This was a year of significant growth, brand new (and often unexpected) opportunities, and some of the most diverse projects that my company and website, Editing Luke has ever produced. From travel and video shoots around North America to releasing a successful photo book to collaborating with some amazing partners (both locally and abroad), I'm especially proud of what was accomplished in 2017. Here are some of the moments that really stood out:
January 12, 2017 - In a year where the traffic multiplied and broke most of my previous records on the Editing Luke website, it was fitting that it kicked off with this milestone.
January 2017 - I was off on another incredible travel shoot / road trip through Nevada, California, and Arizona to add to the series I started in 2016. I shared a few initial highlights in the post: Snow Drifts, Sand Dunes, and the Open Road.
February 8, 2017 - I was hired to shoot architectural photography for The Keg.
February 16, 2017 - I had the pleasure of being 1 of 150 people from around Alberta invited to "Meet in the Middle" for this unique event that took place in Olds.
March 5, 2017 - I photographed Rogers Hometown Hockey in Medicine Hat, Alberta.
March 9, 2017 - I photographed Tom Cochrane on his Mad Mad World Tour.
March 14, 2017 - This photo series unexpectedly went viral locally when I was invited to shoot some of the final images of the century old Riverside School before it closed in June.
April 26, 2017 - The initial proof for what would become my MHHS AS IT WAS photo book was completed and I finalized my decision to move forward with the project. I seemed to be generating some buzz, but I still had no idea if any copies would actually sell.
May 3, 2017 - I signed a contract with McDonalds Canada to work as a brand influencer / content creator on several of their social media campaigns in 2017.
May 31, 2017 - Editing Luke celebrated its 10 year anniversary!
June 5, 2017 - After over a year of filming and months of editing, the rough cut of my schoolwide documentary finally debuted. Despite several small screenings and an overwhelmingly positive initial response, the documentary (unfortunately) has still not been approved for a public online release. I'm still hopeful. Here's what the project is about.
June 2017 - I began shooting a new series in Medicine Hat, Alberta titled "Then & Now". I photographed comparisons between archival images and the same locations in 2017. The shots became viral hits on the Editing Luke facebook page. Here is a recap of Part 1.
June 2017 - A lot of late nights / early mornings spawned a collection of summer sunrise images in Medicine Hat, Alberta. This impromptu series also exploded in popularity, receiving thousands of likes & shares on facebook and even a feature from Travel Alberta. Here is Part 1.
July 1, 2017 - The video I shot of the Canada 150 fireworks went over pretty well.
July 9, 2017 - I hiked to the top of Medicine Hat's cliffs to capture the view.
July 25, 2017 - I recapped the epic road trip / photo series I shot while driving the length of the Pacific Coast from Seattle to San Diego in 100 images.
August 2017 - I spent two weeks filming in the Canadian Badlands for a really exciting Alberta travel project with Canadian icon Tom Jackson. From dinosaur digs to aerial photography, there were a ton of visual highlights over the course of the shoot.
September 17, 2017 - The Editing Luke edit suite underwent a major upgrade.
September 2017 - Click the link to see the most popular image I shared on the Editing Luke facebook page this year which reached over 50K people through organic shares.
September 30, 2017 - Partners were on-board, funding was approved, and production officially got underway on my 2nd Street documentary project.
October 6, 2017 - After months of pre-orders, publishing, and organization, my photo book MHHS AS IT WAS was officially released over this weekend after selling over 1000 copies. More about the book and release here.
October 2017 - I spent the majority of the month road tripping / travel shooting around Florida and up the Gulf Coast of the United States through Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Capturing thousands of images over the three week adventure, I shared a few early highlights here.
October 31, 2017 - AFAR (a popular travel magazine) featured an image from my Roadside California series.
November 29, 2017 - I was in Montana for another memorable travel shoot.
December 17, 2017 - Bringing the project with my former high school full circle, I was hired to shoot the architectural photography of the brand new MHHS.
December 2017 - For their December issue, my travel photography of Waikiki in Hawaii was featured on the cover and in a 7 page spread in Jetstar Magazine out of Australia. Full story and images of the publication here.
With a number of recent road trips and travel projects under my belt, there was something especially gratifying about finally shooting a larger project like this in Alberta. In my role as the designated videographer / filmmaker, I worked alongside Canadian icon Tom Jackson, a group of talented influencers from around North America, and a great support team that facilitated our experiences. Together we set out on a mission to explore, document, and capture a slice of the "Spirit of the Canadian Badlands" through a variety of personal approaches.
It's difficult to fully explain this project without recognizing that although we were sharing experiences around the Canadian Badlands, we were also each looking to engage and document in different ways. For example, in any given situation you might have found Tom deep in discussion and taking notes. At the same time one of the influencers might have been shooting pictures or interviewing someone for a side story they were going tell. Meanwhile, you could've found me filming a few soundbites, capturing the scene at large, or directly filming one of these moments as it was playing out.
Part of what made this experience so interesting was that given the number of locations and events we covered, embracing spontaneity and rolling with what was happening in the moment became our default approach. On days where the schedules were particularly tight we often didn't know what we might be walking into. That genuine curiosity actually added a certain energy to a lot of what I captured - and while I can't say it worked for every moment, overall I came away feeling pretty excited about how these moments looked on camera.
