In a Pocket of Light

Remember: Always walk in the light. And if you feel like you’re not walking in it, go find it. Love the light.   – Roberta Flack

I may have squealed a bit when I saw my three playing in a pocket of lovely  evening light. It honestly seems like it has been weeks since we have seen the sun.  We are a little bit obsessed with the weather in these parts and for good reason. It rained almost 26 of 31 days in March.  My fingers are crossed that we have lots of beautiful evenings this Spring so I can chase the light.

 ~ Andrea 🙂

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Our Families, Our Stories Part 2

condWe are collaboratively committing to capture the everyday lives of our families, to photograph things we don’t want to forget, to express our love for our families through our cameras. This is the second of hopefully many installments of “Our Families, Our Stories.” These images were created from November 20-30.

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Pop’s garage has been a place where Shaw has listened to a lot of words of wisdom over the years, and when he was home from Stetson for a long weekend, this was no exception. I’d love to be a fly on the wall to hear what they talk about.

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Her beautiful artwork adorned the entryway to Gramma and Pop’s house on Thanksgiving Day.

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Lauren, you will never be this age again. You love your dolls. You love wearing anything costum-y. You love Tuesday evening gymnastics class. You fully love life. I hope you always will.

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I believe in traditions. I have tried to live in such a way and raise my kids in such a way as to create traditions and to celebrate and revere our traditions. One special tradition for Thanksgiving is Gramma (my mom) cooking her mom’s stuffing. Shaw has been ‘breaking bread’ with her in preparation for the stuffing for many years.

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Silly puppies. They follow us wherever we go in our home. They think they are four legged humans and have to know what we are doing at all times. On this particular afternoon, Lauren was decorating the front window for Thanksgiving, and the dogs were right there beside her, inspecting her every move.

-Much, much love from Mama (Julie)

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Lucienne when I see you here holding your camera and looking up at me, it’s one of those moments that reminds me of how great the influence a parent has on their child. For now you want to be just like me, and it won’t always be this way. One day you will be your own person and those traits that are like me will either be the ones that bother you the most or that you embrace with love. I am down for the entire ride and will always see you as the child who made me want to be a better person. ❤

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Nohl you are so lucky to have a Daddy that will get on every piece of playground equipment with you. May you two always share the playful gene and never outgrow the desire to run free. ❤

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Lucienne you are so much like your Dad. Always trying to climb to the highest places. I can’t wait to see how high you climb in life.

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Mathais you are so in love with your Daddy. You two share the most special of bonds and I know you will have his wicked sense of humor.

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My family all together for one moment still ❤

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He is so happy and proud to be a Dad and no one has ever done a better job ❤

We are so fortunate ❤

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Nohl when you asked me for a picture of George Washington and told me it had to be on a dollar bill I would have emptied my bank account for you. Words cannot tell you how much love I have for you and I see the special qualities of your personality in ways I think only I can ❤

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Baby girl you aren’t so babyish anymore but you still fit in the small spaces and as always you bring light wherever you go ❤

Love Momma Ronne

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Middle Man and Little Man, I am so grateful that you have each other.  The two of you spend hours playing sports together. (The walls and doors of our basement are marked with the swipes of hockey sticks and pucks. So now you are stuck playing with mini sticks and soft balls.)  Although there is much competition and strong feelings between you, I know deep down that you love each a lot.

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My sweet girl, you are so artistic and creative. Lately, you love watching  Youtube  “How To” videos so that you can make towns & objects for your Little Pet Shop toys. Tonight you were very busy making a Christmas toy slide for your beloved Hamster, Blossom.

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O, this picture may not be very exciting but to me, it has so many elements of “you, aged 7” that I want to remember. You are still a very picky eater but you LOVE your bars and Cheerios (with no milk , of course.) You love watching mountain bike videos on your tablet.( In fact, you told me that you will one day ride in Redbull Rampage and play NHL hockey as well. Dream big, my boy.)  You are never without your T-Bird hockey hat. (I LOVE how your little ear is tipped down by your hat. It reminds me of my grandfather who had the same ears when he wore hats. So sweet!)  You only wear short shelve t-shirts right now (and your black Nike pants & sweatshirt. Every. Single. Day!)

fhweek2-7 Christmas is such a special time of year. Darling M, it is all still so magical for you and I hope that you BELIEVE in the magic of Christmas for all your days. Your sweet and innocent heart is just one the many things that make up the amazing you.

