Jamieson's Thoughts

FAREWELL BANFF

A view that never gets old, actually it's more like a vintage that just keeps getting better as the years pass by..

A view that never gets old, actually it's more like a vintage that just keeps getting better as the years pass by..

Little did I know when I drove across the country in the spring of '98, and again in May of 2000 that my farewell letter to Banff would be dated January 29, 2017. Even less likely to me at the time, would have been writing said farewell letter, with my wife and 2 year old daughter in tow! Yet, here I am attempting to put thoughts and emotions to paper, as we embark on a new adventure to Vancouver Island. 

Out for a stroll with the dog or baby? Then this is your reward!

Out for a stroll with the dog or baby? Then this is your reward!

Having lived just north of 17 years in Banff, this has been an emotionally tumultuous time for me these past couple months. The friendships, experiences, hardships and successes have all considerably shaped who I am today and who I will become tomorrow. When I came to Banff, I just finished my apprenticeship, had never skied, cycled or picked up a camera. Relative to the person I am today, I was an empty shell when I made the drive from Southern Ontario. Yet here I stand today, a byproduct of the near two decades spent as a proud Banffitte.

My favourite stop along Vermillion Lakes road. Incredibly I have never once had to share this spot with another photographer! 

My favourite stop along Vermillion Lakes road. Incredibly I have never once had to share this spot with another photographer! 

I'm lucky to be able to say I've experienced the best of Banff. Starting with a 7 year run working as a chef at the Castle in the Rockies, the Banff Springs Hotel.. to spending almost a decade honing my culinary skills and ski ability, heli skiing with Canadian Mountain Holidays.. and rounding out my time in Banff as a part of the most incredible community of parents and kids that exemplify the true spirit of Banff! It's hard to imagine a more well rounded community of people. 

The Castle in the Rockies with her winter coat. I proudly spent 7 years here!

The Castle in the Rockies with her winter coat. I proudly spent 7 years here!

One thing I hope is that I never took living here for granted. There are definitely some places I never managed to visit such as Lake O'Hara and several other backcountry trips I had on the bucket list. I suppose some unfinished business is reason enough to come back on a regular basis ;) I can say unequivocally that I always appreciated how close to nature we live here in Banff. Wildlife sightings are a regular daily occurrence, including bears, deer, elk and rare sightings of wolves. It really is incredible how lucky we are to have a front row seat to this abundance of wildlife.

Does this scene ever get old?! I'm of the opinion that it doesn't. 

Does this scene ever get old?! I'm of the opinion that it doesn't. 

Just last week I was out for a drive around Lake Minnewanka road and was lucky enough to witness several bull elk hanging out together. It brought back memories of living in staff accom at the Banff Springs and having to navigate up to a hundred elk on the way to work! Cycling the Bow Valley Parkway, it was common to see a handful of grizzly bears during a two hour ride or if lucky enough, members of the bow valley pack of wolves! The list goes on and on, you get the gist of what I'm trying to say.. It's a privilege to live in Banff National Park!

Johnson Lake is as calm and peaceful a lake as you'll find in the mountain parks. 

Johnson Lake is as calm and peaceful a lake as you'll find in the mountain parks. 

This of course is what makes leaving so difficult.. I honestly never thought I would leave, even consider it for that matter. Then again, I never thought I would stay after my summer contract in 2000. I actually didn't try skiing until the end of that first winter because I was certain I would leave at the end of the following summer. It didn't seem worth it to bother when I knew I was going to leave anyway.. Turns out skiing was that "decisive moment" they talk about in photography that forever altered my life. A sliding door of sorts that turned me on a course towards my future wife and daughter. The thought of never skiing goes far beyond not experiencing epic powder... it's simply incomprehensible.

Moraine Lake is a tough place to get solitude which is why my preferred time to visit was always the Thanksgiving weekend, before the road would close for the season. 

Moraine Lake is a tough place to get solitude which is why my preferred time to visit was always the Thanksgiving weekend, before the road would close for the season. 

