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The road to California – Part 6: Familiar territory.

(continued from Part 5: Coast)

Covering so many miles, seeing so many new things, constantly exploring places you didn’t know existed…a road trip is certainly an adventure.  Like all good adventures though, the rewards come with an exhaustion that slowly builds up.  There is a sort of comfort in the familiar; a quiet sense of permission that it’s ok to relax – that you don’t need to constantly be active.  Coming full circle and now retracing our tire marks on the pavement, Waterton was familiar territory where we could spend a couple days relaxing before making the final push home to Winnipeg.

Portland Volkswagon Van

Arriving at our Portland hosts’ home, we pulled into a parking spot behind this classic Volkswagon van.  Hello Portland!  Turns out this sweet ride belonged to our hosts’ son, who was back from university for the summer.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Strapped for time, the car stayed parked for the couple days we were in town while we adventured around the area we were staying in.  Portland streets are a poster for mixed usage: residential, commercial (often local as entrepreneurs are highly supported), food/coffee trucks…there seems to be a little bit of everything found on any street corner.   It is one of the most walkable cities out there.

Heart Coffee

While Stumptown is renowned for their coffee, I personally prefer the lighter roasts that the smaller Heart Coffee Roasters does.  These folks are passionate about what they do.  Of particular note is that you can select your beans and brew type independently, which, for the coffee connoisseurs out there, can make for some interesting side-be-side tastings.  Here, we tried a Yirgacheffe bean brewed via the traditional pour-over technique and compared the same bean brewed using the Aeropress, a method gaining popularity in the western world.

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The road to California – Part 5: Coast

(continued from Part 4: Land of the Giants)

Winnipeg, the starting point for this whole journey, is located at almost the exact center of North America – pretty much as far from any ocean as you can get.  At this point in the trip, to roll over yet another hill and see the endless blue horizon stretch out across the sky was quite the milestone.  Crossing California’s dry interior, we reached the refreshing sea air just a bit north of Los Angeles.  Here, at a crossroads that marked our furthest point from home over the entire trip, we hooked up with the scenic highway #1 that snakes north along the coast.

Pavement meets ocean

After many, many kilometers, the pavement meets the ocean.


Blue on blue.

Seagulls against the blue sky

Seagulls soaring above.

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December 2, 2014 - 10:26 am

Britt W - We went to the same pub on haight! So good!!!

December 2, 2014 - 10:28 am

Donnell Dacillio - gorgeous post

December 2, 2014 - 6:31 pm

Kay Eight-Enn - Sweet life, David! Maybe you want to make a guest appearance as a computer science teacher with that history of yours, and I’ll head out west to take some pictures? Just a little tradesies for a bit?

December 4, 2014 - 10:16 pm

David - I may be in that place before you know it Kay! I’m actually dabbling in some education education right now. And no, that’s not a typo.

December 6, 2014 - 6:37 am

Dave Benson - This journey is most definitely on my bucket list… Thanks for the added incentive… and since I did that education thing first… I now have time for the photo-life…

The road to California – Part 4: Land of the giants.

(continued from Part 3: Desert)

There is a place where you can wander a forest full of giant trees.  Isolated in a spot of high elevation between two deserts, these trees are left alone to grow, and grow, and grow.  Taller than 26 storey buildings, wider than some roads, and with 2500+ years of life experience under their bark…these trees are humbling.  Every once in a while I stumble upon a place that is so surreal it feels as if I am dreaming, and the giant sequoia belt just east of Death Valley, California, is one of those places.

Had someone tried to explain this place to me before I experienced it myself, I would have had a hard time believing them.  It is difficult to put it into words, or even photos as I found out.  You really need an element of the ordinary within the frame to try and give a photo the perspective that it needs to portray the feeling of the place.  Here is an attempt, however I must add that I think everyone should try and find their way to the paths of Giant Sequoia National Park at some point in their life.  There’s nothing quite like hugging one of the largest trees in the world.

