Yesterday, I once again had the privilege to not only attend but also to photograph an historic event held close to Hope, BC. that saw the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and the Tiyt Tribe sign a Letter of Understanding.
I was asked to photograph the event by the Skawahlook community which took place in a Chawathil First Nation community centre not far from Hope, BC. The focus of my photos was to capture the full event.
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.
More boisterous than other felines these mini-leopards run, jump, explore, play in water, and then run and jump some more. Which makes photographing them interesting, fun and real test in patience and skills.
Meet Casper. He’s a 5 month old Bengal who is unusually timid. Probably because he was the runt of his litter and confidence is a struggle for him. Photographing him was a bit more difficult over other cats and dogs I’ve worked with but with some patience and a few tricks up my sleeve I was able to get him to relax enough to show his sweet side.
Before I take photos of animals I meet with their owners to get a sense of their pets personality. That’s what I’m interested in. I want to capture what makes them them – their uniqueness, their quirks, their grimaces, their furry smile and their thoughts. The fun, and the pure awesomeness that went with having them by my side day in and day out. That’s how I would want to remember my pet.
I try not to keep the animal longer than needed. I realise they have more important things to do in their lives like eat and play. Sometimes a photo session can last 30 minutes or longer than an hour. Whatever the case, I don’t rush it. I’m flexible and work with you and your pet.
For inquiries or to book a photo session please contact me via email or phone. You can find my coordinates on my contact page. Thanks!
I’ve been working hard for this over the past few months and am beyond STOKED!!! The criteria – 10 images of 10 different dogs in 10 different situations. Four of the images must have been made indoors, 4 others outdoors and the last 2 were of my choice. I was judged for creativity, composition, lighting, technique, subject matter, presentation, story telling, centre of interest, style and colour balance. That’s a lot but when you’re representing the PPOC and want to be a top notch photographer this is what is expected.
I know I’m all giddy but this is a HUGE deal to me. This is THE highest standard in professional imaging. I now get to proudly display PPOC on my website and represent them. I take this seriously and aim to produce strong, technically correct and emotional photos that have impact and meaning.
As many of you know a few years ago I used to race downhill mountain bikes. While I rode at breakneck speeds I had no issues doing this in front of everybody. The final time on the scoreboard was absolute. I knew where I stood. Photography, however, has taken me outside my comfort zone. I put my heart into my photos and hope that people like them and not laugh at my work or ideas. Unlike racing, exhibiting my photos is really nerve racking. In essence, I’m putting my inner me out there for all to see. Submitting for accreditation in front of Canada’s best photographers was hard for me.
I cannot thank my husband David and my children enough. They put up with me going out at all hours and working long nights and often days making sure each photo was worthy of being submitted. David – thank you for putting up with me during this time. I also could not have done this without all the special furry friends (and their non-furry owners). Thank you Paul Johnson Desiree Ellis Lalena Desautels Robin Banks Chetti Pece Amy Siddaway and the others who are not on the net.
When photographing dogs I love to shoot them in their favourite park. This is an area where they know the trails, and have probably sniffed every fern and tree. It’s where they are comfortable and this is essential in my quest to help capture their personality and energy.
A few days ago my son and myself set up shop in a local park that I like to use because of the available light and the abundance of ferns, moss and tall trees. It’s quite literally a green room. I also know it’s an area frequented by dog walkers and I was on a mission for a light coloured dog (I need 10 photographs of 10 different dogs and 10 different breeds in various locations for an accreditation with The Professional Photographers of Canada). Within a few minutes Rooster came along – a young Hungarian Vizsla with perpetual energy.
His human friend had done an amazing job training him over the past year and a bit and I was fortunate enough to have him handle Rooster while I took photos. Rooster was a big sweetheart and worked hard for his treats as he posed for a few seconds. But, I could clearly see he was itching to spring into action as soon as he could. I mean I get it. I’m the same way. Put me in a meeting and I either snore or get really ancy – either way, it’s not good. And, usually I embarrass myself and those around me. haha!! I understand Vizslas and I know they need to run. My last two dogs were German Short Hair Pointers (GSP) and they are virtually the same dog as the Vizslas – fun, energetic, and youthful.
