It is always good to go for things that are a bit different. Jenia and BJ are to marry this coming spring (I still can’t believe I am saying this already, time seems to race with us lately..). They love winter and sports in the snow. With great excitement, Jenia connected with me last month letting me know about some serious amount of snow coming our way. As we could not wait for it to settle, we decided to go out and play while the snow flakes were dancing their way down. Lovely if there is no camera to worry about. Well, that’s when a weather proof cover comes handy, except shooting through is not an easy task. It fogs up constantly which is slightly limiting. And a bit frustrating, when there is so much beauty around that needs to be captured with no obstacles. Yet, the way to do it, unless someone offers to carry a huge umbrella and follow one around, anticipating all the sudden moves.
Well, I have to say, it all paid off in the end, as the photo collection we produced has a beautiful, ethereal, dreamy feel. Wouldn’t you say?
Jenia & BJ: I look forward to seeing you again on your big day. Until then, enjoy your winter! Best, Manuela.
Once in a while our boundaries are stretched. When this happens creatively, an artist could not wish for more. When Kristina contacted me for a special dance shoot, I did not really know what shape and form this experience was going to take. After our first chat, I started getting visions…of nature…snow…and ultimately, horses (hmmm…are you surprised???).
Kristina seemed really taken with the idea and, whatever seemed a bit impossible a few weeks ago, came to life one beautiful snowy day.
One thing led to another and I was impeccably guided to the right place: the fabulous Whinny Acres. Debbie, the owner, generously offered the property and horses to us and we just played…and played…until Kristina could not feel her feet anymore. Luckily, we had a little warm hut to go in and out of, so my model could graciously stand in front of the camera for a few minutes each time. Well…needless to say it was all worthwhile. We drove back home talking about every second of our adventure while being amazed and grateful for how it has unfolded for us. A serendipitous creative journey!
Kristina: may these photographs bring smiles on your face every time you look at them.
Debbie @ Whinny Acres: thank you…and hope to visit again soon!
Merry Christmas!!! Yours, Manuela.
Passionate people change the world. Their strong love for what they do has a ripple effect and we all get to feel and benefit from it, one way or another.
I recently had the pleasure to meet a woman whose tremendous energy and drive have inspired me to share her story with the world.
An amazing path
Koryn’s transition from PR to entrepreneur/ business owner of Urban Dog Walks was years in the making and something she has always wanted to do.
Looking back at her successful career in Publicity, Koryn can cleary identify that one moment when a new desire started to take shape and slowly take over her heart. It was when Georgia, her lovely furry companion, came into her life. A very bad day at work, coupled with Koryn’s dissatisfaction with a dog walking service triggered a defining realization. She simply walked into her boss’s office, handed over her letter of resignation, went home and registered Urban Dog Walks. She immediately called her good friend Stephanie Vovesand, owner of ABSV Designs, and the website went up and in almost no time at all. Koryn found herself happily in business.
“It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself as an Independent Career Oriented Passionate Young Woman.”
Koryn’s dog Georgia: the catalyst behind Urban Dog Walks
“My sweet Georgia…I knew she would change my life, and change my life she forever did..”.
It is with great difficulty and tremendous heartache that people move on following a pet’s passing. It took Koryn over two years to heal after losing her previous dog, Mardie. But when she felt ready to embark on a new, loving adventure, an intense search for a rescue dog began:
“The thing is, when you get a rescue dog, they pick you, you don’t get to pick them. I was looking for that connection, that click, that thing that makes you say, you are mine and coming home with me to your new forever home.”
During an online search via Pet finder, Koryn stumbled upon a picture of (then named) Ruby Tuesday (now Georgia Peach) and she just knew she had to meet this dog.
Previously abused, Georgia had lost trust in humans and she could barely get leashed. Not even able to take a couple of steps with this dog, Koryn decided to simply sit with her.
That is when the magic happened and, two hours later, Georgia stood up and sat directly in front of Koryn. They have been together ever since.
It is also interesting to mention that Georgia is originally from…Georgia, US! (detail discovered by Koryn only after she picked her new dog’s name).
A sometimes challenging, yet constantly rewarding line of work
“Every day that I get to wake up and do my job is a reward in and of itself.”
