Pyramid Mountain and Patricia Lake during a foggy Fall sunrise, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.
Crazy to think, but ten years ago yesterday was the day I walked away from a good paying job, with great benefits and wonderful co-workers, to become an outdoor photographer. Wow, what a journey it has been!
I still remember waking up those first few days relieved that I didn’t have to go to an office, but worried that we would have to rely solely on my photography to pay the bills. If you told me then that we would still be at it 10 years later, I would have assumed that worry would go away, but I would have been wrong. No matter how good a current month may be, the next month is always an unknown mystery. I supposed that is common when you are self employed especially in such a competitive field. I have concluded that this uncertainty is a good thing – I know it is a great motivator that keeps me pushing not only physically, but also creatively.
What no one knew at the time, is that my departure was part of a 5 year plan – a plan we had not told a single person about because we didn’t want to be reminded about how crazy and risky the idea was – we knew. We attacked all our debt and expenses, gathered the necessary photography gear, added what we could to savings, and began building relationships with publishers. Janine then left her job 2 years before I did, and worked full time at building the business. Even though I was spending all my weekends and vacation time in the field, in those early years our biggest short coming was a lack of coverage. So by the time I left my job, we felt like we could expand our coverage enough with me full time that we could make a go of it.
We had a small camper (still do) and after traveling around Alaska during the summer, I drove it across Canada into the Lower 48 passing through what would become one of my favorite destinations, Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada. So I thought it was only fitting to share an older photo from Jasper – I really need to get back there!
So here is to the next 10 years!
Vancouver Skyline, British Columbia, Canada.
Janine has been working extra hard on our website and now has updated our Canadian coverage with our new Vancouver photos along with additional Whistler photos.
Victoria Harbour Ferry, Victoria, Canada.
As I was galavanting around Alaska, Janine was busy updating our website with a new section of Victoria photos, thanks to our recent travels there this past summer.
Carnival Cruise Ship Carnival Spirit leaving Vancouver, Canada.
It is only 6 months until Vancouver hosts Winter Olympics! I understand they are going to bring in a couple of cruise ships to help meet the demand for lodging.
We rented a small boat and followed two cruise ships as the departed Vancouver and passed under the Lions Gate Bridge. It was fun even though the light was only so so.
Go here to see more of our Vancouver Canada photos.
Vancouver Waterfront, Canada.
See more Vancouver photos.
Whistler Village, British Columbia, Canada.
One of the great things about Whistler is the lack of automobiles. The stores and restaurants in town don’t face the roads, but instead, they front a large network of walkways known as the Whistler Stroll. That coupled with a convenient bus service make having a car not only unnecessary, but almost a liability. We were sure glad we hadn’t rented one!
The gondolas leading up either Whistler or Blackcomb mountain are found at the end of this walkway, so even if you are skiing or downhill biking, you can still walk from most hotels.
See more Whistler photos.
Empress Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Here is nightime view of the Empress Hotel. Here are more Victoria, Canada photos.
Looking across the Inner Harbour at the historic Empress Hotel.
We are hitting the office pretty hard right now, so I thought I would share a few more photos from our recent Canada trip. This is another one from the beautiful Inner Harbour area of Victoria. And yeah, that is how the spell harbor in Canada.
Check out more of our Victoria, British Columbia, Canada photos.
Butchart Gardens, Victoria, Canada.
Well, saying how much I loved a flower garden isn’t going to do anything to improve the macho, tough guy image I have worked so hard to create (joking), but this place was gorgeous! I think you could be blind folded, and still could come away with beautiful images, because literally every inch of extensive grounds at Butchart Gardens is perfectly manicured with wonderful, colorful flowers. Here are more Victoria photos.
The Sunken Garden, Butchart Gardens, Victoria.
The Harbor and Legislative Building, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
We spent the last two nights of our trip in the beautiful seaside community of Victoria. I can’t think of too many towns more photogenic then Victoria! See more Victoria photos.
Sunset over Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.
These beautiful clouds and thunderstorm pretty much appeared out of nowhere at the end of a hot day in Whistler. This is at the base of Whistler Mountain – you can see some of the Bike Park. The top of the mountain you see here is the 1/3 point on the ride to the top! Blackcomb is equally as tall, and rises to the left of this view.
Usually the blog is pretty close to real time – but I have fallen behind a bit. We actually returned to Alaska yesterday, but I will keep sharing more photos from this trip.
Having only one full day (two nights) in both Whistler and Victoria was not near enough time. Unfortunately, it would have cost us a bunch more of our valuable free miles to return after Tuesday – so we did our best to cram it all in.
I’m hoping these summer images will be a good compliment to our winter Whistler photos.
The Peak to Peak (actually called Peak 2 Peak) trams runs between the tops of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
This was an amazing ride! We had to do it, although Janine had to take a big step given her fear of heights!
So check out these stats – all world records by the way:
- Largest unsupported free span in the world – 1.88 miles.
- Highest lift in the world of its kind - 1,361 feet.
- It is also the longest continuous lift in the world – total distance traveled is 2.73 miles.
And in case that wasn’t enough excitement, they even put a glass floor in a few of the cars!
Here are some more interesting facts. The total ride lasts 11 minutes. There are 28 cars, each can carry up to 28 passengers, that means the thing can move 4,100 passengers per hour.
