Handle With Care

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This is perhaps the most peaceful and beautiful place on Earth for me. About 45 minutes away from my home is this amazing beach with this sandstone island called “Split Rock”.

The time to visit is at low tide so you can experience walking on the ocean floor. Not just the beach and shoreline, but the true ocean floor allowing you to also get up close to the awesome rock. Twice a day for a few hours this opportunity presents itself. If I lived close enough I would be there each time it happens. It’s magical, peaceful and absolutely beautiful. The photography is endless and subjects abound everywhere; on the ground, in the rocks, in the trees and sky.

Lately, what strikes me is that even though this place is a bit out-of-the-way for the public and not known to a lot of people they are regulars who visit often. Yet it remains pristine. The area has little to no trash to speak of. It shows that if people really care and want to have a beautiful place we are capable of keeping it that way.

To those who visit, thank you for being good stewards. Now let’s do it everywhere. We’ve proven it’s possible.

 

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New Year – New Possibilities

  • “It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”
    Alfred Eisenstaedt

A year is a strange thing. It’s said the older you are, the quicker the years go. I’ve learned that it is very true – 2016 flew by. I didn’t intend to skip eight months between post, it just happened.

So what have I been up to? There has still been lots of photos and I’ve been happy with quite a few – some more than others. The most memorable things about 2116 weren’t necessarily the images but the people I’ve crossed paths with. The Photographs from last year are a credit to some of those individuals, along with the knowledge and places they shared with me. I have been fortunate to spend some time with a biologist, fellow artists, business people and old friends who I have become reacquainted with. Many of them have taught or showed me something new and helped me grow as a photographer.

Monoscape in Motion ~ Lepreau Falls, NB

Monoscape in Motion ~ Lepreau Falls, NB

This is my first of 2017 and I’ll attempt to keep you updated on a more regular basis this year on what I’ve been doing, what I’ve seen and who I meet along the way….. Stay tuned my friends.

Peace Like a River

When I first started my journey into photography it was about creating and documenting nature and the other things I saw while exploring. I was inspired by light, nature and the people I was with. As I’ve gotten older it’s become 50% about the final image and 50% recharging mentally or getting away from the daily pressures of life.

A few years after I bought my first camera I began to have severe anxiety and panic attacks. Photography became a distraction and a way to focus on something other than my anxiety. Over the years photography has remained part of my therapy and method to maintain a sense of peace.

“Peace like a river”… – When I younger we would sing a hymn in church with this line in it but it was just words in the song. It really didn’t have any relevance to me until I got older and realized what the author of the song was talking about. Horatio Spafford wrote the hymn after a personal tragedy and even though I have not experienced an event close to what he endured, I have learned to appreciate the reference in the hymn.

I’m very fortunate that I live in an area of Canada where I’m surrounded by water. I’ve come to realize the truth in the statement “Peace like a river”. There is something very calming listening to a waterfall or waves while looking at an immense body of water. It can be visually intense but audibly relaxing at the same time. Perhaps that is why we have taken to artificially playing the sound of water in our homes to sooth us.

Welsford Falls, New Brunswick

Welsford Falls which eventually drain into the Saint John River

Sometimes while sitting by the ocean or a river I leave my camera by my side or case, just spending the time to reflect on the grandness of the scene and appreciate the magnificence of God’s design. There is a part of me that finds peace while being a spectator of something so incredible. Even though I don’t totally understanding how it is all held together but recognizing it is God who is ultimately in control. The waves will crash and water rises but He is the one who determines just how high that is.

2015 in Pictures

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Where did 2015 go?

I’ve heard it said that the older you get the quicker time goes. Now the older I get, the more I think it’s true. It was about seven months ago the last time I wrote but it doesn’t feel like it was that long. I had good intentions but a bit of writers block along with other commitments seemed to prevent me from sitting down and sharing my thoughts and images. So here I am at the end of December with some of my favorite photographs and memories from the year that came and went so quickly.

The winter of 2015 was record-breaking in terms of snow. The driving and shoveling were awful but the photography was spectacular and the best I’ve experienced in recent years other than perhaps the ice storm of 2014.

