Tuesday, May 26, 2009

{run happy...}

I should pre-empt this blog post by saying that I don’t have any pictures to show you!!! I know, I know…strange given that it is indeed a photo blog but even photographers need a break from their craft every now and then! I’ve actually taken the last few days off from shooting and editing to partake in my other addiction of choice; running!

I try to run as often as possible but regardless of how much running I’ve managed to fit into my schedule, I always mark the calendar for Ottawa’s National Capital Race Weekend so that I can immerse myself in all the adrenaline, excitement and of course, all of the stories that come along with it. The race weekend never fails to make me cry and I always come out of it with a renewed sense of commitment to my sport and a better appreciation for how much the human spirit can actually prevail in the end.

Aside from actually running, one of my favourite parts of the entire weekend is gathering along the canal to watch the 10km race on the Saturday evening. The weather is always extraordinary and watching 9,000 runners stretched out over five kilometers as the sun sets over the water always takes my breath away…but I never take my camera! For some reason it’s just one of those things that I need to experience and taken in rather than have record of it because frankly, very few pictures are going to do justice to the man running with a banner overhead that says “I beat brain cancer” or the visually impaired runner that was corralled through the race by other runners surrounding him at every angle. Pictures don’t always explain what’s it’s like to watch a man finish the marathon for the 35th year in a row or to see the excitement of little kids holding signs that say “Go Mommy Go!” You simply have to be there.

So that being said, my running weekend has come and gone once again…and it was fantastic! I have my medal around my neck, my belly full of post-race indulgences, my feet recovering nicely and my soul filled with inspiration for the running season ahead. I couldn’t have asked for a better two days!

But speaking of marathons…I have a marathon of my own starting very shortly and it’s called wedding season!!!! I have four consecutive weekends coming up of shoots (two being weddings) and three shoots waiting to be scheduled. I will do my best to include blogging in the rotation but bear with me if you can…it’s a long way from here to there! But as I told many runners this past weekend “keep at it…you’re almost there!”

In honour of the 36,000 runners that went the distance this weekend and the $850,000.00 that was raised for our local hospitals, I leave you with you with some inspiring pictures taken by those who did actually bring their cameras!!

Thank you Anne for this great shot of the 10km start line and please check out these amazing pictures of the half and full marathon taken by Ottawa Citizen photographers (I’m in there somewhere!!). So long National Capital Race Weekend...see you next year!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

{facebook fundraising...}

In the last month or so, I’ve had a number of people approach me about getting pictures done for the sole purpose of getting a decent facebook profile picture. At first I thought that they were kidding but sure enough, people actually wanted to pay me to help them put their best face forward in cyberspace! Who knew?!?! Getting a good head shot isn’t usually very hard and certainly doesn’t require a lot of time so I really wasn’t sure how to go about charging for this service. That’s when I remembered that my most favourite weekend of the year was coming up and it was going to provide me with the perfect solution to my dilemma!!

This coming weekend is the National Capital Race Weekend when literally tens of thousands of runners descend upon our city to run any number of different races; from the 2km family fun run to the ultimate of running achievements…the 42.2 kilometre marathon. For nearly the entire time that I’ve been running, I’ve been training for one of these weekend races and personally, the experience never ceases to amaze me!! This year my husband and I will run the half-marathon together for the first time…an endeavor that I am very much looking forward to because in the five previous years that I’ve run it, I have yet to experience to honour of crossing the finish line with him!!!

Even better still though is the fundraising that is created as a result of this event; all of the money raised from personal pledges go towards the Ottawa Hospital Foundation as the official local charity…a organization quite near and dear to our hearts. Our friends and family are no strangers to the assistance provided by the Ottawa Hospitals and this year alone, my husband and I have gone through its system more times that we would have liked, so that’s why I generally choose the Ottawa Race Weekend as my one fundraising occasion of the year and devote all of my efforts to it. That’s why the solution seemed perfect when I decided that instead of charging my clients for head shots, I would create a “Facebook Fundraising Special for the Ottawa Hospital Foundation” -- I would provide twenty minute photo sessions for facebook profile pictures in exchange for a pledge towards our half-marathon this coming Sunday. The offer has proven to be quite a success so far and so much so that I might even consider making it an annual thing!

Here are some of my favourites so far…posing for a good cause!

This client was a little bit more hesitant about having an overly close up picture done, so we veered away from the traditional headshot and went a bit more casual. I have to say...she was a total natural in front of the camera!

You may remember Samantha from my previous post; she is actually the inspiration behind all of this because when we were planning our session together, she specifically asked if I could work in a good facebook profile picture for her...and from there, everyone else just followed suit!

