tubeLOVE: oh, the memories...

sending this out, with love, to anyone it strikes a chord with. Happy Friday!

newLOVE: spending time with a shooting star

A Poem for Baby R.

a star sometimes comes just to wish upon
no sooner beheld than to be gone
too wondrous, too precious, too rare to seek
too brilliant, too burning, too quick to keep
sweeping the heavens with a graceful arc
they rob sad corners of all their dark
then quietly flicker off into the night
and leave in our hearts an eternal light

Thank you, R., for being my star today.

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bellyLOVE: and a year of babyLOVE!

I was REALLY excited to learn that Momma R and Poppa J were making me a new bun to shoot, especially since I had so much fun tracking their handsome little gentleman form belly to birthday.  Mr. L is 2 now - and he doesn't know it yet, but he's hoping for a baby sister so he doesn't have to share all his trucks...  ~smirk~

If you look back in time (like about 21 months ago), you can see how much he's grown...

What a gorgeous family, hey?  Such "hard" work making these people take a good picture...  (So what if I had to undertake stunning feats of agility with prickly Alberta roses balanced on my head to get a smile from the short one... whatever!  At least I didn't have to put crab apples up my nose like I did this one time...)

While Mom gestates (and gestates beautifully I might add) Daddy & the crazy short one have no problem making background noise for the pictures by having sword fights with twigs and running around in sweeping arcs sure to dizzy even a seasoned parent like me...

R&J, I'm very excited to meet the New Bean, and of course, I will continue to admire your previous work of heart:

Winter 2010 DLS dates set

OK, OK! Uncle! Dates are set, now taking pre-registrations...

January 10, 2010: it's not about the camera
February 7, 2010: in-camera metering, composition
March 7, 2010: technical critiquing, photoshop demonstration
April 4, 2010: portraiture
May 2, 2010: controlled lighting, wedding photography - A Suffolk House B&B
May 30, 2010: breaking the rules, the business end of things

Send email to with "PREREGISTER 2010" in the subject header to be notified of earlybird registration.

meLOVE: wth?

So, I've been surfing photography blogs again. Always a bad thing. But it begs to be said, again and again and again and again - why the heck do photographers make people look like plastic? Really - I promise you I've been a photographer for long enough that I can assure you a) newborns do not look like baby dolls, b) every man, woman and child on the planet has pores and c) if your child's hair and eyes (or the grass they are seated in) were seriously as "sharp" as that, they'd make themselves bleed, daily.

Now, I'm not going to name names. That would be rude, especially since, at the heart of things, there are a lot of great pictures by very talented people... that have just been photoshopped, in my opinion, to death. While I see the validity of taking out the occasional zit I just can't figure out the rest of it.

Why is this coming up again? Well, here's the skinny. There are a few photogs that I've been stalking for a while - ones whose work I've previously enjoyed, ones who I was rooting for... and there are TWO of them who have gone to the Dark Side with the photoshoppy-ness. Two! (One in Sweden and one in Utah - relax unless you happen to be a photographer in one of those places lol) The photogs must have bought some skin smoothing software and discovered the lasso/unsharp mask in Photoshop because all their pictures in the last several weeks are of kids whose faces look like potato dumplings with glass marbles for eyes and razor-wire for hair. Yikes. I've seen clients of mine (I often suggest they make use of other photographers so all their pictures don't look the same) on other sites that the photogs are big into Photoshopping, too, and it catches me off guard since I know what they look like 'in the raw' so to speak.

Anyhoo. For anyone who isn't sure what I'm talking about, I'll give you the rough Photoshop directions for creating picture perfect people pictures. First you zap the zits and get rid of a few wrinkles or blemishes or veins or whatever so the skin-tone is unnaturally even. You select all the skin (except maybe a little around the eyes so it looks 'real') and apply a blur. Once the blur is applied and all pores or remnant of human flesh-like looking stuff are effectively erased, the photoshopper goes back in and adds a texture that gives the 'effect' of millions of tiny, perfectly spaced, monochromatic pores. Then they go in and select the teeth and sometimes the eyes and get rid of any yellowing or blood vessels that give the subject the appearance of being human. Once that's all done, they throw in some extra eyelashes or remove stray eyebrow hairs, select the irises (the coloured part of the eyeball) and lighten them up, add some contrast, adjust the hue and saturation, add in a catch-light or two, then sharpen the edges so it looks like... a glass marble... then they airbrush colour or sometimes adjust make-up and sharpen the sh*t out of the entire picture so that each individual hair looks like it's spun sugar, each leaf or blade of grass appears to be cut from crystal, and facial features seem to have been etched from the subject's face with laser-precision.

