Monthly Archives: October 2011

Blessed Samhain!

What a fabulous night.  Trick-or-Treating with the kid is absolutely epic.  She was so awesome.  I really am a super lucky mommy.  I feel doubly blessed to have a husband who is perfectly content with me putting candy out on the step, so that the three of us can spend Halloween together.  I have lots of pictures to edit and share…  but for now, will share one my sister took for us on Saturday (the night of Denyse’s annual get-together):

The Last Saskatchewan Pirates - Hanging Near the River Saskatchewan.

The Last Saskatchewan Pirates


As we enter this season of slumber, gather close those you treasure, share stories and food, and enjoy the quiet. Celebrate lives well lived, and remember well those who have already crossed to the other side.  Blessed Samhain!  …and a Happy Halloween too.

“A Family Affair” – photography preview for the Shuya family

The Shuya family’s session was very much a story about the love a mother has for her children.  Wendy and I had met years ago at an attachment parenting group, so it was a very pleasant surprise when she contacted me about having me come in and work with her family.  Getting to have this small peek into her life as a mother was a rare gift, and the photos speak to the kind of mother she is (and that we should all inspire to be):  involved, devoted, nurturing, and fun.  Wendy’s love for her two little ones knows no bounds, and I’m thrilled to have had the chance to help celebrate and immortalize it.

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And I hope this slideshow proves to some folk that sometimes?  Shooting at home really is best.  When your children feel safe and comfortable, it really does shine through.

We’re home. :)

After a night of Halloween festivities at our friend’s yearly costume party, we are all home.  The girlie is tucked into bed beside me.  I’m downloading photographs from our little mini-shoot with my sister Jewles (thanks for taking pictures of us Bug, I appreciated it).  Damon is upstairs unwinding on the computer.  And soon we will join the girlie in dreamland.  🙂  It was a good day.

I have no more time left to offer…

Why is it that things end up making extra demands on your time, when you have the least time to give?  Honestly?  This year when the girlie said she wanted us all to be pirates I was thrilled.  I knew I wouldn’t have the time to commit to sewing all of our costumes from scratch.  Not with the backlog of photo edits I’m still working through from this Summer, and with the provincial election at the same time too?  Definitely not the time I’d normally devote to our costumes.

“Pirates?” said aye.  “Arg!  Pirates we be.”

Well…  the whole pirate theme was going great…  until last night.  And well… even for part of today things were still okay.  LMAO  And then it fell apart.  Literally.

For the last few weeks we’d been picking up a piece of gear here, a bit of booty there.  Slowly building up our stockpile.  Then it was one day of intense shopping, and one day of alterations, and we’d be all set.  Or, well, that was the plan anyway.

So we do our shopping.  We’ve got everything we need.

For Damon:  Jacket, pants, shirt, sword, hook, eye patch, boot tops.

For me:  dress, cuffs, hat, cape.

For the kid:  dress, hat, scarf, boot tops, sword, cape.

The next day I begin the alterations.

I take in the girls dress at the sides, and around the neck.  Tighten up the sleeves some.  Take in quite a bit on her boot tops.  Sew the cape right onto her dress.  And presto finito.

I pull the buttons of the trench coat we got for Damon, replace them with antique brass buttons we have in our button stash.  Rip the seams out of his boot tops, and sew them back together correctly (they were sewn together wrong and had to be completely redone, but for the price, I didn’t mind).  Then we realized that he could really use some flashy trim on his jacket.  So that got added to the list for today.  *Shop For Trim*

I put on my dress – which I love btw – walk over to the mirror to see where it needs to be taken in (it’s a one size fits all jobbie, which clearly doesn’t REALLY fit all if you want it to fit well) only to discover that the fabric has pulled apart.  Now.  There are some fabrics that really require certain types of stitching… if you stitch them incorrectly the fabric just shreds and pulls apart at the seam.  This was the case.  So, because I love this dress so much, I figure we can still make this work.  I just need a new one that hasn’t yet pulled apart.  If I reinforce the seams before they fray and shred with fabric glue, it should hold.  Allowing me to do the work that needs to be done in the sides and back, and wearing it without issue.  Add it to the list for today.  *Exchange Damaged Dress*

So today we head out to exchange the damaged dress.  Called around and found a shop that had one in stock.  Headed over there only to discover that the one in stock was in worse shape than the one I had.  We returned the dress I had, and tried another store that we didn’t have a phone number for.  They had one in stock as well…  and it too had already pulled apart at the seams.  I can’t help but wonder how many wardrobe malfunctions this particular costume will cause come Halloween night.  I also can’t help but wonder if any of the exposures will result in lawsuits.  Yikes!  We tried one last spot, and nothing.

