What is Success?


Throughout my experience with academia, I have always been very studious; one could say “over-committed”. The never-ending game of GPA and marks has always taken over my life. While, striving to be at the top fueled my drive to continue, it has also put me in tears several times. I constantly compare myself to others, feeling like I never measured up. I have been so overwhelmed lately that it has made me reevaluate. What do I really want from my years at university? Luckily I was quick to come up with an answer: I want to emerge as a more successful person. But, what is success at its core?

As you can tell by my dramatic introduction, this post is not my usual photo write up. So feel free to stop reading at this point if you do not want to glimpse into the mess that is my brain. Prepare for a deep heart-to-heart. …which is more like a heart-to-screen since I am doing this to clear my head and to maybe put things in perspective for myself and others who may be feeling the same way.

Today, university and life-in-general slapped me in the face and I pondered what would happen if I decided to put my degree on hold–I don’t know, maybe say: take a year off, go abroad, discover myself, you know before dumping thousands and thousands of dollars into the ocean. My rational voice is reassuring me that would be the most idiotic thing I could possibly do. I worked so hard to get to where I am. I would disappoint so many people. I would let so many people down. But my instinctual voice is pleading me to take better care of myself, be happier and be more stress-free. There has to be a good way to find balance right? Balance either makes or breaks a photograph. How do I find a better perspective?

So, what is it that sparked this revelation you might ask? It was just one lab that I had today that left me genuinely unhappy. Study habits in university was definitely a hard adjustment and I still do not have it down. Since the “smart asian girl” is a dime a dozen, I beat myself up about doing something “extra”, going that extra mile. But doing things systematically is what everyone is doing–studying through the night, getting that exec position within a student club, volunteering at a hospital, working in your prof’s lab. At this rate, you can say goodbye to sleep, your social life, and your well-being. When I fail (like what happened in my lab today), is when I wonder if it it all worth it, what makes me different from the next student here? As I realized I can never match any of the students here, I started to think that all these qualifications are so objective. I believe creativity is what separates individuals. This reminds me of what one of my favourite professors said to me about writing essays. He said that “everyone has the same tools and resources, you just have to think outside the box.” When you process this in your own life, it becomes an inspiring statement. Needless to say he is my favourite professor I have had to this day. I guess I also always loved writing, but blogging is a new style of writing that I discovered I love.

Sometimes I daydream about my fairy-tale life, what it would be like to be able to do what I love while supporting myself and everyone I love…and to not be judged for not have a “real job”. I call this judging process the “you didn’t get into med school” phenomenon. People who are bombarded with this message might not be making a ton of money but the are 100%  happy with themselves and there lives despite the fact that they don’t have the credentials to prove it. I feel like this cruel pitfall is holding me and thousands of other people back because it is these objective qualifications that end up defining who we are to future employers. It should be our true self that is nurtured, persevered, and shown to the world. I am envious of the people who turned their creative passion into a successful career and continue to hold their head high. I know these people are not perfect, but we can all dream. Frankly, I don’t know what is it that truly makes me happy, but I do know being anxious 24/7 is not healthy. Turning your passion into your career is a tale as old as time, but the idea is very intriguing. Life is short, shouldn’t we be choosing cooperation over competition,  happiness over hate?

A good message I have come across says that to be confident you need to accept yourself for all that you are strengths, weakness, everything. This is hard because, conquering those demons that cause you to dwell on the negative things and compare myself to others in your mind is a daunting task.  They say, “a man’s worst enemy is himself”. My relationship with my own demons has been a constant roller coaster of ups and downs. Sometimes I fell feel super confident and able to bash away any negative thoughts, while other times I feel like a fish out of water. For now, I am just taking things one day at a time and making sure I have a little time for myself and to recharge. I truly believe that you have to take care of home before impressing the streets.

I don’t really know what the point of this post was really. I just wanted to clear my head. If you have made it this far, then well…cue the applause because this was a hella long blabber about my worries. Thank you taking the time to read this. I hope that this was insightful. : )


Bonnie x

Nightlife Photography: Flow in the Dark

A couple nights ago I attended an event called “Flow in the Dark” hosted by a well known student group that I am a part of here on campus. Basically, the concept was to hold a blacklight (flow) yoga class that combined yoga with a nightclub-like atmosphere. It was a year kickoff event that the group had been planning since the end of last school year.We had a great turnout (as you will see).

