Chris and Krista’s Country Wedding {Millarville, AB}

This past weekend I had the honour of capturing the Wedding Celebration of Chris and Krista. I’m only just beginning to get to know them both, but I can already see what a wonderful couple they are, and how well loved they both are by their family, friends, and community.

Their ceremony took place at our Millarville Community Church, with pastor Allen presiding over their ceremony.

vintage bike as Wedding Decor

Their ceremony was beautiful, a wonderful description of God’s love for all of us, and the covenant of Marriage, a promise strengthened through His love.

Wedding rings on Bible

After their ceremony, and a few family pictures at the church, we made our way to the Corner Stone Farm, located  by the intersection of Highway 22, and Highway 22 x.

Although it was overcast, the forecast for thundershowers, and the clouds threatening all day long, we were blessed as the rain held off for the whole time we were taking pictures.

The historic big red barn is a great landmark, and the property has lovely grounds for capturing rustic, county wedding portraits.

Cornerstone Farm on the Cowboy Trail

Wedding Party Portrait the Cornerstone Farm

Bride and Groom Millarville Wedding

Country Wedding Millarville

Bridesmaids Millarville Wedding

Groomsmen Millarville Wedding

I loved all the beautiful details of Krista and Chris’s Wedding, and Krista has a wonderful way of including lovely, soft colours, county vintage flair, as well as touching tributes to family, like in her pretty bouquet, adorned with family pictures of their loved ones, who have gone on before.

country wedding flower details

Bride's bejewelled shoes

I would have loved to spend another hour photographing at the Corner Stone farm, but alas, they had guests awaiting their arrival for supper, so we raced off to the Millarville Racetrack Hall for their Wedding Reception.

Krista and Chris had a few special portraits they wanted me to create for them at the Millarville Racetrack grounds, and I’m so glad we took those few extra moments to do so before dinner.

Krista formerly took part in the sport of barrel racing, so she really wanted a portrait with her horse, Jack. The light was soft and perfect, and the backdrop of the Creekside Campground was perfect for these beautiful portraits of the bride with her horse.

Chris, who loves motorcycles, wanted some portraits with a Harley Davidson motorcycle. And they also wanted some Harley and Horses portraits together.

Although all of this made them a teensy bit late for dinner, it was well worth the bit of time it took to create these portraits.

bride with horse Millarville Racetrack

Harleys and Horses

Groom on Harley

Inside the Millarville Racetrack Hall, Krista had transformed the cozy, rustic hall, into a charming antique, vintage setting, complete with antique furniture from her family’s old homestead, soft beautiful colours, lovely lighting, and rustic county touches everywhere.

Their wedding cake on this lovely antique dresser was a wonderful decorative feature, and a hit with the kids, who kept coming up to visit the cupcakes.

The hoops filled with family photos were a wonderful, personal touch. A pie bar, filled with homemade pies all made by Krista’s mom, was a complete hit, when it came time for dessert.

Pinterest worthy Wedding reception

In keeping with the old saying that it’s good luck for it to rain on your wedding day, the rain poured down after dinner, during the evening.

I love the first dance, as the Bride and Groom steal a moment together. Although they are surrounded by their guests, it becomes just them, as they are alone on the dance floor with the music.

bride and groom first dance at Millarville Racetrack

I especially love these images from the Father & Daughter dance. You can’t hear what they are talking about above the music, but you can see they are sharing a very special, and beautiful moment together.

father and daughter dance at  Millarville Racetrack

father and daughter dance at  Millarville Wedding

Congratulations Chris and Krista. I’m so happy for your family, and wish you all the best.

 

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Photo Booth for Hire ~ Party and Event Photography {Calgary, AB}

This past weekend I created a Photo Booth for a 50th Birthday Party Event at a Client’s  home.

I had never done a Photo Booth before, and wondered at first if it would be a good idea. After all, people hire me to take Professional Portraits for them, and I’ve always dismissed the Photo Booth as some candid silliness done at the Mall, or perhaps when the Midway comes to town.

