Mary Schaffer was a nature photographer and explorer of some renown in Alberta at the turn of the 20th century. Reading her book, Old Indian Trails of the Canadian Rockies, was, for me, a small ‘satori’, a bit of enlightenment. Schaffer and her small group of adventurers were on a quest and that realization has completely changed how I think about photography.
A quest is a personal journey in search of something important: a treasure maybe, new lands or even esoteric things like truth, or spirituality. In 1907, Schaffer, who was originally from Pennsylvania, spoke openly of her desire to discover, what was then considered the near mythical Chaba Imne, the lake we know today as Maligne. In her book though, Schaffer confides that that the real purpose of her quest was to “learn daily those secrets which dear Mother Nature is so willing to tell to those who seek”.
I too am such a secret seeker and through Schaffer’s writing I've realized that I’m also on a quest, a vision quest: to really see, with heightened awareness, the awesome beauty of the natural world around me.
My vision quest has taken me from the prairies where I was born, through the mountains, to the seashores where the 17th century haiku poet Matsuo Basho, wrote:
There came a day when the clouds drifting along with the wind aroused a wanderlust in me, and I set off on a journey to roam along the seashores.
Like Basho, I’m on a journey, and like Schaffer, I've learned some secrets along the way. Pulling together some of the secrets that I've learned into this dedicated section of my website, has served a couple of purposes. It’s helped me to organize my thoughts about nature photography and to share what I've learned so far. It also allows me to answer the question most often asked about my photographs - how do you see what you see?
Have a look and see for yourself. Click on the folders below to explore each section of my vision quest, or use the navigation bar at the top of the page.