2018 was a great year for me pushing my boundaries and comfort zones and for the first year tackling running a photography business as my main source of income. That involved commercial, portrait, and family photo shoots, landscape photography workshops – both leading and assisting, guiding, selling prints & gift cards, writing articles, being published in several magazines and licensing stock. It’s been a bit daunting and continues to be but with that has come more freedom and growth.
I owe a lot to my partner for the support. She’s behind me all the way, is my solid second opinion & even joins me on crazy plans like last night to photograph the Quadrantid meteor shower on an icy lake in high wind beneath Yamnuska! I think I saw 3 meteors and she saw 8 as I fiddled with two camera set ups and came away with zero good photos – but it’s not always about the photos – enjoying the process is really important. You need to tell yourself that when you fall on your face on an icy lake searching for mythical methane bubbles in a white out anyway – another moment fresh in the memory from a young 2019 (Just leave the ice cleats in the car he said).
Below are my 10 favorite images of 2018 where things worked out but there was so much more than just this set that I enjoyed about the year like the images I made in Patagonia which didn’t make the cut or images from Iceland which I haven’t edited yet. The mantra I sometimes hear of just sharing your best work, curating and coveting a tight set of images, is restrictive and creates unnecessary pressure. My advice for your photography (which I also try to follow); Stay positive, let loose, make mistakes, share your passion, creativity and uniqueness where time allows and you will improve quickly along the way. All the best to you in 2019!
Recent travels in Tasmania had me undertaking a ten day adventure through the Eastern Arthur Range in the World Heritage listed South-West National Park.
From the range you are extremely far from anything, with wilderness in all directions as far as the eye can see. It’s quite astonishing in today’s age for any place, let alone a tiny island, to have so much inaccessibility, fresh air, and freedom. The Eastern Arthur Range to me is true wilderness – vast, untouched, difficult to access, and incredibly inspiring. I grew up close by with a poster of Federation Peak hanging up on my bedroom wall and for many years I told myself: “one day!” Tasmania is where my love of nature and the outdoors began. Now an adult, engaging with the wilderness through photography has been my way to appreciate it on a deeper level.
Federation Peak’s 1224m summit block takes in the last sunshine of the day as the fog consumes the Eastern Arthur Range, South-West National Park, Tasmania
From day one on the trail I had plenty of time to contemplate, relax, reset, and adjust my body-clock from the ever-increasing pace of today’s world. I was disconnected, yet somehow I was more content, connected and self-aware than ever. Today’s world is a place where striving to be first, best, or different are prized for monetary gain and the ego’s desire for attention, fame, and notoriety. These superficial things are quickly put into perspective and forgotten when you watch a massive cloud bank consume the Eastern Arthurs at sunset – enveloping everything except Federation Peak – which is the central focus of the range; or when a wedge-tailed eagle circles you to within ten metres on The Devil’s Thumb – not once, but twice, enabling eye-contact and the taking of each other’s measure; or when marveling at millions of stars reflected in Hanging Lake on a rare calm, clear night; and then when you encounter an elusive, endangered tiger quoll on the trail who appears completely unfazed by your presence. If you want stress relief I recommend you strap on a backpack and head into the South West wilderness. But be prepared – life is simplified, yet risks are amplified. Your daily challenges will include crossing rivers and negotiating quagmires of mud as well as trusting your life to protruding tree roots whose reliability is entirely questionable. This kind of adventure is character-building, but perhaps that is what is needed in this day and age when we are constantly encouraged to seek security and minimize risk.
Federation Peak appears as an apparition set against the morning mist and fog, South-West National Park, Tasmania
Eucalyptus trees cling to the cliffs on Moss Ridge, South-West National Park, Tasmania
Federation Peak at sunset piercing through the fog bank viewed from the top of ‘The Dial’, South-West National Park, Tasmania
Sadly, the value of wilderness is not understood by the majority, and it is disappearing at a rapid rate across the world for short-term and short-sighted gains. Here in my birthplace, maintaining the integrity of the Tarkine in the North West is currently the hot topic and back home in the Canadian Rockies logging is controversially creeping into the nearby foothills. This time, on my return to Tasmania, I discover that a new track is being proposed through pristine forest to the shores of Lake Geeves, nestled right under the nose of Federation Peak, which would further encroach on (and surely diminish) the wilderness value of the World Heritage listed Eastern Arthur Range.
Lake Geeves receives very little sunlight nestled at the base of Federation Peak’s South face, South-West National Park, Tasmania
Wilderness is vitally important for the maintenance of ecological diversity. The unique structure, size, and maturity of old-growth forest in wilderness provides habitat for a wide range of organisms. Undisturbed wilderness maintains and sustains organisms ranging from the microscopic to large birds, mammals, and reptiles. Old trees die and fall, creating further niche habitats, while other organisms benefit from ground cover, grasses, mosses, and lichens. Of added biological and ecological benefit is the old-growth forest’s capacity to retain moisture. Old-growth forest is one of the few land features that produce topsoil instead of degrading or destroying it. Wilderness also has an important role in water and air purification cycles. Along with its ecological and conservation value, wilderness plays a significant role in mitigating the causes of climate change because it is identified as an important carbon sink whereby plants grab and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthesis. Current estimates suggest that globally, old-growth forests store nearly 300 billion tons of carbon in their living parts, or roughly 30 times the annual amount of emissions created by burning fossil fuels 1.. Knowing this it is unfathomable to me that these wild places are not given the respect they are due, so that they are protected and preserved for posterity.
