Dec 29th

2012

Happy New Year

What a year. I often take some time around now to sit with my pen and notebook, a cup of coffee, and my thoughts. I’m not big on resolutions but I do like to look back at the year and be grateful, think about lessons learned, and celebrate. This year took me to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania, before I jumped in my Jeep, and headed to Maine, only to be turned back at the border, changing my plans for a year spent largely in the American south west. Instead we drove clear across a snowy Canada, coast to coast, in February before putting me back in Vancouver to find a home again. In April I flew back to Europe to lecture in Switzerland, have an adventure in Sweden, and teach again in Italy.

I spent more of the summer at home than usual, but in July spent 10 days bashing my head against the roof of a 4×4 as we explored Mongolia’s Gobi desert.  In August it was B.C.’s famous Whipsaw Trail in the Jeep, then the first Vancouver Gathering before taking off for 3+ weeks to the Canadian Arctic, only to get shot at on the Dempster Highway and freeze my ass off, and come home to photograph Orcas off Vancouver Island, proving that I’m better at photographing stuff that doesn’t move. I spent much of the fall in my Vancouver loft, printing my work and working on various projects, and awaiting the release of my latest book, The Print and the Process. In November it was 2 weeks in Kathmandu, then home to catch a plane for Patagonia and a boat for the Antarctic. Somewhere in there I wrote a couple ebooks, launched PHOTOGRAPH, a digital quarterly magazine for creative photographers, and started my first fine-art book, SEVEN. Right now I’m catching my breath.

For those that keep asking, I’m walking better than ever now, and settling into a new normal. My left foot has healed well, but my right is still quite painful at times and limited in its mobility. Some days are better than others, but I think I’m ready to try some light hikes and get myself back into the wilderness beyond where Emily, my Jeep, can take me. That’s my 2013 project. Speaking of 2013, I’m off to Kenya in January for my first assignment work since the accident. Then it’s to Hokkaido with my friend Martin Bailey. In March I’m doing one of a couple conference appearances in Canada, this one in Bragg Creek, Alberta, and the other in New Brunswick, where I’ll be keynoting with Freeman Patterson, one of my first childhood photographic heroes and a man to whom my focus on vision and intent owes so much. I’m giddy about that one. In April it’s Italy for the month, then home to sail north to photograph grizzly bears in the Khutzeymateen for a week in May, before spending a week exploring the Haida Gwaii. And then it kind of just keeps going, but I think I’m most excited about releasing SEVEN sometime after that trip, and the whole process of printing and binding and making something so personal.

Anyways, much to be grateful for, and as always you are at the top of the list of things in my life for which I give thanks. The image at the top of this post is your January desktop wallpaper, shot on the infamous Drake Passage. You’ll find your own meaning, but to me, at least for today, it speaks of possibility and the beauty of what unknown seas stretch before us. I know I’m early, but Happy New Year, my friends.

Comments (19)
  1. vasily

    December 29, 2012 at 11:27 am

    That’s quite the executive summery of the past year! I’m so glad to hear your walking better and better! It has been fun trying to keep up with your adventures this year. Here’s to 2013, buddy!

  2. Chris

    December 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    God bless you in the new year, David.

    Best,
    Chris and Derek

    Father and son who visited you in Ottawa General Hosp.

  3. Dave Benson

    December 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    What an adventure… ironically I spent yesterday taking stock of 2012 and preparing to post it on my own blog too…and of course using the experiences to make resolves for 2013.

    Although a lot fewer miles for me, the planning around resolve has provided me the benchmarks to measure progress and set new goals…

    All the best you and all the WTF and or Photograph community…

  4. December 29, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Gosh, you are a busy guy, even more impressive considering your injuries and the necessary healing!

    Don’t know if I could keep up with you on two good feet.

    You are an inspiration to many folks.

    Love your writings, your blog and most of all your images. Keep on truckin’ and have a great 2013.

