This is my 171st consecutive monthly photographic newsletter. Enjoy!
1. Sharing a Sense of Place
2. The Mystery
3. The ‘Residency’ Approach to Photography
4. Coming Next
A Self-directed Artist Residency
Jacobson Lake, BC
“A desire to see more”
In this Newsletter I am taking you to a small remote lake in the foothills of the Coast Mountains. I went there to photograph the raw elements of rock and ice, and I brought my partner Rita and her daughter Teresa and partner Jill Matlock to participate in that same primordial experience. Together we gained a colossal ‘sense of place’.
Our adventure began at Nimpo Lake where we loaded and boarded our favourite de Havilland Beaver, C-FFHT, the plane which has more flying hours than any other Beaver.
The excitement of a new adventure
Our destination was a glacier-fed lake known locally as Ice Lake. When we set up camp, this was the view before us. Our adventure had begun!
Sharing a Sense of Place:
Experiencing a ‘sense of place’ together
One of the many rewards of this adventure was sharing it with ‘youth’; the new generation. Rita’s youngest daughter Teresa, and partner Jill, are avid nature lovers and skilled back-country travelers. With binoculars and camera’s, they investigated a ‘vast’ landscape in a ‘tiny’ location on the planet. It was a thought-provoking experience.
Exploring ice-sculptured rock
Exploring leads to contemplation; we felt small
This huge erratic provided us with shade for lunch
Just by watching the changes in ice and rock over 9 days was an insight into the evolution of the universe and all forms of life. Icebergs were created, they broke up and multiplied, they dramatically changed colour and shape by the hour, and they carried rocks and boulders to new locations where they were deposited when the ice melted.
Icebergs transporting rocks and boulders. We witnessed the transportation and placement of these rocks as new icebergs arrived and then melted. The repetition of this process created small islands in the lake
With binoculars and bird book, Teresa & Jill reveal new worlds…
…including that of this arctic tern
What they saw and experienced here at Jacobson Lake was but a grain of dust in the story of the universe, but they continually commented on how insightful this venture was. It led to ideas and conversations around the campfire, and we were always mindful of how blessed we were to be where we were. Of the 7 billion people on the planet, we were alone, savoring a very special moment in time and place, together.
During a spectacular morning sunrise, T and J visually explore the shape and colour of this newly formed iceberg. We had all watched it roll over and redesign itself a few hours prior
Mesmerized by immense beauty
Happily enjoying and reflecting upon each passing day of their mountain experience
Every day, from the light of sunrise, until that of evening, I tried to enter the mystery.
Reflections of first light
Reflections of evening light
The shadow of icicles, the shades of blue, the journey of snowflakes, the reflections that dance, and the water droplet that leaps from the melting iceberg into the lake to begin its journey to the sea; these and many more were all part of the mystery I tried to investigate with my camera.
The mystery of light
The mystery of colour
The mystery of translucence
The mystery of shape
Much of the mystery is that of light. At first the light was first here, then there, and then gone. I thought about this constantly as I paddled amidst the icebergs, and hiked among the boulders that glaciers had deposited in remarkable places. Each day, the rhythmic changes of light changed the elements, and my photography changed with them.
Images gifted by light;
Rocks of all sizes were placed with architectural precision. Light provided shadow and a sense of depth
Amidst the solid rock walls, light gives us life and colour
When a slab of ice breaks away from an iceberg, the larger berg often rolls over seeking a new centre of gravity. The result is an indescribable colour of blue
The shades of blue reflect the length of time the ice has been exposed to sunlight and warmth
The tonal and colour contrast seen in this image would be entirely different an hour later. Each moment is precious
Moving slowly with precision in my canoe, I sought the juxtaposition of elements that resonated with me the most.
A study in textures and tones
Shadow and light
I made many images this particular morning based solely on my recollection of the stylized mountain paintings of the Group of Seven’s Lawren Harris. This is an example of how studying other forms of art can influence our photography
On a clear evening, I sat by the campfire waiting for the right ambient light. I then painted a few icebergs with the light of my flashlight
The ‘Residency’ Approach to Photography:
No humans have ever lived on Jacobson Lake, and no other person has ever camped here for as long as 9-days; in fact, only recently have the glaciers retreated far enough to create this lake.
In part, that is one reason I wanted to go to Jacobson Lake, and why I wanted all of us to stay there for 9 days. It provided us all with a deep sense of who we are and where we are on the planet. We felt it, and talked about it daily.
Visually, I wanted time to actually think about my two main subjects of interest; ice and rock. Time to study the transience of light and its resulting beauty, enabled me to reach deeper into places I have never been before. Imagine another 9 days!
This is why I am discovering that the ‘residency’ approach to photography is so stimulating and rewarding. The longer I spend in one place, the more in harmony I feel with the Elements which change constantly with the transience of light. There is always more to see, and I have a desire to see it.
Below are a few more images to help provide a broader perspective of our entire experience, and my personal ‘artist’s residency’ at Jacobson Lake.
This massive rock wall had a dominating presence. Rita and I paddled close to it and touched it, tapping in to its all-powerful energy
As we hiked, we saw mountain goats, listened to the sounds of advancing yet retreating glaciers, and felt the energy of the physical world around us
This table-top rock provided a wonderful place to share lunch together, but because it is situated on top of a moving glacier, it will soon be placed in an entirely different location
In my much-valued Chestnut cedar-canvas canoe, I entered the Mystery each morning at dawn
The forces of Mother Earth that surrounded us were forever humbling
Chief Mountain towered above our camp. It had a certain power, as if it was our guardian. I looked at it and photographed it often. Evening light
Mountain and ice. Although at different speeds, both are continuously changing form
Light and form
We watched the very moment when the ice in the foreground broke away from the parent berg. Then came the indescribable sight of each berg finding its new equilibrium and centre of gravity. I painted these two bergs with the light of my flashlight