Santorini

I just spent a few days on the beautiful Greek island of Santorini. Santorini’s history dates back to roughly 5000 BC.

Accommodation was at Villa Danezis. This luxury villa was rather affordable at $70 CDN per night and is managed by the owners who live on site. The villa has ten beautiful appointed rooms with nice art work, a sizeable outdoor pool, a beautiful patio area, and morning coffee with delicious home made muffins.

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During my stay I rented a car as it was a lot easier than trying to take the local transit, despite it being a more expensive choice. When I was on the island I did the famous Fira to Oia hike in reverse, which took about 3 hours to complete and is rated moderate. The hike takes you through both the ancient districts, and along the mountainous terrain between the two districts, with many beautiful old churches painted in blue and white. All of the “towns” on the islands are now just referred to as districts of Thera (Thira), since 2011 when the government decided to do so.

I explored Oia and Fira in detail, visited the old Akrotiri Lighthouse on the south side, and the ancient towns of Akrotiri and Ancient Thera.

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The ancient town of Akrotiri date’s back to as early as 5000 BC, when it was a small fishing and farming village. By about 3000 BC the community had developed and expanded significantly. Akrotiri continued to prosper over the years with the introduction of paves streets, an extensive drainage system, and high quality pottery and craftsmanship. This all came to an end in 1627 when the volcanic eruption of Thera buried the entire community in volcanic ash. The community wasn’t found again until 1867 when some locals found some old artifacts in a quarry. Extensive modern excavations of the site occurred in 1967 by Professor Spyridon Marinatos. Excavations are still ongoing to this day.

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The ancient town of Ancient Thera date’s back to 9th century BC until 726 AD when it was buried after a small eruption of the volcano of Santorini covered it in pumice stone. The ancient city was re-discovered in 1895 by Friedrich Hiller von Gaertringen and excavations started to occur between 1961 and 1982, and 1990 and 1994.

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I also ate some of the most amazing food I’ve had in my life. The meat and vegetables are so fresh and the Greek meals are delicious; whether it was traditional Greek coffee, Greek salad, fresh sea food, or vegetarian dishes. Yes you read that correctly, vegetarian dishes! Santorini has vegetarian only restaurants and they serve incredible food; my personal favorite being Tranquilo where I had Greek salad and goat cheese filled hot peppers.

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Another fantastic restaurant that you must visit is To Briki. I had traditional Greek coffee served with old wine grapes soaked in honey, deep fried Greek cheese, and amazing smoked salmon and avocado bruschetta.

Check back shortly for my next blog post where I explore the beautiful city of Zurich!

Lindsay & Michael’s Maternity Photo’s

My friend Lindsay and her boyfriend Michael are expecting their first born any week now. I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph them together in Big Hill Springs Provincial Park a few weeks ago. I was a bit sidetracked with Natasha and Tracey’s wedding so I hadn’t had the opportunity to post these photos yet. I met Lindsay and Michael about 7-8 years ago when I was working at Golder Associates as a Civil Designer. These two are absolutely hilarious together! I’m rooting for a girl, but I guess we will find out in a few weeks as its it’ll be a surprise for all of us!

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Natasha & Tracey’s Wedding

Last weekend I had the wonderful experience of photographing Natasha & Tracey’s wedding at the Al Azhar Shriner in Calgary, Alberta. My day started out at the Al Azhar Shriner at 10am with me taking photos of the venue before heading to the Sheraton Four Points hotel at 11am.

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Makeup and hair were done by Amy Bower and Becky Froland from Illuminate Makeup. Illuminate Makeup is independently owned and operated by Amy Bower. Amy has 13 years of makeup experience and she’s had the opportunity to work with local television networks such as City TV, Shaw, CTV, The Calgary Sun, and The National Post. Becky has over 15 years of experience with hair styling and attended Delmar College in 2004.

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After makeup and hair were finished I took photos of the girls getting ready before heading back to the Al Azhar Shriner to setup my video gear and prepare for the ceremony.

The Ceremony took place outside and started at 4:00pm. Following the 20 minute ceremony the girls signed their legal papers and we spent the next hour taking photos of the girls, bridesmaids, and family in a few locations (outside on the lawn at the Al Azhar Shriner, the road leading up to the Al Azhar Shriner, and in Bakers Park.

