Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Finding Our Stride at Sea - Day Two on the Johnstone Strait

We started our second day with the gift of sunshine and a warm breakfast prepared by our wonderful guides.  What a treat it is to take a total break from shopping for groceries, prepare ingredients or cook any of your meals each day.  We had plenty of time in the morning, evening, at lunch and on the water to visit with our kayaking companions, stroll along the shores and watch for wildlife. 

We packed up camp after breakfast and moved to another island for the next two days.  This involved a repeat of jamming all of our supplies (clothing, shoes, sleeping bags, mats, kitchen etc.) into each kayak without leaving anything behind.  All of our camps were seaside beach camps with tents, cots and primitive bathroom and kitchen areas so those items stayed at each camp but everything else was moved. 

At our orientation meeting they provided each of us with a ROW mug to use for the duration of the trip.  We each took turns using a Sharpie to write our names on our mugs so they would not get mixed up. It became a joke as inevitably someone would misplace their mug or just the lid at every stop we made.  Others would come behind and collect the missing items and then eventually reunite them with their owner.  The mugs and lids were important because we used them for any and all drinks aside from our water bottles.  So if you wanted wine at dinner or hot chocolate you better have your mug handy.
Our time during the day was split between paddling, a beach front lunch and floating rest brakes.  It was easy to settle into our daily routine.  At the end of the trip one of our fellow adventure travelers (Mark) calculated and estimated that we paddled approximately 50 miles in 6 days.  He did an amazing job of keeping track of our starting and stopping points.  Although he did note that his estimates did not take into account tides or currents.  There were times when we were really paddling and it felt like we were not moving an inch.

The sunshine allowed us to hand our wet items outside the tent to dry and we were even able to build a small camp fire on the beach.  A picture perfect day at sea and evening relaxing at camp.

Published Card Submissions with Stampington and Company

I have been amazingly blessed to have been published in four separate Stampington & Company magazines recently.  Magazine submissions are very time consuming.  It takes a lot of work to get each card's supplies and instructions documented, labeled, packaged carefully and into the mail.  But seeing your art in full color and your name with the cards is worth the extra time and effort.  I am not sure of the volume of submission each magazine receives but I do know that they receive submissions from all over the world.  I am very humbled that they have picked my art to grace their pages. 

The issue on top is from Take Ten - Autumn 2015.  Take Ten offers rubber stamp enthusiasts of all levels great ideas for creating quick and easy cards in less than 10 minutes. I created two cards featuring tiny wood houses sprayed with Glimmer Mist and was really just playing with these card designs.

The next pictured magazine is the Stampers' Sampler - July, August, September 2015.  This delightful magazine provides over 200 cards and stamped project ideas — complete with detailed shots and step-by-step instructions to provide an added dose of paper crafting inspiration. They actually featured three owl cards of mine on page 76 (not pictured) and the Steampunk Halloween cards that I created on pages 46 and 47.  I really loved creating these cards as Halloween is my favorite holiday and Steampunk is so delicious.  The two go together perfectly.

The third magazine above is Somerset Studio Gallery - Summer 2015.  This beautiful magazine is filled with hundreds of samples of extraordinary artwork presented up close and in detail. It includes rubber stamping, calligraphy and paper crafting in each issue.  I have never been published in this magazine before so I was very excited.  They selected two of my domino/oriental inspired cards to publish. 

And the last magazine pictured above is another issue of Take Ten - Summer 2015.  I created a whole set of cards featuring simple stamping and badges and they selected four different designs to print.  These were very fun and fast cards to create.

I guess it's back to my art studio to dream up new submissions and creations.  

Stampington & Company - https://stampington.com

Friday, August 21, 2015

Boat Moving Time - Day One on the Johnstone Strait

We started our first day by commuting to the launch site at Telegraph Cove in the rain. Once we unloaded the dry bags from the taxi's, our three guides (Mel, Colin and Bob) spent time instructing us on kayaking safely, foot pedal adjustments inside the kayaks, paddling basics, how to use the rudder and optimal packing techniques of our small storage compartments inside the kayaks.  Packing became even more of a challenge as we were each given a very large sleeping bag and sleeping pad (a very thin inflatable pad for under the sleeping bag) which also had to fit in with our dry bags and extra shoes.  Anthony became a master at kayak packing and unpacking in no time flat.  I think all of our traveling and camping helped prepare us for just such a challenge.

Next we were each provided with a personal flotation device (life jacket) and spray skirt.  The life jackets were incredibly large and bulky.  Mine was up to my chin during most of my time in the kayak (very unattractive for pictures and a bit uncomfortable).  By day three I realized that rain water would leak through the seams of the spray skirts.  Although the spray skirts helped to keep an overabundance of water from entering your kayak they really did not keep you dry.      