If I was going to go with a Photo Booth idea, I knew I wanted it to be “elevated”. I would still be using great lighting, and creating professional photographs, not just setting up a “selfie” station.

My particular clients for this event have hired me for several of their special occasions, and each time I’ve created Professional Portraits of their family and friends, as well as offered them Event Photography-capturing the fun, candid images, and key moments of their events.

So I really felt that I wanted to offer them something different this time, go all out, and try something new.

When I discussed the idea with them before the Party, they were really excited, so it was a Go.

My idea was to create something that would capture the fun, look, and feel of the old style vintage photo booth photos, and yet be classy and tasteful enough to use for Professional Portraits, if any of the guests preferred that look.

I took a look through my “tickle trunk” (I think all photographers who have been at this for awhile end up with a collection of props) and I came up with several small props and costume pieces that guests at the event could quickly put on to get into “character”.

A gangster hat, wooden pistol, cowboy hats, a feather boa, a fur stole, shawls, a crown, and funny eyeglasses, made up the collection of things to put on.

Since no Photo Booth is complete without a selection of moustaches and lips, I got crafty, and made a bunch of those. (Thanks Pinterest, and the lovely people who posted free moustache and lips printable templates)

I wanted a really great seating prop for in my Photo Booth, and I discovered Bee Vintage from downtown Calgary, who had this wonderful antique love-seat available for rent. It was the perfect seating prop for this set, and the husband and wife team at Bee Vintage were very helpful, and lovely to work with.

My 10×10 pop up tent, draped with curtains and a backdrop made up the Booth itself.

Photo Booth for hire in Calgary

A prop station was set up for everyone to grab what they liked for their photo booth portrait.

Photo Booth props in Calgary, AB

I feel it went over well, with the perfect mix of candid silliness, and professional classiness when desired.

Photo Booth portraits in Calgary

Vintage PhotoBooth Portraits in Calgary

Fun photo booth portraits

Bridesmaids unite in the photo booth

Sisters in the Photo Booth

Photo Booth friend pictures

Elevated Photo Booth portraits

The only downside was the massive thunderstorm that struck, which ended up cutting the evening short.

A huge Thank you and shout out to everyone who helped me pack up in the pouring rain!

Now that the Photo Booth has been tried, tested, and proven to be a success, I can’t wait for the next opportunity to use it again. 

 

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Making Memories-Family Camping Trip to Brazeau

Last week our family went on a camping trip. Without realizing it, 3 years had went by since we had been camping, two years since we had any kind of summer vacation as a family.

It’s easy to be so busy with work, and life, and let time move by, without realizing that you haven’t taken time to do the things that matter most, like making memories as a family.

The week preceding our camping trip was hectic, as we tried to clear our schedules, and complete jobs before we left. And since returning home we’ve been working like crazy to get caught up again, so one feels a bit like they don’t dare leave for a few days.

Ahhh, but when we were there, away from the hustle and bustle, it was so peaceful, and so worth it.

We’re the kind of family that likes to get far off the grid, seeking out places that are quiet, remote, and not yet popular with everyone else. That’s also why we camp mid-week.

We went to Brazeau Reservior in West Central Alberta, a place Josh and I discovered when Brodie was a toddler. With miles of sandy beaches, and clean shallow water it’s everything a lake should be. (Ok, you have to share all that with the horseflies and mosquitos, but that’s the great outdoors, right ;p)

We met my in-laws there, and our famiy enjoyed camping there together, as we had 3 years ago. We all hope to make this trip an annual one now, not wait three years again before enjoying these moments.

The boys enjoyed beach fun each day, on our “private beach”. They swam, played in the sand, kayaked, and fished non-stop, for four days.

There is nothing I love more than seeing our kids have so much fun. David loves the water, and can’t get enough of swimming. Brodie only likes to swim for a short while, but he really loved kayaking, and spent most of one day paddling the kayak along the shoreline.

