Scott and Shawna, a wedding story

I’ve never got to shoot a wedding like Scott and Shawna’s before. For the most part, weddings are magical for their candid moments where people show how much they love each other. I always feel spoiled getting that intimate look into people’s lives on one of the happiest days of their lives. But this wedding, I felt spoiled for much more than that reason. Scott and Shawna are in one of the most entertaining bands I’ve had the privilege to see live, and they were going to do a special wedding concert for all the guests.

©James MacKenzie, James MacKenzie Photo,, wedding

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Giant Star Trails

Star trails in the north can be tricky if you plan on doing long exposures. The long exposures that are needed to show the rotation of the stars are often blown out by the aurora. Which is a nice problem to have if you’re prepared, and you can end up with some fantastic results that make your star trails unique. With digital photography and Photoshop, you can now use multiple frames to build the star trails without fear of the aurora over-exposing your frames.


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Nicole Garbutt’s Tin Woman

In September I was asked to partake in photo project organized and imagined by Nicole Garbutt, a make-up artist in Yellowknife. The scope of the project was to create alternate ending to fairy tales and have different photographers capture each scene. I’ve worked with Nicole in the past, and was excited to be part of a project with her. But to have my photos displayed alongside photographers Pat KaneDave Brosha and Tara Marchiori, I was elated. These are photographer’s who inspired me to pursue this career and continue to inspire me. The show was called Once Upon a Painted Wonderland, and was only open to the public for a few days. Here are the photos Nicole and picked as the favourites from the shoot I did:
Tin Woman2 © James MacKenzie

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Snow Castle Aurora

The lure of the ice road, the challenge of setting the camera to the proper exposure before my fingers freeze. Then the creative ways to stay warm while waiting for the aurora to do their thing. Tonight’s warming activity was dubbed “Run Twice Around the Castle”.

The featured photo is of the Snow King’s Par King lot and the ice sculptures that the King and his crew build each winter.

The castle is illuminated by some colourful flood lights. The make getting an exact exposure a little difficult, but it sure looks pretty.

Yellowknife’s aurora and the Snow Castle are the two biggest tourism draws for the capital of the NWT. Photographing them together is something I can’t help but be tempted to do.

Aurora, Canada, James MacKenzie Photo, northern lights, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, NT, NWT, Snow Castle, Snow King, Yellowknife

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Dead North: Fare

Last weekend I helped a friend shoot his entry for the Dead North competition. The competition is a series of short horror films submitted by film makers across the north and screened at the Snow Castle.
From the performances I saw captured during the making of Fare, I know this will leave more than a few people shocked and maybe even grossed out. Should be a good one! And I’m looking froward to all of the other entries too.

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NWT SPCA Dessert Gala

The second annual NWT SPCA Dessert Gala was an amazing success, raising over $24,000 for the shelter in just a few hours.
I was over joyed to hear that the photo booth that I volunteered my time to run contributed $1,000 to that total.

NWT SPCA, Dessert Gala, Burlesque, James MacKenzie, Yellowknife, NT, NWT, Northwest Territories

Kim G. sings a ballad that fills the dance floor at the NWT SPCA Dessert Gala. Photo by James MacKenzie

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Special Places

Most couples have special places in mind for their formal photos. Shooting in locations where I’m not used to shooting can be both exciting and challenging. I’ve shot a few weddings in Edmonton now, and every time I’m taken to new places by the couple that means something to them.

On this particular day I had to face high winds, rain, glaring sunshine, and a lots of different backgrounds. In other words, it was a lot of fun! Tyler and Alexis were a dream to work with too.

wedding, james mackenzie

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The Committed Rock the Top Knight

The Committed, one of Yellowknife’s more popular bands, rocked the Black Knight Pub with their soul music.

The Committed, Black Knight Pub, Yellowknife, NT, Northwest Territory, Band, Music, Live show

Yellowknife’s The Committed rock out at the Black Knight Pub. Photo by James MacKenzie

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Inuvik Igloo Church

The Inuvik Igloo Church has been one of my bucket list things to photograph in the NWT. With this unique angle, I’m happy to give it a big check mark.

I shot this photo on a full-frame camera with a 17mm tilt-shift lens. Starting with my main photo, I then used the shift and rotation of the lens to capture more of the ceiling and painted windows. In all, this is made up of 7 photos.

The result is a unique look at the shape of the room without any of the distortion you would get from a fisheye lens or ultra-wide angle lens.

For more information about Inuvik’s Igloo Church, check out this link:

Igloo Church, Inuvik, James MacKenzie, James MacKenzie Photo, NWT, NT, Northwest Territories, Religion, Catholic, Church

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Letting Love Shine

Letting love shine on a day when the rain clouds came right at the end of the service is exactly what Stef and Jay did on their wedding day. They smiled through the light rain and enjoyed the day despite the weather.

Getting married in a vineyard in Southern Ontario’s green belt, they had pictured a sweeping vista of grapes and leaves in the background with open and warm blue skies to compliment it all. Instead they got overcast with scattered showers and I had to improvise.

I had scouted the location out a head of time and found a few sheltered places where the wind wouldn’t be so bad, and I did the best with what was there. Stef and Jay really brightened up the photos with their smiles and attitude.

Wedding, james mackenzie, letting love shine

Letting love shine on a cloudy day, Jay and Stef smile through the rain. Photo by James MacKenzie

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