About Me

Hello and welcome to my photo blog. I am Karen McKinnon, a Vancouver Island based photographer - a gal fortunate to be living my passion. The blog is where you can see recent sessions, keep in touch with what is new around here (and I promise you it is never dull) and get a better sense of who I am, what I love and how I show it. 

Thanks for visiting. Please leave a comment and let me know you were here - it really does make me smile! 

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2012 is coming, 

But first, let's kiss 2011 goodbye. 2011 took all that I had to offer, and put it to good use. You tested my strength, pushed my creativity, challenged my assumptions and reminded me about the importance of intuition.  

It feels hard to see this year go, it meant so much to me. 2011 planted some beautiful strong seeds, and I promise not to waste them and will  grow them into 2012.  

This year gave me so much to see, feel and experience that I don't feel quite ready to say goodbye. 

A bit about my year:

- John, Rowan, Gabby, Maggie, Selah and I had our first family holiday. We spent a week in Mexico on a  Make A Wish Foundation trip celebrating Maggie beating Leukaemia. It was an exciting trip for us, as a large family we don't travel together often. To do so, and be there for such a fabulous reason was a abundant blessing. 
- I lost a friend this year, as did many others in the passing of Jenn Zahavich. It was heartbreaking. What happened around her illness as the community embraced her and her family, was a thing of deep beauty. Just writing that compels me to pause . I can still feel it, and I can feel Jenn. Jenn's passing changed many. For me, it reduced my very fear of death and it also bonded me even more strongly to some amazing friend. 
- This summer I took every weekday off in August. It doesn't sound like such a big deal does it? However, to walk away from all my office work, to turn down sessions - this was hard! I spent the month on Hornby, with family and without daily internet. It was bliss! It is already booked again for next year. 
- In October John and I had our first holiday just the two of us. Granted it was a working holiday, as we went to Hawaii to photography Mikhaila and Greg's beautiful wedding. Still, it was our first time away together off the island. It showed me a taste of our future, when the kids are older and we can sneak off. 
- In August John started his dream job. It has been a long road of school and it makes my heart soar to see him head every day to a job he loves. 
- In November, we made a bold move and pulled our youngest daughter from school to begin homeschooling. It's what our intuition told us to do. I was scared. Really scared. I was concerned that the combination of work, homeschooling and everything else that life brings, would result in me being a failed homeschooler while turning into a nasty super stressed person. The opposite happened, it brought about this lovely sense of peace. As for messing up homeschooling, well, ask me in a few years.
- All of the above was tied together with a daily life of driving kids to dance, preparing dinner, coffee with friends, photographing and more. To me it is these elements that make the year. The little bits that we sometimes take for granted. I see them, and I feel them and am thankful to have such a lovely thread to pull it all together. 
- This was my tenth year in photography in the Comox Valley. I remember days when I had just moved here, tearfully expressing my insecurity as to if I could make a life of photography in the Comox Valley work. Here I am, ten years later. So fulfilled professionally and overwhelmed with all this career has brought into my, and my families life. It has given me much more that I expected. Most notably a connection to many fun and loveable people. 
- Our holiday season this year, where we celebrate Hanukah and Christmas was calm and restful. Definitely a sign of the kids getting older - which breaks my heart in many ways, but also thrills me to see them come further into their own. Bittersweet. 

Bittersweet, I think that is the word to sum up our 2011. 

Despite loving pulling out my professional camera gear, we tend to tote around the point and shoot and all use it - I treasure our "snapshots" here are few from this year:

In Mexico, with my good friend Jen Dodd at a conference, Rowan graduates from Grade 7, Hornby with Nana and Papa, Time at the famous Hornby Island Bakery, First Day of School, John and I have our first ever touristy toasting photo.


Wishing you a few days of joyful reflection on what the last 12 months has given you. xoxo
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I am visiting your site for a past one month. I feel happy by reading these blogs.

(04.10.12 @ 08:08 PM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: 2011, I am not ready to say goodbye . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.mckinnonblog.com/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/507
December 21, 2011 // bella / news
Rita planned a boudoir photo session to surprise her husband for Christmas but just couldn't wait and gifted him the images last week. 
His response was exactly what she was looking for saying that "He had his own super model." 
Although he thought the session was all for him, us women know that these sessions are also for us. 
Rita explained her experience of having a Boudoir session as "Liberating!!!  Karen made me feel so comfortable.  Like catching up with friend I haven't seen in a while.  I think every woman should experience a Karen McKinnnon Bourdoir session."

Thanks Rita! 

Here is one of Rita looking like the glamourpuss that she is! 


