Memorable Moments of 2021

To finish off 2021 I wanted to look back again at 5 memorable moments. I’ve done this for the past five years as a way to reflect on my journey into photography. Highlighting some of the most important experiences and interesting things I’ve learnt along the way.

Moment 1/5: Bucket List Shots

It was a year of challenging myself creatively and working hard for very specific shots. As I look back on the year there were a few photos I took that I had tried so many times to get. Finally some of them worked out! I achieved a few bucket list shots I had envisioned for years.. and finally had the conditions align!

Northern Lights are very unpredictable and having the conditions align at the right time in the right spot can sometimes seem impossible. Some shots have taken many attempts (some even years), many nights out, and many miles of driving to get. The hardest part sometimes is to not let the frustration get the best of you and to keep trying.

This is one of the places, a favourite of mine but would require very specific conditions to work out. Facing south west on the shoreline, the northern lights needed to be at storm levels to reach far enough south. For those that know where this is you will understand, for the respect of the place I won’t name it.

The conditions needed to be perfect for this to work. With some moonlight lighting the shadows of the tall trees towering above, while the aurora pushed to the south west far enough to line up with my composition. These conditions are rare and took me years to get, but finally in February 2021, things all came together! Seeing a vision come to reality after countless hours of planning, scouting and attempts at the shot, is the best feeling… Hard work pays off and determination is key!

I captured a few of these type of shots this year, it was more of a personal challenge than anything but also an important step in my photography, as I bridge the skills I’ve learnt with more of my creative vision. For this, Bucket List Shots is one of my memorable moments of 2021.

Moment 2/5: Photography Services

It was a year of expanding my photography, both my gear and skill sets. Fun fact: I learnt photography kind of backwards. I started by diving deep into night photography without knowing how to shoot during the day. I mentioned last year how I’ve been working on this and I continued this year. It’s been a year of expanding my tech gear and expanding my comfort level and knowledge of photography and video.

It’s been an exciting year of doing more photo trips, product photography, aerial photos, night portraits, destination marketing, social media advertising and adventure landscapes. I’ve been working with more video and timelapse while continuing to blog about it all. It’s been a year of expanding my content creation horizons, and working with some amazing people, companies and organizations that have supported me as I continue to expanding my creative services.

Canon in Meadow Lake Provincial park Saskatchewan at night

Along with expanding my skill set, getting a drone and passing my Transport Canada drone pilots license was a highlight of the year for me! Adding aerial photography has been a whole other dimension that’s been fun to explore. It’s been a year of expanding my knowledge and expanding my services as a photographer as I continue to grow. For that, my growing Photography services is one of my memorable moments of 2021.

Moment 3/5: Solar Activity

The Northern Lights are cause by our earths reaction to charged particles released by the sun. The sun goes through cycles of activity that are approximately 11 years long. During this scale there is an increasing peak of solar activity, which can result in more active and intense aurora. So the aurora activity roughly follows this same cycle.

In late 2019, we hit the most recent solar minimum. Meaning there was little to no activity on the sun to initiate aurora activity. This also meant that activity would continue to increase as we get toward the next solar maximum. In 2021 there were a few large and note worthy aurora storms. I was clouded out for some but did get to witness a few and it’s an exciting time to see the solar activity continue to increase. The sun woke up this year and had been getting active, this is expected to continue for the next few years before it peaks and begins it’s journey back into another solar minimum.

So for the next few years we could see some amazing northern lights displays as the suns activity is expected to increase! For this, the noticeable increase in solar activity is a memorable moment of 2021.

Moment 4/5: Dark Sky Awareness

It wasn’t long after getting into night photography in 2016 that I suddenly learnt about light pollution. It’s a problem most people don’t really consider but is growing at alarming rates every year. Did you know 90% of the entire world’s population lives in light pollution? Light pollution is often left unregulated and grows at over 200% each year. Without attention, awareness and hard work in conservation, the night sky could become a distant memory for most people. This is scary stuff.

Those in rural Saskatchewan might laugh at this but the fact is, Saskatchewan is lucky to have the access to see the stars and northern lights that we can. It’s truly special and something that fuels my passion to share the night sky with those that may never get to see it like this.

My passion for dark sky awareness has led me down a path I would never have expected. I’m a member of both the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the International Dark Sky Association who both do work to protect the night. I’ve done some speaking engagements and presentations, work with the Jasper Dark Sky Festival and personal projects highlighting Dark Sky Preserves. This is something that is important to me and I will continue to work at.

The past couple years have brought a new threat to the night and the excessive launching of satellites for global wifi have already made a sad and noticeable change to the night sky, as thousands more satellites fly around earth then there were just a few years ago. Did you know that by 2030 there will be over 100,000 new satellites in orbit? The sky will not be the same, or at least our view of it won’t be.

This makes capturing the night more special as I have already seen a noticeable change and difference in the past 5 years under the stars, I’m saddened by what the future holds but it only makes me want to concentrate more on what I can do now. For that, dark sky awareness is a memorable moment of 2021.

Moment 5/5: Networking & NFTs

A huge part of this year for me has been planning photo trips with good friends and networking with other photographers when I can. Having the privilege to virtually meet photographers I’ve looked up to since the beginning has been totally unbelievable. And Planning some pretty awesome photo trips with friends this year was another highlight!

NFTs would have to be the biggest change for me this year in many ways. Without getting into the much crazy detail, NFTs are part of the future of art, providing value to digital work, photography included. It allows someone to collect and essentially own the digital piece of work. It’s been a journey of becoming part of a community, supporting others and learning as we all go. It’s a new age for art and to be involved in it has been at times overwhelming but also enlightening. It’s changed the way I think of my art and helped me to articulate why I do what I do. It’s opened to opportunity for projects I’ve had brewing in my mind for years and I can’t wait to see where this takes me. I’m proud to have sold my first couple NFTS and I’m looking forward to continuing to be part of the community and building up my work. Here are my available NFTs:

Boreal Dreams – 8 piece collection of my art from the beginning.

Cosmic Collection – some of my favourite and more technical photos.

I would have never imagined getting to network with some of the best photographers in the world, never mind getting to know some of them and even calling them friends. It’s mind blowing, and something I would have never imagined possible. Photography has been a journey for me that has pushed me beyond what I could even imagine and I’m grateful for every step in the process and excited to see what 2022 brings!

Thanks for taking the time to join me for my memorable moments of 2021. I do this to document my journey and to reflect on it along the way. Here is my 2020 edition. Some of you have been here since the beginning, 5 years ago and I hope You have enjoyed the journey along with me.

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