Sara & Geoff | Knox Mountain Engagement Session

 

Sara and Geoff decided on their engagement session in the mountains because of their love for the scenery, and the fact that all their wedding photos are going to be taken at a winery and vineyard this October in Oliver. I am so thrilled that they drove from Vancouver to Osoyoos, and then all the way up to Kelowna just for their engagement session with yours truly. When we discussed what to do for the session, aside from having it take place in the gorgeous scenery of Kelowna, we knew it had to involve their little frenchies - including a bow tie :) Sara and Geoff, I cannot wait for your wedding at Tinhorn Creek in October!

Still looking for a Kelowna Wedding Photographer? I'd love to chat! xo

 

How to Download Your Images from PASS

If you've booked with me, you'll receive your images in an online download gallery that is online for ten years filled with your wedding day images. Here is how to download them!

1. Click "enter"

2. In the top right hand corner, you'll see a download icon. Click it! It's the second one from the left.

3. If you want to download images individually, you'll see a note to click on each individual image. If you want to download your whole gallery, click "download all"

4. Select the download, click "start download" and you're good to go! Enjoy xo

Tracey and Carson | Kelowna Engagement Photographer

 

Their in home engagement session started off as good as any could - with 2 dogs running up to me. Already the happiest photographer alive, I knew this session was going to be a good one. 

Tracey and Carson have been together for about 5 years now, and T knew her proposal was coming soon. What she didn't know - was that it would happen in the kitchen of their home as soon as she walked in the door from yoga. We hung out for a little bit and took some photos in their home, where they're most comfortable.

If you still need a Kelowna Wedding Photographer, I'd love to chat! xo

 

How Far in Advance to Book Your Wedding Vendors

 

It's the new year, which means things are back in full swing in wedding planning Facebook groups and all over social media - which also means the "How far in advance do I need to book X vendor?" comes up, a LOT.

Some vendors (photographers, venues in most circumstances, DJs, etc) can only take on one wedding a day, and some vendors, like wedding planners, only take on one wedding a weekend - so you need to book your preferred vendors as soon as you possibly can. I took it upon myself to chat with a few vendors to get their perspective on things.

PHOTOGRAPHY
"The Okanagan is crazy busy for weddings - something like 8,000 a year happen here. Personally, photography is a 100 on a scale of 1-100 importance. At the end of your wedding day, all you have left is your husband and your photos from the day. This means in order to get your preferred/dream vendors you need to book them fairly early on in the process. Personally, I book anywhere from 6-18 months in advance. The brides contacting me in the 6-8 month time slot are usually brides getting married in off season (for me that is November-April). I take bookings up to (usually) 18 months in advance, and love to do so!"
Samantha Banks
Samantha Banks Photography
Kelowna, BC



MAKEUP ARTISTRY
"Booking your makeup artist early should be top priority after finalizing your date. According to wedding planning books that I’ve seen and read they recommend booking your makeup artist 6-8 weeks before the big day. I was in shock when I read this as it’s very untrue! Unfortunately I turn down hundreds of last minute inquiries every year due to already being booked. The Okanagan is a destination for a lot of couples to marry. This means there is a great demand for vendors and vendors book very quickly, makeup artists included. Here’s some reasons why you should book your makeup artist as early as possible. Availability- As most makeup artists don’t work with “teams” you are reserving that one person for your special day, which means that once they’re booked, they’re booked. As most companies run by individuals, there are a limited number of bookings we can take per day/week/year. I, myself take bookings anywhere up to 18 months in advance for weddings.
No Compromise- If you book early, you’re more likely to book the artist of your dreams because their availability is open. You will not have to compromise on the quality of the artist you book. Remember, photographs of you will be taken all day and night long, and your face will be a highlight in most of the images. It’s so important to look and feel beautiful for these documented memories that will last a lifetime. You don’t want to look at your wedding photos years down the road and hate the way you look because you waited too long to book the artist that you wanted, and you ended up with someone with little experience.
Relationship- When you book your artist early, you start to build that relationship with your artist. You start to build a connection of trust and can get to know the person who will be spending a decent portion of time with you on your wedding day.
Putting Your Mind at Ease - When you book your makeup artist early, it’s another to-do on your checklist done. With no worries, your makeup artist will have you booked in and one less thing to worry about while planning your dream day. Your makeup artist will notify you when it’s time to start solidifying trial dates and confirmation of wedding day timelines. I hope that this list of reasons to book your makeup artist early inspires you to start sending out those inquiries to your favourite artist to secure them for your big day!"
Bri Stein
Bei Stein Artistry
Kelowna, BC


