Beautiful Bergen
in Bergen, Norway on 14th June, 2012

I was keen to show my Mother a few very different countries side-by-side. In this trip we covered Estonia, Finland, Norway and Latvia in ten days. As soon as we got to the airport the famous costs of Norway became apparent. €5 for coke, €12 for a 600ml beer, €10 for some apple pie, small snacks for €20.

Tallinn has a problem where only foreigners seem to go out to eat and drink regularly but in Bergen it seems only locals can afford to go out. After finishing up a small Chinese meal in town, my Mother miscalculated what the bill would have been in Canadian dollars. She asked me how she could leave a tip. I told her the meal was €88!

Forgetting the costs for a moment, the scenery of Norway is unique in Europe and most of the world. It was incredibly beautiful everywhere we went. Everyone was very friendly. We were spoken to in Norwegian a lot. One man, who was asking me to help him double-bag his groceries, spoke only in Norwegian up until the parting "Thank You!".

When people did speak to us in English it revealed some interesting places in which they'd learnt and refined their knowledge of the language. A woman in TGI Fridays spoke with a thick Australian accent. A guy working at the airport told me how the card machine "Had a mind of it's own" in a Glaswegian accent.

Given a few weeks and a car and I could probably have gone beyond my wildest expectations in terms of photos. The country has so many beautiful and interesting subjects to photograph. Every landscape was stunning. The people of the country are incredibly photogenic.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about what I'm doing in my life and how this contrasts to my childhood and teenage years.

When I was 13-years-old both my older brother and I were into making electronic music. Country music and the Backstreet Boys dominated the audio landscape of Calgary. I hated this, everything I loved came mostly from Europe or California.

I mixed these places of inspiration with my desiree to make some music myself. I had two synths, a drum machine, a sampler and, later on, a computer to help with automation. But even with all that, I always felt held back by a lack of kit. To add to this, the learning curve in programming my Yamaha DX7 synth was steep to say the least.

My brother had a friend who was 28, lived in downtown Calgary and worked during the day for an oil company. I remember visiting his flat one afternoon and being shown around his music studio he'd setup in one of the rooms. I was blown away. He had kit encircling him. This guy must have had a bank account with a conveyor belt straight to the instrument dealers.

I got a copy of one of his demo tapes and his music was amazing. I couldn't believe amateur music could sound so good. He sold his records in a few independent music stores in Calgary but I'm not sure if he ever made it anywhere with that.

For me, every piece of equipment I could get my hands on allowed for exponential improvements in the instrumentals I was putting together. I was jealous that this guy had a day job which allowed him to fully explore the lengths of his hobby.

My music hobby died around 2004. A few years later I picked up a Canon DSLR and haven't looked back since. I feel now I'm in the same position in life as the guy who worked at the oil company. Maybe no major commercial success with what I produce and I feel well appreciated by those who give feedback on my work. Any limitations are within my mind, not within my camera bag.

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