Friday, September 23, 2011

Another Side to Photography?

Now here's a way I hadn't thought of photography before (and I spend a lot of time thinking about photography!):  I've been reading Kate Morton's The House at Riverton (Washington Square Press, 2006, p. 301) and came across this paragraph:

It is a cruel, ironical art, photography.  The dragging of captured moments into the future; moments that should have been allowed to evaporate into the past, should exist only in memories, glimpsed through the fog of events that came after.  Photographs force us to see people before the future weighed them down, before they knew their endings.

A poetic and insightful thought, it struck me when I read it.  I found it profoundly sad to think of photos in this way.  It was a new perspective for me, to imagine looking at future photos and wondering whether those moments were meant to be preserved.  Wondering, if, in fact, that sadness would be found in the memories.  I always have more a feeling of nostalgia when I look at old photos, a feeling that time moves too quickly.  I feel, instead, that had these photos not been taken, perhaps some memories better remembered might be forgotten. 

Isn't it a wonderful thing that we do not know our futures, our endings? 

Life is beautiful, to be treasured and remembered.  Photos should bring a smile as we recall happy moments, snapshots of our lives that stop time in a way only photos and words can.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Every Room in the House

It had been awhile since I'd had even a minute to make some pictures.  Last night, while the kids were playing, I took my camera into the bathroom.  The intention was to take some shots of bubbles, but the one I ended up preferring was this:

The bathroom lights, reflected on the metal shower rings, create a pretty bokeh effect.  The warmth of the incandescent lights also gives a cozy feeling to the photo. 

Once again, I have "found" art in the house.  It often happens like this, in the least expected places.

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's that Time Issue Again...

The unfortunate thing about the end of the summer is having much less time for my photography.  I'm back to teaching full-time, and can barely keep my eyes open once I'm done work, kids' homework, supper, clean-up, and kids' bedtime - let alone pick up my sadly neglected camera.  I will have to be sure to make time on a weekend here and there to get some shots of the soon-to-be-here fall colours.

I did sign up for the IODE Craft Fair, though.  That's coming up on October 22nd, and I will have plenty to do to get ready for it.  Making lots of Little Tips booklets to sell, and even working on translating them currently.

As the calendar fills up with meetings and activities, the dust thickens on my camera bag.  Maybe I will have to pencil photography time into my agenda!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back to School/Work

First day of a new school year...  Here's wishing all teachers have a fantastic year!

This is what I did for my classroom:

I went in yesterday when it was nice and quiet, and took macro photos around my classroom.  I then created a SMARTBoard lesson, where I numbered the "mystery" photos.  I'm going to have students guess what the pictures are of, and where the objects are located.  This could be done throughout the school, as well.  Makes for a great first days lesson and helps familiarize students with their new class/school. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Now in 5 New Colours!

I just added 5 new colours to the Little Tips booklets!  From now on, anyone who orders can pick from favourites below, or even request a custom colour.  Sometime in the next couple of months, I am also hoping to have them translated to French.

The original colour is green, which goes with my shop.  Love the new colours, though, and might make a pink one for myself!  Find them here:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Shutter Bug

Many thanks to Sara K from SaigeWisdom for sharing my Little Tips booklet on her blog!  It's always great to be featured, and this one's no exception.  Sara's blog is beautifully done, and she shares Canadian shops weekly.  Be sure to check it out!

Thank you!  :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lost Without My Ideas

I hadn't mentioned this before, but I had lost my "idea book". 

It's basically a little scribbler that I carry with me so I can jot notes whenever an idea comes to me.  I even have it sectioned off for my blog, photos, poems, and other thoughts.  Not that I couldn't have created another, but when it disappeared, I felt as though the ideas had gone with it.  Many of them I might have remembered at some point, but I worried that others would be gone forever. 

Almost two months without it.  The last time I remembered seeing it was in a hotel in Halifax; I couldn't remember leaving it there, but I couldn't remember not leaving it there, either.  I pictured it having fallen behind the desk, to be found some day by the cleaning staff or a future guest.  My thoughts exposed - imagine!  Of course, those random ideas could hardly have been deciphered by anyone, let alone someone unknown to me.  More likely, my half-poems and blog titles would have been tossed out with the leftover pizza.

