The Photography Lounge

Curtis Jones - Raw Adventure & Exploration Photography

September 14, 2020 SmugMug + Flickr Season 1 Episode 6
Curtis Jones - Raw Adventure & Exploration Photography
The Photography Lounge
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The Photography Lounge
Curtis Jones - Raw Adventure & Exploration Photography
Sep 14, 2020 Season 1 Episode 6
SmugMug + Flickr

On this episode of The Photography Lounge, your host Alastair Jolly is taken on a real adventure with the incredible Curtis Jones

A photographer who has immersed himself in some of the wildest and most extreme environments in the world in order to capture the raw emotion of these amazing places.

Learn more about Curtis:

Find out all about the features SmugMug & Flickr have to offer at:

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Show Notes Transcript

On this episode of The Photography Lounge, your host Alastair Jolly is taken on a real adventure with the incredible Curtis Jones

A photographer who has immersed himself in some of the wildest and most extreme environments in the world in order to capture the raw emotion of these amazing places.

Learn more about Curtis:

Find out all about the features SmugMug & Flickr have to offer at:

Follow SmugMug:

Follow Flickr:

Intro: Welcome to The Photography Lounge. Home of inspirational conversations with the world’s best photographers and the leading minds from the photo industry.

Brought to you by SmugMug and Flickr, join me your host. Alastair Jolly as I go beyond the lens, dive deep into the stories of what inspires and motivates the photographers and creators that we all love and admire.

Alastair Jolly: Hi, it's Alastair here again with another episode and what I am sure will be a conversation full of adventure. Today’s guest is someone whose career has seen him saturate himself in the furthest and the most remote parts of this planet. A collector of interesting stories he is rarely seen far from a camera or far from his next adventure.

He works for public, commercial and private clients. And his work has been published extensively, including in National Geographic. His images captured the beauty, the power, the raw, and the on teamed photographic stories from literally the four corners of the planet. I am thrilled to welcome Curtis Jones. 

Curtis Jones: Hello, great to be here. I'm a little overwhelmed by the intro, to be honest, 

Alastair Jolly: Stunned into silence. 

Curtis Jones: Stunned completely into silence. 

Alastair Jolly: I did throw in there. I did think this conversation was going to be full of adventures, a little bit of a pun. 

Curtis Jones: It could be adventurous, you know, 

Alastair Jolly: Certainly, your life is, and that's what we're here to talk about.

Like many people I interview and know in this industry, you have an unorthodox entry into this career. So maybe we can just go straight to the beginning and we can talk about, you know, how you got on this path of travel and adventure photography?

Curtis Jones: Yeah, sure. In a nutshell, I moved from, I grew up on Newfoundland and that's on Eastern Canada and I moved away, after I obtained a pharmacy degree to work in the Canadian Arctic. That's kind of where the whole thing started. I always want to be outside and somewhere bigger. A little bit more uncomfortable and scarier. And the North seemed like a good place to start.

So, I moved up there with a completely different career. I just started playing outside and adventures and stories started happening and it was right about then that I decided to pick up a camera and start documenting all that stuff. So, 

Alastair Jolly: So pharmaceutical degree, that could be lots of things that could be engineering or design. What, what were you doing in the pharmacy career? 

Curtis Jones: I was wearing a lab coat and I was counting pills. So that wasn't every day, but it was part of the job. 

Alastair Jolly: So, like a dispensing pharmacist? 

Curtis Jones: Dispensing in a community pharmacy. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. But in a fairly remote part of the world.

Curtis Jones: Very, very remote part of the world, a very remote part of Canada, for sure.

It's a town called Iqaluit, it's on Baffin Island in the territory of Nunavut and that's a Canadian territory. 

So pretty far North, pretty far North 

It's basically. If you're not familiar with the Canadian Arctic it's up there sort of just West of Greenland. 

Alastair Jolly: And there's people there, you can dispense pills too?

Curtis Jones: There are there's one or two, and then the rest are just, yeah Polar Bears. No 

Alastair Jolly: Polar Bears with migraines that need ibrufen

Curtis Jones: They've pulled a hip. Yeah. Yeah, there's a very small population, but there's definitely a very long historical presence of, of people living, and building communities in that territory.

So there is, there is a small population, but definitely enough to require service. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. But a conscious decision to move to an extreme part of the world? 

Curtis Jones: On my part. Definitely. When I was in school, I started with chemistry and biochemistry and then, I amassed an incredible amount of student debt. And so I was like, I don't know how I'm going to pay this back legally, with a chemistry degree.

So I applied for pharmacy school and saw it through just as a way, basically, to pay off all of that. I never really fell in love with it. It wasn't like a calling or a passion, but I don't know many people that do fall in love with their university degrees. I knew as soon as I graduated that I was just like, I gotta at least make my life interesting if my job isn't 

Alastair Jolly: yeah. When you said you had a chemistry degree and then. Wasn't sure how you're going to repay your student debt. I thought you were going to have a breaking bad story there. 

Curtis Jones: So then that's one way to go, but definitely one way to go 

Alastair Jolly: Bought a camper and move to this, a remote part of the world. 

Curtis Jones: Yeah. And now we're here in Nevada.

Alastair Jolly: So how many years were you up there being a pharmacist? 

Curtis Jones: Yeah, I was there, it was about five years or so five or six years. I in total, I lived up there for 12. Just under 12 years, it was about 5th year or so as a pharmacist where I kind of had an opportunity to move past that and move on to something else.

And I had been playing around with photography and an amateur level for a while, and a friend of mine came to me with a proposal that I, I honestly couldn't refuse to take her up on. And, she, she, comes from a family of adventurers, polar explorers, the type that bring people to the North pole, South pole, places like that.

And so that always fascinated me and I always wanted to be part of that. These are the folks that the stories in Nat geo and all these other places were written about. So it was, for me, it was like a big win just to be next to these guys and hearing their stories. So to be actually offered an opportunity to become part of that.

I didn't really care. What the outcome was going to be. I just decided I was going to say yes and deal with the consequences. So I did a, I said, yes, I went and I propose that to my, the company that I worked for as a pharmacist. And they told me you can't get that time off. And so I quit my job and decided that that was it.

Alastair Jolly: So you went all in. Brave move. I hear this a lot. You know, people taking huge decisions around you know an established career to follow a path in photography. This, this industry that we're involved in, it's a, it's a common story, and I'm always amazed and excited by people who have the guts to just go, you know what?

This is what I need to do. This is what I need to be doing. And I'm all in. And I'm walking away from a career that I got myself in debt to, to get into. And I've spent 12 years doing, I'm going to change all that. 

