Such a lot of world to see.

Canada

Rain, Sunshine, & Sea to Sky.

Surrounded by mountains and alpine forests, nestled against the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver and the lower British Columbia mainland has the most epic combination of scenic landscapes and a dense, bustling metropolis. There are now at least 2.4 million people living in the area, yet the strategic urban planning, density, and natural geography means the area still manages to invoke a charming sense of wilderness.

The Sea to Sky corridor to the North between Vancouver and Whistler is a quick getaway spoiled with friendly people and lovely scenery. I had a remarkably brief time here in May, enough to capture a few stunning vistas and left wanting more.

To see the gallery for this trip, click here. 

To see the Vancouver gallery, with images both new and old, click here. IMG_0880

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Stars, fishing, and remote wilderness.

The universe can be a humbling place. So countless are the stars in the night sky, that the concept that each one of them having it’s own solar system is unfathomable. Some scientists suggest as many as 700 million trillion planets exist in the known universe – that’s a bigger number than I can comprehend.

Canada, in its vastness, can also be humbling. Just a short drive from where I live in Winnipeg, the great wilderness of the Canadian Shield takes over this country’s geography. Civilization is sparse. Even 5 minutes into a pontoon flight from Kenora, you see the signs of humanity dwindle. No towns, no roads, no people. A group of friends have found a favorite lake in the area: one that you can only get to by plane, and if you rent out the cottage for the week, an entire set of lakes in the area is exclusive to you. Days are spent fishing, and if the sky is clear, you might end staying up late into the night watching the spectacle in the sky. Staring out at the limitless universe, from the vast wilderness…humbled.

Hit the link!

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Fall, and Nuit Blanche


Quebec City and the Origins of a Nation

Before there was the country of Canada, there were “Upper and Lower” British Canada. And before that, Lower Canada was New France. And at the heart of New France was the colonial city of Quebec, on the cliffs overlooking the St Lawrence. Few cities in North America can claim to be older than Quebec City, initially settled in 1535 by Jaques Cartier, and later founded by Samuel De Champlain in 1608. At a minimum, most buildings behind Quebec’s fortified walls are 150-200 years old. It’s absolutely amazing to see a city of this age so well preserved; easily the most complete picture of a colonial walled city you’ll ever find in North America.

As usual, you can follow the link to the entire gallery right here.

 


Rediscovering Montreal

I should probably know the city that is Montreal by now. For the first 25 years of my life, I have been visited nearly as many years as I was old. My last name comes from “La métropole” of Montreal.

With that said, it’s been a few years. My french is rusty. I had stayed more or less exclusively with family up until this visit. And what a great city to rediscover. Let the pictures speak: Click here for my gallery of Montreal.


Fantastic Wilderness: Fishing, Bird watching, Stargazing, and Campfires in the Canadian Shield.

The awesomeness that is our natural world is often lost on us. Noise pollution from our highways, our air conditioners, our radios,  keep us from ever hearing the calm of nature. After dark, city lights blind us from the spectacle of the stars. I spend a lot of my travels visiting some of the largest cities on earth, because they are impressive triumphs of mankind filled with culture and stimulus for the senses. In the wilderness, a different kind of sensory overload. The saturated colors of the sky, and their metallic reflection in the water during a long northern sunset. The moment of absolute calm when you realize, if you stay quiet, the only thing you can hear is the breeze. These are some of the virtues of the wilderness you can’t get anywhere else.

With a group of friends, our second year back at Walleye Lake in Northern Ontario was again tremendously worthwhile. You can click here for the updated gallery with 30 new photographs from the Canadian wilderness, and see a few chosen shots below.


Vancouver: 6 hours on a November layover

A long layover on a cool November morning. Eight pictures from a walk around central Vancouver, a far better pastime than waiting in an airport.

 

Of course, I’ve added the pictures to my Vancouver gallery from back in 2009: here.


Compositions of Toronto

Toronto never ceases to impress me. It continues to grow, like an urban weed, both vertically and outwards into the rest of the Golden Horseshoe. I’ve got an updated gallery to share, with 46 new compositions of Canada’s big city. Check out a few previews below, and click here for the full gallery, with my full “catalog” of Toronto images.


Winnipeg is an okay guy.

If you could personify this city, that’s what you’d say. Some colorful captures as an August sun sets in downtown Winnipeg.


The sky is beautiful.

Solar winds above Manitoba.


