Author Archives: Jesse

Family Day In Vancouver

Spending time with family is important. Unfortunately I don’t always get to spend the amount of time I want to with them. Especially when they live 4 hours away. I know that isn’t a crazy amount, but it still slows the amount we get to see each other.

When my family visited us we decided to spend some time in the city exploring what Vancouver has to offer. there are lots of great sights around, but that wasn’t my main focus.

I love capturing moments and people. Pictures of buildings and landscapes are cool, but I prefer taking photos of humans because they remind me of moments more. We could all take a picture of the olympic torch (of course I took one too) and they are all the same. Sure they are creative in their own ways and are from different angles, but the personality of the torch remains. When I take pictures of humans I get to capture so much more than the way they look that day.

I love documenting moments and having them forever. It is very dad of me, but I just think it is so cool when someone can dive into their archives and pull out images or videos from milestones or significant times in their life. Casey Neistat does a really great job of this when he makes videos and that is where I got my inspiration from.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed seeing a few pictures from our time in Vancouver and getting to hear me ramble about why I take the pictures I do.



Best Monday Night Ever

I volunteer for an organization called Young Life. It is a Christian ministry that is based out of high schools instead of churches. On Monday nights we hold a weekly event called Young Life Club. This is a night where kids can come, let loose, play games, sing, dance, enjoy some quality entertainment, and at the end of the night hear about Jesus.

Twice a year all of the high schools get together to put on a “Super Club” with 6 different high schools. This event can have upwards of 200 kids and is definitely the best way to spend a Monday night.

I was in charge of doing video and photos for the event. Something that I really enjoy doing. But trying to capture live events has its challenges. When you are shooting live events there is no telling people to go back and do that again because you didn’t get the right shot. You only have one chance to capture moments. If you miss it, then there is no do over.

This is a lot of pressure, but luckily I thrive in the pressure. Plus I have been getting lots of practice capturing these events over the past 2 years.

An Unexpected Pic at Surrey Lake

During the summer Leeza and I were bored one day and wanted to do something fun. We didn’t have a ton of time and wanted to go on a quick adventure. A quick google search and I discovered that there is a lake in Surrey called Surrey Lake. Having never been there before, we thought we would give it a try.

It was also at this point during the summer when the smoke from all of the forest fires was lingering and hiding the skies. I ended up bringing my camera because you never know and when I was getting shots like the one above I was kinda disappointed because behind the trees it looked so blank.

But it was this point that I had an idea. The blank sky created by the lingering smoke would make it very easy to edit the photo and swap in a more exciting background. This ended up being the start of a theme on my Instagram where I would swap in backgrounds to create composite photos.

The photo on the left is the original (obviously) and the photo on the right is the composite. The composite is actually comprised of three different layers. I took the mountains from my friend Braedins photo from Chilliwack Lake. I also took the stars from one of Braedins pictures, I can’t remember which one though. It really changed the feeling, dynamic, and mood of the picture. Looking at this composite, I see a lot of flaws and now having a couple under my belt I would know how to mend them. It is interesting to look back at it and reflect on this experience, you just never know what an impromtu adventure will bring you.

That composite ended up being the most liked photo on my Instagram feed to date which is also pretty cool.



Malachi Watches Shoot in Europe

When Leeza and I went on our trip to Europe we were hooked up by our friends at Malachi Watches. In return I wanted to give them some cool photos of their watches. Shooting products was new to me at the time and especially finding time admist traveling Europe was tough. It was a fun challenge however and I think I got some really cool images from it.

Most of these are from when we were visiting Amsterdam. I have to say, Amsterdam was one of my favourite cities in Europe, the people were so friendly (and spoke amazing English), the city was so cool looking, and the culture there was really fun.

We got there just as the sun was setting and that meant it was time for golden hour. We quickly found a spot with some really cool buildings as a backdrop and starting taking photos. The colours that ended up coming out of these photos were really cool, the lighting definitely helped a ton.

