Vancouver Home Built by Precise Homes

Last Summer I had the chance to photograph this beautiful Vancouver Home built by Precise Homes. Precise Home's 40 years of experience in construction and project management definitely shows as the team did a marvelous job with this home. This beautiful architecture has English Tudor, Craftsman, and Georgian influences and it is evident that plenty of thought was put into even the smallest of details. From the detailed white moulding to the excellent choice of marble flooring, everything fit together quite nicely. 

For most of these photos, I decided to have the lights turned off and manually light certain parts of each scene. I feel this better suited the airy ambiance of the house. The all white ceiling and walls helped greatly for bouncing light and made for some excellent shots. With the exception of three photos (the photos of the washroom, wine rack, and theater), all were lit by a single speedlight that was bounced onto the ceiling and I used multiple flash and ambient exposures. Luckily the house was fully staged with furniture and decorations which made for better photos.  

One thing I found really striking in this area were the beautiful chandeliers over the dining table. 

I really liked the design in this office - the choice of wood was an excellent touch.  

This was the last photo I took that day and my camera ended up dying before I could light this scene with my flash (I've since bought a few extra batteries). Luckily, the natural lighting in this washroom was perfect with the window acting as a large softbox, and this scene didn't require any additional lighting. 

Like everything in this house, the kitchen was designed incredibly well, and for this shot I opted for a one point perspective which worked great.

I especially loved the staging in this particular room. I feel like the choice of furniture and decor was a perfect fit. I could definitely see this photo being in a magazine (maybe one day haha). 

For most of this shots I tried to use a longer focal length, but for this shot it was a bit difficult and had make do with a slightly wider focal length. 

One of my favourite things about this house would have to be the wine rack, it was designed incredible well and looked great.  

I would have liked to photographed this theatre a bit differently. Unfortunately, there wasn't any furniture in the room so I had to change the composition slightly. I could definitely imagine myself watching movies here, I think the Man from U.N.C.L.E. would probably be the first movie I would watch! What would be the first movie you would watch here? 

This was my first time photographing an interior like this (lit by strobes), and it was a great learning experience. Looking back there are a few things that I would have liked to do different, and for each of these photos there's something that I could nitpick, but overall I'm very happy with the final results! It was a pleasure photographing this home and working with Precise Homes. Let me know what you think of the photos, I'm always open to hearing constructive criticism!

The Best Hotel Lobbies in Vancouver

Over the past few months I've been taking photos of my favourite hotel/elevator lobbies in and around Vancouver. I've come across a ton of very beautiful and unique lobbies, and I decided to share them all in a blog post. All the photos were taken with an iPhone 6S and edited with a combination of VSCOcam, Snapseed, Lightroom, and Photoshop. Just a disclaimer, I wasn't commissioned to take any of these photos and I mainly took them for the fun of it. I haven't stayed at any of these hotels so I can't comment on their actual quality. This blog post is based purely off their aesthetics alone. Here are my favourite hotel lobbies in and around Vancouver (in no particular order).

Rosewood Hotel Georgia

The recently renovated Hotel Georgia lobby is absolutely beautiful - I love the dark and classy look. For 90 years old she doesn't look too bad!

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Loved the look of this little lounge area in the main lobby of the Fairmont Vancouver. According to the Fairmont Vancouver the lobby "...was inspired by the romance of travel, celebrating the hotel's history as a luxury hotel along the Canadian Pacific railway." I think they definitely accomplished this. The suitcase table in the centre is a nice touch. 

I love everything about the elevator lobby at the Hotel Vancouver from the beautiful wallpaper to the chandelier. The unique design of the chandelier cast these beautiful circular shadows on the ceiling.

Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver

I came across the Sutton Place Hotel after a Google search, and the European look of it peaked my interest and I knew I had to check it out. In person this lobby is even more beautiful, and it really does feel like you've been transported somewhere in Europe. I'm a huge fan of the epic chandelier and the overall choice of decor is really well done. 

