On Friday night, I drove up to Canmore for a book launch for a photographer I have really looked up to and admired. Since moving over here, there are a number of photographers that I have followed who live in this region and I have drawn from their blogs and portfolios for inspiration. The book launch was for Paul Zizka (Summits & Starlight), which features his photos, mostly from Banff National Park and the Rockies. These are not just your ordinary photos from the side of Highway 1 though, they are images from some of the most remote, untouched and pristine areas of the region and as the title suggests of the most amazing mountains and peaks along with some of the truly amazing starry nights. Check out this blog post from his website for more information on the book and also check out his images on there. They truly are spectacular.

I brought my camera along with me as I bought myself some new glass during the week and I have been dying to use it. Apart from shooting the Aurora a few months ago, I haven’t really tried night time photography and with my new 14mm wide angle lens I was exited to give it a shot. If you take a look at the link in the paragraph above, you will see the cover is my inspiration for this shoot. Mount Rundle, as I told Claire, Justin and I think Mark aswell when they were all here, is the mountain they filmed the Lion King on. It is such a spectacular looking peak. As you can see though, the lake in that very same photograph on the cover of Paul’s book is fully covered in ice and snow now but I was lucky to find a little spot where you could see the ice. The rest of the lake is covered in about 30-40cm of snow. The shot above is the pick of the bunch. There was a little opening through the clouds so you can see a few stars shining through. If I arrived around 15-20 minutes earlier, I would have been lucky enough to have seen a nice starry background behind the mountain. Looking above and behind me though, there were some great sized holes in the clouds. Being out in such a remote place with only a couple of small villages around, the sky is pitch black and there are millions of stars!

The shot below is what was immediately behind me when I was shooting Rundle. You can see in that little pocket of open sky just how many stars are visable out there on a clear night. I really would like to head out there again on a night that is a little more clearer and try my hand at shooting the Milky Way.

As I said in my last post, I am looking forward to getting out there a lot this winter. Don’t forget to stop by check out what I have been getting up to. I have really appreciated all of the support and been amazed with the page views I have had. It really inspires me to get out there more and more.

Thanks for the support.

Nic


I packed the camera with me today to get a few shots after work. My subject today, the Peace Bridge. It is only a year or two old and apparently there was a huge fuss when it went up about it being a wast of money and everyone saying how ugly it is. I have to say that I really enjoy it. It is such a unique shape and it is cool walking through it.

To be honest, the main reason why I went out to take these shots was for our new 2014 work calendar. There weren’t any online of the Peace Bridge that were royalty free so I thought I may as well go out and get some photos of it. I had been meaning to taking my camera over there for a while. All of the shots are from the same side as that is what was needed for it to work with the calendar.

I was also lucky enough to have a few minutes to get some shots looking into the bridge without any people running or walking through. Even with the temperature below zero, there are quite a few people running still.

Thanks for taking the time to look through my pics.

Nic


16Nov

Snow day

Snow day

I have been a little absent from my blog as of late due to it being quite a busy couple of months. New job, new neighbourhood and new living arrangement. I have to say though that everything is lining up quite nicely and things have really been working out for me over here.

The snow has arrived and over the past 3 weekends we have had a few flurries. None more so than last night where we got 15cm overnight and early today. It was absolutely beautiful outside so I thought it might be nice to get out of the house when the snow died down a little. I headed over to Fish Creek Park which is only about 5 minutes away from us now and loved the fact that I was the only person down there. Well, I brought Maggie along with me so it was just the two of us. I brought my camera along and we went for a nice little walk along the pathway walking on untouched snow. It really was a beautiful afternoon down there.

The image above is of the creek which is just about entirely covered in ice and snow and the image below is of the pathway with the untouched snow.

Thank you for reading, I am looking forward to getting a lot more shot this winter.

Nic


Just a few photos of us fooling around in front of the camera out in the mountains by the rail tracks. Not normally a fan of using too many filters but I could’t resist for these.


4:25am, Friday morning my alarm goes off. I turn over to Ash and tell her it’s time to get up. Let’s go to Moraine Lake for sunrise. This is my 4th or 5th attempt to wake up early and head out there but this time I was determined to make it happen. Every other time, I reached straight for the alarm and turned it off, this time I jumped straight out of bed and into the shower. I know that if I did that there was no turning back. I didn’t really hold any hopes for Ash coming though as she didn’t seem to happy when I woke her up. I was surprised to see her up and dressed once I was out of the shower. This is happening!

It was pitch black the whole way out to Lake Louise, not much traffic and a nice easy drive. Ash slept the whole way and Maggie May chilled out in the back. After a couple of hours of driving we finally got to Moraine Lake around 7:30am. The sun was slowly starting to wake up but it was still a little dark when we climbed the hill at the foot of the lake and I found a spot to set up.

We sat down and played with Maggie while waiting patiently for the sun to rise. It was absolutely beautiful out there, taking in the magnificent Valley of the Ten Peaks and the bright blue lake. As well as the sheer stillness and peace. There wouldn’t have been any more than 5 or 6 people out these in comparison to the thousands that are normally there and when we left the tourist buses started rolling in. We counted around 15 from the time we left the lake till we got to the main road.