In terms of photographic styles, I had never done anything quite like this before. The low lighting conditions combined with the movement of the “yogis” were the main difficulties. I did some research before the big day and made some notes:


I did borrow a tripod from my friend, but through most of the night, I ended up just sticking to using a really high ISO and a very large aperture (“quick handheld shots”) because I needed to be on my feet. Because of these restricted settings, much of the depth and quality was lost in the photos. To remedy some of the graininess in the photos, noise reduction had to be applied in Lightroom during post-processing. I took advantage of the time during sound/light check to play around with camera settings with the tripod. I tried a deeper depth of field and a lower ISO, but I couldn’t get it how I wanted it (there was always too much light resulting from the shutter being open for too long). Perhaps adjusting shutter speed in M mode or investing in an external flash would have been a good bet, but either way I had to move around so a tripod was not a practical option. Overall, I have to say this event was quite a challenge for me and I did learn a lot just from going out there and trying. Shout-out to Health and Wellness Movement for hosting this great event! I had so much fun!

Here are some of the highlights from the night. Enjoy!


These shots captured the nightclub atmosphere.



The party begins…




Face Painting!!!

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Our amazing crowd 🙂

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Creative shots.

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5e 5f

And lastly, it wouldn’t be Bonnie Chow Photography without some bokeh ❤

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#OPAW Week 2: Quad at High Noon

Hi everyone, here is my photo post of the week. (I know I am not sticking to the Monday thing…sorry…I had a midterm last Tuesday.)

This was taken today (Errr…yesterday, since it is 1:36 AM as I am writing this) in Main Quad of U of A Campus. It was one of the first days I saw as many people as there were studying or just enjoying the sun in Quad. It should have been a no brainer though, since it was such a nice day outside; the skies were blue and crystal clear. I was just walking past and I couldn’t help but document the moment .

The atmosphere seemed packed with brain power and creativity; it was very refreshing. There is something about a collection of diverse ambitious students gathered in a common area enjoying the same air and sun that makes me feel very inspired and a sense of belonging.. I could describe Quad today as serene almost, but in a more lively way.

It can be very inspiring or it can even give yourself a break from being stuck in your head/personal bubble. Here’s to the importance of taking in and appreciating the world around you often.


I hope you have/had/are having a good day!

Goodnight ❤


Challenge: One photo a week #OPAW

I want to start off this post by saying that I really miss talking to all of my followers…yes that’s you! How are you doing? (This is not a rhetorical question…feel free to answer in the comments) I hope you are keeping up with all the assignments okay in photography class. I know it is hard to find a good pace since they are fairly independent. The most important tip I have is to never leave them to the last week of school. You will end up taking mediocre photos of the ugly school lockers or your wandering peers in the hallways during class, which is a horrible idea because you potentially just documented proof of them skipping class. Taking photos at home is a good idea since you probably own more interesting things than what is offered at school. Have you tried using the studio? If not, now’s the chance. Ohh another tip I have…if you are running out of photos ideas by this point in the course try looking for an new perspective and focus on detail. I have no idea how the course is run this year as Mr. Bruce has probably changed some things. So, please message me if you want advice, ideas, or just to chat. I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I want to help! For all my followers that are not in this photography class I speak of (or no longer in), HEEY!…sorry I am not forgetting about you, haha. Sometimes I wonder if any people from the class even reads these blog posts. I am probably just writing to nobody. Anyways, these can be tips for any aspiring photographer like myself.

Procrastination is a deadly trap. And since we are on this subject, I have to admit, I am definitely guilty. Having just finished finals for winter semester, I had some time to reflect on my first year of university. My study habits have been taken up a notch…um, actually, maybe 10 notches. I have had to absorb more complex material in a shorter amount of time with less instruction…not to mention more pressure. (I know, this is a years old tale) Part of this is great because I enjoy the independent aspect, but it was definitely an adjustment. Procrastination leaves me in a vicious cycle of four hours of sleep a night. I am now just one week into spring semester (Yes, I am that person who takes courses in the spring and summer :P) and I have hopefully learned my lesson. But, you probably don’t really want to hear about my school life. It really just is study, eat (which 6/10 times consists of instant noodles…not even ashamed haha), sleep, and repeat. It is really boring to document, which is why I don’t post that often. Which leads me into the next thing.

I have realized that I must set myself a solid goal in order to get blog out regularly, which is why I decided to start #OPAW (one photo a week)…omg so cheesy, but whatever. Feel free to do #OPAW along with me! I decided to start with one per WEEK first and see where it goes. You guys need to hold me accountable to this! The idea is to post one photo a week (this will most likely be a Monday). There will be a theme each week and a small blurb about the photo and most likely some incredibly wise relevant life quote to accompany it (or maybe not so wise haha). Hopefully this is not too high a target to aim for and I can stay on track for you guys! I am really excited to pick up my camera more often. Oh…I forgot to mention, the theme for this month will be happiness. I will try to post things, big or little, in my day that make me smile.

This week I am going to post early! I decided to start of lightly and post a shot of flowers since spring is in full bloom. (I take that back, it totally full-on snowed here two days ago) But nevertheless, here are some flowers…always think positively, right? I feel like a lot of photographers say this on their blogs, but I apologize for the quality of this photo. I will improve once I get Lightroom back (My computer is in for repair for the next three weeks).


