I am honoured to have been asked to take photos for the Sq’ewa:lxw (Skawahlook) First Nation conference that was held over the weekend of August 10, 2019.
It was a special weekend for a variety of First Nation members as they convened for a day full of talks, activities, and family fun just outside Agassiz, BC.
The conference was held in a beautiful wooden cedar hall with warm tones. There was a mixture of natural, incandescent, and fluorescent light which made for some challenging lighting. To top it off there was a screen projector – the type with a colour wheel that spins around throwing out some interesting colours on the screen when I took photos. A high shutter speed will stop the motion of the colours being displayed on the screen so I would get a green screen or a red one etc. To counteract this I had to adjust my shutter speed to match the speed of the spin. I took a few custom white balances around the room as well and took photos at various angles to help minimize this rainbow of colours.
I was hesistant to use flash mainly because I did not want to interrupt the speakers and the work flow when the groups were collaborating. This meant I had to bump up my ISO fairly high and choose my lenses accordingly. I did not want to get in the speakers way nor the audiences so I shot with my f 2.8, 70-200mm but this also meant that I had less light coming into the lens. I chose my f 2.8, 24-70mm for when I could get closer and not interrupt. This lens also gave me a lot more light to work with.
While the morning was reserved for work and meetings the afternoon became more lively for families with children. Soaking in the late afternoon sun the kids, and parents alike, jumped, slid and ate ice cream after a traditional dinner of salmon and bannock.
Thank you to the Sq’ewa:lxw for allowing me to be there. You made me feel very welcome and I very much enjoyed my day working, and getting to know you.
No, this isn’t a click-bait article and we did in fact go skinning with the kids this past weekend. It was our first time skiing in the backcountry as a family and as the term skinning suggests we skinned up and we skied down.
Before we got ourselves into trouble though we decided to hire a guide because we like our lives. Neither my husband or myself have our avalanche training so we played it safe. Our guide, Jean-Francois of Coast Mountain Guides, was friendly, knowledgeable, great with kids (he’s got two himself) and he speaks both French and English! As well as guiding us he also educated us on safety, snow packs, contour lines, weather and beacon training throughout the day. No wonder my little one didn’t want to go to school Monday morning. He most likely learned more in the 7 hours we were out over a week of school.
Backcountry skiing is something my husband and I had wanted to do for a while but had to wait for our children to be old enough. We like the idea of being able to go where few people do, surrounded by snow capped mountains and skiing in pristine powder. Our youngest is now 8 and our oldest is 10. They both ski very well and have no issues on single blacks at Whistler Blackcomb. Jean-Francois catered the route towards the kids to keep them happy so they would want to go again. Both kids were enthusiastic. Annnnd then we had lunch when our oldest decided to bust out the rescue shovel to create snow-furniture so he could sit properly to eat his lunch and our youngest – well – he just decided to dig a hole in the snow at the edge of the lake and dangle his feet in the slush. Ugh.
After lunch we skied out of the valley and towards our final climb of the day which would lead us to what JF affectionately called ‘Moon Rocks’. This would take us into our final descent out of the backcountry and into Blackcombs’ in-bound ski area. This is where ‘mommy-dearest’ fell one more time proving that I really suck at steep, narrow shoots. Let it be known that on Sunday, February 11, 2018 my kids have officially become better skiers than me. And for the record, I’d like to blame it on my skis that are 10cm longer than what I’m used to.
For equipment, we outfitted ourselves with brand new miss-drilled skis – David’s were 50% off the ticketed price – and backcountry style bindings with pins. All my gear were misfits as well – miss-drilled, miss-used and near misses. But, they were on sale. We found used rental boots, also on sale, and they didn’t stink. In fact, I don’t believe they were used more than 3-4 times as there were very little scuff marks. For our youngest we found a pair of new 2016 boots online. This was the last pair and on discount. We also hit the Whistler Blackcomb Outlet Store in Squamish and found a pair of used Atomic powder skis for the kids – fairly light and fat. For the bindings we bought new from Hagan – a small Austrian based company selling backcountry equipment with a US distributor. The bindings are relatively light, and versatile – fitting smaller boot sizes with a DIN from 2 to 7. We should be able to get 2-4 years before they out grow them.
We had an amazing time. My husband will be taking an avi course and I will follow up with mine soon after. This was an unforgettable experience that the entire family enjoyed. It doesn’t come without dangers though. Safety and experience is essential and not something to skimp on. If you don’t know your way around the back country than hire a guide. That’s what they are there for!
See what I did there? I put in that sentence about dangers so that you don’t attack me in the courts. I told you, and you read my post.
Interested in documenting your adventures or vacations? Or, having that unique family portrait that isn’t staged? I’m good at this. Let’s talk.
My children and myself found a rather large patch of tall, dry grass and an abundance of rocks while on a modified hike atop Grouse Mountain. I say modified because we never made it to where we had intended to go but, instead, found laughter and fun as they began to play hide-and-seek, and tag. Seriously, why drag them into a hike when clearly they were having more fun here? And, without them knowing it, getting more exercise as they ran up and down the mountain side.
Within time, a young girl and her family came along and asked if she could play with my two boys. While her mother and I talked the kids played, laughed, shared, ran and jumped.
I grew up in an apartment in a rough Toronto neighborhood and to this day the most fun I had were those years where I did just what my children were doing – being kids. I ran up six flight of stairs and raced down them as fast as I could (elevators were boring); I climbed trees, we played British Bull-Dog, Cowboys and Indians, climbed trees, jumped our bikes over our friends and, generally, ran lots. I wasn’t involved in team sports, nor had a plethora of afterschool activities but I did climb school roof tops to retrieve tennis balls and I also clearly remember crumpling up pieces newspaper and lighting them on fire in our building’s underground garage (right behind parked cars no less). While perhaps that wasn’t the swiftest thing I ever did (and really hope my own children don’t do that) I also remember setting off the buildings outdoor sprinkler system to jump over the stream of water as it rotated. Hours of fun.
