Photography Journal

Poland Elopement Photographer | Bridal Adventure Session | Sopot, Poland

My husband and I spent a large part of our European tour in Poland as an opportunity for me to reconnect with my culture and language. Poland is a totally different country than the one we visited in 2007. Jeff and I would joke that the 2007 “Polish neutral” expression was a deep sadness in the eyes with hints of resignation (after learning more about the not so distant history of the region, it’s not an unreasonable position to take). My mom would warn me when I was younger that I couldn’t just smile and say hello to strangers on the street (as we do in Canada) because people would think there was something wrong with me – that I was ‘simple’. But it is different now. It feels open and creative. People were smiling, eating ice cream on park benches, and I heard Polish spoken in every country we visited.

After 11 years away, we first landed in Gdańsk. I was struggling with some vocabulary but doing my best to avoid falling back into English (which nearly everyone speaks now). I connected with a local wedding planner and floral designer, the talented Dorota Janicka-Kurlenda from Gdańska Pracownia Ślubów. Dorota and I hit it off immediately. We shared a vision for a styled photoshoot but I also think we were both excited for the opportunity to practice speaking in another language. Most of Dorota’s clients are Polish speaking so I think this was a fun opportunity to practice speaking “business English” with me. So she spoke English to me as I fumbled along in Polish, picking up and remembering new words every day.

Our mutual vision was to organize a beachy, horseback, boho bridal session and Dorota wanted to incorporate two different looks in terms of floral design. I was up for any adventure so I simply said to her, let’s make it happen! In just a few days, she rounded up an all-star team including makeup artist, Beata Fryz, bridal gowns from Carmen’s Salon, a horse from Ośrodek Konny Kolibki Adventure Park, and model/horsewoman, Zuzanna Kmiecik. We set our alarms for 0245 and met on a beach in Sopot (which is picturesque Baltic coastal town, by the way) and photographed these beauties at the 0400 sunrise.

Working with this team of strong Polish women had a real energy and sense of purpose. Then, as a total surprise, we were contacted by Weselnik, a local wedding magazine, who ended up using several photos for the cover and inside layout for their July issue! So great to work together, ladies! Dziękuję serdecznie!

Behind the scenes:

The lovely Dorota sharing a serene moment with Omega.

Beata Fryz, makeup artist extraordinaire:

The dream team, including Natalia from Ośrodek Konny Kolibki Adventure Park:

And the final product!

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Sam & Andres | London, UK

Six years ago, Jeff and I hiked the Lares trek in the Peruvian Andes, culminating at Machu Picchu. It was one of the most beautiful hikes we’ve done and many of our happy memories are because of these two as our hiking buddies. We stayed in touch over the years so were thrilled to have a reunion with Sam and Andres in London while on our European vacation!

Over breakfast, we were making a plan to explore the city when Sam hesitated and then asked, almost sheepishly, “do you like, uhh, taxidermy?” LOLZ. His question gave us a good laugh but what Sam was trying to gauge was would we appreciate the quirkiness of the Horniman Museum. Of course we would. For those of you who haven’t heard of the Horniman, it’s a wonderful little museum in South London dedicated to anthropology, natural history, musical instruments and is known for its large collection of taxidermied animals. Perhaps the most popular exhibit at this museum is of a stretched and overstuffed Canadian walrus. Over one hundred years ago, only a few people had seen a live walrus so the taxidermist didn’t realize that they were naturally a little wrinkly. The walrus is a bit of a celebrity and has its own hilarious twitter account you absolutely need to read.

The museum and gardens opened in 1901 so naturally, everything is gorgeous. I’m so glad Sam and Andres picked this location for their photoshoot. We walked around the property and then ended the evening with a picnic and cocktails in the park! So wonderful to see you both again! Thanks for showing us around London! Let’s go on an adventure again soon! 😘

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Kitkatla Adventure Session | BC Adventure Photographer

Lach Klan. Also known as Kitkatla. This peaceful village of ~450 people on an island between Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii is home to the Gitxaala Nation. It’s been my northern home where I’ve been living and working as an outpost nurse ~ 5 weeks in, 5 weeks out for the last (almost) six years. I’ve had the great pleasure to get to know most of the people here and is where I learned the true meaning of community.

