(mostly) daily photoblog

Archive for April, 2011

You can call me flower…

…if you want to. (Bambi)

Do you remember that moment?  Bambi‘s a bit of a sappy movie for me, but I love that moment.  Flower, the skunk, meets Bambi when Bambi is just learning to talk.  He is naming things and comes nose to nose with a skunk, who is more than pleased with being mistaken for something “purty”.  I love that scene.  It’s so innocent and beautiful.  I’ve had that moment when I wish someone would think I was beautiful despite what others think of me.

As for the flower above, my wife and I are having a debate over what it is.  I’m pretty sure it’s a rhododendron.  She thinks I’m wrong.  Anyone want to help us out?

Is it weird to be obsessed with your own skin?

Ever since getting this tattoo it has been a source of constant reminding and explaining and inspiring.

Reminding because there are days in my life when I think it would be peachy to live for myself only.

Explaining because there are a remarkable number of people in this world who have such miniscule vocabularies that I have to explain what “vain” means.  Also, there are a remarkable number of people who think that because the word “vain” is near a VEIN that I might have misspelled it.  Ha!  Ridiculous.  Why would I want to remind myself not live in a vein?

Inspiring because when I look down at my left forearm I’m inspired to be more than my base instincts, be more than average, be more than myself.

I think I need a few more tattoos.  I might be superhuman with just two or three more.

A Canadian Hero

At Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, BC, there’s a bronze statue memorial for Terry Fox.  He’s a Canadian hero.  He decided that, while he had cancer and had already had a leg removed, he would run across Canada to show both that people with cancer could accomplish great things and raise awareness to the cause of research for a cure for cancer.  Along the way he quietly ran into the hearts of millions of Canadians.  He’s definitely one of my heroes.

Keep running, Terry.

I’m tired. Will you accept a Black and White photo of a mountain and marsh?

I had parent-teacher interviews tonight, and I’ve not been home all day, but I wanted to post this.  It is absolute crap weather outside and at the rate we’re going it should be sunny sometime around October.  Also, maybe I can get some solid sleep by then.

Anyway, I’m rambling and need to sleep.

Here’s the photo.  Sleep well.

Which words motivate you?

These words are on a chalkboard in the entrance to my house.  I don’t look at them often enough.  I’m an English teacher and words have been my mistress for a long time.  I love the feel of certain words when spoken; I love the sound of a word when it meets my ear.  I love when I learn a word in another language and have to move my tongue in an awkward way to make it sound right.  What I love most, however, is when words can evoke a pure, inspirational emotion in the heart of the listener.

“I am proud of you.”

“I love you.”

“You make me happy.”

“You’re amazing.”

I bought a bunch of Magnetic Poetry kits – one for my fridge (I’ve made my kids write a poem each to be excused from the table); one for the entrance of the house; one for the vintage fridge door I have in my classroom.

What’s funny is that I wrote these phrases, in the photo above, but they still inspire me and start my day in a more positive way.

What inspires you?

BTW, Happy Birthday Mom!

Cake is awesome!

This cake was great.  Tasted great.  Looked great.  Felt great – wait…what?  That’s not right.  It’s a cake, not Pat the Bunny.

Anyway, I’m so proud of this cake that I thought I’d post another photo of it.

Did I say that it tasted great?  It was.

I trapped the Easter Bunny and mounted him on a cake

Actually, it was my job to make an Easter/Birthday cake for our family Easter dinner today.  Here’s how I did it:

1.  Friday:  I baked four 9″ chocolate cakes and placed them all in the freezer, wrapped in plastic (I only used three of the round cakes for what you see above).

2.  Saturday:  I asked my wife as nicely as I could to make a ridiculous amount of buttercream icing.  After I removed the cakes from the freezer, I placed them one on top of the other and trimmed the whole stack to a good circle.  I “dirty iced” the three cakes  and placed them back in the freezer.

3.  Still Saturday:  We colored the remainder of the icing yellow and green.  I chose two Wilton icing tips and filled my icing bags.

4.  Minutes later:  I removed the iced stack and started “basket weaving” the yellow icing on the sides.  When that was done, I starred the top four rows, dropped a big glop of yellow icing in the middle and placed the Lindt Bunny and the Cadbury Mini Eggs.

5.  Ta-Da!  Done.  Only hours of work to make this little beauty.  Then, back in the fridge overnight and off to my sister’s house today.

It tasted good.  Want some?

Perspective is everything (in photography, life…most things, actually)

When I first started out in photography, I was drawn to photographers who messed with perspective.  I was fascinated with the visual aspect of perspective of great photographers like Sam Javanrouh and Richard Avedon.  They showed me the world from a different angle.  Whether the metropolitan and street scenes of Javanrouh or the reinvention of the portraits of Avedon, I saw the world from their perspective.  And I liked it.

