one minute warning

Things that have happened in the last two weeks:

I (finally!) attended the Beach Blanket Film Festival.
The BBFF is held in Penticton each July, and I always seem to miss it by a week. Fortunately I remembered this year, and made it to the final showing on Sunday night. The evening began at 8PM with live music, which continued until just before the last bit of light slipped behind the mountains. After showing four short films (including a beloved piece of Canadiana), Sarah Polley's Away From Her was presented. While the film is remarkable to begin with, nothing can really compare to seeing it with stars up above and a breeze coming in off of the lake.

I was accepted as a competitor in the Red Bull Soapbox Derby.

The Derickson's did family portraits.
The Derickson's are moving to Vancouver in a few days, so I invited them over for dinner and photos. After "sensuous" cedar planked salmon (caught just days before by my father on his fishing trip), we went down to various spots I had scoped out in Peachland. The light was good, the subjects were relaxed, and the posting of these photographs has prompted another flurry of requests for pictures.

I became the Tour Manager for the biggest band you've never heard of.

The Megan came to visit.
Alana tends to show up in several of my pictures, not only because she is quite photogenic, but also because she isn't afraid of the camera. This is helpful, as I often get tired of just shooting things. Her cousin Megan had seen some of the pics on Facebook, and demanded that we do a photoshoot when she come to visit. And I'm not one to say no to that. I took over a thousand pictures over 3 days, including one of the best pictures I have ever taken.

I became a landowner.

My father turned 50.
To celebrate, my mother planned a shindig and a half: live band, authentic Mexican food catered by my friend Yza, margaritas and Coronas cold as ice, nearly a hundred of my parent's closest friends dispersed comfortably around the house. I spent most of the party fetching supplies that were running low and dodging questions about my love life by the usual suspects. But I got at least three days worth of leftover food, so I consider it a resounding success.

20.7.08. Cropped to 3X5
23.7.08. Cropped to 3X5
26.7.08. Cropped to 3X5
25.7.08. Cropped to 3X5


staring at the sun

I woke up yesterday at 3:02 AM.

This happens occasionally, and I can usually fall back asleep, but this morning I could not. No matter how hard I tried. Then the birds started chirping at about 4, and if you are wide awake, the chirping of birds may as well be rush hour traffic.

I was getting more and more frustrated as time ticked on...until I saw the sky start to lighten through the seams of my tightly shut blinds and I thought about the sunrise.

When I worked waterfront at Green Bay, my favorite part of the job was driving boats before breakfast when the water was the calmest. As the July would move into August, the days became shorter, and I would consistently find myself skimming across the lake while the sun was rising.

An Okanagan sunrise in a boat is probably the closest thing to heaven on earth.

Remembering this, I dragged my seething self out of bed, grabbed my camera, and walked down to the water. The air was crisp, not yet baked by the height of summer. The only sound came from a particularly obnoxious seagull, obviously peeved that I had invaded his beach.

The sky was dusky yet cloudless, turning from yellow to slate to light blue to pink from east to west. I sat on the turquoise dock with the peeled paint with my toes in the water and sang (woefully out of tune) hymns to myself. I sat, and I waited, and I took in the beauty around me.

I like to think that God roused me as he did Samuel.

A week into my new position at work, I can see the responsibility growing rapidly and the possibility for stress to sneak in. Perhaps He knew that I would need a little reminder to slow down and take it all in.

Looking west, I could see the mountains turning purple as the first rays of sunlight hit, so I stood up and took off the lens cap and waited until the sun broke free from the horizon.

14.7.08. Cropped to 3X5.


things to make and do

Tonight was the first public showing of my photography.

Kind of.

Some friends of mine host an event called Mars Hill Cafe. This event, held every other Tuesday, is designed to feature local musicians and artists with an emphasis on social consciousness. Fair Trade coffee is served, and performing acts are encouraged to speak about philanthropic or charitable organizations they support*.

This is the same event that I was brushing up on my guitar skills for, and while that didn't exactly pan out (I was way rustier than I had anticipated), I decided it was time to get some real public feedback on my photos.

Through Flickr and Facebook, all of the pictures I exhibited tonight have been readily available for public view and, in fact, many of my comments about each picture were pulled from this very blog. It was not a traditional showing in that sense, but it was the first time I had presented my work to a group made up of largely strangers.

The popularity of and comments about certain pictures has surprised me at times, and tonight was no exception.

This picture, far and away, elicited the most positive reaction from the crowd. I can understand it: a good portion of the crowd was my parent's age (a demographic I presume to enjoy bridges and greenery), and it is admitedly a decent picture. But it seems like low art, something you again might see on the wall in a guest bathroom. Not the aesthetic niche I'm really looking for.

This is one of my favorite pictures, taken on my trip to Toronto. I love the characters, the pose, the setting, the significance, the aesthetic...THIS is what I what I want to shoot. It is new, unusual, interesting and unique.

It also didn't really capture the audience who had fawned over the previous photo.

Except for the cute blonde that told me that she L-O-V-E-D this picture. And that was enough for me.

12.4.08. Cropped to 3X5.
8.4.08. Cropped to 3X5.

*The organization I chose to speak about is To Write Love On Her Arms, which I have previously mentioned. I am planning to detail this organization in a future post, thus decided to not include it here. Stay tuned.


some days are better than others

Canada Day:

Before barbecued chicken and prawns with some great friends, and a hot show by my new favorite band, the day started with a visit to the Fintry Delta. Even though I've lived in the Valley for nearly 18 years, I only discovered it a few years back. This is one of the most beautiful places I've physically visited; the creek/river/whatever you want to call it has a number of falls along it, each with a deep pool under the fall itself. One fall even has a natural waterslide from one pool to the other, the rock worn smooth by years of rushing water.

You know those commercials that posit that soap can mimic the freshness of a waterfall? No way it could even come close. Swimming under a waterfall is unquestionably the purest thing on earth.

The trick to shooting waterfalls is using a high f-stop and slow shutter to get a smooth, creamy look. I rarely use small apertures, preferring a narrow depth of field and the ability to shoot in natural light. This particular picture was shot at f/22, the highest my camera/lens combination would allow. Although the picture doesn't do justice to the overwhelming beauty of the canyon, I like how the waterfall turned out.

The roommate and I will be going back regularly throughout the summer, so if you're interested in joining, let us know.

1.7.08. Cropped to 3X5, slight colour correction.


luminous times (hold on to love)

I shot my first wedding this weekend.

Fortunately, I was not 'the' photographer; all I was really asked to do was to shoot the guys as they were getting ready in the morning. Once they had jumped in the van to drive to the ceremony, my responsibilities were over.

This was great because, at the ceremony, I felt zero pressure. Since I didn't have to get every special moment, I'd watch where the primary photographer was and try and get a different angle on the scenario*, or even a completely different picture.

And while they were getting family portraits done, I simply walked around shooting whatever I thought looked interesting.

Half of the pictures I took at the ceremony were simply of the guests. People tend to look good at weddings, so I tried to get one good picture of each of my friends. Six of these have ended up as Facebook profile pics so far, so I judge this exercise a success.

It was a really great experience, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Not as the principal photographer mind you; this is too much fun to ruin with responsibility. Besides, to do it properly, I'd need a longer telephoto lens, a lens hood for my wide, UV filters, speedlites...

29.6.08. Cropped to 3X5.
29.6.08. Cropped to 3X5.