Thursday, 21 February 2013

Cloud Walking

Canon Rebel XS, ISO 400, shutter 1/200, f 22, 55mm
August 2011

Barely awake at 2am, we pile blurry-eyed into the SUV, which is expertly driven through the narrow streets and towards the volcanic hills that encompass most of central Bali.  Dressed for adventure, I'm confidently equip with my backpack, consisting of bottled water, snacks, camera equipment, and a change of clothes.  Sleepy smiles all around...we're about to climb a volcano!  Ohh, did I mention I hadn't really been "working out" that much lately:p 

Here's some basic information about Mt. Batur:
Notice the elevation. 

I admit I didn't really do my research, but I felt up for the challenge.  Plus I had two awesome friends going with me, and we were hiring a guide to help us with the climb.  Though I must say, I *did* skim over the Lonely Planet guide information about the trek, and it claimed it was (and I'm paraphrasing) "easy".  Um.  Did I mention it was 3am and still dark out when we started climbing?  Flashlights to light our way, we began following the guide along the trail through the sparse forest area that surrounds the volcano.  Beginning on a slight incline, I was thinking "this IS pretty easy!".  Then we arrived at the beginning of the real climb at the base of the volcano proper, where the forest gave way to rocks, and a pathway was barely visible to our thin streams of light. 

Well's starting to get interesting.  Our guide was fabulous, by the way, and well worth the $40 each.  Without him, we would have probably climbed to our deaths.  The climb became steeper, and it was still quite dark out.  Looking up, I could see the moon and a few stars still in the sky...though in the distance a faint light was emerging.  In hindsight, climbing in the dark was an inspired idea, because I couldn't see how far we still had left to go.  There were a few times where the guide instructed us to "stay straight!" or "don't go left!".  Later we found out that if we hadn't listened, we could have fallen down a small cliff edge!  Sometimes the guide would help us surpass large or tall rocks, and he carried our water bottles for us too.  As time passed on and dawn was finally upon us, I dared to look up.  As my heart pounded from over an hour of straight climbing (recall my earlier insight into my lack of gym time, and I also have no rock climbing experience) I sighed heavily as I realized we were barely halfway to the top.  I began to doubt my ability, physically, to make it.  One of my awesome friends happens to be a nurse, so I jokingly said to her that I hoped she remembered advanced CPR in case my heart explodes.  I was kinda more serious than I let on.  We laughed it out, and my other awesome friend encouraged me to keep going:)  Renewed in my confidence, and stubbornly insistent that this mountain won't conquer me, I put one foot in front of the other and grabbed ahold of the next rock to lift myself further up the path. 

 After a total of approximately 2.5 hours of climbing, (with a couple of short 5 min rests) we were approaching the summit.  Well, the "lower" summit, where there exists a coffee-making person in a shack and a few roughly constructed benches.  And a spectacularly amazing view of the sunrise.  We arrived, sweaty and tired, and found our place amongst the other climbing groups to witness the miracle we take for granted every day.  The sun rising into the sky.  We were fortunate, in that it was a fairly clear morning, and that we made it to the top before the sun had broken through the horizon.  Our view encompassed the range of volcanoes in the distance, a lake below us, and the beautiful landscape of Bali.  I'll never forget standing there, fiddling with my camera and lenses, and trying to absorb the moment at the same time.  Breathing in the crisp air, drinking a coffee that looked more like mud, being above the clouds, and looking further into the distance than I ever thought was possible.

 I always wondered why people climbed mountains, when it seemed like so much work and stress on the body. Now I know why.  I conquered that volcano...I made it to the top even though I wanted to quit and I honestly thought my heart was going to explode and my muscles would never forgive me.  I sat on the top and watched the sun rise, and I smiled.  Nothing is impossible.  That's why people climb mountains.

Every time I look at this photo, I experience that feeling again.  As corny as it sounds, it truly does inspire me to be great, and to actually do the things I'm dreaming about.  That feeling is what made me even consider starting an Indiegogo campaign.  I don't know if I'll succeed, or be able to go before the end of this year.  I don't even know if I'll get a decent job to financially support my dreams, or what will happen tomorrow.  But I'm not giving up, because now I know why people climb mountains.

