and B.C. came to celebrate. Non-Sikhs from the region also came out to join in the event, which was organized by Bill Singh Dhaliwal, who owns the auto wreckers. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Jesse Labatiuk drinks some water before starting the bicycle portion of the TriRiver Triathlon on Peace River, Alta. on Sunday Aug. 24, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Jesse Labatiuk drinks some water before starting the bicycle portion of the TriRiver Triathlon in Peace River, Alta. on Sunday Aug. 24, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

People in a boat fish in the Peace River on Tuesday afternoon in Peace River on Sept. 2, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

People in a boat fish in the Peace River on Tuesday afternoon in Peace River on Sept. 2, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

The Northern Lights are pictured over the Peace River, near the north-end boat launch in the town of Peace River, Alta. early on Thursday morning, Aug. 28, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

The Northern Lights are pictured over the Peace River, near the north-end boat launch in the town of Peace River, Alta. early on Thursday morning, Aug. 28, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Well that’s it.

Next post will be about Whitecourt I guess.

Adam Dietrich


Spring forward

May started off hot and dry. It was the firs month where the weather started to feel like spring, every week.

I started driving with the window down.

So one day when I spotted a huge plume of smoke coming from the other end of town I assumed a field was on fire.

As I pulled up to the scene, I realized I was right, sort of.

There was a field on fire but it was a controlled burn. The hot dry conditions had prompted local fire firefighters, with some help from Provincial wildfire fighters, to start burning large swaths of land around town.

The problem was the wild grass grows right up to a subdivision, so if a wildfire had started, it could very quickly spread to the homes and engulf them. By burning it in a controlled manner, they reduced the risk dramatically.

Justin Dobratz sprays water on a controlled hazard reduction burn in the town of Peace River, Alberta's south-end on Thursday May 1, 2014. Firefighters from the Peace River Fire Department and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development burnt away dead brush in a controlled manner. The brush posed a wildfire hazard to the homes nearby so it was removed. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Justin Dobratz sprays water on a controlled hazard reduction burn in the town of Peace River, Alberta’s south-end on Thursday May 1, 2014. Firefighters from the Peace River Fire Department and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development burnt away dead brush in a controlled manner. The brush posed a wildfire hazard to the homes nearby so it was removed. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

That same day while driving, I spotted Danny. Danny is – an interesting character. He is a philosopher of sorts, a musician, and somewhat homeless. I know he lives in a trailer on the edge of someone’s land and that he hangs out downtown collecting bottles and I see him working through my buildings trash once a week.

We’ve chatted before, on occasion he gives our staff gifts. Most recently he gave me a fuse from an electrical pole along the Alaska Highway, or so he said. He also gave our 19-year-old female receptionist a roll of saran wrap and told her it was for her to wear at Peacefest, a concert that happens here in July.

Regardless – as I drove past him on the bridge, guitar slung over his shoulder, big black duster jacket, I knew it would make a pretty sweet picture. So I pulled over, took the photo then went up and chatted with him. I realized I didn’t actually know his last name.

Danny Pilkafski carries his guitar over the Peace River bridge on thursday May 1, 2014. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Danny Pilkafski carries his guitar over the Peace River bridge on thursday May 1, 2014. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Spring obviously means football… right?

Well it does for the Grande Prairie area Pee Wee league.

I have to admit, I was REALLY excited to photograph football. I haven’t had the opportunity to do it yet and it’s one of those sports that produces really intense peak action photos. This was Pee Wee, but the kids were pretty motivated and I considered it a training and education in preparation for the fall when the Bantam and/or Midget/high school teams start.

This photo is not peak action but it is from the first game I shot.

Peace River Panthers coach Austin Farrow helps Lars Anderson after a hard tackle during their season opener in the Grande Prairie Pee Wee Football League against the Red Rams. The Panthers lost 14-0.  ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Peace River Panthers coach Austin Farrow helps Lars Anderson after a hard tackle during their season opener in the Grande Prairie Pee Wee Football League against the Red Rams. The Panthers lost 14-0. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

May was a season of wrap-ups for winter extracurricular activities. Recitals, final performances, playoffs etc. I found it a little stressful only because EVERYONE pulls at you because it’s do or die for all the groups. I did my best to manage it and cover all the groups as they came up.

