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Morning at Bloedel Conservatory :: Vancouver Photographer

I have lived in Vancouver all my life (except for a number of years while I was living in other places, so I guess that’s not my whole life) and my family lived really close to Queen Elizabeth Park, so I grew up being very familiar with the park. Even to this day, we are a quick 10 minute drive to the park and we often go there as a family, especially in the summer months to play in the fountains. Oddly enough, I had never been inside the Bloedel Conservatory. It never really came about and I never really asked my parents to go. Or if I did, I don’t really remember and it was never that big of a deal. So today, I suggested it and off we went.

Wow!!! If you have never been, I HIGHLY recommend this, especially for kids if it’s a rainy or chilly day (for example, my son refuses to go outside in these -1 C days). There are about 100 species of birds there and the ones that we did see were absolutely incredible. The plant life was varied, the temperature very comfortable and there were lots of families there and other photographers so it was great fun. Even a grey and red parrot named “Rosie.”It was all a great feast for the eyes - so many colours, textures, shapes and patterns. A really great weekend activity.

I really love these images and I hope that you enjoy them too!


Jill and Chris :: Engagement :: Cypress Mountain

Before Christmas, Jill, Chris and I made it up to the cross-country area on Cypress Mountain for some snow-filled engagement photos. And fitting since their wedding is coming up quickly on February 2nd.

We found some beautiful areas and a hiking trail to hang out on before going inside to warm up with some hot chocolate. We were wet and cold but it was fantastic to be outside for a few hours, get some fresh air and some cute wintry shots to celebrate their upcoming wedding.



elizabeth kowal - beautiful! love.

Jarusha - HOLY COW!!! These are stunning Rose!!! I adore the snowy landscape and the colours :)


As I embark into a new season, I am in the process of cleaning up my computer and getting it ready to be filled up by beautiful pictures of couples in 2013. I also wanted to share with you how I backup my work and hopefully stress the fact how important it is to backup your photos. We all think that it’s something that won’t happen to us (of course, until it does) and then we learn the hard way. And this is speaking from experience! In 2010, my HP workstation suffered a hard drive failure and I lost all of my personal photos including my pregnancy journal. After that computer failed two more times, I decided it was enough and bit the bullet to purchase my Mac desktop. Thankfully, no client work was lost. It was heartbreaking to learn that even though I could send in the hard drive to a recovery company, there was no guarantee that it would work - plus the fee was really high and it was a risk that we just couldn’t afford. I have the hard drive and perhaps one day, when we become millionaires (!), I can afford to have it done.

So I learned my lesson the really, really hard way. And hopefully some of these ideas can help you avoid that too!

I backup my work in four different methods, which might be overkill, but I am really not risking it. Some methods might fail too, in which case, I have another backup for that backup.

OK, here goes!

1) Promise Pegasus R4 RAID System

I got this last year at Christmas time and to be honest, I still don’t understand it but I do know it has saved me a number of times already. Once in a while, I will delete something by accident and this little machine helps me to recover it immediately. I use it with Mac’s Time Machine to backup important files on my computer and it updates on a frequency of every few hours. I can’t remember how I set it up but as long as I see those little blue lights blinking and I see my files in the Time Machine application, I know that it’s backing up my stuff! The tower was pretty expensive and is probably way too technical for me, but I am very glad I have it as it has proven it’s weight in gold this past year already. This sort of thing would probably be too much for the regular user but if you run your own creative business where you go through a lot of files or applications, I would highly recommend getting some sort of RAID backup. And preferably someone who knows how to set it up or use it!

2) External Hard drive

I use Seagate external hard drives in 1 - 2 TB amounts to backup client and personal work. I have about 6 of them in a variety of models and have had really good luck with them so far but again, these are electronic devices and could fail at any moment, so I wouldn’t recommend having these as your sole backup for very important files.

3) Amazon S3 Web Services

I am currently using Amazon’s S3 Web Services as an online storage center for client work. I have used a number of other companies in the past including Backblaze and Livedrive and I know of a number of other providers but after a lot of research into it, I decided that S3 would work the best with my needs. Amazon S3 is the same service that the SmugMug Vault uses if any of you photographers out there are SmugMug users looking into online photo storage. Amazon S3 charges on an as-uploaded basis and rates are pretty good. I can pick and choose what I want to store and I can rest easy knowing that once I remove those files from my hard drive, they will stay there. This was the problem I found with a lot of other providers like Backblaze - once I got rid of the files on my hard drive, they would disappear on the online backup and that’s just defeating the purpose. I do not upload any RAW files to this service however, only final work in jpeg.