Curtis Jones: I'll be honest. It was a bit of a psychological, like knot to untangle for sure. I am come from years of programming of everyone in my family.

I was one of the first to go to school and graduate with that kind of degree. And, you know, we all come from a trades background work with our hands. My father's a carpenter. My mother's a seamstress. Like they've worked their own businesses, whole lives with their hands and crafts. So for me to do that, almost felt like a responsibility to them to not turn it into something creative and like photography that's so like loose as to whether or not the next paycheck comes in or whatever.

Yeah, well, once I got back, I got through that. It was, I was clear that I had made the right decision. I never, I never once turned back or decided to try pharmacy just for a little while or anything like that afterwards

Alastair Jolly: There's definitely people that struggle with it. And you know, a lot of pressure from, from home or the established path that maybe a family has to turn your back on that, you know, photographers that have been in every industry, you know, established careers in law, in architecture and medicine.

And it's hard to turn your back on that. Stable and a good income. 

Curtis Jones: Yeah. Yeah. There's a weird, it's a weird guilt complex. That goes along with it. 

Alastair Jolly: So there's this initial project that you've briefly touched on. You were offered this opportunity. Tell us a bit more about what that opportunity was.

Curtis Jones: we were, we were having a few drinks, you know, the only pub in town and she proposed my friend, Sarah propose a trip across the Greenland ice cap. And Greenland is there's two ways to do this. So the trip was skiing, but with kites. So, I don't know if you're familiar with the kite skiing or snow kiting, and a lot of people go from East to West, but they want it to go from the South to the North, which  

Alastair Jolly: East to West are probably easier because of the prevailing winds or 

Curtis Jones: not so much the prevailing wind, just the distance itself.

Like it's a, it's a couple of weeks versus what we were going to do, which was going to be like a couple months. Right. So 2300 kilometers from the South to the Northern tip. it's just the three of us. We were going to be bringing all of our own gear, fuel food. We had kites, we had skis, you know, a tent.

nobody else on the icecap we didn't see a single soul for the entire trip. We just got dropped at the base of like a huge, massive glacier in a, in a Fjord by some local fishermen. They just dropped us off and dropped us off in the wrong place, actually. So yeah. We had Google earth that, and there were a couple other teams that have been in that area that we had talked to and they said, Oh yeah, it's like half a day to get access to the ice cap.

Where you can start skiing and hauling your gear. And we got dropped off in the wrong place and it took us four days to just get up there. And that was like climbing through rock gullies and wow. Yeah, it was horrible. 

Alastair Jolly: So simple little misjudgment added 4 days? 

Curtis Jones: just a little right off the hop our expedition was like four or five days behind.

And like that doesn't seem like a big deal until that four or five days turns into like six, seven, eight days. And then you realize, Oh, we're this far through our food stores. We're not even on the snow yet. So, 

Alastair Jolly: how are you hauling your gear? Sledges? 

Curtis Jones: We had pulks? These sort of like really hard, high density, plastic pulks that we doubled up.

We each were carrying anywhere between 2 and 250 pounds of equipment and gear, fuel, stuff like that. And then we would just, on no wind days we would ski pulling them actually like physically pulling them. And those were the days that we made, like almost no distance. We have budgeted, we needed to do an average of 50 kilometers a day to make the 2300 over.

45 to 55 days, but it's like, there was no way were skiing 50 kilometers a day without any help from the wind and the kites. So, the low wind days or the no wind days, we were getting maybe somewhere around 15 or 20 kilometers, but when the wind does hit you, all of a sudden, you bring that average back up with 150 or 200k days.

Alastair Jolly: Yeah, those are the fun days for fun'er. 

Curtis Jones: They are definitely more fun. Yeah. Yeah. But that was the first trip was that proposal go to Greenland. That was a three-person trip. They have one guy that dropped out right at the last minute they needed a filler. I wasn't the best choice. I was the only choice.

It's not like I didn't have any illusions about being 

Alastair Jolly: Way to sell yourself Curtis. I was the filler, 

Curtis Jones: They needed somebody with a camera, and I was a guy in town that liked taking photos. I was a friend of theirs. And I was like one of the only people willing to like give up everything I had previously been doing, drop everything in an instant and, and just plan and prepare for this trip.

Alastair Jolly: We found this crazy guy that will say yes. 

Curtis Jones: That's almost exactly the story. Yeah. That they told their friends and family and yeah, I was their photographer. Sarah was making a film and then her brother, Eric was the third member of the team. And he was sort of like a navigation and a tech support and stuff like that.

So the three of us together had a pretty good unit, except I was like way in over my head. I had a Canon rebel had never shot in raw format for yeah. Kit lens. And like the, the main sponsor for the whole trip was like a national geographic, sponsorship. So, 

Alastair Jolly: so when you, when you set off, everybody was comfortable that you were all going to make it, or was there any doubt? 

Curtis Jones: Sarah and Eric were like plucky, but they're younger. So, and they they've been, they've been pedigree. Like they have like this history, this family history of doing this stuff, they were pretty confident. I was not at all. Like, and anybody that knew me and knew us was definitely placing bets about how long I would make it, where I would fall.

That sort of thing. Whether or not Sarah and Eric would run out of food and have to eat me. Yeah. But Sarah, Sarah and Eric were always very optimistic. Yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: Well, they wouldn't have to eat. You. Yeah. so how long did it ultimately take you? 

Curtis Jones: All in. I think we were on the ice for just under 50 days. And then all in was like closer to like a 60 day Mark to get, because once you get to the top and then you have to wait for a pickup and then our pickup was again, just local hunters who didn't necessarily make the day that we had planned because they were hunting seal or whatever.

And so. We had a couple of days extra at this, at the very top of the, of the ice cap and in the country. And, but yeah, eventually we got to us and three or four days hopping back down to a major airport so we could fly out. 

Alastair Jolly: And on that trip, photographically, what, what were you doing? What were you documenting?

What were you tasked with? 

Curtis Jones: I looked back on it now and I was basically. Shooting. I was shooting what I thought adventure photography was supposed to be without really knowing what it was. So I was shooting a lot of product because we had other sponsors. Yeah. Kite companies, you know, like chocolate bar companies, we'll watch company, water bottles, whatever tents.

So I was shooting a lot of product and placement people using it in the elements, in the environment. And I was shooting a lot of, just documenting the trip and, like the landscape and stuff like that. So that was primarily it, but I think I missed because I hadn't really done this before and didn't really know what I was doing.

I missed like a huge opportunity to really document the story. Yeah. So I didn't, I didn't, I didn't have the vision, I guess see-through all that on the nose, like water bottle in the snow with like a kite skier going by, it kind of stuff, which you know, is useful for marketing purposes. But it kind of stopped there and I didn't get a lot of that really interesting gritty sort of, vulnerable imagery.

