Weekend Photography Workshop at VPW

This weekend I took part in an intensive weekend photography workshop at Vancouver Photo Workshops (VPW). Key word – Intensive. Our classes were Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm with an hour break for lunch, and not a moment was spared to pack our brains full of photography knowledge.

I signed up for the course with my friend Jerra. She received a DSLR camera as a wedding gift from her husband, and was wanting to really learn how to use it, rather than just defaulting to shoot in Auto all of the time. (Even though there is nothing wrong with that! They do make Auto for a reason.)

I have been attempting to shoot with a DSLR for a couple of years now, and recently upgraded from a Pentax K100D to a Nikon D90, but I still didn’t feel completely comfortable behind my camera. I wanted to know the ins-and-outs of my Nikon, be able to confidently shoot in manual mode, or to choose whichever exposure priority necessary, whenever my little heart (or eye) desires to.

I was concerned that the workshop might be a bit too basic for me, that I would be itching to move ahead into the more complex stuff, but I found myself loving every second of it. Our instructor, Aura McKay, was one of the most enthusiastic people I have ever met. It’s obvious that she truly loves what she does for a living, and she is able to effortlessly captivate an entire room full of eager newbie photographers. At one point, on the second day of the workshop, when speaking to us about creative composition, I almost wanted to stand up and clap at the end of her rant. Her attitude about photography is absolutely infectious.

Aura McKay
Aura McKay

Day 1

We covered the basics of exposure – aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and choosing the correct, or creating a custom, white balance. We did an exposure workshop in the studio, and worked on all of these things – getting our whites white, and our blacks black. We took so many shots of these set-ups that I am quite happy to never have to look at them again! But all in all, it was great practice.

VPW Workshop exercise

VPW Workshop exercise

Day 2

Aura talked about depth of field, basic composition theory, different lenses and when and why we use them, and lighting! We did a depth of field exercise in the studio again, then right before lunch we took off for a photowalk, to try and use all of the things we had learned – white balance, depth of field, composition – yay! My photos from the walk are not all that exciting, so I’ll spare you.

After lunch, we basically spent three whole hours shooting models in the studio in different settings under different lighting. We even shot one of the models outside. At the end of it, I think my brain and my creativity were completely tapped, but I was pretty happy with some of my shots from the afternoon session.

The rest of my photos from the session can be seen on Flickr.














Needless to say, I will happily enroll in another VPW class, after a little more tinkering and practice behind the lens. As Aura quoted many times during our workshop: “If you want to be a photographer, take a picture. If you want to be a better photographer, take another picture.” And so on and so forth. Now, excuse me… but I have to go take some pictures.

Contiki Holidays VIP Euro Bash

Last night I attended the Contiki Holidays VIP Euro Bash at V Lounge in Yaletown. What. A. Party! And I’m not just saying that because one of my best girlfriends, Sheralyn, was a huge factor in making it the success that it was. (And she did happen to be the one that invited me!) Contiki doesn’t mess around when they throw a party.

The lovely host, Sheralyn
Sheralyn, the lovely hostess for the evening. The girl can rock a red dress like it’s nobody’s business!

Table decorations

Greek God at the Contiki VIP Euro Bash

Everything from a custom cocktail list, a VIP section sponsored by the Spanish Tourism Board, tasty hors d’oeuvres (duck confit – wow, yum!), music by DJ Zu of ZUZU Productions, to a cabaret show by NY Jazz Company dancers, contributed to one impressive and memorable party to celebrate Contiki and their longtime supporters. And to top it all off, we were treated to an amazing performance by Canadian singer/songwriter Keshia Chanté. More photos can be viewed on Flickr here.

Drink Menu

Spanish Tourism Board VIP section


Cabaret dancers

Contiki Holidays is in the process of re-branding itself to appeal more to their target market, which is 18-35 year olds. This party showcased some of that re-branding with a Euro and Burlesque theme. The photos can’t quite capture just how risqué the cabaret dancers were, saucily stripping down to their teeny tiny birthday suits. I applaud these girls!

Cabaret dancers

Cabaret dancers

Cabaret dancers

Part of this re-branding also includes Contiki launching their “Have You Done It?” campaign with a cheeky video spot that some of you may have seen online. Here’s the teaser that brings you to the website. And here’s the kicker:

Not your typical adventure travel company, eh?

The highlight of the evening, though, was definitely seeing Keshia Chanté perform. What a big sound coming from that tiny frame! I thought the windows of V Lounge might shatter from the force of her powerful voice. She sang about half a dozen songs, finishing off with her new single, “Set You Free,” which starts airing on the radio next week. This was only the second time she’s performed it live – the first time being at the Contiki Bash in Toronto last week. She even happened to name-drop Contiki in the song! That’s a PR dream come true. I smell a collaboration with Contiki & Keshia in the near future, no?

