Saturday, December 31, 2011


Happy and Sad Hold Hands

Early this morning a dear lady, a woman of grace and beauty, a child of God, went to be with her Heavenly Father, our great Creator, Maker of heaven and earth.

There is such a profound sense of loss at the same time as a profound sense of joy, knowing she is now face to face with Jesus. I've said it before in a very simple way that seems incapable of holding my thoughts on this...happy and sad hold hands. It is so.

God gives and takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Faces of the Clouds

Like water, the clouds have many faces. On our way out to the Whiteshell and back today, the clouds shifted and cleared to make room for the sun for a short while and then came back heavier, but in layers. Watching the trees and grasses change under the skies was exciting. I dared not take my eyes off the landscape lest I miss something along the way.

Like water, the skies too can echo our emotions. Like the shifting skies today, our emotions can also change quickly and dramatically, depending on our circumstances.

Unlike water and skies, the place where I am anchored does not change, no matter the circumstances. This place is my God. So let the skies change and the waters flow. I will remain anchored while present in today and the emotions it may bring.


I love water. I love being near lakes, rivers, streams and oceans. I love water's changing faces. I love the calm and comforting sound of the gentle lapping at the shore's edge. I love the roar of the ocean waves. I love the rush of water in a river of rapids. I love the trickle over stones and branches in streams.

Water seems to me, a great echo of our own emotions. Sometimes water reveals to me the condition of my heart when I see what I captured on a particular day or during a particular season of life. Sometimes it shows me what I needed.

Here are a couple of shots I took during a chaotic and painful time in my family's life.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Filled With Light

Strong. Beautiful. Filled with light.

I went to see a friend in the hospital yesterday. She is long in years and her journey is almost complete. Her life has been filled with light. She was strong and is most certainly beautiful.  Light has always seemed to fill her and pour from inside of her through her warm hugs, great smile and infectious laugh to those around her. Her source of light, I believe, was and is Light Himself - God.

As she lay in her hospital bed, she was no longer physically strong but her strength seemed to still fill the room. Her light, though not shared by a hug or a hearty laugh, was still shining, reflected in the loving faces of her family. Light was still present. And indeed, still beautiful.


Don't hide it and don't let it go out. Both.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Light Has Come

Light has come.

Lord, may your light shine anew, may truth dawn brightly, may your love heal the sickness of all shame and fear.
(prayer by Rev. Dr. John Wilson)


Thursday, December 22, 2011

No Two are Alike

Inspired Photography

This morning we woke up to a light dusting of snow. With many regions of Canada not experiencing our typical White Christmas, this was almost a novelty. I wasted no time grabbing my camera, switching to my macro lens, and then I headed to the door. As I walked through the living room, a cluster of ornaments caught my eye with inspiration. They had to come with me.

What inspires your photography? Sometimes it will be a general philosophy or belief but there are times when it will be a very specific item or circumstance for that particular time. The snow's dusting together with the red ornaments and morning light were lent to me for the moment. To have taken the time to act on the inspiration, I was rewarded with some photography playtime in the snow and eventually with this shot.

This winter, why not act on your inspiration? See what you see.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lost and Found

When I have been away somewhere and have taken a bunch of pictures, I get down to processing and editing my images almost immediately. I just can't wait to get to them and see what I saw.

What I am finding to be every bit as enjoyable is returning to my images, especially the ones I left unedited to collect dust in my archives, to see what I saw. I remember bits and pieces of what I was seeing and feeling that I simply didn't notice the first glance through.

Here is one of my lost and found images of Chicago. One of the things that impressed me most about this city was how big and high this city was and yet quaint too in its own unique way. There was so much charm packed into each cluster of buildings.

Don't be too quick to permanently delete your images. Store them on an external hard drive. Some day you might want to revisit and remember.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shooting Snowflakes

A snowflake or two might be all we see this Christmas. I took this photo last winter when there didn't really seem to be a shortage of the white stuff, unlike this December.

I love using my macro lens, first of all, to see the snowflakes in their detailed beauty and then to capture that beauty to share with you. Their delicate shapes are really quite remarkable to me. They certainly speak of an amazing Artist's hands and mind at work, that is for sure.

