Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Coffee Anyone?

squirrels, coffee

On days like this I wish I still drank coffee. I gave it up over a year ago but I could sure use a cuppa today. I probably shouldn't complain about the weather after hearing about Buffalo being buried under six or seven feet of snow...but I'm going to anyway.

Living in the Pacific Northwest takes a certain kind of fortitude once November is upon us. It's probably my least favourite month. Day after day of dismal grey skies and drizzling rain make my mood go south. This morning I woke up after a good night's sleep, had breakfast, but was too tired to go for a walk. Instead I feel asleep on the couch...for almost three hours! My husband came home from walking the dogs and I kept waking up and falling right back to sleep again. Total zombie time.

Last winter I think I finally made peace with the rain and went for long walks through the forest every other day. I think it's just the transition that I have a hard time with though. We were kind of spoiled this fall, with gorgeous sunny skies and warm temperatures. Now comes the reality of approaching winter.

So I'm very tempted to go back to my coffee-drinking ways. My problem isn't so much coffee though, it's the amount of sugar I dump in it. And I'm trying to avoid sugar too. Sigh. It's going to be a long winter.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Vanishing Sea Stars

Sometimes I feel like I should have my laptop permanently attached to my body. I could have a screen sticking out from my forehead directly in front of my eyes and my hands could be glued to the keyboard at the wrist.

When I get to feeling like that, I know it's time to take a walk. Life is too short to be always sitting in front of a computer, or a TV, or what-have-you. I'm self-employed but I'm a terrible boss. I make myself work all the time. And a surprising amount of that work involves sitting in front of a computer.

So enough! The other day I decided to walk down to the ocean to check on the sea stars. As you may have heard, sea stars on the west coast have been dying off at an alarming rate, apparently the victims of some kind of virus, with warming waters a possible factor as well. This die-off was first noticed off the coast in British Columbia in September, 2013. It now extends along the Pacific coast into Oregon and California and in the summer of 2014, populations in Alaska and Mexico were affected as well. Whatever the cause, it has been named Sea Star Wasting Syndrome.

I happen to live by a gap where the ocean narrows and the tide rips through at a fast pace. It's been theorized that fast-moving waters are a more healthy environment for starfish, as sea stars are also called.

I only saw a few sea stars that day. How sad, when they used to be so abundant they were quite often literally piled on top of each other as you can see from the picture below, taken years ago.

sea stars, starfish, starfish wasting syndrome

Sea stars were enjoying a population boom before this die-off. And of course, nature has its ways of keeping everything in balance. I recently read an article that suggested baby starfish are now being seen and are possibly making a comeback. I sure hope that's true.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hallmark Cards License

This past summer I did a blog post about Hallmark Cards licensing my work for the second time.

Well, it's happened again! Apparently they like partying squirrels over at Hallmark because they've now licensed my shot of Tipsy and friend enjoying a cool beverage out on the back deck.

squirrels, cocktails, happy hour

So hopefully you'll be seeing greeting cards of my Happy Hour squirrels on the shelves soon. Cheers!

Photography Prints

cocktails art

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Macro Flowers with Water Drops

dandelions, waterdrops, flower macro
Dandelion Seedlings with Water Drops
(click to purchase)

Since my husband isn't too big on mowing the lawn, I decided to have a little fun with the dandelions that are growing in our yard. I photographed them using my Canon 500D closeup filter attached to my 100-400mm telephoto zoom lens. I really like using the 500D and usually carry it around in my backpack just in case I run into a good subject for macro photography. By the way, these closeup filters can be used on both Canon and Nikon lenses.

I especially love when I can create some bokeh in my photographs. The dandelion seedlings pictured above were backlit with some out-of-focus water drops creating the colorful circular pattern. The word "bokeh" comes from the Japanese language and means "blur" or "haze". If you want the points of light in your background or foreground to have that pleasing bokeh blur, be sure to set your lens to its largest aperture, such as f/2.8. On the 100-400mm lens my largest aperture is 4.5 to 5.6 (depending on how far my lens is extended) so I went with that.

dandelions, water drops, flower macro
(click to purchase)

I liked how the pastel hues came out in some of the water drops in the above dandelion photograph. For these images I was going for more of an artistic effect rather than razor-sharp details, so I even blurred some areas of the images in Photoshop.

In the picture below, shooting with the sun at a sharp angle created interesting and colorful streaks of light that reminded me of fireworks.

bokeh, dandelions, water drops
Dandelion Fireworks
(click to purchase)

I really like the idea of photographing things right in my own backyard and I've always been fascinated by dandelions, not to mention flowers with water droplets. So I'm not going to get on my husband's case about cutting the grass anymore. Maybe we'll start a dandelion farm. I hear dandelion greens are good for you!

flowers and water drops art

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Deer and Twin Fawns Magic Moment

I went down to the ocean's edge at low tide last week. I like to go there to think sometimes. Yes, I can think anywhere I happen to be but there's something special about the thinking I get done when I'm close to the ocean. I think the salt air helps.

