Whew! I’ve just wrapped up the 2nd stage of a 2-part, back-to-back, whirlwind tour for the first ever international photography exchange between Phoenix, Arizona and Calgary, Alberta. I wrote about the 1st part of the tour in Arizona, in a previous post. We nicknamed the Arizona tour several things, including the “full throttle tour”. 🙂 And we did our level best to equal the energy of that experience when switching over to Alberta.
What can I say? No joke — the past 3+ weeks on this project have been an absolutely amazing and unique experience for me. In fact, as I try to write something coherent here, my head is still reeling with everything that we experienced together. Working as part of the program of Through Each Others Eyes, the photography team included fellow Albertan Peter Carroll and Arizonans Ken Ross and Colleen Miniuk-Sperry. But we also had the support and assistance of other local folks in both Arizona and Alberta. For the Alberta team, I’d be remiss not to mention the timely and invaluable assistance from Kerry Smith. She not only provided ideas and hosting for our guests, but helped immeasurably by arranging locations and logistics while Pete & I were tearing around Arizona and Alberta.
Finally — but by far not least! — we couldn’t do things like this without the support of our spouses / significant others, and families. They helped host events at our homes and took care of day-to-day chores while putting up with our crazy travel schedules. Dianne, Craig, Tara and Deb in particular — you’re all saints, and we owe you bigtime! 🙂
Over the past couple of weeks, the 4 of us photogs traveled to an amazing series of locations across Southern Alberta and the Rockies. Pete & I attempted to introduce our visitors to a view of our home territory… a view that included both icons and relative unknowns. So yes, we certainly spent some good time at the Calgary Stampede and visiting classic locations in Lake Louise and Banff. But we also tried to get a glimpse of the “real west” heritage of Alberta by traveling along David Thompson Highway (Highway 11) and the Cowboy Trail (Highway 22) for several days. I learned a thing or two about my home stompin’ grounds and found some places I definitely need to go back to.
Looking back just a little, the time since beginning of May has been something of a whirlwind for me, one of the most intense periods of photography I’ve ever experienced. I attended a great weekend workshop on architecture & interiors with Mike Heywood, ran a photo tour of my own in the Rockies, joined a group of friends for an amazing photo trip to Iceland, and did this pair of excursions for the TEOE project. That doesn’t even include the fantastic trip to Peace River I did back in February, or other solo side trips to the Drumheller and Waterton areas, and some little forays around Calgary.
Just for grins, here are some stats covering the past 10 weeks:
- Distance covered by air: ~14,200 km
- Distance covered on ground: ~13,400 km
- Frames taken (before culling): ~26,000
- Disk storage space consumed: ~1.25TB
- Dead laptops: 1
- Dead cameras: 1
- Friends & colleauges photographed with: 37
- Going to new locations: Incredible
- Experiences with friends & colleagues: Priceless
There were a few hiccups along the way, including the fatal meltdown of my travel laptop in Iceland and a failed shutter mechanism in my Pentax 645D in Arizona. But so many other things went so well that I just take the equipment glitches in stride. (Although I’m modifying future major travel plans to adjust my dependency on critical pieces of gear!)
To wrap up our TEOE project photography fieldwork, this past Saturday the TEOE team did a presentation at Calgary’s The Camera Store. (Thanks Evelyn, Jim, Peter, Julian & TCS team — y’all rock!) Our topic was “Stories Instead of Snaps”, and we wanted to provide some ideas on how to better tell stories through travel photography. Colleen was our lead presenter, and one thing she talked about was a quote from Jay Maisel. In response to the question of how to take more interesting photographs, Maisel replied “Become a more interesting person.”
For me, the most important and interesting thing I’ve done this year is not yet visible in the actual photographs I’ve come away with. It’s not even the incredible locations to which I’ve traveled (and I include spots in my hometown in this list). No, most of all I value the wonderful people with whom I’ve been privileged to spend time. These are experiences that I believe will best contribute to the fabric of who I am, likely in ways I can’t even imagine yet. I hope & believe these experiences will make me a more interesting person in the future. And yeah, that’s bound to be good for my photographic work. 😉
Stay tuned for future announcements on exhibits and presentations from the TEOE project, being scheduled right now in the Calgary and Phoenix areas. To wrap up today’s post, here are a few Instagram photos from the TEOE Alberta photography work.