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Category Archives: destinations

Cuba Maternity Shoot | Chris & Christine

Just a few days ago, Justin & I were living ‘la vida loca’ (well it was more like ‘la vida relajada’) on the beaches of Cayo Guillermo in Cuba.  I don’t think I’ve ever taken a trip where I just sat around and did NOTHING!

We had a super fun time with our friends Chris & Christine… since we’re both expecting babies in the next 5 months (and our lives to change drastically), we figured that we would have one last “baby-less” trip :)  But I guess I’ll stop rubbing that in!

On another note, if you’re in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and you’re an engaged couple looking for a wedding planner, you’ve probably heard of Christine Martin from Pure Potential Weddings.  If you haven’t heard of her you may want to head to her website.  She’s usually the one behind the scenes making everything run smoothly for you… But this time around, it was her time to be in front of the camera.

One late afternoon, just before the sun went down, we headed down to the windy beach and took some beautiful maternity shots of her and hubby.  I hope you enjoy them because these two look super fab!!!

There are so many from this series.  I couldn’t narrow it down!!

On our way to the beach, I found this row of small houses.  And it so happened to be an awesome location!



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so fun!

As we headed towards the beach, the wind got FIERCE… so we used it to create some fun shots!

I over exposed this shot and they both really loved it!

Chris really enjoyed fishing off of this pier!


After our ‘a la carte’ dinner, we took a few more night shots to end the session!

If you’re looking to have some casual maternity shots done similar to these, send me an email!

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there’s a time to work & a time to play | Italy 2009

We know it.  It’s true.  Justin & I are blessed, lucky, fortunate, serendipitous, privileged… whatever you’d like to call it :)  It’s been an amazing year of travel for us and we haven’t taken it for granted.  From the lovely coasts of Western Australia to the beaches of Jamaica; the bumpy roads of Zambia to the waterways of Venice.  I still can’t believe we’ve been to 4 continents and 9 countries; We’ve taken 31 flights and thousands of photos!

When we decided to take a trip to Italy to celebrate 5 years of marital bliss, we were excited…. but didn’t realize that we wouldn’t have time to plan more than our bed & breakfast for the first 3 nights (and even that was a friends’ last minute suggestion)!  Weeks leading to our trip, I started fretting a bit about not having any plans (I love to plan!) when we arrived to Venice.  But the busyness of wedding season didn’t stop, and it wasn’t until I was on the plane that I started reading about what we would actually do when we got there.

So as you watch this video and look at these photos… think: unexpected, impromptu, surprise!  Because almost everything we saw and did was exactly that for us!

One of our first photos we took in the little town of Chioggia (aka “mini Venice”)

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Our B&B in Chioggia… 5 levels.  We stayed on the bottom floor and ate breakfast on the top floor!

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Gino, the homeowner, made sure we knew there were 72 steps to the top.  The view was amazing!

Italy 2009  005 Italy 2009  006Oh Venice… how I love getting “lost” in all of your random streets and alleys.

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The BEST pasta I had on our whole trip… fagotini!  YUMMY!

Italy 2009  009Totally loved being serenaded by the accordionists while eating fagotini… SO Italy :)

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walking or boating… your two choices of transportation!

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Justin snapped this photo, early in the morning, of a grocer bringing in the produce for the day!

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My FAVOURITE photo of the trip

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Yes we HAD to experience the GONDOLA.  Here’s our gondolier:

Italy 2009  007Not everyone takes the short boat ride to the near island of Murano (where they make all of the glass that you buy in Venice), but it was SO worth it!

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I thought I’d be bored at the OPERA… but NOPE it was so amazing especially since they were all dressed in the baroque style garb.

Italy 2009  042 Italy 2009  045 Italy 2009  048Now to ROMA… Our first stop: The Spanish Steps.

There were only a few tourists.

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This is where we ran into Nigel Lythgoe… but before we could talk to him or take his picture, he walked into this shoe store!!

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Rome at night = AWESOME!  We slept in many days because we loved the cool and lively nights!

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St. Peter’s Basilica

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The famous Coliseum

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Ancient Rome… this is where the saying “all roads lead to Rome” comes from.  We’re right in the center!

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LOL!!! One afternoon, we were sitting on a bench, reading and resting, then suddenly we were surrounded by hundreds of Vespas and a wedding party!

I guess I can’t get away from wedding photography :)

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Here are some more night shots, including the Fountain of Trevi:

Italy 2009  088and the Coliseum again…

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Picture this: It’s the end of a long day of walking and we were so tired.  We were trying to find the Metro… and let’s be honest – I was GRUMPY… Until I found this random bakery.

We actually walked by it, but then my nose caught the smell of pastries and I took a few steps back to see stairs leading down to this bakery in the basement of a building. All I could think was THANK YOU GOD!

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On our last day in Rome, we headed to the 2nd largest museum in the world: The Vatican Museum!

The Last Supper

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This is actually worth more than gold!

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The Sistine Chapel = no cameras, no video cameras, no talking, no falling…

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Justin disobeyed and took this shot of The Sistine Ceiling. And I’m so glad he did!

This is the middle scene where God infuses his soul into man (creation) being the most famous (and very small) part of the ceiling.

Painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512.  Brilliant.

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The End.

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African adventure part four : Rwanda

There’s a reason for my crazy Africa week, and here it is: We’ve put up some of our favourite photos from my last trip back in 2007 on our site for you to buy.  In the next month, ALL the proceeds from these print purchases will be donated directly to the building project for our upcoming Zambia trip.  So please –> CLICK HERE <– and purchase a print or two… and pass on the word!

