Blog.

Local Landscape Photography.

Innumerable mornings or evenings I find myself driving along the rural backroads of the Lakeland region. My only hope during this search is that something will intrigue me enough to slow down, descend the ambiguous ditch only to immediately ascend again and look towards an undiscovered subject. This oversimplified explanation of my yearning to uncover hidden beauty in my home county could be an insight into my idealism. Regardless, I’m perpetually hopeful that the light and conditions will come together perfectly to highlight the optimal subject in the location I happen to be driving towards. The reality is a majority of the time I go out to shoot I come back with either nothing or something underwhelming such as the first image below. There is this romanticism with photography, especially when it comes to making mages in your own backyard. I look at the legendary Ansel Adams and he made it seem so effortless. I realize he considered a good year to be getting twelve ‘keepers’ but the quality he produced is still magical. I suppose he was somewhat aided by the grandeur of Yosemite and one could say that the Lakeland region is a far cry from such an iconic location.

People often drive through or visit this area without thinking about its history or what makes this region unique from many others. To a certain extent, I’m still learning much of that myself and the cliche could be said that it all comes down to the people. However, there is something about this landscape that I am perplexed by. No other place have I travelled and had more difficulty to make photographs that I think are interesting, complicated, or beautifully simple. My home is where I have the greatest difficulty. It could be due to familiarity, yet I don't want to take the easy excuses, which leads me to just having to embrace that if I want to document the landscape of this region it’s going to take a lot of work, patience, and vision for the kind of legacy that can be established.

With all this said, if you’re interested in learning from me, I now offer solo lessons where we do an hour of lessons, and then another hour of actual shooting during golden hour. You can have never turned on your camera and by the end of it, people walk away much more knowledgeable and excited for figuring out how to see from a photographers perspective. I’d love for you to join me in this unrelenting pursuit of uncovering the unique geography in the Lakeland.

5 Environmental Tips for Photographers.

1. Buy Used Gear

This alleviates the constant flow of new gear entering the market. It also lengthens the time materials are used and not discarded. Too often photographers get caught up in buying the newest, best, and shiniest camera's and consequently their skill often doesn't scale with the amount they spend.

2. Use Equipment Extensively then Repair or Recycle

I'm relatively easy on my gear but I do know other professionals who are somewhat careless with thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Of course, accidents happen to all of us and once one does, rather than throwing it out or replacing it, repairing it will again aid in preventing those materials ending up in a landfill. Worst case scenario, drop it off to be recycled.

3. Print with Eco-Friendly Material

One of my favourite parts of the photography process is printing my work. With that being said the materials and ink used the produce stunning wall art is not always the easiest on the environment. I still have yet to find a Canada based company who offers recycled material printing or environmentally friendly ink, and due to this, the amount I'm printing has subsided.

4. Don’t Geotag

By visiting uncommon places it prevents the promotion of already heavily trafficked tourist destinations. In addition to lessening foot traffic in common places, you can bring awareness to the subtle beauty that is found everywhere. When posting on social media with a large following do your best to avoid geotagging specific location so there isn't an unsustainable influx of people.

5. Shoot Local

Personally, this tip has been one I had to learn after doing plenty of travel. I'm definitely not suggesting to entirely cut out travel, but participating in a way that doesn't use excess transportation seems important. By photographing your local environment you become more aware of how to share what it close to you. Learning how to communicate what has formed you and how you view the world is not easy, which is why as a photographer it will push you to change your perspective on scenes that are all too familiar.

Thanks for reading and if you have any other ideas I'd love to hear them! It would mean a lot if you sent this to your other photographer friends so we can all work towards using our craft in a way that promotes sustainable practices.

Anticipatory Giving.

This week I just want to share with you a short podcast episode I did about anticipatory giving with reference to Peter Denton’s book, “Gift Ecology.” I would love to hear some of your feedback and thoughts.

Rooted.

Living in an area entirely unknown for landscape photography is an interesting challenge. Of course, any location has beauty, although there are some that seem to be more elevated in a literal sense when it comes to aesthetic appeal. I frequently find myself in a landscape photography slump and part of that could be due to weather conditions being grey, uninteresting skies, or the fact that this is home and having a fresh perspective is exceedingly difficult. Combining all those excuses forces me to realize that similar problems can be experienced wherever you live. There will always be moments where an area lacks inspiration but increasingly I’m admiring people who photograph a similar location repeatedly; opposed to those who travel all over just to get the same image as thousands before them. Even while planning our trip to Ireland and the U.K. this spring I’m curious as to how much drive I’ll have to make images of someone else’s homeland. Regardless, I’ll take photos but there seems to be something special when images of home and the intimate insights into a place are captured well by a local. I’m not saying I do that proficiently or even that I won't travel or potentially move but accepting the significance of putting down roots seems ever more inescapable.

Athabasca Falls.

After an arduous day and night at Spirit Island, we decided to get one more view in at Athabasca Falls before heading home. The only problem was that we were back in Jasper around 10am that same morning and didn’t want to photograph the falls without pristine sunset light. At this point we had two options, get a campsite or hotel and try to sleep, or rough it and attempt to once again sleep in the vehicle. The differences from the night before consisted of it being in the middle of the day, 30 degrees Celsius, in the middle of Jasper, and did I mention how hot it was? We checked out a few potential refuges but they were either too expensive or far away to make it worthwhile so we sweatily tried to sleep in the hot box called a vehicle. Needless to say, this was exorbitantly uncomfortable and after maybe the hour of sleep I accomplished there was a serious risk of drowning in the amount of sweat I perspired. Anyways, I woke up to Elliot in an equal amount of discomfort so we decided to walk around for a bit and eat lunch at the Indian restaurant in town.

Somehow we managed to pass the minutes until it was time to head to Athabasca falls. We made some KD in the parking lot and ate a nice, quiet meal on the far side of the parking lot away from the tourists. I had never been there so we meandered along the pathways scouting out where some potential photo spots were. Basically, the best spot for the iconic images is on the bridge. With that being said, the random stone formations are quite mesmerizing and shouldn't be ignored. We set up our tripods, made some images when the light was optimal and then packed up and started the walk back to the vehicle. Just as we approached the vehicle a cougar walked around the back end and locked eyes with us...

Which is exactly what I would say if this was a fictional style blog. Fortunately, there wasn't a cougar or any other dangers waiting for us. We began the long journey home with a stunning orange glow painting the mountainsides. Thank you all for following along with this adventure and looking forward to sharing the next one.