Posts in Photography

Focus Friday: Creek Fog

mission-creek-fog

This week’s fog made for some magical light and dreamy autumn scenes, like this one in Mission Creek Park. The Greenway is spectacular right now — definitely worth a walk or bike ride this weekend. Earlier in the week, it seemed like the morning fog was burning off by lunchtime. The last few days have stayed socked in, giving us a preview of winter cloud.

Foggy Morning by Melanie Friesen

Daniel Romano – Streaming Cafe

IMG_6449
Another amazing concert happened last night at Streaming Cafe. . . Daniel Romano with Grey Kingdom performed and you should’ve been there. Spencer Burton (Grey Kingdom), not only has a great stage presence of humour and sarcasm, but his vocals and folk melodies will move you. . . check him out and buy his album here.
IMG_6432
IMG_6442
The Streaming Cafe has great sound and the small venue makes for the perfect audience experience. You become fully absorbed while in an intimate live setting. Daniel Romano and band played amazingly well and I was surprised to see such well crafted country/western songs. Romano played all of the set electric as well which is something I’ve never seen before, so that was a nice touch. Romano’s vocals pierce the soul with a deep range that drawls on with highs that can leave you heartbroken. His songs tell stories of relationships and heartbreak that make you yearn and reflect. If you haven’t heard of Daniel Romano before, please do yourself a favour and check him out.
IMG_6482
IMG_6468

After the evening of music was over, I stuck around and got to talk to Daniel for a few minutes outside and conversation ensued.

What are your opinions on alternative country, indie, folk and pop country music?

I think that those probably exist, genres like “alt country” or “americana” because there’s such a disconnect with the origin of country music and what is now considered country music. I don’t know if it helps any, but if it helps people decipher one thing from another I guess that’s a good thing.

Do you think it’s getting better or worse for country/western music?

It’s hard to tell right now, I know that the “americana” scene is flowering and that’s good I think. That’s pretty broad that category though, there’s a lot of styles of “americana” and that can be confusing.

What’s your favourite venue so far in Canada?

Oh you know what, there was this festival on Wolf Island in Kingston, Ontario. We were supposed to play on the back of this dock looking back at this bar. Minutes before our set time we moved inside because there was torrential down-pour. So we crammed inside this little bar and moved some chairs aside and did a show, it was so much fun. We had weird adrenaline from being confused and having no P.A system, that was a memorable show.

What’s your favourite show in the USA?

Actually, we just played a chili cook off in Portland that was awesome.

What’s your opinion of downloading and social media?

Uhm, whatever. It’s inevitable, it’s going to keep happening.

How has it affected your career?

There’s just no money to be made. It sucks because you can’t sell records and that’s what you want to do, but right now bands basically make their money off of merchandise.

How has it felt to transition to playing country music and changing your image?

I mean my image hasn’t really changed so much, but I would say that it’s a lot more comfortable for me.

Follow Daniel Romano on Facebook and check his website to learn about tour dates. His next show is coming up on the 13th of October, where he’s playing at Mercer Tavern in Edmonton.

Focus Friday: Aurora

Aurora Over the South OkanaganIt’s tempting to hunker down as the days get shorter, but some Okanaganites wisely embrace the night. Caillum has been finding some beautiful skies lately. We’re glad he’s got the gumption to sit outside late at night, capturing excellent scenes like this.

Aurora Over the South Okanagan by Caillum Smith

Focus Friday: Sunflowers

sunflowers

Autumn feels like a mellow post-workout cool-down after the heat and intensity of an Okanagan summer. It’s worth checking out the beauty and bounty in the fields, orchards and vineyards these days — so much to enjoy and be thankful for. I thought that Melanie’s exuberant sunflowers conveyed that feeling of gratitude.

Teachers Sunflowers by Melanie Wolczuk

Carmelis Goat Cheese Farm

Get a tour and a taste great local cheese!

So many healthy and happy goats, know where your cheese comes from.

Carmelis Goat Cheese Farm is located near Okanagan Lake, 12 Km south of downtown Kelowna next to high quality wineries such as Cedar Creek Estates Winery, St. Hubertus winery, Summer Hill Estate winery, and at the entrance to the Okanagan Mountain Park.

Intersections – Okanagan Pride 2013 at the Alternator

intersections

The Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art is pleased to present Intersections, an exhibition of six artists in the LGBTQ* (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer and other) community. Intersections is presented in conjunction with the 2013 Okanagan Pride Festival in Kelowna, BC.