Swimming at Brazeau Reservior

child kayaking on lake

Brodie’s tongue always sticks out when he is concentrating ;P

Swimming at Brazeau Reservior

child buried in the sand at beach

On the second or third day the boys got interested in fishing. With that, Brodie found his new hobby, and he fished for the rest of the trip. Sadly, no one caught anything. I guess the fish weren’t biting, although everyone we talked to assured us that there was good fishing on the lake. Perhaps we needed a boat.

Dad teaching child to fish

Learning to fish.

brothers fishing

A bit of “lazy day” fishing.

There was a beautiful heron nesting close to where we played at the water each day, and the one day I was able to kayak up quite close to observe her. But I was too chicken to bring my camera along in the kayak, so sadly no pictures of that. It is a memory I’ll always have, though.

When we weren’t at the beach we tended to the tasks of making camp. Building fires, cooking meals, doing the dishes outdoors, and sitting around the campfire with our coffee (and Bailey’s)

The kids entertained themselves, and us with their antics, racing up and down the trail, and camping games and stories.

boy with Grandpa

Not too big to cuddle Grandpa.

race on the trail

Racing up and down the trail.

playing cards

Brodie really liked to play “War”.

playing cards

Evening card game with Granny.

child antics

David’s antics with Granny’s cane.

Dad teaching child to whittle

Learning to whittle.

The boys slept in the camper with Granny and Grandpa, while Josh and I slept in a tent-a rather unenjoyable part of the trip for us, with lots of funny anecdotes that will be the stuff  we laugh about in the future. From our dog, Raven, keeping us awake all one night, the couple who played loud music, and kept us awake all the next night, and our air mattresses that went flat every night, sleeping was not our favourite part of the holiday. But we made the best of it.

The best part of camping is completely surrounding oneself in nature, and really appreciating your surroundings. Forest trails, wildflowers, sunsets, berries, the wildlife-including many kinds of birds, the call of the loon, squirrels, chipmunks, and my favourite, the heron.

sunset at Brazeau Reservior

bird at Brazea

Although it can be hard for us to get away, I’m sure glad we did. Hearing our boys describe each day of the trip as “the best day ever” makes my heart smile. Here’s to making family memories, and many more to come.

mom and child at the beach

Running along the beach.

 

One Response to “Making Memories-Family Camping Trip to Brazeau”

  1. Jolene

    Awesome Rachel, so glad you all had that time together! Thank you for sharing!!!

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five − = 4

The Magic of Childhood-Superhero Edition

Whether it’s shooting webs and swinging from building to building, or flying high up in the clouds as the Man of Steel, it’s no wonder Superheroes capture the imagination of both the young, and young at heart.

My son, like many other children, is fascinated by Superheroes. He loves them all. Iron Man, The Hulk, Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man. But alas, we only have the two costumes.

As it is, I believe Spider-Man is his favourite.

child being Spider-Man
He loves to put on his costumes and play for hours, making up stories of fights, and epic battles, where the Good Guys win, and Save the Day!

As a mom, and a photographer, I wanted to capture these magical moments for him, and for our family to smile back on later.
Sometimes when my camera comes out the kids are a bit cheeky, and either don’t want to cooperate, or give me nothing but cheesy smiles. But as a Superhero, my son absolutely loved taking these pictures, and doing his “moves” for me. He acted out fight scenes with imaginary villains, as he kicked, punched, spun webs, or flew off to victory. He was so excited to see how his pictures turned out, as I kept my camera angle low to make it look like he was actually flying.

child pretending to be Superman
His Superhero action pictures helped bring his magic to life.
I hope as we look back on these in the years ahead, that they will always remind us of the Magic of Childhood.

Spiderman-45tw child dressed up as Spider-Man Superman-9tw Superman-74tw

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8 + = fifteen

Christmas Cactus Study-My Thursday Afternoon Creativity Boost

Yesterday was Hump Day, and all week I’ve had a bit of the winter doldrums. The recent chinook was lovely, but then followed by some cold, coupled with bitter winds, it only reminds us that spring is still a distant dream.