So yeah, the real story came through more when we did presentations in schools or talks at like film festivals and stuff like that. And it was after the trip. When I saw the talk, the way we would tell the stories as a group of three or whatever in the back and forth that I was like, Oh, I missed like a huge opportunity to capture those images and 

Alastair Jolly: What a great learning experience with the photographer. Right? So there's one project, all be ait you went at very short notice. And you were still in your own words, fairly, amateur in the photography world. This really has those, realizations of what you did capture and didn't capture it obviously set you in a path of who, you know, approach work?

Curtis Jones: Big time, huge.

Like it's a single, like for life and for photography, that trip was, single-handedly like the biggest life changing experience for sure. 

Alastair Jolly: No, I think it would have to be for anybody, but to, to recognize the, the highs and the low's, the failings and the learnings from it. it certainly sounds like it was a real pivotal point to say the least.

Curtis Jones: Yeah. Yeah. Definitely 

Alastair Jolly: So you came back from that trip. And you just mentioned that there was a purpose to the trip in making a film and you then created this experience around it and did festivals. 

Curtis Jones: So again, this was completely new to me and not so new to the group that I was doing it with, but that was part of it.

You have certain responsibilities to the people that have sponsored your trip. And one of the things outside of those corporate responsibilities and appearances and things like that was we really wanted it not be about climate change, global warming, that kind of stuff. A lot of the stuff that happens in the polar regions.

In this area, this type of photography, there's always sort of that angle. The expedition is in on behalf of like educating the world about our climate and the changing climate and ice caps and stuff like that in particular and the plight of the polar bear and stuff. And we were just like, we're going to not, we're not going to do that.

We're going, not that that's not important, but it wasn't our message. So our key message we decided as a team was to just inspire people, mostly youth. To go outside and get back in touch with nature. And also for me as from personal side of things, my whole thing was, and I think it's the thing that set me apart from the other two was I was basically a nobody, and I don't mean that in a disrespectful way, but I didn't grow up in that world.

You know, I didn't grow up with the, sense that I could be part of something like this. So for me, my message was always to kids that like, Hey, I'm just like you guys. I grew up in a small town, rural Newfoundland went to school, grades were important, get a college degree, whatever. And here I find myself on one of the biggest adventures, not just of my life, but just like of anybody's life.

Right. It's like an actual legit Nat geo adventure. Right. So. That was kind of always my message. 

Alastair Jolly: So what did Curtis learn about himself on that first adventure? Not necessarily photographically, but both about yourself. 

Curtis Jones: I learnt that I, up to a point I'm really good with spending time inside my own head.

And then once I reached that breaking point, I go really loopy. That was the hardest part, actually like physically, it was very demanding, and we were all broken and sore and battered at the end of the trip and at the end of the day, but I was not prepared at all for. The emotional sort of psychological toll that it took.

We were a team, we had each other, but we still spent 15 hours a day kind of in our own heads, you're skiing or kiting or whatever. And you're not really communicating you stop every once in a while and you share water and a snack or whatever, but to do that for, you know, day after day, week after week, month to the next month kind of thing, you just go through every hope or dream or mistake that you ever made. You, you know, the point we even run out of interesting things to think about. So you just replay movies that you watched, you build every house you ever wanted right down to like the furniture you're going to put in it. I think that was one thing that I found interesting to learn about myself was that I physically, I knew I could probably handle almost anything I had.

I didn't have a trip like this before, but I had been outside. I climbed ice climb, skied snowboard. So I knew I was physically capable of doing a lot of things. So I wasn't really worried about that. But mentally I was not at all ready for what that was going to feel like. So I learned, Hey, at the end, I was like, I can actually go through a fair amount of mental instability and somehow come out on the other end, still sharp 

Alastair Jolly: live in your own head 

Curtis Jones: in my own head and deal with all the stuff like without a television or radio or family or a spouse or a dog to like distract you from deep thought.

You just have to the face it all right. So there was a lot of stuff that came up on that trip for me. That I just had to work through, and it gave you time and literally space. Right. 

Alastair Jolly: Did you think about it? There's three of you on this adventure and you're all like helping each other, but you're probably off in your own worlds ahead of each other or behind you, or maybe ahead for getting ready for a shot or whatever.

So you're probably quite remote from each other on the, on the snow, and the ice. And then in the evenings, did you, were you in separate tents? 

Curtis Jones: We all shared one tent and it was very nice actually to in the evenings, we all fell into a pretty natural rhythm of who prepares, you know, the meal and who sets the tent up and who cooks cook this scaredness, who's gonna butcher Curtis, but the evenings was, was more like, like a family style.

But even that, after a couple of weeks, it's like, you've heard every story that these people have to tell. Right. You know, you've played every card game. You know, we brought books with us. There's only so many ways to read a book. So. Then we start like talking about the books, then we write fan fiction for each other about the books.

And then we, you know, put on little plays based on the fan fiction that we read the book. Like it's just like, so

Alastair Jolly: There is a story in itself. 

Curtis Jones: Yeah. Yeah. And so making games, that's the kind of thing that I regret not photographing or documenting. I mean, I have kind of pictures, but I didn't, I don't know.

There's, there's a lot more I would do with a trip like that today, for sure. Yeah. Yeah. So, but, and then the other thing that kind of sticks with me that came out of that for me was just the sense of feeling completely real when I'm at my most vulnerable and it's okay. So to be in that place, to be in those environments, to go through so much pain, for lack of a better word, emotionally or physically, and come out on the other side and just be.

Sort of humbled and grateful that the experience happened instead of shocked or disturbed or upset. That was a huge learning experience or a win for me. I 

Alastair Jolly: feel yeah. Set you up for all the adventurous to come. Any scary moments or highlights of that trip. 

Curtis Jones: There was, there was like a daily highlight for sure.

The scariest moments. I think for me, the very beginning, getting dropped off in the wrong place and then working our way up, these rock gullies and things like that. I, I woke up in the middle of the night, there was rain. So we pulled all the gear inside and I couldn't move. I literally couldn't get out of bed.

Sarah and Eric got out and had to like pull all the stuff in and it was a little, there was a brief period there where I wasn't sure what was going on and why I couldn't move. I was just like a statue, you know, I feel, I know now it's I was dehydrated and overworked, and I didn't stretch properly and all that stuff.

So my body had locked up and that was like, A huge eye opener for me, it's like day two of this monster trip. And I'm pretty sure this is where I die. Like kind of moment. That was scary. After that there were a few crevasse incidents where I wasn't exactly loving life, but we had ropes and all the rescue gear and stuff like that.