Fast-forward to last night, when I was looking for paper in my "bills" basket to write good morning notes to my kids.  There, in the midst of all that considerably un-inspirational paperwork, was my idea book.

Do you know how, when something good happens, you feel like calling someone to tell them about it?  Well, that's how I felt - quite celebratory, in fact.  I didn't, though - someone might have thought I was losing my mind when I told them I had found my thoughts!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Even in Strawberry Fields

Any outing out of the ordinary calls for my camera.

Last week, I took the kids strawberry picking for the first time.  Aside from bickering over water bottles (!!), they quite enjoyed themselves and happily filled containers with juicy red berries.  Happily for me, the owners of Jim's U-Pick did not weed their fields:  Along with hundreds of strawberry plants grew hundred more haphazard wildflowers.  Petals painted the fields with their loveliness. 

This photo is my favourite that I made that day:  "In a Field of Flowers"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Inspired by Our New Patio

It's been awhile since I created an Etsy treasury, so here's one for the patio:

under those patio lanterns

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Clam Digging Adventure

Maisonette, NB, Canada

Saturday morning, we awoke to sun and warmth.  For fun and food, we went clam digging with my parents.  It was the first time for my kids, 6 and 8, to experience this Maritime activity.  Although I don't care for them myself, it's a fun thing to do on a hot summer day, and I was anxious to watch my children catch their supper.

As soon as he knew what to do, my son was running all over the sand bars looking for the telltale holes in the sand.  He plunged that shovel in enthusiastically, and ran his fingers through the muck looking for his catch.  My daughter became the washer, rushing out to rinse the clams as they were found.  Between us, we filled a bucket, and my son in particular looked forward to dipping steamed clams in the buttery juice for supper.

Ahead of the tide, we carried our tools and buckets back to shore.  Along the way, we passed a pair of men who asked if the clams were good to eat.  We replied that the beach had been full of clam diggers, so they must.  Turns out, though, that these men had seen a sign saying it was prohibited to take them.

Upon return to the parking lot, we searched for the sign, having not noticed one.  Sure enough, way at the end of the fence, one tiny red sign said just that.  It turned out that there was a possibility of bacteria in the clams.  Not wanting to take a chance, we freed our supper into the salty water.

My son, upon discovering that he was not having clams for supper, threw up his arms and shouted, "Why are they there if we can't have them?"

Good question!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sometimes, Things Don't Work Out So Well...

I was so determined to get some beach shots again this year. 

A few days ago, my husband, kids, and I headed to the local beach in the evening - a perfect time for photos.  Or so I thought.  When we arrived, the cool breeze that felt so nice in town turned out to be a cold wind at the beach.  The sand was blowing (not good for cameras!) and the beach grass I had hoped to get close-ups of was whipping in the wind. 

We lasted about 10 minutes, then packed it up and headed to the other side.

As we had hoped, it was much calmer as the hills blocked the wind, and we were able to relax on the sand while the kids splashed in the salty water.

Unfortunately for me, that side of the beach is not nearly as picturesque as the first. 

I did manage to get a few shots, not many of which I was happy with when I reviewed them at home.  Here is one I didn't mind too much; before the summer is out I intend to get back there and shoot this fence again - maybe next time I'll be more successful!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Sale!

I love summer, so I've started a summer sale in my Etsy shop...

Until August 15th, receive 30% off photos in my shop!

Click here for details:  Summer Sale in photoworks by dawn

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Blogged by Yonder

I'm very happy to have had one of my photos featured on this very cool blog:


Many thanks to Megon and Julie for sharing my red shoes!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Garden of Endless Possibilities

I just might have to start paying commission to my mom:  Countless of my photos have been created in her garden.  These firework-like little flowers grow discreetly by her foundation.  They are not showy, so you could easily miss them among the other brighter blooms.  But I just love how they burst forth in lace-like patterns.  They're so pretty!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Shot through the Window

I waited (im)patiently all weekend for the rain to end.  Finally, a break yesterday afternoon allowed me to head outside in my mother's yard to capture the few flowers that have managed to grow in this cold, wet spring.  No sooner had I found a few willing subjects, than I had to cover my camera with my jacket and slip back inside and out of the drizzle.