Although I wasn’t happy about it, this left us with one last option.  The fabric store.  We bought a pattern and a bunch of fabric (as well as trim for the hubbies jacket).  Everything we bought was on sale, but it still ended up being more expensive than we’d hoped…  but what else is new.  I always spend more than I’d hoped when I hit Fabricland.

So, for the last eight hours I’ve been sewing.  Cutting, pinning, and sewing.  And tomorrow?  Tomorrow I’ve got another several hours ahead of cutting, pinning, and sewing.  SEW not part of the plan.  SEW don’t have time for this.  But honestly?  I just can’t disappoint my baby girl.

Lily-Ann loves Halloween and Samhain as much as I do.  And it’s one of those few special high holy days that we can really celebrate in and take part together FULLY.  So if I end up putting in an extra 12 hours of unexpected work, then I put in an extra day and a half.  Even if I don’t like the costume I’m making for myself, I know she’ll love it.  And it means we get to be pirate family.

And YES!  The photo shoot for the evening before the party is on.  🙂  Only, it won’t be my cousin Jamie taking the pictures.  It will be my friend Yolanda.  So once these costumes are finished (sooo looking forward to them being finished, my back just can’t take this many hours hunched over a sewing machine without rebelling) we’ll have a lasting memento.  The last Saskatchewan pirates all together for a family photo beside the River Saskatchewan.  Arrrrr!

Thanks for making supper today Mom and Dad.  It was SOOOOO appreciated!

Why might a photo not make the cut?

After my post a couple days ago, outlining my basic editing process, I have had some inquiries.  It seems you’d all like to know a little more about why a photo might not make it past the purge.  Well…

A photo might not make it past the first round of cuts based on a number of things.  Sometimes someone has blinked.  Sometimes an insect, snowflake, or raindrop has crossed between my client and the lens in an odd way.  Sometimes there was a movement I hadn’t accounted for.  But honestly?  Even more than the obvious things (like those I just mentioned) it’s often just a feeling.

For me to accept an image into my final 40-50 images, the final cull, those worth investing my time into…  It has to speak to me.  It has to have something interesting to say.  It has to make me smile.  It has to share a story.  It has to resonate.  It has to have a certain spark.

A photo won’t make it through my purge if it isn’t special – and that’s the biggest test of them all.

The Last Saskatchewan Pirates

I’m really hoping that my cousin Jamie will be available for a quickie of a shoot on Saturday.  We have a Halloween party to go to and this year the girlie wanted us to all go as pirates.  Last year we did Cinderella and her mouse friends, and before that we’d been a cave family.  It’s been a couple years since our last family portrait, and I can’t think of anything cooler than us in our pirate garb down beside the Saskatchewan River.  I mean, honestly.  LOL  How much fun would that be?

As I’ve said before… you should never take yourself too seriously.  🙂

Sooo…  Cinderella and her mousy friends were 2010, and the cave family was 2008…  what was 2009…  Oh!  Right.  Dora, Diego, and Alycia.  Now, I can’t seem to find a photo of that trio anywhere.  Hmmm…  might have to go scavenging for one.  I know there are a couple on this hard drive somewhere.  LOL  For now though, here are the other two:

And hopefully, after this Saturday, I’ll have another to share.  🙂

Help Lexi Help Former Child-Soldiers

Lexi is a pretty amazing person.  She’s a young woman with a true heart for children, and believes deeply in doing what she can to help aid those in need.  I met Lexi this year at Camp fYrefly.

Before seeing her for the first time, Lexi and I had many conversations.  Seriously, we talked on the phone pretty much every other day for the last couple of weeks leading up to camp.  So when I saw her standing in the lobby a big grin spread across my face.  I felt like I already knew her, and was so thrilled to meet her in the flesh.

During that amazing weekend, Lexi and I had many chances to talk, and I always enjoyed hearing her point of view.  Like many of us, she hasn’t had an easy time – yet instead of focusing on herself, she chooses to invest her energies ensuring others have a better time of it.  So, when Lexi told me of her plan to help former child-soldiers I really wasn’t all that surprised.

Lexi is hoping to raise $1000 in the next two months.  If she succeeds, she has pledged her head… well…  her hair anyway.  So let’s help Lexi face Winter in Saskatchewan with a freshly shaved dome.  Whether you can contribute $5 or $100, it will all go to a great cause!

Lexi, what first drew your attention to the need for a rehab center for former child-soldiers?

What first drew me to the need for a rehab center is that children that are coming out of the LRA need someone there to help bring them back to be the child that they were before they were taken and forced – brainwashed in a sense – to kill many and steal away more children. Every child needs to have a good life without fear.

What made you decide this was important enough for you to take action?

I always wanted wanted to help but never really knew about it too much. Now I know that me, even fundraising, will help children out in Uganda. I am wanting to raise 1000 dollars to help contribute to the building of a rehab center.

