Saturday, December 17, 2011
That's right, the end of the year is almost here but not before I take a big break. As usual this is the busy time of year but this year I have taken a little more time off and am looking forward to working on some personal projects. Also there is much needed family time and some days of just doing "nothing" and getting some rest.
This last year has been a little crazy to say the least. We have worked with some great clients, built some new partnerships and relationships. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of working with 36 other photographers who came out to learn a little bit about lighting and working with clients. And then there was the plane crash (see July)with Nathan that changed a lot of things for me.
Over all it was a good year and I am grateful for everything. I am also very excited about this coming year. There will be new 2-day workshops this year, and I have a few partnerships for some huge projects in the new year. The business will also be changing a little, We have developed solid relationships with new commercial business and we will be moving into a new field (for us)of photography.
I hope everyone has an awesome Christmas, we will see you in the new year.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Even with a few shots to the cores (rock damage to our bases), I really can't complain about yesterdays' climb. Patrice and I skied into the Highwood Pass and climbed the huge North face on Mt. Tyrwhitt. The snow was cold and light but unfortunately with no base to it, our skis penetrated too deep and the occasional rock or tree would catch and we'd take a tumble.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Tonight was the second night for working on my long exposures. Again it was very cold and clear but this time I stayed close to home. I tried a few other locations but I came back to this one which is just off of RR12 west of Crossfield. Once I started post on the image I found that not only had two aircraft flown through my shot but I also got two meteor shots on the left side of the frame (heading West). I love doing this kind of work, and I had a movie on my ipod to kill the time....
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Well I have been very busy with Hockey Team and Sports Photos but now there is a little bit of a break. I was getting extremely restless today so I forced myself to head out into the cold tonight and work on my long night exposures. I stopped in at a location between Crossfield and Carstairs that I have wanted to shoot at for some time. The problem with this kind of shot is it requires a few hours to achieve so you really need to be sure of the composition.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
This afternoon I had the pleasure of shooting the Crossfield "Raise The Roof" fundraiser with the Calgary Alumni Players. It was a lot of fun and everyone had a great time. I am definitely not a hockey photographer as this was the second time shooting on ice. It is a sport that takes a lot of time to develop and experience to make a good image. I did manage to get a few decent images like the one here of Crossfield's own Chris Schulze stopping Calgary Alumni Archie Henderson (who is 6-6' and 220 lbs).
Saturday, October 8, 2011
I was excited to finally get out a few days before full moon especially on such a clear night. I couldn't get into the location I wanted as it is now fenced in (need time to get through that one) so on my way back to town I stopped near a few old buildings and grain bins. Turns out they are still in use and the equipment that was parked there was in perfect position.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
I knew I had been here before, maybe years ago but the feeling was rushing through me like hot acid in my veins. All at once the familiarity combined with the fear that I was way off route and this may not have been the first time caused my knees to almost buckle. But I couldn't lose it right now, or it would be a 90 foot fall on to an 80 degree rock face with the rope only good for retrieving my body. I yelled down to Jordan that I was off route (he agreed...) and there was no way to down climb or pass through the featureless roof above me. I tried to stay calm and focus on the task at hand, I needed to get some protection in (an anchor of any kind) as soon as I could. Strangely the familiarity I felt was nagging me to look about 6 feet to the left below the wall so I gave in and leaned as far as I could. as I leaned out I began to see a piton creeping out past a small flake so I quickly and deliberately side stepped a dime sized crimp and moved within reach. It felt good to clip that sling to the pin (piton) and then clip the rope and especially for the blood to rush back into my extremities. I could now move past the simple 5.6 bulge with confidence and some classy moves. Keeping my shit together again made a potentially bad situation manageable.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
*At the belay above the third pitch.
Well it's been a few weeks since I last posted. At the beginning of August I took a work vacation for two weeks in Carsland and that took up all of my time with just enough hours in the day to sleep. Last week was just about spending time with the family and catching up on some prior commitments. One of those commitments was a climbing trip with Nathan. Just a day out on Yamnuska but Nathan has never been on a multi-pitch technical Trad climb so we made our way up another classic route. The route is called "Easy Street" and is named that for a reason; it is one of the best routes on Yam for taking up someone green or for introducing them to the gear-setting system of Trad climbing.