So, yeah, but 

Alastair Jolly: this was all documented into film. So where can people see this, 

Curtis Jones: the film itself? Actually, I don't even know if it's online anymore. I mean, it's, it's been a bunch of years. I have copies. And I keep like bringing them around and showing people more as like a joke. Cause it's pretty funny,

Alastair Jolly:  right? Sounds hilarious

Curtis Jones: No, it's not bad. There's a lot of, out takes a lot of B roll. A lot of me fallen down, but the film, I don't even know if it's online. Maybe there's a, the expedition name was Pittark. (P I T T A R A K.) So And I'm not sure if it's still there or not. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah, well, yeah, the only to resurface it and get it online.

Curtis Jones: Oh, I can find it and post it and I'll put it on, 

Alastair Jolly: Be watching that as soon as I can. Yeah. Looking for all the B roll and the falling down. 

Curtis Jones: There's some fantastic stories. There was a day where we, wanted Eric's idea to get up and try to break the world record for the greatest amount of distance covered in a single day unmotorized there was only a few places in the world.

You can do something like this. So a Greenland ice cap is one of them. So we had like a certain distance we had to make in 24 hours to beat that record. And we couldn't obviously use an engine. So we had Kites and skis and whatever. And so we did that for 24 hours, stayed awake and we kited and we skied and we missed the Mark just by like seven or eight kilometers wasn't much.

But that day was definitely like, and there's like lots of good video from that day. At the end were loopy. Like I'm on film, playing a flute that doesn't exist. 

Alastair Jolly: How did you cope with missing it by such a little amount? 7K Is, not 

Curtis Jones: tired. I didn't care. I just wanted that day to be over. 

Alastair Jolly: 24 hours is over I don't care anymore.

Curtis Jones: I was asleep at the wheel. everyone was, I kept crashing my kite into like Sarah and Eric and crashing it into the snow and ice. And yeah, it, it was, there was the, we, we set up tent, we, we went to bed, we woke up the next day and we had a conversation about like, yeah. You know, like that sort of sucks that we missed the mark, but 

Alastair Jolly: you didn't think, Oh, let's try it again today?

Curtis Jones: No, no, no. Try again today. And you know, I really, I think, yeah, it was one of those moments where it was just cool to say, we're going to do this. And we all stuck to it. We didn't give up at hour 18 or 20 or whatever. And we did it. It was right up to the last moment we all thought maybe, maybe, maybe so.

Yeah, exactly. It was the win. I think everyone felt a great sense of accomplishment and it was fun and it was actually what happened was we had to get 50 kilometers a day to make our Mark. We did that day. 24-hour period, over 400 kilometers, like 423 kilometers or something. So there was like eight days of travel in a day.

So all of a sudden we had this huge, we had like a week where we could just hang out and we did, we hung out and we recouped and we ate, well, we rested and we healed from injuries and stuff. We repaired gear super valuable. Yeah. Yeah. So it ended up being a really great experience. We built. A living room.

We built like a TV. We built like a snowman army. We, if anybody, I mean, we didn't have drones at that time, but if it would have been an incredible, like top down for sure, 

Alastair Jolly: a great accomplishment, 

Curtis Jones: but it's all on film. 

Alastair Jolly: So that was the first big adventure. And you know, quite clearly a huge moment in your life.

So what came next? What happened next? 

Curtis Jones: So the way these guys work. this world is I've discovered is while you're doing this trip, you're basically planning the next trip. So you're on this trip and it's like, for me, it's the greatest thing on my life, on every level, but they're literally every night they're in bed, thinking of thinking about the next big trip.

And so you kind of get, it's, there's this romantic notion of like the continuing the game of exploration and I fell into it as well. So we started planning a trip, three of us again, and the next trip would be with use of kites, and Sarah and Eric and I decided that a good place to try this would be to, to challenge yourselves would be, get out of the world of ice and snow and go somewhere else.

So we picked the Gobi desert in Mongolia. So we were going to cross from the Western side to the Eastern side of Mongolia, through the Gobi desert. We weren't going to ski obviously. So he was 

Alastair Jolly: Slightly different terrain

Curtis Jones: yeah. Pulling, sleds but the sleds that have wheels and what in fact happened is we built these.

We didn't build them, but they were built by a company in Germany for us, these, these kite buggies, which have like three wheels, large back axle. And then the one tire in the front that you would, I don't know if you have, if you know these like big wheel things that kids ride around in you paddle, we had something like that.

It's just to steer direction left, right? And then the kites themselves will be hooked to us. We would sit in these buggies. All of our gear would be on the back axle of this thing. And we would just zip through the Gobi crossing basically. Yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: We would just zip through! Sounds of simple. 

Curtis Jones: Yeah, it wasn't.

No, the very, very first day we got, we took a van, it took like a few days, three or four days to drive across from Ulaanbaatar to the Western side where we're going to start our trip. He dropped us off just outside of this little community. We filled up our water bags and we rolled all of our gear out to this.

Just, just on the outskirts. You could see the town obviously we are interesting and. Ridiculous. So the whole town comes out to see what is going on. 

Alastair Jolly: No super understated no? 

Curtis Jones: No, nothing subtle. Go in under the cover of darkness. We put the kites up. We, you know, we, we put the kites up and we got in these buggies and none of us, I had trained for this trip.

I think it was like five days on a little Island in Canada. Just it's a little French Island, South of Quebec. And the buggy that I had was this Zippy little sport thing. And I was in the, these beautiful Sandy beaches with this beautiful, warm crashing surf. And, you know, people’s around in swimsuits.

Alastair Jolly: Sounds terrible!

Curtis Jones: Yeah, it was, it was amazing. This was not that big burly tanks, the Gobi Desert isn't necessarily sand it's like boulders and rocks and gravel and plants and vegetation and big holes and pits and stuff.

Alastair Jolly: these things got suspension?

Curtis Jones: No, no. You're riding like two inches off the ground. Right. 

Alastair Jolly: Feeling every single one of those little pebbles and stuff?

Curtis Jones: Stick, if you happen to pick the wrong path.

And so everybody's there waiting for us to launch. And so we did, and the obvious flaw in the design was immediately apparent, which is if the kite is attached to the driver, but they're not attached to the cart. And the cart happens to bump into something while you're moving 

Alastair Jolly: you keep going?

Curtis Jones: Yeah, exactly. You're the weakest link. So that's what happened to me. I just, I was kind of zipping along and hit rock/grass. I'm not sure what it was popped out of the buggy and just like caught air. And then it was basically paragliding after that. And the problem was too, is that there's no reference for scale in the desert’s trees or houses or whatever.