The next couple shots were from our stay in Würzburg. We ended up getting there before dinner time and walked a long distance from our hostel to a castle on a hill overlooking the town. We got to the castle just as golden hour was happening again (so lucky) so the pictures from there also turned out quite beautiful.

It also helps that Leeza is a natural and makes every photo look amazing. Even when she says she doesn’t look good, I know she is wrong or can’t see! Anyway, We got some really cool shots for Malachi Watches and I’m excited for them to relaunch with them soon.



Third Try at Discovering Joffre Lakes

Joffre Lakes is one of those hikes that I have seen a lot of pictures from and have had a lot of friends do, but I never got to experience myself. Sort of.

If you aren’t aware, Joffre Lakes comprises of 3 lakes. the first lake is 2 minutes from the parking lot and is pretty cool. The second lake is a couple hour hike from the parking lot and features beautiful colours, an epic mountain view, and that stupid log that you see everyone standing on for pictures. The third lake is 20 minutes past the second lake and is similar to the second lake, but closer to the glacier.

I have been to the first lake a couple times, but have never been able to make the full hike to the second lake. the first time I tried we didn’t have enough time to do the hike before having to be back as a group and the second time we got to the trailhead and a terrible thunder storm broke out so we headed back to the car. When the opportunity presented itself to do the Joffre hike another time, on a day with time to spare and good weather I couldn’t pass it up.

The hike was more challenging than I anticipated. The trail pretty much is straight up for the majority of the time and that sucks. Since tearing my ACL a couple months ago I have been pretty inactive, the reality of that hit me pretty hard during this hike. Finally getting to the second lake made it all worth it though.

It was a pretty busy day up there, I was very surprised at the amount of people there. Pictured above is the infamous log that everyone walks out on to take pictures. There was probably a 45 minute wait to go out there so we just decided to skip it and take pictures in between people leaving/entering the log. We also were there around 3:30pm where the light isn’t great. Sunset would be the best time to be up here taking pictures for light and the crowds would be lesser for sure.

The above image on the right I created in photoshop as a composite. My friend Matt is always down for a rope swing even if the lake is freezing. I told him I would get a cool pic of him doing it and turned my camera to burst mode where I could capture all the motion at once. I used a YouTube tutorial to figure out how to combine them into one image and voila.

Overall, I would recommend the hike. However, I would suggest not doing it on a day/time when lots of people will be there. Sunset time would be the best time to get there for if you are wanting some cool photos.

I also just thought this picture was funny and epic at the same time.



Romantic Paris Adventure

One of the most hectic days during Leeza and I’s Europe road trip was definitely our time in Paris.The day that we drove to paris was full of problems. We didn’t get to the flat we were staying at until 4am because our car broke down (my fault long story) and had to be fixed at 10pm in the outskirts of France.

Eventually we got there and woke up bright and early to take full advantage of our time there. We’ll sleep when were dead right? Right….?

Anyway, we cruised around most of the major spots and had an awesome time using the metro (actually super easy and way better than Vancouver). We got to try lots of French cuisine (fries, crepes, and such) and pretend to be lovers in Paris.

Going to the top of the Eiffel Tower was a bucket list item for both of us and it was worth the wait. I mean the wait was roughly 3 hours, that is how much it was worth it!

If you want to check out how our car broke down and how I had to try and communicate that with people because we had no cell phone then check out my YouTube channel where I vlogged the whole trip. The Paris video was one of my favourites though. I put together a teaser vid that I will put below.



Picnic at Chilliwack Lake

There was only a few more weeks of summer left. Shoot.

Leeza and I were realizing that the our opportunities for summer adventures were coming to an end. I was going to school in the fall and she was going to be starting a new job opportunity. We had to act fast. We both love getting out and adventuring so we decided on Saturday that we would drive out to Chilliwack Lake and take the canoe.

