Cart 0
A 4 day / 5 night creative experience set in the Canadian Rockies.

CAMP (fire) STORIES

Read stories and first hand experiences of attendees to Socality Camp 2017.

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 3.45.14 PM.png

Camp Highlight

video by @michaelnguyenfilm

We designed Socality Camp to bring people together to create, connect and learn while experiencing the beauty of the outdoors. From the outset, Socality has used social media to bring people into a face-to-face encounter while creating spaces for people to collaborate and connect. Socality Camp was another step in this direction and we were thrilled to host this in Alberta as part of the celebration of the 150 anniversary of Canada.

We limited the amount of spots available as to create a quality experience and authentic time for people to have the ultimate experience. We saw more Americans than Canadians attend and even had attendees from Europe. This intimate gathering allowed for close up and personal workshops around the arts, time for great conversations and an overall greater experience. The perfect ending to each day was sealed with campfires at night with live music and a few dance parties under the mountain stars. Our excursions saw these creators capture and share some of the most stunning places in the world including Moraine Lake, Crownest Pass and Banff National Park.

The response to camp has been significant and we are now in the process of planning Socality Camp 2018. In the meantime, we have placed together some stories, images and videos created over the 5 days by the attendees who we now refer to as family.

Sign up below to stay notified of future camps and be the first to receive all the updates so you don’t miss a moment!

Enjoy

Scott Bakken

Founder, Socality

 

Collaboration Over Competition

A poem written at Camp by Brittany Smith


There is hope in the process

There is always room to grow

There will always be someone higher

There will always be someone below

When you step into the gift

Of collaborative community

You have two choices

You can watch and be discouraged

For the places you are not

You can be insecure and in the shadows

Where creativity goes to rot

The other choice you have

Is a bold one in itself

You can choose to be inspired

When you encounter something better

You can celebrate the role you play

In your unique adventure

You can rejoice

Along with your brothers and your sisters

When they create something worthwhile

In the end

In this community

We were people before we were creatives

We have stories to tell

And just as well

We have things that didn’t make the portfolio

So breathe in and breathe out

Take a moment to reflect

Appreciate your room for improvement

You are not alone

If you’ve ever chosen

The first before the latter

In fact, you are surrounded

By people who believe you matter

So learn everything you can

And let the impulse to compare

Absolutely shatter

IMG_9571.jpg

STORIES

"In a time of my life where I felt so lost creatively, emotionally, and mentally, Socality was introduced to me through a personal leap of faith.  Little did I know that by purchasing a spontaneous ticket over Instagram, to a five day camping trip in the middle of Alberta, Canada I would actually become part of a family of like-minded and creative individuals. It was surreal. I’d never felt more comfortable in my life. To be surrounded by people who’s mission was to share knowledge, spread love, and encourage creativity was the most liberating and humbling feeling I had every experienced.  

It is safe to say that Socality Camp changed my life. Because of it I became a stronger and more confident photographer, I’ve made connections with new friends who I value and admire, I’ve visited one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I’ve redefined my self-worth to something I can be happy with and proud of. I was so impacted by the event that I chose the word Socality to be engraved onto the Giving Key I had purchased for myself. Everyone needs to experience Socality, to have a community where their ideas are heard and supported while having fun is essential! I am so blessed to have found this family! It is without a doubt I will continue to spread the mission and equally involve myself in future events! Thank you to Scott Bakken and the Socality team for your kindness and spectacular vision for this concept. You have a member forever!"

Kasia Avila, @kasiavila

Chicago, IL

"Imagine a place where creativity runs freely and collaboration is fully embraced. A place where everyone wants to hear your story and openly shares theirs. This is what Socality Camp was for me—150 grown adults running around one of the most beautiful places in the world, exercising creativity and inspiring each other to not only be better creatives but more importantly, better human beings.

An overall theme I got from people the entire week was they felt like they were meant to be at camp. For me, I bought my ticket early on because I just knew I needed to be there. It was like out of all the people in the world, this unique group of creatives was hand picked to come together and become each other's family for the week (and beyond)."

