Real Moments

In Emily and I, Just For Fun, Life Is Short by David16 Comments

I took my Jeep, Emily, over to Vancouver Island this weekend. We had a festival here in town and the thought of being in the city at all, yet alone having to deal with throngs of people set me to hyperventilating and looking for a cat bowl to fill with gin. So I jumped on the ferry and within a couple hours was on the south tip of Vancouver Island with my buddy Alan Smith. We drove high into the hills on winding logging roads, into the clouds and camped in the mist, shared a nice bottle of wine, falling asleep in our tents to the sounds of a bear grunting not far away.

The next day we moved on, through winding trails and mud puddles until we were high on a rock overlooking a spectacular valley. A moon coming close to full, a sky full of stars, a campfire, and close friends sharing a(nother) bottle of wine and some beautiful moments. Al’s son was along for the ride, heading to his first week at summer camp. I photographed a few of those moments as I gear up for what might be a long-term personal project that’s got to do with real people and real moments. And it’ll probably have something to do with the Jeep brand, though for no reasons more complicated than I seem to be surrounded by Jeeps at the moment. In September, if all goes well, Alan joins me again and we’ll drive to the Canadian arctic, and that’s part of that project as well.

More than that, this weekend was just a chance to breathe deep, watch a friend nearly drown his Jeep in a puddle, and live the moments that photographers often spend so much time chasing and observing that we forget to slow down and savour them, honouring the reality that we’ve only got so many of them before we realize our last one has past us by and we took them all so much for granted. Watching Alan with his son on this trip brought back fond memories of myself as a kid experiencing the outdoors with my Mom and Dad, falling in love with the wilderness, and being so far from anything else except the only things that truly mattered.


  1. I love these adventure posts David, they have been inspiring me to get out there and see what in my backyard. Oh and great photos as well.

  2. I have always felt a distinction between truly experiencing a place and merely photographing it. I dislike having only moments to photograph a location because I would rather hang out there a while and let the soul of the area sink in a bit. Not always possible, but part of the experience of photography is the journey to, and the play within, a place.

  3. I wish I could take a nap in that luminous tent. Sometimes it reminds me of tree house. 🙂
    I love before last photo. Such a beautiful night!

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  5. Thank you for sharing these wonderful moments. It remindeded me walking in the mountains earlier this year.

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  7. Thanks, David! Yeah, that’s exactly why I’m intrigued by the rooftop setup – the critters that can reach that high are big enough that you can see ’em comin’! 😉

  8. Author

    Lori – Here’s a link to a description of my own set-up:

    The Jeep in the photographs on this post belongs to my friend Alan and his tent is a different one, made by ARB.

    The idea is simple – a tent made specifically for the top of the vehicle. They mount to the racks and are incredibly comfortable, and keep you out of the elements, and the creepy crawlies. And if a bear comes by you hit the Panic button on the Jeep key fob and it buggers off in a hurry. 🙂

  9. Really curious about that tent situation you’ve got on top of the Jeep! Have you written about that previously?

  10. Great post and a lovely reminder, David. Just last night I went out to Fisher Towers with my wife and our son for a picnic dinner away from the masses of tourists. The light on the towers was exquisite and I enjoyed making images with my son standing next to me, using his camera to take pictures of me taking pictures. We do these picnic dinners often so we can spend time together as a family without cell phones, t.v., neighbors, jobs or anything else getting in the way. I treasure them, and I hope my son does, too.

  11. We too disappeared from Vancouver on Saturday on a ferry with our cameras. It was utter bliss – empty rocky shores where we did nothing but putter, wade, photograph, eat and talk for hours. Much needed downtime. I always take my best photos in those situations – there’s just something special about them. Taking those photos doesn’t feel the same. Yours are beautiful and peaceful. Lovely.

  12. Photos right out of Family LIfe magazine. Wait, is there a magazine like that? Touching photos, none the less.

  13. Did you pick a spot like that TV ad and drive until you had not cell signal?

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