If you're going to attempt to take some macro shots of the snowflakes, my first suggestion is to take your tripod outside with you and use it. It may well be a bright sunny day but when using a macro lens and shooting something so tiny, even the smallest amount of camera shake can ruin your shot.

My second suggestion is to wear gloves. Often I am so excited to get out there that I leave these behind, forget about how cold it is and eventually, after too long,  realize just how badly my fingers are aching from the cold. Take the gloves. You'll be able to stay out longer to get the shots.

My third piece of advice is to take a bunch of shots. One of them will be a keeper ~ or at least, the odds are better with more images.

My final two cents maybe should have been my first. Wait for a snowfall of big fluffy flakes...the bigger the better. Trying to catch the detail in wee tiny snowflakes will be very challenging even with the best of macro lenses.

If you happen to have a White Christmas where you are, why not get out there and see what you can see?

Searching for Saturation

The colour is still here. I might have to look a little harder for it but when it shows itself, it is immediately worth any effort spent searching for saturation on a neutral canvas.

The texture is striking. The berries are freeze dried, giving greater depths to lines and etchings than when plumped with summer's juices.

Winter's photography is not always so barren or bleached.

PS After posting the above, I went for a trail walk. The sun was just starting to rise. I did not have to search for saturation for the picture below.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sans Snow

We've had little snow in comparison to what we might usually have by mid-December. With temperatures above seasonal norms it looks as though we might lose what we have before Christmas. I have always wondered what Christmas might be like sans snow but just to be more clear I was wondering what it would be like sans snow - on a beach! Alas, I am not going to spend Christmas on a beach; I will be here beneath our beautiful prairie sky.

Christmas on the prairies has its charm, to be sure. One of the biggest draws is that my family and many of my friends are here. Celebrating together is worth a lot to me. Celebrating together with my toes in some warm sand while the ocean waves roar before me...well...that might be worth a lot too. At the very least, it would cost a lot!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Winter's Grand Opening

A sure sign that winter's grand opening is around the corner is this cluster of signs at The Forks in Winnipeg. The Arctic Glacier Winter Park is open and ready for your blades!

Today I carefully walked over the bridge to snap some shots of the river (see previous post). The historic rail bridge has turned into a skating path - well, part of the bridge. The pedestrians now share their space with the skaters, but happily so. Merry, merry!

Follow the Light

Follow the light.

Today the light was exceptional down by the river. It was sparkly and beautiful and was just like a spotlight in some areas.

Light can be what makes the difference between a mediocre image and a great image. If you don't have good light, something is lost. When there is exceptional light, something is gained.

When you're on your walks looking for some good shots, follow the light. You may have to walk a distance to see it playing in the woods or to catch it dancing with the ice crystals in an open area, but walking is good for us...and light...well, light is exceptionally good for us.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Dreaming, wondering, hoping...we all do this...sometimes we dare to do this...sometimes we stop short of doing this. After disappointments and discouragements it can feel risky to hope again. What if we open our hearts wide only to have them broken once more?

I wonder if we hoped in something other than our circumstances (which can change with the wind) or people (who will disappoint), I wonder if hope would be so transient or elusive. I wonder if we hoped in something most powerful, unchangeable and only good, if it would make any difference at all.

I hope so.


Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
~ Hebrews 11:1

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Worn and Weathered

The worn and weathered are the best canvases for frost's painting. The deep crevices and splintered surfaces catch the chill easily.

So beautiful in their fragility and longevity both, the aged remain at least for this moment and meet what comes, not with a spirit of dread or fear but rather with a wisdom that puts circumstances into perspective, a wisdom that welcomes.

Seeing this through my lens helps me to see this in life.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Frost in Colour

We had fog overnight which means we have frost this morning. It is beautiful, though not yet at its thickest.

I stepped out into my backyard to see what I could see through my camera lens. This is one of the shots I took. Tempted to post this in black and white to bring attention to the form and frost rather than the colour, I took a closer look and decided against that. The few remaining leaves have a rich tone of red I didn't want to lose and the subtle brown shades in the trunks, almost missed by me except by comparison with black and white, are too beautiful and natural for me to leave out. Though not readily seen at this scale, I know the colours are there. They bring a gentler feeling to the cold frost this morning.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

We had such a wonderful time together yesterday evening as our family trimmed the tree, ate some good food, listened to carols and even played a game. Good old fashioned fun.

