Aerial

'From Above' Aerial Photography Show

Here are some pics from the closing night of 'From Above', an aerial photography show featuring photos from across Vancouver Island shot by Jeremy Koreski Photography, Graeme Owsianski, Christian Coxen, pilot Nick Temos, and myself. A huge thanks goes out to Nick from Pacific Northwest Collective for flying us around to all these rad places (without crashing) and for organizing the printing and framing for the show! Big thanks as well to White Sails Brewing for the delicious beers and for hosting the event + all those who came out and supported the show!

Ahousaht First Nation Bans Industrial Logging & Mining In Their Traditional Territory

In what is the largest leap forward in old-growth forest protection on Vancouver Island in decades, the Ahousaht First Nation band recently announced their land use plan vision that prohibits industrial logging, mining, and oil and gas development in 82% of their 170,000 hectare territory while supporting sustainable economic development in selected areas. Their territory in Clayoquot Sound near Tofino is home to the largest tracts of old-growth forests of any Vancouver Island band. I'm deeply grateful for the incredible leadership shown by the members of this community and for the hard work of the conservation organizations involved as well. Knowing that wild places like the Sydney Valley (pictured above) have finally been declared safe is an amazing feeling. It's nice to have some good news every once and a while.

Press: Union of BC Municipalities Passes Resolution Calling for Old-Growth Protection

The chorus is growing!! The Union of BC Municipalities voted last week to support a resolution calling on the provincial government to end old-growth logging on Vancouver Island and amend the outdated 1994 land-use plan. This comes on the heels of the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities passing the same resolution and the BC Chamber of Commerce, representing 36,000 businesses across the province, passing a similar resolution. The BC Liberal government is now out on it's own in supporting the destruction of the island's last endangered old-growth ecosystems.

Drone Video - Climbing Big Lonely Doug: Round 2

Today I'm excited to have launched a new video which I filmed and edited featuring the Ancient Forest Alliance and Arboreal Collective's second climb up Big Lonely Doug, Canada's 2nd largest Douglas-fir tree! Doug has become the educational mascot of BC’s endangered old-growth forests - his massive size highlights their grandeur, while the dramatic contrast of the surrounding clearcut highlights the threat to them posed by industrial logging. The drone footage, captured using the DJI Phantom 3 Pro, of tree climbers (thanks to Matthew, Aaron, and Elliot!) in this sobering setting will help us raise the public awareness needed to pressure the BC government to protect what remains of the adjacent Eden Grove and endangered old-growth forests across British Columbia, and to ensure a sustainable second-growth forest industry instead.

Capturing the Coast - 2016

Here's the slideshow I created for Raincoast Education Society's Capturing the Coast 2016 photo event in Tofino! It includes images of the many magnificent places I've visited along the west coast of Vancouver Island from Sooke to the Brooks Peninsula and everywhere in between. It also highlights however the reality that some of these incredible areas are sadly still endangered - a fact that I feel can't be ignored. The coastal landscapes of Vancouver Island are among the most beautiful and precious on planet Earth. Let's do all that we can to keep them that way. *Be sure to watch full screen with sound.
 

10 Favourite Photos from 2015

As 2015 comes to a close, I've taken a look back and picked 10 of my favourite images from the past year. Never an easy task when you have thousands to choose from, but for one reason or another, these ones stand out for me personally. 2015 was the year of the plane and with many incredible aerial trips made across the island, it was hard to not choose only images taken from above. But the time spent on the ground and in the woods proved to be spectacular and beautiful as well. In 2016 I look forward to exploring more uncharted terrain, flying over new locations, and taking on some fresh personal projects as well. Here's to a great New Year and a happier and healthier planet for all!

This turquoise-blue lagoon, found on the remote Brooks Peninsula on northwestern Vancouver Island, is thankfully protected within a park. It appears more like scene from the Caribbean then the west coast of Canada but flights over this region have revealed a level of beauty that I may never have otherwise imagined in our country. Goal for 2016: camp on that perfect sandy beach.

A second shot from the north side of the Brooks Peninsula. I'm captivated by the ruggedly beautiful and wild coast found here. A land so perfectly sculpted by the intense wind and waves that have washed over its hills and shores for millennia. This photo, my favourite of the year, was taken during a helicopter flight over the region which allowed us to get a much lower and intimate view of this hard-to-access landscape. Just this winter, hurricane-force winds reaching speeds of 147 kph were recorded in this very region.

This image was captured on my first flight with Nick Temos of the Pacific Northwest Collective in early 2015. Here, the shadow of our plane is encircled within a rainbow high above the towering forests around Cheewhat Lake, home to Canada's largest tree. We took this special sight as a good omen for times to come. Nick has since generously volunteered much of his time flying us over Vancouver Island to document ancient forests and the impacts of logging from above. A good friend with a great heart, I thank Nick for the unforgettable experiences we've had already and those still unwritten.