I met Shailyn and Arisa through their moms who both worked at the health centre. It’s been an interesting experience to watch kids grow up here. For some reason, in my mind, kids are the same age as when I met them (6 years ago) so I’m regularly blown away when someone tells me they’re basically an adult and I still think they’re 12. It makes me feel kinda old in an amusing way.

So watching these two young ladies over the years has been a real delight. They are bright, ambitious and have some solid goals for their futures. Shailyn loves everything about the ocean and wants to be a marine biologist, and Arisa is an incredibly talented makeup artist and super amazing sister to her little brother.

Pretty much everyone here has been on a boat from the time they started walking, so I was really excited to head out with these two for an adventure session!

Woman, by Kesha, runs through my head every time I look at this photo of these badass ladies 😉

And then, through no fault of their own, the motor died and they did everything they could to restart it.

Luckily a passing fishing boat gave us a hand.

Our friend, Bruce, couldn’t get the motor started either.

So, he towed us back to “the float” and we all had a good laugh about it.

But, no time for nonsense. Back to modelling. Once we were back at the dock, we rowed to a nearby island.

Then we found another boat! Shailyn’s parents and little sister came back from a fishing adventure just before sunset. We hopped in and headed back out.

Our little island turned out to be a hot spot for sea urchin so Shailyn’s parents, Marilyn and Theo and baby sister, Arianna harvested while they waited for us 🙂

The sun set and it was time to go home. Thanks for the adventure, ladies! 😘

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Tin Poppy Elopement

I have been intrigued by the Tin Poppy Retreat ever since I picked up one of their brochures a couple of years ago. I started following them on Instagram and then decided to reach out to Maggie Shook to see if she wanted to collaborate on an elopement styled shoot. Maggie and her husband Jeremy are the most interesting and creative people and I wanted to spend way more time talking with them.

Each unique and inspired accommodation on this beautiful, 160 acre property in the Larch Hills has incredible character and style. It has three rentals available – the Lavender House, Violet Cabin and its namesake, the Tin Poppy. It’s eco (solar-powered!), rustic yet luxurious and an absolutely perfect place for an offbeat couple’s elopement or intimate wedding. If I could do it all over again, this is the just kind of place that I would absolutely get married. Thankfully there are always vow renewals, right?

I collaborated with these fantastic artists/vendors from the central and north Okanagan:

Dress/Veil: Bliss Bridal Kelowna – Facebook | Instagram

Hair/Makeup/Bridal Model: Tanisha Langner of T. Langner Lashes and Makeup – Facebook | Instagram

Groom Model: Zach Langner, Artist – Instagram

Suit/Shoes: J.Crew / Gucci

Floral: Katie LaRone 0f Sweet Pea Flowery – Facebook | Instagram

Jewelry: JC Bradley Jewellers – Facebook | Instagram

Catering/Styling/Venue: Tin Poppy Retreat – Facebook | Instagram

Thank you to everyone involved! It was a beautiful day and I can’t wait to come back and spend a cozy weekend by the fire at this forested retreat in the hills.

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Nisga’a Valley Adventure Travel Session | BC Adventure Photographer

This adventurous First Nations womxn explored the wilderness of BC

In my other life, I’m also an outpost nurse. I guess it’s not really “other” as I have been blending health and photography through various projects for years. I work in remote Indigenous communities in an advanced practice position providing primary, public health, and emergency care. I feel extremely fortunate to have explored all over BC and in Nunavut through this work.

For nearly six years, Lach Klan (also known as Kitkatla, home to the Gitxaała Nation) has been a second home for me. It is the kindest, most generous and welcoming community I have ever worked in. I get homesick for the land and ocean that surrounds this beautiful and wild island between Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert. It feels like coming home to family every time I return.

A few months ago, after my regular five-week rotation, I drove from Prince Rupert to Terrace to attend an ACLS/PALS/BLS course. For the non-health care folks in the group, that is Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and Basic Life Support – courses we have to recertify regularly to stay current and manage emergencies competently.