Four Seasons Vancouver

Love the decor in the main lobby of the Four Seasons Vancouver, it has a very interesting theme and all the colors really compliment one another. My favourite thing would have to be the unique design of the tables. 

Fairmont Pacific Rim

The Fairmont Pacific Rim is an absolutely beautiful hotel inside and out. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get a good shot of the main lobby as of yet, but the eleveator lobby is beautiful! It has a very sci-fi/futuristic look to it and feels as if you're in a spaceship. One thing that I like about this photo is how the wall at the end caught my reflection.

Pan Pacific Vancouver

I'm personally not a huge fan of the main lobby at the Pan Pacific and I've never been able to get a good photo of it. However, the elevator lobby is beautiful and has a very nice look to it. Love the red and yellow tones, and the lighting here is really well done as well.

The Hotel at River Rock

This is is one photo that I didn't plan on taking and unexpectedly came across this lobby while wandering around River Rock (I may or may not have been a bit drunk at the time haha). The decor and styling at the River Rock Hotel lobby is on point, and the designers and decorators did an incredible job with this space. I absolutely love the unique look of the chandeliers and I think the statue of the gazelle? is a nice touch. 

Trump International Hotel

I had to include the Trump Tower. Say what you will about President Trump and his policies, but this is certainly a very beautiful hotel. I'm a huge fan of the marble tiles and especially love the red centerpiece which contrasts perfectly with the black. 

Here's another shot of the main lounge area, the ambient lighting in this lounge was very well done and it was lit very nicely. One thing that surprised me about the Trump Tower was how the main lobby wasn't on the West Georgia side but instead the opposite side, I found this to be an interesting choice.

Living Shangri-La

Last but not least, we have the Shangri-La. At 660 feet, it's the tallest building in Vancouver. The beautiful lobby definitely doesn't disappoint, and I love the chic look of it. I'm a huge fan of the painting and the chandaliers are a very nice touch. 

Here's another photo of the lobby from the opposite side which does a better job of showcasing the chandeliers. 

Conclusion

And those are my favourite hotel lobbies in and around Vancouver. Each of these hotel lobbies have a very unique look to them and are different in their own way. I know I missed a few and will be updating this blog post with any new photos. Taking these photos over the past couple months really taught me how to take advantage of the camera in my iPhone, and while there's no comparison to a DSLR, taking these shots is a ton of fun. And you know what they say, the best camera is the one that you have with you. 

Once again I wasn't hired by any of these hotels, never stayed at them, and only commenting on their aesthetic appeal. Let me know what you think of the photos and if I missed any hotel, let me know!

Second Photoshoot!

About a week and a half ago I had the chance to photograph another portrait session (my second one ever) and I was really looking forward to it! For this photoshoot, the makeup and hair styling was done by Jesse Thandi-Dev and Raman Chohan of Divine Artistry and the model for this shoot was the very gorgeous Tanpreet Parmar. Got to say, Jesse and Raman did an excellent job with the hair and makeup styling! Seeing as how this was only my second photoshoot ever, I still had absolutely zero clue how to properly pose someone (an area that I definitely to work on), and luckily Tanpreet was an absolute pro who knew exactly how to pose and needed no direction whatsoever! 

For the last photoshoot I did, the indoor photos were taken by bouncing a speedlight of the ceiling which produced very natural looking photos with even lighting. Although it looked natural, one thing I didn't like was how there was no catch light in the eye and because of this I opted to use a softbox for this photoshoot which produced a nice catch light in the eyes! Alongside the softbox, I used a piece of foam core (with the help of Raman) on the opposite side to bounce light onto the other side. In order to get that red background we decided to use a regular bed sheet which worked perfectly and added some nice color to the background!

This next photo used the same red bed sheet but the light source was positioned closer which produced a completely different effect!

