Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hiking: Pincushion Mountain - Peachland, BC - Instagram

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*This photo was taken with my iPhone (no filters)

Before we even moved to Kelowna, I spent plenty of time researching different types of activities we could become a part of. I knew right away that hiking was something I wanted to get into because of the amazing trails all over the Okanagan Valley. That's when I found Hiking Addiction.

Hiking Addiction is a group targeted towards people in their 20s and 30s and you basically just meet up each weekend and go for a hike on a different trail. Yesterday was our first meet up with Hiking Addiction at Pincushion Mountain and I only have great things to say about it. The coordinator was nothing but welcoming upon our arrival and there must have been about 30 people who showed up- some regulars, some brand new like us.

Anyway, onto the trail!

Pincushion Mountain (click the link if you want to read more about the trails) was classified as difficult on the Tourism Kelowna website and difficult it definitely was. The mountain was not small by any means, the gravel was very loose, we were walking along the edges of narrow "cliffs" and we had to climb over multiple rocks and logs. But oh my god, was it ever fun! The rush of climbing a mountain is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to do. My lungs were burning but we were definitely in decent shape because of the regular hikes we take at Rose Valley Regional Park.

By the time we got to the top of the mountain, the views were outstanding and arguably one of the prettiest views I've ever seen. The above photo is a snapshot of what we were lucky enough to see but if I could figure out how to use the panoramic on my iphone, I could have gotten a much wider picture as the lake went on for miles.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that we live in such a beautiful new city with lush greenery, the beautiful Okanagan Lake, never ending hiking trails and generally just amazing scenery surrounding us.

I feel so happy that we made the decision to move here and I'm starting to feel like Kelowna is a great place to call home. Yesterday after our hike, I sat outside to read a book and then came in and laid on the couch to take a nap and I can honestly say, I haven't felt that content in a very long, long time.



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Update

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Weekdays in Kelowna prove to be a bit slower paced than the weekends.

Time is spent working Monday to Friday, which is just the way I like it. It gives me time to relax and do what I want in the evenings and on the weekends which is something I haven't had in a very long time. After work, we get stuck in horrendous traffic (the only downside that I've found so far about this beautiful city) and then either hike or run followed by cooking dinner. Lately, I've taken a liking to taking hot baths because our bathroom is actually nice and not moulding like before. Usually, we sleep by 9:30 as we're still getting used to the time change.

Living in this main floor apartment allows me to understand what I'll look for when we decide to buy: a kitchen with plenty of counter space, big bright windows, a walk in closet, a comfortable size bathroom with beige walls, and a quaint little window in our bedroom just beside our bed. These aspects are small, but they provide me with comfort; something I've been missing in our last 2 houses.

The downside with feeling so comfortable in our home is that cleaning tends to fall by the wayside. I'm not as high strung about messes so I feel like I should set aside a day each week to do a good cleaning throughout our tiny little unit. It'll help keep things comfortable.

This Saturday, we'll be hiking a mountain called "Pincushion" with a group called Hiking Addiction which I'm really excited about - we've developed a real interest in hiking and I'm excited to see something new.

Sort of an unstructured post today but just wanted to give an update!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hiking: Rose Valley Regional Park, West Kelowna, BC

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Rose Valley Regional Park is about a one minute drive from where we live in West Kelowna (we live in Rose Valley) and we feel really lucky to have that type of nature so close to us. Almost everyday after work last week, we hiked through different trails of the park and each time we found a new point of scenery or a viewpoint of the city we hadn't been to before. Today, I finally brought my camera with us and uploaded a few of my favorite photos to Little Maple Leaf. The scenery is absolutely stunning throughout and we can't wait to discover more points of this beautiful regional park.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Major Changes: Kelowna, British Columbia

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I feel the need to acknowledge the fact that I've completely neglected Little Maple Leaf over the last few months which makes me a little sad. Photography has taken a major back burner to my life which definitely wasn't by choice... I just didn't make the time for it.

In a lot of ways, I felt very uninspired by my home-town of Thunder Bay - while it's beautiful in so many ways, especially during the Summer and Fall seasons, they unfortunately last such a short little while before it's overcome by snow for countless months and I found myself getting a major case of the SADS. While that's not the sole reason why I didn't practice a hobby that I enjoyed so much (working unpredictable hours, spending lots of time with family, generally just being unmotivated), I'm excited to say I've finally found the motivation to pick up my camera again - the reason for that is because...

We've moved!!!!!
To Kelowna, British Columbia!

I've said it to John many times since we've been here that for a really long time, I felt like something was missing in my life and I finally feel as though I've found the missing puzzle piece. As much as John & I miss family with a feeling indescribable with words, I know in my heart that this was the best decision we could have made for our relationship and for our own personal growth.

There were too many times where I was scrolling through Instagram or Facebook (damn, social media!) and I felt so envious of my "friends" that I saw living their beautiful lives out there in such a big, wide world and in so many different locations! I, too wanted that for myself and couldn't understand why I had stuck it out in Thunder Bay for so long? For as long as I could remember, both John & I had talked about moving somewhere else and John had always talked about how if he moved, it would be to BC. As fate would have it, a job offer came up in Kelowna and after a very short discussion (it was basically a given that I would accept the job) we were preparing for a cross country move, and we did it!

As far as the job is concerned, I know I made the right choice for myself. I needed to find employment that stimulated my creative juices as I felt deprived of that for so long - I'm appreciate for the career I had as it allowed me to build useful skills for my career path ahead but I knew I needed something more and different. I won't speak more about my position but I'm very happy with the choice I made.

