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Winnipeg Folk Festival 2015 – A retrospective.

Ah, the Winnipeg Folk Festival: a gathering around music, art, and community that pops up in a prairie field for five days every year.  Exactly two weeks from today the 2016 festival begins with the Crooked Brothers kicking things off on the main stage.  Spending time with good friends (both old and new), discovering new music, and happening by chance upon unexpected joys…I’m looking forward to another year barefoot in these fields as an official festival photographer.

Last year, when the festival ended with a bang (everyone remember the huge thunderstorm that hit the stage at the same time as Wilco?), I had to quickly process my photographic work for the higher ups as I was soon leaving on a bike tour out west.  That also meant that I didn’t have time to post a recap of the festival through my eyes here like I’ve done previously for 2013 and 2014.  I’ve received several messages via email and social media asking about the 2015 photoessay, and so I thought to myself: it’s never too late!  Why not put together a retrospective of last year to get us all excited for this year?

The Winnipeg Folk Festival is large and multifaceted; a choose-your-own-adventure meandering through fields and friends.  People who attend can have vastly different experiences from one another and the same is the case for myself: year by year, the focus of my photographs changes.  As I age, the festival is more about the little moments rather than the big ones…and so I spend less time at the main stage than I used to.  The workshops are the heart of the festival for me – throwing musicians together on stage to collectively make music that is fleeting and will likely never be again.  It is here that I love watching these artists in their element.  The subtle gestures between each other, the crowd, and their instruments…it is truly beautiful to watch them share their passion.

Enjoy this view of last year’s festival through my eyes and my lens.  I hope to see you out in the same fields in a mere two weeks!

Cycling out to the Winnipeg Folk Festival - Bike ride to the site

Cyclists leave the city limits and cross prairie fields to be the first to arrive at the festival site.

Happy cyclist looking back as he rides through forest

Entering Bird’s Hill Provincial Park the doziness of the early morning rise starts to wear off as excitement for the next five days begins to build.

Festival campground at the Winnipeg Folk Festival - camp site

Home away from home.

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June 23, 2016 - 1:51 pm

Daniel C. Crump - Very cool! Captured the festival very well. I’m also getting excited, but a little bummed that media passes don’t get access to the campground. See you there?

June 23, 2016 - 2:04 pm

David - See you there. And thanks for the kind words Daniel.

June 23, 2016 - 2:11 pm

Romi Mayes - Sweet pics David! Thanks!

June 23, 2016 - 4:40 pm

Jenn Kostesky - <3

Announcement: the Contemplative Creative podcast!

Contemplative Creative Website

I am excited to announce a project I have been working at developing behind-the-scenes since January: Contemplative Creative.

For a while now the idea of turning a philosophical lens on the field of creativity has been percolating in my mind.  Given how I tend to navigate through life, it has been a natural part of my daily musings and activities, whether through my struggles and successes in the multimedia industry, or chats with friends and colleagues over warm cups of coffee (or, being perfectly honest, a few beers).

A foundation of philosophical study laid in university, mishmashed with my awareness practice of meditation, has brought me to seeing things in a different way than others, as I rise up to meet the challenges of creative entrepreneurship.  I don’t claim to be entirely original, just to speak from my heart rather than regurgitate other people’s ideas.  As C.S. Lewis put it so well:
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

Since I have been doing a fair amount of work with audio lately (working with musicians, interviews, and live event coverage), I decided that a great way to push my musings out into the world would be as a podcast.  As an avid podcast listener, I don’t know why I didn’t hop into the podcast world sooner – well, turning the mic around on myself is certainly outside of my comfort zone – but I think the questions, thoughts and critiques that fill my brain and conversations with others are worth putting out into the wider community.

Subscribe and rate in iTunes here to support Contemplative Creative, or at one of the other podcast directories listed on the websiteQuestions of ethics, creative responsibility, and trying to understand how everyday actions fit into the bigger picture of things – these have all come up naturally in my life as I refine what I do as a creative professional and continue to strive to do my work better.  I know that I am not alone; this podcast project is where I hope to open up these ideas beyond myself and share them with fellow creatives in a way that is accessible and still meaningful.  Even if you don’t define yourself as a classical artist (“photographer,” “painter,” etc.) we all have moments where we get to be creative, whether it is figuring out what to make for dinner or how to solve a dispute at work.  The creative life applies to us all, and I hope the ideas put forth can help us to live more intentional, satisfying, and conscious lives.

I begin this project not knowing exactly how it will evolve, but I know that it will: nothing ever stays the same and in this I always see potential.

