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Music Photography

SXSW Music Festival 2017 – A foray into concert photography

Returning to Austin as part of the SXSW Festival Photo Crew was great fun. It wasn’t my first time taking part in SXSW, but it was the first time I was on the SXSW Photo Crew team. I spent 7 days working on assignments during the festival. I photographed sessions and events for the SXSW Interactive, SXSW Film, but the more challenging and memorable assignments were for SXSW Music. It was grueling for me working late into the night, but being such a music-lover, I’d definitely do this gig again!

Here are some of my favorite concert photography shots from the festival.

(top) Bonus Junk, (bottom) Cut Chemist with Mr Lif and Myka 9

(top) Mobley, (bottom) Keeper

(top) Twister, (bottom) Weaves

(top) Mantra, Matthew Logan Vasquez, (bottom) Jimmy Eat World

(top) Tokyo Police Club, And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, (bottom) Panthéon Roccoco

(top) Pantéon Roccoco, (bottom) Ozomatli

(top) Ozomatli, (bottom) Residente

(top) Residente, (bottom) Agnes Obel, Albin Lee Meldau

(top) Maggie Rogers, (bottom) Charlotte Cardin, Rag’n’Bone Man

Music Photography

Dad, your work on Earth is done.

On July 6, in the middle of the night, I got the call from my brother that I knew would eventually come, but was not prepared to hear — my father passed away back home in Canada. My Dad had not been well (with dementia and bladder cancer) but his sudden passing was still disquieting for us because we didn’t have the opportunity to be by his side when he took his last breath.  That alone has been a great source of heartbreak for me.

My father was a humble and kind man who worked so hard to give us a reasonable life despite barely scraping by for many years. I owe my work ethic to him. Dad was a softy and his eyes would often tear up when talking about both happy and sad times. This he passed down to me as well.  I also get my sense of humor and wit from him. He was a great storyteller. My brother Gord and I made sure to include many stories about Dad in his eulogy, which we delivered together. There was laughter at his memorial and he wouldn’t want it any other way.

We laid his ashes next to the grave of my brother, Tom (who died in a tragic work accident at the age of 19). It had been cloudy and threatening rain most of the day. When my brothers placed his urn in the ground, the sun came out and radiated warmth upon us — it was like Tom was sending a warm welcome to my Dad. It made me smile through my tears.  I’ll never forget that moment.

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The view from where my father and brother lay to rest is beautiful.

Before I left the Crowsnest Pass, I stopped at two of my Dad’s favorite fishing spots along the Crowsnest River. The first is a spot near the Frank Slide where Dad took me fishing when I was a teen. I scattered some of my father’s ashes in this beautiful and peaceful spot.

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The second place that I stopped at to remember my Dad was Lundbreck Falls.  He loved fishing there too.  I spent quite a bit of time here in reflection and remembrance before I scattered some of his ashes in the water at the bottom of the falls. Now his spirit flows along with the river.

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The song my family chose to have played as we processed into Dad’s memorial service was “Go Rest High on that Mountain” by Vince Gill. It was a perfect choice.

Rest peacefully, Dad. Love you forever.


New Discovery: Angel Snow

Sometimes when you’re listening to music, there is a song that makes you stop what you’re doing so you can be pulled along with it.  “I Need You” from Nashville songwriter, Angel Snow, is one of those songs for me — I heard it and was mesmerized immediately. The video’s imagery is appropriately haunting too. Take a look and listen.

I Need You – Lyrics

I need you like holes in my head
I need you like lit candles in my bed
I need you like raw knuckles in the winter time
and I need you like storms in my heart
like dark secrets that… keep tearing you apart
like addiction that’s keeping you up at night
I need you
I need you
I need you like friends who deny me
like old lovers that continue to defy me
I need you like thieves knocking at my door
and I need you like stones in my heart
like dark secrets that keep tearing me apart
like addiction that’s keeping me up at night
I need you
I need you


New Discovery: Basia Bulat

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I recently discovered Basia Bulat on Apple Music under their Singer/Songwriter genre.  I really enjoyed listening to her new release, “Good Advice”, as well as going through her earlier albums. You can certainly hear the influence of Jim James (from My Morning Jacket), who produced “Good Advice”. Basia has a great voice that reminds me of a cross between Tracey Chapman and Dar Williams. She’s well worth checking out. Oh, and she’s Canadian, eh!


Nadia Reid – Emotive, Intimate, Beautiful

Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs by Nadia Reid

Check out this new artist from New Zealand.  Her lovely songwriting and gorgeous vocals are reminiscent of Laura Marling, Gillian Welch, Mazzy Star or Margo Timmins.

Keep Track of the Time

every man will fall
fall to his knees
for he has seen love burn
a fiery black disease

every woman will pray
heaven help me please
holy, holy woman
help me feel release

i don’t keep track of the time – anymore
i wont keep walking that line – to your door

all my children will know
know from where they came
that good and evil collide
their father knows them by name

i don’t keep track of the time – anymore
i wont keep walking that line – to your door

my love he treads the water
the mountains, and the snow
in his arms i am
to heaven we will go

i don’t keep track of the time – anymore
i wont keep walking that line – to your door
from Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs, released March 23, 2015



Annie Lennox – Nostalgia


I’ve always been a big fan of Annie Lennox.  Her take on some 1930’s and 1940’s standards is wonderful listening as you’re sipping wine after dinner. The arrangements are lush and her voice is still as beautiful as ever.  Take a listen.


Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin

Kurt Vile is a recent discovery.  He’s a great songwriter despite his youth — he has an old soul.  His music is described best by his record company:

“The music is quiet and the melody, like a hymn, folds in on itself, and embraces full strength in a sexy, floating forcelessness that slowly gathers into a wave that doesn’t go where you think it will or rather gives in to itself…”

Not only that, but he reminds me of my late brother Tom when he was young.



Josh Garrels, “Over Oceans”

Here’s a young artist from Portland who’s marketing plan includes allowing easy access to his music online. I’m fond of this song because it makes me think of my trip across the ocean to see my sister who lives in Australia.  We were reunited after being apart on different continents for 15 years. I surprised her when I showed up at her little acreage near Ipswich.  Tears flowed in buckets. It was so good to see her and her family again.

The photograph above is an infrared image I shot while on a short trip to Arlie Beach, Australia.

Over Oceans
I remember when all the trees knew your name
Flames from fire flies would light our way
Have I lost all that which I never knew I had found
Searching for you on the wings
On oceans to you
All my time comes to you
How long has it been
Flying home again
Will we be the same as we were once before
Remember like children the stories of old
Your hand was in mine be the firelight when we danced
Mighty wind will carry me
from Over Oceans, track released May 23, 2006
Jay Kirkpatrick – bass & slide guitar
Mark Guinn – electric guitar & background vocals
Matt Robertson – drums
Josh Garrels – vocals, guitar, Wurlitzer

Music to create to: Loreena McKennitt

I’ve been a fan of Loreena McKennitt for nearly 25 years, a obsession that began with her release of “The Visit”.  I’ve seen her live in concerts halls and folk festivals in Canada. Her music has always been there for me to soothe my mind during anxious times and to provide creative inspiration when I’m working on my photographs. Highly recommended — give her a listen and become entranced.