The other photographers who have forced my perspective (sorry about the pun) are those who have changed the way I think – my cognitive perspective.  Photographers like Kevin Carter and Robert Capa showed me a world that I had to really think about and that lingered in my head long after I stopped viewing their photos.

Who influences your perspective?

Photo Friday and WordPress Photo Challenge, together again

I think it’s nice that Photo Friday and the WordPress Photo Challenge can work together so that I have less work to do.  Photo Friday’s challenge this week is Minimalist and the Photo Challenge from WordPress is One.  Here’s my photo of a lonely tree standing out against this evening’s sunset.  I was hoping to catch the sunset proper as it was a gigantic ball of orange on the horizon.  Alas, I was thwarted by how quickly the sun sets this far away from the summer solstice.

Oh, and Happy Easter everyone.

Hijacked! I’ve been hijacked!

Haha.  I’m Hannah and I’ve taken over Daddy’s blog today.  This is a shot of my brother that I took a week ago while he was on the trampoline.  My Daddy and Mama bought a camera for me a couple of years ago and I love taking photos, just like my Dad, although he gets a little weird about always having his camera with him.

I hope you like my photo.  Let me know what you think.

Also, if I let him, Daddy will be posting again soon.  See you later.

Spring is pink. And blue and green…and red and blue.

I’m watching the Montreal Canadiens playing against the Boston Bruins in the1st round of the playoffs while posting this photo.  My dad taught me, raised me, to believe that the Canadiens were created by God on the 8th day, after he rested.  He needed to rest because creating the greatest hockey team of all time was going to need a renewed energy.  Of course, now that I’m an adult and live in British Columbia, now I also cheer for the Vancouver Canucks.  The colors of spring were always green for new leaves and pink for flowers.

Now the colors, with the NHL playoffs going well into May, of spring are Red and Blue (the Habs), Blue and Green (Canucks) and the pinks of our local cherry trees.

What color is spring to you?

Late night post…oops

Here’s a post that’s super-late.  We had a dance at the school tonight and I’ve been home for five minutes.  I don’t want to miss a post this year, so here’s the late night post.  I wish I were able to write about this one because I really like this photo.  Maybe I’ll talk about it…zzzzzzzzzzzz…

What do we expect of the beautiful?

This is a Japanese Ornamental Cherry tree.  It is beautiful and there are many of them around the area I live.  They do not, however, bear fruit.  Hence, the ornamental status.

Here’s the thing:  does beauty have to produce anything in order to be useful?  If something is beautiful, does it have to be productive, or should we just bask in its beauty?

If it’s a tree, most people, I think, would argue that its beauty is what it produces.  But what about other beautiful things?  What about beautiful people?  Do they have to produce anything?  From my experience, the most beautiful people are those who don’t know they are.  The humility they show makes them that much more beautiful.  On the other hand, I am nearly repulsed by people who know, or think, they’re beautiful and think the world owes them because of genetics and luck.

What do you think?

Not what you want to see when you’re driving home.

I left work today and the sun was shining.  There were big, fluffy cumulus in the air and some nice, dark underbellies.  I was waiting for the clouds to burst open and soak me, but it didn’t happen.  I took the Whatcom connector (a new shortcut that makes the drive a lot shorter) and as I came over the hill I saw blacks and navies in the sky.  This is what I saw as I drove home.  Welcoming, isn’t it?

What’s funny is that it’s not the sky or the highway that scares me.  It’s the semi truck in the rearview mirror.  I’m not scared of trucks, or any objects that can’t chase on their own steam.  It’s the movie Duel by Steven Spielberg.  The film was made before I was born, but, ever since the first time I saw this film, I think of a semi truck chasing me with evil intent.  I never noticed the truck behind me while I was driving, but seeing it now in the photo that I took kind of weirds me out.

I think I’ll go check the window.  See if it’s still following me.

Hey! Wanna go to the lake again?

Here we are.  Back at the lake.

I’ve been neglecting my camera lately.  Between term end and a school dance coming up and the weather sucking by never sticking to one plan – seriously, 10 degrees, sunny and hailing? Hey, weather, what they heck? – I seem to rarely get out to take new photos.

Sorry about rehashing the lake again.  It seems that my only photos are about snow or water.  I’ll see what I can do about that.  In the meantime, I hope this photo suffices.

Sunrise Zen (plus some Canadian cultural stereotypes)

I know that I’m perpetuating a Canadian stereotype by posting this photo (“…and yesterday’s,” he added, sotto voce), but the beauty of a snowy sunrise is nearly unsurpassed by any other experience.  The way the snow looks a kind of blue, but the orange of the fiery sunrise is also reflected, gives this snowy photo a kind of zen, cool calm.  The air, for your reference, was cool and brisk and the snow was dry (until I stepped through a thin layer of ice to find a big puddle).  I know dry snow might seem oxymoronical (it’s a word – if it wasn’t I couldn’t have said it and written it), but this snow is light and fluffy and can be swept from your car easily.  That’s the way I like my snow – that’s not the way I’d ever want to be described.  “Oh, yeah, Marc?  He’s light and fluffy and can be swept from your car quite easily.”

