A while back I went camping to the Bruce Peninsula National Park near a little town of Tobermory on Georgian Bay. Bruce Peninsula is also known for the Sauble Beach, which was named as one of the best 5 beaches in Canada. When I return home I thought how amazing it would be if I had a chance to take one of my couples there for a session. 2 months later I received an email from Jen who was just happen to want her wedding photographs taken in Bruce Peninsula. I’d really like to think I was able to send a telepathic message across Canada and bring that couple to me, but for unknown reason I just could not replicate that with a few other gorgeous places I have in mind
It’s a really magnificent place where you could spend hours and hours walking and taking photographs in the forest and along the coastline. It’s a place where every photo you take turns out to be of epic proportions
Having 2 adventurous clients who were willing to do anything like go into the really cold water or climb up some really dangerous hills, in order to get the best photographs possible was just incredible!
Here are a few of my favorite photographs from the day.
Holland Marsh Winery was a beautiful location which brought together this wonderful couple and their family and friends, on a gorgeous sunny day.
For some reason wineries aren’t very popular and I really hope these photographs will persuade more and more couples to consider them as their wedding venues.
“Marriage is like a good wine, with time only gets better and better” – Old English Toast
Going through the history of my blog posts I found a wedding that for some reason just didn’t get published and has been sitting in Drafts for a while.
This awesome Russian and Armenian couple from Buffalo, New York got married at Hellenic Orthodox Church and then held their reception at Connecticut Street Armory – a huge castle-like building built in 19th century. I was actually surprised how photographically beautiful Buffalo is.
Some of the images with the couple were taken at a farm where we had to stop in order to wait for new wedding party bus( it’s amazing how you can’t plan for everything). The owners of the farm were beyond nice,letting us roam around and even moved a few pieces of equipment.
I’ll let the images speak how great this wedding was:
About 5 months ago I was flown to Atlanta, Georgia to photograph a gorgeous 4-day Ismaili wedding.
As with all multi-day Indian weddings, there were a lot of cultural ceremonies, great variety of beautiful and colorful Indian outfits for the bride and groom, and hours of dancing for hundreds of guests.
The main wedding day was held at a luxury JW Marriott. With the fast paced schedule, most of the wedding was covered in the journalistic approach, but I was happy when I got a chance to spend about 40 minutes with the couple,taking creative pictures around JW Marriott.
It was my first time photographing a wedding in Atlanta, GA and everyone I met was very welcoming and friendly. Apart from the bride and groom’s family and friends, at every gas station,restaurant and convenience store, locals would initiate a conversation that sometime would continue for 5-10 minutes. At one gas station I gathered around 20 people as they were all inspecting our new Canadian bills and chatting about our cold winter months . Extra thanks to Atlanta’s Envi Event Planning team for keeping me informed every step of the way.
Bellow are some photographs from the whole event. With about 1200 gorgeous images from 4 days I’ve attempted to pick only 100 for this blog post. I am hoping they would be able to tell the wedding story of this beautiful couple, their culture and traditions in the best way possible.
Not sure where to begin. I spent a few weeks in Morocco, Africa back in December 2012-January 2013. On my 3rd day there I caught an infection which later grew into bronchitis. I was in a lot of pain and there were days when I had no energy to even hold 1 of my smallest cameras. Thankfully antibiotics did the work (eventually, when I was able to visit a hospital to see what’s happening) and I am fully recovered now.
It was definitely an experience of a lifetime!
During the day it’s pretty warm there with about 16-21C,but the temperature would get down to about +4C at night and in some areas I’ve had to experience -5C while having no heat. Electricity and hot water seems like an expensive commodity in rural areas and not many people have constant access to it. Luckily, winter does not last long and during the summer the temperature is extremely hot 24/7. Although I can’t really comment on summer food, in the winter, meats such as chicken,beef and lamb are very popular,along with tajine, rice,olives,vegetable soup,couscous and bread. Areas near the ocean tend to consume more seafood. I loved the lamb kabobs! I am not sure why,but it doesn’t have that pungent taste and smell. It’s extremely delicious! Mint tea and coffee are very popular drinks and unlike coffee shops in other countries, they are served in very tiny cups. Prices for a cup of coffee or tea ranges from about 0.30 cents to a more common ~$1-1.30 ,even for locals. Definitely not cheap.
As in some other countries, photography is very difficult as nobody in general likes to have their photo taken. Women and girls usually quickly cover their face as soon as they even see a camera.
I have here almost all the pictures I was able to take. There’s a bit more information provided under certain images with more explanation.
Nomad Woman is standing inside her home.
