May, 05, 2013

paula + chris | one year anniversary
elora gorge, on

Elora Gorge Photo Shoot 01

I have been wanting to share these images for a very long time.  Paula and Chris are two of my favourites.  And so, when they contacted me about doing an anniversary photo session, I was thrilled.  I so loved working with them for their wedding,  and I knew that their anniversary shoot was going to be just as special. I would do my best to make it so.

We talked about a few different options for the shoot, but in the end, so characteristic of these two, they decided to keep it simple and meaningful.  I scouted my buns off to find a suitable location, and feel that the backdrop of the Elora Gorge couldn’t have been more perfect.  In order for the photo story to make sense, I must backtrack  to their engagement.  Their story is one of my very favourites, and is summarized something like this:  Paula and Chris trek up to Northern Ontario to their cottage, where Chris surprises Paula with a proposal.  Paula very excitedly says yes, and seconds later a giant bald eagle perches down on a rock not far from them.  They take pictures, and show locals, who say that an eagle sighting in the area is extremely rare (like never in the past 30 years).  They feel it was an omen – a good omen – that their engagement and commitment to one another was blessed by something larger than themselves.  Paula has Native ancestry in her bloodlines, and bald eagles and their feathers are highly revered and considered sacred within many North American traditions.  They represent honesty, truth, strength, courage, wisdom and the balanced use of power. The eagle flies higher than any other bird and therefore has the ability to gain perspective, while also being able to zoom in on the smallest of details. As a couple, Paula and Chris felt these were important “medicines” that they could use to navigate through life together.

Fast forward to their wedding ceremony – Paula and Chris decided to incorporate Paula’s eagle feather (gifted to her by a Native Elder) and the Native tradition of smudging. {See end of post for explanation of Smudging from Paula}.  Then, exactly one year to the day from their wedding ceremony, they performed the smudging ceremony again, in the beautiful woods along Elora Gorge, reaffirming their intentions for each other and their marriage.

I was so happy to be present, and to document this simple and lovely ceremony for Paula + Chris.  After the smudging ceremony, we wandered through the woods and then down into the gorge, breathing in the spectacular scenery and taking some photos along the way.

Thank you Paula + Chris, and happy first trip around the sun:)

xoxo Krista

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And as all amazing photo shoots should, this one ended in a water fight.  Which, thankfully they kept me out of.  Paula experienced a bit of a wardrobe malfunction, which didn’t stop her from continuing to beat water at Chris.  It did stop me from taking photos though.  I am not that kind of photographer 🙂

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It’s hard to tell, but I think they had fun.

Elora Gorge Photo Shoot 25

*Smudging is the burning of certain herbs to create a cleansing smoke bath, it is a powerful ritual to clear out the old and make room for the highest energy that honours all present. For their wedding ceremony, Paula and Chris used white sage and a braid of sweet grass from their garden for their ceremony for its cleansing and purifying qualities, thus setting the tone of a new phase of their lives together. Placing the herbs in an abalone shell is said to create a balance between fire and water elements, the smoke from the sacred plants rise up as a prayer and the eagle feather is used to move the smoke and send the prayer on its way.*