Launching from telegraph Cove was our first lesson in "Boat Moving Time."  Moving large kayaks that are loaded down with gear is a feat in itself.  It would take 6 to 8 paddlers to move each double person kayak.  For the 14 guests and three guides we had three single kayaks and seven doubles (10 total).  We found over the course of the 6 days that we were often moving the kayaks on average 3 to 4 times a day depending on the tides and our paddling schedule.  Sometimes the moving of the kayaks would include lifting and placing them high above the tide line or on top of very large washed up logs.  Where was Popeye when we needed him? 
Once all the kayaks were in the water we began our paddle within the Johnstone Strait.  The Johnstone Strait is a 110 km (68 mi) channel along the north east coast of Vancouver Island.  The strait is between 2.5 km (1.6 mi) and 5 km (3.1 mi) wide. It is a major navigation channel on the west coast of North America. It is the preferred channel for vessels from the Georgia Strait leaving to the north of Vancouver Island.  The Strait is home to approximately 150 orca whales during the summer months too.  Although the orcas were quite illusive this was our first true views of the rugged beauty of the area from the water.  The rain did not dampen our spirits and by early afternoon the skies had cleared and we had lots of sunshine for the remainder of the day.   

We paddled to our first base camp and after a quick tour, unloaded the kayaks, settled into our tents and enjoyed lunch, then an afternoon paddle and back at camp a happy hour with wine, hot chocolate and hors d'oeuvres.  We learned about bathroom etiquette (more to come on that subject) and did a little exploring after dinner on the short trails and watched for whales and wildlife from the coast line.  Each meal was prepared by the guides and evenings were a real treat with Dutch oven desserts to finish off our meals.  Although the whales did not make an appearance (except from a distance) we did see eagles, deer, otters and sea lions on our first day.  Not a bad way to start our outdoor nature adventure. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thank you Ken Spence Your Photographic Talents Are a True Gift

Allow me to introduce you to a a warm, witty, and slightly bashful gentleman named Ken Spence.  Ken hails from Melbourne, Australia and poses by day as a Corporate Tax Attorney.  But his true talents and spark come to life when he is out of the office and behind a camera.  Ken's artistic eye and passion for photography are brought forward with each press of the shutter.

We had the unique pleasure of meeting and spending time with Ken during our August Sea Kayaking trip in Canada.  At first I thought he was just a shutterbug enthusiast as he was not hard to miss during our intake meeting with the guides from ROW the night before our trip.  He was snapping pictures of everyone around the tables and I wondered to myself "Could there possibly be a person on this trip who takes more pictures than I do?"  The answer to that question surfaced very quickly the next day as we discovered that Ken was specifically on the trip to take professional quality photographs of the group and the Sea Kayaking experience as a whole.  Colin (one of our three guides) was actually tasked with taking quick candid pictures with a small digital camera for everyone to enjoy at the end of the trip.  However, Ken took documenting the adventure to a whole new level with his skill behind the camera.  He also has the photographic equipment to put my new cell phone and small camera to shame.  His presence and photographic skills were a true blessing in disguise. 

Although Ken considers himself an armature photographer and hobbyist (he is very humble) his pictures can easily stand up against professional photographers work.  It was interesting because Ken is such a unobtrusive individual that it was easy to not be disturbed by this picture taking and after a day or two you stopped noticing when or if he was capturing images. 

Since our return Ken has most generously shared his pictures with the group and not just the Kayaking company (ROW).  He has given us permission to use them for personal use although they are copyright protected.  The only way we can repay his kindness is in our enjoyment of his artistic eye. We are eagerly looking forward to enlarging several of our favorite images and displaying them in our living room.  I will also be sharing some of his images with mine as I post details about our amazing 6-day trip. 

The pictures in this post are of Ken and a sampling of scenery and wildlife that he shared with us.  As you can see he finds unique angles, captures amazing moments and is not afraid to flex his creative muscles for everyone's enjoyment.  If only Ken could join us on every vacation we take I could put my camera down and allow him to take control of documenting our adventures.

Thank you Ken for your kindness, generosity and friendship.  We loved hearing about your adventures, seeing pictures of your lovely family, playing silly camp fire games with you in the rain and most of all thank you for the gift of your time.

Ken has some beautiful images from other adventures he has taken on his web-site.  As of today he has not added any from the kayaking trip.  It will be interesting to see which are his favorites once he posts.  Many of the black and white images on his web-site are already favorites of mine.  Maybe yours too.

Ken Spence - Photographer:  http://kenspence.com.au/kenspencephotography/

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