Posts in Photography

Focus Friday: Northern Lights

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Okanaganites don’t usually think of themselves as being in The North, but we’re lucky enough to see the northern lights occasionally. Taking photos during these short nights takes serious commitment — heading out late, having the patience to wait for uncertain activity, and long exposure times that require special attention to detail. I love it that these passionate night shooters are out there, and sharing these amazing images with us.

Aurora Over the Okanagan by Caillum Smith

Trek-It Tuesday: Summer Solstice at the Little Tunnel

Little Tunnel, Naramata

Solstice 2012 – Little Tunnel, Naramata

Summer solstice is nearly here bearing days of exaggerated sunlight so why not take the opportunity to get out and explore this awesome valley of ours. The KVR’s Little Tunnel sits high on the Eastern Hillside, above the village of Naramata, overlooking the South Okanagan valley with sweeping, panoramic views of its entirety; the scattered ponderosa pine and bunchgrass give way to the neatly manicured vineyards of Naramata and then to the beaches and cityscape of Penticton as Skaha Lake disappears around the bend on the horizon. To the West lies Trout Creek and Summerland tucked neatly at the foothills of Giant’s Head with Brent Mountain prominently sat in the mountains beyond and finally to the North, where if you tilt your head just right, you may be able to peer past Okanagan Mountain Prov. Park to Peachland. Be sure to bring your camera! Especially if you decide to come between the two weeks around summer solstice (June 21) where the Sun sets so far North, it peeks through this incredible, cliff-hanging orifice engineered by Andrew McCulloch nearly 100 years ago.

Little Tunnel, Naramata

Perhaps the best thing about this scenic location is most certainly its ease of access for all ages. The KVR’s moderate grade allows for a myriad of methods to travel the 8.8km round-trip route to the tunnel with cycling, walking and driving being the most common of tactics. Be sure to share the trail.

The KVR Trail above Naramata, BC.

Cycling the KVR Trail above Naramata, BC.

If you are arriving from Penticton or Naramata, head along North Naramata road until you reach Smethurst road, a right hand turn heading up the mountainside, and follow it as it meanders up the hillside and intersects with the Kettle Valley Railway at a parking lot about 5 minutes up. Here you can park your car and walk to the tunnel (~1.5 to 2 hours round-trip) or at least read some of the informative maps and boards explaining the history of the KVR and its significance to the local areas. From the parking lot head North (left as you look uphill) and continue along until you reach the tunnel, or stop at some of the old rock ovens that were built by the railroad workers during the construction of the route. It is also possible to arrive from Kelowna along the KVR and past Chute Lake but is more of a full day trip as opposed to a quick excursion however if you do decide to do so, be sure to check out the Big “Adra” Tunnel, also referred to as “McCulloch’s Wonder” for its horseshoe bend through 490m of bed rock, which is situated en route to the Little Tunnel. Happy ventures.

Big "Adra" Tunnel, Naramata

Big “Adra” Tunnel, Naramata

On the Road to Shambhala! 2013

Destination: dancefloor. You’re are on the road to Shambhala!

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Announcing their lineup (which is actually too big to even post here, download this PDF) via newsletters today, Shambhala is only two months away! Air, bus, car, bike and thumb. Come August, 10,000+ people will be on the road to Shambhala Music Festival and experience Kootenay legend. Massive PK Sound, lasers, lights, dance. Under the starriest sky, among giant trees, beside the Salmo River, six stages deliver an experience of movement unlike any other.

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To get this party started, Shambhala invites you to attend an official on the road celebration, July 25th 2013. Sixteen locations celebrate each of their Sweet 16 years. Stay tuned on Facebook and on their website for on the road pre-party locations.

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Have your wheels already hit the road? Car packed? Truly on your way? Stop at Shambhala friendly locations along the roads leading to the Salmo River Ranch. Find them on their website or simply look for Shambhala stickers and banners enroute. If you own or know a business that would like to participate, simply email info@shambhalamusicfestival.com with the subject “ON THE ROAD”. Shambhala will mail a kit and post the business and location on their website!

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The Wild Oak: Nourish, Connect, Inspire

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A Mother, a Wife, a Creative Entrepreneur, a witch in the kitchen: Heidi Jordan is a woman stepping into her power, and the results are visible magic.