My fellow creatives: please subscribe in iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts and together let’s see what this can be!

Podcast Recording SetupPodcast Recording Setup - Microphone in front of computer

Often tucked away in a box this microphone is now a staple on my desk with my commitment to record and release a new audio podcast for Contemplative Creative every two weeks.

June 20, 2016 - 9:27 am

Catherine - I am going to check it out for sure. Your philosophy certainly resonates with me, and I’m thinking Id like to be a part of your project if you’re looking for people. Let me know!

June 20, 2016 - 1:01 pm

Susan - Aloha David. I have subscribed and stopped in beginning of episode#3, fascinated with your story. You’ve definitely thrown a door open for me. I find you to be an articulate, interesting, and thoughtful ‘caster. Thank you for insight and keep on!

June 23, 2016 - 1:23 pm

Martin - Hey David – I listened to your latest podcast. I am in. Your message is timely for me.

Life behind bars – Part 1: Solo in the Canadian Rockies.

This dream began in January of 2015: that is, to travel western Canada by bicycle.  I didn’t know where it came from; I had always been into cycling, but never like this.  The ultimate destination was one that has been on my radar for a while: the remote island of the Haida Gwaii (previously known as the Queen Charlotte Islands).  Travelling this way however is so much more than a destination – it is a serious journey, and filling in the route there and back makes the trip so much more.  And so I began Bike Tour Preparations, and on July 27th, 2015, I finally rolled out the door with everything I would need for the next two months.

On the road, I regularly checked in via Instagram and the #pedalpoweredtothewest hashtag – if you missed it and find this post interesting, please check it out for a glimpse into the mind of a cycling tourist on the road.  Thanks to all of you who followed along, met me along the way, and offered your hospitality in so many ways.  Even the smallest gesture meant so much to me on this challenging trip.

I’ve written quite a bit about this journey, but I’m planning to publish those articles with other publications down the road (pun intended).  Here on my own website, I’ll share my story with visuals and captions following my usual photoessay style.

This is part one (of three) of the journey: Solo in the Canadian Rockies.

The pile of touring gear before it

This is what the pile of touring gear looks like before it is packed onto the bicycle.  Everything is chosen very carefully since there is no room for extra weight or volume, so almost everything is multipurpose to fulfill necessary roles.  Given that this trip was going to cover terrain all the way from the cool alpine of the mountains to the moist temperate rainforest of the west coast, there was a lot to anticipate and prep for.  Some of the longer stints between services (groceries, restaurants, and cell service) were going to be up to ten days, so anything forgotten would be sorely missed.

Bike loaded up - tour beginning portrait

Loaded up and about to leave home for a while: so long Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Next stop: the train station!  I love adventure and challenging myself, but the idea of spending a month riding across the prairies…well let’s just say I’d rather choose my path based on where I’d like to spend my energy, so traversing the flat section of Canada via rail made more sense to me.

Prairie canola fields - the view from the train

Quintessential prairie scenes outside the train window: bright canola, billowy clouds, and blue sky.

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June 16, 2016 - 10:24 pm

Wayne Smith - Loved the picture of Amigo.
Nice writeup and great pics.

June 17, 2016 - 11:20 am

Lindsay Marie Mulholland - You are so inspiring! Following your journey re-defined “vacations” for me, and planted seeds of new life goals 🙂 Thank you for exisitng – thank you for being you

June 17, 2016 - 12:16 pm

Courtney Rae Jones - Thanks for sharing!

June 17, 2016 - 12:21 pm

David - Thanks for sharing Lindsay! It makes me happy to hear that you found it inspiring – that’s one of the main reasons I picked up a camera in the first place; that is, to inspire people to get outside and embrace life. 🙂

June 17, 2016 - 3:17 pm

Joey Senft - Wow this is awesome David!

June 17, 2016 - 5:07 pm

Candice - Wonderful story-telling! I’m looking forward to part 2!

The framing question.

Seeking out a frame for a purchased print?  A frequently asked question comes up from people who buy prints from me: “Where can I go to find a quality frame for my new print, without breaking the bank?”

It’s a question I’ve asked in the past too, and pursuing an answer has yielded frustrating results.  The lack of framing options out there never ceases to surprise me.  We all have homes and want to decorate them in ways that reflect our own personality, but there seems to be little between “low quality and oddly sized frames from the local big box store” (I’m looking at you Walmart) and “custom frame shops that more often than not only stock gaudy frames that haven’t been able to get out of the stock room since the Victorian era.”