So. I was pretty sure I still had like a solid 30 seconds before I hit the ground. And I remember thinking I've got a solid, like 20, 30 seconds before I, and then I just hit the ground. So day one, 

Alastair Jolly: did we get that one film? 

Curtis Jones: Nope. Nope. Not on film, actually. There's not, there's a film from that trip, but I don't remember it being released, yeah.

Alastair Jolly: So what was the point you that you weren't specifically making a film? Clearly you were just trying to do the crossing kind of thing. 

Curtis Jones: So that's, that's a good, it's a good question. Because the point was to do the crossing, to make a film, to, to create a story, I guess, to continue this sort of agenda of getting people motivated to be outside and go on adventures and get in touch with nature and the outdoors and stuff like that.

That was, I guess, essentially the point more specifically or practically the point was to. To find a way to continue to do this kind of work these trips and somehow make a career out of it. And that's that for me was kind of the path that I was on at that point, I was thinking, I mean, it was only the second trip, but I had done a big one and it was somewhat pretty successful.

it got a lot of attention. And so the second one came up and we all thought, yeah, this will be the same way. 

Alastair Jolly: Still honing those skills? Still getting kind of known for this type of adventure and just continuing. Yeah. 

Curtis Jones: And then, and then on this Mongolia trip would be like, the idea was okay, our next trip is going to be, you know, whatever.

And the next trip would have been the Northwest passage crossing, you know, that, that great channel that's been documented so well with early exploration but do it with kites and skis again. And, so that was the third trip and it was kind of a trilogy to put the whole project, you know, in some sort of cohesive space.

And for me, that would launch this whole career and identity as a, like an expedition adventure photographer. So that was kind of my motivation for it. And I'm sure Sarah and Eric had different reasons. I mean, they were, it was their career to be guides. Professional outdoor people. So it all made sense, but on this Mongolia trip, it started not feeling right for me.

Yeah. I started to like, be less enamored with the whole thing. I couldn't really rationalize. Sort of the, how a lot of it like Greenland, but after Greenland, I kind of thought I had learned about myself and I didn't need to prove it again, kind of thing. And I was doing a lot of the same stuff and I didn't feel like I was getting the same payoff.

So for me it was like, okay, now it's only about building a career and making my Mark and growing a brand. And when it started feeling like that, it started feeling wrong for me, 

Alastair Jolly: It just wasn't authentic? 

Curtis Jones: Wasn't yeah, yeah. Authentic from, and that's not to take away for anybody else that's doing that kind of stuff because I'm sure they have their own reasons.

It just wasn't jelling for me. And I was thinking about it after that trip that, before preparing for the third part of the, the Northwest passage one, like, do I want to continue doing this kind of stuff? What kept coming up in my mind was you just left your 10-year pharmacy job/career. To do a dream job, but maybe this isn't what you want to do. So don't, don't just do it because yeah. Right. Cause you can, because you had a certain, a little bit of success at the beginning, put a little critical thought into this. And I think that if I was in my twenties and it was kind of like how I started in photography and I was younger, I may have just kept going.

You know, you're given those opportunities and you want to see how far you can go on and how high you can climb. and I, and I probably would have been in the more of the mindset too, that like adventure is everywhere and I can I'm invincible and whatever. But at this point I was, you know, 34, 33/ 34, and I had a whole career behind me.

And so I think I was, I was very, very self-aware. The fact that if this isn't actually what I want to do, do I want to invest the next five, six, seven, 10 years that it takes, because I also knew to be a photographer, and to really play the game and know the industry and the good, it doesn't happen overnight.

And a lot of this happens kind of overnight for me. So I knew I wasn't there and I knew it would take a lot more time and commitment and energy. And I just didn't know if this is how I wanted to spend my time as a photographer. So then I started, I kind of moved away from that whole expedition style.

Alastair Jolly: Slight pivot again, realizing that you didn't have five years to figure this out.

Curtis Jones: Yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. What was next then? 

Curtis Jones: Pivot was, basically just reinvesting in education and work experience. I went back to the Canadian Arctic. I went back to Nunavut. Baffin Island. I decided I'm going to do the whole, I'm going to be a photographer, but that also meant I have to make money. So just like many people, you know, you do all the jobs sized site I'm to do commercial work.

I'm going to do try stock, photography, landscape, print, sales, whatever. I mean, I didn't really do family and wedding and stuff. Cause I always knew that just wasn't my brand and it wasn't me. So it was always a connection to being outside. Yeah. I worked for. Government, organizations, nonprofits, communities, themselves, community programming, literacy initiatives.

A lot of the stuff I did in the early, early in my career that kept me busy was tourism work, branding, stuff like that. the other things that I was very, very lucky to have found what a lot of people, you know, they are looking for that unicorn niche market. Well, I just lived in one, right? It's the North.

So it was at a time when the North was really becoming something and you didn't see like Aurora. And Northern lights, shots, and igloos, and polar bears, as much as you do now, you can't open a laptop without seeing, you know, 10 images of the Arctic come across the screen. So, but at that time, that was like actually a pretty robust stock market for me.

Again, I kind of invested in all this. I want it, I didn't know if that's what I want it to be for a career either, but I was like, I owe it to myself to explore all these different avenues and see, you know, what is it that I want to do. So I did that for a few years, that sort of carried me. Into a speaking, like kind of the speaking circuit, going to conferences, education events, things like that, being a presenter.

And again, this was a whole new opportunity for me through that. I found a couple people that I sort of were unofficial mentors for me. And they, they helped me. They sort of like, you know, they were always there to answer any question. They gave me a lot of opportunities to try to do more of that kind of work, present, educate workshop stuff.

That's sorta what got me to the point. Place I am now, which is this mishmash of like outdoor photo guide and educator, I guess. And so most of my work now is just traveling, bringing other people to these environments, you know? With a, with a history and a past in places like Greenland and Mongolia in the Canadian Arctic, I kind of have, those are my, my areas.

And, bring people back to these, these countries and guide them through not obviously not the same experiences that brought me there, but they're just giving them a taste of that. Give them a taste of that. 

Alastair Jolly: You clearly entrenched yourself in that world, you, you took this decision in your pharmaceutical career to move to this remote part of the world and experience it in the raw nature of it.

That untamed type of environment, you've now done it again with your photographic career, right. You've deliberately stayed in this part of the world, learned your craft and now you're giving people a taste of that, right? 

Curtis Jones: No. Yeah, exactly. That's exactly it. And that's, that's kind of the principle or the vibe that's run through this whole, you know, 10 years for me, more than the, the images themselves, or the reason to pick up a camera is I want to be outside.