Wendy Hu, @nomadicfare

New York City, NY

Live acoustic version of Outlaw by Van Andrew. Video By: Davey Gravy

I first considered going to Socality Camp when Scott Bakken reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in designing some swag for the retreat.

As a designer by trade, I agreed to the project and decided to come up to the camp as well. I remember during my 10.5 hour drive up to Alberta Canada I started second guessing my decision and asking myself why the heck I was even going.

I assumed the camp would primarily be made up of photographers, which, though I love taking pictures with my iPhone as a hobby, I am a designer by day, and a musician by heart. Deciding to take a week off of work during one of the busiest months of the year, added to my anxiety. 

The morning of Camp I woke up at my buddy Davey's house who was graciously hosting several guys needing a place for the night, and made my way to the kitchen where I met my now dear friend Reed Robertson, an incredibly talented singer-songwriter from Nashville. 

Reed and I hit it off instantly and went from spending the morning chatting and swapping music, to diving into deep heartfelt conversations about life, our struggles, and our faith on the long car ride to camp. I didn't realize that long car ride to Camp was just the start of cultivating some of the most amazing relationships one could hope to make. Just getting to know each of these dear people alone was well worth the trip and I am still amazed at how humble and down to earth everyone was.

From casually chatting with Brit from the Giving Keys (who ended up giving me my first giving key, which... Not going to lie, was kinda freakin dope), to talking with Paul Brandt about past experiences and similar upbringings, to late night talks with my buddy Nick on the hard cabin floor, to becoming fast friends with the uber talented photographer Bryan Castillo (did you know the guy is a freakin genius musician too?! He's cray, it's really ridiculous), to long heart felt and beautiful conversations had on the many bus rides to and from camp, to teaming up with my good friend Davey Gravy and shooting a live music video for my song Outlaw, to just gathering around the campfire and dancing our hearts out as the sky showed off the most epic light show imaginable... it was refreshing. It was beautiful.

And honestly, it was really needed.

The past couple years have been really really hard for me. I have wrestled with my identity, my faith, anxiety and depression, and my purpose in life. I have struggled with feeling behind, feeling like I am not reaching my full potential... Struggling with who I am and what the future holds. Being surrounded by people that genuinely care and want to pour into each other was one of the most amazing things to be a part of.

As a musician, it was incredible to connect with other musicians and producers who just want to create and encourage others to reach their goals. Seeing musicians like Paul Brandt, the band I Am Mountain, and Reed Roberson use their music and life stories to affect the world around them for good, was nothing short of inspiring.

On the long drive home, I had my own soul revival... I came to a place of purpose, a place of letting go. A place of renewed faith. And I realize now, making the trip up to Alberta Canada, was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life.

I'm learning more and more lately, life isn't to be lived in the future... It's not about who you could be, and it's not about who you haven't been... It's about embracing the gifts God has given us today and being all we can be in the moment.

I want to live my life day to day, thankful for every opportunity, every person, every breath.

Because friend, life is not a talent show... It's not a race to the top... It is a gift. Life is a gift.

Van Andrew, @andrewberk

Bellingham, WA

1C7A0784.jpg

Listening to Kohl speak (his first night there) stirred in my being the need to start. Most people have something that they crave to be doing, but for whatever reason haven't even started yet. I got re-inspired to start right where I am and with what I have and with what I know. I desire to be empowering people in poverty, and hear Kohl speak got me thinking what that can look like in my life right now.

Grace Iverson, @grace.iverson

Calgary, AB

1C7A1056.jpg

Socality has been an important in creating and building friendships. I have known about Socality for a while now and because of it; I am where I am now. The opportunity to meet and do community with. Coming in as a semi-creative, it was an interesting opportunity to see photographers and other creative rock at what they do. The camp itself was an awesome experience that allowed me to push myself creativity, but personally in terms of meeting others. I wouldn't trade any of the opportunities of meeting new people and developing friendships to pushing myself creativity. 

