It’s amazing how fast a year can go. One minute you’re sitting at your kitchen table staring out the window complaining about how cold the weather is and the next minute you’re sitting at your kitchen table complaining about how cold it’s going to get. This is a year in Alberta from January to December. We have four very distinct seasons and they remind me of four brothers. The first born, Winter is rough and tough and he’s been there through the formative years of first time parents, hardened by the independence and a little jealous of the other brothers who got off easier then he did. So he is strong and protective and every once in a while he loses his temper and throws -30 at you for three weeks straight. The second born, Spring, he’s pretty chipper, warms up to everyone but he’s a dirty kid and always leaves a mess for his little brother Summer to clean up. His parents just figured Winter turned out ok so Spring can take care of himself. Summer. Everyone’s favorite. The hot one! He’s good in school, plays lots of sports but hates mosquitos. And like all smart kids, he’s the first to leave home and doesn’t stick around much at family get togethers. Then there’s the last born, Fall. He was born 7 years after Summer, mom and dad’s little surprise. He takes advantage of mother nature and father time and never brings the car back the way he took it. He’s also the one that gets sick a lot and has a cold and snotty nose throughout elementary school. We like him for a little while but we know he’s a little like his oldest brother Winter who’s not far behind. This is how I spend my few spare moments while the kids are still sleeping.
Can you tell I’ve been on the road a lot this year and maybe a little overworked? 2011 was another incredible year for me. I often sit back and contemplate the moments from the year and remind myself how great this job is, and how fortunate I am to be able to share special times from other’s lives through images. I don’t take that for granted and no matter what type of event I photograph I look at each opportunity as a new experience and a chance to meet people from all walks of life. It’s my continuing education.
I continued to travel a lot this year. I found myself on three continents, and traveled through 12 countries. Part of our year, nearly two months was traveling through the Balkans (here) and central Europe with our two small children.
We did this in the first year of my son’s life, like we had done when my daughter was 5 months old, through Asia (here). When we came back from our family trip this year and people asked, Why would you choose to travel to Bosnia with your kids? I always responded with “Wynter has been begging us since she was a kid to go”. I must admit that this trip was far more difficult then traveling to Asia when we just had the one rugrat. A two year old is much more work and harder to catch than a bundle of chubby cuteness on your chest. Another caveat was the weather, it was chilly for the first month and the infrastructure is certainly not geared for tourism. It’s certainly do-able but just not overly family friendly travel.
Upon my immediate return home to Canada from Eastern Europe I found myself heading to South America, Peru to be exact. I was originally there to shoot a wedding, however some events changed those plans and I turned the trip into an opportunity to volunteer with an incredible organization called PLAN international (blog photos here). I was first introduced to PLAN by a friend, Aaron Lines who is a spokesperson for them. He spoke so highly of his experience and the organization that I thought this was a great chance to help out with my photography. They are doing incredible things in the region, empowering children and families and working to help people that may not have the chances or the resources that others have. It was truly an awesome feeling to be able to help out in my small way.
The second half of my trip to Peru was to head to the Amazon. I was lucky enough to spend many months in South America and even nearly a month in Peru years earlier but I missed out on the Amazon. There was no way I was missing this opportunity. There really are very few words to describe life on the Amazon. With two so very distinct seasons, dry and wet, it’s hard to envision one or the other. I liken it to living in Edmonton where we survive insane temperate switches, for 6 months on end. We were there at the tail end of the rainy season when villagers live as much as 30 feet above the dry season water levels. It was a little like “water world” with raised homes above the water on stilts and kids canoeing to school.
The summer brought some amazing experiences. Another very busy summer of weddings, locally and in exotic locations like a wedding in Costa Rica (blog here) and an early summer wedding in Cabo (blog post here). I truly can’t thank my couples enough for the wonderful times Jesse and I spent with them. I’m a very lucky person to have a job that allows me to express myself artistically and I get a great meal each week-end.
I finished off my traveling this year with a quick getaway to New York (blog post here). This was my second trip to the Big Apple and I highly recommend everyone see it at some point in their life. I would love to live there, but only for three days a month. It’s got so much energy and it really does impress you but I’m pretty fond of wide open spaces and I think I’d want out after a while.
I want to specially mention Shelly Derksen from F2. I’m honoured and humbled to have my artwork on display at her wonderful store and I truly appreciate the support she continues to give me.
I met so many amazing people this year, artists, musicians, volunteers, and vendors but I want to make one more special mention to Amanda Lindhout. I met Amanda this fall and she is such a special and giving woman. For those of you that don’t know her story, she was kidnapped and held hostage for 460 days in various parts of Somalia. I can’t even begin to imagine what that was like for her in captivity but after being released she has chosen to help the people of Somalia and Africa. If you haven’t heard her speak, I highly recommend that you do and in the meantime please check out her foundation, The Global Enrichment Foundation.
I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking for me. I wanted to share my memories from 2011 and I hope I didn’t miss anything. I tried to put as many images as I could from the last year in this wrap up and I’m sorry if I missed some faces. Each and every person I met and shot this year was so special to me and gave me new and lasting memories. Enjoy the rest of the holiday season and we’ll see you in 2012!