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Monday, August 22, 2011

Piercing Portraits

Here are a few samples from a new series I've been working on:

Glacier Fresh

A short hike to these turquoise lakes in the Kananaskis

Deceivingly inviting

A Few Reasons

From my new house in Calgary it is exactly 80.1km west to the Rocky Mountains, 134km east to the desert, and 334km to Glacier National Park in Montana. There are 6 ski resorts all within 4 hours of my home. I pay 4% gst, and never have to pay 12% tax on anything. My car insurance is half that of what it was in BC, along with my monthly mandatory health insurance. Dogs are allowed on transit, and the C-train is free in the city center. This city gets the most sunshine out of the year than any other city in Canada and has the most extensive urban pathway and bikeway network in North America. Some people were asking why I would move here....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Riots in the Streets of VanCity

Every Vancouverite knew in their hearts when they woke up on June 16th, 2011 that the end to the day would have one of two outcomes; We would either take the Stanley Cup and rejoice in one of the biggest parties on earth, or we would fall to a similar fate as in 1994, with a loss. Of course, once this seed was planted, there was no way the alcohol fuelled camaraderie would not turn volatile after the third Bruin puck went across the line.

As the tightly packed bars spewed into the streets, tensions raised - Canuck against Canuck in an all-out soar-loser-war. In the early minutes after the loss, fans climbed any surface they could. People were yelling chants from the tops of bus stops, stairways, light posts, anything they could climb, egging the bystanders on. A circle grew larger as the first signs of a riot started – a truck was rolled right over, belly up like a scared puppy. As we entered the scene, gas fumes chased us to a safe distance and in no time, the truck was ablaze. We watched and waited for an explosion, but this fire was somewhat anti-climactic. Crowds roared and cheered as the enormous black smoke cloud rose in the air.

We continued on through the sea of dejected fans towards the south side of the Public Library. Riot patrol loomed in the near distance as looters half-heartedly attacked the liquor store.

“We want booze!” they shouted. They had been cut off since four pm after all.

Young people threw what little they could find in feeble attempts to break the glass. Once patrol came within half a block’s reach however, people moved on, leaving all the booze and a mere broken window.
We continued onwards towards Richards street where numerous trash cans had been set on fire. There were very few activists, mostly iphone bystanders such as myself, catching the ridiculousness that large numbers can produce. At this point, large plumes of dumpster and car fires could be seen from various points throughout the city. Some businesses managed to stay open, for what reason? I’m still unclear. Large thuds and reverberations could be felt from tear gas being deployed somewhere not so far away. At this point, we decided we need not report any more since my only means of digital capture had ran out of battery. We headed towards Yaletown in hopes that something civil would still persist.

And just like that, we were out of the muck. Patios were still lively with yuppies, small dogs were still taking their nightly pees, and the air no longer smelled of burnt material. Besides the occasional roar of a helicopter overhead, it almost seemed as though no riot had even taken place. By 4am, the streets were nearly empty. Garbage collection had happened. Fires were put out. Although windows had been broken, very little was stolen from what we gathered. Although utterly ridiculous, this is an experience I’m
sure to never forget.


Monday, June 13, 2011

My Map

    Honduran Beach Photos


    These are some pictures of various Roatan beaches. Roatan is an island. It sits just off the coast of Honduras, which is just south of Mexico. It lies in the Carribbean, and is surrounded by the second largest reef after the Great Barrier Reef. You should check it out.

    Saturday, May 28, 2011

    Antique Shoot

    Here are a few proofs from my latest shoot as a photographer with Anna (the model) and Katie (the makeup artist)Katie has been going to makeup school for a while now; we just happen to be friends. We've been working on a few different series of beauty shots simply for porfolio building :)

    Goggle Series:


    Camera Series:



    Anna's portflio and contact can be found at http://www.modelmayhem.com/1468995

    Katie can be contacted by phone at 604-802-8794 or by email at katie94_94@hotmail.com 

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Silty Shoes - Trekking 'The Little Grand Canyon"

    Thirty kilometres, eleven river crossings, one campsite and approximately sixteen hours later we finally spotted the infamous PT cruiser. With tired feet, weak ankles, and a big sweaty backpack, we stumbled the last half mile towards the car. Daria, myself and our hired guide, Levi had just finished a three day hike in two.
    Taken from the hood of the car
    It all began in a dusty breakfast diner in Huntington, Utah. It was there that we eventually met up with Levi, a guide we had been talking to for a few weeks. Daria and I sat uncomfortably as outsiders as we sipped on coffee and ate our eggs. We waited for the mountain man we perceived our pen pal to be. At every ominous shadow that crossed the entry way, we would become silent, anxious to see who's stereotype or cliche character would be most accurate; he was neither the Brawny man, nor Elmer Fud. Although bearded, he was a fun-loving, 20-something year old guy with extensive outdoor experience and I think we got along just fine.

