DANO Pendygrasse

odds and ends from an unusual life

They call it Ukee

Hi friends,

You know, you can't spell Ucluelet without a clue and last week I got a clue. I'd been to Tofino a bunch of times but never had the pleasure of experiencing Ucluelet. Luckily, thanks to good timing and a great deal, a bunch of our friends packed up and set off for the
Black Rock Resort a week ago with no goals other than eating, drinking, and relaxing. Even though it was still February, the fact that winter missed BC this year left us with "shirt off" weather and blue skies.

The Pacific Ocean was like a placid lake and we spent a pretty good amount of time spotting whales in the distance as they spouted off. It's a beautiful place out there and there are lots hikes to keep you occupied. Plus, we got to check out the Wolf in the Fog in Tofino, that was recently called
best new restaurant in Canada by En Route.

Did you know there are dunes out there? I didn't. But now I do.

Anywhoo, here are a bunch of photos of the trip. It's taken awhile to get them up, I had a busy week at work shooting some photos for the F15
Veilance season. I wish I could share 'em but you'll just have to wait till September!


We arrived and the sun was setting through the trees, so we made our way down to the shore. (caution: sunset photos following)
The Pacific was pretty calm, especially for a season that is generally all about storm watching.

Some time pretty is pretty boring, but sometimes it's totally not.
See, I told you there would be sunsets.
Over on the
instagram I was talking about how much I like tide pools.
Here's another one. This time it has a lighthouse in it.
What can I say? I like big chunks of driftwood.
Colin and Jen take different routes to the sea.
Colin also likes tide pools.
Photo break. Follow the lines.
Ya , ya. I know.
Mussels and muscles are homonyms.
I did not know that the west coast of Vancouver Island has dunes, but as you are witnessing, it does!
Island on shore. With small friends for scale.
Dune + forest = cool.
Little plant runners covered in sand. This is what f3.2 looks like.
Season's change. Out with the old, in with the new.

Maui blog

Hi friends.

So as you who follow me on flickr, twitter or facebook know, I’m just back from Maui again. It gets harder to leave every time. Having said that, it was one of those trips where my priorities were pretty low on the list, lots of family and friends things on the schedule so I didn’t dive as much as I would have liked and didn’t shoot as much either. I did however, relax a lot and read a lot which are things that are sorely lacking in my day to day life. Favourite book of the trip was Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.

I’m continuing down a road in my travel photos that I’m finding deeply satisfying. Experiments that started in Sweden are developing into rules and themes that I feel very connected and sure about. I think that one of the things that hangs over the head of creative people sometimes is the “is this valid?” question. It’s hard to answer and if you need someone else to pat you on the head and tell you that it is, you can find yourself corrupted from your intentions by the desire to get more pats on the head. I’ve found that in the last couple years I’ve been liberated from a lot of habits born from shooting almost entirely with an editorial goal in mind. In the end, I’ve come to a place where personal satisfaction is then only validation I require.

I added to three different personal groups of work this trip as well as all the underwater stuff, which I’ll get to in a second. Until then, here are some impressions of Maui above water. If you click any of them they should open in my photoshelter gallery.

Baldwin Park in Paia. An outtake from my “fields of play” series.

People react to a dead sea turtle.

Big beach

Christmas day.

Private property. An outtake from my “semi-natural states/coast” project.

Who wants to go fishing?

Palm tree from the couch.


Makawao plant.

Ok, ok. One more stupid sunset.

Then we got underwater. We did some shore dives and also did some boat dives with Ed Robinson’s and B&B Scuba. If you’ve dived with either of them you know that they are both great operations. We did most of our dives at Molokini, which always provides the chance of great encounters and one dive on the St. Anthony’s wreck which I love. I should have spent more time on the surface though. It was a very short dive.

In terms of shooting, I was rusty which drives me bonkers, so hard to push yourself when you have to relearn things every time. In the end though it came together. I was shooting a single strobe, which, when it comes to balance (both underwater and in terms of lighting) was challenging. Eventually I did push my macro forward a bit, the wide angle suffered from the single strobe but I actually don’t buy into the school of thought - that is so prevalent - that says everything needs to be super evenly and completely lit. I actually think it’s a real cop out way to shoot.

So, lots of nudibranchs, no whale sharks this time. We saw a fair amount of white tip reef sharks, heard a lot of whales and saw a variety of new creatures. No boardshorts for me this time though. The water was 75 and I was in a 3/2 wetsuit. My Roatan friends have permission to laugh now.