A simple memory fueled Jordan’s confidence. As an adult woman she felt disconnected from her passion, highly capable and full of enthusiasm, but her intuition continued to nudge her forwards. A flash to a memory long since stashed away reminded Jordan that she has always known what to do, and that she is now a grown-up, fueled to execute what her subconscious has been preparing her for. Let me introduce to you to Heidi Jordan, a Modern Career Woman & the brain behind your new favourite place to nourish, connect & inspire: The Wild Oak Café & Community Market in Armstrong.

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Design has played a large role in how you’ve approached your business, from your branding on your handmade business cards to the logo in the window, your eclectic furniture has been curated with a deliberate hand—what was your design process in this space?
When we started the space had low ceilings, florescent lighting, dark walls—it was a hairdresser’s shop. I kind of came into it with ideas of what to create, and a feeling to create, but didn’t know how to go about doing that. I am blessed to have a dad, a brother and a husband who are all carpenters. I was like okay, this is what I need to do, and they came in and did it. I would come along and embellish. I like to have the last word on design, but the collaborative nature of this project meant that the final outcome was something that I would have never come up with on my own, the Wild Oak is a true community effort!

Environment seems to be very important to you. What are some aspects which you keep in mind while creating a space?
I design a space based on the five senses. I recently worked at a Pilates studio, and noticed how atmosphere creates environment. This always rings true, and visually I need to be able to breath. White walls, high ceilings, keeping the space uncluttered—relaxed. Music is key for me, it’s always on, and if there’s silence in the air my staff is on it. They change the music, turn up the volume, a good vibe comes from good music. Gaz, my husband, is a musician. The soundtrack of our lives is very important.

How does it feel to own your own business?
I don’t even know yet. It feels (grabs face) sometimes unbelievable. Almost as if I’m playing house. I say to myself, “So how are you enjoying playing café?” (laughs). I Have to remind myself on a daily basis that I’m doing this. We dreamt of this for years. Often tried to do it, but it wasn’t the right time or the right place. This space came up for lease and they were on it. It’s a production. Start from square one, make your way through, finish one part of it, realize that you have jump into another. The business is ever growing, always expanding.

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Have you always seen yourself as a businesswoman?
Certainly wouldn’t say that I’ve always seen myself as a professional. Inside I feel like a little girl. When I’m walking around in my womanly body I feel like a little girl with loads of hopes and loads of dreams. I love to give myself a challenge and see it through to the end the best I possibly can. I see myself as a businesswoman for sure.

Continue Reading…

Knox Mountain

Knox Mountain

Now that the rain has eased off, get hiking the great trails on Knox Mountain. Take in some of the incredible views of Okanagan Lake.

BC Historic Hotels Series: The South Okanagan

BC Historic Hotels

A pretty incredible view at our history, straight out of the Glen A Mofford Collection. A collage of a selection of historic hotels from Osoyoos to Naramata – most long gone include the Fairview, the Rialto, the Kaladen, the Reopel, the Incola, the Prince Charles, the Okanagan Falls and Three Gables Hotels.

We got this little gem sent to us on Twitter yesterday. This isn’t even quite all of them! Click the image or this link to see history in all it’s glory.

Collection by flickr user glenalan54.

Who Wouldn’t Want to Swim From Russia to Alaska?

In my last post, I described how the English Channel team had lost one of our members but couldn’t go into details at that time. Now I want to fill everyone in. As I mentioned in my last post, our teammate Paul Duffield became an Ice Swimmer over the winter. To be officially recognized as such you have to swim in below 5º C water, for a mile, in just a speedo and swim cap. It is incredibly difficult to do, and there are fewer than 100 officially recognized swimmers in the world!

As Canada’s first Ice Swimmer, Paul was honored with an invite to participate in a historic relay swim between Russia and Alaska. It’s an 86km swim that will be taken on by 40 Ice Swimmers from around the world. If they are successful, it will be the first time anyone has successfully swam from the mainland of Russia to the mainland of Alaska.

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Given that this was a record breaking opportunity that unfortunately just happens to be happening the exact same week as our English Channel swim, Paul felt that he had to take this once in a lifetime opportunity and the Lake Monsters support that decision completely! Knowing how cold the 8º C water feels when we train, we couldn’t be prouder of Paul both for becoming an Ice Swimmer and for attempting this amazing feat!