Album: Fly-in fishing in Northern Ontario

The remote Canadian wilderness, with friends, fishing, and natural beauty can be one of the most serene places on earth. Crystal clear lakes, epic sunsets, and great fishing are not hard to find in Northern Ontario, but fly-in to an even more remote outpost, away from any sign of civilization, and things go beyond that. Pictures do not do justice to the sense of intimacy with nature, but I can at least give it a try…

Follow the link here.


Pyrotechnics


Shooting sunsets

An important rule of photography has always been to pay close attention to your lighting. The best time of day to maximize the color and the vividness in captures is often in the golden hour before sunset (or just after sunrise for the earlybirds). With the sun at your back, you can produce saturated and detailed exposures that normally wouldn’t ‘pop’ out during noon hour’s harsh lighting. Opposingly, shooting flat into the sun will produce dramatic, contrasty images that usually have dark silhouettes with little detail, but surrounded by vivid oranges and blues. Long sunsets have returned to the north, happy shooting.


“Well now. That’s a pretty sunset”

(click image to enlarge)


Perspective Distortion

With a field of view of exactly 180 degrees, the perspective can get a bit interesting (and distorted). Carful not to get your feet in the frame.

Perspective distortion at P&M

Me, my fisheye, and the midnight sky. Memorial Park.


Serenity on Lake Winnipeg

2011 has given us the nicest prarie summer we’ve had in a few years.  The days are so long and warm that the passage of time seems to have slown down, such a contrast from the dark and cold days of winter. Here are a few summer hues.

Dip your feet in.

What if I can't tell where the water meets the sky?

 

Gazing at the Galaxies

 


CGY Short and Sweet

Cowtown is no more. This is big oil. Big bussiness. Here’s Calgary short and sweet! (link)


Banff, Dolomite Pass, and an attempt at Cirque Peak.

Winter was still around in late June in Banff this year, hard to beleive. It was litterally freezing over night, and not much better during the day. Regardless, we managed to  get a backcountry scramble in, and we set forth up Dolomite Pass (about 100km north of the town of banff) to Cirque Peak. While we didn’t reach the summet (probably unobtainable without a ice axe), we still got some great views of the remote wilderness. Here is my gallery of the scramble, and some other wildlife and wilderness from the area. Click it! (The gallary also contains some shots from a previous trip to Banff)


Peaks and Valleys

Solitude and serenity in the Canadian Rockies. Especially if you’re willing to get out onto a back-country trail, there is a sense of spirituality in this natural wonder.  There’s a specific moment you realize: You can hear no traffic. There is no cell phone signal. The conveniences and inconveniences of human society have no reach here. It’s humbling, especially when combined with the scale of the mountains and the scope of the evergreen forrests.

I’ll have a full gallery from the Rockies up over the next few days. I also had a bit of time in Calgary, so expect that too!


1.21 Gigawatts

Last week it was fireworks, this week it’s electric sparks flying through the air. It didn’t take nearly as much effort as it did last year to get that other picture of mine, but I figured it worthy nonetheless.


Explosions in the Sky

Kicking off summer: fireworks celebrating May’s long weekend in Winnipeg. I had a good view.

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Mississauga: (false) utopia

Towers of gleaming glass. Green boulevards. Picture perfect parking lots. Is Mississauga the Canadian utopia, or just a suburban dessert?

In 1970, Mississauga began as a  suburban exodus of Toronto. In just 3 decades, its population has increased 500%. It’s been debt free since 1979, and hasn’t had to borrow a single penny ever since.

Some things about this place are fascinating. They’ve only had 1 mayor in the cities entire history: 90 year old Hazel McCallion is still serving. The cities downtown is setup as a huge suburban megamall, surrounded by parking lots and private condos. Some of the streets downtown have no sidewalks, making them unwalkable for pedestrians. This is something different. Its the super-sprawl utopian atmosphere that represents the most disturbing aspect of 21st century urbanity.

I tried to find more things to capture in Mississauga, but in all honestly, there wasn’t much to see here. It looked like every picture perfect prefab North American suburb I’ve ever seen – only super sized. I’ve got a few to share from Mississauga’s new landmark, Absolute World. It was the only building I saw that broke the mold of prefab postmodernism –  you could call it 21st century structuralism.

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Photos from the center of the universe

Physicists have their doubts, but Canadians have known for a while now, tongue in cheek,  that Toronto is indeed the center of the universe. See a more complete collection of Toronto photos here.

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Architectural styles of Hamilton

I’ve posted my Hamilton gallery, here. Along with the captures, some commentary on the differing architectural styles in Hamilton. A fine example of top notch Gothic Revival below, but more by following the link!