Chloe Stafford from the Wednesday Beginners class at the North Peace Gymnastics Club performs at the club's finale 'Everything is Awesome,' on Sunday May 4, 2014 at the Baytex Energy Centre in Peace River Alberta. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Chloe Stafford from the Wednesday Beginners class at the North Peace Gymnastics Club performs at the club’s finale ‘Everything is Awesome,’ on Sunday May 4, 2014 at the Baytex Energy Centre in Peace River Alberta. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

When I was in Grade 11 we took a field trip to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, Ont. During that day we toured the ICU, the physical rehabilitation centre, spoke with police, paramedics and firefighters. The goal was to scare kids into not drinking and driving.

What I didn’t know was that the P.A.R.T.Y (Preventing Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth) program, had gone nation-wide.

So 10 years after taking part in the program myself, I found myself in a field in St. Isidore photographing a mock car accident.

The looks on the students faces reminded me of the looks on our faces during our trip. Some were, literally traumatized by the experience, others were sick. Myself, I remember feeling sad for days. BUT statistics show that since the program has come into practice, alcohol related deaths in youth have dropped. So what does that mean?

Is a day of coordinated and controlled trauma excusable if it helps to prevent a much worse one later?

I kinda lean towards agreeing that in the case of booze and driving, yeah, it’s not a bad idea to show kids EXACTLY what the consequences are. Better they see an upsetting play, a theatrical performance, than live it themselves later.

Layne Hankins, a junior firefighter from Nampa, plays dead while Peace River Alberta Health Services' Paramedic Tyne Lunn covers her with a blanket during a simulation of a fatal car accident for Peace River area high school students at the the St. Isidore fire hall on Wednesday May 21, 2014 In St Isidore Alberta. The simulation was part of the Preventing Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) program, which is designed to curb risky behaviour in youth by exposing them to the consequences through live dramatizations and presentations from law enforcement, paramedics, firefighters as well as victims and survivors. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Layne Hankins, a junior firefighter from Nampa, plays dead while Peace River Alberta Health Services’ Paramedic Tyne Lunn covers her with a blanket during a simulation of a fatal car accident for Peace River area high school students at the the St. Isidore fire hall on Wednesday May 21, 2014 In St Isidore Alberta. The simulation was part of the Preventing Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) program, which is designed to curb risky behaviour in youth by exposing them to the consequences through live dramatizations and presentations from law enforcement, paramedics, firefighters as well as victims and survivors. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

And as an example of the diversity of my job, two days later I was in a church photographing the Peace River community choir’s final performance of the season.

Darrilyn Bastell sings with the Peace River Community Choir's final performance of the year at St. James Anglican Church in Peace River Alberta on Friday May 23, 2014. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Darrilyn Bastell sings with the Peace River Community Choir’s final performance of the year at St. James Anglican Church in Peace River Alberta on Friday May 23, 2014. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

This next photo was all kinds of fun for me.

I was sitting in my office when a call came in from ATCO Electric, the utility company up here. To be honest I thought I was about get some kind of bad news about my account or something. Turns out they had constructed an Osprey nest and they wanted me to come take a picture of it.

They had built a pole near some power lines with the idea of enticing the Osprey to build a nest there instead of on top of the power poles. Last year an Osprey had done that and it started a fire and caused a power outage in the area.

Turns out the company’s plan had worked and the Osprey had built a nest on the platform. So they invited me, and the reporter from the newspaper in Grimshaw, to come out and take pics. Best part was they put us in a bucket truck and raised it up.

Unfortunately all the activity spooked the birds and they left the nest, so it became about trying to take a picture as the bird flew past the nest.

An Osprey flies near power lines and it's nest next to Highway Two  north of Grimshaw, Alberta on Friday May 30, 2014. The nest was built on top of a platform constructed by ATCO Electric which was trying to encourage the Osprey to nest on that pole as opposed to live wires. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

An Osprey flies near power lines and it’s nest next to Highway Two north of Grimshaw, Alberta on Friday May 30, 2014. The nest was built on top of a platform constructed by ATCO Electric which was trying to encourage the Osprey to nest on that pole as opposed to live wires. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

And once again back to football. I was learning by now that the Pee Wees didn’t hit that hard, they’re just too young and light.

