pictureHOPE: the infallible spirit of HOPE

In Edmonton, saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes..." is literal.  In the 2 weeks leading up to the Relay, we have had everything from sweating-while-already-sitting-in-the-pool to wind storms to light rain to this:

But here's the great thing about Edmontonians: we have come to expect anything, and when the going gets snowing, we just slap on our toques and go about our business, even if that business happens to be pitching a tent in an open field to pull an over-nighter.

While most events were moved indoors, there were lots of die-hards who refused to have their spirit dampened by a little of the white stuff.  They ran, they walked, they talked, they sang, they carried on in the truest spirit of the Relay for Life's premise for the 12-hour annual walk: cancer doesn't rest, so we can't rest in the fight to find a cure.  This year's infallible Relayers raised in excess of $400,000 towards Fighting Back against this horrible disease.

This year, the amazing group of photographers who comply with my begging and pleading to come and help me out were given a unique opportunity to try combining our mission with the Children's Tent.  While there weren't a lot of children and many people stayed inside as much as possible, we stayed out until the wee hours ensuring we got as many team pics as possible.  You'll have to wait for some of the other photographers' links to get the complete story on this team, Cordwells vs. Cancer, which is nothing shy of amazing.  I promise I'll make Helena of Apple Fresh share :)

Now, of course, after a few too many coffees, not much sleep, and not as much walk-in traffic as we had hoped for in light of the icky weather, we did have an opportunity to play in the Photobooth ourselves.  While I'm not what anyone would call a Lady Gaga fan, I admit I suffer an inability to get her infuriatingly catchy pop tunes out of my head.  And when you have several rolls of hot-pink pink duct tape, why WOULDN'T you create a Gaga-inspired outfit and try a few dance moves?  You can see more Photobooth images at the zoomphoto site here.

All silliness aside, there's always a point in the evening where I am overwhelmed with emotion, and that moment for me this year came from my vantage point on the bleachers.  As I mentioned, most activities were moved in to the Saville Centre this year, the team spirit lap of the Celebrate Ceremony still took place outside.  The track had been virtually empty aside of a few stragglers, and suddenly they came.  Hundreds of them.  Pouring out of the Saville and lapping the track like they were unstoppable.  And unstoppable they were.

When life gives us snow, we make snowmen.

*images in this post excluding Lady Gaga copyright Canadian Cancer Society

pictureHOPE: Team Clickin' Cancer's Butt at the 2010 Relay for Life

Hello, everyone!!!  This post is for those interested in taking part in this year's Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life as part of Team Clickin' Cancer's Butt.  The Relay for Life is the Canadian Cancer Society's largest fundraising effort, with Relays across Canada collecting millions of dollars for cancer research.

For the past 3 years, Team Clickin' Cancer's Butt has donated its time and services to take team photos and capture the event from start to finish.  Not only is it an amazing opportunity to Celebrate, Remember, and Fight Back, but it is an amazing opportunity to spend an evening with thousands of people who are passionate about ending cancer.

This year, Team Clickin' Cancer's Butt is doin' it up bigger and better than ever, offering on-site prints at the Photobooth and an online ordering album that will allow 100% of the proceeds to be donated directly back to the Canadian Cancer Society.  And because many of us have children who love this event, too, we've decided to be the kid-friendliest site we can, with bubble blowers, colouring, do-it-yourself face painting, and more!  The bulk of our shooting takes place between about 7pm and 10pm, but you are welcome to stay all night, and certainly shouldn't miss the luminary ceremony at twilight - possibly one of the most moving sights in existence because of its blunt portrayal of how many loved ones, win or lose, have fought this ugly disease.

Please join us for the pre-planning meeting at Boston Pizza on 118 ave and 101 street on Thursday May 27th at 8:00 pm if you can.  If not, join us at our booth near the main stage at about 5pm on Saturday, May 29th, 2010 and help Click Cancer's Butt!!!  P.S. The weather is supposed to be cool (bring gloves and warm shoes) but DRY - yay for no rain this Saturday evening!!!  Please drop me an email at h dot walls at shaw dot ca if you have further questions.  If not, see you at Foote Field at 5pm on Saturday.  Together we can make cancer history!!!

If you cannot attend, please consider coming to the track early in the evening to purchase a luminary, or go to the CCS website and pledge your support. Or, you can bring us all some Tim Horton's and good cheer at about 2am... or 3am... or 4am...



myLOVE: better late than never!

I was glad all my prairie crocuses had bloomed before that last snow fall, and I was enjoying their big fluffy pom pom heads when what should appear but a late bloomer?

Also, I did dry my pumpkins on the porch again, but didn't get around to shooting them until yesterday.  I may be the only person on the planet who appreciates the beauty of enjoying last Halloween's pumpkins the following spring.  The neighbour, however, just thinks I am nuts.  (She may be right.)

And you may remember this snowy butterfly from May the 4th; while I'm not naive enough to believe that spring has entirely sprung, today's butterfly picture sure says spring is on its way, if it hasn't already arrived.  Have a beautiful Tuesday, everyone!

newLOVE: welcoming E.

For this newLOVE session, I'm honestly speechless.  Between this adorable little man and his parents' fabulous light , I think I am going to just sit back in silence, and let the pictures speak for themselves.  ~sigh~

Thank you for a beautiful session E. (and Mom & Dad too I guess.  ~smirk~)

Week 17 DLS exercises: I am...

