In Focus

While our Focus Fridays feature shows us a snapshot of some of the talent we’ve been hiding in the valley, In Focus takes us on a more in-depth analysis of local photographers. From their work to their inspirations, we visit their processes, locations, tips and tricks. Carefully curated by Jeremy Hiebert.

Pre-Pop Up Shop Perch Travelling Boutique

Awesome Okanagan, Marketing Night & Perch Travelling Boutique

are proud to introduce

Pre-Pop Up Shop to Not Your Mother’s Holiday Market on November 19th, 5-9pm, featuring Perch Travelling Boutique.

Perch will open up a Pre-Pop Up Shop along with Canoe Coffee Roasters for some amazing vintage shopping that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Wondering what to expect? Well you should come on down and ‘hit the breaks’ for a quick visit because Perch is not your ordinary fashion boutique.

Perch is the Okanagan’s premiere mobile fashion shop! Inside the renovated 22 foot beautiful blue bus you can find an ecclectic mix of vintage and retro clothing, accessories, and items for your home.

You’ve heard or a Food Truck before, but have you heard of a FASHION BUS?!?! Trust us, Perch has excelled and ‘reinvented the wheel’ of fashion and shopping.

Facebook Event


In Focus: John Shiers


We’re way overdue for another In Focus profile! We’ve featured several of John’s pictures for Focus Fridays, so it was only a matter of time before we took a closer look. His landscapes make us want to take more photos, and to see more of our valley.

John has been posting to our I Love the Okanagan group on Flickr for a while now. His shots of Vaseux Lake and McIntyre Bluff really jumped out — he obviously understands the land and light of the South Okanagan. Digging further into his photostream, you find great variety and fascinating abstracts.  John was kind enough to share his pictures with Awesome Okanagan, and answer a few questions about his photographic pursuits.


How did you get started with photography?
Being born and raised in Penticton I started playing around with photography in the late 1980’s with an old Minolta XD11 35mm SLR I inherited from my father. In the early 1990’s I moved to Jasper AB, and learned that I really enjoyed landscape, nature and sport photography.


How about more recently?
In the mid 90’s I moved back to Penticton and bought my first digital SLR a Nikon D70. Digital made learning photography much easier and cheaper for me and I was hooked.

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In Focus: David Emond

We’ve checked out a few of David’s pictures for Focus Fridays and figured it was a good time to take a closer look. This is solid stuff — whether he’s capturing Okanagan scenes or sharing images from the road, he’s seeing the world with unique skill and a love of beauty.

David’s landscapes seem to invite you in with compelling light and wonderful depth. I was particularly drawn to his expansive wide-angle shots and views of nature. Thankfully, he was kind enough to share his photos and answer a few of our questions about his work.

How long have you been doing photography in the Okanagan?

Although I grew up in Kelowna, I have only been taking photos here since moving back to this beautiful city two years ago.

Favourite locations or subjects in the valley?

I am always on the look out for new subjects but I tend to spend a lot of time in the downtown area whether at the waterfront or just enjoying anything that catches my eye.

Influences or artists/photographers you admire?

I joined flickr 6 months ago and have been blown away by the amount of talent here in the valley and abroad. I get inspired just by looking at the latest posts in the Okanagan. I also enjoy photos by top left pixel, a Toronto-based blog.

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In Focus: Tania Simpson

We’ve leaned on Tania for Focus Fridays enough times to realize that she might be the Okanagan’s resident Bird Whisperer. Not that her other subjects aren’t cool — she’s got great landscapes, macros and lifestyle shots too — but a quick trip through her Flickr pages reveals her main area of interest. This is a passionate birder with strong photographic skills and a love of beauty.

Most of us pay little attention to our feathered friends — we might occasionally enjoy their songs or flashes of colour without having any idea what we’re seeing or hearing. Since I started following Tania’s photos a couple of years ago, I’ve learned a lot about the birds that frequent our valley. I notice them more now, marveling at their infinite variety and amazing ability to survive cold winters or long migrations. Thankfully Tania has not yet migrated away, and she was kind enough to answer a few questions about her pursuit.

What got you started in photography, and how long have you been taking photos in the Okanagan?

Hummingbirds got me started — I became fascinated by them and wanted to capture their beauty.  I started with a point-and-shoot camera and from there my passion for photography bloomed.  I wanted better photos of them, so I made the decision to upgrade to a DSLR about six years ago.

Favourite locations in the valley?

My favourite location in the valley is Hardy Falls Regional Park in Peachland — I never go home disappointed.  The park offers so much beauty year round, from the waterfall and creek to the smallest wildflower; not to mention the abundance of birds and wildlife.  It is one of the best places to visit for autumn foliage and winter landscapes.  Some of my other favourite places include Okanagan Lake Provincial Park in Summerland and No. 22 Road/Black Sage Road in Oliver.

