The Sun’ll Come Out…

It’s been a long winter on the the west coast this year.  More snow than we’ve seen in years, not to mention the rain, rain rain.  Earlier this week we had a rare bright spot, and lucky for us, the cherry blossoms were out too!  I took the opportunity to shoot the cherry blossom in Ma and Pa’s front yard – planted the same time my sister was born.  My friend was telling me that part of the reason why he loves cherry blossoms so much because they’re are so ephemeral – here for a few weeks and then poof!  Gone for another year.


Ryan and Cris


So, I don’t photograph people.  Not posed photos at least.  But when my close friend Ryan and his fiancée Cris asked me to take some photos for them, I thought, why not?  Ryan is one of my top-tier friends, the upper echelon of my circle of friends, the exclusive group of few who see the real me.

I met Ryan my first year of high school.  We were in band together and I was immediately attracted to him, not just because he’s my “type” (tall, dark and handsome) but because he was devastatingly funny, supremely charismatic and profoundly intelligent.  We grew closer throughout high school and drifted apart somewhat after graduation, only to rekindle our friendship in our 3rd year of university.


After graduating from university I foolishly made the decision to get married and Ryan and I lost contact all together until about five years after my husband and I had split (probably about 8 years since we had last spoken) I added Ryan to Facebook and we started messaging.  On one of his trips to the mainland (he had moved to Victoria) we decided to meet up for cake and coffee and it was like no time had passed.  Ryan was the happiest I had probably ever seen him, he was finishing up on some carpentry classes and had started maybe sort of seeing a girl that he had known for quite a few years – Cris.


He and I pretty much poured our hearts out to each other in some of the most cathartic conversations I’ve had in a long time – we shared about our battles with depression, anxiety, ennui, and crisis – and ended up sending each other funny videos that we watch when we start feeling edgy.  Ryan soon made the decision to move back to the mainland, much to my delight to be closer to his family and Cris (and me, as I like to think).  He talked about how their relationship was progressing and how I should meet her.  He told me how into music she is and that she’s bright and warm and kind.  I was interested in meeting her as I had met several of Ryan’s previous girlfriends, and a lot of them were of the dramatic type, to put it euphemistically so on one of our White Spot get togethers Cris came too.


We talked about classical music and fashion and things like that.  I felt completely at ease with Cris, as if I had known her for a long time.  I remember leaving dinner thinking to myself, “she is the most normal, grounded girl Ryan has ever dated”.  Ryan and Cris moved in with each other and Cris spent more time hanging out with me and Ryan on our get togethers.  Cris was so easy to get along with and Ryan’s eyes flashed whenever he spoke about her.  There was never any doubt in my mind that the two of them should be together.  It got to the point where Cris and I have become close friends and text between the two of us.


When Ryan told me that he was thinking of buying a ring, I immediately thought, “yes.  This is the way it should be”, which is counterintuitive to my natural reaction of marriage, which is “RUN”.  Ryan and Cris had a private proposal and have set a date for an intimate and what will I’m sure be beautiful ceremony in December.

Photographing these two was not only fun, but natural.  I didn’t feel contrived.  The whole process was easy, thanks to Cris’ natural beauty and ease of being and Ryan’s infectious playfulness.  You’ll definitely be seeing more of them in blog posts to come.


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?