Blog.

Travel Writing Contest!

     I'm always so thankful for each of you who takes the time to read what I write and share. Recently, I entered a writing contest with the travel company I went to Tibet with in 2015, Extravagant Yak. To my amazement, I made it to the top 10 and in order to advance to the finals I need as many public votes as possible, which is where you come in. It would mean the world to me if you followed the link below, scrolled to the bottom of my article, and clicked the 'like' button. Having the opportunity to win a trip to Tibet is incredible and I know with the help of the community around me I can get one more step closer. Thanks again for the support and feel free to share the link with anyone you know who might enjoy what I wrote about. 

https://extravagantyak.com/blogs/writing-contest/mason-unrau

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. 1.

      I want this post to be one that I can look back on in 10 years and think “Wow I’ve grown and developed so much since that time.” In reality what I want and what happens are two drastically opposing things that seem to be hyperbolized when it comes to serious matters. The topic of this internal conversation, or obsession, I’ve been anxiously, analyzing for the past few months is a simple four-letter word. Like many people who share daily life with me, you're probably perplexed as to why this substance, or sustenance, that comes in endless conceivable forms has been on my mind for so long and taxing my perceived understanding of the world. Well there’s one person who initiated this contagious, curiosity that has now turned into a reformation of colossal magnitude. I suppose it’s somewhat like the oddity in life where whenever you buy something, a new car for example, you then notice that same one exponentially more than before. Similarly I’ve noticed, or maybe even subconsciously brought about, the conversation that was introduced to me by my wonderful friend, Michael. Only a few months ago my entire understanding of food was challenged and I reluctantly let it infiltrate my mind.

      After a few initial conversations with Michael, discussing some of the more entry-level aspects of Food and Faith by Norman Wirzba, I was determined to read the book for myself. I fully understood the potential of a slow mindset shift regarding food but I didn’t anticipate the metaphorical wall I soon hit. Before I go on about the innumerable paragraphs within Wirzba’s book that left me stunned, I want to elaborate on what might have brought me to this point. As many of you might know from reading my previous posts or seeing my photography, I really enjoy nature and feel intimately connected to my spirituality when amongst it. Just a quick clarification, I believe in Jesus and identify as a Christian but seem to be constantly learning what exactly that means or looks like to live. I feel as though I could go down an entirely different rabbit hole reflecting on the progression of my faith, but I’ll save that for another day. Anyways, ever since I was young I’ve felt connected to nature and have wanted to immerse myself into it. Living in a wealthy province, thanks to oil, has resulted in what some might categorize as an unapproachable opposition to my somewhat instinctual desire to preserve and aid in the health of the natural world. Majority of people in my hometown would probably think I’m just some hippy, millennial who doesn’t know reality and just wants a utopia that isn’t possible. I guess to an extent they’re right, but what reasonable person wouldn’t want that? Due to some of my frustration with the unquenchable consuming nature of people in the Western world, I wanted to learn more about the side that isn’t pro consume. As one might speculate, that lead me to learning about minimalism, tiny homes, ecological issues, countless documentaries on preserving wildlife and nature, and even some directly aimed at anti oil messaging. Just as I would with any dichotomy of views, I wanted to hear both sides of the stories being told. In this instance I grew up hearing one side without any contrast but definitely can’t pinpoint what exactly informed me on the pro oil and consumer mindset. Likely it was a just a slow infusion of information over the years from passive sources. I don’t blame anyone but that’s just the way it was in my town. Everyone had to have their big trucks, massive homes, quads, enormous campers, and the list goes on. Another realization that might have come from my Christian upbringing was that I simply didn’t want the pressure of limitlessly climbing to bigger and better. It just seems dismal.

      Dismal. What a great way to end the first segment of this post! Thanks for reading this far and I’ll have the other part up next Tuesday so be sure to subscribe so you get it sent right to your email. I’d love to get some feedback on this weeks post since it was the first time in awhile that I’ve dug deep into something’s I’ve been pondering. Oh and the photos below are from a really fun camping trip at Crescent Falls during Autumn! Peace.

Boiling River & Bears – Yellowstone.

     While Celine and Sophia were napping I decided to go for a walk down to the nearby river. It was a great time to be alone and observe the natural essence Yellowstone had to offer. After they woke up we went looking for the boiling river so that night we could bathe (for the first time in 4 days :P).

     Evening arrived so after supper we went down to the boiling river and made the plunge but what we didn’t realize was that the water was either ice cold or scalding hot 80% of the time. There were only a select few spots that allowed for comfortable relaxing and even then you’d catch the occasional shock of cold or boiling water. Even though it was a painful experience and one that I wasn’t the fondest, of we were a little cleaner and less foul smelling.

     On our way back to the vehicle it was already dark and for some reason I was super paranoid the entire time. About 50 meters from the vehicle Celine and Sophia were joking about seeing a bear and then not a minute later they both went quiet behind me and told me to keep walking. As we approached the vehicle I noticed their speed escalating. Confused and somewhat panicked I asked what was going on and they simply replied by saying, “nothing,” and then full out ran. I followed suit and it wasn’t until we were back in the vehicle that they informed me of the massive bear print in the mud that was clearly not there on our walk to the river. None of us saw a physical bear but the size of the print they described made me thankful for getting back when we did. If it was just a black bear I wouldn’t have been too worried but judging by the size it was evidently a grizzly and at the time of year we were there the bears were feeding 20 hours a day.

     We safely made it back to the campsite and I think I slept with the bear spray in my sleeping bag that night ( just kidding that wouldn’t be safe :p). Anyways, the next morning we packed up and set off for the 10 hour drive home. Overall the trip to Yellowstone was a great time of relaxing and exploring an area I had never been before. The history, wildlife, and unique geological features definitely entice me to go back again but there are so many other amazing sights that I can’t wait to see. Thanks for reading this long, drawn out series and I hope to be able to get up to date with all the other small day adventures I’ve gone on.