I’m not a big football fan, so this gave me a chance to learn the rules, how the game worked and frankly gain an appreciation for the sport I didn’t have before.

Peace River Panthers, Harrison Drummond, tries to push past the Sexsmith Little Rocks defence during a game on Saturday May 31, 2014 at the Peace River High school in Peace River Alberta. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Peace River Panthers, Harrison Drummond, tries to push past the Sexsmith Little Rocks defence during a game on Saturday May 31, 2014 at the Peace River High school in Peace River Alberta. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

The final two pics were really fun to be a part of.

In 2013 I photographed Ottawa Fashion Week. It was fine, I’m not really into fashion. I just wanted to do it to check it off my list and I had a free pass because I was volunteering my time.

While there though there was a collection by the wife of a certain diplomat from a certain country that has a certain bloody colonial history regarding Canada’s First Nations. However, she had a whole collection that was ‘Native inspired.’

I felt sick.

I actually turned my cameras off during that show. The mutterings backstage were all the same, people seemed to think it was in poor taste but no one would say it to the designer herself.

So when the Peace River Metis and Aboriginal interagency committee put on a fashion show it was an opportunity to photograph native inspired fashion, made by First Nations and Metis designers and worn and modeled by First Nations and Metis people.

The difference between the two shows couldn’t be more blatant.

Designer Lara Flesing applies a final layer of makeup to model Valerie Ghostkeeper before the start of a fashion show held at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre in Peace River Alberta on Saturday May 31, 2014. The fashion show was part of a gala fundraising evening to raise money for the upcoming pow-wow. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Designer Lara Flesing applies a final layer of makeup to model Valerie Ghostkeeper before the start of a fashion show held at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre in Peace River Alberta on Saturday May 31, 2014. The fashion show was part of a gala fundraising evening to raise money for the upcoming pow-wow. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

I will say this though – my experience at Ottawa Fashion Week taught me HOW to shoot an event like a fashion show. So I remain glad I went just over a year ago as a student.

Model Jessica Lapretre applies a final layer of makeup to her face before the start of a fashion show held at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre in Peace River Alberta on Saturday May 31, 2014. The fashion show was part of a gala fundraising evening to raise money for the upcoming pow-wow. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Model Jessica Lapretre applies a final layer of makeup to her face before the start of a fashion show held at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre in Peace River Alberta on Saturday May 31, 2014. The fashion show was part of a gala fundraising evening to raise money for the upcoming pow-wow. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

That’ a look at May through the pages of the Record-Gazette. Below is a look at the random crap that happened through some Instagrams.

 

I’m not Catholic but covering the mass that preceded the graduation of the Catholic high school kids was pretty cool. I appreciated being allowed to take pics unfettered too.

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There was a big conference in early May called the Peace Oil Sands conference, which was about oil. It featured a tradeshow that was mostly boring (to me as a non-oil business type) with the exception of a massive crane that was giving rides.

Naturally as a member of the press it was my responsibility to take a ride to document it for the future…

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During the conference I had a chance to meet political pundit, and I guess you could technically call us co-workers, Ezra Levant. For those who don’t know Ezra he works for Sun News and hosts a TV show that has been somewhat – contentious. Regardless sitting with him and picking his brain on a variety of subjects in private was VERY interesting. This is a pic of our office’s manager talking to him in a back room of the conference centre.

He was there as the keynote speaker.

 

I-Blog003During May I had a visit from a buddy of mine. James Wood(s) and I went to Loyalist together. We were in different sections but the same year. He got a job at the Lloydminster Meridian-Booster, also owned by QMI, in Lloydminster.

He came up to Peace River and we wandered around, it was fun.

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This next one was one of those rare times I thought about using an Instagram in print. It’s a photo of Peace River fire chief Lance Bushie spreading fire during the burn controlled burn.