"The dreaded question amongst most wedding vendors is "Are you available for my date?" It's absolutely heartbreaking for me when I have to tell a bride that I'm already booked! A lot of online sources say that booking hair and makeup 3 months before your wedding is sufficient and that couldn't be further from the truth! Living in the Okanagan means that we have access to some of the most beautiful venues and scenic ceremony sites, it also means that most people consider beauty for their special day a top priority! It's not uncomming for brides to book 18 months before their wedding and I highly recommend 9 - 12 months in advance. We have over 10,000 weddings in the Okanagan every single year, unfortunately the number of qualified makeup artists servicing those weddings is significantly low compared to some larger metropolitan areas. Typically May through September will be fully booked by mid January for popular makeup artists, this means that brides who are waiting until 6 months before their date to book are left with sub par artists, or even worse yet - having to go to Sephora or MAC for their makeup! So I will leave you with this - would you wait to hire your caterer or book your venue until 3 months before your wedding?!"
Tabitha Joy
Ciao Bella Cosmetics
Kelowna, BC



HAIR STYLIST
"I’m currently taking brides into 2018 and have been for about since July 2016. I would estimate I was about 75% booked for 2017 season by the end of January. If you have a weekend wedding envisioned in the Okanagan I would suggest looking about two years ahead of time for booking your ideal vendors. The past couple seasons all of my Saturdays were booked a minimum one year in advance, and the holidays up to 2 years. I would highly recommend to couples that they be open to having a wedding mid week, or away from holidays if they are going to be booking a little more last minute. You will have a lot more opportunity to book with your vendor of choice! Happy Planning!"
Kris Rostecki
Inspirado Hair Design
Kelowna, BC


VIDEOGRAPHY
"Traditionally, wedding videography is something that couples ‘don’t think they need’ or have a ‘wait and see if it’s in the budget’ approach. In recent years, however, having a wedding film is service that has grown in popularity. Because of the increase in demand, securing someone to capture your wedding through video should be done 1-4 weeks after a date and venue have been selected. Securing a videographer early allows more communication, and for the filmmaker to get to know you better so that your story can be told in a more complete way. From my experience, most couples secure videography 8-12 months from their wedding."
Nick Miller
Nick Miller Films
Wichita, KS



VENUE
"Choosing your wedding venue is one of the first items on the "I do" to-do list so the sooner the better. It is very common for brides to already know exactly where they want to get married and then it's just a matter of when. Booking early allows the couple the best chance of getting their dream wedding venue on their dream date. Top venues are often already booking well into next year having fully committed this season's most desirable dates to forward thinking brides. As an example, Sanctuary Gardens is already booked for 2017 and is actively booking for 2018 dates."
Kirstin Wakal
Sanctuary Gardens
Kelowna, BC



FLORISTS
"Ideally, (me being totally selfish here), the earlier to book the date the better! But here's the thing. Wedding season is nuts, so in a perfect world, a bride would call/email to put a retainer down and hold their wedding date, and then wait until the off season to get into details for their wedding. This gives me the ability to focus on the project at hand, which I know they will appreciate during their wedding!"
Jenner Simpatico
Petal and Vow
Kelowna, BC



DJ
"At Okanagan Dance Party, we always tell our brides and inquiries to make booking their professional entertainment their third call. As soon as you have 1) Your Date, and 2) Your Venue, if you want 3) The Best Performers available to entertain your guests you should reserve them right away. And, when you're vetting your professional entertainers, always make sure you're dealing with an established company rather than a discount operator. Professionals own their own gear, have broadcast quality sound libraries, and work with the clients every step of the way. The sooner you have such a pro on your team, the more assistance they can provide, as well. For example, we can recommend other excellent vendors, suggest how the day should progress, and provide other services or equipment that you might think you have to rent elsewhere. If you want to ensure your guests get an Okanagan Dance Party, remember our booking motto: "It's never too early to book - don't leave it too late""
Paul Cousins
Okanagan Dance Party
Kelowna, BC