I want to be outside with other people that want to be outside. And I like, I like it when people are pushing themselves past their comfort zones. And, you know, I've been with people that have pushed epically past their comfort zones and are doing. Things that like no other human is ever going to do again, I've, I've been there with those people.

And I've also been out with someone who just picked up a camera. Who's never shot, sunrise, long exposure, you know, looking out at the ocean as puffins dance around and, you know, the sun comes up and the expression, on both of their faces is fairly similar. You know, like, there's this like, look of just like, I didn't know, I could do this.

That's the thing that I kind of want to focus on. That's what I'm looking for every single time that I build a project or, or try to like get a job or guide a trip or whatever it is. So you 

Alastair Jolly: like to take people out of their comfort zone was being the official photographer for the Royal family of your comfort zone?

Curtis Jones: Way out of my comfort zone.

Alastair Jolly: How did that go down?

Curtis Jones: That was part of that whole, like after the expedition stuff. And I went back to the North, there was this period where. I was working for the territorial government as a photographer for the government, the North being what it is in Canada. We have certain obligations and responsibilities, and one of them is to host British Royal family, whoever they may be when they come to do their visits.

And so they did show up in the territory for a brief period, four or five days. And because I was, it was. You know, in part sponsored by the territorial government and was a photographer. That's how I ended up landing that gig. So right from them touching down at the hangar and I followed them around for the entire week.

Basically, I was that guy. I was the fly in the room shooting. Right. And  

Alastair Jolly: Which members of the Royal family was it?

Curtis Jones: It was Sophie. Edward, right. That's right. Yeah. And I'm sure I'm not giving them the respect they deserve by just calling them with a question.

yeah, you can, you can fudge that. Right. You can make that sound more appropriate, but anyways, yeah. So 

getting your medal for that one. 

No, that's long gone. Yeah. Yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: You did some other kind of unusual events; I believe you did the G7 Summit?

Curtis Jones: Yeah, there was another one. the G seven summit was held in the Canada and again, same, same gig.

I was like hired on behalf of the territorial government to document what that one was. I mean, the Royal family visit was pretty fun too, but this one was interesting because I was shooting a lot of politicians doing typical Northern things. So it made for some interesting photographs and I was never really into photo journalism in the sense of like news photography. so this was like a good experiment. And I mean, for me again, a learning, experience to shoot and document. And a lot of times I would submit the images and just think, Hey, these are cool images of whoever, but there was one image in particular that I submitted, and everybody was kind of like, Whoa, this could be dicey.

Like, maybe we won't. And it was the finance minister and the governor for the bank of Canada. They're basically playing this game and they were, they had dice in their hand, and they were kneeling on the floor of like a school gymnasium, just like kids would be, you know, and they're rolling dice. And I remember like seeing that photo and not even thinking that, which kids, yeah.

Kids who are rolling dice with it's like the financial future of the gambling world economies. Yeah. I was like, Oh yeah. I don't know. 

Alastair Jolly: You said you were photographing them doing fairly typical Northern things. There's probably a hunt fairly typical though, right? There's some, 

Curtis Jones: these guys were like dog sledding.

Yeah. Trying on like traditional costuming and or a traditional clothing. It's not really costuming and, you know, going in igloos and that kind of stuff. So all of that stuff just made for interesting, interesting photo days, long days, super weird. There was a lot of times when, you know, I follow them around on snowmobile.

I would just go from event to event on a, on a snowmobile. Obviously dressed for the weather. So boots to my knees, huge parka, a big sealskin mits. Then you go into this like classy gala dinner, where everybody was like dressed to their best. and I would literally get off the snowmobile reeking of gasoline and exhaust, grab my bag and strip everything down and, you know, try to look incognito.

As I walked around in my long underwear, and my tuke.

Alastair Jolly: Your gear must have, must have struggled in that kind of position. Where you're going from extreme cold to these gala dinners. I'm sure in some lovely properties. 

Curtis Jones: That G7 summit was actually the first, I mean, I always knew that you don't bring cold gear into warm places, but that was the first time where I did it.

I knew it was going to be a problem, but I also just. There was another good lesson for me is like, I did it because I didn't have a choice and yet everything fogged up and just horrible and the condensation. So for me, it was like the lesson wasn't don't do that because I already knew I didn't, I just had to deal with it.

How do I deal with it? And so then it's like, Oh, you know, you just have to have an extra camera, body and a lens.  

Alastair Jolly: try and get it cleared as quickly as possible. Let's let's talk about some of that kinda. Business side of Curtis. What are your revenue streams? How do you turn all this adventure, all this learning, all these experiences, all these wild places?

How do you turn that into money? How do you make, make a living doing that? 

Curtis Jones: Good question. It changes. I think it changes for a lot of us. It's been a long time getting it to a point that sort of makes sense and somewhat consistent or predictable at least. But in the beginning, I was, I was just grabbing everything.

I was just saying yes to every job. just like the Greenland trip. It was just like, yes, I'll do it. And not really like thinking about how much it pays and how much money I need to make it to this next thing to do and whatever. Yeah. In the beginning, yes, to everything. Then I went through a period where I primarily focused on government work. So that basically means being, an approved vendor for, for Canadian governments and organizations. And then making it's no different than any other industry where you'd network. Except my network was government trade shows and conferences. And I would work with the people who were in charge of like climate change department or literacy programs or whatever health and social services.

And I would get to know those people. We would have an ongoing relationship and then hopefully whenever work came up, well. We need new images for this campaign, or we need someone to cover this event. That's how I would try to stay relevant and stay in that space. So I did that for a while, and then that led to do a lot of other sort of offshoot revenue streams of I'll just shoot stock photography for tourism I'm out there anyways, in this park making a field guide.

I might as well shoot cool images for stock as well. That's a lot of the early stuff. And then that slowly started evolving into workshops and education events. And so I, I do have a company, a workshop company in Newfoundland called newfound shores. So we do guided trips, their photo adventures, basically in Newfoundland, but I also work for other companies as well as a photo guide.

So I do a freelance contract work as a photo guide in Greenland and Antarctica and Mongolia, places like that. Yeah. And I still do. I still do like the government work. I still have like ongoing relationships, not as many, but I do still have like those ongoing, which are quite nice actually, because they're multi-year projects and it's nice to see that they don't just fade into nothing in a, in a couple of weeks upcoming, I'm going to be going back up to the North to work on this project. That's probably, yeah, you're six or something now about sustainable food with, with cult local cultures in the North, that kind of work is like, really interesting to me and I feel like important.

