:: ONE SHOT :: Pura Tirta Empul, Tampaksiring, Bali

Pura Tirta Empul Tampaksiring Bali - One of the many Hindu temples in Bali. It is famous for its holy water, where a pond has a spring that gives out fresh water regularly - I saw the pond and the spring inside it - it was wild!

Here the followers, both locals and from abroad, line up to go through the many faucets of water for cleansing.

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:: ONE SHOT :: Bali Destination Wedding

I decided to start a new series for my blog and Facebook page - :: ONE SHOT :: 

SImply put, it’s just a single photo with a little bit about it. It may help me in becoming a more frequent blogger in 2015 :) One can hope. ;)

Here’s the first in the series:

Bali Wedding - Jan 17, 2015

I had the distinct pleasure of second shooting a destination wedding in Bali last weekend with my dear photog friend Pilar.

I don’t shoot weddings anymore…but sometimes, just sometimes, I can be convinced to shoot gigs like these ;)

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the love miss E - Manila, Philippines || Lifestyle Photographer

I dont “do” graduation photos anymore. It’s just one of the hats I hung up a few years back. Along with familiy portraits.

It’s only if I really love the people and think they would be amazing to capture that I’ll indulge.

Miss E was one of those I wanted to ‘indulge’ in :)

I photographed her and her family a year or more ago…and when I got to take a few portraits of E, I said to her, ‘I would LOVE to shoot your grad photos, if you don’t have anyone else shooting them’.

She took me up on the offer. And I was so thrilled.

Her beauty radiated in and out. So much grace. So much love. So much joy.

As you see the end of a season coming, E, know that a great awesome new one is right around the corner. I can’t wait to see all that you encounter and become. xxtracey

Turkey was AMAZING, by the way || Travel Photographer

On October 25, myself and 9 other fantastic folks from around the globe - Canada, China, Australia, Manila, Sri Lanka - joined together for a 12 day travel experience.

The Old Villages journey took us from bustling Istanbul to coastal Assos, down to Izmir an onto the Aegean coast of Kusadasi. We then set inland to Pamukkale and the lake of Egirdir and down to the mediterranean city of Antalya on the Turkish Riviera.  Up into the Taurus Mountains we found mountain villages, stopped in Konya and enjoyed the magical landscape of Cappadocia. Our final leg of our journey took us to the gorgeous village of Safranbolu.

Our journey was every bit magical and exciting, each and every day. There was always “something” that wowed us. Along with our knowledgable and trustworthy guide, Cem, we could not have asked for a more amazing time together

It was decided at the end of our travels that this destination would be repeated, so that the many who were not able to join, can do so and see the gorgeousness and rich culture and patriotism of this land called Turkey.

2015 will have excursions back to Turkey, to these Old Villages and more. I hope you will join me on one of them.





(Simply sign up on the right to receive our updates for our 2015 destination, coming soon!)

Some things about Turkey that I am so looking forward to || Turkey Travel Photographer

This coming October will be my 3rd anniversary of my first trek to Turkey, as well as my 3rd visit since then!

The first time was when my friend Pilar was supposed to go shoot the cover for Lonely Planet Philippines but had a bigger gig she needed to do in Indonesia (Ya she’s that much of a big deal) and asked me if I could go. Heck yes I could go!

That was an 8 day whirlwind trip with a writer from LPP, Madie, who quickly became a friend and we had a blast those 8 days, 7 hotel rooms and 8 flights later. 

It was after this that I knew I simply HAD to go back.

Almost 2 years had passed and I organized last years Follow Your Heart Tour to Turkey - The 7 Church of St Paul. It was an awesome adventure with friendw, new and old, from around the globe coming together for the journey.

During the tour we stopped at a couple of old villages that are still very much intact and the community lives and functions mostly like they did “back then”. This inspired me greatly and I asked my tour guide and friend Yucel, if such a tour could be made, discover the Old Villages of Turkey. Of course it can, he said. Thus began the planning for this year’s tour. And again, new and old friends from around the globe will be along…I cannot wait!

Because this is my 3rd visit, I have already begun to look forward to certain things when I get there. That is one thing I do when I travel - try to fully immerse myself in every way in the culture. 

So I have made a blog post about the “things I look forward to” on this next trip:


There is nothing like the thick, gritty coffee that the Turks make, I tell you! I did buy a Turkish coffee pot on my first visit and have since learned how to make it. ( I love coffee and learning how to make it in every culture’s own way)

I hope to perfect my coffee making skills and ask and watch my local friends for some tips. I shall conquer!