As I was wishing for spring this afternoon, I noticed my Christmas Cactus had one bloom on it. Backlit by the sun, it was a lovely bit of nature inside my house. A bit of spring, in the heart of winter. I decided to bust out of my mood, and give this lonely blossom a bit of attention.

Almost everyone I know, who has houseplants, has a Christmas Cactus. They are quite easy to grow, and although mine are taking awhile to get established, I know eventually I’ll be rewarded with bountiful flowers at least once a year, in the winter.

I’ve always loved macro flower photography. I love exploring all of the delicate details of each part of the flower, the sheer petals, the curve of the anthers and filaments, and then looking for a way to make all those beautiful parts into an abstract artistic image.

I’m happy with this afternoon’s creativity boost, and rewarded by the images I produced from it.

I hope whatever your creative passion is, you’ll indulge in it this week, and let it lift your spirits.

fine art botanicals fine art botanicals flower photographer Fine art botanicals

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The Good Ol’ Hockey Game {Black Diamond Hockey Photos Sneak Peek}

Last week, over a few evenings, I had the privilege of photographing the Oilfields Sports Association Pond Hockey Teams, at the outdoor rink in Black Diamond.

Thankfully all three evenings were fairly warm, so my fingers did not freeze, as I captured Team and Individual Portraits of the Atoms, PeeWee, and Tikes teams.

All the kids were great sports, even though my being there cut short their usual practice time a bit.

A huge thank you to all the parents and coaches who helped make my job easier by helping me organize the players, and by helping me load my gear each night.

Here is a little sneak peek. Player photos and team photos will be coming in March, when Oilfields Hockey has their wind up.

Black Diamond Hockey Photos Black Diamond Hockey Photos

 

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× 2 = six

Let Go of Your Expectations

Yesterday we awoke to a beautiful winter wonderland. I had been anticipating it the night before, and was excited to capture the spectacular winter scenes, right at sunrise.

But by the time I got my kids sorted out, and myself bundled up, I had already missed the brief moment of sunrise pink.

No worries, I told myself. There would still be colour in the sky, and sparkling morning light after that.

But it didn’t quite happen as I hoped, as wispy clouds filtered the sunlight, muting the colours, sparkle and brilliance I was hoping for. I soon went inside to feed my family, disappointed I was not able to capture the winter scene I had seen in my mind’s eye.

I waited for later afternoon light, and I went cross country skiing, hoping to do justice to the sparking winter scene, before a wind took it all away.

As I set out, my expectation for some dramatic lighting seemed like it was not going to be fulfilled. As many times before with photography (as well as other areas of my life) expectation for a certain thing was stealing the moment, and stopping me from seeing and enjoying what was right in front of me.

As I realized this, I decided to shift my thinking. As I changed my focus, I saw the wonder and appreciated my ski, and the beautiful winter afternoon before me. It was indeed magical, and rather Narnia like.

And although I may not have captured anything as fabulous and dramatic as Ansel Adams, I enjoy these images I did capture.

Mostly, I’m glad I’m finally learning to embrace what is in front of me, and let go of my expectations. Only then, can one truly appreciate, see, and be present in the moment.

Winter Scenery

Winter SceneryWinter botanicals

WinterWonders-83

Winter moon

One Response to “Let Go of Your Expectations”

  1. Leslie DeWeert

    What lovely pictures that greatly capture God’s wonderful brilliant creation!

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eight + 6 =

The Pursuit of Balance

I’d like to begin by wishing everyone a very Happy New Year, and send out best wishes for 2016!

As we are already well into the New Year, I wonder how everyone’s New Year’s resolutions are going? I’m hoping that my goals for balance in my life may be realistic and attainable, as I look to the year ahead of me.

As I look over my Blog, and reflect on the whirlwind that was most of 2015, I feel happy and blessed to have had such a busy year, serving clients, and capturing their memories.

Through all of that, and being a busy mom too, I find myself yearning more and more for the work-life balance that always seems to have eluded me in the past.