Not quite ready to give up, I wandered around the house looking for some possibility I had not yet discovered (having many times explored Mom's house and yard).  I got up on a stool and captured my husband, brother-in-law, father, and grandfather playing crib at the kitchen table.  A priceless shot, for sure, but not so artistically inclined.

Looking out the front window in the living room, I noticed the chive buds from a new angle.  First, I included the window in my composition to add scale and setting.  Soon, though, I found myself crouched down in front of them, noticing the way the birch tree on the front lawn and my red SUV created a muted and complementary background.  I guess I can thank the rain (begrudgingly, though, I have to admit), then, for forcing me inside and finding this otherwise overlooked subject.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blogged Again!

How lucky is that?  Twice this week, I've had photos shared on other blogs.  This time, I'm sending out a big thank you to k. at the rikrak studio for featuring my "Threaded" photo. 

Check out her lovely blog here:  the rikrak studio

Many thanks!  :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Got Featured!

Wow!  My Little Tips booklet got featured on a very cool site:

Thanks so much to Jem for sharing!

These quick reference photography booklets are still available on my Etsy site for a bargain at $7.75!  Click here to view:  Little Tips.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Flower in a Fencepost

Walking along a street in downtown Halifax, I happened upon this little flower peeking out at me.  Noticing these tiny details in a busy city takes me back to the moment, makes me focus on these tiny gifts for the eyes.  It makes me grateful for the small things - it reminds me that life is in the details.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Fabulous Trip!

I had the best time in Halifax this past week! 

My husband was attending a conference, and I went down with him for three nights.  We used to live there a number of years ago, so there was plenty to catch up on.  I spent the days with my wonderful friend, taking pictures and browsing in the downtown shops.  Evenings, my hubby and I drove by the places we used to live, visited friends and relatives, and remembered good times.

The photo above is one I took at the Public Gardens.  There weren't many flowers due to the cold, wet spring we've had, but look what I found!  These sweet little blooms were captured moments before we left, and it turned out to be one of my favourite shots from the trip.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Threaded on Etsy

Many thanks to rikrak for choosing to share one of my photos in this recent article on the Etsy Blog:

The Collectors: Handmade Pincushions

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Fresh Perspective

I am very excited to be heading out of town in a couple of weeks.  As open as I am to seeing photographic opportunities absolutely everywhere, it is refreshing to head to a spot I haven't been to in a number of years to get the creative juices flowing.

We're going to Halifax for a work conference for my husband.  We actually used to live there, so I'm very familiar with it, and have many potential spots in mind to head with my camera.  I'm just crossing my fingers that the weather will cooperate! 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

And Then I Spilled the Milk

or, "What pictures don't tell us"

My daughter's 6th birthday was about a week ago; my father's (her Papa) turned 65 two days later.  We celebrated family-style with her grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins.  Camera ready, she and her Papa blew out the candles for a picture-perfect moment.

And then I knocked over a glass, onto my sister and everything on her lap.

After the mess was cleaned up and everyone was happily devouring chocolate cake, it made me think:  What are the stories that pictures don't tell us?  Are there tears following the ripping open of gifts, screaming children fighting over the candies, parents grumbling about the mess?

In a word, yes.

We don't really capture those moments, though, do we?  I suppose it's because we want the happy ones, but do they tell the true story?  Unlikely.  Then again, who would want to sit with their grandchildren, recalling the fights at the dinner table? 

I am lucky.  I have more happy memories than not.  Maybe that's why I have so many photos.  Maybe that's why many of us take so many - we want to freeze those moments when life is good.  It feels good to look back at those pictures, to share them with family and friends.  Life has its fair share of sadness and unhappy instances (we have only to look at the latest news story for them); maybe that's why we tend toward smiles in portraits. 

Later, we want to remember laughter and love, accomplishments and adventures.

I know I do.

Monday, May 2, 2011

And Speaking of Stories...

...This wonderfully old dictionary made for many interesting compositions.  With a blackened cover and curled pages, what was once a plain Webster's Dictionary became (for me, anyway) a subject just waiting to be turned into photographs. 

