Posts in Photography

Contagious Smiles

It’s no secret that building a career as artists is nothing short of exhausting work that takes full dedication, as with any entrepreneurship one wants to succeed at. Making  the arts a full time job often means that you must live without many of todays luxuries. Combine this career with the personal need to make a difference in peoples lives that rivals that of some of the worlds philanthropists and making a living is five times the work.

This however doesn’t stop two Shuswap based musicians, Aimie Laws and Shelby B, as they are continuously donating performances, and often all the proceeds from these performances, to charities. Even after making the plunge to full time musicianship, basically deleting the safe haven of a day job from their means of living, the two are hitting the road with the goal of once again raising funds for charity.

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The charity of choice this time around seems to be a no brainer for those that have seen the “million dollar” smiles of these two young professional musicians. Operation Smile, after all, changes lives in children on an international level, simply by providing reconstructive surgery on many of those born with cleft lips, something that, in many cultures, results in a lonely life lived in shunning, and often ridicule. Something that both girls say “breaks our hearts to hear, so it’s only natural for us to do something about it, and this is the only way we know how to help”.

So what does any of this have to do with the Okanagan?  Laws and “B” have chosen Kelowna to be the city that they kick start this tour in. Minstrel Café has graciously provided the venue for August 6th, as the kick off party begins, with live performances by both Laws and “B”, including plenty of new songs on the set from both, the show runs from 8-10:30 PM.

The Okanagan Tattoo Show

The Okanagan Tattoo, Art and Culture Show is the first of its kind in the BC Interior region that unites a community of tattoo shops, artists, and clients. This inaugural year had an exciting and contemporary twist to Kelowna’s already rich and vibrant arts & culture industry. Over the weekend of July 26-28, 2013 DLD Productions and Events Rising is hosted The Okanagan Tattoo Show at the Parkinson Recreation Centre in Kelowna, BC. A convention-style weekend that hosted 23 tattoo shop booths with artists in action, 23 retail vending booths and 23 Hot Rods creating an exciting atmosphere.

There were many talented tattoo artists in Kelowna for the weekend.

Many people were there to meet tattoo artists and learn about techniques in hopes of getting a high quality tattoo. Others are there for the social aspect of enjoying the company of others and having a good experience.

Why You May Not Survive the Mystic Trail at Mabel Lake

If you ever find your way up to Mabel Lake (via Lumby or Enderby) you’ll drive off paved roads into the forest and are likely to find a quiet, out-of-the-way lake with no cell reception. If this sounds like the beginning of every horror movie you’ve ever seen, congratulations you’ve seen through our preamble.

In classic horror cliché, we arrived Saturday with fresh food and cold beer to an already in-progress birthday party. Adventures kept pretty close to the campsite that initial day due to the fact that we were a big crowd and it’s fundamentally impossible to motivate our group to much more than a 1km ‘hike.’ The sun was hot and the sand was hotter, it was about all you could do to stay conscious all day. Exploring required more effort than we would muster smoldering under a scorching summer sun. Temperatures in the shade were reaching 32º+ and borderline uncomfortably frosty dips were important to help revitalize at much needed intervals throughout the day.

Pictured Here

Pictured here: comfortable shade and not-at-all the gateway to someone’s harrowing descent into madness.

Come Sunday, most members of our group made their way back to civilization and only the 3 of us remained; myself, Mitch & Katy. I had mentioned trails or waterfalls I thought I recalled from my youth that were nearby. Back in the day, my parents and I would go camping often. Of the many destinations we visited, Sugar and Mabel Lake were pretty regular. I guess the proximity to our house in Lavington made them pretty ideal for a quick trip away from home and, perhaps more importantly, an equally quick trip back at the end of a sun-baked weekend. We were already on the hunt for firewood that day so we thought we’d kill two birds with one stone, find the campsite host, and ask about any notable landmarks. After all, there is no way this could end with us being chased through the woods by the Blair Witch.

Maybe using the word "kill" was just asking for trouble.

Maybe using the word “kill” was just asking for trouble.

Upon meeting our host, she directed us a short trip up the road. She mentioned Cascade Falls (a place we couldn’t find to save our lives) and, at 15 1/2 forestry kilometer, The Mystic Trail. A ‘magical’ little path whose name is missing about two adjectives and three exclamation points. The campsite host’s description of “a cute little area where someone carved some neat things into the hill” really undersold the horror of what we were about to encounter.

"Oh good. This isn't foreboding."

“Oh good. This isn’t foreboding.”

The trail is adjacent to a haunted bridge and marked by a staggeringly-large amount of shoes nailed to a tree that locals have taken to calling the shoe tree. We won’t speculate why and assume any reason for this name is surely lost to time. Looking back, I suppose it’s my own fault that “neat things” didn’t immediately infer that they would be unspeakably nightmarish things. Maybe I was expecting stick-man drawings on rocks, or GRAD2013, or even Robbie + Julie 4Ever in a heart. Definitely something over-emphasizing the permanence of youth.

