Nancy Ruiz on top of Ha Ling. This is actually a shoot we did for her new venture, but I thought it summed up my thoughts here.

Thoughts on Adventure, Over-Documentation and Disconnecting Featured

As someone who has been doing adventure photography for a few years now, one of the most significant trends I’ve seen is the increasing external pressure to document. Everything. Everywhere.

Everything. Everywhere.

“You really need to start doing video.”

“Why aren’t you on (insert social media platform here)?”

“You should really do some more behind-the-scenes.”

“With this new device, you can update from way out in the backcountry.”

I appreciate it when an audience shows interest in whatever goes into the images, and the lifestyle that surrounds it. I can also appreciate the desire to see things documented; that’s what got me into photography in the first place.

So, why am I not doing all those things I could be doing?

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Canadian Creatives: Our Favourite Images Featured

Just under a year ago I teamed up with fellow Canadian photographers, Dave Brosha and John Marriott, to launch Canadian Creatives, a collective that aims to celebrate creativity in Canadian photography, and that showcases the best images from across the country and across several genres.

The initiative first started out on Instagram, and has been quick to gather attention on there. Over the last few months, we added to our team of curators some of the most talented and versatile photographers in Canada: Joel Robison, Viktoria Haack, Wayne Simpson and Lanny & Erika Mann.

To kick off 2016, we thought we would create a joint blog showcasing an image by one of our fellow Canadian Creative curators. We were each randomly given a name and it was our task to choose a 2015 image from that person, and then say a few words about why we felt it was cutting-edge, compelling work.

Please take a moment to check out the Instagram and Canadian Creatives portfolio of each of my colleagues and don’t forget to tag your Instagram images with #CanadianCreatives for an opportunity to share your work with our growing community.

Joel Robison

 Image by Joel Robison  @joelrobison or Canadian Creatives Portfolio

Text by Erika Jensen-Mann of Two Mann Studios:

Lately, I’ve been spending a huge portion of my life researching creativity and the creative process. As a wedding photojournalist, I don’t feel like I “create” images. I photograph moments, as they unfold before my eyes. The only thing I have to “create” is the composition, and in some cases the lighting. Joel Robinson, on the other hand, is a true creative. He creates an image from start to finish, in every sense of the word. He creates the concept, the story, the props, the lighting, the execution, and something undefinable that I can’t quite put into words. Joel’s images have a dream-like quality that completely draws me in. In the image I selected he is sitting on top of the world (literally) casting a paper boat into the ocean. The interpretation of this image can go in so many different directions, depending on where you are with life. In my opinion, a true piece of art is defined by how it engages the viewer. A piece of art draws people in to think, not just about what they’re looking at, but about what it means. All of Joel’s images draw me in, in this manner. I have no idea why I selected this image as my favourite, probably because I’ve spent the year travelling the world with my family. Under different circumstances, I may have chosen a completely different image. That’s the beauty of Joel’s work.

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Boreal Joy, Arctic Bay, Nunavut, Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Top 15 Images of 2015, by Paul Zizka Featured

2015 was one of the best years yet, with my travels taking me to some places on my bucket list, such as Arctic Bay, Nunavut, and Greenland (can you tell I like Northern destinations?). Additionally, I was treated to a successful ascent of Mt. Robson, family time in Belize, some spectacular sessions shooting the aurora borealis, and various adventures here in the Canadian Rockies.

It is difficult to summarize a whole year in just 15 images, but these were some of the ones that stuck out most for me or perhaps provide me with the strongest memories. Each image has a story unto itself (a story I offer each month in my newsletter). Here, I’ll tell you the story behind by far one of the most popular images of the year, as well as one from a skating trip I won’t soon forget! The Top 15 list follows below.

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But first, detour to Mt Resplendent on the way down. Both shots look back at the work done on Mt Robson. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Photo Essay: An Ascent of Mt. Robson Featured

As a photographer, I’ve had a dynamic relationship with Mt. Robson. For my first summit attempt of the 3,954-metre peak in 2013, I was invited by Mike Stuart from Canadian Alpine Guides to document his climb with one of his long-term clients. That attempt ended at the base of the Kain Face, which never hardened enough to allow for safe climbing.

A shot from August 2013, when Mike Stuart, Randy Colwell and I were turned around by warm temperatures. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

A shot from August 2013, when Mike Stuart, Randy Colwell and I were turned around by warm temperatures. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Then in 2014, I worked with BC Parks to capture aerial footage of The King. I wasn’t there to climb the mountain, but the helicopter brought us so close to the summit ridge that I thought my dangling feet might touch down for a moment. The shoot gave me a new perspective on the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, and it was one of the highlights of my career as a photographer.

Then, this year, the stars aligned for me to be back on Mt. Robson for another attempt at the summit. This time, I teamed up with BC Parks Ranger, Jesse Milner, who is an amazing and incredibly skilled mountaineering partner (that and it’s hard to find someone else more knowledgeable when it comes to Mt. Robson Provincial Park!).

Here are some images from our 2015 ascent of Mt. Robson, Resplendent and The Helmet.

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Peace and serenity at Peyto Lake. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Summoning the Spirits: 10 Aurora Images from the Canadian Rockies Featured

The Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, are by far one the most majestic and awe-inspiring natural phenomena we can enjoy during our time on this Earth. Like spirits in the sky, they enchant and entrance us, keeping us up for hours on end as they move through the sky, disappearing and reappearing again with sudden and surprising new patterns.

Capturing them involves a combination of factors: keeping a keen eye on the data (you’ll find a list of Aurora Watching Web Resources here), being ready when the light show begins (even if it’s 3am…), and finding clear, dark skies to optimize your chances of seeing them. Luckily, here in the Canadian Rockies, we have very little light pollution, so when conditions are right, you’ve got a good chance of seeing them.

Here are ten of my favourite aurora images from the past year! For me, having people in the shots adds scale and a sense of wonder for these magical, sometimes eerie, lights in the sky.

Awestruck by the auroras at Lake Minnewanka. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Awestruck by the auroras at Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Ice climbing under the aurora borealis at the Athabasca Glacier in Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Ice climbing under the aurora borealis at the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

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