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naramata-blend

Life in a slow place that quickly steals your heart.

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Photography

October in Naramata — The year’s last smile

“October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!”
Rainbow Rowell, Attachments

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Summerland orchard in a blaze of glory
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View from the Kettle Valley Rail Trail
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Toward Munson Mountain on the Naramata Bench
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Evening light 
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Next-door neighbour

 

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Vineyards of Naramata Bench
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Malbec at harvest time
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Vineyard rows
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Sumac and Giant’s Head
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Rock Oven Vineyard
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Painted Rock view
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Fall sunset over Okanagan Lake
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Manitou Beach sunset, Naramata
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Atop Munson Mountain overlooking Penticton

Harvest

 

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Legend Distilling

 

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Bella Homestead
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Chute Lake Road after the fires 

 

 

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Naramata Sunset

Hawaii dreaming on such a winter’s day

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Naramata is a paradise but the refusal of winter to pack up and make way for spring and more anticipated….summer…is bringing on Hawaii dreams. This photo essay of time spent in my second paradise is Vitamin D for our soul.

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View from a towel on the beach after a swim in the Pacific.
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White Sands beach in Kona.
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White Sands beach.

 

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Hello there.
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I liked both of these guys.
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Kona coffee in its homeland.
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How many sunset photos can you take?
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A few for sure.
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Maui sunset.

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Last one…
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White Sands beach.
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Maui windsurfing competition.
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Getting some air.

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Stormy day.

 

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Ultimate gone fishing spot.

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” Ansel Adams

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Storm Sunrock PANO – Epic summer storms from the Sun Rock viewpoint on North Naramata Road. Photography is a love affair with life. Burk Uzzle

 

Caillum Smith has made photographs that engage us visually but more importantly they illicit strong emotional responses and herein lies his talent, his passion and his calling. A Naramatian through and through, Caillum has been published and awarded by National Geographic, North Face, Time Magazine, Google+, the CBC, Sigma Lenses, the International Mountain Summit, Outdoor Photography Canada Magazine and the Canadian National Commission among many others.

Here is why Caillum wins awards and captures us:

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Okanagan Lake Autumn Sunset – Crepuscular rays erupt over Okanagan Lake. Photography is an art of observation. it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. Elliott Erwitt

The how is a bit more difficult to analyze. He uses strong compositional techniques, unique perspectives and dramatic lighting but there is more to it than this.

“Finding a balance between the two (technical and artistic) is essential,” says Caillum. “Better gear won’t necessarily make your photos better but can assist in tapping into further creative potential. You can have a technically sound photograph with top notch editing but if it is lacking a strong composition and creative lighting, you are simply left with a high quality, sh*t photo. Good photos are not only visually engaging, but emotionally engaging as well. Having said that, creativity and instinct will always trump technology.”

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Northern Lights Naramata Bench – Once in a while the northern lights will appear over Okanagan Lake and Naramata. This was captured from Munson Mountain during the summer. Photography helps people see. Berenice Abbott

It is always amazing to me when a young person discovers a passion at an early age that will become their life’s work. Imagine all the years ahead to relish that passion and hone their skills. Most of us cast about for years and never find a career and calling all wrapped into one.

“My interest in photography first began after my grandfather gave me his film camera when I was 17, or so. I used the camera as a visual diary to document the world around me; photographing wildlife, landscapes and anything else I encountered while outdoors in my Naramata backyard. Once I left high school, my parents bought me a DSLR as a return to university bribe when I dropped out but ended up skipping final exams to go mountaineering in the Andes. A few years and international awards later, I quit my job at a winery and started Preserved Light Photography.”

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Naramata Bench Vineyard Okanagan Lake – Overlooking Manitou Beach from Kettle Valley Winery’s “Old Main Red” vineyard. When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence. Ansel Adams

“I’ll usually have a pre-visualizated concept of what I want to create but some clear signs of a killer photo are when your eyes pop out of their sockets as your jaw simultaneously plummets to the ground. I’ll often tell my workshop students, ‘The best way to create better photos is to stand in front of better subjects.'”

The life of a successful professional photography is not all sunsets and adventures in the wild though. Caillum says the most challenging part about being a professional photographer is finding that balance between business tasks and personal projects. “There are times where I’ll go several months without capturing a personal photo, having depleted all energy, and hours of the day, working for clients. However, I really enjoy the challenge of being given, or coming up with, an idea for a client and turning it into a creative reality. Nothing more rewarding than when your art makes even the smallest ripple with others.”

With photos like this one Caillum is making waves:

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Naramata Aerial Photo Old Main – Aerial panorama of the Naramata Bench orchards and vineyards near Old Main Road. Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world. Bruno Barbey

When I asked him about a typical day he says there is no such thing.  “I only sleep four to six hours a night (if that) and have driven over 20,000 kms in the last three months alone. The thing that would surprise most people is that I’m not out adventuring and creating epic landscape photos as often as it may seem. There are many days that slip into 15+ hour digital succubus’; making blog posts, emailing clients, editing photos and what not. I’ll often grab my sleeping bag, venture into the mountains, set up a time-lapse video and have a nap beneath the stars whenever I feel my sanity slipping.”

