Dragon Hare Studios – This past weekend, we had the honor of attending the Onion Lake Cree Nation Powwow. One of our September couples are Powwow dancers and they invited us to attend! I can honestly say, I have never before experienced such a deep and rich tribute to one’s culture. It was incredible, beautiful, amazing, inspiring and so much more than I can even assign words for!
This Powwow was a competition but in between competitive levels, family’s were honored in “specials”. I found these especially beautiful! The first one we witnessed was a tribute to a dancer who had passed away. I was so moved as I watched his family walk slowly around the circle that was lined with dancers. As the procession moved along, the dancers joined the family to honor them. As they completed the circle, the elders turned and greeted each dancer. Then the family was asked to start the dance and after a while, the remaining dancers were asked to join. It was powerful and very moving. As someone who has lost a very close loved one, it was exceptionally moving for me to see the honor these people held for their loved one. It had been four years since they lost him, but he was alive in their hearts and very much a part of this dance. Such a beautiful moment cherishing a loved one! I wish I had some way like this to honor my brother and all his life stood for because I think it would give my grief a focus or outlet instead of just being held inside.
The second special we witnessed was to honor a young man. At the Powwow, there are different categories based on age. This young man was moving from a youth category into an adult category and his family chose to honor him with a special. Again, the family walked slowly around the circle and then the young man danced on his own before being joined by the 70+ dancers who lined the circle and were in his new age category. Our groom danced in this special but this time, I wasn’t just a spectator on a bleacher many feet away! This time I was able to sit on the edge of the circle and photograph him!
It was truly incredible! The regalia was so beautiful and each dancer was so uniquely different! I couldn’t decide on a favorite as each outfit was so detailed and different! Tyler’s vest was hand beaded by his soon to be wife and the detail was exquisite! He had such presence that made it easy to photograph his pride in who he is!
The Onion Lake Powwow had more than 400 dancers attending and if you would like to share in this rich celebration of culture, Frog Lake Powwow is taking place in late August! It was more than just dancers in a circle, it was a celebration of a rich culture full of appreciation for family and life!
Dragon Hare Studios – We live in an incredible world, full of light, shadow and details. I love to incorporate that into my photography and work hard to ensure it’s evident in every portrait we put our name on!
When someone says but “you just push a button”, I have to smile and say that is the very last thing I do. Before I even photograph a couple on their wedding day, I know how I am going to pose them for their body types. Did you know everyone has one side of their face that is larger than the other? Look at your passport photo – the reason you hate it is because the lighting and pose combination over emphasizes this fact. If your nose isn’t perfectly centered or one eye is offset from the other, your passport photo will show it. Posing reduces this effect! I have yet to meet a single woman that wants the camera to add 20lbs to her figure or over emphasize the size of her thighs or arms and the camera will do this in every image so I combat that with posing.
A “push the button” type portrait:
Before I even go out on a wedding day, I know the power outputs of my flashes at various settings. Is it middle of the day with no clouds? I know what my flashes need to be set on to overpower that sun. Partly cloudy or overcast? Then the flashes are set differently. By using flashes, it allows me to show the detail in our amazing prairie sky, and more importantly, it allows me to show every minute detail on the amazing gown you are wearing. You spend a lot of time and money on those details, they should be evident in your wedding or grad portrait!
The last thing I do before “pushing the button” is to know how you are feeling. Do you need to relax so you can smile naturally, or are you comfortable and just need a quiet direction to find your smile?
There are two types of photographers – those that simply “push the button” and create an image that looks just like the next person that pushes the button. And then, there are those that look for the light, shadow and detail and puts to use the tools of this trade to ensure every part of the portrait is exposed properly!
You are not like everybody else. You are unique, beautiful, strong, and perfect just the way you are. While it would be far easier for me to just “push the button”, I think you are worth more than that. You are extraordinary and you deserve an extraordinary portrait of your special day. Dragon Hare would love to do that for you. Call us at 780.853.4277 to begin planning your portraits today!
The portrait you deserve:
Dragon Hare Studios – I am currently teaching a photography class and I issued my students a challenge that I want to extend to you! I asked my students to go to google images and type in “wedding portraits” or “grad portraits”. Look at the first 50 images and ask yourself if any of them stand out to you? One or two? Or, do they all look similar in style, feel? What surprises me every time I do this, is that every photograph you see in that google search is created by a different photographer!
How can it be that 50 different images, created by 50 different photographers all look like the same photographer created them? The answer lies in the very first thing I teach my photography students. In order for a photograph to have a wow factor, it has to match real life; a photograph is a 2D object that must give the illusion of being 3D and full of dimension, and depth. The way to incorporate this into a photograph is to understand light! The reason those 50 images look the same is because those photographers lack the technical training to understand light. Either you use light to create dimension, or you don’t, it can’t be faked with free actions or presets downloaded off the internet!