I am forever grateful for the spiritual experiences I've had in the woods. Nothing quite compares to the peace and tranquility one can find wandering alone through the ancient forests of Vancouver Island. On this particular trip, I came across this giant redcedar tree high in a remote gully beyond Port Renfrew just as the fog was rolling through. It was like stepping back in time to another world where for a moment you could imagine that modern civilization didn't even exist at all. In 2016 I'm resolving to do more of these personal trips as they often lead to the most unique and exciting discoveries.

A forecast of rain and clouds isn't always a bad thing in photography. In fact, fall, winter, and spring are often the best times to be out shooting in a coastal rainforest when the weather provides more gentle lighting, enriches colours, and often results in fog. It's this wet weather that also gives life to these ancient landscapes, produces their giant trees, and imbues them with their unique spirit. Above is a view I never tire of - gazing up the trunk of a towering tree that's been standing in that very spot half a millennia while the only sounds around you are those of raindrops gently patting the forest floor.

Every now and then, all the quintessential elements that define a landscape or ecosystem finally come together into one scene, like this section of coastal temperate rainforest in the Gordon River Valley near Port Renfrew. It showcases, in a beautiful way, the diversity that makes old-growth forests unique, such as; various-aged trees ranging from young to very old, large woody debris and nurse logs, and a luxuriant plant understory. Second-growth tree plantations, logged again ever 30-80 years on the coast, aren't allowed enough time to regain the unique characteristics of the old-growth ecosystem that was lost. We must protect these rare and endangered ancient forests before it's too late.

Even though old-growth forests are home much wildlife, we often don't see the creatures living their as they're gone or hiding by the time we're nearby. I had a vision though of capturing an image with a large, charismatic animal alongside a giant old-growth tree. After recalling a massive cedar I had seen in the Gordon River Valley that had claw marks leading up to a hole in the trunk, I set up a motion-sensitive trail camera on a nearby tree and waited a few months to come back. Upon later checking the camera, I was thrilled to find this photo of a black bear climbing the tree among many others revealing the life that goes on in the forest while we're not around. I hope to assemble a higher quality trail camera setup in 2016 and capture more unique shots like this one.

The roots of my photography really began with experimental and abstract images before shifting to forests and landscapes today, so while on a road trip away from work this summer it was fun to play around and blend those two worlds together. Here, ripples in the fabric of space and time appear to spread out through the sky after tossing a pebble into the clear waters of a lake and flipping the image upside down.

This past spring was the first time I'd visited Uplands Park in Oak Bay, where some of the last original Garry Oak meadow ecosystem remains and where camas flowers bloom in the thousands. This year I also purchased the new Canon 24-70 f4L IS lens, which beyond proving itself to be a very useful all-around landscape lens, also has an additional macro setting which I put to use here. It was a truly sublime afternoon carefully moving through the purple and green meadows while photographing and smelling the beautiful flowers along the way.

2015 featured a spectacular supermoon eclipse as well. The last time the earth, moon, and sun aligned like this was 1982 and the next time will be 2033! I had almost forgotten to catch it that evening but the red moon caught my eye while driving in the dark countryside and I quickly zipped down to the nearest beach. There, I framed the moon among the tall beach grass (which I lit with the light from my phone) and captured this shot just as the eclipse began to recede. Mother nature will forever be a source of wonder, awe, and inspiration and for that we should show her our greatest respect, admiration, and care.

Fine Art Prints Now Available For Order Online

I'm very excited to have launched a new Prints section on my website here: www.tjwatt.com/prints. I love that photography allows you to bring the west coast wilderness into your home or business. The beauty and grandeur of British Columbia's coastal landscapes is second to none and lends itself wonderfully to large prints.

I'm working closely with a great local print shop to ensure that each individual print is produced to the highest standards possible. We've completed some beautiful print orders already and we're set to print more in time for the Holiday Season. For details on print, paper, and pickup/shipping, please see information below. If you have any further questions or comments, please don't hesitate to reach me by email at: prints@tjwatt.com. I look forward to hearing from you. TJ   www.tjwatt.com/prints

PRINT INFORMATION:

The paper stock used is a bright white, matte, fine art paper (310 gsm), 100% cotton, acid free, with a slightly textured surface. It produces luxurious images with vibrant colours, rich blacks, and a velvety finish. Prints are then carefully packaged and shipped via Canada Post. It's best to allow a professional framer to remove and handle them to ensure their safety. Shipping to Canada $20, USA $35. Free local pickup in Victoria is also available.

CUSTOM PRINT ORDERS:

We also produce archival prints on canvas or aluminum die-bond and at a variety of sizes. These are durable and lightweight options that add a truly unique look! For any inquiries or special requests, please email prints@tjwatt.com and we'd be happy to help!