  5. Richard Baumgartner

    December 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Dear David,

    This is a poem from Hermann Hesse, a German poet and writer, entitled “Steps”. It is one of my favourite poems, every new years eve i remember this:

    As every blossom fades
    and all youth sinks into old age,
    so every life’s design, each flower of wisdom,
    attains its prime and cannot last forever.
    The heart must submit itself courageously
    to life’s call without a hint of grief,
    A magic dwells in each beginning,
    protecting us, telling us how to live.

    High purposed we shall traverse realm on realm,
    cleaving to none as to a home,
    the world of spirit wishes not to fetter us
    but raise us higher, step by step.
    Scarce in some safe accustomed sphere of life
    have we establish a house, then we grow lax;
    only he who is ready to journey forth
    can throw old habits off.

    Maybe death’s hour too will send us out new-born
    towards undreamed-lands,
    maybe life’s call to us will never find an end
    Courage my heart, take leave and fare thee well.

    best regards from Germany and a happy new Year too
    Richard

  6. JB

    December 30, 2012 at 6:25 am

    But will you be able to come to America now? :)

  7. December 30, 2012 at 7:53 am

    David, I am a relatively recent follower, just started subscribing to your blog last year, but I have truly enjoyed your photography and perspective. Thanks for sharing the world with us!

  8. December 30, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Te deseo que para el proximo año puedas cumplir tus objetivo y moverte por el mundo como este año que acaba lo has hecho.
    Happy New Year

  9. December 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    David, didn’t know about your accident (started reading you not so long ago)… but glad you’re on the best way to full healt now! :) have a great New Year’s Eve and New Year full of joy and experiences and knowledge you’ll be able to share with us! :) take care! m.

  10. December 31, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Best wishes for 2013 David.

    Thanks as always, for your thoughts, insight and inspiration. I’ve learned an awful lot from you and the team at Craft and Vision this year, plus I was given Photographically Speaking and VisionMongers for Xmas, so plenty to keep me busy there! I think I am slowly figuring out that it’s not all about the gear…!

    Hope 2013 is another satisfying and successful year for you.

    C.

  11. December 31, 2012 at 5:28 am

    I’m really impressed on how busy you are, when looking back 2012. I followed your blog, and it seemed less.
    I wish a wonderful 2013!

  12. December 31, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Thanks for your post and Wallpaper
    Wishing all of you a very Happy & Prosperous New Year 2013

    Best Regards

  13. December 31, 2012 at 11:45 am

    David duChemin and Freeman Patterson together on the same bill? In New Brunswick? That would be amazing! Happy New Year David and all the best to you :)

  14. Marcela

    December 31, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Happy New Year to you David! Thank you so much for taking us along on such grand adventures. So glad to hear that you are mending. Can’t wait to see and read about your travels in 2013.

    All the best!

  15. December 31, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Happy New Year David!

    Looking forward to the release of SEVEN and joining you on another WTF adventure near the end of 2013.

  16. December 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I just feel like traveling the world now, your blog is really inspiring and I just bookmarked it. Keep it coming.

    Happy New Year David!

  17. January 1, 2013 at 10:57 am

    A safe and Happy New Years to you also David. Much success in 2013. Picked up your new book, loving it so far, as all your books I own.

    Thank you,
    Alan

  18. Nikki

    January 2, 2013 at 8:39 am

    A great wrap-up to a busy year for you, David. I’m so looking forward to seeing you in March at Bragg Creek. I’m having surgery in February so am hoping it doesn’t stop me from coming. I’m so jealous you will be with Freeman Patterson. I’ve dreamed of going to one of his workshops one day. I’m a huge fan of his, one of the first photographers I learned about. I got to see him in Calgary several years ago, fabulous.

    Hope you have an awesome year!

  19. January 3, 2013 at 9:44 am

    David,

    You’ve been providing me inspiration for years. I first discovered your blog in 2007 and I have been a loyal (if somewhat sporadic) reader ever since.

    Your series with Emily has been particularly inspiring, and it is currently my goal to be able to 4×4 through life with friends and creativity top of mind.

    Keep doing what you do; even if we don’t comment very often, your readers live vicariously through you and I’m sure some of us wouldn’t know what to do without you!

    Cheers,
    -Matt