Ranjan Ghate, @ranjan_ghate

Dallas, TX

1C7A1091.jpg

I did all the things my parents told me not to do as a kid like talking to strangers and getting in strangers cars. In such a short period of time I was able to turn friendly strangers into friends, I was able to make the best memories, leaving camp feeling so inspired to create, more educated then I came.

Jemi Crenshaw, @jemicrenshaw21

Toronto, ON

 

Video by @matthffmn

"What made Socality Camp unique was that it was an all-immersive experience of adventure, creativity and community. Being in such beautiful scenery with so many creative people, who had come together because of shared passions, created an environment that buzzed with positive energy from start to end. All of the workshops and excursions were opportunities to interact with creative leaders, get their perspectives and advice, and put ideas into action. Above all else, I felt inspired by the talent around me and even more so knowing that I could inspire others too. I couldn’t ask for more of a life boost and it’s awesome to now be part of a community that supports one another beyond camp."

Matt Hoffman @matthffmn

Toronto, ON

 

IMG_7191.jpg

Treeline Outdoors was a proud sponsor of Socality Camp. This local Alberta company has created a rooftop tent that secures to your vehicle and allows you to turn your current location into your campsite. They set up shop at Camp and some of our guests were able to stay in the tents during the week. Check out Treeline Outdoor for your camping adventures.

The tent was surprisingly spacious! We were able to fit two large bags and backpacks along with our sleeping bags and were still super comfortable. I was really impressed with the built in mattress as well! Definitely did not feel like we were sleeping in a tent!

Ali Castillo, @alexiistherese

Phoenix, AZ

I'm a big fan of Treeline! Their staff including my new friend Jess were amazing to get to know during camp. Not to mention how incredible and innovative their tents are! Also have I mentioned how cool that Treeline Bronco was?? I can't wait to get one of these tents on my truck one day!

Paul Tellefsen, @technopaul

Dallas, TX

After hours spent at Moraine Lake we traveled as a group to Lake Louise. I’m not going to lie, once I saw how many tourists were there the air got sucked out of my lungs. I was a little disappointed. To be honest I might have been spoiled earlier that morning, having a peaceful Moraine Lake to ourselves for a bit - but I was still slightly annoyed at the crowds. 

I don’t know how but suddenly I found myself walking the path around the lake with Aaron Froese. We walked away from the tourists and towards the other end of the lake. We talked about everything; life, photography, travel. Then we ran into Dave B. Jongerden - and let me tell you, he is one of he most genuine people I’ve ever met. 

The three of us stop and suddenly the boys are playing with the birds. By the looks of it all, they have done it before. It those fleeting moments of birds coming in and out - I saw three people who were strangers totally connect over Mother Nature and the creatures she provides. 

I learned a lot about taking risks and doing what it takes to get the shot from those two boys. And clearly I made a memory that won’t soon be forgotten.

Jess Borislow, @jess_borislow

Boston, MA

"My hands aren't shaking? My throat doesn't feel like it's closing? I am breathing deep and feeling peace for the first time in months right now. Is this really happening?"

These were the thoughts running through my mind as I walked across the beautiful golden field, past the scenic tree line tent setup towards the rustic outdoor lecture hall (aka exquisitely refurbished horse training barn) to hear Scott Bakken share another one of his many wisdom's along with the president of one of my favourite companies, The Giving Keys.

It was then that I found myself in a moment of realization. I have experienced zero anxiety, OCD, depression, or manic thoughts in the last three days since I arrived at Blue Bronna Wilderness Camp.

"How is this possible?"

As I looked to my right I saw the still smouldering campfire surrounded by warm smiles and chilly toes, my senses then shifted to my ears. Sounds of laughter and shouting to the left and LANY music bumping through the subs to my right. Talk about a dream scene!

Here I am surrounded by 150 new faces from all over the world. Creators, curators, passionate lovers, designers, musicians, photographers, explorers, and life givers. THAT is the Socality crew.