As a horse and dog lover myself, I can tell a good connection between people and animals when I see it. And Koryn surely has a magic touch.
Dogs simply adore her as she spreads her loving energy around them.
Are there challenges for Koryn? She mentiones a few:
– Winters can be difficult
– A house has literally exploded while on the job
– Some days are intense and simply exhausting to the point where, once back home, Koryn has no choice but go straight to bed.
What inspires Koryn?
“My family and friends are a constant source of inspiration and support. My clients are all kind hearted people whose support and dedication to Urban Dog Walks has been unprecedented.
The dogs are all endless sources of inspiration. I am sometimes in awe of them and how lucky I am.”
Koryn’s vision of her future: growth and expansion. What’s next?
UDW services currently include: Boarding, Day Care, Group Walks, Individual Walks, Puppy Visits & Training and Behaviour Modification. While continuing on offering them, the company is also in the market for an Urban Dog Walks store.
There are a few exciting media/TV options in the works and there has been talk of franchising the business to the market.
“Personally, I would like to get into the Dog Therapy trade. We will always be expanding & evolving… Our immediate goal is to get to 100 dogs and see what happens next!”
Here is a glimpse into a lovely engagement photo shoot I had the pleasure to experience with a fun couple: Irina and George, to be married this fall.
We lucked out on the weather that evening, the light was perfect: warm and rich, making all colours pop. We walked around the St Lawrence Market area and had a lot of fun stopping here and there, making use of some fabulous backdrops.
I&G, I look forward to seeing you again and spending more time together in your big day! Hugs, Manuela
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure to spend some time with lovely Mary-Ann and her cute little companion Dudley, a Coton de Tulear from Madagascar.
I showed up at their home with no particular agenda other than capturing a few moments from their day. I was immediately inspired by the elegance of Mary-Ann’s interior, a beautifully decorated space literally inundated with natural light: the best studio setup ever.
Each room had a different colour, it was amazing to play around and find exciting shooting opportunities in every corner. Not to mention Mary-Ann’s exquisite collection of hats which inspired both of us to go for an impromptu fashion shoot, while giving little Dudley a well deserved break. This little creature has been so easy to capture through my lens, as he seemed at ease and enjoying himself in the process. We let him be, he even napped for a few minutes and then we took him to a little park nearby. He ran in the grass and displayed a series of cute little jumps rewarded, of course, by tasty treats.
Mary-Ann, thank you for offering me a glimpse into your life, I hope the series below will always bring a smile on your face.
I love going on mini trips! Winter can sometimes get grey and dry in the city and it only takes a couple of hours of driving for the scenery to change completely, for the snow to be abundant, for the spirit to get comforted at the sight of hills and forests all covered in white. My friend Cheryl and I went up North to Muskoka for a weekend. Almost jokingly and because I really wanted to do a creative winter shoot, I asked her if she would bring her wedding dress along. I was thrilled when she agreed, so all of a sudden my mind started spinning with detailed visions. I wanted to incorporate some colour against the white and of course, red came first (I am sure this is already not very surprising!!). In spite of the super low temperatures (lake Rosseau was snowboarders’ playground!!), Cheryl was amazingly cool and such a good sport, sometimes shivering badly but still being super brave for almost 45 minutes (I am not sure I could have done this!). I hope she will find the images below rewarding enough for her patience with this one demanding friend she has
Thank you Cheryl for such a super fun and inspiring weekend!
Alex and Liz thought it would be a great idea to surprise their dad by offering him their framed portraits for Christmas. I decided to go for a creative urban shoot, therefore we met downtown Toronto and explored the area around the Art Gallery of Ontario. Despite the cold and the fairly large snow flakes coming down from the grey sky, the two girls were so easy going, up for anything and a lot of fun to be around. They even commented on the ‘impromptu’ feel of our photographic adventure. With just a general idea on how I would like the session to begin, I allowed things to unfold naturally and the inspiration to kick in while walking down the street, exploring and being drawn by particular corners and textures. I enjoyed myself and I hope Alex and Liz did as well.
Thank you for a good time and all the best in the new year!