It's difficult to say what the finished elements of this travel campaign will look like at this point, but with my Instagram feed providing a bit of a teaser, there's no question that the Canadian Badlands provided some great visuals. From a sunset hike through Dinosaur Provincial Park to capturing the energy of a small town rodeo to shooting aerial footage from a little plane over the prairies, editing all of this should be fun.
One unforgettable highlight was participating in a peace pipe ceremony with First Nations elders at the historic Majorville Medicine Wheel. This incredibly remote location on the Alberta prairie offered some stunning visuals for the project, but ironically the ceremony itself wasn't something that we were allowed to film. Instead, the ceremony became a unique shared experience. I found it enlightening and as an outsider was honored to share in something so rare.
Feeling further inspired by the visuals from the road trip we'd been on, I found myself watching Dances With Wolves that evening. This seemed especially coincidental when in a few days time I unexpectedly met Graham Greene (who played opposite Kevin Costner in that movie) while filming with Tom Jackson in Drumheller. It became increasingly interesting how a lot of these chapters began linking together as we visited more places and the project unfolded.
While I'm certain there will be more to share as editing gets underway and new images are posted, I wanted to recap some of what we'd done now that shooting has officially wrapped. Stay tuned, and for more be sure to check out my Instagram @editingluke as well as the Instagram accounts of my fellow travelers below:
Celebrations for Canada's 150th made the Canada Day routine more lively and noteworthy across the country and in my hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta this year. From the afternoon crowds in Kin Coulee Park to the evening crowds on the surrounding hills for the Canada Day fireworks, there was an undeniable energy in the air because of the Canada 150 milestone. Here are a few visual highlights I captured and shared throughout the day to mark this special occasion.
Hot summer days create some incredible summer storms. Last night that was the case in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Anticipating that the skies would be pretty active, I made my way to the top of the parkade in downtown Medicine Hat to capture some of the excitement. I was there for just under an hour and witnessed some really impressive lightning strikes. Check out the brief timelapse video below of some of the thunderstorm highlights.
On every May 31 over the last decade I've celebrated another chapter in the storied growth of the Editing Luke website. To look back at a decade of my life while I continued to build this platform, this business, etc. is worthy of celebration, and I can't express enough how humbled I am by the support and opportunities that have come my way on the back of creating and sharing photography and video content that I'm genuinely passionate about.
It's only natural to want to reflect on the achievements that have developed over 10 years - millions of people reached, hundreds of thousands of images shared, film festival credits, awards won, and a long list of unique bucket-list adventures checked off. It's easy to celebrate those highs and make it sound like everything was destined to be. However, on a personal level this website turning 10 is really a celebration of just one thing - persistence.
In the lifespan of this website I've changed directions quite a bit. I've outlasted a lot of similar sites that sprung up at the same time as mine, and I've seen countless creative beginnings and endings from hundreds of other really talented people. There hasn't been a year (especially since Editing Luke became a full-time gig) without serious challenges, doubts, or obstacles that made me question my entire approach.
Editing Luke went from a film student's blog in 2007 to a filmmaker's media production company in 2017, but making this work hasn't been as easy as it often looks from the outside. People ask me all the time about how I've been able to do this as a career, but there really isn't a secret. It took years of work before I was able to transition this into a business and still maintain the integrity behind the type of content that I wanted to put my name on.
If I were to simplify it, a lot of the success has come from putting in dedicated daily hours, differentiating myself from potential competitors, regularly expanding into new markets, and nurturing a following by being consistent with what I produce and share. Even still, I'll be the first to admit that this entire operation is a continual work in progress.
From the start, the idea behind "editing" Luke was that I was striving to better myself. As a result, this digital scrapbook has kept me accountable to my ambitions. It's motivated me to do more. It's given me the opportunity to reflect on my progress, and to improve on what I've already done. As a creator, it's always kept me focused on what I was doing as a career and provided me with an outlet to experiment with my creative evolution.
Perhaps most gratifying, this website has far surpassed my initial expectations of what I thought it would become and what I thought it could help me achieve professionally. I dread to think how many incredible experiences I would've missed out on over the last decade had I not started this when I did. And therein lies the true achievement in all of this - not waiting for permission, not waiting to be handed your dream, but actively striving for it and making it a reality for yourself. I'm still adding new goals to the list every time I check one off.
A decade ago I felt compelled to start this, not because I had a grand vision of what my future had in store, but because I felt lost, and I knew this was a small step in the right direction. I'm now more driven than ever to build on what I've created. Ten years in and I couldn't be happier to be starting another chapter in this story, if for no other reason, because there's still so much I want to do. Take it from me, whatever your adventure, the greatest investment you can make is with your time. Here's to day 1 of the next decade.
Last weekend I shot a timelapse of the sunset at the Saamis Teepee in Medicine Hat, Alberta. It's always interesting to capture something as common as a sunset and frame it in a way that highlights how spectacular it really is. This was just a short experiment, but it went over pretty well on social media. Watch the video of the sunset timelapse below.