    Trail Head to San Raphael
    From there, we drove down a dirt road for several miles. The scenery was rather bland, including small rolling hills with nothing more than brown shrubbery and mildly red dirt. Where were all the spectacular 'red rocks' we kept hearing about? Just a few miles down this dirt road it would appear.

    The Indiana Jones theme song blasted loudly over the car's sound system as we weaved our way down into the San Raphael Canyon.Red rocks, cotton wood trees, and cowboy glyphs were suddenly abundant. We dropped the PT cruiser off at our ending point, and drove a good while back to the trail head.

    Loaded with such necessities as a tripod, camera gear, dehydrated rice and beans, a couple pairs of underwear and other changes of clothes, along with other camping goods, I felt ... loaded. With an additional 20lbs, we were off into the desert.

    We weren't more than a mile or two in before we had our first of 11 river crossings. Levi guided the way using his hiking poles as gauges for depth, as the water was brown with silt. At first we daintily took off our shoes and socks, lifted our pant legs and prepared ourselves for the cold and wet. As we found our way to the next crossing, we performed our crossing ritual by dry bagging the camera, removing shoes and socks, and unbuckling our packs... followed by the crossing, removing the camera from the dry bag, removing most of the mud stuck to our feet, and replacing our shoes and socks. We happened to bump into the only other hikers we saw the trip during that crossing who then informed us of the other nine ahead of us. We soon scrapped the idea of the ritual and kept our soggy shoes on for the rest of the day.


    Some crossings were shallow and swift, while others were lazy but deep. At one point we had to lift our packs right over our heads as the water crept up past our chests. These were actually the favorable crossings since the shallow waters were fast enough to sweep your feet right out from underneath you.

    We wound our way through the canyon, with new landscape around every bend. Sheer cliffs framed the river beds,  while blossoming cacti and budding cottonwood trees complimented the otherwise baron rockfall. Similarly, the cold wind complimented the intense sun, as did the blue sky to the red rocks, and the native petroglyphs to the cowboy carvings ...

    At camp, nearly half way, we slept under the stars. The moon rose over the ridge in the latest part of the evening, casting a glow so brilliant it rivaled the many thousand stars and won. Wrapped tightly in my mummy bag, I missed the sun rise; my drawstring was drawn so tight I saw only blackness and therefor slept in. By eight, we were packed and ready to go. Our last half took us through only dry trail as we wove our way parallel to the river.

    My legs were thrashed from the spiny tamarix, my nose was slightly burnt, my ankles were soar from the excessively loaded backpack but the scenery itself really was worth it. Around each bend, new amazing rock formations kept us in awe. Our last leg around the final canyon bend seemed to last longer than the entire day. It was a relief to be back at the car where we had stashed a few much needed beers. Warm as they may have been, they were still refreshing...

    San Raphael is also known as 'The Swell', or 'The Little Grand Canyon". Utah hasn't dubbed it a national park yet, and therefor you can still take your dogs here. Most dogs will be able to handle the river, but the whole trek is somewhat tiresome. There was a spring to fill up your water about half way, but make sure to look into it before you head out. Also, caballeros use this canyon to run cattle still, which allows for good paddy dodging. Levi, our guide was amazingly helpful. He can be found online at http://www.desertmountainguides.com . Beyond backpacking, he's also skilled in rock climbing, mountaineering, and canyoning. I'd highly recommend the guy if you are planning on traveling to this area of Utah. :)

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Temperature Blues

    “Damnit! It feels like my f@*king fingers are going to fall off!” I curse at Daria as we start to reassemble our tent.

    "We need to get this tent set up. That storm is coming right at us”
    “I’m cold and hungry … and I really think my fingers might fall off”



    As the sun goes down, the temperature inside our tent drops to about -8; the matching sleeping bags we bought withstand about-7. Cocooned in our individual bags, cinched at the hood, we giggle at our predicament. Only a few more hours until the sun comes up we repeat to ourselves. This was our first night in the desert.