Hindsight

Here “someone carved some neat things” like this spinal column, unpleasantly twisted into the guise of the Ogopogo’s evil twin.

Naturally hindsight is 20/20, or it would have been if our eyes weren’t plucked straight from their sockets while tempting the curse of the Mystic Trail that we absolutely didn’t just make up.

I want to believe this place is only unintentionally terrifying and probably meant to evoke feelings of whimsy in adults and children alike. Makes sense. Everyone knows little boys and girls enjoy mutilated skulls and trash dolls displayed in gruesome manners meant to mock death in many creative ways.

I See You

Even with warm, summery Instagram filters, this is only barely passable as the least paralyzing piece of art present.

Now, there’s nothing saying any of these bones or parts are from humans. For example, we escaped alive and slept through the night with only a few mosquito bites to show for it. Had this mockery of the human death experience been made of actual persons we’re pretty sure only one of us would have escaped alive. I’m half-Mexican and Mitch is the big, white guy, sooo clearly the survivor would have been Katy.

"Hey. Haunt here often?"

Especially after I literally taunted the “artwork.”

Jokes aside, it was a pretty sweet little tour and quick way to beat the heat. Just don’t spend the night inside the tiny, abandoned cabin or pee on any of the dolls and you’ll probably make it out unscathed.

That or you'll find yourself buried in this patch of Skull Daisies. Which were exactly as petrifying as you'd expect.

That or you’ll find yourself in this patch of Skull Daisies, which are exactly what you’d think they were if you were expecting them to be lots of tiny bird skulls.

Thanks to Katy (@ktken on Instagram) for snapping pictures while my iPhone cowered in the vehicle.

Larry, His Flask, a Wild Son and a Canyon Rose Outfit

I caught the great Larry and His Flask last night along side them played Wild Son and another band originating from Edmonton, called The Canyon Rose Outfit.

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All three of these bands were great, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen Wild Son perform and remembering their talent was a perfect start to the evening. Being a Wednesday night, I was surprised at the turnout of excited fans that showed up.

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After a short tear down, The Canyon Rose Outfit came on stage and brought the energy on. This band consists of: Christan Maslyk (Guitar,Vocals), Justin Perkins (Guitar), Matt Harrison (Bass,Vocals), Jesse Gauthier (Drums) and Alex Pelletier (Trumpet). Their sound was different and I liked the trumpet solo’s that Alex pulled off towards the end of their set.

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This band was good, I liked their blues style and the energy was amazing for a mid-week show. Anyways check these guys out, they’re worth a listen.

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Next was Larry and His Flask and this was when the night got pretty rowdy. Dancers everywhere, spilled drinks, the venue was packed and the band was: loud, powerful and extremely talented. They had people buzzing, and grooving along to all their songs — it was awesome.

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If you haven’t heard of these bands before, get out from behind your rock and get involved. Click any of the band names above to be directed to their respective websites and do yourself a favour by listening to some great new music!

Until next time, support your local artists!

Fashionate: Stripes!

While it’s not unusual for the picturesque views and locations of the Okanagan to form the backdrop of innumerable photo-shoots, I can bet you’ve never seen African Safari animals involved!

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Recently L.G. photography, hairstylist Melanie Stipdonk and myself teamed up to do a creative shoot at the unbelievably unique Rawhide Ridge Zebra Ranch. With a little help from our friends at Frakas and Nateah Studios, we developed a Warrior Woman Safari setting, right in our own backyard!

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As we made our way to the distinctive farm, we were greeted by quietly perched Peacocks. There were Emu’s casually lounging about and the whole feeling it evoked was sublime. We trudged through mud until we finally came to our location, marked by a bold and striking Zebra. I pulled my high heeled gumboots up and we began what was my first-ever Zebra shoot!

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Equipped with a gorgeous Mink Pink summer frock, a Mink Pink velvet and lace top; both from Frakas, Leopord print shoes by Steve Madden, and Earrings made by Nateah Studios, we investigated gorgeous, sprawling fields in the hopes of making a little magic happen.

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What an opportunity mix real prints and textures together. Adding a pop of colour in a pair of blue shoes, a multi-print dress, or power-clashing leopard and zebra print. Don’t be afraid to wear contrasting colours or prints, just make sure there is one cohesive theme to tie the items together. Frakas is home to some amazing accessories that can help to complete your outfit, whether it’s a colour block bag or a new bib necklace.

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Love these killer shots by A-OK contributor Lise Guyot? Follow her photo postings on our blog!