Taking place in the Members’ Gallery at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, Intersections offers a chance to share with one another the intricacies of our own personal journeys, the paths we have already taken and the experiences still to come. For artists Daniel Oledzki, Jacklyn Harris, Deneige Nadeau, Kevin Michael Witzke, Shannon Lester and Dean Krawchuk, the mileage varies. The poetic work of Deneige Nadeau, a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art + Design, engages snippets of theoretical text with photographs of her own body; while Daniel Eric Oledzki explores the areas where media, gender and capitalism overlap.

The Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art welcomes you to visit our space between August 10th and 17th to view the exhibition. Please join us for a reception and official Okanagan Pride 2013 opening event on Saturday, August 10th at 7:00 pm at the Alternator Centre. This is a free public event. The exhibition will run for the duration of the festival, August 10th- 17th.

Monster Energy Center of Gravity 2013

COG Sunday 089

This weekend Wet Ape Productions hosted their 6th annual Monster Energy Center of Gravity event in downtown City Park. Thousands of people from BC, Alberta and abroad flocked to Kelowna to participate in or spectate at the three day event. Tickets for the event sold out quickly online at around $200 a pop. Individual passes for the sporting and musical sides of things were available.

COGVolleyball/Dunk Contest/Break Dancing

The musical line-up, catering to party goers, consisted of DJ’s, rappers, and rock stars. Like Keloha, another Wet Ape Productions festival hosted earlier this summer, MECOG2013 featured several stages. The Beach Stage was a 19+ beer garden that hosted the Bikini Model Search on Saturday and Sunday, the Dirt Stage hosted live music throughout the weekend, and the Sun FM Main Stage hosted all the major DJ’s including world renowned artist Tiësto.

COG Sunday 020Bikini Contest Finalists

The festival was also a great place to catch a wide arrangement of sporting events in one place. Competitions consisted of “Best Trick”, “Best Line”, and “Tournament”. Several areas were dedicated to their particular sports. The Dirt Zone featured massive dirt jumps for Mountain Bike and Moto Cross sports, The Water Zone had pools and jumps for Wake Board and Wake Skating, Urban Zone was a course that hosted Skateboarding, BMX, and Break Dancing, Hot Sands had Volleyball and Hoop Zone had basketball.

COG2

Wake Boarding/Mountain Biking

Like at Keloha there were plenty of vendors and merchandise tables. The layout of the grounds was a bit awkward with limited walking paths to get between areas, usually separated by fences or tents, but it’s understandable considering the scope of COG.  Throughout my time there I witnessed a few athletes take some spills and cuts (one which occurred at the Urban Zone was particularly bad) and I think that medical atttention could be improved for next year. Security presence was up to par with plenty of contractual support and police officers patrolling the grounds and it felt pretty safe for spectators. The event is intended as an all ages outing and I highly recommend families to come out and attend the sporting events during the day, but the music portion of the festival is undoubtedly a bigger draw for adult audiences.

COG Sat 074

Lights

The full line-up for the festival was as follows:

  • TIESTO, KASKADE
  • Dada Life, Wolfgang Gartner, Cazzette, Tommy Lee & DJ Aero w/ SOFI, Lights, Just Blaze
  • Hopsin, Hoodie Allen, CLOCKWORK, Le Castle Vania, DVBBS, Keys N Krates, Robbie Rivera
  • Prok & Fitch, Project 46, LOUDPVCK, M O D, MAK J, Manufactured Superstars
  • The Wild, Kytami, Mishap & Phonik Ops, Kai Sky Walker, Cityreal, Immaculate

COG Sunday 083

Just Blaze

After the gates were closed festival goers could continue the party at the COG House, Kelowna’s very own Curling Club transformed into a night club with more live DJ’s spinning tunes until late into the night. Afterwards people could get home or to their hotels safely thanks to a shuttle program put in place specifically for the festival that ran to stops and hotels along the highway. It’s easy to see why Center of Gravity is “Canada’s Hottest Beach Festival”.

