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/

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One Man’s Trash…

I was in middle school in the mid 80’s when one day I threw a wrapper on the floor in a hallway. Unfortunately for me, I did it in front of a teacher without realizing it. That day I spent my lunch-hour picking up garbage around the yard with much embarrassment. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized just how valuable of a lesson it was. In my early days of learning photography I spotted this beautiful lake with an early morning fog lifting during sunrise. When I got back the prints I quickly realized that the horizon was not straight and the sky washed out; however that’s not what bothered me the most about this photo. If you look in the lower left corner you’ll see the cup from a fast food restaurant that likely got thrown out a car window and blew into the grass. That’s what ruined the picture for me. Suddenly I had a flashback to that day in middle school and I realized how important the lesson was my that teacher taught me about putting garbage in its place.

The Inconvenience of a Coffee Cup

This past week I received an email from a friend introducing me to a new movie called Midway which is schedule to premier later this year. (Please take the four minutes to watch the trailer, it’s worth it). I have watched it several times now and still can’t believe the stark contrast in the images and video that Chris Jordan has captured. Some of the photos are so beautiful, yet many of them very disturbing and demonstrate the horrific damage that garbage is having on the wildlife in our oceans. I’ve seen trash many times during my walks along The Bay of Fundy and Atlantic Ocean. It’s quite common to see coffee cups, broken glass, plastic bottles, fishing buoys and other trash lining the beach. I’ve also seen the images and videos of animals and fish injured or killed by trash that is in our coast waters. I’ve watched the documentaries where they empty the contents of a shark’s stomach and then display the trash from it. So the movie by Chris Jordan just adds to the visual evidence which demonstrates the man-made catastrophe we’ve created in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In addition to the Pacific we also have the garbage patches in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. We now have a real mess on our hands. (Visit Howstuffworks.com to learn more about The Great Pacific Garbage Patch).

"Seaview"

This past Saturday morning I left the house early to go and watch the sunrise in a small community on the west side of the city. Although I didn’t come home with as many keepers as I hoped for I did discover a few beautiful locations to keep in mind for future reference. After about 20 minutes of shooting the sunrise I wandered around a fishing dock and waited for the sun to rise through the clouds in hopes some God-Beams would appear. It turned out that there were no God-Beams on this day but I did see a few seabirds and what I think were red necked grebes swimming around the area. As I walked around I noticed that the dock was covered with lobster elastics and they were collecting along the cracks in the ties and other pieces of garbage littered the beach. Suddenly I had visions from Chris Jordan’s documentary and little bird bellies full of plastic and other trash.

Tiny Perils

Over the past 5 or 6 years I’ve been involved with an organization called ACAP (Atlantic Coastal Action Program) in Saint John. The purpose of ACAP is to help restore damaged coastal areas while focusing on water quality, air, land, and wildlife issues. My primary involvement has been with assisting and organizing beach cleanups. The last few years I’ve participated in 2 annual cleanups, one in May and one in September. It’s been encouraging to see the change from one year to the next, and we are noticing that there is less garbage with each year of the cleanup. While all of this is positive I’ve been reminded in recent weeks that there is still lots of work to do and we need to continue to educate on the problem of the trash in and around our waterways. I know most of you reading this are nature photographers and I’m sure you have seen areas filled with litter near your hometowns while out shooting. This is likely as frustrating for you as it is for me. As April approaches and we prepare for Earth Week events please consider donating your time to a beach or park cleanup in your town. If you are looking for a cleanup to take part in you might want to visit http://www.oceanconservancy.org/ or contact a local environmental organization like Ducks Unlimited for information on any events in your area, or you can organize your own. Bringing home the perfect image from a beach or a park is a great feeling but there is something uniquely special about helping to cleanup the environment so others can appreciate it as well. By picking up another man’s trash you might just save some wildlife too.

Memories of 2012

Before I close out 2012 I thought I would share some of my favourite images from the past year. A couple of you might recognize some of them from previous post, but a few images might be new to you as well. It was fun reminiscing about road trips and the great times I had with my family while putting this post together. Hard to believe the year is over, but I guess as they say, time flies when you are having fun.

