Quick Update – Our Newest Addition

I know I haven’t blogged in a long time. Honestly to tell you the truth… i got wrapped up in everyday life that I completely forgot I started one. Nice huh? Well a lot has happened since my last post…

– Found out I’m going to be an Aunt

– Got another Wedding Photography Contract for this summer

– Got a new camera (Upgrade!)

– Bought a house with my boyfriend and have been working on it (this past weekend was yard work)

– And we extended our small family to include this little guy!

Our Chi, Sneakers

Our Chi, Sneakers

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Winterlude 2012 – Frolic in February

Good day WordPress World. Well, on just a side note – I had started this blog in hopes that it would get me in a routine to take more photo’s and keep an online journal… but what with work being so busy and my boyfriend and I just buying a house it’s been a mad dash to March! The countdown to the house started back at day 75, hard to believe it is now down to 10! 10 days till I’m a home-owner! You just wait for the before and after pictures! In the meantime, Matt and I did manage to head out to Winterlude.

Winterlude is always good fun – although this year it has been cut short due to the weather. I never got to skate on the canal but at least Matty and I got to walk a short stretch of it. We also were able to take in the ice sculptures. Here are a few of my favourite images from the day. Enjoy.

If you have been to the Annual Ottawa Winterlude festivities – please post a comment on your favourite Winterlude experience. Mine was from about 8 years ago when my friends and I made a day of it and skated from Dow’s Lake all the way downtown and back. Good times 🙂

Ottawa Zombie Walk, 2011

“What do we want?” “Brains!” “When do we want them?” “Brains!”

This past weekend I took to the streets of Ottawa with my Canon Rebel in hand. Why? To watch the undead parade by! What a spectacle!  Wow! Some of the make-up actually made me feel sick to  my stomach, along with the acting…

I did get chills.

Zombies of all sorts! Clown Zombies, Alice and Mad hatter Zombies, Zombies in pj’s, Hockey player Zombies, Zombie Santa, Punk Zombies, Tennis Player Zombies, Zombie Brides, House wife zombies, Ballerina Zombies and even a Zombie Dog showed up until 100’s were walking up to Parliament.

I decided to have some fun with these photo’s in Photoshop. I’m pretty much a newb when it comes to photo editing software. I use it to either spot touch-up or crop and adjust the colour balance, but other than that, special effects are new to me, so I had some fun with these sets of images.

Hope you like them! I will keep adding more as they get edited 🙂

 

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Fall in Montreal Birthday Trip Extravaganza!

How is it that I live so close to this amazing city and never have gone to explore it sooner? I’m now 29 (go me) and every time I’ve been in Montreal  it was for some function and I never got to really relax and enjoy the city. Well, my wonderful man suggested we go there for my birthday, and what a great idea that was. Just 2 hours away… and I felt like I was walking through the streets in France. Literally 4 blocks from our hotel was Old Montreal, with its cobble stone streets and beautiful architecture! We stayed at Hotel St. Denis. Check-in was smooth, parking was painless, the room was clean, the bed extremely comfy and always greeted with a smile. Right on the main street, we literally were steps away from some great shops and restaurants. Our itinerary was as follows:
 

Thursday Oct 13th 2011: Early start to our day and a leisurely drive, we arrived nice and early to take in the sites at the St. Joseph Oratory. It’s a massive towering church up on the hill, and the sheer size of this building humbles you. With an ornamental garden and a statue honouring the Saint, and path leading up to a staircase, both for those who want to walk up, and those who prefer to go up praying on their knees (let me tell you, watching people pray going up the hill.. in the slight rain too – Devotion!).

St Joseph's Oratory

Inside the Oratory, from the main entrance you walk into this hallway all lit up with candles to light to pray for different Saints (I apologize – I’m not an overly Religious person but I do have a respect for most Religions –  so I am unfamiliar with correct terminology) The main one, which is pictured below, looked neat. The whole church had such a mix of old architecture and a more modern feel, almost retro. You could see it in the details of colours and the doorways looked very Art Nouveau-esque.

Candle's lit to honour saints

Wooden Relief sculptures on the wall.

