bees, please!

My friend and fellow camera junkie Jillian Kirby recently captured a few snaps of a bee in flight. I thought hey - what a great challenge! I took me and my lensbaby out in my front flowerbed and got busy. I had forgotten that the star-shaped aperture ring was in the lensbaby, which kind of added a really cool effect - oops! For a person with a bee allergy, it was really far more excitement than I needed, but nevertheless, the venture was a complete success, if I do say so myself!





all grown up

I've known Larissa since she was only a few weeks old. Her big sister Katrina had been my babysitting charge for a few years by the time Larissa showed up on the scene. Little did I know how important my relationship with these two amazing little girls would be, or the impact their mother's singular act of bestowing upon me the responsibility of helping care for her daughters would have on my life. Now, 20-some odd years later (I don't want to date myself...) I've reconnected with these two sisters, having attended Katrina's wedding reception in May, and now photographing Larissa's marriage to Dennis (along with my two amazing shutterbug friends Amber Lee and Laura Jane.)

Thank you for showing up back in my life, thank you for letting me partake of this amazing day, thank you for picking a really nice guy to marry, but mostly, thank you for putting Winston in a cage before he humped a hole in my leg.

It'll be a good 4 or 5 weeks before the rest of the album is ready to go; in the meantime, here are a few teasers to tide you over.

Much love,

~H.








(This is just for you, Dennis.)





(I should have bet someone that she'd wear these...)


gaining: serendipity

First, I have to apologize for not getting around to posting my exercise - we ended up at the Medicentre until 10pm last night and frankly I had no desire to pick up my camera. (Unbelievable, but yes, that DOES happen sometimes lol)

What I did instead was tie up a few loose ends, then dive into a book I've been reading for the past few days, slowly, because it takes time to digest. I had met with a dietician last week and she advised a couple of books for me. After my appointment, I headed off to the bookstore, intent on not wasting a minute getting started on the exciting plan she had for me (she was seriously SO awesome - I had NO idea a dietician could be that helpful!) I scoured the shelves, not finding the books I wanted, but spontaneously picking up a book that caught my eye, stuffing it under my arm and hoping I could cash in on the buy 3 get one free deal. Alas, the books I was supposed to get were not available. One would have to be transferred from South Edmonton Common, and the other would have to be ordered from the US ($$in hardcover$$) and would take several weeks. I started to put the book I had grabbed back, but I had a gift card, and said dammit, I'm buying this book. So, I did. It's like someone has written a biography for me.

The book is called, "gaining: the truth about life after eating disorders" by Aimee Liu, who wrote 'Solitaire' in 1979 - the first memoire of an anorexic. gaining hasn't offered any sage words of wisdom or fix-yourself-up tips (so far) but what it has done, for the first time in my adult life and since 'getting better', is show me that what I feel is pretty 'typical' for us. It doesn't make it wrong or right or good or bad. It just makes me feel not so alone, and not quite like such a freak.

It's both painful and funny to read, from where it describes us as constantly suppressing our feelings, willing to take on Herculean amounts of work to 'prove' ourselves, and unable to acknowledge our accomplishments to where it points out that a staggering proportion of us are still nailbiters after recovery, but of only one or two nails or the cuticles (I chew my thumbs, my best friend chews her cuticles...) It's like a whole new world of understanding has opened up for me. In particular, she has included the research of some of the planet's leading experts to support her very woman-to-woman conversational style that includes not only her own experiences, but those of over 40 others from all ages, races, and socio-economic backgrounds, which has put the book into a context that I can relate to both intellectually and emotionally.

The part where she describes in both a clinical and a personal manner the reactions ED survivors have to food, I actually laughed out loud - and read it to Bill, who wants to read the book when I'm done so maybe he can understand some of what I have endured, and am going through now. And I can't count how many times I've openly wept. It's been like opening old wounds to let the infection out - it hurts like hell, but feels immediately better (if not a bit raw and sensitive for a few days, hence, the slow pace at which I'm reading it.) The lifestyle changes I have been making in th last several weeks are exactly what I need to be doing, and because I am learning so much about the genetics, pscychology, and environmental contributors to eating disorders, from the perspective of a person who lived and lives it, I actually understand my gravitation towards and in most cases need to make those changes. Whether there are fix-you-upper tips at the end or not is irrelevant. This book has given me validation in precisely the way I needed, and so I know it was serendipity I picked it up off the shelf.

