First Nations Celebrate Lunar New Year


I’ve always had a place in my heart for Canada’s aboriginal people even though I do not share in their heritage. There often seems to be a cloud of sadness about them that I wish I could remove.

I didn’t see any of that at the Hobiyee on February 6 & 7 in Vancouver. What I did see was pride, joy and celebration.

A Hobiyee is a celebration of the Nisga’a Lunar New Year. The Nisga’a generously invited all people to join with them in this two-day festival held at the PNE. Many different First Nations took part by performing dances in their regalia.

I was very moved by the dances I saw. Each one was performed with precision and beauty to the beat of the many drums and melodic voices. The dances are created to tell a story, usually about some aspect of their history, heritage and special characters. The elaborate, colourful costumes, as they flow with the motion, are mesmerizing.

The elders, who were respectfully given the best seats and kept well fed, sang along as they watched the dancers closely. You could sense their pride in seeing the young people doing such an awesome job of continuing the traditions.

Every year on Canada Day, my Canadian heart swells with pride and thankfulness for my home and native land and I love to share the celebration with others. The Hobiyee was like that. People came together in such a wonderful spirit of brotherhood, joy and pride in their ancestry. I felt glad they had the opportunity to do that and thankful to be part of it.

It was easy to take hundreds of pictures, here are just a few.


For Photographers

The light in the building was very low in brightness and only from overhead; less than ideal lighting for sure. All pictures were taken with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens wide open at ISOs between 2400 and 6400. No flash was used.

I continue to marvel at the capabilities of modern cameras. When I think back to my film days, I can’t imagine being able to have success with these conditions. There was virtually no need for noise reduction in these files from my Nikon D750.

Using a fast telephoto zoom in a situation like this worked so well. I could photograph faces from a distance away and have the backgrounds melt into pleasing colours. It allowed me to quickly focus on dancers anywhere on the floor and maintain sharpness as they moved.

Today’s technology makes photography such a rewarding experience!