Connect by Disconnecting

One of the greatest joys in life is spending a night in an RV, in the woods. Camping in a tent or staying at the cabin will always have a place in my heart as well. But there's something about an RV that gives me a nostalgic feeling of an adventurous and wondrous youth; a time before the devices and social media, on the open road.

Theres something about that bed over the cab and the fold up table in the 'dining room' that always warms my soul. Snacks in the cupboard, drinks in the fridge, and patio lanterns glowing outside.

Only 30 minutes outside of town, on a stark clear night, we found ourselves completely disconnected from the trials of civic duty. We were, for a brief moment, self-reliant... off the grid. It was by no means roughing it, but just enough to recharge, and remember what its all about. 

Paul & Brianna make every effort to escape in their Glendale RV whenever they can.

People who work full time jobs typically spend more time with their coworkers than they do with their life partners and family. There's no better way to make up that time with your partner than sitting by a fire in the great outdoors.

There's a few theories about the origin of s'mores. Google has taught me that the name is actually a contraction of 'some mores'. Clearly there were kids involved in the conception of this timeless campfire tradition. My favourite origin theory is that of a 1927 book titled Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts, which had a recipe for s'mores. That sounds like as good a place as any for s'mores to begin.

I'm not sure what it says about me that I like to have a drink anytime I'm sitting by a fire, but I'm pretty sure I'm not alone :)

When the girls are tired and ready to call it a night, the guys like to stay out, solve problems, and get lost.

Our final destination for the night hike; do you recognize this stream? By 3am we're feeling like we capitalized on a night out of the city.

RV, BBQ, drinks, cards, laughs, fires, s'mores, and stars. Love it.

709 - SING OUT LOUD, DANCE ALL NIGHT

From left to right: Susan Evoy, Cullam Bruce-Lockhart, Nicole Hand, Jeff Power, Don-E Coady, Jonny Lane, Jon Drover, Shannon Drover, Terry Campbell.

In the beginning, 709 was a smaller, 5-member band, belting out cover songs at bars on George Street. More than a decade later, 709 is still here, making your feet hurt with even more energy than before. They have evolved into an expert army of experienced and fun-loving musicians who do much more than play instruments. 709 is an entertainment powerhouse, packing the dance floors at events all over town. You may have seen them at a wedding reception, festival, or corporate event, filling the space with dance moves and joy like no other nine-member squad could. With classic songs stringing across generations and the newest hits on the radio, their limitless library of music always keeps the energy flowing.

The group had been featuring Don-E Coady (DC) in their shows for a few years, but recently made it official and invited him to be their full time, lead singer. This change brought new music and a new group identity. It was time to refresh their brand expression, and celebrate their excitement for the action-packed shows that have garnered such an excellent reputation. 709 now has bookings as far ahead as the summer of 2017.

If you are looking for live music that'll have everyone moving and raving about an unforgettable night, it has to be 709 :)

Learn more about the group at http://709.rocks.


'Northern Soul Food' - WestJet Magazine

The June edition of WestJet Magazine features a story about 'Northern Soul Food', which targets several restaurants in Newfoundland. The Merchant Tavern and Chinched Bistro were my two assignments to photograph.

Scroll through the slideshow below to read the article, written by Valerie Howes. Then check out more photos from my visit to each restaurant...

 

The Merchant Tavern

My restaurant visits have been few and far between, since my life with twins began almost two years ago. It was long overdue for me to try out The Merchant Tavern, so I was lucky to finally get an assignment to take me in there.

I had worked with Jeremy Charles before, but this was my first time meeting Nick Walters, executive chef, and Celeste Mah, pastry chef. The food prepared by all three was perfect for shooting, and delicious to eat (you can't serve photo food to customers, and its a sin to throw out... so I do what I must). 

The high ceilings, large windows, and open kitchen make for an excellent shooting space. I had taken photos in there before, once with a married couple, and once with an engaged couple, because of these attributes. But this time it was all about the food, and the people making it.

Watching this meal come together from scratch was a special treat. Preparing such delicious and beautiful food is truly a talent. 

As Jeremy began preparing this meal, he asked how I liked my steak. After these photos were finally done, I can tell you that I liked my steak very much ;)

Here is chef de cuisine, Nick Walters, working on a special scallop dish. This is not necessarily indicative of The Merchant Tavern's personality, but a great example of Nick's ability.

