A Week in Saskatchewan
Sep21

A Week in Saskatchewan

Every Canadian has their ideas of what Saskatchewan is. We all have our own pre-developed views of what it looks like, and what it feels like. But, very few actually give it the time it deserves for you to move past the stereotypes and truly start figuring out what Saskatchewan is all about. I’ll be honest. I was one of those people who had not given the province a chance. I’d seen parts of it. I’d seen the prairies. And, the rumours are true: it’s very flat. But, thanks to a week-long photography trip with Tourism Saskatchewan and my buddy Jeff Bartlett, I got the chance to dig a bit deeper into the province most assume is just 99% covered in wheat, and the other 1% in grain elevators. Grasslands National Park East Block If I’m being quite honest with you, I’d never even heard of Grasslands National Park. Obviously, I didn’t know that there was also an east block to it. Jeff and I made the mistake in not doing our hard research, too. When we got near the park, we realized there was no restaurant, grocery store, or even fuel station in or near the park. We had to make a massive detour to find food, and stocked up for the 3 days we’d be in the park. After a night of pretty beautiful skies, we set out on a bit of an adventure in the park. We headed out on a hike into a place called The Valley of 1000 Devils. This part of the park is home to some beautiful wild badlands that are relatively untouched. It’s beautiful in there, and there’s even quick sand – yes, it’s a real thing. That night, we wild camped in the badlands. And, yes, it was wild. Just as the sun was about to set, we got hammered by one of those epic prairie storms. We were soaked, destroyed, and cold. But, we trooped through it, as the light following the storm was amazing enough to make you forget that all your clothes are so wet they weight 20 pounds. Grasslands National Park West Block After our couple nights in the east block, we headed over to the West Block of Grasslands National Park. This part of the park is older than the other, and the infrastructure is better. But, there still wasn’t showers, or a restaurant. So, we were out in the wild for a bit longer. For me, the highlight of this park was the prairie dogs. There were hundreds upon hundreds of them scattered all over the fields, popping up curiously and constantly. There are...

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A Week in The Alberta Rockies
Sep14

A Week in The Alberta Rockies

I keep promising that I’m going to get caught up, but then I never do. So, I’m going to stop promising, and just roll out these posts as they come.  I’m trying to get back to the much more stress-free version of myself I was a couple years ago.  I don’t know when I became such a work-addict unable to step away from it.  But, I’ve been doing my best to do so more often lately. I really have started to feel like work has gotten in the way of my personal life. I also feel like the focus on “me” in these blogs has made me way too self-indulgent.  I don’t like that. So, it’s time to start working on me again, for real.  Travel used to be such a great tool for personal growth. But, since I left Africa I don’t think I’ve done much growth, and may have even regressed a bit. Hopefully, the realization of these things will start to put me back on the right path. But, it’s going to take time to regain the humble, positive, and thoughtless person I believe still sits within my skin somewhere. Anyways, 200 word intros are too long. Let’s get into the travel. Coming Home After our pretty incredible RV trip across Canada with GoRVing Canada, I got to show Erin (from The World Wanderer) a little bit of my home province.  I was so excited to be back. Being home has a way of grounding me.  I’m not sure if it’s the mountains, the open spaces, or the presence of friends and families, but it always seems to bring me back to earth.  I don’t think I’ll even come back to Alberta to live, my lifestyle would make it too hard to be based there, but my heart will always be there. My Favourite Places on the Planet Everyone is proud of where they’re from, I think.  I meet people in some of the most below average places on the planet, and they all rave about their home as if it’s the best place in the world.  So, I might be a bit biased to say it, but The Canadian Rockies really are home to my favourite places on the planet. We only had a short amount of time to explore them, so I really had to pick and choose the highlights to show Erin.  Obviously, I would have loved to get her off the beaten path and to some of the true gems in the mountains that so few people get to, but with only a week we stuck to the more classic locations.  One...

