Our Family Trip to Tanzania 2019

Its been exactly 9 years since we had our first trip to this beautiful country as a newly married couple. Here we are 2 kids in, a better camera and what seems like a lifetime apart our second time going back as a family. I totally thought I would take a million gallizion photos and I just didn’t. To be honest, most days I was tired, we were busy and when it wasn’t all of that I was enjoying my family and surroundings. But here’s a few I put together hope you enjoy. And funny enough I think I made it into about 3 photos.

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Tanzania, you may ask, where is this country you speak of and what brought you guys there? Well! Tanzania is located in East Africa on the beautiful shores of the Indian Ocean. And my wonderful husband was born there. With most of his family still living there. Its beautiful, its wild and to answer the most asked question i get, its safe! You have the endless national parks to explore who house all the big game, Mount Kilimanjaro ( the highest mountain in Africa) the island of Zanzibar which is sometimes called the spice island because it produces, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper ( it also produced Freddie Mercury) and the list goes on.

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It takes forever…

to get there. But when you do…

Coming from the freezing North we were adamant about spending the beginning of our trip lounging on the warm shores of Dar and then a few days in Zanzibar. We swam everyday in the ocean, snacked on fresh mangos ,visited family and spent far too much time driving around looking for ice cream.

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We did the beach

thing for awhile.

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Ruaha

largest National Park in Tanzania.

Then we drove and we drove and we drove, to a magical place called Ruaha. Which is actually the largest park and the least visited in East Africa. We slept in the park! But we were not prepared to do this and it was all kinda a bit of a accident and it was one of the scariest nights of all of our lives, but one of the highlights looking back. The kids had no idea it was not all planned and slept fine. The next day we did there safari I was too tired and emotionally exhausted and didn’t take many photos. BUT, the night we arrived I did have a moment where I looked up at the sky and I kid you not it was like the scene from lion king with all the stars sparkling down at us. It was magic!

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Road tripping

we continued on..

Finally, arrived to mums house where we spend the remainder of our trip in Mbeya. Its much cooler here surrounded my mountains, lakes and banana trees! The boys spent their days playing soccer and riding bajaji taxis for fun. We attempted a few hikes some of them worked out ( its rain season), visited with family and spent a bit of time in an orphanage playing with the kids. The boys loved waiting for avocados to drop from the trees and tasting the sugar cane on the family’s property.

As I was going through the photos, i noted this one particularly. Here is a photo of Mwita and Jordan walking through a dense canopy of banana trees through the property his mom grew up on, to view the graves of his grandparents. You can see the graves in the far right of the photo, Jordans great-grandparents, whom he never met but shares a middle name with. Generations later this is the very spot, the root, half of their heritage.

As I was going through the photos, i noted this one particularly. Here is a photo of Mwita and Jordan walking through a dense canopy of banana trees through the property his mom grew up on, to view the graves of his grandparents. You can see the graves in the far right of the photo, Jordans great-grandparents, whom he never met but shares a middle name with. Generations later this is the very spot, the root, half of their heritage.

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Then…

back home we went.

Top 5 Questions or concerns I get about Newborn Lifestyle Photography| Yellowknife NT. Newborn Photographer

yellowknife newborn photography

Top 5 questions I get about Lifestyle Newborn Photography

Its September in Yellowknife and well winter is around the corner. Soon will be the days of warm lights, cozy blankets and wool socks. So what does this mean for newborn sessions? It means we head inside to your home space guys. Wait, say what? You don’t know what a lifestyle newborn session is yet? Let me break it down for you and answer a few of my top questions and concerns I get asked. Let me also say this is based on my view and my business and what works for me and my clients.

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what usually comes up…

.





1. My house is not photo ready. I don’t think we will have anywhere that looks good.

Fact is nobody’s is. Especially if you are already 1,2,3 kids in, life is busy and most of us don’t have a perfect home, I sure don’t so I don’t expect you to either. I really only need 1-2 places in your home with good light. Usually its the living room or master bedroom. But it could really be anywhere, we get creative! Thats half the fun of it. I can recall 2 times in the dead of winter with minimal light we shot the entire session on the floor in front of the patio door. But you cant tell that in my photos can you?





2. Do you have props? Can I use my own props?

No and maybe. So im a Lifestyle newborn photographer meaning, I want to shoot your lifestyle. Nothing wrong with props its just not my thing and to be honest I suck at setting them up and placing your baby in them, on them around them, I don’t know it gives me anxiety. I prefer to use neutral colours, pattern textiles and you to frame your newborn. You will be holding your newborn majority of the time and placing them where we decide would be a good spot, I have my camera to hold you have your baby to hold and thats usually the way it happens. With all of that being said I don’t mind if you have a few items or pieces you would like to some how incorporate. Just know that if you have envisioned your baby suspended in the air in perfect poise and fern leaves radiating out from their bottom, im not your girl for this. I do have a “lifestyle” bag and bring it along with me to most sessions. It has a few neutral wraps some Haylani Apparel head bands and Honest Co. diapers.

