Golden Women's Resource Centre Starlight Soirée

I had such a great time last night photographing the Golden Women's Resource Centre Starlight Soiree held at the Civic Centre in downtown Golden, BC. 

Such an amazing turnout! A large part of the community came for the celebration, and it was one heck of a party! All the volunteers did an excellent job setting everything up and running the show. 

The performances were entertaining, the food was plentiful, and the vibe was very positive. 

Quite ironically, the winner of the "Woman of the Year Award" who was nominated by one of her children, was home, taking care of her children last night, and couldn't make it to the celebration. 

Special thanks to ALL of the women of Golden for all you do to make this such an amazing community to call home! 

 

Throwback Thursday - Hiking in Austria

A few summers back, my girlfriend and I spent a week hiking in the Austrian Alps. Don't ask me where, because I don't have the mental capacity to comprehend the German language.

We hiked up the slopes of a ski resort to get to this lake. (again, don't ask me where) We had planned to hike beyond this lake, up the slope in the distance to another lake, but the ski hill really kicked our asses and we were already out of water.

When we arrived at the shore of the lake, we were shocked to see nearly 100 people sunbathing and splashing (and screaming) in the water. It was nice to see the local Austrians enjoying their back country, but the screaming children and loud conversations really killed the vibe. We made our way to the far side of the lake to take a break and cool our feet down.

We could have taken a gondola up to a couple kilometers below this lake (which explains the crowd) but what's the fun in that? ;) We did stop to split a raspberry slurpee at the cafe before our descent tho.

Portrait Session at Kicking Horse Resort

I had a great time this morning photographing a super fun family, and personal friends of mine! We met up to the base of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and headed out to take some portraits.

We were lucky enough to have some beautiful puffy clouds filling the valley below us, and the sky above. The sun even managed to squeeze through the clouds and light our portraits!

Afterwards, Asher decided it would be a good idea for us all to go down to the gondola plaza for some hot chocolate.

portrait in golden bc

Nighttime Adventures - Invermere, BC

It was about 3:00am.
 

I kept hearing a rustling in the distance getting louder. I was in the rough and the tall grass was soaking my pant legs. I was clutching my bear spray like a scared cop.
 

My goal was to basically take this exact picture, but I wasn't totally sure where this guy was and my headlamp was of little use in the complete darkness, I continued up over a hill and there he was, standing perfectly still, looking out toward the skyline.

Now to burst your bubble, this is a bronze statue at a golf course in Invermere, which I saw on the cover of the phone-book and decided I HAD to go find it and take this picture. 
 

The story is entirely true though, I'm pretty sure the rustling was a tarp in the wind.. It WAS scary as shit tho.

Saturday Night at the Golden Sound Festival

Back at it again with another night of great music. Thanks to everyone responsible for bringing this amazing festival to our little mountain town!

If you ever get the chance to see any of these incredibly talented bands live, DO IT! You will not be disappointed!

Skye Wallace

Skye Wallace

Joy District

Joy District

Joy District

Joy District

Joy District

Joy District

The Shiverettes

The Shiverettes

The Shiverettes

The Shiverettes

Cobra Ramone

Cobra Ramone

Cobra Ramone

Cobra Ramone

Cobra Ramone

Cobra Ramone

Wooden Horsemen

Wooden Horsemen

Bright Light Social Hour

Bright Light Social Hour

Bright Light Social Hour

Bright Light Social Hour

Bright Light Social Hour

Bright Light Social Hour

Cheers to another great Golden Sound Fest!!

Cheers!

Cheers!

Golden Sound Festival 2016

The Golden Sound Festival Kicked off last night in the tiny mountain town of Golden BC. I look forward to this festival every year. The music is always top-notch bands with a variety of sounds for all different tastes.

Here are a few photos from each of last nights performances, I hope I see you out there tonight!
 

Jody Glenham and The Dreamers

Jody Glenham and The Dreamers

Velveteins

Velveteins

Golden Sound Festival brought to you by Okanagan Spring Brewery

Golden Sound Festival brought to you by Okanagan Spring Brewery

We Are The City

We Are The City

We Are The City

We Are The City

Folk Road Show

Folk Road Show

Benjamin Caldwell of Folk Road Show

Benjamin Caldwell of Folk Road Show

Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

Shred Kelly

Bend Sinister

Bend Sinister

Bend Sinister

Bend Sinister

Thanks for stopping by, check back tomorrow afternoon for the photos from tonight!

