Chile – Day 4 – Valparaiso & Vin Del Mar

Today we decided to sleep in a bit until 8am. We ended up having a buffet breakfast down in the lobby of the hotel since it was only $9 and included coffee. After breakfast we got ready and started walking along the waterfront to Vin Del Mar. The waterfront was very relaxing and was a mix of a modern reconstructed boardwalk and old decaying train depot buildings with abandoned trains along the side. We noticed a ton of homeless dogs and with a quick Google search we determined that there are an estimated 2.5 million stray dogs in Chile and the canine population is growing faster than the human population. A sobering statistics is that with 17 million Chilean’s; the canine population is slated to surpass the human population in as soon as 6-10 years. Something needs to be done about this.

Half way to Vina Del Mar we came to Portales, where there was a small beach with some food booths setup. We were not quite yet hungry so we decided that we would come back here later on. At this point in time it would have been nice to walk along the waterfront more but I had drank way too much water and needed to find a bathroom.

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We boarded the train to Vina Del Mar and found a Starbucks to go to the bathroom and we ordered some Frappuccino’s. Catherine had Java Chip Frappuccino and I had a half sweet Cookies & Cream Frappuccino. I was starting to run low on money so we stopped in at the bank and picked up some more money before continuing our walk along the waterfront. The beach in Vin Del Mar was very beautiful and packed full of people, including some people fishing from the boardwalk. After walking along the beach we explored the city of Vina del Mar. We saw a flower clock that had real moving hands, a magician that appeared to be floating, a castle, and an old Palace.

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After exploring Vina Del Mar we took the train back to Portales, where we both got delicious freshly made empanadas for only $4 each, which is about double the going rate they were in Santiago, but this is more of a touristy area. I had pulled beef, chorizo, mushrooms and cheese; while Catherine had chicken, mushrooms and cheese. After eating our food we took the train back to the hotel, where we relaxed for a few hours before venturing out back into the cerro’s of Valparaiso.

We head back out at 6:00pm to explore the cerro of Artilleria. This was definitely one of the more dodgy areas of town and has a rating of “orange” on the scale of neighbor safety. The scale includes the colours from Red, Orange, Yellow and Green; with red being the least safe to green being the safest. I’m glad we visited it though because it was quite the unique community with beautiful views of the port and entire city, as well as some unique art. While we were up in the community we met this family that was visiting from Montreal. The dad was originally from Valparaiso and moved away when he was only 12 years old. This was his first time visiting since he moved away. He told us that practically nothing has changed since he was a child, but they were trying to do a better job of preserving some buildings and the funiculars.

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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!