Although family and friends might have wanted to celebrate with a large, elaborate wedding for Abigail + Matthew, this pair decided on a more quiet, intimate day instead. As wedding day dawned, unbeknownst to many, Abigail + Matthew literally snuck away in the early morning to rendezvous at the site of their engagement: Mer Bleue. There, they saw each other for the first time as "bride" and "groom" and spent some time in each other's company, laughing and reminiscing while the rest of the world slowly awakened to their wedding day. Their little girl, Elizabeth, joined them for some sweet family captures before the duo departed as a family of three to enjoy the rest of the day with closest family and friends at their intimate reception at Vittoria Trattoria. Thank-you, Abigail + Matthew for inviting me to share in some of the most intimate moments of your day! Wishing you the happiest of days!
Hey followers, Marcus here! I’ve mostly been in the background, using my telescope and letting my mom guide with posting and writing. Now that I’ve acquired some experience and understanding, it’s time for me to take the lead and explain about my progress so far.
Over the past 2 months, I've learned much about the primary concepts of astrophotography - aligning, tracking, and imaging. The learning curve has been VERY steep - steeper than I anticipated, and patience has been key. On occasion, I've had to recruit my father to help with some technical issues I just could not figure out.
My mom has posted a few pictures of my setup, sparking curiosity as I know that it looks like a lot more than just a simple "telescope". So for the geeks out there, here’s my entire setup:
But here’s the important take-away from the fancy terminology and pictures: my camera is attached to the telescope, so that the telescope acts like a giant camera lens. The camera and telescope are attached to the mount and tripod, and the setup is controlled by my laptop.
SO, what have I been able to accomplish? This:
Not crystal clear (yet), but that's Mars on the left and Saturn on the right. Nowhere near perfect by any means, but these first results have made every second of confusion and research worth it. And, I'm determined that future results will only get better!
For those of who are only interested in the aesthetics of astrophotography (like my mom), I’ll catch you later in the next blog post!
(For those of you who are more inclined to understand the technicalities, theories, and challenges associated with astrophotography, read on!)
The hobby of astrophotography is a difficult one to pursue, and it carries with it plenty of challenges - after all, it consists of taking long image exposures of extremely dim, distant, and moving objects.
In order to understand what that means, you need to understand a little bit about what I've come to learn about the night sky. In brief, it rotates. We know that the sky itself isn't moving, but instead, the earth is rotating -- which creates the illusion of a rotating sky. The sky appears to rotate around a fixed point, called the 'celestial pole.' Everything in the night sky moves on imaginary fixed rails which circle the pole at different distances. Polar aligning the telescope is the process of pointing one of its axis at the exact celestial pole, so that when the scope rotates it can follow the track of and 'freeze' any object in the night sky, which is critical to taking images.
I've managed to do this manually, but it has been difficult because even a degree or two off of the pole will result in poor tracking of objects. It's a process I will continue to improve.
Another important thing that I've had to understand is the concept of a long exposure image. During normal photography, the shutter is held open for only a fraction of a second because the sensor is flooded with light photons and can easily create a clear image. In astrophotography, though, the shutter must be held open for dozens of seconds at a time -- even sometimes minutes-- in order for the camera sensor to collect enough tired and distant light from celestial objects to form an image. The job of the telescope is to collect and focus those sparse photons onto the camera's sensor.
While the shutter is open, the apparent movement of the sky can cause the object in focus to drift to a different location and can cause the subject to 'smudge' or blur in the final image. To eliminate this, I am using an Exos-2 tracking mount, a PMC-8 (precision mount controller), and the ExploreStars software. ExploreStars sends wireless signals to the PMC-8, which plugs into the Exos-2 mount, which physically moves the telescope very slowly to hold the object in place as it drifts across the sky. All of these, together, allow me to take accurate, long exposure shots of the sky.
Although I am very proud of my progress to date, I will continue to improve and go for longer exposures, better alignments, and better tracking so that I will soon be able to capture the real gems - deep sky galaxies and nebula. (THEN you'll really see what we have in mind for my work and my mom's!) Important next steps include replacing my finderscope with an autoguiding system. What's that, you ask? Stay tuned for the next post!
