Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Photo challenges and Pests

The deadline is fast approaching, especially since I have a very busy weekend shooting team photos coming up. I have been shooting a bit - a few soccer games, shots through the day Sunday while doing yard work, tried to find the perfect barn against dramatic sky Monday morning, but I just don't have a great shot yet. And I have not been inspired by any subject to set a shot up yet. I don't mind entering last minute, I just need to be careful to leave myself enough time to analyse and edit the dang thing!

The U18 boys did well in Tacoma, with two wins and two ties. There is lots of talent on that team, and I wish them all success in finding their place in the soccer world.

We did a bunch of yardwork on the weekend. It felt so good to do physical labour. (I really miss that in my current job.) I still need to plant seeds, and buy annuals for flower pots. It came very close to freezing last night, so I am glad I didn't have too much stuff in the ground yet. And then there are the big landscaping jobs to be done - putting the front yard back together, replacing decking front and back, putting in flower beds in the back, the list could be endless if our bank account were.

Still no information from EMSA for those coaches that appealed the banning - they paid their $ for the privilege of being ignored! Not surprised, just saddened I guess.

Anyway, hoping that the photography inspiration bug will bite, or the perfect sunset happens right in front of me! And speaking of bug bites - if you are heading to my town, bring your mosquito spray. The mosquitoes are overly abundant and ferocious. Between mosquitoes, potholes and road construction, Edmonton is not a very inviting city this year.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Goalie

Goalies are a special breed. At least that is what I've been told. So why is it that I have 2?!! Goalies are either the hero or the goat - there is no middle ground.

Colin has played goal since forever. He is both technically competent (or proficient - he is in the NTC program) and mentally competent. He can accept his strengths and weaknesses, and both do what is necessary to finish the game and accept his own shortcomings. I have come to accept him as goalie, and look forward to him playing the position. I used to dread games where he played goal - partly because it is such an unforgiving position- now I look forward to that spectacular save.

So, the other night, Colin played striker for his team.

He has not really had this opportunity since U14. I was once again the uncomfortable parent, watching him play a position that he hasn't trained for in years. Bu it was kind of fun. and he did alright.

He is at a scouting tournament in Tacoma right now. I hope that he plays goal. And I hope he impresses he right person by doing so. He has never had any other passion. He has never wavered from the goal of continuing to play soccer. He has worked hard to get where he is, and shown great dedication. I hope that this effort pays off for him.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


This evening I found a quarter with an ookpik on the "tails" side. This brought back a flood of childhood memories, including my 'ookpik' boots, and time in Yorkton. I also was reminded of mispronounced words from childhood(s) - my own, my sister, my kids...Shalame was my word for elephant, dadoo was Colin's word for Cookie Monster. Funny how a simple image and a quiet moment can result in such free flowing thoughts.

And then I had a completely different thought. I'd spent a lot of time trying to come up with a name for my photography business, something unique, something other than just my name. Well, Ookpik might be it. It is Canadian, it is unique, it has a personal meaning to me. So, maybe I should call the photo business Ookpik photography. I see there is another blog called Ookpik's Negativity.

So another 'word' that is unique to me is 'shalame'. Maybe Shalame photography works?

Hmm, so what do you think?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Last Photographer Standing

Well the semifinal contest time has come. Those of us that made it as final 10 in each of the first 5 rounds of this complex contest now have to enter a new shot within this two week period, fresh, without a theme. Best 10 shots, as chosen by a panel, win prizes and go on to compete in the final at some later date.

So I am trying to figure out strategy: Should I just shoot a lot, shoot each sports event, all opps in the garden, every sunset I come across?
Should I think hard about what kind of shot to set up?
Should I look through my galleries to figure out what my best shots have been and try to recreate that?
Should I go on a special road trip to find that perfect landscape?
This is going to be tough. Lots of the other contestants are accomplished at 'creating' shots, be it still lifes or portraits. This is not my typical style, although I have had some success when I've tried that.

It is certainly going to be an interesting and challenging week. Luckily, we have a very quiet weekend coming up. Unluckily, there is rain in the forecast.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day to Me!

HeHeHe! Let me be the first to say it!

Today, the alarm went off at 6 a.m. This is because I did my first freelance photography shoot today. Several months ago, when I was looking for work, I answered an ad from an event photog in B.C., looking for shooters. He kept my info and contacted me about a month ago. I agreed to shoot a road race for him today. Really interesting process - paid me and another photog hourly, he provided cards which we filled and couriered back to him. I am curious as to how the photos will turn out. The job was to get one shot per participant at the finish line. 10K and 5 k run & walk. 1700 registered participants! I can't confirm the results, but think they were pretty good, from the bit of chimping I did.
Weather was great, so that made things easy and enjoyable. Sitting at the finish line, watching families cross together, did make me think that maybe that would be something for us to do next year. We could certainly manage a 5 K walk. Now I need to sort out if I will do it again.

