When the bulk of your photography assignments come from the hospitality, hotel/resort and travel industries, there’s nothing like a global pandemic to interrupt your work schedule. Despite that, I remain thankful to have my health and to have an amazing group of loyal clients in Kelowna and throughout the Okanagan who still managed to keep us quite busy for most of the year. There wasn’t much travel but, honestly, it was really nice to spend a year working in my hometown.
January started off with a couple of hotel photoshoots. The first was for the Delta Hotels by Marriott in Kelowna, BC. We captured a series of images to promote winter tourism and to feature their newly-built marketplace. In February we shot The Executive Hotel Pacific in downtown Seattle. Casi and I had a blast during our week-long shoot for this boutique neoclassical hotel built in 1928.
At the beginning of March, as the world was just starting to grasp the significance of Covid-19, Casi and I boarded a flight to Portugal in a moment that we look back on as “what were we thinking?!” The first week of our trip was incredible. What were typically very busy tourist sites filled with influencers and Instagram models were enjoyed in total solitude. Restaurants were empty, hotels were inexpensive – even the airport scam artists didn’t show up to work. Everything was great until three days before our departure. Suddenly the Lisbon Hospital parking lot was packed and a long line of triage tents were setup outside. The streets were desolate, schools and businesses closed and grocery store employees gave us foreigners dirty looks. It was time to get home and quarantine for two weeks. We even walked home from the airport with our luggage in tow to avoid compromising a taxi driver.
Work-wise, March, April and early May were completely dead. I hunkered down, Casi and I made a drone video of Kelowna during the peak of people staying home, we ordered groceries online, did a lot of reading and caught up on some personal projects. All of a sudden, it seemed like the flood gates opened and everyone was back to work. At the time, covid numbers in Canada were low and people were less afraid to be around each other and so we captured an extraordinary number of corporate headshots and portraits this year – both on-location and in my home studio. The image of the boxer is actually being used on a billboard in Saudi Arabia right now (I find it fascinating to think about the significance of a female boxer without a hijab on a billboard in Riyadh).
I also spent quite a bit of time in studio capturing hundreds of various products. We shoot a lot of product photography for breweries and wineries which I always thoroughly enjoy doing – particularly when you get to sample the product afterwards!
Speaking of which, this year we partnered up again with our friends at Tourism Kelowna to offer six Kelowna wineries an opportunity for a photoshoot. The wineries included House of Rose, Ex Nihilo, Quail’s Gate, Wayne Gretzky Estate, Volcanic Hills, and 50th Parallel. The program was a wonderful success and we look forward to doing it again in 2021!
The drone flew an exceptional number of hours this year as we captured aerial photographs and video every single week this summer. Csek Creative, District of Lake Country, Mission Group, Jealous Fruits, Barkman Concrete, UBC, Callahan Property Group, G Group of Companies, Melcor Developments, Primaris REIT, State of Mind Films and the KGH Foundation all kept us very busy with numerous aerial assignments in the Okanagan and throughout western Canada.
In October we drove to Calgary to shoot interior, exterior and aerial architectural photographs as well as aerial video of the brand new Telus Sky building. The building has an interesting and beautiful design and incorporates a unique Douglas Copeland-designed “northern lights” LED light show built into the structure of the tower. There is also a massive multi-story living wall next to the lobby. For the aerials we worked with NavCanada, the Calgary Police and Transport Canada to operate the drone in the downtown of Calgary at night.
We shot many advertising campaigns in 2020 but most are not yet public so those will have to wait for another time to post those. But we were thrilled to partner up with the Canadian Mental Health Association to create an ad campaign focusing on homelessness issues. The cardboard signs were left blank to have messaging added later by the design agency. We also worked with my good friends Loyal and Colin at Loyal Hair Therapy to capture some new advertising images for their salon brand.
2020 certainly presented many challenges for everyone. But with challenge comes opportunity and we are anxious to see what challenges and opportunities 2021 will bring. (Hopefully those opportunities include some travel!)
In the wise words of my friend Nikki Csek, “Stay safe, stay healthy and stay in touch.”
All my best to you and your family for a very Happy New Year!
Shawn and The Team (Alesha, Casi, Jessica, Nina and Ryan)