4) DVDs

Yes, I still use these. This is my last line of fire in case everything else fails! Or until DVDs become obsolete. It takes a while and I need to be very organized to make sure that I am getting all my files burned because each disc only holds 4.7 GB of data and a full wedding (from all RAW files to completed high res files and everything in between) can amount up to 100 GB of data. So, yes, that is unfortunately a lot of DVDs. For a while, I was making two copies and I keep one set off-site in case there is ever a fire or other disaster in my home, but I no longer do that as it is far too time consuming and I have other methods of backing up. Now, I just make one copy of EVERYTHING from RAW to high res files. I label the discs with a sharpie and put multiple discs (2-3) into a sleeve for safe keeping. Once the process is complete, I put the DVDs into an Ikea box and label it with the year.

Whew! That’s a lot of work to keep those files organized but just good habits to maintain. I have a simple spreadsheet to make sure that I am completing all of the necessary backups for each client and once everything is complete, I delete the shoot from my desktop.

If you have any questions about backing up your work or personal files, let me know! I don’t consider myself an expert on the topic by any means but it’s something I have thought a great deal about and done a lot of research into.

Files not backed up? Get to it!

Happy Sunday interwebs!


Balance in 2013

It’s interesting how a new year can bring clarity - there is something refreshing about it that other times of the year don’t afford. So in that regard, it’s kind of special.

I’m not really one to make resolutions but there have been a number of things that have been building over the past year that I would like to change including:

  • getting to bed before midnight, preferably an hour or two earlier,
  • not looking at my iPhone right before I go to sleep,
  • maintaining a schedule for my personal life that doesn’t include business tasks,
  • exercising 3 to 4 times a week because goodness knows I could really use it,
  • getting outside into the mountains more regularly because I always crave it and,
  • finding a better balance between all of the other stuff that goes on in day to day living.

No biggie.

I’m determined to make this work because I really need it to. I’m sure that I’ll fail at some things but I am also confident that there will be successes too. And looking back on this list, it kind of does look like New Year’s resolutions, but they aren’t. Honest! It’s just things that have been growing over time that can no longer be ignored……and it also just happens to be a new year. Coincidence!

I know I’m not the only one out there with much needed changes on the horizon. Care to share? Don’t be shy! Leave your thoughts in the comments below!


Nicole - Deep breath:

I am writing this on the internet so it’s set in stone.

I think the big thing for photographers is that we don’t have boundaries. We love what we do and we don’t want to stop for breaks…

We answer emails at all hours before a potential client moves on to the next photographer, take calls and texts from clients when we are with our families… Maybe we don’t have work days. We just work all the time!

However, I became a photographer so I’d have a more flexible schedule with family and friends…
It seems my off time is spent working, my leisure time is spent thinking about work.
So hold me accountable:

I forgot I was playful. So I need to have more fun.

A stressed out mum is not part of my personal brand ;) I need yoga and time for prayer everyday.

My goals for the new year is to start exercising…I used to work out regularly before children but since I had children my free time is spent working.

I need time to be with my friends too.

Oh and I need to eat healthy. Not drink copious amounts of coffee so I can work late…or dream about working! :)

Oh and I need to make EVERY session count because that’s time away from my family. Time I’ll never get back. So, I must not be everything to everybody and only take on the work that is in my speciality.

Keep a positive and happy attitude no matter what.

Always have time for love- cuddle, hug, and kiss our special people like there’s no tomorrow.

Damara Natenhorst - Rose…this completely resonates with me. Balance is my #1 goal this year because life is so out of whack…wonderfully so…but overwhelming. I think my struggle will be creating routines for myself and being all right existing within those and letting things that don’t fit into the timeframe…just not be done.

Just Be

Taking a self-portrait is hard. Really hard. But in the few moments I had this afternoon in between random business tasks and supper, I thought I’d give it a try.

I’m not really sure why I was inspired to do it….but I think it has something to do with missing my camera. I really need to start keeping my camera by the side of my desk again or in my Epiphane bag for outings. It is nice, however, at the end of a busy season, to take a break, let the creative juices recharge and just be.


Brenda - Beautiful!