Banff has given me a lifetimes worth of happiness in just under two decades. Skiing, cycling, backpacking, summiting mountains, a passion for photography, amazing professional opportunities, lifetime friendships and of course, most importantly, a family of my own to share it with :) I'm incredibly proud to say I lived here for as long as I did.

I've always turned to Lake Minnewanka for some quiet time during the late season, just before winters arrival. 

I've always turned to Lake Minnewanka for some quiet time during the late season, just before winters arrival. 

The accompanying images are just a few of the visual memories of my personal favourite places around Banff that have left an everlasting imprint on my soul..

Farewell Banff, see you next time as a tourist!

No words can do this scene justice.. 

No words can do this scene justice.. 

 

Jamieson Caskenette, January 29th, 2017

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

An abandoned schoolhouse slightly north of Consort in the Neutral Hills.

An abandoned schoolhouse slightly north of Consort in the Neutral Hills.

I always seem to begin my blogs with an apology for not writing and posting as often as I would like. Well I'm going to change it up because frankly, I'm not sorry anymore! Between chasing a toddler around, working, eternal sleep deprivation and trying to maintain a relationship with my wife, life is darn busy... and I wouldn't change a thing! Well maybe a little extra sleep wouldn't hurt ;)

Be that as it may, I have managed to come up with several new images that are up on the website. I have focused almost exclusively on the prairies creating a series documenting the lost communities of Alberta. Why you may ask??

The Butze grain elevator, located just outside Chauvin, Alberta. This is literally on the Saskatchewan border on Hwy 17 south of Lloydminster. 

The Butze grain elevator, located just outside Chauvin, Alberta. This is literally on the Saskatchewan border on Hwy 17 south of Lloydminster. 

One word that is always in my head when I'm driving around rural Alberta, is.. nostalgic. It's funny, I didn't grow up in the countryside, yet I'm overwhelmed by this feeling. I see the prairie landscape in black and white and close my eyes trying to envision what it must have been like a hundred years ago. So much hope in these small towns and as history has told us, so much despair... I felt an inner need to document these communities. A visual diary of the southern part of Alberta and what little is left of the boom of the early 20th century. 

Here are a few first impressions I had when visiting some of these forgotten communities. Most of these photos aren't necessarily finished images per se, I like to think of them more as snap shots. Make sure to read the captions under each image for some additional info. 

The old false fronted post office in Monitor, Alberta. To be totally honest, I was a bit disappointed when I stopped in Monitor. I half expected an abandoned town with only a few residents. Turns out it's actually a cute little town with quite a few residents! The few things to photograph are right in the middle of the town thus making it pretty difficult to long exposure them.. Just my opinion, worth a stop nonetheless. 

The old false fronted post office in Monitor, Alberta. To be totally honest, I was a bit disappointed when I stopped in Monitor. I half expected an abandoned town with only a few residents. Turns out it's actually a cute little town with quite a few residents! The few things to photograph are right in the middle of the town thus making it pretty difficult to long exposure them.. Just my opinion, worth a stop nonetheless. 

The old church in Compeer, Alberta. Again, right in the middle of town so tough to isolate. I did like the look of the tower, kinda felt like I was being watched...

The old church in Compeer, Alberta. Again, right in the middle of town so tough to isolate. I did like the look of the tower, kinda felt like I was being watched...

This old Buick was sitting in an abandoned farm in the Neutral Hills north of Consort. It definitely had a creepy feel to the place.. Something out of a Stephen King novel!

This old Buick was sitting in an abandoned farm in the Neutral Hills north of Consort. It definitely had a creepy feel to the place.. Something out of a Stephen King novel!

This was the first thing that caught my eye in Altario, located just north of HWY 12 east. Anything to do with baseball has a special place in my heart as I played ball my entire childhood. I think one of my next series will be dedicated entirely to small-town baseball. Think Field Of Dreams!

This was the first thing that caught my eye in Altario, located just north of HWY 12 east. Anything to do with baseball has a special place in my heart as I played ball my entire childhood. I think one of my next series will be dedicated entirely to small-town baseball. Think Field Of Dreams!