I was able to leave my world and enter this one for the first time at Socality camp, and let me tell you I won't ever be going back. 

Even as I sit here writing this my mind is wondering back to the peak of the mountain tops that we adventured, the stillness of the glassy lakes with the reflection of the larch trees, and the craziness of technopaul dancing on the roof of a vintage Vanigan. (his moves are stellar) 

My heart feels happy, my soul feels on fire, and my life feels just a little bit sweeter. 

Since camp, I have been inspired to pick up a camera and start pointing at the beautiful things in life I really want to see. I am finding myself filled with joy and excitement everyday as I reconnect with different adventurers from the camp each week and jet off on new adventures to unseen places. My life shifted from chasing prescriptions and answers to chasing sunrises and sunsets.

From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank you Socality for teaching me about "Golden Hour" and giving me back my Golden years.

Jay McDonald, @romanceyourwild

Calgary, AB

As the bus was heading back to Blue Bronna Wilderness Camp, everyone on the bus started seeing dust all over the field and in the air. Captivated by the scenery, the bus driver decided to pull over to give us an opportunity to take portraits out in the dusty open field with the sun setting.

Video by Michael Nguyen, @michaelnguyenfilm

Toronto, ON

Socality camp was so much more than I expected, it blew my mind! I signed up not knowing much about camp, but I knew I had to go! Little did I know I would have one of the best experiences of my life! I felt welcomed by everyone right away, and instantly made friends! I gained so much knowledge in what I love, while connecting with others and making great friendships. The workshops were full of knowledge, and very engaging, 

 The excursions were filled with tons of Adventure and free time to explore! I left camp filled with knowledge and full of inspiration! I will definitely be coming back to camp in the years to come! I couldn’t have asked for a better experience! Thank you socality camp!

Jessica Tarno, @jessica_tarno

West Palm Beach, FL

I am so grateful for the opportunity to have attended Socality Camp 2017. The connections and friendships that were made are priceless. I am relatively introverted and was nervous about meeting so many new people; but as soon as I met the other campers, as cheesy as it sounds, they instantly felt like family! It was amazing to see so many people come together come together from all over the world to connect and grow as creators. I was able to learn many new things from the workshops and panels, but I leaned so much from just being around likeminded people. Besides meeting so many awesome human beings, the best part of camp was probably the nightly campfires. What’s better than a bonfire in the Canadian mountains? Also the places that we traveled to were breathtaking! Okay, so basically every part of Socality Camp was amazing… The invaluable information learned, amazing sights seen, making lifelong friends around the campfires all led to Socality Camp being one of the greatest experiences I have had! Until next year, keep taking those bangers.

Nathan Pigott, @nathan.blaine

Jacksonville, FL

My sister was elated when she found out she was going to Socality Camp. She tried to convince me to go but I had no idea what it was and I was completely out of vacation days. Long story short, I found myself able to go to Canada 4 days prior and LET ME TELL YOU it was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever been a part of!

One thing to know about me is that I’m a fake extrovert. Pretty much, I can look like a social butterfly, but I’m really the most awkward person inside. As my sister and I were walking up to the group meeting at the airport, everything inside of me wanted to turn back around and get back on that plane. But I was welcomed with the warmest smiles and the most genuine people!

I get stuck when I try sharing about my time at camp because I get overwhelmed with so many incredible memories that I don’t know where to begin. We saw the most beautiful sceneries that a picture doesn’t even do justice, had some of the best conversations full of laughter and intentionality, and enjoyed picture perfect camp fires entailed with musicians and a beautiful view of the northern lights. But if I could choose something to share about, it would be my biggest personal takeaway.

Do you ever feel lost or stuck? You wake up in the mornings going to your job and not something you look forward to? Yeah. Me too. But what I was able to experience in my time at Socality Camp was hope. Hope, that there is so much more out there. That there is a job waiting for me out there to step into and this camp gave me that courage and confidence to never settle for less.

If your dream doesn’t scare you, then it’s not big enough.

