Moving to Edmonton, Alberta (Canada)

 Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton

Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton

I've been neglecting my blogs and YouTube channel lately, but it's not out of laziness. I've been very busy. I spent time working on home renovations and then began planning my next shooting trip to Costa Rica. I was supposed to depart for San Jose today. Instead, I just arrived home from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Long story short, my wife (a Canadian citizen born in Alberta) was offered a job in Edmonton just three weeks ago. It's a pretty big advance in her career and a job that she believes she will enjoy very much. So, we cancelled the Costa Rica trip and spent the last week getting to know Edmonton and making arrangements for our big 2,300 mile move next month. As a "Stock Photographer," I can work anywhere there is internet, and the opportunity to be so close to the Canadian Rockies and wildlife of the prairie was too good to pass up. As difficult as it will be to leave our Blue Ridge Mountain home, quietly tucked away in the solitude of dense forests, I think the benefits of relocating to the great white north outweigh the benefits of staying in rural North Carolina. You have to give something to gain something in life. In this case we'll be trading the retirement home made full-time residence far out of town (with all its natural beauty) for city life, cultural diversity, and walkability (not to mention short drives to the most dramatic mountain range in North America and fields full of bison). 

It was a tough choice to make, but after spending a little time in Edmonton, we feel moving is the right decision for both of us. It's not even really a compromise; we both win. Edmonton is a diverse city with festivals and activities year round. Though living in a downtown area is pretty well the opposite of our current situation, we will have plenty to entertain us and every convenience at our doorstep. We can walk to get literally anything we need. Shops, restaurants, the River Valley Park System, and Alison's new office are all less than ten minutes away from our apartment by foot. No more driving 20 miles each way in traffic to the office or for a limited selection of goods or having to order everything else online. The car will be used for excursions outside of the city, either to Elk Island National Park (30 minutes from our apartment) or Jasper National Park in the Rocky Mountains (a 3 hour drive from our place). That's the thing I like about Canadian cities...you're never too far from nature even in a downtown metropolis. 

 Downtown Edmonton, Alberta

Downtown Edmonton, Alberta

Though I feel that I've barely come close to making the images I hoped to produce here in Appalachia, there will be plenty for me to photograph in Alberta for sure (did I mention the rockies?!). I'll also be much closer to an international airport that offers cheaper fares than Charlotte-Douglas: the nearest airport to my current home at 3 hours away. So I plan to travel more frequently, cheaply, and for longer than before once I'm settled in Edmonton. For the short term, aside from exploring Edmonton's streets and festivals, I plan on spending as much time as possible in Jasper and Banff National Parks, as well as Elk Island National Park just outside the city. 2017 is Canada's 150th birthday and entrance to all National Parks is free this year, so I plan on getting out there as much as possible.

 Statue at Chinese Garden, Edmonton River Valley

Statue at Chinese Garden, Edmonton River Valley

 Gate and Statues at Edmonton's Chinese Garden

Gate and Statues at Edmonton's Chinese Garden

While in Edmonton last week we secured a place to live and made other arrangements for the big move, but we also took some time to try out some of the city's best eateries and visit the Art Gallery of Alberta (which is currently displaying Henri Cartier Bresson and Eadweard Muybridge prints - photography nerds of the world unite!). I didn't have much time for serious shooting, but I carried the Fuji X-E2 (which I ordered last month from an eBay seller in Edmonton not realizing I'd be moving there) with the new 23mm f2 lens. I have to say it's an impressive little combo for street photography. All the images in this post were shot using it. 

Until I'm able to post new content, please check out my other travel blog Maps & Cameras and my quirky yet steadily growing YouTube Channel. Thanks for reading and thanks to all for the support.

- Jon