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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 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.

Announcement: New partnership with Offset for license management.

Winter in Winnipeg is dark and cold – a season that is characterized by a natural tendency to quietly retreat.  The seasonal cycle of change influences the way we live our day-to-day lives, and each season tends to strike a balance with its counterpart: long summer days contrast with long winter nights, and the new life of spring contrasts with the necessary death of fall.  So too are our lives influenced by our environment: summer encouraging extroverted energy and adventures, and winter facilitating space for introverted retreat.  In my creative work, I find this cycle so necessary.  Summer and the shoulder seasons are times for fieldwork, while winter is a time for processing and integrating the collected raw materials into bodies of cohesiveness.

I am excited to announce that part of this past winter’s work was building a new partnership with a premium stock photo agency named Offset.  Offset is a hub of great people that provide quality images from hand-picked photographers at affordable prices, and I am honoured to join the team amidst other world-class professionals.  Over the winter I have slowly been going back and forth with their editors to build up my collection with them, and will continue to do so over the coming years.

It has been interesting to revisit photos from assignments many years ago.  My style, both in composition and processing, has changed so much as I have found my distinctive photographic style.  There is a mine of quality images on my hard drive that I’ve been tapping into, and I plan to start posting “throwback” photo essays from years past here on the photoblog as I rework my way through them.  Keep an eye out by subscribing to my newsletter if you are interested – there are a lot of visual stories in the queue that I’m looking forward to sharing with you.

Check out my OFFSET Artist Page to peruse my growing, curated collection of available imagery for commercial and editorial use.  If you are interested in licensing a specific image that isn’t listed, please inquire by getting in touch and including a link to the image(s) of interest.

One more thing: I was able to arrange a special deal for my followers.  If you create an OFFSET account through this registration link you will get $50 off your first purchase – either of mine or any other content through the agency.  The rates are standardized at $250 USD for medium resolution images (1200 pixels wide on the long side) and $500 USD for high resolution images – with very generous licensing terms (royalty free with no time limitations).

Offset Artist Profile

Check out my artist profile and growing image library with Offset here.

May 4, 2016 - 11:26 am

Lindsay Marie Mulholland - That’s wonderful!

May 4, 2016 - 12:11 pm

Elaine Delichte O'Keeffe - Awesome!

May 4, 2016 - 1:01 pm

Ma Prem Jayana - Congratulations David!

May 4, 2016 - 1:06 pm

Karyn Suchy - David, this is awesome! Congratulations!

May 4, 2016 - 1:24 pm

Cathy Quiring - So proud of you. Congratulations

May 4, 2016 - 7:43 pm

Andrea Martin - This is huge!! Congratulations!!

May 5, 2016 - 2:39 pm

George Bass - Fantastic. Congratulations!

A promo video of sorts for the Idea Spark iOS app.

I’ve been thinking of doing a promo video showcasing the Idea Spark iOS app for a while, but I just couldn’t decide how I wanted to do it.  The current trend amongst startups is to release glossy marketing videos with upbeat music, but in all honesty I am personally very tired of this sort of communication between creators and their customers.  Seeing something generic like that has very little impact on my own saturated senses, and I figure I’m not the only one.

So I thought to myself: what is it that I consider the most important thing when I am looking at buying an app?  Well, usability is what immediately jumped to my mind; I want to know how an app works so that I can envision how it will fit in my life.  Grand promises on a marketing statement don’t mean much to me amidst the plethora of other grand promises that are made constantly, and too often these promises are oversold and lead to disappointment.  I would rather be shown that something works and embodies those promises, without the superficial layer of varnish.

With that in mind, I put together a promo video that simply shows the workflow of the Idea Spark iOS app.  Simply put, the app is a tool to help artists get out of creative ruts by suggesting new ideas, but beyond that I’ll let the app speak for itself.  I composed the music myself and edited it up to my standards as a visual storyteller, and have released it to the world in hopes that it is clear and communicative about my vision for the app in the pockets of fellow creatives.  It’s simple, effective, and beautiful just like I designed the app to be.

Check out the Idea Spark Workflow Demonstration on Youtube: