Climbing Big Stuff

My summer has been going pretty amazingly. I've developed a new affinity for hiking and hit a few trails recently. Something about the rewarding view you get at the end of a hike makes all the hauling ass up the mountain worth it. You feel so accomplished afterwards!

This was a hike in Minnekhada Park in Coquitlam. It was a very easy hike and not a bad view!

This one was a hike to Lindeman Lake in Chilliwack Lake Park. Such a pristine lake in a valley.. the water was like a duotone bright blue and green!

And I just hiked the Stawamus Chief in Squamish with my friends this past weekend. SO MUCH FUN and the experience at the peak was so worth it. I didn't bring my DSLR on this one though.. my camera and myself would not have survived the strenuous hike up there haha. Near the top was the best part: it was practically a stretch of vertical rock that we climbed precariously with some chains to pull ourselves up. It was basically rock climbing except without the ropes. Here are some crappy pictures and a shaky video from my phone instead!

We lay there at the top in the sun for a while and it felt like pure joy. This one was the hardest hike out of the three but also my favourite one. I can't wait to go back and hike the other two peaks (you can see the second and third peaks in the video at around 0:35!).

The True Vancouver

Friday, my friends and I went to celebrate Julia's birthday and on our way to the restaurant, we went by downtown Granville St. and took a look at the aftermath of the Vancouver riot that I'm sure people all over the world has seen, unfortunately. Everyone has seen footage of flaming idiots setting cars on fire and beating the crap out of people for no reason. I don't need to talk about how disgusted we were and how freaking embarassing that was for Vancouver. But that was not the real Vancouver. Before that night even ended, I already got facebook invitations to the riot clean up from REAL, sensible people in this city. Hundreds of people came out the next day to clean up the mess that the rioters left, smashed windows were boarded up, and passerby's wrote messages on the boards, stuck thank you & sorry notes on police cars, made chalk drawings on the ground, and street performers sang songs about our city. Best part is: the rioters responsible are getting discovered and arrested left and right thanks to photo, video, and stupidly enough, facebook/twitter evidence from the rioters themselves.

Unfortunately, only a small amount of people will see how true Vancouverites put our city back together compared to the millions of people who watched our city burn.

Recipe Maven

After seeing this recipe for lemon poppyseed bunny cookies and realizing that they used the exact same bunny cookie cutter that I have but couldn't find a use for, I HAD to try it!

Several broken bunnies and sticky but lemony smelling hands later, we noshed on our cookies! We definitely messed up a bit. We rolled out the dough way too thick so that they were more like crumbly, almond patties than crisp cookies. So I can't give a proper verdict on the recipe but it was fun anyway and they're shaped as hella bunnies!! What could make food more fun?!

Totally unrelated food item:

These no-bake date squares. I made these a while ago and I inhaled them in less than a week. And periodically stuck a fork in to just eat it straight out of the dish. The whole batch of them. In mah belly. I take back everything I said about disliking raw nut crusts (but I still think that sounds really awkward) because this almond & medjool crust was SO GOOD! I followed the recipe to a T and the only thing I would change next time would be to swap out the 1/2 cup of water in the date filling and replace it with 1/2 cup of coconut oil. The filling didn't set in the freezer even after a few days and was still mushy and sticky. But other than that.... seriously. Make them. SERIOUSLY.

100 Nights

Oh my gosh. Massively overdue photos. Wilson and I came here to 100 Nights for dinner two months ago! And I'm only posting now.... whoops. I spent yesterday and today catching up on some yelp reviews and figured it was time to update this blog as well. Holy moly. This is the same review I posted over at yelp.

It probably wasn't a good idea to come for dinner at 6:30pm on a hockey night because pretty much every single person there was only there for drinks and to watch the game on a huge TV they rolled out.

I felt like our server judged us when we didn't order drinks (I hate it when servers do that anywhere) and he seemed a bit taken aback when we said we were ready to order our dinner. Overall, very pretentious and not very friendly.

To start, he brought out these two crab crostini-type appetizers that were on the house. It would have been a nice surprise but it's funny because I don't eat meat and my boyfriend is allergic to crab. My boyfriend took one for the team, however, and finished them off so that we wouldn't have to feel bad about sending it back... even though it made him itch for the rest of the night.

I had the ravioli and chocolate torte for dessert. The ravioli was decently good - creamy and cheesy, like a ravioli should be. As for my dessert... I appreciate that they were innovative with it - it consisted of a plate of random things like two raspberry marshmallows (which I thought were pretty cute), the little block of chocolate torte, what looked like some cookie crumbs (I have no idea...), and a tiny cup of some kind of custard sauce. It was really strange. I had no idea how to eat it.

The ambiance seemed kind of confused. I understand that it's supposed to have this artsy, trendy kind of feel but I didn't get it. The decor didn't really go together and it just didn't make sense. The chairs are literally white, folding, wooden chairs from your backyard patio. Not to mention the very loud music.

So basically: pretentious servers, sub par food, and I don't even like the atmosphere of the place enough to come back just for drinks.

(left) They had an awesome bathroom though. But again, it looks nothing like the outside. Makes no sense to me at all.
(right) The more exciting event of the night was the Langara Photography Grad Show at Roundhouse. This was a few days after I got accepted into the program so I really, really wanted to go and see the 2011 grads' work.

Starting with the only food photographer first. Elle. We saw her doing a food shoot with a Hasselblad (completely irrelevent information but geez *drool*) during our tour of the department. She's amaaazing! Her portfolio book, photos, presentation, everything was probably my favourite out of the whole show.

Amanda's the only photojournalist out of the whole grad class. Very different work from everyone else but that's what's so admirable about her. She was the one who led the tour for my group! She's also one of the students who did the program in 3 years instead of 2, which I'm considering doing.

I was super impressed with most of the grad's work. It was almost surreal being there and knowing that I'm going to have my very own wall there in two or three years to display my own work! It was great seeing what they came out of the program with so that I have a sort of standard that I know I want to aim for or exceed.

Emily & Isa

Prior to my portfolio review with the photography program, Emily & Isa offered to do a shoot with me to add some newer photos into my portfolio. These were from the end of April and they're finally finished now that I have the stress of getting into school off my back. I'm more than grateful that they offered to be my models because my portfolio was horrendously outdated and I hadn't had any new work in months!

A few things I learned from this shoot:

1) When scouting locations prior to the shoot, think of exact poses and composition in the found locations OR scout with a partner. I went to the park to look around a few days ahead but I found that the area looks completely different when you put an actual person in the shot and having someone there would have been much more helpful in getting a better idea of how the shot would look.

2) Have a specific set of poses, looks, mood, and composition for each location and model. Most portrait photographers don't do this and don't advocate doing this and would normally go into a shoot with a general idea but not exact shot ideas (a workflow more akin to fashion photographers). BUT I think this would help me immensely. I tend to get flustered when trying to coordinate location, pose, composition, the settings on my camera, light, and focus all the while trying to make small talk and prevent awkwardness (something I'm not good at normally already).

3) Change up the angles! I didn't realize until afterwards that I had waaay too many close-up headshots and not nearly enough full body shots or shots of Emily & Isa together! I tended to shoot straight-on as well, either with them sitting or standing. With all the crazy ideas floating around in my mind, I definitely could have been more creative.

4) Assistants are ridiculously useful. I bossed Wilson around as our assistant for the day and he was such a help. As I said in point #2, I have trouble coordinating everything at once and so having someone carry all our bags, hold the reflector, hand me stuff, hold things into the shot, and ease my nerves was indispenable. I don't know how else I would have done it! Thanks Wilby!

Gotta learn from experience, right? I learned a whole lot from this solo shoot and maybe those points will help someone else in the same position. Here are some of the photos!

This is the diptych that made it into my portfolio! One of my favourites.

TELL ME Isa/this photo doesn't belong in an AE ad?!

Thanks so much Emily, Isa, and Wilby for all of this!


Hi, I'm Gail. I'm a 20 year old student in Vancouver, BC. I dance and I take photographs. I have a wishbone where my backbone ought to be.

This is a place for experiments and mistakes and inconsistency and trying to find out who I am and what I want to do. This blog is a collection of bad pictures, great pictures, good luck, real food, run-on sentences, happiness, inspiration, beautiful things, and moments in time.

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