I strongly recommend that everyone try their best to go out there for a sunrise if they get a chance. It truly is a magnificent sight to see and well worth the early start. We are lucky that the snow has been falling on the peaks as we came out here last month and there was not a single flake of snow on them. It is a different story now though with them really starting to get covered and the lake, as you can see above is starting to freeze over. It was fresh, but we came dressed for it. Truly an amazing day.

I hope you enjoy.


23Sep

Amazing footage of an eagle soaring through the mountains


There is nothing quite like a sunset. It doesn’t matter how many times you have seen the sun go down, it always feels like it is for the first time. Everywhere I travel, no matter where it is, I always do what I can to see the sun set in that city, town or village. It is by far one of my favourite things on this earth.

Above – A large cluster of annual sow thistle catch the last light of the day as the sun slowly makes it way below the horizon.

Below – The sun sets over the wheat fields out in the Alberta prairies. The mixture of soil and dust in the air from all of the machinery out harvesting along with the colours of the sun setting make it a really beautiful site. The photo does is absolutely no justice at all.


Last weekend I have to say, I experienced a first… Eating dinner out in the middle a wheat field. My parents are here in Canada with my uncle still and we have had a lot of fun but this was definitely the most unique thing we have done. I brought my camera along and took a couple of snaps.

We were up in Camrose, 3 hours north of Calgary with Ash’s family for the weekend. On Sunday, we headed to her Auntie and Uncle’s farm with the rest of the family for dinner. The guys have been working out in the fields swathing and combining in rotating shifts over 24 hours in order to get everything done. It is a hell of a lot of work!

We all drove out at 6:30 in a convoy of trucks loaded with food, drinks, coolers and chairs and met the guys in the middle of the field. The ladies did a great job getting dinner together! We had chili which I don’t think could have been any more fitting for the occasion. The weather was beautiful and w were all surrounded by amazing company. I don’t think the Mitty’s and Broughton’s any more welcome.

After a great dinner out in the field, it was time to get back to work. We packed everything up and my dad and uncle took in turns to ride around in the combine to see what it is all about. Just like a couple of kids.

Thanks to the Broughton’s for having us over. It really was a great day!



22Aug

The family has arrived!!!

  • It was so exciting to see my mum, dad and uncle last night! The family will be here visiting for 2-3 weeks before moving to to Toronto then Europe. Ash and I flew over here to Van where we will be hanging out till Friday where the 3 of us […]
The family has arrived!!!

It was so exciting to see my mum, dad and uncle last night! The family will be here visiting for 2-3 weeks before moving to to Toronto then Europe. Ash and I flew over here to Van where we will be hanging out till Friday where the 3 of us are renting a van and driving through the Rockies to Calgary over 3 days. It’s going to be awesome!
To kick it all off, we had a beautiful pasta dinner at Nook here in Vancouver. Perfect start to the visit!


I jumped in the Jeep late Sunday afternoon and decided to head out with my camera out east, through the prairies to the Badlands. I had seen some pictures of an old ghost town called Dorothy that had an old wooden church that was falling apart. I thought it would be great to check out and get some photos and so with Maggie May keeping me company, we hit highway 1 and started our 2 hour journey to Dorothy.

My good old iPhone GPS was in fine form as it always is taking me through back roads and dirt roads and just when I thought all was lost I came across the the little town of Dorothy. The final part of that drive was pretty awesome driving through the canola fields and at the end scaling down the valley on the dirt road and across the Red Deer river. To my absolute disgust though, the church had been fully renovated! No longer was it leaning to the right or were its weather boards showing its age. It was just sitting there, all perfect with its new windows, coat of white paint and standing upright. I was shattered! All wasn’t completely lost though. I did come across this grain elevator. Most likely built in the early 20th century, showing its wear from long winters and hot summers out here in the badlands.

Next I headed towards Drumheller. I thought since I was out here I may as well make the most of it. The day was coming to an end and I had always wanted to check out an area out there called Horseshoe Canyon. On way way though as the road ran inside the valley along the river, I came across the site you can see below… They are called the Hoodoos. Rock formations shaped by centuries of wind, rain and snow. They are quite an awesome sight to see.

Further along I went until I reached the canyon. The road that took me out there was the one that headed back to Calgary and it was quite a while out of Drumheller, I just about gave up hope as when I looked around all I could see were crops and flat land. It didn’t look like there would be any canyon in sight. Finally I saw the sign and was relieved that I hadn’t missed it. I spent a bit of time there, walking around, admiring the shapes and colours and watching the sun say its goodbyes for the day. I found a really cool spot where I set up my tripod and took a while lot of shots but coming home and checking out my photos more closely, it made me realise just how much I need to invest in a better high quality lens. Unfortunately, alot of my photos either were too grainy when I tried to lighten them up which had the perfect sunset or were too light and didn’t do the beautiful sunset any justice at all. This is the only photo I could really salvage.

