tubeLOVE: Gaudi

I often share my favourite songs and other snippets with you via tubeLOVE posts, but today, instead, I thought I'd introduce you to some great Spanish architecture.  Although I remember seeing the buildings before, I never made a point of finding out anything about them.  I discovered Gaudi by accident the other day - looking through random travel blogs and seeing these incredible pictures of these buildings that were organic, breathtaking - indescribably beautiful with sensual cavernous sculptured interiors and whimsical swooping exteriors, infused throughout with rich playful colour and textures borrowed from natural inspiration...  I've been a fan of Italian architect Andrea Palladio since being in Vicenza in 2000, and now have added Barcelona in Spain to the list of places I want to visit the next time I head to Europe.  Read about Gaudi's life here.  Enjoy the visual feast that is Gaudi below:

hairLOVE: updating

Apparently my bobbed hair pictures have disappeared.  Wish I knew what happened to them (?) but I thought I should give you all an update.  Stacie completed the Ride to Conquer Cancer this past weekend.  Check out this thermometer: http://www.conquercancer.ca/site/TR?pg=team&fr_id=1282&team_id=10710

Stacie, my friend - I'm so proud of you for doing this, and I am honoured to call you my friend.

bellyLOVE: simply perfect

I picked a BC girl named Nicole up on the internet sometime last year ;).  Though we've tried to meet when she was passing through Calgary before, we've never managed to get our schedules to coincide.  However, Nicole *did* send my name along to J&R who came up to Edmonton for this perfectly fantastic maternity session.  The gorgeous J and Nicole have known each other since they were children, and now it's time for J and her handsome hubby to have children of their own.  

Her and R decided to get Vinny, the sassy 4-legged creature featured in a number of their pictures, as 'practice' for the baby. After the being stuck waiting for a train to cross the tracks at the park entrance (the perfect opportunity to shoot some train pictures) we went to the perfect location, had perfect lighting, and proceeded with a perfectly perfect session (they even let me entertain myself with the lensbaby!) then to top it all off - perfect timing, as mere minutes after we finished up the session the park was hit with a torrential downpour!  Thank you SO much for a crazy fun session, J&R - I'm so excited for you!  Give Vinny a smootch for me...


bellyLOVE: Sunday afternoon at the park

I had the pleasure of spending a warm sunny late Sunday afternoon with this lovely family, who is, obviously, about to get just a little bit larger.  I first met the beautiful little lady Rylie back in fall of 2007, and she seems pretty excited about whatever is pushing out Mommy's shirts, though there seems to be some debate between her and Daddy who the baby belongs to...  Congratulations on your pending arrival, Mom & Dad.  And, I'm still hoping for some red hair...





Can of Worms: Farrah Fawcett dies

Does it bother anyone else that the National Post dedicated 5 pages to Michael Jackson's death, but Farrah Fawcett garnered not even a third of a single column?

Can of worms: Michael Jackson dies

Will the world mourn the loss of a great artist who rocked the world with his ingenuity or be grateful this sad sick little man is at last out of his misery?


I'm totally on the fence about this one.  I think I feel more sorry for him than anything, but the disgust over how things were handled regarding his "alleged" pedophaelia rings too loud for me to really feel completely sorry for the guy.  I think he got off scot-free because of his fame, but in the same token his contributions to the musical community are enormous.  The man was an icon, lost in his own little Neverland world.  What do YOU think?

noLOVE: kicking Facebook to the curb

A small flurry of concerned emails have reached me.  I assume many more won't.  Yes, I did the unthinkable and shut my Facebook account.  Think of it as self-censorship - I was about to Twitter a status update that was offensive, rude, and cruel, and although it was a statement of fact, it was meant to hurt and intimidate someone who quite frankly isn't worth my time.  

I think I'll just write one of those letters that don't ever get sent - you know, the ones that you vent and tell the other person horrible things like their hair looks funny and they're narrow-minded and money-grubbing or that they are so stupid they'd sell their car for gas money.  Where you lay down all the anger and frustration you're harbouring inside - past hurts and new ones alike - and say the unthinkable like... you wish they'd get a big pimple on their nose or get hit by a bus (which is always bad for me to say since my Mom is a busdriver...)  A long juicy letter in which you find ways to rip open past wounds or create new ones so you can keep pouring salt in them.  

In my case, I always want to make clever insults.  Good thing is, the people they're directed at usually don't pick up on it.  Problem is, the people they're directed at usually don't pick up on it.  Definitely a conundrum.  Saying things like, "Wherever you go, there you are," doesn't have the same impact on my chosen victim as would saying, "If I were you I'd probably commit suicide."  My last harsh insult, "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched because sometimes all you have are goose eggs," didn't make the intended recipient keel over in shame, cease and desist, or even hiccup.  Being magnanimous has its price - no one ever thinks you could possibly be mad, not for real, anyways... 