Enjoy the set.


Waves crash over Molokini back wall.

Blue dragon nudi.

And another one.

White mouth Moray.

These guys are called Guard crabs.

More back wall.

Trembling nudibranch at Mala boat ramp.

A pair of Imperial Nudibranchs

Fried egg nudi.

This is a painted frogfish at 5 graves.

White margin nudi

Gold lace Nudi. Ooooooo, pretty.

This is a coral. An oval mushroom coral actually.

I thought this was a dragon wrasse but it’s actually a juvenile razor wrasse.

These fellas are everywhere.

This was new to me. Scaly slipper lobster.

And then home...

On luck.

Hi friends,

I think that if you are tall, naturally thin, or super handsome/pretty, then you are lucky. Also, being born in Vancouver is lucky, (of course, I’m biased). What these things have in common, is that you have absolutely no control over them. Good genes? Sure, but you don’t get to make that call in utero, it just happens, and you are lucky. Here are some things that are not lucky:

-Nailing a picture of a snowboarder in mid spin as he stomps a trick first try in fresh powder.

-Getting a job with a fearless company, doing something really unique and interesting.

-Spending time in a tropical destination doing things that you love.

These are all things that have been part of my life, and time and again I’ve been accused of being extremely lucky. I will concede this: I was lucky to be born where I was and I was very lucky to move to a mountain town just as snowboarding was gaining traction. But you know what? 2 thousand people moved to that town that year. Not to mention the hundred other ski towns that thousands of people moved to that season. And that many again the next. Were we all lucky then?

Good luck is when something positive happens TO you, and you have absolutely no control over it.

When something really positive happens in your life, and it is a result of planning, preparedness, and foresight, that isn’t luck. I think that “unlucky” people have often been right in the crosshairs of “luck”, but failed to be “lucky”. Why is that? Because “lucky” takes balls.
Often times, six months before you become “lucky” you are presented with a decision that is “terrifying”. The difference between the people who find the luck and those who don’t then, is often intuition and courage. It takes a lot of nerve to take a chance on something instead of sticking with what is time tested and proven. It takes a different kind of thinking to drop everything to chase a dream for a while. You have to be prepared for the worst, have a good plan, and then work like your life depends on it. Just to be lucky.

People often remark to photographers “you must have a really good camera.” They have the best intention, but this is pretty insulting to us because it equates the quality and value of your work to a purchased item of equipment. Professional photographers have professional cameras, but often that is a function of durability and ease of use as much as anything else. These days there are hundreds of consumer cameras that take pictures as good as professional cameras, they just may not last as long.

That’s why I find the “lucky” tag to be insulting.
I’ve taken so many chances in my life, and some of them have worked out spectacularly, but sometimes I’m unemployed, running out of money, and feeling creatively bankrupt. Nobody is calling me lucky then. I have been told time and again that I’m lucky to spend so much time in Roatan, diving several times a day in a tropical paradise. Well that luck has come with a price tag too, (try to maintain a normal career when you disappear for months at a time!) but I just nod and suggest that “you should try it, all it takes is to go there.”

With the exception of where I was born and a few other minor details, I’ve made my luck with risk taking, hard work, and a self reliance and intuition that I value more every day. Finally, a quote attributed to the American film producer Samuel Goldwyn:

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

Right time, right place? Sometimes you just have to be in the right place and hang around long enough for it to be the right time.

Louise in Stockholm

Took the train to Stockholm yesterday. Had lunch with some family and then made our way around town. What a perfect town for walking or riding a bike. In fact, it’s one of the most bike friendly cities I’ve seen. Louise enjoyed being a tourist dog and wore herself out.

More Stockholm today.


tight streets of old city

perfect swedish bike guy


tight streets

Then we found this cafe with really great light across the street. Had a couple beers and shot some people. This is an awesome little set but I don’ have time to work on them right now. Here are a couple.


last day for a boat ride

Well, today was our last day here in Kladesholmen. We spent it out on the boat.

Tomorrow we are off to Stockholm. So there.





navigation cairn

swedish colours

no man is an island.

sweden + time on my hands = lots of photos.


tight real estate

somebody took a whiz here.

lichen covered rocks

catching rays whenever and wherever

the whole coast is covered in swim ladders. swim ladders to cold, cold water.

