I spent the first weekend of February in Vancouver with my girlfriend and her family. It was a great time and I’m truly blessed to have the people that I do in my life! By no means will I ever claim to be a “big city guy” but there’s something about Vancouver that captures my imagination. It truly is a collection of everything Canada has to offer from coast to coast to coast and everything in between. It was a great opportunity to try out my new Nikon 1 AW1 and as well step a little outside my usual genre and try some “street photography.” I must say I am pretty happy with the results and surprised at how basic principals apply to different realms and subject matter. I may experiment with this a little further as time goes along.

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15.JPGI’ve been wanting to check out Neck Point Park in Nanaimo for awhile now. It was a good chance to try out my new Nikon 1 AW1 which I’m quite impressed with so far.

Grizzly bear, Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, BC

I guess you know where at least I stand on this issue. Thank you to Canadian Wildlife Photographer John E. Marriott for raising awareness on this important issue in British Columbia. Have a look at John’s website and view this short documentary:

 

This should compliment my FX DSLR package quite nicely and give me much more flexibility when it comes to just wanting to basically point and shoot. AW1_11_27.5_BK_frt34r.high

http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/acil/bodies/aw1/index.htm

 

My girlfriend and I recently traveled to Cayo Coco, Cuba between December 30th and January 6th. In the last year and a half we’ve been to Jamaica, Mexico and now Cuba. These all inclusive trips tend to be much more focused on relaxation than photography. While travelling through areas outside our resort I was reminded once again as to just how fortunate I am to have the resources I do but also I was reminded that it shouldn’t and doesn’t require much for one to be both grateful and happy. Take a few minutes to review some of the sobering statistics below. 1

  1. Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day.
  2. 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.
  3. 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat. Food banks are especially important in providing food for people that can’t afford it themselves. Run a food drive outside your local grocery store so people in your community have enough to eat.
  4. More than 750 million people lack adequate access to clean drinking water. Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842,000 people every year globally, or approximately 2,300 people per day.
  5. Preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia take the lives of 2 million children a year who are too poor to afford proper treatment.
  6. 1/4 of all humans live without electricity — approximately 1.6 billion people.
  7. 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day.

Thank you to all those that support me and to my followers. Happy Holidays and the very best to you in 2016!DSC_1315

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The Broken Group is a group of small islands and islets in the middle of Barkley Sound on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The group is protected as the Broken Islands Group Unit of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The group lies between Imperial Eagle and Loudon Channels and includes Brabant Islands, Hand Island, but not Pinkerton Islands. The southernmost of the group is Cree Island, the easternmost is Reeks Island. Benson Island, on the northwest corner of the Broken Group, is an important cultural site for the Tseshaht First Nation.

  • 51.5 km total distance paddled over the course of 2.5 days – 25 km of which was in the fog and the last 3 km in 4′ chop which was a little hairy.
  • Wildlife: 1 black bear (came into the campground on night #1) 1 deer, 1 whale (not sure what kind because it breached just behind my kayak) 21 harbour seals, 1 otter, 2 fishers, 1 porpoise, 11 bald eagles and 1 snake – I thought this was odd on a remote outer island? Oh, and I heard wolves howling on morning # 1 too from my kayak. I’ve heard this before. It’s hard to say where they were because that sound travels great distances.
  • 1 stubbed toe, 1 cut hand and 1 cut finger and a sunburned face. Actual Route123451011121314151622

…ever have one of those moments where everything just seems to come together or when something just clicks? We all have those moments of profound certainty. For most photographers these moments are rare and coveted especially when it concerns wildlife photography. The first time I experienced this as a photographer was actually during my first visit to Vancouver Island in June of 2009. I was in Telegraph Cove walking along the boardwalk. I was very excited to notice some tourists watching an Eagle sitting on a perch in the cove. Locals had fed fish scraps to this Eagle regularly so it was fairly habituated but at the same time very aware of human presence. More than once it raised its wings to fly away due to the commotion but for some unknown reason it did not. The angles and perspectives from the boardwalk didn’t make for a good composition. It was then that I decided that I needed to get into the water and closer to the bird. I did just that and spent the better part of 45 minutes allowing the Eagle to become comfortable with my presence. Contrary to popular belief an Eagle cannot turn its head 360 degrees but, with the help of its fourteen vertebrae in the neck, it can turn its head up to an arc of 270 degrees. Each time it would look away from me I would shuffle through the water just a little bit closer until I was almost waist deep and essentially right underneath the Eagle. It looked directly at me and at that exact moment I pressed the shutter. I knew what I had created was special and to this day it remains one of my favorite images. The image has sold numerous times and is displayed in homes and offices all across North America and Europe. The experience and the image inspired me to keep finding those moments when things just click.8

My adventure included a 29 km hike deep into Strathcona Provincial Park, a rugged mountain wilderness of over 250,000 hectares that dominates central Vancouver Island. Created in 1911, Strathcona is the oldest provincial park in BC and the largest on Vancouver Island. The triangular shaped park practically spans the entire width of Vancouver Island, in that it borders on Herbert Inlet off Clayoquot Sound on the Pacific Coast, and extends eastwards to within 13 kilometers of the sea near Comox.

Expedition backpacking doesn’t come as naturally to me as sea kayaking, though much like sea kayaking I find that with each experience I grow in knowledge, skill and learn something to apply for next time. The ability to pump and filter one’s own water from lakes, rivers and streams at incremental locations is a must and critical for a backpacker in order to reduce the weight one has to carry. I will be purchasing a filtration system in the very near future that I can use for both backpacking and sea kayaking.

Lastly, a call out for those that use Strathcona Provincial Park to be on the lookout for any clues related to the very mysterious and tragic disappearance of Sylvia Apps almost a year ago. My thoughts go out to her family and friends.

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