The review on the back cover says, "Anyone who has suffered an eating disorder will recognize themselves on every page of this book." That is an extreme understatement.

and in the news today...

I like to keep everyone up to date. Here's some stuff you can check out.

Lareina is designing her watermark and needs you to vote here.

Amanda K. shot the grad with me last weeknd and has some pictures up here. (I'll post mine after the weekend!) Our friend Carmen recently started a custom bakery business - we're trying to convince her to let us do some pictures of her baking art (and it is art, believe me) but you can check her out here.

Amy did her first boudoir session and promised to share a few, but hasn't blogged them yet. Go comment and harrass her to hurry up about it here.

Amanda M. has been putting her beer tub to use here. She's been slacking off - comment, and after your comment copy-paste this message: "Hope says you're a slacker."

Heather unveiled her photography business name (AND finally posted pictures from her adorable son's 2nd birthday party) here.

Although Heather said she's just working on a website, Lisa's already got one up and running here.

Rebecca has been busy shooting graduations and an engagement here. She's also got a website up and running here.

Christine is prolific as usual, shooting everything from grads to insurance reps to tattoos here.

Tasha is still taking some time off to get into the groove of being Mama to 4 babes, but Laura is in full production and just not sharing. I invite you to go here and copy-paste this message: "Hope says you're a slacker."

Some of you may remember Drew, whose studio was used by yours truly a few times for workshops as well as for the book. He's become one of us - check him out here.

As for me, I have two very sweet baby boys to blog about - one brand new face, and one familiar face who just turned a year old, plus the amazing-as-always grads from last weekend. After Saturday, a wedding and a fashion shoot, too... stay tuned! (P.S. I'll be posting my exercise tonight!)

and in the news today...

I like to keep everyone up to date. Here's some stuff you can check out. I'm booked through the end of the summer now, so if you're looking for a photographer in July or August, feel free to contact any one of these talented photographers!!!

Lareina (Fort Saskatchewan) is designing her watermark and needs you to vote here.

Amanda K. (Edmonton) shot with me last weekend and has some pictures up here. (I'll post mine after the weekend!) Our friend Carmen recently started a custom bakery business - we're trying to convince her to let us do some pictures of her baking art (and it is art, believe me) but you can check her out here.

Amy (Leduc) did her first boudoir session and promised to share a few, but hasn't blogged them yet. Go comment and harrass her to hurry up about it here.

Amanda M. (Ardrossan) has been putting her beer tub to use here. She's been slacking off - comment, and after your comment copy-paste this message: "Hope says you're a slacker."

Heather (Spruce Grove) unveiled her photography business name (AND finally posted pictures from her adorable son's 2nd birthday party) here.

Although Heather said she's just working on a website, Lisa's (St. Albert) already got one up and running here.

Rebecca (Edmonton) has been busy shooting graduations and an engagement here. She's also got a website up and running here.

Christine (Leduc) is prolific as usual, shooting everything from grads to insurance reps to tattoos here.

Tasha is still taking some time off to get into the groove of being Mama to 4 babes, but Laura (Edmonton, Beaumont, and Edson) is in full production and just not sharing. I invite you to go here and copy-paste this message: "Hope says you're a slacker."

Some of you may remember Drew (west of Edmonton), whose studio was used by yours truly a few times for workshops as well as for the book. He's become one of us - check him out here.

As for me (I shoot everyone, everywhere), I have two very sweet baby boys to blog about - one brand new face, and one familiar face who just turned a year old, plus the amazing-as-always grads from last weekend. After Saturday, a wedding and a fashion shoot, too... stay tuned! (P.S. I'll be posting my DLS exercise tonight, too!)

exercises, June 25, 2008

Good day, everyone! If you haven't posted your portfolio yet, you should - I'd love to see one!

