Canadian Thanksgiving Meetup

Earlier this year I never would have imagined that I’d be writing about my third amazing meetup with some incredibly talented photographers and friends. At the start of this year I had met only a handful of online friends in real life and never would have thought that I would not only one day meet them all, but several times over the course of a year!

During the weekend of October 4-9, I organized and ‘hosted’ a small group of some of my favourite photographers at a meetup in the mountains of British Columbia. We decided in August to try and meet during this time and after finding the most amazing cabin rental (seriously if you’re ever in the Nelson area, rent from Kootenay Lake Lodge!) we reserved our stay and planned our getaway.

What I don’t think any of us really imagined was that the weekend would be as magical as it was. Our cabin, while only a few rooms, was so cozy and almost immediately filled with a sense of comfort and home. Whether we were making pancakes in the morning, hot chocolate in the evenings or just sitting on the couch making jokes, it felt not like we were renting a cabin, but actually living in a home together. While in the inside of the cabin was filled with magic, the natural environment surrounding it was even more magical. We had our own lakefront rocky ‘beach’ located just steps from our door with a view of the lake that literally spanned as far as we could see. In the evening, the light turned to a beautiful blue hue and in the morning clouds hung low over the mountains creating a soft light over the water and shore.

We had a small forest filled with moss and driftwood, a tiny waterfall framed with falled logs and blackberry bushes and within a short walk we found ourselves climbing over huge boulders and rocks to find the perfect photo locations.

I feel a sense of recharge when I’m with my friends at these meetups, they feel less like photography gatherings and more like the best class I’ve ever taken, it’s like a family reunion that I never want to end. There is an energy in the air, an energy filled with creativity and appreciation and support. We help each other plan shots, help each other edit, help each other move forward toward reaching our very best. It’s an energy I want to bottle and keep for these rainy days when I feel isolated in my little mountain town.


During the weekend we travelled to a sort of abandoned campground place with huge trees and a beautiful river. We took a beautiful ferry ride to the small town of Nelson B.C. and ate at an interesting “fusion” restaraunt and wound up doing cartwheels in a park overlooking the town. On the way home we ended up missing the returning ferry by just a few minutes. Instead of sitting around and waiting, we all grabbed our cameras and gear and immediately started using the available locations for photos. It was like watching a beehive of activity, we were all running back and forth, catching the most beautiful orange sunset. We boarded the ferry in time to watch the water and sky turned purple and then blue and dark.

That evening would become of the most amazing nights of my life. As all of us but Shane sat inside the cabin, cracking jokes and drinking tea all of a sudden the door flew open and Shane called for us all to get outside. I think we all knew what it meant right away. Sure enough, a greenish haze had made it’s way over the north end of the lake and after a few seconds of an open exposure, we were greeted with a neon green light. The NORTHERN LIGHTS! The night suddenly changed into another wave of activity. All I could hear were the waves against the rocks, the sounds of our camera shutters opening and closing and the laughs in between. Watching the night sky be painting with the amazing green and blue waves of light will be a highlight of my life for many many years.


It’s fitting that this meetup happened over thanksgiving as this year, I’m thankful for so many things including my amazing friends, the beautiful scenery in our world, and the incredible opportunity I have to share with all of you.


September 2012 – Goats, Mountains, and Magazines.

This past month has proven to be one that snuck up slowly and then rocketed past with so many wonderful days filled with amazing memories. I’ve been meaning to post about all the opportunities that I’ve been so fortunate to have been involved in but I haven’t been able to find the time to just sit and write. I’ve finally managed to find a few quiet hours to try and recap the last few weeks!

Band Photos With The Good Ol’ Goats

Earlier this year I was “introduced” to a local band of students from the school I work at, a band called “The Good Ol’ Goats“. Immediately I was a fan of their folk sound and amazing talent and I mentioned that if they were ever looking for some photos, I’d love to work with them. At the beginning of September, we met at a local ghost/historical town to work on a series of promotional photos for their new album and while I was nervous having never shot band photos before, it was a fun afternoon filled with a lot of laughter and music.

It’s been so great to be able to work with a local group that is getting so much positive attention and I feel that our collaboration has been mutually beneficial, I’ve suddenly been booking more local shoots and have been meeting with a lot of other local artists and people looking for photo work. The power of community!

Fall Fair

On my first day back at work, a coworker mentioned an upcoming fall market/country fair that was taking place and suggested I enter the photography competition. I’ve never really enter my work into a judged competition and I only had one day to pick three pieces to enter but I figured that if this year was all about pushing myself to try new things, I should just go for it. I dropped off my photos and hoped for the best!

Unfortunately because the fair happened to be in the middle of a really busy weekend, I couldn’t actually make it to see my photos on display but when I went to pick them up after it was all over, I found out that I had not only won a ribbon, I had won best overall photo and a second place ribbon in the category I entered! I was totally shocked and humbled by the kind words the lady running the booth said to me as she handed me back my work. It was certainly an unexpected but very much appreciated surprise!

Youth Fair Speech

On the same weekend as the fall fair mentioned above, I was also booked as a ‘keynote speaker’ at a travelling workshop aimed at promoting job skills towards youth. I was pretty nervous trying to think of what I would talk about and how I was going to stand up and talk about myself without feeling totally awkward but again, the motivation of trying something new was stronger than my nerves. I ended up writing a short speech on my journey as a photographer and how each of us has the potential to go where want in life and that our passion should lead us in the right direction.

Hiking The Rockies:
During the summer a teacher and friend sent me a message asking me if I would be interested in joining her Outdoor Skills/Geography class on a few of their multiday hikes in the backcountry. Immediately I said yes and I’m so glad that I did. This month I was fortunate to join in on two incredible hikes. The first, an overnight hike to the Conrad Kain Hut at the base of the Bugaboo Glacier in the Purcell Mountains. We spent about 5 hours hiking through an avalanche debris field, climbing over boulders, lugging 40 pound backpacks up the sides of mountains and enjoying the overwhelming views of the glaciers ahead. In the morning we woke up early to watch the sunrise over the Rocky Mountains before heading home. Just last week I joined the class again, this time on a 4 day hike through the Rocky Mountain backcountry in the Steeples Mountain range. There is nothing like hiking among yellow larch trees in the fall, the air crisp and clean and feeling the power of the environment around you. I felt totally recharged after spending 4 days away from the normal day to day life.

This month has also been an amazing month for mail! I was lucky to recieve two magazines that have featured my work in them. The first, Coffee Today from Korea is a magazine that I’ve been ‘hired’ by to create covers for. It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to work on images that are being printed and distributed around the world. As a big coffee fan, I’m also very keen on finding inspiration in every cup 🙂

The second magazine, 5×5 magazine out of the U.S. is a beautiful magazine that contains a wonderful 6 page feature including an interview and full page photos. It’s always really thrilling to see my work in print and to feel it in my hands rather than only see it on a screen.

Jane Goodall

And finally, on the last evening of this month I was fortunate enough to attend a short lecture by the inspring Dr.Jane Goodall. She presented a speech on the power of hope and the power of humanity and I was left with an overwhelming sense of motivation and inspiration. Being able to listen and watch such an accomplished teacher and activist share her life story and fill the room with passion was incredible and I’ll never forget her last quote of the evening
“Only when there is harmony between the mind and the heart can humans fully reach their potential”.  Those words sat very clearly in my mind and I hope that one day I can look back and feel that I have found harmony between my head and my heart.

This month was full. I started to book more portraits which were exciting and gave me the opportunity to work some new people with great ideas. September was fun and full of memories, of laughter and love, of community and inspiration and I can’t wait to see what October brings 🙂