Keshia Chanté


Keshia Chanté

Keshia Chanté

It’s always nice seeing some familiar faces at these kinds of events, and even making a few new friends, too!

Eric + Sheralyn

Earls Girls: Kate & Amanda

Flight Centre folks

Flight Centre folks

Sheralyn + Chris


Oh yes, I can’t forget the swag bag I was given as I walked out the door. The Lady Dutch purse hook – you know that baby is going to go to good use!

Contiki swag bag

So Contiki… you can definitely feel free to invite me to more of your parties. Brad mentioned something about an anniversary party later on this year… yeah. Ok? Thanks.

Keshia with the Contiki crew
Keshia posing with the Contiki Holidays crew.


Best of 2010

It’s a little late, but what the heck. I’ve never done a full year recap on my blog – only a summer recap in photos – probably because it’s very time-consuming. But this year was pretty special, with a lot of news-worthy items to share, so… let’s get started.


I did a contract gig from January to March for AdHack. Some of you might remember.

I also started doing more contract work for Alex Lee PR, Wesley Behan, RE/MAX Crest Realty, & Tell Ten Friends.


There was this event that took place in Vancouver that was pretty huge. You might have heard about it.


Women's Slovakia vs. Russia game


Oh yeah, and my Mom carried the Olympic Torch in Powell River on February 4th, right before it made its way back to Vancouver for the Opening Ceremonies. KIND OF A BIG DEAL.

@bcbarbara's biggest supporters


Always the best month. My birthday! I celebrated at Sanafir with some of my best girlfriends. Photo courtesy of Erin Buttler.

I took photos of Jerra’s baby belly for her, a month before she gave birth. I love this photo of her.

Maternity Photos


Twestival Vancouver, held at the CBC Studio. Photo by Jonathan Hanley.


April 26th, my best friend Jerra’s baby girl, Halle, was born.


The Vancouver Sun Run fell on Mother’s Day. As usual, I ran it with my Mom, my friend Danica, and her mom Leslie. We were even featured in the paper, and I wrote a post about it.

Chelsea came to visit BC, all the way from Minnesota!


Launch Party Vancouver 9 put on by Bootup. Photo of my brother Jordan and I, by Jeremy Lim.

Launch Party Vancouver 9

Conviction Kitchen Season 2 started filming in Vancouver.

Conviction Restaurant @ Delilah's

The last get-together with Liz and Di, before they took off for summer holidays, and before they both moved away from Vancouver. *tear*

Di + Liz + I


Fun times with fun peeps.

J + J + J

Our annual family getaway to our cabin, Kokanee Cedar, on Powell Lake.

Kokanee Cedar

Kokanee Cedar

We were also in Powell River for Sea Fair weekend.



And on the 27th of July, my niece Ava Lorraine Hyunseon Behan was born. Love at first sight.

July was a good month.


Conviction Kitchen Season 2 wrap-up party for the last day of filming in Vancouver.

Conviction Kitchen Wrap up Party

Then back to Powell River for Ava’s christening and for her to meet all of her Behan + Adams family.

On August 27th, my good friend Liz had a little boy named Micah. He was born a little bit early, and there were a few complications, which required him to be flown from the Powell River Hospital to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. But that boy had a big heart and will to live, baby, and he is now as strong as ever, keeping his parents mighty busy. <3


Amanda’s birthday, Stacey P’s birthday/housewarming party, my Dad’s birthday, my cousin Cooper’s birthday, etc. Lots of people are born in September.


I got my new-to-me Nikon D90! Hence, the increase in photos in my Flickr stream. Gobble, gobble.


There was gorgeous weather in October, if you remember.

the pr view

Oh yeah, I got a new job!


Riot Fashion Show at Guilt & Co. to play around with the new camera.

Stacey + Amber


First trip to Mt. Baker and first ride of the season with Buttler! So snowy and delicious. And it was like a mini vacation because I had to take my passport. Yippee! Photo courtesy of Erin Buttler.

Some kick-arse holiday parties.



Christmas with the fam in PR.

Jaxon’s very first time on skates. He loved it. And it was Ava’s first Christmas.

Auntie Janis - get me outta here!

Happy New Year!



What was your “Best of 2010”? Or rather, what are you looking forward to in 2011?

Riot Fashion Theatre

A few weeks ago, I attended the Riot fashion show at Guilt & Co. My good friend (and hairdresser) Stacey, and her co-worker Amber were a couple of the models, so I brought along my camera to take a few shots for them.

