[twitter]Scott Bourne is a very talented photographer. Often, when showing his images, people will get geeky about his camera gear and ask him about what kind of hardware he uses, or where he bought it.

“Same place Shakespeare got his pens,” is the usual quip.

It may come off snarky, but the message is solid: it doesn’t matter what kind of tool is in the hands of someone with talent. If they know how to use it, if they can have a special ability to see things, then it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter what kind of pens Elmore Leonard used to write longhand, what kind of club Tiger Woods uses to swing, what kind of stick Sidney Crosby slaps with.

Talent is talent is talent.

You want proof? Check out Alberta 1×1, a campaign being run by The Canadian Tourism Commission where 7 of the world’s best Instagram users have been invited on an adventure to uncover the natural beauty of Alberta and the Canadian Rockies with their mobile phones.

The pictures these people have taken are absolutely stunning. The best part? They’re doing it with the same physical tools you already have in your pocket.

You have Instagram, they have Instagram. The result is proof what a difference talent makes.

While I malign the trend that is school picture day, I still get on with a professional photographer each year and get family photos done. We may take a lot of pictures of our kids and adventures, but there is magic made when even a smartphone and a simple app is the hand of a professional.

I went to Moraine Lake last weekend:

Garry Norris went to Moraine Lake this weekend:

I went to Peyto Lake this summer:

Gary Norris went to Peyto Lake this weekend

Yeah, one of us has talent. (I do like my Peyto Lake picture better tho, because Zacharie is in it)

Have a look at some of the #Alberta1x1 pictures and get an entirely new love for the scenery in our backyard that we have all photographed thousands of times, and gain a new appreciation for the tool in your pocket and what you could do with it .. if you had the talent.

Inspired? This weekend there are the Canadian Hot Air Balloon Championships in High River, and the larches are still bright yellow. You’ve got the inspiration and the subject matter, what can you do with it?

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