In my home at least, I seek out simple, thin, and deep gallery-style frames that highlight the art and fit in with the rest of my decor.  Where art thou, frames of my dreams?

If you’re in the United States, there are some great online frame shops where you can order a custom frame for a great price.  In Canada…not so much.  I would recommend www.matshop.ca out of Victoria, BC, however I believe the minimum order over there is for five frames.  Wherever you live, my first recommendation would be to check out your local options: Michael’s (which always has sales going if you check their website) or otherwise.  The cost of shipping of ordering frames online can be cost prohibitive.

All that said, I placed a bulk order for some frames the other day and am happy to announce that for local orders I can include a nice frame for your 13×19″ print purchases for only $75.  Sorry distant friends and Etsy purveyers; shipping a framed print is too expensive for me to offer to you right now.

Frame specs:
-Matte black wooden frame: 3/4 inches wide and 1 inch deep
-Fits 13×19″ art (signed matte border is on the same paper as the printed image)
-Glass glazing (if shopping for a frame yourself, any glazing is suitable for my prints – protection against sun damage is accounted for in ink and paper choice)

UPDATE (June 18th): These have been selling fast!  Of the dozen frames purchased, only two remain available.  If interested, please get in touch quickly as these were unfortunately only a one time buy.

Framed Polar Bear Print - Portrait of David Quiring

Fresh out of the studio and ready to be delivered to a happy customer: a sleepy polar bear print seems perfect for inspiring sleep in a bedroom, don’t you think?

Framed Aurora Borealis Print - Portrait of David Quiring

Or if sleeping’s not your thing, gaze at the aurora borealis from the mosquito-free comfort of your home.

June 3, 2016 - 10:10 pm

Donna - Yes! Inquiry sent.

Reaching for the night sky.

Some of you might not know this about me, but back in the day I studied astronomy at the University of Manitoba.  There was of course the necessary prerequisite knowledge that we studied in the lecture hall, but as we got further into the program we were able to literally take our studies to the stars.

Twice a week I would head out with a team of students to the Glenlea Astronomical Observatory to log time on an immense telescope pointed at the dark night sky.  Taking observations over many months, we could analyze the changes in different wavelengths in light to identify and study supernovas, relatively unstudied galaxies (there is a lot to look at up there, and so much is still unstudied!), and the sorts.

The telescope tracked (ie: moved) along with the stars so you could take long exposures without the light sources turning into streaks caused by the movement of the earth, and the camera was cooled to very low temperatures to help reduce the noise (the static look that images taken in dark situations take on) in the images it captured.  I wasn’t deep into photography yet, but the complexity of taking photographs this way really forced me to learn about light.

That was over a decade ago now, and technology has come a long way since then.  The types of images we see coming out of space organizations these days are miles ahead of what we used to be able to capture, but I still am fond of the low-resolution photos of distant galaxies I’ve saved on my hard drive.  Despite manually creating and subtracting averaged bias, dark, and flat frames, the technology was definitely a limiting factor for this sort of distant observation.  Okay, enough astrophotography geekery: I’ve included a colored image of the spiral galaxy NGC 3184, which I studied extensively in this previous life.

Flash forward to today and I no longer see pages out of an astrophysics textbook when I lay down in a field and look up at the night sky.  I’m back to gazing up with wonder, much like I used to as a child.

This is all on my mind today because of a new piece of equipment I just added to my kit: a teleconverter!  It’s a piece of glass that fits between a camera and lens, and essentially is an extra magnifier that allows me to get closer to a subject I otherwise wouldn’t be able to.  In anticipation of heading back to Churchill this summer, I was looking for a way to get some extra reach out of my camera kit and this fit the bill.  Pointing this telescope-ish setup at the full moon seemed like a good way to test it out and so I headed out of town with a fellow photographer to howl at it.  Check out some of these first images.

Clouded Sunset

In the distance, the sunset is shrouded by clouds but beams of light hint at the fire behind. Beautiful, but hopes were running thin that we would be able to see the moon amidst the cloud cover on this night.

Moon Closeup

In a moment between the rolling clouds, the full moon made an appearance for about ten seconds. Luckily, the camera (and me!) were ready to snap a portrait of it.

NGC 3184 Spiral Galaxy

An image of NGC 3184 Spiral Galaxy from 2008.  I colored the image to highlight H II regions.

 

May 9, 2016 - 1:12 pm

Wayne - Whoa! That’s cool! I had no idea about this about you.