Riot Fashion show @ Guilt & Co. Amber + Stacey before the catwalk!
Amber + Stacey

I didn’t really care at first about getting the traditional “runway shots,” but in hind sight, I wish I would have sat at the end of the runway to catch the models when they stopped and actually posed. Those seats were taken quickly, though, and instead I was off to the side of the runway. It was much more difficult trying to get a good shot from there, but I did my best.

Riot Fashion Theatre

Riot Fashion Theatre

Riot Fashion Theatre

Riot Fashion Theatre

I also took a couple of close-up shots before and after the show for Stacey and Amber, because their hair and make-up, which was done by Aveda, looked amazing.

Stacey + Amber

Anyways, I’ve never taken proper photos at a fashion show before, so this was an experiment. You live and you learn! View the full set here.

The Switch from Pentax K100D to Nikon D90

A few years ago, I won a Pentax K100D, my first DSLR (like Mother, like Daughter!), and that is when I started to fall in love with photography. I didn’t know a thing at first, except for maybe the rule of thirds, but I happened to take decent pictures now and again without even really trying. I taught myself, along with a little help from my brother Jordan, how to use my new camera.

I’ve had a few years with it now, and while I did love my Pentax and get to know it really well, I felt it was really just my “learning camera,” and I was ready to move on to something bigger and better. As we all know, there’s quite the debate over Canon vs. Nikon. I do happen to be a Canon fan; my point-and-shoot is a Canon and I love it. But most of the photographers I know, when asked for advice on what kind of camera to buy, usually suggest buying the same brand of camera as someone you know so that you can share gear with each other. Jordan has the Nikon D80, and has been whispering in my ear for some time that if I want to upgrade, I should go for the D90, probably because he wants to have access to one! It made sense, though. We would be able to share lenses or other gear quite easily, and he could show me the ins and outs of the camera.

Buying the D90 brand new right now was out of my price range, but I still really wanted it. Well, it just so happened that the other day, someone I know mentioned on twitter that he was thinking of making the switch from the Nikon D90 to the Canon 5D Mark II, for video purposes. That got my attention, so I asked if he was going to be selling the D90. Turns out he was, along with 3 lenses, a flash, an 8GB memory card, and a camera bag – all for a very good deal. I was sold.

So today, I have in my hands a new-to-me Nikon D90 camera that I can’t wait to experiment with and learn more about. I haven’t used it much yet, but I took it with me on a recent trip to Powell River for Thanksgiving dinner with the family, and I snapped a few photos. Thank you especially to my good friend and favourite hairdresser Stacey, for being such a good sport! This camera will probably be in your face quite a bit in the near future. That goes for the rest of you, too. If you thought I took a lot of photos before, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Conviction Kitchen Season 2 Wraps Up

For the past 7 or 8 weeks, I have had the pleasure of doing the PR for season 2 of a television show being filmed here in Vancouver called Conviction Kitchen.

We knew it was going to be a big job, but man, am I so glad we went through with it. What a unique experience.

The show Conviction Kitchen is based on a Chef and his wife, Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich, who staff their restaurant with ex-convicts to give them a second chance at life. Not only is there a wonderful program behind this show to help these former offenders get started in a new career, but it’s great television. There is no need to create drama, because in this case, it creates itself.

Media coverage started out slow, with the exclusive first article going to Mia Stainsby of the Vancouver Sun. Then slowly but surely, more coverage started rolling in, and pretty soon the work was doing itself. See for yourself on Google. Marc Thuet + Biana Zorich, the pair who started this fantastic project, were thrilled with the coverage they received here in Vancouver.

We held a media tasting event, where we invited some select media + foodie bloggers to come taste the Conviction menu and cover the event. We also invited some of Vancouver’s top chefs who happen to be close friends with Chef Marc Thuet, and wanted to support his restaurant, and Marc and Biana’s initiative. The food was divine, and the event was well-received by all of those involved.

Media Table

Chef’s Table

Charcuterie & terrine platter

Lindt Chocolate tart

Friday, August 6, Dawn Chubai from Citytv’s Breakfast Television did the morning show on location at Delilah’s Conviction. 20 BT viewers came in for a one-time-only breakfast served by Marc Thuet. Those were 20 very lucky people (plus a few others, myself included). The breakfast served that morning was out of this world.

Myself + Dawn Chubai

Breakfast of champions

Dawn Chubai with Maggie, Zoran, Rhea, Mike, and Cassandra.