Saying that though, I was lucky enough to be the only person there and loved just taking it all in. Sometimes photos, and in this case in particular, really do no justice to the beauty that is in front of you.

As always, thanks for reading.

Nic


17Aug

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

This looks like such a great movie. Looking forward to seeing it when it comes out at the end of the year. Check out the trailer and let me know what you think…


My beautiful girl soaking up the fresh mountain air. Love you baby xxxxxxo

After an absolute crazy long weekend last week, we just needed some fresh air and a chance to finally breathe. I picked up Ash on my way home from work on the Tuesday and we headed west in search of mountains and sushi. Just what the doctor ordered!


This afternoon, I headed up to Edmonton to help out Ash’s brother Jeremy, whose car was stuck down here in Calgary. I was there for no more than an hour, 45 of those minutes at the airport and then flew back home. Just something to do on a Sunday afternoon. I wanted to share a couple of pictures showing the contrast of the two journeys. It is roughly 300kms so it takes a good 2.5 to 3 hours driving without stopping. Coming home took me 45 mins flying in my WestJet bird. The latter was definitely a lot easier.

Above you can see what the drive is all about. Just one long straight road, through the prairies. Flying back is not only quicker but just that little bit more scenic. See for yourself and let me know what you would prefer…


Heading out for a stroll on a beautiful night during the week, I came along this amazing talent. She started off on the accordion with one foot tapping on a tambourine and the other on a pedal knocking the box she was sitting on.

Such a sweet soulful voice. I must have sat for an hour all by by myself just enjoying the beautiful evening and sweet sounds. She told me she is recording some stuff at the moment… I will definitely let you all know when it is out.


Every morning and night, I cross over this bridge to go to work and back home again. It is such a narrow bridge, so narrow in fact that my passenger mirror is permanently adjusted so I can get close to the side without hitting either cars coming the other way or the barriers. It is beautiful old bridge and I have to admit I love my commute everyday along the river.


I have to admit, it was really a daunting image to see as you are about to take off in a plane. Disasters seem to be following Ash and I around lately. First the flood and now a plane crash a couple of days before we left San Francisco. As you can see, everything is clearly out in the open as the airport is re-opened and they investigate the crash. A sight I will never forget.


A couple of weeks ago, I got the pleasure of seeing the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights as they are more commonly known as. I have been inspired to go see them after coming across some photos from a photographer here who is located just out of Calgary. You can check out his amazing photos here. His name is Christopher Martin and his photos are something I have really looked up to. Hopefully I can at some point take some photos half as amazing as those. He recommended a website called Aurora Watch based up in Edmonton that monitors solar activity and sends alerts if you sign up for it. I had received alerts before but foolishly not gone out as I thought I wouldn’t see them but after checking out Christopher’s site each time, he would post up his photos from those nights. I told myself I am going out next time I get an alert, no excuses! Ash and I had been in Bowness all day helping clean up flood affected homes and got home around midnight. We were still a little wired for god knows why, so we decided to stay up and watch some tv to get sleepy. At 1:30am, I received an alert telling me there was 95% chance of activity. I turned to Ash and said “let’s do it”. We left home at 2:00am, with no real idea where to go so I thought lets just head out of the city away from the lights up north since they are the northern lights and see what happens. We did just that and drove north till we couldn’t see the city lights and took a back road just to get away from any cards that may come. All of a sudden, BAM!, there they were! They were absolutely amazing to watch. The colours, the flickering and dancing, it truly was a beautiful thing to see. I was happy to say I had the pleasure of ticking something off my ‘to do’ list! It took a bit of playing around on my camera to get some decent shots but it was my first time shooting them so I am fairly happy with what I got. We stayed out till 4:00am when the sun started to rise. It had been an extremely long day, it was time to go. I could have stayed out there until the sun came up, I was on such a natural high but we made the right decision coming home when we did though as I already paid for the late night for the next week trying to recover. It felt like I had come home from a bender! When we did get home though, we could still see them glowing from our backyard. Truly amazing! I can’t wait to head out there again. I hope you enjoy what I got.


I have been meaning to to get around to posting this for a few days now… Thinking, gathering my thoughts, wondering how am I going to compose this and get it all down. I know my last few posts have been about the floods here and you are probably sick of it but I just have one last thing I wanted to talk about. My other posts were from someone a little removed from the whole situation. Sure, my city just got absolutely barraged from rain, snow melt and the force of the two rivers that collide here in the middle of Calgary. 100,000 people were evacuated, the whole downtown of the city was shutdown for several days and some people lost absolutely everything. It was a spectacle to see and I wanted to get in amongst it purely to see something like this for myself and document it. I could see the pain but I couldn’t feel it! Below is just the experience of being a part of it all. I didn’t bring my camera, I didn’t have the heart to but I got a couple of pictures here from people’s phones of us. I didn’t want to show any damage, this is all about triumph through adversity and people power!

