Archive for 'Family'


A couple of weeks ago one of my very best friends brought his family to visit for lunch.  Steve and I go a long way back. We met in our first year physics lab at Queens, puzzled over the labs together, shared brews, mountain bike rides and some very late night study sessions trying our best to survive Engineering.  We made it, graduated and then went our separate ways as so often happens with Uni friends.  We would get together when I would be back in Ontario visitng my family from time to time.  Its always been one of those really easy relationships.  Easy to fall out of touch, but just as easy to get back in touch.  No expectations and no hard feelings.  Everytime we get together it’s like we’ve been communicating daily every since we finished school.  You know, when you can just pick up a conversation or a joke and carry on without any of the awkward reminiscing about the “old days” because you have nothing else in common anymore.

A few years back Steve mentioned that he had met this incredible woman while on a business trip when he was working for a robotics company.  Fast forward a little bit and the next thing we knew Steve and Nue were heading to Thailand for wedding.  “We are SO there” was our immediate response…. Anyway, perhaps we’ll talk about that experience another day because I could go on about it for hours.

I talk a lot about how important our family is to us and how great it is to be back close to them.  Another benefit is being close to some of our closest friends.  We met Steve and Nue’s two fabulous little girls Matina and Aleena earlier this summer and now these two little darlings have already stolen our hearts.  Matina is painfully shy, but once that shell cracks, there is no stopping her.  And the stories that she told me as we explored the edge of the forest around our home were some of those wonderfully intricate fantasies that come so easily to children.  It is such a great gift to receive that trust, especially from someone so shy.

After lunch Steve and I took Matina to explore some of the Simcoe County forest and the Barrie to Orillia hiking trail that crosses through our neighbourhood.  Grabbing my camera on my way out the door I thought, just maybe we’ll get a chance to create some photographs…..  Well, regardless of how the images turned out, introducing Matina to wild blackberries was certainly the highlight of the walk for me!


Earlier this year, a photographer friend of mine, Sabrina Henry, posted an interview with me on her blog “the chronicles of learning photography”.  I rather kept the interview a bit quiet as it was letting the cat out of the bag a bit.  Several months prior to this article coming out Jen and I had come to the conclusion that we needed to make a change in our lives and that living in Roxby really wasn’t working for us anymore.  We hadn’t quiet decided what the change was going to be, when it would come or just where we might end up, but we did have a pretty good idea.  We hadn’t made any irreversible decisions so broadcasting this feature wasn’t something we could do at the time.

Regardless, when Sabrina asked me to answer a few questions she did warn me that I didn’t get a choice of questions and that I had to choose just one image to go with the interview post.  Arg.  At first I thought it would be a hard choice, but in the end it was pretty easy to choose this image from the Schubert’s family portrait session.  This image one of my favourite family portraits.  It was taken last winter in the Outback near Roxby Downs when the desert had exploded into massive bloom for the first time in decades.  The Schuberts were surrounded with wild parsnips and had a fabulous time exploring the flower-covered dunes while I captured these precious moments for them.  I love how this image portrays just how close Kara and Jay are with their children.

Now that we have launched Houlden Studios, I felt it was fitting that we bring this interview showcase at Sabrina’s blog out to the forefront again.  Check it out here.

A Sister's Kiss

A Sister's Kiss

This image from a photo shoot in the Australian Outback remains one of my all time favourite images from a family shoot.  The love this young girl showed her brother as they explored an explosion of wildflowers in the desert was so sweet.  For most of the shoot, they ran and explored, then in a quiet moment she reached around her brother and gave him this sweet kiss.