An Idyllic Afternoon at Bear Creek

Never mind what they say about sticks and stones – just looking at natural forms like rocks and trees in their natural settings is an exercise in rejuvenation!

This website has been all too quiet over the past month, but relocating from one city to another will do that. Fortunately I’m just about settled in here in New Westminster now, and while I continue to catch up on various projects, here’s a photo series from last month’s visit to Bear Creek Park in Surrey to give you a hopefully relaxing glimpse of nature to lead you into the weekend. Enjoy!

(Click to enlarge images)

Alternative Surrey: Beauty with an Edge (at Phoenix Tattoos, 21 January 2017)

Alt Surrey #046

Naturally one might assume that counterculture only thrives in big cities (people only go to the sleepy satellite towns and suburbs when the party’s over, right?) But given the ways that the high cost of living continues to drive Vancouver’s working class away from the city I thought, why shoot there? When so many creatives are forced to take refuge away from the traditional centers of culture, why continue to support the culture of a city that seems to have a vested interest in kicking out everyone that contributes to the varied richness of its communities?

For those familiar with the Phoenix Tattoos studio here in Surrey, it’s no secret that the second-floor shop at the corner of King George and 108 avenue is a sanctuary for local creatives, as the bright mural at the top of the stairs suggests, welcoming customers with its flaming orange tendrils and icy waves of silver-blue.

I like to update my portrait portfolio on a regular basis and rather than make another trek out to Vancouver while the transit system seems to be at its most unreliable (who knew an inch of snow last month would bring an entire fleet of trains and buses to its knees?!), I thought it high time to turn the spotlight on Surrey.

The three models pictured below were undaunted by a location far from the center of the Vancouver universe (for some, it was actually a rare opportunity to work much closer to home,) patiently smiling and posing despite the lateness of the after-hours shoot, for which I’d like to thank Phoenix for allowing us extra time to get all the technical details right.

And, of course, thanks to stunning models Reshmi, Shelby, and Siena for their energy and enthusiasm, as well as my industrious lighting assistant Rhys for illuminating us all! 

Engagement Season Blooms Early This Year!

Engagement Party

Now that the holidays are over and the dreary, grey midwinter weather is upon us, most creatures in the northern hemisphere have to wait until Groundhog Day for a cheerful bit of good news – but not these lovebirds! They started building their forever nest together with an engagement party at Bombay Banquet Hall in Surrey right after Christmas, from which these shots are taken (our congratulations to the happy couple.)

And, much to my surprise, they’re not alone – just a few days later I received a call from another couple already keen to book ahead for their summer nuptials! 

If you haven’t guessed already, the moral of this story is that the early bird really does get the worm – if you’re planning an engagement party or wedding for the spring, best get in touch now!

Woodwitch (Part One of the Elemental Witch Series)

From the "Woodwitch" portrait series with Casper Macabre

As I’m just about to post the second photoset in the elemental witch series, here is the image that inspired my personal creative direction for the year, photographically speaking:

"Woodwitch"
“Woodwitch”

An introductory essay about the set appears alongside its photo album on Facebook, from which I’ll quote here:

The main inspiration for this series came from walking through various wooded parklands and forests in Surrey, Vancouver, and Squamish, and watching how people treat these spaces as harmless sites for personal recreation – often in a very casual and disrespectful manner. For anyone that has ever been alone in the woods at night, there is the distinct feeling that life is stirring all around us, unseen in the shadows. It’s easy to forget that when the sun is shining and we feel safe, but as we recall when we breathe the smoke of distant brushfires or feel the earth quake beneath our feet, we remain subject to nature’s law – our privileged place at the top of the food chain isn’t guaranteed at all – we survive because nature allows it. The figure of the woodwitch is the archetypal “dark mother” who appears to remind us that there is indeed a price to pay for disrespecting her rules – so it’s best to stay on her good side.

That said, here again are several of the images first seen in the Facebook photo album, along with a few new additions – also check out “Stormwitch“, the next installment of the elemental witch photo series!

 

Skeleton Princess!

The first fallen leaf of the season.

This little lady was excited to start Halloween early! Dressing up as a skeleton complete with facepaint for this shoot at Green Timbers Urban Forest in Surrey was a big hit with passersby and even one curious little dog!

Compared to working with adults, photographing kids is a different sort of challenge – they’re more prone to distraction and, given their higher rate of metabolism, they get hungry and/or sleepy faster than their grownup counterparts – fortunately, having a parent or guardian on hand for the shoot provides a focal point that kids can come back to whenever their attention wanders.

September being back-to-school season, I wanted to offer a fun alternative to the traditional class picture photo packages common at this time of year. Kids love to play and pretend and, given free rein to do so, it makes for much more animated and memorable portrait images. Myself and Port Coquitlam photographer/facepainter Katie May are currently booking “Halloween in the Woods” packages for shooting in the month of October, which this year has FIVE whole weekends before Halloween (!!!)

Enjoy the fun and spooky “spirit” of this shoot and, if you’re ready for a little adventure in the woods, give us a call!

(Click to enlarge images)

Surrey SPCA Open House and Adoption Fair, Sunday 14 August 2016

BC SPCA - Surrey Open House

The term “kitten season” may be somewhat misleading given that the time of year when cats make their fur-babies runs throughout spring, summer, and fall, but our feline friends certainly had a field day earlier this month when the BC SPCA staged the first cat adoption fair at its 50th avenue Education and Adoption Center in Surrey.

Winter is the only time of year that isn’t kitten season and the fair was so successful that, for some excited prospective cat adopters, it may have seemed like it would take that long before a record number of adoptions (more than 70!) that day would be completed, but judging by the stream of smiling faces leaving with some new whiskered friends it was worth the wait.

Of course, there are always more animals in need of a forever home. If you’re thinking about adoption just remember to do your research and consider not only what you want but also what a new animal friend might need from you and your family in terms of time, attention, and care. For more information you can visit the BC SPCA Surrey website here.

(Click to enlarge images in the gallery below.)

Barnston Island at Sunset

As a photographer summer vacations may be few and far between, but occasionally one does like to get out for a nature shoot at sunset. Nestled on the Fraser River between Surrey and Langley to the south and Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge to the north, Barnston Island isn’t exactly isolated but it remains a largely rural settlement presided over by the Katzie First Nation.