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December 20, 2011 // portraits

I have had the sweetest sessions lately. A 50th Wedding Anniversary (more on that later) and then Abby's before and after photos. Abby's mom contacted me about having photos created to document Abby's decision to donate her hair to Locks of Love, in honour of family members that were lost to cancer. 
I decided to bring along my daughter Selah to the shoot and create these images wearing my volunteer hat. I really wanted Abby to know that she had the power to move people, and that she should feel really proud of herself. That by giving, she could inspire others to give as well.

So we did a few photos before, then she headed up to see Sam at Roots the Salon and came back to the studio giggling with her new look. 

Thank you Abby for being such a loving, joyful and generous person! 


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December 19, 2011 // my life
Last week my mom, myself and my daughter hit the road for a few days. There was so much to do at home and work, and I had some decisions to make, so we took off. Yes, just like that, sometimes when the world is whirling around you, you just need to step outside of it it. So we headed to Victoria for some three of us time.

I have my typical Victoria routine, but this time I threw on a little tourist cap and we followed my mom's lead, the lady has it figured out. So here are few of our collective tips

1. Hotel. If you aren't already a Hotwire Fan, jump on board. With Hotwire you can search the location, dates and amenitiens you want and then book. The catch is that you don't know what hotel you are staying in until after you book. What I love about Hotwire is it saves me hours of obsessing and googling hotel options. This time, however, we stayed at the Best Western Carlton. It is right on Johnson off Douglas. Usually I love to stay in the inner harbour, but this location was fabulous. The hotel has free parking and once we parked we didn't get in our car for the whole time we were there. The Carlton isn't fancy but the service was so nice, the internet was free and free parking including the day you need to check out made up for the lack of fluffy robes. 

2. Zambri's. If you haven't been to this mouthwatering restaurant just go. It is a top rated establishment that will have you wanting to come back the next night for what I describe as their smooth, light comforting Italian style. This restaurant definitely sits in my top time. 

3. The Royal BC Museum. Why I have never been? It is charming, and full of intrigue for both grown-ups and children. This museum is a real treasure. We explored the natural history section and were reminded of all BC has to offer and played make-belive in the old town section. It really is a must and I would leave two to three hours.  

4. Chinese Food. We hit up china town for some real chinese food, something the Comox Valley just doesn't offer. I had Mu-Sho-Pork for the first time in ten years, and it brought me back to when my sisters used to tell me I wasn't old enough to have it so that they could have more. 

5. The Bug Museum. Most of know about the bug museum, yet I was still wowed by our experience. If you can go during  a week day you will most likely receive your own private guide. We spent a good hour there. The kid loved it and I did a respectable job of hiding my disgust of the large spiders and creepy black centipedes. 

6. The Empress. A walk through the Empress as we headed back to the hotel from the museum proved a fine place for adventure and a short history lesson. It's a free activity best pre-cursed by the reading of one of my favourite children's books Eloise. 


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Karen! Eloise has always been my favorite children's stories

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(04.10.12 @ 08:09 PM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: How I did Victoria . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.mckinnonblog.com/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/504
I am thankful. Everyday. I live a life of abundance, something many of us are aware of this time of year. This year though, I am thinking about you. You all play with me. You choose me to photograph what you love. You comment on my facebook page, you smile and say hello , your emails lift me up on down days. You are the web that allows me to grow, create, stretch and have meaning in my work. 
As I wrap up  Celebrating Ten years of photographing in what I am sure is one of the kindest communities in Canada (just try telling me otherwise,)  I can tell you that if the next ten bring me the interactions, the lessons and the laughter this one has I will double over with joy. With it will undoubtedly be the continued challenges, road-blocks, questions and self-doubt the last ten years has see me face and for that I will continue to be a better and wiser person.  I will continue to make decisions based on meaning and fun, and promise to always carry heart with my camera.

This town, this community, I love you. 

A significant part of what gives my work meaning is collaborating and supporting charity work.  It humbles me, it teaches me, it fills me up and hopefully passes some of that on. For the last ten years I have had the chance to work with numerous organizations as well as quietly give to individuals who needed a little something special.

Your support of my business has allowed me to make meaningful contribution to our community and live a life full of passion, while roll modelling for my children that both are possible.. The special events I have held monthly this year and the 12 Days of Christmas is just a small way for me to say thank you. 

Introducing Day 12, where my heart lies:



- Work must be able to begin in 2011
- Charity must be interested and open to discussing ideas on how photography and visual storytelling can support their cause
- It is recommended that the charity be aware that you are nominating them
- It does not need to be a registered charity, although it needs to be a not for profit organization
- Only the chosen charity will be contacted. 

You are welcome to just email me at info@mckinnonphotography.com however you may also fill out this form - it's nothing too formal, but it would be helpful. 

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(04.10.12 @ 08:09 PM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Day 12, With gratitude and passion . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.mckinnonblog.com/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/503