3. Can I invite extended family over for the photos?

This is is a bit complicated and it depends from family to family also your home! Is your home or space we will be shooting in with the best light be enough to line the whole extended family up for a group shot? Most homes arn’t so be mindful of this guys. My approach to shooting in your home with your newborn is story based. I try to capture the real life and details of all the new freshness of your little family. I find that especially when you have toddler age siblings they can be the most affected by the extra people around. I find they connect less with the baby, their parents and yes my camera too. This can throw off the session and we likely won’t get those connection based images. However, it has worked in the past with older children as long as the visitors arrive and settle before I do. So please use caution and think about the type of photos you are wanting to achieve, Im also also available to talk and plan out the session intact I encourage the conversation.

4. Do you do breastfeeding images?

Yes. And I would love to.

5. I have these ideas from Pinterest can use them?

Ok so I love when my clients have ideas and suggestions but please keep in mind that my work is going to be different then anyone else’s. This is especially true in home sessions, when we are working with natural light, different home furnishings, outfit choices, even the time of year. Ill do my best to work with your ideas but keep in mind I have a specific mood to my images and style and that is going to naturally come through in all my work.

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Things to remember..

every session, every photo, every baby is unique, Its minimal, its comfortable and its a lot of fun!!!

Range Lake Trail |Yellowknife NT | Family Photography

Your story that embodies your lifestyle. I wanted to share a bit about what a lifestyle story session is. I feel like a lot of photographers throw around the term "lifestyle" but we don't really know what it means. Dictionary lifestyle definition is: the way in which a person or group lives.  Bingo!  Person(you)  and Group(family) in which you live. I kinda love that actually. To be honest, when I first started shooting and I was drawn to this type of photography, I didn't know how to achieve it. How do those photographers get all those beautiful "unposed" images. I tried and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. So I studied it, I obsessed over it, I even went to a workshop and learned it! Then I put it all together into a little package called "A lifestyle story" of what I love, what I see and what Im drawn to, so its uniquely my art and uniquely yours. 

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We met at the Range Lake trail head in which I was surprised they actually knew this place taking into consideration they weren't from town. The Range Lake trail is one of my favourite places to spend time. Its one of the first little trail systems I discovered here in yellowknife accidentally actually as I was out walking my dog and I often visit it a few times a week. I think its an older trail and not as heavily used as some of the newer spots around Yellowknife. (hence why i love it) I have actually met many long time Yellowknifers who have never been on this trail and are always  pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it is. For me it has the perfect amount of trees, path, rock and water. Like I said I spend a lot of time on it so I know each little spot and where I like to stop to take a photo. 

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The session was scheduled for a bit later in the  evening then I would typically shoot with such small children and Catherine expressed a bit of apprehension about the excitement around the traveling and the later bedtime for her kids. I assured her I would do my best and it will be great. They arrived combing hair, bouncing the baby on their hip and wiping faces as we said our introductions and a quick hello  all while their 2 year old face plants straight in the gravel on the lot. I turned my attention to the 2 oldest kids age 2 and 5, for I know by now that kids run the show and if they arnt having a good time then no body is having a good time. Plus, Im a parent myself of 2 very energetic often too crazy boys and parents everywhere be known I have been thought it all. 

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The curve of the trail with the beautiful views along the way were a great way to keep the whole family, interested and engaged as we moved along. We chatted and I snapped photos, the kids played and I snapped some more photos.  Im looking for moments and connection between the family members. We spent about 1hour 20mins together on this little trail. We stopped at a few of my favourite spots were I knew I could get some beautiful lighting with the shadows in the trees. But we mostly kept moving, the kids were excited to explore and I wanted them to  just be themselves and  have a good time, no pressure. . 

Shave for the Brave | Yellowknife, NT | Ravens Night Club

Barbara reached out to me a few weeks ago and told me about her dear father John and her family. She told me about a fundraiser and asked if I would be apart of this experience and tell a bit of their story. I met with Barb and her family one Saturday afternoon to grab a quick before shot of the family. I instantly fell in love with the bunch. Barbara answered the door bouncing her baby on her hip and immediatly started apologizing saying the whole family is late, while her wonderful parents greeted me kindly and shook my hand while thanking me. A moment later sibling after sibling flew through the door in a furry and all the sisters retreated to the bedroom to fix make-up and change outfits. Eventually we made it onto the deck and the love, energy and Newfoundland accents poured out as they teased one another and hugged their parents fondly. 

