• Just for fun,  Newborns,  Personal,  Photography

    Awkward Hugging a Magician, Babies, A Puppy, & a Few Photogs

    Last week-end I met up with a few fun-loving Photographers for a yearly get away.  Day one was met with a Magician who, within a few minutes of meeting him, I knew that I wanted to awkward hug when he was ready to leave.  An awkward hug is a hug that goes on waaaay too long, until it in fact becomes awkward.  When they try and pull out of the awkward hug, you just hug tighter and maybe even rest your head.  Think like you are drowning, and the recipient of the awkward hug is your life preserver.

    Anywhoooo…it’s always amazing to meet up with other photographers to get a different perspective on life and all things photography related.  We laughed, we cried, we drank us some wine, and we had no shortage of things to shoot.  Hope brought her puppy Ruby, and Laura Jane brought her squishy cuddly baby Mabel.  Most of the entertainment from the week-end was a product of Ruby and Mabel trying to figure one another out.

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    On day 2, Hope brought in some surprise guests…the sweetest little 3 week old baby girl and her proud parents.  Our challenge was to each take turns taking pictures of her but we couldn’t duplicate one another’s poses.  On top of that, we were only allowed to bring one lens with us for the week-end.  I was thankful I chose my 50mm F1.4 (although a wide-angle would have been fun too) I pulled number 1 out of 7 in the shooting order, so I didn’t have to worry about duplicating.  I have to tell you however, that it was a bit unnerving taking pictures first, while 6 photographers who’s work I respect and admire watched over my shoulder!  What a gift for baby W.’s parents, to have 7 different perspectives of their little miracle.

    Here’s what I saw in my 10 minutes with precious baby W.

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    Thank you so much Mom and Dad for sharing your beautiful bundle of joy with all of us.  You are blessed.

    If you have some time, check out the perspective of the other photographers that were there.

    Hope

    Laura Jane

    Heather

    Helena

    Linda

    Talitha

  • Just for fun,  Personal,  Photography

    What is Beautiful?

    What is beautiful to you?  It’s different for everyone.

    As a photographer I find beauty in love, in the strong bond of family, and within a person’s soul…the very essence that makes them who they are.  Beauty comes in all forms and to me has little to do with what is on the outside: shy, witty, outgoing, peaceful, kind, loving, powerful, reserved…it’s all beautiful.

    I recently read an article where a bride was told that her wedding wouldn’t grace the photographer’s blog because he only blogs “publicity worthy” couples. Are you serious?  I was so angry for her.

    Some of you know that I have two blogs. This one, and a blog called “Reclaiming Life”.  I haven’t shared my Reclaiming Life blog here, because it’s quite personal, but I’m going to now so you know where I’m coming from.

    Here’s my story of losing 90ish pounds.

    http://reclaiminglife.wordpress.com/my-story/

    Through the years of losing the weight and to this day of keeping the weight off, I have learned…no I have fought to remember…that I am NOT defined by the clothes I wear, by what the scale says, or by how I age as I grow another year older and wiser ;).

    My laugh lines are here because I laugh.

    My stretch marks are here because I was blessed to have three amazing children.

    The dark circles that appear under my eyes is often because I stayed up late with friends laughing or because my kids were up in the night and needed me.

    The reason I have worn the same dress to the last few functions is because I detest shopping. My favourite dress is comfortable and I feel good when I wear it.

    I rarely wear heels because I am clumsy and I will fall in public.

    I often sport roots because I don’t have the time to spend three hours in a hair salon, but when I do go I love it and have a swagger in my step.

    Now…does that make me any less worthy than someone who is aesthetically more “Beautiful” by society’s standards?  Am I anymore worthy to grace someone’s blog at 150 pounds than at 242 pounds?

    I am the same person in so many ways, only now I don’t walk with my head down. I walk with my head up…shoulders back…and a smile on my face because I have found out who I am and I make no apologizes for it.  It’s not because I weigh less.

    I will blog every single person I photograph (unless it’s their wish that I don’t) because you are all beautiful and you are worthy to be celebrated just as you are.

    That’s it. That’s all.