I allowed the bright sunlight to filter through the pages, contrasting the age and dust.  Instead of becoming tossed and forgotten, now these pages are inspiration.  The words held within are stories waiting to be told, poems to be written, and songs to be sung.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What Stories Have Been Told?

stories forgotten
love letters longingly sent
fingertips clacking on the keys
tears wept for joy and grief
dried among the letters

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"I am a Poem"

words wait to spill
from my soul

syllables speak

i breathe
i inhale, exhale

words become pictures
of my life

shared sentences

without words
what would i be

this poem
would not

these insignificant
curves and lines

are significant

descriptions, details
that describe my life

tell the world
who i am

Dawn Blanchard
March 9th, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Looking Forward to a Quiet Day

No work tomorrow...  Everything is closed because of Good Friday. 

Sounds like a home day to me. 

After a hectic week, this will be very welcome.  This week, we have enjoyed Seuss!cal, put on by Bathurst High School; a Tuesday night swim; a fantastic Easter Basket Auction put on by our school (the basket donated by our family, "Photo Moments & Memories", brought in more than $150 for my children's school!); and a walk in the woods at Daley Point. 

An enjoyable week, but a busy one, to say the least. 

I'm ready for a quiet day.

In the morning, then, I will stay in my pyjamas until well past ten.
I'll make a couple of cups of coffee and read my book.
Then shower and slip into my yoga pants and hoodie.
My children will stay in their pj's all day; my husband will sleep the night shift away.
If I'm lucky, the dogs will have played themselves out and snooze, too.
Every now and again, I'll take a look to see if the snow is melting.
Drink more coffee, read more.
Make some more photos for my Camera Study.
Put my feet up.

If I'm lucky.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Flowers from Children

Some days, my children exasperate me.  I still love every inch of them, but it's true:  Sometimes they don't listen, and my patience wears thin.

Every day, though, there are those precious moments that make every crazy one worthwhile.

Yesterday, my 7-year-old son knocked lightly on the patio door while I was cleaning the kitchen.  In his hand, these flowers:

With a grin, he passes me the first spring blooms I have laid eyes on.  I didn't even know they were out there - the snow continues to cover most of the ground, and the air remains cool.  Somehow, though, he found these tiny blooms and thought of his mom. 

I am the luckiest mom in the world.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Camera Study (continued)

Here's another one of my camera compositions.  I am really pleased with how these photos have been (and are) turning out.  It would make sense, I suppose, that I would enjoy photographing cameras.  I have taken some before, but they were a different style, and I much prefer these.  Although I have a number of antique cameras, it makes me want to hit the antique shops to find some more!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Forgotten Camera

Years ago, my sisters found an old Leica at a a yard sale and brought it home for me.  At the time, they weren't very old - maybe young teens.  It was a sweet and thoughtful gesture.

Fast forward about twenty years... 

The camera is in a box, in my closet, almost forgotten.  I've collected other cameras, which I've photographed a number of times.  This time, though, I'm creating compositions of an old typewriter (I'll post some of those photos soon, too), and I'm not ready to put my camera away yet.  So I wander around the house, looking for something vintage to capture. 

Then, I remember the Leica.

With Christmas-morning-like anticipation, I explore the dusty contents.  Delighted, I find three forgotten lenses, and two filters I'd never even taken out of the packages.  I can hardly believe my luck (nor can I believe that I'd forgotten about these treasures!). 

So I begin a new project - "Camera Study".  I'm not done yet, either - I would have continued all night, had my battery not died.  (Note to husband:  Would love a backup for my next birthday!  Hint, hint!)  I was forced to stop, though, but not for long.  I'll be back at it as soon as I can...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

There's Something Poetic About Photography

Poetry for the eyes...  Visual poetry...  Poetic vision...

I've heard all these things before.  What is it about photography (good photography) that makes it so compelling?  With all of the talk about simplifying and minimizing, why do we still enjoy looking at art so much? 

There seems to be a somewhat universal desire to be surrounded by beautiful things.  We put pictures on our walls, in our offices, even in hospitals.  Glossy magazines tempt us with stunning photographs. 

The best pictures take our breath away.

As do the best poems.

