Category Archives: Our Life

Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland

Welcome back to the blog everyone! Hope you’re all recovering well from excessive consumption of turkey, stuffing and all the other goodies that come with this time of year! Charlotte and I are thoroughly enjoying some down time with her parents place up in Southampton on Lake Huron. It’s been pretty mild temps up here, with heavy snowfall for the last couple of days. We’ve been talking Fritzi and Greta out for carries (rather than walks!) every day which is great fun. We’re both dressed in winter gear head to toe, which makes it REALLY feel like Winter time. I really do love this time of year… there’s nothing quite like fresh snow on the ground.

Yesterday during a milder part of the day, we asked Larry (Charlotte’s Dad) to take a few shots of us while we were walking. I’m loving the snow in these shots… Pretty keen to do some engagement sessions during the Winter now that I’ve seen how cool it looks!!!

We’ll be back to blogging in a couple of days, but just wanted to say a quick hi and wish you all the very best for 2010. We’re very exciting about the coming year.

Warm wishes from Dave & Charlotte

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Right now we’re in beautiful, snowy Southampton enjoying some Christmas Eve festivities with the family. So far, we’ve had a yummy dinner and a girls against boys gingerbread house decorating competition. The boys went all out creating a Christmas Zombie Hideaway complete with sparklers from the rooftop and fire burning from the inside.

The girls design, an Elf Hospital, was a striking work of art, made with precision and grace. As you can guess the boys design upstaged the girls, as an unexpected use of pyrotechnics was involved. Next year, I’m sure we’ll have a more regimented set of rules.

We hope you’re all enjoying the Holiday Season and having a chance to spend time with friends and family. Merry Christmas and we’d love for you to take a moment to view our holiday greeting to you all!!

~Charlotte, Dave and family!

Paris & Greece!!

As professional wedding photographers, Summer is a CRAZY time of year. Although Charlotte and I photograph weddings all year, in Toronto the bulk of our commissions take place from May through October. This often means we may only spend a few days at the cottage all Summer. So this year we made a plan – book two weekends off and see some more of the world.

We’ve both been dying to see some more of Europe for a while… and as we began planning our adventure, we realized that some photogra-friends of ours – Jerry & Georgina Ghionis – were going to be in Paris during our vacation period. We’d attended one of Jerry’s workshops in Washington DC last year and had an absolute ball, as well as being totally inspired. So we dropped them an email and were very excited when they asked us to model for Jerry in Paris! Of course, there’s nothing I love more than modeling (ahem), but to be photographed by Jerry is an amazing opportunity – both to learn what it’s like to be on the other side of the lens as well as to have some absolutely incredible images of us in the city of love.

So we planned the first 10 days of our vacation in Paris. Upon touching down we quickly felt at home in the city… the people were very friendly and the workshop attendees were a lot of fun and a very down to earth bunch. We felt very blessed to get to know Alex & Hazel, a sweet couple from Miami who like ourselves run a wedding photography business together. They were fortunate to have their wedding photographed by Jerry last year (they’re in this promo video on Jerry’s Ice Society site), and I kid you not, their album will probably win best wedding album of the year at WPPI and PMA this year.

We will definitely post some of Jerry’s photographs of us when we’re able to, but in the meantime we’d love to share some of our travel photos with you… mum, please forgive me for not taking more photos!!! It’s a vacation after all!

We spent a full day at The Louvre and only scratched the surface… Check it out.

Venus-Di-Milos-from-afar

Isn’t this a cool shot? Charlotte saw it before I did! She’s a sneaky one!

IMG_5056

Paris-Travel-Photos-01-Nike-In-The-Louvre

Paris-Travel-Photos-08-Nikes-Wings

The Nike sculpture was spell binding – we spent 15 or 20 minutes circling it and enjoying it’s power and majesty.

Paris-Travel-Photos-02-Marble-Sculptures

Charlotte took those very pretty shots!

Paris-Travel-Photos-03-Dave-In-The-Louvre

Paris-Travel-Photos-04-Napoleans-Apartments

Paris-Travel-Photos-05-Architecture-of-the-louvre

Paris-Travel-Photos-07-Dave-and-charlotte-at-the-louvre

IMG_5194

Paris-Travel-Photos-09-Baby-Jesus

Paris-Travel-Photos-11-Ancient-Pharohs

Paris-Travel-Photos-12-From-The-Window-of-the-Louvre

This next painting was another wonderful work, and we felt inspired to do something similar with future photo shoot… Which is where the concept for this watery engagement session was born.