After taking a few photos, we wanted some different looks and needed a new background. I happened to see a painting lying around and decided to see if it would make for a good background. To my surprise, it worked incredibly well and golden colors from the painting even matched the Tanpreet's attire! These next two photos were probably two of my favorite photos from the photoshoot!

Here's two more photos with a different look.

My favorite part of photography has always been the editing and it was no different for this shoot! Although, the photos took forever to edit, I think it was all worthwhile as I am very happy with the final results and how the photos turned out! I have never been a fan of skin retouching where the skin looks fake/plastic and tried to keep it fairly natural looking. 

As mentioned earlier, having a professional model like Tanpreet certainly makes photo shoots so much easier and the final results turned out much better than expected because of it! The editing was also made much easier due to the great makeup/hair job by Divine Artistry!  All of this combined together to produce results that I am very happy with! Which photo's do you like the best? 

First Ever Portrait Photoshoot!

A few weeks ago I was approached by Guneet Bedi of Beauty Blend Artistry (a professional Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist) to take a few portraits after a makeup and hair session with a model. At first I was bit hesitant as I have absolutely zero experience taking photos of people and normally take photos of Architecture and Cityscapes which is completely different! I decided to give it a shot, and I think for my first ever portrait session the photos turned out quite nice! I was quite nervous during the shoot as I have no clue about how to pose people but luckily the model Azam Aylaa Nokhandan was an absolute pro and knew exactly how to pose!

The photoshoot started off inside, and for the lighting I decided to bounce a single speedlight off the ceiling which produced some nice and even lighting.

After staying indoors for a while, we decided to head outside to try and get a different look. Luckily it was very sunny that day and we were able to make do with natural light using just a reflector. Because we had spent so much time indoors, we didn't have too much time outside which was a shame as the outdoor photos turned out even better than the indoor shots!

After the photoshoot it was time to edit the photos which is always my favorite part and I was really looking forward to editing the photos. As previously mentioned, I normally take photos of Architecture and Cityscapes, so I wasn't too sure how to properly edit and retouch portraits. I have never been a fan of that Gaussian blur skin retouch which normally ends up looking very fake and because of this I learned how to edit using frequency separation. Frequency separation is an absolutely incredible way of editing that allows you to edit the skin texture and and color separately which makes skin retouching a very simple process and the end result is great! 

Having professionally done hair and makeup and also working with a talented and beautiful model certainly made this whole process easier as well, and overall I am very happy with how the final photos turned out (especially for my first portrait photoshoot)! I can't say if I like taking portraits more than Architecture and Cityscapes, but it was a lot of fun and I hopefully look forward to taking more portraits in the future!

Let me know what you think of the photos!

2015 Celebration of Light

I have been putting off this blog post for the past month and a half and finally got around to finishing it! This year marked the 25th annual Honda Celebration of Light which happens in English Bay, Vancouver. For those of you who may not know, the Celebration of Light is a firework show that spans over three days, and three separate countries battle it out to have the best firework show (all of which is synced to music). Similar to last year, I had the chance to attend all three days and had a great time!

CHINA

The first country was China and I was really looking forward to their show, expecting to be blown away by their performance. For the first night I decided to head down to Vanier Park and set up right by the waters edge. At first it looked like it was about to start raining as it was completely overcast but luckily it did not rain. It was very cloudy but this resulted in quite an epic sunset!

China Celebration of Light Beautiful Sunset over Vanier Park

I wasn't able to get any great firework shots from China's performance which may have been because of the overcast weather which resulted in some unflattering lighting. However, I did manage to get one mediocre shot through (not my favorite but I had to include one). 

China Celebration of Light Firework Burst

Overall, I was quite disappointed by China's performance and found it to be quite lackluster with nothing really standing out. I also wasn't a huge fan of this particular location and will probably not be watching future firework shows from this spot. After the fireworks had ended, my friends and I decided to stay back and wait until the crowds had died down as traffic would inevitably be backed up. While waiting, I decided to try my hand at a timelapse. This particular timelapse was made from 192 photos that were each 5 seconds long, which translates to about 16 minutes. At 24 frames per second, this resulted in a very short 8 second video of the boats leaving English Bay. 