Hope you enjoy.

Evening Tide - Duck Cove, Brunswick

Evening Tide – Duck Cove, New Brunswick

Bladder Wrack - Saint John, New Brunswick

Bladder Wrack – Saint John, New Brunswick

East Quoddy Lighthouse on Campobello Island. Photograph taken from Deer Island.

East Quoddy Lighthouse on Campobello Island. Photograph taken from Deer Island, New Brunswick.

Sunset and Fishing Weirs - Campobello Island, New Brunswick

Sunset and Fishing Weirs – Campobello Island, New Brunswick

Weir and Seaweed - At high tide this shot wouldn't be possible. Knowing when to go made this image possible.

Weir and Seaweed – Mclaren’s Beach, New Brunswick

Sunset and Seagull - Campobello Island, New Brunswick

Sunset and Seagull – Campobello Island, New Brunswick

Passamaquoddy Bay and Sunset

Sunset, Seagulls and Sandstone – St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Seagull and Sunset

Seagull at Sunrise – St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Lookout - Passamaquoddy Bay, New Brunswick

The Lookout – Passamaquoddy Bay, New Brunswick

Piping Plover on The Passamaquoddy

Piping Plover on The Passamaquoddy – St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Harbour and Grey Seals on the rocks

Harbour and Grey Seals on the rocks – Passamaquoddy Bay, New Brunswick

Fall Breeze – Saint John, New Brunswick

Morning Flare – Red Head, New Brunswick

Angel on the Ocean – Red Head, New Brunswick

Cold and Turning Blue - Seaside Park, New Brunswick

Cold and Turning Blue – Seaside Park, New Brunswick

Seaside Park in the snow

Quaco Head Light House – St. Martins, New Brunswick

Seaside and snow - Seaside Park, Saint John, New Brunswick

Seaside and Snow – Seaside Park, New Brunswick

Haggertys Cove

Haggertys Cove – New River, New Brunswick

Radiance - Saint John, New Brunswick

Radiance – Black Beach, New Brunswick

Glen Falls - Saint John, New Brunswick

Glen Falls – Saint John, New Brunswick

Little Girls First Paddle - Long Reach, New Brunswick

Little Girls First Paddle – Long Reach, New Brunswick

The Bay of Fundy in Action - Saint John, New Brunswick

The Bay of Fundy in Action – Duck Cove, New Brunswick

Happy New Year! - Saint John, New Brunswick

Happy New Year! – Saint John Harbour, New Brunswick

What A Rush!

.

One of the main advantages of living next to the highest tides in the world is the change that happens every 6 hours and 13 minutes…(give or take). According to the official Bay of Fundy website a 100 billion tonnes of water flow in and out of the bay during one tidal cycle. I’d love to make a comparison to help put it in perspective for you in relation to Olympic swimming pools or bathtubs but that is just too much math for me, so we’ll just leave it at being a lot.

Evening Tide – Just a few hours later and I would be totally under water if I stood in the same place.

One of the more used apps on my phone is my tide chart. The best free apps that I have used are Shralp Tide for iPhone and Tide Prediction for Android. The tide app has become one of the more useful accessories among the other stuff that I have in my camera bag. I find myself referring to it several times a week in order to revolve my photography around either the low or high tide. There are several beaches close to my home and even though I may visit the same place several times a week, each trip can still provide many unique images.

Weir and Seaweed – At high tide this shot wouldn’t be possible. Knowing when to go made this image.

It is really quite amazing to see how many images can be created on the same shoreline by simply visiting at a different tidal heights. Then add to the mix the different lighting situations of either sunrise, sunset, pending storms or fog and the possibilities can sometimes seem endless. Before I arrive at the beach I have generally visualized an image or several images, but sometimes what has been provide by nature is better than what I imagined.

