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Steve Ember


Pro Member

Love by a Fountain...

...an Ektachrome memory

I’ve often written about how the element of serendipity has made for some lovely travel experiences.
And, of course, by extension, that would apply to photography.

It was a brilliantly sunshiny day in early September in 1999 in Vancouver, B.C. I’d just stepped out of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver to begin exploring more of this gem of a city on Canada’s West Coast, on my third visit. I forget where I was heading – probably just an initial wander with the cameras to get the lay of the land – but I didn’t get more than a view steps into the inviting grassy space that sits along West Georgia Street by the hotel before my first very special motif jumped out at me.

Well, actually, she did not exactly “jump” so much as sit in the warm grass
with her arms around a big white duck wearing...a…dress.

In my estimation, people who love animals and are not afraid to show such
tenderness in public are very, very special, and this was a motif not to be missed.

Fortunately, I had set out with my Tamron 28-200mm LD “travel lens” on my Canon EOS RT
and, as I did not want to intrude upon or upset this tender moment, I shot at probably close to the 200mm setting.

It turned out I had come upon one of Vancouver’s more colorful personages, Laura-Kay Prophet (known as “the Duck Lady”). An ineffable sweetness and kindness revealed itself as I struck up a conversation with this very special woman and learned her story. In short, she has been a devoted friend and supporter of the city’s homeless through her charity. More can be read here, along with a technically better photo.

"God has a way of sending me Miracle Ducks."
"God has a way of sending me Miracle Ducks."
Steve Ember

Both, incidentally, were shot on the then-new Kodak Ektachrome-200 slide film.

Of late, I have been re-discovering some long unviewed slides and negatives which, prior to my retiring from the “day job,” had been neglected for sheer lack of time. Not that I don’t have lots of more “current” photography to work with, but the rush of travel memories in re-discovering these “legacy” film images has been truly lovely, and I have been enjoying sharing some of the more “timeless” ones.

Of course, in terms of “timeless,” the concern that first struck me was:
The photo was taken in 1999; it’s now early 2017. Is Laura-Kay still
charming Vancouverites and visitors with her dear and docile web-footed
companions? A web search revealed the happy answer: Yes!
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=laura-kay%20prophet

Comments 2

  • Steve Ember 03/04/2017 23:29

    @Lucy Trachsel
    ;-))))
    Yes, Lucy, I can see how - especially in tele-compressed perspective - it could look that way!
    But I can assure you, a duck never found a kinder, sweeter human companion! Thanks for commenting!
  • Lucy Trachsel 03/04/2017 23:16

    That is a lovely moment in a every day setting and a story well told. (I love the easy flow of your words).
    The photo makes me smile. The lady seems almost to be throttling the duck. :-)