"Shadow of the Twilight" - Rothesay NB

“Shadow of the Twilight” – Kennebecasis River, Rothesay, NB

 

"Everwhites" - Saint John, NB

“Everwhites” – Saint John, NB

 

"Blowing Smoke" - Saint John, NB

“Blowing Smoke” – Bay of Fundy, Saint John, NB

 

"Fallen Snowmen" - Kingston Peninsula, NB

“Fallen Snowmen” – Kingston Peninsula, NB

 

Once the snow finally melted and spring arrived I began exploring the province and found some beautiful gardens, waterfalls and fun wildlife. If it wasn’t for my wife’s keen eye I wouldn’t have captured the painted turtles or had the opportunity to show my kids a beaver if I hadn’t taken a friend from India on a trip to a local park.

"Shell Game" - Painted Turtles, Hampstead, NB

“Shell Game” – Painted Turtles, Hampstead, NB –

How many turtles you see?

 

"Spring Fever" - King Square, Saint John NB“Spring Fever” – King Square, Saint John NB

 

"Forest For The Trees" - Cambridge-Narrows, NB

“Forest For The Trees” – Cambridge-Narrows, NB

 

 "Nature's Carpenter" - Little River Reservoir Park, Saint John, NB

“Nature’s Carpenter” – Little River Reservoir Park, Saint John, NB

 

"Utopia" - Welsford Falls, NB

“Utopia” – Welsford Falls, NB

 

"Simplicity" - Public Gardens, Saint John, NB

“Simplicity” – Public Gardens, Saint John, NB

 

The summer was likely the highlight of the year as I was able to take a whale watching tour off Brier Island, Nova Scotia where the Bay of Fundy meets the Gulf of Maine. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate as much as I’d hoped for, but seeing humpback whales within 50 feet of our boat was an absolutely amazing experience and brought a new appreciation for God’s creation.

"Waiting to Exhale" - Humpback, Bay of Fundy, N.S.

“Waiting to Exhale” – Humpback, Bay of Fundy, N.S.

 

"Leviathan" - Humpback Whale. Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia

“Leviathan” – Humpback Whale. Bay of Fundy, NS

 

"Peek-a-boo" - Humpback Whale. Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia

“Peek-a-boo” – Humpback Whale. Bay of Fundy, NS

 

Autumn was all about the color this year. In the sky, trees, on the water as the sun was setting and with the added bonus of the blood moon. Of course those who know me it is also always about spending time by the amazing Bay of Fundy.

"The Golden Hour" - Cold Stream Pond, Enfield, Maine

“The Golden Hour” – Cold Stream Pond, Enfield, Maine

 

"La Lune Rouge"

“La Lune Rouge”

 

"Season of Change" - Hampton, New Brunswick

“Season of Change” – Hampton, NB

 

"Rising Tide" - Bay of Fundy, Saint John, NB

“Rising Tide” – Bay of Fundy, Saint John, NB

 

Ansel Adams once said “Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”  – For me it definitely applies~ Most often I feel that God is the real artist not me, I just happen to be there to record it.  It’s a privilege.

So what did I learn? I can drive 5 minutes or 5 hours and always find something that is remarkable and I just need to slow down to see it. When I’m exploring I’m trying to find the extraordinary and create images that people haven’t seen before, but I truly believe it is also about finding the common uncommon again and looking at the things we see every day in a new way and appreciating them.

Here’s to 2016. I hope you are able to take some time this year to get out and experience some of God’s handiwork and appreciate it for yourself.

The Sound of a Photograph

Photography is usually considered a visual art, and typically my inspiration comes from the scenery that is all around. My favorite subjects are the coastlines, beaches, lakes, rivers and wildlife that are near my home. I love to explore the back roads and rural areas outside the city while looking for interesting new subjects.

"Dusk Waves" - Bay of Fundy, Saint John.

“Dusk Waves” – Bay of Fundy, Saint John.

A few months ago I was on a walk with my wife and daughter. We could hear the sound of the waves crashing on the beach and we decided to take a closer look. The setting sun and the sound of the bay created the perfect inspiration. It was a few days later while editing that I realized if I hadn’t heard the waves that day I likely would not have gone to the beach  and would have missed this moment.

