My Friend Rob. And His 2,400km Bike Ride.

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This is Rob Dyer. He leaves tomorrow on a bike ride from Toronto to New Orleans. That’s 2,400 kilometres. And in true Rob Dyer fashion, he’s doing it for others. This time, it’s for the brilliant charity, Wellspring.

Rob is the founder of Skate4Cancer, a nouveau charity that has him skateboard across countries in support of cancer research. To date, he has skated across the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and a large chunk of Australia before being struck by a car. Yes, I totally agree, he’s the best. Here are a couple shots I took of Rob before he sets off once again.

Godspeed, Rob. Never stop.

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Montreal, a Love Song

Old Montreal

Kathryn and I are heading back to Montreal tomorrow. This time, as a mini-honeymoon. (Yes, photos to come of the wedding day). Here’s an article I published in Chill magazine this summer, and only fitting for why we love Montreal so much.

by RYAN BOLTON

Oh, Montreal, you sweet and seductive vixen. You with your storied history. Your immense pride and love of the arts. Your inimitable sense of confidence. Your bilingualism, your refined class, your touch of Europe-within-Canada sensibility and culture, your hotbed for genre-bending music. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention your palatable (and belt-loosening) dishes of fine poutine and smoked meat. And unlike Toronto and Vancouver, with all of this in mind, you’re still strangely affordable.

And, of course, your laissez-faire take on drinking.

Oh, Montreal, how we love you.

There’s just something about Montreal that gets us each and every time we visit. It’s never a dull time. Ever. Montreal simply oozes a good time from its cultured tastes, its untouched ability to throw one hell of a festival and, let’s not be shy, its french-speaking women. The following is an abridged breakdown of what makes Montreal one of our favourite Canadian cities.

MUSIC

Canada’s most acclaimed musical export today is from Montreal. Sorry, Beliebers. Arcade Fire shocked America’s senses when they picked up Album of the Year a couple year’s back at the Grammy’s. Arcade Fire is just the tip of the figurative iceberg of Montreal’s music scene. You’ve got Leonard Cohen, Chromeo, Stars, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the now-defunct Stills, and Wolf Parade. If you haven’t heard of some of these bands, we’ll understand if you switch over to YouTube for a quick couple songs. Go on, we’ll wait.

FOOD

If you haven’t had the smoked meat with dollop of mustard and a kosher pickle from Schwartz’s, you haven’t truly been to Montreal. This cozy delicatessen on Saint-Laurent Boulevard typically has a line for a reason. And when everyone says poutine is a Canadian dish, it’s because Montreal made it a Canadian staple following a few late night beverages. Aside from the comfort food, Montreal’s fine French cuisine is some of the world’s best. Period.

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Toronto at Night

Toronto at Night Photo

When the weather keeps to the high 20s on a September night, I grab my camera. It’s kind of a rule. Here’s a new batch of night shots just around my condo in downtown Toronto.

Open shutter speed with the Gardiner Expressway.

Open shutter speed with the Gardiner Expressway.

Photo by Ryan Bolton.

Photo by Ryan Bolton.

Toronto in bokeh.

Toronto in bokeh.

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The Best Damn Travel Tips You’ll Ever Need

In the Streets of Havana (Photo by Ryan Bolton)

Travel is the best education. It’s also the ideal form of rebellion.

It’s the no-bullshit way to find out who you really are. What you’re made of. Hell, some of the best travel advice quite possibly ever comes via Bill Fucking Murray: “Take that person [you love] and travel around the world. Buy a plane ticket for the two of you to travel all around the world… And if when you come back to JFK and you’re still in love with that person, get married at the airport.” Genius, that Bill Murray. Traveling will change your life. It will. Getting lost in a foreign country in which you only know how to say “hi” is the best way to develop character. I’ve been lost on five continents. (Drinking may or may not have been a factor on occasion). Every time, though, I discover something new. Here are my three quick and dirty rules for travelling. Follow them. It’ll change your life.

Rule No. 1. Ask the locals.

I can’t stress this enough. Nobody likes a tourist. Tourists are needy and annoying with their point-and-shoot cameras, typically ignorant (which, truthfully, is fair as you know jackshit about the local culture at this point), and just plain confused. Avoid that—ask the locals. Where’s the best place to eat? When there, what local dish should you try? Where do you go for a pint after a long day of hiking some godforsaken waterfall in rural Togo that the guide book told you to? The locals know best. The guide books are going to lead you to the overpriced and trite tourist traps. Hell, if you think that the CN fucking Tower is Toronto, then you’re batshit. And a tourist. Get off the beaten path. Read More

The Week-Long Bachelor Party

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I’m a bloody lucky cat.

