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Canadian Travelogue – Introduction

PREFACE:

In 2000, as a millennium project, my good friend and noted landscape photographer Daryl Benson, and I joined forces and produced a book called “A Guide to Photographing the Canadian Landscape.”  In this tome we presented our favourite places to photograph across Canada, how to get there and showed images of what to expect once the reader arrived at that destination.  We called the book our “armchair trek” across this vast landscape.

It wasn’t long after I started contributing to Digital Photography School that personal messages started arriving from folks living in Europe (primarily) asking questions about where they should go in Canada to get good pictures.  My answer has remained steadfast over the years: The best photos are where you happen to be at that point in time.  Successful photography really is a combination of research, skill and mindset; with the later being the most important in my opinion.  However, this did not satisfy those enquiring, and follow up questions continued.

From both an aesthetic and technical perspective, much has changed since we produced that 152 page book. Daryl and I were heavy users of filters – Photoshop wasn’t yet a viable option for landscape photographers as it was still in its infancy as a software, as well as snails-pace computer hardware meant excruciatingly long wait times for various functions to complete. As you can imagine, overt filter use has gone out of favour as have many trends (sorry to say that to all us HDR proponents).  Our film cameras have essentially become antique and valueless – a Pentax 67 looks at me as I write this duly retired to its role as a bookend. And books are now delivered to the offset press as PDF files as opposed to huge CMYK sheets of film.

With all these considerations taken into account, it simply is not worthy of consideration to re-print the original book verbatim. Therefore, what I will do over the next few months is re-write the text, insert new photos, and generally re-work this book to bring it up to day’s styles and standards. The content will be posted in a systematic fashion, starting where the sun first reaches the North American coast and then eventually sets on the Pacific coast. We will take this journey from coast-to-coast-to coast (yes, I am fortunate to say I have literally dipped my toes in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans).

I have two requests from dPs readers:  1. Accept the fact that those initial entries in the original book written by Daryl, will be annotated in these entries as “DB” and the entries originally penned by myself will be signified with a “DW”; and 2. Let me know as we get going on this journey if you would like to see it produced as an e-book.

Other than that, I hope you enjoy this journey across what I consider the greatest country on the planet – my home, Canada.

 

Bordered on three sides by salt water in a northern climate, ice is never far away. As the Canadian comedian Pete Soucey, aka Snook" says: We ahve nine months of winter and three to get ready for it. It's not all ice, there are also deserts and temperate rain forests. This image was made in mid-May at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland and Labrador; Canada's easternmost province.

Bordered on three sides by salt water in a northern climate, ice is never far away. As the Canadian comedian Pete Soucey, aka Snook,” says: We have nine months of winter and three to get ready for it. It’s not all ice, there are also deserts and temperate rain forests as well. This image was made in mid-May at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland and Labrador; Canada’s easternmost province.

 

INTRODUCTION:

“An incomplete Guide to Photographing the Canadian Landscape” was the original title for this book, but very early in the project our ace marketing, research and development team told us that no one would buy a guide book that admitted to being anything less than comprehensive. Bowing to wisdom, we re-named the book, but deep down we know that really it is incomplete.

Why so?

Well, Canada covers 9,970,610 square kilometres (second largest in the world behind Russia) and has 243,000 kilometres of shoreline (the most of any country in the world). If you could walk 20 kilometres per day, and followed the shoreline, it would take you 33 years to complete the trek. It is simply impossible to cover the vastness, the diversity and the natural beauty of Canada in any finite work.  Consequently, we know our book will forever be incomplete despite what that crack team of marketing people suggest.

A Guide to Photographing the Canadian Landscape has been created to make it easier for you to “hit the ice with sharp skates, so to speak; this is a Canadian metaphor that means, roughly, to arrive prepared. Interestingly enough, in the Russian language the same metaphor appears as “punch some vodka with a shaving device,” which is a good suggestion should your vodka be old and growing fur.

This guaranteed hair-free and clean shaven series is not intended to be a definitive photographic guide to areas that will be profiled –each one of them is worth a book itself- but merely a starting point at the head of the trail.

You are strongly encouraged to hike and explore further on your own, using the following words and information as a key to open the front door; what lies beyond is infinite.

 

The majestic Mount Cephren rises 3,307 metres (10,850 feet) from the Mistaya River Valley at Banff National Park in Alberta. The north-south running mountain range that is also a border between Alberta and British Columbia, is a continuation of the Rocky Mountain range which originates far to the south in New Mexico.

The majestic Mount Cephren rises 3,307 metres (10,850 feet) from the Mistaya River Valley in Banff National Park, Alberta. The north-south running mountain range  is also a physical border between Alberta and British Columbia, and is a continuation of the Rocky Mountain range which originates farther to the south in New Mexico.

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Dale Wilson

Dale Wilson is a freelance photographer based out of Halifax, Canada. He has been a regular staff writer for a variety of Canadian photo magazines for 18 years. Wilson has also published or co-published four books and was the photo-editor on the Canadian best selling Canada’s National Parks – A Celebration. His practice concentrates on commercial work and shooting natural history images for four stock agencies. After a 10 year hiatus Wilson will once again be offering eastern Canadian workshops with his teaching partner Garry Black.'

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