Saturday, February 18, 2012

10,000 | Adventure Lifestyle Photographer

click the image for a larger view.

They say that to truly be proficient at something you need to do it 10,000 times or for 10,000 hours. Well today I filled up a few high-capacity memory cards in my camera running around shooting action sports and some more night photography. It feels so good to be able to shoot so much and learning something new everyday. I'm not worried about getting to 10,000 just yet as it is just so much fun on my way there.

This shot was one of my frames that was captured while the camera was set on auto-pilot out in a field just west of town. I am experimenting with an 8mm fisheye lens and although it might break some rules, I kind of like this shot.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cold And Dry

(click image for a better view)

Yep, not going to lie to you. Just in case you live anywhere but in Southern Alberta, you should know we may be in for one inconveniently timed dump of snow here before the winters up but that would be about all we got this year. I drove 326 km's this evening in the Eastern part of the province scouting locations and all I saw was dirt. Looking like its going to be a super-dry summer. And even the sky was bare with not one cloud. Makes for boring landscape images so I drove to the top of a hill near Keiver's lake Alberta and found this lone tree. Waited about 10 minutes to shoot directly into the Sun as it went down somewhere's near Bow Summit (aah, that was a nice trip).

Have a good week!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Perfect Day | Adventure Lifestyle Photographer

Paul Zizka and Meghan Ward make their way up the canyon with Vulture Peak in the distance.
(click for a larger version)

What is your perfect day? For me the perfect day begins when the constant drone of daily life is overtaken by an acute focus of the job at hand. Thoughts and ideas in my working memory begin to line up as the door to my prefontal cortex narrows and allows for singular chunks of information only. Muscle reaction throughout my body falls into a steady rhythm, a lumbering clock filled with escapements all working in mechanical unison to propel this pack-laden skier as he skins up the creek bed.

My thoughts are linear but still stream from the environment, looking around to admire the beauty and the danger all at the same time. Somewhere in a back room in my mind there is the chorus from a song playing over and over. The song is "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys and although it is just a repeating fraction of the track, it's not the worst "Ear-Worm" I've ever had. Inhale, thought, [....ahhh, can't stand it], exhale, thought, [...I know ya planned it...], inhale, thought, [...I'm gonna set it straight...], exhale, thought, [...this watergate...], inhale.... - the process continues and reruns while my body tries to keep up with the O2 and blood sugar pig that my brain has happily become. My body has become the autonomous machine moving independently as long as the brain gets to chill in its didactic state.

You see this is the deal between my brain and my body. When I am in the mountains and taxing myself with high output activities like hiking or skiing with a large pack, I get to enjoy the experience in it's purest form. I don't have the circulatory budget to think about anything more than what is happening around me and a short buffer of what lies ahead. There is no where else I need to be right now and any stress or issues I had will have to wait until I get back (that is if they decided to even wait for me while I was gone). This purity is one of the most compelling reasons why I continue to play and work in the Rockies. Moving out here in the mountains, pushing myself and taking a few risks is one of the most efficient forms of personal growth and healing for me. And as much as it sounds like work or masochistic behaviour, Anyone who has been here will tell you that this is, "the perfect day".

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Perception | Adventure Lifestyle Photographer

Three climbers skinning up towards St. Nicholas Peak on the Bow Glacier.
(click for larger view)

What do you see as you go about your day? Better question still, how far can you see? Is it the four walls of your home or job? Is it the end of your street or the horizon from the town in which you live? Or do you see farther?

Do you get to the mountains or some of the taller buildings here in Alberta and see things from hight or a good vantage point? Sometimes just changing your "optical" point of view can allow you to reset your concious point of view and restore your grip on reality. I say reality as I have in previous posts because when you get up here among the giants you start to remember that your life is relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

As I stood high above the Bow Glacier looking out across to St. Nicholas Peak I couldn't help think about what was really important to me and how grateful I was to be here. I was again reminded that the stress of work doesn't matter, the things I considered urgent doesn't matter, and whether things will work out in the future doesn't matter. What mattered to me at this point was my relationship with my family and dear friends that I share time with; What mattered to me was contributing positive energy to those I work and surround myself with; And what mattered to me was that I take this point of view and hold on to it for as long as I can until the next chance I get to stand among these giants for a renewed perception.

I am standing about 500' vertical feet above the toe of the glacier (about 8500'), the air is perfectly still and warm like a late spring day. There is no sound and the vast snow and rock landscape stretches out for miles in every direction. I feel connected and energized as if I am plugged into some source only found in the peaks and atmosphere closer to the sun. My body is at rest and I am calm as my spirit begins to recharge. I turn to look across at St. Nicholas and see the climbers skinning up the glacier and my heart releases just a touch of adrenaline. Like them I have worked to get to this place and will allow myself to experience the sensation and gratitude that our Canadian landscape continues to provide.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Magic | Canadian Adventure Photographer

Moonlit night above Bow Hut - Wapta Icefield

This weekend I had the opportunity to join Paul Zizka and Meghan Ward (and later, Dan Evans) for a two day trip up to the Wapta Icefield for some skiing and great photography. The weekend was magic to say the least. Both Saturday and Sunday were perfectly clear and temps up on the Glacier had to be near plus 10 degrees. Very little wind and sunny days made for some great skiing and amazing images.

Paul, Meg and Dan skied to Mt. Rhondda on Sunday morning while I climbed up above the Bow Hut to the top of the "Onion", a rock outcropping that looked across the Wapta. I spent two hours shooting the crew from up high and getting panoramics and some landscape stills. Out there alone in such a vast area, no where to be and doing what I love, was good for my soul.

The above shot is one of the frames from the night session Paul and I did on our last night. This was the first time we saw any clouds and with the bright moon, you could see everything around and above the Bow Hut. More to come in the next few days.