Not because I have tested somewhere around 7 of my lives, but because of my buds. We just returned from a week-long, couldn’t-possibly-do-more adventure in a lakeside chalet north of Mont Tremblant to celebrate my forthcoming exchanging of the vows.

Yes, week-long party.

There was a Modest Mouse concert to kick it off. White water rafting. Volleyball. Ample beer drinking. Football. Fixing tires on the side of the highway. Swimming. Canoeing. BBQing. Paintball. 70-foot frisbee tosses. Flip cup. General shenanigans. Some more beer drinking for good measure. Fireworks. Skinny dipping. Camp fires. Oh, and zip lining 3,000-feet long lines high above Tremblant’s treeline. And some unmentionables that I can’t include. (It was a bachelor party after all).

Take a glimpse at our adventure. Click any photo to open in lightbox. Thank god for good friends.

Kate’s Pre-Wedding Hairdo

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One beautiful lady with one beautiful hairdo.

Kate's hair 2

Photo by Ryan Bolton. Rights held.

Kate's hair 3

Photo by Ryan Bolton. Rights held.

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Shooting Zombie Boy—Not in the Flesh

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I was in Montreal last weekend. Just a little getaway. I always have a good time in Montreal, and this time was no exception. The city was alive. And on the Saturday, there was a massive downtown street sale in which traffic was cordoned off and shoppers roamed the streets en masse.

It was hectic. As I got to a particularly crowded spot, I spotted Zombie Boy. If you haven’t heard of Zombie Boy (real name is Rick Genest), well, the cliff notes is that he’s tattooed from head to toe to look like a skeleton. He’s also from Montreal. He also was diagnosed with a brain tumour before he got any of the tattoos. Oh, he’s in Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” video.

Anyway, I took some shots, of course. People were posing for photos with Zombie Boy. He was stoic as most photos of him are. Creepily stoic. It wasn’t until about three minutes later that I noticed that it was a wax sculpture of Zombie Boy. A very believable, almost too well done wax sculpture. Hauntingly good.

Anyway, take a look at Zombie Boy—not in the flesh.

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Zombie Boy. Photographed by Ryan Bolton in Montreal.

Zombie Boy Photograph

Zombie Boy. Photographed by Ryan Bolton in Montreal.

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Special Wedding Moments Captured

Photo by Ryan Bolton. All rights reserved.

I’m truly loving wedding photography. To bring moments to life is an unmatched pleasure. Here are a couple more snaps from Beth + Eric’s big day.

Photo by Ryan Bolton. All rights reserved.

Photo by Ryan Bolton. All rights reserved.

Photo by Ryan Bolton. All rights reserved.

Photo by Ryan Bolton. All rights reserved.

Photo by Ryan Bolton. All rights reserved.

Photo by Ryan Bolton. All rights reserved.

Photo by Ryan Bolton. All rights reserved.

Photo by Ryan Bolton. All rights reserved.

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Ashley + Jeremy’s Wedding Day

Photo by Ryan Bolton.

Shooting a close friend’s wedding is both an honour and a stress. Of course you want to help them out, but you also don’t want to screw it up. It is a big day after all.

Jeremy and I have been close buds since grade school. He’s a kind and compassionate soul. Always has been. And now he and Ashley are hitched. For their big day, I was the groomsmen photographer while Mandy, an awesome photog, captured the ladies. And the coolest part? They got married about a country mile from where I was raised in Hanover, at this beautiful new spot called The Harvest Room. A treasure. Anyway, here is a sneak peek of their big day. Click on any photo to expand.

Congrats, Jeremy and Ashley!

If you need a photographer for any occasion (like a big wedding occasion), contact me here for rates. I’m affordable. And fun!

Beth + Eric’s Big, Beautiful Wedding

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Being a part of a wedding is always a big deal. Especially so when you’ve known the bride since she was 5 and you called her Squirt. I was honoured to photograph Eric and Beth’s big day. And what a day for a beautiful couple. Click on any photo to expand.

Congratulations, Beth and Eric!

If you need a photographer for any occasion (like a big wedding occasion), contact me for rates. I’m affordable. And fun!

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