The classroom inside the Roland Schoolhouse south of Consort. I read after my visit that you can call for tours... oops! The door was open so I just had a quick look. Apologies if any locals read this, my intention wasn't to enter without permission. This place was really cool, probably the coolest I have experienced to date in the countryside!

The classroom inside the Roland Schoolhouse south of Consort. I read after my visit that you can call for tours... oops! The door was open so I just had a quick look. Apologies if any locals read this, my intention wasn't to enter without permission. This place was really cool, probably the coolest I have experienced to date in the countryside!

There's a quick look at some of the places I have photographed the past few months. One thing's for sure, it takes a lot of driving to find these places! A lot of driving means listening to a lot of music and the nostalgia theme held true for much of my time on the road. My father introduced me to a lot of great music and the video below is a track that inspired me along the way. We do indeed live in a beautiful world :) The video is pretty hilarious too!! 

Feel free to ask if you have any questions in regards to the locations. I know full well how difficult it can be to find any info online and wouldn't have found many of the locations without some help. 

Make sure to check out my portfolio for some freshly updated work. Ciao for now!

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Jamieson Caskenette, June 7th 2016

 

2015: THE YEAR THAT WAS

Wowzers!!! What a crazy year full of ups and downs.. As I sit here and type out my thoughts, my head is still spinning from the year that was.. In all honesty, I don't even know where to begin. Photography gave me catharsis in 2015 on so many levels!

I share my thoughts here for a few reasons. Namely, to document my progression as a photographer. Sure, I could look back through my catalog of images and figure out where and what I was doing. Personally, it goes a little deeper than that.. I enjoy putting words to my photographs, a way of expressing what I experienced in that particular moment. It also serves as a diary of sorts as time passes me by, a way of  looking back at all of the really cool places I spent time, breathed the air and enjoyed my life with those I have had the privilege of spending it with.

Secondly, I want to share with those of you who have followed along, encouraged and helped me become the best photographer I could be this past year. This in turn, has made me a better person and will continue to in 2016 and beyond.. My father always said to me "you can be the greatest musician/artist/writer in the world, but if you don't share your work, nobody will ever know..." That has always stuck with me, and coincides with the idea of  not sharing for fear of not being as good as the greats. I truly believe, if you give it your all, and are as good as you can personally be, that's the highest honour one can achieve, no matter your place on the ranking of others.

What follows is a selection of images that defined this past year for me. Most tell the story of who I am as a photographer, some tell the story of who I am as a person..

The story starts with this little beauty, my daughter Ivie born January 2nd 2015 at 9:39pm. That day, life became a heck of a lot busier but more importantly, a heck of a lot fuller!!

The story starts with this little beauty, my daughter Ivie born January 2nd 2015 at 9:39pm. That day, life became a heck of a lot busier but more importantly, a heck of a lot fuller!!

This image is from my first day of photography in 2015. With the birth of Ivie in early January, I took the first month to be home with my girls. In early February, I made a day trip to Abraham Lake to explore the famous methane bubbles and this was my favourite image from that day!

This image is from my first day of photography in 2015. With the birth of Ivie in early January, I took the first month to be home with my girls. In early February, I made a day trip to Abraham Lake to explore the famous methane bubbles and this was my favourite image from that day!

You know what?!? I live in the best damn country and best damn place in this little corner of our world called Banff, Alberta Canada! An amazing community filled with good humans and I'm so proud to call this place home :) 

You know what?!? I live in the best damn country and best damn place in this little corner of our world called Banff, Alberta Canada! An amazing community filled with good humans and I'm so proud to call this place home :) 

Life is full of ups and downs.. On March 3rd, my Mom was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.. Cancer sucks, it sucks, it sucks and it keeps on sucking!! There is nothing sadder than spending time in the cancer centre. That being said, watching somebody who gave me life fight this shitty disease with such bravery, dignity and incomprehensible toughness is beyond words.. I just can't put into words how proud I am of my Mom who is going to beat this shitty disease and stand tall in 2016. Yes cancer makes me mad, makes me swear, makes me cry and also makes me a better person.. I donated a 24 x 36 metal print in May to the Juravinski Cancer Centre to hopefully help in some small way. 

