I always had a lot of imagination growing up, long before I found photography. Back in college, I took a black and white photography film class and I was hooked. It has been years that I have been shooting and working on my passion. From then on it was all clear what I wanted to do. Photography is my creative outlet where I can channel my imagination.
Nowadays I spend my time hiking, photographing, chasing sunrises and sunsets. I visit a national park every weekend.
I am based in Montreal, Canada and I would like to photograph all the national parks I can get my hands on. I would like one day to have visited all the national parks in Canada, United States, and eventually the world. Chipping away at my goal one park at a time.
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Forest Fire - Herbert Lake, Banff National Park
This time last year I was in Banff National Park and I returned to photograph Herbert Lake at sunset. The only thing, that unlike the previous year trip to Banff, forest fires in the area and smoke had the peaks looking like a sketching and faded. That's why I call this Photo: Sketched By Smoke
July 13, 2018 Trip To Lake Chouwen, Jabal Moussa Reserve (Moussa Mountain) Lebanon
When your on vacation in Lebanon, not all days are photography days, some days are just for going to the beach and relaxing and working on my tan since I rarely get any colour living in Canada. I might as well make good use of the sun, which is pretty much everyday, I don't even bother to check the weather forecast anymore.
But today is a photography day, I grabbed my gear and headed out to a location I always wanted to go to, ever since I saw the pictures of it. I knew there is a possibility for a great photo there.
Summer days are long and sun sets late, I struggle in summer with getting up early for sunrise because sunrise is at 5 am or so. So you would have to be up really early, as a result sunsets are always more ideal for photography. At least for me.
The plan was to photograph sunset at the lake, I left my small village in El-Chouf District at 1:30 pm, and sunset is set for 7:30 pm so I had lots of time. GPS says it takes about 2:30 to get there, but what I didn't account for was the traffic which is ever so constant.
In the end it took me 4 hours to reach my destination. Something I am not used to coming from Canada. About 100 kms took me 4 hours.
Oh well, the important part is that I reached my destination and my goal to take some pictures here in this location is still possible.
Initial plan was to hike down all the way to the bottom of the Valley to photograph the lake. The most I made it was half way or so to a lookout that overlooks the lake and the valley and the surrounding mountains. Sometimes you have to make a judgement call and stick with it.
It was a really beautiful view though so I wasn't disappointed, when you are a photographer it always take a little longer when hiking to reach a destination because we are usually carrying a lot of gear.
I always enjoy hiking and I don't mind hiking with lots of gear, I am quite used to it. But when you are like me and also doing videography capturing different clips and behind the scenes videos for my Youtube photography channel, it takes a little more time than just simply hiking.
Especially when you self film everything, almost always I am chasing my video camera back and forth and repeating myself endless times when I lose thoughts of my words.
And on top of all that, I did make an error in judgement, I was a little overdressed with thick hiking pants (better for winter) rather than shorts. And it was an incredibly hot day.
My reasoning was that I am going to the mountains at higher elevation it will be cooler so better wear pants. To say the least I was sweating quite heavily. And that was alright too. All for the photography.
Finally I am at my destination at the lookout, 5 hours later, I set up my camera and chose my composition. I always go to one location and I set my composition to leave with one great photograph, conditions permitting of course.
I don't run and gun trying to capture lots of pictures, for me once I am set up, that's when the fun begins. It is quite a relaxing practice, simply watching and waiting for the sunset light to reach it's peak, capturing photographs as the light changes.
On this day, the mountain peaks over the lake were just covered in cloud and fog and mist, and I wasn't sure what I would get. But I stuck with it and waited, eventually the fog and mist started to break up and the mountain revealed itself.
Completely completing the photograph, without it something will always have been missing. Landscape photography for me, it is about the landscape and the elements and how they relate together, to bring you a great photograph.
There is always the unknown with landscape photography as to what elements, nature will provide you.
June 29, 2018 Lebanon for One Month
I hopped on a plane to Lebanon, I will be here for one month part vacation part photography, although since landscape photography is my passion, all I can think about on the plane is the photo opportunities I can have here and the chance to explore Lebanon more. I left here when I was a kid to Canada and really I have never seen it, so as an adult it is the time to explore my birth country. I feel a little lost though. Lebanon is a small country, but I don’t know where to start exploring, yet it can take two hours or more to drive 90 kms, something I am not used to, I will get to that in more detail.
First day arriving, Jet lag set in, with the 7 hour difference ahead between Montreal and Lebanon. The first 5 days here I was awake all night and sleeping during the day, which is the time I would be out exploring or driving somewhere for some photography. This was tough, besides being confused as to where to go to start exploring, I had this looming jet lag messing my mood, and my mind wasn’t focused on being creative. I had to kick this habit, because a month is a long time but also time is fleeting. So I forced myself to stay awake a whole day despite the urge to sleep so I can sleep at night here and adjust. And that did the trick.
Now was the time to figure where to go take pictures, a couple years back I came to Lebanon for 10 days and went out taking photos. It was in February and more spring like weather, summer here is totally different. I thought it would be fun to return to some of the locations I photographed at and try to get a different photo there.