Julie Tarno, @julietarno

West Palm Beach, FL

A year and a half ago, I was following some of the leaders in this Camp (Bryan Castillo, John T Sweet, and some others). I realized that I wanted to get into photography. I thought that it’d be cool to start learning this skill, but I thought that I’d never be as skilled as these guys. As I continued to work at it, I realized that I had a huge passion for photography. After spending weeks upon weeks on learning how to shoot, I came to see that photography would be something that I do for a really long time, possibly for the rest of my life. 

When I saw that Socality was hosting a Camp, I noticed that all these huge inspirations that that I’ve always looked up to were going to be there. So, with that being the case, I decided to go to Camp.

All throughout Socality Camp, I became friends with all these inspirations of mine, we connected on social media, and I made new friends. These people that I had looked up to for so many months were telling me how talented I was and how skilled I was at photography. That meant a whole lot to me. While on the bus back to the airport after Camp, Bryan Castillo was a few seats back behind me and was apparently watching me edit some pictures I had taken from Camp on my laptop. Bryan goes, “Hey Luke! I can’t help but watch you edit some of these pictures. Those are absolutely incredible!” Those couple sentences meant so much to me. Here I am, a kid who loves photography and looks up to this guy, and after of year of crafting my work, he tells me that he loves my stuff! That’s so cool to me!

Camp really showed me that if you put your mind to crafting a skill, and if you put in the work, you can do anything. A year and a half ago I had no idea what to do with a camera, and now I have these extremely talented people telling me that I can do the same as them. That’s something that will for sure stick with me for the rest of my life!

Luke Newton, @newtongraphy

Dallas, TX

 

As a member of the unofficial "back row bandits" crew on party bus #2 I write to you about my experience at Socality Camp 2017. It started with a lot of anxiety, way too much over thinking and doubt. Am I worthy of attending? Will I fit in? Am I going to enjoy this? Social anxiety has caused me to miss out on many great experiences in life. Well not today. I felt comforted by the fact that I would know a few others attending and this gave me enough of a reason to drive the "treacherous" 135kms to the Blue Bronna Wilderness Camp in Longview. 

My passion for film and video started at 18 years of age, mostly due to extreme sports Go Pro footage, but quickly turned into travel videos, landscapes and eventually into short films. I've taken more of a director role in the last year shooting my first ever short film on overcoming depression and anxiety. In doing so I can happily say it has helped me get to the point of being comfortable about sharing "my story" with others. So when I first heard about Socality Camp and bumping shoulders with 150 artists with a similar passion and creativity I thought here is the perfect opportunity to hear some amazing stories, find new connections, and hopefully some new inspiration.

It took about half an hour before I was completely surrounded by friends from all over the world. Friendships I knew would last. The connection I was looking for, the shoulders I wanted to bump into, the creative brains I wanted to pick, the talents I needed for inspiration. The last morning of Socality I remember wishing that Camp wouldn't end. I have never felt so close with this many strangers before. I truly thought the camp "high" would fall off quickly and I would lose contact with people. Well not today. I reflected on my notes of the speakers and workshop leaders and quickly realized how I had already answered the most important Camp question "what do you want to get out of Socality Camp 2017?" The first answer on my list was "connection." I started to message the local Socality members and friends I had made to get together. A few days later we had a crew of 11 people ready for a Canadian Rockies adventure.. A mixture of my friends and a mixture of my Socality friends. Immediately I felt the group was "connecting" and I knew that this was part of my calling. This is what I'm meant to do. Socality Camp has re-ignited my passion for connecting people and has introduced me to a social community that I now call family. 

Steve Casey, @stevie_boiii

Calgary, AB

After always wanting to go to Canada, a couple of weeks ago I got the opportunity to visit AB with Socality Camp. Camp was made up of 150 creatives & hosted at Blue Bronna Wilderness Camp near Longview. We had such an amazing week of panel talks, workshops, hikes in the mountains, canoeing on lakes and meeting great people that share the same passion of creating. Myself and Alex Ivory were the only people from the UK there & couldn't have been made to feel more welcome. Canadians really are some of the friendliest people! Can't wait to see where camp 2018 takes us.

