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A small gallery of images from the Canadian Rockies. The photographs are from a winter photography trip in 2021. Every thumbnail is clickable and opens to a full-page view of the photo.

Foreward

As Bryce Mironuck and I approached the foothills to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, the conversation moved to the idea of a spiritual experience in nature photography. Bryce was of the mind that this spiritual experience was fairly universal – that, regardless of one’s past, present, or concerns for the future, one could have a similar experience as the next standing at the base of an awe-inspiring mountain peak. I do not discount his theory and, even though I have a different perspective, I think, in a way, he is correct. It would be difficult for anyone to stand where I stood as the morning light bathed Mt Kidd in Kananaskis Country and not be moved to wonder and awe by that experience.

What I believe to be most important, however, is the motivation of that spiritual experience. It is one thing to be emotionally or spiritually moved by a scene; it is quite another to understand the driver of that spiritual experience. Our why underpins our experience; it is the cause, the experience is the effect. Understanding the motivators behind a profound experience enriches our experience. A spiritual experience devoid of this understanding is hollow and imperfect. In Start With Why, Simon Sinek says, “our behaviour is affected by our assumptions and perceived truths.” We cannot divorce our worldview or presuppositions from the experience; they are embedded deep within. Uncovering these motivators – what drives that feeling of wonder and awe – is vital for a richer, more complete experience.

I’ve written before about why I make photographs: nature in its wild, untouched state points to something greater than myself – namely, Jesus Christ. It is this motivation that drives me to wonder and photograph. When I understand my why there is a purpose for each photograph. It might be a simple celebration of the beauty of the created world. It could be an abstract representation of what it means to be human. But in each case, my known motivators drive the distinct emotional response of wonder and awe, leading to a deeper experience.

You may or may not agree with my primary motivation; the purpose here is not to influence you that my driver is the right one. Art is chiefly concerned with the question of meaning. Either the meaning of existence generally or the meaning of one’s individual life and how a person interacts with the world around them. Every image need not be a profound, life-altering statement – nor should that be the case. Rather, the artist that is engaged in serious work is continually raising the question, “What really matters?”

An intimate landscape photograph of the Candian Rockies on a cold winter morning that created steam on the river

Frozen Jaws – 2021

An intimate landscape photograph of an aspen tree beside Abraham Lake, Alberta

Queen – 2021

Preacher – 2021

An abstract landscape photograph of the river near Natural Bridge in the Canadian Rockies

Overtake – 2021

An intimate landscape photograph of ice bubbles on lake Minnewanka

Tree Farts – 2021

An abstract landscape photograph of an aspen leaf on the ice textures of Abraham Lake

Inimical – 2021

Trajectory – 2021

Landscape photography of a sun halo in the Canadian Rockies during winter

Ethereal – 2021

An intimate landscape photograph of two mountains surrounded in light and clouds in the Canadian Rockies

Dynamic Duo – 2021

Sunset photograph at Castle Mountain featuring some frost flowers on ice and a reflecting pond

Rebirth – 2021

Watchman – 2021

Sunrise photograph of Lake Minnewanka during winter with frozen bubbles

Ignition – 2021

See more of my nature and landscape photography on my social media.