When I do write the occasional letter I get downright mean.  I'm sure it's not healthy.  I'm positive it isn't.  I cuss and swear a lot.  I make threats about peeing on car door locks in winter, tell you your boobs are droopy and your ass looks square in those jeans, complain about your nasally voice when you since along with the radio, and feel like I'm being generous when I accuse you of having the IQ of a potato.  I may throw out my conspiracy theories about you not really being innocent and throw in something about the fact your mother abandoned you should come as no surprise.  Lord help a woman in a state of real crisis with the bad luck to get struck down by PMS and it's anybody's guess just how far that name-calling, mudslinging, caterwauling, death-threatening letter is going to make it.  Rest assured, if you're one of my friends, you'll probably never know anything's wrong, especially now that I'm not on Facebook putting up esoteric status updates like, "Doesn't matter which side of the fence hop to, the grass is always greener on mine."

This is part of why I love my blog.  It's my own place to talk about my own stuff, without wondering if it's going to have the desired impact or mean anything or be completely unnoticed.  Blogs are more personal, and take some effort to comment on - you at least have to wait for approval or sign in or something, and type actual words, unlike the people like me who are overly anxious to click on that little thumbs-up icon or make a comment on every person's photo and status update so that we aren't... don't... ummm... what?  Going to make someone's day but putting a thumbs-up under the picture they took of their new car?  Damn, I miss emails.

So after pulling the chute on the FB account we went for a picnic with our dog last night instead.  Two great discoveries, one day:  I learned how much easier it is to bite my tongue when I don't feel arbitrarily pressured to censor myself, and Art, well - he's definitely a water dog.  

learningLOVE: official DLS Weekend Warriors photography workshops announced!

Please join me for the Weekend Warrior version of the Dirty Little Secrets workshop series!  This condensed version is not for the faint of heart - in two 8-hour sessions we will essentially cram 6 months of information into your brain.  Eat your Wheaties, grab your camera stuff, and let's go!

SATURDAY:
9am - 12pm Hello... camera?  It's me, your operator... How your camera equipment works, what it's for, and why you can't blame your camera/lens/memory card/tripod/flash/subject/neighbour/dog for bad pictures ever again.
12pm - 12:30pm lunch (provided)
12:30pm to 3:15 pm I see the light!  How to master (or fumble your way through) backlighting, low-lighting, in- and on-camera flash, no-flash allowed, lens flare, controlled lighting kits, and more.
3:30pm - 5pm Practice Makes Perfect  Time spent shooting a series of exercises to help you master what you learned, with plenty of time for questions.

*bonus* 6pm - 8pm Loud Whisper dinner discussion Loud Whisper discussion group on business practices, copyright, and more.  Bring a picnic supper and your family along to this casual gather at either a public park or community hall, depending on the weather.

SUNDAY:
9am - 12pm Shooting People We'll cover composition and learn tips and tricks for positioning your subjects (and yourself) for everything from candid portraits to wedding formals.
12pm to 12:30 pm lunch (provided)
12:30 - 1:45pm How do they do that? If you've ever looked at your pictures and been frustrated your camera isn't doing what you want it to, or looked at someone else's pictures and wondered, "I love that!  How do they do that?" you'll LOVE this part.
2pm-3:30pm Photoshop Demo A live demo of quick and simple techniques for smoothing skin, antique and vintage tinting, vignettes and cameos, making a watermark, and resizing images for safe online sharing.
3:30pm - 5pm Practice Makes Perfect Shooting people for real, with actual models

The workshops will run full days August 22nd and 23rd, 2009, with lunch and snacks provided, location to be confirmed.  $500 non-refundable, payable in full upon registration.

There is a waiting list for this Workshop and persons on that waiting list will be given priority registration; general registrations will commence July 5, 2009 on a first come, first served basis.  In order to allow for maximum discussion and one-to-one time, Weekend Warriors is limited to a maximum of 12 participants.

Please note: Former DLS Series participants are invited to attend at no cost provided they assist; those who have taken one or two workshops may qualify for discounted pricing and should contact me for details.

To be added to the registration list or for more information contact h dot walls at shaw dot ca

DLS Weekend Warrior Announcement

Please join me for the Weekend Warrior version of the Dirty Little Secrets Workshop series!  This condensed version is not for the faint of heart - in two 8-hour sessions we will essentially cram 6 months of information into your brain.  Eat your Wheaties, grab your camera stuff, and let's go!

SATURDAY:
9am - 12pm Hello... camera?  It's me, your operator... How your camera equipment works, what it's for, and why you can't blame your camera/lens/memory card/tripod/flash/subject/neighbour/dog for bad pictures ever again.
12pm - 12:30pm lunch (provided)
12:30pm to 3:15 pm I see the light!  How to master (or fumble your way through) backlighting, low-lighting, in- and on-camera flash, no-flash allowed, lens flare, controlled lighting kits, and more.
3:30pm - 5pm Practice Makes Perfect  Time spent shooting a series of exercises to help you master what you learned, with plenty of time for questions.

