Top 10 of 2012

Wow…what a year it has been! Insane would be an understatement…

As I mentioned in this same post a year ago, 2012 promised to be a year of massive change for me personally and professionally. And boy, it didn’t disappoint! So, shortly after getting married at the end of 2011, Amanda and I worked tirelessly to launch our joint commercial photography venture: doublespace photography. This meant that we set out to migrate from our own individual styles to combine them into a single creative vision. It also meant developing a brand new common portfolio that departed quite radically from what I had accustomed you to. So now, instead of being a predominantly landscape photographer, we have grown into a more complete package and have further developed our portraiture and architectural skills…which means that this year’s top 10 will display some of that departure. The selection this year, features some of my solo work along with work developed with my partner in crime Amanda…so without further ado, the top 10.

In the meantime I want to thank you for your continued support throughout the years and wish you all a fabulous 2013!


Oh, and did I mention my new travel ebook at Craft & Vision? Please do me a favour and check it out :)

New Ebook: A Sense of Place

I am really excited to finally be able to share this with you: my first ever ebook “A Sense of Place” is now available at the Craft & Vision library!

I hate to toot my own horn, so I will be very short: In essence, I’ve put here just about everything I know about travel photography, how I see, how I work and how you can use those teachings both on your travels and at home. I’ve tried to keep sarcasm to a minimal level, but still managed to slip in my usual Younesisms, which you have come to love (or hate :D ). The ebook is sprinkled with photographs from my place of birth, Morocco and packs a healthy dose of assignments to get you to think differently about your surroundings and to make the most of them.

I encourage you all to head over to Craft & Vision and get the ebook. For the first five days only, use the promotional code PLACE4 when you checkout and pay only $4 OR use the code PLACE20 to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks. These codes expire at 11:59pm (PST) December 22, 2012.

Back to the Rocks

Well let me tell you, the transition to full time photography has been quite the unexpected rides and saw us pretty much shooting non-stop for the last few months…meaning no time for landscape or urban photography..I also realized I hadn’t finished with the shots from the Rockies…so more on that :) .

These two shots are probably my favourites from the entire trip. It was a cold and stormy morning, with heavy clouds furiously moving through the valley. Rain on and off down in the valley. Snow on the higher mountain peaks. The moving clouds just allowed enough sunlight to peak through from time to time. The minute I saw the peak of Cascade mountain light up, I knew what shot I wanted to get. It was just a matter of waiting out the clouds…

Cascade mountain in a storm

Old Love

Moraine and I go a long way. Back when I was young and petulant, she threw her charms at me and I was seduced in an instant.

Oh, there was disappointment. There was sadness. Many a battle waged. Many losses I suffered. Yet, like a fool, I kept coming back. The lure too strong to resist. The urge, irrational, yet irrepressible.

Here I was again, five years almost to the day, kneeling at her foot, yearning, wishing and hoping for her to flash a bit of that magic that can capture a soul. On this day though, she wouldn’t disappoint.

And, by the way, if you haven’t checked it out yet, our 2013 Moroccan Adventure:  Blue Magic Tour is now open for registration. Hurry up, only 3 spots left!

Moraine lake at twilight and sunrise, with fiery colours above the valley of ten peaks

The wenkchemma glaciers and the beautiful iconic view at Moraine Lake

The bear

So, I am quietly standing behind my camera, setting up a shot, when I feel someone tapping my shoulder. As you may have guessed, I was to say the least startled by the unexpected contact, since I was alone at the crack of dawn.

But what a tap it was. I did feel it was heavy and somewhat furry, but it didn’t strike me at first. It was only as the initial startle receded away that I realized how much trouble I was in. You see, the tap on the back was from a black bear. Now, one black bear, I can certainly handle (at least when not partially drowsy), but this guy had come with backup. Two of his buddies were standing on either side of him.

Herbert lake – pre-sunrise, with the earth's shadow to boot.

So, as I slowly recover from the second shock, the bear looks at me straight in the eyes and goes something like this: “rooooooaar”, which, in bear speak – I do dabble in bear speak-, means “what do you think you’re doing here?”. I decided to play it cool. So, not to be fazed, I am like “ya know, chillin’”. So the bear looks back at his buddies and goes “rawraarr” or in human speak “did you hear that fellas’? he’s just chillin’”. I could see the mean streak in his eyes. This guy wasn’t here for a friendly visit. Clearly, the approaching winter and cold nights had made him a little on edge. I knew trouble was in the air, but kept my cool. I had seen worse. But this is when things got hairy. Literally. Just like that, he lunged at me with a stiff arm, seeking to knock on off my feet. Fortunately, my MMA training had really sharpened my reflexes and sense of anticipation. As quickly as his sudden attack was, I ducked to my right, things slowing down like in the Matrix. I could see the expression of surprise on his face. He wasn’t going to like what was coming next. As he’s losing his balance, I spring forward, with my head down and strike him with all my force in the plexus. I can hear the thud  and the following pfffft as he is gasping for air. His buddies seeing this decided to jump into action. They both jumped me, one on each side. I leaned forward, grabbed my tripod, unhooked the camera in a swift motion and was thankful my trusty titanium RRS ballhead was with me. I knew from experience that it could inflict some serious damage, and once again it didn’t fail me. Flailing my arms like a madman, with the tripod swinging in full force, I landed a first thud, then a second, the bears were knocked out cold.  I took advantage of the calm that followed to setup the tripod like it was. Thankfully, my ND filters were still intact despite the battle. They came in handy to balance the exposure in the sky. I snapped a couple of shots and coolly walked to my car.

I don’t know what happened to the deadly trio after that. Nor did I care. I had my shot, and that’s all that matters.

This ladies and gentlemen, is what it takes to be a landscape photographer…

Same place, fifteen minute later…