A Beautiful Bride on her Magical Day!

Katelyn Smeall became Mrs. Walker on July 28, 2018 where I had the honor of spending the morning with her to capture her last moments as a Smeall, as she prepared for her walk down the isle.

Katie has become one of my dearest friends over the past few years. I met her through her husband Brodie Walker at the beginning of their relationship. Katie was so easy to get along with – her pure and gentle spirit makes her an amazing friend. Katie has always taken the time to get to know Brodie’s friends and she has been welcomed into our lives as a sister. I am very grateful to have gained such a wonderful friend in her.

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Katie asked me if I would be willing to take her getting ready photos for her wedding and I was so honored and excited to do so. I wanted to share some of my favorites with you and I hope you enjoy!


Now a wedding would not be complete without a few key people to celebrate the day!

It’s time to announce the bridesmaids…

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Maid of Honor – Shauna O’Meara has been one of Katie’s best friends since High School where they first met and have been best friends ever since.  They tell each other everything and have always been there for each other through the good and the bad.  They share a love of Johnny Depp, drinking wine, going to yoga, chocolate and cheese.

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Bridesmaid – Jillian Mortensen has known Katie since they were 7 years old and they did everything together growing up; from soccer, to family vacations, sharing a love of Spice Girls and N’SYNC, and eating popcorn till they can’t move.

 

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Bridesmaid – Laura Smeall is the brides younger sister. They have amazing memories of living in Montreal together and spending summers swimming in their Aunt’s pool, shopping and eating endless amounts of poutine.

Now we can’t forget the most important people in Katie’s life – her parents! Maggie and Bob have done a truly prodigious job with raising their two daughters. They are kind, compassionate and caring individuals. They always welcome us into their home as family and it was a pleasure capturing heartwarming moments like this…

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A father seeing his daughter in her wedding gown for the first time is an absolutely beautiful moment! This is my favorite wedding moment, aside from watching the groom see the bride for the first time while walking down the isle.

Nothing is more precious than the bond between mother and daughter nor can anything replace the love a mother has for her children! That love is so evident in these photos.

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I just want to say thank you to Brodie and Katelyn for allowing me to be a part of this special day. I hope your days are filled with love, laughter and happily ever after!

 

Curtis Family Holiday Session

“Family isn’t defined only by last names or by blood; it’s defined by commitment and by love. It means showing up when they need it most. It means having each other’s backs. It means choosing to love each other even on those days when you struggle to like each other. It means never giving up on each other!” – Dave Willis

Curtis 5 LogoKeiko and James Curtis met in Keiko’s home country of Japan. James was traveling to find new adventures and ended up finding his greatest adventure of all; love. They married in Japan and moved to Ontario, Canada, where James is from, in 2010 to pursue a life together. They moved out west first to High River and then to Calgary in 2012 so that James could find work. James is a teacher and Keiko is a full time mom to their two beautiful children.

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Reiji is 3 years old and a little shy to strangers. He absolutely loves being up high by sitting upon dad’s shoulders. Keiko shared a story that Reiji could be on his dad’s shoulders forever and that he even fell asleep up there one time. Reiji challenged me with his strong will to fight every urge to smile, but he warms up to you when he has something to play with; such as pinecones and mugs that we used for some fun props!  This allowed us to capture his true personality of being a joyful and happy child. Reiji is so caring to his younger sister and in the short time that I spent with them I could see how great of a big brother he is to her!

Curtis 12 LogoMina is only a year old but has some serious strength for her size! She was walking at only 11 months and when placed in a standing pose, she holds her ground and stays put! She didn’t say a peep all morning but was definitely not camera shy. She enjoyed playing with the Christmas ornaments and even turned it into a game with placing them in the mugs. Keiko has her dressed in the cutest clothes ranging from an adorable white bear to a plaid onesie with a moose bottom! She was so happy just playing around outside and definitely preferred walking to being carried. She is strong willed and will be a very independent and beautiful young lady!

I hope these photos bring you a sense of natsukashii* some day and you will remember your family in this moment and how much you loved one another and how amazing each and every one of you are!

*Natsukashii adj. (Japanese) of some small thing that brings you suddenly, joyously back to fond memories, not with a wistful longing for what’s past, but with an appreciation of the good times.

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It was such a pleasure to catch a glimpse into the lives of this amazing family and I wish them all the best in their future. Thank you to the Curtis family for allowing me to spend some time getting to know you and capturing some of your memories that you will cherish and share with family this holiday season.

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Calgary River Surfers

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“The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun” – Duke Kahanamoku

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Have you ever walked along the Bow River in Calgary, AB right in the downtown core? Well something unique caught my eye the last time I ventured through the urban jungle. I came across four individuals catching some unique waves on the water. I had never seen anything like it before. After doing a bit of research I discovered that there is an entire community of individuals who river surf and even an official association.

The Alberta River SurfinDowntown 9 Logog Association (ARSA), founded in 2005, rates the 10th street location in Calgary as a beginner, low risk area where you can learn how to control your board and get up on the waves. In these photos you can see some people still getting comfortable with the waves and taking things slow, and then a few who are starting to test the waters and develop their skills. This was such a cool experience to photograph and I will definitely be looking into this for myself!

Hit up the ARSA website (https://albertariversurfing.com) to find information on locations, gear and equipment, safety, local knowledge, pictures and the history of River Surfing.  With the ocean being so far away from Calgarians, having a hidden oasis to escape to and just be one with the waves is truly a wonder! I encourage you to check it out, as I did, and discover something new about our great city!