Celeste Mah, working on one of her best selling desserts. "The vinegar pie at The Merchant Tavern has a buttery sagamite (heritage-corn) crust and a filling that combines house-made apple-cider vinegar with smoky maple syrup and sweet cinnamon." - VALERIE HOWES

This meal is probably more familiar to Merchant Tavern's lunch regulars. This burger makes me want to be a regular. And the fries, if not already, should be recognized as some of the best in the city.

He's an interesting subject, and a good sport about it. "Thanks for the first-class lunch bud."


Chinched Bistro

Chinched Bistro has a place in many people's hearts. It could be the subtle styling influence of everyone's favourite domestic omnivore, or it could be the relaxed, intimate atmosphere. It most certainly has something to do with well made food. In the heart of downtown, Shaun Hussey and Michelle LeBlanc have created something special, and they deserve the international recognition they have garnered. As an amateur food critic and well experienced food lover, I highly recommend spending an evening at Chinched. Chances are, you already have :)

One of my favourite images from this visit, taken by my trusty side-kick, Nicole Igloliorte.

From within the restaurant, I found bokeh (blurry lights in the background). This will be a theme I think...

The vibe of any restaurant starts in the kitchen, and the team in the back of this restaurant feel like a group of friends, a family. 

"...a curing blend of salt, sugar, peppercorns, foraged juniper and pine buds, and house-dried organic chili flakes made from hot peppers grown at an organic farm on the edge of St. John’s. - VALERIE HOWES

Shaun gets to work on the foundation of his charcuterie platter; house-cured Newfoundland meats.

"...candied nuts, local cheeses, house-made pickles, sticky condiments and house-made bread sticks and crackers." - VALERIE HOWES

"...candied nuts, local cheeses, house-made pickles, sticky condiments and house-made bread sticks and crackers." - VALERIE HOWES

A great chef, a successful entrepreneur, and a best kind of fella. Missing from this photo is the equally pleasant and hard-working Michelle LeBlanc. Can't wait to come back :)

Visit ChinchedBistro.com to learn more.

Twins in Nature

When I pictured having kids someday, I imagined myself playing silly games, teaching them how to climb a tree, or tucking them quietly to sleep with their favourite bedtime story. I didn't realize how many sleepless nights of screaming I would have to endure before those movie moments came true....holy shit.

But I am relieved to say that the interactions I once imagined, are finally happening! Carly and Kathryn are shaping into little girls full of personality, bursting with impulse, and a hunger to learn. Every day they are challenging themselves to climb higher and run faster. Sometimes they giggle as they wrestle or chase each other, and its impossible not to laugh along with them (it almost always ends with crying, but for a few minutes its beautiful).

After a long winter of doing our best to offer engaging toys, play dates, play groups, and bubble guppies, it felt so necessary to spend a full weekend outside, around the cabin. As I suspected, the twins were delighted with the natural wonders of the land. We're not meant to spend so much time in rooms, in front of screens. This is how it should be...

Carly was born to run. She loves to move, and she is searching for something in life.  I have no doubt she will find it.

Kathryn has a strong gaze, and loves to take it all in.

If there is a pot, bowl, or bucket large enough to fit over her head, Carly will wear it. Like her father, she can sometimes be mistaken for the serious type, but is actually very silly.

Andrea has been finding her way with the big camera, my Nikon D810. Its fun to watch your children through a viewfinder, and it feels great when you capture something you really like :)

Being amongst the river boulders is where I felt happiest as a young lad. I could hardly wait for the girls to be old enough to discover it for themselves. Kathyrn absolutely loves it :)

Always leading the way, and looking ahead. I have to be especially quick to capture this free spirit on camera. 

Weren't you a helpless newborn a few minutes ago?! Who is this little girl, and where have the last two years gone? Slow down!

Having one or two kids seemed a sure thing in my future. Did I think it would be with such a beautiful partner? Good guys can finish first ;)

It's true, Carly does sit still from time to time. Andrea managed to capture a great photograph of this somewhat rare sighting. 

I'll forget the sleepless nights and teething....and I'll forever remember this moment. This photograph is special, and I'm so happy it was taken by Andrea :)  

Newfound Talent Contest Winner

The 2015 Newfound Talent Contest winner was awarded a suite of career-launching services, including a photo shoot with yours truly. We finally met today and had a great session. Congrats to Mike Aylward; a talented, upcoming singer & songwriter.

Check him out @ www.mikeaylwardmusic.com :)