Blog.

The Voyage to Spirit Island pt 3.

We stood semi-paralyzed watching the bear only a few meters away. Both of us were on the verge of pushing away from the dock to watch the bear peruse our goods. As it glanced towards us in somewhat of a contemplative manner it merely swayed its head back to the earth and meandered onwards. Relief riffled through me as our undesired company made it welcomingly clear we were uninteresting hosts on our humble dock. We stood there and watched the bear stroll up to a log about 20 meters away and effortlessly flip it over to start eating what I assumed were insects. I’m sure after all these cliffhangers you're just waiting for something catastrophic to occur and I feel as though it would be a disservice not to write about one. With that being said, I think this might be one of those stories that ends exceptionally well.

While we watched the bear, the sun still rising, calm ripples in the water and the looming mountains I couldn’t help feel connected to our Creator. Not only were we safe, comfortable and in awe of the view but to direct the admiration and thankfulness to our divine Creator is something I think people from a strict materialist view miss out on. Our ability to acknowledge creativity is something I find fascinating and of course, sceptics could simply say creativity is a human assigned attribute yet I’m doubtful. The scope of what people find beautiful seems so diverse that if it were just humanly assigned there should be something that is undeniably the most creative object in existence and testable by science. My desire with each trip is to frame up images that enable people to enter into the awareness of something greater than the material and recognise how they feel when viewing the photo. Reflecting on the significance of things outside of the material world is something our modernist minds desire to remove and alternatively rely solely on soulless, scientific systems.

Patiently, we waited for the light to brush along the treetops of Spirit Island but the angle and clouds were in opposition to our aesthetic yearnings. The final image we made was a panoramic from the dock where arching clouds bridged the gap between mountains. It was the perfect scene to conclude with and begin our arduous paddle back. Exhausted, we monotonously moved through the water with each stroke feeling like we were still stationary. The benefit of starting at night is you couldn't see how slowly you were moving. At one point we saw a rock on top of a mountain and used that as a marker but it wasn't until an hour or more we finally passed it. Each time we looked up that dang ominous rock seemed to taunt us with its' motionless form. Three or four hours passed when we finally reached the shore where we kicked off from 8 hours earlier. Once again thankfulness flooded my body as I stepped onto solid ground, knowing my lungs wouldn't be flooded due to capsizing and that we had just embraced the mercy and majesty presented to us in nature.

This trip happened a little while ago and only now did I feel like I was removed enough to be able to sufficiently write about it. Retelling stories like this is part of completing the photographic narrative that I enjoy sharing so much with all of you. I'd love to hear your comments, see some of your favourite images from the series or even hear about your wild experiences. Thank you for reading and come back next time to find out where we headed next!

First Camping Trip of 2018: Jasper.

     Below are a few photos from our camping trip in Jasper National Park. We spent three nights at Pocahontas campground and went on a few hikes around the area. Our last morning there we  tried out a 10km summit called Sulphur ridge and for the ease of the hike, the views were stunning! I would have loved to camp up there if it was permitted but just getting to look out over the mountains and forest was gratifying enough. Sometimes I think I enjoy the forests more than the mountains, which would make sense since they provided us clean air. I hope you enjoy the photos and have a great week!

Let the Posting Begin.

     As you noticed I took a break from posting regularly on the blog. Now that I'm taking a break from the tree nursery for the summer to focus on photography and video, I plan on posting more. I'm not necessarily going to write a lot with every post but if something comes to me I'll be sure to share my thoughts. alternatively, I could choose a favourite image from the set of images and write out my thought process for you to read. Anyways, here are some photos for Niagara Falls back in February for when we were out there for Paul's wedding. 

Enjoy the images and these warm summer days! 

Travel Writing Contest!

     I'm always so thankful for each of you who takes the time to read what I write and share. Recently, I entered a writing contest with the travel company I went to Tibet with in 2015, Extravagant Yak. To my amazement, I made it to the top 10 and in order to advance to the finals I need as many public votes as possible, which is where you come in. It would mean the world to me if you followed the link below, scrolled to the bottom of my article, and clicked the 'like' button. Having the opportunity to win a trip to Tibet is incredible and I know with the help of the community around me I can get one more step closer. Thanks again for the support and feel free to share the link with anyone you know who might enjoy what I wrote about. 

https://extravagantyak.com/blogs/writing-contest/mason-unrau

Fantastical Food Pt. 1.

      I want this post to be one that I can look back on in 10 years and think “Wow I’ve grown and developed so much since that time.” In reality what I want and what happens are two drastically opposing things that seem to be hyperbolized when it comes to serious matters. The topic of this internal conversation, or obsession, I’ve been anxiously, analyzing for the past few months is a simple four-letter word. Like many people who share daily life with me, you're probably perplexed as to why this substance, or sustenance, that comes in endless conceivable forms has been on my mind for so long and taxing my perceived understanding of the world. Well there’s one person who initiated this contagious, curiosity that has now turned into a reformation of colossal magnitude. I suppose it’s somewhat like the oddity in life where whenever you buy something, a new car for example, you then notice that same one exponentially more than before. Similarly I’ve noticed, or maybe even subconsciously brought about, the conversation that was introduced to me by my wonderful friend, Michael. Only a few months ago my entire understanding of food was challenged and I reluctantly let it infiltrate my mind.

      After a few initial conversations with Michael, discussing some of the more entry-level aspects of Food and Faith by Norman Wirzba, I was determined to read the book for myself. I fully understood the potential of a slow mindset shift regarding food but I didn’t anticipate the metaphorical wall I soon hit. Before I go on about the innumerable paragraphs within Wirzba’s book that left me stunned, I want to elaborate on what might have brought me to this point. As many of you might know from reading my previous posts or seeing my photography, I really enjoy nature and feel intimately connected to my spirituality when amongst it. Just a quick clarification, I believe in Jesus and identify as a Christian but seem to be constantly learning what exactly that means or looks like to live. I feel as though I could go down an entirely different rabbit hole reflecting on the progression of my faith, but I’ll save that for another day. Anyways, ever since I was young I’ve felt connected to nature and have wanted to immerse myself into it. Living in a wealthy province, thanks to oil, has resulted in what some might categorize as an unapproachable opposition to my somewhat instinctual desire to preserve and aid in the health of the natural world. Majority of people in my hometown would probably think I’m just some hippy, millennial who doesn’t know reality and just wants a utopia that isn’t possible. I guess to an extent they’re right, but what reasonable person wouldn’t want that? Due to some of my frustration with the unquenchable consuming nature of people in the Western world, I wanted to learn more about the side that isn’t pro consume. As one might speculate, that lead me to learning about minimalism, tiny homes, ecological issues, countless documentaries on preserving wildlife and nature, and even some directly aimed at anti oil messaging. Just as I would with any dichotomy of views, I wanted to hear both sides of the stories being told. In this instance I grew up hearing one side without any contrast but definitely can’t pinpoint what exactly informed me on the pro oil and consumer mindset. Likely it was a just a slow infusion of information over the years from passive sources. I don’t blame anyone but that’s just the way it was in my town. Everyone had to have their big trucks, massive homes, quads, enormous campers, and the list goes on. Another realization that might have come from my Christian upbringing was that I simply didn’t want the pressure of limitlessly climbing to bigger and better. It just seems dismal.

      Dismal. What a great way to end the first segment of this post! Thanks for reading this far and I’ll have the other part up next Tuesday so be sure to subscribe so you get it sent right to your email. I’d love to get some feedback on this weeks post since it was the first time in awhile that I’ve dug deep into something’s I’ve been pondering. Oh and the photos below are from a really fun camping trip at Crescent Falls during Autumn! Peace.