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Mount Rainier at sunrise as seen across Tipsoo Lake in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA.

It's the last day of the year as I begin writing this, while on a plane home from a short holiday break with family near Seattle - a perfect way to end this incredibly challenging and action packed year. The past year had been an absolute whirlwind of work, adventure, and unexpected personal challenges of the kind I could never have imagined. So much so that the never-ending global pandemic had been the least of my worries throughout this time. When fireworks started off across the city at midnight, I felt little of the usual excitement. Instead, as the clock signalled the start of a new year, I felt an incredible sense of relief.

Amid all the chaos and adversity, the past year featured some incredible accomplishments and the most amazing of moments. Above all, it was a year of learning, self-discovery and appreciation. And this includes my journey in photography.

Winding mountain road through Kananaskis Country in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Alberta, Canada.

When life gave me an unanticipated week off in mid summer, I decided I had to make the absolute most of it. With international travel still very much limited, while having as strong a desire as ever to get out of the city, I decided to embark on my first ever trip to the Canadian Rocky Mountains. With my fiancée unable to get time off and my friends busy as ever with work (the few that would be otherwise willing to take a spontaneous trip across the country that is), I figured there was nothing stopping me from doing it solo. Using airline points piled up during the pandemic, finding a good deal on a car rental and a cheap (but cosy and well-located) Airbnb in downtown Calgary, I had a trip planned in no time.

The initial nervousness of travelling alone to a new place quickly subsided upon arrival in the west coast province of Alberta (occasionally returning when I found myself alone in the wilderness). Excitement and eagerness to explore took over and I enjoyed every bit of it, discovering amazing places and meeting great people along the way. I had some incredible photo moments here, creating what I believe to be my best images to date.

Mount Rundle after sunset across Two Jack Lake in the Canadian Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park, Alberta.

The trip was so rewarding that I had to share some of these great experiences. So, shortly after my return, we booked a trip to come back here in the early fall (staying in Canmore).

After this amazing second trip, I was right back into ultimate grind mode, leaving little time for creative photography opportunities (and sleep for that matter). The fall season flew by, with the last few months of the year somewhat of a blur. It was winter before I knew it and, as some of my projects and endeavours were wrapping up, I was already looking forward to those last few days of the year - to relax and take some moments to reflect.

All in all, 2021 was a convoluted mix of challenges, progress, setbacks and successes. But the resulting crash course in self-discovery and the progress that it brought along made it worth it. I will remember the past year for both the amazing and incredibly rough times. I begin the new year with immense gratitude for the amazing things the past year brought and the perspective I gained from some of those difficult moments. Building on the year's successes, I am excited for what the new year might bring. With travel plans on hold pending the resolution of this unprecedented global crisis (fingers crossed), save for a short trip to the Rockies to kick off the new year, more spontaneous adventure is likely in the books.

If you've made it this far, thank you so much for following along on my journey. Get in touch with me anytime with any questions, requests, collaboration ideas, or just to say hello.

I wish every one of you motivation, success and continued inspiration in 2022!

Sunrise view of the Three Sisters peaks near Canmore, Alberta in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

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