A Walk in the Park - Moraine Lake

One of my favorite places in the world, I never get sick of watching the sunset at Moraine Lake. 
I also never get sick of the incredibly vibrant blue water, which has to be seen to be believed. 
The color is caused by powdered rock, known as rock flour, which is rubbed off the face of the mountains by glaciers high above the lake, and becomes suspended throughout the water. 
Because the mountains in different locations are made of different combinations of rock, each lake has a slightly different hue of blue-green. Thanks to the large amount of rock flour being deposited into Moraine Lake each day, the intensity of the color is hard to believe, even in person!
Sadly, one day soon these lakes will lose their color, once the glaciers above them die, which is happening at an alarming rate.

A Walk in the Park - Johnston Canyon

On your big trip to the Canadian Rockies but it's raining and cloudy? Head over to Johnston Canyon on the Bow Valley Parkway, for an amazing hike up a gorgeous canyon, to two separate and equally impressive waterfalls.

The cloudy dull sky will diffuse the sunlight and make all the colors you see more vibrant! That's one of the reasons I like hiking on rainy days.

The canyon is very narrow and parts of the trail are actually suspended from the rock wall, high off the ground. The water is usually always a beautiful shade of blue-green and it is great getting to see it from all different angles. 
 

2016: A Year of Change

The future doesn't feel like I thought it would. You can't just remove the handle from a Segway and call it a hoverboard...

Top Down Portrait

 

This is going to be a big year for me. After spending the past 9 years (less 8 months living in Prague) hibernating in the tiny mountain town of Golden British Columbia, I've emigrated back to my homeland of Ontario to work with my bestie installing tile for his awesome company Fastidious Flooring. The mountains are a great place to live, but they are not necessarily the best place to find good work.

I am currently saving up for a trip to see my girlfriend, who is an architect in Prague Czech Republic. By far the most beautiful city (and woman) I have ever seen. I am looking forward to spending time in such an inspiring place.

I am having some withdrawal symptoms from being away from the mountains, but I've found a few ways of getting some elevation ;)

Church of Our Lady




After Party! - Late Nights & Green Lights

After running around photographing the Golden Sound Festival Saturday night (9 bands in 3 bars over 6 hours) I arrived home around 3:00 am and noticed the northern lights dancing in the north.
"DAMMIT" I thought. I was really looking forward to getting some much needed sleep. Of course I could have just snapped off a few photos from the parking lot and went to bed like most people would do, but that's not how I roll..  so I grabbed my tripod and headed out to the Blaeberry Valley. 

20 minutes later I arrived at the bridge over the Blaeberry River. I could see some head lamps bouncing around at the I.O.B campground down the river, so I knew I wasn't the only one enjoying the show. The milky way was very prominent that night above Willowbank Mountain and the aurora was stretching all the way over to the west.

I set up my tripod and got to work, struggling not to fall asleep between exposures.. I shared the photos the following day to our local community facebook page and got an overwhelming response. It makes it much easier to put in the extra effort when you know it will be appreciated.
 

I am looking forward to some rain to wash this smoke away from the big fire in Washington, I'm beginning to forget what the sky actually looks like!

Here's a few photos!

 

Golden Sound Festival

Had a great time photographing the Golden Sound Festival yesterday. So many amazing bands! There are quite a few photos to share, so I'll let them speak for themselves!

This is my favorite photo of the night. It was the last performance, so that meant I could relax. I snagged the best spot on the dance floor and proceeded to boogie.. the lighting was too sexy not to keep taking photos, and I ended up with this gem.. The rest are in order starting Friday night.. enjoy!

Slynk.
 
 

Before and After - My Thoughts on Post Processing

I decided this post I made yesterday on the new Columbia Valley Photography Club facebook page (which I spoke about starting in my previous blog post) would fit in nicely here on the blog, since I have created both as a way to share images and thoughts regarding photography, including techniques, wedding venues, portrait ideas and just my general thoughts on various subjects, to help current and future clients, as well as my fellow photographers...
 