Your next task is not actually a photography task, but a writing exercise.  You can decide if you want to post it along with your self portraits or not.  We spent the last 4 months talking about mostly technical stuff.  By this point you should all have a pretty good grasp on what your camera can do for you.  The last as well as this exercise are about YOU instead of your camera.  

As you develop your own style it's a common mistake to look at other people's work and try to aspire to them, rather than look at your own pictures and recognize your own true style.  In order to start making the connection between who we are and why and how we shoot what we shoot it's important to spend some time defining ourselves not as photographers but as people.  You are going to spend this week coming up with an "I am..." list of 10 hats that you wear.  If you come up with 25, you need to prioritize that list, and whittle it down to ten.  Sleep on it, revisit it, take some time, and decide which 10 hats are at the top of your list.  The next thing I want you to do is to look at your self-portraits and see which of your top 10 fit with which image.  If they don't fit, then you may want to do re-takes so that your self-portraits accurately reflect who you really are.  Feel free to post them, or keep them to yourself, or email them to me if you want to share but not with everyone.

Have fun, and remember, there is no right or wrong - this is all about YOU.

I'm working on an updated "I am" list for myself and will post it and an updated self-portrait shortly.  :)

Week 16 DLS exercises: reflecting

Simple, quick, and easy:  find several reflective surfaces and take a self-portrait - could be a mirror, a kitchen appliance, your shadow, or even a mud puddle.  Be creative, have fun, and post your favourite(s) on your blog or email them to me!  They form a part of next week's exercise, so be sure and get these ones done BEFORE Monday!!!

myLOVE: Serejane is 6?!?!?!

Last weekend we had the loveliest little bunch of butterflies visit our yard for Serejane's 6th birthday!

All the guests were asked to come wearing their prettiest dresses and sporting a pair of wings.  Gladly they all complied and we were treated to the lovely sight of 8 gleeful little girls flitting about the yard, swinging on swings, and blowing bubbles.  It truly was achingly adorable.

After doing the piƱata we headed over to the planting table to make nice flower baskets sure to attract some butterflies in a couple of weeks.  The geraniums and pansies which Zellers put on sale for a quarter a piece because they hadn't watered them for a few days (a night in a tub of water perked them up perfectly) should be in full bloom right about when the first butterflies of the year are looking for someplace to rest - but in the meantime we provided some fun little butterflies for their flower baskets.

I LOVE pinwheels... and about squealed with delight when we found these little guys for the flower baskets...

The too-adorable dresses these three lovely little ladies are sporting are a brand called Thy Thy sold at Zellers.  They are usually anywhere from $45 to $60, but if you watch, they go on sale for half price a few times a year.  When they do, I stock up... a little girl can never have too many over-the-top girly dresses, especially when they have a dripping with sweetness and twirl factor of plus eleven like these do.

OK - so the cake...  It was hideous.  Not since I tried (unsuccessfully) to make something resembling train cars for Wil's 3rd birthday have I built something quite as awful as this.  I was giggling as I put it together because all I could think of was, it's a good thing I'm not a professional or this would be on its way to Cakewrecks... let's break it down...  

It all began with Serejane selecting her own flavours of boxed cake.  Yes, I admit, I used a boxed cake.  Two of them, actually - one rainbow sprinkle and one chocolate.  Sue me.  But, I did bake it myself.  I used two heart-shaped tins with the pointy bottoms hacked off for the wings, and a section cut from a 9x13 cake for the body.  I didn't exactly get the rainbow sprinkle batter divided in half, so one wing was noticeably thicker... so there was about an extra inch of frosting on the skinny side.  The frosting... now that's a whole other story.  ~sigh~  

Serejane requested pale blue icing.  Now.  Even on a boxed cake, there is a standing order from my family that the icing must be my famous and super-yummy homemade butter icing.  Fair enough.  But of course when you make butter icing, it has a bit of a yellow tint to it, especially after adding the vanilla, and so despite my best efforts the pale blue looked the exact shade of Crest.  I contemplated adding mint flavour but thought it might freak out some of the parents who were coming and didn't know me that well... so my solution was of course to just make it very pretty.  With those little tubes of laziness called pre-mixed piping, that I discovered at about midnight (read: too late to change my mind) were about the consistency of cold snot and not actually so great for doing intricate scrollwork like we can with our Christmas shortbread.  Also, I'm not entirely sure who decides when the colour is just right, or what kind of acid they drop before packaging the colour combinations, but suffice it to say that the piping did little to mask the peculiar shade of toothpaste I had inadvertently iced the lopsided butterfly with.  

Enter Bill.  Whose solution was to create a diversion.  By adding the leftover pop-rocks Mini Eggs, whose effect you can't fully appreciate without seeing the cake from the side.  

Serejane of course LOVED the cake, as did all the little girls, but my day was totally made when one of the Moms came up and said, "You made that?  WOW... that's awesome!"  Another Mom chimed in she only ever bought store-made.  So, while they didn't go out of their way to compliment my not-so-inspirational disease-infested acid-trip toothpaste decorating with words like 'beautiful' or 'cute' or even 'neat', they were nevertheless impressed that the end result was "homemade."  I sheepishly refrained from letting on that the only homemade part was the butter icing. I thought, let them eat cake.