On the Thursday, a week after all of this started and well and truly hit the fan, Ash went down to Bowness. A community right along the banks of the Bow River to help one of her friends from work who’s house was truly devastated. Her backyard is the Bow River. It is literally 15 metres from her back door and her house and every other along that same street as well as every house within 10 blocks from the river were just swallowed whole. I left work on Thursday after a long day and headed over there to pick Ash up. I threw on some old clothes and thought since I am there, I may as well help out for maybe an hour or two. Not really knowing what to do, I did what any Aussie guy would and brought a case of beer along. It’s not a new house but hey, it’s something. Driving through the neighbourhood, firstly trying to get in there was such a confronting experience. I brought my camera along with me but decided to keep it in the car. I couldn’t bring myself to take photos although I wish everyone could share what I saw. The water whether it be from hurricanes, floods or tsunamis have done a lot worse, there were only a handful of deaths in these floods but to see roads covered in a foot of dirt, mud and rocks, piles of furniture, drywall, flooring, people’s belongings and just anything you could think of piled up as people cleaned out their homes. The smell of mud and stale water filled the air and everyone and everything was just dirty and dusty.

I reached Leah’s place and compared to what I had seen as I walked over, the place looked relatively good but that was only because they had been hard at it as soon as the water started to receed. They had trucks and tractors and people everywhere helping out and had the place place gutted, cleaned and in dry out mode by the time I got there. Rather than stand there and look pretty, I got pushed over to the house next door. Kelly and Chuck’s.

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I met Kelly right away and she put me to work looking out for her artwork. She had some absolutely amazing art all worth a pretty penny each. There were both prints and originals worth well over $10k there or should I say we’re worth that much but now they have either condensation on them or mud stains from the water hitting them as it ran through the house. They were ruined but I told her I will come over, being a couple of bottles of wine and have a restoration night with make-up remover pads and water. I think that’s where we bonded!

After clearing out items from the garage, it was time to pressure wash. Not just in the garage but starting from a room that once would have been part of the house inside. At this point, the house had been absolutely gutted! The basement was pumped, walls, personal items and furniture had been cleared and all that remained was about 20cms of mud. I went back there for the next 2 days after our first visit. Each time working on that basement. It was absolutely huge but with a couple of different teams over the several days, we got it spotless and all good to be able to let it sit and dry. There is just so much work needing to be done still but I am glad I could help out where I could. We put in some really long days! Not only was I working my normal 9 hour work days but I was then jumping in my car heading over to Bowness to help out there for 6ish hours. They say time flies when you’re having fun, but I also have to say it flies when you’re out there doing something with a purpose.

The main thing I loved about heading over there and helping out was the sense of community that has developed from this tragedy. It truly is inspiring to see. There are people everywhere, just like Ash and myself who were lucky enough not to be affected but wanting to help. We had a lot of people coming up offering to help but we had to tell them to move along as we already had plenty of people in our crew. It wasn’t just people offering muscle though, it was also the other people coming around with bottles of water or beer, fruit, snacks, ice creams, pizzas and complete lunches and dinners for all of us just out if the kindness of there hearts. There was a place down the road next to one of the condemned house called ‘The Moat’. A place aptly named as the footpath out the front of the house was a running stream from receding water and just people’s off loaded water that has been pumped to the curb. A Calgary microbrewery called Wild Rose has been supplying kegs every night so after a hard days work, there’s a place everyone can come to enjoy a few free beers on them and unwind a little.

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This experience really has opened my eyes as to just how potent Mother Nature can be. This isn’t even the worst she is capable of. I know it could have been a hell of a lot worse. It has also made me extremely proud to live in this city and to be part of such an amazing humanitarian effort. I have now witnessed first hand just how extraordinary people power can be. It really warms the heart to see so many people out there doing all they can to help out.


I came across this photo contest for National Geographic while checking out My Modern Met. I have never entered one of these contests before so I thought why the hell not?!

I submitted the photo above. A picture I went and took one very snowy Sunday afternoon at Sandy Beach here in Calgary. Every time I have returned to the same spot since, I have had this image burned in my mind. It is one of my favourites. I truly love this photo, I hope you do too.

Please show your love, click on the link below and either like or tweet. Go on, you know you want to…

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2013/entries/219555/view/


Yesterday, after a week of consistent rainfall we had a break from the downpour. The sun came out and hell, I even got sunburnt on the back of my neck! After much debate with myself and my morals I decided to leave the top of the valley where we had safely been for the past few days and head down into the valley to check it all out for myself. I started at McHugh’s Bluff where most of my photos have been taken from and headed down the bluff to the community of Sunnyside, one of the communities affected directly from the overspill of the Bow River. I felt guilty being down there taking photos as some people had returned to their homes to assess the damage and move into recovering what they could and trying to figure out to get all of the water out of their houses and basements. I asked if there was something I could do to help, I was more than happy to do what I could but they simply replied they have no idea what to do themselves but thank you anyway.




Walking through the neighbourhood, I chose to be as respectful as possible and keep to the trails rather than wander through the streets. The smell of gasoline was so strong walking through. I am not sure if it was just from peoples generators or from pumps pumping out water or simply from spilt fuel but it truly was strong walking through there.