Since I want this to be a place people come to learn and be inspired, I've decided to share with you the before and after (the equivalent of a magician revealing his tricks, or a KISS member with no makeup)

This is what a RAW file looks like out of the camera.. muddy, grey, blurry, unsaturated... but this file contains all the necessary information to turn it into the image on the right. (which is much closer to reality)

A lot of professionals choose to keep their 'tricks' to themselves, I find that selfish, and I actually believe sharing your tricks forces you to keep improving.

Amateur photographers are always mystified as to "why my photos don't look like that" When they've bought all the right gear and shot the perfect exposure.

Most amateur photographers have a strange notion that a professional photographer should be able to take the perfect photo with his camera, and if done properly, no post processing should be required..

This is simply wrong. Our cameras are just tools, like a paint brush, or a tattoo gun. They have no idea what they're doing, and even when we tell them all the right things, there is still more work on our end to be done, people give cameras WAY too much credit.. You would never tell Picasso "You must have a nice paint brush!"

When you shoot in JPG, the camera is actually "Photoshopping" the image for you, boosting the contrast, saturation, picking a white balance. The result is a "digitally photoshopped" image, which you have little to no control over. When you shoot in RAW however, the camera collects all the information into a file, which you can then manipulate and "pull out" detail/ colour/ exposure etc..

Most professional photographs today are created as much in a computer, as they are in a camera (if not way more). The techniques used in Photoshop are actually the same as the techniques used in the darkroom days, just a digital version!

The image on the right is the result of processing the RAW image on the left in Photoshop.

This image took about 10 minutes to process and includes only a hand full of alterations including: increased contrast, corrected white balance, corrected colour saturation, removed the stick from the bottom left of the falls and stretched the bushes in the bottom right to cover the ugly gravel. The biggest advantage to shooting RAW is the ability to save highlight and shadow detail. All the information is in the file, you just have to pull out whatever you want.

I usually don't remove anything more than ugly branches and garbage, but I am not afraid to manipulate any photo in any way that I think might improve the image. My only goal as a photographer is to create beautiful art, using photography as my medium.

Unless you are a journalist working for a newspaper, there is nothing wrong with manipulating a photograph in any way you like. It's all about creating art.

Defense Training Dummy

In the summer of 2013 I had the opportunity to spend a week at a dog training camp with my in-laws, who are dog breeders and trainers. 

Lukas (in blue) and Honza (in yellow) are actually the top military and police dog trainers in Czech Republic, and they personally train a large number of the police dogs in North America as well as Europe!

At the camp they taught basic obedience as well as some advanced defense training. Many people in Europe train their dogs to protect them from potential threats, in the same way they train police dogs.

It's really interesting to watch these guys work, they put so much effort into their 'performance' to make the dog want to bite them! 

I made a joke that I'd love to try it, assuming it was far too dangerous for them to allow it. But this isn't Canada..  earlier that day I had my beer served by a 6 year old..

They let me try it with a regular dog, thinking that would be enough.. but I was too rough with him, so Lukas went and got the beautiful German Shepard police dog he has been personally training! I was told she was tougher than me, and could easily overpower me..

There is actually more to it then just sticking out your arm and letting a dog bite you. When they are running at you from a distance, they build up A LOT of speed. The trick is to turn your body WHILE the dog is biting you, to transfer their forward movement into a rotational movement, otherwise the dog may break their neck on impact!

Check out some videos on Youtube to watch grown men the size of Lukas get pulled off their feet and spun 360 degrees!

1000 Words - My Favorite Photograph

Every photographer has a favorite photo they've taken. Usually I say my favorite is the next one I'm going to take, and to a certain point that is completely true. But there is one image that sparked my passion for photography, I'd like to share it with you today, and explain why.

Having graduated high school earlier that summer, my friends and I decided to all take a trip to our friend Maggie's cottage for the final weekend of the summer. Her cottage was on a beautiful little island, on a very large lake, in a gorgeous part of Ontario. 

 As much fun as we had that weekend, the whole trip had a strange depressing vibe to it.  We all knew this was most likely the last time we would all be together in the same place, as that fall everyone would go off to school, or move to the mountains in my case.

Sunday morning Maggie and I decided to take a hung-over canoe ride across the lake. Maggie has that kind of energy, where, if you could manage to bottle it, you would be very rich. A one-of-a-kind soul to say the least.

This was about 10 years ago, and its hard to believe, no one had a digital camera at the time! My friend Holly brought her "point and shoot" and we shared it throughout the weekend, she had brought a couple rolls of film.  I still remember her having a nightmare trying to get copies made for everyone.

