It seems to have come and gone all too fast, but 2016 has at last come to an end and I truly do not know where to start when it comes to punching out this little "Dana's year in review" blog... So as I sit here sipping a glass of cheap wine while reflecting on the past 12 months; the goods, bads, ups, downs and everything in between, I cannot help but feel a sense of gratefulness. Not only because of the opportunities I've been given over the past year, but because of the people who have come into my life through simply being in front of my camera, and their infinite amounts of support that they've showed me since then. So, before I get all mushy and sentimental on you, let's just jump right into (in no particular order) what 2016 looked like for me.
So, over the course of 365 days, off the top of my head I've shot roughly 40 shows in three different cities in Alberta, one being a festival, but hey, it still counts! We'll get into that later ;) Throughout those (around) 40 shows I've shot many local acts, and some world-wide superstars as well. I've had photos featured in six different issues of Exclaim!, including two of which, were featured in the "Best Photos of 2016" section of the 2016 December/January issue.
I also had the opportunity to start a new chapter in my career as a professional photographer with the local promotional company responsible for putting on some of the most awesome shows all around Alberta, Concertworks. I've been lingering around the shows that Concertworks puts on for a few years now, so we decided to make things a little more official. I'm really looking forward to being a small part of the Concertworks team, because they're a solid group of people, they're passionate about what they do, and they have some really killer gigs coming up in 2017!
Early in the month of October, I was invited out to Edmonton's Victoria School of Visual and Performing Arts to speak to the photography students about the in's and out's of concert photography. I'm an awful public speaker, so this not only slightly helped me get over my fear of talking to large groups, but it also felt great to be able to pass on my knowledge of concert photography and working with bands to an eager group of very promising young people with great potential, who are just as passionate as I am when it comes to photography. I'm really hoping, and looking forward to seeing a few of those guys and gals in the photo pits in the future.
This years festival season was a bit shorter for me than usual, but no less exciting or special. Being a small part of the Western Canadian metal festivals is something I greatly cherish, and am constantly looking forward to each year. This year, was year number five for both Calgary Metalfest and Loud As Hell which was not only a huge milestone for each festival, but for the Western Canadian heavy metal music scene in general; So checking out what each festival-family had in store was a must. Sadly, I couldn't attend the full event in Calgary, but on the last night, Calgary played host to a historic night of Canadian metal with the almighty Annihilator putting the cherry on top of CMF #5 at Flames Central. Loud As Hell, of course, was as awesome as ever. Once again, featuring a full Canadian line up, through the rain, wind, and all around unpleasant weather, LAH #5 triumphed through the mud and muck with high spirits and eager to do it all again next year. I also had the opportunity to par take in photographing the Fire Aid Benefit Concert for those who were affected by the wildfires in Fort McMurray in the early months of spring. Some of Canada's biggest bands such as Blue Rodeo, Nickelback and City & Colour (to name a few) came together to put on an unforgettable performance for so many people who's lives have been changed forever due to this tragedy. More info on the Ft. Mac wildfires can be found HERE.
Over the course of the last month, I was finally able to put purpose to a particular method behind one of my many madness'. Those of you who've been following me on Instagram over the last few years are familiar with my infamous "jump for joy" pictures that I've subjected many, many bands to during press photo shoots. Well, I took a leap of faith, and made all those jumps worth something by putting out a 12 month calendar for the year 2017! Featuring bands from Edmonton's local music scene, I culled together enough shots that stood out the most to me, and of course that were my favourites since I started this little trend for myself, and slapped 'em into a calendar that's bursting with awesomeness. I was totally unsure of whether or not the calendars would do well at first, but to my surprise, I was able to sell out the first batch on the first day! I grew more and more ecstatic with each message coming in, asking to purchase a calendar, as the second batch of calendars flew out of my hands just as quickly as the first. As requests for calendars keep coming in, I'm looking forward to ordering another batch of calendars in for the month of January.
It's difficult to put my finger on what I loved the most about this year, or what my favourite memory is... Throughout 2016, I had so many opportunities to photograph some incredible bands, and work with some truly remarkable people. The opportunities were endless this year, not only for my business, but to grow as a photographer and as a person. I've learned so much about myself, my adaptability, and the extent of my persistence while keeping my eyes on the prize. Needless to say, 2016 was by far one of the most successful years of my career as a professional photographer, and I'm chomping at the bit to see what 2017 has in store for me. I need to thank everyone who has supported me this year, whether it's through sharing posts on social media to hiring me for your biggest gig of 2016, from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! So, as I bring this long-ass blog to a close, I managed to sift through thousands of photos from this year and picked out a few favourites (in no particular order) and some that highlight some of my most cherished moments. I wish whoever is reading this (or actually made it this far) all the best and utmost success in 2017, and from my heart to yours, HAPPY NEW YEAR! <3