As for the future…”That is what is so exciting about this lifestyle, I can never be truly certain what it holds. As for this winter, most of my time will be spent working with Apex Mountain & Discover Naramata’s digital marketing & media.

“I always chuckle when someone asks, ‘Aren’t you worried about wrecking your camera?’. Probably because it happens so often. If my camera isn’t dangling from a string while climbing a mountaintop, getting blasted by snow while skiing, soaking beneath a waterfall or enduring -40 temperatures filming time-lapse video of the northern lights, it isn’t doing its job!”

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Aerial Photo South Okanagan – Early morning flight over North Naramata Road and the South Okanagan Valley. There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. Ansel Adams

When I asked Caillum for five tips for us wannabes he says,

  1. Gear doesn’t make great photos, creativity does.
  2. There is no magic formula for camera settings.
  3. Most online forums are a terrible place for constructive criticism.
  4. Find your style and stick to it.
  5. Buy a tripod

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Summer Solstice Little Tunnel KVR – For two weeks surrounding Summer Solstice, the sun will set through the KVR’s Little Tunnel. In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality. Alfred Stieglitz.

 

I spent two hours with Caillum on a workshop last week and learned a ton which I will post about soon. The biggest thing I came away with was sharing the excitement of the possibilities that photography provides to connect to people in a meaningful way. We also talked about the Okanagan and the stunning canvas it presents for his professional and my amateur but enthusiastic eyes.

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I took this photo of Caillum during our workshop.

You know you’ve made it as a photographer when your husky Astra has her own Instagram account with hundreds of followers…Huskyadventuredog… Seriously, Caillum has that indefinable instinct for making photographs that move us. I need no words to make my case.

 

 

 

Naramata Falls

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It is possible to take landscape photos in the Okanagan that don’t include the lake. Yesterday’s fall walk with friends to the dramatic canyon that created Naramata Falls is in my hood. The first time we discovered the falls it was like an unbelievable scenic bonus. Our raspberry farm borders one of the numerous creeks (Arawana) that spills water into the lake but this much larger one has carved an impressive canyon that doesn’t get much sunlight and is home to mosses and other flora that stand apart from much of the Okanagan’s desert-like environment. It smells all damp, mouldy and piney and the rushing water is audible long before its visible.

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Working without a net here (tripod), I did my best to brace myself and hold my breath to capture the falls with a long shutter opening, hence the blurry leaves.
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I used a rock as a tripod in this shot.
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I love this interesting angle.

 

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It would have taken a lot of years of rushing water to carve this canyon wall.
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The canyon, just above the Trans Canada Trail or Kettle Valley Rail trail, is a cool place for a summer hike on a hot day. 
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Thanks guys for your patience as I lagged behind taking photos.

Enjoying capturing this long autumn long kiss goodbye this year.

The long gleaming farewell

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Old vines with the Naramata Bench in the background

We are into borrowed time now in our gilded season. The low, slanting light that is wonderful for photography and that fleeting feeling, knowing the blue skies and gold light will too quickly fade to our long season of gray are getting me outside every chance I get.

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The light: thick, plush, gold is not something we are imagining. The position of the sun in the sky is changing. That, in turn, alters how we perceive colour and light. In the height of summer, the sun is as far overhead as it gets. But the sun drops and drops after the summer solstice in June — and the change speeds up at the midpoint toward winter, which is the light I’m capturing in these photos.

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This special golden light is also great for photographing people bathing everyone in a warm glow.

The farther from the equator, the more obliquely the sun’s light strikes Earth — that’s the longer, slanted light we are bathed in now, instead of the full-on beams we bask in at high summer.

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Such a great name for the winery where these shots were taken…Blue Mountain… yup.

Winter is coming but not first without this gleaming farewell.This year’s fall colour has been supreme. No hard frosts or strong winds to crash the party early so nature can do its thing and linger in all its golden glory.

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The view from Blue Rock on North Naramata Road yesterday.
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Still nice enough for a sail on Okanagan Lake.

Orange is the new green – The $100 view

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Okanagan Lake banded with orange for a few more days before the stark beauty of winter takes over.
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Atop Munson Mountain in Penticton is a good spot to be benched although they present a Goldilocks dilemma.
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The 360-degree views from the mountain offer a view of ordered orchards and vineyards with a peak at Skaha Lake in the distance. 
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Looking toward Penticton and my favourite swimming beach.
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The park sits right above Penticton’s landmark giant letters first created in 1937 to put the town on the map. The sign has been maintained by volunteers ever since.
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One hundred dollar view – literally – The view from atop Munson was featured on Canadian $100 bills from 1954 to 1974. 
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Aside from the striking views, native vegetation makes this a special place with its spicy sage smells.
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I’m lichen this rock close-up.
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In the distance is the road to Naramata that is a beautiful drive home no matter the season.

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