I have friends who love being photoshopped. The wrinkles, the pores, the yellow teeth, scars... They get years shaved off their appearance and have virtually zero "flaws" by the time all is said and done. Then they get surprised and often offended when people meet them in real life and say, "Wow - are you stressed? Tired? Overdue for another facelift?" Now, it's one thing to do a glamour session - that's kind of the point is of getting glammed up - and doing a fantasy picture with faerie wings and whatnot, sure, whatever - but a family portrait? May as well start signing your kids up for pageants. ~shudders~

On the off-chance you are one of the photographers who does this, or one of the clients who seeks this in a photographer, I apologize - I intend no offense. I only speak of it because I think our culture beats into us often enough that we aren't perfect. We have pores, we have blood vessels in the whites of our eyes, our teeth are actually shades of off-white and yellow... and although from an aesthetic perspective the retouched images certainly are pretty to look at, imagine being that child, and imagine as she grows up looking at that picture-perfect her, the one she can never quite accomplish. What does that do to a little boy's ego, his self-esteem, to believe that in the end he isn't good enough the way he is and needs to become something else?

The 'flaws' the photoshopper types remove are the flaws that make us unique and human. They are the sum of the pieces parts that make us up - the mounds of flesh, perfect and imperfect in their finishes, the bits of muscle under the skin, the bones that frame us up whether long or short - and I cannot understand why there are so many photographers successfully making a living out of turning our sons and daughters into superficially perfected beings they can't even live up to. By the time girls are 7 or 8 they are paying attention to the way they look, and boys aren't far behind. I have this nightmare vision of these parents with these pictures of their perfected children adorning their walls so that every day the child can look at themselves in the picture, then in the mirror, and hate their own reflection.

meLOVE: feeling writer's itch

I wish I was a more eloquent writer. Or at least more consistent. I can pull off a decent bit of prose every now and again but not every post seems to have that flair that I crave.

My dear friend Laura of The Photography of Laura Jane told me she's working on some writing. "I used to write..." I confessed, somewhat wistfully. I have 2 novels in progress, I have a bounty of short stories that have never been laid on anyone, I have poems and postcard prose for everything from angry rants to sappy romance... I've been published before - letters to the editor, school publications, a few other random spots. I'm not tooting my own horn too loudly but yes, I can write.

After spending several weeks pouring every ounce of creativity into composing (with diplomatic tact, political correctness, sprinkles of sardonic wit, and statements of irony) what may have singularly been the most difficult piece of writing/letter I've tackled in my life, my husband reads it, kisses my cheek and says, "That was amazing." Then he confesses, "I should write more, too."

So why don't we write more? The answer is simple: We. Don't. Know. Life has NEVER been so busy that I have been completely unable to find a means of being verbose, and Bill is a funny guy but never writes his material down. He likes reading blogs. He reads skateboarding blogs. He loves this fashion blog. He reads mine. (Hi, Bill!) And I've been bugging him for a while to start his own blog. It could be called, The Photographer's Widower, or something apt like that. Now I figure the two of us ought to just go ahead and start a blog together. Bill and Hope, Hope and Bill. Bilope. Hopill. Prose. Politics. Poetry. Pictures. I may have to start one up and add him as a contributor - he seemed to not understand why he has never been able to publish a comment on my blog.

UPDATED:  We have a blog.  Now, to see if Bill replies...

babyLOVE: cake and halos

Because I promised some teasers... and because Miss S. was WAY too adorable not to blog.  happy 1st birthday, Missypants! Thanks for having me over, Mom.  Next time I'll bring martinis for us instead of cake for the kids...

summerLOVE: parading around town

Serejane & I took in the parade downtown this past Wednesday.  Maybe I'm old or maybe I've got too high expectations, but the last 2 parades I have gone to have been genuinely disappointing...  I remember going to the Klondike Days parade - Klondike Mike would be out there and the music from all the bands would often clash and overlap.  Clowns ran out into the crowd and people on floats tossed out goodies that kids could scramble into the streets and gather; this year's parade was about as interactive as watching a film of a (boring) parade.  Serejane was done before the parade was even over, opting for the excitement of a train ride over sitting in the hot sun and waiting to see if it was ever going to get good...  lucky for us, we had the camera handy.  Serejane was a great assistant, telling me what I needed to take a picture of.  Visit the Picasa album to read what her instructions were!

oneLOVE: a whole thwack of J&J teasers!!!

As promised...Align Center

oneLOVE: I couldn't resist, Joel & Jenn!

