Our end-of-the-year contest is back!

It was like deja vu last night as we tried to narrow down all the images we took this past year to get our top fifteen shots.  The process was just as long and arduous as I remember it from last year!  Tonight was spent in long debate about why we strongly felt that certain shots should be included. There was sadness from both of us as we went through and removed some really good shots from the running to get it down to just fifteen. We realize that this is always a highly subjective thing – invariably we have chosen something that you might not have; such is the nature of things in choosing favourites though!

So, just like last year, this contest ends with a prize!  At the bottom of this post there is a survey that we’ve set up so that you, our loyal blog readers, can make the final decision on what you think was the absolute best shot of 2009.  The couple whose shot receives the highest number of votes by midnight, December 31st (Mountain Time) will receive one of our fine-art canvases of their favourite image from their wedding.  The voting is open to anyone so please, encourage your families and friends to vote.  Last year we had a lot of people leave comments trying to convince others of why they thought a specific shot should win so please don’t hesitate to let your voice be heard!

We want to thank all of our clients, their families, and their friends for another great year and look forward to doing it again in 2010! We met a lot of cool people and made a bunch of new friends. If you’re not connected with us on Facebook we’d love to have you join our Fan Page simply by clicking the link.

PS – You’ll notice that we are busting out our new logo in the images below. It’s just a pre-cursor of what is to come in the next little while here! Stay tuned!

Sheena and Kyle came home from Dubai to have their wedding in Fernie and were determined to have their wedding pictures done outside despite the 75 degree temperature difference from what they had grown accustomed to!  You would never know from this shot that the temperature that day was a brisk -36ºC with the wind chill!

While shooting at Maiden Lake in Fernie for Rebecca and JJ’s wedding we bumped into a couple of people playing hockey and asked them to borrow their sticks for a few shots.  As it turns out, JJ played quite a bit of hockey when he was younger and you can see the competitive spirit in his eyes as soon as he got his hands on the stick.

Carmen and Mike’s wedding reception was at the Banff Springs Hotel, one of the nicest venues in Western Canada.  It’s full of history and there’s an elegance in the air when you’re in the building. They got permission from the hotel to light a few sparklers during the dance, but I don’t think that the hotel anticipated nearly 50 being lit all at the same time. We’re sure glad that it worked though – the natural light in this shot really gives it a neat character. We’re also glad that the sprinklers didn’t go off!

For those of you who have followed our blog for a while, you’ll know that Leif appeared on our blog twice, the first time in 2008 at his brother Quinn’s wedding, and the second in May 2009 when he and married Laura at the Pine Brook Golf & Country Club in Calgary.  We stopped on a side-road on the way to Bragg Creek to get this shot and it was one of six times throughout the year where we had to cross a barbed-wire fence to get to where we wanted to do our shooting!  Our couples are awesome!  I love the starkness of the field behind them in this picture with the dramatic light on Laura and Leif as a storm passes by in the background.

When we showed up to Aleefa’s house in the morning when she and her girls were getting ready we came across the first dress we’ve seen that required TWO hangers to hold it up.  It was a pretty heavy dress, weighing in at close to 20lbs!  Aleefa told us she had been working out prior to their wedding in preparation of having to wear it all day!  She was more than happy to take a few moments to sit down with Ellis at Hotel Arts in Calgary while we set this shot up in the lounge and it’s one of our favourites because it’s so simple and clean.
This next one gets an honourable mention.  During Aleefa & Ellis’ ceremony Duane was changing angles and happened to walk past a nearly empty row near the back of the church.  We are pretty sure that the nun in the picture was simply attending the ceremony and is deep in prayer.  It’s one of those shots that you would expect to get in a cathedral in Europe, not in downtown Calgary. As a side note, we’ve decided that if this shot wins we will give a donation to the local food bank and give the fine-art canvas to the second place finisher. Choose wisely though, because you can only vote once!

One of the emotional high-points of a wedding day happens right as the couple is walking down the aisle after the ceremony is over as it starts to sink in that they’re actually married.  I love Madisen’s expression as she and Cole exit the church and she’s able to make eye contact with one of their friends.

This is by far my favourite reception shot from 2009.  We were given the heads-up on the morning of Ashly’s wedding that they were going to do something a little different for the father/daughter dance.  Apparently it’s tradition that Ashly and her dad do a little Blues Brothers routine during family events – you should have heard the room when they busted out the sunglasses!

We had been looking forward to Mariah and Greg’s wedding all summer as it gave us a chance to go shoot at the University of Lethbridge where we both got our degrees.  This image is a great example of how we approach our portrait sessions by focusing on creating a space for our couples to connect, while we then work from the sidelines.  I love everything about this shot!

Gail and Dwayne had one of the most unique weddings we’ve ever shot.  Just their parents and kids, their pastor and his wife, and us at their wedding on the shores of Lake Koocanusa.  For their portrait session we jumped in their boat and went exploring and couldn’t help but stop to grab some shots of them with the light streaming in behind them through the trees!

Sometimes it just takes a different perspective to tell a story. It was so fun to shoot Kirk and Amrita’s day – with two ceremonies, a Christian and a Hindu, it was full of colour and culture.

It all starts with good light, and that is what this shot is all about. If Angie and Stu win this contest, they’ll have to choose a different image than this one for their canvas, because they already have this one hanging in their home. I wish I could convince all of our clients to get their canvas in black and white – they look so good!

We always strive to capture authentic natural moments in our photography. But every now and then it’s fun to take a concept and explore to see how we can make it happen. In this case, Lisa threw out a general idea of what she was envisioning, and we all chatted it around for a few minutes before we came up with this. Because we were on a narrow, winding road at the time we even had Cam’s daughters playing traffic police so that we wouldn’t get run over by one of the wedding guests heading up to the Lodge!

We actually pre-visualized this shot about 5 months prior to Tiff and Ian’s wedding, when we happened upon it during a training ride for Kevan’s bike race this summer. We knew that we had to have a 4×4 to get there, and we knew that Tiff and Ian would probably be game to make it happen. Ian was excited like a fat kid for a smartie when we told him that we wanted to go mudding on his wedding day! =)

I love this shot of Dani and Devin. They eye is naturally drawn to highlights, so in this shot your first instinct is to go straight to the couple. But if you let your eye stay for a moment and explore you will see that there is a lot more going on in the periphery than you might have first thought.

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