Since 2013 is drawing to a close and it was such a great year for me, I figured it might be appropriate to do a little recap of the year just to document in one place how big of a year it was for me. I'll warn you right now that this is probably going to be quite long (since a year is also pretty long), so I mean if you just wanna skim through the photos, I wont be 100% offended (maybe just like 99% :P).
I love January. Why is that? Well, because Nationals is in January and it is one of my favourite competitions of the year! I am extremely luck and in 2013 I got to spend a week at the rink photographing some of Canada's best skaters, which is always a treat. Also in January, I made one of the biggest and scariest decisions of my life by deciding to drop out of Humber because I was beyond miserable. So far I have zero regrets from leaving and I am much happier and confident for it.
February was a big month for me. I was asked to photograph both Eastern Ontario STARskate and Central Ontario STARskate Championships, which I gladly said yes to. These were the first competitions I officially did under the banner of "Danielle Earl Photography". I couldn't have been more excited with how the competitions went. There were a few bumps in the road but I am very proud of how we worked through them as a team. Kudos to Irene, Kris, and Laura for being so awesome and patient during those two competitions. They all made things so much easier!
I guess I also turned 20 in February. I just remembered that!
March was more a relaxed month than all the others in 2013. In fact after the Ontario STARskate Championships in Niagara (which we worked for D'Asti Photography), Laura and I took a weekend long vacation of sorts to Niagara Falls, which I hadn't been to in years. It was a lovely way to end the 2012-2013 skating season and gear up for the 2013-2014 season and also April, which was a crazy month for me!
Oh April, the month of Ice Shows! In April, I ran around Ontario for what seemed like the whole month. I photographed the Ursula Lehming Skate in Scarborough for D'Asti Photography on top of also photographing Guelph Skating Club's Ice Show, two of the three shows that the Competitive Skating Centre of Strathroy put on, as well as Hamilton's 75th Anniversary Ice Show and, for my own personal enjoyment and practice, Stars on Ice. Let it be known that I love shooting ice shows. The lighting always gives me a good challenge, which is part of what keeps it so interesting. Also, the skaters are usually a lot more relaxed than in a competition setting and you get to see their true personalities shining through. I love Ice Shows!
On top of all these ice shows, I also got the opportunity to travel to Boston, MA with my friend Maddie and her mom, who ran the Marathon. That in and of itself was (obviously) quite an interesting experience and I am very grateful to Maddie and Lesley for having such wonderful senses of humour and the people of the city of Boston for their wonderful hospitality and generosity. It was really amazing to experience to watch the city come together to support everyone in light of the tragedy that was the Boston Marathon Bombing.
May was also somewhat of a quieter month for me. I shot one of my absolute favourite ice shows in Central Ontario (Margaret Garrison Memorial Ice Show) as well as the KWSC Gala and some cast photos for the Classical Dance Conservatory year end show in Waterloo. Other than than, I began planning for fall 2013 and winter 2014, which is always fun. I love coming up with new ideas on how to make the customer experience better (I also love a good suggestion!)
June was another great month. Even though there were no skating competitions, I kept myself busy with my second favourite sport; dance! I got the opportunity to photograph both Premier Dance Academy and Classical Dance Conservatory's year end recitals, both of which were fabulous. I definitely hope that I get to photograph both shows again in 2014. Also in June, my (not so) baby sister went to her senior prom. She and her friends looked so beautiful in their dresses.
In June I also discovered an amazing foundation called "Skate for Hope", which is (now) based in Florida and run by the AMAZING Carolyn Bongirno (who is a cancer survivor herself!). The show is put on to raise money for the Stephanie Speilman Fund for Breast Cancer Research and to date has raised over $500,000! The show happened in Columbus, Ohio and it featured some of the USA's biggest skating stars (Ashley Wagner, Max Aaron, Adam Rippon, Jeremy Abbott), Olympians (Sarah Hughes and sister Emily Hughes, Emily Samuelson, Rachael Flatt etc.) as well as younger skaters who all raised money to skate in the show. All of the skating was fantastic and I am so grateful to Carolyn for allowing me to photograph the show and donate my photos to such an outstanding organization. If you would like to find out more about Skate for Hope, please visit their website at www.skateforhope.org. In 2014 they will be holding two shows, one in Ohio on May 3d and one in Florida on June 14th!
Most of you already know how I spent much of my July, since I have spammed all of my social media outlets since then with photos. I went to Italy with my family in July to celebrate my Mama's 50th birthday! If you want to read more about my adventures in Italy, CLICK HERE to see my blog post about it! :) I am hoping to have the time to sit down and write out part 2 & 3 really soon. I just have to get all the photos edited, which is the biggest job. I may have gone slightly overboard!
