Photographing Kelowna at Night

Cityscape of Kelowna at night from Knox Mountain

The Okanagan is known for the beauty of its hiking trails and wilderness. There are dozens of trails to explore in Kelowna alone, many with beautiful vistas of the city. I have photographed many of these trails over and over again, always discovering something new to shoot that I hadn't seen before.

Lately, however, I have been searching for something new to experiment within my photography. Cityscapes have always fascinated me, but I tend to veer more towards landscape photos. And though I have photographed Kelowna on a handful of occasions, I don't think I have truly delved deep enough into the true potential of what I could capture.

Over the next few weeks, I am hoping to explore Kelowna at night in far more detail. Finding new locations to shoot from, and experimenting far more with long exposure techniques. Kelowna has been one of my favorite cities to capture at night due to its smaller size and surrounding mountains. My goal is to take a lot of new photos of the city from different vantage points.

Okanagan Sunset from Knox Mountain

Last night, I set out with the intention of getting some shots during twilight, my favorite time of day. It didn't go entirely to plan. We started at the base of Knox Mountain, hoping that as we ascended and it got darker, I would see a view I couldn't resist capturing. That just didn't happen. After getting to the first lookout the sun began to set. While the sunset was interesting with some beautiful orange hues, it just wasn't quite enough for the image I was hoping to create. Or at least I couldn't find the right vantage point to capture it.

Arrowleaf Balsamroot on Knox Mountain

Right now Knox Mountain is brimming with Arrowleaf Balsamroot, which adds so much beautiful color to the mountainside. Unfortunately, with the light disappearing fast, it was too late to capture that vibrant color. This is already an hour into the hike without a decent photo, but I wasn't giving out hope until I got to the top to see what there was.

We made it to the apex just as the sun fully disappeared and the wind picked up. It was freezing. As a landscape photographer, you learn to ignore the elements to get your shot though. Despite spending many minutes at the top lookout waiting for the sky to darken to the color I wanted, I just wasn't feeling it. The shot wasn't quite right yet. I've taken a few photos from this location before and it wasn't what I was looking for this time around.

It was too far away from the city. I was looking for something with a bit more zest where I could zone in on a few more details.

After waiting a bit longer to see if I could manage an interesting shot we decided to head down the mountain. And that is when I found the perfect spot. High enough for a beautiful vista of the city but a bit closer to get some more detail. Here is where I completely forgot the cold and the bliss of finding the perfect shot took over. I spent many minutes perfecting my camera settings, taking the same photo over and over. I think, in the end, I finally found what I was looking for. These photos have made me so excited to explore more of Kelowna at night to find that shot.

Cityscape of Kelowna at night from Knox Mountain

I began the hike hoping to get a good photo, but not really believing that I would. This small expedition showed me that I need to just get out and photograph. Getting an awesome photo is great (and I’m so happy I did this time around!), but really it is all about the exploration.


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