When a jumble of words become a sentence.

It’s interesting after being in a place for a few days how you start to get a better sense of it. At first on this trip I was shooting what I saw, but as I spend more time, I start to shoot how it feels here and as a result the shots become more honest. A style is developing and as it does, I search it out more. Shots from a few days ago already seem not to “get it”, which is to say that they no longer fit in with the narrative that I’ve developed in my head.

Kladesholmen was a fishing village forever when around 50 years ago some folks from Gothenburg started to buy little fishing huts as summer houses. Now there are very few fishermen lift and it is a community of vacationers and retirees. It maintains a bit of the feel of a fishing village, but it’s more like an homage than a true representation.

The maritime feel of this place is very real though. Most days include a boat trip, which is fine by me!

More soon.


ropes and floats. one of the last working fisherman here.

and his boat

Calm water early one morning



swimming hole at the park

fishing boy

tubby lil boat


floating hotel


lunch spot?



little dock

tiny harbour

more sweden

Some more shots from Sweden. Boat trips, walks and meals are the order of the day.


yellow house




fishing house


soccer pitch




we got a little rain

the land of white fences


A shot from Cuba

In 2004 I went to Cuba. A week ago I scanned this photo for the first time. This is a typical day in Vinales. Enjoy.



December 24th.

Here is my day from sunrise to sunset yesterday:

YVR departures

Loading luggage

Bye bye Vancouver

Bye bye Canada.

Nothing but Pacific.

Islands on the horizon.

Surf is way up.

That's us.


Merry Christmas everyone. I hope Santa treats you well.


Back from a quick three days and two nights in Vegas. The SIA trade show is going to be in Denver next year so this is the end of a long stint of industry debauchery that is some people's yearly highlight. My mission was to spread the word about the Grenade Games coming to Whistler for the WSSF in April and generally show my face around and connect with folks. It was pretty successful, although it is definitely impossible to do everything you set out to at SIA. To all the folks I missed, sorry bout that, come to WSSF and I'll buy you a drink.

My overall impression of the snowboard industry is that it is remarkably optimistic and full of piss and vinegar despite the whole economy. Booths were full, stuff looked good, people were smiling and the general feeling I got from people was "what crisis?" All in all, it's nice to feel optimistic when the world seems so dreadful every day. There is really extensive coverage on boardistan and matt's blog and of course from our friends at Transworld Business so if you are interested in pictures of all the new stuff and whatnot, you should check them out.

the view from the palms' playboy bar or whatever.

Lana flips out. It's a noisy mess, i know, but she's rad so there you go.

dalby wins the g9 wars.

Speaking of optimism, this came over my blog reader today ( via pixsylated. thanks) and I thought I'd share it with you. It's a really simple concept that just works so well that it makes you stop and take a second look. Seriously cool.

Have an optimistic day.




Well, I'm home. I'm pretty good at changing gears but I found it impossible to get excited about all the snow in Vancouver. I'm about to go out and walk in it, so maybe that will change my mind, but my head is still underwater.

Here are some shots from my Christmas Vacation. I hope you like them.

Anessa and Barry watch the sun set from the Reef Gliders dock

One of the millions of Sharpnose Pufferfish that are all over the reef

lil buddy

Brendan clowning around with a bottle he found.

Spotted moray eel.

A giant anemone in front of the blue on the reef wall.

This Peacock flounder was showing off his blue spots for me.

Reef Gliders moved into a huge new shop with its own beach and dock. Nice!

And now for the real world. I'm actually excited to see all of the entrants in the Deep Winter Photo contest going on this week. I'll be judging the event and I'm not really looking forward to that. Judging photography is like deciding which puppy is cuter, everyone has an opinion and they are all correct. However, someone has to win and I'll contribute as best I can to make sure it is the right person.

Unfortunately, saying yes to this event means that I am going to miss the Greg Todds Memorial in Trout Lake this weekend. I'm really bummed about that. I hope all my friends out there have a good time, and be safe. I look forward to seeing the photos.

Happy New Year everyone. I hope that is the last time you all have to hear it. On with the show...



roatan for the holidays

In between power cuts and with extremely inconsistent internet, I'd like to wish everyone a happy Christmas and New Years from Roatan. Diving with Reef Gliders again and they have a new, much bigger and better spot in the West End. I've seen all sorts of old friends and met some new ones too. Saw a seahorse on my second dive, of course I never dive with my camera the first couple times after time off. Of course.