I made my way to Memorial Drive, one of Calgary major roads that runs along the Bow River and connects the city’s inner north east to north west. Roads were under water still and pathways along the river had collapsed into the torrent just pounding the banks. I saw a couple of YouTube clips last night of trees along Memorial giving way into the city. There wasa huge tree pinned to the Centre Street Bridge. I was certain this was one of the trees I saw collapse.





The state of the Centre Street Bridge underpass was in shambles with debris all over the road as the water level which is basically at the level of the road pounds against the side of the bridge and slip under to the other side.


I crossed the bridge and decided to head downtown to check out the damage. As I started to walk into the centre of the city the army pulled in. They have been here for the past couple of days crusing around, assessing the damage and deploying troops to places that most need the help.

Walking downtown was a surreal moment. I felt like I was in a movie. The streets were empty but it was so load as alot of the buildings had their generators pumping. It was such a loud drone of background noise and like Sunnyside, the air was filled with the smell of gasoline. The water had receded but the evidence of the flood was present with branches, pieces of wood and mud everywhere. I took some photos of some of the most busiest sections of downtown. Well, normally the busiest. These ares were dead.

I headed up Macload Trail, another one of Calgary’s most busiest streets. It is one of the main roads that lead from north to south. Traffic was non-existant! The reason, well the underpasses that go under the train lines not just on Macload but all along 9th where the crossroads head south under the train lines these underpasses were filled to the brim! I have some images below but take note of the 3rd image. The water is well and truly above road level as it is but the whole underpass is flooded to the pint where it goes all the way up to the bridge and touches the train lines.



I kept heading along 9th to Inglewood. I had covered a few miles already but I thought while I am walking i may as well see how the Elbow River is doing. The Elbow is the little cousin of the Bow. It too comes from the mountains so there was a hell of a lot of force coming through still. I was interested in seeing how the Elbow, the very river that could possibly force the organisers of Calgary’s biggest event the Calgary Stampede to cancel! The show grounds are flooded! Race tracks, grand stands, the Saddledome which is our largest indoor arena that seats 20,000 people and hosts concerts, hockey, rodeos and any large event was filled with water and flooded to row 14!
It was certainly pumping through but not at the force of the Bow.


Although the water was still pushing through at a frantic pace I was happy to see that the levels had gone down. This may just be the last of it…

There is a new footbridge in the area that they have been building over the past few months. The force of the river has totally torn through the structure. It isn’t going to be easy fixing this up.




I finished off walking along the Bow back to Centre Street. It was a big day, tiring, confronting and so surreal. Here are a couple more photos from the way home…





I posted a few photos up last night of the water surging through and we headed down to Centre Street Bridge once again to see just how things have changed over night. There are so many people out there who have been forced to evacuate here. The last I heard it was well over 100,000 people. one of those people being Ash’s cousin Jen who lives just down the road from us but down in the valley. We checked it out today but luckily the water hasn’t risen high enough to really affect hr house although the water is flowing all around it.

Some people aren’t as lucky and some aren’t really that smart as you can see below on Memorial Drive. One of the busiest roads down town that run along the banks of the river. Unfortunately, people simply think it isn’t high enough, risk and and this is the result…

We got a bit closer to Centre Street Bridge this time and actually walked across it. The sound of the water gushing under the bridge and under the road that is under the bridge was so loud. Trees were floating down the river and so you could hear those clunk into the road down there as well as the structure and it makes you think just how much damage all of this is doing. Here are a few photos from around that area…



It seems like everyone is out to have a look and get photos of the craziness going on around here.

This once again is Prince’s Island Park. As you can see it is absolutely submerged now. It wasn’t looking too good yesterday but it is well and truly under the Bow River now.

Roads downtown are all blocked off and as you can see, everyone is trying to get out of there and up to higher ground. Centre Street Bridge, one of only a couple of bridges stilled deemed safe to remain open is jam packed with cars of people trying to evacuate the city.

This is Sunnyside. A beautiful little neighbourhood that I have always wanted to move to. Now I am thinking it isn’t such a good idea.

As you can see, huge crowds are gathering to take in the tragic but truly remarkable sight.


The long, lonely walk to higher ground…


Absolute crazy scenes here in Calgary today and tonight. We have been absolutely pissed on with rain the past couple of days and have had more than we normally would in a month. Ironically, a place called High River has been hit the hardest. Many communities, even here in the city have been told to evacuate as the river that flows through the city, the Bow River comes straight from the Rocky Mountains an hour away. Not only are we dealing with rain coming down here, it is also the rain coming down in the mountains, which is then melting the snow and basically doubling and tripling the volume of water come down the river.

Luckily, we are up in the safely on of the top of the valley but we took a drive around to check out the huge volumes of water coming through the city.



That is Prince’s Island Park or should I say, was. There is an unbelievable amount of water shooting through!