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Their story

   John Smith was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer just before Christmas. John and his wife have lived a beautiful full life together raising 6 incredible kids including my friend Barb. They are strong, tight knit and loving.  Within weeks of hearing Johns diagnoses they decided to act and diligently got to work on a fundraiser. So on April 28,2018 all the Smith kids ,family and many friends shaved their heads to raise awareness of esophageal cancer. In all their efforts they also raised money for the Canadian Cancer Society and to help offset some of the costs their parents will incur during this battle.  {please visit their page on Facebook Shave for the brave for more information on the proceeds of the night} To see this incredible community rally around this beautiful family was heart warming. The crowd was cheering, crying, applauding the volunteers as they took their place among the talented hairdressers and barbers just in front of the stage.  But the whole room came to to a stand still as the Smith sisters took their places at the front, they held each others hands and hearts as their hair fell to the floor. The moment after was one of those once in a lifetime witnesses as the family gathered in the middle of the floor with their newly shaved heads and just held each other , the entire room was in tears and the love and energy must of been radiating through that place.  Heres a few moments of the night and just a bit of their story...

Model Call || Yellowknife, NT || Photoshoot

Looking for a mama and her sweet little bean for a Breastfeeding session. 

 

Looking for a breast feeding mama with a babe age newborn-6months for a mini Breastfeeding Session. Can have older siblings as well for the shoot. But looking for just mom and baby with kids to shoot. Breastfeeding is such a beautiful time in your life and we spend so much time doing this. I find taking images during a session of you feeding your baby is still a bit taboo. Im looking for a brave mama willing to share this experience so I can document and promote how beautiful this can be! Images will be tastefully done playing with light and shadows to enhance this shoot. 

  • must sign a model consent form and be O.K. with me using your images to promote this type of session on my social media and or website. 
  •  bonus if you have a social account and share as well on there
  • be open to wardrobe suggestions
  • indoor in my space or yours
  • you will recieve 10 high resolution images from our time together  

Interested or know someone who would be

perfect for this, pass it along or message me!

How a B.C girl and her camera survived the first year in Yellowknife, NT Canada

Pilots monument engagement session -30. Yellowknife, NT

Pilots monument engagement session -30. Yellowknife, NT

"Oh your from B.C. ?!?"

"how are you liking the winter? " Seems to be the opening line for most people I meet. I was born and raised in Beautiful British Columbia, I lived and loved the mountains, the ocean and laid back people. I met my husband in Vancouver B.C finished up school, bought a house, had our babies and then after a few years headed North for a simpler life.  Now I say North because people in Northern BC call themselves Northern, its considered Northern after all. Its rugged, its rural and its cold. Haha...arn't we cute those west coasters you!  Then we found ourselves heading North once again... 

When your compass points North do you head North or head the other direction and go South, maybe head East and keep an eye North
— unknown
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Theres a lot that goes through your mind when you decide to move North. The thrill and romanticized adrenaline really keeps you going through those first few months. It was exciting and before we knew it was Spring, Summer and Fall my favourite season! 

Business wise... 

With my little guy starting J.K I knew it was time to rev up the camera and start hunting for my people again. I had taken a few clients over the spring and summer but haven't really gotten myself out there. One thing holding me back...old man winter. I hadn't run a business like this in the North. I knew I might be the only photographer without a studio. I had briefly considered carving one out in our place somewhere, but I just couldn't do it. My heart is not in that style of work and I was willing to give it a go without one. I wondered if Knifers would be on board for this? 

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 The good news people are booking me. Another interesting fact Northerners love outdoor photos even when its damn cold. More then I have probably ever seen anywhere else. Winter is a true culture up here and people embrace it with loving arms and beautiful attire. 

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It is a truly unique and beautiful way of life up here. Ive had my ups and downs including frost bite to the fingers but I think I nailed down a few solid tips for a BC girl taking photos in the North. 

  1. follow your heart and do what you love and people will follow it too

  2. Invest in a good pair of mukluks and a few pairs of wool socks

  3. embrace the grain when you do shoot indoors ; the dead of winter is dark and you'll have to bump your ISO waaaay up

  4. get a speed lite just in case

  5. shoot wide open whenever possible the light is so pretty

  6. practise shooting your camera with your down filled mitts on , especially when you back button focus

  7. carry hand warms, I feel like this might be a bonus for keeping your camera warm as well because I have never had to switch out batteries while I always hold my camera in my hand

  8. prep clients to dress warm, like really warm embrace the parkas! 

  9. know that your fingers will still go numb

  10. avoid the tour buses while shooting at prime locations LOL you know what Im taking about

Thats it my friends I leave you with some winter delight below...