My first stop was Batroun, an old city by the sea, but I love the sea and the rocky coast of Batroun was great for seascape photography. I wanted to grab something different. On the coast of Batroun, lies an old Phoenician wall that was built to keep the tidal waves at bay. It got me thinking, photographing seascapes is great, but to include an old man made architectural element that fits so well with the surrounding seascape and landscape. I felt that would make for a great photo.
Once I got set on my location and sunset there was ideal to photograph because the sun sets over the sea. At golden hour the light should light up the wall really nice. So I set out to get there, it was about 90 kms to get there and took me about 2.5 hours to get there, traffic and small roads. Everything in Lebanon takes a little longer than I am used to. But I gave myself enough time to get there, so all was good. I reached the city of Batroun and parked my car and headed towards the coast and the wall, which is like right there, wasn’t even a long walk.
Once I got there, I walked around the wall to find the perfect composition for my photo, and setup my camera and tripod. Once I had everything setup, I had about an hour before sunset, so I started taking photos every once in a while as the light changed. It was a windy day by the coast, which only added to my troubles and made it a little challenging.
After a while I started to notice my picture was hazy and foggy and I thought it was the sun projecting flares over the lens and causing the photo to be soft. That wasn’t it, one look at my lens, my lens was drenched with the sea spray because of the wind. That was a problem, the sea spray was relentless, and I would clean my lens only to have it get wet again in a few seconds. The golden hour light was fleeting and I only had a few minutes to get the photo I wanted. So I kept cleaning the lens and taking a photo and repeat this practice, until I got a photo I was satisfied with. One that had all the elements in check to make a great photo: the light, the crashing waves over the rocky coast and wall.
Once I got the photo I wanted, I felt relieved but exhausted, always it is a lot more work to get one photo than it seems. All in all, it took me 5 hours to take one photo.
It could always be better, but considering what I dealt with, it is always about taking what Mother Nature gives you and using it to the best of your ability. Stay tuned for more stories from my trip :)
4 day photography trip to Forillon National Park
I always wanted to travel and visit Forillon National Park in Gaspe, Quebec. Yet the 10 hour drive solo to get there has always worried me, but I had decided to pack my photography gear and head out there.
At first the drive out of Montreal was highway driving which isn't the most exciting, but the closer I got the drive got more and more beautiful and passing by the Saint Lawrence River it just kept getting wider and wider till it becomes a sea and driving by it and passing those small towns. I wanted to stop everywhere but I carried on through because my goal was to get there and setup my tent and go to sleep to get up at 3 am the following morning to photograph sunrise.
My campsite was perfectly situated by the beach with an amazing view of Cap Bon Ami and what a site it was, couldn't be in a better spot.
Friday was spent pretty much driving, I would have two days of photography there and I planned to use it to the fullest. I was camping three nights there.
The first morning Saturday I got up to the sounds of birds and the crashing waves and it was a beautiful soundtrack but that wasn't all. The morning light was gorgeous and as soon as the sun peaked over the horizon it just bathed the cliffs by the water with beautiful light.
Words can describe well a place and a feeling but a photo does better.
Later in the day after photographing sunrise, I had high expectations for the rest of my trip. I always love visiting and seeing a national park for the first time. It is like eye candy for me.
After catching up on some more sleep and relaxing after my sunrise shoot, summer hours can be tiring, sunrise is really early and sunset is always late so mid-day is always best time to recharge your batteries.
Forillon National Park on the Gaspe Peninsula extends from one side to the other of the peninsula. So for sunset I hopped over to the other side for sunset in hopes that it will be a beautiful sunset. I did location scout during the day to find my photography spot for sunset. Hiking and location scouting are my favourite activities to do during the day when usually the light isn't the best for photographs.
So that's what I did, I had my location for sunset. I was at peninsula point, which is a sandy beach and at low tide there was a lot of textures in the sand that were interesting to see and possibly photograph. That's what I was counting on for sunset.
When I first arrived there, the tide was higher than earlier so I wasn't sure I would get a photo but eventually the tide started to recede and all I wanted was revealed. I was so happy that had happened, because I didn't want to head back to camp without a photo.
In the end, it all worked out and I got a beautiful photo that I love, it is quite abstract and requires you to look closer to figure out what it is.
After photographing at sunset, I headed back to camp in order to get some sleep and wake up early for another sunrise shoot.
In Landscape Photography sometimes you are rewarded with great light and conditions and sometimes not quite.
The following morning Sunday I went to another beach to photograph sunrise, but I wasn't feeling the photograph I was taking, I believe if you don't feel it you can't force it. The sunrise was beautiful, but missing something.
Clouds, the sky was clear and not a cloud in site. I always love some clouds in my photographs, to create a mood and a feeling and clouds always pick up early light beautifully. So I didn't get a photo there from my second day.
I thought that it was ok, because I still had a sunset to photograph and maybe I will be rewarded with great light. Think again, soon after during the day, it got really windy and eventually rain has set in all through the day and night and early following morning.
For my last night, I was tent stuck so I slept early and wasn't the best of sleep and got up early Monday and packed my tent and headed home for my drive back of 10 hours. Despite everything, the two photographs I shot during my trip made it all worth while and I can't wait to be back one day for more photographs.