We were planning on staying there for a while and I would have made a significantly longer timelapse but for some reason we were told to leave the area by the RCMP (even though we were just sitting doing nothing). All in all, the first night of the Celebration of Light was a bit disappointing but I was looking forward to the other two nights.

BRAZIL

Brazil was the second country to go and I honestly was not sure what to expect and had zero expectations going in. For this night my friend and I decided to head down to Jericho Beach and I was hoping to get a nice firework shot with the Vancouver skyline in the background. This was my first time watching the fireworks from this location and I was really looking forward to seeing the fireworks from this new vantage point. After looking for a few good spots we ultimately ended up sitting right in front of the water and had a perfect view of all of English Bay and Downtown Vancouver. For the past few years I have been meaning to take a panorama shot of Downtown Vancouver from Jericho beach (during Blue Hour of course) and I finally got my chance! 

Downtown Vancouver from Jericho Beach

A couple months back I had gone to Jericho Beach to take some photos of the Vancouver Skyline but unfortunately all of the photos ended up very blurry because of the atmospheric distortion which rendered the photos unusable. This time however, I was able to get a good shot of the Skyline prior to the start of the Fireworks and I am very happy with the final result! Unfortunately right before the fireworks started, a giant boat decided to dock right in between the barge and us, and we thought that it might have ruined the photos. Luckily the boat actually worked out for the better and added an interesting element to the firework photos!

Once the fireworks started, I was absolutely blown away by Brazil's performance! It was just non stop, epic and colorful bursts one after the other!

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Downtown Vancouver from Jericho Beach lit up by Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Downtown Vancouver with a Firework Burst

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

Brazil Celebration of Light Fireworks

The Finale

I was absolutely blown away by Brazil's performance and I think that it was probably one of the most incredible firework displays that I have ever seen! Just when I thought it was over, Brazil unleashed an incredible finale that just left my jaw on the floor. 

Brazil Celebration of Light Finale GIF

I took some of my best firework photos during that night and Brazil absolutely outdid themselves! I really wasn't sure how Canada would do in comparison, but as of that moment Brazil's firework display was one of the best that I have ever seen!

CANADA

The final night of the Celebration of Light Firework show was done by Canada and they really had some big shoes to fill after Brazil's amazing performance. For the final night, my friend and I decided to head up to the Burrard Bridge which is one of my personal favorite locations to watch the fireworks from. We got there very early in order to secure a good spot and managed to get a great spot right in the middle of the bridge. We set up our cameras, sat down and waited. Over the course of a few hours I was taking photos at different intervals (every 15-20 minutes or so) and when looking over the photos on my computer I thought they would look cool as a short gif. I wasn't planning on making the photos into a gif but I really like how the end result turned out!

English Bay timelapse

Canada's fireworks started off great, but as the show progressed something very unfortunate happened. ALL of the smoke from the fireworks decided to blow directly towards the Burrard Bridge and the city which completely obstructed our view of the fireworks. By the end of the show I was unfortunately only able to get one good photo of a firework burst (which I am really happy with) but all the other photos didn't turn out that great.

Canada Celebration of Light Fireworks (The smoke kind of reminds me of a dragon for some reason)!

The rest of Canada's firework display just got more and more obstructed by the smoke and by the end of the show the fireworks were pretty much completely engulfed by all the smoke, as evident by this GIF.

Canada Celebration of Light GIF

This was certainly very disappointing and quite a let down and by the end I wasn't sure if Canada's performance was better or worse than Brazil's. For the last two years, I have always looked forward to taking long exposure shots of the boats leaving English Bay and also the helicopter that flies over English Bay once the fireworks end. Most photographers seem to leave right away but this is my personal favorite time to take photos as you end up with some very cool results! I feel like each year that I have taken these long exposure shots, I have taken a better shot than the previous year. This photo was from 2013 and happened by complete mistake as I was not planning on taking this shot and just happened to have a long exposure shot while I was bracketing some exposures.

