People often ask me why I have so few pictures from my hometown of Brandon or even Canada for that matter. While I have a few photos from years past, I never really got in the mood to shooting when I have been home recently. I could never figure out why. It wasn’t until I went back to Canada for the month of July that I realized that photography and your current mood are intertwined.
It is like that scene from “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” where Sean Penn let’s the snow leopard go without taking it’s picture. He talks about just enjoying the moment and not letting the camera get in the way. I think that for myself coming home is a lot about being in the moment with friends and family and not being a photographer. I am in a different headspace when I am out taking photos. However, this time around I decided to capture a few shots from around my hometown and my adventures out in Nova Scotia.
My first stop was one of my favorite cities, Vancouver. I had 24 hours to spend in a city that I could easily spend the rest of my life in. Battling the urge to continue to chat the night away, I broke free for a bit and decided to get some shots of English Bay. I lived in the area for about a year and it had a huge impact on me. Coming back was great but a little bittersweet in some ways. It was way too comfortable and that made me uneasy as I am not sure when I will get the chance to live there again.
After getting on the plane, I started to get anxious. The toughest part about coming home is actually getting there. You quickly realize that Canada is a big place and you simply can’t get on a KTX and be home in a few hours. However, there is always that great feeling of coming down the escalator at the Winnipeg airport and seeing my family for the first time in a long time.
Like most families, we have traditions when you arrive home. For me it is usually grabbing a coffee on the way out of Winnipeg and getting pizza Romana’s Pizza. It is at this time that my brain and my camera usually take a much needed break. I love just getting back in touch with family and friends. Getting to walk around and say “hi” to people without getting laughed at by 6-year-olds. For me, it is the day-to-day life that I look forward to the most. Just talking and driving around without the stress of being tailgated for not driving 50 km/h over the speed limit.
I was grateful when a journalist for the Brandon Sun, Colin Corneau asked if I wanted to join him on top of a roof for a sunrise shoot. It was an interesting transition. Going from vacation mode to photographer in a place where I don’t even think that I have more than 50 shots of beyond the typical family stuff. Sadly, the wildfires scorching parts of Canada meant that they usually clear skies were creepily reminiscent of the skies in Ulsan; Hazy and grey.
However, we were determined not to waste the day and headed up to Clear Lake. This is an area that holds a special meaning for me as I initially went to university to work in Riding Mountain National Park. I love the park and I haven’t been there in many years. I was lucky enough to get up there twice before I left. I was interesting walking around, gazing at the lake through the lens of my camera. Normal details that would normally slip past were pulled into focus. It was a great way to experience Clear lake and Wasagaming again. Not to mention that they have really good pizza at the Fox Tail.
A trip home would not be complete without a day out at the Brandon Wildlife Range. This is a place where I spent a lot of time at while growing up. Living in Korea, it is hard to explain to people about how much this place means to me and how it allows me to bond with my father after being away for so long. Time stops when we are out there. All that matters is where your bullets go and who did the best. It is not about being an action superhero or self-defence. It is all about accuracy, respect and precision.
Again, after a week or so of being back home and enjoying the relaxing pace, I started to shift and realize that perhaps it was time to come home. Perhaps my talents could be used in Canada as well. Heading towards my next adventure, my head felt heavy with thoughts that questioned my very purpose in coming to Canada to study.