Blog.

My Life Long Project.

     Constantly we are inundated with decisions. Even reading this was a decision. Some ascribe to the concept of free will, yet others are deterministic. Ever since I was young I was taught there was free will and currently, I think that seems to be a valid understanding and acknowledgement of there being meaning in how we live. I'm not sure how anyone from a religious perspective can hold the determinist view and still affirm any significance in living a 'morally' correct life. If everything is determined, the way we progress through life doesn't matter because we haven't had control over it from the start. On top of that, the divine being that we are attempting to follow would then have their hands tied behind their back immediately after creating and determining.

     I'm sure the arguments are much more complicated than that but in regards to how I live my life and the current values I have, I'm not sure if I could justify making any sort of effort if the concept of free will does not exist. I'd likely fall back to my default pessimist understanding of life that everything is indeed meaningless. Absurdity takes control of our reality and all we can do is ride the miserable waves that life merely splashes over us. I mean sure, not needing to take responsibility of our actions would be convenient and I have held the determinist view before, however, if we desire any sort of agency then I think it would benefit to take ownership of how we engage in life on earth.

     With this quick rant out of the way, the unknown wells up some curious anxiety for me. Knowing that my decisions result in the outcome of my life has always been at the forefront of my mind. I've talked about it before, but even when I was young I would lay in bed for hours dwelling on what I was going to do when I grew up. The unconscious desire to impress and succeed was crippling. Only in the past few years, I've acknowledged the unnecessary pressure to impress people and done my best to ignore the impulse. Even with the pressure from others dissipated, there is still the haunting voice in the back of my mind that is trying to affirm meaning in life.

     I just looked at the clock and realized this post took me a quick 10 minutes to write so I apologize if the thoughts aren't as coherent as usual but I thought I'd share a little bit of my continual, long-term, lifelong project, of existential crisis'. Nonetheless, enjoy the photos from one of the most beautiful mornings from this summer. If I'm honest, its the anxiety and inner pessimist that forces me to attempt to make things that distract from my inner turmoil.  And just so you're not worried I write all this with a smirk on my face because it all seems so odd to reflect on. Thank you for your continued support.

My Friend Paul.

     I can’t believe how fast time travels. To think it has already been 4 years since Paul and I were roommates in our freshman year at Prairie. The first day, after I had moved in, Paul offered me some pizza and I kind of just forgot about it and wasn’t hungry so it went un-eaten. Little did I know, this apparently deeply insulted Paul and ever since, he’s jokingly held that over me. That first day pretty much summarized our relationship: miscommunication, jokes, and food (:p haha). Through it all, we’ve had so many incredible experiences and memories that are unforgettable. You’re probably wondering why I’m writing this somewhat personal post and it’s because Paul got engaged! After 4 years of growing and being friends you learn a lot about a person. I know Paul loves adventure, adrenaline, delicious food, fancy dates (with his fiancé of course), meeting new people, exploring new places, and friends. As soon as you meet him you see his drive to experience life fully and that’s one of the many things Paul has taught me. I feel blessed to have such a close friendship with him and I hope for the best as he takes these exciting next steps in his relationship!

The images below are from a short hike Paul and I did when he first got his Great Pyrenees pup, Loki. As you can tell it’s a massive dog for only being 5 months old at the time! Anyways, I just wanted to share that and hope that our adventures together don’t stop once we are both married dudes!  :)

Barrier Lake Instameet.

