For those of you that follow my blog likely already know I’m probably even more at home in the mountains than in the city, so when an invitation to shoot a wedding in Lake Louise arrived in the inbox, I couldn’t accept fast enough! I love every minute I get to shoot in the rocky mountains, and getting to hang out and capture Kari & Keenan on their wedding day last month was special to say the least. I headed up a couple hours early on their wedding day to check out some new spots and simply take in the gorgeous mountain backdrop. The weather was all over the place that day, but by some miracle the clouds parted just in time for the ceremony, and it stayed nice for the whole time we were out shooting. After a few pictures around the Chateau Lake Louise, we then headed off to another couple locations not far from the hotel before returning in time for the cocktails and start of the reception. Many thanks go out to the talented artists of Maddpretty for the makeup work, and to Stephanie and her Lynn Fletcher Weddings team for all their hard work making sure the day went smoothly. Of course the meal was delicious, and the Victoria Ballroom at the Chateau never disappoints!! Congratulations Kari & Keenan – and thank you for ‘dragging’ me out to the mountains to shoot your amazing wedding!
I was floored when I heard the great news about April & Travis expecting their first child this summer. It really seems like yesterday I was watching them walk down the aisle at their amazing wedding at Sunshine. Fast forward (a little more than) 9 months and you have a very pregnant April. And looking at Travis, I can’t remember when I last saw an expectant father that excited. When people ask what I like about being a photographer, the first thing that comes to mind is the people. Getting to meet so many wonderful people from all over the place. I get to be there no only for their engagement, their wedding, but there to meet and capture those first few days of them having a baby – I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I just did these portraits and couldn’t resist putting a few on the blog to share…
These kids know how to have fun. From the first day I met them out in Fernie on the ski hill, it was no secret being anywhere near them would be a blast! When they got in touch with me to shoot their wedding, and through the engagement session, I got a better feel for what they had in store. I was definitely not disappointed, and wasn’t all that surprised when a request came through to hit up a local ‘dive bar’ during the photo session. As it turned out, mother nature opened up an hour of liquid-luck at the same time we ducked into the ‘in’famous Lord Nelson. Kudos to the locals for sharing the space, the generous VLT coaches for the gift (Jennie doubled it in no time), and staff for the round of shots. Not every day you get a request for portraits in front of a urinal, but yes, that happened. Almost topped by Jennie accidentally pouring Ryan a Jack & Clamato at the bar !?! From there we headed off to find some grunge to dirty the wedding dress and challenge the high heels – sorry girls! A quick stop up at C.O.P, then off to the Al Azhar Shriners for the reception and party. And it lived up to all my expectations – didn’t I mention these two know how to have fun? Congratulations Jennie & Ryan – thank you for letting me tag along and snap a few with you guys!
It’s that time of year again, when the days start getting longer, the trees start to put on their green summer dress, and I find myself at some really incredible weddings. Hannah + Conrad put on such an occasion out in the Columbia Valley last month. I spent many summers playing in Windermere lake and rolling down the sand hill, so returning here was like returning home in a lot of ways. A week before their wedding I headed out from Calgary to do my scouting, and was reminded of how fantastic that drive is. Rolling through the mountains of Kootenay National Park and passing through the ‘rock gates’ of Radium twice in one week – I felt spoiled. When their wedding day arrived, mother nature made sure to throw a few wildcards at us with some heavy rain, some dry hours, and a little blue sky as we headed back for the reception. The ceremony was held at Eagle Ranch Resort, a beautiful golf course & facility adjacent to Invermere, with the reception being held just across the highway at the newly built Copper Point Resort. I loved the attention to detail that they put into their wedding, and all of the extra hours Hannah put into making sure it went off without a hitch. I’m still a little shocked that they had no problem rock climbing up to an outcropping of bright orange rocks – in their dress shoes no less! Thank you both for your amazing energy, trust in the creative process, and simply being so fun to hang out with!!