English Bay Light Trails 2013

After getting such a unique (and random) shot from 2013, I headed back to the same location in 2014 and luckily was able to get an even better shot than the previous year!

English Bay Light Trails 2014

Even though the smoke had been quite disappointing for Canada's performance, I was still looking forward to taking that signature long exposure shot. After a few attempts it wasn't looking very promising as the smoke had become very thick and completely reduced all visibility. I took a few shots and they each came out very hazy with zero visibility of anything. I kept taking a few shots and finally the smoke had cleared a little bit and I was able to take this shot which I am extremely proud of!

English Bay Light Trails 2015

The smoke from the fireworks gave the photo a very unique look as it added a lot of depth to the final image. This photo was made from 3 photos but the main photo's exposure was over 5 minutes long. In my opinion this year's long exposure shot is my best one to date and I look forward to trying to beat it next year! All in all this year's Celebration of Light firework show was a lot of fun and my personal ranking for this year's performance would be:

  1. Brazil
  2. Canada
  3. China

Now of course the smoke was a huge factor in my decision and I'm sure that if the visibility was clear Canada would have surely been my favorite as they were the actual winners of this year's competition! I personally enjoyed Brazil's performance the best and I certainly think that it was the best firework show that I have ever seen. But a big congratulations to Team Canada for winning this year's Celebration of Light Firework competition, I look forward to next year!

As mentioned earlier, I have been putting off this blog post for the past month and a half and I finally got around to posting it! It took quite a bit of work to edit all the photos, gifs and the video, if you enjoyed reading through and looking at the pictures, let me know! 

Canada Day

 This is the first time that I have ever blogged and it surely wont be the last! Two weeks ago it was Canada Day, marking Canada's 148th birthday! On Canada Day a friend and I decided to hike up to Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. This was the first time that I had ever gone there and it was certainly worth it!  The hike up to the Lighthouse was relatively easy and not too strenuous and the views were truly incredible. 

Lighthouse Park in Weat Vancouver

After finishing up the hike, we headed up to Cypress Mountain which has a incredible view of all of Metro Vancouver. The plan was to watch the firework show from this great vantage spot and ultimately get a panorama of the city with some fireworks in the shot. We arrived at the lookout very early in order to secure a good spot, set up our chairs and took in the beautiful view. Looking back we probably didn't have to go to the lookout so early as it didn't really end up getting busy until 8:30pm or. At one point the full moon set right above Mount Baker which was quite an incredible sight. If it hadn't been for my friend who told me to pull out my camera, I would have probably missed this great shot!

The moon over Mount Baker

By the time the firework show started, the whole lookout was absolutely packed with people with barely enough room to move around but luckily we had secured the best spots. While the fireworks went off I took a TON of pictures and when I was scrolling through and showing my friend the photos, he mentioned that it looked like a time-lapse. This gave me the idea to combine a few of the shots into two short time-lapse gifs. 

Fireworks from the Cypress Lookout

More fireworks from the Cypress Lookout

They aren't perfect and I wasn't expecting to make them into time-lapses but I think these ended up turning out quite nice. 

And here's a single shot with a particularly great firework burst. With my telephoto lens I was able to capture a part of the Lions Gate Bridge as well as the Alex Fraser Bridge which is located all the way in Delta!

A shot of the Canada Day Fireworks from the Cypress Lookout

When it was all said and done I think I ended up with one of my best photos to date. This panorama of Vancouver came out to over 90 megapixels!

The Canada Day Fireworks from the Cypress Lookout

Although I wouldn't personally recommend watching the fireworks from the Cypress lookout (mainly because of the crowd and the distance from the fireworks), I would definitely recommend checking it out sometime during night! I'll be posting a lot more blog posts over the next few weeks so be sure to check them out!