6 Highlights of 2016

Each year I do a round-up of some kind, whether it’s things that I’m grateful for or how my previous year’s goals panned out. For this year, my knee-jerk reaction was I don’t have time to write one, and I don’t, but that’s exactly the problem. These are the things I need to make time for so that life doesn’t feel so frantic. These are the things that keep me grounded. So, this year I’m keeping it simple and highlighting six things from 2016 – the good, the not so good, and the awesome.

1. CANADIAN ROCKIES ANNUAL HITS THE SHELVES

Back in 2014, my business partner and I sat down and dreamt up a new kind of mountain culture publication for the Canadian Rockies In May 2016, those dreams became a reality when Volume 1 of the Canadian Rockies Annual hit the shelves!  Thanks to everyone who purchased and subscribed – we are down to our last few copies. Volume 1 is still available for ordering (and pre-orders for Volume 2 are now open!) Thanks to Doug Urquhart at UpThink Lab for this awesome promo video.

2. ADVENTURES ON HAWAI’I, The BIG ISLAND

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

This year’s family trip back in March took us to The Big Island, where we enjoyed beach time, cool volcanic features, amazing coffee (a must) and time with Grammy. As I do with all our family adventures, I wrote an article over on AdventurousParents.com: Family Travel – A Short Guide to Hawai’i, The Big Island. Up next? Bermuda.

3. BERG LAKE + MT. ROBSON PROVINCIAL PARK

Photo by Meghan J. Ward.

Photo by Meghan J. Ward.

What would a summer be without some awesome outdoor adventures? This one was definitely a highlight for many reasons: a great crew, new terrain, awesome weather and some good old time alone in the backcountry. I highly recommend a trip into Berg Lake for any intermediate/advanced hikers!

4. Saying Goodbye

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This year I said goodbye to the last of my grandparents, my father’s mother, Maxine (here she is with grandpa Bill, who left us about 15 years ago). I was in the midst of finishing the magazine when she passed away, and the whole experience, including the memorial in Winnipeg in June seems to have whizzed by. But, these days I’m remembering her and missing her. She was an incredible person.

5. LAUNCHING OFFBEAT

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I feel so incredibly blessed to work with a team of creatives who strive to help others on their own creative journeys. This year my husband Paul Zizka and our friend/colleague Dave Brosha teamed up to launch OFFBEAT, a new online photo community and international photography workshops company. Through the process, I also got to meet our project manager, Camila – a woman pretty much cut from the same cloth. Be sure to tell the photographers in your life to check out OFFBEAT!

6. YOU WOn’t remember this

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Taken on the Redearth Creek trail on the way home from Shadow Lake Lodge, 2015. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Last month I got a few hard copies of a new anthology I wrote for called You Won’t Remember ThisIt is my first official book authorship! With four tourist books in the works this year, and plenty of ideas down the pipeline, I feel like I’m finally embarking on my ultimate goal which is to work more in the book world. Thanks to Sandy for the opportunity to be part of her book!

Happy New Year, everybody!

All good things,

-Meghan

Take a Moment for “Wanderment” by Doug Urquhart

From the maker of Mountains in Motion and Eye of the Beholder, Doug Urquhart’s latest masterpiece is Wanderment (chosen today as a Vimeo Staff Pick!). Having worked with Doug before I know first-hand just how much of a genius he is with his craft, and how humble he is about it. Wanderment demonstrates his artistry and eye for detail, his passion for the wilderness, and desire to bring that beauty to others.

Take five minutes and watch the video below.

Synopsis

Best Viewed in Full Screen (with scaling turned off)

From meandering streams and forest-dwelling organisms to the grandeur of high mountains above tree-line, this short film wanders through the contrasting wilderness of Alaska, North Carolina, Georgia and California.

WANDERMENT is the result of a 12-month collection of 4K time-lapse sequences captured while backpacking. Countless miles of hiking in the Appalachian Mountains and adventurous backpacking in California and Alaska provided no shortage of opportunity to capture the planet’s poetry in motion. Further juxtaposing these contrasting landscapes is the use of both color and black and white techniques throughout the film. Each time-lapse sequence, comprised of hundreds of still images, represents a chance to share these reflective moments far away from urban epicenters. It offers a simple reminder to step outside with your friends and family to experience and respect nature first-hand.

WANDERMENT from The Upthink Lab on Vimeo.

On the Hunt for Aurora Borealis with Paul Zizka

Feature photo from Travel Alberta Winter Magazine 2014-2015. Photo by Paul Zizka.

It is not every day that you get assigned a story you’ve been dying to write, and even less likely to be asked to write about a person very close to you. So, I was ecstatic when Travel Alberta approached me about writing a story about my husband, Paul Zizka, and his quest to chase the Northern Lights here in the Canadian Rockies. Having the insider’s perspective on this crazy chase, especially during the solar maximum in 2013, I could have written a lot more about life at home, and how it intermingles with aurora forecasts, solar flares and Paul’s incredible ambition to capture the dancing lights. But I left myself out of the story, and talked purely about Paul’s efforts to photograph the aurora borealis, and the resources he uses to track the likelihood of their appearance.

