Leigh Righton, Photography

Wanderlust

For as long as I can remember I have had dreams that my life would be full of travel and ongoing exploration, adventures and experiences that would fill pages of countless journals. I’ve wanted this with every fiber of my being, and while I’ve squeezed in some noteworthy trips over the years, it hasn’t been enough to satisfy my extreme case of wanderlust. I managed to blame my lack of travel on money, circumstance, timing, jobs, relationships.. it couldn’t possibly be my own fault. It couldn’t be, until I realized that it couldn’t possibly be anything else, but my own damn fault.

Sure, I could use those excuses forever and no one would be the wiser, but why silence a lifelong desire when the pull is so persistent? Why look longingly at images of beautiful places and faces, when I could be out there experiencing them an capturing them for myself? My list of excuses worked for so long because they all seemed so very important at the time, and they must have been, because rarely did travel win over this list.

Last winter I was feeling my discontent mount as I saw endless flight deals come thru my email or pass by on social media, and my cursor would always hesitate over them. Sometimes I’d hit the buy/book button, going thru the motions of choosing dates and reading the fine print, just to give myself the feeling of heading off on an adventure, but at the end of my daydream I’d always hit “cancel” before the last step.

Travel is one of those things that I know makes me a better person, it broadens my perspective and makes me feel more connected to this beautiful world I get to live in and have the privilege of photographing. Whether a trip is good or challenging, I always gain something important from the experience. So I finally stopped with the excuses and started looking for ways to make it happen… and those ways had me returning just a few days ago from two back-to-back trips of a lifetime.

The first adventure was a road trip with a fellow photographer, Shannyn Higgins, who I had only just met months before at a group show we were both exhibiting in. A few months later I came across her post on Facebook, I responded, and miraculously it came together (although with some adjustments to her initial plans as seen below)

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We flew to New Orleans, rented a car from there, and drove 4000 miles and crossed four states in 2.5 weeks – Luisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Utah. It was one heck of a hustle, but Mother Nature made it worth our while tenfold.

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My second adventure was an incredible 10 days in Hawaii with my favourite person (my boyfriend), visiting my awesome friend Jenn Hee, a trail runner and vegan baker.

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We got to explore an extraordinary part of the world and enjoy some truly magical moments, some with my camera, some without. We planted Taro, visited goats, hiked some crazy hikes, checked out some waterfalls, swam in tide pools, snorkelled with a huge pod of dolphins… it’s hard to believe that place is real.

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We became pseudo island instagram famous, becoming known as “the Canadians” thanks to Hee’s updates. We were even spotted on the Koko Head trail on our sunrise hike.

When we landed back in Vancouver the captain of the flight hopped on the loud speaker and wanted to personally welcome the passengers “back to reality”  For me, reality isn’t so bad after you’ve accomplished some great adventuring and have a lovely home and work to return to. Happy to be back in reality, and excited for some local summer exploring, until the next travel adventure!

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Leigh Righton, Musician, Photography

Jim Byrnes

There is something magical about being in the presence of a true storyteller. Someone who makes you want to stop everything you’re doing, pull up a chair and take in every word. While I couldn’t stop the photo shoot with Jim Byrnes altogether, I also couldn’t help myself from putting the camera down from time to time either.

Not only did I have the honour of taking portraits of this legendary blues musician, I was simultaneously gifted a solo concert, alone in my studio. I photographed him as he played and observed how seamlessly he and his guitar worked together, as if they were one. After he played and the room fell silent, I didn’t know how to respond beyond picking my jaw up off the floor. I don’t even remember what I did, I may have clapped, or said “wow” I know that whatever it was, couldn’t have done his performance any justice.

His new album is available on Black Hen Music.

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Leigh Righton, Photography

New Orleans

Today my photographer friend, Shannyn Higgins, and I are starting our road trip after a few lovely days hanging about New Orleans. Shannyn has been having trouble pronouncing New Orleans the “local” way, as we have come to understand it, but listening to her attempts is both entertaining and endearing.

Here are some photos of our adventures in NOLA, where we have alligator toured, listened to jazz, and endured some crazy rainfall like I’ve experienced nowhere else.

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Leigh Righton, Musician, Photography

Photo shoot with Wolfborne- and my new journal

I made a deal with myself to journal about every photo shoot I do this year.  Recently that idea expanded into an art journal/scrapbook/show my process kind of book, which I’m really excited about taking on and sharing.  I haven’t been very good about giving myself some “arts and crafts” time lately, and as that was a huge part of my life growing up, I’m excited to get my hands dirty again.  I want to keep record of my thoughts from each shoot; the set up, the references, posing, ideas, lighting etc.. I want to look back years from now and know exactly what I was thinking.

I’m having so much fun with this, I may even go back and do some of last year’s shoots.  Here is one from my recent shoot with the Vancouver band, Wolfborne.  They have been working with renowned music producer, GGGarth at Fader Mountain Sound and we ended up shooting right inside the loading bay doors of the studio (film crew documenting and all!)

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