Chasing Pumpjacks | Rural Alberta Symbols

by on April 28, 2016

Alberta oil – these words are pretty painful in Alberta these days given our current state of the economy and it seems every single day we see a pumpjack photo accompanying a news article. Pumpjacks fill our landscapes and they have always been an interesting piece of machinery to me. I remember watching pumpjacks with fascination as a kiddie while we drove down the highway to Mundare and thinking it was so cool how the horse head would bob up and down. I had no clue of the significance of these Alberta symbols until I hit my late teens when I had a better understanding of how the economy works. Seeing a pumpjack in a field of canola was always a highlight. A bigger thrill was seeing them throughout the Canadian Rockies in Alberta and BC with those beautiful rocky mountain backdrops. Sitting in the back of my dad’s ’74 98 Regency Oldsmobile with talk radio on or Ukrainian music coming from the ol’ 8-track. Those were the days.

Working pumpjack during a mid-winter sunrise, fine art oil and gas rural Alberta landscape.

Funny the things we remember from our youth. Perhaps this is why I continue to enjoy watching the pumpjacks operate to this day and enjoy photographing them even more. That’s the great thing about photography – it can allow us to discover something new or it can just as easily take us down memory lane. Armed with my old lady Canon 1D Mark III and my 70-200mm ƒ2.8 glass, I found this combo to be my best choice for photographing this subject. Perhaps once I buy a Fuji lens with a focal length greater than 24mm (ha), I’ll take out the Fuji X-T1 and see what I can do.

Working pumpjack during a mid-winter sunrise, black and white fine art oil and gas rural Alberta landscape.

I remember when I was photographing this particular pumpjack below, all I could think about was how it looks like a cowboy tipping his hat. Do you see it as well?


Working pumpjack during a mid-winter sunrise, fine art oil and gas rural Alberta landscape.


See you in the field!





Photographer. Podcaster on hiatus. Edmonton Oilers lovah. Cinematic Star Wars fan. Fond of wildlife conservation, animal rescue orgs, and all things Johnny Cash. Gen X. 

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