Life is full of ups and downs.. On March 3rd, my Mom was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.. Cancer sucks, it sucks, it sucks and it keeps on sucking!! There is nothing sadder than spending time in the cancer centre. That being said, watching somebody who gave me life fight this shitty disease with such bravery, dignity and incomprehensible toughness is beyond words.. I just can't put into words how proud I am of my Mom who is going to beat this shitty disease and stand tall in 2016. Yes cancer makes me mad, makes me swear, makes me cry and also makes me a better person.. I donated a 24 x 36 metal print in May to the Juravinski Cancer Centre to hopefully help in some small way. 

I shot several projects for Ironclad Earthworks this past year. They have replaced many of the bridges that were wiped out here in Banff National Park during the floods of 2013. This is the bridge that was built over the Cascade River in the remote Cascade River Valley. I'm excited to continue shooting for Ironclad in 2016!

I shot several projects for Ironclad Earthworks this past year. They have replaced many of the bridges that were wiped out here in Banff National Park during the floods of 2013. This is the bridge that was built over the Cascade River in the remote Cascade River Valley. I'm excited to continue shooting for Ironclad in 2016!

This was one of my most popular images on my social media sites. I took this in mid July, also around the time I was featured as the Huffington Post Alberta's Photographer of the Month! I was incredibly honoured when Michelle Butterfield e-mailed me, and for a guy who really takes photographs to cleanse my mind, this was a pretty cool moment :)  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/07/25/jamieson-caskenette-alberta-photographer_n_7870924.html

This was one of my most popular images on my social media sites. I took this in mid July, also around the time I was featured as the Huffington Post Alberta's Photographer of the Month! I was incredibly honoured when Michelle Butterfield e-mailed me, and for a guy who really takes photographs to cleanse my mind, this was a pretty cool moment :)  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/07/25/jamieson-caskenette-alberta-photographer_n_7870924.html

Getting to really cool places requires a little effort, commitment and discomfort. This image has absolutely no artistic merit.. but it has meaning to me in terms of how I approach life. I certainly don't take the easy road, but with a little effort my life has become incredibly fulfilling! 

Getting to really cool places requires a little effort, commitment and discomfort. This image has absolutely no artistic merit.. but it has meaning to me in terms of how I approach life. I certainly don't take the easy road, but with a little effort my life has become incredibly fulfilling! 

Larch season is magical in the Canadian Rockies and I made a point of getting out to shoot during this time. As long as I can remember, I have always wanted this particular shot.. I didn't know where specifically it would be, just that I wanted to capture the larches in full blaze winding through a forest. Of all the photographs I have taken, this one is in my top 5 ever!

Larch season is magical in the Canadian Rockies and I made a point of getting out to shoot during this time. As long as I can remember, I have always wanted this particular shot.. I didn't know where specifically it would be, just that I wanted to capture the larches in full blaze winding through a forest. Of all the photographs I have taken, this one is in my top 5 ever!

Another personal favourite.. This image is everything I hope to covey with my photography. The art of subtlety in an otherwise unsubtle landscape.. 

Another personal favourite.. This image is everything I hope to covey with my photography. The art of subtlety in an otherwise unsubtle landscape.. 

This image was very much a highlight from the summer, a trip up Woolley Creek to the base of Mt. Woolley and Diadem. It was more or less a scouting mission for next year to head up and over Woolley Shoulder to the Little Alberta Hut overlooking the infamous Black Hole.. This place is as wild and raw of an environment as I have ever stepped foot!

This image was very much a highlight from the summer, a trip up Woolley Creek to the base of Mt. Woolley and Diadem. It was more or less a scouting mission for next year to head up and over Woolley Shoulder to the Little Alberta Hut overlooking the infamous Black Hole.. This place is as wild and raw of an environment as I have ever stepped foot!