If you're interested in supporting my dreams or sharing them, visit my campaign here:

This image, along with the others I'll be blogging about, is available as a "perk" by donating to my cause:)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Sorcerer's collection

Canon Rebel, ISO 200, f 9.0, shutter 2 sec, 50mm
Since it's Halloween, I thought I'd share one of my spookier images.  This was taken during a photo shoot illustrating the life of a sorcerer.  A friend of mine had all these wonderful old books and props that we were able to work with, to create the sense of old magicks.  I wanted to play around with candle light, so set the camera on the tripod and experimented with a few different shutter speeds until I had the effect of shadows I envisioned.

Wishing everyone a safe Halloween full of sweets and spooky fun!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Hoof-prints in the Sand

I've kind of been on a hiatus for the last month.  A combination of being busy, then sick, then planning my next vacation (which I am really excited about!).

Since I'm going to be on a beach again soon, I thought this was an appropriate image to get back into the groove of my blog.  This photo was taken in the Dominican Republic, during a quiet walk along the beach.  We'd just been passed by a local man on horseback...probably the same man who took us out the next day on our horse tour...and the tide was slowly erasing the existence that he'd ever been there at all.  I thought of the old "footprints in the sand" image, and felt compelled to show that we're not the only ones who leave marks on this earth. 

Canon Rebel, ISO 200, f 11, shutter 1/125, 32mm

Friday, 14 September 2012

Shades of Winter

Canon Rebel, ISO 800, f 7.1, shutter 1/60, 37mm

January 14, 2011

Winter, the day after a snowstorm.  In the backyard with the dog, watching her play around in the snow, and making a tunneling a hole through the snow on the banister of the deck.

Cut to a few days later.

The space I created formed into a cavernous thruway looking towards the fence on the other side of the deck.  The snow, frozen into smooth ice from cold days and even colder nights, creates waves and patterns.

Winter.  It will soon be here again.  Although I'm not a fan of the cold and sleet, I do hope for a few little snowstorms so that we can see the beauty of the aftermath....layers of snow on tree branches, sparkling like diamonds on the ground, and always new photo opportunities.

Monday, 27 August 2012

A bit of success :)

The wine and cheese tasting table

The art that was up for auction...most pieces were bid on and sold!

My own personal photography that I was selling...with ALL proceeds to the charity.  I sold 3 pieces :)

The media presentation my boyfriend set up and created, using BARC's videos and images of their success stories. 
I thought I'd share some casual pics with you all today, instead of my usual blog format...

The above photos (taken with my cellphone) are from this past Saturday, during the event I hosted and organized to support an animal rescue organization in Bali, Indonesia.  With the wine tastings, art auctions, art for sale, baked goods and raffles, we raised over $800 for them!  It may not seem like a huge amount, but in Bali, $800 CAD goes a LONG way :)

You can read more about this wonderful group at their website:

It was a fun and successful day! 

Friday, 17 August 2012


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F 7.1, shutter 1/100, 48mm
This photo was one of the creature shoots I did for WHIMZ a couple of years ago, and it's still one of my favourites.  This turtle and lizard have been friends for 12 years!  They love each other:)  I think it's amazing, and can teach us a lot about different species we may think of as not "feeling" as much as we do.

Plus, I'm really happy about how sharp this image turned out.  Even viewing it on our 60" TV it's super clear, not pixelated at all:)  Guess the "kit" lens isn't so bad after all...

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Weekend of photos!

I actually didn't realize it was Tuesday already and it's been a few days since I posted anything.  I've had a few photo shoots since my last post, plus I've been out and about a lot!

The studio shoot on Sunday was really cool:)  I haven't even had time to edit any of the photos yet...but here's a couple unedited (I just put a watermark on them) as a sneak peek:

"Day of the Dead" theme by makeup artist Andrea Gray

Native Couture by stylist/makeup artist Alicia Nugent

Yes so I have about 200 photos to go through and hopefully some will be published:)  Excited!

I promise to post more frequently, as my photo-a-day is turning into a photo every few days when I have time...ooooops.