There is Turkish Delight and then there is GOURMET Turkish Delight. Not gonna lie - the pasalubongs (gifts) I will bring back that will be of Delight, will NOT be the gourmet stuff. (sorry friends!) The first time I had gourmet Delight was last year and I was like, where have you been all my life!?

Seriously. Will be bringing back copious amounts. And if I invite you over for coffee after my travels, you MIGHT get a piece…maybe But you will at least get the “regular” stuff..so be happy. ;)



If anyone knows me at ALL, you will know my love for seniors and those of my grandparents generation. (Oh wait, my grandparents are all gone…sigh…ok…well…you know what I mean)

Turkish Babushka (which is what we call them in the Ukrainian culture) are gorgeous women. Their lives lie in the lines of their faces and in the souls of their eyes. 

I could photograph them all day long. I promise you some awesome portraits of them from the Old Villages tour. That’s a fact!




I think this has to do with the fact that I grew up on the West Coast on Vancouver Island in Canada…I LOVE the ocean. And the coastal village of Assos, below is out of this world magical and quaint and…I am thrilled we get to stay there for one night (perks of helping and suggesting the tour to my Turkish Travel Agent!)


Also the Aegean Sea…the Medditeranean Sea that Greece and Turkey share. We will be in Kusadasi, a summer hot spot for Turks, for one night. And her sunsets are absolutely breaktaking and fabulous. 



What a sight to behold…These mineral deposits are breathtaking…and the view from here looking out to the country side - WOW. I expect to enjoy this again, as we will be stopping over here on our trip.. ((happy dance!!))



The first time I had fresh figs was when we lived in Vancouver in 2007. I thought I died and went to heaven. And then to find fresh figs for so little cost in Turkey my first trip…I KNEW I had to keep coming back…just for the FIGS! :)



Hands down, I enjoyed the Egyptian Spice Bazaar or Misir Carsisi better than the Grand Bazaar. It has basically the same stuff in it, but it’s smaller. Don’t get me wrong - one must visit the Grand Bazaar when in Istanbul, that’s a given. But if I were a local, I’d go to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar.

Between the pottery and spices and pillow cases and lamps…I just go nuts. I can’t wait to bring home more of all of those. 







Heaven in your palm, I tell you. I dont eat enought and drink enough of its fresh squeezed juices here in Manila as it’s so expensive. But in Turkey, it’s one of the most affordable drinks and snacks! YES!!! 

Pomegranate overload here we come!!!! And the fact that there are random trees out in the countryside..HELLO! Can’t beat that! 




On my last visit I was introduced to Tarihi Osmanli Macunu or Ottoman Candy. I must say. I was hooked. And I’m not a candy lover. I shall find a vendor in the Hippodrome and feast again. :)


So there you have it. My “things I’m looking forward to” list for Turkey. I am sure I will discover a phlethora of new things I will fall in love with, as we will be going to regions of Turkey I have not yet been. How exciting indeed!

Watch out for my next post on my “things I’m looking forward to” list for Italy…I have the privilege of going to Italy after the tour for 6 days to be with family friends and I haven’t been back to Italy in 4 years. I’m so excited!


The Shape of me and other stuff | Personal post inspired by Dr Seuss

I lead a pretty full life here in the Philippines. Stop chuckling. I know. 

Not only am I mom to two teenagers — aka lunch maker/out the door in the morning pusher/coordinator of their social events/mom taxi— I am wife to my awesome Love who is the biggest supporter in life I have and who truly inspires me to live the dream. 

Aside from this at-home full time job, I go all over Manila and Luzon (so far!) shooting NGO photos for amazing organizations for my non-profit group, Photogs for a Cause. www.photogsforacause.org

As well we are in the process of starting a livelihood program, Magtayo ng Buhay, or in English translated, Build a Life. More about that another time 

It can be full, sometimes even stressful but definitely fulfilling. 

So then how do I try to lead something that tries to resemble a balanced life?

~I spent some time every morning in a quiet place with my Creator. 

~I am in search of good coffee and food so have monthly dates with like minded friends. And time doing fun things with friends is always a good idea.

~I have a handful of heart friends. Real friends to journey life with, be real with & laugh/cry/celebrate with. 

~ I try and organize travel tours here and abroad to scratch my travel itch which rejuvenates me and keeps me going on with my above crazy life, without spending money we don’t have for me to do that otherwise, by being the host and organizer. 