For a second time this past year, I was honoured to have my work featured in an online publication. Meghan Ward reached out to me to do a feature on my black and white images of the Canadian Rockies in her publication, Crowfoot Media. This was a real big deal to me as I have followed both Meghan and her husband Paul Zizka and their continual support of local mountain folk here in Banff. It's pretty cool to catch the attention of the big fish and for me, a big moment relatively early in my photography journey!  http://crowfootmedia.com/2015/10/26/banff-in-black-and-white-jamieson-caskenette/

For a second time this past year, I was honoured to have my work featured in an online publication. Meghan Ward reached out to me to do a feature on my black and white images of the Canadian Rockies in her publication, Crowfoot Media. This was a real big deal to me as I have followed both Meghan and her husband Paul Zizka and their continual support of local mountain folk here in Banff. It's pretty cool to catch the attention of the big fish and for me, a big moment relatively early in my photography journey! 

http://crowfootmedia.com/2015/10/26/banff-in-black-and-white-jamieson-caskenette/

In what was possibly one of the coolest moments of this past year for me, I spent an afternoon tracking this gal in Glacier National Park B.C. For over 3 hours, while working at Purcell Mountain Lodge I watched this Momma Grizzly Bear in her natural environment. I was maybe 400 yards from her as I followed and observed her in the meadows. I did get a few photos of her, and this was the best of the lot, but it was the moments I spent watching her from a distance without my camera that will stick with me for a long long time.. Such an incredible and awe inspiring experience!!

In what was possibly one of the coolest moments of this past year for me, I spent an afternoon tracking this gal in Glacier National Park B.C. For over 3 hours, while working at Purcell Mountain Lodge I watched this Momma Grizzly Bear in her natural environment. I was maybe 400 yards from her as I followed and observed her in the meadows. I did get a few photos of her, and this was the best of the lot, but it was the moments I spent watching her from a distance without my camera that will stick with me for a long long time.. Such an incredible and awe inspiring experience!!

The last quarter of the year has consumed much of my time helping Silver Tip Lodge re-open after a 5 year hiatus. As a Chef by trade, I was tasked with setting up the culinary operations with a side of photography. In my previous blog, this was one of the images featured during my morning commute :) Like I have said many times before, I'm really fortunate to see and work in some pretty amazing places.. This photograph to me, embodies everything that is right and beautiful about the world we live in!! I only wish, more people could see these places and reconnect to nature on some small level.. 

The last quarter of the year has consumed much of my time helping Silver Tip Lodge re-open after a 5 year hiatus. As a Chef by trade, I was tasked with setting up the culinary operations with a side of photography. In my previous blog, this was one of the images featured during my morning commute :) Like I have said many times before, I'm really fortunate to see and work in some pretty amazing places.. This photograph to me, embodies everything that is right and beautiful about the world we live in!! I only wish, more people could see these places and reconnect to nature on some small level.. 

The story ends where it begins, with my family at my side :)

The story ends where it begins, with my family at my side :)

I wasn't lying about the past year and all of it's momentum swings! Things don't always go as planned.. One day we're up, the next we're down.. It's called life, it's interesting and we all get our opportunity to shape our destiny and those closest to us. The point is, the work we do, the art we create, the things we are passionate about, all contribute to help make us better people. In a roundabout way, this is why i'm a photographer.. It makes me a better person. 

Happy Holidays and all the best in 2016!!  

Thanks for reading my thoughts :)

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Jamieson Caskenette, December 31, 2015

 

 

 

WHAT MY MORNING COMMUTE LOOKS LIKE

I'm fortunate to work in some really beautiful places! My current gig is helping Silver Tip Lodge get their culinary program up and running for the ski season. The lodge itself, is located at the eastern end of Quesnel Lake, on the western edge of Wells Grey Provincial Park in British Columbia. This is a really remote area and requires a 40 minute flight by helicopter to access. Lucky for me, the flight traverses the heart of Wells Grey ;) Here is a selection of photos I shot on my morning commute earlier this week...

