July 6, 2016, I returned home to Canada from nearly a year abroad.
I can’t quite describe what it feels like to come back to a city, a country that feels so comfortable yet so foreign at the very same time. It was truly great to see my friends and family that I missed once again, yet there was, and still is, a part of me that wished I could’ve just stayed in Taiwan. I spent a year developing a life of new homes, new families, new friends, new culture and new language. To give it up after a year felt almost unfair, as if I was leaving only as I started to truly be one with the country. But, that’s how it goes. Within a week, I felt very at home back in Canada. It felt to me like I had paused my life for a year, dreamed up a crazy adventure, then awoken back to my real life. Only within the last few days has it truly hit me that my life in Taiwan, my life as an exchange student has ended for good. That was a tough one to take, not going to lie. However, I’ve done my best to stay busy and keep my mind from wandering too far. I spent 7 days on the coast of B.C. with my family on our yearly vacation to Hornby Island.
A week is never long enough to truly explore any area. Having gone to Hornby Island nearly every summer since I was a toddler, however, I’ve come to appreciate the time that I do get to spend in my favourite places. This past week I was lucky to travel once more to Hornby with my family. The moment I step off the ferry, I instantly feel at home. The island has an energy that’s incredibly difficult to describe. The rustic, hippie community has become a second home to me. As I return, the memories of my childhood summers rush back. The bike races through the winding mountain trails, sandcastles built on the beaches, and countless times we’ve jumped off the cliffs into the warm water below all come to mind. Over the years, it’s been interesting to see how Hornby has changed, but also how my own maturity has affected my perception of the island. The children we grew up with are now all young adults. While we meet once a year, the friendships always remain as if we had never left.
This year, I have really dedicated myself to improving my photography and working to better myself as an artist. I have focused especially on my portraiture, aiming to connect with the subject to create a charged image. With that in mind, I purchased a flash setup with the goal of learning how to incorporate artificial light into my photography on this trip. Below, I have shared some of my favourite shots from the trip.
On another sunrise shoot, the weather wasn’t nearly as cooperative. However, it worked well with a moodier style of portraits. I had a lot of fun experimenting and learning how to best blend the artificial and natural light in unique ways.
Of course, what would a trip to the island be without some cliff jumping? The pastel colours of the sunset painted the sky so vividly.
I had an absolute blast over the past week. Seeing old friends, spending time with family, and working to develop my photography were all such satisfying parts of the experience. Each year my relationship with the island changes, but it’s always nice to go back.