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Planning that pre-Christmas photo trip

Planning that pre-Christmas photo trip with John Enman Photography
Christmas ‘Tree if Hope’ in Kelowna black and white photo by Enman Photography (Photo by: John Enman)

A long-time friend stopped by my shop today and we talked about his plans for a December pre-Christmas trip. He and his wife will be visiting family in Ottawa and he said he hopes he will find the time to walk around that beautiful city to take a few photos.

I won’t be doing anything so exotic as that. I am planning my yearly pre-Christmas trip and will be making the two-hour drive to Kelowna in the first weeks of December to photograph the 120-foot Tree of Hope and the bright city lights along the Okanagan lakefront.

Yes, his plane flight across the country to the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Canada is a lot more exotic, but I get to spend two days doing nothing but photography and the brightly decorated lakefront city is always so much fun to photograph.

I like short excursions and I really enjoy having something special to photograph during the Christmas season.

Before moving here from Los Angeles in 1975 I would always go to the desert to spend Christmas. That holiday outing required a four-wheel drive vehicle, the willingness to cross a couple rivers and traverse some very steep hills to get to my favourite camping spot.

As we traveled I would continually stop my bright yellow 1963 International Scout and jump out to run around taking pictures while my friends would be forced to patiently wait and always grumbled that I made the trip slower.

When we reached our destination we would set up our camp and while everyone else sat eating around the fire I would go for a walk with my camera and return when I lost the light. (There were no cellphone cameras in those days – the only photo memories were in my camera)

Christmas Eve would be spent around the fire until about 8 p.m. Then we would all pile in my 4x4 (today I would say “SUV,” but in the 1970’s that wasn’t even a word) with our thermoses of hot chocolate to listen to a radio show called “The Firesign Theatre.” The Firesign Theater was a live radio program from Los Angeles and on Christmas Eve the reading for years was, “A Christmas Carol.”

The next morning I would be up with the sun while the others slept to walk around with my camera. Those were good times for this 26-year-old photographer.

Nowadays I am quite satisfied with the pre-Christmas trip to Kelowna. It is more comfortable than the desert was 50 years ago and I now I prefer to go to restaurants and stay in a hotel that include breakfast instead of sitting around open fires and sleeping on the hard ground in a pup tent.

I have invited my photo pal Jo to come with me. It’s good to have a friend that is as excited about wandering the cold, decorated streets at night and getting up before sunrise to make photographs of a big tree as I am.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at or

Christmas ‘Tree if Hope’ in Kelowna black and white photo by Enman Photography (Photo by: John Enman)