Oh, and for all of you thinking of heading north of the 49th parallel and asking for directions to the nearest snowmobiling or skiing venue, stop by my igloo.  It’s right across the street from the ice rink and skate park.  I’ll make sure you make it to your snow safely.

Sight line.

I was in Manning Park last night for a Pro-D retreat for my school’s staff.  It’s only an hour and a half away from where I live, but this was the scene to which I awoke this morning.  I got up around 6:00 and waited, patiently, for the sun to crest the nearby mountain.  I proceeded from one vantage point to another, until I spied this little path through which the rising sun was peeking.  The line of sight was such that I kept thinking that if I walked towards the sunlight I might pop out in Narnia.

Check out Photo Friday and The Weekly Photo Challenge on WordPress for today’s inspiration.

Here’s a pretty picture.

Please feel free to visit us here in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia.  It may be the prettiest area in the world.  I live here, so I’m both biased about it and totally accustomed to it, so I often forget how awesome it is.  Isn’t that the way it happens?  We live around amazing people, in amazing places, surrounded by amazing things in nature and we take it for granted.

I think we need to take a day off and appreciate everything around us.  For no other reason than to remember how awesome things really are.

What do you think?

The barber redux. This time in black and white.

This is more of a photography experiment rather than a new post.  It’s a different photo than was posted last night.  The difference is that this is black and white.  Given Ben’s haircut and the photo being in black and white, it feels a little more like it could have been taken decades before it was.

What do you think?  Do you like yesterday’s better than today’s?  Hmm…

A trip to the barber – a real barber!


I took Ben to the barber today.  I took him to an actual barber.  Someone who’s been trained to cut men’s hair.  It was cool.  She had a classic barber’s chair (two, actually) and she cut his hair almost entirely with the electric razor.  It was great.  I felt like I’d stepped back a few decades.  It was great.  In the end, Ben got a haircut that my grandpa would have been proud of; I know I was.

Random ramblings. Also, treetop.

So I’m watching 2001: A Space Odyssey on tv right now.  I love this movie.  I haven’t watched it in so long, but it is so great.  There are six people in spacesuits standing on the moon somewhere and the music is so creepy that I may not sleep well.  I am so tired, though, so I figure I might pack it in early tonight.  We’ll see.  Well, I’ll see, not you, unless you’re stalking me, which I hope you’re not.

It’s weird watching this scene right now because I already watched the ending earlier.  This is the fun of having satellite t.v.  I watched it earlier on the first broadcast on HDNet earlier tonight, but only the end, where Dave sees himself as an old man.  Now I’m at the beginning and will probably go to bed before I even get to HAL9000 and Dave and the whole, “Dave?  What are you doing, Dave?”  I love that part.  But, like I said, I’m tired.

Do you like 2001?  Do you like any of the Stanley Kubrick films?  I love The Shining, but, again, if I think about that too much I’m not going to sleep tonight.

Oh, and there’s a photo of a tree at the top of this post.  Huh.

Spring better get here soon!

Seriously.  I don’t remember the last time that the Lower Mainland of British Columbia had three days of sun in a row.  I know that most of the critics will tell me that if I hate it so much there are many places in the world that will satisfy my sunny desires.  I know that by the time summer rolls around I’ll be sick of the twenty days of sun in a row.  But it’s April and there’s supposed to be some sunshine (and not the “liquid sunshine” that everyone keeps telling me to enjoy).

As a Lower Mainlander, I reserve the right to complain about the weather, even when it’s some of the nicest weather in Canada.

Alright.  There it is.

The ripple effects from kindness.

“Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.  Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”  (Scott Adams)

I love this quotation.  I’ve tried to accept the fact that it’s by the guy who writes Dilbert (which I secretly love – not so secret anymore, I guess).  What I’ve found is that my favorite acts of kindness are the ones that ensure anonymity.  I like to pay for the guy behind me in a drive-thru.  It can be a bit of a gamble – you never know what that guy has ordered or how much it might be.  What’s awesome is knowing that someone is confused and happy.  I’m not sure why I feel so excited when I do stuff like that, but I get this grin that won’t go away.

Change the direction of someone’s day.  Make them smile and take no credit.  It’s going to create ripples you couldn’t imagine.

Photo Friday and the Weekly Photo Challenge merge again.

Photo Friday‘s challenge this week is “Ride.”  The Weekly Photo Challenge from WordPress is “Old.”  I immediately thought of a photo I took over a year ago.  This is a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air.  Someone has spent a great deal of time making this one beautiful.

As a kid, this is the car I wanted.  That was before I understood gas mileage and oil costs and maintenance.  Before I lost the dream for the lameness of reality.

Still, it’s a beautiful, old ride.


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