Jenny + Chris had a beautiful Orchard View wedding in Greely, Ontario. Jenny was elegantly stunning in her Paloma Blanca ball gown from Renewed With Love (one of my absolute favourite bridal looks from this year's wedding season! LOVE LOVE). Alina Sauve and Kayla Drew made sure Jenny's makeup and hair were perfection. Jenny's crystal blue eyes were bright and sparkling all day, her long blond locks strategically styled in a loose side-swipe that was fitting for such an elegant gown. Jenny was such a vision that it was no surprise that Chris broke down into some ugly crying at the sight of his bride during their first looks. Jenny shed a tear as well looking at her groom: Chris himself looked handsome and smart in his suit from Moores; his white vest and tie were smart. Love me a 3-piece suit on a groom! Jenny + Chris's day was lovely, the skies blue and the smiles wide. Congratulations, Jenny + Chris. Thank-you for trusting me on your most special day! xox
Because of a very restricted timeline (sometimes it happens!), we literally had just over an hour and a half to chronicle Stacey + Doug's First Looks, Creatives, Family Formals and Bridal Party photos before jumping into our vehicles to make it for their outdoor ceremony at Equinelle Golf Club in Kemptville. Talk about running a tight ship: We concentrated on what was most important, kept communication very clear, and directed individuals, pairs and groupings into as many photographic opportunities as possible - both candid and posed - while ensuring smiles remained on faces and laughter could still be heard in front of the lens and in the background. We got 'er done. Congratulations, Stacey + Doug! Enjoy your keepsakes: Thank-you for trusting me to get you what you wanted and needed!
Many of you have wondered and inquired why, in the last few weeks, we have been uncrating boxes, assembling gear, and spending time in dark fields pointing our lenses to the sky looking at celestial beings as opposed to humans.
My son, Marcus, is now one of the 2nd generation photographers added to
J E M M A N | photography, but his interests lay more in the brightness of the skies than your eyes. In addition to assisting with shoots, Marcus will be concentrating his efforts on Astrophotography and providing stellar images of the night sky and constellations. We’re currently hatching a plan to bring our two photography worlds together.
In collaboration with the genius and generous efforts and support of Explore Scientific USA, and celestial explorer, Greg Bragg, Marcus is now armed with an FCD100Series 127mm Carbon Fiber Telescope and has been diligently teaching himself how to explore and navigate the night skies. Explore Scientific sums up the collaboration best here.
The learning curve has been steep, my friends, night sleep minimal, the mosquito bites plenty and the reward at the end of the viewfinder ever-motivating.
The road to mastering Astrophotography will be long, rarely straight and we will be in need of the help of Greg Bragg’s internal GPS. Follow our journey on social media as we go from a dark void to placing the stars within hands' reach:
In the words of Carl Sagan, American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."
My coverage of Danielle + Milo's Brockville Country Club wedding started at First Looks and concentrated on the highlights that were most important to them: creatives, family photos and the ceremony. Milo absolutely beamed seeing Danielle for the first time in her Maggie Sottero gown from ISIS Dress for Special Occasions. Becky Chevrier and Megan from Aura Brockville enhanced Danielle's natural and happy glow. Milo was handsomely classic in his navy Tip Top Tailor suit. Colonial Flowers provided the perfect floral accents to Danielle + Milo's elegant looks. Danielle + Milo were all smiles throughout their portraits, laughing and enjoying in each other's company before heading to their ceremony at the Brockville Country Club. With the sun setting behind them, Danielle + Milo exchanged their vows and sealed their promises with a kiss that was met with clapping and cheers from family and friends. Congratulations, Danielle + Milo - it was an honour to capture the highlights of the day that meant the most to you! xox
I knew as soon as I met Cynthia at a bridal show that we both gravitated to a similar style. She studied my work and I could tell the images spoke to her. A consultation allowed us to confirm our suspicions ;) and, happily, she and Brian booked me to photograph their August 2018 Graydon Hall Manor wedding in Toronto. Putting their trust in me, we opted for an Experimental Farm / Dominion Arboretum engagement session in Ottawa that would provide a contrast to the images we plan to create on wedding day. On a gorgeous July evening, Cynthia + Brian willingly allowed themselves to be put through the paces of play and posing, trusting that their images would reflect their personal style and connection. Thank-you, Cynthia + Brian for your trust - such fun working with you! So excited for August! xox
Where were you on Saturday? If you didn't make your way to 1281 Wellington Street West, you missed one of the best birthday parties in Ottawa. Revelle Bridal turned One - and celebrated in style with The White Party.