STATIONAIRY
"Calligraphy is the perfect way to add a romantic, elegant touch to your wedding.  From the invitation suite, envelope addressing, day-of details like place cards and seating charts, there are so many different ways to use calligraphy to make an impression on your guests.  A good general turnaround time for a calligrapher is between 2-4 weeks depending on the project, keep in mind that like anyone in the wedding industry there are busy periods and the turnaround time could be longer.  If your wedding is fast approaching most calligraphers will take on projects with short notice for a rush fee, if they have availability.   If you're using a local or hobby calligrapher you should be safe booking them 3-4 weeks in advance, if you already know you want to book their services book in advance to avoid disappointment.  Calligraphers that are well known and in-demand will book months in advance, so you should book them 3+ months in advance.  There are endless ways to use calligraphy to add a unique and personal touch to your wedding, so find a calligrapher whose style will compliment the style and feel of your wedding."
Leanne Racine Brar
Wolf And Wander Calligraphy
Kelowna, BC

 

25 before 25 » Kelowna Wedding Photographer

 

If you know me personally, like really personally, you know I'm not close to 30. I'm kind of close to 25. I don't tell a lot of people (even some of my friends) how old I am, mostly because it doesn't matter! Browsing through Instagram the other day, I discovered the #30before30 hashtag, essentially a 30 item bucket list of things to do before you turn 30. I'm closer to 25 than I am to 30, so I wanted something a little more immediate. So, here goes nothing. I'm going to check in every year on my birthday and see where I'm at. Here is my #25before25.

1. Jump out of an airplane
2. Visit Thailand or Croatia
3. Take a workshop somewhere in California or abroad
4. Move to Lake Country/Peachland/Summerland
5. Buy a Jeep Wrangler
6. Be 100% DEBT FREE!!!
7. Photograph a wedding in California
8. Swim with the piggies in Exuma, Bahamas
9. Learn to cook asparagus (y'all I am not kidding, asparagus is my mortal enemy in the kitchen)
10. "Master" paddle boarding.
11. Shower in a waterfall
12. Go to a wedding... as a guest. Let it be known I haven't been to a wedding as a guest since 2008!!!
13. Rescue a dog
14. Take a spontaneous weekend trip/vacation
15. Start a RRSP
16. Get in peak physical shape
17. Shoot a gun
18. Bungee jumping
19. Surprise someone with something big
20. Have professional pictures taken. I have NEVER had my photo professionally taken!!
21. Read a book from start to finish
22. See my favourite artist preform life. I used to go to shows ALL the time, like 3-4x a month, and then I stopped. My favourite artist changes on a weekly basis, but I know I need to go back to what used to make my heart happy and see if it still does.
23. Nap in a hammock on a beach
24. Go to Hawaii
25. Learn to snowboard

 

Emily » Kelowna Boudoir Photographer

 

Emily was complete FIRE during her entire session. She came in with my best friend, Taylor, and it was SO much fun having 2 ladies in for their sessions at once. It made for 2x the laughs, and 2x the fun. Em's fiance is going to L O V E these images of her, and it was so great to end our 2016 season with her. I cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store for me as both a Kelowna Wedding and Boudoir Photographer, I foresee some stunning weddings and steamy boudoir sessions.

 

Thoughts on One Year in the Okanagan » Kelowna Wedding Photographer

 

I've been trying to write this post for a few weeks in my head, but all it ever comes down to is "I wouldn't change it for the world."

It's true, I wouldn't change everything about this for anything in the world. When I moved to BC, there was a rash of uncertainty, and a whole lot of sleepless-am-I-going-to-make-it-or-do-I-have-to-move-back-to-Ontario-with-my-parents type of nights. Turns out, everything worked out for the best. 

My move to the Okanagan has been the best thing I have ever done for myself. I'm incredibly thrilled and humbled at how many connections I made in 2015/2016, how many weddings I shot, how many weddings I second shot, and how many brilliant couples I met that are getting married in 2017 (ummm, 80% booked for 2017 already?! What!?). I've made friends who are supportive, fun, understanding and true to me. I've found my way around without a GPS - which is a rare occurrence for me. I've hiked up mountains (and you are can't do that in Ontario). I've travelled to Vancouver, Nebraska, Squamish, Whistler, Washington, booked a wedding in Las Vegas, and subsequently taken a trip to the Passport office. I've learned who I am and I've prioritized me. I always tell my friends that the Okanagan changes people, it does. 

