Tuesday, May 26, 2009

wanting it all

My photography has taken on a little life of its own these days....in a warm and wonderful way. I am scurrying to get caught up on the other things in my life, such as writing and visiting all the blogs that I love, as much of my time has been spent either behind the camera or in my "digital darkroom".

I spent Sunday afternoon photographing a beautiful group of children at my nephew's birthday party...something a bit new for me as most of my "live" subjects are the four-legged, shaggy kind. I am always eager to explore new avenues to improve and broaden my photography skills. I have included a few of the photos in this post and the rest can be viewed here if anyone is interested.

Based on the shots from the party, a few of the moms have contacted me to see if I would be interested in spending some time shooting some additional family photos for them. It is an exciting and nerve racking direction for me....one, to photograph people (outside of my immediate family and friends) rather than dogs and, two, to have expectations built into my craft. I have only ever taken pictures for myself....my love for photography was built upon that and it's important to me that I don't lose it along the way.

But I am happy that my photos are speaking to people...are making them smile and helping to capture some joyful moments for them. I am eager to see where this path may take me....but it's a path that I am not willing to compromise other things for....because, you see, I want it all.

I want to give a devoted mother the perfect picture of her beautiful baby girl. I want to meet more wonderful, soulful dogs and keep building the Charlie Project. I want to write...articles, personal essays, memoirs and even a children's story I have been mulling over. I want to blog and spend time on favorite blogs.

I want to read with Elora cuddled in my lap. I want to sit in the summer sun on old wooden docks with old cherished friends. I want to hear the sound of my family's laughter mingle with the northern cricket's song and float into the night sky. And I want to be with Sophie....in the moment, on the trails, with nothing in my thoughts except the love for this great dog.

And what I want most is to try...to try to have it all...and see what wonderful things Sophie and I can find along the way.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

sunday stills - yellow

This week's Sunday Stills challenge was the colour yellow.

One of my favorite colours...I love every shade....

Friday, May 22, 2009

who's that boy?

I received many emails from my last post asking me who the cute little boy is. I am proud to say that's my nephew Ben, my brother's son...the first grandchild for my mom and dad...and today he is two.

And, oh!, how our lives changed when he arrived. To see the world, new and fresh, through the eyes of a child...there is nothing quite like it. To see my brother become a father...it is still quick to bring lump to my throat when I watch them together. To see how this little boy's face lights up when his mother, my sister-in-law, walks into the room...it is a love that is palpable.

The joy he brings to our weekends together at the cottage is tinged with recollections of our own childhoods. My brother, sister and I have fond memories of another time, another cottage and another summer spent outside...running with the wind, dancing with sun....exploring trails, lakes and forests with a great dog named Jed, that belonged to my Aunt.

I can feel my brother wishing for those kind of memories for Ben...for his son. That he hopes Ben will look back, thirty years from now, and have a snapshot in his mind of his own summers at the cottage when he was little boy....and how his Aunt had a great dog named Sophie who was his faithful companion on all of his sunshine and wind adventures.

Happy Birthday, Ben.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

defining moments

I realized, over the weekend, just how much viewing the world from a behind a camera begins to change how you see the events and the people that surround you in life. How there are moments that mark the essence of something...and that those are what you want to capture through your lens. So rather than shoot a group of people, sitting around a table smiling for the camera...which could be any group of people, at any cottage on any rain-filled weekend, I sought out our moments...the little things that I felt defined the weekend...and I found:

A Border Collie, reunited with her lake, enjoying her first swim of year...

A wondrous sky after a dark storm...

Raindrops nestled in the beauty of late spring....

A little boy's adventures told through his smile...

Dazzling sunshine in the smallest of fragile places...

And, the thread of family, woven tight and strong.

These are the moments that I will carry with me...always.

Friday, May 15, 2009

gone north

The first long weekend of the summer at the cottage...there is nothing sweeter.

Sophie and I will be back on Monday...with photos and a story or two to share.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

through the fear

I have been thinking a lot lately about "pushing through the fear". About how if we can find the courage within ourselves to try...to follow our hearts and to conquer our self-doubts...amazing and wonderful things can happen. These are the things that happen if we can push through the fear...it's what we can find on the other side.

To lose a job and choose not to cower in the face of an uncertain future but to use the time as an opportunity...and discovering a love of writing, a passion for photography and the joy of a dog.