So, I have a whole thwack of teasers to post... and I am waiting for the bride and groom to have the first look before blogging them... but I have to share this one, because it's one of my favourites (and because I think I already showed pretty much everyone who would look lol) Bwahahahahahaaaaa!!!!  The kids were so much fun...  I (heart) them all.  (You may recognize the romantic curly-haired chap right beside the bride who seems to be enjoying Uncle Joel smootching his bride as the little gaffer on the potty from the website...)

bellyLOVE: rain rain, stay away!

It was pretty touch and go in the days leading up to this session as the weather hadn't exactly been cooperative. Barring a torrential downpour, we agreed to go ahead with Plan A to meet at South Cooking Lake to get a few shots of the expectant S family. I got there a bit early and couldn't help myself shooting the local flora. As I was scouting out spots, though, there was an... uh...  strange aroma... I apologized to the S family as soon as they arrived but they were OK with it, so off we went to the beach.

I know a lot of people think the best days for shooting are bright and sunny, but you never get the great skies, diffused light, and no-squint action if there isn't a nice cloud cover. I love me an overcast day for pictures! We finished just in time, narrowly escaping a wet t-shirt session. Beautiful skies, beautiful belly, beautiful S. family - thank you so much for letting me come and enjoy the lake and all its lovely (and not so lovely) qualities...

noLOVE: google me

I find it humourous, really, how many people are astonished how life could possibly go on without Facebook.  The makers are brilliant - kudos to them - but the fact that people cannot imagine life without that kind of connectivity makes me a little squeamish.  What makes me even more squeamish is how personally people have taken it that they aren't on my Facebook friends list anymore - I've gotten no less than 10 emails asking me if I'm angry with them.

This is the sad but true nature of Facebook.  It's a brilliant network.  In fact, so brilliant it has changed the way people communicate as much as the phone and then email did.  One convenient location to network your friends, your family, your business... support causes, advertise services, organize events...  and then before you know it your whole life revolves around Facebook.  Since when do I care whose cellular carrier is on the fritz or whose cat pooped in the neighbour's flower bed?  Did it ever really cross my mind before to wonder who is ready for bed?  Should I be concerned about what people are eating for dinner?  And am I the only one who finds it weird that people post mobile messages like, "I'm sitting in a restaurant having a romantic dinner with my husband"?  With a multitude of other platforms (blogger, twitter, email, telephones, etc.) for staying in touch, why do I need all my eggs in the Facebook basket?

I've been enjoying visiting blogs again and exchanging emails that are more meaningful and engaging than giving a thumbs-up or posting a 5-word comment, having entire written conversations that employ sentences and punctuation.  What can I say - brevity's never been my strong suit and keeping connected in 3-word soundbites on Facebook was sucking my will to live.  It's been almost 2 weeks since I made the break.  I'll never say never, but for now I'm thoroughly enjoying being blissfully disconnected.  I figure if it's really important for someone to get a hold of me,  they'll google me.

babyLOVE: making it a whole year!

I did some really saucy pictures for this totally gorgeous and amazing couple about a year and a half ago.  They weren't announcing it at the time, but they had *just* found out they were expecting.  Well, Ms. M celebrated her first birthday today and I had the pleasure of hanging out with great people, eating great food, and watching a great little girl get spoiled as rotten as every one year old should.  Thanks for having me out, Mom & Dad - I still think you're amazingly beautiful, inside & out!  A few (lot of) teasers to tide you over:

togetherLOVE: spending time at North Country Fair with my family

Traditionally I have a conflict with this weekend.  In the 8 years since I started volunteering this is only the 3rd time I've been able to attend.  I felt really bad about letting the Grad go but decided I needed this break, for me, and for our family.  It was worth every minute of mosquitoes.  Visit the album for captions...  I missed you Laura - next year, do we have a date?

oneLOVE: Stacey & Kyle in Jamaica

I realized tonight that I have not blogged the Jamaica story yet.  There are, of course, thousands of pictures... the best thing I think is to let the pictures tell this incredible adventure/love story.  Please, enjoy...  

Getting there, which involved a 6-hour layover in the airport and hanging out with a chick at the bar who was ALL OVER letting me take her picture - cheers!

Pool Time - drink, tan, swim, repeat.

Falls and Catamaran trip (play a little Flo.Rida if you really wanna get the feel for this trip lol!)

Deep Sea Fishing - I got to see dolphins, which maybe wasn't a whale and maybe screwed up our fishing for the rest of the afternoon but made tagging along on the trip TOTALLY worth it for me...




Formals (what I'm sure most people are dying to see...)


Last day and the plane ride home... with another 6-hour layover in the airport...  lol