~And I am always making photos, for myself, not as a job. Either with my iPhone, big camera or Nokia Lumia. 

It seems to be working for me for the most part. And some days I don’t get it right. But try and try again 

What are some ways you stay balanced in life?

Anton & Rina - Lovely Details // Sofitel Wedding || Philippines Wedding Photographer?!

I hung up my Wedding Photographer hat a couple years back. I ended strong and well. But knew I was “finished”.

I have kept in the wedding photography scene by doing some occasional second shooting with one of my dear friends and amazing Philippines photographers, Pilar Tuason.

When Anton’s mom asked me to consider shooting her son’s May wedding back in February, I was a little reluctant. We met together with Anton and Rina as well, and when she told me the reason she wanted me to photograph their wedding I was a little stunned…”I want you to shoot it from your perspective - I love your eye. I want that”.

WOW. Now THAT is a big order to fill! So with nervousness I agreed. :) Thank you for choosing me, Ate Girlie :)

May 31 has come and gone. Pilar, my photographer friend did me the favor and second shot for ME for this wedding. Funny!

So here is the first of many posts of Anton & Rina’s wedding. 

This one is “The Bridal Details”. :)



 The next post in this series? Getting ready of course! :)

Bebot & Maymay - Boracay Lifestyle Session || Philippines Travel Photographer

Last month my love and I, along with another couple, went down to Boracay Island for a getaway. It was in celebration of our 19th wedding anniversary! woohoo to us!

I also brought my camera along and did a Lifestyle session. I dont do many Lifestyle session anymore…but when I do, it’s because I can’t WAIT to photograph the couple!

Like these two. Their first time in front of camera professionally and they rocked it. Bebot is actually one of Jonathan’s tattoo artists - he’s amazing! And Maymay is also a photographer and has a super fun job photographing for a local tourist booklet that is distributed several times a year. They also are the parents of a SUPER cute little man!

These are just a few of my favorites. Bebot and Maymay - you are absolutely beautiful. Thank you for being so kind to make beauitful photos of you two - I SOOO enjoyed and loved every moment!


 If you want a fun lifestyle session, email me - I may just be persuaded. ;)

Want some Turkey? Ya..you know you do :) || Travel Photographer


 The Old Villages of Turkey:

Join us in Turkey! Only $1900 per person for 12 days of magical adventure!


Imagine with us - 12 days touring through some of the oldest villages in all of Turkey! 

The itinerary is full of history, cuisine, and culture and will absolutely be mind-blowing awesome!

You can access the entire itinerary by clicking HERE.

Our private coach bus, along with our English speaking Turkish guide, will take us from magical village to intriguing town and everywhere else in between. 

Assos and its quaint coast, Bergama and its rustic village, Kusadasi and historic places such as Ephesus and wine village Sirince, Pamukkale and the “cotton castles”, Antalya and it’s Turkish Riviera, Cappadocia and the Fairy Chimneys and hot air ballonons and many other destinations will captivate us! 

Our accomodations are everything from boutique inns to cave  hotels to actual homestays throughout Turkey…truly experiencing a variety of different cultures within Turkey.

And we cannot forget to mention the cuisine - kebabs & koftes, meze dishes, baklava, Turkish tea & coffee and of course, lokum, or Turkish Delight!

For all of the details of the tour and the logistics you can click HERE.

What others have said about Follow Your Heart Tours to Turkey: 


My husband and I were looking to explore a new country with different culture and customs without having to do the leg work of planning the trip. The FYH Tour organised by Tracey Heppner fulfilled our goals! We loved being guided through the historical sites, and having our knowledge base expand so much by a very informative and effective translator and guide. From the historical sites to the sleepy coastal towns to the busy streets of Iistanbul, we loved every moment and can’t wait to go back to Turkey to find out more! Thank you to Tracey from FYH for being such an organised, easy going and flexible guide intuned with keeping all of us happy for eight days! (;” Jeanie & Ian Graham, Vancouver, Canada

I do hope you will join us. Time is running out to reserve your place on this tour and I hope you will join us. Invite your friends along and have an experience together like no other!

Contact me today. And please share this with your friends and family!


Founder & Chief Traveler, Follow Your Heart Tours

Travel Workshops this August & September || Philippines Travel Photographer

It’s true! I’m offering freaking RAD travel workshops! Contact me for more info at tracey@traceylheppner.com!