When low on reserves, harness the powerful energy, life and love from mother nature. ~ Shannon Bileski
Who am I?
I am Shannon Bileski – there is only one of me in this universe and likely will only ever be.
Am I unique? I personally don’t feel I am, I consider myself an ordinary girl...I share the same dreams, passions and like-minded ideas like so many others! As weird as it sounds, I believe what makes me creatively unique is how I see the world, it is a little different than most. It is a beautiful and unique little world unto itself. lol It is how I think, what I see and what I am willing to do that makes me…well me!
I am a lover of exploring nature and am PASSIONATE about storms, aurora and pretty much anything Mother Nature can throw at me (except bugs, be rest assured you will see no, or very little images of bugs!!). I am willing to risk my life to live in the moment and experience what many others can’t or won’t. I always say, "If I get struck down by lightning and die, I will die happy, doing what I loved to do the most”.
Like many people, I am an introvert. I am quiet, shy and hate public speaking. In 2007, when I first started out in photography, I purposely offered portraits as a way of learning and breaking out of my shell. I find I rarely have time now for it with my full time work and two big dogs. However, I am grateful for the friends and connections I have made and kept over the past 14 years!
I like a good challenge. As a Scorpio, I am quiet, but stubborn enough to prove myself and others wrong. In fact, I will basically stop at nothing to do what I set my mind to doing! It is what drives me to push forward, learn, create and just simply be me!
What drives me? One thing that has pushed me further to achieve my goals these last five years was losing my father when he was only 50 years old to cancer. It put things into perspective and when I turned 40 years old, I gave myself 10 years to live the heck out of my life and do my best to not care what others thought. I am definitely calling them my “Fuck it 40s” (thanks to my best friend) as it is my time to live! It is not always easy, especially with Covid-19, but I am doing my best to be true to myself and live my best life!
What does Photography mean to me?
My brain jumps from one thing to another so fast that even I have a hard time keeping up with myself sometimes. Photography gives me a moment of peace and living in the moment. It provides me with no responsibility and allows me to focus on what is in front of me. It gives me an identifiable moment to breathe! Pointing the camera at a subject breathes life into my soul, and allows me to see beauty in front of me (through my eyes, as not everyone sees what I do).
It gives me the opportunity and excuse to get out!! More importantly, it takes me out of my comfort zone, out to travel, out to live and live without expectation.
It allows me to live in the moment, be creative, explore and experiment without judgement.
How I got Into Photography at Eight Years Old…
Still reading? Thank you! Writing is not easy for me and you must really be wondering how all of this began!
I grew up in Thompson. It is a little town in Northern Manitoba (7.5 hrs away from any major city). I was surrounded by beauty and was lucky enough to experience a lot of it with my family, which included: fishing and exploring with dad, camping with the family, and clear nights, under aurora filled skies.
When I was six years old, I had a dream that included a bunch of small bungalows situated in a community, where multiple tornadoes dropped from the sky and swept the houses away. This for me, seemed weird, because Thompson had very few severe storms in the summer. In my 21 years there, not once did we ever experience a tornado. Ever since that dream, I had a fear and healthy fascination for storms, especially tornadoes.
At the age of seven or eight, I received my first 35mm camera and fell in love with the concept of being able to take a moment in time and capture it forever. It fascinated me and still does today.
After the novelty of taking pictures of family and friends wore off, I began trying to capture something more challenging…lightning! I would sit outside in rain showers in the hopes of capturing one small strike. To my surprise, I did manage to capture one on ISO 800 film, when I was only 12 years old! When I picked up my prints from the rolls of film I dropped off from the local Zellers, I was absolutely thrilled and was jumping up and down with excitement.
Over the years it became a mission to get an incredible shot. When the digital age came, I purchased several point and shoot cameras, trying to get a decent shot, but still came up empty. In 2007, my partner and I were headed out for my niece’s 3rd birthday party, around 2.5 hours west of Winnipeg. We knew there was a potential for thunderstorms, but knew nothing about forecasting for weather at the time. What transpired after the first 30 minutes of the trip was absolutely incredible!!! An experience I soon won’t forget!
Head over to my YouTube channel for a video and a scrapbook play-by- play of the Elie and Oakville tornadoes. In real-time, I experienced seeing an F3 & F5 tornado churning up dirt and debris directly in front of us. We watched it from start to end for almost 30 mins. We ran away from it at one point and joined back up just before it dissipated as the Oakville tornado gained strength. It was so awe inspiring and beautiful. In that moment I forgot all the worries and cares in the world. I had found my peace and place.
That fall I purchased my first DSLR camera and the rest is simply history! I am fully self taught through friend tips and tricks and a whole lot of practice, practice and more practice. In fact, for over the past 14 years, I have been developing my passion, niche and style.
What you see when you see my photos is what I call a little piece of my world. I like to share what I see when I take a photo, not what comes out of the back of my camera. It is what I see in my head when I look back on that special moment in time that you will never get back. It is special.
My beliefs – if you feel like really knowing me deeper, if not, that’s ok too! :D
What is next?
I am going to continue to work on “me”, get out when I can to shoot, live and share! I love to travel and have several places on my bucket list, along with exploring several different types of genres of photography. I would still love to explore. However, I will be on the road chasing storms and aurora first- my love and passion.
Stay tuned to my website and my social media for more over these coming years!