Off To Nova Scotia

Posted on 13th September 2016 in adventure

My pops and I recently drove from Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia. That’s from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean and back again. The journey took us more like 50 days, not two months. I had everything theoretically set out in my calendar for two months before we left to make sure we had enough time to spend in every place that we wanted to spend time in, and at some point just as we were coming into Nova Scotia we jumped ahead about 10 days and could never really find a place to delay in again!

I think if there was one place I would have liked to spend more time exploring, it was PEI. Such a neat community I’ve become fascinated with. It’s a very small island compared to the large expanse of a province like BC that I’m used to, but because of that it’s quite a neat place. In some parts it’s mostly potato farms as far as the eye can see, but then in other parts that I’ve become more partial to, it’s smaller farms with the biggest gardens you’ve ever seen and more wild forests that haven’t been logged in at least 20 years.

On our way across we drove through the States. They have beautiful interstate highways that I kept wanting to go further and further south on to go through some of the big cities I’ve always wanted to visit, like Denver and Kansas City, but all my pops could see was the temperature on the thermometer rising the further South we went. He kept looking at the map and telling me I had a crooked eye and my line across the States wasn’t so straight.

Vermont was an absolutely eye catching state. Something about the history and attention to detail and craftsmanship there that just took my heart into a little basket. It could have just been the beauty of the forests, too.

We camped the whole way, drove all day. Everywhere we stopped there were earwigs, and the next day when we were unpacking our tent we counted how many we had transported. I didn’t like this for multiple reasons, but clearly there had been many people before us that had already contributed to the widespread of them. We only got rain a few times. It’s always a pain having to dry things out or pack things up when they’re wet. Then they start to smell and that’s just no good. When this would happen, we’d go out for pizza.

One thing I really like about being on the road is I get so many ideas of how successful operations run. Things like signage and a good choice in brand names and rather iconic storefronts, to name a few things. For my pops and I, this provided many hours of banter as we’re both chalked full of ideas that have a chance of success. We met with many farmers and agriculture specialists who also gave us much insight into our future.

tech // Sony a7 camera / SMC 50mm f1.4 / SMC 35mm / Jupiter 11A 135mm f4

From Vancouver Island to PEI by Ned Tobin

Winthrop, Washington

Click here to read more.. »

The Ranch at Christmas

Posted on 5th September 2016 in adventure, nature

Tonight my mom said, “I really miss my mom.” When I get stuck inside of my head, responses like, “I do too,” become unnecessary to me, yet so very necessary for conversation and community, for family.

It’s hard to write that it’s not the same without my grandmother, it’s really not. Writing about it somehow still feels like I’m still inside of my head with no audience or empathy, yet still doesn’t come easy.

Last winter my mother and I went to the ranch as soon as she got out of classes, in early December. Mom helped her mom put up her Christmas tree, I brought firewood in to her box. In the relationship my grandmother and I had built, we spent a lot of our time reminiscing, looking through old photographs. When I asked her if I could have a used pencil and scissors of hers from 70 years ago she looked at me and laughed the way she always did when she couldn’t understand what I was up to. I think she got used to the idea that she was incredibly frugal or thrifty with some particular things; I think older generations get used to the idea that some of us young kids scoff at them for using the back of mail letters as scrap paper, how silly we sometimes are. I told her I used the old tools for photographs with my poems, and showed her my book of poems I had written with my old gothic script and pressed flowers glued into it.

Omi pressed flowers too, so does my mom. I was recently reading Hermann Hesse’s Autobiographical Writings that I had taken from her, and I’d come to pages with stamps or flowers pressed inside. Sometimes I find little notes, scraps of paper..

Winter can get cold up there at the Ranch. I can only imagine how modern technology has made it at least somewhat bearable. I can’t imagine using an outhouse in -30 deg C, let alone what was used for toilet paper. Even with the cold, my grandmother was a firm believer in fresh air. Even just sitting and getting a few rays of sunshine on her face would make her feel like she had got her bit for the day.