COG Sunday 132

Tiësto

These People Are A-OK: Opal Michel

kateheader

Opal Michel has engaged in a decade long courtship with an art medium who has finally “put a ring on it”. Drawn to Opal like a farmer to a potluck, I am so excited that her skills are for sale! A Photographer, hairdresser, singer/songwriter, doula, a mother of two and a devoted wife: this Vancouver native set out on an adventure and has found her soul path, located in Chase, BC. Fascinated by light, human subjects, concepts of beauty, and defining life moments, Opal knows how to physically soothe a situation, hands on or blending in like a shadow, she has a comforting presence who naturally creates “soft places to land”.

Opal Michel Photography is your latest HOT TIP from me, Mrs. Fagervik, your CREATIVE MAVEN. Hire Opal to capture your life’s moments, and then let her loose and receive a one of a kind hand made memory. Opal Michel LIVES WITH MOXY.

wagesoulcripple

If photography were your boyfriend, what type of relationship would you have? How long have you been together? How did you meet? Give me the 411
It would probably be like an unrequited love story. Where things never really got of the ground, and then you met one day and it was kismet. And is now my life partner. It’s probably my gay life partner, because I feel like photography is a woman, not a man. It‘s very feminine work for me. My husband has competition; competition that he doesn’t mind.

You are the definition of a Creative Entrepreneur. What does that title mean to you?
That’s a really good question because I have been going through so much emotion about what it means to be a creative entrepreneur because it’s such a vulnerable position to be in. Asking for money for your vision and for the way you see the World: big and scary. It’s also really exciting. It feels really really right and good. And I love that I have complete control over everything. The thing about photography and art in general is that there are no rules. I can do whatever the heck I want. There are a lot of people saying that there should be rules, the Internet is full of them, bossy people telling me what to do. I am shutting them all out. I’m going to do what I want to do with it.

stackpeople

Your photographs have a distinct sensibility. Can you walk me through your process when setting up a shot?
I consider all of the technical stuff second. First I make a decision that something is beautiful or worth capturing. Then I tap into that feeling of the moment. Then I take into consideration all of the camera settings, and the light quality, and composition. I always have a vision of what the final product will look like so that when I take it into post processing I know what I want from it. It’s so exciting when it works out. It’s a bunch of steps, not just a snapshot with a general intention. I always envision artistically which I want to achieve.

Do you prefer digital or analog photography?
Digital. (Opal answered right away). For sure. I can develop film in a darkroom and I did that in high school, and I wanted to love it because all of my friends loved it, and it seemed to be the cool thing to latch onto artistically at the time in the 90s, but I hated it. I always wanted someone else to make things happen for me. I love computers and I love doing things while sitting down in a chair.

How does technology come into play? You are clearly comfortable on a computer and advertise Creative photo shoot options for your customers, what happens for you creatively once you input your images into the computer?

I don’t want to leave. I can spend hours and hours and hours editing and doing fun creative stuff, pushing my own boundaries, learning. There’s so much to learn about digital photography and what you can do to manipulate the images gets me very excited. I guess you could say that my wife and I have a really good sex life. Yea, it’s just fun.

I have a hunch that you’re creative in many aspects of your life? Can you speak to your relationship with creativity?
I am a singer and I like to pretend to paint. And I love colour and try to inject it into every aspect of our life with my kids and our home. I feel really attracted to other creative people. I’ve never referred to myself as an artist. Growing up it was considered the A word, no one was allowed to call me that, especially my mother. When I was in the fourth grade my mom would say “oh you’re such a little artist Opal”, and I said “no! don’t call me an artist, artists suffer”. I wanted money and I didn’t know how to achieve that in art, until I went to hair school and so much creativity came out of me through that, and then I started to embrace being an artist. Now I’m proud of it. Now I’m proud to say that I’m a stay at home artist.

Where did you grow up? What brought you to Chase BC?
I grew up in East Vancouver, and my first time living outside of Vancouver was moving here to the Adams Lake Reserve in Chase. We moved for our son, so that he could go to Shuswap emersion Elementary School to learn his language. I didn’t know anybody here. No friends, no family, just sort of took a leap of faith. I really love my husband, and I trust him, and it was extremely important for his life and family and his spirit to be here on his land, so I did it for him. I’m so glad I did.

stayathomeartist

If you were to trace your relationship with the arts throughout your life, how would it weave its way to this point, the Premiere of your official title as businesswoman?
I would say my mother used to teach me when I was younger that resistance comes before glory, and it was just a huge path of resistance and not wanting to be a professional or a business woman in an artistic field, from complete fear of failure and not having the skills to succeed. That really shifted for me about a year ago when regular work was just crippling my soul. Minimum wage was crippling my soul and doing nothing was crippling my soul. I decided to take my passion to the next level, and try to provide for my family. I was honest to goodness like 5 minutes away from applying for a job at the bank, because that seemed like the best option, and then I just realized that it really was not the best option at all.

