Across Canada 2019

Posted on 1st January 2020 in adventure, nature, wandering

In the summer of 2019 my girlfriend, Crystal, and I drove across Canada to pick up a load in a cargo trailer from long term storage to bring back across Canada to our farm. For me, this had been the fourth year in a row to make this exact same trip, but for Crystal it was her first time being past Northern Ontario driving.

We slept in the empty trailer on the way West, which was an absolute luxury. We tried to pull off the side of the road so we wouldn’t have to get a campsite, but it was during the time of the nation wide man hunt for the two young fugitives from Vancouver Island so we were always just a little bit on edge when we’d find a nice place to stop. Nothing like a little danger to keep a trip exciting. I like to put little camp symbols on our oversized map so that in future years we know where a good campsite is. It’s probably not necessary because there are campsites in nearly every town, but sometimes you’re sitting there thinking to yourself: “I know the campsite was somewhere in this part of the country, but I just don’t remember the name of the little adorable town it was located in.” So there, on the map, is a little camp symbol that solves the mystery.

I think one of the more memorable things for me was when we stopped in the Fraser Canyon of BC to look down the canyon on a particularly beautiful turn in the river, and behind us we hear a few rocks tumbling down. I was worried because the truck was below those rocks, but up up up we see some goats following an ancient trail. First a big male goes to show the way, then a few females, then about 5 little kids make their way across! What a sight! Sometimes it’s easy for me to get caught up in our modern industrialized and urbanized world and feel like our wildlife is a thing of the past, that we no longer have any, and then seeing something like this makes me realize that there is still something out there untamed, wild, free, true.

At this point, we were on our way to Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island. Seeing the wild Pacific Coast one last time was pretty special for us. I remember growing up I always wanted to live in Vancouver. The wild old growth forests and the gnarly roots everywhere was to me something very special. In fact, it was in the mountains around Vancouver that I really started photographing as I hiked endlessly. For Crystal, it was her first time seeing the giant cedars and firs and the wild, rugged coastline of the open Pacific Ocean.

And just like that, it was time for us to zip back to Atlantic Canada and back to the farm.

Outside Sault St. Marie, Ontario
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Our New Farm, Red Spruce

Posted on 6th January 2019 in nature, photojournalism, Red Spruce

This year has been a year of building, that’s for sure. Almost everything has really taken a back seat to building. I’ve only now had a chance to take a look at some of the photographs I’ve taken over the time.

Let me step back a second.

In 2017 we bought land in Nova Scotia in Pictou County. We live in Poplar Hill. In 2018, dad and I arrived to meet Bart here in late April and we at once began planning and building.

It took quite a while to really get things rolling. There was brainstorming, frustration dealing with last minute contractor cancellations, permits, and schedules to deal with – the ever ominous: “I should be able to make it there next week.” But with the three of us, joined by mom in the early part of summer, we kept moving forward. When we weren’t able to work on the house, we worked on out buildings. In those early days we would drive into town almost every day to pick up supplies, which was frustrating for all of us. It took us quite a while to get into the mindset of anticipating what things we needed to buy to keep us busy for a few days rather than just one or two days, and also buying enough supplies for the full job at once, rather than one step at a time. We also had to head into town nearly daily for groceries since we were living in a small cabin with no electricity, and a shower at the Pictou County rec center (which we are still doing to this day).

So many things have happened that I’ll kind of just rattle off here. Perhaps it would be better suited in the intro of a photobook.

We got a dog, an Australian Shepherd, we named Ruu. Alex Knicker joined us for so much of the summer giving her more than willing helping hand; I’m sure her blood has been imprinted in the planks used here many times over. We bought a tractor to use with our new-to-us disc harrow, sickle bar mower, wood chipper/shredder, and successfully spread lime and seeded the working land (~30 acres) we have here – yes, I did get the tractor stuck a few times which Bart, like a champion, helped me dig out. Bart bought a 4-wheeler, I bought a dual-sport motorbike. The tools, oh the tools! We build two 8’x12′ cabins, and one 12’x16′ chicken coop), one outhouse, and we are now almost complete building a 1800sq.ft (main floor) insulated concrete form (ICF) house (just about finished hardwood flooring and tiling the bathrooms). There are deer that cross our field daily now, and a few days ago we saw a coyote looking curious. There is a group of white breasted snow birds that are regular here now this winter. The raccoons have hibernated, as have the pheasants.

