One of the positive effects of the COVID-19 response for many folks has been the opportunity to reflect and evaluate their lives and spend some time working on unrealized goals and projects. Reflections 2020 is the product of this time and while I am pretty happy with the result, it opened up more doors than it closed.
I found, scanned and digitally remastered some of my earliest images (including what I believe to be my first from 1965!) and compiled them into an 80 page collection. Reflections 2020 represents what I consider to be my most significant images. Many represent journeys of discovery – travel and wildlife. Some represent my exploration of techniques and artistic expression. And others represent challenges or transitions in my photographic journey – portraits.
One of the doors that this project opened is that of creative writing. I have never had the discipline to work consistently on any one creative writing project so have a vast number of disjointed thoughts and ramblings in notebooks, journals and digital media. Available time is always a factor and a handy excuse for not creating or finishing things. Now that many of the limitations imposed by COVID are being reduced, time and energy will certainly be at a premium again. I have set myself a goal of selecting images from this collection and writing about them and what they mean to me. I thought about one a day but decided that was unrealistic so settled on trying to do at least two a week. Let’s see how it goes.
In the meantime, the book went off to be printed yesterday so will see how it looks. One copy for now. I’ll let you know when it comes, how it looks and maybe you can come by the Gallery to have a look for yourselves.
This 6th edition of my Charity Calendar features images from all over the world that share a common theme of being es•capes. I have had the great fortune of being able to travel extensively and make photographs to my heart’s content. Like most photographers I thoroughly enjoy sharing the fruits of my efforts. My calendars have the added advantage of providing me with a way to raise funds for worthwhile charities and causes. As with previous years, all profits from this calendar will be donated to causes that are close to my heart for one reason or another. Past recipients have included communities in Cambodia and Nicaragua, wildlife organizations in Canada, medical research groups and even some individuals who have been affected by tragedy or undue hardships. This last year has been one of great change for Jayne and I. Perhaps the biggest change is the opening of The Heart of Edson Gallery and Studio here in Edson. A labour of love to provide a place for local artists to display and promote their work. I mention this here because it means that 5% of the $20 sale price of the calendar will go to our least favourite charity. The good news is, however, that I have been able to secure a very reasonable rate on printing. I expect that when all is said and done, a little over $10 from each calendar sale will go to charity! Please enjoy the images in this year’s calendar and take some satisfaction knowing that you are also supporting some worthy causes.
A little bit about the title…
Escape is an interesting word, perhaps the one with the most varied meanings when searched in online dictionaries. According to vocabulary.com: “It’s hard to pin down the word escape. An escape can be the act of escaping, like an escape from prison, but an escape can also be a calming retreat, like a vacation that gets you away from the stress of everyday life. As a verb, escape also means, “to fail to experience or know.” If the humor escapes you, you don’t find the joke funny.” It is, however, appropriate for this body of my work. I have used a typical dictionary format to indicate the title of the calendar might have more than one meaning. I would loosely categorize all of the images in this calendar into two genres, landscape and travel. I break landscapes into sub-genres that include skyscapes, seascapes, icescapes, cloudscapes and others. I guess I could have called it x-scapes where x is variable but es•cape fits better because it applies to my photographic journey which often involves “removing oneself from a familiar environment, usually for pleasure or diversion”.*
Calendars are $20 each and are currently available at:
The Heart of Edson Gallery
Yellowhead Dental Centre
Can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of Ian and Michelle for their heart and soul on Saturday and Sunday riding in the 3oth Annual Leduc to Camrose MS Bike Ride as members of team SUS SCROFAS. Way to go guys – 176km over two days with day 2 into a pretty stiff head wind – all for a great cause. Between the three of us we raised just over $8,100 and the team raised over $36,000 so it was worth the sore butts and aching muscles to support the MS Society of Canada. If you are reading this post and would like to contribute you can still do so by clicking on the following links:
Donate to Michelle’s Ride
Donate to Ian’s Ride
Donate to Julian’s Ride
The 2019 edition of the ride was the sixth time around for Michelle and I, and the third time for Ian. The weather was the best I have ridden in to be sure, although the head wind was a little hard to take at times. Michelle was the Ironwoman of the team recovering from an early crash on Saturday morning that left her sore a bruised! But she does always ride better mad. On Sunday she spent more than her fair share of time breaking wind for us – and she led our small 3 person draught line also. Ian overcame some mechanical issues with his bike and his body but pulled through with some mental fortitude. None of us are looking forward to climbing stairs over the next few days that’s for sure.
On a slightly more serious note, best wishes to teammates Brian and Bobby for speedy recoveries from weekend incidents.
Once again team SUS SCROFAS is taking to the saddle in the Leduc to Camrose MS Bike ride to raise funds for the MS Society of Canada. ‘Because MS Bite…’ is the name of the image above which is a special edition print available only to folks who donate to the MS Ride in my name. The image is 5″ x 7″ and is matted to a finished size of 11″ x 14″ matching the images from previous years. A donation of $100 will get you a signed and matted print and a donation of $200 will get you a framed print ready to hang on your wall.
