I acquired my first camera, a Nikon FG SLR, at the age of 14. I kept a journal on my triangle of exposure and how it affected the photos upon their return from the lab. I took my beautiful friends out to beautiful places to stage beautiful shots of beautiful things. Nothing beats learning on a film camera. If anyone asks what my most favourite photo I’ve ever taken was I could easily recall it was on a film camera. My best friend Joel and his majestic beard glowing in the sunset as we watched it descend over a provincial park. He was laughing at something I had said. It not only caught a genuine moment between friends, it had that BEAUTIFUL film grain and look to it that you cannot reproduce on a digital camera.
When I went digital at 18 years old, my shooting life changed. I’d bring my camera everywhere and shoot everything and not worry about buying film and spending money developing it. I started going to punk and metal shows in local downtown bars and shooting the nightlife. I was NOT very good at it. Even though people told me I was, for the most part it was kindness from friends who had someone with a nice camera to shoot their shows. Their support in my craft meant the world to me, just like my support showing up at their shows did to them. It was a different, darker and more appealing scene to me from the beautiful flowers and friends I had practiced on in the past. Much harder to master, too. If you load up my ipod, you will still find the music I most listen to from the local punk musicians back home. I love the light, airy, colourful weddings I shoot, but there is something comforting and fun I feel when going back to shooting punk shows. As if I’m going back to my roots of where I began calling myself a photographer. Shooting live music is always challenging, but very rewarding!
Recently I was asked to shoot a show that consisted of a couple pop-punk bands, a psychobilly band and a horror rockn’roll band at the Grog and Tankard bar near Stafford, VA. Arriving I felt like an old fogey. I was tired. It was loud. I kept running through the 23407 things I needed to do. When the bands finally started I was ready for bed. Even though the crowd that night was sparse, the bands on stage had the energy that really kicked things off for me. I adored them. I wished the bar was full of my musician friends who would all have one foot up on the stage, a fist in the air, and a beer in their hands for these guys. It rekindled my love for late nights and live music. I was able to see three out of the four bands that night – Set to Sail, The Limit Club and By The Graveyard Tree. Now, most of my clients reading this wouldn’t really be into horror punk but if you are, definitely check them out. I can’t say my secret love for punk is that secret to those who know me best – my bachelorette party was a live bar show with my favourite local bands as were the three birthdays I had before that. After I got out of my old lady shell (27 is old lady now, right?) I had such a great time. I’ll definitely be looking for these bands to come back around locally. I’ll be honest, I’m kicking myself for not buying a Limit Club CD. Thankfully, things like ReverbNation exist where you can buy the music online!
The Limit Club
By The Graveyard Tree
Set to Sail
The spring rain is coming a little bit late in the season, but before we were inundated with grey skies and wet feet I had a chance to shoot some headshots (and other fun shots!) for a local young actor. Muggs Leone is in my opinion a rare gem amongst kids his age. Rarely do you find him bored or at a standstill. If he is not busy getting A’s across the board at Fredericksburg Academy, he is grabbing his stuff and zipping out the door to make one of his many extra curricular activities happen. This little guy can do it all. He is busy learning and practicing everything from piano and voice to swimming and chess. If you’re into local FXBG theatre like I am, you’ve definitely seen Mr. Leone on stage. He has made debuts with several theatre groups and continues to build his extensive resume all at the age of 12. He’s been cast with Riverside Dinner theatre, Stage Door Productions, and Fredericksburg Theatre Ensemble – to name a few.
The way Muggs speaks about the things he is doing is passionate and exciting, all with a sparkle in his eye. This talented fella has big summer plans for modelling and in the fall will be attending an arts-centric school to further build on his skills and learn new ones. That is one thing I love about this kid – he is always learning and trying new things. No fear for this one! His kind and inquisitive nature means he can be found on his Kindle grabbing a new recipe for dinner (and yes, he does cook, too!) or sneaking off to the Butcher to buy his mom her favourite icecream as a surprise. Big heart, big smile, big talent.
We can’t forget to mention BB Leone, Muggs’ trusted loyal companion. BB is a American Staffordshire Terrier that he rescued from the shelter through Bully Paws as a birthday gift. I told you – big heart! BB and Muggs are well known to frequent the downtown area on family walks and patio brunches. It won’t be long before this unique and determined boy makes his way into your heart or onto your screen!