I've been thinking a lot about my mortality lately. You see, a friend of mine almost died the other day. All of a sudden he collapsed and stopped breathing. His girlfriend was sitting there with him when it happened. She was calling 911 when he stopped breathing. When he gained consciousness again she called my partner and he raced over there.

The hospital couldn't find anything wrong with him. Scary stuff.

Living in a small town, you're more likely to hear about it when someone dies. Many of my friends and acquaintances have died the past few years especially. You remind yourself that every day is precious and if you have a bucket list, you better start chipping away at it. Now. Today.

But you know what seems to happen? You just continue on with your same old routines. Maybe you make small changes, but unless you're very uncomfortable or threatened, it's usually the same old, same old.

Anyway, like I said, I went down to the water's edge to get my think on. I hadn't been there but a moment when I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. It was a mother deer with her two twin fawns and they were climbing over boulders to get to the ocean.

deer, fawns, deer fawns, deer family

It was one of those magic moments. I froze. It looked like the mother was either going to go for a swim (I've seen a mother and her fawns swimming there before), or maybe she was going to have a drink of water to get some salt on that hot morning.

low tide, deer family, black tailed deer

Unfortunately one of the fawns was startled by a noise from above and she ran off, followed by her sibling. Although they ran right towards me, I dared not move a muscle for fear of scaring them even more. They were about 12 feet away and didn't even seem to notice me. Eventually the family wandered off into the bordering forest, forgetting that moments before they were running in fear.

I'd like to be more like those deer. You react when you're in danger and then you forget about it. You live for the moment. You stay in the present time, forget about the past, and don't fret about the future. That's the ideal, anyway. It isn't easy though. I'm constantly bringing myself back to the present moment. I'm trying to savor even the seemingly ordinary moments when nothing "special" is happening.

I'm starting to think that even so-called ordinary moments can carry the seed of magic within them. Every moment can be a magic moment.

Here's a fascinating TED talk on synthesizing happiness. I recommend checking it out.

fawns art

Monday, August 11, 2014

19th Annual Sleepy Hollow Show 'n Shine

Sechelt Farmers' and Artisans' Market, and 19th Annual Show 'n Shine 

This past weekend the 19th Annual Sleepy Hollow Road Run and Show 'n Shine took place in Sechelt, B.C. Cowrie Street was closed off so that they could line the road with antique cars. Every Saturday from April through September the rest of the street is closed off for the Sechelt Farmers' and Artisans' Market. As you can see from the picture above, the two events are quite popular and draw a huge crowd. The canopies from the farmers' market are in the foreground and I was selling my photography and jewelry, as usual. Yes, the place was hopping!

Cowrie Street, Sechelt, British Columbia

I didn't get much of a chance to photograph the classic cars this year but last year I spent a little more time with some of those timeless beauties. Even though I usually photograph wildlife, I really enjoy taking pictures of vintage cars...their sleek lines remind me why automobiles are often named after animals.

Here's a shot of the hood ornament from a 1935 series 58 Buick Victoria that I sold as a very large canvas print earlier this year. This was photographed at last year's Pender Harbour Show and Shine  held in Garden Bay. This car show is in a more intimate setting, surrounded by the ocean and forests, and conveniently right next door to the Garden Bay Pub!

If you're into cars, please have a look at my collection of classic cars that are available for purchase through my third party printer, Fine Art America. Prints are available on archival paper, canvas, and metal, and there are an impressive number of matting and framing options available.

classic cars art

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another License by Hallmark Cards

squirrels cocktails hallmark
Squirrel at Cocktail Hour...Cheers!

A couple of months ago I blogged about Hallmark Cards contacting me to license my squirrel drinking a cocktail photograph that's shown above.

Well, they licensed my picture again! According to the contract, Hallmark Cards will pay me every time they want to license the image for a new design concept, and that includes if the sentiment on the card changes. So now they have two design concepts to work with and they've licensed my photograph for three years for each concept.

I'm of course very happy about this new development. Artists and photographers can't even submit their work to Hallmark, so I'm especially thrilled that they searched me out in the first place.

My photograph has been licensed for cards only, so hopefully at least one of the design concepts will make its way onto published greeting cards in the not too distant future.

I can also continue to sell the image on my own. If you're interested in purchasing a print of Tipsy the Squirrel enjoying her cocktail, please click on the photograph above to be taken to my third-party printer, Fine Art America.

alcohol art