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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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.. »