 

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During the fire I drove up to the 12-Foot Davis gravesite, which overlooks the town. I wanted to see what the plume of smoke looked like from a distance.

 

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Another day same lookout this time though epic car porn photo.

 

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This next picture was from the P.A.R.T.Y program – after the mock car crash I spotted some very able-bodied firefighters playing around with some wheelchairs. The wheelchairs were there as an obstacle course for the kids to do. The idea being – do you see how hard this is? Don’t drink, don’t drive and you won’t suffer a spinal injury in a car crash.

The kids were on lunch and the firefighters were racing the chairs… Big kids.

 

I-Blog008More car porn – out exploring some back roads.

 

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While out exploring the roads I found this hill, popular with dirt bikers, I saw a guy sitting there, taking in the view before descending – so I snapped some pics.

 

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Later that week we said goodbye to one of the town’s other reporters. They exist they just work at the radio station. Megan was moving onto a job as a videojournalist at City TV Edmonton. So obviously that meant a pub night to celebrate.

Midway through the mayor popped by. He was there with some councilors for wings so he came over to say bye.

 

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As the weather got nicer and my car functioned more frequently, I started taking regular trips up to various lookouts around town. In a few cases I went there with my laptop to write stories or editing pictures.

It was a nice office view.

 

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Here’s a better picture of the view.

 

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As May closed, Peace River’s very short spring was over. Summer, although still three weeks away, felt like it was here.

And the days started getting much, much longer.

 

Cheers,

 

Adam Dietrich

 

 


April: Turkey, copy and high waters

April – dawned full of promise.

BUT a week into the month my car was not working again, this time it was corroded brake lines and an electrical issue that kept the running lights and cabin fans on – even with them turned off, fuses pulled and the car off.

So I focused on my work – it became a mantra during some difficult times ahead. I would close my eyes and remember the reasons that I had come to Alberta in the first place.

The month kicked off with a high school aged provincial performing arts festival.

Luke Kramer performs at the North Peace Performing Arts Festival Grand Concert on Friday April 4, 2014 at the First Baptist Church in Peace River. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Luke Kramer performs at the North Peace Performing Arts Festival Grand Concert on Friday April 4, 2014 at the First Baptist Church in Peace River. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Spring was now springing but that meant nothing for the midget hockey series. They were still pushing their way through their playoffs.

Peace River Royals forward Trevor Tokarz, left, and St. Albert Crusaders defence Elias Chaulk battle for the puck during game four of the Northern Alberta Midget Hockey League finals on Friday April 4, 2014 at the Baytex Energy Centre in Peace River Alberta. The Royals defeated the Crusaders six to five to force a game five the next day.  ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Peace River Royals forward Trevor Tokarz, left, and St. Albert Crusaders defence Elias Chaulk battle for the puck during game four of the Northern Alberta Midget Hockey League finals on Friday April 4, 2014 at the Baytex Energy Centre in Peace River Alberta. The Royals defeated the Crusaders six to five to force a game five the next day. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

However, the Junior B hockey team, the North Peace Navigators, had finished their season and were now touring the town with their trophy. They stopped by a gymnastics centre to donate some money and the kids got to get up close and personal with the cup and some players.

Austin Leadlay, 7, looks at his face reflected in the North West Junior Hockey League Senators Cup during a visit by three of the North Peace Navigators to the North Peace Gymnastics Club in Peace River Alberta on April 7, 2014. The Navs were at the DMI Endurance Centre to drop off a check for $7800 to pay the gymnastics club for providing security Parents of children at the gymnastics club worked as security at the Baytex Centre during Navigators home games in order to fundraise money for the gymnastics club this season. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Austin Leadlay, 7, looks at his face reflected in the North West Junior Hockey League Senators Cup during a visit by three of the North Peace Navigators to the North Peace Gymnastics Club in Peace River Alberta on April 7, 2014. The Navs were at the DMI Endurance Centre to drop off a check for $7800 to pay the gymnastics club for providing security Parents of children at the gymnastics club worked as security at the Baytex Centre during Navigators home games in order to fundraise money for the gymnastics club this season. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Then I had one of the craziest weeks thus far.