*Enjoying the view from the 'BBQ ledge'.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
For the last week I have been dying to get back out on some rock. Taking it easy is good for the physical but not for the mental. I have been miserable last few days and the thought of stiffening up while I sit around makes me grumpy.
This morning Jordan Ramey and I drove out to Mt Yamnuska to climb a classic route, something easy and fast would be good for today. Jordan has been on the mend as well and as ready as I thought I would be I would soon find out I am not. We needed about an hour to scramble up to the base of the route but 5 minutes in I was done, no energy at all and my left eye seemed to be building a little pressure. It took a little longer to get to the base of the rock but once I was in site I just dug down for what little energy I had.
Once at the route and somewhat rested I tied in and just scramble up the first pitch. Infact the whole climb is pretty easy but the chimney on the second pitch made us grunt just a little. It was a good lead by Jordan and the rest of the climb was pretty uneventful. We simul-climbed the 4th and 5th pitch and then I lead the greasy smooth bulge below the pumpkin. Ah yes, need to tell you about the pumpkin.
Jordan sniffing (?) the pumpkin.
The pumpkin was painted at the top of the last pitch in 1968 and has been kept there as a tradition. This is a classic route and been on my radar for years. was cool to finally get there today. All in all I am feeling pretty good and it was nice to get out and make sure everything that is still attached to me moves like it should.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
I have learned that I need to be knowledgeable and gain experience in the sports I do and to be smart about the dangers associated with these sports. I love to push my limits to learn more about myself and how I handle situations. When I come back from these situations I find that the important things in my life rise to the surface and I am much closer to the reality of living fully. I no longer waste time with things that are negative or urgent, just enjoy the people and the passions that I am blessed and fortunate to have.
The footage below is the whole hard-cut from my HEROcam during our short flight. I will be posting some thoughts and experience about the flight but I am going to take a bit of time to think about it and get a bit of rest. I watch this footage everyday and think about the crash over and over again. It seems a little bit like a dream now but there is a strong sensation I remember from the last few seconds before we hit. I can remember an overwhelming sense of acceptance of our situation and that I needed to focus on minimizing the potential damage I would be suffering. Many people ask if I was scared, I was not. I was too busy trying to stay alive. Only after we crashed and I wasn't sure how bad I was hurt was I actually concerned. It is clear now that if either of us had panicked, there would have been a much different outcome.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
This screen grab from the footage just minutes before we crash.
If you haven't already seen the footage on the CTV website it should be up here in a day or two. Been a crazy couple of days and now time to heal up and relax. I want to Thank (Mayor)Nathan Anderson for being extremely cool under the circumstances and keeping us more than just alive through the incident. I am forever greatful for our particular outcome and there is only a handful of people I know who I would go through that with again if I had to (and might). I am looking forward to writing about it in depth and sharing as much of the experience as I can. Have a great weekend!
As many of you know now, Mayor Nathan and I were in a serious Aircraft crash this morning. We are both doing fine and happy to have walked away from it mostly intact. We had not even been off the ground for a minute before we hit a dead space of air or down draft but I was smart enough to turn my HERO cam on and I have hi-def footage of the whole incident. I will post it as soon as I can. Stay tuned.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
On Saturday Jordan and I finally got out to Wasootch Tower to climb the North Ridge. We have both wanted to climb this Kananaskis obscurity for some time and although the weather looked sketchy, we drove out to hit it.
We started later in the morning thinking that it is generally a shorter day climb but that isn't necessarily how it went. The approach we took was the North scree-slope as I felt it was safer than the blocky crap I had scrambled in the NW drainage a few weeks earlier. It only took an hour and we were at the treeline where it meets up with the first ramp. The first few pitches were pretty straight forward as most of the lower climb matched up with one of the only topos available on the web. Once we got to the top of what we eventually found was pitch 3, we started to wonder about the route description on this topo. Using the guide, Jordan lead across a wide gully to a small cliff band with only two meager pieces of pro (one being a fir tree - we used a lot of trees on this route). Once we were both at the 4th (what should have been the 4th) belay I decided Jordan should lead as I wasn't sure we were on route and I wanted to know where I was going before I lead another pitch.