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Upon arriving back at the Al Azhar Shriner at 5:30pm MC Mitch introduced the bridal party with an absolutely humorous made-up story about each of the women and men. Dinner, a delicious buffet of fresh salads, buns, chicken, beef roast, mashed potatoes, etc. was served from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Throughout dinner toasts were done with shots of Newfoundland Screech, a drink similar to moonshine.

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Cupcakes and a small top tier cake were served prior to the girls first dance to “She Keeps Me Warm” by Mary Lambert. Mother & Father/Daughter dancing followed with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

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I left at around 10:00pm but I was told that there was a built your own nachos event that occurred shortly after and the dancing went into the night. It was such an honor for me to have shot this wonderful wedding and to see my friend Natasha marry the beautiful Tracey!

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Stay tuned for my next blog post, a maternity shot that I did the week prior for Lindsay & Michael, who are expecting their first born in a mere few weeks!

June 26th 2016 – Deer Ridge Hike

Today I went on a beautiful medium length hike with my friend Carissa. We started off early morning so that I could get back to my second job for the afternoon. When I picked her up with purchased some Phil & Sabastian’s coffee, which was absolutely delicious, and made the short car ride out to Deer Ridge much more enjoyable. This hike was the first time I’ve really been able to use my new Canon 1DX Camera. We saw some beautiful dogs, some birds, some squirrels, beautiful views, and also got lost for about an hour because we didn’t follow the directions. I absolutely love this camera, and it takes some of the most incredible photo’s ever. I barely have to do any photo editing because what I see is what I get. The colours are so accurate, and the metering is fantastic. Canon really did a great job with this camera.

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June 4th 2016 – Bourgeau Hike

Today I went for a hike to Bourgeau Lake with a colleague of mine from work. The trail wasn’t very busy, but it was a little muddy towards the top. The trail is switchback after switchback, getting more difficult the closer you get to the lake. The last 300 metres of the 725 metre elevation gain occurs in the last 1.75 km of the trail.

When we got to the lake we relaxed and had our lunch, and were watching Pika’s try to steal food from my backpack, and the backpacks from other hikers. After lunch we climbed up a bit further to see a slightly better view of the lake. I was absolutely blown away by the sheer beauty of the glacial fed lake. The colours were so vibrant!

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May 15th 2016 –Johnston Canyon Hike

On Saturday May 14th I completed three hikes; Paint Pots, Johnston Canyon, and Ink pots. You can see my blog post about the Paint Pots here. Today’s post is about Johnston Canyon. This hike is one of Alberta’s most famous hikes. It’s quite a beautiful hike, albeit short. The only thing that bothered me was there was way too many tourists. The hike starts off walking along a metal bridge (pathway) built into the side of a cliff. The pathway ends after about 1.1km at the Lower Falls. These falls are absolutely stunning!

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After the Lower Falls the hike continues upwards for another 1.6 km, but this time on a path, rather than the metal bridge (pathway). The Upper Falls even had some snow still! The crowd’s of people started to die down the further up I went from the Lower Falls.IMG_2723IMG_2731IMG_2759IMG_2768IMG_2777IMG_2784

I continued further along the hiking trail to the Ink Pots, but look for tomorrow’s post about the Ink Pots!

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May 14th 2016 – Paint Pots Hike

Today I went on a beautiful, but short hike in British Columbia. It is a one kilometer hike, but is one of the most unique sceneries I’ve seen in my life. The Indian’s used to travel here to obtain the “red earth”. The yellow ochre was cleaning, kneaded with water into walnut-sized balls and flattened into cakes. The cakes were then baked in a fire, then ground into a powder. The red powder was then mixed with fish oil or animal grease and used in painting bodies, teepees, clothing, and pictures on rocks.

The paint pots resulted from the accumulation of iron oxide or hydroxide around the rim of a pool. As the rim grew, the pool got deeper. The increased pressure of water in the pool became greater than the force of the water in the spring, causing the spring to seek a new outlet. When this happened, the pot eventually dried up, forming a choked cone.

Mining of iron oxide was attempted in the 1920’s, but was not considered viable due to economic and ecological reasons.

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