Ice on Whyte

Setting the scene

While I set up the shot on the left, Heather Kuchma of Images Alberta Camera Club documented the process.

The lights went up and the snow came down for the latest Photo Outing with Images Alberta Camera Club.

Ice on Whyte” is an annual winter festival in Edmonton celebrating Ice and Snow Carving. I’d been before, but this was the first time I went with a photo assignment in mind. I arrived with two major goals:

  1. Shoot through the ice
  2. Document the Festival/Tell a Story

The latter was fairly lofty, but is my major photography resolution for 2012. I want to take an editorial approach to my picture making and, especially, incorporate people into my scenes.



The day started north of the river at the Alberta Legislature grounds with my IACC friend Heather Kuchma. We arrived shortly before 10am when the gates opened. The sky was overcast so I shot with the idea of processing my images monochrome. There were very few people around at that time of day so it was easy to make pictures without worrying about getting in the way.

After getting our fill of snow and ice at the ledge we boarded the High Level Street Car and made our way to Whyte Avenue. Despite living in Edmonton most of my life, I’d never taken the ride above the bridge so that was a treat.

Wo, not so fast

Wo, not so fast

The relative solace of the Legislature grounds was contrasted by the huddled masses taking in the activities on the south side. In addition to more sculptures there were Ice slides for the kids, stoves to warm hands and a Hot Chocolate tent to keep energy up.

Initially I was a little disappointed with the setting. The intimate environment and scope of the sculptures north of the river was more appealing. That all Changed when we spotted the carving area.

What a treat it was to get to watch the Artists at work. Maybe it was my own passion for wood burning and carving that drew me to my frozen contemporaries, but it was here that I really started to focus on capturing people.

Despite the relatively mild temperature, by mid afternoon we were in need for a warm up. The plan at the time was to warm up in the Farmer’s Market, then head home, perhaps to return in the evening. Fortunately the market made us hungry and after a quick meal the highlight of the day made its entrance.


Breaking the Ice

Breaking the Ice

Normally this isn’t something we rugged Canadians long for, but it has been a dry winter and the site of frosty goodness re-energized me!

By the time we got back to the site the entire seen had changed. The dimming day light was replaced by area spotlights and gels to illuminate the scene. This combined with the falling snow made for some magical moments. It was hard NOT to find a shot to make!

See through the Ice

See through the Ice

After filling our memory cards (side note: I learned that the unsung hero of my Nikon D7000 is having a second card to backup the master because my main card failed) we took the now standing room only street car back to the legislature to witness how dramatically the scene had changed. Monochrome was a distant memory as I embraced the vibrant color found in the refracted light.

By the time we made it home it had been a 12 hour day (I sure felt it the next day), but the memories will, hopefully, last a lifetime.

Hope you enjoy!


About Chris Wulff

I like to make pictures. Sometimes they move across the screen, sometimes they move you. I draw with fire on wood, with my finger on a phone, with a keyboard and fancy filters and sometimes even with a pencil on paper. I use a camera to capture what I see and my imagination to capture what I can't see.

2 comments on “Ice on Whyte

  1. Loved looking at the photos you posted. Really amazing works of art. This is so much talent out there, including your photography skills!

  2. Pingback: Breaking the Ice | Can't put down the Camera!