     You stuck around! Thanks for hanging out while I was gone. I genuinely appreciate it and even though it technically wasn’t that long since my last post, it feels like a lot has happened. The need to have something to work towards weekly or monthly is a must for me and currently that’s this blog. I’ve been tossing around the idea of starting a YouTube show where I simply go through some of my photos and tell the stories behind them or go through the editing process but who knows if I’ll have time for that. Just to catch you up, my hours at work got cut so now I either have to find another part time job or dive head first into my personal photography career and other creative endeavors! Since Celine isn’t working yet I might have to look for that part time job, but dang it’s tempting, scary, and exhilarating to ponder the possibility of investing 20 hours a week into whatever creative outlet I desire. Speaking of creative outlets, I also started a terrarium business, called Capsule Terrariums (Instagram / Facebook), but I’m not sure how it will do since this first batch didn’t sell immediately like they did last summer. Anyways, Celine is graduated, we’re moved back to Bonnyville, Celine’s getting back from China on Wednesday after two weeks of hiking, Aspen our puppy is growing fast, Herb the fish is still swimming, the “Where’s the Line” podcast with Caleb is still in development, and once again my mind is being infiltrated with fantasies of where my next career move should be since I don’t have the hours I’m used to. 

     I hope that quick update is sufficient for you all and if you have any insight, advice, or wisdom for where or what I should do for money I’d love to hear it. Something else that’s been on my mind lately is how can I use my photography for a more important cause than mere marketing material. By no means do I think marketing or the industry is bad but it feels helplessly shallow for me. I was thinking it might be cool to start an environmental initiative / organization that partners with Church’s to do something to help the environment since were explicitly called to be responsible in the way we live. I don’t think there’s anything like that right now but who knows and it’s an extremely rough concept right now. I digress…

     Now to the part I’m always passionate to talk about; the photographic process and why the first image below is my favorite. If you don’t agree with my personal choice that’s fine but here’s why I chose it. To start, the combination of six 30-second exposures creates movement in the clouds that helps give a dreamy appearance. Also the colours were at their peak while I was taking the succession of photos and lastly the foreground of ice and snow create a path that leads your eye to the mountains. Comment below on which image is your favorite and for those of you who don’t know what an Instameet is, it’s where people on Instagram meet up in real life to take photos and hang out. Maybe that sounds sketchy to some of you but when there are a lot of people who are all getting together with the key purpose to take gnarly photos I think it’s exciting.

     I’m going to conclude with admitting that my competitive spirit, that was once alive and well when playing sports, silently comes through when taking photos with other photographers. Something about other people creating images of a similar subject stirs up this drive to make sure I have the best final result. But seeing some of the other photographers working the scene really reminded me that there’s no such thing as being the best photographer and that it’s all subjective... With that in mind I just need to focus on practicing this craft and improving my own skills. I’m hoping to finish up the posts from past shoots and get up to date with my life so that I actually have to go out weekly in order to have new content and not rely on past excursions. As always, thanks so much for reading and checking out my images.

Soul Medicine.

     This post won’t be nearly as extensive as my last two but it’s something that I think is pretty relevant to our current culture. On Saturday I had the privilege of going down to Drumheller for the afternoon. The sole purpose of the trip was to create images that aligned with my desired photographic style. With my only company being my camera and tripod it was an introverts dream day. Just a side note, the images below are from a trip to Two Jack Lake during Fall but nonetheless work well for the point I want to highlight.

     Everyday I’m thankful for having something that I feel so fulfilled doing. If you you’ve been reading my posts for a while you might remember that as I grew up I often had intense anxiety about what I was to do ‘when I got older.’ This anxiety never really left me but more so motivated me to search out that thing that I could never get tired of. Originally I assumed it was sports since that’s all I did with my time. However, after being injured and not capable of performing at the high level I was used to, my plans were redirected. It was probably one of the more difficult things I’ve had to work through but in reality it was like hitting that jackpot. If it weren’t for this blessing in disguise, the new drug called photography wouldn’t have encompassed me. Maybe it’s just that I was enabled to explore a creative outlet and put in countless hours of learning something new that allowed me to take my mind off the disappointing injuries. I’m not too sure exactly but considering I hadn’t viewed myself (and still don’t) as a creative person this was an avenue virtually unexplored.  Almost immediately I knew this was something that I wanted to do for a lifetime. I’m not sure how long I’ll be fortunate enough to do it as a career but having something that rejuvenates my entire being is unbelievably comforting.

