Thinking Cap


The cold weather has finally given us reprieve here in Calgary – just as we all came back to work yesterday. Sweet. The recent cold snap and a flu that I charitably passed on to my wife meant the two of us were highly domestic over the past week, which worked out fine, considering both her and I spent the time busy.

She built herself a blog, sort of – at least a website – which focuses on her enjoyment of life and the things that bring her happiness on the home front. It features cooking, baking, gardening, reading and all the attributes and wholesomeness that her lifestyle brings her. It’s expressive and introspective in that by providing opinion and commentary on what she enjoys, I think she learns something as well. The ideology is bigger than the website she has developed – in fact it is the foundation of greater goals for her further down the road. Her concept is called Nest and Sparkle (or Nest & Sparkle, not sure what the brand book dictates yet), and her website can be found at She would love for you to visit, but she warns that it only recently launched and is lean on design and information for the time being.

While she was busy building her website, brand and concept, I, after months of deliberation, planning and saving, finally bought a new camera (as immodestly evidenced in last post‘s photo). I bought myself a Canon 5D Mark II digital SLR kit, which includes Canon’s highly pragmatic general purpose 24-105mm F4 L IS lens. Needless to say this came at a significant expense, but I justified it in several ways (at least to myself). I decided I wanted a full frame camera (best for my favorite subjects: portraits – hey a family will be coming eventually; travel/urban, architecture and landscapes), one built solidly with an ability to last me several years, and one that provides value but also satisfies my penchant for being amongst the best [my] money can buy. Some of the features that sold me on the new 5D Mark II aside from its quality include full HD (1080p) video recording, the most up to date processing technology, an enhanced 920,000 pixel 3″ screen and greater ISO range, sensitivity and handling.

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of its enormous 21 megapixel resolution, however, and would have rather had a 16mp sensor with Nikon’esque noise control and autofocusing, but I dismissed Nikon early on because for one, Nikon is even more expensive (the lenses are at least 30% more expensive across the board), and two, I own and have owned Canons in the past and I’m comfortable with Canon technology, terminology and operation. And my Dad and several friends own Canons and you never know when a field trip might facilitate trading lenses for a day! I don’t intend for this endeavor to make me any money, but there’s no harm in getting better at it, which is why I’m registering in a photography program at a local college.

I decided to buy a new camera because I’ve become increasingly frustrated over the past few years at not having a creative outlet for myself. This tumult goes back at least five years since I last contributed to a hobby and it’s been grinding at my soul a lot lately. I believe it is crucial to have a release mechanism for life’s stresses, otherwise they build up and poison your motivation, desire and overall satisfaction. Each of us needs something in our lives to release us from our day-to-day and to recharge ourselves. Something without pressure, deadlines and third party expectations. I used to golf a ton, used to DJ, ski, sail and take pictures – each with measured mediocrity but equal satisfaction. I’ve become quite accomplished in the world of wine, but although it is intriguing and enjoyable, wine does not allow me to express myself because my work revolves around it. I’ve been traveling a lot lately and while I love to travel, instead of finding satisfaction I am feeling exhaustion (doesn’t mean I’m going to stop though). Sadly it’s taken me this long to realize that personal creativity has been missing and the impact this void has had on my general happiness.

In another effort to expand my horizons, one with more concrete intentions, I recently enrolled in a PR/publicity certificate program at the University of Toronto. It’s online, which is great, and must be accomplished within a year, which is also great. Why am I doing this? Well, for one, I want to change what I do for a living, but methodically – I’m not jumping ship nor leaving without somewhere to go – therefore I need to build myself a bridge to get to my destination. Where I want to be is defined, and this program will contribute to helping me get there.

Another reason is due to a realization that I expect more out of myself than what I’ve already done; add to that the fact that a simple bachelor’s degree doesn’t get you very far anymore, and both my wife and I have bigger long term plans than where we are. Hope that’s not too convoluted.

My friend Davin is blogging about the same sort of thing right now, and it is in part a credit to him that I have registered in this certificate program. He’s back at school too, exploring new found motivation and aspirations. I share his feelings about having enjoyed a break from school and feeling a desire to go back. Continuing studies/post-graduate school is attractive in that it will not interfere with my day to day work, rather it will compliment it; I’ll incorporate my work into my studies, and apply my school to my work.

Hey, we’re always learning, right? And it sure helps with the taxes to be a student.

Look for a modest redesign of this website in the next little while, to better represent the pictures I will share with you.

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