Yamnuska in March

Has been quite some time since I’ve made a post! Mostly because it’s been quite some time since I’ve done something worthy of writing a post about.

I suppose traveling to and adventuring in The Badlands, Upper Kananaskis Lake, Abraham Lake, and now Yamnuska all before April might seem like a lot of adventures to some people, but it definitely isn’t even close to enough to quench my wanderlust. I think this spring and summer will be a bit more active than I started out 2016 though.

This year has been all about the business. I’ve always said I’d rather spend my time and energy on going out and taking pictures, instead of actually trying to ‘do something’ with the pictures I take.  The more of a business man I become the less of an artist I feel. Most of my photography energy this year has been spent on my webpage I created in January, my blog I made shortly after, and of course all the paperwork that comes from starting a business. Hours and hours staring at a computer, creating invoices (they’re pretty fancy though!) and of course creating a system to use to keep track of them. Organizing receipts, expenses, income ect. ect. I’m sure one day all the business side of this will just come naturally and not be so draining, so I can focus on the art again instead. I’m pretty excited for that day, and will most likely be extremely grateful in the future for myself doing all this crap now.


Went and hiked Yamnuska (mount John Laurie) this afternoon. I’ve been there in May before and ran into more snow, ice and in general treacherous terrain than I did today.  It’s far from any avalanche risk and is pretty far East (eastern most mountain along the trans Canada) so is a popular early spring scramble.  I turned around right before the chained ledge because it was getting a bit sketchy, and I didn’t even bring my ice grips along. Still a nice view from the first ledge, looking east to the prairies or back west to the mountains.

Here’s me on the First ledge shortly before I turned around. Some of the higher ledges are twice as high as this, but even looking off here a good half dozen times now, it’s still as exhilarating as it was the first time all those years ago. I usually don’t take many pictures on an ascent anymore. My camera is usually packed away tightly in my bag, and is kind of a hassle to stop, take it out, set up the shot and so on. I used to stop frequently for pictures when I first started doing these types of things, but i’m in much better shape now than I was then and it used to just be a good excuse to take a breather. I need to (and will) start going on multi-day adventures that not only will be more fulfilling physically but also will give me a chance to relax at the end of a hard day and explore my surroundings to the extent that’s needed for AMAZING photography. Live it instead of just visit.

After a very quick descent back to the staging area (I was rushing because I had a spot in mind to photograph yamnuska before the face wasn’t sun-lit anymore) I went off into the bush to find this little pond. I knew I hadn’t taken any artistic photos all day and would be extremely disappointed if I didn’t come home with anything. That’s the battle. Can’t waste too much time dilly-dallying trying to take photos while busy trekking along (unless something spectacular shows itself) but also can’t go on a whole adventure without stopping to take the time to get an artistic photo. Here’s my artsy photos of the day.

If it’s not obvious, that’s Mount Yamnuska in the background. I generally find mountains to be more photogenic while looking up at them, instead of being on it looking down. There are of course many exceptions to this, but hey, even though there’s many people out there taking absolutely gorgeous photos of mountains basically from the comfort of their cars, there’s those of us that have the added pleasure of knowing we’ve actually been on the mountains we photograph.

Lance Edwards-Hampton


Just Keep Clicking

I take a lot of pictures. Not as many as I used to, because  instead of just randomly clicking away and hoping I get something worthwhile, I now set up and compose every picture with a lot of intent, which leads to much less crap. Still, looking back through my portfolio it’s apparent that for every picture I offer as a print, everything I’d let out into the world with my name on it, I have thousands that I never let make the cut. Even for every picture I used to post on social media I’d have dozens that never made it off the camera. Most of my favourite pictures have been taken right out around where I live. Some of the most beautiful mountains in the world start only an hour away from me, and although I love going there, and have gotten a few gems worthy of being turned into prints, the bulk of my work is made on the prairie.

Over the years I’ve probably spent thousands of hours (and dollars) just traveling around gravel roads in my own backyard. Sometimes the sky will light up and you’ll get an amazing sunset, and sometimes nothing will happen at all and you’ve got to improvise to not make the trip a waste. If you can’t make beautiful art in the place you know best, then you probably can’t make it anywhere. Sure that picture of Moraine lake is nice, but it doesn’t mean you did anything special in making it, it just means Moraine Lake itself is nice. I used to tell new photographers to go to Moraine Lake and take pictures. It’s impossible to not come away with a nice picture, and although doesn’t do much for improving skill, it surely makes people coming away more confident in themselves because they think they took this amazing award winning picture, and that confidence will make them better in the long run.

Anyway, what is beautiful art anyway? Fucked if I know. Research the most expensive photographs ever sold. Some are okay, most are not. Peter Lik isn’t even included in most lists because the art industry doesn’t like him. Because he sold it personally and didn’t go through Christie’s NY auction. There’s some with historical significance, there’s an Ansel Adams on there, but then there’s just pure shit being sold for millions of dollars *cough*rheinII*cough*. Pictures that if I took would just sit in my archives because I wouldn’t attach any value to them. So my point? Just keep on clicking. Even if you don’t end up with some grand beautiful picture someone somewhere might like it, and more importantly you might like it. Even if you don’t get anything you like at least you’ll know you tried, practiced, probably improved skills even if you don’t notice you did.

Here’s two pictures I took recently on random drives around the country. I wouldn’t offer them as prints. I don’t particularly like them even, but hey, may as well throw them out into the world and see if anyone else does. Maybe some weird art dealer in New York will decide they’re worth thousands, and if not well, it was still a better evening that sitting around watching tv.

Lance Edwards-Hampton