The drive along Highway 16 from Prince Rupert to Terrace is stunning. It’s 145 km of road tracing the banks of the Skeena River and sneaking through mountain valleys. I was in Terrace for only three days and each one was a 10-hour learning session except for one afternoon I wanted to take advantage of. I only know a handful of people in Terrace, most who were unavailable. So, after unsuccessfully trying to recruit someone from the table next to me at dinner (only because she had to work the following evening), I posted a model call on the local community Facebook page.

That is how I met Kendra.

I naturally gravitate towards strong and assertive women and was impressed at how fast Kendra responded to me and what a great communicator she was. We quickly established a wardrobe and set a plan to meet in the hotel lobby the following afternoon.

We drove to a few locations I had scouted years ago and got to know a bit about one another during the ride. Turns out she was also in healthcare, so we had lots to talk about – it also helped that Kendra was a natural model. Her 7-year-old daughter was right by my side taking photos and asking for pointers which I loved! In the end, it was a spontaneously fantastic afternoon that added a bit of beauty to the world.

This adventurous First Nations womxn explored the wilderness of BC

 

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A Breastfeeding Initiative – Vernon Public Health Unit

“Breastfeeding is always welcome here. A breastfeeding initiative.

Vernon Public Health Nursing in collaboration with Paulina O. Niechciał of Otylia Photography.”

I feel honoured to have my photos up at the Vernon Public Health Unit. Thanks to Jackie, one of the public health nurses for making this happen! What began as an invitation to join forces for the Breastfeeding Art Expo turned into this wonderful project! Real photos of breastfeeding and bottle-feeding moms around the clinic.

Hope you enjoy this little injection of beauty next time you take your kiddos in for a well baby visit, breastfeeding support or immunizations!

As always, thank you to the families in the photos 

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Mountain Love

Originally a coastal girl drawn to rainforests and tidal pools, I’ve come to love the mountains and their dramatic seasonal expressions.

I’ve been wanting to collaborate with Wearabouts Clothing Company at Silver Star Mountain for a while now, and it all came together for an autumn-inspired shoot with these two beautiful people.

The sky had been threatening rain all day, with ominous dark clouds rolling in just as we were about to get started. But, instead of rain, we were covered in bursts of snow making for some really fun October blizzard photos!

Thanks to Jessie Voss for her fabulous makeup skills! Find her on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out Wearabouts on Facebook and their Vernon page here.

And of course, a special thanks to Victoria and Jason – our beautiful neighbours 😘

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Kelowna Woodland Bridal Session

Such a pleasure to finally work with Sylvia Hajdu from Top Notch Art of Makeup! We had been talking about collaborating for a photoshoot for quite some time. Sylvia is a super talented makeup artist and really fun person to be around. Can’t wait for our next project together!

Thanks to Wild Ginger Floral Design for your GORGEOUS floral crown and Devon from DejaVu Model Management for your mad modelling skillz.

Makeup: Sylvia Hajdu of Top Notch Art of Makeup – Facebook | Instagram

Floral crown: Wild Ginger Floral Design – Facebook | Instagram

Model: Devon Nagle from DejaVu Model Management – Facebook | Instagram 

Dress: David’s Bridal

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GABRIELA & JURI | LOS ANGELES, CA | APRIL 2017

“I cannot say enough good things about Paulina. Hiring her as my wedding photographer was one of the best wedding decisions I made. I am very self conscious about being photographed but she made me so at ease throughout the whole process. At first, I wasn’t into the idea of doing an engagement photo shoot, but Paulina convinced us saying it would allow us to get comfortable being photographed by her before the wedding. We ended up spending an afternoon in Venice beach which turned out to be so much fun! Just before the wedding day, Paulina sent us the engagement shoot photos, and after seeing how beautiful and natural they looked I realized that our wedding photos were in great hands.

All of our photos look incredible and truly capture the atmosphere of our wedding day. I also love that Paulina listened to my concerns and found a perfect balance between posed pictures (which I don’t love but you inevitably have to do) and candid ones. Paulina’s beautiful work speaks for itself, but I also want to add that she is a wonderful person and just really fun to be around. Thank you so much Paulina, I love your work!”

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Gabriela + Juri | Los Angeles Engagement

Gabriela + Juri. Venice, California.

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