Keloha Music and Arts Festival 2013

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Kealoha is a Hawaiian word which translates to “The Love”. The Keloha Music and Arts Festival is beautiful people coming together and creating magical moments under the hot Okanagan sun. This 3-day, all-ages festival is an all-weekend extravaganza of love, art, and good vibes. Over 30 talented musical acts share two stages in Waterfront Park, serenading and making dreams come true. The grassy knolls of the Island Stage provides a natural amphitheatre complete with shady trees to sit under when the heat starts to take its toll on you and The Sandbar Stage, located on the beach, is perfect for rolling out a towel and digging your feet in the hot sand. Or, you can cool off in the refreshing waters of the Okanagan Lake.

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Yukon Blonde

Between the stages there was plenty else for you to see and do. Lakeside Lounge and Paradise Beach provided a tropical get away for adults wanting to indulge themselves with an intoxicating tonic. VIP pass holders could skip the line-up and enter Paradise, an exclusive area complete with tables and private port-a-potties. Sponsors Big Surf and Palm Bay provided the perfect tropical summer brews for the sun drenched fiesta.

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The Trews

If you were a Hungry Patron you could make a trip to the Food Plaza where an assortment of vendors sold mini-donuts, hamburgers, tacos, pizza-by-the-slice, and more. Everyone’s favorite neighbourhood restaurant Kelly O’Bryan’s was even on hand to sell their famed Pachos. My favorite lunchtime item was the Bronco Burger from the Good Stuff Foods vendor with their reasonable prices.

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MUTEMATH

Those with a creative side could visit Art Avenue, a stretch of space between the Sandbar Stage and Food Plaza, which hosted drop-in yoga, paddle boarding, sandcastle building, gymnastic performances, and interactive art installations. The sidewalk was even transformed into a giant chalk canvas for the public to express themselves on. Installations included pyramids in the sand, and a volcano frothing bubbles.

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Dear Rouge

Sunset Way, the path between the Food Plaza and Island Stage, became home to a small village of vendor tents where small businesses sold clothing, accessories, and more. The tent I spent most of my time at was the Merchandise Tent where you could buy CD’s and T-Shirts from your favorite bands at the festival.

Continue Reading…

Kelowna’s Diner en Blanc in City Park

Kelowna's Diner en Blanc in City Park

At the last minute, the location is given to thousands of friends and acquaintances who have been patiently waiting to learn the “Dîner en Blanc’s” secret place. Thousand of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space.

Kelowna's Diner en Blanc in City Park

Over the course of an evening, the diners enhance the function and value of their city’s public space by participating in the unexpected. Beyond the spectacle and refined elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by a love of beauty and good taste. Le Dîner en Blanc recalls the elegance and glamour of court society, and diners engage one another knowing they are taking part in a truly magical event.

Kelowna's Diner en Blanc in City Park

Born 25 years ago in Paris. Launched with just a handful of friends by François Pasquier over 25 years ago, Paris’ Dîner en Blanc now assembles nearly 15,000 people each year. The French capital’s most prestigious sites have played host to it: the Pont des Arts, the Eiffel Tower site, Place Vendôme, the Château de Versailles, the Esplanade de Notre-Dame, the Esplanade des Invalides, the periphery of the Place de l’Étoile, the Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde and this year: Le Louvre Pyramid and the Trocadéro Esplanade at the ame time! The Paris police tend to tolerate this ‘wild’ gathering, if not perhaps even wishing they could join in!

Diner en Blanc

Hot and Dry Canadian Summer: Night 1

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Need to cool off from the hot heat and quench your dry, dry throat? Awesome Okanagan and Cariboo Brewing have your solution. They’ve teamed up to bring you three nights of killer entertainment in a row and provide you with a cold beverage companion. All of your favorites are here, playing the stage at Habitat. The shows are even better than before with knock-out staging. Billows of cotton candy curtains engulf the stage, pillowing the performers as they seduce you with their sweet sounds. Tonight was host to three performances: The Winter Provincial, My Kind of Karma, and JoyfulDoor.

The Winter Provincial lit up the stage as soon as the sun went down and My Kind of Karma followed shortly after. This was my first time experiencing MKOK, and I was pleasantly surprised by their interesting style paying homage to groovy funk rock and reggae. Their performance was a feast of strings consisting of a Ukulele, Guitar, and Banjo. If it sounds like a strange combination they’ll surprise you!

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JoyfulDoor was last, and they were the storm that rocked the venue. The calm clouds took on an ominous presence as the vocals rose and washed over the crowd like a powerful wind. The drums thundered and smashed against your body, sending you reeling into spirals of movement. And the bass guitar trembled throughout your whole being. When the ride was over the audience was clamoring for more.

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This night couldn’t have been a success without the participation of all three of the bands. They opened for all the sweet sounds of summer and set the bar for all live shows to follow. Make sure you catch Van Damsel, Windmills, Manual Scavengers, and Tiger Moon tomorrow night (technically today) at the same place and same time. Doors at 8, show at 9.