Olivia Lowry, @oliviaxlow

York, England

 

When I got home and recapped the amazingness that was Socality Camp to people, it always boiled down to three main things: location, education, and community.

I had heard about Socality over the last couple years, and even though I didn’t quite understand it in its entirety, I followed along on Instagram and silently wondered how they were able to create community off what can sometimes be an impersonal platform. 

The first post I saw about Socality Camp came at a perfect time in my life when travel plans were being made and executed quickly. I was trying to plan a trip to the exact location where camp was going to be, so that was what initially caught my attention.

As I looked into it more, I saw that it was a camp for creatives, a term I strongly identified with. Those two things alone were enough for me to sign up that same day. I was excited to finally attend my first Socality event, but even more excited for where I was going and the potential of what I could learn. Looking back now, I had no idea what gold I was truly in for.

I knew the Canadian Rockies and glacier lakes would be beautiful. I had no idea they’d take my breath away. I didn’t realize that even during bus rides my attention would be held outside the window. I came home completely captured by the beauty that is Alberta, Canada [not to mention, Alberta Bound by Paul Brandt took on a whole new level of appreciation].

Somewhere along the lines I had realized a majority of the campers were dedicated photographers, and initially I felt out of place. The first time the question came up about what my creative angle was, I stumbled around trying to find a good way to explain what brought me to camp. I have loved photography for a long time, but never focused on it enough to call myself a photographer. Creativity is my way of life, my ministry, what has driven me for such a long time, and it’s not really limited to any one outlet. I have several favorites, sure, but for me it is creativity as a whole. The more I explained this, the more it made sense, both to me and to others. The response I got from these likeminded people was my first clue to the gift that this community would be.

Not knowing anyone, it was to my benefit that I didn’t already have preconceived ideas about anyone. With the people leading the workshops, it was pretty easy to pick up on their talent being that they were leading said workshops, but what blew me away the most was the willingness they had to teach and to inspire. I learned so much about the camera I have owned for 6+ years, I felt like I walked away from camp with a new one. Because I was so new, I had a lot of novice questions, but nobody ever made me feel inferior for asking them. There were so many not only workshop leaders but also campers who went out of their way to help me when they could. The time I appreciated it the most was one night when the northern lights were going off and lighting up the sky. I had wrongly assumed that my camera wasn’t capable of photographing the night sky, but out there in the fields in the pitch-black darkness, I was met with quick tips from multiple people and was able to walk away feeling proud of what I had created, purely because of the willingness and collaboration of the talented people I was surrounded by. I will never forget that night because I realized that amazing things can happen where a collaborative community is involved. 

The next thing I realized about this group of 150+ creatives was that everyone [that I encountered] was genuinely interested in meeting each other and having meaningful interactions. The Socality vibe was strong here, and the sense of hospitality and belonging was evident right away. A strong character trait I recognized in so many of us was intentionality, not solely for sake of business connection, but for human connection. On more than one occasion, someone asked to hear my story and then listened intently as I shared pieces of it. The bus rides and dinner table proved to be the best times to do that, so I also had the privilege of listening to their stories. Because camp lasted more than just a couple days, it allowed for campers to revisit those stories and build deeper connections with each other.

I love people, and I value knowing them well. It comes as a shock to me when I think about how I had pretty low expectations for community when I came to camp. By the time I left, I knew there were so many incredible people I wanted to stay connected with. That’s when Socality’s mission started to make sense to me. It has been a month since camp began, and I am still consistently inspired by the experience and the people that I came to know and love. What makes Socality so special is not just the talent and creativity, although that definitely sets it apart. What makes Socality special is the authentic desire to connect people together, both locally and internationally. Socality camp was an experience I will always treasure, and Socality is a community I am truly thankful to be part of.