Although I’m confidant I work efficiently, and complete work for my clients on time, I feel there is always room for improvement in one’s life. Because balance is not only about how hard you work. It’s about making time for all of the important things in one’s life.

My work, and home life has often been a cycle of feast or famine. I’ll go through periods of manic business to a sudden lull. Often I find, when the pressure is off, I’m not sure what to do next. Oh sure, I have lists of things, but then I want to procrastinate (I tell myself I’m taking a break), until the pendulum  swings the other way again, and I’m super busy-without having caught up things on my to-do list.

When I’m busy, exercise is the first thing to go. Which is so very sad and unhealthy for me, especially when my job often finds me sitting at a computer for hours.

But the thing that bothers me most, is the lack of quality time spent with family. And as I look at my children who are so quickly growing up right before my eyes, it’s so important to me to really focus on balance, so I can give them my best, and not rush our family through each day, merely following routine, seldom having true quality time.

So how do I plan to do all that? Well obviously it’s a work in progress, and I’m realizing-it will always be a work in progress. We are all allotted the same amount of time each day. No one gets any more or less than anyone else. Yet some people are absolutely amazing with how much they accomplish each day.

Hourglass109

My work-life balance goals will include:

Getting up early.

Laughable, as I’m not typically an early riser. But with some discipline I hope to make this small yet important shift.

Exercise.

I just need to stop the excuses. When I do make it a priority, it’s not so hard to put on shoes and go for a walk. And when I’ve strapped on my cross country skis this winter, I’ve always been rejuvenated by it.

Work Smarter and be Focused. 

Turn off distractions, and be disciplined during the work day. Probably I’ll need to turn my Internet off for periods during the day;)

Working smarter has been a slow lesson for me. I always try to do everything myself, and have full control. But more and more I need to look for ways to automate tasks, and keep the business “chores” from taking over the creativity and production. This year I’ll be looking to make my Social Media more automated.

Break up tasks.

I’m the queen of making to-do lists, which then overwhelm me. I’m slowly learning to break down those big goals and to-do items and make them more manageable. And by setting a series of smaller goals from my larger ones, I hope to become more of a doer than a dreamer.

Spend time more wisely.

I’ve realized that each week I’ve been spending more hours than I care to admit on watching television or looking at Social Media. Yes, I like to stay in touch, and see what everyone is doing, but there is a fine line of time well spent, and time wasted away. I tell myself that T.V. is my relaxation in the evening, but in fact, I’d get more enjoyment from reading a book, having a bubble bath, or working on a personal project or craft. So why do we rush to put our children to bed, to watch a bunch of  T.V. or stare at a computer? I’m not really sure why I do. I’ll be spending much less time doing that this year, and making sure I do more of the things I truly love.

One Day at a Time.

With my never ending to-do lists, that often carry over to the next week, or the week after that, once I feel off-track, I often let feelings of being overwhelmed and frustrated keep me from trying to get back on track. I need to break this cycle, and realize if I didn’t do it all one day, to pick it up again the next day. Be patient with myself and more disciplined at the same time.

Achieving balance, to me, is about being present, and being my best for all of the people and things that are important to me. Here’s to a year of quality time with my family, being healthier, living creatively, giving back to the community, and giving my clients my best.

work life Balance

2 Responses to “The Pursuit of Balance”

  1. jolene

    Very encouraging Rachel! I can relate to all of this, I think most of us can, especially the distractions that exist in the world today. Here’s to finding a recharge that is healthy for us, to help us give our best to those who are important to us!!!

    • rachelimrie

      Thanks Jolene! 2015 was pretty awesome for me, work wise, but i’m realizing if I don’t set a better pace, I’ll get burned out.
      So here is to healthy recharging, and making sure I’m not “always” working. And spending that very important quality time with family!

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four − = 1

Foothills Ride for STARS

Basking in the beauty and taking in all of autumn’s splendour is how I would sum up yesterday’s Foothills Ride for STARS.

I had the honour and privilege of being the event photographer for this fundraiser event, and for everyone there, it was a glorious way to spend the day.