Take a look at this portrait of Sabrina that I took on purpose during her session. It looks a lot like the images you see on the google search right? There was no consideration given to the light! What is a photograph without light? It’s a portrait that lacks depth, dimension and life. It’s a portrait in which the sky appears white and skin tones appear dark/muddy. The result of so many photographers that don’t understand this key technical skill, is 50 images on google that look like the same photographer created them all.
Now, contrast the above image with the one of Sabrina below. This image was created in the exact same location, at the exact same time. The sky was the same in the first image as the second. The portraits were literally taken moments apart! Quite a difference hey? Look at that incredible sky!!!!! Look at the life the portrait brings to Sabrina! I simply balanced the light in the sky with the light on Sabrina to change the feel of the image. Photography is all about the light!
How would you prefer to be seen in your portraits? Dreary, lacking life, boring, and the same as thousands of other people? Or would you rather a portrait be filled with your life, light, and your extraordinary, beautiful, unique spirit? At Dragon Hare, we believe you are extraordinary, so why settle for anything less?
Sabrina is graduating today and we want to wish for her a journey full of joy, hope, faith, happiness, creativity and just enough moodiness to offset the drama of life. Congratulations beautiful, enjoy your day!
Dragon Hare Studios – Today we had the honor of watching Jay and Lindsey declare their love before God, family and friends. It was a joy to create portraits for them that celebrated their love and their new life together. Jay and Lindsey are avid hunters and spend all of hunting season in the fields around the old homestead. We combined their family history, their love of hunting and the celebration of their marriage all into this sun kissed portrait!
Congratulations Jay and Lindsey, we truly wish you both a lifetime of joy, love and successful hunting seasons!
Are you getting married soon? Would you love a signature portrait that truly represents that love you share? Then contact us so we can get started planning that perfect portrait that sums up your perfect love! 780.853.4277 or look to the right, click on contact us and send us an email!
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Dragon Hare Studios – Every single day of his life, I watch this child fight for health. Food poisons him, we don’t know what exactly it is, and it is an everyday battle to ensure he has food that is safe for his body. The specialist suspects that his body cannot process sugars but cannot confirm this is the case because he is too young to perform the tests needed for this type of condition. At three, he has another 3-4 years to wait.
For a long time, we have suspected an allergy to a preservative. Did you know, even spices are packed in anti-caking agents? Preservatives are in every food you buy in a store. In order to protect him, we had to stop buying food in stores and make all of his food from scratch using only fresh ingredients. At his peak distress, we sought help from a naturopathic doctor who recommended a diet called SCD. This diet is based on the chemical breakdown of foods. He now only eats very simple foods, and all of his foods must be cooked completely – ie mushy veggies, applesauce instead of raw apples and of course, made from scratch not out of a jar. He cannot have anything with sugar or starch in it – gluten free products which are very common now, are made with corn and potato starches which he cannot have.
So if you think of this from his point of view, it means gone from his life are such things as birthday cake, cookies, crackers, Easter eggs at Easter, chocolate at Christmas, ketchup, s’mores over a campfire, sandwiches and noodles. There will be no preschool for him, there is no Sunday school, playdates, eating in a restaurant, traditional holiday meals or family visits because we cannot risk food contamination. There are no “quick” meals we can make for him as everything must be cooked. Think about the logistics of that – how do you go away for the weekend or take a vacation when every meal must be cooked with no preservatives? How do you visit Grandma when her house is full of “poison”? What do you do when you forget lunch at home? How do you go to the city for a day of appointments/shopping without cooking? How do you hire a babysitter that is educated in food nutrition and knowledgeable about the chemical makeup of food?
He is three and doesn’t understand the connection between food and the extreme pain he suffers because of it. He craves the things he used to eat when we didn’t know that ketchup was a poison or that cookies created a monster in him. He expects Santa to bring him chocolate and the Easter bunny to hide eggs but neither can happen anymore. How do his older siblings feel towards him when they too cannot eat their breakfast cereal, expect the Easter bunny to arrive bearing treats or have birthday cake on their birthdays?
I recently read a quote that said something along the lines of “everybody is fighting a battle, some battles, you cannot see”, the quote went on to speak of being kind because you don’t recognize what kinds of battles someone is facing. This is my battle. The endless cooking, the simple wish to make grilled cheese and soup for supper or eat out when I’m so exhausted that I cannot see to cook, and even more than that, watching my son through endless nights, his little body arched and rigid as he screams, hour after hour, in extreme pain, helpless to stop the battle.
He is my son, heart of my heart. His name is Kaiel and it translates to mean “mighty warrior. This battle that we fight with this little warrior, against an unknown demon, is a mist of something out there that so far, has not let us defeat it.
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This image was not a successful entry in the recent Professional Photographer’s of Canada National Image Competition. The judges mentioned the shadow on his face caused by his arm, the brightness of the sky in contrast to the darkness of the image and the dislike of the mist in the image stating it did not fit the image of a warrior. This was a very personal image for me, the likes that I have not submitted before. I had hoped it would be successful as it represents a very personal battle.