Celebrants - brides and wedding industry peeps alike - were greeted upon arrival with a toast and bubbly, handsomely served by Sip Beverage Bike. Pollen Nation provided the stunning floral installations and sweet accents to charm the eyes and senses every way one turned. Brides were able to browse Revelle's curated collection of gowns, accessories and jewellery, asking questions, receiving guidance and setting up personal consultations for the future. Stor by Margot was on site, showing off her stunning collection of exquisite rings for both him and her. And swag! Gift cards, complimentary items and giveaways were on every table and in every swag bag (including a $1000 Grand Prize!). Suzy Q Doughnuts, Batter Up Bakery, Hey Sugar Candy Co, Valentina's Sweets, Supply and Demand Oyster Bar made everyone smile because who doesn't like Champagne with their sweets or oysters?
Congratulations to the Revelle Bridal team for turning One! You definitely know how to celebrate in style. Wishing you many many more parties in honour of your future successes!
Michelle and Nick are a solid, quiet couple, with ready smiles and generous hearts. Their wedding day was calm and intimate, full of quiet happiness. Salt of the earth these two are, along with their friends and families. Thank-you, Michelle and Nick, for choosing me to document your day and for giving over your trust to me. xox
Paulina and Carey's wedding was two years in the making - 2 years of sourcing, collecting and storing all the little tidbits that would come together to make one glorious day. In every nook and cranny there was some unique item that linked back to Polly and Carey in an intimate, personal way - from venues, wardrobe, decor, food, drink ... everything held special meaning to either the bride or groom. It was a wedding of Pinterest dreams, but with total meaning and integrity. Nothing was mindless. At one point in the day, Carey jokingly teased Paulina and said the contents of her brain had spilled out all over the backyard. If that's the case, oh what a magnificent mind! And, more importantly than that was how family and friends helped provide the glue of Paulina and Carey's vision and craft. Many hands make light work; it was impressive how the love in those hands came together to put the "extra" in "extraordinary". It was wonderful to witness and made it all the more a joy to capture. Congratulations, Paulina + Carey - one of the sincerest weddings ever! xox
Marley and her siblings gifted their mom an extended family session for Mother's Day, something she had wanted for some time. They took care of all the details, including Mom's outfit so that all she had to do was show up and smile. Although the gift was for mom, everyone received. xox
Amanda wanted a winter wedding and Mother Nature did not disappoint, constantly providing fresh blankets of snow throughout Amanda + Jimmy's day. Amanda was snow- angel-like in her Haley Paige bridal gown from Pearl Bridal House. Her bridesmaids were stunningly dramatic in their shimmering black gowns from Eccentrica Boutique. Alana from Beauty by Alana and Joanne Pocitto for makeup ensured that Amanda and her girls were truly flawless. Jimmy was smart in his bespoke, custom-made suit, flagged by his handsome groomsmen - all dressed by 4 Men United in Woodbridge. Amanda + Jimmy exchanged their vows at St. Claire of Assisi Catholic Church - a church that is both majestic and inviting - followed by a reception at the newly renovated Chateau Le Parc - a Concord venue that blends both old and new world style, suitable for any event. Florals and Decor were provided by The Social Rose - I wish you could have smelled the reception hall - just divine! Fresh florals were also incorporated into the Nutmeg Bake Shop's semi-naked wedding cake. Gorgeous, gorgeous. Thank-you, Amanda + Jimmy, for the honour of selecting me to photograph your day and to work with your wonderful families and friends - wishing all of you a lifetime of health and happiness! xox
Tyler and Melanie welcomed Addison to the world and then eased themselves into the world of parenting and having a newborn. A lifestyle newborn session was the right fit for this threesome - Dad is a first-responder who often takes the night shift - so they could enjoy each other's company and continue to adjust in the comfort of their own home. Their session was quiet and calm as they made their way through the steps of meeting Addison's needs. Thank-you, Tyler and Melanie, for sharing this new part of your world with me. xox
More blog posts are on their way
We're in the midst of updating our blog posts from 2017 - be sure to check back for more amazing sessions that are not to be missed! Scroll down to see new ones as they are posted!