Here is a turtle. I'm already counting the days before I have to come home.



Winter is taking its sweet time this year. Here is a wall from Antigua, Guatemala in 2007. Layers and layers of paint, plaster and concrete. 400 years of bumps and wear.


A misty morning in Northern California.

When I lived in California, I used to do the drive up and down I5 between Leucadia and Vancouver 4 or 6 times a year. In the almost 3 years that I lived there i watched the gas costs for that trip go from about 280 dollars to over 400. Gas has gone up 50% since then and I'm not missing that expense. I liked the drive though. I liked 22 hours of no computers and no office. I liked the anticipation of getting home and the feeling of excitement I got as I left Southern California.

I really start to feel like I've left California when I climb out of the plains, into the pine forests and see Mt. Shasta right by Yreka. I usually end up staying the night there unless I've made good time and press on into Oregon.

One morning, I woke up early in Yreka, eager to hit the road and get back to BC before dinner. I wasn't five minutes out of town when I found myself on the side of the road taking in this beautiful scene. The sun was rising and the hazy valley floor was cast in a warm light while mist came off a small farmer's pond. Shasta lurked back there in the distance.

I made three frames and drove north.

You can buy this photo here. And if you do, I'll go and buy another print from Will Steacy who has hit a hard stretch with a shitty landlord. I already bought one, but some of you out there could help me to help him. Pass it on...


Catching Up

What a crazy couple of weeks. Spent a really expensive week in Terrace, BC, with Standard Films, at Northern Escape Heli. We had one day that will be one of the best of the season, and a whole bunch that were much less productive. It was hard to come into a scene where they had just shot 9 out of 12 days and end up getting much less done, but that’s the nature of things.

Things I (re)learned on this trip:

- I can survive without a cell phone. (barely)
- Two is not the magic number when it comes to photographers.
- All is never what it seems.
- Talent isn’t always the most important thing.
- Helicopters are as cool as they are expensive.
- Sometimes a big dumb jump is a big dumb waste of time.

ejack is stoked on the snow

a big dumb jump to nowhere.

this is why

So I got home, had time for a deep breath, and dropped into some sled days with Absinthe films. The day before the sun came out my phone rang off the hook with people looking for a shooter. If only I could clone myself and work with everyone.

JP Solberg and
Romain de Marchi had spent a weather day out in the middle of nowhere, building a couple jumps, so when the sun came out we were ready to go. Not everything worked out, but one jump in particular was amazing.

this shot won't make the cut, but you can see what a lovely day we had.

Annie Boulanger and I did the commute in her truck every morning and she did a couple of lines that were really impressive. It is hard for a girl out there in testosterone land and Annie has proven herself over the years. She is no joke.

So now I’m processing and editing a million shots and watching the weather, planning the next attack. In the meantime T has made huge gains in the battle to make our apartment into a home. I love this place. I would be perfectly happy to shoot portraits on the
huge patio all spring long. Ya, right.

parking lot gold

Driving home from California this past December, I stopped in Roseville, or Rosedale or some other “Rose” town in Southern Oregon, to meet Colin and Livi for breakfast. It was a gloomy day and within the next several hours I would encounter some of the fiercest driving conditions I’d ever seen, torrential rain of biblical proportions.

We stopped at one of those “family restaurant” type places that are everywhere out there on the interstates. As I got out of the truck, a fleck of colour on the pavement caught my eye.

Remember back in school, picture day? Remember how you would choose the package of pictures you wanted and when they came, you would cut out the wallet sized ones and write something on the back and share them with your friends. It became a big deal if you got that certain girl’s picture and if she wrote something flirty on it you would read it several times over the next week to try to distill new meaning from it. Maybe that was just me.

So I glance down to see one of those pictures, a girl, ground into the dirt and the wet of the parking lot. I didn’t think too much of it, but while we were eating it sat there in my mind and I mentioned it to Colin and Livi. I decided I would have to take a picture of the picture, so after breakfast, there I am in the rain, down in the wet dirt trying to take this picture. I wonder what the story is behind that picture. I wonder how she ended up discarded in the parking lot of some generic freeway diner.

As I was pulling away, shaking the rain out of my hair, Colin phoned my cell. “Hey man, did you take a picture of that picture?” Yup. I did.