To write a story about personal loss and discovery and dare to try to have it published, rather than hide from the possibility of rejection...and end up on the front page.

To take a contract position, in uncertain economic times, doing work that I love and not worry about what happens one year down the road, or what my title is, or how much money I make... and, just yesterday, get offered a permanent full time position to continue doing that very work.

With a little luck thrown in, I found what matters on the other side. And when I look back at the tracks left as I pushed through that fear...in every case, they were accompanied by Sophie's paw prints. There is nothing a like a little dog love to show you the way.

Push through the fear...follow your heart...and see what you can find on the other side.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

sunday stills - black & white

This week's Sunday Stills challenge was black & white, using two previous challenge categories. I chose pets (big surprise) and sunrise/sunsets (an odd choice for black & white). We could not use photos previously used for Sunday Stills, but we could work within our archives.

This is my submission for pets. This is one of my favorite photos of Sophie...I have an 8x10 of it framed up in my home.

And this is my submission for sunrise/sunsets...it was a crisp winter day back in January and even Sophie had to pause to appreciate the beauty of the sun coming up over the frozen lake.

Friday, May 8, 2009

finally dancing

I had a conversation today about work...about ambition and promotions and what we strive for in our work. My recent perspective on this topic still leaves a few people with their mouths agape....given my background and my education how can I not want to succeed in the world of business? How can I not be driven to reach the highest peak, to face greater challenges...and to win? And my answer is this....for me, when I finally stopped focusing on all of those things...that is when I started to win....

I strive at work to create the best output, not because it may secure me a promotion or a raise or even a full-time job....I do it because my work could make a difference in one dog's or one cat's life and there is nothing more rewarding than knowing that.

I relish the challenge of learning to become a better photographer and a more accomplished writer....a challenge I am able to take on because with my new job, I have found space and time in my life to create priorities for myself outside of my corporate role.

As for reaching the highest peak....once on a Tuesday at two o'clock in the afternoon, while the rest of world rushed to meetings or banged out emails in a windowless cubicle, I, jobless at the time, sat atop a hill overlooking a deep ravine filled with autumn colours and a rushing river, reading my favorite Ernest Hemingway passage out loud to Sophie who sat beside me quietly in the warm fall sunshine. I honestly don't know how you get any higher than that.

I used to think that success in life was measured by your title at work, or the size of the house you lived in, or the kind of car you could afford to drive. Now I think that success is measured by how much dancing you do. I believe we are compelled to dance, alone in our kitchen or suddenly in the middle of the street, because sometimes we have so much joy in our hearts that we need to let it spill out in random, happy movement. And I have finally started dancing.

Monday, May 4, 2009

paw it forward - a giveaway!

Claire over at the rouxby blog (some of the best dog photography you will find) has engaged us in a fun game/giveaway called "paw it forward":

The exchange focuses on doing an act of kindness without expecting anything in return other than that the recipient will, in their turn, pass the kindness along and ‘paw it forward’ in their own way. There are no cost restraints, BUT don’t go crazy! The little something you send can be something you made, bought, were given or found. No biggie, just a gift that will make the person smile. And, remember that kindness doesn’t have to involve money; there are untold ways to help others every single day, everywhere you go - just look around.” SO PAW IT FORWARD…

Sophie will be receiving a package from Claire and we, in turn, are going to send out a Finding Sirius package to three more pups (or cats). We are going to change the rules a little (Sophie likes to think outside the box) in keeping with our Charlie Project theme of celebrating the souls of our pets. We are going to randomly draw three names based on the following criteria:

1) If you would like to play, leave a comment on this post using three words to describe the wonderful soul of your dog or cat and your name will be entered into the draw

We will be drawing names Friday, May 8th at 6pm...so you have all week to enter through the comments section of this post.

Sophie and I are looking forward to "pawing it forward" and making a few people smile. I am also looking forward to the collection of comments that will share a little piece of the dog or cat souls that make our lives so rewarding.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

sunday stills - flowers and plants

This week's Sunday Stills challenge is flowers and plants. The colours of spring, lit up in sunlight, need few words from me...they are able to speak for themselves....

...vibrant reds....

...engaging yellows...

...pristine whites.....

....and the fresh greens of the maple leaf buds.