I’m back from the Canada Photo Convention in Vancouver and… it was ridiculous. In an awesome way. I’m still mentally unpacking everything that I picked up from the conference, so I’ll post about that later. In the meantime, here are some personal photos from the trip. Truth be told, I took about 5 photos during the two days of the convention itself (that would be the iPhone selfies with people I’ve been friends with on the internet for years, but hadn’t met in person yet!) and the rest were taken on my last full day in Vancouver after the talks were over.

If you don’t feel like reading all my captions, all you have to know is: lots of sushi (I couldn’t get enough of that fresh fish). Lots of food, actually. Lots of mountains in the background — Vancouver looks like some sort of fairytale land. I’ve never seen a city like it. And while the cherry blossoms were in full bloom all over the place, I don’t think I took a single photo of one — which is pretty awful of me.

All photos were taken with the Fujifilm X100 and my iPhone. I actually hadn’t had much practice with the X100 until this trip, so the compositions are somewhat lacking :)


This meal in Austin would cost $40. Can you believe… $1 nigiri? The restaurant was in a hole-in-the-wall, ugly building covered in posters. I was scared I was going to get food poisoning, but I was so hungry that I didn’t care. The first bite of this was absolute heaven in my mouth. I’m pretty sure that this meal was the best meal of my entire life. Best part is, it was only $16.

vancouver02 vancouver03

I’m so happy to have met Orange County wedding photographer Luis Godinez, Xanthe from Australia!, globetrotter Kyle Hepp, Vancouverite Tomasz Wagner (who brought us to the aforementioned sushi shack), Aussie Mary Sylvia, and one of my roomies, Victoria wedding photographer Lara Eichhorn. Pardon my odd expressions!


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Out of Office

Hi everyone! I just wanted to give you a heads-up that I’m out of the office (and the country) for the next week, so I won’t be able to answer any emails until next Monday!

See you all after a bunch of Canadian adventures!

And just so that this post has some photos, here are a few pretty ones from Sunday night’s wedding at the Umlauf, with Amy and Carlos :)

kimono wedding umlauf wedding

Leaving for a Conference, Whoa

In my Google Calendar, there’s a little notation for the week of April 22nd. It says in capital letters, “GOING TO CANADA PHOTO CONVENTION. (YOU HAVE TICKETS.)”

Because, without that notation, I’d probably forget that I’m leaving the country?

I’ve never been to Vancouver before! I’ve been to Kingston and Ottawa (and passed through Toronto’s airport) but this is a totally different area of the country. I’d never gone to any photography conventions before, despite wanting to crash WPPI in past years — I just never had the leave time while working at the state agency — and it occurred to me that I’d been doing this photography business thing for a while and hadn’t actually been to a large meet-up in a different city before.

I heard about the Canada Photo Convention sometime last year, and after looking at the lineup of speakers, the early bird price, and finding out that many photographers I looked up to were also going to be attendees, I committed to the ticket.

Honestly? I’m not sure what to expect. I’ve never been to a convention — and in my 2.5 years of doing this, I’ve only gone to one workshop — so I’m curious to see how much information can be packed into two 13-hour days with 13 speakers.

One of the things I find to be calming, while I’m anxiously awaiting for something to happen, is to plan out every little thing that could possibly need planning. What book will I read in the airport during my layover? What pieces of my makeup collection will I keep in my carry-on? What meals will I eat while in Vancouver? What clothes should I bring with me?

makeup and stuff

So here I am, virtually packing my travel kit. Feel free to gloss over this stuff :) Into my Kate Spade Cobble Hill Leslie bag (yes, I bought a designer handbag for the first time in my life!) I’m planning on packing…

[Just so you know, I’m linking to a bunch of stuff in this post! Full disclosure: the stuff linked to are affiliate links. Everything else — NARS, Urban Decay, etc. — are just regular links!]

  1. A screw-top pill bottle to store a glob of hand cream [TSA still allows this much, right?] and other odds and ends that usually end up lost in the bottom of a bag.
  2. I’m a believer in my Urban Decay Naked palette, but it’s too bulky to bring with me, so I got this cheapy Physician’s Formula matte basics palette from CVS. I was pleasantly surprised by the pigmentation and butteriness of this drugstore eyeshadow palette and would recommend it to folks who don’t want to shell out $27 for Naked Basics. CVS was having a sale on Physician’s Formula recently and I scored this for 40% off (about $4).
  3. I’m not bringing my bulky DSLRs to Vancouver with me, and instead decided to pick up a Fujifilm X100 as a traveling camera. Now that the X100S is out, people are unloading their used original X100 cameras so that they can upgrade. It’s a sweet little camera, and since I don’t have a personal camera anymore — everything I own is for my business! — and I’m also going to Mexico in May, I thought it was a good time to snatch up one of these beauties.
  4. I love my Revlon Just Bitten lip balm stains — they’re long-lasting, have no taste, and wear better than lipstick. Perfect for travel! I own a few colors but will probably just bring Romantic, my favorite pinky-purple shade.
  5. Passport, of course.
  6. My skin is not the best, so I wear NARS Sheer Matte foundation. I’ve used a lot of foundation brands and found that this one is gentle (MAC broke me out something awful) and provides great medium coverage. I’ll probably plop a glob of this in my screw-top pill bottle to avoid bringing the entire glass bottle.
  7. I love my Tarte blush! I own Dollface.
  8. Eyeshadow primer (I have a travel-sized tube of Urban Decay’s Primer Potion), and
  9. Blinc mascara — I love both.
  10. I read this book, With the Old Breed: at Peleliu and Okinawa, in 2006, loved it, gave it away, and realized I wanted to own it again, so I re-bought it! E.B. Sledge was a Marine who served in the Pacific theater during WWII. If you’ve seen The Pacific, the HBO mini-series, Joe Mazzello plays his part. I recently rewatched The Pacific and am back in a WWII kind of mood…
  11. I just discovered this stuff: Bag Balm. It’s such an un-romantic name and it’s made for vets to put on chapped cow udders… but damn if it isn’t the best hand and foot lotion and lip balm I’ve ever used. I’m used to more humid weather, so I’m a little worried about drying out on the plane, so I’m bringing a little bit of this with me!

… as well as the usual smart things like gum and a toothbrush, my wallet and perhaps some Canadian dollars.

I remember a mistake I made when I went on a school trip to Europe in ’06. On the way to the airport, my mother (who was driving me) asked me if I had any money. I showed her my credit card. She immediately told me to pull out all the cash she had in her wallet and exchange it for Euros. It wasn’t much — maybe about $50 altogether — and the entire two-week trip was total hell because (surprise!) a lot of places in Europe still prefer (or require) cash only. My workaround for the trip was to buy groceries at big-chain stores for my classmates with a credit card, and they paid me back with cash so that when we went to cafés and restaurants I wouldn’t be out in the cold. So now I’m wondering if Vancouver is like Austin — debit or credit all the way, baby! — or if the city prefers paper money?

It’s currently 80 degrees here in Austin, and Vancouver’s high is going to be 60… and its lows will be (gulp) 45. I’m trying to figure out what to pack that will give maximum warmth and flexibility while also not taking up my entire carry-on (because I am not paying the airline to check a bag (she said stubbornly)). We’ll be in a hotel conference hall for most of the time, but I know folks will also go out for lunch and drinks and so on, so I want to be prepared with extra layers! Still working on that bit, though :)

Any tips? It’s been a while since I’ve traveled!