I literally just took this shot with my iPhone from inside my friend’s house. I enjoyed the pop of pink against the greenery..soo uplifting! This was a very simple display hidden near the front door. which goes well with the quote that: “There is always happiness in everyday, seemingly bland things.” Technically speaking, I added a tone of sepia and softened it in post-processing to add a romantic effect. The shadow on the wall bothers me a lot, but I didn’t want to give up posting this photo because of that.

Before I go, I just wanted to say goodnight. I hope you all had a good day, no matter if that consisted of staying at home the entire day and “trying” to do homework (that is what I did) or going on a adventure outdoors.



Rise and Shine: Campus Mornings

I wrapped up the last of my midterms this week (HOORAY!). As I reached the end of this week, I realized that I rarely fully appreciate my everyday surroundings. I feel like its important to recognize and share those moments. Here are some sights I pass by walking to class everyday. (It’s less appealing when it is 7am in the morning, haha)

Ps: Sorry about the bad quality, these are iPhone photos.



I finally found a decently good view of my residence towers. (The three buildings in the background)


I’m actually so surprised it hasn’t snowed here yet!

Back to Blogging!?!

Heeeey everyone!

I would really like to get back into blogging regularly, whether that is posting photos or just me rambling on about life. I would like to acknowledge all my new followers. Welcome to my blog :D! I take it a lot of you are in Mr. Bruce’s Photography 12 class at Kelly Road Secondary….yesyes? Hopefully you can gain some inspiration from my previous posts. Photography 12 was BY FAR my favourite class in high school. Also if you need any advice, shoot me a comment; I’m happy to help!

ANYWAYS, I haven’t touched my blog since the last day of photography. To be honest, I really haven’t picked up my camera since I moved to Alberta for Uni. I am currently in the mist of midterm season, working day and night studying, writing papers, and doing labs…..PSSHH, who am I kidding?…I am procrastinating like none other xD. No, but really, in the craziness that is university, campus atmosphere is beautiful and very uplifting and I would like to post some photos of campus very soon! There are many photo opportunities. I am apart of the established university photography club here on campus and I work on a design team for a a group called the Health and Wellness Movement. BUT YES, photos soon, I promise.

Good luck to everyone in school and whatever else life throws at you!

Talk soon (feel free to comment on this post).

Goodnight <33

–Bonnie Chow


For now, a quote…

Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy

Commission: Billiards

I really wanted to do some photos at a pool hall because I found these images that really inspired me on Pinterest. The ambiance that is created in a pool hall along with the vivid colours under low light was something I wanted to capture. I brought some friends and family to a local pool hall recently and did a shoot with them. I asked if they wanted prints from this shoot. They really liked the cool and edgy style of the photos and agreed to this. : )












IMG_1391    IMG_1389


Photography 12: My Exhibition


~10 image exhibit(ion)~

I feel that this collection of photos reflects my style as a photographer well. The moods portrayed from the delicate shots to the urban photos all achieve a certain effect while incorporating bokeh as a main element. For my watermark, I had an idea one day to shoot a “treeline”. One of the things I really enjoy shooting are cityscapes and citylines, but since I live in Prince George, it is impossible to shoot city buildings because they are non-existent. I figured that trees would better represent this city and I could make it imitate a city line silhouette.

Bokeh is something that really intrigued me as an aspiring photographer. There are so many applications for it as I learned it doesn’t always have to be created from conventional out of focus lights. For this exhibition, I decided to focus my theme mostly around bokeh and other creative uses of light such as star flares and spotlighting with low key conditions. Bokeh really softens backgrounds and brings out the foreground, often adding a nice framing effect. Some of the photos I chose are completely out of focus, creating strong bokeh light rings against a dark background. I like the look of this, as it gives a sense of mystery.

I decided to somehow incorporate polaroid frames into my display. For my final project, I chose six photos that would work cropped to square dimensions and placed a polaroid border on them. These would be the supporting photos that would frame my four main images. The first four have a delicate, girly theme; the following photo of general bokeh+lens connects my two styles together. The last five highlight an urban city mood.

I have to say, these are not my best/favourite photos of all time, but I focused on portraying my style as a photographer through the theme and moods.

Over the course of the years, I would say I have grown and become more aware of my photographic styles and habits. I can’t believe it was three years ago that I picked up that first Rebel T3 DSLR and started shooting paper bags in the back of the classroom. It will be hard leaving this class.


5x7-Bchow3   5x7-Bchow2   5x7-Bchow1

7 x 10   7 x 10

CURIOUS                                         OUT OF FOCUS

7 x 10   7 x 10

IN THE CITY                                   ON TAP

5x7-Bchow4   5x7-Bchow5   5x7-Bchow6