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A Quick Guide to Photography in Iceland
Aug04

A Quick Guide to Photography in Iceland

Iceland is one of those places that’s just magic for photography.  It seems like everywhere you look the light is amazing and there’s something totally photo-worthy.  But the real beauty of photography in Iceland is that the weather and light changes so dramatically and quickly, that everyone experiences places completely differently.  Of course, that’s also the struggle.  It’s hard to properly prepare for Iceland as a photographer when the conditions are constantly switching up.  Thus, this is a bit of a guide to photography for Iceland. The Time of Year Iceland really is special anytime of year.  You can go in the summer for the long days, or the winter for the short days and those beautiful northern lights.  Really, it definitely depends on you.  Personally, I think June is the best month of the year to visit Iceland.  June is the month where the weather cooperates the most. Also, towards the end of the month you have those incredibly long days where the beautiful sunsets just seem to last forever.  If you want a bit more of an depth look at the best time of year to visit, check out this more general Iceland travel guide. The Gear Gear is always such a challenge, and choosing what equipment to take to Iceland is incredibly tricky.  That said, I think the general rule is to pack more than you think you’d need.  The other rule is to be prepared for weather.  Packing things like rain covers, lens wipes, and even silica packs to keep your gear dry is really important.  Other non-electronic gear you’ll want to bring are rain slicks, and if you’re hoping to get into some of the streams and waterfalls, you’ll want to bring hip-waiters. As for camera gear itself, I think you really want to be shooting two bodies in Iceland.  The reason is this: the weather is so nasty that you don’t want to be switching lenses out in the wild conditions.  I’d recommended a lens like a 16-35mm, and a long lens like a 70-200mm.  I really think that with just those two lenses you could probably shoot all of Iceland.  The last time I photographed the country I used these two exclusively and I never felt like I was missing something. Also, don’t forget the importance of a good tripod.  The winds in Iceland can be completely unforgiving.  If you don’t have a sturdy tripod, your camera could definitely take a tumble and get damaged. I’ve heard from a number of people who have broken gear in Iceland due to the high winds.  Don’t cheap out on your tripod.  Try something that’s...

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Location Scouting on the Via Dinarica
Jun18

Location Scouting on the Via Dinarica

I know, I know, I’m so slow at getting updates on the blog lately.  I’ve been so focused on building my newly minted Vlog, that the blog has been a bit of a time crunch victim.  But, alas, here I am with an update. I spent a couple days in Bosnia & Herzegovina, which is a country I’ve only spent a very small amount of time in. The goal of this trip was to join a buddy who founded an NGO building, and promoting a trail called the Via Dinarica.  We set out for 2 days to do some location scouting along the Via Dinarica to try to find some of the most epic photo spots, and maybe toss around ideas for ways to promote it. About the Via Dinarica I’m not going to get into too much detail, because I talked about it on my last trip to Bosnia.  But, essentially, it is a mega-trail that spans all the way across the former Yugoslavia.  The trails start in Slovenia, and stretch all the way to Albania and Kosovo. In reality, there are 3 trails.  The blue trail follows the coast, the green trail cuts through the forests, and the incredible white trail follows the highest peaks of the Dinaric Alps.  My buddy Tim’s organization has been working to build sign posts on the trail, get communities engaged in tourism opportunities like accommodation and restaurants, and mapping things out in various apps.  It’s a pretty incredible project, and seeing the progress from this year to my last visit has been amazing. The Most Remote Village in Bosnia One of the locations we came to on the trail was a village called Lukomir.  This is the most remote village in Bosnia.  In fact, during the snowy months of winter, the village is completely inaccessible. Lukomir’s location – along the white trail – is absolutely epic. The old village sits right on the edge of one of the most dramatic canyons in all of Europe.  Everybody in Lukomir knows Tim, and we spent some time with an older couple who are like his Bosnian grandparents. They were incredible sweet, and it was fantastic to have a bit of a cultural interaction like that – something that’s so hard to find in modern day Europe. Boracko Lake and Kravice Falls A couple other amazing spots on the Via Dinarica we went to were Boracko Lake and Kravice Falls.  Though the weather was terrible when we got to Boracko, the spot is beautiful. There were lingering clouds, and stunning reflections on the lake.  With the weather cold, we started our day off with...

