Dear Skaters

Originally written August, 2015.

Dear Skaters,

You are amazing. Full stop.

I’ve just finished three back-to-back weekends watching hundreds of skaters from all over Canada compete at Minto, Championnats d’été and Thornhill, and I am simply amazed. You are all astounding.

I see you. Week after week with your beautiful costumes and stunning smiles, doing what you love. I see your tough events, I see your fantastic events. When you have a personal best skate, I am right there with you. I’m clapping and, knowing me, I’m probably tearing up. Things are great. You are thrilled. Your parents are excited. Even your sibling, who’d rather be hanging out with their friends, is happy for you. New PB in the short; landed that new jump in the long. You’re on top of the world! You may not know it, but I’m thrilled for you. I see you improving week after week and it makes my heart sing.

But, I’m also there when you have the bad skates. I hurt when you fall. I know that botched lift is going to cost you and you’ll be annoyed when you don’t get your levels. Maybe you were gunning for an international but you got passed over. Maybe you fell 6 times in your long program. I feel bad taking photos when I know you’ll be upset that you’re not performing how you’ve practiced. But I want you to know; even if you have a million bad skates, YOU ARE AMAZING.

Over the past three weeks I have seen the spectrum. From the happy to the sad to the mad, I’ve seen it all. What do you all have in common? Your love for figure skating, sure. But in reality its so much more than that. You all have an amazing ability to put yourself out there and be vulnerable in front of family, friends and a panel of judges. You can teach a course in perseverance by picking yourself up after any number of falls – whether it be tripping on a toe pick or a fall on a quad lutz – and finish what you started with dignity. You can write the book on losing with grace, winning with humility and being a team player. But best of all? I know that even though you may have had the worst competition or the best competition weekend, you’re going to go back to the rink on Monday afternoon, strap on your skates for that 12:30 freeskate session and work your butt off because you love to skate.

Listen, I’m not a coach. I skated at a very low level and any technical knowledge I have comes from years of watching you guys put your heart and soul into your sport. But I want you all to know that you will always have a fan in me. I don’t care if you come dead last or always place first. What I do care about is you knowing how amazing you are to dedicate yourself, day in and day out, and that every time you go out there and compete is a victory in an of itself. I see you skaters beating yourselves up over bad lifts, messed up twizzles or under rotated jumps and I understand that to be a competitive athlete you have to be self critical, but I hope you know that  through the bad days and the good days, you are, without a doubt, some of the bravest people I know.

So, thank you. For being you.

Love always,

Danielle

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2015 Dance Season, A Summary

Hey y’all,

As is standard for me, I’ve neglected this blog for the past 5 months… January to May is the busiest time for the company at this point. BUT! We’re finally at the end of a very intense 6 weeks of dance competitions, and I have to admit, I’m glad to have a couple of weeks for a break. I have nothing exciting to say really except a huge, heartfelt thank you to Natalie and Christine at En Pointe & Just Dance, as well as Jessica and Todd at REAL Dance Competition for trusting me and my company to capture your competitions week after week. I’m truly humbled by the response that I have received from you guys, dancers and parents alike. Thank you for letting me live my dream.

Now that I have a bit of breathing time over the summer, I hope to be able to blog some images from some of the many exciting competitions/shows/events I’ve been able to capture over the past year. Stay tuned!

I will leave ya’ll with a few (a ton) of photos that we captured during the past 6 weekends and 8 dance competitions. Enjoy! (Please note that all photos are Copyright Danielle Earl Photography and may not be copied or reproduced without permissions. Doing so is considered stealing.)

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If you are new here, please don’t be afraid to reach out! If you’re wanting to stay up to date with all my most recent adventures, you can follow me on all the social media platforms. Thank you for the support!

Facebook: facebook.com/DanielleEarlPhotography

Twitter: @DanielleEPhoto

Instagram: @DanielleEarlPhotography

Looking Forward, Looking Back. Welcome to 2015.

Hey ya’ll.

2014 was, in all intents and purposes, one of the best years of my life. I know that people say that pretty much every year – I’m pretty sure I said it myself last year during my year end wrap up – but honestly, this was the biggest, most exciting year for me as a business.

I’m no good at writing blogs, but I wanted to sit down and really thank you – yes YOU reading this – for the support and encouragement you have given me this year. Not everything was easy this year. I had to learn a lot about what owning a business and being “the boss” means.  I had to say goodbye to one of my longest friendships (Note: sometimes you shouldn’t hire your friends, no matter how strong you think your friendship is). I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if it was worth it, was I going to be able to support myself as an adult at some point in time. There were times when I wanted to pack it all in, enroll in a general arts program and do the “normal” education thing because I was so busy and there were so many people who needed something from me I was beyond overwhelmed.

You know what I started to figure out in 2014? It’s going to be okay.

Being a boss isn’t easy. You have to make tough decisions, stand your ground and fight for what you want your business to represent. Sometimes you have to let go of control and trust that your people will make you proud. But, as it turns out, I like that. I like continually striving to be better. I like hearing comments from you guys about my wonderful photographers. It makes me feel so proud.

