This is my first real “personal work” post on my blog, and I decided to kick it off with a photo of the two photographers who led my amazing trip out to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories this past February. I find that a lot of great experiences start with an every day occurrence, followed by some kind of leap of faith. For me that all started last year while attending a photographers’ workshop in Portland, OR. Sure, it’s not an every day experience to travel to Portland, but I do make an effort to attend several photography-based workshops each year during my off-season. It’s important for me to stay fresh with new techniques and inspiration for my wedding photography business. However, on this particular trip to Mystic Seminars, my friend Liz Lui and I attended the workshop of a Canadian photographer named Dave Brosha. He showed his truly striking portrait images, and stunning landscape photography and both really resonated with me. After following him on several social media platforms, I was learned of his Nights of Wonder Workshop in Yellowknife and convinced my friend Liz to take the “3 plane adventure” with me. (It wasn’t too hard to convince her, and that’s why she was the perfect travel mate). Dave Brosha teamed up with the masterful Paul Zizka to lead The Nights of Wonder experience (Dave is silhouetted against one of Paul’s beautiful photographs above). Meeting and learning from these two men was a special and beautiful experience. They both inspired me to take a personal and professional leap of faith, and for that I am so grateful. While I love my work and my clients more than I can say, it was wonderful to take a photography journey that was solely for me. And I plan to do this more and more. I hope you enjoy these photos, and that you allow yourself to take a trip that scares you. It’s worth it.
Liz and I decided to arrive a couple days early in Yellowknife to get acclimated, and meet some of the other attendees of our workshop. The below photos are from a trip we took to the Dettah Ice Road for an amazing sunrise photo shoot. I have personally never been so cold in my life. I learned what -40 degrees felt like. I watched my trusty camera literally freeze over. I blinked and my damp eyelashes froze together.
The above photo was taken by Jack Nichols Photography.
Below are some of my favorite images of the Aurora. A self portrait, a portrait of a friend, and a portrait of the Northern Lights.
There are a lot of disclaimers when you take a trip super far away, to try and see something that universe has to decide to show you. Dave and Paul warned us that we might not see the Northern Lights, and that they had a group of travelers once who never saw the light show on any of the three nights they went out. I told Liz that I would be happy to just take the trip. That I’d be happy to just see the stars, since you can’t see too many in Chicago. I prepped myself to see nothing, and made peace with that. As our tiny propeller plane made the decent into Yellowknife, Liz and I looked out the plane window and saw the dancing green lights above the clouds. I almost cried. We then proceeded to see and photograph two amazing nights of aurora activity. I felt a feeling that I can only describe as magic, but I believe it was more magical having understood that I might easily see nothing at all. A true leap of faith, an amazing adventure, wonderful new friendships, the strengthening of an existing friendship, and a whole new reason to look up.
Thank you to Liz Lui for the above photograph.
This post is dedicated to my grandmother who passed away last night as I was compiling these photographs. I visited her just days before taking this trip. I was happy I got to tell her about my trip experience when I returned. Not a fan of flying herself, she was happy to hear about my adventure, but maybe more happy to hear I’d made it home safely. Tonight I will look up at the night sky outside of the house where she lived until her end. I’ll imagine her spirit dancing across the sky in a vibrant flash of color all her own. Love you, Gram.