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Kramar Family Photo Session

“Attract what you expect, reflect what you desire, become what you respect, mirror what you admire” – Unknown

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Amanda and Lev have been together for just about 5 years and happily married for the last three. Their marriage inspires me to become a better person so I can attract someone into my life and share countless memories with as Amanda and Lev have. Amanda and Lev each have unique personalities, both full of strengths and weaknesses, and they work together to build each other’s strengths and support one another’s weaknesses. They know their marriage is not always easy but they set an amazing example by working with each other to grow together and build a strong foundation built on love and trust.

“Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections” – Unknown

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Lev and Amanda have bonded so strongly that they can go from joking around and playing to sitting down and having serious life discussions about their future all within a few moments of one another. They have really taken the time to understand one another so that they can ensure they are building each other up rather than tearing each other down.

 

 

 

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These two make up such a beautiful family, and of course, who could forget the cutest member, Catlas the cat. When Catlas was first adopted by the Kramar’s, he was incredibly fat. With love, exercise and having fun playing, he is now healthy and full of cat cuddles.

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I am so blessed to know these two and to be Catlas’ God mother and I hope I was able to capture their passion for one another in my photos!

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Feenstra Fall Family Photos

The Feenstra Family of 3 was so much fun to photograph this fall. They were so patient with me and allowing me to experiment with posing and light. I am so happy with how their photos turned out and I hope you enjoy!

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Ryan and Lauren Feenstra met on July 26, 2013 and decided to embark on life’s journey together by tying the knot just over two years later on September 26, 2015 . Ryan is a family guy but also enjoys playing hockey and gaming with the guys. Lauren is creative and loves being a wife and a mom. She especially enjoys designing furniture for her husband to build, turning their beautiful house into a happy home.

 

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Lauren and Ryan knew it wouldn’t be just the two of them forever and so they began their family on December 1, 2016 when their beautiful baby boy Blake Edward Feenstra was born. Blake is always in a good mood when people are around and was probably the easiest baby ever to photograph. He was so smiley and would always look at the camera when asked. He is still learning to walk on his own so we had some fun getting him to waddle. Just look at that face….how could anyone resist!

 

 

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This family is a blessing to anyone in their lives and you can feel the love they have for one another in these photos. Blake truly is their ikigai*.

*Ikiga n. (Japanese) A reason for being; the thing that gets you up in the morning.

 

 

“The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and the memories we’ve made along the way” – Unknown

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Brodie & Katelyn

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I had the privilege of photographing two of my best friends yesterday in the beautiful Fish Creek Park as we begin celebrating their engagement. Brodie and Katelyn have such a special relationship with one another and that connection comes across beautifully on camera. I had such a blast getting to share this moment with them and I cannot wait until the big day!

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I have known Brodie for many years now and am blessed to have him as a friend. Brodie knows how to have a good time with friends and values spending time with his family. He is very athletic, having played high level hockey most of his life, and enjoys getting his nerd on with superheroes and star wars!

B&K 1Katelyn is a gem, and such a kind, caring and fun woman. I have been friends with Katelyn since she met Brodie two years ago and I value our friendship greatly. She has embraced Brodie’s nerdy quirks and even shares in his fandom for Disney. Brodie and Katelyn take an annual trip to Disney every summer and this past summer, Brodie popped the question in full Disney style! We had the opportunity to incorporate some of this fun into our photo shoot.

 

 


But worry you not, we also threw in some Star Wars fun!

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“You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting” – Peter Pan

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“The greatest risk any of us will take is to be seen as we are” – Cinderella

“They say if you dream a thing more than once, it’s sure to be true” – Sleeping Beauty

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Global Fest 2017 – Calgary, AB

“Go to the people and the places that set a spark in your soul” – Unknown

Global Fest is an annual arts and culture festival that celebrates cultural diversity and artistic expression along with an amazing fireworks celebration in Calgary, AB. The event takes place over two weeks, showcasing the world’s best pyrotechnics set to music (pyromusicals). Elliston Park has been the home to this amazing fireworks display and the reflections in the lake provide a magical, almost fairytale like, atmosphere for everyone to enjoy. This event draws photographers from all over the area to capture the mechayeh* this festival brings. This was my first year trying to portray the emotion of this spectacular show on camera. I hope you enjoy learning about the festival and my photographs.

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*Mechayeh: n. Joy; delight; literally something that has brought you back from death to life and therefore something relieving or refreshing; a great enjoyment; a real joy; rapture.

Global Fest’s first show was in 2003 with only 3 different countries participating in the event and 10 cultural pavilions. The festival attracted over 100,000 people the first year and has been growing strong annually. Since then, many different countries have participated in this event including but not limited to, Spain, China, Philippines, USA, Mexico, India and Ukraine. Typically, each country competes with another country on one evening and gets points based on select criteria. The two countries that score the highest will then compete again on the last night for the finale.

2017 marked the 15th year anniversary celebration of Global Fest and it just so happens to coincide with Canada’s 150th year anniversary celebration. To honour our nations Sesquicentennial, Global Fest strayed from it’s typical Internationally focused competitions and hosted an all Canadian themed event. The 6 firework displays were as follows:

 

  • Day 1: The West
  • Day 2: Prairies
  • Day 3: Ontario
  • Day 4: Quebec
  • Day 5: Atlantic
  • Day 6: Finales

 

Although 2017 was a Canadian theme, the night market still focused on cultural diversity by displaying many food vendors and merchandising shops from countries and cultures around the world. Music filled the air   while dancers captivated your sight, immersing you in the cultures surrounding you. Getting the opportunity to experience the lifestyles of many different countries all in one place is a part of what makes this event so great. You can taste food from across the ocean and then view another countries unique gifts while getting to bask in the emotional and spiritual elements of a country through music and movement.

Visit the Global Fest website for more details and what you can expect for 2018!

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