Now onto the last post: RWANDA!!! It was very hard for me to choose which photos to post because we spent just as much time in Rwanda as we did in Kenya… and it has a special place in my heart.  In my mind, because of the genocide, I thought the country would be more rundown, the people downcast… but that was so far from the truth.  There was such hope in the people, and the cities and villages were so beautifully clean and well taken care of (and there were NO POTHOLES).

Our first view at the country

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Another welcoming dance party broke out at the church when we arrived… this lady was doing the coolest noise with her tongue!

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The view from where we were staying in Kigali “Centre D’acceuil”.

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I spent half the time in Kigali teaching some music seminars… the other half was spent in Gitarama at the orphanage site.

Once again, we were welcomed with music, dancing, and drama!

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some beautiful orphans

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my lovely mother

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this is what you call A GRATEFUL SMILE.  Even when it is just a sticker on your hand!

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The orphanage and my mom doing what she does best… painting.

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We had a big celebration for the opening of the orphanage and hundreds of people showed up… You can see them heading our way in this photo.

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View from the orphanage

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a beautiful girl in desperate need of some shoes!

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A few hours before this next photo was taken, I handed my journal over to my sister Amy and asked her if she remembered the words to a song that I had written. YES I had forgotten my own lyrics.

I just had a feeling that they were going to ask me to play/sing… and I was right.  Thanks to Amy, I wasn’t a complete failure :)

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We worked alongside the locals

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Back in Kigali… we taught them some basic english.

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Here’s mom distributing some of the donations we had received

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here’s Amy “mowing the lawn”!!!!! I should say “plucking one grass out at a time”!!!!!

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I’m very grateful for this man who was with me all week long.  As I spoke at the seminars, he watched my camera gear and was SO kind to me!!

Here he is with his wife.

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At the end of our trip… we headed to the genocide memorial in Kigali.  No photos allowed inside of course, but here’s a few from the grounds.

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this flame never goes out in remembrance of all who were slaughtered and killed

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As I mentioned before.  All the photos from my AFRICA POSTS are available on the website for purchase. Every penny will go to our upcoming Zambia trip.

I hope y’all have an amazing weekend!!  I’m spending my weekend with 2000 teenagers, then heading to B.C. for a few shoots.

I’ll be posting those photos later next week!

Mel

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African adventure part three : Masai Tribe

If you don’t know anything about the Masai people.  You should do some research.  Very fascinating people.  While we were on our safari we had the chance to take a few hours to visit the neighbouring tribe… The small fee we paid went to medical supplies – which they need desperately!!  Here are some of my favourites:

We were welcomed with a tribal dance.  They circled us while jumping up in down with their hands to their side. masai-0021

They will often have jumping competitions… the highest jumper gets the girl!

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FIERCE competitors!

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The young Masai (I like to call them Masailets :)

I LOVE the photo on the right… he’s already started practicing his height!!!!!!!

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There are many sick and diseased children in these tribes.  And that’s why I love what Dr Anne-Marie Zajdlik is doing for these people (more about her below).

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The huts take seven months to build by the women of the village. They are built of branches, twigs, grass, and cow dung and urine formed into a plaster and applied to a branch frame.

Amazingly, when the mixure dries in the sun it is as strong a cement and does NOT smell!

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masai-0235-0178 masai-0204 Stretched ear. masai-0201 masai-0200 masai-0198-0197 Amy, mom, & I each bought a Masai “blanket” that I use regularly actually… the RED colour scares away the animals.

Here’s Amy with hers.

masai-0231 I couldn’t decide which I like best… in b&w or in colour??? masai-0192b masai-0192 Fire maker.  They tried to have me make one… but I failed.  I would never survive on Survivor!! masai-0136 masai-0207-0120 Cattle herders. masai-0184 As I mentioned before, Dr. Anne-Marie is a family doctor and an HIV physician in Guelph, Ontario. In 2005, she founded and now directs the Masai Centre for Local, Regional and Global Health, in response to the growing numbers of HIV/AIDS patients in the Guelph area. The birth of an HIV negative boy named Masai to two HIV positive parents from Ethiopia in 2003 turned Anne-Marie into an international AIDS activist.

Click HERE for more information on the Masai Centre for Local, Regional and Global Health and the Bracelet of Hope Campaign.

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My last post tomorrow will be on the second half of my journey to the country of Rwanda!!

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African adventure part two : Safari

A few weeks into our african adventure, we left the little village of Machakos and headed for the Rift Valley for a few days of relaxation.  Our destination was the Maasai Mara (a large park reserve in south-western Kenya).  Our tour guide kept on telling us that we would see animals but it may take longer than expected…. this is not your African Lion Safari (Ontario styles :) ).  These animals are not kept in a fenced area… they roam around freely.  We were SO lucky to have seen all the animals we did.  Obviously, they’re not all posted here.  But here are a few of my favourites:

The Rift Valley

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Some kids on the side of the road seeing us in our van!

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They were VERY ecxited!

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Catchin’ a ride up a large hill…

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We hadn’t even arrived to the official reserve area and we saw some zebras.

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Young Masai kids

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This photo is hanging in my living room :)  There’s something amazing about Acacia trees!

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The lazy lions would not wake up, until….

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….I started yelling out with my cat voice!!  It was quite ridiculous and hilarious… but as the lions started waking up, everyone was very happy with me!

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thank you 70-200 mm f2.8L lens :)

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I love the birds hanging out on this giraffe’s back

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My favourite photo of the safari… Our eagle-eyed tour guide spotted this cheetah LAYING DOWN IN HIGH GRASS from VERY far away!!!

My heart was racing as I was trying to take the photo because he kept on yelling “We’re not supposed to be here… hurry take your shot and let’s go!!”

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Can you see Shrek in this next photo?

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check out his legs!

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Tomorrow’s post will be about my experience visiting a MASAI TRIBE!!!

Thanks for reading… and don’t forget to comment :)

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