    From my heart to yours,

    Christine

  • Just for fun,  Love,  Personal,  Photography,  Travel Eye Candy

    Couples Negril, Jamaica Part two

    A follow up from my first post about our time at “Couples Negril” in beautiful Jamaica.  You know when someone returns from a trip and they invite you over for a slide-show of pictures complete with stories for each one?  I’ve become that girl, only I’ll use this blog so you don’t even have to pretend to be listening to me if you don’t want to… 😉  I can’t help it, I’ve spent many months in a sea of white snow so seeing colour was mighty delicious.  I took so many pictures!  Every where I looked there were so many interesting lines, tones, colours, and character.   There was joy to my right, peace to my left, and love all around.

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    This group of men had so much character! They played during supper time with so much joy, and you couldn’t help but smile through every song they played.

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    In the morning, I would go sit on our little terrace and enjoy the yummy golden light of the morning while listening to the soft waves from the ocean.  Here’s some views that were only steps from our little terrace.

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    This is a lime tree.  The staff would come every morning to pick limes to add to the drinks.

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    One morning a nice grounds keeper named Aaron asked if I wanted to try some coconut milk.  After nodding yes (while sporting sticky-uppy morning hair I might add) he climbed a tree and brought me a coconut.    He quickly whipped out his pocket knife and expertly cut away at the coconut until there was a nice little hole to sip the milk through a straw.  It was refreshing and sweet.  Little tip for future visitors to the resort: if you take your coconut to the bar, they will fill it with coconut Rum…Yummmm.

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    On our third day there, my hubby and I booked Swedish couple’s massages.  We chose to have our massages in the Tree House with views and sounds of the ocean.  I’ve secretly always wanted a tree house (as kids my little sister and I spent countless hours trying to build our own…it was pathetic) so the ambiance was greatly appreciated even though I had my relaxed eyes closed for most of it!  🙂

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    On the first day I walked by this tree stump, it was just a tree stump.  It magically grew a face by the next day.

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    This was another favourite view.

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    Mmmmmm…food.  There’s a reason I returned home and wasn’t hungry for days.

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    Another view of the stair case I fell in love with.  Love, love, love the lines.

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    One of the resort photographers who, if I remember correctly, told me she has been a resort photographer for over 15 years…now that’s a good gig!  🙂

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    Part of the all-inclusive package included at Couples Negril resort is the option to go on water excursions.  We booked the glass-bottom boat tour which was really interesting.

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    They took us to a choral reef which you can also visit via scuba diving (next trip we will scuba for sure).

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    Do you see the goat in the window?  A 1/2 hour later when our boat traveled by again he was still in the window.

    On our last night we booked a Catamaran excursion….a.k.a the “Booze Cruise”.  One rum punch will have you giggling if you can get through the initial sip.  Two rum punches will have you seeing double, and the third will knock you on your tanned tush.

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    I asked our bartender for the trip if I could take his picture and this is what he did.  Then he admired my hubby’s “Canadian” hat.  My hubby gave it to him.  I hope he wears it!

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    The boat stopped so we could swim into these caves or take a ride down the water slide on the boat.  For a small fee, you could climb up and jump from the top of the caves into the crystal clear waters below. I was not so brave.  See the splash to the right in the picture below?  I guess someone took the plunge, but I missed it.

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    I had hoped to see someone getting married at the resort.  As we were sitting on the wicker swing awaiting our taxi to take us to the airport to fly home, I looked down and there they were…a bride and groom just married.  Love, love, love.

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    This was the last picture I took.  The sun was setting as the airplane took off to return home.  The bright sunset shone through the plane window.  Ahhhhh…it was a great vacation.  Have you booked your trip yet?

  • Just for fun,  Love,  Personal

    Welcome Home “Couples Negril” Jamaica

    “Welcome Home”…that’s what they said to my hubby and I as we stepped out of the taxi after arriving at “Couples Negril” in Negril, Jamaica (thank you Mom and Dad Hopaluk for entertaining our kids! Love you!).  Negril boasts of 7 miles of white sandy heavenly beaches.  The resort, staff, and views exceeded any expectations we had.

    It

    was

    incredible

    period.

    Several times during our vacation, I was overwhelmed by waves of happy.  The sort of happy that happens when you wake up as a kid on Christmas morning.  I would be sitting on my beach chair, drink in hand, soaking up the sights and sounds that is uniquely Jamaican and then I would be hit: whooooaaaa what was that? Extreme Happiness my friends.  That’s extremely awesome.