It started with a series of unexpected text messages – it became clear my girlfriend in Lloydminister was using the medium to break up with me. I felt hurt and pretty deeply disrespected over the whole situation.

But again my mantra played through my head.

I decided to focus on my work and building friendships in Peace River. That week a friend and I were driving through town on a particularly warm day to go to the movie theatre. I turned a corner and the road was blocked and flooded…

So I dropped off Tyler, went home grabbed my cameras and went to work.

Firefighters walk along the outside of a building along 98 Street in downtown Peace River, Alberta after flooding occurred in areas around 98 Street and 100 Avenue on Tuesday April 8, 2014. According to authorities at the time the flooding seemed to be coming from a section of the Pat's Creek Culvert near that intersection. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Firefighters walk along the outside of a building along 98 Street in downtown Peace River, Alberta after flooding occurred in areas around 98 Street and 100 Avenue on Tuesday April 8, 2014. According to authorities at the time the flooding seemed to be coming from a section of the Pat’s Creek Culvert near that intersection. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

This was my first experience with the QMI wire. This photo of a Ford Probe was used with papers owned by Sun Media around Canada, accompanied by a brief. Parts of downtown Peace River had been put under voluntary evacuation that night – so it was news.

Water floods a segment of 98 Street in downtown Peace River, Alberta after flooding occurred in areas around 98 Street and 100 Avenue on Tuesday April 8, 2014. According to authorities at the time the flooding seemed to be coming from a section of the Pat's Creek Culvert near that intersection. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Water floods a segment of 98 Street in downtown Peace River, Alberta after flooding occurred in areas around 98 Street and 100 Avenue on Tuesday April 8, 2014. According to authorities at the time the flooding seemed to be coming from a section of the Pat’s Creek Culvert near that intersection. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Interesting note about the Probe… My first car, a ’96 Mazda 626, was built on the same frame and chassis as the Probe – they were built at the same plant in Flatrock Michigan. The Probe is a two-door coupe though and I was looking to buy a Probe or an Integra in December ’13 when I started looking for a car to replace my 626. I found an Integra.

Firefighters from the Town of Peace River and the County of Northern Lights survey River Road, which had flooded, near Riverfront Park in downtown Peace River, Alberta after flooding occurred in areas around 98 Street and 100 Avenue on Tuesday April 8, 2014. According to authorities at the time the flooding seemed to be coming from a section of the Pat's Creek Culvert near that intersection. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Firefighters from the Town of Peace River and the County of Northern Lights survey River Road, which had flooded, near Riverfront Park in downtown Peace River, Alberta after flooding occurred in areas around 98 Street and 100 Avenue on Tuesday April 8, 2014. According to authorities at the time the flooding seemed to be coming from a section of the Pat’s Creek Culvert near that intersection. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

The next morning was my day off but I was up for an emergency council meeting. Then I left to go and find someone who had left their home the night prior due to the floods. I found this fellow whose ground floor and basement had been demolished by the waters.

Ted Sisson, who had to leave his home after water flooded his house on Tuesday night, heads to the basement of his home which was still most flooded the next morning, in his home along 98 Street in downtown Peace River Alberta on Wednesday April 9, 2014. The night before Pat's Creek Culvert clogged and flooded sections of downtown. Sisson's basement and first floor were flooded, leaving mud and damage all over. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Ted Sisson, who had to leave his home after water flooded his house on Tuesday night, heads to the basement of his home which was still most flooded the next morning, in his home along 98 Street in downtown Peace River Alberta on Wednesday April 9, 2014. The night before Pat’s Creek Culvert clogged and flooded sections of downtown. Sisson’s basement and first floor were flooded, leaving mud and damage all over. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Later that day I was driving home and as I pulled up to my street I spotted two moose grazing across the road.

I pulled over and grabbed my cameras and took some pictures.

I went home and remember thinking that despite how rough the month had started – this was a pretty beautiful place and the beauty just kind of slaps you in the face when you don’t expect it but need it the most sometimes – there were good things happening.