The Foothills Ride for STARS is one of many fundraisers that provides necessary funding to this essential air ambulance service, which has helped to save many Albertan’s lives over the years.

The ride takes place just West of Priddis on the Homeplace Ranch, and allows horseback riders to spend the day enjoying trail rides, horsemanship, and the stunning scenery.

For those who don’t ride, you can catch a ride on the horse drawn wagon to the cabin, which is the halfway point, where everyone gathers for a rest, visit, music, and refreshments.

Then there are those who choose to hike the trails, and I’m sure are well rewarded with so much forest beauty during their hike.

Although the morning started off cloudy and rainy, the weather for the day turned out perfect, save for the one short rain shower, that had us a bit worried for just a few minutes. After last year’s freezing, wet ride, it was a very welcome contrast.

The sun to warm us, and the absolute peek of fall’s beauty surrounding us, everyone couldn’t help but remark over and over about our awesome day.

I’m glad I could capture it for everyone. I hope I did it justice.

For those wishing to view, and order photos of this event, I will have them available in an online Gallery on my website, rachel-ellen.com, by Monday October 5. Go to my Client Proofing tab. From there you will be able to place your order.

Horseback riding in the Foothills Ride4STARS-232 Foothills Ride for STARS

foothills Ride for STARS Ride4STARS-530Ride4STARS-588Ride4STARS-752Foothills Ride for STARS

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× one = 5

Diaries from the Puppy Place

I haven’t blogged in a good long while, so it’s high time I shared some photos and stories of our recent escapades. We are raising eight puppies, and this new adventure has been the reason for my recent blogging hiatus.

As I prepare this blog, the puppies have finally settled down for their nap, after finishing a very rowdy play fighting, growling, and destroying every shoe in our porch session.

Born on August 2 to their Black Lab parents Max and Raven, it’s hard to believe these puppies are six weeks old already, and will start going to their forever homes soon. And although my husband and I will be somewhat relieved to see them go, we are so glad that our family, especially our boys, have had this opportunity to see puppies be born and Watch them Grow.

Raven had such a beautiful litter as her first litter. She was an amazing mom in their first weeks of life, taking wonderful care of them, keeping them clean and nursing them.

Studio pet portraits

By three weeks old these little pups were already becoming quite a handful. Already at three weeks Raven was having a hard time keeping up with nursing and we began to feed them solid food.

When they were three weeks old I posted this photo on Kijiji, and the response was swift. Our email went crazy, and our phone rang off the hook! They all had forever homes to go to within one day.

Millarville Pet portraits

The past three weeks with these little pups has been quite busy, to say the least. They require at least five feedings per day, and Josh and I spend at least two hours a day in the feeding, cleaning up, and moving them from indoors to outdoors, and back again at night.

Like all children they love to come outside to play. They are hyper and cooped up on the rainy days. At least we no longer have to carry each one in our arms when it is time to go outside. They happily follow us out to their kennel.

Brodie and David have had a great time with the pups. Our kids have had many awesome related experiences including Brodie learning carpentry, by helping to build Raven’s doghouse, Brodie writing a story for our Millarville Fair of his experiences with the puppies, and winning first place for his story, and bringing the puppies to school for show and tell.

Millarville Pet portraits

The professional photographer in me wanted to take all kinds of fabulous perfect portraits of these puppies, but alas I think lifestyle portraits will the best I can do between the five feedings a day and hours of cleanup. Not to mention the days of bad weather like today, when the puppies are kept indoors.

Between making them scrambled eggs and milk, tins of dog food, and the whole lot of them rushing your feet, and chewing your shoes and pants, as you attempt to feed them, they can be difficult little subjects.

They are either dirty from eating, running around like maniacs, or a black mass when in their sleep pile.

When the weather clears, I’ll see what else I can accomplish for puppy portraits. Until then I hope all you puppy lovers out there will enjoy these.

Puppies3.5wks-18

Puppy pictures

Puppy Pictures Puppy Portraits _DSC6249

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× 9 = seventy two