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The Famous Bridge in Mostar (Photos and Video)
May30

The Famous Bridge in Mostar (Photos and Video)

I left Montenegro after a couple amazing weeks in both Kotor and Budva, and headed into Bosnia & Herzegovina.  I wanted to check out the city of Mostar and it’s famous bridge – Stari Most.  I missed out on the city on my first trip into Bosnia, and have had it on my list of things to do and photograph since then.  Thus, since I really only had a couple days to photograph Mostar, and explore town, I put all my focus into the famous bridge.  I spent an entire day location scouting, flying my drone, and photographing the bridge from a couple different angles. Where to Photograph the Mostar Bridge? I found that there really aren’t as many options as you might think.  Also, when I was there, the water levels were extremely high which actually cut down on the number of options.  That said, there really are three locations that are going to give you the best angle of the bridge. South of the Bridge – Viewing Platform Just south of the bridge, you’ll see a bit of a terraced platform.  This is the place that people who jump off the Mostar Bridge swim to when they’re done.  It’s also likely the best place to photograph Stari Most from.  In fact, I think it’s the only way to get a clean shot of the bridge with no other obstructions.  I photographed the bridge and worked to frame one of the mosques under it.  I didn’t get great light, but it worked. Kujundžiluk Pedestrian Street There’s a restaurant north of the bridge on Kujundžiluk street which has pretty good views.  The restaurant seems to close really early, and they don’t seem to mind people going in to take pictures.  That said, don’t linger here. If you go here to take pictures at least buy a drink. Koski Mehmed-Pašina Džamija Mosque If you’re willing to climb the minaret of this mosque, the views are fantastic.  I didn’t, however, climb because the light was extremely harsh the afternoon that I would have been able to go up.  Instead, I flew my drone even higher than the tower to get a similar angle. Note that you have to pay to go in and climb the minaret. Where to Stay in Mostar I stayed at a place called Villa Park. The place was beautiful, but it was a bit of a walk from the old town. However, if you don’t mind the 10 minute walk into the old town, the place is an absolute bargain. I paid about 20 Euros a night and had a balcony over the river. Getting to Sarajevo from Mostar There’s...

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A Travel Photography Guide to Kotor, Montenegro
May18

A Travel Photography Guide to Kotor, Montenegro

When I mentioned Montenegro as a potential location to spend a couple weeks, my social medias exploded with people shouting a resounding “yes!”. In particular, they pushed me to go to Kotor, a small historic town settled into the southernmost fjord in Europe.  Within a minute of arriving, I understood why so many people were taken by this destination.  It’s absolutely spectacular. Though my travel schedule is generally pretty quick, I spent a full two weeks in Kotor to give myself enough time to shoot photography, relax a bit, and get some “office work” done on my computer.  Over those two weeks, I shot a half dozen or so locations, so I thought I’d put together a bit of a travel photography guide to Kotor.  Whether you’re hear for a week, or you’re just stopping off for a couple hours off the cruise ship, there should be ample options below for you to choose from. Saint John Cathedral A climb up towards the fortress is the most obvious place to look for the best views of Kotor. However, before you get to the fortress you’ll pass Saint John Cathedral which is about halfway to the top.  The cathedral makes for a great photo location.  It adds some scale to the city below it, and is great both on its own and as an element in a cityscape image of Kotor.  If found this to be a great spot for sunrise, but it also works at sunset. The Fortress After climbing past Saint John Cathedral, the walk up to the fortress will leave you with dozens of great locations for massive overviews of Kotor and the bay.  There’s no one particular place on the trail that’s significantly better than another, but just before you reach the fortress itself, there’s a bit of a platform/open area that is a great spot to set up a tripod. I think the views are better from just below the fortress rather than right on top of it.  It depends on the time of year and the angle of the light, but this is again a better sunrise location than sunset, although either work. Grass-roofed Church This was my favourite photography location in Kotor, and though I didn’t get good light when I was here, I got some decent photos.  I also go some pretty cool drone footage from here. Check out my vlog from the church for that footage. This is a great location for sunset in the summer because on a clear day the light will hit the peaks behind the church and you should get beautiful alpine glow.  I wasn’t so lucky, and...

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