Back in late November of 2015, we travelled to Mexico as part of a wedding party, a friend of mine also decided to match his vacation with ours and ended up coming as well. It was awesome. Spending time together, the group of us had a wonderful time relaxing and doing some exploring in town and visiting nearby sights. It sure was beautiful...
I've written about my love of camping before, and looking back on 2015, nothing has changed: the friends, adventures, cold beer, good food, hiking and lack of cell phone signals and internet, really makes it special. Getting out into nature, it's important, and I always come back full of great memories and new ideas.
We had a few trips, including a film photographer meet-up, people from across parts of Canada and the US, some from as far as LA! It was quite special for me to have this little event for about 10 people, getting to meet everyone in person and enjoy that time together, was really great. A few days after the meet-up, a very large forest fire had started and shut down parts of the parks, lucky timing for us I guess. Also lucky was having another camping trip planned a few weeks later, and we actually got to explore deep into the burned down forest. It's a massive area, and we decided to go off the path and check it out, I'm glad we did, it was an endless expanse of deep ash and burnt black trees swaying in the wind, absolute silence - it was incredible.
I look forward to much more of this in 2016. Our trips are already booked!
For me photography is a lot like therapy, or at least I imagine it that way sometimes. A photo, or series of photos is first an idea, then a plan, then the work of taking the photo, getting there, using cameras, etc., then it's waiting, developing, waiting, scanning, observing, judging... deciding, and finally overview. I try not to really think about those steps much, and truthfully it just feels organic now, there is tension there at times... was it good? Did it turn out? There can be fear, that nervous energy at times. It's finally therapeutic when you've learned something, been let down, or perhaps pleasantly surprised... no matter what, it feels deeply introspective. After all, this is for me, really. You can spend so much time thinking, working and feeling your way through a photograph, and then it's all over, all done. Start over, learn something new, grow, move on.
I wish I could say it's always good, the truth is... it isn't. I get stressed out, I get really fed up with myself, I go through periods of doubt and often feel distant, but I always seem to come back. It's a messy world out there...
New things, new people. One of my favourite aspects about being a photographer is meeting people who are passionate about what they do, the art they make and the life they live. I met Ryan while he was on tour with The Used, coming through Calgary and Edmonton of all places. Spent the afternoon walking around, taking photos and then went to the show later that night - it was a lot of fun.
A last minute trip down the Dave Thompson highway, near Crescent Falls, with a bunch of friends. Probably the most fun I've had in years. Big cookouts, swimming in freezing cold (but beautiful) lakes that we seemed to have to ourselves that trip, and long nights laughing and telling stories around the campfire. Can't wait to go back.
I spend a lot of time searching, looking... driving around trying to find new places to shoot. I love the exploration aspect, and I often find myself burning away endless hours just looking far outside the city. I love it. This particular time really stayed with me, as I entered this decaying barn, I found three horses guarding a small horse skeleton. We watched each other for ten minutes until I decided to give them their space back, and left.
Camping has always been a big part of my life, spending long winters as a kid (and hell, even now more so) daydreaming about spring coming and camping during the warm summer months. Hiking, exploring, swimming, sitting around that campfire with loved ones, friends... it feels like not much else in life can make me feel as alive. Lucky to live only a few hours drive from Jasper National Park, a special place in my life. Escaping the hustle and bustle of city life, instant this and instant that, it feels really good to connect with what really matters.
Jill is a local photographer and friend, I went to visit her in her new studio and took a few portraits as we talked and checked it out. Lovely space there.