Brittany Smith@bees__collective

Ventura, CA

 
IMG_5914.jpg

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Alberta, Canada along with 150 other creatives and creators attending Socality Camp. I knew absolutely no one going there, and have come back with new friendships.

The entire week felt like a dream as we learned from each other through workshops, and daily excursions to awe inspiring destinations. It was refreshing to be submerged back into nature and meeting so many talented individuals. Free from distractions and my normal schedule, I was inspired by everything around me. I was tended to capture the smaller and insignificant moments we sometimes miss.

From the lack of wifi we all experienced in the mountains, it lead to truly connecting with others by simply putting down the phone, and having a conversation over a meal.

As we were always doing something I still found a sense of calmness and peace while in the midst of it all.

Going forward I'm so thankful for all that I have been able to learn and grow in the past years. I never want to lose sight of the "Why?" behind my passion of photography

Addie Ott@addieotter

Savannah, GA

I came to Socality Camp alone and decided to just go for it and step out of my comfort zone a bit and I'm so glad I did! I met so many talented and friendly people from around the world  and was able to learn a ton from a few of the Socality Team members. left with some new friends, new dance moves and a whole lot of memories. Cant wait until next year!

Natasha Knebelow@natashaknebelow

Vancouver, B.C.

 

The months leading up to camp I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but as the months turned into days I had a feeling my experience was going to be unforgettable…and I was right! I wouldn’t give up the time I had at camp for anything! Throughout the sessions and during the time where I had a chance to connect with the other campers, I felt my creative spirit grow substantially. Being a month later, I can truly say I have grown stronger as a creator and happily been able to stay connect with the many friends I made at Socality Camp.

Eli Clark, @eliclark_

Calgary, AB

 

Video by Eli Clark

Wednesday evening brought the end of the second day of camp. A campfire was starting to begin underneath the A-Frame, and I was heading over to join, when someone shouted that they could see the Northern Lights. Turning in the direction that was being indicated, sure enough, there were the Northern Lights. That was the first time I had seen them with my own eyes, and they were magnificent. No longer interested in the campfire, I raced off to my cabin to retrieve my camera gear and tripod which I had already packed away for our 3am wake up call the following morning to drive to Lake Moraine.

I wasn't the only person with this idea in mind as when I returned to the darkened field, there were many other photographers setting up their gear. After about a half hour of shooting, I started to pack up and head to bed, knowing full well I was already not going to get a full nights sleep. As I headed back towards the cabin, I saw a number of people head out farther into the darkness of the parking lot to get some better shots of the Northern Lights, without some of the light pollution the cabins and campfire gave off. Glancing at my watch and sighing, I knew I had to get those shots as well, so I followed down to the parking lot. After another half an hour, and some even more amazing shots taken from the parking lot, I packed up, knowing I'd be waking up in 4 hours time. As I walked across the dark field, suddenly I heard Tanner Wendell Stewart shouting "Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap!" and moments later racing across my path in front of me, clutching his tripod and camera. Looking in the direction he was racing off to, my jaw dropped. Over the horizon was the most bizarre sight I had every seen. It was as if God was shining the brightest spotlight ever, across the sky. A thin, white beam of light stretched across the sky from horizon to horizon.

I couldn't go to bed now. I had to photograph this strange phenomena. Racing after Tanner, we ran far out of range of the light sources in camp and set up our tripods to photograph this strange sight. For another half an hour, I stood out in the cold and dark, along with Tanner, Paul Tellefsen and a few others taking more pictures and marveling at nature's beauty.

Finally I decided to actually go to bed. 3 and a half hours later, I was on a bus to Banff and Lake Moraine. We made it just in time for sunrise, and we were racing off the bus like paratroopers jumping out of a plane once the green light flashed. Running up the hill to get to the Vantage point above the lake, I pulled out my iPhone and took a photo. The magic, wonder and beauty of Alberta is incredible. 

Ben Murphy, @benmurphy.photography

Seattle, WA

#socalitycamp

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

selfie-xs.gif