Anyways, there we were sitting in the canoe, Maggie was paddling and I was just sitting back relaxing.  I knew I wanted a picture to commemorate our final canoe ride together as 'kids' but just before I took it, I told Maggie a joke and she burst out laughing. Not a rare occurrence.

It was at that moment, watching my best friend laughing the way she always did, her cottage a small dot in the background, a beautiful blue sky above. I will never forget the feeling I had as I pressed the shutter. I knew I was capturing an image that I would treasure for the rest of my life. 

It was at thatmoment I realized the power that photography has. The ability to capture a thousand words with one flick of the finger. It felt like finding a treasure, and since then, I have become a visual treasure hunter of sorts. 

Every time I look at this photo I am overwhelmed with a feeling of nostalgia. The rest of the memories from that trip are beginning to fade at this point, yet I can still feel the breeze on my face and hear her laughing.. every time.

Love you Magoo.

Head in the Clouds on Mount St. Piran

The weather has been pretty miserable lately here in the mountains. Which is a good thing, because there were a few wildfires mother nature started that she needed to put out.

I decided to throw a rain coat on and take a hike up the Little Beehive beside Lake Louise. I like to hike in that area in the rain because seeing all the tourists without rain gear makes me feel warm and comfy.. 

I thought it would start coming down hard at some point, but when I had made it to the top of Little Beehive I still wasn't soaked, so I decided to continue to the summit of Mt St. Piran.

About 3/4 of the way up it started to rain pretty heavily, but luckily it was right as I was passing an awesome rock cave complete with wildflowers and the perfect view! Not a bad place to hang out. I forgot I was hauling my tripod up with me so I proceeded to pile some rocks to set my camera on for a time lapse. 

Unfortunately by the time I reached the summit the clouds had filled in all around me. With no sign of the weather getting any better, and many signs of it getting worse, I decided to begin the descent. 

I didn't notice until after, but you can see my white van in the parking lot in the middle of the time lapse image.

Here is the time lapse and a few photos from the day! 
 

Once the worst of the rain passed, I ran out for a quick selfie, before replacing my rain coat, and continuing on to the summit.

Once the worst of the rain passed, I ran out for a quick selfie, before replacing my rain coat, and continuing on to the summit.

Here's the cave where I waited out the rain. You can see my rock pile I used for a 'tripod'.

Here's the cave where I waited out the rain. You can see my rock pile I used for a 'tripod'.

The trail winds through a beautiful Larch forest. I look forward to doing this hike in the fall when all the larch have turned a vibrant yellow.

The trail winds through a beautiful Larch forest. I look forward to doing this hike in the fall when all the larch have turned a vibrant yellow.

Wild flowers carpet the slopes of Mt. St. Piran, high above Lake Louise.

Wild flowers carpet the slopes of Mt. St. Piran, high above Lake Louise.

Back at the Lake around 8pm. What a great afternoon hike.. Sure beats sitting around at home staying dry!

Back at the Lake around 8pm. What a great afternoon hike.. Sure beats sitting around at home staying dry!

Toe Shoes - Freedom for your Footsies!

Most people disregard them as just another trendy 'must have' item, which nobody thinks they need. There was some recent controversy causing the maker of 'Vibrams - Five Finger' toe shoes to fork out some money for embellishing some health benefits of wearing the shoes. This story affirmed in all the skeptics minds that they were right.. Their loss..

It was a hot summer morning in Vancouver. Marie and I were on a week long trip exploring the city, by foot, as we gave up trying to figure out the bus routes.

Passing by a store with a few pairs of Five Fingers sitting in the window, I was eager to find out how much $ they were soaking out of people for these crazy looking foot-gloves, and what exactly they were for.

The guy in the shop was really informative and explained the idea was born out of the need for non-slip, yet natural feeling footwear for sailing and other water sports. He explained the design allows your foot to flex as it would with bare feet, but the thick rubber sole will prevent uneven surfaces from hurting your foot.