Photography, like poetry, expresses emotion.  It speaks to us; it comes from the heart.  We've all heard the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words."  Well, I think a good photograph is worth a poem.  Perhaps, a good photo is worth one word, if it speaks loudly enough.  Or rather, softly.

It could be there are photos worth writing poetry about; it could also be that there are poems worth being composed as a photo.  Maybe, a photo is a poem. 

I would like to think all three are possible.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Picture in My Mind

As well as take pictures, I teach.  That's my day job, anyway. 

I think I've mentioned before that I teach English Language Arts to late elementary students.  April being Poetry Month, we've begun a unit on understanding poetry.  This is so much fun.  The kids are loving it, and so am I.  It's refreshing to hear their ideas about what they think a poem means; it's also sometimes surprising how perceptive 9- and 10-year-olds can be.

Part of teaching poetry is teaching children how to visualize.  As you might imagine, this is exactly the kind of thing I love to teach.  Here are some of the words they brainstormed when I asked them what we do when we visualize:

                            picture    imagination          think         
     meaning         listen         wonder     
                                                  feelings      image        scenery     ideas 

         details     connections     

  focus      infer        setting    words

These wonderful words capture what we do when we stop and listen.  They are what we do when we read.  And they can be applied as easily to what we try to represent when we photograph.

How's that for inspiration from the minds of children?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pictures with... A Scanner?

Yesterday I decided to try something new...  I placed objects on my scanner, and took "pictures" with it.  Here is one of the ones that I came up with:

I love how the flower seems to pop out of the pictures, creating an almost 3D image.  (This has not been edited.)

Of course, the resolution is not near what it is on my D-SLR, but it is fun to do and it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for creating pictures.  I have some other ideas of compositions I'd like to create on my scanner, as well.  Oh, the possibilities!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Family Pictures

It's snowing (yuck).  The groceries are done, bills are paid, and my kids have no activities or birthday parties today. 

So we are not leaving the house.

It is a great pleasure for me to stay home for a day.  The weeks are busy with work and other commitments, and often the weekends are time to catch up on everything that does not get done during the week.  But yesterday, I braved the lineups in the stores and got all my running around done so that I could enjoy my Saturday at home.

One of the things I picked up yesterday was a couple of pretty new photo albums.  One of the other things about film (see post below) that I miss is that I used to send them off immediately, pick up the prints, and place them in albums as they came in.  With digital photography, though, they spend much too long in the waiting room of my computer. 

My goal for today is to organize about 200 of them into albums, then send more off to be printed.  These are the family photos, Christmas and summer, camping and playing at the beach.  While I couldn't do without my artistic photography, these are the ones that truly matter.  They are a record of my children's lives, carrying with them joyful memories of time sweet and short.  They are family and friends, who we are and who we were.  Most of all, they are reminders of how lucky I am, how full my life is and has been.

And I am looking forward to giving them a proper home.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Film Fun

Bought some disposable cameras a few days ago.  I'm going to experiment with film for a change, try out a few "new" things. 

Funny how far away from film we've come in just a few years.  My old SLR, that I swore I'd never retire, has been tucked away in a closet ever since I upgraded to digital.  While I love the endless possibilities of technology, I sometimes miss that satisfying click when a photo has been imprinted forever on film.  Now, I discard so many pictures without a second though, taking extra - just in case.  With film, I was forced to think about things before releasing the shutter.  Every shot cost money, after all.  And there wasn't an opportunity to check it until much later, when I'd pick up the film with anticipation at the lab.

Now, film isn't so easy to come by.  Especially here, where our local photo lab (which I love, by the way) doesn't even print it anymore.  I should really get my hands on some before it disappears forever.

Slow down, snap, and wait.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Need to Expand My Horizons...

Something I have not done a lot of is landscapes.  As we move into milder weather, this is something I would like to focus on.  I am drawn naturally to details and close-ups, loving my macro lens and the endless possibilities of shallow depth-of-field.  This is something I have no intention of leaving behind. 

It is time, though, for me to challenge myself with my photography. 

My mind is already there, imagining how I could capture a shoreline, a wooded trail, or a cityscape.  I need to discover a way to photograph the vastness of our world while keeping with my need to simplify.  It must be true not necessarily to the way it is, but to the way I see it.  To the way it makes me feel.