Split Rock in Fog

There are a few necessities that will help when working with the water. The first is a (sturdy) tripod, which will allow for slower shutter speeds giving the water that milky look. I also like to use a polarizing filter to remove glare from the ocean, and to assist with slowing down the shutter speed on bright days. A polarizing filter will also offer some protection for your lens against salt spray. For really bright sun or just when there is a big difference in exposure between the sky and water, I will use a split neutral density filter. These filters are dark on top and gradually move to transparent on the bottom so the water still looks as it should but the dark part on top helps the sky from looking washed out. Finally a cable release is also very beneficial but a 2 second self-timer will also work in a pinch to help avoid camera shake during long exposures.

What a Rush – Sometimes the sound is just as impressive as the sight.

As much as I enjoy getting out to photograph, sometimes it is just as nice to leave the camera at home and head to the bay just to watch and listen. There is nothing like a trip to the beach for a quick get away after a stressful day. When things gets crazy and the pressures of life close in, I find it very relaxing to hear the rush of the waves and to know that there is a God at work, who is more powerful and more in control than I may realize.

Night-Light

The majority of my photography is of nature, but when I’m looking for a change or visiting a new city, I really do enjoy taking photographs in the evenings and of the city lights. I’ve been lucky to be able to travel a little and even though it is not always to the big city I still always try to take advantage of the opportunity.

Even a small place like my hometown of Saint John or the surrounding villages can still provide some opportunities to capture a great image at night. Saint John isn’t very big by some standards, but the city center is very well lit at night and can create some nice reflections off the harbor such as this one of The Saint John Harbor Bridge framing the downtown area.

Along with looking for reflections on bodies of water I usually look for the chance to get a bird’s eye view for a different perspective of a city at night. Experimenting with longer exposures of 15 – 30 seconds allows me to record light-trails from the cars on city roads which adds a little life to night scenes like this one of my hometown.

The world-famous Reversing Falls in Saint John attracts many tourists during the day but the view at night is just as impressive. This image of the falls and bridge was recorded with a small aperture to create the star effect with the lights and a long exposure to create milky looking water.

Even a small place in the middle of the Bay of Fundy like Deer Island can create a beautiful night-scape. Technically this is a morning-scape of these fishermen getting ready for work at 5am. Sometimes it pays to have insomnia.

One of my favorite nighttime shots is from a trip to New York in 2005. While traveling home from Brooklyn I stopped for a few shots in Manhattan and the N.Y.F.D. were gracious enough to help me out. Fortunately I had packed my tripod and cable release on this trip and the sirens allowed me enough time to set up the shot.

Although the travel arrangements don’t always allow for a full size tripod, a Gorilla Pod is the next best thing. This shot of South Beach Miami was taken by wrapping a Gorilla Pod around a fence railing and using a 2 second timer to record the image.

Sometimes when I travel photography isn’t the main purpose but my camera gear is still part of my luggage, so getting creative helps with night shots. A little Image Stabilization and the metal gate that locked me out of this Chicago yacht club was used for support and helped me capture this image of the illuminated boardwalk that separated these boats.

When it comes to taking picture of cities at night, there is likely no place like Las Vegas. Xcalibur is just one small part of what seems like an unlimited amount of neon in “Sin City”.

I’m likely in the minority but a week of the Vegas culture was long enough. I did enjoy the evenings and early morning photo shoots, and there was no shortage of night-scape subjects. Once again a railing and Image Stabilization saved me for this early morning shot of The Strip in Las Vegas.

Back closer to home still offers opportunities for some fantastic night shots. One of my favorite locations in Nova Scotia is Mahone Bay, but on your way there why not stop in Halifax. For something different how about a monochromatic Halifax at night

Even the small town of Mahone Bay Nova Scotia with a population of 900 has possibilities. The south shore of Nova Scotia is one of my favorite places to take photographs and the 3 churches of Mahone Bay are often the centerpiece for me.

Growing up I remember being afraid of the dark and I always needed a light on in the hall or my room. I’m older now and not so afraid of the dark, but I’ll admit it, I still like a little nightlight.