Jordan started out the 5th pitch fine but after he climbed up and out of site, his rope stopped moving and I figured I only had let out about 20 meters (not enough to get to another belay station). 30 minutes later the rope starter to play up the rock but then stopped. Then the 5 meters that had earlier gone up came back down, then 10 meters went up, then 5 meters down, then only the blue half went up... I yelled up to see if Jordan was ok and got a frustrated response. Apparently the area Jordan was in had no place to put in protection and could not find the route to a belay. 20 minutes later the blue half ran right out and I had to ask Jordan for an update and give him the news that he was out of rope length. An hour after Jordan had left the belay, I heard the best news; he yelled down that he had found the belay and was ready to bring me up.
Now this might sound like the makings for a potential epic but in reality Jordan did an amazing job. The topo description is severely lacking and the route is nothing but blocky-loose crap. The perfect definition of "Rockies Choss". This section is like the Bermuda Triangle of routes and in reality you could wander around up there for hours before finding the next belay.
After the setback we moved back into the ridge as the clouds cleared and gave us a sunny blue (but extremely gusty) backdrop to our evening finish. The last pitch had some fun moves on it and after all that loose choss I felt like I was far more deliberate with where I placed my feet and used my hands. Over all, as shitty as the rock was on most of the route, I had an exhilarating day and would definitely climb it again. Just not anytime soon!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Well tonight was perfect. This thunderstorm started to develop around 11am and had warnings on it by noon. Perfect conditions. We got out later in the evening and drove north to Olds were we met with fellow storm chaser Tremaine Lea on the highway. Sounds like Joe Vonesch got pummeled by hail but he did get a shot of a small twister coming down in Sundre. I got this shot between Olds and Sundre at the very end of our chase. The patterns were amazing and if you look, they come right down within 100 feet of the ground. Awesome!
Monday, July 4, 2011
Have been busy lately and not really sure what with. There seems to be an awfully lot to do but not a lot of real work. Tonight was more of the same and was stuck downstairs in the office when I took a break and came upstairs to look at the sky. I could see this great Thunder Storm to the NW and saw one lightning strike. I had to go out to see if I could catch a strike with my new intervelometer. I think I caught a couple of good ones (unfortunately the focus went soft so these will not make it to print). Saw that plane flying around the base of the storm as well. Man I'd love to try that.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Paul's video clip can also be see at this youtube link:
Thanks again to my bro Stefan Dalberg (Speed Specialists) and Paul and Meg for coming out.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Can you believe this is right in Crossfield? Yes it is, it is the pond just off of Limit Ave. I had just posted on my last blog tonight about storm chasing but had to go back out to catch the dramatic skies. And this spot is only 100 meters from my house. Love this place.
By the way, any image you see on this blog is available in a fine art print.
I was leaving the Farmers market tonight with the kids when we looked up to see this big beastie. Drove out to Limit Ave and watched it until the lightning got too close. Really great shapes and swirling patterns. Not long after this the wall of clouds in front of it to the east created a few cones. I'd be surprised if we didn't get a tornado this year.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
This week I have been in the Bow Valley with a fairly new climber from BC. Richard is out here this week to speak to our church and has just taken a pastoral position in Kelowna after a couple of years in East Africa.
It has been great to get out and show Richard a few things, tour around the Valley, do some new climbs and watch him lead a few pitches for the first time. Yesterday was amazing as the day finished with an airy 4 pitches on Hi-lite on Kid Goat Crag. The past two days have also been a bit of a refresher and I can feel the confidence and focus coming back to my climbing. Two great days on the crags in the sun in the Bow Valley, Can't say much more.
Friday, June 17, 2011
click on image for larger version
Tonight I went out with the family after dinner to set up to photograph a potential storm. The great things was we found a textbook version of a perfectly formed (although small) Thunderstorm and when it merged with a second one they caused a funnel that didn't quite make it to the ground. Once the show was over my wife commented on the rainbow formed by the remainder of the storm. I was not concerned with it as I have seen many but I have to give her credit, she has an eye for design. I decided to pay attention and once I started shooting, I knew I had some cool images. It was good to have her "fresh eyes" along for the ride.
