Chasing Colours

Steve Fraser.Life.Adventure.Inspiration.Photography

What do 600 million people have in common?

It seems unimaginable that over 600 million people across the world don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. 1 in 10 people on the planet, twice the population of America, struggle to find clean water to drink every day—something you and I take for granted. Access to water is not only the difference between life and death it is also the catalyst for sustainable change. Each day, thousands of people in Africa make the long, and often dangerous trek to fetch water. It is the younger women who often carry out this arduous task. Not only is their personal safety in jeopardy, but so is their education. They either miss school or are unable to attend at all. Women are at significant risk of being attacked when they leave the safety of their villages to trek many kilometres to collect water.

Just one well in one village can be life changing. Infant mortality rates are vastly reduced, the risk of violent attacks outside of the village is removed and school attendance increases significantly.  The result is a new generation of healthy, happy and educated people.

I love the change Water for Africa are bringing to hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Phil and Julie Hepworth have a passion to see Africa transformed through the provision of clean water. I visited Tanzania and saw what villages were like before the provision of a well, and after. Water transforms lives.

It is clear that Water for Africa have a plan, a strategic approach, and a tender heart for the people of Africa.

If you want to be involved in bringing about long-term sustainable change then I would strongly recommend you partner with Water for Africa. Together we can bring clean water to the forgotten 10% of our planet, and in the process, help restore hope for a better future.

Fragile

I am really excited to have the release of Fragile - my latest book later this month.

It has been 4 years of work, covering every continent on the planet and over 25 countries. The book is about discovering the incredible beauty of the our planet, the adventure of visiting some of the worlds most remote locations and the inspiration that comes from experiencing these untouched wilderness areas.

During this time I have spent time alone in Antarctica, lived with the Masai in Africa and climbed high in the Andes. The people I have meet and the amazing beauty I experienced all have one thing in common - Fragile. These locations are delicately balanced and the challenge is to see what this generation does to ensure we leave a positive legacy for the next generation. Climate change and ever growing industrialisation are impacting our planet at an alarming rate, Fragile will highlight what the planet is supposed to look like, beautiful, inspiring and untouched.

I hope you get a chance to check out the book.

Ted Talk Part 1 - Chasing Colours

The alarm sounds it 4am, I its an effort to get up, I am really tired, I get dressed, grab my camera gear and start the 4 mile trek along the beach. The first sign of light is staring to appearing. I set up my gear The next 30 minutes are breath taking and a reminder to me that there is no prize for staying in bed.

I spend my life chasing colours. I travel to the most remote parts of the world, searching for the right light, at the right time to capture some incredible moments. Photography is about light— it is the critical elements that makes the difference between the ordinary and something special. The perfect light often only lasts a few minutes, or at times, just a few seconds. This can mean I have long periods of preparation and waiting, followed by a few incredible moments of inspiration.

 

Fragile - A symphony of colour

I spend my life traveling to the most remote and unique locations on the planet. I have been fortunate enough to travel to every continent including Antarctica. No matter where I go I am always impacted by the fragile nature of nature itself. The delicate balance of the environment we live in, which is so easily impacted by changes in the weather, climate change or by the impact we have as we continue to consume, build at an alarming rate. 

There are areas I visited only 20 years ago that are now very different today, coastal erosion, natural disasters, man made development or progress. A combination of these factors have left an irreversible mark on some of the most unique and beautiful parts of our world. As photographers we have a responsibility to highlight the amazing beauty that we find in nature, to share it and leave it untouched for the next generation. If I can encourage you to be a champion for the planet, to photograph responsibly leaving no trace, only adding a great image that will highlight your work and our amazing environment.

Fragile is also how I see the challenge of capturing a special image, the challenge of capturing the right location at the right time with the right light and in the right season. It requires so many elements to come together to create a truly special moment and image, that I can only describe these few moneys in a year as both fragile and precious. Great planning helps, it put me in the right place in the right season, but it has little impact on great light, this key ingredient has little to do with my ability or planning, I can only add my patience and some good luck.

I love what I do and the special moments that make up another year, I hope and pray that 2015 is a special year for you. That you get to experience more of our planets fragile beauty and just maybe capture a few very special moments for the rest of us to enjoy.

 

 

5 Life Lessons I Have Learnt About Adventure

 

1.     Life Should Be A Great Adventure

 

Each one of us has a desire to do something challenging, inspiring and adventurous with our lives. An innate part of us wants our lives to count, to be someone who makes a difference, to experience something special I have met many people who live amazing lives, and I have come to realize that most of them started out as fairly ordinary people. For most it was the desire for something more that saw them change their lives from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

 

The Oxford Dictionary defines adventure as:  participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises. Each one of us deserves to have an exciting undertaking, something that makes us a little unsure or takes us beyond our comfort zone.

 

As a child, your first jump from a swinging rope into a river, riding a bike fast down a hill for the first time or your first kiss all got your heart racing. The first road trip with friends or heading out on your own for that first overseas trip, these are the things we remember and were excited about. The outcome was often uncertain, but the memories of adventure stay with you forever.

