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

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. 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.

Wild Waterton.

     I forgot to mention in the previous posts that on our way home from Yellowstone we made a detour to Waterton. Maybe it’s that the town of Waterton is essentially a dead end, or that in the summer it erupts with life and in the winter seemingly goes into hibernation but out of all the places I’ve travelled to, it might claim the spot as my favorite. Ever since creating the fond memories from my family road trip there a few years ago, it’s a place that brings me so much joy.

     Anyways, we went to the obligatory Cameron Falls where I tried some unique angles of the falls in an attempt to mix it up from one of my portfolio image I made on my previous visit. After that we went to the notorious red rock canyon. Unfortunately it wasn’t a sunny, warm day like the first time I visited the spot but it was cool to see it tourist free. We concluded our quick visit in Waterton with a stop at drift wood beach where we found a lot of awesome rocks. :p

     I’m going to drop the posts down to once a week again (hopefully) and try to focus on developing a podcast with my friend Caleb as well. If you listen to podcasts, what would you look for in one that talks about current events and culture? Message me or comment your ideas.

Lamar Valley – Yellowstone.

     Without a doubt wolf watching in Lamar Valley was on the top of my list of things to do. We woke up well before sunrise and began the scenic drive to see the legendary wolves of Yellowstone. There wasn’t a guarantee of seeing them but about 10 minutes into Lamar Valley we saw three vehicles pulled over at the side of the road and thought it wouldn’t hurt to inquire about what they were doing. It felt like we struck gold when they said there was a wolf pack on the distant hillside. That childlike joy filled me and all I wanted was to see them. I pulled out my camera with a humble 70-200mm lens in hopes of spotting them. As you may have guessed, fully zoomed in the wolves registered as mere pixels. I was nowhere close to having a zoom that would suffice for viewing or pictures.

     Thankfully one of the regulars shared his scope with us. He told us people called him the “bear man” because he wrote reports on the bears in the park. In addition to that he pointed out the head biologist who set up a few meters away with his scope and notebook. It was so cool being able to observe this sub-culture within the park and at this time there were more than 20 vehicles parked with scopes and tripods.

     Even though it was impossible for me to take a photo of my favorite animal in the world, the mere ability to observe them in their wildest form was jovial. I don’t know how to describe it really but the connection I feel to wolves (for no apparent reason) make me want to advocate for their well being and safety more than most things. Just a warning that you will probably judge me or think I’m kind of weird from what I say next but I’ve had multiple dreams that I’m part of a wolf pack just running through forests and living with them. I realize how ridiculous that sounds but it’s perplexing and kind of funny. Also I’m sure everyone has that one thing they really connect with. For some it’s the mountains, trees, birds, dogs, elephants, who know but mine is wolves.

     Moving on before you think I’m totally weird, the views that accompanied the riveting wolf experience were amazing. I loved seeing the fog float across the hills creating atmospheric views that I frequently search for in landscapes. After visiting Lamar Valley we went back to the campsite for the afternoon to relax.

     To be continued… (The post was just getting too long so the next post will be the conclusion of the Yellowstone adventure!.... Finally)