Public Speaking Isn’t So Bad After All

It’s been a very long time since I last had to do a presentation in front of people, either at school, or at work. I used to have to do them all the time, not that I enjoyed it one bit.

I go to a lot of conferences, or “unconferences” in Vancouver, but I have never built up the courage to stand up in front of people and just TALK. No way, no how.

So when my friend Brianna asked me (along with my good friend Jerra) to emcee her upcoming wedding, I thought, erm…. well… okay. Because this was different. People didn’t expect me to be an expert on something, and I didn’t have to wow them with my research, or my opinion on some obscure topic. Being a Master of Ceremonies (or Mistress, rather?) is pretty simple, since the itinerary is laid out in advance, and in full detail for you. So, we both agreed to do it, even though I may be considered as the “emotional one” and Jerra is the one with anxiety.

We’re funny, we thought.

Right?


Jerra, the bride Brianna, and Myself

Well the time came and went so quickly, I felt I barely had time to prepare. Everything ultimately went off without a hitch, and there was a point when I was saying my few opening words about the newly married couple, where I heard, and even felt, I swear, the entire room, say a collective “Aaawwww…” I immediately had this rush of confidence and thought, “They’re eating it up! I can’t believe it!” They even laughed a few times, too. Who would have thought?

So I guess that’s my point, that public speaking may not be so bad after all. It’s not as terrifying as I remembered it, anyhow. I think I feel as if I’m back in the saddle, so to speak, and possibly ready to take on another challenge. A small one.

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.

Matt

Matt

Matt

Matt

Olivia

Olivia

Olivia

Olivia

Olivia

Shazmin

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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

DJ Zu

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

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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

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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.

January

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

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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

February

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

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Women's Slovakia vs. Russia game

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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

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March

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

April

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

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

May

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!

June

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

July

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.

Seafair

Seafair

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

July was a good month.

August

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

September

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.

October

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

thanksgiving

There was gorgeous weather in October, if you remember.

the pr view

Oh yeah, I got a new job!

November

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

Stacey + Amber

December

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.

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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!

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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.