This past Saturday, August 7, was the wrap-up party and graduation for the 9 trainees that made it through the 8 weeks of training with Marc and Biana. It was a wonderful party to celebrate the last day of filming, that included a hefty guest list of some of Vancouver’s top local actors, top chefs, and a few friends and family. I have a set on Flickr that include the rest of the photos of some of these events.

Marc giving a speech at the wrap-up party

Congratulations to Marc, Biana, and all of the trainees, for a wonderful and interesting season in Vancouver. I had an amazing time working on this project, as well as experiencing the behind-the-scenes “magic”. Now, here’s hoping Chef Thuet opens one of his famous bakeries in Vancouver. Who needs a waistline, anyway?

First Photo Feature

Well, this is kind of exciting. I’ve never had one of my photos featured anywhere, except for maybe my own blog posts!

I’ve been doing some PR for Greg “FBT” Mueller, and on a recent visit to Breakfast Television with him where he was being interviewed, I snapped a few pictures of one of his gold bracelets that he won in the 2009 World Series of Poker. I’ve been keeping track of all of the articles featured on him throughout the 2010 WSOP, but there was a recent poker-related article where I was featured! Or one of my photos was, anyway.

Here is the link for the full article. There is a caption at the bottom and a link to my photo on Flickr. Not only that, it is a great article about the WSOP and Harrah’s Entertainment encouraging poker players to give 1% of their prize money in the 2010 WSOP to charity. Anyway, maybe not all that exciting to you, but kind of cool for me!

Newborn Photography: Baby H

Mama J and Baby H said that I could post a few photos of our little newborn session we did awhile back, so here goes!

My best friend gave birth to the most beautiful little girl on April 26, 2010. I was just dying to take photograph her, so when J asked me to take a few photos for them for a birth announcement, I was beyond excited.

She was supposed to be fast asleep while we were doing the shoot, so we could do cute little angelic-style shots and move her around with her really noticing, but she wasn’t having any of it. “First photoshoot? Of course I’m going to be awake for it!”

So, we made do. Here’s what resulted from our shoot – which by the way, was cut short by J’s little dog running away! We think he was jealous of all of the love for Baby H and wanted some attention of his own, poor guy. Alright, the pictures! Feedback is, of course, always welcome. :)

Okay, so maybe she did fall asleep for a few shots. I love this girl to death! I hope to take many more photos of her, and maybe do another shoot when she’s around 6 months. For practice, of course. ;) I was so delighted to take these shots for my friends and their first born, and I am just pleased as punch that they love them as much as I do. How cute is she, fast asleep on her Dad’s hockey jersey? Congratulations once again, you guys, on your little princess.

Happy Mother’s Day, Momsie

In honour of Mother’s day, I wanted to share some of my favourite moments I’ve had with my Mom.

This photo was taken in October of 2006, when my mother and I went on a backpacking trip through France and Italy. I still can’t believe she went backpacking, and neither can my Dad.

Above, we were sitting at a little restaurant on the ocean in Riomaggiore, Italy, which is part of the Cinque Terre (the five villages). These five little towns are all connected by a little trail, and there are very few, if any at all, vehicles in the towns. It’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We sat there and had the most wonderful meal, and drank Prosecco (I’m pretty sure I got my Mom to love it just as much as I do), staring at this beautiful view.

The next day, we hiked the Cinque Terre trail through the five villages, jumped into the ocean to celebrate, and then took a little ferry from the last village, Monterosso, back to Riomaggiore, where we were staying. We traveled to Venice, Florence, Rome, Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Monaco, Eze, and Ville Franche sur Mer as well.

So many times, I’ve wished I could go back to this moment. Oh, how I love the Mediterranean! It was the best Mother/Daughter bonding trip you could ever ask for. I would do it again in a heartbeat, Mom. Just tell me when.

Photo credit: Jordan Behan

Another one of my favourite moments was just this year. My Mom had the opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch through our hometown of Powell River, BC for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. When I watch the video that Jordan made of that early morning on Nootka Street, I still tear up, and I think I will continue to do so, every time I watch it. I am so happy I was there to witness your glorious moment in person, along with the rest of the Behan mafia. We were so proud of you, Mom! You are world class.

This Mother’s Day, we are running the Sun Run together, along with our favourite mother/daughter team, Leslie and Danica. We’ve been running the Sun Run as a foursome for the past few years, and I hope we will continue to do so for many years to come. On Thursday, May 6th, the four of us were featured in an article in the Vancouver Sun for this very reason. I am going to make a conscious effort to get a great group photo of us this year, because clearly we don’t have enough!

Ha ha. Circa 2005?

Happy Mothers Day, Momsie.

Love Big J