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!

Posted in Adventure Session, Styled Shoot, Weddings, Womxn | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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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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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