Not only did I come home with an unexpected image, I also learned that it is just as important to listen as it is to look when seeking new images.

The Archer’s Bow

The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep. – Paul Strand
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The Kingston Peninsula is located in Southern New Brunswick between the Saint John and Kennebecasis Rivers and  home to one of Canada’s most famous photographers, Freeman Patterson. The Kingston Peninsula is accessible by several ferries from either Saint John, Grand Bay-Westfield or Quispamsis. You can also drive to the peninsula directly from the town of Hampton; however, part of the unique charm of this rural community is crossing over by one of the ferries.
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The Upper Moss Glen Falls are well-known in the area and a popular spot for photographers or those who just enjoy nature. The 10 meter waterfalls are near the end of the Puddington Lake Brook just before it exits into the Kennebecasis River. My Wife and I moved to this area a few years after we married and lived there for a few years in the mid 90’s before we moved to our current home in Saint John. We revisited the area about a month ago and walked along the shore of the brook back toward the falls. The waterfalls are usually a bit wider, but due to a drier summer it was a narrow cascade over the rocky cliff.  I was quite fortunate to arrive when I did because the narrow stream of water created a perfect bow-shaped reflection in the calm pool below.
The Archer's Bow

The Archer’s Bow

It’s Not What You Think.

Glen Falls

Glen Falls

I’ve been involved with an organization called the Atlantic Coastal Action Program (ACAP) for about five years. ACAP has spearheaded a project for several years called the Marsh Creek Restoration Initiative. Marsh Creek is an estuary which starts in the suburbs of Saint John and cuts through the heart of the city. The project was initiated by ACAP because the creek has been contaminated by raw sewage and abused by industry in a small section of the marsh for several decades. Thanks to the attention ACAP has brought to Marsh Creek a plan has recently been put in place to finally fix the problem.

If it wasn’t for the work ACAP is doing I would have continued to associate Marsh Creek with the polluted parts, like most people. When I got involved with ACAP I began to learn that there is so much more to the creek and started to realize how many beautiful parts there are besides the small part that’s been polluted. I like the shot above because it’s not what most people think. You tell them it’s part of Marsh Creek and they are so surprised; just like I was the first time someone told me.

St. Andrews By-The-Sea.

It’s a long weekend here in Canada. Victoria Day is tomorrow and a holiday for most, which means that it is the unofficial start of summer. My family tends to be spontaneous with vacation plans, so I’m not sure what our plans are for tomorrow or the rest of summer, but most likely at some point between tomorrow and Labour Day we will make a visit to St. Andrews.

St. Andrews by-the-sea

St. Andrews by-the-sea

Known as St. Andrews by the sea, it’s a small community sitting on the shores of the Passamaquoddy Bay which is an inlet of the Bay of Fundy. With a population of less than 2000 this small town offers an abundance of subjects to photograph. The shops on Water Street have local art, handcrafts and maritime souvenirs. The beaches can be clay, sand, small rocks or sandstone. Most of the beaches also have a wide variety of shore birds.

Sea Anemone

Sea Anemone – Huntsman Marine Aquarium

St. Andrews is located on a peninsula so you can shoot along the water throughout the entire day. My family camped last year and loved that I could shoot sunrise and sunset over the water all in one day and in the same area. Along with the coastline and shops some of the other sites I would recommend are;  Ministers Island, which you can only access by driving across the ocean floor during low tide, whale watching, Kingsbrae Garden and the Huntsman Aquarium.

Old weirs on the Passamaqoddy Bay

Old weirs on the Passamaquoddy Bay

For a small town that is only about a mile long and half mile wide there is plenty to see for just about any age. If you’ve never been to the Maritimes and are looking for an introduction, St. Andrews might be the place to start.

The Strait and Narrow

Parlee Beach is located along the Northumberland Strait and sits on the eastern shore of New Brunswick. It is one of the big attractions in the town of Shediac for the locals and tourist. They say it’s the warmest saltwater for swimming north of Virginia, but I’m sure it’s all relative. No matter what anyone says, I wasn’t going swimming with a wind-chill of minus 3 when I visited a few weeks ago. Despite the cold temperatures it was an impressive view of the Northumberland Strait and the incredible beach. If you are going to swim in the Atlantic Ocean this is likely one of the best locations in New Brunswick, but July or August might make it a little more enjoyable.