    What struck me most about Jamaica (besides the white sand, ocean of blue and green, flowy palm trees & the sounds of the steel drums wafting through the air) was the people of Jamaica.  They are cool.  For real. The are happy, chill, laid back.  No problem. Ya mon! The staff at “Couples Negril” are beyond amazing. They are beautiful, personable, kind, and interesting.  They smile A LOT…both when no one’s looking and when you are .

    It was magical. You must go to “Couples Negril”, but just with your significant other.  No going with other couples. Just the two of you. Your heart will beat to the rhythm of the steel drums, and you will most definitely catch yourself smiling when no one is looking.

    Click HERE for the link to “Couples Negril” all inclusive Resort and book yourself a little trip!

    In the mean time, here’s some photos to enjoy.  If you can’t be there, the next best thing is to transport yourself through photography.  As I was taking these pictures, my main goal was to find the best way to bring the feeling of Jamaica home to my friends and family. One Love.

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    One of the bartenders Carrie made the BEST Mojitos 🙂  I wish I had taken a good picture of Carrie, but on the night I had many mojitos, I wasn’t so good with my camera settings and I embraced the blur.

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    This is Amanda. She is such a beauty and her smile lit up the room.  She travels over 2 hours everyday to get to work. They are very lucky to have her working at their resort.

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    This is Davia.  She’s a delightful woman who flips a mean Omelette.

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    This is Kesia. She is super friendly and is always smiling.

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    I don’t know these dude’s names, but they were happy to let me take their picture 🙂

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    This is Sheryl.  She has her own special drink called the “Sheryl Special”.  I can’t tell you what’s in it. I’ve been sworn to secrecy.

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    Don’t you just love their attitude!

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    Chocolate Fondue at Sunset…amazing.

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    This is Alecia. She has a killer smile too.  🙂

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    This is super happy Charles.  He has a small injury from football  🙂

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    This is Garry.  He is so uplifting and always wore a big smile no matter when we saw him.

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    Yes, I do realize that my goggles are on upside down. You can’t take the nerd out of this girl.

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    Good-bye Jamaica, we will be back for sure.  Can’t wait!  As I’m typing this from here in Leduc, Alberta, Canada there is a snow/wind storm outside my window and I’m peeling from my sunburn.  But, NO PROBLEM! 🙂

    Read more about our time at “Couples Negril” in Part Two by clicking HERE.

  • Just for fun,  Personal

    Joy in the Little Things Part 2

    It’s so easy to forget to find joy in the little things, but it’s all around us!  There is so much in life to be thankful for and so many little things that just bring a big smile to my face.

    Here are a couple things that have brought happiness to my heart lately!

    My son turned 8!!!  Where has the time gone?  Let me tell you a bit about Lucas.  We call him Lukey Duke.  He is very sensitive and shows love at the BEST times.  He has this amazing sense of knowing exactly when I need a hug.  I love that he still thinks it’s cool to give me a big wet kiss and a hug at the front doors of the school when I drop him off everyday.  There is nothing better than that.

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    I am not good at keeping plants alive.  They must have the tenacity and drive to stay alive if they come home to me.  I have managed to keep this plant alive for 10 years.  It was a gift from an amazingly thoughtful woman, Mrs. Cartwright.   She spends a huge amount of her time handwriting thoughtful notes for many people for each milestone they cross.   I find a stack of her notes for each member of my family each time I visit home.

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    I hope you take some time today to find joy in the little things!

    From my heart to yours,

    Christine

  • Just for fun,  Personal

    Joy in the Little Things Part One

    I’m reminded through times of adverstiy and during the blur of every day activities, that one should remember to find joy in the little things.  There is so much beauty and joy to be found in life, but it’s the little things that I often take for granted.

    More blog posts on this topic to come! I’m on a mission to be acutely aware to find joy in the little things as life quickly travels forward.

     

    Joy found in the patience of my children

    Every year I corner my kids to take their school photo.  This is usually taken during my busy time when I’m photographing other people’s beautiful children.  Without fail, in the midst of a busy day I’ll announce to the kids to find some clean clothes, brush their hair, wipe the dinner crumbs, and be patient with me as I snap a few photos to be shared with friends and family.  This year, my kids were on different haircut rotations, so their pictures were days apart as we rushed them in for a trim.  My 8 year old son sat down in the barber chair and upon asking what we wanted for a haircut, in his best monotone voice he said, “Caesar cut please, #2 on the sides”.

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    Joy found at Etsy!