Streets of Meknes
Night skies with star clusters I captured in Sahara Desert at around 10pm. It was beautiful!!
Streets of Fez
Fez, birds-view of the rooftops.
Tannery in Fez. This is where they dye leather products you find at markets in the country. Unfortunately it doesn’t work very well and when you bend say a leather belt, it leaves a permanent mark.
Men working at a Tannery in Fez. It’s located in the Old Medina
Berber Tribe. Mother with her child. Photo was taking in Atlas Mountains at about 8000 feet above sea level
Amazing view,including 100s of baboons @ 6,000 feet above sea level
Street food is delicious. I took a picture of a man cooking my lamb kabobs ($3 for a meal)
Kids are playing at school’s playground… I found it very creative,considering there are no other toys available.
Photo of the classroom
Sahara Desert Sunrise.I woke up at 6am in my cold tent with a fever and headache,but could not pass an opportunity to see the beautiful Sahara Desert sunrise
Goats on a Argan tree. Believe it or not it’s a popular thing to see in Morocco. Goats climb the tree in search of the seeds. Wait,there’s more!
Some locals collect the droppings and press Argan oil from them,which is either consumed internally or used as external medicine
Sweets for sale at Marrakech’s market. On the right is a picture of Mohammed VI, who is currently the king of Morocco. It seemed to be loved by many as pictures of them are everywhere(restaurants, houses, streets,restaurants and shops)
photo of a market in Marrakesh.
What a great year it was! I’ve had a chance to travel to a few countries outside of Canada and photograph so many amazing couples. I’ve just spent a few hours looking at all the sessions and it brought so much joy and unforgettable memories which I shared with my clients. The secret is, one of the main sources for my inspiration is past work I’ve done over the years. Every photograph is like my baby which I love dearly.
I used to show my awards and other photographic achievements and I was asked a few weeks back why I no longer do that. Hard to answer, as 2012 had been quite productive in that sense. I still put some of magazine features and covers up on my personal FB page and a few close friends know what awards I’ve received this year, but I think I came to realize that the hardest judge to please are my clients. I work extremely hard on each event and the feedback I receive back is the best award I could possibly ask for. I thank you all with all my heart and I am looking forward to another year.
I am extremely excited to see what 2013 will bring!! At this point it is already almost fully booked, with only about 4-5 spots left. 2014 is slowly starting to book up as well.
Here’s another wedding to show. It was a pleasure and fun to photograph. A session at a martian-like spot north of the city helped to get a few unique images as well,for a part of the session. The day was blessed with a lovely weather and I was happy to be shooting outside during an emotional ceremony,which took place @ Royal Ambassador.
Every wedding is unique,even though sometimes the venues and places for photographs are the same. I always push myself to create new photographs and see things from a different perspective. As always, my clients are the ones to inspire me and push my vision higher.
I am delighted to show a few images from a recent engagement session I photographed with a couple not too far from Toronto.
We took an awesome looking car and a cool looking airplane and put them on the runway of the busiest non commercial airport in the country…
After we finished with the planes, a few more photographs were taken nearby, finishing the session a bit after sunset. All that was with a few clothing changes for different themes and looks.
It was especially memorable for me riding on the front hood on the car while it was in motion, trying to get a few photos with that perspective. Yes, it can be done in photoshop,but I much prefer to apply most “effects” in-camera
These photographs are not from the actual wedding. Tony and Varuna live in Trinidad, a country mostly known for its one of a kind annual carnival. They got married a bit earlier and just wanted to have really good wedding photographs. We picked a time frame that was convenient for all of us and after 7 months of planning, I flew in for the session. It was 2.5 days of shooting,with a tiny bit of sleep in between. If I would label this experience, I’d put it as the hardest session I’ve ever done creatively. Trying to come up with 3 days worth of creative photographs is not an easy task!!
For the first day we flew early in the morning from Trinidad to Tobago and spent a day there in various places,right until a gorgeous Caribbean sunset. I also had a chance to try Doubles – common street food in Trinidad and Tobago. Basically it’s a flat bread with curried chick peas. Very spicy yet really tasty!