Which is harder:
a) Swimming with skis on
b) Swimming with a snowboard attached
c) Using either to get you across a 60′ span of neck deep slush
d) All the of the above – in ice cold water (literally ice cold – they had to break the ice before they could start!)
Just a few of many captured on the final weekend out at Fernie Alpine Resort in BC – season finale included a packed performance by the Dudes in the village plaza & beer gardens. What a way to cap off another fantastic year on the slopes. Now to hang up the skis, dust off the bike, and rig the fly rods…
Living so close to the rocky mountains we get to spend as much time as possible outside, skiing, biking, fishing, and if lucky, there to capture a fantastic wedding day. This spring I was asked to shoot for Alison & Jay in Canmore, a beautiful and quaint town just on this side of Banff National Park. I’ve been fortunate enough to shoot in Canmore, most often in the summer, so it was a treat to get out there in March to cover their amazing wedding. A few days beforehand, I headed out to scout the area and get a better feel for where we might be able to shoot – one of my favourite pre-wedding exercises. As per usual, I dreamed up enough to shoot for 12 hours – more than enough options to say the least. On their wedding day, we did a quick reveal at the Solara Resort in Canmore – I loved watching Jay’s jaw drop when he first saw Alison!! We headed off with the rest of the bridal party to a few hidden places – and kudos to them for braving the ‘bracing chill’ of the wind up on the pass. Back to Silvertip Golf Course for the ceremony and reception – delicious food, great music, and laughs all around. Keeping the day flowing smoothly was the very talented Callandra & her team from Cherry Tree Occasions, captured on video for all time by the always fun Aydin Odyakmaz. Watching their guests cycle through the photobooth/mini-studio we’d set up was hilarious – they do know we get to see the pictures right? The speeches were both funny and heartfelt – you could easily tell how much their family & friends mean to them. An amazing day in a beautiful town – I can’t wait to see what’s next for Alison & Jay!
The day we planned to meet up to do their engagement session, mother nature threw us a serious curveball – one of those crazy late winter storms that coated the city in snow, and plunged the temperatures to almost 20 below. Fast forward a couple weeks and we had a beautiful afternoon to hang out downtown – gotta love this city in the spring. Kari & Keenan showed up with their surprisingly well behaved and friendly dog – always love having a favourite pet along for a shoot. It was a lot of fun getting to have them in front of the lens and definitely planted some creative seeds for their wedding next month!
What an amazing way to start off the month of April – only fool was the one who wasn’t out enjoying the mountains that day! Had an incredible day shooting for Rocky Mountain Riders based at Kicking Horse Mountain Ski resort in Golden, BC
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.
There’s something truly magical about the west coast. I have felt the draw to head over the rocky mountains and to the rocky shores of BC ever since I was young. I lived on Vancouver Island for 6 years, and there is definitely part of me that never leaves the island when I left for Calgary so many years ago. When Courtney and Owen mentioned that they were planning a wedding in Tofino I had a hard time holding back my excitement. Even though hopping on a plane would’ve saved some time no doubt, I savoured every kilometre of the drive, the ferry, and then the twisty highway that leads across the island from Port Alberni to the picturesque town of Tofino on the west coast. Being the rainforest, it definitely lived up to it’s reputation on the wedding day save for a couple precious hours when we were out to do photos. I couldn’t believe our luck, walking outside mere minutes after buckets of water were falling from the sky, to see bright sunshine and blue skies. The attention to detail at their wedding was amazing – you could tell a lot of thought had been put into every personal touch. After running around with the crew for photos, we returned for the reception, capped off by a beautiful display of fireworks launched from the beach. Whoever came up with the idea of playing the theme song from ‘Reading Rainbow’ during the cake cutting, brilliant! I loved every minute of that trip, their wedding day, and relish the thought of heading back out to the coast for the next adventure.