So I like, I like doing it and that's all the result of networks and contacts that I made six, seven, eight years ago working for the government for like Royal family or the G7 or whatever. Yeah. And I still, there's still a heavy vein of tourism work and stuff like that. 

Alastair Jolly: Let's talk about New Found Shores.

One, it's a great name based in Newfoundland. 

Curtis Jones: It's based in Newfoundland, New found shores is I do a lot of workshops and photo guiding. This was the first real attempt at creating something that felt unique to, to like my vision of what that could be. I always worked for other people and I kind of just, I feel a void, a certain personality or characteristic type that goes well with the other leaders or whatever.

But so having like our own opportunity to build what we feel it could be. That was really, really interesting for me and for us, we wanted it to. To showcase the province and the space and the landscape and the people more so than us as photographers or any other instructor that we would bring in to, to run a workshop, the primary from the, from the get go, the primary thing we want it to be the draw was the place and the experience.

So we try to run an operate photo tours and education events that put that at the forefront. We want people outside. We want people to feel the spray of the ocean. We want people to get dive bombed by puffins and to go to a pub at the end of the day and listen to traditional music or go to, you know, we bring in local storytellers like halfway through, one of these trips.

We'll just have everybody. You know, cater it with coffee, tea, and snacks and stuff, and we'll bring in a storyteller or two and we'll sit down for a few hours and just get like local stories from the community that were in the folklore. Yeah. So there's that connection and it's not just about photography.

And I feel like it because for me, from my perspective, that's how I shoot now. And that was like the big lesson from Greenland that I missed was like, I'm not digging any deeper than literal translation of, there's a pretty thing to shoot. I'm going to take a photo of it. And even if you work through showing people, all the technical ins and outs and.

How do you compose and how do you find your vision and stuff? Yeah. Top of that, there's also that like, well, what does this feel like? What does the memory of this place feel like? What is this experience gonna be like for you when you go back home? Yeah. Loved ones. What you did, are you going to say, look at this cool picture I took, or are you going to say.

The first thing that comes to mind is like there was a storyteller and they told like the most incredible, funny tale about a boat. And like, if that's the first thing you say, then I feel like it was a success because you can learn photography anywhere and you can take these photos on your own. You don't need me.

But what we're hoping to offer provide is that sort of immersive. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah, cool connection. Those memories. And you know, that the way you've described has, has your character written all over it? You know, you've said already, you know, you've entrenched yourself, you've experienced this, you've lived in the culture.

You've you felt the wind and the rain and the snow in your face. You've truly immersed yourself in the raw experiences and know you're given that opportunity to people like me, hopefully one of these days. 

Curtis Jones: Yeah. Be amazing. It would be great if you came. but it's, it's exactly that I want. Like I said, I want people to be a little uncomfortable, a little unsure, and I want them to like work through whatever that roadblock is they have put on themselves and just see that. Afterwards, like that effect afterwards of like, I'm good. Like that just happened and I feel better. So that's kind of what we're hoping to provide. And we do that with traditional landscape stuff. We do it with portrait, environmental on location stuff. We do it with, you know, we'll, we'll, we work very hard at finding spaces that are very unique and off the beaten path of most tourism, like one stop wonder kind of things.

And we, we have like, an incredibly growing Rolodex of models and subjects that we work with over and over. Costuming props that we're building and sewing ourselves buildings, huge, massive, this huge library of cloaks and capes and hoods. And, and so, 

Alastair Jolly: so you're not, you're not just driving a mini bus up to the side of a lay-by and shooting a waterfall.

This is proper tour immersion, cultural experience. 

Curtis Jones: Yeah. A cultural experience. And it runs the whole gamut from like, you know, it could just be local characters that we bring in to, to be models. Or maybe we're, we're building like a Viking hoard and we're taking them out into. you know, there's a workshop we're running at the, toward the end of the summer on the West coast of the Island.

And that part of the Island is known as one of the first Viking settlements, in North America. So we're going to go with that theme and make some stories and put people back in that period. 

Alastair Jolly: That's wonderful. So to find out a bit more about that where can people go?

Curtis Jones: 

Alastair Jolly: And to find more about Curtis remind people, 

Curtis Jones: and I'm on Instagram at CJPoneshoto.

Alastair Jolly: Well, it's, it's an incredible story, delighted that you've chose to share that experience and, you know, humble, many of us listening on, on just how much you've effort you've put in both physically, mentally, and, you know, all those learnings you've taken to set yourself in this path. Curtis, thank you so much.

Curtis Jones: Thank you so much. This has been a great. A great way to spend the morning. 

Alastair Jolly: Feel like I need to go and get outdoors. 

Curtis Jones: Yeah, we should all just go outdoors right now. Actually, we're going to rock climbing this afternoon.

Alastair Jolly:  Let's do it. 

Curtis Jones: Okay. 

Alastair Jolly: Thank you.

Curtis Jones: Thanks. Bye. 

Alastair Jolly: What's this what's this sled dog. Hang on. We need to, we need to find out.

You can't, you can't just say there's a sled dog experience after I've stopped rolling. 

Curtis Jones: Well, I'm not sure what sled dog stories she's referring to. 

Alastair Jolly: You mean there's more than one? 

Curtis Jones: Yeah, well, there's a whole sled dog theme that runs through my life. One of the very first things I did when I moved to the North on Baffin Island was I tracked down this woman, Matty McNair, who is the mother, in fact of like Sarah and Eric that I went to Greenland with.

They're pretty much my family in the North and I knocked on her door. I heard that she kept sled dogs. She ran sled dog tours, and I was, I just, I wanted to see what that was. I wanted to be part of it. So I offered my services. You just want to hang out with Husky, one of the hang of the Huskies. Yeah. And, she was literally coming through the door as I was knocking on it and I said, Hey, I'm my name is Curtis.

I heard you have sled dogs. And I'd like to. Help out. And she just handed me a bag of dog food. We, you know, she's like get in the car and we just drove out to the dog yard and that was it. Like day one. I was like feeding sled dogs. 

Alastair Jolly: You definitely have a tendency to go all in straight away. 

Curtis Jones: I definitely do.

I just find it easier to deal with consequences than regret. So that's a good way. But. That was my introduction. And then I became very good friends with the family and the dogs are amazing. And so I really poured myself into that whole lifestyle and that identity. And one of the, I mean, Mongolia was the second trip that we did after Greenland, but one of the jobs I got hired on and I thought I was like, the baddest of bad-ass is after Greenland.

I thought I had, I had nothing thing to learn about adventure, fatigue, and expedition travel, who could say that they camped and lived on the Greenland ice cap for two months and survived. So. One of the first things that came up after that was they have an annual dog sledding race in South Baffin that goes from the community of Iqaluit to the community of Kimmirut, which, goes through a traditional there's a traditional dog sledding path that goes through a Valley of the Soper River Valley.