It was decided that I would get the canoe ready and Leeza would pack up our lunch (she is the picky eater so it only makes sense). We met up and took to the road. Unfortunately I didn’t capture any moments until we were out on the water because my camera was zipped up in our waterproof backpack, but we enjoyed a nice paddle along the lake and stopped halfway across the lake on a nice rock.

I saw some pictures recently that were framing their subjects in an interesting way, so I tried it out and I really liked it. Using the trees branches and foliage as a blurry foreground added some cool moody depth to the photo. And don’t worry, Leeza was just cold so she was wearing my plaid, she had shorts on weirdo.

I was trying out some different angles when Leeza noticed something. I actually captured the moment by accident (the picture on the right above). There was a huge pile of white bird feathers just behind where we were sitting and eating where a bird either was killed or got into a scuffle. Don’t worry I won’t show you the picture, but there wasn’t anything gross about it (there was no blood or anything) it was just weird.

After we ate and chilled out a bit, we decided to head back on to the lake and paddle across it so we could check out the other side of the lake.

I really wanted this picture of her wearing the life jacket because I thought it would be funny. You always see the canoe shots of a girl on a lake and she is NEVER wearing a life jacket.

Of course I told her to take the life jacket off too ?

After snapping a couple more cool pics of us paddling, we started paddling across the lake. This was a big mistake….

There are some hefty afternoon winds on the lake and we got caught up in them. To make a long and stressful story short; what took us 30 min to get to where we were took us an hour and a half to paddle back. It was stressful and it definitely tested our strength physically and mentally. There were times when I was quite scared but I couldn’t let Leeza know, she was scared enough. I had to keep fighting and I don’t think I stopped paddling for an hour straight.

Eventually, we made it back to shore, packed up, loaded the boat, and headed back home. It was an adventurous day for sure and good story to tell.



Crescent Beach Date Photoshoot

We are so lucky to live where we do. I know it’s cliche and annoying, but it is so true.

Recently, I was asked if I could create a small collection of photos featuring a pair of yoga pants. I won’t name the company because after the shoot there were complications with timelines and such which caused the partnership to end. However, I still got to dabble in the world of photography even if only for a minute. Plus, it was a good excuse to take my girlfriend to the beach and double it as a date.

It was a busy Friday night at Crescent Beach which is located just outside of White Rock. We like to go to Crescent over White Rock because it is less touristy and has free parking (who doesn’t hate paying for parking). We pulled into the parking lot just as the sun was setting and about to put on a beautiful display for us. I don’t know much about shooting great photos but if I know one thing it’s that sunset is the best time to shoot.

We quickly got to work and by work I mean me taking photos of Leeza as I raced against the sun disappearing behind the horizon. There were actually a few other people taking portraits that night and they sort of looked like they knew what they were doing. Lucky for me, this wasn’t Leeza’s first shoot. She walked around the rocks, along the sand, and I gave some ideas as well of what I thought would look cool.

There is this thing that I learned from a friend one time where you can take your phone screen and place it in front of your camera lens laying flat. While you adjust where the reflection hits your lens you can create this really interesting effect that mirrors part of the image. I’ll show you an example below.

You can see on the left is where I used the phone screen mirror trick. You would never get that clear of a reflection from the gentle crashing waves like on the right. It is one of those simple tricks that anyone can do (unless your phone screen is cracked) and adds a cool effect without having to edit it in post.

As the sun was saying its final goodbyes across the horizon I snapped this last pic and got that really cool sun flare coming through. It was late summer at this point so sunset came and went so fast. I was surprised at how little time I had. When you are taking photos and need the sunset it isn’t this nice little activity to enjoy with your arm around someone, it is a frantic activity that really tests your skill because you are racing the sun.

After we finished up, we took in the ocean air, walked out to the pier, and just spent some time taking in the beauty of the ocean. Overall, it was a fun night and one that I hope only builds me up as a photographer and continues to grow my skills.