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After an amazing night at Tom and Yolande’s on Saturday night, I decided to stay the night on the couch. With the sun rising so early this time of year and no curtains in the living room where I was sleeping, I thought enough is enough and I got my ass up and out of bed. I decided I wanted to to go for a drive and take some pictures and was up and out of there at 5.30am on a Sunday morning!

I headed towards the mountains. There is a road I heard about that isn’t eaxactly close but I was keen to check it out nonetheless called Highway 40, the Kananaskis Trail. I had about 1.5 to 2 hours worth of driving to get there and then it would be a good 2 hours back up to highway 1 to head back to Calgary. Ash got called up the night before and I had nothing else to do so I thought why the hell not. What I was most hopeful about and what I really wanted to see were some Bears. I read that there have been quite a few spotted lately on the side of the roads munching on dandelions so I was hopeful.

It was a little foggy to begin with but it was so calm and tranquil at that time of morning. It was a beautiful drive!

As I got further out of the city, the cars got less frequent and I found myself for quite a long time being the only car out there. With the sun only just coming up and very little traffic on the road, the animals started coming out. I had my eyes peeled the whole time as I had heard Deer are like Kangaroos and are spotted more often than not when the sun is rising or setting so I was a little cautious. I was lucky enough to see a large group of them crossing the road up ahead so I quickly pulled over and got out my camera. I was able to get a few snaps in.

Further down the road, I came across this big fella. A Moose! He had no antlers unfortunately but it was extremely cool to see him nonetheless.

It was so cool to see them out in the wild. I was feeling good about coming across some Bears. Things were looking promising.

Further along, I came across this cool train engine just sitting in the middle of a field by the road. The one thing I have loved about driving around Canada has been the random stuff I have seen. Driving through the country, there are a tonne of abondoned houses and barns and building. I saw a tram in the middle of the desert driving through the salt flats in Utah which was awesome to see but this was just as amazing. I had no idea what it was doing there, how it even got there but it was really cool to see it just sitting there in the middle of nowhere.

After driving for a couple of hours, which included a few stops along the way to take some photos, I finally made it to Kananaskis country. Not long now till I get to drive through the valley with mountains on each side of me, still being early with no other cars out there and being able to enjoy it all to myself. I got to the entrance of the park and the gates were closed. This couldn’t be true! I wish I took a photo. It was true, the gates were bolted shut and the highway which closes each year on December 1st wasn’t going to open up again till June 12th. Just 3 days later!!!! Talk about shit out of luck!

I was disappointed, I won’t lie but I really had a great morning out there. It was such a beautiful drive and I know the Kananaskis Trail is going to be even better but I am looking forward to going out there with Ash and discovering it together.

I thought I may as well make the most of it and take the long way home. Rather than go the same way I came, I took some back roads. Probably not the best idea taking that route while out on my own, no phone reception and no-one knowing where I was but I liked being out there with no-one around. Just me out there in the Jeep soaking in the great outdoors!

I liked it for about an hour until I started to freak out that I hadn’t see anyone and scared myself a little, I will admit. I thought if my car broke down, I might find myself in a bit of strife. Then finally, I saw a car and some hikers and I could finally enjoy myself again. It was so great being out there with the clean fresh air out of the city. Deer, Moose, more Deer and even a Bald Eagle. The only thing that eluded me was seeing a Bear. There were so many Deer out there, it was cool to see. This next picture was probably the best shot I got for the day. It came out a little grainy but if you look to the bottom right you can make out the Deer next to the road. I wish it came out a little clearer but I loved that I got this shot in the spare of the moment. It couldn’t have been in a more picturesque location.

So that was my day, well my morning anyway. After all of that, I was back home by 1pm and took the rest of the day to chill out and relax on the couch. I am definitely not a morning person but I have to admit that I enjoyed getting away early in the morning, doing so much and still getting to bum on the couch to finish off my weekend. This may just become a new little hobby of mine.


16May

Work Life

I am exhausted but relieved!

For the past month, we have been working on a huge job for Cenovus, a large oil and gas company here in Calgary. It is an event they hold every 2 years called the Innovation Summit. There are 111 work teams who required our help in designing and coordinating 4 life size posters for each team. That is a total of 444 posters. Normally in any given week, I may be in charge of managing 10-15 jobs but for this period, my task was to stay on top of 111 jobs plus all of our regular work that was coming in. It was a huge, huge duty.

Having a client that is as large as Cenovus, there is a huge shopping list of items that you need to look for when composing and proofing these posters. Formatting, specific imagery, corporate colours, capitalisation, punctuation and everything else that comes in under their branding guidelines too. The process was very long!