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In Focus: Caillum Smith

Caillum’s photography caught my eye when we posted his shot of the Adra Tunnel last year, and I’ve been impressed with the stuff he’s shared since then. This winter, his landscapes switched over the U.K., where he was living and working for a few months. I thought it might be interesting to hear about his experience abroad and get him to reflect on his local photography as well.

Caillum covers a broad range of styles and approaches with his pictures — instead of going for a cohesive theme, I’ve collected a representative sampling. That said, there are common threads that run through all of his work: a love of landscape, great attention to detail, willingness to experiment, and an eye for unique moments. You can tell that this artist is committed to his craft. It’s time to put Caillum Smith In Focus.

How long have you been doing photography in the Okanagan?

I first began fooling around with a film camera about 4 or 5 years ago but took things a bit further when Dad bought me a dslr as a “go to university” bribe.  I soon dropped my studies in pursuit of satisfying my photographic endeavors.

 Favourite locations or subjects in the valley?

I love incorporating the valley itself into my photos, whether its the subject or the background; our little pond nestled between the mountains is simply breathtaking from both the shores and the peaks. I think the Kettle Valley Railway above Naramata and Okanagan Mountain Park are among my most photographed locations because of their close proximity to where I live and my familiarity of the mountainside, but the Vaseux Lake area and Similkameen are equally spectacular. My favorite spots are the ones I have yet to find.

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In Focus: Drew Makepeace

Penticton artist Drew Makepeace is used to hearing the word “quirky” when people encounter his photographs. His unconventional views of industrial scenes, back lanes and suburban landscapes tweak your expectations and make you look again to try to figure out what might be going on.

Finding compelling patterns and beauty in unusual subjects is part of the attraction — Drew also brings a whimsical, almost comical sensibility to his images, seeing the interest and humour in places we’d pass by without a second glance. Awesome Okanagan puts Drew’s pictures and process In Focus this week.

How long have you been doing photography in the Okanagan?
I’ve been doing it since I moved to Penticton in 2004.

Favourite locations or subjects in the valley?
My favourite subjects are things that are man-made. Therefore my favourite locations tend to be urban or suburban locales.

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In Focus: Matthew Butterworth

We’re switching things up here a bit for this month’s In Focus. Our beloved local landscape is still featured, but with some added action and flair. Matt Butterworth‘s mountain biking videos and photos are getting noticed outside the Okanagan, and for good reason — this is top-notch work, showing off some amazing locations and riders. If the riding at Silver Star is half as fun as Matt’s videos makes it look, it must be pretty special:

Silver Star Bike Park Ep. 2 2011 from Matt Butterworth on Vimeo.

A lot people have bought DSLR cameras in the past year or two that can shoot video. Most of us won’t use it much, or use it for shaky, clunky clips of our friends. Matt’s use of his DSLR inspires us to learn to do this stuff properly, and to see how much fun it could be to make great video. Here’s another one, with a nifty, moody vibe:

Through the Fog :: Anthony Evans from Matt Butterworth on Vimeo.

Although it was his videos that caught my eye, I was also impressed by Matt’s still photos. As you can see in the videos, he’s got a great eye for composition and light, integrating the beauty of the landscape into his action shots. It’s not easy to convey intense motion when you’re freezing motion, but he’s nailing it — I love the energy in the photos below. He was also kind enough to answer a few questions about his creative pursuits.

How did you start doing photography in the Okanagan? 

I started out like most people who shoot action sports. Just out having fun with my buddies and taking photos/making videos to document the good times!

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In Focus: Kim Thomas

Yes, Kim is an Awesome Okanagan contributor, and as was the case with the article about the Kuhls, I’m queasy about featuring photographers who do commercial work because it looks like favouritism or advertorial. But my introduction to Kim’s photos came years ago on Flickr, and her unique photographic style and verve made it an easy decision to put her stuff In Focus this month.

Anyone with attractive friends and a thousand bucks for a decent camera can take some good pictures immediately, and over a few months, they might get a few great shots. Looking through Kim’s pictures, I see a progression in skill and engagement that can only be developed through years of sustained effort and passion — compelling portraits that stand alone, admired even when you don’t know the subjects. It’s art, with a measure of playfulness that makes it fun and accessible. She was kind enough to answer a few questions about her pursuit of great images.

How did you start doing photography in the Okanagan?

It was the summer of 2008. I bought the Canon XSi and began photographing like mad. I photographed everything I possibly could, and began one of those 365 projects where you take at least one picture a day for an entire year. I was hooked after that. This is one of the first photographs I ever took.

Influences or artists/photographers you admire?

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