Yellowknife, NT | Maternity Session | Home Session

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Expecting Mama...

reached out to me a few months back to shoot a reveal session. Fast forward a few months later here we are in their home shooting her beautiful bump and adorable family. 

That was so easy, it is always so comfortable shooting with you.
— Megan
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Magic...

happens when you let your guard down

and are comfortable.

Home is where your heart is and truthfully where your most comfortable. When your comfortable it comes through in your shoot.  I love home sessions. I know they are a relatively new concept but guys, this is you and this is the stuff your going to want to remember. 

Home is where your heart is and truthfully where your most comfortable. When your comfortable it comes through in your shoot.  I love home sessions. I know they are a relatively new concept but guys, this is you and this is the stuff your going to want to remember. 

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Your free

 

to be authentically you.

A Family Song in Yellowknife, NWT

I started chatting with Beth through email just before Christmas. We had discussed her thoughts about a little family session sometime early January. She was hoping for one of those elusive warm days  that can sometimes happen up here in North. As I reached out to her a few days before our scheduled shoot,  the tempature was not looking good. She expressed she was a bit dissapointed we couldn't shoot outside and didn't know what to expect for a "home session". Well I gave her my usual spew of what to expect and told her not to clean her house.

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 Sunday morning I was greeted at the door by beautiful expectant mama Beth with a warm smile and the sweetest girl spinning circles in the corner while Tim tried to shush the dogs upstairs.   I took a look around and thought OMG, these guys...yes... they are creatives, artists my people. I immediately noticed these large colourful paintings framed by equally beautiful instruments. A guitar carefully placed in the corner, large windows pouring morning light on colourful pillows laid on cozy couches.  I didn't know Beth very well yet, but I could image sipping tea from one of her beautifully crafted pottery mugs she made in her studio out back and listening to music like old friends. 

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Grab your guitar please... 

and our session went a little something like that.

Newborn Home Session Yellowknife, NWT

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The Art

Of A Newborn Home Session In Yellowknife, NWT

I feel like I reached a new level with this home session. This was our 4th shoot working together and we were past first introductions and comfortable with each other. I knew and understand their boys personalities and quirks and was happy to play along with them. Robert and Amanda were a dream team couple. Smoothly moving through their parental duties and every so often stopping for a small intimate moment between them and their sweet newborn baby girl.  Amanda so effortlessly caressed her newborn as she played and entertained the boys. While Robert was the perfect partner and freely joined in to the boys games and handily offered support wherever needed. Amanda's father was in town visiting and created the perfect oppurtunity to snap a few relaxed portraits as Grandpa and his 3 grandchildren. This is a small bit of their story and the art of a new born session. 

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The Real Story

I never stop shooting during our time together. I believe the  real moments and memories that sometimes mean the most come when you least expect it. 

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A real moment 

is born when we are not prompting or enticing. 

The heart beat of our day | Yellowknife NT Day in the life Family Photography

 

One day, I won't remember how my 4 year old has a melt down everytime I turn off the TV and say its time to get ready. Or the amount silly shenanigans that go down every morning while they fumble through their room picking out clothes for the day.  The way my sweet 6 year old boy leaves masses of crumpled up paper creations through our home as he finds his writing skills. The tears, the laughs the dirty faces and piles of laundry are fleeting. They might seem unimportant to some but I promise you these moments are beautiful and authentically yours.   

This day I chose to freeze time. I tried to cheat a little and steal some of my precious babies time. I told them they didn't have to go to school today, but I had a special day planned. The each got to choose an activity  and we set out to do it. I documented our moments real and rawly for what it was. They chose their own outfit, we didn't keep time and they  did what they wanted to do, nothing staged, nothing prompted, just life. 

Nominate a Family for a Christmas Session

Looking for nominations for a special family this holiday season. I would love to offer a free photoshoot to a well deserving family who has had a tougher then normal year. Whether its dealing with illness, loss of a loved one, financial...please send me an email telling me why this special family would love and appreciate a photoshoot this Christmas season. 

Note: This will be an In home Full Story lifestyle session. Follow the link below make sure to include there names, why they would love this, how many family members and their contact info so I can reach out to them. 

Love One Another John 13:34

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Hiking is a bit like love | Yellowknife, NT Ingraham Trail Engagement Photoshoot

" The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other...again and again and again. And if you allow yourself opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek, you will witness beauty every step of the way, not just at the summit." unknown

Rustic Maternity Shoot

Truly the story of an ordinary location turned extradinary shoot. I got the honour of photographing my dear friend 9 months pregnant with her third baby.  She's a Calgary girl who bravely trekked the  icy snow in her teal cowboy boots of a friends farm posing with the perfect poise for each shot. She's a true free spirit with a compelling charm that shines through each photograph so effortlessly. Thank you my dear friend for a beautiful day and memories forever.