Paris-Travel-Photos-13-My-Favourite-Painting

Paris-Travel-Photos-14-Inside-The-Louvres-Pyramid

Paris-Travel-Photos-15-The-Courtyard-Of-The-Louvre

I know you probably don’t want to see Charlotte and I kissing, but I loved this shot so much that I felt compelled to share it.

IMG_5412

Paris-Travel-Photos-16-Dave-Catches-A-Rhino

Paris-Travel-Photos-06-Charlotte-In-Paris

We had such an amazing week in Paris. We made some really cool new friends – like Alex & Hazel – and thoroughly enjoyed the amazing food, wine and deserts… then we jumped on a plane and were off to Greece!

We landed in Athens and caught a ferry to the quaint little island of Naxos. The island is known for the famous doorway to a Apollo’s Temple, called Portara. You can’t miss it as you hope off the ferry. Apparently it faces the birthplace of Apollo… All I know for sure is that it faces west and we had the pleasure of watching a full moon rise over the horizon through it! We spent several sunsets there enjoying the beauty of the spot and also loved our charming little hotel that faced the gorgeous St. George beach!!

01-Travel-Photos-Greece

07-Travel-Photos-Greece

06-Travel-Photos-Greece

08-Travel-Photos-Greece

03-Travel-Photos-Greece

We created a panoramic image by taking about 10 photographs and stitching them in photoshop. Have a look.

Pano-button

Doesn’t this look like a toy boat?? So cute.

04-Travel-Photos-Greece

One one of our days, we rented this little beast and cruised the island (we did it in a dune buggy another day!). How cool is this white marble mine? It looked so beautiful.

19-Travel-Photos-Greece

17-Travel-Photos-Greece

There were tonnes of cute villages along the way where we got out and acted like real tourists, snapping away like everything was about to vanish!

16-Travel-Photos-Greece

15-Travel-Photos-Greece

14-Travel-Photos-Greece

13-Travel-Photos-Greece

There were some mind blowing vistas along the drive… this temple below was well worth a long drive on dirt tracks to get to.

10-Travel-Photos-Greece

11-Travel-Photos-Greece

We created another beautiful panorama when we found a lookout that couldn’t be passed up…. Check it out.

Pano-button-2

09-Travel-Photos-Greece

02-Travel-Photos-Greece

Signing off for now… Our destination wedding in New Delhi, India post is almost ready… will post it tomorrow :)

Our European Adventures Begin!

at the airport in amsterdam

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like airports – especially when you’re trapped in them during stop overs. Recently we found ourselves in Amsterdam airport on the way back from India… The thing is, it occurred to us that our next flight wasn’t for 7 more hours. Admittedly, Amsterdam airport has probably the MOST comfortable lounge seats for you to sleep on in the world, but that wasn’t enough to entice us to stay and relax. So we threw our carry-on luggage into a locker and headed out to catch the local train into the city.

We were both impressed by the city’s beauty. Stunning architecture, fresh air, clear waterways and an overall great vibe to the city. Almost everyone in Amsterdam seems to commutes via bike – between the 750,000 Amsterdamians (new word?!), there are 600,000 bikes!

01Amsterdam Pictures

04Amsterdam Pictures

03Amsterdam Pictures

02Amsterdam Pictures

We arrived and Central station and decided to explore the Old City on foot. We walked and walked for about 2 hours, and loved what we saw. We grabbed some fresh pastries to start our adventure off right!

19Amsterdam Pictures

The quirky shapes of buildings, alleyways and even doors seem to be defined by the winding paths the canals take through the city.

18Amsterdam Pictures

17Amsterdam Pictures

16Amsterdam Pictures

15Amsterdam Pictures

07Amsterdam Pictures

05Amsterdam Pictures

06Amsterdam Pictures

At the end of several hours meandering through the streets, we found ourselves at Anne Frank’s house. A little lost by now, we decided the sleek black mercedes idling in the taxi stand looked rather appealing, so we jumped in.

“How much will it cost for you to show us the sites for a couple of hours?” I asked.