Here are more Whistler, Canada pictures.
Mountain biker launches of a ledge on one of the intermediate trails in the Bike Park, Whistler, Canada.
We were surprised to see that Whistler is just as busy in the summer as it is in the winter. You can still ski and snowboard high up on the glacier. In addition, you can raft, kayak, golf, zip-line, bungee jump, ride alpine slides…
But the big activity is downhill mountain biking. They have an elaborate set of trails on the mountain complete with ramps, jumps and a whole bunch of other challenges. Riders wear “body armor” and full face helmets and ride mountain bikes that appear to have suspensions similar to motorcycles!
We only had one day and two nights – it was tough not having the time to “play”!
Here are more biking photos
A baby raccoon, Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada.
Found this young guy along with its sibling and parents – they were sure fun to watch!
Took the bus to Whistler yesterday, and have a full day in the cool ski resort town today.
Vancouver skyline at sunset, Canada.
We had a beautiful sunset over Vancouver last night!
Check out more Vancover photos.
Fireworks over Vancouver, Canada.
We were excited to learn we were going to be in Vancouver for one of the nights of Celebration of Light – an international fireworks competition, and something we did not know about when we booked this trip. We were disappointed to learn that more then 300,000 people crowd the waterfront in a mass sea of people, and to gain a decent vantage point, you have to arrive many hours early and stand your ground and wait.
So we decided our time was better served doing other things, so we rented a boat and followed and photographed a couple cruiseships as they left Vancouver. Well as luck would have it, at the end of the night when we were all done, the owner of the boat rental company invited us up to the roof of his high-rise apartment building! This was from the roof top pool area – it was a great show!
See more Vancouver photos.
Vancouver from Stanley Park, British Columbia, Canada.
This was last night – our flights went smooth and wow, the weather is beautiful! Back to scouting, more later. See more of our Vancouver photos.
Whistler Village, British Columbia, Canada.
We now have a new section of Whistler photos. This is also from our whirlwind 3 day trip to Canada this winter.
I have always enjoyed restaurants that had outdoor seating. It seems like you usually find these in warm destinations – given the winter weather conditions, I was surprised to see outdoor seating at a number of places in Whistler, like the one pictured above . They were all crowded and popular.
Vancouver and Whitler will host the Winter Olympics next February. I gotta say, almost all the venues were complete and functioning, and they were all first class. I can’t think of a place that is better situated to handle such a huge event, I will be surprised if they aren’t a huge success.
Typically we process all the photos from a trip in one big group, but this time we decided to do our Canadian photos in one batch, and then the rest of the trip in a second batch. Because of this, we now have a new section on our website of Vancouver photos.
Statue of Vancouver Olympic Logo
Inukshuk rock statues like this one found at the Whistler Olympic Park were the inspiration for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic logo.
We had 4 nights in the Vancouver / Whistler area. With fairly long travel days on either side of those nights, we were only left with 3 full days – so the trip was a whirlwind of activity. I don’t like to do photography that way over a long period of time, but I do enjoy it over short bursts like this trip was. Often it seems I’m most productive when I completely immerse myself into photography – even at the expense of sleep, meals, exercise etc.
Whistler Olympic Park or Olympic Center
My favorite Olympic venue was the new Nordic sports Whistler Olympic Park. I’m probably biased because I’m such an avid cross-country skier, or maybe it was my favorite because the new facilities were so beautiful, and the remote mountainous setting was perfect for such sporting events.
These facilities are located in the Callaghan Valley about 15 kilometers from the Whistler Village. The Callaghan Valley is an undeveloped area full of wonderful large trees and surrounded by numerous snow covered mountain peaks. Along with cross-country skiing, this area will also host other Nordic events such as biathlon and ski jumping. Below is the new ski jumping hill.
- Jumping Hills, Whistler Olympic Park, Canada.
Here are more of our Whistler photos.
An Olympic hopeful training at the brand new Richmond Speed Skating Oval near Vancouver. This venue will be used for long track speed skating in next year’s winter games.
I thought this scene epitomizes the typical Olympic athlete’s life. Long hours of training by themselves in relative anonymity. It is kind of ironic, if he does make the Olympic team as expected, millions of people from around the world will one day watch him skate on this same ice surface. On this day, it was only Janine and I, along with his friendly girlfriend. [click to continue…]
Whistler Village, Canada.
Whistler Village is a really cool little town. The majority of the hotels, shops and restaurants are connected by a pedestrian only walkway, and access to both mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb are readily available thanks to multiple gondolas or chairlifts that originate from the town. And if that wasn’t enough, the two mountains are also connected thanks to a new peak to peak tram that extends almost 3 miles across, and almost 1,500 feet above the valley floor! [click to continue…]
Bobsleigh or Bobsled at the Whistler Sliding Centre, Canada
We were disappointed at first to learn that the brand new Whistler Sliding Centre was closed to the public during our stay here at Whistler. You see, there is a World Cup event being held here this weekend, and the various countries from around the world were here doing training runs this week. We made some inquiries, and fortunately we were able to obtain press passes to photograph the facility and the training – I gotta say, what an amazing treat to be able to stand just feet away as bobsleds zoomed by at over a hundred miles an hour! [click to continue…]