This trip was taken on a rainy Saturday and included stops at Bow Falls, downtown Banff, and Lake Louise. Let’s just say, my upper respiratory tract infection was not the only thing that took my breath away today. Enjoy.
This is the result of carrying around my camera everywhere as I go to class and explore the city.
Mid-Summer Leaves – After a productive lecture session, I walked out to see the cheerful sunlight in quad. And yes, I am in fact doing school in the summer, haha. Here on campus, it has been at least 28°C everyday..or at least it feels like it. For this photograph, I stood under a shaded tree to capture the quiet mid-summer mood. I think the little holes in the leaves make it interestingly imperfect.
Van Vliet Complex – Even though you can’t see the actual building, I really like the effect of this shot. The Van Vliet Complex is the main recreation center on campus. It is the cone shaped building attached to the Butterdome. These two buildings are photographed together quite often (I’ll photograph that some other time to show you), but I wanted to see if I could capture it from a different perspective. It was successful! I even manged to capture some huge sunspots too!
Mackinnon Ravine – My fellow execs and I went down to the river valley for team bonding last week! I manage to capture this shot as we were walking back up the hill (very close to the water). We were planning on picking berries here too, but they were nowhere to be found! We had a great time nonetheless though.
Cafe Mosaics – This is my favourite vegan place to grab a nice meal after a draining midterm. [bokeh + street photography = new obsession]
Urban Street Art: #BarnE – I love that Cafe Mosaics features and supports upcoming artists.
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. : )
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…
Our amazing crowd 🙂
And lastly, it wouldn’t be Bonnie Chow Photography without some bokeh ❤
#OPAW is coming soon!
But, for now I’m gonna post this interesting read that came up on my Facebook feed this past week.
That a peek at it!
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!
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.
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!