Sometimes we don t realize how big the little things in life really are. Many of us have fond, childhood memories that brought us joy, but may have had a greater effect on our lives than we really know.
For Kendra Sitko, a wife, mother, employee and business owner, the little things in life go back to growing up on Clement s Bar C Ranch, west of Rossburn, with her parents Fred and Lois Clement. It was here where she began her dream of becoming a professional photographer.
Casual farm life shots with emphasis on the ranch-raised horses was the kick-start to Kitko Photography &Dezine.
While I was a shutterbug on the farm, I truly never fell in love with photography until about 11 years ago, said Sitko. Back in those days a 35-mm film Canon Sure Shot was the camera of choice and today, I m still a Canon girl.
Sitko now uses digital equipment, shooting with two Canon SLR cameras and an assortment of lenses. As well, to capture that perfect shot, many, many props along with backdrops, lighting equipment, etc. are used.
Over the past seven years, the mother of two has taken several courses and is presently taking her Certificate in Photography from the New York Institute of Photography. However, she feels her biggest learning tool is the hands-on experience gained over the years.
She s a super-talented, accommodating and affordable professional photographer, says Thomasina Charney of Rossman Yurts, a friend and fellow area business owner.
It s only been recently that Sitko has been able to call herself a professional photographer. Anyone can pick up a camera and take a picture but to capture a photograph is very different, said Sitko. I think in terms of calling myself a professional, it has a lot to do with self-confidence believing in yourself and your work.
Although time is presently shared with family, employment within the payroll department of the Assiniboine Regional Health Authority s office at Shoal Lake, and photography bookings, Sitko s goal is to become a full-time photographer.
Along with photography, other business services offered are custom thank-you, wedding, Christmas or baby cards, digital photo albums, and canvas photo work. Check out her website, www.kitkophotography.com for information.
Photography is important in personal lives because it captures a moment in time, said Sitko, who lives near Oakburn, with husband Ryan, six-year-old son Logan and two-year-old daughter Jada. Memories are keepsakes allowing us to relive something important. Photos give us a visual keepsake forever.
As the person behind the camera, Sitko feels there are many, many perks. It s a complete honour when someone asks me to capture their pictures for them. I get to see the happiness in the moment or the love on a wedding day or the pure excitement on grad day. To create such beautiful keepsakes and to watch how happy they are when they see the finished product is very gratifying.
Usually doing two to three grad classes per year and anywhere from eight to 12 weddings, Sitko has so far done nine weddings and 50 photo sessions this year with another 10 sessions, one wedding and one event left for 2011.
Living on the Prairies, Sitko feels surrounded by beauty all the time, but loves shooting in the fall with all the added colours. It s not only on the Prairies that she has had the opportunity to share her magic and passion as a photographer, but also in Mexico over the years, and this year she and her gear will be heading to the Dominican.
Being involved in local promotions, she considers herself to be very lucky to be part of Oakburn, Rossburn and Shoal Lake, as it s not only a great way to promote her business but also a means of giving back to the community, as she feels communities need to support each other to be successful.
While the percentage of time given to photography varies with the time of year, her family is always first. From May to October hardly a day goes by where she doesn t work on her photography on some level, but she doesn t really consider it working as she loves it so much.
Seeing her work enlarged and hanging on a customer s wall is a personal reward for Sitko. This month she takes her business to the next level, as she will be opening a studio in mid-November on Main Street in Shoal Lake, which will be a personal dream fulfilled thanks to learning by doing and by working on the little things in life capturing moments of warmth and delight.
Darrell Nesbitt writes from Shoal Lake, Manitoba