Who…Me?


I enjoy photography, people who are real, and those who are honest with themselves and others. I enjoy good food & drink, particularly when sharing them with others. I love science, biology in particular, and anything to do with fish. I enjoy quality in anything, and bold colours are fabulous (even though I predominantly wear black). I love laughter! I take pleasure in the environment and in travel, and I love the education that travel provides. I appreciate the world around me and everything it brings. I relish the challenges – both positive and negative – because they make us who we are if we take the time to learn from them. I delight in the wonder, and the absurdity, of real life. And the older I become, the more I appreciate simplicity. This blog is simply a place where I can share my photos along with my sometimes random observations on these, and other, things. And, although this blog is not about fish, from time to time, I might photograph and/or write about fish, because I really do think they are pretty cool animals! I spent 15 years in University studying fish and  managed to pursue a career helping people work with the finned creatures and I’m overjoyed that I can actually work in the field I trained for, and love doing it.

Maybe you’ll find something interesting, maybe you won’t. As someone I worked for long ago once said to me, “That’s why they make chocolate and vanilla.” So thanx for visiting!

I came to Vancouver in 1987 and fell in love with the West Coast and all that it offers. Even though I grew up far to the north, the Lower Mainland was “home” instantly. We have forests, mountains, the ocean, lakes, and rivers. And sandwiched in between all of that, is a dynamic city full of diverse cultures and fabulous people in the most wonderful temperate climate imaginable. Not too hot, not too cold, just perfect (OK, maybe a little too wet sometimes, but that’s why we have so much lushness, even the rain can be fabulous, particularly when floating out on the water).

I can’t imagine living here without a camera, actually I can’t imagine not living here. I love Vancouver, BC, and Canada (we are so lucky in North America), but I also enjoy travelling abroad and learning about new places and new people. I thoroughly enjoy my life because it is full of the things I love. I volunteer for an organization dedicated to education and safety on the water (see Norvan), I have the opportunity to facilitate the learning of University students in a field that I love, and I work for an organization that allows me to use the years of education I worked through, and which provides me the opportunity to contribute back to my province in so many ways – socioeconomically, environmentally, ecologically. It has been a long haul and I never know if it will last. I keep active and always try to move in a forward motion and, even though there have been thorns among the rose petals, I’m still heading in the direction I’ve always wanted to go. So I make sure that I enjoy what I have it while I have it, and I give back as much and as often as I can.

But best of all, I get to share this wonderful life with my best friend and I am thankful that he shares his laughter and his love with me; this wonderful “two-someness” we have is something I am eternally grateful for. We own a great little condo that is just a bridge and a park away from the most beautiful city in the world, is within minutes of three local ski hills, and is within an hour of a world class ski destination (even if I do think coastal snow is horrible compared to what I grew up with). We live five minutes from our boat and have access to some of the best waters in the world, whether motoring, sailing with friends, or out for a paddle in the kayaks. We live on the edge of one of the best roads for a quick motorcycle ride on some wonderful curves, but I also love buzzing about town on my little scooter – so much fun! Every so often we pack up and head off for adventures abroad, where we meet new people and experience new things. I know who I am, and I try to stay grounded and true to that person.

I’m glad to have had the drive, the luxury, and the support of my soul-mate, to pursue those things I enjoy. It feels good to have a life that makes me happy, it feels good to have a life that contributes to the well-being of the environment, to other people, to learning, to critical thinking. It’s nice to feel fulfilled and comfortable with who I am.

Part of my life involves teaching, the funny thing is that I once said I never wanted to teach. I said I never wanted to do a lot of things. And while I have always done the things I said I would, I also ended up doing and enjoying many of those things I said I’d never do. So I’m a bit more careful now about what I say I’ll “never” do. Although I teach, I want to keep learning, and at the top of that list is learning how to see. See the world, see people, see the humour in life, but most importantly see different points of view. We use our eyes to navigate, but at some point, as we grow and age, we stop “seeing” the wonder in the world around us, particularly what we perceive to be mundane. We become too caught up in our own narrow views of life, become entrenched in our self important opinions, our own selfish ‘wants’. Because we always want more, we forget to value what we already have, what others don’t have. We become very selfish in so many ways. We stop thinking critically, and forget to appreciate the little things or that the things that other people see are equally valid as our own views, just different, and different is good…how boring if we all shared the exact same views.

I am fascinated by human behaviour and often find myself analysing it, both in myself and in others. I try to understand why we do the things we do, think the things we think. I believe strongly in critical thinking, in morality, in treating others the way we hope they will treat us. I like to explore all sides of any issue, that helps avoid becoming mired in dogma and bias. Too often we become stuck in our own ideals, usually based on emotions, and that’s when things tend to become polarized. Too many people think “you are with me or you are against me”. Life isn’t that black and white, there are so many amazing shades of grey, and many opinions, different than mine, are equally “right” (or “wrong”). I like to find the humour in life. We spend so much time being bombarded by bad news that it is easy to be negative and pessimistic, that’s the easy way out, complain and do nothing. Complaining just puts more focus on the negatives and makes one feel helpless. It takes an open and active mind to find the positives. Those are the kinds of minds I like to encounter. The ones that are considerate of the feelings of others, the ones that question the world around us, the ethical minds, the respectful minds, the curious minds, the thoughtful minds.

Sometimes I ramble on about something that may or may not involve a photo, sometimes I just need to be able to poke fun at myself or the world around me. And although I always try to be positive and optimistic about things, I am generally grounded in reality and therefore I might call myself an optimistic realist, and so that means sometimes I’ll rant about some topic. But I try to keep that to a minimum.

I’ve always loved the photograph. I think you can tell a lot about a person by the images they create. You can pick up on personality, mood, thought patterns. There can be so much emotion in a photo. I joined Flickr in 2008. I wasn’t in the happiest place in my life, but it kick started me with photography again, and that helped me take stock of things a bit. Looking through a lens helped focus my mind and made me look at things a little differently. It helped to return me to a state of wonder at the fabulous people/places/things the world contains, if only we’d just take the time to slow down and appreciate them a bit more fully instead of rushing off to the next, latest and greatest, thing/want/place, instead of focusing on just ourselves.

It’s so important to breathe and appreciate what we have. If we just stop and think, we may already have everything we need to make us happy and fulfilled. I decided to attempt a 365 Challenge at the start of 2010 – take a photo every day for a year, and try and make the photos somewhat meaningful in some small way. I enjoy photography, and I also like to write, so this seemed like a nice pairing. I wasn’t sure I’d complete the challenge – a photo every day is quite a commitment – and I didn’t know where it would take me. However, I have historically finished what I’ve started and never failed to do what I’ve said I will do, so logic dictated that this wouldn’t really be any different. And it was interesting to look back at the end of the year and view where I’d been, what I’ve been thinking about, what I’d seen through the camera lens, and consider where I am going next.

I managed three straight years; when 2012 started, it seemed logical to keep going. Some days it was hard to force myself to pick up the camera, but it’s been an interesting journey in contemplation. I decided to take a break from the project in 2013, the challenge became a chore when life threw some devastating curve balls at me, so I opted to do a 52 weeks project instead. It kept the camera nearby, but not chained to me.

Most of my photographs are hosted on Flickr, and those images, when clicked on, will take you to my photostream, but the reflections are mostly housed here.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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