On the 2nd day Varuna and I spent a few hours on our own as Tony had a meeting to attend. We drove around Port of Spain,taking pictures in different (and not often safe) neighborhoods and with total strangers. Then later we drove to a horse farm. It was really strange and cool to see more than a dozen curious horses surround us as soon as we came in. After that we went to see wild buffaloes. They also were very curious and came in pretty close to us, once we started taking pictures in “their territory”. 2nd day ended late in the evening with a small family get-together. I was drinking quite a bit of coconut water during the day. It was my first time trying it. For some reason I thought it doesn’t taste good,since previously I only tried coconut milk,which obviously is not the same as young coconut water . I also learned that coconut water has the same qualities as our blood. It was used during World War II (and even still being used in some countries today) as emergency blood plasma transfusions!!! After I came home I spent a few weeks trying different brands of coconut water(most don’t taste very good…) and now try to drink it as much as I can as it is very delicious and refreshing. And since I avoid drinking water(don’t ask…lol), this is a perfect substitute.
On the 3rd day Varuna dressed up in a beautiful Indian sari and we took a bit more photographs around Mount Saint Benedict.
This trip was quite an experience and I can’t wait to get back to this beautiful country!!!
Here are a few of my personal favorites(out of more than 800 photographs):
With a summer-like March and a snowy April at the end of it, I think we are finally ready for the summer!!
Although this wedding took place in the winter, it was shot in Mexico at Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort so we had a really warm and (mostly) sunny weather.
It was pretty cloudy on the day of the wedding and it almost rained at the end of the day during the dinner.
After the wedding day we had 2 trash the dress sessions. In the evening, one a day after the wedding we attempted to go and take pictures at Tulum ruins. That didn’t work too well as it was impossible to get a permit. We ended up at a beach where we took some sunset photographs.
The next day,at sunrise, we drove to a nearby town and took more photographs. It was pretty early so there weren’t many people -just a few fishermen around the docks. We had some gorgeous clouds and the weather held up right to the end. It started raining as we finished our session and were walking back to our car!
PS. In case you are wondering about the masks…Those are lucha libre(Mexican wrestling) masks. It’s similar to our WWE wresting where it’s more of a theater performance than a real fighting. The only reason I know about lucha libres is because last year I watched Nacho Libre. It’s a hillrious(and stupid) comedy with Jack Black about a Mexican wrestler. The guys had a blasts with those masks in the morning, pretending to be one of those crazy wrestlers!
I’d like to share some pictures from my recent trip to Africa. While I visited 4 countries, most of these bellow images are from Ethiopia, as it was the main purpose of the expedition. It was an amazing experience. I had no phone or internet connection for most of the trip! At times I’d put down my camera and just immerse myself in their lives. That allowed me to learn more about the people and their traditions. Living with them definitely helped quite a bit in capturing some of these photographs. Sharing meals,laughs;learning how to sing and teaching them my awful dance techniques were some of the highlights of this trip. Not to mention pancakes made from a root of a banana-like tree that were fermented in the ground for 7 months!! Yummy!!
I made notes under many photographs so that you can understand a bit more about each photo and what it represents. Please note that there’s some nudity. For many of us it’s a bit of a taboo,but it is normal for a number of tribes in the areas where I’ve photographed to walk around without clothing
The conditions some of these Ethiopian tribes live in is really hard to call “livable”. Many times I wondered how they are still alive. Mortality rate is extremely high, yet they’ve adapted themselves to the harsh conditions very well. Even 2 of my Canon DSLR cameras did not survive the trip in these harsh conditions(booo)…
PS. Prints are available for purchase. Framed canvases start at $700
Portrait of a Mursi woman. Mursi are one of the most unique tribes in the world. They are mostly known for wearing lip plates. Among the other tribes they are known as the most fierce warriors. I enjoyed dancing,singing and trying to communicate with them. We are unique to them just like they are unique for us.
At around puberty females cut their lower lip and install a clay plate in the opening. As time goes by they stretch the hole and put a bigger disk in it. Those plates can easily reach 7 inches in diameter!Lower teeth are often removed to make the lip plate sit comfortably in the opening.
The larger the lip plate, the more cattle her parents can ask for her when it`s time for her to get married. All marriages are arranged by the parents. How do they kiss you may ask. Well, they don’t!
Life is not easy. This is just an example of a female who is traveling from the market where she made a purchase.Chances are, her home is many miles away. There’s isn’t much water during the dry season in many areas and women and children have to walk up and downhill for many miles to the water source to fill up a water container.
I have no idea how they do it,but they are very proficient at using their heads to carry heavy articles . There are no horses,cars or even bicycles to help them.
There are a lot of kids everywhere. They tend to know 1-3 words in English
Kids help their parents with the younger siblings. You could see a lot of 4-6 year old kids carrying their brother/sister in their hands or on their backs.
Guns are owned by most if not all men in all the tribes. Kalashnikov AK-47 is a weapon of choice. You have to have a gun and at least 30 cows in order to get married. The cattle is given to the parents of the bride.