All my Love, Mama (Andrea)

_mg_0367-editDecember is truly the most magical time of the year and something I look forward to and dream of all year long!  Magic is everywhere in December and I love seeing this season through your eyes!  It is all beautiful and exciting!  My sweet girl, you are 8, and I think I always imagined that the magic would be over for you by now, but that could not be further from the truth.  I love how excited you are by our family traditions

_mg_0352Part of what I love about December, in particular, are all of the evenings spent by the fireplace, watching movies, cuddling and spending special time together in our home…

_mg_0591An unexpected visit from your bestie…and on a school night!!!  The two of you had so much fun “catching” snowflakes.  With all of the banging on the garage, I thought the house might fall down!  But even all of that noise could not compare to the sounds of your shrieks of laughter…

_mg_0451We try to fit in so many special outings during the holidays, but you have told me that of everything we do, the tradition of hot cocoa and cake at the Madonna Inn is your most favorite!  It’s a wonderful afternoon filled with love, laughter and sweet treats with the special ladies in our life.  I look forward to many more Christmas hot chocolate dates with you and your sister at this magical, completely over-the-top, gaudy, beautiful place!

_mg_0953More than the expectation of presents, what I hope the 2 of you remember most when you look back at the holidays, is the time spent making memories with the people we love.  These days are so fleeting and so special.  I hope you always spend December making time for what matters most…

Love you like crazy forever and always!  Mom

Our Families, Our Stories

We are collaboratively committing to capture the everyday lives of our families, to photograph things we don’t want to forget, to express our love for our families through our cameras. This is the first of hopefully many installments of “Our Families, Our Stories.” These images were created from November 12-19.

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Lauren, you love playing with your neighborhood friends in the afternoons. Sometimes you ride bikes, sometimes you play Barbies on our front lawn, sometimes you run, giggle and dance. It is a joy for me to watch you through our kitchen window…to watch you simply being a carefree 7 year old.

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Our Bailey-Girl is 12 and a half years old. She has always been a part of your life, Lauren, and as for you, Shaw, I doubt you really remember life before her; she has been a sweet constant for all of us. We all love when she chooses to lay near us, to keep us company.

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My love, you do not travel lightly, and I have to admit that you get that from me! This photo represents a typical school morning for you, with your backpack bulging at the seams, your lunchbox in one hand and water bottle in the other, your purse layered across your body and your jacket draped over your arm. With all of these belongings, I think it is safe to say you are always prepared for whatever second grade has in store for you.

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Daddy had been fighting buying a pair of reading glasses for quite awhile and finally gave in a couple weeks ago. On this particular night, you were working on a science assignment and asked him to help you find a magenta colored crayon, so he needed those glasses to see the tiny print on the crayon labels!  He took his job of crayon finder very seriously by ‘Googling’ magenta to see what shade he was searching for.

~ Julie

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Darling girl, I am so aware that you are on the cusp of being a teenager when I see you like this.  You and your tablet are joined at the hip these days. Thankfully, you are usually watching Littlest Pet Shop craft videos. Then you spent hours designing and creating little building and structures for your LPS figures.

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L, This is the last year of having you home every afternoon so I am trying to savour this moments.  You wanted to play Monopoly JR. with me this afternoon.  So we got out the game and set up the board. Then you plopped yourself down in my lap and we played. (You beat me, by the way!)

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Little Man, You are almost 5 and slowly losing those sweet remnants  of  a preschooler. In many ways, you have grown up faster than your brother and sister, yet you will always be the baby of the family. (Oh boy, do you ever treasure that role sometimes. 😉 )  Today you went to a birthday party and you completely embraced the simple magic of the party… facing painting, songs, a story and cupcakes. It was a joy to watch you just being you.

 ~  Mama (Andrea)

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You are our youngest son, our gift, the one who came along and completed our family. You have just learned to walk in the most bowlegged way and you are in love with moving. I spend too many days in this chair looking at your longing face and for that I am sorry. I promise to be here for you always and to show you everything I know. You will be among the best and the brightest and our family and the world are better for having you in it.

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I’ve always got my eye on you. My heart, my middle son. No matter how many of us are in the room and how much chaos is going on around us, we have a bond that I am so privileged and grateful for.
“When you smile I am undone
My son
Look at my son. Pride is not the word I’m looking for
There is so much more inside me now….. you outshine the morning sun.
My son
When you smile, I fall apart
And I thought I was so smart”

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The fog of your baby years is thick and I honestly don’t know how you are 7,  our oldest child. The days where I get to make you your hot chocolate in your Noel cup are numbered and I don’t want to take one marshmallow minute for granted. I hope we are always as close as we are at this age. You are such a light in this world and the thought that I won’t see you everyday some day is more than I can take.

~ Momma (Ronne)

The Big Picture

I  just finished a new class with Zalmy Berkowitz called The Big Picture. (Thanks, Julie for the head up about this class.) The course write up stated “This is a course about “the big picture,” both in the sense of seeing beyond the immediate and capturing images that mean more, and of taking images that tell large stories – images that you can get lost in.” And I knew that this class was the one for me. As much as I like making beautiful pictures, I have always strived to capture real life as it happens and document the good and bad, the pretty and not so pretty parts. So I was ready to go on registration day and got a seat!