Thanks so much everyone for your amazing contributions to this great cause! Anyone else still wanting to get in on the action...you have four days left then it's time to lace up!

Friday, May 15, 2009

{geoff & samantha...}

The first time that Samantha and I had talked about getting pictures done was quite a few months back, when Ottawa was still covered in snow and the cold winter air was still blowing through. She was hoping to get pictures done with her boyfriend Geoff and I, of course, was happy to oblige! The problem though was that Geoff lives in Toronto and trying to coordinate his trips to Ottawa with my availability was proving to be a challenge! That's why I was extra pleased late last week when I received the magic words..."he's coming to town!"

While we had planned a wonderful sunset photoshoot for Saturday evening, Mother Nature had different plans and her plans included rain. So.Much.Rain. It rained so much in fact, that not only did we need to reschedule the shoot for Sunday but we also had to pick a new location because our original site became flooded. It became quite evident though when I awoke on Sunday morning that having a location was going to be the very least of our worries because {you guessed it} it was still raining!!

By now, Geoff's departure time for Toronto was fast approaching and we were starting to get a bit concerned that we were going to miss our tiny window of opportunity when photographer and subjects happen to be in the same place at the same time. Sure enough though, by late morning, while the clouds didn't want to budge an inch, the rain did let up enough for me to hop in my car and kidnap them to a location that I happen to have spotted on my way to meet them; an old iron bridge in a residental area not far from downtown Ottawa. We ended up feeling pretty fortunate to have managed a good hour of shooting before Geoff needed to pack his bags and head back home again!

I'll admit, I was pretty disappointed initially at the change of plans because with the gorgeous, warm weather we've been having lately, our original site would have been dynamite but after having finished their pictures...I just can't imagine them any other way.

This next picture just makes me smile because I was pretty convinced that Geoff just thought I was completely crazy for constantly asking them to stand in the middle of the road! I snapped this shot just after he looked over his shoulder yet again for traffic and I gave him one of those "I promise I won't let you become road kill" sort of looks! Sam thought the whole situation was pretty funny!!

I think that Samantha looks amazing in this picture! I think that it reflects her personality a lot which is very strong and powerful, yet completely striking all at the same time.

I was so excited to have captured this next shot because poor Geoff was so cold by the end of the shoot because he didn't want to wear his coat during the pictures and the mercury had managed to drop well below normal temperatures for this time of year {even for Ottawa!}. I was switching my lens when I turned around and found Samantha doing her very best to keep him warm! Seriously...how sweet is that?!?!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

{blue eyed beauties...}

That’s really the only way to describe the Martin girls! They have the kind of blue eyes that remind me of why I always wished that I had blue eyes!!

I got to spend the morning with the Martin girls and their main men last weekend capturing the many amazing dynamics amongst them; from the littlest one full of energy to the desperately in love heads of the family! We wandered down to the Rideau River locks and decided to take full advantage of the beautiful, sunny weather that was finally being bestowed upon the nation’s capital! I remember saying that morning “wouldn’t it be fun if we had a little bit of a breeze for the photo shoot” and that’s where God stepped in and replied with “be careful what you wish for!!!” A breeze indeed…we ended up with a flurry of long hair all over the place!

We had a really fantastic morning though that left all of us desperately yearning for a nap and me wanting blue eyes more than ever!

Friday, May 1, 2009


The first time that I really picked up a camera was for my sister-in-law’s wedding during the fall of 2007. My brother-in-law and I were asked to photograph the big day together and given that neither of us had ever done it before…we went in with a plan! He was to take care of all the formal portraits and I was going to capture all the details and candid moments. Between the two of us…we couldn’t fail! And between the 2,000 shots we took…we didn’t!

She was getting married at a lovely winery in South Western Ontario just along the lake with their sunset ceremony overlooking the water. The weather was perfect, the setting was perfect and of course, the couple was perfect! All weddings are stunning in their own way but this one was especially meaningful to our family and was filled with an immensity of love and emotion that would have brought just about anyone to tears.

My sister-in-law was marrying her best friend…her partner…her beloved and she was marrying another woman. In a day and age in which it’s easier to judge one another than it is to accept each other, it takes great courage to declare your love before God knowing that not everyone believes there is a place for it. It takes great conviction to stand tall in defense of your beliefs and even more so in the face of unruly opposition. After ten years together, that’s exactly what they did; with beauty, grace and a love so deep for another, they showed all of us what it really means to walk through this life by someone’s side and to commit so profoundly to another that it rises above even the ravages of a doubting world.

I’ve never been so honoured to be behind the camera than I was on that day.

"Another summer day has come and gone away
In Paris and Rome and I want to go home..."
~ Michael Buble