My point is, today children are taxied left, right and center. Whether it’s a music lesson, a soccer or hockey practice, gymnastics, swimming, or art clubs it seems to me that kids are no longer kids. A chance to laugh, play, be with friends, share, talk, run, fall, and cry. The chance to socialise and to make friends on their own terms seems to be lost. The opportunity to make up games, play make-believe and run for fun is disappearing and replaced by a generation with their heads stuck in their mobile devices.
Find a playground. Let your kids play good old-fashion games and join in on the fun. Cuts, bruises, tears and messes. It’s all good. And if you can find an old sprinkler system put a popsicle stick in them to set them off…and run away quickly. Tons of fun and great exercise too.
‘It goes by fast’…are often the words young parents hear in reference to young children.
While it may feel like the diaper stage and the sleepless nights will never end it, invariably, does. And by the time you know it your kids will be asking for the car keys. Seriously.
I began to document my own children as they finished one stage and entered another. Like most families my two boys are active. Very active. And, asking them to sit down and smile for the camera wasn’t a photo that suited them nor was it one that was easily achieved.
I realised that the best photos of my children were the ones that had meaning. The ones where they were busy doing something, engaged in an activity of their choice. That brought out the best smiles, and looks from them. In exchange I was left with a photo full of emotion and meaning. I call this type of photography documentary because I record what unfolds in front of me. There are no fancy backgrounds, and I use natural lighting. This allows me to move freely and quietly. Simple, quick, easy and no more husbands grumbling for a sit down pose. Everybody’s happy because there is no change in routine.
I can now fondly look back through the years at what we’ve done as a family, the hardships that we forgot, (although at the time i didnt think I could ever forget), the good and the fun times. I take these special photos and put them in a video slideshow and print them on a luxurious flat book so that can be shared with friends and family either digitally or through traditional methods.
If you would like to document your family please consider me as your photographer. I am currently booking for mid-September and am offering half-day or a full-day sessions. Be assured, I love this type of family photography and strive to create photos that I would be proud to have myself.
‘It really does go by fast’…
After showing my client two very different and distinct backgrounds in West Vancouver we decided to go for it and hold the photo session in two separate locations one right after the other. This mother and daughter team rocked the scene with contagious laughter and smiles.
So why would I attempt to photograph them in two locations? Because I knew that both areas would suit them so why not give them the best of both worlds. Plus, there’s something special about Lighthouse Park and Whytecliff Park and their ability to put us all in a calm, serene, and content state. One is known for its edgy, craggy, sharp rocks and the other for it’s smooth, round ones.
The afternoon started at Lighthouse Park and as usual both offered spectacular backdrops. As the late November afternoon slipped away we made our way to Whytecliff and got really lucky as the sun dropped, first turning yellow, than orange and finally that sought after crimson. The colours were simply insane! It was worth staying late.
Let’s talk. If you like my style and you feel I am the photographer for you…send me an email and let’s plan something cool!!
Welcome to my redesigned site!
To better reflect my photography my web designer Karen Cowl of Stripe Graphics Ltd. and ‘behind-the-scenes’ super code guy Calvin Lim of Blue Comet Solutions came up with a clean, modern design that is both simple to use and navigate. Plus, it’s mobile friendly.
My photography over the past few years has changed focus and I needed a website to better communicate that to clients. Take the self-guided tour and let me know what you think by sending me an email using the link found at the bottom of the page(s).
I’ve been busy over the last few weeks and have been holding back posting photos on a few of my recent photo shoots. I’ll be releasing a few over the next few weeks so check back for more. No more hiding…this is the new me and I hope you like it.
Thanks for stopping by and looking. And, don’t forget to find me on Facebook under Cecile Gambin Photography for really up-to-date news!
This past long weekend I had the opportunity to work with a wonderful family that is not unlike my own. Where real issues live on and aren’t contained within the walls of the family house. It’s the funny faces kids make, the pouts and temper tantrums, or the loveable smiles when you least expect it. It’s when kids decide to jump instead of sit and be themselves that create priceless photos that I cherish and are to me priceless. Real family issues for real photos – these are the images that will bring back a flood of good or bad memories.
It all started innocently enough with my studio lights frazzling this young girl which was quickly followed by the older brothers decision to yank her poor head back to see what would happen. With two boys and a girl an abundance of energy, curiosity, and excitement flowed through the studio. But it was all good because the expressions and the dynamics came alive and within 20 minutes the smiles, the tears, the frazzled looks, the ‘I’m bored’ and the ‘I want to jump on daddy’ looks give a wealth of emotion to the photos helping parents remember those special times that really weren’t so long ago.
And yes, time does fly by and what better way to capture it through real photos of your real family. Nothing hidden, nothing fake…just raw expression. There are times as a parent when you may be completely frazzled but in 10 years you will look back and laugh and maybe even cry. Your children are silly, fun and honest and parents witness that everyday through the multitude of actions, and facial expressions. Cherish these special moments.
Finally being able to set up my studio after our move across the country last year I am now back in full business and loving it!
Cecile Gambin Photography is a full one stop shop with the ability to shoot indoors or outdoors specialising in action, and portraits for families, individuals and even pets. Whether it’s a day on your mountain bike or motorcycle shredding the gnar or a not-so formal photo of your beautiful family please consider me as your photographer. I encourage you to look at my portfolio for action HERE and for Life Style portraits HERE. And if you like my style please contact me using the contact page on my website.
Here are a few more photos of my recent photo shoots from this month.