Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON
Next time you’re in the vicinity of Whitehorse, go and say "G’day" to Charlie McLaren, who runs Shadow Lake Expeditions. He’s an architect, he’s passionate about the Yukon, he’s a mine of information about the region’s history, flora and fauna, and I reckon he has a significant percentage of adrenalin running through his veins.
I took this shot on his property. It was about nine o’clock in the morning and the autumn weather was cool enough for me to don a sweater. I took a few shots of the canoes, life jackets, ropes, oars and other equipment before I noticed this cluster of jerricans.
They caught my eye because there was a slight golden tinge to their surface as the soft light, dappled during its passage through the trees, played on them. I just thought it was a really interesting image, especially because the jerricans were at a variety of angles, rather than arranged in military fashion. The black caps also created a unique stop-start pattern across the bright colour, so I composed as tight a frame as I could.
The only time I’ve been completely flummoxed at a service station was three years ago, when I was travelling in Muskoka, from Gravenhurst to neighbouring Port Carling. I was due to drive back to Toronto later that night and I wanted to make sure I had enough fuel in the rental car, so I pulled in to the first service station that I saw.
I did very well here - for a while. I remembered that the fuel tank was on the right, unlike my own car. I remembered that I was sitting on the left of the car, unlike Australia. And then things fell apart. I could not lift the fuel nozzle off the bowser. I tried sliding it off. I tried lifting it off. I tried it with my left hand. I tried it with my right hand. I tried everything, short of singing to the nozzle.
That’s when the attendant used the PA system (reserved, no doubt, for absent-minded professors and aberrant Australians) to tell me that I had to first press a lever and then lift the nozzle. Oh, the embarrassment.
If it wasn’t late September, I would have thought it was April Fuels Day.
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