We were back into the swing of things once August hit, as we travelled to Ottawa for Minto Summer Skate 2 days after we got home from Rome. That quickly followed with Summer Sizzle (for D'Asti Photography) and Thornhill Summer Skate. In between those three competitions, I travelled to and from Port Carling, Muskoka to photograph Brian Orser's Beat the Heat summer ice show (which my friend Isabel of Sport-folio.net kindly let me know about) as well as heading up to Thornhill to photograph Ice Dance Elite's "So You Think You Can Judge" event, which was a blast! I met some really lovely people there and got to support all the amazing skaters who make the up the Ice Dance Elite group in Scarborough.
In September I was offered (and signed) a contract with Skate Canada Eastern Ontario to be their official section sponsor photographer, which I am so grateful for. I have a wonderful man (whom I've actually never met!) named Kevin Vagg to thank for the contract, as he contacted me to tell me about it being available when he was offered it and didn't want to accept. This has opened up a door of opportunity for me that may never have been opened had he not contacted me, so thank you Kevin.
I photographed AutumnSkate in September, which was a fun competition. I got to photograph Kevin Reynold's really cool short program, which I can't want to see in January at Nationals. I also joined KWSC in celebrating one of my old coaches, Paul MacIntosh as he earn his Level 5 coaching certification (the highest level). I also did some photo editing for One for the Wall Photograph and Simply Said Photography, both of whom are immensely talented women! :) Definitely check them out if you want family photos!
I thought October was going to be a quiet month. I had planned to do a competition, but never got a response from the organizers, so I thought I had a fairly "free" month. Boy was I wrong. October ended up being one of the busiest months of my year! To start the month off, I signed up for school again, even though I hadn't planned on going back until September 2014. Then I was asked to shoot family portraits for an old family friend (I used to skate with her daughter and she's friends with my mom and also our hairdresser). Of course, I'm not in the family photography business, but I of course said yes, because I knew them and my social anxiety level would be much lower. Then Lesley (my mom's best friend and the one I went to the Marathon with) and her husband asked me to photograph their vow renewal ceremony, which I obviously said yes to.
Then, Irene and I decided (quite last minute) that we were going to drive to Detroit and cheer on Kirsten and Dylan at Skate America. What an amazing weekend (and what an amazing camera policy). I got to photograph to my heart's content and cheer on some of the best skater's in the world. It was my first (and probably last) time seeing Meryl and Charlie skate live as well as Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. In between all this I was trying to get get back into the school thing, which, I might add, is going pretty darn well so far. Though, I'm only taking one course so it's pretty easy to time manage. We'll see how 3 courses go next semester.
November is Sectionals month! I travelled up to Greater Napanee with Laura and Paul and together we shot the EOS Sectional Championships. I also did my very first "Future STARS" competition, called Frolics on Ice. Every single person there welcomed me with open arms and I met some fabulous people. I have never felt so welcomed at a competition before!
In addition to Those to competitions, I got to photograph the NEXXICE Gala in Burlington, since my sister is on the Intermediate Team. I think it's going to be a really great year for NEXXICE. They have some really great programs!
AKA the easiest month for me to remember because we're still in it. This I got to photograph my sister's synchro team at their first competition. All this practice will do me well as I head into photographing Regionals at the end of January and (hopefully) Synchro Nationals in February. I also photographed one of my favourite events of the year, KWSC Freeskate Festival. I love seeing all my friends skate in this event because it is literally one of the only times I get the opportunity to see them skate all year now that I don't skate anymore. I also love to see the littles at their first :competition" ever (everyone gets gold, silver or bronze medals). So cute! Some of the kiddos are barely as tall as my knees it seems!
Since then I have celebrated Christmas, seen an amazing production of Les Mis in Toronto (thank you Nanny for the amazing Christmas present!) and continued looking for job opportunities in the spring and summer. I am very excited to start expanding into additional sports in 2014. Look out dance and gymnastics, I'm going to be trying to make a name for myself in your area as well. <3
All in all, my 2013 was a really great year. I know people tend to start making resolutions for the new year at this time, but I tried that last year and I literally got none of the 10 done. So this year I'm not going to bother and just let life run its course and see where the wind takes me. I'm definitely going to continue working hard at this photography thing I've got going on and see what happens! As of right now, I'm getting super excited to head to Ottawa in TEN days for the 2014 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships.
I want to take a moment (assuming you have made it this far) to thank each and every single skater, event organizer, parent, coach, member of the EOS, WOS, and COS sections, fan and well wisher for your ongoing and amazing support for me. You all make me feel so grateful and humble. This sounds so mushy gushy but this year would not have been nearly as amazing without all of YOU. I mean, in the past two months alone, over FOUR HUNDRED of you have liked my Facebook page! I am honestly so very thankful for your support and I will continue to strive to produce the photos and experiences that you have come accustomed to. Thank you. So much.
All the best in 2014. Can't wait to see you all at your next event!