What a learning experience.

I still sleep in the chicken coop. There’s definitely a few reasons why I do, but the biggest two are that the house isn’t quite ready for living nor do we have a live-in inspection done, also, in the coop I sleep with the dog (and sometimes cat) on my legs.

Spring at the creek
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comments: 6 » tags: autumn, dog, land, red spruce, spring, summer

Coast to Coast Part II

Posted on 26th September 2017 in adventure, nature

During the summer of 2017 my father and I traveled 20000 kms from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia and back again. The crossing itself is about 7000 km, and we spent a considerable amount of time driving around in Nova Scotia, too. My initial plan before I left this summer was to go from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia back to Vancouver Island and then back to Nova Scotia where I would move into our new house. Well, the second part of the journey across didn’t really happen since we ended up buying land without a house, so now I’m sitting here trying to decide what to do for the winter.

For the entire journey we stayed in Canada. Canada actually has quite beautiful roads – the trans-Canada for the most part has double lanes and smooth roads.

The order of these photographs are in the order that I took them, so you can kind of follow our path along as we went.

One of my challenges of this journey was to try and get some lifestyle photographs, which I really did fail at horribly. I am trying to train my eye to see casual settings to take photographs of, that I am a part of. I know it exists somewhere in remote triggering with my phone and setting the camera up on a tripod, but I still definitely haven’t come close to mastering that. Maybe I just need a sidekick with a camera…

Do you have any locations I should go to next spring when I’m doing the trip?

 

Canadian Rockies

Canadian Rockies

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Spring in Shawnigan Lake

Posted on 11th April 2017 in explored, nature, wandering

Shawnigan Lake is where I’ve been calling home for a while now. It’s a beautiful community along the Victoria Watershed, just north of the Malahat and Victoria, on Vancouver Island, in beautiful British Columbia.

Being an outdoors man, naturally I’ve taken to wandering with my camera in hand. Every month I get a collection of wander-clickings I’ve captured, and if you follow any of my social medias, you’ve maybe seen some of these images pop up at times. You know, when the mood hits.

Ever since I was first exploring these lands with my parents on summer vacations of y’or, I have always been incredibly fascinated with these old growth forests. They are unlike any other I’ve experienced, which isn’t to say they are better, but just that they have a special place in my heart that started when I was young. The giant roots crossing single-track trials covered in cedar branches and fir needles, with oregon grape and salal flanking as I meander up and down valleys. Oh, the depths of canyons found within trunks of a thousand year old fir trees.

This is what I’ve come upon.

tech specs // Sony a7 / Super Takumar 55mm f1.8 / Jupiter 11A 135mm f4 / Super Takumar 28mm

Shawnigan Lake - Ned Tobin Click here to read more.. »

The Strait of Georgia

Posted on 3rd December 2016 in adventure, nature

I cross the Strait of Georgia frequently. Back and forth, back and forth. I find that when I’m heading back to Vancouver Island I catch the best kind of sunset, if it’s not raining. On the way over, it’s usually around noon when I arrive – not so fine for them golden hour captures, but that’s all right. My trips over to the mainland are, for the most part, to do some photoshoots. If I’m lucky, I get to see a few friends.

There’s this funny thing I’m observing with myself, when I have photoshoots ahead of me, I tend to leave my camera in it’s bag and let the landscapes pass by with just my eyes watching, not my lens. I guess at the moment I’m ok with this, a focus of some sorts. But the idiom keeps popping up in my head: can’t see the forest for the tree.

This trip home I had just picked up a new to me 135mm lens from Russia, probably a 50 year old fully manual lens, so I was pretty eager to sit on top of the BC Ferry and catch some landscapes.

I’ve got to say, these are some of my favourite photographs of this crossing I’ve ever captured.

tech // Sony a7 / Jupiter 11A 135mm f4

Strait of Georgia from a BC Ferry by Ned Tobin
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