For this round of practice, I'd like everyone to do 4 pictures. 2 should employ photoshop, and 2 should employ broken rules. The themes:

One picture must look like it was dragged through the dumpster.
One picture must be strangely coloured.
One picture must look soft and/or romantic.
One picture must be vignetted.

Have fun!

when it rains











Fun in puddles.

it's a hard knock life

Beat boxing while playing flute.  Tres.

and my heart lurched

This morning I went to retrieve a message on Facebook. I opened it, and my heart lurched.

There was another boy. Not that kind of boy, not the boy I sat drooling over and putting stickers on my flute case for - just a boy with whom I felt a certain kindred spirit. He wore his hair in a mohawk before it was metro, had safety pins in all his clothes, and employed buckles, chains, and even staples in creating his personal couture. He wasn't the best student. Or the worst. He and his siblings blowdried their lawn once when they got sick of winter. They had a milkvan they used as a playhouse in the back alley - his poor little sister lost many a Barbie to the abyss of the milkvan, where they would be altered using sharp tools and heat (think Sid's toys in Toy Story.) This boy and me, we spent hours on the phone. We passed a lot of letters. We hung out in the milk van, talking. He introduced me to the music of The Dead Milkmen and SNFU. He had a crush on me, but I was too goody goody for a boyfriend. Especially one who wore saftey pins in his ears. And so he dated other girls, which made me sad because they cut into ~my~ time with him (and because they usually hurt him), but he was always my friend, one who never once turned his back on me.

Then he moved away, and my heart broke. I didn't realize exactly how much his friendship meant to me until he was gone. Some 21 years ago now, he packed up with his family and moved away.   Back then in the days before email and long distance plans it may as well have been New Zealand. Where he went was practically a foreign land: Fort McMurray. The day he left, he came to my house to say goodbye. I was embarrassed my Mom made us tunafish sandwiches, especially when he asked me for a kiss goodbye. He tasted like onions.

I wish I'd known back then that it was OK to tell your friends you love them, too. For the record, E, I love you.

a little something to make your Monday smile

My husband is a huge fan of Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzeance, and in particular the version with Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Kline. However, this morning I found a couple of versions I like better. Please enjoy 6'7" drag queen Davina Pons singing "Poor Wand'ring One", then, for those who are feeling brave, click on the link to enjoy Tom Orr's rewrite of Modern Major General, not appropriate for small ears - please use discretion.

time to press some palms

This afternoon I got the news that my beloved friend Kate has been having a lot of difficulty with her heart, getting shocked up to 3 times a day. Apparently they have found a heart for her, and as I type this she is hopefully pulling through the tail end of her transplant. I ask you all to say a special prayer that Kate pulls through, and an extra special prayer for the family whose loved one makes it possible for Kate to be receiving this precious gift of life. If you haven't signed your organ donor card, now would be a good time to do so.

Most people know I follow taoist teachings. I have great faith in a higher power no matter what name you choose to give it, and just as I prayed to my Gramma's saviour, I pray to the same powerful God Kate is so intimately acquainted with out of respect for her, not to be blasphemous.

Dear God, I love my Kate, and I don't think she needs to meet my Dad and Gramma ~quite~ yet. Give strength to the family whose loss makes it possible for Kate to receive this incredible gift. Please give strength to Hal and the children, and to the many friends and family who love Kate, to support Kate and one another through this difficult time. Please give Kate strength and courage and health that she may continue being a blessing in all our lives. Amen.

My Daddy had great faith, too, and used to sing this song a lot, especially since my Gramma loved it, too. Since my Daddy wasn't there to sing for my Gramma, my stepmom Lorie sang it beautifully with her twin sister. I don't have a recording of my Daddy singing it, but I did find this one. I always wanted to be Crystal Gayle. She had great hair.


goodness gracious!

Great Balls of Bokeh!!! (Bokeh is the soft blur in pictures around the part that's crisply in focus or, more technically, outside the depth of field.) The lensbaby accessories include aperture rings capable of MAGIC. I picked me up a set of aperture shapes today whilst shopping for supplies for the LWCA grad this weekend. $12 of endless AWESOME. Check out my lovely and starry pictures. 

