Light and Shadow

The afternoon of March 28, 2014 saw me touring up on the prairie on Hudson Bay Mountain. The way that the light fell on the drift in front of me caught my eye. There was something about the form of the snow and how the darkness of the shadow gave definition and shape to it. Looking back now the thing that strikes me is how that fascination has grown over the years. I still find snowdrifts one of the most interesting and ever-changing subjects to photograph.

Trail to Town

My first exposure to ski-touring was in March of 2013 at the Extreme Everest Challenge on Hudson Bay Mountain (an 24-hour event where people skin up and ski down one of the runs chairside on the ski hill with the goal of doing the equivalent vertical of Mt. Everest).

During the following summer I purchased some frame bindings for my skis and eagerly anticipated the coming winter. While winter seemed to take forever to arrive, once it did, the discomfort of waiting was soon forgotten once I put on my boots and clicked into my bindings on November 21, 2013.

A couple weeks later on December 3, I went touring with up the Trail to Town at the edge of Smithers with an acquaintance I met through a local backcountry ski group. It was a humbling experience being new to the sport as we made our way up. I quickly realized my touring partner had long since learned all the tips of efficient ski-touring and left me gasping in my boots the whole time I was out.

This photo was made as we started along the trail. You can see the peaks of Hudson Bay Mountain in the distance. Little did I realize then how important ski-touring would become to me, and how many thousands of photos I would make in the coming years. Ski-touring and photography have become inextricably linked. I can not think of one without the other.

Ski-touring has proven to be a way for me to access hard-to-reach places that not everyone can get to and photograph the natural beauty that surrounds me.

It is, in a single word, fun.


As I walked around the prairie tonight on Hudson Bay Mountain, I allowed my mind to wander. Being in such a beautiful place, I could hardly help myself.

So I found myself thinking of how many times over the past couple of years that I have traversed this ground with and without the cover of snow (but mostly with). I was filled with emotion at how elemental it is for me to be able to experience this place in the ways that I do.

Whether or not people wonder why I do what I do, I simply say this: I have to ski, I have to hike, I have to wander, and perhaps most importantly, I have to capture scenes like these to share with you.

I share them with the hope that you can get out and be amazed at all this world has to offer.

deuce days

This past week I was down at Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island for some photography classes. The Sunday morning before I headed up to the school for the week of training, I spent a few hours walking around the inner harbour enjoying Deuce Days. Not having enough time for all the vehicles, I spent a few hours enjoying a few of them with my camera. I set myself a challenge of only one close-up photo per vehicle, highlighting whatever artistic aspect struck my eye first. 

I found that form, colour and intriguing details were the key things that caught my attention. 

turning ordinary life into extraordinary life art

This morning I watched a TEDx talk that both challenged and affirmed my way of looking at photography. It was given by a photographer (Chris Orwig) I’d not heard of prior to watching the video. 

I encourage you to spend the next 19 minutes considering the encouraging perspective Chris brings to photography. He starts by saying, “The beauty that we see really is dependant on who we are.”

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” - Edgar Allan Poe  

catching up

At the expense of having the time and energy to write about some of the outdoor adventures I’ve had recently, some new experiences helping out a couple different contractors doing some construction work have kept me busy. It’s been both enriching and exhausting at the same time.

With that said, I have managed to get out a few times and enjoy nature, so I’d like to share some of the experiences now.

June 1: I spent an afternoon hiking and ski-touring up on Hudson Bay Mountain. This has been the 2nd year in a row that I’ve been able to ski in June. My goal is to go at least once each month during the calendar year. Since I went once last September, only July and August remain to conquer this year.

June 12: The deeper into the summer I went, the more I had to hike up on dirt and rock before I got to the snow so I could ski. Here’s the view I was blessed to witness partway up the trail to the mountain.

July 2: This was the first year that I attended the annual Midsummer Music Festival at the Bulkley Valley Exhibition grounds. Over three days I had so much fun listening to and photographing the different musical acts that made the trip up to Smithers.

July 8: With a few clear days on both mine and my wife’s schedule, we took our son and made a trip to Terrace and Prince Rupert. Here’s a photograph I made at Exstew Falls which is about an hour west of Terrace. If you’re interested in the directions to the falls, let me know and I can send you a map.

July 17: After a day of hiking and skiing,on the way back to my car, I photographed another hiker availing himself of a newly installed piano. A group of enthusiastic musicians and artists recently collaborated on two public pianos placed in different locations around town. One is outside at the museum/art gallery on Main Street in downtown Smithers, and the other one is here on the prairie beneath Hudson Bay Mountain. 

In closing, if you’re interested in purchasing prints of any of the scenic photos here, just let me know.

hike to glacier gulch

If there’s anything that drives me as a photographer, it’s the desire to discover for myself and then share with others, the beauty that I find around me. Take my recent hike up the Glacier Gulch trail at the Twin Falls recreation site near my hometown of Smithers, BC.

I started out by photographing the left-most falls which show a bit of the slope that lays below the Kathlyn Glacier. There’s a palpable sense of grandeur when I consider that in a short while I can make my way through the forest path along the side of the mountain and find myself on the rocks and snow above the falls. I enjoy the challenging and varied terrain the path covers and find such peace and tranquility in the sights and sound that delight my senses.

Once I got through the treeline and started up on the scree, the challenge really began. Walking up on such loose rock is tricky at best. Carrying skis and boots on my backpack added more stress, and made me more aware of how carefully I needed to make each and every step. But as is often the case, I am motivated by the desire to achieve a goal. The goal this day was to get as high as I could so that I could make some more turns and add another day of skiing to my season.

While I didn’t get as high as I ultimately wanted, I was happy with where I ultimately ended up. It was nice to pause for a few moments to rest and soak in the view of the Bulkley Valley that now laid before me. Seeing the green and blue of the valley below provided a nice contrast to the brown and white of the snow-covered foreground in the gulch. I enjoy the peace and tranquility in moments like this very much. 

But the joy didn’t end there. After taking the skins off my skis, and switching my boots over from walk- to ski-mode, I was able to make a few turns down the snow-covered rocks. Mine, and another friend’s turns were still visible from a week prior, so it was fun to make my own.

The storm clouds over the valley provided a nice visual end to this, my 97th day on skis this season.

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