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.

What Makes an Image Matter?

The idea of posting new imagery week after week is perplexing. If I’m creating photos for nothing more than aesthetic satisfaction or social media ‘likes’ then what value does my work have? I desire for the materialization of changing reality through my photography. I’m unsure of what that looks like, primarily because I observe it from so many other greats who have come before me and display or share the stories in ways that genuinely brings change to our world. Immediately, I think of Paul Nicklen who has some of the most mesmerizing photographs of wildlife and consequently has made enormous strides in various conservation efforts.

Of course, I don't expect my work to reach the masses to the extent he does but I can't help but contemplate the insanity of repetitions when my work is currently lacking the motivation to insue action. You might be thinking that in order to make a change one needs to have patience and continually be in pursuit of the next opportunity. I wouldn't disagree and have convinced myself that every time I post something new. The unrelenting paranoia of meaningless work plagues my self-conscious mind. With all this said, the image below of the barn is my most viewed and ‘liked’ piece of work ever and I never would have guessed.

It’s a photo of a barn. I can't say I had any conservation statement to go along with it or an important cause or message that tied in perfectly to bring people into public action. It is merely a quaint image of rural history with no greater voice or vision for the photograph. This leads me to ask the question of whether or not a story or cause finds the image or the image finds the cause? Possibly it’s both. There is the creative part in me that does enjoy making photos that people find beauty in and I’m always flattered by the compliments. My dilemma is why should people care? I don't think beauty is enough to bring longevity to my work and the way social media is set up, brevity is a drug we yearn for.

This year I need to reconstruct the way I create and share my photographs in order for them to have more of an impact. Which means maybe I shouldn't share a post unless there is a complimentary, significant message. I’ll continue pondering this relationship between mere beauty and utilitarian calls to action through imagery. For now, I hope you enjoy the images below while on the road from Bonnyville to Edmonton.

2019.

My first post of the year is just going to be an outline of a few of my goals. Every year I like to start off with a definitive list so that I know what or how to direct my actions.

  • Figure out where to live or move

  • Have more important conversations with people about the planet and our ecological impact

  • Have a larger garden and give the excess to families who need fresh produce

  • Increase my bee hive to 3 

  • Get rid of everything not serving a purpose or beautiful

  • Learn more about sustainable landscaping / gardening

  • Don’t eat chip, chocolate, candy, or pop

  • Create 12 images I genuinely enjoy

  • Go mushroom hunting more and learn more about mycology 

  • Give more to the people around me

  • Spend less time on social media

This is often a growing list and as you can see the variety is wide. You can also listen to the full podcast if you would prefer that and I hope you enjoy the images below!

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.