Thursday, October 1, 2015


On Wednesday morning I received the following Flickr message:
It is with great sadness that I send you the news that our dearest friend, Brad was killed in a car accident on Sunday, September 28th while on a photo adventure north of Edmonton. We are missing him terribly.
Details surrounding the accident are sketchy. We will likely never know exactly what happened. Services are being scheduled for next week, Monday, Oct 5th at the earliest.
It would be greatly appreciated if you could pass this message on to the Library Photo Club.
Thank you.
Karen O'Grady
When I shared Karen's message with other photographer friends they pretty much reacted like I did, with disbelief.  (Actually, I my initial response was yelling "No!!!" at my computer.) Was it really "our" Brad?   I sent Karen a follow-up email, just to be sure, and received a response from Karen's husband confirming that it was Brad's wife who had told them.

Brad was the kind of person that people naturally gravitate to, not because he knew so much about photography (and he did), but because he was so easy to be around.  Brad touched so many people with his easy smile, his quick laugh, and his humble eagerness to share what he knew about photography.  The comments posted on the Calgary Night Photographers Facebook page were filled with tributes to Brad, photos of Brad, photos of outings that reminded people of Brad, and stories of the time spent. These will be given to Brad's wife, Veronica, who will create something for his memorial.

When praised about his beautiful photography, Brad once said that his wife was the artist.  But Brad was every bit the talented artist, as well. He awed us with his bracketing technique or the surreal photos created using infra-red.

Brad's style was landscapes, but he wasn't afraid to step outside his comfort zone, either.  Once on a evening outing at Christmas time I watched as Brad carefully set up his tripod and camera to take shots of the lights streaming down Stephen Avenue. Suddenly a woman in a long bright white coat walked quickly past us.  I dashed to the middle of the roadway to get the shot.  And even though Brad was tethered to the sidewalk by his tripod, and street photography wasn't his thing, he captured a fantastic shot.  I can't find the shot he took, but this is mine, which will now always remind me of that evening.

Brad also inspired me to slow down, once.  The best photo I ever took of Stephen Avenue was with Brad during an Autumn walkabout, last year.  It was the first time I used the digital level in my camera. Now it's another remembrance photo.

Then there was the time we did a photo swap.  He liked one of my cat photos and asked for a print as a gift for his mother, who loved cats. In return, he insisted on giving me one of his photos, which turned out to be a beautiful black and white print of an icy Mount Rundle.  It in turn, it became a wedding anniversary gift for my best friend.

Brad and I first met at the Calgary Public Library Photography Club, but our paths crossed many times at photo Meetups and photo outings. Here he is during a PtB (something to do with beer, I think) Meetup in Inglewood, August 2013.  We were chatting with a couple in the neighborhood when their very friendly dog decided to say hello.

Then I dug deeper into older files (set up before I learned about using keywords to index photos). At 2:30 in the morning I found these, taken during a Calgary Public Library Photography Club field trip, May 2012.

I think he might have been explaining his amazing bracketing technique.

He will be so missed.

Brad's memorial service is set for October 16. This is what was published in the Calgary Herald:

RUSSELL, Robert Bradley "Brad"
July 24, 1963 – September 27, 2015
It is with deep sorrow to announce the sudden passing of Brad Russell, as he died suddenly at the site of an automobile accident on Sunday, September 27, 2015 in Thorhild, AB. A memorial service will be held at Evan J. Strong Funeral Services (5502 - 2 Street SW Calgary) on Friday, October 16, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. All those who knew and loved him are welcome to attend the service. Photos, memories and condolences may be shared with Brad's family through Arrangements in care of EVAN J. STRONG FUNERAL SERVICES. (403) 265-1199 "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." Benjamin Franklin - See more at: