Blog.

Another Adventure Brought To You By Paul.

I'm a pretty strong believer that there should be people in your life who break your comfort zones on a frequent basis. Now the majority of my friends consistently create these scenarios in my life, and I’m not complaining, but Paul tends to do this more than most. The images below are from our 'short 2km hike to a gorgeous hot spring' that we did at the beginning of winter. Now if you’re familiar with any of my other escapades with Paul, you’ll know that his descriptions of difficulty and distance leave much to be desired. Immediately, I should have known to double the distance and maybe even triple it. In addition to the drastically undermined length of this hike, I should have really taken into consideration the difficulty when he was packing long rope and seemingly over preparing for a basic hike. I mean judging by his description of the end goal being a hot spring I just assumed any city girl wanting a new Instagram photo could easily navigate their way to this location. In one way it’s accurate because there is a pretty well-defined trail. It isn't until we reached the saddle between the two mountains where I really started to contemplate the simplicity of Paul’s description.

As we stoically stood, catching our breath, the arduous next few kilometres were right in from of us. Due to the immense amount of wind, the paths from previous people hiking to the hot spring were completely covered. We waited for a few fellow hikers on the trail to pass by so we could proceed along the uncomfortably steep trail that was sheltered from the wind. We wrapped around the corner that you can see Paul and Celine posing on when the wind really decided to escalate my trepidation. The four of us hesitantly made our way along the side of the snow-covered shale and then Sam (Paul's wife) slipped and began sliding down. She managed to dig her feet into the icy snow to slow her decent but we were all stunned. In the exact same spot Celine proceeded to do the exact same thing and then I think Paul might have just done it for fun. Regardless all three of them were not 50 feet further down the mountainside than I was and to their fortune, a little closer to our destination.

After walking a few more kilometres since the saddle, we arrived at the hot spring without any additional company. I didn't get in the water due to some sort of phobia of being wet for non-utilitarian purposes but it was exceptional being able to observe a serene and relatively unknown landscape. After everyone had time to soak in the warm waters and dry off in the relentlessly cold wind, we began hiking back for home.

Just this past long weekend we had the pleasure of hanging out with Paul and Sam again where more adventures occurred. I'll be posting about in the upcoming weeks so thanks again for reading and it would mean a lot if you shared any of my work with someone you think would enjoy joining in the journey.

Devolving.

I’m not sure why or what the cause is but lately I’ve been feeling unsuccessful in all manners of life. There are many facets where I continue to learn more and gain knowledge but it all seems to be stagnant. I can read or learn or act in ways I think will set me up better for the future, yet it all feels like the perpetual advancement equivalent to a treadmill. Of course, there are quantitative checkpoints I can mark but for the time being it feels like the target is either moving or entirely transparent. As you saw in my last post I have plenty of goals I want to accomplish, however, the downside is that none of them seems to result in immediate release of dopamine. The troubling reality is that I understand how I’m may be setting myself up well for my long term ambitions. Even so, I'm not excited about what would usually have me yearning to act.

As a result of my last sentence, the word burnout might come mind for a few of you. With insignificant progress, I’ve contemplated whether or not I’m experiencing the oh-so-infamous burnout. Genuinely, I doubt the legitimacy of my self-diagnosis but it’s possible I’m in denial. Most of my life I’ve worked more intensely and focussed than I have in the past year, which leads me to wonder if I’ve moved into a different phase of development. Is it possible that the ambitious achiever inside me has grown into an unproductive loaf? Or more optimistically, have I become more calculated in a way that directs my energy to things that matter in different, less self-focused directions? Embarrassingly, I’m unsure of which one to claim or if either analysis is remotely accurate. Often I find myself desiring a busier schedule with unrelenting stacks of work. This is likely an unhealthy compulsion to bury myself in work in order to drown out the various existential questions that fluster my mind when monotony moves in. I think it's one of the healthier crutches one could resort to, unfortunately.

When I sat down I didn't expect to write about this but it seems that my fingers have to lead me to an odd self-reflection. As I conclude this post I’m continuing to brood over how useful it is to write down these thoughts considering they serve virtually little to no purpose in my contribution to society. Would this time be spent more productively looking for people within my local community whom I can help in a physical manner? I’m still not sure but as always, thank you for joining me in these few paragraphs of critical thought. Enjoy the images below from Moose Lake Provincial Park, one of the places I continually go to in order to extend praise to the Creator with nature around me.

In Retrospect.

     One of the core reasons I write and record my thoughts is so I know I'm growing. A lot of times there are people we know who seem to talk about the same things over and over again. Whether the stories are from high school or college, a sport they used to play, the last time they travelled or just a mindset that perpetuates through their daily conversations, they all reflect a place of stagnation as well as significance in their life. Personally, this reality I find discouraging and is a point of insecurity for myself because what I think it shows is that there hasn't been any growth in the areas we repeatedly share. Someone who talks about all the great memories from the past hasn't created memories that are equal or supercede the past. I want to know I'm growing not only in my thoughts and experiences but also in the way I understand the reality I observe them through. 

To merely fabricate experiences or new knowledge isn't enough to override past versions, rather coming to a new perspective on how to interpret those events is more significant. A trendy way of saying that is to change our perspective on the situation. This practice is something I'm constantly attempting to do with photography and especially when I'm not moving to new locations or travelling. Shifting perspectives for the viewer is what makes an image intriguing enough to stop and intentionally look at the details or colour. The same can be said about our thoughts and stories. We are always moving forward through time and that should equate to new stories or ideas due to progression through life and additional sensory input. However, unless we are actively making the effort to formulate or work through these new ideas and reality, we will, in a multitude of ways, become stagnant in our growth. 

     Frequently I go through the existential crisis of why do I do anything? The reason I am settled on for this minute moment of life is that it is to mark points of growth and stagnation in my development as a contributing member of society. Once I stop thinking on a problem, I can't merely sit on those ideals. I need to advance them either into action in a way that aids in bringing peace to others or I need to adopt a new challenge to process through and then bring that new conclusion into reality. All of which I hope bring people peace while we navigate through this insatiable life that is undoubtedly beautiful.

     If you enjoy the images below and can relate to my thoughts, it would be beneficial if you subscribed with your email below to keep up to date with the newest posts.

Peace.

A Stormy Night.

     The evening I went out to make these images was pretty peculiar. It was storming east of town so I was planning to head that direction after sunset. I held out hope for a vibrant sunset because there was still a little space left on the horizon, which usually equates to good light. I don't recall why but as usual I didn't have a lot of time to find an interesting location. The tree below is right beside Jessie Lake, in town, and I've always wanted to use it to make an image. Personally, I don't like the cut grass at the bottom of the frame, which is why I decided to get closer in order to use some of the reeds in the foreground instead. Although the light and clouds were amazing, I couldn't find a foreground that I was totally satisfied with or paired well with the cotton candy, coloured clouds.

    The last image you see is also a product that left me feeling disappointed, primarily due to the massive strike that went off while I was getting out of the vehicle to set up my gear. The sinking, forlorn realization of, "if I had been a few moments earlier I would have had a perfect strike directly above the building" swelled up inside. For the average person, looking at these images could be considered a success. I even think if I were scrolling through social media and saw them I would think that the photographer was decent. However, knowing the behind the scenes and potential for the conditions I went home that evening with a sense of failure.

     You might be thinking that's a little ridiculous but when you care about creating the best imagery at a location with unique conditions its difficult not to feel disappointed in the results. Thanks again for reading and if you think I'm wrong in my assessment of the photos and my interpretation of failure, I'd love to hear it!

Dungeon Mountain.

     We silently hiked along the muddy trail as snow pummelled our backs, in an attempt to force us to turn around and abandon our mission. We persevered and continued on our way in hopes of eventually reaching the campsite where we would be staying for the night. To our dismay, the campsite was a lot further than we anticipated and due to the unexpected weather conditions we were soaked, cold, tired, and unsure if the mountains would have mercy on us. We had no idea the elements would try to eliminate us during our last backcountry-backpacking trip of the season. All we could do was bundle up with additional layers in a meagre effort to retain our body heat and regain feeling throughout our extremities. With the clouds covering most of the mountains there weren’t many opportunities for photography but as though to show us a glimmer of hope, the clouds started to break. While this happened I was able to frame the mountains with the trees and ominous fog that encroached on our very well being. My goal with the image was for the tones to portray the menacing atmosphere we found ourselves experiencing in the backcountry. 

     This concludes the three week series of the black and white images I entered into a landscape photography contest. Next week I'm volunteering at Camp Shekinah as a cabin leader so I wont be able to post but once I'm back, I'll have a lot of great images and adventures to share!