It’s always a great day when you have to head out to the mountains to shoot – be it for the ski hills, scouting new locations, for a commercial client, or on this day for Ashley & Mike. We lucked out and had a fairly mild morning to run around the quaint town of Banff, getting out on the ice and away from the town to capture a handful of pictures for this wonderful couple. Ashley has been in front of my camera before as part of a bridal party, but it was the first time with Mike. I loved their suggestion of bringing out ice skates for a few pictures followed by a warm coffee and stroll down the main avenue. It will be great to see them again, only this time as they prepare to tie the knot!
Of all the detail shots I capture on a wedding day, I have to admit that my absolute favourite is the one of the shoes. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pair of red-soled Laboutin’s or a comfy pair of Chuck Taylors, the shoes chosen by a bride speak volumes about their personality and always provide a great opportunity for an image. The shoes set the foundation of the gorgeous woman above, and give her that little something extra on her wedding day. I love the craftsmanship that goest into each pair – with a countless assortment of materials from leathers, to beading, to sequins, to metals, and even jewels. High heels at a Jamaican beach wedding? Why not! Flip flops at the Banff Springs? Sounds great! Converse high tops at Emerald Lake Lodge? Bring ‘em on! Until the next pair of heels finds their way in front my lens, here’s a few favourites from the last few years…
With their wedding coming up right around the corner I thought I’d share a few of my favourite shots from the engagement session I did with Alison & Jay. They are such warm and genuine people that you can’t help but simply enjoy spending time with them. I can’t wait to be there to capture their March wedding day – I know it’s going to be amazing!!
As 2013 drew to a close I found myself looking back at one of the most incredible years. Again, I was lucky to be witness to so many beautiful weddings, and get to meet countless amazing and inspiring people. Every single wedding was one of a kind, and with each picture I captured there are wonderful memories I cherish. I logged a lot of miles both on the ground, on the water, and especially in the air. In May, my wife and I were on our honeymoon with stops in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and reaching Everest Base Camp. We were treated to a blizzard at 18,000′ on Cho-La pass followed by a spectacular morning walk along the Gokyo Lakes. I wasn’t even home for 72 hours before hopping back on a plane to Jamaica for a destination wedding shoot. After returning from the beaches, we again were on the move, this time to Italy for a very special wedding shoot just south of Florence. Before going home, we made one stop at Cinque Terre – a place that I can’t wait to get back to! Back in Calgary for a few weeks, then again I was heading across the Atlantic ocean, this time stopping in Iceland en-route to a shoot in Norway. I’d never been to that area of the world, and was treated to a very unique Norwegian wedding with roots going back to the vikings. With camera in hand, I was also in British Columbia numerous times, up north for my annual steelhead fishing trip, shooting at the luxurious Minette Bay Lodge, and getting as far west as Tofino for a wedding this fall. I was hoping for sunshine, but couldn’t believe the window of amazing light that waited for us in between the ceremony and reception. Stories, images, emotions, sunsets blending into sunrise and the next adventure awaits. Wherever this finds you, I hope that 2014 is an incredible year, the very best one yet. Without further delay, and in no particular order, here are just a few of the images that found their way onto my camera sensor that now reside in my mind & heart.
One of my favourite presents this year arrived in the form of an invitation to join Justyna & Bryan in Italy to shoot their wedding. If you haven’t been, it’s one of those countries you immediately fall in love with. Buzzing through the twisty roads south of Florence in a peppy little Alfa Romeo is something everybody should get to experience. We arrived there a few days before the wedding, allowing us some time to head out to the coast, and scout the locations closer to where the wedding was taking place. Pulling up to the Castello di Montegufoni I couldn’t believe my eyes. They had chosen such a phenomenal place to tie the knot that I fear my words won’t do proper justice to describe what it was like. Walking through the massive wooden doors, past the thick stone walls, and into the courtyard was like walking back in time a thousand years. Just to think that this building had witnessed generations of families, battles, and changes to the world outside left me in a state of semi-daydreaming. On the morning of their wedding I went to join the girls getting ready adjacent to the impressive Italian garden. Many laughs were shared, more than a few tears of joy, and the odd glass of bubbly (and the even ones as well) made the rounds. Between the best friends and close family, there was love everywhere. I felt the same going to capture a few images of the groom getting ready with his brother, and best friends. We did the pre-ceremony reveal in a room that had a rich history and even more ornate decor. Getting to witness Justyna seeing Bryan for the first time, and him seeing her, is something I won’t ever forget. When a couple looks at each other they way they look at each other, you know you’re watching something truly magical. We did a few shots in and around the castle, then packed into the cars and headed off to the locations I had found earlier that week. Getting back to the castle, we had a bit of time before making our way to the courtyard ceremony. Beautiful surrounding, soft music coming off the harp, and the scent of the Tuscan countryside mixing with the sweet scent of roses all made for a memorable experience. From the ceremony we moved over to the reception room, and following the delicious dinner, hilarious and heartfelt speeches, we then were led down to a cellar for the party & dancing. I loved every minute of the trip, and will forever be thankful that Justyna & Bryan put their trust in me to capture this once in a lifetime wedding.
One of my favourite shoots to do every year is with the NHL Calgary Flames Fire & Ice Crew – also known as the Big Country Ice Crew. I had been thinking of a few different shoot concepts that would work well this this energetic and fun group, and knew I had made up my mind when this particular idea took root. Like any commercial shoot, there was a lot of planning that happened in advance, testing different lighting techniques, building the required props, and securing access to facilities and coordinating tight schedules. It was a fair bit of work, but I couldn’t be happier with the results. I had a blast working with them, but I definitely wasn’t working alone on this project. A huge thanks to Ryan for subjecting himself to a shower of sparks and lighting dozens and dozens of sparklers, and for being my extra set of hands and eyes at the shoot. Also, I’d like to thank Madd Pretty for doing a fantastic job of making sure the crew looked their very best in the makeup chair. Also, I couldn’t have pulled this off without the help and support of the Calgary Flames employees (especially Greger), Scotiabank Saddledome, and the Ice maintenance crew. Finally – thank you to all the beautiful and fun women from the Fire & Ice crew!!
Picture this: A man named Mark gets engaged to a woman named Shannon. Just so happens they get a referral to speak to a photographer by the name of Mark Shannon. Coincidence? I think not! I really had to do a double take when their inquiry came in – and throughout both our Sage-supported engagement session and during the course of their wedding day, hearing ‘Mark’ & ‘Shannon’ had me feeling like my head was on a swivel. These are the kind of people that you love being around – very creative, and incredibly positive, and simply a treat to get to know. You could tell a lot of thought went into their wedding, with rich fall colours throughout, and attention to detail at every turn. The ceremony, held at Shannon terrace in Fish Creek Park, was very personal and beautiful, officiated by a close personal friend of Shannon & Mark’s – Abby Charchun (who just happens to be a bride I got to shoot just last year). I think their ring bearer did his best, and just about succeeded in stealing the show! We did the photos close by the ceremony venue, and in the adjacent forest, before heading off to the reception. Again, walking into the room you could tell it was going to be a special evening, with the music provided by Musical Twist DJ’s. Knowing that Mark was an accomplished chef, I knew the food supplied by Devour Catering (his former employer) would be second to none – needless to say I was not disappointed. Both Shannon and Mark had planned some performances for each other, Mark with some beat poetry, and Shannon with a song (with backup vocals provided by the entire bridal party). It was a spectacular day, and I really feel lucky that everything aligned so that I could be there to capture the opening of the next chapter of their lives together.