     Generally, I don’t think people are aware of the thing that rejuvenates and gives them life. Even for myself I probably wouldn’t have found photography in the context I did if it weren’t for a drastic realigning of my life’s direction. Being self-aware is something that I admire in people and see that people who know themselves tend to exude wisdom. The only problem is that self-awareness isn’t something that can be taught. I’m not even sure if it can be learned over time but I want to encourage everyone reading this to try to dig deep and find that thing that brings you life. Maybe you already have it and if you're so fortunate to have that I’d love to hear what it is and how you found it (seriously I’d really like to hear your stories). As always, thanks for reading and sorry last weeks post wasn’t sent out in the email (things got messed up after the redesign).

Oh and if you were wondering whats with the boots, I'm a brand ambassador for Bluprint Comfort and those are a few product shots I made. Most comfortable shoes I've ever worn!

Fantastical Food Pt. 2.

If you haven’t read last weeks post, I recommend going back and doing so for some context. 

      A trend that I’ve noticed in many peoples’ lives is that if they were brought up with any sort of extremes in their life, almost inevitably, they’d flip the opposite direction as a teenager or young adult. I’d like to think I’m exempt from this paradox but in many regards I’m recognizing it in myself. Fortunately, I was raised in somewhat of a balanced home (yes mom and dad you guys did great, give each other a high-five or something) so the effects are minimal and due to my inquisitive mind I’ve learned from wise people to always question both sides of any story. Essentially, I think that’s how I’m at the point I am now; always questioning and increasingly aligning with the minority within the social circles I’m part of. Maybe I just need to find different circles but even in high school when everyone partied and thought it was ‘cool,’ I thought it was a waste of time and money. There’s a plethora of other examples of this in my life but it seems consistent throughout the years. I’m aware, or more so cautious, of the reality that I could just be a contrarian, always wanting to go against the social norm, but when it comes to forming an opinion on important matters I think it might be an asset.

     As I mature I’ve reflected back on events that have occurred throughout history and more times than not travesty followed right after something that should have been intensely questioned, simply wasn’t. I’m sure you could list a surplus of case studies so I wont get into it but if that’s the reality shouldn’t we oppose the set standards more? With all this said, I want to get back to the topic of food and hope you’ve been reading everything I’ve said so far with our western perspective of food in mind. As Wirzba adamantly opposes in his book, Food and Faith, our western culture has diminished food into nothing more than sustenance that we need as cheaply and quickly as possible. Before this period of rethinking food I would’ve aligned with the default consumerist mind set of food only existing as fuel for our bodies to use up and burn. It was also due to Food and Faith that I made the connection that since food is one of the most intimate things we experience it should be observed with more reverence. Not only do we ingest matter that has been grown from the earth but also for people who eat meat another being is consumed. A creature that inhaled and exhaled, ate, and existed in many of the ways we do. I don’t recall what context I heard this thought, but why do we decide that eating cows, pigs or chickens is entirely fine but then dogs and cats are off limits. Why is it the cows and pigs get the duty of being perpetually killed to be mindlessly consumed? I don’t have the answer, even though I’m sure there might be one, but I’m unsure if ethically we can justify the treatment of millions of animals being grown for us to devour.

      I want to continue with these food posts while I’m thinking through a lot of the things I’m writing about but they take a lot of time due to the amount of thought I have to exert. If you have any comments, questions or insight I’d love to hear them. I should also mention that I’m currently trying out vegetarianism to see what that would look like and possibly understand things a little better so if you have any advice or personal experiences send me a message. The images below are from a fun day hike I did with Paul in the beginning of winter at Elbow Lake and wedge pond. I don’t think I mentioned it but last weeks photos were from Crescent Falls. Thanks for reading and I truly appreciate your time of sharing these thoughts and ideas I’m working through.