Of course, our lake is now too warm for Paul to train in at 10º C, so he has had to start taking unusual steps like filling an 8ft wide kiddie swimming pool with ice and taking ice baths! Kelowna company Interior Ice has sponsored Paul, providing him with free ice to bathe in (probably not a request they deal with every day)!

This should be enough ice for one swim!

This should be enough ice for one swim!

Paul has developed a real passion for ice swimming and open water swimming in general. This year he was nominated for Male Athlete of the Year at the Kelowna Civic Awards for his ice swimming accomplishments. He is a real inspiration. If you would like to meet Paul and hear more about the Bering Strait swim he is having a meet and greet on May 28th at the Hildebrand Sculpture Gallery (1302 St Paul St) from 5-8pm. Everyone is invited!

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Joey Ryan of The Milk Carton Kids Interview

After being caught in an awkward introduction I met Joey Ryan last Friday evening at The Media Club in Vancouver, which is on the corner of Cambie and Georgia. After coaxing the bartender to letting me stay before the doors opened, I was invited backstage to chat and drink a beer. Ryan is a really nice guy, who seems to know a lot about the music scene — or at least the scene of americana and folk. I wasn’t able to get a conversation with Kenneth, but I met him as well and briefly passed the other members of The Barefoot Movement, who were also playing that same evening. Ryan and I talked briefly about Kacy and Clayton a band he’s really been digging lately, we then got into a conversation on Orwell and Melville and of course his band The Milk Carton Kids.

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So, tell me about the tour so far
Ryan: It has exceeded all our expectations and it’s very encouraging. Musically it goes up and down still, we struggle some nights and some nights are incredibly inspiring and inspired. All we can ask for is a nice room full of quiet fans and the rest is on us.

What’s one place you’ve wanted to play that you haven’t yet?
To answer truthfully there’s two venues in the US that I’ve wanted to play at. The Ryman in Nashville and the Greek Theatre in Berkeley California.

Tell me how you started playing guitar?
My dad taught me how to play The House of the Rising Sun, and after that I kind of picked up guitar when I was around fifteen. Not taking it too seriously as I still do.

What’s next for you guys as a band?
Well, I’d like to release another album and see where it goes from there. I mean, I want to stay with what we’ve done so far and keep things as simple as possible.

Favourite authors?
Right now I’m doing all the Melville short stories. Over the years I’ve had infatuations with Vonnegut and Huxley, José Saramago’s “Blindness” was great too.

Have either of you had vocal training or music lessons?
Neither of us has had vocal training, but musically Kenneth is trained as a cello player, and I’m not trained in either respect. But that really shapes the way Kenneth plays and hears music which brings a good quality to our process.

What is it about music that you find appealing?
In the very beginning, when I was deciding to play music right after college, which was a really conscious decision. I thought to myself, if I could create for somebody else just one time, the transcendent revelatory experience that I’ve had with music, then it would be worth while. Realizing that one truth or something about yourself, some emotion that’s felt, is what draws me to music.

Most beautiful city you’ve played in?
I love Amsterdam. We just went to Europe for the first time and that city feels like no place else. Cobblestone streets and canals, the downtown area is shaped like a semi-circle, it’s charming and enchanting.

One instrument you’ve always wanted to own or play or both?
Just yesterday, I got to pick up Noah Wall’s fiddle from The Barefoot Movement and got her to teach me a scale and a melody, it sounded terrible, but felt so good. I guess being able to play all the string instruments would be nice.

What’s the songwriting process look like for you?
Usually for me, if I’m by myself the lyrical idea inspires the creative outburst that becomes the song. I’m not somebody that wakes up hearing a melody or is struck by a progression that imposes itself. I’m usually struck by an idea that I need to express or a problem that I need to solve, it always comes out in words. For Kenneth it’s the complete opposite, sometimes he listens to a song thirty times before he hears the lyrics. That’s just one of the many ways we fill each others negative space.

Studio or home recordings and why?
We’ve never done home recording, neither of us is a professional recording engineer ha ha. We’ve had the good fortune to work with some great people.