Beacons of Light

“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.”

Dwight L. Moody

After awhile you can start to take things for granted living in the same place your whole life. I’ve said it before that I really haven’t appreciated where I’ve lived until I was in my 20’s. In looking through my photographs I’ve come to realize how truly fortunate I am to live on the east coast in the Maritimes. The scenery and the weather are generally perfect for someone like me who isn’t a fan of extreme heat or cold. For the most part the only extreme weather that we get here is extreme fog and very strong winds that blow off The Bay of Fundy.

So with lots of fog comes lots of lighthouses. All along the coast of the Atlantic are 100’s of iconic lighthouses, protecting the sailors and the commercial ships during their voyages through the heavy fog of the summer and the hidden underwater islands and coastlines. As I vacation along the coastal communities, a lighthouse is always an attraction for me and my family. These towers of lights and sounds that protect the shorelines and waters are magnetic for a photographer.

As I’ve traveled the roads and highways of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that run along the Bay of Fundy I’ve been fortunate to see many of these lighthouses and some dramatic weather that makes the Maritimes famous. Three of my favourite lighthouses are all associated with Islands: Partridge Island and Campobello Island in New Brunswick and The Five Islands of Nova Scotia.

Partridge Island at sunrise and the breakwater that connects it to the mainland of Saint John, New Brunswick

Partridge Island is located in the Bay of Fundy off the coast of Saint John New Brunswick. The island is famous for being a quarantine station in the 1800’s for Irish immigrants coming from Ireland during the Great Famine also known as the Irish Potato Famine. Over a 1000 immigrants died from the typhus epidemic. The remnants of quarantine buildings, a Celtic cross and other memorials remain today on Partridge Island. Its location provides a nice foreground to the sunrise and colorful skies of sunset.

The Five Island Lighthouse at dusk.

The Five Islands lighthouse isn’t actually an operational lighthouse anymore. It was built in 1914, but eventually moved in 2008 due to the eroding coastline. It was the beacon that looked out for the ships passing by Moose, Diamond, Long, Egg, and Pinnacle; AKA… The Five Islands.  The Bay of Fundy is famous for having the highest tides in the world and this is the perfect place to experience it. Normally the tide is measured in feet or meters. Here I’m guessing you can measure it in miles or kilometers. I’ve never seen anything like the tides around here.

East Quoddy Lighthouse on Campobello Island. Photograph taken from Deer Island.

Campobello Island is one of the 3 Fundy Isles and quickly becoming one of my favorite places to vacation and photograph. The East Quoddy or Head Harbour Lighthouse is likely one of the most famous landmarks for this island community. It is one of the oldest lighthouses in Canada, and also known as one of the most photographed. Again its location is wonderful in terms of the rising and setting sun, and its position allows it to be photographed from the neighboring Deer Island.

As a photographers I’m always looking for the best light. So it only seems appropriate that I look for the lighthouse.

Glorious and Free

I had another topic for this week’s blog, but after listening to the Canadian National anthem in church yesterday and seeing everyone in their red and white I was left with a much stronger sense of patriotism than I anticipated. It also got me thinking this afternoon about all the reasons I love my country and the places that I have been lucky enough to visit and photograph. The landscape of Canada is a huge part of my photography and one of the many reasons I love it. I’ve also been seeing a lot of the things going on in other countries around the world in the news, and it make me appreciate Canada even more.

Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia is a small town with just over 900 people living in it, but it is still one of my favorite places in the Maritimes to visit. This famous scene of the Three Churches is just one of the many photographic opportunities this coastal community provides.

Over the last 20 years I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in 3 of the 4 Atlantic Provinces as well as Ontario and Quebec. The rest of the provinces and territories are on my to-do list. Since Canada is the second largest country in the world by land mass it will take some time so see everything that I would like to. I have a map of Canada on the wall in front of my desk and quite often think about the places I want to visit. Someday I hope to have the opportunity to visit places like the Queen Charlotte Islands in BC, Grass Land National Park in Saskatchewan, Churchill Manitoba, or the Torngat Mountains National Park in Newfoundland.

