While I have had an interest in photography for a large portion of my life, I had not made a conscious decision to “figure it out” and really explore photography until experiencing a change in physical ability. Severe disc degeneration lead to a disc replacement and a fusion in my lower spine, and while this has put me in a much better place, I continue to experience nerve-related symptoms. With these complications I am unable to further pursue my career in finishing carpentry and this is where I hoped photography might fill the void. As for now, it simply serves as a motive to keep getting me out there, continuing to enjoy life in the outdoors.
There are many reasons why I love photography, but there are two standout points that make it work for me in such a positive way. The first is what it does for me directly, and secondly how it allows me to affect others. Chronic pain and decreased mobility can and usually does put a strain on one’s mental health, with me being no exception. Many days prior to, and following my surgical procedure, I found great difficulty in simply finding the motivation to leave the house. My camera allows me to get out there and get excited to potentially capture that one great shot, and while that doesn’t always happen, it keeps me inspired. It can also be a great feeling to create beautiful images for someone else, and when that is accomplished, and the gratitude is shown for a job well done, negative thoughts tend to go away.
In the time since cell phones became equipped with cameras, almost everyone has become one form of photographer or another. I personally love to make the most of my cell phone camera too, but my frustrations with the low quality of these photos sort of drives me crazy. Getting a DSLR camera and starting to use the manual modes was a little intimidating at first but it has made it a lot more interesting, challenging, and rewarding. I recognize that there is still a ton for me to learn in photography and I really look forward to seeing where that knowledge and experience takes me.
This past summer, I had the extreme pleasure of capturing FISE WORLD SERIES in Edmonton (the tour for the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup) as well as the CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP for BMX Racing in Calgary, but I would have to say that I would trade both of those incredible experiences for the chance to photograph BMX racing, on a track here in Fernie. I have my fingers crossed!
Fernie has been home to many talented photographers applying their skills since the early days of Joseph Frederick Spalding. Like with most of today’s photographers, I find his point of view to be very interesting, and I often find myself attempting to figure out how he saw it. In recent years, many photographers have been capturing some incredible images of this beautiful Valley, and thanks to social media, it is so easy to follow, and appreciate the great work being done. Sometimes being surrounded by talent can be intimidating, but it also serves as inspiration to create and hopefully be as good as them some day. I feel very fortunate to live in a town where there is such a vibrant photography community and lots of subjects to choose from.
My work can be followed on Facebook via rjschultzphotography as well as my two Instagram pages. Rjschultz19 is where I share photos related to nature, wildlife and general outdoors, while rjschultz72 showcases my passion for bikes, bike riding, and the life that goes with it.