Last month I had a few assignments for AirdrieLIFE magazine. One of the assignments was to photograph and get an editorial portrait of championship chuck wagon driver - Jim Nevada. I just like this shot for its pure simplicity. I had the idea in my head and in 5 minutes Jim was out of his work clothes and into something clean and casual. Jim (obviously the rodeo guy) is down to earth, hard working and willing to give me 30 minutes for the article. These are the kind of assignments I like.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Yesterday I scrambled and soloed a part of Wasootch Tower in order to get a good idea of what it is like. I am playing host to a climber coming out from BC and I was hoping to do a few semi-alpine / climbing routes while he is out here.
I made pretty good time as I was able to just break one hour from the parking lot to the NW arete above the treeline. I started in the main drainage but the rock down low is so blocky and dirty it was like scrambling up some sick pile of "Jenga". If you have ever heard of this game in the 90's, you would understand how crappy the scrambling is. I decided to move left over the arete down low and on to the outer scree slope in the trees. Still very steep but moving was safer and faster.
I had lunch at the shoulder (just below top of the first pitch) and enjoyed the view and stillness for an hour before I started back down. I did get a closer look at the route and as exposed as it is up high, I think it should be a lot of fun and go-off like a classic. Looking forward to coming back.
Friday, June 10, 2011
This morning I again got out with a small group of landscape photographers led by Paul Zizka and met up at Lorette Ponds in Kananaskis. Paul has brought this group together as a chance to work with other photographers and motivate everyone to get out at the best times of the day in beautiful environments. This morning was nice, the sky was a little bare but the low angled light really lit up the trees for this shot. Definitely worth getting out and always great to connect with other photographers (even if it was at 5am....)
Monday, June 6, 2011
Here is one of the POV videos from my HERO cam mounted to my chest during the first run on a flaming propane training device at my S800 Practical test. For the drill, there are 4 of us on nozzles with each nozzle-man backed up by another FF. The two FF in the middle are attack while the two on the outside are safety. There is a leader in the center who is controlling the pace and guiding the line line of FF's towards the blaze. This creates a wall of water that forces the flames back and allows the leader to get close enough to shut-off the valve.
00:40 - tree is lit. From 30' I can feel the radiation inside my mask.
01:26 - Leader begins the tap-step-step (every tap on the shoulder)
01:34 - Leader asks for a 30 degree flow (I am wondering if I am melting the camera here)
02:06 - Leader asks for a 60 degree flow pattern
02:18 - Full fog
03:10 - I am now 6" away from the propane tree, gas valve gets turned off.
03:45 - I let out a yell of excitement! This is very cool.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
This morning Jordan and I headed out to Kid Goat near Yamnuska to test out my new rigging line and a few other rope techniques. Jordan is a recent addition to the Calgary area, coming from the States he has a lot of experience on big walls. We thought we would get rained out but once we started the long hike up and around the top of Kid Goat Bluff, the weather got a little nicer.
There was another party with several climbers on the wall (Barry Blanchard rapping in the green jacket) obviously being guided so we stayed off to climbers-right so as not to rain any debris down on their heads. We fixed a couple of stations along the 100m of rope and just worked out a simple but safe setup for me to use while photographing other climbers. I think I am just about there, it was a lot of fun and it is a good system for some future work.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Maybe it's alright to be between the prairies and the mountains. This is such a beautiful area especially now that it has greened up. Even being as busy I am, I am still getting out and shooting a lot, I am loving the frequency of it.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
In the Afternoon I hit Heart Creek to hook up with climbers Brad Warne and Jordan Ramey to do a little early season sport climbing. I spent about 2 hours moving comfortably across the second pitch of the slabs while Brad and Jordan worked their way across. The sun was pretty harsh until we got a few breaks of clouds and the light was a little less contrasted and I could include the belayer in the shots. I am hoping my folding boom will be done soon and I can get myself another 6 feet out from the rock to get another good point of view. A good friend of mine is designing and fabricating a folding rig that can attach to a pack, and is super light so it's not such a cluster to bring climbing. Can't wait.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Tonight Scott Henderson and I raced out to Wasootch to get a few warm-up pitches in and get a feel back for the rock. Scott and I had never climbed before and this was the first time in ten years for Scott to be on trad so it was fairly easy climbing.
It really just feels good to be leading on gear again and having my head in the right place. I also tested out a bag and lanyard system that I can use while on route. Simple and clean and fast felt good tonight and no real clusters at the hanging belays. A few more times out and I'll have the pro body and good lenses for photographing and not worry about managing them.