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.

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!

Hippie Heretic.

     Recently I was described with two simple words: hippie, heretic. Other than being a wonderful alliteration, these two titles are often avoided by mainstream culture due to the various implications they have. At first I was surprised with such a succinct, presumed assessment of my values and beliefs but after thinking about how titles define and shape our perspective of others and ourselves, I found it more so enthralling. This post is going to be about titles. The simple words we use to fit people within a context we can make sense of and lends to our survival.

     Whether you’ve been titled something that has made you feel delighted or something that has caused you to do everything you can to withhold tears, we all know the drastic effects simplistic words can on our mentality. Fascinatingly, the crude categories we fit ourselves into have virtually nothing to do with how we exist in reality. Sometimes we work towards putting up a persona that allows people to join us in somewhat of a fantasy ideal that we’ve set for ourselves and when we convince everyone of this idealistic self, it can result in a nearly euphoric ecstasy. This may even lead to feeling like we genuinely accomplished a grand achievement in altering others perspectives of us. However the relief of being able to ignore that old self who took on other names can bring about an identity crisis if not managed with integrity. These new titles we desire to adorn our superficially revitalized public and personal image need to be thoughtful and, more importantly, analyzed by people we trust and love.

     This shared life event of recreating our titles occurs regularly at different time periods for everyone. Probably one of the first times I remember desiring a title to be part of defining me, was in middle school. Not only were there an exorbitant amount of hormones starting to flow through my body, but also it’s a time for many where we start to form narratives of how we want the world to view us.  Personally, I wanted to be known as the athletic, intellectual who was capable of achieving anything. Looking back at how I naively set this delusional expectation for myself it ended up sustaining my insecure ego for the following few years. At the time, aspiring for others to see this as a suitable title for me made it incredibly rewarding whenever I’d receive compliments in either of these categories. Reminiscing on those years is an out of focus blur but I can still relate to people that age who are trying desperately to have the appropriate titles attributed to them. I was one of the fortunate minorities to have a title I enjoyed and I know many who aren’t so fortunate. Remember, they have no standing on how we actually need to function in reality.

     From a young age we learn to conform within the cultural and social structures around us. As useful as this is for early development, it increasingly seems like people yearn to remove any sort of connection to their family of origin, their once foundational ideals, or even the ways of living well in a location. A classic example of this is when someone who grew up in the church abruptly abandons their Christian title in exchange for what the culture anonymously directed them towards. Instead of worshiping God on Sunday, they are often now oblivious to the new form of worship, which point towards whatever their new, self-satisfying, title may be. Just to clarify, I’m not only referring to the stereotypical party scene that lures countless young people away from more positive experiences, but even now in my twenties, the more ‘enlightened’ lifestyles fill young adults with idealistic aspirations. Of course I fall into the trap of idealism from time to time but I think there are healthy ways to work towards idealism without it transforming your title for an illustrious elitist cause. Anyways, it doesn’t matter what alternative is chosen to replace our early life teachings and titles that accompany it but the reason I think this shift occurs is because it’s easier than genuinely learning what our own tradition has to offer on a deeper level than maybe even our parents taught us.

     Immediately some people who have experienced transitions where their titles have significantly changed after rigorous, intentional, and thoughtful analysis may object to the claim that it’s easier. Of course I understand that objection, however, in some situations I’m not sure if an unaffected effort was given without already wanting to change. The thought might even be that by abandoning our original titles to a belief system that allows for perceived growth and a fresh new way people observe the showman we exude could lead to a better life. Again, I know there are genuine reforms in what we believe but in many case I really think it is easier to just entirely move to a new tribe that gives us a fresh title. Even though I’ve observed myself and others change their beliefs in a way that would omit previous titles in exchange for alternative ones, I have to remember our minds will do what they can to survive. If we adopt a new belief system because our older one is not working it might merely be due to the desire to excel in a new community rather than work through the baggage our old one possesses.

     This might be a controversial post and one where you think that I’m beyond under qualified to write on but this blog has always been a platform to process thoughts and share with you my personal photography work. I’m always so thankful for those of you who take time to read it and support my image making. Too often it’s easy to mindlessly take people’s support for granted in a way that we aren’t even aware were doing, which is why I perpetually try to let you know how thankful I am for you. Anyways, I would love to hear your thoughts on the post and what you think of the photos below from Cold Lake Provincial Park, where I lead a nature photography workshop March 3rd. If you’re interested in attending one of my workshops where I partner with LICA, just let me know because I have one coming up on March 24th!

Peace.

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!  :)

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.