I had the pleasure of visiting  The Lang Pioneer Village on a few occasions while living in Peterborough Ontario. It is a fabulous living museum and a wonderful reminder of what our country would have been like in the 19th century.

When I hear people talk about vacations it quite often is about going someplace warm and tropical. As much as I enjoy traveling to south, there is part of me that enjoys a staycation and discovering new places in my province of New Brunswick or visiting family in Nova Scotia and PEI. The older I get the more I enjoy revisiting the familiar places in my hometown or other places close to the Bay of Fundy.

Close to my home here in New Brunswick, the Nerepis River reminds me of the Florida Everglades… but without the gators thankfully.

There are many places around the world that I would love to visit and photograph. The Amazon, The Galápagos or Easter Islands to name a few; and they would all be amazing, but there is really no place like home. I live in a wonderful country and there are still so many places that I have yet to see here in Canada. The True North strong and free.

God’s Sandbox

As children we we’re drawn to it. We dig in it at the beach or the sandbox in our backyard. Some like the feel of it between their toes as they go for romantic walks along the beach or while lying out and soaking up some sun. Watching it flow through an hourglass mesmerizes us. It is as old as the earth and yet sand still entertains us.

All of the above applies to me when it comes to sand. However, as I’ve gotten older and spent more and more time on the shores of The Bay of Fundy and walking along the beaches of local lakes and rivers, I’ve developed a new appreciation for sand. The colors, textures, and shapes that are carved into the sand around the waters next to my home have been the subject for hundreds of my photographs. It is something so simple but yet with each new tide an image is created and waits to be recorded by my camera.

Sandbar seems appropriate. It even looks like chocolate.

When I feel like I’m getting stale with my imagination and my photography in general, I look to the shoreline for new ideas and motivation. The patterns and textures in the sand created by the power of the ocean offer me ample photographic opportunities.  I can visit the beach as often as I like and I’ll never run out possibilities. One visit can bring smooth flat surfaces almost glass and the next day when I visit again and the shores are rippling and almost ribcage like.

I found this sandbar like this. It looks like someone used an ice cream scoop on it. Nature is amazing.

The other aspect that marvels me about the shores in my area are the colors. People talk about white sandy beach when they go on vacation but here in the Maritimes I can walk on beaches that are white, red, grey and even black. As I’ve traveled around The Bay of Fundy I’m still amazed when I visit a new cove or bay and find new colors, textures and types of rock. Sometimes within a five-minute drive there will be two beaches, yet they look so different and still part of the same body of water. The colors and hues seem limitless.

Craters on the Moon. This is what I imagine it would look like….

Sometime a walk to the beach is just for an escape from the craziness of life. There is something about waves, the sand and the smell of the beach that soothes the soul. The problems from the day disappear and are replaced by the expanse and awesomeness and power of the ocean. It seems like it never gets old with each visit. I’m left feeling an enormous sense of awe at God’s magnificence. The details of His creation and art are beyond the scope of what I would ever be able to capture with a camera.

Give and Take (Nothing)

For many photographers the concept is fairly simple. Give me money and I’ll take your photograph or sell you one that I’ve taken. The idea of getting paid to take a photograph is not a new concept and quite often becomes the desire of many aspiring photographers, myself included. For some of you who follow my blog on a regular basis, you might recall some of my recent posts when I have talked about wanting to do more with my photography and use it for a greater purpose. Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing some research on organizations and individuals who are using their talents to take a photograph and get nothing in return. I thought I would pass along a list of organizations that have really impressed me. If you know of another concept or organization that I haven’t mentioned here please feel free to share back with me.

The Maple Leaf Mission is an organization based out of Edmonton Alberta whose mission is to provide portrait photography to families of individuals who are: facing a terminal illness, living with a debilitating illness yet demonstrates a life lived to the fullest, military families celebrating homecomings or deployment, soldiers returning injured from a tour. For more information on The Maple Leaf Mission visit http://themapleleafmission.ca/.