All in all, I wouldn't change it for the world. I can't wait to see what next year brings. Here's to one year in the Okanagan as a Kelowna Wedding Photographer

 
 
 

Pri & Karlyn » Knox Mountain Kelowna Engagement Session

I can't lie, in the middle of putting this blog post together I started watching highlight reels of wedding videos on YouTube and the tears started flowing... but that's part of my job right? Watching wedding videos? No? Ok... well all that matters is Pri and Karlyns gorgeous Kelowna engagement session finally made it to the blog! And as an added bonus, they're impeccably dressed.

These two met at an Optometry conference in Vegas and their love grew from there. Between Pri flying to New York for 24 hours (I know...) to surprise Karlyn and the rock on her finger that stemmed from that jaunt, I know in my heart that these two will enjoy forever, together. 

Tyler & Telisa » Hotel El Dorado Kelowna Wedding Photographer

 

Telisa and Tyler are high school sweethearts, so getting married after give or take 10 years was a natural progression in their love story. Telisa and Tyler both have such outgoing, bountiful personalities and I absolutely adore how they look at each other - just look at those ceremony photos where Telisa is walking down the aisle. She was visibly nervous (and rightfully so!!), but kept her eyes locked on the love of her life. 

Telisa's Uncle Ale owns Serenity Gardens in Kelowna, a beautiful wedding venue which was perfect for their nuptials. After their ceremony and receiving line - as well as a bit of champagne, we headed to the El Dorado to celebrate with drinks, their reception, and my favourite of all: more photos. 

Telisa & Tyler, I couldn't be more thankful that the two of you found me before I even moved to Kelowna. I wish y'all nothing but the best in your lifelong commitment to each other. 

Vendors:
Photography: Samantha Banks Photography
Hair Stylist: Val's Garage Hair Studio
Cake: Kaleena Cakes
Caterer: Hotel El Dorado
DJ: DJ Shakes
Officiant: Clifford Sewell
Bridal Dress: Bliss Bridal
Bridesmaids Dresses: Davids Bridal
Mens Attire: Moores
 

 

Danielle » Kelowna Boudoir and Wedding Photographer

 

Being a Kelowna Wedding Photographer, I see a whole lot of gifts from the bride to the groom on their wedding day, but my favourite by far is a little black book of beautiful yet sexy images from a boudoir session we did together previously. The groom goes crazy for it!! 

Aside from weddings and engagements, boudoir is the only other thing I photograph - and I'd say it ties in nicely ;) If you're looking to get a boudoir session done for your hubby-to-be, or to celebrate yourself, let's chat!!

 

Kendall and Brett » Kelowna and Lake Country Engagement Photographer

 

Part of the reason that I moved to Kelowna was the water. So. Much. Water. Unfortunately I don't have a boat at my disposal (one day ;)), so I set my sights for a couple who are crazy in love... and own a boat. Enter: Kendall and Brett. 

These two lovebirds met online, and have been together ever since. We headed out to the Marina at Turtle Bay, on Wood Lake in Lake Country and spent a good chunk of time on their boat doing an Engagement Session. How very Kelowna Engagement Photographer of me, right?

 

What Your Wedding Photographer Won't Tell You » Kelowna Wedding Photographer

 

Busy season is upon me as a Kelowna Wedding Photographer, and with that comes lots of welcomed chatter with other wedding professionals near and far. I’m so, so grateful so have friends in this industry to bounce ideas, thoughts and rants off of. As a photographer, I’m active in quite a few behind-the-scenes Facebook groups and I always find that one common thing shows up from April-October, why don’t my clients tell me how they feel about their images?

Here’s the honest truth: as photographers, we want to make sure you’re happy with what you received. Here’s the even more honest truth: it hurts our feelings a little bit when you don’t say anything. A quick email back like I got from one of my brides, Carmin, the other day after I delivered her Vernon Engagement Session saying “Yay! SO EXCITED, love them! So many great ones! Thanks so much!” makes my heart flutter. I want to know you’re happy with the trust you’ve put in me to capture these memories for you.