She didn't see it coming.
My dear friend and assistant, Aynsley, volunteered herself and her partner, Shawn, to be my models for a couple's winter "practice session" on Ottawa's Corktown Bridge - also known as the "Love Lock" Bridge where couples come to profess their love for one another, attach a "love" lock to the rails and throw away the key. What Aynsley didn't know was that with her kindness and willingness to help, she had played exactly into Shawn's plans for a surprise proposal in such a fitting location.
Shawn had privately messaged me earlier with his desire to propose to Aynsley on the Love Lock Bridge in Ottawa - and to have it photographed. A plan was hatched and Aynsley unsuspectingly stepped right into it. A few poses later, Shawn was on his knee asking Aynsley to marry him, to which she laughed and said "yes, I'll marry you!" Shawn obviously had a lock prepared for the bridge: together, they found its "forever" spot, attached it for all time and threw away the key.
They were joined by their dog, Kea, for a few family keepsake photos and then spent the rest of the afternoon skating on the Canada 150 rink, basking in the glow of their little secret that had yet to be shared with the rest of the world.
Thank-you, Shawn, for entrusting me with your special plans to propose to Aynsley. It was perfection. So looking forward to August 19, 2018!
Busy with the demands of a long-held successful business and career, it had been years since Janet and Ray updated their website and headshots. They wanted their clients to be able to identify their warm, welcoming personalities and work environment but still recognize them as seasoned professionals and experts in their field. We consulted, put together a vision, brought together a team to help it unfold (thank-you Maggie Patterson of Scoop Industries, Megan Roberts of 2BU Artistry and Julia Thibert of Richardson Hair Design) and the results truly speak to what Janet Eaton and Ray Wheeler at Remax Hometown Realty represent. Keep your eye out for the release of their brand new website!
Dean Usher of Usher Wealth Management, CIBC Wood Gundy Kanata, wanted to bring a fresher, more welcoming face to investing and wealth management without compromising professionalism, trust and expertise. He has a team of skilled advisors and assistants who are more than just "bankers" and "tellers" - they are banking professionals with a beating heart, personality and the authority needed to take care of your finances and financial health. It was key that his images communicate just that.
Jamie +Corey planned to elope with a quaint early morning weekday ceremony at Willowstone Church, but at the last minute, decided to include their closest friends and family to share in their joy. Getting right down to business, 8am had them exchanging their vows and 1pm saw them on their way to the airport for their honeymoon with well-wishes from their closest kin - just the way they wanted. Congratulations, Jamie + Corey - and thank-you for including me to create the important keepsakes of your special day!
Reagan + Corey knew they didn't want full day coverage of their wedding, choosing instead to pare down their budget and concentrate on getting photo keepsakes of their first looks, creative photos and family photos - photos they could hang on their wall as reminders of their day and future together as a blended family.
Reagan + Corey enjoyed their first looks privately on the grounds of the eQuinelle Golf Course in Kemptville. They spent some time in each other's company - savouring the moments - before being joined by their children for family photos / bridal party photos (cutest bridesmaids and groomsmen ever!) and before hosting responsibilities kicked in that would pull them in different directions.
Reagan + Corey chose what was right for them. At the end of the day, they have keepsakes of what is most important to them. xox
Sometimes you don't have to travel too far to find a "nice location" for photos. Brittany + Spencer used their own backyard for their engagement session. Granted, their backyard has cornfields, green space and some wonderful light. Regardless of location though, an engagement session can be a no-pressure warm-up to wedding day - allowing the couple to get accustomed to their photographer and the process of having photos taken that represent their relationship. Looking forward to October 2018, Brittany + Spencer!
Kristen + Eric chose Thanksgiving weekend to bring their family and friends together to celebrate not only their thankfulness, but their vows.
