Friday, August 29, 2008

No Paint, No Gain

See Why Dawson City Has A Colourful History

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Tonight I'm in Dawson City, heart of the Klondike - and I thought it would be the perfect subject for today's Photo Story Friday post. First of all, I'd like to provide an answer to the many friends who asked what I'm doing here in the Yukon - there is a very simple answer. I'm extremely privileged to be here as a guest of Yukon Tourism.

I've spent time in this territory before, but this is my first time up in Dawson. It's a place I've read so much about and an area whose history I know so well. As we drove towards the outskirts of the city today, after a 460-kilometre journey north from Fox Creek, I must admit I felt as if I was actually entering a place I knew well, even though I had never set foot on her soil before.

I dropped my bags off at my room and immediately I did what any self-respecting photographer would do. I picked up both my cameras and headed out to capture the essence of this frontier town. Did I want to drive? Naaaah. As most of you know, I prefer to walk, because this way I can stop wherever I want and shoot whatever catches my eye.

Mate, let me tell you there is a lot that catches the eye here. I chose not to walk down the historic streets. Instead, I chose a pathway beside the mighty Yukon River that was the scene of many tales of pure adventure during the gold rush. I chose to walk alongside the fast-flowing waters to my left and shoot a frame every few steps, because I was totally intrigued by the paintwork on the buildings along the main street.

It was just after seven o'clock in the evening, but the light was perfect, as I'm sure you'll agree ...


It's handy, on a trip like this, to have two cameras. I have my 18-125mm lens on one Pentax and my 70-300mm lens on another. This enabled to me shoot a variety of focal lengths and compositions without having to stop and constantly change lenses on one solitary camera.

The first shot in this sequence was taken looking down the main street, while the second was taken about 100 metres away. Having the 300mm lens meant I was able to compose a really tight shot, highlighting the contrasting colours of two adjoining shops.

In the last shot (below) I zoomed in from a long way away. Initially, the red T-shirt and the olive green T-shirt worn by the two blokes on the white chairs had caught my attention. Then I noticed the other bloke walking towards them, so I just waited till he walked into the frame. It's a completely candid shot and it's interesting to note, in retrospect, that all three people are looking in different directions.


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33 comments:

imbeingheldhostage said...

Gorgeous! And they were very smart to have you as their guest-- who could offer more unique, beautiful shots of the Yukon? I love the colors!!

CrazyCath said...

Wonderful story. I love that last shot. The colours, the people, the whole composition.

I am beginning to take more note and understand more when you talk about the different lenses. I was only ever familiar with a standard 50mm and a zoom lens. I am learning more and more now...

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

I just love colour, without it in my life, it would be more than dull, on so many levels.I wonder how many of your fellow bloggers travel viacriously through you.

l am lookingf orward to your next set of images.

saz x

RiverPoet said...

So why do they paint their buildings such bold colors? Reminds me of the old Outer Banks. (The multi-million dollar beach houses now are bland colors of beige and gray).

Peace - D

lime said...

here's a place that would appeal to both my mom and i. the many colors make the town look tie dyed. that purple houses can easily found would make my mom happy.

fishing guy said...

David: Cool photos of a colorful town, and your their guest. You are the lucky dog.

JennWasHere said...

It really pays to have the camera handy. I love the pictures...

Here's my PSF for this week: Jenn Was Here. Happy weekends!

Mushy said...

Have you had the Sourtoe Cocktail yet?

I loved that place.

willow said...

Fun bright colors! Nice story and nice shots. :)

Sandi McBride said...

You know David, it's how I've always imagined a wild west town, not the drab colorless places we see on the old black and white movie screens...but colorful and full of life...otherwise how could everyone be rushing to "go west young man"?
Sandi

Akelamalu said...

What a wonderful colourful place, and I love the name Dawson - it was my maiden name! :)

Hilary said...

So beautiful and colourful!

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

fabulous!! You are so lucky to see these gorgeous sites!!

Cecily R said...

Those remind me a little of the Painted Ladies in San Fransisco. Only these are even more vibrant!

Amazing shots David!

Rachel said...

Those store fronts are beautiful!! Gorgeous pictures.

Bear Naked said...

Welcome to Canada
Enjoy your time visiting with us.

Bear((( )))

MamaGeek said...

AWESOME SHOTS. I've been there and I gotta think you're in photog heaven - isn't it awesome?

These shots? VERY cool, vibrant and COLORFUL!

Oh and welcome to our continent. :)

Lee said...

Lovely shots, David! I really like it when towns paint their buildings all different bright colors. The grey of cement and brick is SO boring.

Cheers!

ValleyGirl said...

Great narrative, as always. And spectacular pictures! You've got such a great eye for unusual things that end up making great photos. Love those colours! But then, since the natural scenery around there is somewhat monochromatic most of the year, it makes sense to paint buildings in all manner of colours!!

Hope you're enjoying your time in Canada!

i beati said...

marvelous color. I want to go there after your story sk

P M Prescott said...

Eye catching, hope you're going to be posting more.

CrackerJacks said...

Amazing! I love the photos! The colors are just popping out everywhere. Is that near Banff? I've seen pics of Banff and it's more than beautiful! Have fun! Great photos and great story!

leslie said...

Wonderful to see some colour today, even if it is through your post. Another grey day here! Looks like you're enjoying your sojourn there. :)

Steph said...

I really admire, and envy, photographers. I think that you, as a composer of images, must see the world the way I, as a composer of music, hear it.

Excellent photos. Have a great time up there!

Daryl said...

I am thinking that the buildings are painted this way for the same reason the building in - now of course I cant recall the name of the place - BUT they painted the buildings bright colors so that the fishermen returning to foggy streets could find their houses .. now it will make me crazy trying to recall the name of the town.... ack

:-Daryl

polona said...

what a charming city, and your presentation is just stunning!

Karin said...

Great colours and fabulous shots - I like the way that you explain what you did, it makes it so much more interesting!

Louise said...

This looks like a fantasty movie set, not a real place. What a paradise for a man with two cameras!

Chris said...

No wonder the three guys are each looking in a different direction -- there's so much to see! I love those old end of the road towns. The best part is, usually, they don't seem quite respectable yet.

Baino said...

You are the colour KING! Gorgeous. I want to visit! I also want your job! (or Kath Lockett's she gets paid to eat chocolate)

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

The colors are amazing. What contrasts in such a short amount of steps! The last one is fun with all the colorful shirts and heads in divers directions..... I love to see things thru your camera lens!

San said...

Different blokes for different folks.

Love the happy colors. Reminds me of my days in San Francisco. The Victorian and Edwardian architecture were grander, but the sherbet colors are very similar.

holly said...

what a cute little town. i am going to now paint my house one of these colors and insist my neighbours follow suit. it's the least they could do since i (a dream neighbour) put up with them (not so dreamy).