My lovely apple tree.

My lovely lily (OK - the bokeh balls aren't in this one, but it ~is~ a lovely lily.  I bought it for next year.  I have some gardening to catch up on...)

My lovely daughter.

The lovely lilacs in the greenbelt behind my house.  They smell like grapes according to Serejane, unlike the pink ones.  The pink ones smell like strawberries, of course.

The star pony of Serejane's life.

Serejane was lovely AND a star.

Even Bill had to play with the stars.  I know my watermark is on it, but I was too lazy to kake a watermark for him.  I'll do that at the Photoshop Demo on Sunday.  (Who's coming?)

Kaelan thought his cactus pot had star qualities, too.

Now I just have to decide what shapes to cut the blanks into... hmmm.... any suggestions?  I'm thinking a maple leaf for Canada Day fireworks is a good start.

beer tubs and bales of hay

Honestly, I really had no intention of the beer tub sessions turning into, well - sessions. I picked it up because it looked like a cute little baby sized wash tub. Now me and the workshop ladies are trying to out-beer-tub one another. I figured yes, we're all going to put babies in the tubs, and maybe even toddlers, but how about 11-year olds? And ponies? Do I win extra points for the bale of hay?




a step back in time

On the way to, and from, my Dad's and now my Gramma's funeral, we drove past the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. We've often talked about going but just never made a point of going, until the day after m Gramma's funeral. With gas prices being so atrocious, we've made a decision to have an Alberta-bound summer and explore all those local attractions we seemed to miss being locals, and the UCHV was Stop #1.

If you're looking for a fantastic little adventure, for $20 a carload you can take a step back in time to when the first Ukrainian settlers began living in Alberta. If you can swing it, tag along on one of the (free!) guided tours - they'll fill you in on all sorts of interesting tidbits about how life was for the Ukrainian setters. Beware, though - the interpreters are pretty hard core and will ask YOU questions about your clicky box, tease you about your fake money when you try and buy 7-cent strawberry pop, and if the opportunity arises, will put you to work...

Writing on slate with soapstone.



The main cookstove in the ultra-modern hotel.

I love tractors almost (but not quite) as much as trains.


General store.  I could shop there.


I can't remember what function this nifty little piece of equipment had.  I think it was for grading grains.

See more here, and read the captions for some interesting trivia!


how many are ya packin'?


Apparently, this is a belly made for two.  B & M were totally unprepared for the news they were having not one but TWO babies, though when I arrived for our sunset session as witness to the aftermath from the baby shower held for the twins it appears they've made the mental adjustment.  From amidst the oodles of dual booty, I asked if they knew what the babies were, and they've decided to surprise themselves.  I put in a vote for fraternal - a boy and a girl - though I'd take a set of identicals, too...  (I don't ask for much, do I?)  Because twin pregnancies usually don't make it to full term, we were lucky to be able to sneak these in at ~32 weeks.  With multiples, the aim is always to get the babies as close to 38 weeks as possible, but Mom could realistically go at any time.  Send Mom some sticky baby vibes, and keep your eyes open in the next few weeks for the grand introduction of the little peanuts currently known only as Twin 'A' and Twin 'B'...





bean sprout, lookin' out...

JJ was but a bean in Mama's belly 6 short months ago.  I always tell everyone the thing that I love the most about doing baby series is watching these wonderful little people change and grow, seeing their physical development pale in comparison to the strong personalities they possess.  JJ ran the gamut of emotions any typical 6 month-old child would - confusion, rage, injustice, hunger, mirth, curiosity, joy, excitement, and a case of the giggles - and that was only in the first 30 minutes...  Mom says, about 2 minutes in, apparently noticing the empty spot in my arms, "Would you like to hold the baby now?"  Like a giddy den mother I gratefully accept the generous offer of baby squishin' only to discover he's like every other 6 month old I know, and prefers to be carried facing OUT.  ~sigh~  Nevertheless, I think through it all JJ is just kinda melty.  Don't you?