They have a variety of different sole thicknesses, you basically have a choice to sacrifice a bit of flexibility for support. We chose the pair with the second thickest sole. They also come in an insane array of sizes, each size up is only like 1/16 of an inch, so you can really find the perfect fit. (and to my surprise they were only $100)

Wearing these shoes feels amazing, just like you are barefooted with a very slight amount of support. When you walk barefooted (or with these shoes) you take shorter steps, and you don't slam your heel down the same way as with shoes on, or it would hurt. The separate toe holes may look uncomfortable, but rather than traditional shoes which cram your toes together, they actually stretch your toes out wider, which feels great, and makes your foot work the way it's supposed to. (humans didn't evolve to jam their feet in Nike Airs) So it's a much healthier way of walking for your joints and feet. Vibram made claims about these shoes 'correcting' bad form, which I think they probably do to a certain degree, if you wear them enough. However courts decided they didn't have the facts to back up these claims.

 The guy at the shop told us to just walk a little bit at a time over a few days to get used to using the muscles differently.  So naturally we wore them AAALL DAY totaling around 20km.. Marie walked immediately out the door and into some dog poo.  

The down side? Picture yourself walking down the sidewalk in bare feet.. your soles get pretty sore pretty quickly. Needless to say we wore our boring shoes the next day, and our hammies and calves were a little worse for wear..

Since then we often wear them as water shoes, or when we want something a little more supportive than sandals. I've wore them on hikes up to the Bugaboos and up to the summit of a 'mountain' in Czech Republic, I was basically in tears by the end of both, hardly able to take another step. So they definitely have their specific uses. If you are a jogger, these would be perfect..

An Afternoon at Kicking Horse

I spent the afternoon wandering around at the top of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort yesterday.

Well, at least I would have if I hadn't forgotten my jacket in the car. Despite being a warm summer day in the valley, the top of a mountain is not a very hospitable place to be without a jacket. After just over an hour the wind had stolen most of my body heat and I headed back to the gondola to download. If there is one lesson I can take away from spending time in the great outdoors, it's that it is nearly impossible to enjoy yourself and your environment when you're cold/wet; ALWAYS bring a jacket.

Luckily for you, you can't feel the biting wind while viewing these photos, so you probably don't need a jacket, might add to the experience though, I dunno..

I had to pay these guys twenty bucks to ride under the gondola at just the right time..  In addition to the countless downhill mountain biking trails on and between the ski runs, there is also a road that runs all the way from the summit down to the base of the resort, which is perfect if the downhill trails are a bit over your head, it also makes a beautiful 3 hour hike. This is the road used by the snow groomers in the winter time to get up to the higher ski runs.. or to tow a Jeep to the top of the mountain to shoot a commercial. It is also the way 50% of the people who visit Kicking Horse in winter choose to go, as it is not a beginner friendly mountain.. (the blue squares are more like black diamonds, and there are no green circles) if you are not a skiier/snowblader you are very confused right now) 

I had to pay these guys twenty bucks to ride under the gondola at just the right time.. 
In addition to the countless downhill mountain biking trails on and between the ski runs, there is also a road that runs all the way from the summit down to the base of the resort, which is perfect if the downhill trails are a bit over your head, it also makes a beautiful 3 hour hike. This is the road used by the snow groomers in the winter time to get up to the higher ski runs.. or to tow a Jeep to the top of the mountain to shoot a commercial. It is also the way 50% of the people who visit Kicking Horse in winter choose to go, as it is not a beginner friendly mountain.. (the blue squares are more like black diamonds, and there are no green circles) if you are not a skiier/snowblader you are very confused right now) 

The town of Golden, British Columbia from the gondola.

The town of Golden, British Columbia from the gondola.

Looking south across Canyon Creek and the Columbia Valley.

Looking south across Canyon Creek and the Columbia Valley.

I think I prefer the wide angle view, over 10x magnification any day.. maybe I'm just cheap.. 

I think I prefer the wide angle view, over 10x magnification any day.. maybe I'm just cheap.. 

"Canada's most elevated dining experience." Eagle's Eye restaurant at the summit of Kicking Horse Resort.. 

"Canada's most elevated dining experience." Eagle's Eye restaurant at the summit of Kicking Horse Resort.. 

I like to think of the 10 second timer on my camera as a personal challenge which I'm quite good at. "you're not going to make it over here in 10 seconds!"   We'll see about that..

I like to think of the 10 second timer on my camera as a personal challenge which I'm quite good at. "you're not going to make it over here in 10 seconds!" 

We'll see about that..