Suri’s gazing lands are under intense competition. They often have to battle with the neighboring tribes who bring their cattle on their lands during the dry season. Suri also have to protect themselves as those tribes do raids on their territories and steal the cattle.
Shoe shining is quite popular in bigger cities!
These girls are from Hamer tribe. Note the hair style. This is a typical hair style for women in that tribe
Often kids take care of the cattle. Because there may not be enough grass around the villages, sometimes the cattle is taken many miles away
Average life expectancy in Ethiopia is 45 years. Finding old people to photograph was a real challenge!
Here’s a woman with the leather ring around her neck. It indicates she is the first wife. No other rings are visible. That means she is the only wife her husband has.
A woman is sitting beside her house. Typically a house is divided into 2 sections. 1 section is for the animals and other section is for the family. There are no real doors between the two…
These girls are standing where it used to be a river. It’s the dry season and there’s no water there right now. Often they have to dig into the ground to get some water!
Mother is trying to calm her child. Behind is her house. It may not seem big,but that’s where her family lives.A 60 sqf house for the whole family!!
In some areas you can find kids on the side of the road dancing and doing tricks. All they want is an empty water bottle. Ignorant tourists feel sorry and give them money,bottles and other gifts. They don’t know that these kids are skipping school with the idea that they rather do this and make money(they sell the bottles) than study. Empty water bottles are sold in markets!
These stones(in the shape of men’s genitalia…) were built many many centuries ago. It’s believed these were built for the fallen warriors
The scars are from the bull jumping ceremony. Women let their man whip them with sticks inflicting deep scars. If I am not mistaken they also put oil or butter on the wounds to make the scars bigger. Every woman has to go through this ceremony. They are very proud of their scars!
Adults often mix cattle blood with milk for drinking
A woman is preparing a mix which she will later cook
This is how coffee is made in Ethiopia. Beans are roasted right in front of you. Then they are crushed and hot water is added. I am not a coffee drinker,but I had it almost every day! You won’t be able to drink Starbucks after trying this coffee!!
Many tribes eat raw meat…They claim it tastes better than cooked!
Women are doing their hair as part of their regular routine.
Many men and women take a good care of their hair…
It took me a week to find these really old men
All the beads and decorations are worn by all the tribes on daily basis. These are NOT for tourist attractions like in many other countries where underneath the traditional clothing you can see jeans and t-shirts.
All of these decorations are to show what tribes he/she belongs to.Beads are used in prayers to count blessings. They also believe that beads bring peace,health and prosperity to the wearer.
Young people sometimes put on “everything they have” when they go to the market to show off themselves to the ladies
Decorative scars. Many tribes practice Animism as their religion. Voodoo ceremonies are common as well
Traditional Evangadi dance
A school at one of the villages. Kids are so excited to see something different for once and not eager to listen to their teacher who had to use a stick to calm a few of them down
Karo Tribe, Ethiopia
In case you’ve never seen it, here’s $50 BILLION dollars from Zimbabwe. You’d think you can buy a country with it,yet this is barely enough to buy an egg…
I’ll finish this with a few safari pictures
These are also sometimes called McDonald’s Antelope. Because of the letter M on their butt. Plus they are an easy snack
Happy Holidays everyone! 2011 was an amazing year and I am so grateful to all the past and new 2012/2013 clients who’ve put their trust in me!! Right now I am doing a personal assignment in Africa and will be back home in January to start another awesome year.
This wedding was held on the same day as the Toronto Polish Festival. The church was right in the middle of it and getting to it was not easy. After the ceremony we drove to UofT for some photographs with the bridal party and the couple, before heading off to Paradise Banquet Hall.
In case you are wondering about the mascot and the marching band… Well, we were taking pictures and they just swarmed around us and gave us a good show.
All that was followed by a night of dances,laughter and some happy tears. Some involuntary stunts were performed by the single ladies and boys, trying to catch that bouquet and garter and be the next to marry
Elvis impersonator was certainly a nice touch and I must say he was better than some of those in Vegas!
Charlie and Lorraine got married in downtown Toronto at Colborne Lane. The food(more like art, taste and presentation wise) was simply amazing!
Getting ready shots were taken at their condo in downtown and then we just walked to the restaurant, taking pictures along the way.
I guess you are seeing by now that this wedding is not very traditional. And did I mention the cool custom made short wedding red dress?!
Another really cool fact about this wedding is that they made their rings themselves from scratch by taking a jewelery making workshop!!
So many really amazing weddings and I wish I had time to showcase ALL of them! I’ll try to post at least 1 more before the end of December.