For the first time in my life, I put my job first. I have put in a bit of hard work here and there when needed in the past but nothing like this. It was a giant learning curve for me and one that has given me an enormous amount of satisfaction for sticking to it and seeing it through. The last of the posters was sent into production today. I feel a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders! Working 11-14 hour days was taxing. I lived, breathed and every night dreamt of these posters. Dreaming of proofing and sending emails and receiving calls from clients. I would wake up in the morning at 5:30am, shower, go to work come home anywhere between 7:30-9:30pm and go straight to bed. It was my life, I was totally consumed in it! I have never worked as hard as I have this past month in my whole life and although I know it got the better of me a couple of times, where I had to simply walk outside and take a couple of deep breaths, it is something that I know will make me better at what I do in the long run. There is absolutely no way in hell I could have gotten through it without Ash. She was there to look after me when I was a useless tit as soon as I came home, was there for moral support when I needed it and even came in one night with some dinner. This girl is amazing!

I have never been so interested in my job and as motivated I am here at orange door. It is an amazing company with a fantastic bunch of people I both work with and deal with and I don’t think I could have found a better job. l do really love my life here in Canada!


A big shout out to my Australian and Canadian families for making it special. My first birthday away from home. Happy Birthday to my mum too who is fortunate enough to share a birthday with me!

I also wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their birthday wishes. It truly does mean so much to get a response like that. It reminds me that I have had such a great life to date and met some amazing and inspiring people along the way.

This birthday wasn’t so hard to digest but I know next year when I hit the big 3-0 that shit will well and truly hit the fan! I don’t know what it is about turning 30 that is so hard to bare. I remember being in single digits as a kid and looking forward to hitting 10 years old. It is a huge moment for any kid and I thought I was so grown up. We all want to become a grown up so quickly and so much and then once we find ourselves at that stage in life we just want the years to start slowing down. Unfortunately it goes the other way though and it seems that the older I get, the faster time flies by.

So here is to my 30th year! There are so many things I am looking forward to already but more than anything, I just want to live each day to the absolute most I can and take it one day at a time.

Thanks.

Nic.

 


27Feb

Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagon Wheel

I was out tonight for wing night with Ami and Parker and I heard this amazing song! I really am not a fan of country music at all but the there is something about  this track that just does it for me. What memories it brought back! Jumping in Jake’s car with Lindsay, crusing around Brainerd and getting out to Zorba’s or the dock as often as we could when we were off duty, I absolutely loved it! To me this song represents the 6 months i spent in the U.S. in 2010. It was an amazing chapter of my life and I am so happy I have a track to remind me of it.

 


Talking about friends is an interesting subject. I have been lucky in my life to have the most amazing friends anyone could ask for. Some I have grown up with since I was 3 or 4 to the people who I have met and been friends with since primary and secondary school and the others who I have met along the way.

I have found since living over here in Canada that people refer to others as their best friends or simply just their friends. I really don’t think I can do that. I have been asked many times about who is my best friend from people over here. It sort of brings me back to being in prep or grade 1, it is such a foreign thing to me that I don’t think I could ever get used to. I have acquaintance’s, I have some friends and I have some amazing friends. I don’t think if even a person put a bullet to my head I could pick a best friend! Everyone to me is special in their own way and i love them for that.

As I mentioned, I have some friends who go a long way. I feel like I am such a lucky person to go through such friendships. These friendships I speak of are from people from back home, in Australia who I know I will see again. They have meant so much to me and basically shaped me to who I am today. I have wondered whether I would find people as amazing as the ones I love so much from home and to be honest never really thought I would. I have to say that after 11 months, I think I am on the right track. I am not going to mention names, I haven’t through this whole rant but they know who they are. Some through work, some through Ash. I will never, ever replace the friendships I have in Australia, I wouldn’t ever dream of it but there are some real genuine people over here who I have taken a shining to and I look forward to continuing what we have throughout my time both here and anywhere else. Tonight really proved that.

I am a lucky person. I seem to find love wherever I go. I would never change what I have and what I have been through with anyone. I don’t think of myself as a religious person but I truly feel blessed for what I have.

My life is pretty amazing.


It’s crazy to think that we have known each other over the past 3 Valentine’s Days but this is the first one we have actually spent together!

To my beautiful, curly haired, blue sparkly dress and fluffy white mini jacket thingy wearing girlfriend, I would like to let you and the world know just how much I love you. We are fast approaching a year since we have been living together here in Calgary and it only feels like yesterday I flew over with my life in 2 suitcases and a backpack.

Thank you for helping me getting so settled in this weird country of yours so easily and making my life so amazing. I love you so much Ashley Carol Mitty.

Love Nic xxoo


What is it they say… Everything happens for a reason? After today I don’t doubt that for one second!

Today, tickets for Coachella went on sale. 11am Mountain Time. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I’ve bought my fair share of festival tickets to know that but I was going to give it a go anyway while I was at work. With Ash in the skies all day and a two ticket limit per person, it was all up to me.

As it turned out, I was up all night long running laps from my bed to the bathroom and ended up making the call to stay  at home bed ridden for the day. I have to admit, it was a blessing in disguise (maybe). There is no way I could have sat on my computer at work trying for 45 minutes as I did frantically trying to purchase tickets.

