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Pandemic pursuit leads to ‘thrilling’ opportunity for Calgary teen

A lot of Canadians are finding more time to pursue new passions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s definitely provided a big boost for a Grade 12 student in Calgary, in a field where she’s always giving it her best shot.

Cerena Bond has been focusing on developing her photography skills, coming across all kinds of interesting subjects during regular nature walks with her mom.

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“Ever since the pandemic hit, I’ve had time to explore it more,” Bond said. “And when I’ve (been) taking photos I’ve found just a sense of calm.”

Now the 17-year-old’s work is getting some unusual exposure, with two of her photos displayed on bottles of Jones Soda, on sale in thousands of stores throughout North America.

“One has a trail post on it, (a photo) taken on a family hike,” Bond said. “And one has a railroad crossing sign.”

Bond had sent in the photos to Jones Soda during one of the Seattle-based company’s regular call-outs for submissions, and was overjoyed when she found out they’d been accepted.

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“It’s so thrilling,” Bond said. “We’ve just had a blast going to hunt for them in different places.”

Her photos ended up on 100,000 bottles distributed all through the U.S. and Canada.

“It’s been fun receiving messages from people finding them, from friends and family across Canada,” Bond said. “When they send me a little picture of them with the bottle, it’s just so exciting that they’ve found one.”

She says photography often brings great rewards, but having her work on the bottles takes it to a new level.

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“It’s a real confidence-booster,” Bond said. “And it’s encouraged me to continue my photography journey.”

Bond’s mother is very proud of what her daughter has accomplished.

“To find an outlet that is really rewarding and that she can share with a whole new community of people has just been absolutely amazing,” Cindy Bond said.

“She’s really turning lemons into lemonade, in terms of this whole COVID pandemic experience we’ve had”

Cindy Bond hopes others might be inspired by what Cerena’s done.

“I would encourage anyone who’s looking to try something new to give it a shot,” Cindy Bond said. “This is a perfect time.”

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