Finished that up at just past 11 a.m. and headed home. Stopped at Fresh Start Bakery and bought myself some pastries. Walked in to the house and it is all spic and span. So the dh did the house cleaning while I was out shooting. That is a great present for me.

Yesterday we were out being kid taxi all day long. CBs team played at 5, and due to player injuries, he played as an out player. First time in a very long time that he has had field play. It was fun to watch.

The sunshine, after all that rain, is really bringing the garden to life. Mom and dad's neighbors tulips are blooming, ours are just barely budding. Will spend some time mucking out there this afternoon, and with luck spend a whole weekend next weekend, whipping things into shape.

Friday, May 11, 2007

White Knuckles, Grey Hair!!!!

Colin drove to and from his practice tonight - about 40 km each way, across the Henday, through traffic, at rush hour. OMG, it was sphincter tightening to say the least. Going to, traffic was very heavy and stop/go/bumper to bumper in some places. Coming home was not as difficult. He did very well, but has three main things he needs to do better: manage the brakes, his speed when cornering, and his shoulder checking.

Shoulder checking has gone from NOT to a full out Look ALL the way behind me (picture an owl turning its head) while travelling 100kmh and not keeping an eye forward......

Slowing dwn for the turn happens AFTER the turn is complete.

And coming to a full stop doesn't happen until just before the welding of bumpers.

But he has to practice and he IS getting better.

While he was at practice, I had some camera time. I found the access to the river in St. Albert - the Sturgeon River - and it has a lovely walking trail, bridges, trees just leafing out and all kinds of water wildlife. I was able to shoot a couple species of ducks, and the most cooperative beaver!

On the drive home, there were a pair of juvenile moose in a field by 137 Avenue. No room to stop, but a really cool sight. There were also flocks of very large birds flying north - I didn't get a really good look but I have a feeling they were birds of prey, maybe eagles. And finally, as we crossed onto Terwillegar, there was a really spectacular sunset going on.

So, despite the grey hair and white knuckles, I had a pretty good evening.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Latent Tree Hugger

Thinking a bit about recycling in terms of the results of our bottle drive this weekend

Our collection totals were:
Pop cans :10816
Beer cans: 3096
<1l plastic bottles: 6549
<1l glass bottles: 2220
>1l plastic bottles: 1046
>1l glass bottles: 72
>1l tetra containers: 832
<1l tetra containers: 1320
'cooler' bottles: 1296
beer bottles: 2472

The one stat there that sticks out for me is the 6500 under 1 litre plastic bottles - I sorted most of those, and they were primarily bottled water bottles. This totals 22% of all of the collected containers - for drinking water readily available to us in our kitchens. I happen to buy bottled water so I contribute to this issue, but I only do so if I am away from work, where I drink tap water. At home, sad to say, we drink water from a water cooler. This is a direct result of not really being sure of the quality of our cistern. In any case, bottled water is a bad environmental choice. I guess I will need to think twice about opening a bottle of water rather than drinking the tap water.

The latent tree hugger in me gets agitated when I see construction crews plowing through tree stands. Tonight, as I was leaving to get CB to his game, a large piece of machinery was starting work on the west side of 170 street. It had just plowed through the trees. Now I know that these are just scrubby poplars and cotoneasters, but they are also home to nesting birds, small rodents, perhaps Spike's relatives, and whatever else is breeding right now in Edmonton. I find it really annoying that this machine operator chose to blast through the tree stand rather than go around it.

I am not opposed to the development of my neighborhood, not a nimby at all, but I do wish that it could be done with a modicum of respect for the existing residents (not necessarily the human ones0 and the environment.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Of Friends

I have had a day full of friends. The younger boys soccer team held a bottle drive today. It was a great success. We sorted the bottles on the driveway here - a lot of work, not without it's frustrations, but this is such a great group of families that it was fun. The boys did really well, too, with both collecting and with helping to sort afterward.
I was really worried about the drive. It has rained almost all week, with very heavy rain all day yesterday. Then, when we woke up this morning, there was snow on the ground! Just a skif, but snow none the less. No one really knew what to expect from the weather at the beginning of the day. The rain had stopped though, and the sky gradually cleared up. The sun came out in the afternoon, and it was quite pleasant.
The collecting went so well that we ended up having to sort several hours after we stopped collecting. All the families pitched in and got the job done, and the team did very well as a result. And I think we all had fun doing this.

This is why being part of a community is such a great thing.

Of course, the other community that I belong to is the photography community that hangs out at DGrin
Sadly, today, a wonderful member of that community passed away. Ginger Jones was a passionate photographer, and produced lovely images with a marvelous dreamy quality. She was an active participant in the forum, and she will be missed.