Maligne Canyon in Jasper. Leif Gregersen
Some years ago I went through a rough transition period in my life and I had little to do. By luck, my dad, who I always had a hard time getting along with, decided since neither of us were working he would take me for walks in the River Valley. We would drive to Emily Murphy Park and walk to the Kinsmen Centre and then the long way back over the LRT bridge. This became a ritual that I greatly enjoyed and we continued it for a few years. It has really changed how my Dad and I get along as well – we talk much more and can be honest with each other and rarely fight.
As time went on, I found work and had a little extra money and after a small investment my dad and I “discovered” digital photography. I mostly took my camera to vacation spots like Victoria and Vancouver to take snapshots of unusual things and museums and all that, but as time progressed my dad and I started to take our cameras on our walks. We discovered a lot of the nooks and crannies of the beautiful River Valley parks and would photograph flowers and squirrels and birds and an endless array of material. My dad got a printer for his camera and started a collection of photos of the wildlife in Edmonton that he has now framed and hung all over his senior’s apartment.
I feel that walking is a great way to get low-impact exercise and fresh air. When you combine it with a hobby like photography, whole new worlds open up. The great thing about digital cameras is you can spend as little as $60 and still get something that will take nice pictures and you can let your camera quality grow or not grow depending on your income. One thing I also really like is that with digital cameras there is no film cost.
I rarely print up my photos but I love putting them on my website and I have developed a bit of a ritual. I started the website to help promote books I have written but it has become more. It has become a showcase for my photography and also my poetry. Each time I make an entry I try to display a new poem, a new photograph, and a blog entry having to do with a subject close to me: how to manage being a person with a mental illness. My website is: www.edmontonwriter.com.