Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Assiniboine Magic

Hey Y'all

The last couple months have been an exciting time. So many adventures, so may beautiful places. I wanted to share my trip to Mount Assiniboine and the gorgeous lodge there.

Mount Assiniboine is just over the BC/Alberta border on the BC side, there are two ways to get there, hiking the 26km in or taking a heli. I took the heli! Now there are three ways to stay out in this area, a campground, cabins or the lodge. All have their different perks but I went with the lodge, it was amazing. The owners and the staff were incredible, always friendly and excited about the day, super helpful and man oh man the food was insanely good.

Now, I went in early Sept. hoping to get some of the colour change of the larches but I was to early, the trees just began to change. There was no shortage of beautiful spots to go however. The first day I went for a hike with no camera gear just to check out the area and picked a few spots to go, along the way I met a few couples that loved the outdoors and photography as much as I do. We wondered around and found some cool spots, we swapped stories of places we had been as we walked back to the lodge.

That evening since everything was clear (not a single cloud in the sky) I decided to skip shooting sunset and wait to shoot the milky way. I went to bed early to get some rest and then woke up around 1:30am and went out and to my surprise there sky was lit up with aurora. It was an incredible moment being out in such dark skies watching the aurora dance. I set up and took a series of shots and until it stopped, then composed my milky way shot over mount Assiniboine. Once I was happy with what I shot I went back in for a few more hours of sleep before sunrise.

I woke up about an hour before sunrise and met up with a fellow photographer out front of the lodge and hiked 1km to the shore of Lake Magog, it sits at the foot of mount Assiniboine. There wasn't a lot of snow from the last winter so the water level was really low, this made it challenging for a good foreground because all we had were rocks, the windy was very strong so the surface of the water was very turbulent. So much that we were getting small white cap waves. I finally found a large rock that I could use for a foreground element and set up, got all my gear in place and then waited for the show. Large puffy clouds were rolling in from behind Assiniboine and as they did the sunrise did her magic lighting them up with beautiful colours.

Later in the evening around dinner time I saw what looked like a great sunset, this time of year was tricky because dinner service and sunset pretty much happened at the same time. Some nights I had to choose one or the other, the kitchen was great about holding a plate for when I got back though. But this evening I ate dinner in a record amount of time and ran out to a spot called Sunburst Lake. It was about 2km and I managed to get there in about 30 min with my camera gear. However during the hike the full sunset colours were already happening, so by the time I got in place I really only had some fleeting colour and then blue hour. I was a little disappointed but nevertheless the moment was still amazing.

The next two days mother nature had different ideas about the weather than I did. It was foggy and overcast with lots of rain and even snow for the entire time. I was still able to get creative and shoot some cool photos of mount Assiniboine through the clouds.

On the 5th day we had a mix of overcast sky and path clouds so I decided to take a hike with the guides and a group of others to the "Niblet" a spot that offers an insane view of multiple lakes, mount Assiniboine and Sunburst mountain. It was a mid day hike so not ideal for photographs but it gave me a chance to get there and see it. Maybe plan for the next day. Later that day the clouds came back in and covered the area for no sunset again.

I woke up on day 6 and there were no clouds in the sky which was ok for me I could catch up on some sleep. Most of the day was spent editing and shooting images of the lodge for their website. Later on that day a good mix of clouds rolled in and this had me thinking about heading to the "Niblet" for sunset or staying for dinner. Up until this point I was feeling a little discouraged because the "Niblet" was my ultimate goal on this trip and so far the results were not good.

Now the window for leaving to get to the "Niblet" in time was closing and I was on the fence until something inside me said just go or you will regret it. So I packed my gear and virtually ran the 2.5km and 250m gain to the "Niblet" in 45min all while carrying camera bag with 35lbs of gear. Most of the gain is right near the end and I won't lie my legs were toast from this past week so it took a lot for me to get into place. I got my gear set up and as I did the sun gently kissed the tree tops, then the mountain peaks and then slowly dipped behind the horizon lighting up the clouds with colours.

I did it! I got my shot that I had been dreaming about for years, it was worth every step, every set back, every struggle. I sat there with a fella who had just been hiking around, he thanked me for stopping him so he also got to share in the amazing moment. Now it was time to head back, it gets dark really fast out there and hiking in the dark in bear territory is no fun. I made the return trip in like 30min, making all sorts of crazy noises to keep animals away. Once I got back the staff had kept dinner warm for me which I thought was truly nice of them.

The next morning it was time to prep for leaving, my heli out was at 2, so I was able to sleep in, pack and even edit some images. I wrapped up with shooting a few of the cabins for their website and sadly said goodbye to everyone I met. As we loaded up for the heli it was bitter sweet Anik and Claude the owners and operators of the lodge were there loading gear and saying goodbye. These are truly amazing people, truly amazing spirits.

If you are ever looking for an amazing mountain experience, some time away from the crowds of people and distractions of technology, book a stay at Mount Assiniboine you won't regret it!

Thank you to all the amazing staff that made the trip that much better and thank you to all the amazing people I met along the way. It was awesome swapping stories and making new friends. I hope you are all well!

David Wilder

Friday, August 19, 2016

"Do I Photoshop my Images?"