*bonus* 6pm - 8pm Loud Whisper dinner discussion Loud Whisper discussion group on business practices, copyright, and more.  Bring a picnic supper and your family along to this casual gather at either a public park or community hall, depending on the weather.

SUNDAY:
9am - 12pm Shooting People We'll cover composition and learn tips and tricks for positioning your subjects (and yourself) for everything from candid portraits to wedding formals.
12pm to 12:30 pm lunch (provided)
12:30 - 1:45pm How do they do that? If you've ever looked at your pictures and been frustrated your camera isn't doing what you want it to, or looked at someone else's pictures and wondered, "I love that!  How do they do that?" you'll LOVE this part.
2pm-3:30pm Photoshop Demo A live demo of quick and simple techniques for smoothing skin, antique and vintage tinting, vignettes and cameos, making a watermark, and resizing images for safe online sharing.
3:30pm - 5pm Practice Makes Perfect Shooting people for real, with actual models

The workshops will run full days August 22nd and 23rd, 2009, with lunch and snacks provided, location to be confirmed.  $500 non-refundable, payable in full upon registration.

There is a waiting list for this Workshop and persons on that waiting list will be given priority registration; general registrations will commence July 5, 2009 on a first come, first served basis.  In order to allow for maximum discussion and one-to-one time, Weekend Warriors is limited to a maximum of 12 participants.

Please note: Former DLS Series participants are invited to attend at no cost provided they assist; those who have taken one or two workshops may qualify for discounted pricing and should contact me for details.

To be added to the registration list or for more information contact h dot walls at shaw dot ca

meLOVE: bobbing for cancer

So, I have to say, I find it interesting that the reaction I've gotten from most people is, "Don't worry!  It looks great!"  I have been told I look cute no less than 8 times.  I'm not sure 'cute' is a word I would regularly associate with me, but sure - OK.

I love a bob - I love my haircut - I love Stacie for doing a fantastic job and am glad to have raised a litlte extra for her Ride to Conquer Cancer.  I just hate short-ish hair for me.  For whatever it's worth, I wasn't worried that a bob would look good.  I'm not that vain.  (I'm actually much more vain - I think the bob was created for me ~smirk~.)  My resistance to cutting it was the loss of the ability to get up in the morning and ride my bike without worrying about helmet head.  As a bicycle commuter, anything that requires styling is not a practical 'do.  Really long hair or really short hair you can usually work around with a helmet, but anything that requires 'styling' is probably not going to work very well.  I'm a wash-n-wear kinda girl and generally speaking I don't use hairspray, blowdryers, or barettes, all of which are a necessity of having not-long hair that doesn't look unkempt.  Sure, a pixie cut or a total shave would have been better for cycling, but I went with a bob because it's the least distance to having hair long enough to put in a ponybun again...

Whatever the case may be, the point wasn't a fashion thing - it was to cut my hair off and donate it for wigs.  12" total, 9" of usable hair later, I've gone bobbing.

Busdriver busdriver open the door!

Blue Steel

Yoink!
There.  I posted pics of the bob.  You happy now?

peaceLOVE: for the love of one's country

Canada has a large Iranian population, and whether they call Canada home temporarily or permanently, their heartstrings are not easily detached from their friends and family back in Iran.  At the University I am in daily contact with a number of students who are here on visas, who have watched in what can only be equated to frustration and anger over what they feel was an election riddled with fraud, deceit, and no real democracy from a man I've both heard and read about described as nothing shy of a dictator.

I won't pretend to understand the depth of this issue - I've grown up in a democratic society and am one of the ~ack~ 43% (rolling eyes - come on people...) who goes out and votes every chance I get - it's my right and my responsibility, and my privilege.  But then again, the US is considered a democracy and look what happened with the Bush election... but I digress...

Iran's recent election has brought peaceful protesters out in droves across Canada, sporting facepaint, balloons, Canadian and Iranian flags, and signs as simple as, "Where is my vote?" and "Time for Change" to outright accusations laid against the newly elected "dictator" and "terrorist supporter."  Some protests in Iran have been violent, but even peaceful protests have been met with violence under the new regime, resulting in injuries and arrests.  Read more.  And some more.

Today we happened upon Edmonton's peaceful Iranian protesters who braved the sketchy weather, singing, chanting, and waving signs that expressed both desperation and hope.  I ran into a few of the students I know from campus and in speaking to them, without being able to fully empathize, my heart nevertheless goes out to the Iranians living in Canada who so wish for change, and the bona fide democratic rule, general safety and indeed happiness of loved ones back home.



funLOVE: any excuse to shoot...