Kristen was gentle and regal in her Amanda-Lina Boutique gown, timeless accessories and classic florals by The Gathering Event Company. With her bridesmaids scattered around the globe, the only instruction Kristen gave for their individual gown choice was that it had to be grey: and just look how well her best friends pulled their ensembles together sight unseen!
Rain squashed our plans of photos in the Dominion Arboretum but the shelter of Lago Restaurant and Dow's Lake still provided a fitting backdrop for Kristen and Eric's super sweet, super genuine first-looks. Eric was completely floored with the sight of his soon-to-be-bride. (I'm a huge fan of first looks - and with private moments like these, you can understand why.)
The Gathering Event Company transformed Lago Restaurant into an elegant ceremony space and then retransformed it into an inviting and comfortable dining space while family photos were being taken. (So impressive! Kudos on the joint efforts of The Gathering Event Company and the staff of Lago Restaurant for that impressive flip!)
Kristen + Eric's wedding was one of my favourite weddings of 2017. Despite my catching fire while Kristen walked down the aisle (see the backstory under the "Meet Elenora" tab), Kristen + Eric's day was sublime and a perfect fit for a weekend of "thankfulness". xox
The Carlsons - A Hockey Family Hits "Pause" and Temporarily trades Ice Time foR Family Time in the Fall
Hockey families know all too well that as soon as the cooler weather hits (and sometimes even beforehand), much time is spent indoors in an even colder arena. The Carlsons - with both boys playing a competitive level of hockey - set time aside to get family photos done before their weekends were spent on the road, in games or in tournaments. Bright sun, warm hearts!
Andrea made a shy, quiet bride, but her soulful eyes and radiant smile speak of her happiness marrying Jason. She looked stunning in her Essence of Australia gown from Bridals by Al-mor, her hair and makeup absolute perfection by Richardson Hair Design (my favourite updo of the 2017 wedding season!) and 2BU Artistry . Her florals by Floral Reef Design provided a wonderful balance of classic style and pop of colour. Andrea and Jason's day was coordinated and executed by Custom Events - who patiently caters to both clients and vendors alike to ensure a smooth, stress-free day.
Andrea & Jason's first-looks were private and very emotional. Jason could not restrain his tears seeing his bride-to-be for the first time - and then again as she walked down the aisle to make their union official and their little family complete. What these two may lack in loud words, they make up for in quiet devotion and love to each other and for their little boys.
Thank-you, Andrea & Jason, for your trust in photographing your intimate moments. I wish you and your little family a lifetime of happiness! xox
Andrea + Derrick: Married August 5, 2017 - A BackyarD Asian - Canadian Wedding Planned over 3 Provinces
Andrea + Derrick are proof that you can successfully pull off planning a wedding from afar, in 3 provinces actually!
They booked me from Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories and then continued to plan their backyard wedding in Winchester, Ontario from Calgary, Alberta. Couples - don't let geography stop you: With a little patience, trust and technology, anything is possible. We forged a connection over email, phone and Skype so that working together on wedding day - the first time we actually met in person - was seamless.
You can tell from their photos that Andrea + Derrick were excited but relaxed - even calmly dealing with unexpected downpours that made for dramatic skies in their photography and humorous memories. They rolled along with laughter and happiness. In fact, Andrea's only concern was her origami cranes that she had painstakingly made for her Asian - Canadian ceremony - but they held up to the weather well, a fitting and lasting tribute to her family and cultural traditions.
Congratulations, Andrea + Derrick. It was my honour to have your trust as we stepped through the planning of your wedding day! xox
Revealed: Devon and Beatrice's first-looks and some teasers from their wedding day while their album is prepared!
First looks always allow a couple to spend more time with each other on wedding day - away from hosting responsibilities and duties that inevitably pull the couple apart on a day when they should be together. Couples are able to relax with each other and calm the nerves before officially walking down the aisle. They're also able to more freely join their guests after their ceremony without having their guests wait long periods of time while photos are being taken. The final decision ultimately rests with the couple, but I'm a fan of first-looks - and, my couples, on the other side, tell me they are thankful for having gone that route.
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