It was a cool night on May 31, 2013, when professional photographer Paul Zizka left his home in Banff to drive to Herbert Lake, a small body of water along the world-famous Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park. Eagerly, he glanced upwards through the windshield, checking the skies at regular intervals. All forecasts predicted the aurora borealis, aka the northern lights, would put on a show – perhaps the best one of the year. “I knew I was on the verge of what could be one of the greatest photo ops I had ever encountered,” Paul explained.  → Read the rest of the article, starting on Page 30 here. 

Travel Logs from the South Pacific

I’ve been a bit quiet on here the past few months, but that’s because I’ve been island-hopping in the South Pacific with my husband (photographer Paul Zizka) and my now 13-month-old daughter, Mistaya.

Our travels have taken us to New Zealand, Niue, French Polynesia (the islands/atolls of Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Maupiti, Bora Bora, Tikehau and Fakarava), and Hawaii. Throughout the journey, I have been writing about the process of travelling abroad with a baby – the joys, challenges, enriching moments, and the struggles.

You can find all of these blog posts using the South Pacific tag on The Adventures in Parenthood Projecthttp://adventurousparents.com/tag/south-pacific/

Here is the archive:

70 Days in the South Pacific

Finding Our Bearings on the Banks Peninsula

Is Adventure Worth It Even When It’s Miserable? A Baby on Jetlag

Solitude and Separation at Punakaiki Beach

Finding Our Groove in Opunake

Why My Husband Hiked a Volcano in the Middle of the Night

Discovering More Than Meets the Eye in Niue

Paradise, Milestones, and a Reality Check in French Polynesia

6 Awesome Things About Travelling Abroad with a Baby

Thoughts Turning Homeward in Tikehau

Determining Success Amidst the Hardships of Travel

Mountains in Motion Now Available Online

I am excited to announce that after keeping Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies in the shadows for festival screenings over the last six months, the film is now available online for all to view! Thanks to everyone who made this film possible, and to the various festivals that have helped us bring the film to the big screen. I welcome you to view the film below and find out more about this film project here.

The script for the narration is available in my Portfolio.

BEST VIEWED FULLSCREEN, HD (with scaling off). Please dim the lights, turn up your speakers, sit back and relax.

Banff World Tour Info: banffcentre.ca/mountainfestival/worldtour/

DVD & Blu-Ray available for order at mountainsinmotion.ca/order/

“Mountains in Motion” Set to Hit the Big Screen in Banff

Back in November 2011, I posted an update from Pokhara, Nepal, about the trailer release for a film I was working on called Mountains in Motion: The Canadian RockiesFor a year and a half I had the pleasure of working alongside my husband (and photographer), Paul Zizka; “creative genius,” Doug Urquhart; and an inspiring team of artists and contributors to create a 13 minute time-lapse film that we completed in August 2012.

Never having written for the screen before, this project presented some interesting challenges to me as a writer. But, our team had a goal in mind: to screen the film at the 2012 Banff Mountain Film Festival (BMFF). And this past month we learned that we were accepted to this festival and are opening up the November 3 film screenings! To date, the film has also been accepted to the Dixie Film Festival (in Athens, Georgia), where it won “Best Cinematogaphy,” the Atlanta Shortsfest, where it won “Best Documentary” and the Asheville Cinema Festival, which runs the same weekend as the BMFF.

Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies is not your traditional time-lapse film. Our goal was to push the limits of this form of photography and include a storyline. Coordinating the text with the images and music was one of the hardest creative projects I have ever worked on, particularly since our team was working in two different countries, but the final product has made it well worth all of our efforts.

If you’ll be in Banff for the festival, check out the film festival schedule for screenings (we’re part of Program A on the second weekend). I’ll also be milling around all week writing dispatches for Highline Magazine, so come say hi if you see me!

The new official trailer for the film is below. For more information, check out this article by Lynn Martel in the Rocky Mountain Outlook: Local film to open Nov. 3 BMFF screenings

Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies | Official Trailer from The Upthink Lab on Vimeo.

Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies | Timelapse Trailer

Hello from Pokhara, Nepal, where I am taking a few rest days after just completing the trek to Annapurna Base Camp! Our group has also hiked through Upper Mustang and done an unsupported trek around Dhaulagiri. I’ve been blogging along the way on The Campsite in case you’ve missed it!

Some very exciting news about another project I’ve been working on. My husband and freelance photographer, Paul Zizka, was asked to contribute his local knowledge and photography skills to a Rockies timelapse video, directed, produced and perfected by Doug Urquhart of The Upthink Lab (you must check out their work – it’s superb). For over a year, they have been hard at work capturing images throughout the Rockies, and I have joined in from time to time. Doug asked me to assist with the script of the movie. I’ve contributed the text for the trailer and will begin work on the film in the New Year. Enjoy the trailer and if you feel so inclined, help us kickstart this project. Behind the scenes photos can be accessed on the vimeo website.

Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies | Official Trailer from The Upthink Lab on Vimeo.