Of course, we’re not going to tell you we need a reply from you. We won’t tell you we need you to tell us you love them, but it sure does make us the most content and thankful people in the world.

Just the other day I got a card in the mail from one of my January brides, Shauna. She wrote:
“Saying thank you is not enough. You did such a beautiful job capturing our wedding dat. The images have filled our home in such a special way. We are so grateful to have such wonderful images to remember our big day with. You are truly a joy to work with and didn’t miss a beat. Thank you so much, love, Mr. and Mrs. Katerberg”

Now I’m sure you can image what happened when I read that letter if a small email made me the happiest photographer ;) #tearsofgratitude

 

Carmin & Robbie » Kalamalka Lake Vernon Engagement Session

 

Carmin and Robbie have a chemistry like very few couples I’ve met as a Kelowna Wedding Photographer… as much as they are extremely laid back, Robbie has an intense sense of humour that Carmin only brings out more in him. We knew simplicity would be key when photographing their engagement session, and it just so happens that Carmin has a friend with an undeveloped property right on the breath-taking Kal Lake. 

One thing that’s crystal clear about these two is that they are meant for eachother. The way Robbie kisses Carmin – and the way she immediately smiles. I can’t wait to photograph more of their love in 2017 when they become Mr and Mrs.

 

Stephen & Stephanie » Surprise Proposal at Quails Gate

 

Stephen wrote me to say that him and his girlfriend, Stephanie, were heading to Kelowna from Alberta for the long weekend and he was planning on proposing to her and wanted a professional photographer to capture the moment. I’m in.

For the past few months, Stephen had set up (and perfectly executed) a master plan that involved a jewelry consultant at the store that housed Stephanies dream ring. The consultant was entirely sure of who Stephanie was, and when she came in on her own to try on rings, she made note of the perfect ring size so that Stephen could purchase her dream ring, in the perfect size.

Stephen spent months orchestrating this whole event. From the ring scheme, to hiring me 2 months in advance! Quails Gate was the first winery these two went to as a couple a year ago, so it’s only fitting he popped the question there. I showed up super casual, with my camera stashed in my purse and just pretended I was waiting for a friend. Stephen was texting me the entire time telling me what they were wearing and where they were. I anxiously waited for the guy in the “orange polo shirt” and the pretty lady in the “blue dress” to walk out from the tasting area. I gave Stephen a little smirk to let him know it was me (we had never met!!!), and then I weaved my way in and out of the vines so Stephanie didn’t suspect a thing. 

 

Kelsey & Ryan » Sanctuary Gardens Kelowna Wedding

 

I first introduced Kelsey and Ryan to you all a bit ago when I photographed their winter beach engagement session at Bertram Creek Park in Kelowna. Well, the time has come and I photographed their fun, romantic wedding last week. A huge thank you to Kelsey, Ryan and both of their families and bridal party for making Samantha Banks Photography feel so, so welcomed.

And last but not least, a huge thank you to all the vendors who helped Kelsey and Ryans wedding day come to life.
Getting Ready Venue: The Cove Lakeside Resort
Ceremony Venue: Sanctuary Gardens
Reception Venue: Sunset Ranch Golf Course
Cupcakes: Cupcasions
Catering: Sunset Ranch Golf Course
Officiant: Scott Lanigan
Brides Dress: Bliss Bridal
Accessories: Steve Madden & family
Suits: RW & Co
Hairstylist: Inspirado Designs
Makeup Artist: Victoria Rump
Second Shooter: Keely Black

 

Char & Jay » Kaloya Regional Park Engagement Session

 

When I moved to Kelowna, I completely revamped my business. Cut out what I didn't want to photograph, and really narrowed in on my ideal client. Char and Jay are just that, they are truly my ideal clients. Fun loving, adventurous, up for anything, and so so in love. Crazy, beautiful love.

When we got in contact, Char's only requests were "whimsical, flowy, and bright". You got it! We headed down to Kaloya Regional Park in Oyama. They climbed trees, and we both got into water up to our hips, we chased light and we laughed. I truly hope our paths cross again soon xo

 

Eva & Tom » Kelowna Coffee Shop Engagement Session

 

A wrong number, a payphone, and a denied kiss. Who’d woulda thought these two would get married with that beginning?