Okay, so I may very well have a penchant for shooting photo sessions at the University of Mary Washington Campus. I can’t help it, it’s ridiculously beautiful any given day of the year – but magical in the fall. It begs you to walk it’s historic grounds with some type of hot beverage from the Hyperion, craning your neck at the huge colonial style buildings while shuffling your feet through crisp, autumn leaves. I may have mentioned once or twice or a million times my ultimate jealousy of the students that are blessed to be taking classes on such a beautiful campus. Buh. Someone please sponsor me to go back to school just so I can be there everyday. ;)
I met my family of four on what was possibly the most perfect day of the season and I had such a great time shooting with them. I felt as if I was doing a catalog shoot with a model family! I love the way mom styled the session and picked out the perfect clothing for an afternoon in autumn. To get some choice conversational content with the young’uns at the beginning of the session, I asked the little boy who his favourite superhero was and he said “SPIDERMAN!”. Then I asked the girl who her favourite superhero was and she said, “DADDY!”. My heart melted! So sweet. I smiled the whole time editing this session remembering how much fun I had and how adorable this family was!
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by your family and friends! Even though being Canadian I’ve been over Thanksgiving for a month now, I will still partake in the tradition of stuffing my face! Happy Thanksgiving!
I am lucky that in my line of work and in my extra curricular activity as a volunteer for a theatre group to be able to work with bright, young and vibrant high school students. I hate/love to admit that I am no longer a teenager, but considered a young adult (at least for a couple more years.. I think…wah!). People always assume I am much, much older than I am, and when they realize they are off a decade make stumbled justifications like “but you’re so mature ” (yeah, right), or “but you’ve accomplished so much!” (thanks, I think). I married young, ditched my motherland and started my own business so that’s an easy assumption. However, I’m going to assume it’s because I drive like a grandma and already have my forehead wrinkles that say “I am unclear of the reference you kids are making”.
What I’m saying is.. I’m kinda, sorta an adult now. I’m at that age where I look back and think “MAN. I thought things would be a LOT different by the time I was this age!” and feeling that change of “you have time” to “where’d the time go”. It’s not a bad feeling, and I am proud of where I am and my accomplishments. But now I’m at the point where I see teenagers and they are all bright eyed, bushy tailed with the world in front of them. They have decisions and opportunities and a few more years to decide who they want to be.
It’s a great opportunity to have a shoot with a senior who is as awesome as Jennifer. Chatting with her as we walked the UMW campus I learned about the things she wants to accomplish after high school and the field of work she is interested in and why. I found out that her mother’s alma mater was UMW and I unknowingly had her pose on the steps of the building where her mom took classes! What a happy fluke. She also brought her flute to take photos with because she is a rockstar flutist! I also found out we both like to make dinosaur faces at people. Because sometimes, that is the only appropriate response to things. (See, I’m totally an adult). It was a gorgeous afternoon spent with a gorgeous girl who has big ideas and a bright future. I was thrilled to be able to capture her on the picturesque campus of the University of Mary Washington. A school she maybe, just maybe, is applying to… No pressure! But you’d get to enjoy the Autumn season in class like this…
You are my Neverland.
You are my memories and my happy thoughts. Your badlands span the corners of my imagination with dinosaurs and dusty adventures.
Growing up in Alberta is a magical experience, and it’s a pity the rest of the world does not get to experience it. It’s exciting explaining to people how in a few short hours you can go from badlands with its coulees and hoodoos, to prairies, to vibrant canola fields, to skyscrapers and city life, to enchanting rocky mountains and turquoise lakes! It is exhausting and exhilarating trying to make people understand. But oh, when you do – life will never be the same. I admit I took the proximity of all these things for granted when I lived there. I assumed I’d be there for the long run and my adventures would be planes, trains and automobiles elsewhere.
My favourite memories of Drumheller – the land of dinosaurs – were with my father and brother. Going on adventures to the Royal Tyrell Museum and hikes to see the Hoodoos, the abandoned Alberta mines and running up and down the layered sediment coulees. We even partook in a paleontological dig that was happening at the time. In truth, my brother is what set my obsession with dinosaurs up for advancement. Of course he loved dinosaurs, so being the younger sister I HAD to like exactly what he liked. That obsession never went away and eventually it grew into something that still, to this day, I get crazy excited about. My husband knew for Christmas that a Blu-ray box set of Jurassic Park was better than anything he could have gotten at Jared’s. (No offence Jared, but diamonds will never beat out a piece of copal containing a mosquito with paleo-DNA.) I was never a strong math student so unfortunately my dreams of becoming anything in the sciences field of paleontology were quickly diminished. Wah, wah.