The road trip: WOW! What an incredible experience for us. We are so glad to say that we travelled halfway across the country together. Out of Ontario, through Manitoba to Saskatchewan - into Alberta (and the Rockies... OHHHH the Rockies) and finally, into Beautiful British Columbia: our final destination.

The memories we created on that road trip are unforgettable and were truly memorable. We saw so many new places, found an odd little spot in Saskatchewan (quite literally in the middle of nowhere) that reminded us of the show Corner Gas (it wasn't that spot for those wondering), and our favorite part, Alberta. Oh my goodness. The Rockies were incredible and were arguably our favorite scenic moment that we've ever experienced. Filled with tiny towns throughout surrounded by monstrous snowy mountains - very few sights can compare. One of these tiny towns that we stayed in was Banff. We LOVED Banff. It was quaint and historic (historic LOOKING. Definitely catered to tourists) and full of eager snowboarders and skiiers. The restaurants, shopping and cafes were outstanding (I had the best mac and cheese of my life there. Note to self: learn to truffle like Oprah) and we are already planning the next time we can go back where we can explore a little more when we have more time and also check out Lake Louise.

As far as Kelowna is concerned, it's gorgeous and we feel like we are living in a postcard everyday. The picture above I took today but the beauty you see in photos is nothing like what you'd experience in real life. Kelowna looks "sleepy". I don't know why I describe it that way but when driving into work in the morning (we live in West Kelowna) we get to see the city view every morning and when the sun is rising up over the mountains, it looks so quiet and peaceful and just a little bit misty. Kelowna is a small city and all businesses are very close together which makes navigating easy. There's plenty of restaurants to try which I find overwhelming when we are trying to eat at one new place every weekend. We found the best little thai place called "Bai Tong" and we both had the best curry of our life there. Also, it's April and we saw someone parasailing the other day which I lost my mind over because Thunder Bay is still getting snow this month (sorry family). We live in a family based community in West Kelowna just underneath a large mountain and we have an extensive hiking trail just down the road which leads to an insane view of the city at the top so we've been hiking that almost everyday after work.

God, I could really go on and on about how much we're enjoying this massive life change but for now, I'll end it there and leave the experiences for future blog posts. I'm almost thinking of doing a "re brand" of my blog to cater to the experiences that we are having rather than just photography concepts and theory like I've done in the past, but I'm thinking of leaving the title as "Little Maple Leaf" as that's the name I've carried now for the past few years. The longest I've stuck with a blog and that's important to me. You can definitely expect to see more words on my blog though as I'd like to keep friends and family in the loop of what I'm doing as I know it's hard to always make phone calls and texts when we are so busy exploring this new town so this is a great way to condense what we've been up to in a single post... so there will definitely be some changes on Little Maple Leaf in the days to come.

Wow! What a storybook I've written. I'll end it with this: So far, this really was the best decision for the both of us. I'm not going to paint a pretty picture and say life is sunshine and rainbows.. it's definitely come with it's trials and tribulations and after the honeymoon period has worn off, I'm sure there will be plenty of tears because we are missing our families so much. But for now, life just feels good. It feels right - and the Okanagan has welcomed us with open arms and we can't wait to experience more of what the amazing city of Kelowna has to offer.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Weekends

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Weekends are a rarity for me, so this morning I'm spending time (after I post this, of course) drinking coffee, hopefully reading a little bit, going to see Big Hero 6 (ahh!) and making a delicious dinner consisting of ribs, potatoes, and caeser salad with homemade dressing.

Have a great weekend :)

P.S. These are the last of my Minnesota pictures so that means I'll have to face the colder air and snap some new ones. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fall is Coming to a Close

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The only word I can use to describe Autumn coming to an end is "bittersweet". Not only is it my favorite season but it's also incredibly photogenic. The colors compliment my lens in a way that no other season can compare to. The oranges, the yellows, the greens, the golds... I can't help but breathe a sense of fresh air when taking it all in. I was glad to take my camera on this road trip so we can stop and breathe in the warm and comforting season of Fall.

Now that Winter is soon approaching, I know my motivation will decline to almost non-existent. How negative right? I don't mean to be that way but my true passion is nature photography and sadly, in Northwestern Ontario, the Winters are far too frigid to spend lengthy amounts of time outside and it's certainly not the most appealing of seasons to the eye (with the exception of a fresh snowfall).  However, with Winter, I hope to incorporate more portrait sessions like I did last season in order to not only keep up with my craft, but also to find motivation in my photography (and also to build up my portfolio).

My day job remains a technical position, so to speak, so I have to remind myself that while that job "pays the bills," I'm lucky to have found my true passion and my hobby - photography.

Sometimes, when I'm watching a TV show (something I do often), I always somehow get convinced that I should educate myself and find employment in whatever it is that the characters are doing (I know that sounds silly). I somehow forget that I've found my true calling in life and need to educate myself in the fascinating world of photography.

Something I'm thinking of doing is incorporating a little project on this blog of mine - taking the things I want to learn most about photography and making it into some sort of a series. For example - lighting. I really need to learn more about lighting. I find that's the topic I struggle most in.

More on that later! Have a great weekend :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Flowers in Fall

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No matter how much I learn about photography, I always seem to come back to these types of images as my favorites. I love the look of a close up flower with an interesting background.

That reminds me, I really want a macro lens. That's on my list for next big purchases! Considering that I always flock towards close-ups, I want to get even closer and explore the subject to an in-depth degree. So fascinating!

Have a great Thursday!