Eva went to Vancouver a few years ago for a football game with her girlfriends. While they were there, they decided to visit one of the local bars to have a night out. Eva had been eyeing Tom all night, and her girls definitely took notice… and they wouldn’t let her leave without getting Toms number. After a little bit of pushing, Eva went and tried to talk Tom up and get his number. He gave her A number… it wasn’t his though, and when Eva attempted to kiss him goodbye - he swerved and denied her. Ouch! Eva called the number the next day and the recording informed her that “this number has been disconnected”. Being a little (understandably) annoyed, Eva didn’t bother to call him again - but a few days later she got a call from an unknown number, which happened to be a payphone… Tom was calling her from a payphone. The disconnected number? His brothers phone that ran out of minutes. Being the smart man he is, Tom didn’t want to give a girl in a bar his number incase she turned out to be crazy! 

In the end, Eva gave Tom the ultimatum of a lifetime: move to Kelowna or the relationship ends now. Tom, again, being the smart man he is - picked up and moved to Kelowna. I wish these two all the best as Mr. and Mrs. as they get married in 3 weeks time! xoxo

Huge shoutout to Pulp Fiction Coffee House for letting us invade their lovely space and borrow the pup 

 

Lindsey + Ryan » Knox Mountain Engagement

 

"Is he hitting on me?" was a question Lindsey regularly asked her co-workers about Ryan. Consistently answered with a "no, don't be crazy!!!" Lindsey kind of let it slide, because really, Ryan was the boss, Lindseys co-workers thought the boss would never hit on one of the staff members. But here we are today, the boss WAS hitting on Lindsey, and now they've decided on forever.

Lindsey and Ryan initially answered my model call I had posted on Instagram about a month and a half ago. When Lindsey emailed me back I knew she would be a dream to photograph, she immediately responded with "oh my gosh that sounds wonderful!!!" 

When I met up with these two at Knox Mountain, they had the biggest smiles on their faces and I could tell they were just ready to go. 2 hours sure flew by quick talking about where we came from, wedding plans and how these two met. And what d'ya know, we even snuck some photos in while we were talking ;)
I have to take the time to thank these two for being so incredibly flexible, patient and kind. Ideal clients if I do say so myself. Also a secondary shout out to Ryan for climbing up a hill twice when I forgot my keys up there. 

Knox Mountain Kelowna Engagement Session
Knox Mountain Kelowna Engagement Session
 
Knox Mountain Kelowna Engagement Session
 
Knox Mountain Kelowna Engagement Session
Knox Mountain Kelowna Engagement Session
Knox Mountain Kelowna Engagement Session
 
Knox Mountain Kelowna Engagement Session
 
Knox Mountain Kelowna Engagement Session
 
Knox Mountain Kelowna Engagement Session
 
 

You Should Be Here

 

I think most photographers, or creatives in general, have something that keeps them going. A force to keep them motivated. Something to remind them why they’re doing what they’re doing. Sometimes these things are seeing your calendar filled, money in the bank account or making your kids proud. Honestly, I had never put much thought into it. I was doing it because I liked it. Then, in December 2014 I got a call from my Grandma and her words crushed me… “the doctors wonder if I’m ever going to bring Poppa home from here.” I was shopping in HomeSense in Guelph, and my heart dropped to my stomach and my eyes welled up with tears. I’ve never left so many unnecessary purchases in a store so fast. I sat in my car and I cried. I cried because I knew what that meant, he wasn’t coming home and it was only a matter of time.

My Poppa has been sick as long as I can remember. We always joked that he had more plastic parts in him than real parts. I remember when I was 7 years old dancing around on my Grandmas pink carpet and baking chocolate chip cookies with her while my Poppa sat in his recliner in the living room listening to classical music with his eyes closed and making ridiculous hand signals like he was a composer right in front of the symphony with them. He came into the kitchen, still making hand motions and lifted up his shirt just slightly because he always knew the fact that he lost his belly button in a surgery made me HOWL with laughter. A few years l began to take an interest in my Poppas camera. Poppa was a photographer who was also in the Air Force. He travelled around the world, and while serving our country, still made time to capture memories so his grandkids could see them one day. He also ran the Cinesphere in OntarioPlace before they shut it down. He was always incredibly proud to show me his photographs, even if it was just from the community centre buffet dinner and poker night.
 