This spring, then, I will begin.  I will choose a shorter lens and really look at the wide open spaces. 

I will find the details in the big picture.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Poetic Inspiration

Poetry has been on my mind lately.  Even before the April Oprah issue came out!  Needless to say, I was super excited to get my hands on that one.  (Even if you don't read it, think about picking this one up if you enjoy poetry - which I do - since it's full of poetic inspiration.)

To celebrate poetry month coming up, here's my Poetic Inspiration Treasury:

Hope you enjoy viewing these beautiful items as much as I did!

Melt Snow, Melt!

Welcome Spring!

The sun is shining, and I can hear the melting snow tapping on my metal garden table as it falls from our roof.  Puddles are appearing along the roads; like a child I aim my car into them, splashing the snowbanks as I drive by.  Slowly, grass is beginning to peek out along the perimeter of the house.  Hard, frozen ground is becoming slick with mud. 

We often say, here, that we don't have spring - just winter, then summer.  It certainly feels that way at times.  The ground is still heavy with snow, and will be for some weeks to come.  Flakes will fall again, and nights remain cold.

But during the day, when the sun comes out, it brings with it hope and anticipation for the beautiful season ahead.

My camera and I are ready.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Proof Pictures are Good for You!

Not that I needed proof, but...

I was reading an article in Redbook (March 2011) the other day that states,

"...studies have found that looking at still images of nature can
lower blood pressure and muscle tension..."

There you have it!  I bet if I looked further (and I think I might just do that!), I could find further evidence that beautiful, thoughtful pictures are good for you. 

I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Splash of Colour

A desperation for colour seeps in about this time of year... 

I'm tired of the white and dirty snow,
leafless gray trees,
and sunless sky. 

So a little colour in monochromatic March: 
A spring bouquet.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Short Poem for A Too-Short Life

My husband lost a friend this week.  He was young, in his late twenties. 

A senseless accident cut short a beautiful life.

A 51-year old father from our community passed away this week as well.

So often when we are touched by these tragedies, we stop to think about how fragile life is.  How important it is to appreciate every single moment.

This Fragile Life

we are strong
yet not

we are but a moment
delicate and fierce

hold onto love

savour every second

for scarcely a moment will pass

in the silver white midnight
we shall look back

and love

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

After the Storm

I am ready for gardenning.  I've got flowers on the brain, and the landscaping books have been dusted off. 

And yet, although spring is around the corner, we are covered once more in snow.  The rain that poured all day Sunday turned to snow, and didn't stop until sometime last night.

I, however, am ready for grass underfoot and sunshine on my shoulders.  I am ready for digging in the dirt and wading in the shoreline. 

It will come eventually, I suppose. 

In the meantime, this:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

100 Posts, and a Discount, Too

I just realized that my last post (below) was my 100th!

To celebrate, I am offering a new discount in my Etsy shop for blog readers:   15% off your next order.  This is the best discount being offered, so be sure to use this code the next time you make a purchase from my shop:  PBD001TTL.

Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Enriched by Photography

I am very lucky to work at a school that believes in enrichment for all students.  We offer a variety of different activities, where students are able to explore new interests and learn beyond the curriculum.  Another teacher and I do a photography class; today was our fifth session. 

How rewarding to be able to share some of what I know about photography with children, then to have them really embrace the ideas.  We've talked about composition, close-up and action photos, zoom, backgrounds, and even the Rule of Thirds.  Imagine how impressed I am, then, to have a 6-year old be able to tell me - after only a few sessions - what macro and telephoto mean!   It is amazing how much they are able to understand and remember when you do things that are outside the box. 

Something else happens, too, when I teach photography to children:  I get the opportunity to see things through their eyes.  They create still lifes in ways I wouldn't have imagined, see things from angles I've never thought of, and share a joy in the learning of it that is infectious. 

It makes me wonder...  Are they the lucky ones, or am I?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Red Shoes

The better part of my day was spent with my camera today.  I really needed to get in some time with it.  As always, everything else falls away while I'm making pictures.  It helps me to be in the moment.

