León, Nicaragua – A Photographers Journey

Escaping the City Lights

For 10 years some new friends of mine have been escaping the city lights for one weekend in the summer each year. They go to get away, get drunk, get sober, switch off and disconnect. That’s something I haven’t done in a while. I honestly can’t remember the last time I went an entire 3 days straight without a signal. If being continuously connected is the drug of the 21st century, then I had been hooked on that shit for a while. I was probably going to need more than just a few hours of rehab before I could start to unwind.

Seb, Brian, Leonard and myself woke up dark and early in Toronto on a Friday morning, packed up our gear into the car and hit the road. First things first… McDonalds breakfast and a large double double from Timmy’s; Let the journey begin. We made our way north towards the Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. When we arrived we pulled into the parks office to pick up our fishing/camping licenses before swinging past another spot to pick up our canoes. We proceeded to load them up with a tonne of gear, with 3 out of the 4 people camping professional photographers we were rolling in heavy. Apparently we weren’t as bad as these 2 other dudes who came through and loaded theirs up with Electric Guitars and Amps so they could jam out in the wilderness. If it wasn’t for them flipping their canoes and destroying the gear I’m sure it would have been a damn good night!

We paddled and portaged, making our way deeper into the park beating everyone else to the perfect campsite alongside a lake. It was one of the busiest weekends of the year so there were others out there camping, but the sites were so far apart you could generally be as loud as you wanted without disturbing a single soul. I thought “This is exactly what I needed!”. A physical distance to separate myself from society so I could focus on just being in the moment and enjoy the natural world around me. And with no ability to text or email I was able to let my mind wander to places usually interrupted by beeps and bops.

After a while I noticed I would sit in one particular spot for 15 minutes before moving to another spot to sit for another 15. At that point I would really need to knuckle down and come up with a plan for where I would sit after that, as you can imagine the extent of my responsibilities was almost insurmountable. Along with all that stressful stuff the first 2 days of our trip was essentially just concentrating on consuming all of the booze we bought. By the 3rd day we would have hopefully ran out and sobered up so we could really hone in and get our zen on with nature.

Everything went according to plan, endless intoxicating creative juices flowing like the river Nile, followed by a lengthy sobering up session where everything started to become more clear. You could sit and listen to the enthralling orchestra of the forest, the hum of the mosquitos, the buzzing of the bees and even the eerie calls of the loons that echo across the water. Analyse yourself as you breath in deeply the divinely clean fresh scented air, filling up your lungs to the brim and exhaling into the soothing breeze.

It was at that point that we were all a bit sick of eating dehydrated packet meals. We had to make a serious attempt at being men and catch some real food in the form of creatures swimming in the lake. Brian stepped up his game and hooked up 2 smallmouth bass. It was my first time cleaning and gutting a fish and it went terribly as expected. Hacked the shit out of it but somehow managed to slice off some nice filet chunks to fry up for dinner.

The main course however was saved for the final day. As is tradition, on the way home to Toronto from the park we made a quick stop at Huntsville for the Swiss Chalet chicken and gravy (extra swiss chalet sauce obviously), plus some Kawartha Dairy ice cream for dessert.

All in all it was a pretty sweet trip, it gave my system a nice little reboot for my continued life in the big city. As good as it is, it’s always nice, to escape the city lights.

All photos taken with a Nikon D700 w/ 24mm 2.8 & 50mm 1.4

World Pride with the High 5

The World Cup of Pride Parades; World Pride was held this year in the big party city of Toronto, Canada, coinciding nicely with my recent move! A friend of mine who is a member of the fabulous group; The High 5 (a professional Cannabis marketing and promotions team) asked me if I wanted to join them as they marched in the parade. Having never participated in a march before I thought it would be a great experience, I made the most of the opportunity and flew head first into the celebrations and had some serious unapologetic fun.

I love the attitude that everyone has during Pride, no one feels the need to discriminate and because of this people feel free to be whoever the hell they want to with no fear of resentment or prejudice from others. It makes you wonder if only we could think like this and have that mentality all the time just how bright and colourful the world would be. No more wars over religion, race, creed, colour or sexual preference. No more hate. Just straight up appreciation for each and every individual and all the bits that make them so unique. Call me a dreamer, but history has proven that over time what starts out as an idea from one person can turn into the perspective of an entire civilisation. Thus the world is no longer flat.

Now sit back and enjoy the rainbow :)

The New Hand of God – #WorldPride

I had the honour of photographing/marching in todays World Pride with my friends at The High Five. It was a tremendous display of the beauty that humans can create when they know that they won’t be discriminated against.

I dub this photo ‘The New Hand of God’. And I like the way it looks! Happy Pride friends!

The New Hand of God

Aston Martin, Bentley & Kimberly-Lynn Hanson

About a month ago I had the pleasure of meeting a very talented artist by the name of Kimberly-Lynn Hanson. It didn’t take long before I realised that Kimberly is one of those rare birds, the ones that I imagine you find on a remote island deep in the forest. You get a quick glimpse of the bird, and after that first glimpse all you want to do is see more, you want to understand the nature of them, what makes them tick and what makes them different from the rest of the flock. They seem to defy reason and live on a slightly different dimension than the rest of us, one that skips all the bullshit and gets right to the doing part. They live in a world of endless possibilities, a world where you simply have to ask the universe for something and it will deliver (through hard work and dedication of course).

I was very lucky in that after our brief meeting she told me she saw a passion for life and photography inside of me and wanted to encourage it by taking me on an adventure. She wanted to demonstrate that having an enthusiastic attitude plus some positive energy is magical, and has the power to create paths in life which will get you where you need to go.

A high end car dealership in Calgary; The Distinctive Collection had recently decided to hire Kimberly to display her magnificent Charcoal Artworks alongside the unveiling of 4 new luxury sports cars, two from Bentley and two from Aston Martin. It was one week before the Car Release Gala, Kimberly had already hired her own photographers and film crew to cover her art show and the event, however, she took a gamble and offered to fly me out to Calgary as well (having never seen my work) to be part of the event and to document it in my style.

It took me all of about one and a half seconds before I accepted her offer. Since I was a child Aston Martin has been my favourite luxury car company, so to get an opportunity to work with the company and photograph their cars made this a dream come true. Working with Kimberly on the project was an equally great experience, because after all, spending time with a rare bird is always an honour.

A little bonus photo of Kimberly and myself on location… just because it’s awesome.

For more information and to view the rest of Kimberly’s stunning artwork do yourself a favour and head to www.kimberly-lynnhanson.com
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