This Post is Not Good Enough

This feeling is predictable and it has very little to do with photography. It goes on: “I’ve already taken all my best shots. I might as well quit now. What’s the point of going out trying to get more photos? My photos aren’t that good anyway. And even if I do take good photos, why? Does anyone care? I’m not saving any lives, or improving anyone’s living conditions.”

In the morning light, my brain isn’t as critical as in the dead of night. I start developing some photos I missed from a trip last year, and I actually start to like them. I realize maybe I’m not horrible. But even on good days, the negatives linger in the back of my mind, waiting for their chance to work their way into my thoughts.

I think this is something a lot of people struggle with – regardless of their profession or hobby. Ignoring the negative thoughts sometimes works for a bit, just so I can be productive, but the problem is that they have an edge of truth. So then I have to take a step back, try to be objective, and decide whether I’m on the right track. Find the things that are good and true and believable.

I think adding to the beauty of the world is important, and I have the ability to do that. I might even be able to pique interest in the world around us. I think a sense of wonder and curiosity can make life immeasurably better. And even though this isn’t necessarily saving any lives, I think it adds to the net good of the world. And I’m satisfied with that.

A cedar forest in Pacific Rim National Park.
12mm, f4, 1/40 of a second


New (old) car. Check.

Trip to BC. Check.

Time to make this site an interesting place to visit again. Check.

Expect more soon. 🙂

(The two photos are from a foggy road near the North Thompson River – 20mm,f9,1/160 of a second – and on the beach at night near Tofino – 17mm,f4.5,10 seconds)

Learning to Sport Climb

I just got back from learning to sport climb near Canmore. Despite the rainy forecast we actually got a fair bit of nice weather and had a great time! We climbed near Grassi Lakes, Heart Creek, and Wasootch. I can’t wait to get out again and try some lead climbing, as well as some more creative photography. It’s hard to concentrate on photography while I’m learning another thing entirely, but as I get more comfortable with climbing the quality of the photos should go up. Which probably means I should go to the climbing gym, but that’s not nearly as fun as climbing outdoors. Here are a few photos I did manage to get on our trip.

Being belayed down after a successful climb.

Reg belaying as Seb leads one of the routes near Grassi Lakes.

Mike climbing near Grassi.

Seb rappelling down after cleaning the route.

Enjoying a snack break.

Eating Cheaply on the Road

Not eating sandwiches, also — backpacking, not roadtripping
Olympus E-620 with 12-60 lens
48mm, F8, 1/1600 of a second

Sandwiches. This post could be that single word. But I’ll elaborate.

I go on road trips regularly, and I don’t have a lot of money. So I’ve had a lot of time to perfect this.

When I’m on a road trip I don’t want to spend lots of time eating — there’s much to see and places to go. Energy bars are quick, but they’re dry and not exactly a meal. Jerky tastes good every once in a while. Yogurt, fruit and fruit cups are great, but they’re not meals either. Lipton packs or other quick pasta packs are a hearty meal and taste good, but they require finding an appropriate place to set up a stove and a fair bit of time. Backpacker’s pantry and other add-water type meals are alright, but they’re outrageously expensive, and they still require that you get out a stove to boil water. At least you don’t need to wash dishes afterwards. And fast food, while convenient and occasionally yummy, is unhealthy, expensive, and requires you to be in a decent sized town when you’re hungry.

Sandwiches, however, are perfect. Every small town has a grocery store where you can pick up bread, cheese, mayo or miracle whip, and veggies (I like tomatoes and cucumbers). Generally, you can pick up enough for quite a few meals for not much money.

You can make sandwiches with very little preparation. A knife (and maybe a plate) is all that’s required. They only take a couple minutes to assemble, and they’re much healthier than fast-food. Clean-up afterward only requires wiping off the knife.

One little caveat. Sandwiches are great for road trips where you have a cooler — in summer it keeps everything cool, and in winter it keeps things from freezing. For backpacking, I’d worry about the mayo or miracle whip going bad. If anyone has suggestions for how to avoid this, that would be amazing. I’d leave out the spread, but then the sandwiches would be quite dry, and I can’t stand that. But when I’m backpacking I usually don’t mind taking longer to make a meal, and the Lipton packs are great for that.

Sleeping by the Tracks

Sometimes on roadtrips it can be hard to find a quiet place to sleep. My trip to BC was quite the opposite — there seem to be old abandoned logging roads branching off every few kilometers. This was my home for one night on the way back from BC. The train went by once in the night and woke me up, but I love the sound of trains, and it lulled me back to sleep with dreams of far off destinations.

On a related note, I’m sad to be parting with my old Ford Escort wagon, which has been my home on many a road trip. The transmission went, and it’s an old car, and not worth repairing. I’m now on the hunt for another cheap, old, reliable vehicle that can haul my photos and display to shows, and that can sleep two.

Trip Turbulence

Thunderstorm in southern Saskatchewan. This is one reason I love the prairies.

Anna and I just got back from Manitoba where we were visiting family. Family trips are not exactly conducive to photography, especially when they are rushed, but I managed to take a few photos. I’m almost looking forward to winter, when everything can slow down a bit, and I get a chance to go through my photos.

Keeping Warm on a Cold March Day

Here’s a warm sunrise from Barbados. I suggest ignoring the frost on your windows and the snowstorm outside, and for just a few short moments drinking in the sunlight streaming through your monitor from this tropical isle.

I was going through some photos from our Barbados trip trying to stay warm and secure in the belief that there is a sun and it is warm.

The X Composition

Just a quick photo today—I’ll continue the account of my trip tomorrow. Ice and snow on Abraham Lake.

For the record, I’ve never heard of an X composition, and intuitively it doesn’t seen like it would work to me. But for some reason I like this photo.

Quick Pics Between Trips

Editing photos right after a trip has always been a challenge for me. I find it hard to judge whether my photos are good or not because I’m usually judging my memory of the place rather than the photo. After a few months I find I can be more objective. But a few months is a long time to wait for photos. Sometimes whole trips get forgotten.

So here’s me trying to do quick edits. I still gave myself a few days, but I wanted to get these up before I leave on my next trip (actually in a few hours) and this last one is forgotten. These are from just east of Jasper National Park.

Anna in Ogre Canyon near Brule

Icicles hanging from a cutaway

Spruce trees near Cadomin

Evening light on the river

An old abandoned railway