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Following the royal road

Dustin Hurrell, a Langley Fine Arts student, took this photo of William and Kate landing in Calgary during their Royal tour earlier in July.  - Dustin HURRELL/Special to the Times
Dustin Hurrell, a Langley Fine Arts student, took this photo of William and Kate landing in Calgary during their Royal tour earlier in July.
— image credit: Dustin HURRELL/Special to the Times

Kate wore a yellow dress, and William, a dark suit with a red tie, the first time Ingrid Hurrell and her son Dustin Hurrell saw the Royal couple.

It was a blustery day at the Calgary airport. The wind was blowing hot air in the faces of all the media personnel and adoring fans, who were waiting for the weather to cooperate so the helicopter could finally land.

But for the Langley mother of two and her youngest son, they wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Both Ingrid and Dustin, a senior student at Langley Fine Arts, had the opportunity of a lifetime to photograph the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge throughout their tour in Calgary, Alberta. They were there right from the beginning when the couple arrived in Calgary by helicopter to the departure ceremony at Calgary Rotary Challenger Park.

When Kate was seen embracing six-year old cancer patient Diamond Marshall, the Hurrells were there with their fingers pressed hard on the shutter buttons of their cameras.

And when the Royal couple attended the Calgary Stampede adorned in white cowboy hats and western cowboy belts, the Hurrells captured that on their Canon memory cards, too.

“[The best part was] being part of an international media team and the buzz that it brings,” said Ingrid. “It’s the pressures, the deadlines and the excitement of getting a good photo.”

Ingrid started her journalism career in her home country of South Africa at the University of Pretoria student newspaper, and then worked as editor and press officer at the University of South Africa. She is now a registered social worker in B.C., and spends her time freelancing as a photojournalist and digital designer through her small business, Red Maple Publishing.

Working as a freelance photojournalist on the Royal Tour for a number of magazines situated in Alberta, Texas and South Africa, Ingrid and Dustin, her appointed assistant photographer, were right in the middle of all the media bustle.

Transferred by designated media buses, they stood in the “scorching Alberta sun” for at least two hours prior to the Royal Couple’s visit at each public location.

“[The] toughest assignment was trying to get shots of their Royal Highnesses meeting representatives of the Treaty 7 First Nations outside the BMO Centre at the Stampede Grounds,” said Ingrid. “We had quite a media frenzy, plus spectators lined up for hours before the time to catch a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess. We managed to snap a few pics, which were commissioned by an Aboriginal magazine in Alberta.”

Ingrid says the atmosphere was very busy and rushed. But it was also, she imagines, something similar to the fever once surrounding Princess Diana.

“Overhearing some of the media guys who covered the whole tour, [there were] several Brits in the media team, it was clear — the media loves Kate. She’s young, fresh, unique, totally herself, and yet, she can handle the “Royal pace.” The crowds loved them both,” she said.

While their cameras captured memories to share with all of Canada, their eyes witnessed personal moments that will last a lifetime.

“There was also another situation when they were leaving the Calgary Rotary Challenger Park, going up the steps, when Kate noticed a little girl to her right. She half-bent down, smiled and waved at the little girl. I loved the way she tried to get to the child’s level, instead of keeping a stiff posture as a Royal figure,” said Ingrid.

“I think that’s what stole my heart — the fact that they can reach out to their peers in whatever cultural, social or formal setting it requires, and feel at home. Whether it’s wearing a tuxedo at a Hollywood function, a military uniform at an official event, or sportswear to go canoeing, both Kate and William do it with style, flair and naturalness. I don’t think they have it in them to make anyone feel awkward or unstylish or improper. They seem to embrace people just the way they are.”

The experience for Dustin was as much seeing the Royals as it was “rubbing shoulders with some of the “big” media guys in the world.”

“When I first heard the Royals were coming, I honestly could not care,” said Dustin. “But seeing them in person, you really cannot help but grow fond of them and respect them. They’re definitely not stuck-up divas but genuine people.”

Dustin is now going to show his photographs at Langley Fine Arts and on his mother’s website. To see the Hurrells’ photos from the Royal visit, go to www.redmaplepublishing.smugmug.com.

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