Working with Rooster reminded a lot of my two GSPs and I enjoyed my time taking photos of him. He’s a beautiful dog with an athletic build and gorgeous eyes. He gave me funny faces, and serious poses. I LOVE his energy!!
If you are looking for photographs of your furry friend please think about me. I’m an experienced photographer and dog owner. I shoot rain or shine and I will get muddy for that perfect shot. Being outside, creating art and memories and, getting a chance to pet dogs is, IMO, way better than sitting through a meeting. I’m booking now for January and February sessions.
This is Chester. He’s an 8 year old Australian Sheppard who just couldn’t wait for us to say ‘go play in the water’.
Chester was AH-Mazing to work with. Yes, he did get a lot of treats to model but he busted out some crazy smiles, drools and poses. Did I say model? Haha!! I let dogs be dogs and I go with the flow. If Chester wanted to sit and smile than I took his picture. If he wanted to run and be goofy I let him be because I want photos to be real. And, Chester didn’t disappoint.
I’m an outdoor person and inclement weather doesn’t bother me. Nor does it bother your dog (usually). I’m available to immortalize your furry friend and their big personality in a series of photos that I know you’ll love. Let’s talk. I’d love to hear from you.
There’s a new Adventure Park in town and I openly admit I cannot remember how to pronounce it.
What I can tell you though is that it lies half way between Agassiz and Hope, BC, and, it’s chock-full of goodness for art lovers, nature lovers and mountain bikers.
I was commissioned by the BC Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program to take photos of the parks opening celebration September 14, 2018. The AYMBP are mountain bikers, coaches and community leaders who support and encourage Aboriginal youth and communities to participate and excel in the sport of mountain biking. They work with First Nations communities to encourage their people to get outside and reconnect with nature and live healthier active lives. The trails were built and designed by the AYMBP and the good people at First Journey Trails. These two groups are pretty cool in my books!!
I was most impressed at how the creators weaved the trails with the arts. From painted bridges to wooden carvings, the park offers a unique outdoor experience with an educational component to entice all levels of art connoisseurs as well as respecting the land, and the culture, on which the trails are built on. The carvings are influenced by the forests, the surrounding wildlife and lifestyle of the Coast Salish.
The park is family friendly. It’s a perfect place to introduce shredders to mountain biking. The relatively smooth terrain will allow them to learn the basics and keep them happy. The trails are challenging enough to build endurance and will also allow for a safe progression into the more technical skills park area. Along with a 90,000 square foot children’s park, the big kid in you and your children will be happy.
This is Laird. He’s a 20 year old stallion and he’s majestic.
Recently, I had the opportunity to take photos of a few horses. I loved every minute of it for several reasons:
Like most girls, I always wanted a horse. But, growing up in an inner-city Toronto neighborhood that wasn’t going to happen. I did ask my grandfather in France to get a horse instead of all the cows he kept on the farm. But, that didn’t work either. Probably because the tractor had already replaced his horse a long time ago and, most likely, because I was only there for 3 weeks.
It was a challenge. Horses, unlike mountain bikes or motorcycles, have a mind of their own and they are 1500+ lbs of pure muscle.
But, I like a challenge. I had already envisioned the type of photo I wanted to create and capture. I purposely chose a black background for Laird because, well, he’s black, and I thought that suited him, but also because he exudes confidence. With minimal detail in the photo I found it was a colour he could pull off largely because of his personality.
I am quite comfortable taking photos of 2-wheeled machines and used that experience to help me take photos of these 4-legged creatures (gasp! How dare I compare a horse to a bike). In all honesty though, in the world of photography, horses and bikes really aren’t that different. Many of the same photographic principles (technique, composition, lens choice) apply. I knew what lens would make him look his best and where to place the strobes to highlight and give depth to his coat. I also understood where I should aim the camera to compliment him.