She was always incredibly insistent on going for a walk, even in the bloody ice. I’d be slipping and sliding around and there she was, sure as she could be, with her spikes on her boots making her way about. She was a walker. I guess that’s where I got it.

 

Kamloops for Christmas Click here to read more.. »

Southern Vancouver Island the Long Way

Posted on 3rd April 2016 in adventure, nature, wandering

Last fall my Swiss friend Nene came to Canada. I offered my truck (and company) to tour her around BC so she could get to see this beautiful land the way that I see it, and the places that I know and am fond of in this land. Canadian pride I guess. The first leg of our journey took us North! To Prince George. The second leg we hopped on the ferry over to Vancouver Island where we did day trips from Shawnigan Lake and toured mostly the southern tip of the island – Victoria and up the West Coast of the island to Port Renfrew.

Our trip to Port Renfrew, we thought we were just taking a left and heading through some gravel roads and couldn’t get lost and make it to Port Renfrew – easy peasy. About 3 hours later we found ourselves in Sooke. From Shawnigan Lake, it should only take about 1hr to get to Sooke. Likewise, it should only take about 1.5hrs to get to Port Renfrew, so obviously we took the long, windy road to get there!

Our road took us on a series of logging roads, cut blocks, and dense forest. It was interesting to see deep inside the belly of the beast (the Canadian wilderness), but to be honest, the West Coast is just so wild and epic every single time I stand upon her shores, so I was kind of sad that our day along the coast was delayed in the backroads.

But, such is life.

As we made our way up the highway parallel to the Juan de Fuca trail network, we made a vow to stop at every single Provincial Park we came to.

This is what we saw.

Logging roads of Vancouver Island Click here to read more.. »

Gone Pickin’ Shrooms

Posted on 20th February 2016 in adventure, lifestyle, nature

My brother, Bart, has slowly become more and more passionate about naturalism: listening to the land so it can tell us how to survive off it by gathering and harvesting. Perhaps he’s always been this way.. Anyways, he’s been learning about fungii, spends weeks picking berries and climbing through a natural playground. In short, he’s becoming a wild man.

Naturally, I’ve also picked up some of this interest.

Last autumn, him and I made a trip into the Kootneys to look for chanterelle and lobster mushrooms. It was a trip filled with much philosophizing, introspection, and heated debates confusing the realistic with the ideal. We slept in his camper van with socks on, showered by a splash of ice cold lake water, made tea by a propane stove inside his van, and spent all day walking through the forest on the hunt.

The smart way to cut mushrooms is by using a plastic knife: much less painful when you slip and fall on a plastic knife then your razor sharp hunting cadaver. I wore a compass every day. The number of times I thought I knew the direction I was heading, only to confirm with my compass I was nearly heading the wrong way always blows my mind. I blame it on the slope of the land. When you’re walking on a 30-45deg slope around the base of a mountain for a few hours, it’s hard to orient oneself I guess.

Also, there are thousands of fungii types, and I’m learning I’m horrible (or it’s hopeless) at naming them! I know the Lobsters are right..

20150825 - Monashees Mushroom Picking - Ned Tobin - 1 Click here to read more.. »

Vancouver Street Photography

Posted on 3rd October 2015 in Street Photography, wandering

It’s been a while since I wandered a city for street photographs; people of the street that look interesting enough for me to press that shutter. I always see people that are interesting, but a lot of the time I leave my fast camera at home and stick to my smartphone camera. I guess part of the reason is I spend some much time editing photoshoots that I just feel like walking sometimes.

Anyways, I’ve been trying to re-kindle some young love in me and have taken to the streets of Vancouver to try and learn some new gear that I’ve got – specifically a Sony a7.

I always shoot a mix when I’m out wandering. I look up, I look down, I look around and through. This is the people on the street I photographed, you can see everything else in this post on architecture and graffiti. My path? I walked from Chinatown, to Gastown, to Granville St and Robson Street, back East through Yaletown, across the viaduct between Rogers Arena and BC Place Stadium, and back through Chinatown.

Ned Tobin Street Photography Vancouver Click here to read more.. »