“Eightee Yurows” replied the driver with a heavy Moroccan accent.

I can’t tell you how cool I felt at that moment, straight out of a movie! This guy had a really tough-guy image, totally shaved head, a strong face and looked a lot like The Transporter’s protagonist, Frank Martin/Jason Statham.

13Amsterdam Pictures

10Amsterdam Pictures

We headed off to see the city from the windows of our rather fancy taxi/Transporter. He showed us the Royal Palace, the Red Light District (all closed though, mum), some of the more famous Cafe’s (cough cough) and even some windmills scattered around the city. There was some really incredible architecture along the way, but I didn’t catch the names of a lot of the buildings.

14Amsterdam Pictures

12Amsterdam Pictures

11Amsterdam Pictures

09Amsterdam Pictures

08Amsterdam Pictures

On the way back to the airport there were some cool tulip fields and very sweet little cottages. It felt like the set of an old film to me.

I write this from Pearson Airport as we await boarding for our Paris/Greece adventures. This time we’re away for a bit of fun rather than business. A friend of ours, Jerry Ghionis is running a workshop in Paris and asked us if we’d like to be his models. Can’t wait to be photographed by him again with gorgeous Paris as our backdrop!!

A Trip To The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World – and it’s no surprise. Spectacular – Incredible – Awe Inspiring. I can’t explain the feeling you get as you approach through the south gate… but of course, I’m getting ahead of myself.

First things first – It’s Tuesday of last week. It’s HOT. Really hot. We’ve all woken up early to make the drive out to the Taj, do some shopping, then get back in time to make out 11pm flight. We’re all very excited – albeit tired from a busy few days of gorgeous wedding ceremonies. Ankush and Lina arrive to pick us up looking bright eyed and bushy tailed (that may be an Aussiism!?). Charlotte and I on the other hand were still trying to re-align our body clocks to Indian time.

The roads are very clear early in the morning, so the drive to Agra went smoothly, with just a couple of stops – one to pick up fresh cut bananas and another for breakfast – Mmmm… We ate these amazing – non-spicy – paratas… the equivalent of a pancake lightly filled with mashed pieces of potato… I chose to spread jam on mine (hey, it’s breakfast right?) and it was goooooood.

Check out this cutie who danced while her brother played a citar style instrument. So sweet.

11india-a young girl in traditional costume busking

01india-working men

While the others were buying bananas, I nabbed this shot. We’re both big fans of trying to keep the environment healthy so it was a bit unsettling for us to commonly see this much litter piled up in places. So much of it was plastic water bottles.

03india-open drains full of rubbish

With of population of over a billion people in a country that would fit 3 times into Canada, it’s no surprise that there is a waste problem (fellow Torontonians know what I’m talking about with our city workers union on strike this week!). I’m not sure how issues like this are dealt with in the long term, but I certainly hope there is a clean up at some point.

As we were traveling on the highway, we captured this rather endearing image of a little girl looking comfortably wedged into a taxi riding on 3 wheels… hold on everyone! Just amazing.

04india-very full 3 wheel motorbike

We got a giggle seeing a bullock going through the toll gate! He wouldn’t have to pay on the 407 ETR unless he’s got a transponder somewhere.

05india-bullock driver goes through tollbooth

We also captured some pretty cool “happy accidents” along the way. I love this one Charlotte took. Cool composition!

07india-a great candid shot of an older indian guy by charlotte

And this interesting character… awesome right?!

08india-charlotte rockin the national geographic skills

This is what you call a traffic jam or “pile up” on the highway. Faster cars, mopeds, 3 wheeled taxis would just weave in and out, around them and give them a little honk.

09india-can you believe this is a highway

As the driver was paying some type of toll, there was a monkey performing tricks for us. I have to say, we were pretty impressed with the backflip. He seemed like he was having a great time doing those tricks and got a bite of a banana for his effort :).

10india-pet monkey does tricks--just crazy

Around the Taj Mahal, there is a no vehicle perimeter now to prevent further discolouration of the white marble. We all jumped in rickshaws and headed in to check it out. It was a downhill run going in, but coming out was a tougher trip. It was hot and he worked so hard we were happy to give him a huge tip!