I will be the first to admit that taking photos of bikes is far easier than taking photos of horses. Horses don’t perk their ears forward on demand, nor do they turn their neck when asked. And, at the slightest hint of fear or the unknown those ears go back fast and their nostrils flare which doesn’t make for flattering photos. While there are tricks (and, we used them all) patience is key for a successful, and safe, portrait.
Luckily, for me…I like horses and I have patience. As did the handler and co-owner of Laird, Candice. A mighty big thank you to her for her assistance handling her horse, and her endless supply of carrots and mints while I worked the camera and the flash.
I would love to have the opportunity to work with your horse. If you would be interested in a photo session please feel free to contact me so we can talk about what you can expect, how long it will take, prices and what type of photo you are after.
I left my cameras at home and relied solely on my iPhone 7+.
I recently took a 3 day camping trip into Mount Robson’s provincial park with my family. As my kids are still young they can only carry so much. We, the parents, have to carry the rest. So, I decided to leave my cameras at home in lieu of food, and clothing for chilly (and rainy,) September days.
Did I make the right decision? My back says yes. Would I have liked my big, heavy, cumbersome Nikon DSLR or even my smaller Fuji XT-2? Of course, but the ease of whipping out my iPhone from my pocket and not having to carry heavy gear in an already heavy backpack full of camping equipment was really, really nice.
I’m amazed at what cell phones can do these days and I really wanted to push myself and the phone to what it could do. I learned how to make the phone work for my style of photography. I like to take energetic photos but cell phones don’t typically do well freezing motion so you have to work around that. Example, I usually have my subject ride, or walk towards (or away) from me. Or, if they ride parallel to me I pan with them before I release the shutter. I also love the pano(rama) mode. But, it’s easy to over do the length of the shot and you have to constrain yourself.
I don’t have the latest phone out there and the photos are standard JPEGS. But, the photos are pretty good, IMO. It’s not until I zoom in close do I really see a difference in quality and detail. In other words, if you plan on keeping the photos for memories and sharing through various social media platforms than by all means – cell phone pics are great. If, however, I wanted to sell a photo, or print larger than a 4×6 than no. It all depends on the photo’s end use.
No, no…not him. It’s me just nerding out on some photo talk. Anytime I can mix in 2 wheels with photography I’m in heaven. I loved getting back behind the lens and in front of the action. Even in the rain, as it did this past weekend during a very important event that saw the best North American riders travel compete for an FIM Trials competition, and the CMA National Championships in Ioco, BC. Having the opportunity to watch the number 1 plate, Pat Smage from the USA, and our very own homegrown riders was indeed a treat and a very real reminder that I suck on the trials bike.
I made a conscious decision to not take photos close to the start line so I could be away from the masses. Instead I hiked deep into the woods to find the magic, the eye-candy – the lush, green, mossy rocks and massive tree-trunks – that BC rain forests are known for. I was rewarded with sublime colours, unequivocal quietness and unreal action as riders either scampered easily over boulders or, sampled dirt. The light was even but very sombre. I didn’t want to use flash so I could move easily in and out of sections and, relied instead on my D5. It’s a powerful camera and much like a rider with his motorcycle you have to know your equipment and, what it can and can’t do. Today I pushed it shooting in constant hard rain, and with high ISO’s.
The riders completed three loops and as fatigue set in the course became slicker as rain fell harder. Real giant bunny rabbits. That’s what trials riders remind me of hopping from one area to another. And, then there are splatters. Rabbits don’t do these (well, not on purpose) and it baffles my mind how suspension and gonads can work together to climb a vertical wall. Way cool.
Thanks to Christie Williams Richards, Steve Farcy and a host of other fine people from the CPTA for making this event happen. It takes a lot of planning, and time to put together a successful two day event. Getting off a mostly dry season I believe many riders were humbled at the sight of greasy rocks and roots. Made for an excellent challenge and show.
The photo of Wojo falling was taken at 51, 200 ISO. I know my equipment and I didn’t hesitate shooting at an ISO this high.