Fear not! I discovered the arts. And those arts eventually brought me back to do this super wicked Mad Max inspired photo shoot in my Neverland.
I wanted to take advantage of my time in Alberta to do this photo-shoot that had been in my mind for a while. I was at an art show in downtown Calgary when I was introduced to this dashing looking fellow. I told my friend whom I was with, “He’s handsome. He looks like Jon Snow. I want to take him to the desert and shoot him.” Of course to anyone else that is entirely creepy and sounds like I’m about to murder this poor, ridiculously good looking man and dispose of the body. But to an art student that sounds like every other Tuesday. So the next weekend the three of us became our very own road warriors and began the road trip to Drumheller. Due to schedules, flights and commitments, we were only there for an hour, but in that hour we had managed to pack in a tourist/photoshoot extravaganza. Zack, the male model is from the east coast and had never been to the Badlands. We waited for the magical moment where the prairies and canola fields dropped off into the coulees. If you’ve never been there, you just don’t get it. You’re driving along, thinking you will never ever ever ever ever get to Drumheller. You begin thinking that it’s going to be a disappointing grass field with a giant dinosaur statue. Yawn. Then it happens.
It goes from this….
Enjoy. And remember: Just walk away.
Did you all enjoy the East Coast snow storm we had this past week? While most people were wide eyed and shut in their houses, I (amongst many other photographers) were elated at the big fluffy mess that mother nature bestowed upon us. It’s not common to have snowfalls like this in the DC/Virginia area. With 17 inches of accumulation in one night/day, there was a lot to work with.
Cavan had approached me a few months ago asking if I’d be willing to do a cosplay photo shoot in the snow with a costume he made based on the Lich King from World of Warcraft. Of course I jumped on the idea because A.)Geek love and B.)Snow photo shoot opportunity. This was his first ever Cosplay outfit and SPOILER ALERT: It’s made mostly of paper.
PAPER! I’m so impressed. It’s a fancy thing called pepakura, which is apparently just another word for black magic. Because really, how do you go from flimsy paper to armour? It must have some sort of sorcery involved. Or a lot of cutting gluing, printing and coating… and patience. So much patience. The fact that this was his first costume and it turned out this amazing says a lot about his skills, creativity and craftsmanship.
Over the span of 1 year, Cavan put in hundreds of hours into this costume. I helped him put it on so I understood the intricate engineering that went into it. I have a background in technical theatre, and the inside strap set up to hold everything together impressed me. From the paper base start to the detail finish – I asked him to break it down in hours he said:
-60 on the helmet
-30 for each of the pauldrons
-20 on the breastplate
-15 on each of the upper leg plates
-20 on each of the lower leg plates
-6 on each of the hand plates
-25 or so on the straps and harness
-25 or so on the chain mail
-4 for Frostmourne, the sword
and 6 for the cape
If your jaw hit the floor, you aren’t the only one. Google “pepakura” to see exactly how and why this process takes so very, very long but achieves such magnificent results with the right person. If I could find time I would love to make my own pepakura Blood Dragon armour from Dragon Age, but alas with that kind of commitment I will be finished in the year 2079.
On Thursday we were lucky enough to get caught in the crossfires of the second snowfall and create some awesome photos together. I came out soaking wet like a mop at a carwash, but it was all so very worth it! I’m just glad I don’t have to suffer through 8 months/year of this weather anymore. Like a good little Canadian geese, I flew south. The novelty of cold weather has worn off this week and I’m ready for cherry blossoms and hyacinths in my yard. However until then….
Just a quick photo heavy post about the street chalk art festival VIA COLORI that happens every September in Fredericksburg Virginia. It seems to be a running theme of bad weather on day one, where artists hard work is seen washed away – then excellent weather on day two where they launch a full blown recovery of their beautiful pieces. Not only is Via Colori known for it’s vibrant art, but I always notice the abundance of FXBG dogs afoot. They are so fun to photograph, I could have a separate album of just puppies. I look forward to the festival every year, and am determined to be on the other side of the artistry by creating a chalk art drawing! But of what will be the question…
For the full gallery that I will be putting up soon, feel free to mosey on over and like my Facebook page!