 After walking around for a wee bit more, we hopped back in the car and headed up Sherbrooke to the Biodome!!! I had been there quite a few years ago, and forgot how totally cool it was! I unfortunately didn’t print my telezoom lens (I didn’t feel like fiddling with camera equipment during my trip) and kind of wished I did bring it just for the Biodome. Oh well… just means we’ll have to go back just for that one of these days. In the Biodome we saw monkeys, parrots, macaws, a sloth, exotic birds, crocodiles, fish of all sorts, penguins, otters, beavers, and lynx’s… of which was my favourite image of the day. Someone must of caught it’s attention above us and I got a great pic of the Lynx readying to pounce.

I spy.... Ready to pounce!!!!

After the Biodome we took to the hotel! Hotel St. Denis. Relaxed for a while in the room, unpacked, took a relaxing hot shower and then back out exploring. I left my camera at the hotel for the rest of the night. Just kicked back and enjoyed a meal and beer at ‘Le Cage aux Sports’, and watched the world go by on the cobblestone streets.

Friday Oct 14th 2011 – Woke up another year older. The plan for today was to walk around and take in more of the sites, do some window shopping, and find a nice place for dinner. We walked what seemed like EVERYWHERE! Here are a few of my favourites from walking around during the day. It kept raining off and on, hence why some of the pics appear gloomy… well… because it was! But I had an absolute BLAST taking in the sites!

Looking up

One of my favourite buildings. This was taken while enjoying a refreshing beverage on a covered patio.

Front profile of the same building. Caught a pedestrian making her way through the frame.

Ivy Growing up a castle looking building - must of been a musuem of some sort.

After walking around and after my purchase of my new favourite tea mug and tea collection from David’s Tea, we made our way back to the hotel where I gussied up and got into my dress just in time for dinner at a restaurant call ‘Spaghetti’. Great restaurant. Comfortable atmosphere, great food, and wine. I had the lamb, and it was delicious! That with a nice Pinot Noir (One of my favourites) I was feeling very happy. At this point after the hours we spent relaxing and enjoying our meal and conversation, it had really started to pour. This is a pic just outside of the restaurant.

Oh the weather outside is frightfull, and our bellies full of wine is delightful 🙂

We ducked into a souvenir shop down this street where I was able to grab me a patriotic umbrella, and I was singing. Singing in the rain literally. It was a warm evening and the rain was warm as well. Made for a wonderful walk back around to the hotel. I stopped to snap this one.  

Saturday Oct 15th 2011 – Last full day in Montreal 😦 We decided to check out Notre Dame Basilica, the Science Center, the Insectarium and the Gardens. Another favourite day, and check off one off the “Must See List in my Lifetime.” notre Dame was amazing! Wow! Breathtaking. What a vision of beauty. Going inside of this Basilica was a religious experience in of itself. Check out these pictures I took. What a cool place!The amazing Notre Dame Basilica – Check one off the ‘Must See’ list!

The amazing Notre Dame Basilica - Check one off the 'Must See' list!

And another showing a close-up of the front.

Simply Breathtaking!

Then onto the Science Center, and from there taxi out to the Insectarium. Left there feeling a little queezie but got some cool pics, like this one.

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice... Beetlejuice!!!!!

After that we took in the sites of the beautiful garden. They have a lantern festival the month of October. We didn’t stay till the evening and the darkness in order to see them lit up, but during the day they were just as amazing. Here is a shot of some lanterns hanging from the Japanese Building.

lanterns hanging from the building

And like every day (other than the day we left) it was raining on and off. As we were walking through admiring the bonsai’s it started to sun spurt, so we seeked some shelter under one of the covered walkways. Took this sort of artistic snap while we waited.

Sun spurts in amongst the Bonsai's.

I hope you enjoyed my collection of favourite snaps from my ‘Fall in montreal’ Trip. If you have the means to go to Montreal Quebec, Canada… GO! You definitely won’t be disappointed. What with the amazing food, breathtaking sites, friendly service and festivities you will definitely have the time of your life. What are you waiting for? Go now!

Butterfly Exhibit at the University

This past weekend I attended the Butterfly Exhibit at Carleton University in Ottawa Ontario. This would have been my second time attending. I must admit.. this time around – the crowd of people was absolutely nuts. One greenhouse open and … Continue reading

Pinto Valley Ranch

Excellent! Got off work early! Thanksgiving weekend and a whole week off. To jump start my hobby in photography I decided to avoid the highway on my drive home. The back roads led me to Pinto Valley Ranch. Super friendly family owns it. I remember going there as a kid, but honestly… it’s better than how I remembered it. Here is their updated website: http://www.pintovalley.com. I got my own 10 yr old tour guide, who was very knowledgable and incredibly passionate about her home. She took me around to all the best photo ops. Hope you enjoy; these are some of my favourite of today.