Saying goodbye to a 10 year friendship. Not fun, not easy. On the other side of it though, I’ve come to realize that I’m happier, less stressed and enjoying my business so much more. It’s not okay to let yourself compromise or be pushed over for the sake of a friendship. I want you all to know that you are better than that and you deserve more. In 2014, I learned that. It’s like a huge weight off your shoulders.

As for being able to support myself in the future. Who knows. I hope so. All I can do is take it one day at a time and count my blessings as I go. So many amazing things happened this year, and it’s honestly all thanks to YOU.

In 2014 I got to witness the 2014 Olympic team be chosen, I spend more nights in hotels than I can count, I burnt a million calories laughing with my people, I started to photograph dance competitions, I did my very first competition in Quebec, I went to Kelowna for my first international competition, I went to PARIS and Bordeaux for the first time, I got to photograph CHALLENGE. Most importantly, I met so many skaters, parents and coaches who were supportive and encouraging and kind and just plain LOVELY. When I meet you guys and hear how you appreciate photos and learn about you as people, it reassures my why I’m doing this. It’s not just about my personal love of taking photos. It’s much more than that. It’s about making connections with you, following your path through the skating world, celebrating your successes and trying to build you up after rough performances.

One of my favourite moments of 2014 was in December at Challenge. A mom of a skater who I met last year at Minto Summer Skate came over with tears in her eyes and thanked me, in her limited English, for taking such beautiful photos of her daughter. This was one moment of hundreds that made my heart so happy and my mind so sure that this was why I’m doing this “photo thing”; to capture those fleeting moments of skaters and dancers and now gymnasts doing what they love so fully.

Thank you. For allowing me to show you what freedom and joy look like. I’m so excited to see what 2015 has in store for you, for me, for the sports we love.

So maybe I’m no good at writing my thoughts down in a cohesive way. But I wanted to try. Because I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your support so much. I also have to thank the wonderful group of people that work for me; Maddie, Jenni, Kris, Kristy, Irene, Paul, Jeff, Sydney. I wouldn’t be anything without you guys.

See you in a rink/theatre somewhere soon!

xoxo Danielle

Octoberfest

A few weeks ago was the annual Octoberfest competition run by the Barrie Skating Club and Mariposa School of Skating. What an event! It was one of the largest I’ve ever photographed (definitely the longest – it started on Wednesday!) This year the event also coincided with the inaugural Skate Canada Autumn Classic International. It was pretty great for the Octoberfest competitors to be able to go watch all the international competitors compete right in the same building as they were competing! A unique experience for sure!

Here are a few photos from the Octoberfest event. If you would like to view more, or see your own skater, you can visit my website (www.danielleearlphotography.com) or click HERE to do so. The photos are still available for purchase if you would like as well! 🙂

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Octoberfest Photo Draw!

Are you going to be attending Octoberfest competition in Barrie, October 15-19th? Would you like the opportunity to win FREE photos? Great!

All you have to do is purchase a USB of your photos at Octoberfest and your name will be entered into a draw to WIN your photos at a future competition of your choice.

Each program you purchase = 1 entry, so if you skate a short and long then you have the chance to earn 2 entries! This also applies to siblings.

The draw will take place on Monday, October 20th, 2014 and will be announced on this Facebook page and by e-mail. Depending on how many entries there are, up to two winners may be drawn.

See you soon!! Good luck!

Octoberfest Photo Draw

Autumn Skate & Skate Ontario Super Series Final

This year was the first year that Skate Ontario hosted a Super Series of skating for competitive skaters to earn bursaries. To earn a bursary, skaters needed to compete in two summer competitions in Ontario (or Quebec and select U.S. Competitions). The highest placing 12 skaters in each category from Pre-Novice to Senior all earned a spot in the Super Series Final which was held October 3-5th in Ottawa. The event was held at the brand new Richcraft East Sensplex in Gloucester. The rinks were bright and beautiful and the lighting was amazing for photos.

My amazing team this weekend included Kris Germann, Kristy Wills and myself on camera, and Irene Earl and Maddie Germann on desk!

If you missed out on looking at or purchasing your photos, don’t worry! They are available HERE! Below you can see a few examples of the awesome moments that were captured this weekend!

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Championnats d’été et volet international 2014

To my excitement, I was chosen to photograph the Quebec Summer Championships in Pierrefonds, QC this August. For those who don’t know, the summer championship draws over 700 skaters from all over Quebec, Ontario and the world. It is a unique competition, in that it has the skaters who are slated to compete internationally in junior and senior in separate groups, which are judged by an international panel. This year there were skaters from Canada, USA, Poland, Switzerland, and Australia, as well as a few other countries that I’ve long forgotten. The competition runs Thursday-Sunday over 4 rinks – which is huge!

Overall it was a fabulous weekend of skating and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Danielle Earl Photography in the Quebec section! See below for a few photos from the event!

If you would like to view and/or purchase photos taken at the championnats d’éte et volet international, click here and it will take you on over! Please note that at this moment we are still filling in the gaps in our uploads so not all of the photos are there quite yet!

Special thanks to the great group of people that made this weekend possible: Irene Earl (Desk Manager), Kristy Wills (Photographer), Jeff Mulder (Photographer), Audrey Croteau-Villeneuve (Sales Associate), Laura Mueller (Photographer).

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