Two pedestrians look at a moose on 101 Street in the south end of Peace River, Alberta on Wednesday April 9, 2014. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Two pedestrians look at a moose on 101 Street in the south end of Peace River, Alberta on Wednesday April 9, 2014. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

The photos were for me but I’m also the town reporter – so I figured I should file them. I found out later they were used by the Toronto Sun to illustrate a recap of the “10 most Canadian News Stories Ever.” That happened a few moths later but when it did I smiled.

Two moose eat from trees along 101 Street in the south end of Peace River, Alberta on Wednesday April 9, 2014. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Two moose eat from trees along 101 Street in the south end of Peace River, Alberta on Wednesday April 9, 2014. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

All in all April was actually a slow month for me, photographically. There was a lull in events and I was trying to step up my game as a writer. After March I had grown cocky and complacent – not good. Going into April I gave my head a shake and focused on writing and finding better stories, improving my photography was put on the side.

While I struggle with this decision I have thought about it like this: I actually never wanted to be a photojournalist, I wanted to be a journalist. Photography seemed like a means to an end. In the process I got wrapped up in the competition and I forgot about the journalism part, until I moved out here.

Putting the emphasis on being a journalist I know I can take good pictures. But I know those pictures will have more legs if I can write about the subject, interview sources, experts and write bout it later.

Still I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a creative portrait when I did a portrait of a denturist in town. In her office there was a dentist light used to light the inside of your mouth and I thought – perfect, I’ll use it to light her.

Denturist Rachelle Brochu is pictured holding up a sample of one of the dentures she builds in her Peace River Alberta office on Saturday April 12, 2014. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

Denturist Rachelle Brochu is pictured holding up a sample of one of the dentures she builds in her Peace River Alberta office on Saturday April 12, 2014. ADAM DIETRICH/RECORD-GAZETTE/QMI AGENCY

After April I was broke trying to cover my still breaking car. Despite that, I knew I had been able to grow quite a bit as a writer, I was much more comfortable with the crappy parts of journalism too – tracking down a source, transcribing notes and endless cold call phone calls to strangers. Those are the parts NO ONE emphasizes when they start talking about how cool it would be to be a journalist.

Going into May I figured I decided I would step up my photo game again, now that I had a better handle on this writing thing. As for the car – she was slipping further away.

In the settler era, when wagon trains left the east to settle in the west, oftentimes the weeks long journey would result in deaths of settlers en route. So they had to bury them, place a cross and move on. Once these colonies were established there was a high mortality rate in the first year.

Cat and myself made it here safely, Brea, unfortunately had started to show she had not recovered from the sickness she incurred from our crash outside Winnipeg. I started to come to terms with the fact that my party may face a 33 per cent mortality rate.

Unfortunately I had no other options but to continue to use Brea the Integra for the time being.

In the Instagram world…

With Spring on the way I took this picture of Peace River as it started to melt.

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Cat had started to grow used to her new home – however, even by April it was clear she hadn’t forgiven me for the trip west.

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This is the Instagram photo I took of the moose crossing the street. The orange apartment building behind it is where I live, you can se my living room window from this picture.

Iblogpics003As a reporter in town I was invited to be a guest judge at an elementary school heritage fair event. The fair is like a science fair where kids make projects about Canadian history and heritage. It was pretty cool.

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This is a photo of the full moon over the town. The view is from my living room window. I wanted to go to a lookout spot outside of town but my car wasn’t working that night, so I wasn’t able to.

I have been waiting for a night like this since.

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A few weeks later when my car was working, it was Easter. There was a morning church service on one of the lookouts – it was pretty cool.

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That weekend some friends came over to my apartment and we baked a turkey. This a pic before it went in.

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In a search for affordable and fulfilling pastimes I got a library cards and some books.

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On a rainy day when my Integra was working. Car porn.

Iblogpics009One day I left a half-eaten banana on the counter and discovered my cat likes bananas…

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At one point work took me to the nearby town of Grimshaw so I snapped some pics.

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In Grimshaw the Mackenzie Highway starts. The highway goes to Yellowknife, one day I’d like to drive it.

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More to come on May.

Paz siempre,

Adam Dietrich