Summer 2016.

     This summer has been a blur! I returned from travelling and immediately started looking for work but nothing was available until just last week when I started as the photographer at an awesome local branding company called Octopus Creative! Prior to that I had been doing the odd photo shoot as well as building a plethora of open, air terrariums just to make a bit of money. I’m truly thankful that there was so many great people who bought terrariums or had me photograph their families. Thanks to each of you affording the wedding this weekend is possible. You also may be wondering why my blogs have fallen to about every two weeks and it’s because of the crazy amount of planning and small jobs I have had lately.

     Although I’m really busy and my mind is everywhere I have continued to grow in appreciation for my friends and family. The photos below are from an amazing Canada Day weekend with friends who I dearly care for (Celine, Caleb, Nic, Mark, Beth, and Carly). Everyone who has committed to helping at the wedding this weekend I want to thank you especially for contributing to the celebration!

     I didn’t want to write too much but whenever I’m feeling grateful or passionate words seem to spew from my fingers. Anyways, this summer has been prime! As soon as I landed on Canadian soil there was a flurry of events that all lead up to the wedding this weekend and then the honeymoon afterwards! Speaking of honeymoon, I planned the best surprise trip for Celine and I! Since we will be gone after the wedding I probably won’t be able to post for another week or so but once I’m back or moved to Three Hills weekly posts should resume. I just can’t emphasize enough how thankful I am for the people directly in my life, all of your reading this, or even people who follow my work on various social media platforms. 

What’s Lurking in the Dark Cave?.

     Our time in Malaysia was intended to be one of rest and recovery but the adventurers’ in the group said ‘screw it’ and sought out another experience! Originally we set out to see the tallest towers in Asia but it just so happened they are closed to visitors on Mondays. The next day we had our sights on the Batu Caves. Part of the Batu Caves is a place of worship for Hindu’s and the other main part is an ecological national heritage site, called Dark Cave (yes like the one in Poke'mon with all the Zubats' haha). Late in the morning we climbed on a train with shattered windows and began our ambitious journey.

     Upon arriving we saw people selling small idols and various sculptures that I assumed were for worship or offerings but what struck me was how impoverished and destitute the people appeared. We walked along a path passing multiple shrines and small temples that were awaiting devotes’ to give offerings. From a distance we could see a gigantic, golden, gaudy, garish statue emerge its head over the trees. As we approached the hundreds of steps leading to the caves it was emotionally overwhelming to see such a mass of resources poured into false hope for people who are already so poor. The extravagancies didn’t stop when we entered into the cave of worship. Three other shines were inside the massive cave with people giving or collecting offerings. In the moment I couldn’t help but desperately wish they hadn’t desecrated such a stunning piece of nature with their religious artifacts and idols.

     On our way down we saw the sign for the Dark Cave and took a gander. To our delight they offer tours through the biologically rich and most extensively studied cave system in the world. Even though it was pitch black throughout most of the excursion I did manage to get some images that depict how eerie it was even with our torchlights on. We saw multiple spiders, other alien-like insects and millions of bats! I guess that would answer the title question, along with guano: lots and lots of guano.

What are your thoughts on natural wonders being altered into places of worship? Comment below and feel free to share! 

Ending with a BANG!.

     Unlike what most of you may be thinking, no one was shot and we didn’t even hear a bang or anything that ties into the title. What I simply want to imply is that this final month of travel has been one of growth and learning. From my limited experiences in China, prior to this trip, I already knew that I enjoyed the minute amount of Asian culture I previously experienced and anticipated a similar experience to follow!

     In just over a month we have experienced Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, China, Malaysia, and are finishing off in the Philippines. Each one offered unique culture, food, geography, architecture, and lessons learned. Probably one of the most educational times I’ve had was in Vietnam but due to the closed nature of the country I can’t share too much other than coming to the understanding that good theology is directly reflected in how we live. If we aren’t living healthy or socially active lives it is likely our philosophy or theology is likely not what we truly believe.

     I’ll be home in less than a week and can’t wait to start sharing my stories in person! The books and thank you’s to everyone who financially supported me will be in the works while I’ll be searching for work. These photos are from our time in Vietnam and will continue to post photos from the rest of the trip each of the following weeks so stay tuned!

Touchdown in Thailand.

     Last night was the first time outside of the Caucasus for almost six months. I arrived in Thailand late last night and was pleasantly welcomed by the calm, warmth that my body seemed to be deprived of. After 36 hours with about four hours of sleep, it was refreshing to unpack and settle into the hotel room before getting a sufficient slumber. I’m currently at a media conference for the next week or so but the venue is really nice and the people are so welcoming. While I’m here I hope to take some night photos of all the gorgeous walkways and paths. The difference between culture and environment between the Caucasus and Thailand seems so immense! I’m interested to learn more about Thailand when I meet up with Celine once the conference is over. My previous experiences of Asia have always been amazing, which makes me excited for this next month of traveling through it.

     I hope you enjoy the photos from an old Soviet base I explored at the beginning of March. I actually forgot I took these photos until I was recently organizing files. It was a vast area that only had a few ruined buildings with a hinge decrepit shop in the middle. Half way through exploring, a guy came to tell to leave but once he got out of the vehicle I threw him off with a big smile and “hello.” Immediately you could tell he tried to hold back a smile but he simply gestured not to take photos (due to being ashamed of the dump the area was) and then drove away. It didn’t really stop me since I don’t think he had any authority and the place was really awesome! P.S. the first black and white photo is my favourite!

Come back next week where I’ll either share photos from my last village trip in the Caucasus or photos of Thailand. Let me know which one you would prefer! 

Old Ways.

     One of our last adventures while Celine was visiting was venturing into a historical part of the city to walk along the cobblestone streets observing the small shops selling their trinkets.  Throughout our walk we shared a lot of laughs and good conversation that I had dearly missed while we were apart. It was so refreshing being together, just the two of us, in a quiet subsection of the bustling chaotic city. After looking around and seeing some of the iconic attractions we decided to go for lunch at a quaint restaurant that cooked local dishes. To say the least, the local dishes, that I’ve had before, were prepared exquisitely this time and really were the best quality I’ve had since arriving here. You might think the photos of Celine are of her drinking nice red wine but it was freshly squeezed pomegranate juice that was equally desirable as the rest of the meal. Part of having the local restaurant experience is that there is a language barrier and to our surprise that glass of juice was quite pricey just as the rest of the meal was (in comparison to other food here), which might explain why it was so delectable.  

     After our lunch we went for a walk down a very modern boardwalk, which seemed to juxtapose the old streets we just came from. In retrospect of this outing I’ve been thinking how the ancient architecture and old style of cooking has been preserved and much like the fundamentals of cooking or architecture our ideologies follow the same suit. As a young person I find myself in constant realization that the generations before me have ideologies and ways of thinking that differ greatly from my own at times. This insight often occurs in times of conflict or disagreement. The scenario is often that I think I know best but the old dogma that another may hold contrasts mine so greatly I become confounded as to how society evolved in such a way to produce two significantly differing thought processes. My conundrum is to know when I should pursue my own understanding, or trust the apparent wisdom of the older person, to ensure success in the situation at hand. As I regularly pray for wisdom I wonder if there is a reason why I have differing thoughts or if they are even valid when put up against the ‘tried and true’ ways of previous generations.

     What are your thoughts on advancing ideologies, not including ones from scientifically proven ones? Have you experienced this situation in the work place or in daily life with family maybe? Let me know how you handled this. Also I’m writing this at a time where I’m not currently directly working with anyone where this is happening. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the photos! They are some of my favorites considering I didn’t go with the intention of shooting photos.