Springtime Wandering

Sometimes I get so busy that I don’t take the time to explore the wonderful green spaces that Calgary has. It is so incredibly gorgeous here during the warm months, its really a shame that I have to work during the day!

During the magic hour the other day, I decided to wander through a wild, lush area and get inspired by nature (and scope out some new locations for portraits). I don’t normally take photos of things without people, but it was good to stretch out my nature photography muscles a bit. Not only did I get some cool shots, my boyfriend also found a patch of wild mint! Score!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan is an American country singer, hailing from Georgia. You’ve probably heard his song Country Girl (Shake it for me), and if you haven’t, you’ll probably hear it at stampede this year. 🙂 Luke has been nominated for Choice Male Country Artist (2012 Teen Choice Awards), will be playing at the CMT Awards, and if you watch the reality show, “The Bachelorette” you will have seen him playing a few songs on the third episode!

A while back, I got the oppotunity to shoot a small, intimate Luke Bryan show at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino. I really enjoyed it – Luke was up close and personal with his fans and interacted with them, taking requests and even doing a shot with a fan on-stage. I would even hazard to say that it was one of my favorite live performances. Props to you, Luke.

 

Dean Brody at Ranchman’s

To celebrate, they threw an epic birthday party at Ranchman’s with a show by Dean Brody. Dean Brody played to a crowd of screaming fans, and had fun doing it! Here are some shots from the night.

Dean Morrison Band at Vicious Circle

If you’ve been following my work, you may remember previous posts on the Dean Morrison Band. Well, the DMB (as I will call them for short) played a fantastic acoustic set at Vicious Circle earlier this spring for an event called Night for Nepal.

More info on the DMB here:

http://www.reverbnation.com/deanmorrison

Technical Breakdown: Unfortunately, the lighting was rather crummy and as I don’t normally shoot music with flash, I had to make some very last minute adjustments to my Standard Music Camera Settings. I’m pretty nerdy and I have worked out tried and true shutter/aperture/ISO settings, with small deviations for different light set ups. So, shooting the band in this “non-existant” lighting, something had to be sacrificed, and unfortunately it was the clarity of the photos. You’ll notice that they are a bit grainy, but a sweet little workaround for that is to convert the images to black and white, as higher speed film tends to be more grainy looking and this emulates that. 🙂

Precious Portraits

I’ve started to write this blog many times over the last couple months, but the words I chose didn’t seem to fit what I had to say. In the end, what I needed to say boiled down to this: portraits of your loved ones are so precious, and there really is no price you can put on the memories captured.
This is very real to me as my uncle passed away about a month ago. I still have a hard time accepting it.
I took family photos a few years ago that included my uncle, but the external hard drive I had them on stopped working right around the time I got the news and I couldn’t access those files. I was devastated. Luckily, I was able to recover the files, but that feeling that washed over me when I thought that they were gone was one of the most terrifying feelings I had ever experienced.
The moral of the story here is, don’t wait to get that family portrait you’ve been putting off. Give a gift certificate for a portrait session to your mom, dad or significant other. Don’t hesitate because its a little out of your budget, because those photos will be worth all of the money in the world once your loved ones are gone. You don’t have to come to me, this really isn’t about shameless self-promotion. Just get professional photos done. It is worth it.
On that note, a friend of mine asked me to take some portraits of her grandmother, as she had never had nice photos of herself. She didn’t speak of word of english, but even through the translation and dictation, her sweetness shone through and I had a ton of fun.

The Rocket House rocks it again

The Rocket House played another stellar gig for a dance held at the Calgary Stake Center. The theme for the night was A Very Un-Birthday Party, and a very merry un-birthday party it was!  There was a birthday cake, a Bungee Run, and a dance-off during the concert!  All in all, it was a splendid night. I look forward to the next Rocket House show!

Christmas in Arizona

Some of you might know already that I spent Christmas in Arizona. It was a great experience, I was completely fascinated by the differences in culture. So without further ado, here are my photos documenting this trip. 🙂

We flew out of Calgary in the late afternoon and arrived in Phoenix late that afternoon. We were staying with my grandparents in an RV resort, so even though it was already dark, we decided to explore a bit. I found frondy trees, and a pool!

The next morning, we hopped into the rental van, and headed to Yuma! I couldn’t get over how different the landscape was – I felt as though I was in a John Wayne movie! We all ate at a Cracker Barrel, I definitely did not know that it was a restaurant. It was very rustic, and interesting. Grits, biscuits and gravy to be had for all! We also went orange-picking, super cool! They grow things year-round in Arizona and being from snowy Canada, its a bit to comprehend.

    

From Yuma, it is only a short distance to Mexico. We decided to cross the border at Algodones, a little Mexican border town. In a four block radius, you can find pharmacies, doctors, dentists and optometrists in a large number. About 50% of the people who approached me were trying to sell me these professional services! My grandpa wanted to get a haircut there because a men’s cut is $3. Besides professional services, there were also artists who painted their wares in front of you – one lady used a plastic bag to paint! It was really neat. My mom convinced my dad to get his shoes shined, and as a teacher I think he really enjoyed talking to the little guy about school and sports. I bought a few things, but I found the quality of the products to all be sub-par and not really unique. We headed back to Yuma for lunch, then back to Phoenix for the night.

       

On Christmas Eve, we decided we wanted to do something together that was Christmassy, so we drove to the Arizona Celebration of Lights, a drive through light display. It was very similar to the zoolights here in Calgary, except you drove and tuned your radio to a specific frequency for the show.

We decided we wanted to do some hiking in the mountains (I feel weird calling them that because they don’t seem like mountains should be…). It was really nice – the temperature was around 20C, and there were no bugs or critters around. I guess that’s because it is their winter season, despite the temperature, and most creatures are hibernating.

We also wanted to spend some time in Scottsdale (downtown Phoenix) so we took the Light Rail into the city. They had a lot of historic buildings, some of which had been there since the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. There were a lot of touristy things, like this lovely old man playing guitar and singing, and horse-drawn carriage rides. There also was a man dressed to look like a statue – he would hold a pose until someone would sit next to him, and then he would turn his head and look at them. I tried to get my sister to do that, but she saw him moving before I could get her to sit next to him.

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I had become quite sick in the last couple of days that we were in Phoenix, so I was quite glad to be on my way back to Calgary. All in all it was a great experience, and I would love to go back again!