Retirement is suiting John Gordon just fine - thank you very much. The Langley photojournalist found himself semi-retired about two years ago, and said the unexpected circumstances have given him time to explore his own community, his province, and even the country of Canada like he's never been able to before.
While working in community newspapers for the past 20 years locally, he frequently escaped on vacation for three weeks a year to exotic locations. And never one to be without his camera, Gordon put together some captivating slideshows and presentations from those excursions, that he has presented publicly in past.
He doesn't regret for a moment taking any of those trips, but he said he's excited by the new chapter in his life.
"I was so tuned out of nature, caught up in the electronic world," Gordon admitted.
Now, he said, his new found freedom is allowing him to explore closer to home, and one of the biggest joys the 59-year-old photographer has uncovered is birding.
While on the treadmill of work, he was introduced on a cursory basis to the Langley Field Naturalists. But about three years ago now, the environmentally conscious Gordon decided to join the organization and discovered what he calls the truly amazing world of birds and the people who watch them.
It's about being outdoors and exercising, it's about exploring the forests and natural amenities in the Lower Mainland, it's about meeting "salt-of-the-earth" people who are passionate about the environment, and it's about discovering the wonderment of the bird world.
He's spent the past 18 months or so spending much of his free time exploring the Lower Mainland, and through birding he's discovering wonders he never really knew existed - or at least he had no more than a vague understanding of them.
He pointed to Crescent Beach, Maplewood Flats in North Vancouver, Boundary Bay, and the Brunswick Point in Delta.
"These are fantastic places to visit and birdwatch," Gordon said, pointing closer to home at Brydon Lagoon, Campbell Valley Park, the Fort-to-Fort Trail, and Brae Island.
"Birdwatching is so educational, especially to young people, and young folks - in their 20s - are getting involved because it puts them in touch with nature."
It's some of the stunning natural beauty that he's been able to capture in the past few years that he's anxious to share with others as part of a lecture series he is offering this month through the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries.
His Birding for Fun is just one of six different photography presentations making up the World Cultures Month series he's offering this month, but it's the newest and the one he's most excited about.
He confesses, it's a constantly evolving presentation - a work in progress.
"It's going to morph," he said. "I'm still going to be adding some."
In addition to his session focused on birding, he's also offering The Magic of Morocco, Saskatchewan: Reclaiming the Prairie Landscape, Off the Beaten Track: The United Kingdom, Travel to India, and Grizzly Bears.
While his Morocco, U.K., and India presentations have already been concluded locally, he's set
to offer the birding session at the Muriel Arnason Library on Wednesday, March 20 at 7 p.m., and his grizzly presentation at Walnut Grove Library on Tuesday, March 26, again at 7 p.m.
For those unable to attend his presentations, Gordon invites them to follow his blog at http: // thecanadianwarbler.blogspot.ca.
Gordon has also published two local picture books, Langley Familiar Places: Familiar Scenes in 2004, and more recently The Langleys, and he continues to shoot professionally in several different arenas.