    We’re parked at a campsite just off the highway in Huntington, Utah and the wind is blowing hard. Out across the eerily turquoise lake lies a thick black cloud creeping ever closer to our pitiful shelter. Even with the car acting as a wind block, the stakes in the hard ground don’t give us much confidence in the tent’s ability to stay grounded. We decide the only thing to do is to act as weights and try to get comfortable inside our woven walls. The wind howls around us, as the temperature starts to drop. Our bottle of wine and re-hydrated beans and rice are the only comforts we’ll have tonight.

    Friday, April 29, 2011

    Travelled Tires, Achy Feet

    
    Idaho Storm
    
    
    Northern Utah Snow
    
    
    Huntington Campground
    
    Cotton Wood Tree - The Swell - Utah
    
    San Raphael Campsite - 6.5 hour backpack in
    
     
    Backpacking San Raphael - Day 2 - 15 Hours in


     

    
    Arches National Park - Delicate Arch
    Devil's Garden - Arches National Park - near Moab

    

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Tasty Spuds

    ‘These are some tasty spuds’ I say to myself over dinner, as I take a bite into my first real Idahoan French Fry. Right above me sits a sign stating “Idaho Bounty; support Idaho’s agrarian economy”. With a taster of three Belgian style beers from local breweries in front of us, my friend Daria and I talk about our trip so far: We reminisce about the sunrise over Mount Baker in Washington, the smooth ride through The Cascades, our relentless giggles over the signage “Litter and Get Hurt”, and the many hours spent staring at cows and shrubbery. We spent over 9 hours driving from state to state. We drove through Washington, across Oregon, and into Idaho – with the intention of eventually ending somewhere in South East Utah. After receiving numerous wrong or utterly vague directions, we finally found downtown Boise. In contrast to the other dusty towns we stumbled upon, Boise had a beautiful parliament building at the town center, not a rodeo or worse yet, a penitentiary. The town center has orderly cobble stone streets, old style brick and stone buildings, and modernized stores that fill them. To my disbelief, there are young people from all over the country living here. They come from Los Angeles, New York, and from anywhere else in between. Low taxes keep beer prices low enough for even the most broke of students to enjoy. Cheap beer prices are unbelievable. I have never paid less for a beer anywhere else in the world; including Central America, or Asia. $5 pitchers? Can’t go wrong.



    Next time you’re looking for a cheap, quick getaway … perhaps consider Boise – oddly enough.

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Tonight Was a Good Night

    Tonight was a good night.



    For the past 3 months at least, the driveway leading up to my home would be described best like this: The sun has been down for more hours than you’ve probably been awake, and the stars are crisp just like the cold air. There’s a swan at the end of the dark driveway, lit solely by the moon’s aggressive glow. Little wildlife is seen as one rolls along the long driveway towards the lantern –lit house. Your tires crunch over the gravel below as you loath to yourself about the foreshadowed moment between the warm car and house. The very little light pollution allows one to see the stars starting nearly at the horizon, only being blocked by the silhouette of cedars and pine. Orion sits bold above, with a few other constellations that you recognize including Cassiopeia, Gemini, and Taurus; they sit neatly above …. But tonight? They have suddenly shifted. The silence once you step out of the car is no longer broken by chilled wind but by frog calls! The wind is nearly warm, and the tadpoles are croaking! Daffodils emerge out of the soggy dirt, and color is amidst the garden again. Rose bushes turn shades of green as leaves begin to burst. It’s spring again. These are my favourite times! The turns of seasons! Something new!

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Coconuts

    Yesterday, I swam in the warm, tropical waters just off the beach of Roatan. While on the beach, I collected coconuts varying in ages. I now sit with a nice warm breeze, on a beautiful rattan chair looking over a turquoise bay – eating my coconuts. Coconuts, I’ve now discovered, have the ability to be savoured; I would now consider myself to be a coconut connoisseur, if you will.

    Do you know the textural, and taste difference between a young coconut and a fully matured one? Both have a tough, fibrous husk outside of the hard shell. Once pulled back, the outer shells vary; the mature coconut is quite small, round and extremely tough. They are hard to break through without the help of a machete. Young coconut shells haven’t had time to fully mature, therefor making them much easier to rob of their innards. Coconut milk is made from a mature coconut’s flesh, while the young coconuts flesh is almost gelatinous in texture and is usually consumed raw. The juice or water from the youngling is much more flavourful from that of its elder, and is an amazing natural electrolyte. Eat one.