 
 

Poppa was at the small, community hospital in the city where they lived. This hospital wasn’t made for emergency, dire situations so when my Grandma told me that’s where he was I wasn’t too concerned. I mean, we just went out shopping and for lunch the week before – so it couldn’t be that bad right? It took everything I had in my body to hold back the tears forming when I walked in that room. Poppa was a vegetable. I will NEVER forget that. I could tell he so badly was trying to form words. He was looking at me but he couldn’t say anything. My Grandma was so frustrated trying to communicate with him, but I didn’t know what to say to make it better. When I walked out of that hospital, I broke down in the parking lot, and it hit me, the man who ultimately peaked my interest in photography wasn’t here anymore. He was here, but he wasn’t here.

Just about a week later, my Mom got a late night phone call from my Aunt. As soon as I heard her say “what hospital?” I knew what the issue was. I grabbed my stuff and ran out of the house as fast as I could. I didn’t bother to ask what hospital he was at, I just needed to start going. I was living in Cambridge at the time and I knew he would be in London, so I started heading that way. For you non-Ontario folks, there’s pretty well only one way to get to London and it’s a long 1.5 hour highway drive. On my way there I called every large hospital in London to finally find what one he was at, and I adjusted my GPS from there. I ran up to the neurosurgery floor as fast as I could and the whole family was there. This was it. I knew this was it. All 10 of us went into a meeting with the neuro doctor and decided what was best. Poppa always told us he did not, under any circumstances, want to live on machines or live in a home. He wanted his house and his independence. A DNR was signed and I’ll never forget the next conversation. When we went back in the room, Poppas eyes were ever so slightly opened and I knew that he could tell something was wrong because the only time the whole family is together is Christmas.

Grandma: “ok Bill. They’re going to do a surgery on your brain and make you feel better ok? It’s going to get you better.”
Poppa: (under mumbled words of course) “I don’t want to get better.”

My heart sank into my stomach again. We all knew that but I think it was harder hearing it. I stayed at the hospital until about 4am that night to make sure the surgery went ok, and then we took my Grandma home.

5 days later, December 13th, 2014, nothing was getting better. Grandma and I talked to the ICU doctor and confirmed that Poppa would in fact be living on machines for the rest of his life. Grandma looked me in the eyes and said “Do you hate me?”. 2 hours later, Poppa had passed.

Today I was listening to a country mix on YouTube, and Cole Swindells “You Should Be Here” came on, and I’ll be honest, I absolutely cried. My Poppa should be here. He should be here. I wish he didn’t have to miss the amount of success I have had moving here. My Grandma wrote me a card when I moved here that include the words “Poppa would be proud of you.” I wish he didn’t have to miss this. I selfishly, very selfishly, want him here. I want to be proud of my work when I show it to him, I want to talk lenses and cameras and gear neither of us needed. I want to show him all the crazy technology. I want to hear him say “good job kid, take care.” Like always.

 
 

Poppa, here’s to you. I hope you're enjoying dirty martinis with extra olives, I hope you've reunited with Pebbles, and I hope you're listening to all the classical music your heart desires. You are absolutely my inspiration, my “why”, my motivation. I love you and miss you every single day. 

 
 

Laura + Chet » Kelowna Engagement Photographer

 

Spring has graciously given come to Kelowna fairly early this year, and I am absolutely THRILLED to have Laura and Chet as one of my very first (to be precise, they were the 2nd!) engagement sessions of spring. We headed up to the Mount Baldy trail that we found on Hiking Addiction

 
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Laura and Chet met in their high school volley ball days. Many, many long bus rides to get to tournaments and games alike led these two to each other. When Laura was recommended to me by a family member of hers, she called me and said she needed an engagement session done in Kelowna, and she needed it quick... because their wedding is only 2 months away! 

We managed to get together the next weekend, and we knocked this engagement session out of the park in only 48 minutes before the torrential downpour started.... ahhhh, Spring time.

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