A belated year's end

Most people tend to post about their past year BEFORE the new year rolls around. Unfortunately, I decided to rekindle my lust for blogging at the end of the year - not exactly the best time for me to start assessing my year's worth of photographic exploits and shenanigans. By writing this post on January 7th, 2014, it seems a bit delayed. However, I shall not let poor timing get the best of me.

The outgoing year has been a blast, and frankly, photos can only do so much justice. It was a year of new opportunities, great experiences, and most importantly, fun times. 

 What I shot

Night It Up!

As one of the largest night markets in Canada, it was definitely a blast shooting the opening ceremonies at Night It Up! If you've never been, 2014 should be the year for you to go. This 3-day night market is typically held every year in early July in the Markham area. As a sensory overload of delicious food, amazing live performances, and a multitude of competitions, contests and games, Night it Up! is must for any summer experience.

CrossFit Throwdown RTVFit 2013 @ CrossFit Ark

A good friend of mine from high school, Nicholas Yeh recently became a coach for CrossFit Ark up in Aurora. Told me about an adrenaline-pumping, high-octane, sweaty day at the gym - naturally, I was on board. This was an amazing charity event organized with Raising the Village, a non-profit organization that provides critical infrastructure, tools, and training to recovering villages in Uganda.

Shooting an event like this was insanely fun, all because of the energy exerted by these athletic folks. I broke a couple of sweats keeping up with them, running around the box and all. Kept me on my toes, focused, and in the zone. There's something about capturing raw, unfiltered emotion from an individual when their body is pushed to the utter limit. Insert RAW/JPEG pun here.

Kevin Wong Quits His Day Job

There's something strangely cathartic about hearing of one's pursuing of their  true passion. Meet Kevin Wong, former lawyer, now singer/songwriter/violinist. I met Kevin at an audition for Kollaboration Toronto 2013 (more on that later) where he ultimately became a finalist for the show in September. Of course, I couldn't wait till September to hear Kevin perform. As such, two tickets, a beer and a girly cocktail later, I grabbed a colleague of mine from Kollaboration, sat in a quaint little pub and enjoyed Kevin Wong Quits His Day Job, and as promised, I got, (quoted from his site)

"An intimate evening of sincerely uncool pop, soul, a bit of musical theatre, and a few awkward silence tracks Kevin's journey through school, the practice of law, burnout, and his epiphany."

 Kollaboration Toronto: 2013

This was the event that I worked towards for the entire year. Kollaboration is Asian & Pacific Islander arts & entertainment movement and non-profit organization that strives to highlight local talent, hence its motto, Empowerment Through Entertainment. In the Toronto chapter, I was the social media coordinator, where I handled the various online outlets in which Kollaboration Toronto resided on. At the final show in September, I decided to tackle Instagram on my phone while shooting this entire event from start to finish, and boy was that one hell of a show. It was my first time shooting anything like this, so it was definitely great seeing the wide variety of performances and adapting to each of them on the fly.

Neha and Vivek

In September, I was invited by wedding photographer, Kevin Fung to assist him in a string of weddings he was shooting, and first up was Neha and Vivek. Given the circumstances of school and work, this was an opportunity to flex my trigger finger at another wedding. I forgot how much I loved photographing wedding ceremonies, from the break of dawn to the wee hours into the night. Weddings are all about high energy, big smiles, beautiful wardrobes, and an unforgettable momentous occasion. Neha and Vivek's ceremony was of no exception and reignited my love for photographing weddings.

Pooja and Dhiren 

It was round two with Kevin, and although I was only around for the pre-wedding ceremonies, it was still a blast shooting it. Short, sweet, and energetic as ever.

Where I went

High Park

Every spring, High Park turns into a GTA-wide attraction, as the Somei-Yoshino cherry trees blossom. It's situations like these where I didn't mind waking up at 5 AM to travel across the city, simply to avoid the bustle of crowds. However, near the end of my shift, I did manage to sneak a candid moment of a couple during their engagement shoot. Talk about guerrilla street photography. 

Canada Day in Ottawa

First time in the capital city, and it did not disappoint. Red, fireworks, diners, mini-golf, Beaver Tails. 


Centre Island

It's hard to believe that I've lived in Toronto my entire life and I had only just gone to Centre Island for the first time in 2013. Here, I helped out a friend (The City Scavenger) from school execute a scavenger hunt for a birthday party.

Taste of the Danforth

Pretty self explanatory - claustrophobia and delicious food. Amidst the sea of organized chaos was a moustached baby, and my friend Lauren, completely ecstatic from finally receiving our gyros (after an arduous thirty minutes of queuing).

Niagara Falls

What's a summer in Toronto without an obligatory trip to admire a bunch of falling water and nearby fauna?

Streets I wandered

I'm a sucker for street photography. There's something about capturing unexpected beauty in the seemingly mundane that I love.

The randoms I snapped

After picking up the Fujifilm X100, I was exposed to the beauty of a stylish, lightweight camera that I can bring with me anywhere I go (almost, at least). It did me well, until I discovered the Ricoh GR, an even smaller camera, with a body of a point and shoot equipped with an APS-C sensor. Now, I bring that everywhere I go, and these odds and ends are a result.

The cars I saw

As a gearhead, I can't pass up the opportunity to snap automotive eye candy. Expect a lot more as I land in hong Kong. Of note in this album is the white Ferrari 458 on Queen Street, as deadmau5 was driving it.


And that's it. Thanks to everyone who made 2013 that bit more interesting and worthwhile. Here's to 2014 (despite the fact we're already seven days into the year).

Dallas Kwok