In addition to making donations towards YOUR campaign, what can others do if they too want to get involved?

Anyone who would want to help shoud go to invisible childrens website, and go to their build a fundraising page. Start doing small things like bake sales, car washes etc.

If you would like to contribute to Lexi’s fundraising campaign, or if you are simply interested in learning more about the former child-soldiers and the hopes for this rehab center, head on over to  To learn more about Invisible Children (the non-profit Lexi is fundraising for) visit their website and learn about their projects at

Lexi, I am super proud of you, and am rooting for you (get it…  rooting…  as in the roots of your hair?  okay, bad hair joke.  and yes, that was another one…  get it?  bad hair?  okay, I’ll stop now).  Very honestly, I couldn’t be more proud of you.  This is a truly fabulous thing you are doing, and I am behind you 100%.  I know it’s not much, I wish I could do more, but I am thrilled to be the first donation on your way to your fundraising goal.  Good luck!

Jen & Martin – Sweethearts at the University Bridge

I believe this is the third time I’ve blogged about Jen and Martin’s Sweetheart Session.  To bring up one particular photo shoot three times is unheard of for me, so I believe it speaks to the impact this couple had on me.  I really did love working with them.  Their feelings for one another were so evident in every interaction, they made my heart glow.  I truly believe theirs is a love that will last through any difficulties they may encounter – and in today’s temporary society, that’s saying a lot.

I took Jen and Martin to the East side of the University Bridge here in Saskatoon.  It’s not a spot I hit very often, so it remains an adventure every time I go.  We shot on the lookout platform on the South of the pedestrian walkway, under the bridge itself, and along the path that extends under the bridge and through the University Campus on the North side of the bridge.  In spite of relatively grey skies, we had a lovely time and created some beautiful images in celebration of this gorgeous couple.


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A Photographer’s Dilemma

Possibly the best dilemma a photographer can have, is narrowing down a fabulous shoot to a manageable chunk of images.  When working with clients, I like to present them with 40-50 excellent shots – all suitable for large scale framing.  Several dozen images, all that they can be proud to display anywhere in their home, office, or personal gallery.  I never have a problem coming up with that many.  Even in the most difficult of shoots I can easily find four dozen beautiful images.

In an hour long shoot, I typically take 200-350 images.  Not every photographer shoots as much as I do, and some shoot several times that amount.  It’s a personal thing.

When I sit down to begin “adjustmenting”, I first take a quick pass through all of the shots.  A quick, couple second each, pass through the entire photoshoot.  I then go back to the beginning, and begin my first purge.

During the initial purge, I delete any images that strike me instantly as a NO.  What makes it a NO varies greatly.  Whatever it is, it’s a NO.  Not even worth a second look.

I’m usually then left with about 10o images that are all worth looking at more seriously.  And that’s when my, very critical, eye really begins to work.  I flip back and forth between similar images, sometimes several times a second.  I pull a loupe (the round magnifier) and examine expression lines.  I go forward and backwards, forwards and then back several more.  And I don’t like to be interrupted.  This is, for me, the most serious part of the job.  It’s about the potential each of these images has to be more, to say more, to create more, to inspire more.  And only the best will pass this second purge.

From this, I end up with my 40 to 50 final shots.  And this is when I begin my edits, adjustments, and enhancements.  This is when I begin to have fun again.

I love my work.  I find it joyous.  But I also take it very seriously.

Today?  Today I have the best possible kind of photographer’s dilemma.  Today, my initial purge took me from just under 350, to 182.  182.  A gorgeous couple, and they feel for one another just leaps off their faces.  I’ve now gone through three purges, and am still hovering around 100 images.  Time to purge again…  and be HARSH.  I need to cut this baby down another half.  It will break my heart deleting some of these shots, but only the VERY best are worth the time I spend on adjustments.

I spend several hours working through a session after the purges.  And so far, just the purges have taken a number of hours.  LOL  But, like I said before…  too many excellent images?  That’s the kind of dilemma every photographer LOVES to have.

Jen, I’m determined to get your shoot completed, burned, and ready for your Grandmother’s 102nd birthday.  Wish me luck.  😉

A Message to the Bullies of the World

Today, on the 2nd Annual International Day of Purple (which has also become known as Spirit Day), we wore purple – just like last year.  And before we hit the road for our seven block walk to school we pulled out the camera so we could tell the homophobic bullies of the world exactly what we thought of them.  So bullies?  This shots for you:

for all the bullies out there, here's our message to you!

For all the bullies!


And for everyone else?  Here’s the kid, looking cute in purple:

the girlie, totally rockin' the all-decked-out-in-purple look

Rockin' the Colour Purple!

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