12india-dave waiting in the rickshaw

As we entered, we were provided an English speaking tour guide that gave us an amazing synopsis of the incredible story behind the building of the Taj Mahal. I will surely mess up the facts slightly, so will quote Wikipedia instead:

The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum located in Agra, India, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

The Taj Mahal is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.”

While the white domed marble mausoleum is its most familiar component, the Taj Mahal is actually an integrated complex of structures. Building began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, and employed thousands of artisans and craftsmen.[3] The construction of the Taj Mahal was entrusted to a board of architects under imperial supervision including Abd ul-Karim Ma’mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri,[4][5] although Lahauri is generally considered to be the principal designer.

And it’s quite a feat of architecture indeed.

13india-the west gate to the taj mahal and the back entrance

Charlotte grabbed this amazing shot as you walk through the gate shown above, you get THIS view……….

15india-the amazing view as you enter the western gate

When we arrived through the tunnel she grabbed this shot too… What an amazing power this place has!

19india-the taj mahal

We were snapping shots of each other there too, and the gardener offered to take one for us – how nice was that?

17india-the gardener took some photos for us - hilarious

Hey, he knows how to use my 5D Mark II… who knew ;)??

18india-ankush, lina, mariana, charlotte and dave at the taj mahal

20india-looking up at the impressive taj mahal

21india-charlotte grabbed this - possible the best photo of the day

22india-looking up at the back entrance to the taj

23india-charlotte and I hanging out at the taj

This is Lina’s cute little girl, Marianna she was so much fun and kept Charlotte and I laughing while away. Isn’t she adorable?? I grabbed these while she was playing tag with me, you can almost hear her giggling!!

24india-mariana was chasing me around and I took these photos from the hip

This is the view from the grounds of the Taj. If you look really close at the shot below you can see some cattle crossing the river, pretty cool eh?

25india-the yamuna river as soon from the taj

26india-charlottes great sillohette shot

On our way back from the Taj, Ankush took us to a great joint on the side of the road, nothing fancy, but boy was it good!!

27india-this was the guy who cooked our lunch on the way home

As the sun set, we headed home and grabbed this one on the way back. I love this shot of the baby riding along shotgun! Something you don’t see everyday… Thanks to Ankush and Lina for the great trip to the Taj, we had a great time. More pics of India and of course their amazing wedding shortly.

28india-dunno how safe this baby seat is

Our India Adventures : India Gate

The phone rang, I answered (as I’m prone to do), and within moments it’s was clear that Ankush and Lina wanted us to be part of their wedding in Delhi, India. Lina’s excitement that we had their date available was evident – she’d seen one of our recent Hindu wedding slideshows online and from that moment knew we’d be the right photographers for her wedding. Ankush and Lina’s story is a beautiful one – they are both engineers – Lina works in food production and Ankush with the machinery used in food production… A machine broke down in Florida, Ankush was flown in, and the rest is history.

Charlotte and I are still finalizing the editing on their wedding photos, and we’ll have another post up very soon, however we’ve had many friends and family members asking to see our trip photos… So we’ve put together the shots from our arrival and a day trip to India Gate… The Taj Mahal trip will be a post shortly following this one :)

I was raised with bedtime stories told by my mum – of finding snakes in her bathroom, being held up a lone elephant while travelling in an open jeep on a lonely mountain road at night, helping her dad hand out medications at village leprosy clinics, and of amazing 2 day journeys she’d taken to commute to boarding school by train each semester. You see, my mum grew up in India. Her parents were doctors who ran a couple of mission hospitals there, one in Andhra Pradesh and another in Tamil Nadu. They were based in South India for a total of 17 years and my mum grew up speaking Telegu as well as English, from when she was a toddler. She, her sister and brother returned to Australia to complete their high school years in Melbourne.

During my first trip to India back in 1999 – I was visiting my brother, Mick who was living there at the time – I’d seen the poverty and lower standard of living that’s experienced by the majority of people. That experience had a huge affect on me – I no longer took for granted my suburban life, my hour long commute in an air conditioned train to university, or the fact that I had to work long days to pay for school. Simple things like being able to drink water from a tap, or have access to clean public washrooms were things that are considered luxuries to many people in the world. Even to have access to a car is an extraordinary thing to people in much of the world.

