Field Trip: Visiting Home in Okanagan Valley, BC with Alysia Semrok

All photos featured are courtesy of Alysia Semrok in partnership with Tribe Photo Co. through our Field Trip photographer sponsorship. All photos were edited with the Wolf Pack Presets, specifically WP01, WP02, and WP05. 


Lightroom Presets Post-Production Tools Tribe Photo Co Alysia Semrock

I was lucky enough to grow up in one of the most beautiful regions in Canada...

So a trip back to my homeland is always much anticipated. With rolling mountains, pristine lakes, orchards, and vineyards, the Okanagan Valley is something to behold.

A place where lavender grows like a weed, the air is sweet, and the summers are long and hot.

One of my first stops on the trip was Vernon, BC to visit a friend from Germany who's working as a vet technician on an Icelandic horse farm. I was able to spend the evening there and watch her work.

It was hot - the haze and smoke from the wildfires burning throughout the province had covered the mountains for most of my stay. The evening sun was bright red, and the dry earth kicked up by the horses as they ran in from pasture created something out of a wild west movie.

Lightroom Presets Post-Production Tools Tribe Photo Co Alysia Semrock

Later in the week, I met up with some friends to camp in Penticton for a few days. We hiked through Creek Park to Naramata Falls. It’s a pretty easy climb with a few creek crossings and some really spectacular views.

There are massive rock walls with pools and ravines along the way. We also encountered a rattlesnake at the entrance of the trail, which is not uncommon for this area!

After a couple minutes, our little friend was kind enough to clear the path for us so we could continue up to the falls. For those so inclined for a bit more adventure, there is also an extended hike through the Kettle Valley Railway Trail where you can find some natural waterslides.

Once you reach the falls, the area becomes lush green and rich with moss.

The mist from the cascading water could not have been more welcome as the temperature during the past couple weeks ranged between 32 and 38 degrees celsius.

Lightroom Presets Post-Production Tools Tribe Photo Co Alysia Semrock
Lightroom Presets Post-Production Tools Tribe Photo Co Alysia Semrock
Lightroom Presets Post-Production Tools Tribe Photo Co Alysia Semrock
Lightroom Presets Post-Production Tools Tribe Photo Co Alysia Semrock
Lightroom Presets Post-Production Tools Tribe Photo Co Alysia Semrock

The trip had its challenging points too, we got hit with a huge windstorm the next day that tore our tents. We packed up what we could and spent the afternoon near the water watching the massive waves roll in.

I also spent a lot of time in the gardens and orchards throughout Penticton and Summerland picking my fill of peaches before I head back to the prairies at the end of August.

For as much time as I’ve spent living in this area, I’m in awe of how many places I still haven’t discovered yet.

There’s always a new hike or view I’ve never seen - so much endless adventure in this Canadian backyard of mine.

0O0A0867PSwp2.2048.jpgLightroom Presets Post-Production Tools Tribe Photo Co Alysia Semrock

Refueling Creativity in Buena Vista, CO with Luke Gottlieb

Photographs and text excerpt courtesy of Luke Gottlieb of Victor of Valencia, one of our Tribe Photo Co. Pathfinder Ambassadors.

All photos were edited with the Wolf Pack Presets, specifically with the WP 02 preset. 

Horse Photography Equine / Luke Gottlieb Victor of Valencia / Tribe Photo Co. / Lightroom Presets and Post-Production Tools

I grew up in a small town in the mountains of Colorado called Carbondale. It sits about 30 miles downriver from the iconic ski town of Aspen. You can imagine the sort of beauty and culture that area harnesses.

Carbondale holds everything that is dear to me; rivers, mountains, wildlife, ranches and about everything you can imagine a small mountain town would. Most of my time growing up was spent running around in the woods and on ranches, which a few of my friends lived on.

As any mountain child could recall, these sort of upbringings can certainly shape you. Certainly, they have shaped me and as I continue the journey of photography, which often brings me to cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego and beyond, it’s the mountains that ground me to the core. 

Over the last few months however, I was experiencing shoots that didn’t quite inspire me. So much of my work and projects take place in Los Angeles, where the pool of talented models, hair and makeup artists is endless. The industry is there in a big way, so over the last couple of years I've made it a point to be there often.

As great as that is, it’s easy to get creatively exhausted, and that's one of the biggest challenges for me in having an art form as my job. When you complete a project that truly speaks to you, that you're truly proud of, you can feel that in a true and intense way. But getting to that point can be a hard and challenging road. Lately, I’ve been feeling the numbness of that weary road, and knew I needed to take a step back from the grind to focus on on finding new inspiration.

Horse Photography Equine / Luke Gottlieb Victor of Valencia / Tribe Photo Co. / Lightroom Presets and Post-Production Tools
Horse Photography Equine / Luke Gottlieb Victor of Valencia / Tribe Photo Co. / Lightroom Presets and Post-Production Tools

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely gal by the name of Sarah Courtney. She’s a mountain girl through and through and her parents own this beautiful ranch in Buena Vista, CO. “Buena Vista”, which is Spanish for “Beautiful View,” is very much just that.

The ranch sits at the foot of towering 14,000 ft peaks, and on this particular day, the infamous and unpredictable summer weather of Colorado was in full swing. Sweeping storm clouds had socked in the town for the day, but nestled in the eye of these summer storms was some of the most stunning and dramatic light I have seen in a while. I hadn’t had a shoot that felt so close to home in such a long time.

Sarah’s ranch is as amazing as any ranch could be; chickens, horses, random relics of the old days and a beautiful stately old barn that seems to watch over the ranch. Sarah herself is a proficient horseback rider and her connection with the horses is something that would inspire anyone. I wanted to capture this environment many people only know from films and show Sarah existing naturally, authentically. 

Horse Photography Equine / Luke Gottlieb Victor of Valencia / Tribe Photo Co. / Lightroom Presets and Post-Production Tools

A sort of rejuvenation took place for me. The light was amazing, the styling was perfect, and for Sarah, it was her most authentic self being on the ranch around her horses. We walked around, shooting in multiple outfits and capturing anything that inspired us.

Most of the time, I’m a portrait photographer in fairly controlled scenarios, being able to photograph this wild environment while capturing such a profound moment of connection between a woman and this beast was one of the most genuine, beautiful and grounding things for me. I had instant flashbacks to my childhood and my love for Colorado. 

I think things happen in life intentionally. For me, this shoot felt right. It felt like home and helped to refuel my soul in a way that continuing to grind out work could not. Certainly, from a photographer’s perspective, I’m more inspired and driven after this experience. Often, we go around trying to figure things out as human beings instead of just allowing life to unfold.

As I sit here eating some fresh eggs from Sarah’s ranch and listening to Bob Dylan, I look at this shoot as a testament to the notion that ‘home’ isn’t as far away as you think and who you truly are is always there. You just have to allow it to show up. 

Horse Photography Equine / Luke Gottlieb Victor of Valencia / Tribe Photo Co. / Lightroom Presets and Post-Production Tools
Horse Photography Equine / Luke Gottlieb Victor of Valencia / Tribe Photo Co. / Lightroom Presets and Post-Production Tools
Horse Photography Equine / Luke Gottlieb Victor of Valencia / Tribe Photo Co. / Lightroom Presets and Post-Production Tools