Help Portrait was started by celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart. The concept is simple. Find families or groups who would like a portrait but can’t afford to have one taken. Single parents, underprivileged families, families affected by illness, army veterans, or just a neighbor. Go to http://help-portrait.com/ to learn more.

According to their website “Outside the Lens™ (OTL) is a San Diego-based youth media literacy program dedicated to celebrating the vision and voices of children around the world and across cultures. Students (K-12) tell their unique personal stories using photography, writing and other digital media forms while under the guidance of writers, poets, journalists, photographers, filmmakers, artists, and teachers.” I like this concept a lot. The idea of giving a young person a camera should help us see the world in a new perspective. Right now they are participating in a global photography project called Water in Focus which documents the use, waste, conservation and pollution of the world’s water supply. If you are interested in learning more about Outside the Lens visit them at http://www.outsidethelens.org/.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep is an organization that has really captured my attention for personal reasons. The mandate of NILMDTS is to help parents recover from the loss of a baby. This might seem like a morbid type of charity but for parents going through a very difficult situation it might be an important part of the healing process. For parents of stillborn babies, and babies that die shortly after birth a photograph might be the only thing they bring home from the hospital. Right now they have over 12000 volunteers in 40 different countries.

Photo Philanthropy is an organization that is all about social change. They connect photographers with non-profit organizations around the world. Projects may include environmental causes, social and economic situations in places like third world countries, or education on a variety of topics. If you are thinking about donating your talents to a cause this might be a good place to start.  You can connect with them at http://photophilanthropy.org/.

If you are interested in learning about more organizations to partner with you may want to look at the website http://shuttermission.org/ or do your own search on philanthropy and photography.

“From what we get, we can make a living;
what we give, however, makes a life.” –
Arthur Ashe

Salt Water Cure

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. – Isak Dinesen

I’m back from vacation. It was a short walk but the view was fantastic. Even though it was only a mental break from writing and I didn’t go anywhere, it was a much need time away to recharge and refocus on my photography. In looking for inspiration there is an abundance here in New Brunswick. I can look out my window and see the Bay of Fundy and open my front door and hear it. If it is too cold I can look through any of my windows and see the salt spray that has been left behind.

The Bay of Fundy in Action

It has been during walks along the coast when I have captured many of my favorite images. The Bay of Fundy has no shortage of  inspiration and subjects to photograph. There are many times when I visit the ocean that I attempt to record its power and awesomeness . Creating images of waves can be made on just about any visit, whether calm or stormy days. On a calm day I love to get close to the shoreline to show the motion and beauty of the water. The stormy days offer the beauty as well, but it is power that it really demonstrates.

Tides In

The shores along the bay provide creatures, color and the abstract of rocks and seaweed. Having a close focusing or macro lens will come in handy to photograph these subjects. Showcasing the details allows the viewer to really appreciate all that the ocean has to offer and also to show the fragility. The ocean is such a stark contrast of power and yet it is so fragile as it is impacted by the negligence and complacency of those who either don`t care or know any better.

Adam’s Rib

The ocean has been the subject of many of my images and it has also been the source of many memories. My children enjoy the beach and ocean as much as I do (but with less apprehension about getting messy). As a family we have spent countless hours walking the coastline while sharing stories, laughs and marveling at God`s creation. Water has this unique ability to capture our attention. Even with all the gadgets, TV shows and music to entertain them, my kids will still leave all those in a instant if I offer an invitation to join me for a walk on the beach.

Mud Pies

Besides photography, my other passion is the environment. Over the past 3 years I have participated in an international effort assisting in beach clean-ups.  The Ocean Conservancy (http://www.oceanconservancy.org) promotes the annual event along with a local organization called Atlantic Coastal Action Program (ACAP). The list of grossness that we have collected is too long to mention but I have picked up just about any type of trash you can imagine.  If you have never been involved in a local clean-up, I urge you to find one and participate. You will be left with a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and the added benefit of not having to photograph around trash the next time you visit the beach.