Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Here's to 2013 - A Year in Review!

Happy New Year! What a year it's been! This has probably been one of the most life-changing years of my life. Aside from marrying the love of my life, traveling to beautiful Barbados, and all the fun social occurrences, I also quit my job and started photography full time. It was the biggest leap/change/risk/adventure I have done and I'm so happy I did it. Although there's many ups and downs, each day has been worth it to do what I love most. This year wouldn't have been what is was without my family and friends. The support I've received from everyone has not been unnoticed and I am so grateful for those in my life. While this is only the beginning of my photography journey, I can't help but feel giddy with excitement for 2014. I can just feel that it's going to be an even bigger year and I can't wait for what's in store! I'm a true believer in dreaming big so this is the year I'm aiming for the stars!

Here's to an even better year full of love, adventure, health and capturing wonderful moments! 
From my family to yours! Cheers!

Here's to 2013 and all it offered:

Relaxing in paradise

Married the love of my life in Barbados
(photos taken by Gina Francesca Photography)

Summertime fun!

Launched my business!

Welcomed my niece, Ava, to the world

Shot the most beautiful bridesmaid ask photo-shoot

Took photos of gorgeous families!

Our tough little baby went through two knee surgeries this year!

Photographed gorgeous couples

Had a blast photographing styled shoots and events with Lisa Ho

Took time to celebrate each moment!

Believed in my dreams!
After deciding I was going to pursue photography full time, my parents
gave me this card. Inside they wrote a quote by one of my favourite photographers:
"You don't take a photo, you make it" -Ansel Adams

Thanks for a great year 2013!

Friday, December 27, 2013

December Favourite Photo

Does anyone else plant an amaryllis in December? My mom has been doing it since I can remember so I picked up the tradition after moving out. This year I didn't buy one though so I decided to fill the void by featuring one as this month's favourite photo.

And because it's the last month of the year, one photo just won't do:

{Photos © Laura Clarke Photography - shot with my Canon G9}

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

May Your Days be Merry and Bright

I hope everyone has a glittery, sparkly, merry and bright Christmas full of laughs, good company and lots of love. I'll be partaking in lots of walks in the snow, toasting champagne, sitting in front of the fireplace, watching the twinkly lights on the tree and spending time with the ones I love.

Cheers to you and yours! 

{Photo © Laura Clarke Photography} 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Home for the Holidays

I'm heading to Ottawa today to visit my family, fur-sisters and childhood friends. This time of year always makes me overly nostalgic and sentimental. When I first moved away from home I began to fully appreciate the small familiarities I had taken advantage of in my adolescent age. Around this time of year my dad would always ask for my help to hang the lights - I had the best technique for attaching the little plastic hooks to branches that no one in my family could master in minus 20 degree weather. My mom would ask for my help dragging out all the boxes of ornaments and containers full of old Christmas craft projects from when my sister and I were little. The nights would be spent listening to Christmas song after Christmas song. On Christmas Eve my dad would be rushing to get last-minute gifts and waiting for all the poinsettias to go on sale so he could come home and surprise my mom and show off his bargain skills. Then on Christmas Eve we would start a fire in the fireplace, munch on shrimp, veggies and chocolates (my mom couldn't be bothered to cook before the big feast the next day), and my sister and I were allowed to open one gift.

At the time I hated being in the cold stringing lights, I wished we could just keep ornaments on the tree all year as to not have to unload all those boxes each time, I thought my old crafts from when I was six were dorky, and I'd get annoyed being restricted to just one gift on Christmas Eve like it was some taunting tease my parents planned. Now, those are the things I miss most. Now I have to hear about the lights being strung over the phone. Or wait until I arrive a couple days before Christmas to see the tree my mom has so perfectly decorated and I wish Christmas Eve would never end because it's one of the happiest moments I have with my family.

So as we are driving the four-hour drive, I will be sitting full of excitement and anticipation for all the wonderful little moments and traditions that I appreciate so much more. It's those moments that make this time of year my absolute favourite.

{Photo © Laura Clarke Photography}

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Belize Part 2: Exploring Mayan Ruins and Placencia Town

Belize was one of the most beautiful countries I've ever been to (you can see my first post about it here). While we spent most of our days relaxing and laying by the pool or beach we did make a few attempts to see more of the country during our stay - specifically many trips into town and a trip to the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins. Going into town was one of the highlights of our trip. It was so enjoyable to hang out with the locals and eat some of the best food I've ever had - the fish there was incredible! Our usual outing involved taking the bus into town, hanging out at Barefoot Bar for some beers and then head on over to Tipsy Tuna for karaoke and dancing on the sand all night.The town was full of colourful homes and is located right on the beach so when you get too hot walking around, you can just jump into the ocean.

The Xunantunich Mayan Ruins were an incredible site to see. They are one of the few Mayan Ruins that you're still allowed to climb and the second tallest in Belize. Once at the top the view was breathtaking. To one side you can see the lush landscape of Belize and to the other you can see into Guatemala. Also on this trip was some monkey spotting and some necessary cooling off in the blue waters at the Blue Hole National Park.

{Photos © Laura Clarke Photography}