The Strait and Narrow

When The Well Runs Dry

Most photographers have a favourite subject. For some it’s portraits, others flowers and for some it’s landscapes. Water, especially the ocean has become the magnetic attraction for me. I’m fascinated by the way the ocean shapes the coastline, the sound of the waves and how a sunrise reflects off it. There is something peaceful, yet so powerful and at the same time fragile about water.

Today, April 22nd is Earth Day. As I’ve thought about the day and what it means, I started thinking over the decisions I make everyday and what else I can do to help with the issues we are dealing with. I won’t get into the debate of whether climate change is real, however there are other challenges relating to the environment that are undeniable. Being concerned about the environment isn’t just about climate change, the trees in rain forest or wildlife it’s also about people. As important as the issues in the Amazon and the loss of wildlife habitat are, the challenges with respect to water are just as great, if not greater.

Some statistics to consider….

Over 1.5 billion people do not have access to clean, safe water.

Almost 4 million people die each year from water related diseases.

The average toilet uses 6-8 litres of clean water in a single flush.

At any one time, more than half the world’s poor are ill due to inadequate sanitation, water or hygiene.

It takes over 11,000 litres of water to produce a pound of coffee.

Half the world’s schools do not have access to clean water, nor adequate sanitation.

It takes about 300 litres of water to make the paper for just one Sunday newspaper.

Agriculture is responsible for about 70% of the world’s water usage. Industry uses a further 22%.

443 million school days are lost each year due to water related illness.

On average, women in Africa and Asia have to walk 3.7 miles to collect water.

It takes up to 5000 litres of water to produce 1kg of rice.

80% of all illness in the developing world comes from water born diseases.

Drilling a fresh water well can cost anything from a few hundred dollars to over $40,000.

Over 2.6 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation.

90% of waste-water in developing countries is discharged into rivers or streams without any treatment.

About 1.8 million child deaths a year are due to diarrhea.

An 18 litre can of water weighs 20 kilos.

About half the world’s hospital beds are occupied by someone with a water related illness.

A five minute shower in an American household will use more water than a person living in a developing world slum will use in a whole day.

A third of the people without access to clean water live on less than a dollar a day. More than two thirds live on less than two dollars a day.

Water consumption in a US household is eight times that of an Indian household.

In India alone, water born diseases cost the economy 73 million working days per year.

In sub-Saharan Africa a child’s chance of dying from diarrhea is over 500 times greater than in Europe.

Approximately 2.5 billion people lack access to appropriate sanitation facilities.

About 1.2 billion people have absolutely no access to a sanitation facility.

In a typical year in Africa 5–10 times the number of people die from diarrhea than from war.

Simply washing hands can decrease the chance of diarrhea by around 35%.

Global sales of bottled water account for over $60-$80 billion each year.

A child dies of water born diseases about every 15 seconds (that’s about 12 children just since you started reading this article). By this time tomorrow, another 2,500 will be dead.

As little as one dollar can provide clean water for a child in the developing world for an entire year.

SOURCE: http://matadornetwork.com/change/40-shocking-facts-about-water/

We have had a few boil orders recently in my town and it’s made me realize how much I take water for granted at times. It’s so easy to go the sink, turn the tap, and magically water appears. When a pipe breaks or water levels become low and we can’t drink the water from the local reservoir, we feel so inconvenienced with having to get into our cars and drive to the store to buy a bottle. My inconveniences are minuscule compared to those in the developing world.

When the well's dry, we know the worth of water. - Benjamin Franklin

When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water. – Benjamin Franklin

If you are interested in helping or learning more about water issues, below is a list of organizations you might want to consider. For those who are not in a place financially to sponsor or give right now that’s OK, because as much as we need people to be reactive to the situations around the world, more of us (including me) need to be proactive in preventing some of the issues in the first place. Hopefully as you read through the list above you’ve thought of a few ways to share the water we have with those who really need it.

http://www.one.org/international/

http://www.worldvision.org/

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/

http://www.charitywater.org/

http://thewaterproject.org/