    I’m completely addicted to Allison Strine’s jewelry, magnets, and cards.  I’ve ordered several pendants and she is not only delightfully witty but also extremely talented.

    I own this pendant.

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    Love, love, love her work.

    Check out her shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=51268

     

    Joy in music!

    Greg Laswell

    I’m addicted to Greg Laswell’s music.  His soulful, beautiful music just touches my heart.

    Download this: “This Woman’s Work” and “Comes and Goes (In Waves)”

    Check out his website: http://greglaswell.com/

     

    Joy found in my fuzzy slippers

    I was cursed blessed with some big feet.  My moccasins rock. The first time my feet graced these moccasins they started dancing on their own.  Every one should own a pair of moccasins. Your feet will thank you.

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    Image disclaimer: Feet in this image appear larger than they are. 😉

  • Family,  Just for fun,  Photography

    Holiday Time!

    I will be off this week for holidays!  I’ll be back, answering e-mails and phone calls on July the 6th.

    On Friday we started our holiday off by checking into a hotel in Calgary and hitting the indoor water park. I brought my underwater housing for my G10 camera.  Here’s all of us, except for my oldest son who was taking this picture.  My youngest could only offer up her arm. She’s not at the diving-under-water stage yet.

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    Yesterday, we visited the Calgary Zoo.  It was our first time there. The kids had a blast (so did we!)  I can’t believe I’ve never visited the Calgary Zoo before.  It’s such an incredible place to go as a family and it’s only 2 hours from our home.

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    our attempt at a timer family picture on the suspension bridge

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    Good-bye Calgary Zoo, we will be back next year 🙂

    See you all in a week!

    Christine

  • Just for fun,  Photography

    Finding the Right Angle…

    My studio space isn’t very big.  I have to get creative when finding the angles, and this means sometimes going into different areas of my living room to get the angle I want (especially with you tall peeps!).  I never realized what this may look like to the subject getting their picture taken. 

    So this shot was taken while I was trying to shoot around my plant area.  S. told me I looked like I was hiding and peeking through the leaves.  This one is for you…

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    Later when we went outside, I was also shooting upside down with my head in the grass…a girls got to do what a girls got to do to get the right angle!  Someday, oooh someday, I dream about a studio space complete with areas of natural light…

  • Just for fun,  Photography

    Finding Your Style

    I’m not sure how many photo enthusiasts read this blog, but if you have a love for photography, I would venture to guess you want to continue to grow and evolve in your photography.  Finding your style is important.  It’s that special “thing” that sets your work apart from another’s.

    How does one find their style?

    Good question.

    I’m no expert in this realm as I’m still learning who I am as a photographer, but I’d like to share with you some of what I’ve learned this year.  One way I’ve explored my own style is to spend sometime analyzing what it is I LOVE about other photographer’s work that I respect and admire.

    For example: I love Tara Whitney’s work.   I always knew I loved her photography, but recently as her images flashed across my screen I realized what it is I love about it so much.  You can not copy her style; her style is capturing the essence of her subjects.  That’s it…Eureka!  It goes right back to the reason I got into photography!

    For me, photography is about showing connection, love, personality, and the essence & spirits of my subjects.  That’s my goal in every session.  I’m not always successful, but if I fail in this area it’s because I didn’t connect with my subjects and that’s my issue…not theirs.

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    Here’s a little sneak peek to the welcome page for my website which is STILL in the works (it’s a labour of love at this point and getting close to being ready!)

     

    A Photographer’s style is not a Photoshop action you apply to a photo. It’s a feeling and a mood.  It’s bringing to life the subject captured in your photo and doing so YOUR way.   There are several ways you can do this in photography, and the fun part is finding your style to do it.

    So, try this…just for fun!  Go to Flickr and start surfing!  Search “Love” for example.  If you find an image that speaks to you, spend some time figuring out WHY it speaks to you.  What is it about the photo that connects with you?  Is it the colour, the composition, the emotion from the subjects, the mood, the time of day it was shot, etc.  Write it down.  Find a pattern in what you love in a photograph and then apply it to your own photography.  You’ll find your style in no time!

    But most importantly get out there and get SNAPPING!  Snap anything and everything.  Snap people, animals, things…in different settings and different lighting situations.  Which photos do you love, and which do nothing for you?  Why?  What is it you love or don’t love about the photo?

    Have fun and find your style that is uniquely you!   Feel free to comment and tell me all about it 🙂