And every year or two, they run a dog sledding race, and it's, it's grown. And, and, you know, it's been big and small, big and small, but this year was a particularly good year for it. And they wanted a photographic. documentation. So they hired myself and a, I think there was a, there was a set, there was three photographers, three different agencies.

And we, we all went there, followed the teams, Six seven days, something like that, camping with them on the trail with them, we had some, we would like ride ahead angles, vantage shootings, big time cheating, you know, sit, I would just nap out and wait for the dogs to arrive to a perfect position, knowing the son was going to be in the right place and all that kind of stuff.

And it was incredible. It's fantastic. So that was, that was an incredible experience. That was, definitely. Something that again was like, Oh, I want my life to be this. I don't exactly know this. Exactly. But it's some version of is pretty awesome. And this is pretty awesome. And then I remember the very first night, my friend at Tenn was with me and we were packing up before we left town.

And he's like, you know, you've got this right. You've been in Greenland. I don't need to worry. You've got everything. I'm like, yeah, don't worry about it. Like you don't have to be that person that needs to double check my work. I mean, I appreciate it. I just literally got off the ice cap. We're good.

And, so we head out, we're a day's journey from the, from town and we set camp up at the end of the day, sun's gone down. It instantly is like minus 40 degrees Celsius. You know, the wind picks up and everything's dark. And you just feel like, you know, the end of days just comes and, we're putting the tent up in.

Tan's like, there's no floor, where's the floor. And I was like, Oh, it's, don't worry about it. It's that kind of tent where they put the shell and then there's the inside interior to wall design or whatever. Was like, okay. And so we're setting up and I'm kind of making food and he's still working on the tent.

He's like, I don't see a floor anywhere. I was thinking to myself, well, there's gotta be a floor. Like I pack this thing myself. And then I go and I looked through all the gear and I'm like, Oh right, oops. There's no floor. I didn't actually check the tent. I hadn't double-checked anything. There was no floor.

We basically just had a shell. We had a tarp essentially. So what we ended up doing was a, thankfully didn't trust. That I was the rock star that I thought I was, and he had brought along a second tent and it was just like a summer sorta like two season thing, small two person one, but we set that up inside of like my bad-ass tent.

Yeah. So that's how that ended up being. But yeah, that was, that was like a big, that was a big, first job, another good learning experience, right. That led to me wanting to become a dog sled driver, myself, taking the team out, you know, going on big trips with dogs, which. Again, was another one of those. Like I got this moment the first time that I took dogs out by myself. Everyone in town went away for Christmas holidays. I was house sitting. I was in charge of the dogs. It was Christmas day. I'm like, I'm finally ready. I'm going to take the team out by myself. On Christmas day. I'm going to celebrate the land and the dogs and myself and Christmas now I don't need anybody. So I went out to the dog yard.

And it's like mid to late December. So you've got a couple hours a day. Like at this point, that's all you've got, sun's already going down. By the time I get out there, I harness up more dogs than I should. you know, there's like 16 or 17 dogs and I take like nine of them, which is like far too many for, yeah.

For me and my experience for the first time. And I set out and I just give her and we head out and we're lists like off, like a BottleRocket get out on the frozen Bay. Sun is definitely going down. I try to like stall the dog so I can turn around. Cause like once you get out there, like the bravado, it starts to fade fast and she know the temperatures drop, the light goes away and my courage started to wane.

And so I'm like, okay, I got to get control of the dogs. Like, it feels like this is going to get. Pear shaped real fast. So I'm going to slow the dogs down, turn around dogs. Don't respond, slow. The dogs down turnaround dogs are not responding. They're in fact they're going faster. I'm like, Oh man. Like, and at the moment that I like decide, okay, what I need to do is jump off the back of the sled, run to the front.

You have these little like fan belts that work on the inside of snow machines and you throw them on the runners in front of the sled. And they work as breaks because the friction, the friction and the traction and the snow. I have to pull one of these things out of a box run to the front of the sled, throw it on the runner, you know, all the while trying to like with a whip in my hand, trying to keep control of the dogs and stuff like that.

And I play it all out my head. So I'm like, I'm right. Ready here, goes. Like here's my Indiana Jones moment. Jump off the back of the sled. Totally not factoring in the equation of like momentum. I hit the snow, dogs take off even faster because of that, like momentum burst, you know, dead weight is gone.

They're excited. You know, they don't have anybody like breathing down their back anymore. So this thing is like flying and I'm like basically face down on the frozen Bay watching my only ride. Back to civilization, take off into like the forever sunset, thinking to myself, like once again, this is overestimate resource.

Alastair Jolly: The moment, the moment you thought you could outrun nine dogs, that was the bit you lost. 

Curtis Jones: But I, I mean, I, eventually, I, I gathered myself up. I've got all my heavy gear on I'm running, and you know what it's like to run in snow. so I'm sweating, sweating, sweating, and, and I'll the whole time Maddie's voices in my head.

This is my teacher, the one who taught me all about dogs and everything. I know. And she's like, there's only one rule in the North. You sweat; you die. And I'm just like pouring sweat, but I'm like, well, if I don't sweat, I don't catch the dogs. And I also die. So I'm running after the dogs, I catch them finally.

Set the whole, sled on its side sideways, like a huge snow anchor. These dogs can't go anywhere. And then I start to regather go back and collect like the gear that I had thrown off so that I didn't sweat collect my. Mitts and my hat and my jacket and stuff, start walking back towards the sled. And as soon as the sled dogs have this habit of, as soon as you start to approach them, they edge forward.

Yeah. And the closer I got, the more excited they would get. And then I started to see the snow anchor that I built with the sled was just like rocking. And I was like, there's no way. There's no way they can pull a sled. That's up on its side. Like that. And of course, they do. Yeah, they did. So that was like round two of me running, no, to get the dogs and eventually it all worked out.

you know, the not because of anything I did just because the dogs were hungry, and they wanted to go home and get fed. So. That was a great lesson for me. It sounds it that the dogs will eventually want to get fed. It's just dressed to the 

Alastair Jolly: Do you people dog sledding on your tours? 

Curtis Jones: We've, we've taken a people, dog sledding, on tours.

I haven't done a photography tour that involved dogsledding specifically. I've done photo workshops where we've used dogs as subjects and things like that, but, 

Alastair Jolly: just don't have you driving dogs.

Curtis Jones:  I'll get real professionals for that.

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. Again, Curtis thank you so much for your time.

Curtis Jones: Thank You