I began by playing around with some of the items I brought home from the dollar store.  But I didn't feel ready to put my camera away after that, so I wandered around the house, looking for new subjects.  I made a few shots of my husband's work boots, then remembered my shiny red shoes in the closet.  What could be happier on a cold winter day than to put on a pair of shiny red Mary Janes? 

Friday, February 25, 2011

And Winter Rages On

More snow.

I always find February to be the hardest month.  Yes, it is the shortest, but it sure doesn't feel that way.  I do try to make a habit of appreciating every day (life is short, after all), but some months just drag. 

It's cold.  There are no long weekends (unless you are fortunate enough to live in one of the provinces that celebrates Family Day).  Winter isn't near done yet.  And it just keeps snowing.

So, desperation is seeping in.  Of course, long winters mean fewer photographic opportunities.  At least for someone like me, who doesn't care to trek through knee-deep snow with cameras and lenses, praying the flakes don't start to fall and threaten my precious equipment.  Besides, I don't like to be cold.

I headed back to the dollar store today to see what I could see.  A bag of possibilities now sits on my kitchen floor, waiting to be captured.  My camera has been resting for far too long (any more than a few days is too long for me!).  My goal is to lose myself in creativity sometime over the weekend, forget about the cold and the snow, and just make pictures.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's Clean-Up Time Again

Clearance Bin

I just reduced a number of photos in my Esty shop to half-price.  I'm making room for new ones by marking down those that have been in there for awhile.  This is a chance to purchase photography at a good price; each half-price photo is only being listed once.  That means that when the listing is purchased, or when it expires, it will not be renewed.  Keep checking, too, because I will be adding more of these deals periodically.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Updated and Uploaded

My website has now been updated.  Along with my new banner and avatar, every page has new photos.  Here is the link:

Friday, February 18, 2011

I've Found Pages!

For awhile now, I've wanted to add more pages to my blog.  I don't know if it just suddenly got easier, or if I've finally clicked on the right option, but I found it!  As you can see, I now have a page for tips, links, treasuries, and about me.  My goal is to update the "Tips by Dawn" page often, so if you are looking for quick ideas for your own photography, check this page often.

I am also continuing to work on my website, which is almost ready for posting.  It means spending lots of time on the computer lately, but I am getting lots accomplished!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I am my own Worst Critic!

Truly, I am.

Fact:  I get totally lost in photographing.
Fact:  I feel like jumping up and down when a shot is working out as well as (or better than) I'd hoped.
Fact:  Photography consumes me.  Yes, I think about other things, too (like my children, of course!).  But not a day goes by that I don't also think about photography.
Fact:  I like my pictures.
Fact:  I am never totally satisfied with where I am - photographically speaking.

It's like a hunger.  I always want more.  Maybe that would be more like an addiction, I don't know, except without the side effects of course.  Then again, maybe there are side effects...  Like forgetting to cook supper, for instance!

So when I look at my pictures, I am always thinking about how they could be better, or what I can work on next to improve lighting, composition, or angles.  Could I have used a different f-stop?  Should I have taken more photos with a different light source?  And so on.

I suppose this is what keeps photography from ever boring me.  There is always something to learn.  And I always feel that I need to get better at it.  It is a challenge that I embrace:  It keeps me learning, experimenting, and open to new ideas

So...  What next?  Some more abstract, I think...  I'll have to work on that one!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cool App and Other Notes

Just found the coolest app on Etsy!  (Check it out at right.)  It's called a pocket shop, and it's like a mini slide show of all my pics in my shop.  Love it!  Many thanks to for creating such a great little tool!  I'm going to add one to my website, too.

Speaking of my website...  I have begun working on some updates.  Can't believe how quickly a year can go by - and how many new photos I've taken since I last updated.  So keep an eye out; I'll post a note here and on Facebook when it's ready.

I'm working on another project, too.  One that may take awhile and will hopefully turn into something great.  It's too soon to tell, but if it does, you can be sure you'll hear about it here!

Got any ideas for new pictures?  I would love to have some comments from any readers...  It's cold here right now, and the creative juices are a little chilled.  I've always got a few new things in mind, but it would be great to have some reader-inspired inspiration!  :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Even the Bathroom

It's not exactly a saleable piece, but I really like this shot of a toothbrush.  Another of my discoveries from my day wandering around the house; it makes me wonder what I would find if I did this every day!