It was a year and a half ago that I first heard from Amrita & Avneet about their wedding. From our first communication and my experiences covering Sikh weddings, I knew this would be an amazing event. When we met up to discuss what kind of photography coverage they were looking for, I was already seeing beautiful vibrant coloured saris, ornate jewelry, family gathering from all over the world, music, non-stop dancing, and special ceremonies that have taken place for thousands of years. For the uninitiated, a Sikh wedding is truly a feast for all of your senses. As a photographer, it is a treat to say the least – and Amrita & Avneet’s wedding week did not disappoint. I spent five straight days with them at their homes, with their families, and at the gurdwara for their formal ceremony. Many thanks to Steve Dutcheshen for coming along as the very talented second photographer on this massive undertaking. There were lots of laughs, some tears, and memories I won’t soon forget. The following images took place over two of the five days – witnessing the opening of the next chapter for this incredible couple. I can’t wait to see what Ricky and his team from Videogenic put together from the footage captured along the way. A huge thank you to the family for making me feel so welcome during the week, and for helping things move along so smoothly.
It’s pretty rare that a wedding goes off exactly as planned. Sometimes it could be something little such as slightly mismatched socks. Other times, you could find yourself shopping for bridesmaids dresses on the day of the wedding because the ones you had custom made weren’t completed in time. Yes – that’s the situation that Holly & Chris faced the morning of their wedding, and with the help of their bridal party they pulled it off. I couldn’t believe how well Holly & girls handled it – nothing could hold this group back from what ended up being a fantastic wedding & reception! It was a bit of mad dash to get everybody together, dressed, and to the ceremony close to the planned start time. It was a beautiful Saturday out in Cochrane, and following the ceremony we did some shots on site, down by the small stream, in the forest, and then off to another location I had scouted with just the newlyweds. Returning to the reception, they had some very heartfelt speeches, a surprise beer keg delivery, and the groom’s brother pulling a triple shift as MC, groomsman, and DJ. I loved getting to spend the time with these two – picking up right where we left off from the engagement session we did out near Radium BC.
I just had to post a few from the engagement session I did with Lacey & Adam the other week – an amazing couple I got to know almost a year ago in Mexico. Their wedding next summer is definitely going to be a blast!!
This incredible couple came my way through a referral by the very talented Jenn Dystra of Open Image Photography, and in hindsight it was like I was being given an amazing gift simply getting to get to know Shafeena & Hussein. I was lucky enough to work with them both in Toronto on their engagement session (part 1), and their cowboy themed Calgary engagement session (part 2) in addition to the Pithi ceremonies and their Nikkah (wedding ceremony). From the first time I spoke with them during our Skype meeting I knew I liked them. They are such genuine people, and after meeting their loving parents I knew where this came from. Their wedding day was a classic August summer day in the prairies, with endless blue skies, warm sunshine, and wheat fields slowly making the transition from green to yellow. Prior to the wedding day, I scouted a beautiful location on the edge of the city limits. Normally the kind of place you might just drive by, this one stood out and worked as a perfect venue for their reveal. From there we headed off to another location in Cochrane closer to Glen Eagles golf course. Shooting the Nikkah outside was a treat, as every other Ismaili wedding I had done was indoors. It was incredibly heartfelt and barely a dry eye was to be seen. Following the ceremony we headed off to do a few more shots on a bluff overlooking the quaint townsite, with the towering peaks of the rockies far off in the distance. Again, watching them get to see each other for the first time all dressed to the nines in more ‘western’ wedding clothing was something I won’t soon forget. These two are in love – the way they look at each other, the compassion they show for each other, and how they talk about each other – the term soulmates couldn’t be applied more appropriately. Hussein’s speech had me in stitches – his now being able to get rid of the other ‘men’ in Shafeena’s life – Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton… etc… good luck with that!! Going through the process of editing their wedding I realized that my heart & mind are still processing what my eyes witnessed and camera captured that day. Thank you both.