During the writing of this post, I thought it might be cool to show you some old India photos that I’ve scanned from my mum’s collection of slides. Here’s a cool old slide taken in India circa 1956 showing my mum, granny, aunty and my great grandmother (my Grandad’s mother), who visited the family in India that year. They were dressed up for a formal event I guess – all looking very cute in their saris.

Dave's Mum in India, Age 4

Poor mum really must have stood out with her height and pale skin eh! Lucky she wasn’t a blond too! I love this shot of her chatting with the locals in the village.

Dave's Mum in India, Age 12

So… on with the post! We arrived after a relaxed flight to 40+ degree weather in India. Even though it was 11pm, the humidity was incredible! Check out the fancy wheels we got picked up in!!! Ankush’s younger brother, Arapum, and his Dad, B.M, picked us up and helped us arrive safely at our hotel room. Thank you to both of you.

our wheels in India - awesome car eh - call and ambassador

During our short stay, Ankush and Lina were kind enough to show us quite a bit of Delhi – both the street markets and some of the cool monuments – like the Presidents house, India Gate and The Taj Mahal. Below are a few shots we took while were checking out one of the local market areas. Isn’t this shot of Charlotte’s amazing. Transporting a load like that on a bike is incredible!

a cyclist with a serious load on his bike

I love these used appliances! Previously owned blender anyone?

used appliances for sale in india

This guy was sitting in front of his store doing the hemming on some trousers. We chatted a little broken English with him and asked if we could take a picture – we just smiled, gave us a gentle head tilt and went on working. Very cool how easy going people are in India.

the tailor doing some repairs

The reactions to the camera are always different. The guy on the left was being quite funny and playing up to the camera, whereas the dude on the truck was striking his best GQ pose! This worker on the right was chilling out and was pretty cruisy about Charlotte shooting him.

street portraits in india

We often saw cows in herds of 3 to 10 cruising the streets. In most of India, cows are revered as sacred, and are therefore free to go where they please.

a holy cow wandering the streets

I interrupted this card game to ask if I could take a photo – and they all laughed as if to say “why wouldn’t you be able to?!”

indian guys playing cards in the street

Later on, we caught a cab with Ankush, Lina, their daughter Mariana and Lina’s parents to see India Gate as well as some of Delhi. The ride there was a little hectic, but we had lots more to learn! Wait till we show you some of the shots on the way to the Taj.

No matter how many people had to get some place, it seemed like they’d all take the one vehicle. Makes sense, but did make for some interesting photos.

the long drive home

The shot below shows the typical layout of the traffic in Delhi – cars in the right lane, 3 wheel motorbikes, cabs and scooter in the middle, and bikes on the outside edge.

the extreme contrasts in india

Isn’t this a sweet shot of another taxi driver, taken as we were stopped at the lights. I turned the camera and showed him this shot and his smile was ear to ear!

a cool cabbie in delhi, india

These three wheel taxis are all run on compressed natural gas/propane. Notice the little bumper car style wheel protectors… you’d be surprised how little use those actually get considering the traffic conditions!

an indian 3 wheel taxi flies by

So after circling to take a look at the President’s house, we drove to India Gate – a memorial for fallen soldiers. It was so grand and beautiful all lit up, we had a lot of fun exploring the area.

india gate at sunset - it was 36 degrees still

As you can see, Mariana had a wonderful time blowing bubbles with Ankush, then chasing and catching them all! Ah to be a kid again.

blowing and chasing bubbles - what fun it is being a kid

Mariana may turn out to be a film maker I think. Every time we’d turn around she had taken the camera from her mum and was filming something or other! And she’s only 3!

the cutest kid in the world using her mums video camera

Charlotte saw these two girls selling bracelets and thought it’d be cute to make a collar for Greta (our puppy). You should have seen how quick they were – we were so impressed!

sweet indian girls who were making name bracelets

They loved the camera and were so excited when we showed them their pictures.

a sweet girl we met at india gate

The huge spotlights that lit India Gate itself provided some pretty cool lighting on the vendors surrounding it. I really like this shot of the necklaces catching the light.

charlotte picked up a few of these glass bead necklaces

street vendors near india gate

The pic below is actually a snow cone machine… I opted not to invite trouble by having one, although believe me when I tell you – it was very tempting!

slurpee anyone

More pics to come, stay tuned to the blog for Ankush & Lina’s incredle Hindu Wedding coming soon!!