The Nature Pill: November 2022 50/50 Match Brief with Guest Judge Shane Turgeon

Black and white selfie of Shane Turgeon with his large dog named Kwinn
Rare Earth Outreach is VERY excited to welcome Shane Turgeon, the Guest Judge for The Shooting Range: A Photography Challenge's November 2022 50/50 Event. You can click the following links to view/download the Match Brief, find FAQs about how the Challenge works, and enter your image for a shot at half the cash collected from entry fees, feedback from Shane, and publication in the Foundation's first ever Fundraising Calendar being released in November 2023, but right now we want to focus on Shane, whose headshot here features him with beloved fur companion Kwinn.

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Shane Turgeon is (among many other things and in no particular order) a published author, a tattoo enthusiast, an event creator, an accredited appraiser of collector's items, an accomplished photographer, a jiujitsu instructor, sXe and vegetarian, and a passionate advocate for using photography to improve mental health. We hope you enjoy viewing some of his favourite images and getting to know him better below, but before you read on please take a moment to bookmark his website and give him a follow on his socials! 

Website | Instagram - Nature | Instagram - Wildlife | Vero

PS Don't forget to add Rare Earth Outreach and The Shooting Range: A Photography Challenge on Instagram or join the Facebook Group to stay in the loop as the November 2022 50/50 Challenge unfolds...


What is the best advice you have ever gotten (or given)?

Always have a good lawyer and a good accountant.


What was the last piece of equipment you bought or class you attended?

Last piece of kit I got was the Kase Armour System magnetic filter kit.

Slow shutter image of a large high waterfall at nighttime with stars and the aurora borealis overhead

What is your most or how do you deal with your most challenging professional struggle?

I think my biggest problem is trying to do too much and do it all alone. I own four businesses, none of which are a full time job in and of themselves but added up certainly make for very full days. I don't trust anyone else enough to help me but that is slowly changing as I surround myself with good people to help ease that burden.

Slow-shutter image of smooth water flowing over short waterfall formation in a green forested area

If there was one thing you could change about the industry or an insider secret you think shouldn't be a secret, what would that be?

I'd probably get rid of "influencers" who care more about their ego and social media presence than they do about nature. The need to tie our self-worth to the image we project to others is a sad reflection on the state of our species.

Nighttime image of person on the distant horizon of sandy dunes in small wave pattern under a night sky filled with stars and the milky way

What do you do to remain grounded, connected, balanced, and/or centred when life feels overwhelming?

Head out into nature with my 13 year old adventure pup, Kwinn. Even if that just means a little walk in our local park. With or without a camera. Life with an old dog forces you to slow down and just enjoy the ride.

Image of reflection on smooth water of large cervid submerged in water with only its head, eyes, mouth, and antlers above water

What is something you haven't done or tried yet, either as a personal or professional goal, that you hope to achieve in the next year?

I'd love to get into insect macro photography this coming year! And eventually get into deep space photography.

Nightime image of sandy desert rock formations under a canopy of stars

Who do you admire (professionally or personally), and why?
 
Oh boy! There are so many! Here are a few: 

Mark Jinks: Mark has been of the most influential people on my photography. He's one of the first people I met after getting my gear and his kindness, openness and humility as well as his willingness to pass on his knowledge and go on adventures was instrumental in my growth in my first couple of years. His work not only showcases the incredible beauty of our world but also the incredible beauty of who he is as a person. 

Dave Brosha: I mean, what more can be said about Dave that hasn't already been said before? He's one of the most talented and hardest working photographers that I've ever met but he's also one of the kindest and most humble as well. A prolific body of work that is now being shared in a collection of amazing books. His work ethic and desire to keep improving not just professionally but personally is a massive inspiration to me. 

Alister Benn: I discovered Alister's work and YouTube channel at the start of the pandemic and immediately felt a connection to his work and his message. He so elegantly articulates how I feel about nature photography, its ability to heal us, how important it is too look beyond the obvious to express or creativity and emotional state and his portfolio is incredible. I just felt understood when I saw his stuff and as we've gotten to know each other, feel that way even more. 

Viktoria Haack: I think Viktoria produces some of the most powerful and inspiring nature photography work in the world today. Her portraits in nature defy both genres and are simply awe-inspiring. Her commitment to the craft and the work she does to help encourage other women to shine in photography is exemplary. A constant source of awe, inspiration and a wonderfully down to earth human and friend. 

I could go on and on....Renee Robyn, Adam Gibbs, Monika Deviat, Curtis Jones...the list is literally endless!

Image of condensation curling from the open mouth of a red-winged blackbird seated on a broom-stick handle sized white post

When and how did you know (or suspect) that you had found your calling as a creative?

To be honest, I have a hard time viewing myself as a creative. I'm not sure why. Even as a writer, I always felt my best work was telling stories about people and places rather than in my own short stories or poems (which I have many of but rarely, rarely share publicly). I still feel more connected to the title of entrepreneur (which does require a considerable amount of creativity) rather than creative as I feel I'm still so very new on this journey of visual expression. While I know my photos have the ability to evoke an emotional response from my audience, I don't feel as though my work is particularly creative, groundbreaking or innovative compared to so many others out there. I strive to be better and engage that part of my brain more and more but truthfully I'd rather just be out in nature documenting its beauty more than trying to force any creativity out of myself.

Image of single autumn brown-orange leaf sitting on top of a small frozen surface featuring concentric wavy lines

Do you have any advice to give (or that you wish someone else could give you) about maintaining work/life balance?

When you work for yourself the hours are never consistent. Sometimes you're up at 7am working and don't stop until 10pm. Sometimes the work is light and you can get away for two weeks at a time. The balance may not come every day but you need to recognize the moments that you can and need to take for yourself. Break up those long, long work days with dog walks, naps or by taking yourself out for food. Stay loosely connected with your work and businesses during the periods that you are able to get away and do little bits of work to stay engaged. Balance doesn't have to be one or the other or day in and day out. It comes in waves and moments and we need to be flexible and adaptable. It makes things so much easier.

Image of Aurora Borealis reflecting on water over trees on the horizon

If "Today" you could go back and tell "Last Year" (or Month or Week) you something, what would it be?

I think today me would go back ten years ago to the me that was so broken, curled up, half naked and weeping on the bathroom floor, sweaty back stuck to the cold tub, having just thrown up from anxiety and stress and depression multiple days in a row and just give him a hug. Tell him that this pain would eventually bring him so much peace and beauty and a whole new way to see life that he never expected. And I'd tell him that he's loved. Not just by others, but by himself too.

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There is no harm in everyone adding The Nature Pill to their life but The Shooting Range, Rare Earth Outreach, and Shane Turgeon recommend that individuals experiencing severe anxiety, stress, depression, or other mental and emotional distress or dysregulation seek the support of family and friends, follow the advice of their medical professionals, and/or reach out to these orgs.

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