It Makes Me Mellow



White Rock

I love taking photos of chaos.  I love when the shot is busy, lots going on.  I love lots of colours, details, movement.  I find taking calm or placid scenes challenging because they are a lot less forgiving than the busy ones.  The shot has to be perfectly level and the light optimal.  I’m lucky that because of where I live geographically I get plenty of practice, at least for calm ocean/water shots.  Above is in White Rock, a wealthy suburb of Surrey.  It’s hopping in the summer with a great pier and a strip of restaurants (Uli’s being a personal favourite) but in the winter it’s much more subdued and serene.


Howe Sound

Howe Sound is a lovely, calm inlet north of West Vancouver.  This was taken somewhere between Lion’s Bay and Squamish.  Both the weather and the sea were calm that day, a typical West Coast October.  Not too cold but definitely not warm.  The ocean isn’t quite a completely calm piece of glass, but still flat enough that it was a bit of a tricky shot to get right.


Mount Triglav National Park, Slovenia

We took this peaceful scenic detour through one of Slovenia’s most iconic landscapes (Mount Triglav is on their flag) towards the end of our trip there.  First of all, Slovenia is awesome.  The people were warm and generous and the natural beauty was absolutely gobsmacking.  Go there.  Anyway, this was the typical view of our drive – shades of green and yellow, quiet, bright.  Manicured hayfields and alpine homesteads dotted the landscape.  Some of the stress of driving in a foreign land (temporarily) melted away.



Croatia (Part 2: Korcula)



Korcula, Croatia

The second part of our Croatian adventure was to the island of Korcula.  Korcula is a sleepy, beach-y island, much quieter and humbler than its glitzy neighbour Hvar.  We wanted to go to one of the Dalmatian islands and seeing as Ma, Pa and I are all pretty introverted, we chose the quieter island.


The island ended up being a vacation within our vacation.  We’d met back up with Pa on our last day in Dubrovnik and decided to take it easy on this tranquil rock.  As you can see, the waters are just as beautiful and inviting as they are outside of Dubrovnik.  IMG_8031

The climate was Mediterranean – warm, some palm trees, rocky and the architecture Venetian – lots of red tiled roofs.  Korcula was fun to photograph because of not only its stunning natural beauty, but because of the whole laid back feel there.   The locals love to talk about their maybe native son Marco Polo and you can visit his perhaps birthplace.  It wasn’t too crowded so you weren’t rubbing elbows with everyone like we were in Dubrovnik and not cursing every clueless selfie sticky-carrying doofus who ambled into your shot.


Like Dubrovnik there were plenty of laneways and staircases, just without the people, so you could get mysterious shots like this one.  I often think back to Croatia and if I had to choose only one part to go back to and spend more time, it would be Korcula.  Maybe.


Somewhere Beyond the Sea

Like I’ve previously mentioned, I love the sea.  I was born and raised on the west coast of Canada, so going to the beach has been a staple activity of mine since I was a kid.  Also, Ma is a sailor, and both of her parents were sailors so I feel like some of that love is in my bones.  That’s probably why I have so many shots of the ocean and why I love photographing it so much.  It’s very colourful, temperamental and unpredictable.  Profoundly dramatic.


This is the Pacific from when Ma and I went to Ucluelet last year.  We were both totally gobsmacked at the awesome power of the wild Pacific, the energy of the waves on the rocks, the sea spray, the colour of the sky reflected on the water.  Also technically speaking, this was the point in the photography journey where I stopped relying on Canon’s fantastic “Creative Auto” setting and started shooting on Manuel so that I could learn “on the job” as it were about adjusting ISO and aperture.


Here is the Adriatic Sea from Zadar, Croatia’s Marine Organ.  I love the way the water would climb up onto the concrete steps, splatter and retreat, different every time.  No two waves are the same.  The blazing red sun had just set leaving this pastel palette over the landscape.  I laid flat on my belly to try and get as far down as I good, and I’m happy with how those other photographers are reflected in the puddle.


I love that the ocean also has reflecting power, sometimes glass, sometimes a funhouse mirror.  I love that the Lions Gate Bridge’s string of lights is reflected in the harbour, and although slightly distorted, still beautiful.  I feel like the Pacific Ocean here is mysterious, inky and secretive, not letting us know what is going on in its depths.


Like A Bird on A Wire


The Story: Vancouver has a lot of parks, and one of them, Queen Elizabeth Park, has a great feature – The Bloedel Conservatory.  The Conservatory is home to a plethora of different flora, fauna and finches (as well as other birds).  I sat in one bird-heavy area for a few hours and got some good shots of all different varieties of finches, a couple of pheasants and some cockatiels.  If you haven’t been there, you should head of up there for a fun and relaxing afternoon.

Why I love It: This little guy is just so friggin’ cute.   He looks so fat and happy, like he has a smile on his little face.  I also really like that I was able to achieve a nice creamy bokeh in the background.


The Story: The Lower Mainland has a pretty fantastic cherry and plum blossom season in the early spring time.  Ma and Pa have this plum blossom tree in the front yard that they planted when my sister was born 34 years ago, and although it blooms very briefly, it is still a beautiful display of vibrant pink puffs.  It attracts some of the local bird life – mostly chickadees but sometimes when you’re lucky and patient, you can spot a hummingbird or two.

Why I Love It: This little guy was fussy.    Every time I would get remotely close he would zip away, so I had to be super stealthy and super patient to get even this close.  In this shot I like that his wing is fully extended and that he looks frozen and still in the air, although he was buzzing all over the place.  And seriously, how cute is he?


Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls


The Story: Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia seems to be photographed by everyone all the time these days, and there’s a good reason for it – it’s absolutely breathtaking.  It’s 16 terraced lakes connected by a series of waterfalls.  Part of the reason the water is so clear is because there is no mud – the chemical makeup of the area turns all the mud/dirt in the water into limestone, making so the water cannot be muddied.  This was my first view of the lakes, and I couldn’t get enough.  I seriously took about 200 photos of the lakes and waterfalls.

Why I Love It: This is not the typical Plitvice Lakes shot, but I feel like it’s still incredible.  My favourite part though is the colours – red, orange, yellow, green and blue feature in this.   And I really want to dive into the pool at the bottom.


The Story: A lot of natural beauty can be found in the Howe Sound area.  One day my girlfriend Brit took me and her boyfriend (and my good friend) Kurt on a tour of her old stompin’ grounds in Squamish.  She took us to the estuary, downtown Squamish and then to Shannon Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in British Columbia.  There is a pretty little hike up to the falls and along the way is more little streams and waterfalls.

Why I Love It: This isn’t the main part of Shannon falls, but I thought this little waterfall was really pretty.  I love that you can tell how clean and clear the water is, how smooth the rocks look, just unspoiled nature.