Blog.

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.

Another Adventure Brought To You By Paul.

I'm a pretty strong believer that there should be people in your life who break your comfort zones on a frequent basis. Now the majority of my friends consistently create these scenarios in my life, and I’m not complaining, but Paul tends to do this more than most. The images below are from our 'short 2km hike to a gorgeous hot spring' that we did at the beginning of winter. Now if you’re familiar with any of my other escapades with Paul, you’ll know that his descriptions of difficulty and distance leave much to be desired. Immediately, I should have known to double the distance and maybe even triple it. In addition to the drastically undermined length of this hike, I should have really taken into consideration the difficulty when he was packing long rope and seemingly over preparing for a basic hike. I mean judging by his description of the end goal being a hot spring I just assumed any city girl wanting a new Instagram photo could easily navigate their way to this location. In one way it’s accurate because there is a pretty well-defined trail. It isn't until we reached the saddle between the two mountains where I really started to contemplate the simplicity of Paul’s description.

As we stoically stood, catching our breath, the arduous next few kilometres were right in from of us. Due to the immense amount of wind, the paths from previous people hiking to the hot spring were completely covered. We waited for a few fellow hikers on the trail to pass by so we could proceed along the uncomfortably steep trail that was sheltered from the wind. We wrapped around the corner that you can see Paul and Celine posing on when the wind really decided to escalate my trepidation. The four of us hesitantly made our way along the side of the snow-covered shale and then Sam (Paul's wife) slipped and began sliding down. She managed to dig her feet into the icy snow to slow her decent but we were all stunned. In the exact same spot Celine proceeded to do the exact same thing and then I think Paul might have just done it for fun. Regardless all three of them were not 50 feet further down the mountainside than I was and to their fortune, a little closer to our destination.

After walking a few more kilometres since the saddle, we arrived at the hot spring without any additional company. I didn't get in the water due to some sort of phobia of being wet for non-utilitarian purposes but it was exceptional being able to observe a serene and relatively unknown landscape. After everyone had time to soak in the warm waters and dry off in the relentlessly cold wind, we began hiking back for home.

Just this past long weekend we had the pleasure of hanging out with Paul and Sam again where more adventures occurred. I'll be posting about in the upcoming weeks so thanks again for reading and it would mean a lot if you shared any of my work with someone you think would enjoy joining in the journey.

5 Questions of Life.

I just thought I’d share a few questions I’ve been mulling over the past months, If you have answers, opinions, insight, or maybe even wisdom you’d like to share, feel free to let me know:

  1. What can we do in life that is actually significant?

  2. How do we continually motivate ourselves to pursue what is good?

  3. Why does there seem to be a correlation or balance between externally inflicted suffering and self inflicted sabotage?

  4. How can we bring about peace in the most viral way possible?

  5. What can we do to bring love to those around us even if our world views are drastically different?

Below are some of the nature details I’ve shot this winter season while the mushrooms are hiding. Enjoy!

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.

Devolving.

I’m not sure why or what the cause is but lately I’ve been feeling unsuccessful in all manners of life. There are many facets where I continue to learn more and gain knowledge but it all seems to be stagnant. I can read or learn or act in ways I think will set me up better for the future, yet it all feels like the perpetual advancement equivalent to a treadmill. Of course, there are quantitative checkpoints I can mark but for the time being it feels like the target is either moving or entirely transparent. As you saw in my last post I have plenty of goals I want to accomplish, however, the downside is that none of them seems to result in immediate release of dopamine. The troubling reality is that I understand how I’m may be setting myself up well for my long term ambitions. Even so, I'm not excited about what would usually have me yearning to act.

As a result of my last sentence, the word burnout might come mind for a few of you. With insignificant progress, I’ve contemplated whether or not I’m experiencing the oh-so-infamous burnout. Genuinely, I doubt the legitimacy of my self-diagnosis but it’s possible I’m in denial. Most of my life I’ve worked more intensely and focussed than I have in the past year, which leads me to wonder if I’ve moved into a different phase of development. Is it possible that the ambitious achiever inside me has grown into an unproductive loaf? Or more optimistically, have I become more calculated in a way that directs my energy to things that matter in different, less self-focused directions? Embarrassingly, I’m unsure of which one to claim or if either analysis is remotely accurate. Often I find myself desiring a busier schedule with unrelenting stacks of work. This is likely an unhealthy compulsion to bury myself in work in order to drown out the various existential questions that fluster my mind when monotony moves in. I think it's one of the healthier crutches one could resort to, unfortunately.

When I sat down I didn't expect to write about this but it seems that my fingers have to lead me to an odd self-reflection. As I conclude this post I’m continuing to brood over how useful it is to write down these thoughts considering they serve virtually little to no purpose in my contribution to society. Would this time be spent more productively looking for people within my local community whom I can help in a physical manner? I’m still not sure but as always, thank you for joining me in these few paragraphs of critical thought. Enjoy the images below from Moose Lake Provincial Park, one of the places I continually go to in order to extend praise to the Creator with nature around me.