Four-legged forest friends

Jasper

JASPER

[velocitus temenjus]

He has an over-abundance of self esteem and I’m pretty sure he believes that he is Batman. This certified crazy dog is a Shephard/Husky/Flying Squirrel cross


Saturn

SATURN

[fraidii anythingus]

This dog is terrified by the existence of any bipedal creature including humans and velociraptors. Because she is so fraidy her adventures are always frought with danger


I

remember the first night I brought Jasper home. It was almost three years ago and I decided that I wanted to get a dog. I fell in love with this little Shepherd / Husky mix from the Humane Society. After a few meetings, interviews, and providing stamped engineering documents describing the technical details of my fence they let me take him home. Upon arrival he began sniffing every room in the house in rapid succession. When he got to the living room he started running around in circles. He went faster and faster until you couldn’t see him anymore. At one point he was spinning so fast that I thought he was in a state of flux breaking apart the space-time continuum. That was my first and only moment where I thought we might have been better off with a calmer pet like a clam.

Having a high energy dog changed my life. All of a sudden my main forms of entertainment were walking the dog, going to the dog park, or attending agility classes for the dog. Somedays it was a chore for sure but I found a profound happiness in the energy of this animal. I’d take him to a field and he’d be the happiest dog ever; I’d lock him in his kennel and he’d be the happiest dog ever; the vet would stick needles in his bum and he’d be the happiest dog ever. The fact that I will probably never own a Ferrari didn't seem worth being sad about after being around him.

I believe that it's always good to give everything 100% (except donating blood) and Jasper did just that when I moved to the forest; he seems determined to sniff every tree, chase every squirrel, and eat every stick. I felt he was adjusting to country life well but the person I was living with wanted to add a second dog to the mix. Not just any dog though; she had her heart set on a white Shepherd / Husky mix she found living in foster care. We drove 300km to go visit the white dog but I didn't think she was a good fit. My friend picked her up the next day.

Both dogs are reservation-rescues and both had problems early in life. Saturn is timid of people but gets along well with other dogs. I've been working hard with her to overcome her fear issues and she has been making lots of good progress. One of the amazing things about animals is their ability to drastically change their behavior with proper training. I'm happy to report that Jasper has been a perfect gentlemen and now our dogs are best friends too.

As Saturn becomes more comfortable with me her personality has been showing itself more and it's pretty adorable. She is the great Killer of Bugs and watching her chase butterflies or play with grasshoppers is really entertaining. When you rub her tummy she spreads her legs and makes everyone involved feel really uncomfortable. I'll have to be extra careful not to lose her in the Winter because she kind of blends in with snow.

I'll keep up with the puppy reports every so often to let everyone know how they're progressing and inform you of any new adventures they have. I'm off to another puppy class today to teach Saturn to be less fraidy and it's actually graduation day.


Landscape Photography Magazine

Published I have an article in the latest issue of Landscape Photography Magazine. I’ve actually written a couple articles for them and although my column is stuck way in the back somewhere I feel really lucky to be in the same magazine as the likes of Guy Tal, Ian Plant, and a slew of other internationally recognized photographers.

If you look at the newsstand and are turned off by a bunch of mags designed to fill your camera bag and empty your wallet, with more advertisements than content, you should pick up Landscape Photography Magazine. Simply put LPM plasters their pages in beautiful images from cover to cover. If I were putting together a magazine I would use the same format: lots and lots of really great photos and a couple words to glue everything together. The whole reason I got into photography was because I like looking at pictures. Am I right?



Life Beyond Buildings

I've lived in Calgary Alberta almost my whole life. As I grew up I watched the city grow to over a million people and saw the prairies become consumed by urban sprawl. I've evolved to sleep in the

perpetual glow of street lights alongside the constant hum of traffic, sirens, and people yelling. Five years ago I moved to the edge of the city thinking I'd be partially removed from the machine but it assembled around me.

A lot of times change starts with an event. For me it was the realization of how fast time passes and a desire to try new experiences. All of a sudden I had a big house that was too big, in a location that had lost it's appeal, but more importantly I had an opportunity to try something different. It started with looking at "one-day" properties and turned into me buying an acreage in the foothills near the Hamlet of Bragg Creek Alberta.

This morning as I was leaving for work I saw a Moose and her calf grazing on the edge of our land. Deer are common but I haven't seen too many Moose yet so it was special. I'm learning how to become more self-sufficient and there is a new awareness of how we interact with the world around us that's hard to come by in the city. Although I've lost certain conveniences I've gained something too, maybe it's just the tranquility getting to me, but I haven't been happier.

The accompanying photo was taken about 15 minutes away from my house. I thought it fit the article perfectly because it illustrates the beauty of my backyard. I plan on creating a Foothills Gallery soon.


SPRING DEBUNKED

Winters in Alberta are long, dark, and cold. As the seasons transition and the first signs of Spring appear you'd expect much rejoicing. Don't be fooled; Spring is the worst season of them all. Now I know what you're thinking: Spring is an enchanting wonder where birds chirp, dew laden grasses turn green, and fields of flowers bloom. If that's how you picture Spring you're not from Alberta. Allow me to enlighten you.

The weather is literally insane

Spring can't decide if it should be cold or hot and it changes its mind on an almost daily basis. When the temperature shifts past the freezing point it feels extra cold because everyone is starting to expect warmer temperatures. I feel like yelling "WARM UP GOD DAMNIT! WHY MUST YOU TEASE ME WITH SUNSHINE AND WARMTH?" In the colder months you simply put on your parka and go about your daily business.

The flowers are a lie

With so much mountain run-off you'd expect to see lush foliage everywhere but it's not the case. The truth is Alberta is about as vibrant as a cardboard box during Spring. Usually I use this time to work on my website, plan summer shoots, or take a trip South because the local landscape is scruffy and bland. We won't see leaves or flowers here until at least the middle of May... if we're lucky. Maybe the lack of photo opportunities is responsible for my bitter attitude towards the season.

The real signs of Spring

People think of Spring as a time of new life and rebirth but it's actually the opposite. Rivers and creeks become deadly as they flood their banks with melting snow. The mosquitoe population explodes and we're left to suffer at the hands of the terrible beasts (hate them so much).

The one redeeming quality

It's been too warm to ski and too cold to cycle but Summer is just around the corner. Soon all the mud will dry up, it will stay warm, and we can go camping, hiking, fishing, and all that good stuff. It happens overnight; all of a sudden the grass is green and the trees have leaves. Those four or five days between Spring and Autumn are an absolute treat.

TECHNICAL NOTES


This puddle used to be on my way to work. On this particular morning the sky was lighting up as I was getting ready for my commute. I grabbed my camera as I flew out the door just in case.

The sky was great so I pulled over in my office attire and the whole shoot took all of 5 minutes. The technique I used was blending 3 exposures in Photoshop. Practice is an essential part to getting better.