This class rocked my socks off. It class has been so inspiring and challenging, in a good way! Zalmy pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to make more than pretty pictures. During the class, he asked to shoot a lot, even in places that we would normally avoid, to shoot with an aperture of F11 or higher and so much more. He taught me the whys and hows of making the meaningful, real life pictures. This is going to take a lot of practise but I know have more direction to get my pictures to where I want them to be!

Here are some images I made during his fabulous class…

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~Andrea

Learning

“I’ve learned that I still have A LOT to learn.” -Maya Angelou

Last week I shared a version of the image below on a photographer’s Facebook page as she was offering to do a one sentence critics. She suggested that I square up, include the base and make the catcher the focus of the frame. When I went back to look at my SOOC shot, I realized that my image had all of that so I posted my original for her to see. She questioned why I made the decision to crop the photo the way I did. After thinking for a bit, I realized that I was trying to follow the rule of thirds and avoid a centre composition. I am still at the point in my photography journey where I am trying to follow the rules to make my images stronger. But she helped me see that my centred “rule breaker” crop told the story better and honestly, I really liked it more. She told me to always listen to my gut. Lesson learned. Thank you, Kate!

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~Andrea

Evening at the Beach

“Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering.”
― Steve Maraboli

Last week I attended a Celebration of Life for a friend’s mom who passed from cancer. The beautiful words spoken at the service painted the picture of a woman who seized life with both hands and truly shared joy where ever she went. So that night, we put homework & baths aside and headed to the beach for a picnic. The kids radiated happiness as they ran around on the beach. We bumped into a classmate from school and the kids all played until the sun went down.  It was an evening that will be forever imprinted in our memories.

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In honour of Sandra.

~ Andrea

Day in the Life: Ordinary Moments in a Beautiful Life

“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ~ Mary Oliver

I am not a person of many words. I always tell people that there are really no ideas or words in my head. Rather I look for inspiration and ideas around me. But I do hope that my pictures speak what is in my heart.

The Week 3 Assignment for The Documentary Approach was  to capture a Day in the Life. It harder was that you might think… you have to be on and thinking and capturing from the moment you wake up until the moment that you go to bed.  But it was so worth it. I  have a  peek of what our lives looked like one ordinary day in the Spring of 2016.

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~Andrea

Work in Progress

“You have extraordinary treasures hidden within you. Bringing forth those treasures takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion. We simply do not have time anymore to think so small.”      – Elizabeth Gilbert

I am a work in progress. In all areas of my life. I hope that each day I become a little bit better than I was the day before.

My Photography is definitely a work in progress.  My wonderful hubby bought me my first DSLR just before my middle son was born. I clicked and clicked for a few years,  with a few gems but lots of misses. I look back at my early pictures and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But oh my goodness, most of them are so bad technically.

When my youngest son was about 8 months old, I decided to sign up for my first photography course. It was a complete game changer! I learned all about composition,  white balance & how to shoot in manual and so much more.  It really inspired me to keep learning, practising and shooting.  The road has been slow but steady and I been blessed to meet many friends along the way. I joined a 365 blog circle in towards the end of 2014.  It was a daunting undertaking but it ended up being exactly what I needed to push me  forward. I am now on year 2 of my “Project 366ish.”

Midway through last year,  I finally committed to editing in Lightroom. (Previous to that, I was editing in iPhoto. Shhhh!) Then I started doing some shoots for friends and their friends. What fun!  I  now feel confident enough in my skills that I can finally call myself “a Photographer.”   As I continue on my journey, I know that first and foremost, I want to capture my family’s stories of   real life, the connections, the moments, the emotions and most importantly, the LOVE.

Here is a picture share of my photography journey. All of these pictures are emotionally perfect to me. But I am so happy to see how my skills have grown over the past 5 years.

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2012DSC_3834 DSC_6201bDSC_6506  DSC_8436b DSC_8925

2013 DSC_3568   DSC_5160 DSC_7183 DSC_9237

2014DSC_0228      DSC_6078 DSC_6474 DSC_7152

2015:Blog-4008 PYEweek1-2 week33-8 MNLI-1 week51-1

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~ Andrea

Micro Composition

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”    -Ansel Adams

After hearing such wonderful things about The Documentary Approach workshop, I decided to jump on board as a Study Along. I am loving the class and learning so many things that will help strengthen my documentary photography skills. Our teacher, Jessica Thomason, is so lovely and she has clearly put her heart into the workshop.

One of the concepts in Week One is ‘micro composition.’ In short, the photographer chooses a composition and then waits for the subjects to move into the right positions in the frame. I realized that I had some perfect examples sitting in Lightroom.

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Here are some of my images leading up to the “one”. hockey collage

~Andrea