HOBSON LAKE

HOBSON LAKE

AZURE LAKE

AZURE LAKE

CLEARWATER LAKE

CLEARWATER LAKE

HELMECKEN FALLS

HELMECKEN FALLS

YELLOWHEAD HIGHWAY 16

YELLOWHEAD HIGHWAY 16

MOUNT ROBSON

MOUNT ROBSON

As you can see, my commute is a little nicer than the 401 ;) A little longer also, 8 hours from Clearwater to Banff!

I would love to hear your feedback, and please feel free to share 

Thanks for reading my thoughts :)

Jamieson Caskenette, December 8th, 2015

PEOPLE IN PRETTY PLACES

It's been a hectic year in terms of my personal and professional life. That being said, it's been a challenge trying to keep my website and social media sites updated. My intention was to write a blog monthly in order to have a running ledger of my journey as a photographer. Well, that hasn't exactly gone as planned. However, I'm going to keep trying because in this life... that's really all we can control!

Peyto Glacier, Banff National Park, Casie Vitt and Tracy Lynas

Peyto Glacier, Banff National Park, Casie Vitt and Tracy Lynas

If you have followed any of my photography up until now, you'll know that the majority of my work is of beautiful places. Lately I have felt a need to document some of these very places with a slightly different approach. As humans, most of us are innately social creatures that feel a connection to our fellow brothers and sisters. This is the foundation of people in pretty places. 

Iceberg Lake, Banff National Park, Steve Schmuland

Iceberg Lake, Banff National Park, Steve Schmuland

Bow Falls, Banff National Park, Steve Schmuland

Bow Falls, Banff National Park, Steve Schmuland

I was speaking with one of my best friends recently about this concept. Showing off the beauty of the mountains with the very people that call these places home. In essence, mountain people doing mountain things in the mountains! That's a lot of mountain... Although too many mountains are never a bad thing!

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park, Casie Vitt and Tracy Lynas

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park, Casie Vitt and Tracy Lynas

Woolley Creek, Jasper National Park, Todd Culham

Woolley Creek, Jasper National Park, Todd Culham

There are so many incredible places to explore in Banff National Park and the surrounding Mountain Parks. I tend to gravitate towards the places that are less visited, places that are slightly more difficult to access. It's amazing how something as trivial as a river ford will deter 98% of the population. Yes I made this number up, but in speaking with fellow mountain dwellers I feel this is a pretty accurate guesstimate. It is these parts of the Park that I want to show people doing their thing. 

Iceberg Lake, Banff National Park, Steve Schmuland

Iceberg Lake, Banff National Park, Steve Schmuland

Being a prototypical Leo, I tend to like praise and attention... just like a Lion leading his pride! This would suggest that I would take each and every opportunity to take selfies. Strangely enough, it's so far from the case.. just not my thing, and besides..  who wants to see my mug plastered all over a beautiful landscape!?! I know, I know, the Lion thing.. I'm a complicated man, what can I say ;) 

Cauldron Lake Trail, Banff National Park, Casie Vitt and Tracy Lynas

Cauldron Lake Trail, Banff National Park, Casie Vitt and Tracy Lynas

I'm intrigued about this project, it's something I plan to focus on over the winter. I'm constantly doing my homework on a list of places I would like to show many of you, that may never get the opportunity to visit yourself. I have a list in my head of activities I would like to highlight and I plan on reaching out to those of you that make it happen. However, if anyone out there does anything really cool here in the mountains and think it deserves some attention, shoot me a message and let's connect as I would love to photograph you doing your thing!!

Woolley Creek, Jasper National Park, Todd Culham

Woolley Creek, Jasper National Park, Todd Culham

Lastly, and completely off topic, I was featured in The Huffington Post last month. If you haven't had the chance to read the article, here is the link; http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/07/25/jamieson-caskenette-alberta-photographer_n_7870924.html

A big Shout Out to the following friends for not looking when I took their photos; Todd Cullham, Steve Schmuland, Casie Vitt and Tracy Lynas. 

Thanks for reading my thoughts :)

Feel free to share and all comments are appreciated!

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park, Casie Vitt and Tracy Lynas

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park, Casie Vitt and Tracy Lynas

Jamieson Caskenette, September 3, 2015