The Boiler Plates, the gateway to the Eastern Arthur traverse, South-West National Park, Tasmania
Old-growth forest in the South Picton Saddle along the Farmhouse Creek track, South-West National Park, Tasmania
Federation Peak in harmony with the milky-way galaxy, South-West National Park, Tasmania
Recently social media has been criticized for the popularization of many outdoor locations which have increased the desire to go there and take a selfie or to ‘do it for the gram’, resulting in increased track erosion and the degradation of the surrounding environment. Our increasing population and the relative ease with which we are able to travel the world today, along with increased access to information via the internet, is compounding the problem. If increasing popularity could lead to increased respect, protection, and preservation, through education and the understanding of the importance of wilderness, then we might be able to attain a healthy balance. The situation is dire for the remaining tracts of wilderness which are still not seen for their intrinsic value by governments, corporations, and the individual hell-bent on attention by increasing a social media following. Instead these havens are seen only for their potential yield, future profit, and personal gain. Surely these places should remain intact for future generations to appreciate and experience respectfully – should they choose to take up the challenge, accept the risk, and strap on that backpack. The experiencing of true wilderness is like nothing else, and it is an experience that can’t be manufactured. It will no longer be available to us, or to the generations to come, unless there is a change in the way we view, and move through, our wild places.
Returning to civilization I found that the trip had been incredibly beneficial as I had been able to reflect, re-align my priorities and way of thinking, even if ever-so-slightly, for the better. I had recharged. And, I had fulfilled my childhood dream of witnessing Federation Peak up close, closing one chapter but turning the page to open up yet another. “I wonder what the view is like from over there?” I thought as I looked across at Precipitous Bluff from the top of Federation Peak. The next time I return to Tasmania and the wilderness is calling that might just be where I end up.
Precipitous Bluff, affectionately known as “PB”, is another committing and wild destination in Tasmania’s South-West National Park
‘Future Directions – the Role of Old-Growth Forests in Carbon Sequestration’, by Geoffrey Craggs, JP, Research Analyst, Northern Australia and Land Care.
My favourite 10 images that I took during 2016 (click on each one for a closer look);
Sunset at Mt Assiniboine, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
Moon halo at Little Tunnel on the KVR railway, Naramata, British Columbia, Canada
Light rays and waterfall in Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Self portrait on a foggy night at Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
The Valley of the 10 peaks filled with morning light from the top of Eiffel Peak, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
The aurora borealis flys South towards Mt Lougheed from the summit of Windtower, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada
Moonlit peaks on Canada Day in Upper Larch Valley, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Sunset from the summit of Mt Schaffer, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
The milky way reflects in Lake Magog underneath Mt Assiniboine, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
Sunrise on top of Yamnuska after fresh snowfall, Alberta, Canada
and the “B” side images;
Rock markings at Numa Falls, Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada
Water flow around crystal ice on Diamond Beach, Iceland
Light pillars forming in the sky above Mt Rundle & the town of Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Mountain uplifts from the summit of Big Sister, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada
The milky way and Mt Assiniboine reflect in an evaporating pool, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
Nearing the top of Wasatch Peak as sunrise lights up the 10 peaks, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Splintered shale and a receding glacial valley on the Whaleback, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
A lone tree stands on a steep glacial moraine at the back of Chephren Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Menacing icicles near the false summit of Observation Peak with Peyto Lake down below, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Admiring the size of Wallingford Back mine on a winter’s night, Quebec
and some “C”s…..I had a really fun year!
Kayaking in front of the Des Polius glacial headwall, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
Ice melt and a spring storm at Eiffel Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Juxtaposing a ponderosa pine tree trunk with Layer Cake Mountain, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
The Canmore hoodoos at night with Mt Rundle behind, Bow Valley, Alberta, Canada
A moonlit figure on Okanagan Lake, Ellison Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
A full rainbow encompasses Mt Rundle at Vermilion Lakes, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Wild weather engulfs Mt Temple viewed from the summit of Shoel Mountain, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
A spooky night in the shadows at Wood Lake, Lake Country, British Columbia, Canada
Fall on the retreat up on the Moraine Lake beehive, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Serving wine and cheese on the Tower of Babel above Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
So it was a big year, we finally moved to Canmore to make our home in the Canadian Rockies! Once there I managed to climb 51 separate mountains in the next 8 months to finish off the year. My goal was my age in peaks for the year so I was happy to achieve that when I hit 33 peaks with Mt St Nicholas in Banff National Park but going up mountains has so many positive effects that I kept at it right until year’s end. Bring on 34+ peaks in 2017! I was also fortunate to be invited to help on a few of Will Patino’s photography workshops, both here in Canada and also over in Iceland which i’m so grateful for as It opened me up to new friends and experiences that I had never imagined. I still have to process a lot of the Iceland images. I’m really looking forward to creating even more unique images next year and to continuing to take steps to build a happy and fulfilling life.
My favourite 10 images that I took during 2015 (click on each one for more details);
In 2015 I have worked on photography as much as possible. It has in some way shape or form been present in every spare waking moment that ive had! Ive been lucky to have this time for it but am always left wishing there was more. I managed to do many things im proud of and becoming a Permanent Resident of Canada was one of those. It helped me be able to move forward with more purpose knowing that im here to stay….8 years on temporary permits was great for travel and flexibility but not if you wish to start something. The most exciting part of the year was traveling alone to the Yukon Territory for 2 weeks to backpack & photograph Tombstone Territorial Park. Nothing beats being immersed in nature, with a close second photographing it with intention to hopefully come away with a ripping shot or two.