‘Because MS Bites…’ is the 6th special edition bear print I have made available to donors so don’t miss out on your chance to complete your collection or start a new one. Donations must be made to my ride, here: donate to Julian’s Ride . You’ll get a receipt from the MS Society and I’ll get your print to you so it’s a double win.
For more information on the ride please visit the ride webpage here: MS Ride Leduc to Camrose 2019.
Thanks to everyone for their support over the years.
Pretty excited on Friday afternoon. But not for the usual ‘here’s the weekend’ reason. The Back to Bearsics charity calendars arrived from the printer! I know, if I was so excited, why did it take me until today to post this? Simply too engrossed in projects at THE GALLERY. I have an extra hour this morning as daylight savings time has ended but my body didn’t get the memo. Enough of the BS though, what’s with the calendar?
This is my fifth charity calendar and it’s title is Back to Bearsics. A collection of black and white images of, you guessed it, bears. Grizzly bears (and Ice Grizzlies), polar bears, Kermode bears and even a few black bears. All profits from the sale of the calendar will be donated to charities and/or worthwhile causes. I will try to post the recipients over the course of the year and you can look for this information in the calendar section of this blog here.
The calendars are selling for $20 again (seems like an easy amount) although printing costs did go up a little ($1.00 per calendar) and I now have to factor in GST (almost $1.00 per calendar) which is calculated into the $20.00. The calendars will be available at several locations around Edson (and maybe a few spots further afield) and from Jayne or myself directly.
I hope you enjoy the images in the calendar and thank you (if you bought one) for your support. Here’s the cover…
This one’s not going to win any wildlife photography awards but it comes with an interesting story…
Early one morning in the wilds of Damaraland, near Palmwag, a group of intrepid Canadians (with one token Aussie and a Yank!) stealthily plied the backroads in search of wildlife to photograph. Having had little success after more than an hour and a half on the road (other than some nice landscape scenes) they stopped to admire and photograph a pied crow perched mockingly on a dead tree near the road. As we clicked a few images the crow cawed in our general direction causing us to focus our attentions on him even more. After a short while someone called out in earnest “cheetah”. This fellow had risen from the ground very near our truck and loped off into the woods probably angry that we had alerted his potential prey – purely speculation on my part. I was lucky enough to swing my camera around and catch a few frames of the sleek feline before he was gone. Looking back at the time stamps on the images, 5 seconds elapsed from the last image of the crow to when the cheetah disappeared from sight. It happened so fast that I could only keep my fingers crossed that any of the images might be actually be in focus at 600mm! At the time, I don’t think any of us were really worried about the images but we simply in awe with the encounter.
That’s wildlife photography at its best!
As the song says: “Somewhere over the rainbow…”
Here’s hoping for blue skies. And red sand. And cold beer. And nice light.
Not asking for much am I? Lucky has been getting into the spirit of things already. Sharing a meal at McDonalds in the Amsterdam airport and then a beer at the lounge. A long layover on the way from Edmonton to Windhoek with an eight hour time difference from home. It might be good to have the major time change over early but we’ll see how it plays out. Have a couple of days in Namibia before the workshop begins so should get acclimated nicely.
As many of these trips start out, I have good intentions of keeping information flowing on this blog. Most of the time I lose steam within a day or two – apologies. Either run out of energy, time or internet connectivity. We’ll have to see how things play out over here.
Well, actually it’s not unbearable, it’s unBearably 2018! My new charity calendar has arrived just in time for the Christmas retail season and it’s selling for $20 with all profits going to charity.
As the cover suggests, it contains 12 of my photographic images (13 if you count the cover) of Canadian wildlife that are not bears that I hope people will find pleasing enough to hang on their wall to support charity.
This is a quick post so I will not include details. I will update the Charity Calendar link above as soon as I get a chance. If, however, you see this and do want some more information, please leave a comment and I will get back to you.
The MS Bike Tours are annual fundraisers for the MS Society of Canada. I participated in the Leduc to Camrose ride for the first time in 2014 as part of team Sus Scrofas. We had a great ride and were very successful in our fundraising efforts for a very worthwhile cause. Last year we road again and had a better year fundraising. So we’re going to do it all over again this year hopefully with even better results! This is where I impose on everyone to consider making a donation to help make this possible. I am once again making a photograph available to donors – details below – to sweeten the pot as it were.
Spirit of the Ride
For every donation of $100.00 (or more) the donor will receive a special edition print of one of my recent spirit bear photographs entitled Spirit of the Ride. The prints are signed 5” x 7” fine art prints matted to a finished size of 11” x 14” and are ready to frame. Make a donation of $200.00 (or more) and I will include a high quality black metal frame with antireflective glass fully assembled and ready to hang. If you have any questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (780)723-2338.
For more information about MS, the Society, the fundraiser please go to the MS Society’s webpage. To donate you can either follow the favoured link on the right of this page or click here. If you want to take advantage of the offer above, the donation must be made to me as a participant.
Here are a few images from the Edson Photography Club outing last Saturday to the MacLeod River near Peers…
It is always a lot of fun creating images like these. On this occasion we were under a bridge which made for some interesting light traces as the sparks bounced from the concrete.