Photo tip: Including the lights' reflection in the window and avoiding the use of a flash add a little magic to a Christmas tree photo.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Deck the Halls

Yesterday, the Manitoba Legislative Building's doors were opened wide for their annual Christmas open house. Many of the MLAs were on hand to welcome the public into their offices where we could enjoy some eggnog, punch, baking and treats. The halls rang with the carols of the various choirs set up on the grand staircase as people milled from one location to the next or sat to take in the cheery faces of those singing.

It was a real delight to see this architectural beauty again and to snap some photos as we roamed the corridors. It had been several years since I was there last with my photography class.

I waited for the end of one hall to empty but for a single senior sitting on the bench so I could take this picture. The quietness of this scene was soon broken as it filled again with curious visitors.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Ornament

Each year at Christmas each person in our family tries to select an ornament that speaks of our year, each one of us.

Some years are more difficult than others to pinpoint what those ornaments will be. One year I made up a life preserver ornament that will remind me each Christmas of the time I fell through the ice on the lake and lived to tell about it! Another Christmas I chose a store bought ornament full of cracks and lines and yet was so beautiful - this one spoke of such a difficult year but in the end it all went towards healing and beauty.

There are ornaments that are more fun with fewer heart-strings attached...such as this year's for me. This was the year I began making photo blocks and so I decided I would make a mini-block of one of my more popular images, a blue pumpkin called Carriage in Waiting. Funny how it works...popularity...this is not one of my personal favorites but it still speaks of something of my year...trying to figure out the photography market. I do not have it figured out, by the way, and have decided to just keep taking pictures the way I have been. What comes, comes. What goes, goes. What is favored, is favored.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Someone Else's Christmas

Watching a breakfast television show while working out this morning, I saw the band Quinzy perform Someone Else's Christmas (well done, by the way) least I'm pretty sure that was the name of the song. What was powerful for me was watching this band sing while the news ticker scrolled through on the bottom of my screen with reports of fires, murders, court battles and more. For those impacted directly by these news stories and so many others, including loneliness, it may well be someone else's Christmas.

To reach out and show love to someone, to forgive a wrong, to extend grace and mercy to those who struggle with something, with anything, with you...this is the spirit of Christmas. To humbly receive the ultimate gift of love and forgiveness, grace and mercy is not just the spirit of Christmas; it is Christmas and it needn't only be someone else's.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Esplanade Riel, Iced

This is my favorite photo of frost out of the ones I have shot over the years. Taken a couple of years back, the frost was so thick that morning and the cool blue backdrop was perfect.

The Esplanade Riel is such an interesting piece of architecture. Coupled together with the beauty of her surroundings that day, this was indeed a breathtaking view.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Morning Solitude

Bites of Beauty

Sometimes the very beautiful is to be found in the harshness of winter. When the cold bites, this is precisely when the sun shines brightest and dances in and around the dormant branches and fallen grasses. This is one of the prettiest sights.

Had I chosen to stay warm, not risked getting cold and bitten by the frost, I would have missed out on this today.

Kind of like life, no?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Beautiful Things

Recently I've been inspired to put together a photo show. The last time I did this was for my brother-in-law's funeral a year and a half ago and prior to that it had been a long while.

I watched a video on youtube, called Beautiful Things by Gungor. It really moved me and called me to look at hope, grace and mercy afresh. As I listened to the song and watched this duo sing and play, I thought of some of the images I've taken over the past years (one of them is posted below) and wanted to marry them to hope, grace and mercy...or maybe they already were and I was just making that connection.

The journey of compiling this kind of project is long for me. The time varies but the process takes me to places and teaches me things and calls me to apply truth to deeper recesses and darker corners...the distance is long, layered and labored.

Whether or not someone sees the end result is insignificant, at least for me, today.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Creating Something New

Use what you have to create something new. I placed a carnation stem outside and waited for the snow to settle in, not too much, just a few flakes here and there would be perfect. And so it was.

Tucked almost under a leaf's edge, the flakes were bathed in a green cast. This shade created an image heavy in blue tones. In Lightroom, a little sharpening and intensifying of colours already present brought this image of snow to new life.