Hey World

I hope everyone is doing great. I kept thinking about a new tutorial to do because it has been so long since I've done one that I began to miss doing them. The idea came pretty easily, recently as some of you know I had my work up in the Western Showcase at the Calgary Stampede. I spent a number of days there talking to art lovers and photography enthusiasts and a common question was do "you photoshop my images?"

The quick answer is yes, but the explanation is much longer. I'll try to simplify why I do it by saying I only photoshop the image so that it looks the way it would have had the view been standing next to me when I took it.

In my tutorial I go through in more detail what I mean by that and how I achieve it, how I choose the right image to edit and how important it is to get things right in camera first. I talk a bit about my colour blindness and how I overcome that challenge while editing and how to make your shot pop for the viewer.

We go from this

To this!

David Wilder

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Calgary Stampede and Art

Hey Hey

This years Calgary Stampede was something a little special for me. For those of you who don't know what the Calgary Stampede is, its a 10 day Fair, Rodeo and all out party where easily one million people travel to calgary to celebrate western culture. Bars throw giant parties, concerts with the likes of Kiss, Ice Cube and more, we get fireworks every night, awesome rides and fun midway games, not to mention the crazy food. Did someone say mini donuts?!?!

What many people don't know is there is more to the stampede than the surface party, each year there is a spot on the grounds called the Western Oasis, this is where an art show takes place and until last year I had no idea either. Last year I found out that there was a section in the show that showcased photographers and I swore to myself that I would be a part of it one day. Well the veery next year my hopes came true. Three of my ten submitted images were chosen by the showcase judges to display in this year.

This journey has been one of faith, luck and dedication. I invested in a bunch of inventory, time and most of all love for the show. It was an amazing experience to see people looking at my work and got some great feedback.

I managed to have some amazing talks with different people about the images and even learned more about my pieces. The most touching moment was speaking to a woman in he 80's about how she used to play in the hoodoos and the image took her back to those memories. That alone was worth everything!!!

I did manage to sell 2 pieces in the end, one at the show and one right after. That being said I do have lots of inventory thats available at great prices both canvas and framed pieces.

Here are some behind the scenes of the prep for the show and the show itself.

Some shots from the show.

David Wilder

Friday, July 1, 2016

Dear Canada; Thank You

Dear Canada

Thank you, for being everything you are. Thank you for being stereotypically polite. Thank you for being gentle giant of the north. 
Thank you for maple syrup. 
Thank you for hockey. 
Thank you for Emmanuelle Chriqui
Thank you for Drake
Thank you for teaching me everyone matters. 
Thank you for teaching me love. 

I remember when I first moved to Canada at the age of 4, this cool new place that also happens to snow feet of snow over night. This place didnt feel any different at first but it took 32 years to really understand what we have here. 

I sit back at watch the news and hear about all the things that are happening here and in other countries. There are so many reports about racial hate and sexuality/gender discrimination from all over the world. However it doesn't take much looking to find that Canada is just a little bit different.

 Call us crazy, call us strange, call us to polite but don't forget to call us Canadian. I am proud to be from America but I'm more proud to call myself Canadian. 

I recently fell in love with Canada again after loosing myself in the Rockies. There is just something about them that lifts your soul. I feel privileged to be so close to them. 

I hope these images make you fall in love to. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Struggle is Real

Something that doesn't get addressed that often is the off days, the ones where everything just doesn't line up. With Facebook and Instagram we usually only see the "perfect" side of people, we see what they let us see. But it's not always hero shots and epic moments. 

For the last three weeks I've been struggling, creatively and technically. I've put around 1500km on my car in the last three weeks driving to locations that I've been wanting to shoot but Mother Nature has had different plans. Every trip to the Rockies had been met with heavy overcast skies and no chance for sunlight to poke through. It's a frustrating thing when you don't get what you were looking for. It's started to create a creative block.  

So how do you get out of it? Keep trying!  You can't control nature but you can control your mind and determination. I keep trying to shoot even though conditions suck, I get the practice in and work on the technical side of things. Nature will eventually work itself out, you just have to be ready. 

Here is an almost epic sunrise until the cloud on the left rolled it. Lol

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Coffee and Art

Recently I was contacted by a wicked coffee and pastries shop downtown here in Calgary about installing some images of mine for viewing and sales. It's been a while since I had my work up especially since making some real leaps in my craft. 

After sitting down with the owners I jumped at the change. 

The shop is called Deville Coffee and Pastries, they have the most incredible nuetella latte and amazing breakfast wraps. They have a few locations including a latte truck which is pretty sick. 

Head down to the 1st street and 8th ace location to check out their spot and my work. I'll be rotating new works through over the next 6 months. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Winter Wonderland

Hey you

Back in January I decided to take a drive out to Jasper National Park and hit up a waterfall I have been to before called Panther Falls. It's this stunning waterfall that comes jetting out of a rock face with really no signs of where it comes from. I think it comes from an underground river, which is pretty awesome. 

During the winter 99% of it freezes I to this tower of ice that ice climbers love. Now what's really cool if that wasn't cool enough is that if forms a cave. Once inside you are transported to what feels like a different planet. Giant icicles hang from the cave ceiling, large enough to make a human shish kebab. 

Everything inside this place is more be locate than glass, I was setting up my tripod when I bumped an icicle with my nose and it went crashing to the ground. Needless to say I started to be even more careful at that point. 

Take a look, hope you enjoy?