Properly Exposed

It’s been five weeks or so since my camera took the plunge and my backpack went frolicking down a mountain slope. The damage is assessed. Expectations were low. Miraculously, after adding rice to the camera and slow cooking the concoction in a sunbaked car for days, the flat-lined camera surprisingly spit out the moisture and starting showing vital signs again. After doing my ABC’s (checking Airways, Breathing, Circulation), I found out the camera is still usable, although somewhat beaten up, much like my own body. The submerged lens just came out of the intensive care and surgery was successful. So you could say I was lucky. Still, my photography took a small dent this month. The timing is interesting to say the least.


Like a backpack tumbling down a mountain, life sometimes takes you on a sudden rollercoaster. It accelerates for no apparent reason. It turns upside down and leaves you stranded in a completely new environment, leaving you clueless as to how you actually got there. My last couple of weeks were a bit like that. I look up to the sky with a questionable look on my face. Call it the universe, god, or whoever runs the grand show up there and down here, he sure has an interesting sense of humor.


otello-tunnels-BW-logoAs I mentioned in my first blog, I’m a sucker for the word authenticity; to be real, sincere and full of integrity. I am not a textbook example portraying this character trait, but it is something that I strive towards. While my dominant mind tries to judge everything around me, including my own photography, my heart often softens the view like a filter on a lens.  The result coming out of my mouth is often a cocktail of my true self and what my mind has decided people want to hear. For a long time I’ve been longing to put this blended, tiring behaviour to bed, by finding my own authentic voice and getting comfortable with it.


The first blog about four months ago was an encouraging start. I felt inspired to write more in the days to come.  I kept very private matters such as health and personal life to myself. There were enough stories to spread, inspiring insights to share, funny tales to tell. Everyone would go “Wow” at my photos.  I was encouraged and motivated. The great feeling lasted a short while. Then life just went back to being life. My new voice retreated back to a familiar sound. One thing I forgot was that the big word authenticity also meant sharing the not so hilarious days; the days I wrestle in the shit that life sometimes stirs up.


The term exposure came to mind. Exposure is one of the first topics covered in any beginner’s photography course. In very general terms, under-expose a photo, it will be too dark. Over-expose it and it will be too light. The trick is to shine enough light on the subject that you want to stand out. You could say the picture of my personal life has not been properly exposed. My personal story remains predominantly in the dark, hesitant to step forward into the light.


My quest for health is now entering its eighth year.  It is too colossal of a topic in my life not to be addressed in my writing. I typically share my story with close friends and family, but don’t hang my laundry to dry at someone’s birthday party, nor do I splatter my food choices and emotions on the Facebook wall. Instead, I usually take lots of Pepto-Bismol and try really hard to digest my food as well as my thoughts. Not sure this is a much better approach.


In the last few weeks photography outings were scarce, short and close to home. With a brain fogged up in a low hanging cloud, writing takes more effort than usual. My body frequently forces me on the couch or in bed. With a bit of effort I meet with a close friend over tea. The luminous hours of the day, when the sun breaks through the mist, are limited to a few that I want to make count. I’ve been here a hundred times before. And a hundred times I’ve hidden it from the world.


tunnel-mtn-shot-2-logoSo once again I am aiming to adjust the tone of my voice and the contents of my writing. I’m cautiously learning to be open about where I am at and who I really am, not just open about the aspiring photographer or educator in me. You could say I’m experimenting to find the proper exposure in the big picture.


Therefore, I have decided to more consciously introduce another topic in my writing. It’s a reflection on getting comfortable with being exposed to the elements of this entity called life. It’s about taking the insights and gifts that show up on your path when you’re forced to slow down and sharing them with the world.


I am committed to making this new aspect of my writing constructive, inspiring, funny, and most of all real. I still have to find a proper broadcast channel, a second blog, a book perhaps. Filling twenty more journals is not going to cut it. I will keep you posted on what lies beyond the next bend in the river. At the same time the photography blog will continue as it is a great medium to reveal and make sense of life, nature and us in the middle.

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19 Responses to Properly Exposed

  1. What a poetic, well-timed, inspiring, authentic and beautifully written post, Martin. Thank you for so boldly sharing.

  2. Richard says:

    Wow, what an incredible post. You are an amazing writer Martin and should absolutely write a book! This certainly inspires me to be a better writer on my blog, thanks for writing and sharing

    • admin says:

      Thanks Richard, sounds like you are finding you own voice too in terms of which clients you decide to work with. Good for you. That’s inspiring. M

  3. Claire Honeyman says:

    Beautifully written Martin. I admire your courage and am doing my cheer leading dance as I write this 🙂

    • Martin says:

      Keep on dancing Claire. You are awesome. I could have quite an interesting cheerleading squad by now……..

  4. Allan Hoar says:

    Great post Martin. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Tracey Delfs says:

    Thank you for sharing so deeply and profoundly from your heart. You give us permission to express all the aspects of whom we are. Keep sharing your amazing writing with all of us!

    • Martin says:

      Hi Tracey, hope you had a great trip to Costa Rica. Thanks for your nice comment. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all shared a bit more from our heart?

  6. Pieter Schoe says:

    compliments Martin! Beautiful metaphors, also for a deep down in the clay under see level living native Dutchman 🙂

    • Martin says:

      Hi Pieter, it felt a bit like we were living under the sea level here last week, but the clean up has started. Nature offers beautiful metaphors even when her forces are quite destructive….

  7. Carolyn Hanna says:

    Love the way you write Martin…I’m a fan! I agree with Richard, you should, and could write a book. I would most certainly read it 🙂

    • Martin says:

      Hi Carolyn. A book…….yes I did mention that in the blog didn’t I? Well if a whole book is comparable to Mount Everest, maybe I should start with something the size of Tunnel Mountain? Thanks for the encouragement, will keep on writing!

  8. Norja Vanderelst says:

    Greatly written indeed, Martin. From the heart…beautiful. The photographs will be a great addition to expressing how you feel. Keep it up! Love the ones in this blog post! Sending you continuous healing energy. Look forward to more.

  9. admin says:

    Thank you all for reading the blog. I appreciate your wonderful comments. It’s heartwarming. It certainly encourages me to continue to write and open up more about certain topics.

    The timing of this blog was odd to say the least, followed by days rain and flooding here in Canmore. The second picture in the blog is actually of one of the three square culverts under the highway that got washed out by cougar creek. When I took the shot there was not more than a trickle of water in it. Great to see the community come together, another source of inspiration for writing.

  10. Aurelie says:

    Beautiful piece Martin. I feel touched and humbled reading it. You’re a wonderful writer.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Aurelie. I am just learning that I am supposed to respond individually to these comments, so here you go 😉 Thanks for reading it.

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