I thought I was off to a good start as I skipped to the standby page a few minutes before 11am. I got through and was able to select which tickets I wanted only to keep getting messages that they were unavailable. I thought I would keep going until someone comes up to say they are sold out incase it was crashing due to the volume of people on the site. Chatting with Parker’s mate Brennan he told me to keep trying. With error after error I wasn’t hopeful but finally I scanned over the page as it crashed back to home and it said I had 1.30 mins to confirm my purchase! I was in! I couldn’t believe it. Tickets are booked and we are hitting up Coachella in April! It’s not quite the line-up of last year, last year’s setlist is probably the best list of acts I have ever seen but there are definetely some wicked bands and DJs playing this year too.

CAN>NOT>WAIT!!!

 


After arriving here last year at the start of the playoffs, I found myself hooked! It was love at first sight! Something to get me through winter perhaps? Dear Michael Malone raised the alarm bells early when he took off on a 5 day pairing. I was lying on the couch, Lulus on, white t-shirt drinking a beer watching hockey. He came home and there I was, wearing my Lulus, white tee on, drinking a beer, watching the hockey. That was the day Ash became a hockey widow! Well… as fate would have it, with me excited for the new season, we had to have a lockout didn’t we?! Here stood an absolute shattered man!

After over 100 days of talking, arguing, hair pulling and negotiations, hockey is back tonight. People have said the fans will forfeit games, rip up season tickets and switch off the TV. I don’t think so, we are so happy to have it back, we wouldn’t care what happened.

Unfortunately I have adopted a fairly shitty team but I am hoping that is all about to change. Every game is on the TV so that’s a great start but come on Calgary, give me something to cheer about!

Go! Flames! Go!

 


13Jan

Ice-skating in the park

Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had […]

Today we purchased some figure skates for Ash and headed to the public rink on Princess Island Park. It was an absolute beautiful night. There wasn’t a single soul out there, we had the whole pond to ourselves, the snow was falling, music was playing through the speakers, we had some yummy hot chocolate too. Tonight really was amazing. It felt like I was in a movie, it was very surreal. This was only the 3rd time I have been out on the ice in my life but I think I am slowly getting it. I didn’t even fall over. As you can see from the photo’s, we had a great time. Really can’t wait for the next time we head out there.

Thanks for a great night baby. xxoo

 


Although it’s a balmy 2°C right now, I have to say that this cold isn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I come from Melbourne in south east Australia and although it isn’t the warmest part of the country, it wouldn’t be too often that the temperature would drop to 2°C at night time let alone the middle of the day.

So far the lowest temperature I have experienced over here is -24°C on Boxing Day. I went out with Ash to get a new pair of ice-skates, a hockey stick, gloves and a helmet with two of her brothers Jonathan and Jaeden which was part of my Christmas present and actually went out for a skate too.  Sure it was a little chilly but I had fun! I think that over here the main difference is that I actually dress appropriately. In Melbourne I would feel the cold more while going out in the winter but I think that’s mainly because I went out in just a thin cardi or a shirt. Another reason I’m probably not feeling the cold over here as much is that I have let my chest hair grow a little longer than I normally would. The whole yeti approach must be doing the trick.

Although the thermometer reads in to the sub zero temperatures, we have an awful lot of days with clear blue sky. It’s great! For example right now, I am sitting at my desk at work looking outside and it looks like a beautiful day. That may have a little something to do with the heater blasting at full steam but either way it’s a great little illusion. It doesn’t hurt that you can look up and see the snow covered Rockies in the distance either. Even when the weather turns for the worst, you can still find me looking out the window, staring at the snow fall with a big smile on my face. I keep being told to enjoy it while it’s still new because like everyone else here I will grow to loathe it but I really can’t see that happening. I enjoy it a lot. I love driving in the snow too. It’s so much fun!

I have been warned that come February, when temperatures drop around -30°C to -40°C that I will really be tested! Bring it on I say! I will let you all know how I go… that is, if I survive.


I just wanted to take this chance to wish my absolutely amazing girlfriend Ashley a very Happy Birthday!

Have an amazing day baby!

I love you so much.

Nic   xxoo


Django UnchainedWe went out last night to see Django Unchained. What a movie! Full of action, Tarantino’s trademark over the top gore and so many funny scenes, you have to go out and see it! It’s long (3 hours in fact) but you really don’t notice at all. Jamie Foxx is absolutely brilliant in it.

I know we are only 3 days in to 2013 but I can’t help but think that this is the movie of the year! I haven’t met a single person who hasn’t raved about it. I have to admit, I am not the biggest fan of Quentin Tarantino, I don’t really know what it is but I find them a little boring. This though is a completely different story.

10/10



31Dec

Welcome.

Welcome.

Welcome to my new little project, nicsharkey.com.

I have wanted to make a site like this for some time now and since I never really make new year’s resolutions, well… apart from a few years back when my resolution was to join the celebrity party scene, I thought why not?!

Living in Calgary 15,000 km’s away from home, I am hoping this will be a great tool in sharing my experiences over here. I will be writing a blog for the first time in my life which I am excited about and also displaying a gallery of my photographs too.

It’s all a bit of work in progress at the moment but I hope you all come back and check it out regularly.

Thanks. Nic