Sun rays against a sequoia tree

Early morning sun rays.

Amidst a grove of giant sequoias

It is humbling to stand amidst a grove of sequoia trees.

Looking up at giant sequoia trees

Looking up.

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November 17, 2014 - 6:45 pm

Anny Chen - Amazing. This is a place I want to visit.

Rocky Mountain Postcard

Bow River Postcard

A recipe for staying warm on chilly nights along the Bow River: a stoked fire and a strong double IPA from home (Half Pints: Humulus Ludicrous).

Would you believe me if I said that this postcard is a few weeks late because it got lost in the mail?  Okay, I didn’t think so.  In reality, I have been busy wearing my app developer hat since getting home.  Apple released iOS 8 while I was out of town, which meant that there was was a pile of work waiting for me.  Yadda yadda…I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say that the code is now complete, changes are in, releases are in the queue, and now it’s time to put my photography toque back on.

As some of you may know, I disappeared on a road trip up to the edge of the arctic circle this past August and September.  Well, disappear might not be the right word.  A travel first for me, I was posting to my Instagram account along the way.  Friends and family were able to check and make sure I hadn’t been eaten by a grizzly bear, and new friends (read: strangers) were given a window into the often wondered about, but more rarely seen, beauty of the north.  I was honoured to be noticed by the folks at Hello BC and Travel Manitoba, and happy to join the social media team of the former and contribute to an upcoming printed book for the latter!  Overall, the feedback was great and I was happy to be able to share the trip this way.  One of my main goals whenever I press the shutter button on my camera is to inspire others to get out and live life more fully, and this proved to be a great way to do just this.  In the future, I may not always be able to stay so connected on the road (due to different technology and/or safety restrictions of places), but I will certainly try to when I am able.

Being a bit old school in the matter, I only post photos to Instagram that were taken with my phone.  This means there is still a lot of gold from my SLR to be mined on my computer right now.  Beginning selections, I am excited by what I see.  Stay tuned – there is much more to come.

Winnipeg Folk Festival 2014

The 41st Winnipeg Folk Festival has come and gone.  Once again, an empty field in Bird’s Hill Park was turned into a vibrant community.  We came and we went, but forever we will have the memories. Every year is different but I always leave feeling the same: my head full of music and my heart full of love.

Campground Lineup

The long lineup to get in to the campground is a part of the festival.  Best to relax and enjoy it.

In the tent.

Rest of some sort is usually in order once camp is finally set up.  Rest, and planning.

Long live fun.

“Long live fun…” is a good way to sum up the general attitude towards all aspects of the festival.  Games, art, music, dance, community…long live fun indeed!

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August 6, 2014 - 11:11 am

Marc Neufeld - Fantastic pictures!

August 6, 2014 - 12:43 pm

Courtney Rae Jones - Love the photos! I missed out on folk fest this year, but your photos made it feel like I was there.

August 6, 2014 - 10:07 pm

Karenia - What a lovely synopsis of one person’s experience of Folk Fest. I’m glad I got to share a few of those moments with you. My favourite shot… the rubber boots on stage, the sound booth and Pope’s Hill at night. Elephant Revival was also my favourite discovery for this year’s fest.

August 7, 2014 - 12:47 am

Dua Hamed - Great shots that accompanied a flood way of memories. Thanks for sharing!

August 7, 2014 - 9:54 am

David - Glad you enjoyed these folks.

@Courtney: I missed running into you at the festival this year! Europe though, is a good excuse. Hope you’re having a good trip.

August 7, 2014 - 11:07 am

Courtney Rae Jones - Europe has been great! 10 more days to go of our 7 week adventure. Definitely won’t miss Folk Fest next year though. Missed it too much!

September 1, 2014 - 10:22 am

Ivor L - The Folk Festival seen through your talented eyes behind the camera. I could almost hear the music. Many thanks, David!

September 3, 2014 - 10:57 am

Sheldon Emberly - Incredible photo essay David! Incredible images! Thanks so much for sharing these.