Honking loudly for some feed

Alpaca-Poodle 😛

Beautiful Peacocks - 2 males and a ton of little ones

Barn cats sitting by the bench

2 week old kitten being held up for the camera by my own tour guide 🙂

Kitten in front of firewood

Wheel propped up against barn

This little piggy... um wait... scratch that 'This BIG piggy.." much better

Chicken just lazing around in the sun. This one is one of my favourites. I love the red barn door!

Sleeping in the barn

This horses name was 'Dot' for obvious reasons. Was delighted to find out her sister's name is 'Com".

My shot at a moody black & white

Sweet little bunny... so soft and liked to be held.

Snuggle bunnies... 🙂

And the last showcasing the barn in the background with the Ranch name.

Unexpected Visitor at Work

Yesterday, while out on my “smoke break”, a co-worker and I heard a squirrel making quite the fuss. Something was going on in this squirrel’s world… so curious as we are, we started snooping around the trees. Sure enough here was this little red squirrel darting around and that’s when I saw him.. BAM! A huge Hawk! The largest bird I’ve seen (other than the Canadian Geese) around work. Ran to get my camera. I managed to grab its attention for a split second while it tore its eyes away from the annoying squirrel, and caught this one below.

 

The second smaller picture here  is was proof of the crazy squirrel. It got right up to the Hawk and we thought for sure it was a goner. I honestly thought at times that the little rodent was actually going to like paw slap the side of the Hawk’s beak… it got really close. The bird had absolutely no interest in the squirrel and actually flew away from it to get some peace and quiet. It was pretty fun to watch.. not knowing if I was going to get some real action fight shots, but nope, it was pretty tame.

Pyrotechnic Pics!!!

Roman candles, bottle rockets, bursts, fire flowers, firecrackers, illuminations, rockets, sparklers, stars, cakes, waterfalls, fountains, showers of sparks… no matter what you call them… FIREWORKS ARE THE BEST!

This past summer I got to go to the Casino de Lac Leamy’s firework display/exhibition called the Sound of Light. It was… just… amazing! The 45 minutes went by so quickly. I unfortunately did NOT bring my camera. I did not feel like lugging it around. I just wanted to enjoy my night with Matt and watch the show. I did, however, on Canada Day bring out my camera and tri-pod. The small town of Arnprior (which is steadily growing) has a pretty good Fireworks Display each year for Canada day. I had never tried photographing fireworks before… so off I go (I dragged my mom out too) and we found a secluded spot in front of the harbour. I thought it would be cool to get all the boats in the foreground. The bugs were bad… and my remote trigger was running out of juice, so I had to stand there holding down the trigger in bulb mode. The mosquitos must have known, because they only went for the one hand that was trying to hold the camera steady. Oh well… I might have had a few chunks taken out of my hand, but I got some great shots! These are a few of my favourites. Enjoy 🙂  

 

Watercolours from my Past…

There was a time when you wouldn’t have seen me without carrying around my sketchbook. I guess, with growing up and how busy I got when I was in college and then starting out in “the real world”…  I just didn’t have the time to devote to doing the watercolour paintings I so loved to create. Eventually I would love to pick up the paintbrush again, but for the time being all the paints and brushes lie neglected, but not forgotten, in my bookshelf while I explore other creative outlets.  I wanted to share a few of my favourites artworks that I’ve created in the past.

This one is of the Clock Tower in my hometown, Arnprior Ontario in Canada. Once was the town hall, then post office, then library, now it is our museum dedicated to our little town and surrounding area.

This is a watercolour I created back in college. It’s of the Ottawa Byward Market in fall.

My friend Tammy and I used to travel around the area, just to go sketching. Usually we’d do a lot of talking too, but those were great times! Miss you Sketching Buddy!!!!

And this is one of a porch in Kingston Ontario that caught my eye.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

Umm Miss? Your Creativity is showing…

Well, Halloween is getting nearer and nearer.  I must admit… it’s my favourite “Holiday”. Ever since I was a kid I just LOVED the idea that I could dress up as something other than myself for a day, no matter how pretty or ugly… and people would give me candy if I knocked on their doors and said these magical words “Trick or Treat!” It’s funny.. no one asked for a trick…

I’m about to show you some tricks I got up my sleeve. These are pictures of past “costumes” ideas, even though none of these I used for Halloween. I did these as time wasters, just for fun ideas that I wanted to see how they’d turn out. Unfortunately I don’t have any images showing my process leading up to the final product, but I will describe it as best I can. This Halloween though… I am going as a Zombie, not much unlike the last picture posted… although I will be a Punk Princess Zombie this time around, and will be posting a how-to instruction blog with images.

This is “Reptile Me”.  Inspired one day as I was cleaning my room. I came across my facepaints… and oddly enough some sewing stuff (I don’t sew) and oh-look a zipper…. hmm… I thought it’d be cool to do my face somehow making it look like I was ‘un-zipping’ my “real” self. Thought of doing something robotic but these blues that I had were just begging to be used. Thought of doing fish scales… tried that out – didn’t like the look. So I opted for a more reptilian skin look.

Steps: 1- washed my face (paints stick on better when no natural oils are on the skin) 2- lay down the lightest colour first. With facepaints.. even though lighter colours go on top of dry darker colours pretty easy, I still like building up the layers lightest to darkest. I feel it gives a much cleaner look. 3- This is when I put down the darkest blue to map out where the scales would be. I painted in the horizontal lines first then did the vertical to separate the scales. 4- Add the mid tone blues on the scales to give a bit of dimension. 5 – double-sided tape the zipper on – this was a temporary solution – it kept falling off but I was only doing this to get the photo, if you opt to have a more permanent zipper definitely use some stronger adhesive like spirit gum.

It turned out great! Needless to say, my room didn’t get cleaned.

 

 

This is “Goat Me”. The hardest part of this was creating the horns. I googled images of Mountain Goats and really wanted to achieve the look of oversized horns… but this was the biggest I could go without hurting my head! Ha.

The horns: 1- Find a steady thick headband with holes already in it. I used a brown plastic one found at Ardene. 2 – using a thicker gauged wire I constructed the base shape of the horns. 3 – using a thinner gauged wire I created the skeleton or horizontal ridges. 4 – Cover the horns (except the base where I left wires kriss crossing in order to connect it to the headband) with paper mache or in this case ready-made plaster strips. 5 – let dry completely and using acrylics I painted them. 6 – attached to headband.

Then it was a matter of hiding the band with my tangle of hair and adding a painted eye band of “coarse hair” again with face paint (oh the wonders of face paint) And ta-da, you’ve got yourself a nice tribute to all Aries out there 🙂

Now, for those with a weak stomach to gore.. please look away. If you don’t like Zombies, don’t look at the following image. You were warned… so don’t leave a message saying you are offended 😛

This is “Zombie Me.” Mmmm.. .brains… or in this case… mmmm… the letter Z. Let me explain. I want to do a Photography project changing my friends into the undead and I was going to use this as an idea for the title image of the album. The idea was to get my friends holding the rest of the Letters “O-M-B-I-E” and then superimpose them all in one image. So far it’s just me.. I’ve been so busy… but it is in the works. I’m already recruiting.

The only thing about this image that I altered on the computer was yellowing my teeth (lol omg imagine if they were like that irl… hello white strips!) and whiting out my eyes. Everything else was made with Spirit gum, toilet paper, grease paint, face paint, and fake blood.

The steps for this one is a little too complicated to write out, but until I do my Halloween costume this will have to do. 1 – with toilet paper and spirit gum apply where you want the skin to be broken… hint: the messier the better. To make it look realistic build up the toilet paper as much as you can to give it as much 3D effect as possible. 2- Let it dry. Very important, yes it may be time-consuming but if you want it to last for a while, please be patient and do it right, let it dry. 3 – once dry use cover-up and powder that matches your skin tone. I covered every area of the toilet paper layers, and painted over top. 3 – using the black grease or face paint – paint in the gashes to give depth. Usually focusing on the edge of the gashes. 4- add bruising effects and stippling around the wounds and make sure you focus around your eyes. Remember this isn’t a beauty pageant. The worse you look the better! ha! 5 – paint in the red bits. 6 – add fake blood… and ta-da Zombie you.

Again I understand that seeing the process is easier than following text instructions. If you stay tuned to my blog I will upload step by step instructions on how I do my Zombie Halloween Costume this year.

I hope you enjoyed my blog as much as I had creating these effects. If you have any questions on any of the processes please feel free to comment or message me and I’ll get back to you! 🙂 Colleen out.