I photographed a wedding once...a long, long time ago...with a little Kodak instamatic camera in the dark ages of film photography (would have been about 1979). It was by no means a professional endeavour but in my youth I had a great time and wasn't intimidated by it at all. Fast forward to 2015 and along came the second wedding I had the opportunity to shoot. This one was more intimidating, partly because I now have enough knowledge and experience to know that I should be intimidated! In the end it was exciting, fun and successful.
If I were to find one word to describe Ann Marie I would use the word 'elegant'. This bride has a classic style and she looked stunning on her wedding day.
I had gone to college with Ann Marie and over the past couple of years we found each other on facebook. She asked if I would be interested in doing her wedding photos. I was happy for the opportunity but I did let Ann Marie and her husband to be, Ian, know that I had no experience at wedding photography. This was definitely a learning experience for me.
The wedding was an intimate affair held at Whitehern Museum in Hamilton. The grounds are beautifully maintained and perfect for small group photography. It was a very hot day but there was enough shade that it wasn't too painful although most of the group were happy to be done in a short time.
The ring bearer (Ian's grandson) was beyond cute. I suggested that they rent him out to wedding parties...he was an angel and lasted the entire day without complaint. Look at how handsome this young man is!
The room which was the coach house of the original home, was very rustic with stone walls and wood trim. It is a perfect spot for an intimate wedding.
Chris was my second for this event and we were invited to the reception and dinner. There were no formal photos at the dinner but we kept the cameras at the ready and took a few candid shots.
If I had it to do over again I would get closer during the ceremony. I was too concerned about being in the way and I would temper that and get in there a bit more. I would also do more formal shooting at the reception. All in all the day was a success. Ian and Ann Marie ordered prints and a book, their guests expressed their happiness with the experience. They seemed relaxed and very agreeable with the group shots. Everyone was fun and friendly at the reception and dinner. I was honoured to have been offered this opportunity and while I am not a 'wedding photographer' I would more than willingly consider other wedding shoots after this pleasant experience!
One of my favourite and most used subjects is my dearest pet, Scatter. Unfortunately for him he is at my mercy and as such is unable to refuse me when I get the camera out! Let me tell you his story.
A few years back we were mulling over getting a dog. We knew if we got one it would be a Jack Russell and we knew his name ahead of time as well. It just so happened that one of the seniors at the day program I spend my days working at had a daughter who bred Jacks. We went to see them and picked out Scatter. Now, while this isn't remarkable the story of his life and work is.
You see, Scatter became a pet therapy dog at the tender age of 11 weeks old. His then family brought him in to deliver him to me at our day program. It was part of a ruse used to bring the breeder's parents in to see the program. Up until that point they had been refusing, telling their daughter that 'they didn't need to go to a program'. As it turned out, it was Scatter's first duty as a pet therapy dog. The family brought puppies in and delivered Scatter to me. By the way, the couple who were coerced into coming in to help with the puppies did end up coming to the program for several years and would introduce themselves to newcomers as 'Scatter's grandparents'!
Scatter has a remarkable ability to know who needs him. Like many therapy dogs this is an innate instinct and for some unknown reason he acts on it. Scatter sits on the right lap at the right time. Over the years he has been able to settle dementia clients who were inclined to be agitated and wander, one lady in particular who wandered and paced would sit for up to an hour 'babysitting' the puppy, and by babysitting I mean she would tell me 'you leave this dog alone' when I would go to take him back from her.
Scatter also knows when people are lonely or sad. He has comforted people who have suffered the loss of a spouse after many years of marriage and snuggles up on their laps to provide that warmth and make them feel just a little less lonely for a while. He seems to know a bit about physical ailments too. There have been several stroke patients over the years who have suffered paralysis and Scatter is very selective about how he sits on those laps, taking care not to sit on or sleep on their affected limbs.
Another one of Scatter's specialties is the seated exercise program that we provide the seniors with. His role in that exercise circle is to play ball with the seniors. He has a plastic hockey ball in his mouth and chases a large beach ball, bopping it with his nose to all of the seniors who throw it back for him. In this way he helps them get a little more exercise and he is also very entertaining.
On the 10th of February 2015, Scatter celebrated his 8th anniversary at the day program. Just to put a little icing on his cake a lady who had attended program into her nineties had left 5 or 6 years ago. She recently passed away and Scatter's impact on her life was such that the family thanked 'especially Scatter' in her obituary. This was a true tribute to this remarkable little four-legged piece of 'feel good'!
They say (and I have no idea who 'they' are) that difficulties are opportunities for learning. I think that in this case that is true. If I had it to do over again...
This session was challenging in many ways. First, the recital took place in a gym lit with flourescent lights. While in itself that isn't bad the light level was still pretty low and I would have liked to use a little flash so that the photos would be less grainy, but I was worried about being a disruption, not only to the performers but also to the proud parents.
I arrived early to check out the lay of the land. I was asked to take photos that would be printed at 4 x 6 to be given to the parents. The head of the music school also wanted a group shot of all of the performers.
To minimize the distraction of having a photographer present I took the beep off of the camera and I used no flash. I used a tripod and took it around the outside of the room to find better angles.
Another challenge is that the kids who performed have been taught to look at their music all the way through, so no one lifted their head resulting in no full face photos. Since I have a love of candid photos I found that to be disappointing in a way. However, I did get some opportunity to capture a few candid moments! This little one's face when Santa arrived was priceless!
She was also quite the dancer!
I would love the opportunity to try this again...I discovered that when doing this kind of photo shoot the photographer has to take charge more than I did. The group shot at the end of the program was near impossible. Each parent in attendance had their phone out to take the picture and I ended up on a chair to even get a clear angle...I had not expected that and didn't take control. This resulted in a badly posed group picture.
The group shot was taken at the end of the program and a great many of the families had already left.
This one was definitely a 'live and learn' experience!
Halloween is that great time of year when adults can get dressed up and act like children all over again!
Each year I am amazed at the creativity and sense of fun among those who go out to celebrate.
It is truly liberating to dress in costume and be someone or 'something' else! So if you have never tried it, I suggest you get out to Value Village and pick out a costume for some fun this year.
Inhibitions can go by the wayside and hilarity is sure to be a part of it all.
These head shots are just a few of the people who came out to celebrate this spooky event in Hagersville.
Hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween! Remember...don't take candy from strangers!!!