In Inner Excavations, there is a suggestion to carry your camera with you everywhere for a day.  I fully intend to try that, and am constantly imagining what I would take photos of once I do.  Nothing is really stopping me from doing it, except that I want to choose a day when I am not working (taking photos while teaching may prove a little awkward - not to mention frowned upon!), and on the weekends I tend to lazier mornings so do not think of doing this until halfway through the day.  Once I do, I will post some of my photos.  This toothbrush would fit well in a day like this!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Art in the Closet

This is another of my shots from a couple of days ago, on my search for accidental art.  Two wire hangers created a neat shadow and a monochromatic composition.  It's all about keeping your eyes open and being ready to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary. 

I feel lucky that I am able to see beauty everywhere, that I can recognize that even the most mundane items can become interesting subjects.  It has taken much practice, but when I slow down and look closely, I can find art anywhere - even in my closet!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Around the House

It's the middle of winter, and it's time to get creative!  The cold days have kept me in; summer gardens and sandy shores are but a memory.  Although I miss the heat and the ease of that season, I can no more keep my camera put away than I can stop eating.  Photography is so much a part of me that I cannot separate from it for more than a short while; even when I am not making pictures, I am thinking about making pictures.

For about an hour today, I wandered around the house looking for items that could be subjects for new compositions.  I looked at the house plants, the lights, and the dishes.  I explored the bathroom and the closets.  No corner was safe!  It has been awhile since I have simply played around without a goal in mind, and it was both eye-opening and satisfying. 

I have always been a believer that art is everywhere...
...and so I found it.

This is one of the compositions I made, the lines of stacked laundry baskets criss-crossing like plaid, a pattern without purpose.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fun with Feathers

Once again, the dollar store has been instrumental in inspiring my artistic side!  I picked up these fun feathers in a pack about a week ago, figuring they would make a great subject for macro photography.  I made a number of compositions with them (some are on my Etsy shop:; this is one of my favourites:

feather and light
wings in flight

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just for Fun!

The other night, it occurred to me that I had never stepped barefoot in the snow.  So I slipped off my slippers and stuck my feet into the snow.  Just for fun.  Just long enough for one shot!  My feet got so cold so fast...  How do people do that polar dip in the winter?  Think I'll stick to keeping warm in my slippers!

When I looked at the original photo, I felt it was missing something...  I couldn't help but add flowers to the snow, since I'm a summer girl.  The picture makes me smile now.  Sometimes, it's fun to just play!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tips you can take with you!

Here's an idea:  A little book of photgraphy tips that you can hook onto your camera bag for hints on the go!

I've created exactly that!  Little Tips:  The Take-Along Photography Booklet  is a set of 10 laminated cards with more than 75 hints to improve your photography.  It is small and super-light, so you can add it to your gear and use it wherever you take pictures.  At a special introductory offer of $5.75USD ($7.75 after Feb. 5th), it is also super-cheap!  Now you can bring all those ideas with you!  I wish I had had one of these myself when I was starting out.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

So Many Ideas, So Little Time

Do you ever have those times when you are just bursting with ideas, but the daily routine of life seems to get in the way?  If only I could have a snow day! 

I've started to carry a little notebook in my purse for these moments (that is in addition to the one I keep by my bed, the one in the kitchen, and the one in the desk!).  I get absolutely restless with these thoughts running circles in my mind, hardly able to stand not being able to have the time to get to them.

...And the kids are calling for second bowls of cereal...  So here I go...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Making Room

10,000 photos and counting...  And that's just in the last three years!!

So, time to make room for some new ones in my shop.  I'm marking down old photos to half-price.  It's a great time to get a deal on some art for your home.  Check them out here:

Half-Price Sale on Select Items

Thursday, January 6, 2011

This is Me

Over Christmas, I realized (not for the first time) that I am rarely in photographs.  I tend to be the one behind the camera, which is usually the way I prefer it.  My children are growing, though, and may one day wonder why Mom is never in any photos.  Because of this, I became intrigued by the idea of self-portraits.  It seems rather awkward to ask for someone to take my photo, and since I am usually the photographer anyway, I guess it makes sense that I take my own.

Sunday, January 2, 2011