Nessa

To be present and counted upon during people’s delicate life moments is a heavy agreement. What is it like to arrive with a camera and its lenses? What goes through your mind before hand and then during? How do you feel after?
I really love people so much and I have a natural tendency to want to be in peoples lives and witness their special moments all of the time, for everything: love, birth, any sort of celebration. Life growth, I love witnessing that. It’s a really natural leap, and people request that I have my camera, so that helps. It makes people so uncomfortable to interject photo documentation during vulnerable times, and that’s something that I take really seriously, to try to make people feel really truly comfortable. When working with little children, I like to have them hold the camera and take a picture, show them the buttons and make them play. I like to talk to people about what they’re feeling in the moment, and let them know that I can find these moments and I really do find them beautiful, I want them to know how much I really do LOVE these little details of real life. It’s amazing how many people are some of the most glowing, vibrant, physically beautiful people that you’ve ever seen, and all they can think about is that the pimple on their chin is so ugly and they’re so worried about how they’re going to look in that photo… it makes me want to cry. I can just take that pimple away!

Do you meet with your clients ahead of time, or do you nurture your relationship on site?
Both. Say for birth, I would absolutely meet the client ahead of time, stay in touch, get to know them. Weddings of course, sometimes I will just show up and meet them, but I wont bring the camera out until we’ve established a connection, just to help people feel comfortable. If they’re not, I wont take photos. I wont take a photo if someone doesn’t want their photo taken. I’m a doula as well, and doulas are very hands on, you actually physically comfort women through their pain and birth transition, and that’s always something that comes really naturally to me, to reach out and touch people. That’s something that we learned with hairdressing, and it’s very rare. Within a few moments you’ve met someone, and then you have your hands on their head right away. You’re an alien species who reaches out and puts their hands on their head and feels their skull. Doula is like that as well. You put your hands on a woman’s hips and you soothe her pain. A sisterhood connection with women. I love to take photos of women.

What type of client would make your pulse pound? Who is your dream subject?
I think my dream subjects are anybody who’s willing to take their clothes off, who normally would never take their clothes off. I really really love humans. One of my interests is photographing nudes, and especially women or men who are not your social typical norm or idea of picture perfect beauty, but really really should be the ideal of beauty.

How does it feel to own your own business?
Exhilarating. I really like attention. Now I get to plaster my name everywhere and talk about myself more than usual, so that’s pretty great. I’m not really very shy. I know how to direct people now. Everyone is expecting you to pose them and move them around. Don’t have any problem public speaking or raising my voice to direct a crowd. I also know how to slink into the background if I need too.

What makes OM unique?
I really want to capture people in their natural form and not sugar coat scenarios and families and appearances. So, if I’m used to seeing someone in a dirty shirt and jeans, and they show up in a crisp white ironed shirt and combed hair, that would not be what I want to capture. I’m interested in people as they are, in their lives, in their settings, in their natural environments. I also like to take creative photos that are not realistic at all. It’s important to me too, to do different things and not be rigid in my ideas and style. I like to be flexible.

babydance

Working with an art medium, photography, in this commercial output can be a sticky space for many artists. How do you negotiate your ‘art’ while working for a client?
I want to make sure that my clients have seen what I’ve already done and understand my capabilities and price points, and that they know what they’re getting into. I find that people who love what I do really love what I do, and they want to work with me just based on my portfolio. I had a person recently who wanted to work with me before she saw my photos, and that felt nice: she could tell what I do without meeting me.

1040310_10151728582100336_394198792_oWhat is your vision for OM?

I really want to travel and eventually work in editorial photography and my BIG life goal would be to be working entirely on creative projects and to be published in a major publication. Fashion photography. Avante garde stuff is the direction that I’d like to head in. Yes, I’d like to work in New York city and be a very special person.

What does the word freedom mean to you?
I think that freedom for me is living without fear. Following your heart and your soul path.

Opal Michel Photography
(250) 434-4422
Chase BC
Find her on Facebook
opal@opalmichel.com