A scene of calm during the flooding chaos
The 5 a.m. wakeup call came courtesy of Roscoe, the always energetic Ring-necked pheasant who lives in front of our house. His nails-on-chalk-board squawk roused us to a pre-dawn scene of beauty unfolding before us.
Fish Creek was full of fog and the rising sun would soon light the fog creating a muted scene of warm colours. I shot for over an hour from the ridge, occasionally returning to the deck for a sip of coffee. A lone cyclist, peddling on one of the many bicycle trails that criss-cross the valley gave the peaceful scene a sense of scale.
The serenity of the fog-filled valley stands in stark contrast to the scenes of flooding and destruction from Calgary, Canmore, High River and other southern Alberta towns.
A part of this old news photographer wanted to join in the coverage of this huge story. I covered the 2005 flooding in Pincher Creek and Drumheller and have witnessed more than my share of sorrow, pain and heartbreak in 35 years of news photography.
This time I stayed home. The last thing the situation needed was another bystander with a camera recording the misfortune of others. When I was a member of the fourth estate I had a job to do by reporting on these stories.
Now my job is to pitch in and help with the cleanup. I’ve spent four days – two in Calgary at the National Music Centre and two in High River – cleaning up and with more to come. It’s the least I can do.
During the 2005 flood in Drumheller, I remember photographing a frantic situation where volunteers were making sand bags and loading them on a trailer. It was extremely tense. People’s homes were in danger of being destroyed by the rampaging Red Deer River. Somebody angrily hollered at me to put down my cameras and pitch in. That was not my job in that moment but the exchange stuck with me. Maybe now I’m able to make amends. It’s the least I can do.