 

 

2.     Don’t Miss Your Moment

I finished school, started a family then worked in the same business for 25 years before my real adventures began. It’s not that I didn’t have any adventures, I was into rally driving, got to travel for work, and decided mountain biking across the Canadian Rockies would be fun, it’s just I didn’t have the same freedom to pack up and go whenever I wanted. I know better than most that often we have to wait for adventure. For others, like Oskar Schindler (Schindler’s list) adventure came during his younger years when he saved thousands of Polish Jews from certain death in World War Two. After that nothing adventurous or significant is recorded of Schindler’s life. Nelson Mandela languished in prison for the better part of his youth before transforming a nation and placing a mark on this generation across the globe.

 

If you are currently in a place you would rather not be, then think of it as a training ground. That’s where you develop character, integrity and perseverance, all qualities you will need, and use, when your time comes.

 

Adventure may come later in life, or in your youth, but there is no guarantee it will be a lasting journey. When your opportunity for adventure comes, embrace it, as there may not be another.

 

 

3.    We Can’t Make It On Our Own

We all need a coach in our life. This is someone who believes in you and wants to see you reach your potential. They are the person telling you to go for it when life presents you with an adventure. They will challenge you, question you and, at times frustrate you, but they always have your best interests at heart. We need this person in our lives when the big opportunities come along. At this point we can feel vulnerable; insecure, afraid, full of self-doubt and anxiety. This is totally normal as you are being presented with an opportunity that doesn’t have a guaranteed outcome, where risk is involved and face possible failure. When the moment arrives for you to take the plunge into a great adventure, having someone you trust who has been a part of your journey, someone who in that moment of doubt can tell you to go for it, can be the difference between stepping into your life’s adventure and missing the moment. 

 

 

4.    You Will Never Regret It

There are a number of adventures that I have said yes to, that as I was getting on the plane I’ve often thought, maybe this is bad idea. Even in the midst of some of them, I’ve wondered if I should just go home.  However, when I reflect on them afterwards, I have not regretted a single one. It is a bit like exercising. Often, leading up to a long ride or run I wish I wasn’t going. Even in the midst of it, the pain and heat I experience make me wish I wasn’t doing it, but once I finish and reflect, I’ve I regretted exercising.

 

Some adventures will take you so far out of your comfort zone that you will wish you were back home tucked up in a comfortable bed or back doing the mundane tasks of life. Let me assure you, when you look back the challenges are the things what bring colour to the stories when you’re sitting around at home sharing your tales with friends. It’s what you will fondly remember and, strangely, long for again. A recent survey of elderly people nearing the end of their lives asked what was their greatest regret. A frequent answer was not taking more risks.

 

 

5.  Adventures Don’t Have To Cost A Lot, But Not Having One Is Expensive

      It could be as simple as a new job, or as complex as trekking across Antarctica, each one of our journeys and adventures will be different. What is adventurous to you may seem tame to others, or beyond what most can achieve. Each person is different. What we each perceive as a great adventure is what matters. It is your own journey, so who cares what anyone else thinks? If you don’t have a lot of money it could make for an even greater adventure. Travel cheap, backpack and stay in a backpacker hostel. My best adventures don’t come in five star hotels, they come when you do things like meet the locals, catch the local bus, eat in a market and listen to a cool busker in the back streets of Ecuador.

 

Money, or a lack of it, is no excuse. I have met lots of people on my travels who are down to their last few dollars, and yet they are having the time of their life. The cost of not going, not stepping out could add up to a lifetime of regret. The last thing I want to do is sit back in later life and wonder, what if? I would rather reflect on a life filled with adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extravagance in Art

I firmly believe that art should be a bold expression of who we are as individuals and not a reflection of a broader conservative society.

This should be reflected in the way we use colours and textures, always looking to impact the viewer, to challenge their senses and stretch their thinking. Often if we are not careful we start to produce art for a commercial return and not to express that which others wont say. One of the fundamental ingredients I constantly search for in the Landscape is bold vibrant colours. They are often fleeting but when you experience nature at its most vibrant it is hard to go back to the mundane. 

As artist let me encourage to push the boundaries, ignore the rules and let self expression take over. The last thing I want people to say about my images are they are nice, it is such a beige word, it conjures up images of the average, conservatism at its finest. I love it when people challenge me asking if these colours are even real, if such a place is real.

Our job is to engage the higher senses, push the boundaries and sale further from the shore. Let extravagance touch your work in a way that inspires others, that brings out the best, the creative, the artist in each of us.

 

Chasing Colours

If I have learnt one thing it is to do what you are good at and do it with passion. My life as a professional photographer is my passion. I spend my days looking for light and chasing colours. I see landscapes transformed into spectacular scenes by the changing light of a sunset or an approaching storm.

This doesn't mean that I get to spend every day out in the wilderness photographing, but I get to look forward to those days when I can be immersed in nature. My energy is recharged and the cares of the world seem to get left behind. I know this is a privilege that not every one has. It was an easy decision to follow my passion. I love what I do and every day is exciting.I get to share the amazing beauty of creation and, hopefully along the way, inspire others to follow their passion. Life is not a dress rehearsal.

I get to travel all over the world but, it is not about the location as much as it is about following my passion. Even if you start out one weekend a month doing what you love, you never know where it might lead you. It may just take you on a wonderful journey you never felt was possible or deserved. I never imagined I would end up working on major book projects, traveling to places like Antarctica or having my images sell all over the world. Something that started out as just a dream can become a reality. I wonder what would happen if you allow yourself to dream just a little.

I spend my life chasing colours and I love it.