DLS 2009 wrapped up today with their final project.  Between two maternity shoots and Stacey & Kyle's wedding premier, I joined the ladies who could make it for a jaunt in and around the Legislature Buildings snapping pics of a pair of lovely volunteers dressed in medieval garb.  Between shooting the volunteers, I managed to get a few shots of a peaceful protest taking place at the front steps of the Leg.  (There's another post coming about that.)  Anyways.  When we got bored of shooting costumes knights and princesses, we talked, then shot each other.  Really, at the end of the day, photographers will come up with any excuse to shoot, or shoot the sh*t about shooting... visit the slideshow for captions, and a happy ending ;)



newLOVE: more Liam...

Slowly but surely I am catching up - I've got Relay for Life and (pre) North Country Fair all wrapped up for this year, and will be premiering Stacey & Kyle's wedding later on today.  But... in the midst of all the other insanity, I wanted to share a few more pictures from Liam's session, mostly because I (heart) him.  He's kind of like a nephew to me.  Yum.  Without further ado...





And, the rest (if you feel so inclined...)


bellyLOVE: a bellyfull of laughs (and baby, too...)

I met the loveliest couple today.  We'll call them "Mom" and "Dad."  After spending some time going back and forth about location and whatnot, Mom and Dad decided to let me have some fun.  So, I did.  And they did, too.  Thank you for a lovely morning full of laughter, sunshine, and a whole lotta dandelions and caterpillar silk...  









newLOVE: welcome, Liam!

It's been just over a year since I attended a wedding celebration for Katrina and her new husband Jeremy.  I've known Katrina since she was 3; we won't talk about her conceiving babies (Mia is a big sister now...) because it freaks me out a bit, though...  ~smirk~

I almost skipped out on her wedding festivities because I was still so raw from my Gramma's death.  I'm not sure if it's the inherent nature of Gemini being involved or maybe my desperate need to feel like there's some kind of logical or illogical explanation for May being the way it always is for me, but suffice it to say, May is traditionally a bittersweet month for Hope.  

After my Gramma's passing on May 29th of last year May's bittersweet was leaning on the side of bitter.  Liam officially weighs in on the sweeter than sweet side -  he shares May 26th as a birthday with mein beeg seestor and my son Kaelan!  Congrats to Mom & Dad, welcome Liam, and great birthday!  Yay for Sweet Sweet May!





hairLOVE? bobbing for dollars...

BACKSTORY:
It's no secret that the Relay for life is a BIG thing for me. The origins of it, however, must be mentioned. A group if us sarted a Relay team called the Mommas and the Poppas 5 years ago in honour of Lori Melan, sister to my dear friend and trusted hairstylist Stacie, who succumbed to cancer in a very short period of time. I'm not personally one to buy flowers, though - flowers die too, and as pretty as they are, they really aren't that important to me - so when I was asked to go in on a bouquet I suggested gathering up the money and donating it to the Cancer Society instead. One thing led to another and voila - some 5 weeks later we're at the Relay for Life wearing hippy wigs and protesting cancer.
Fast forwarding to today, the Mommas and Poppas have temporarily disbanded, and although I've carried on with the Relay, Stacie has decided to do the Ride to Conquer Cancer from June 26 - 28, 2009 in support of the Alberta Cancer Board as she felt it was a fitting tribute to the memory of her sister. 
SIDESTORY:
I don't get haircuts.  Truthfully, Stacie is more the friend who makes Hope get her hair cut once every 2 years whether she wants to or not than what I'd call my "hairdresser."  In fact, when it comes right down to it, I whine about haircuts, and have some weird paranoid freak thing about having my hair too short to wear in a ponytail, which Stacie respectfully manages to leave intact without smacking me upside the head too many times.  My people know I'm a little weird about my ponytail - I'm a little attached... 

Then in March I get a message from the sweet young daughter of a mutual friend, who felt the need to rub in the fact ~she~ had cut ~her~ hair off for wigs.  And of course, the challenge was on for me to cut off *my* ponytail... and after watching Jordan do a marathon and go balding for dollars I figured, OK - let's do this!

BOBBING FOR DOLLARS: 
Visit Stacie's fundraising home page and donate.  As soon as that thermometer reaches $6800 I will go let Stacie give me a bob, and I'll donate the ponytail so some punk 10 year old doesn't make me look bad.  If it breaks the $7000 mark before June 21st, my son Kaelan has agreed to let her shave his head, too!  Of course we will post Before and After pictures.  So, you go donate - and I'll go bobbing for dollars!  If anyone else has at least an 8" ponytail they can donate this is me officially challenging you to join me in supporting Stacie's Ride to Conquer Cancer and go Bobbing for Dollars: send me an email to h [dot] walls [at] shaw [dot] ca so we can round up enough hairdressers to harvest our heads...