A Bad Day With A Camera

On the Way

I always experience mixed feelings when I visit old stomping grounds. I used to wander around the Kensington area of Calgary a lot when I was a young teen. I would change buses on the way to and home from school at 14th Street and Kensington Avenue. I honestly don’t recognize a lot of the businesses there now, but I was very glad to see that my favourite one is still there.

Storefront, Chicken on the Way, 14th Street, Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31

Chicken on the Way has been there at 14th and Kensington since the first time I rode the bus to my new Jr. High School back in the day at age twelve (43 years ago). The smell of the frying chicken was absolute torture. On very rare occasions, I would have a bit of pocket money and I would score a two-piece snack pack after school. I swear it was the best chicken on Earth and they are the standard that I measure all other fried chicken by.

Cock of the walk, Chicken on the Way, 14th Street, Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31
Gobble gobble, Chicken on the Way, 14th Street,
Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31
Roadside rooster, Chicken on the Way, 14th Street,
Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31
That sign, Chicken on the Way, 14th Street, Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31

The missus and I needed out of the house, so we cruised down 14th street in Calgary. I had the idea of walking around the Kensington area and getting photos, but the weather didn’t deliver the warmth that was promised and we couldn’t find a safe place to park. Ice piled at the side of the roads by the sidewalk made it almost impossible for a passenger to get out of the car. We did still cruise around and look for opportunities. The first one was right next to the Chicken on the Way restaurant.

Butterfly skin, Box art, 14th & Kensington, Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31
Gargoyles, Box art, 14th & Kensington,
Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31
Not counterfeit, Box art, 14th & Kensington,
Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31
No time for aprons, Box art, 14th & Kensington, Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31

Someone painted a utility box by the side of the road a hot pink and then adorned it with weird stickers. Not the sort of thing I can ever pass up, so I didn’t. There was lots to shoot on 10th street, but we couldn’t find a place to park and most of the businesses were closed for Easter Sunday. My wife and I resolved to come back on a warmer day to explore when businesses are open. We wound up heading home, but made an impromptu detour down Centre Street.

Tokyo Street Market, Center Street N, Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31
Better together, Center Street N, Calgary,
AB, 2024-03-31
Pipe dream, Center Street N, Calgary,
AB, 2024-03-31
A bit cracked, Center Street N, Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31

I found a few interesting bits to photograph, but the grand prize was the vintage Tigerstedt Block neon sign, which has been in place for as long as I can remember. I had forgotten about it until I saw it again today.

Tigerstedt Block, Center Street N, Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31
Tigerstedt 01, Center Street N,
Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31
Sign over the city, Center Street N,
Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31
Tigerstedt 02, Center Street N,
Calgary, AB, 2024-03-31

I am going to try for it at night, of course, but I’m waiting at least a month for it to warm up. I keep a list of possible shoots going in a file in Google Drive and this sign is on my list now.

Jennifer and I headed back to Strathmore after this as we were getting hungry and there was homemade soup at the house waiting for us. We gave the fried chicken a pass. The stuff is great when you’re fifteen, but not great for you when you’re fifty-five. Besides, eating some and discovering it wasn’t as good as the memory would have ruined it for me. There are some things that are best left alone.

All images were made with my Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and not the Canon EOS 30D and lenses I had packed into a bag in Vlad the Impala’s trunk. The photography all ended up being of the hit-and-run variety, and a phone works best for that.

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© 2024 Sean D. McCormick

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