Archive for 'General'


Ice Fishing with Friends In Yellowknife

This week was a real eye-opener for me as I was sifting through my archive of photos from the past 11 years looking for images to use in a special project I’m working on.  I noticed an interesting trend in my photography.  As my image making improved over the years, the types of images I created changed too.  When I bought my first digital camera at the turn of the century, sure I tried to create artistic images, but most of my pictures were more snap-shoty (is that a word?).  In a time when most people didn’t have digital cameras and camera phones hadn’t even been considered, I took my camera everywhere and took snapshots of everyone and everything that was going on.  It was great.

It was great, but my images were pretty ordinary.  Sure enough though, over time, the images I was crafting improved, became more artistic, interesting and worth talking about.  What I didn’t realise was happening at the same time, is that I wasn’t taking as many snapshots.  Now, when I think about it, I realise that as my image crafting improved, I started to get snobby about making them.  I’m only going to make an image here if I can make an interesting, great, or cool image.  At some point along the line I reached a point where I totally stopped taking snapshots.  And this is where things get a bit sad for me.  I have a whole block of my life where there aren’t any snapshots because I was “too cool” for that, or at least, I thought so anyway.  On top of that, we weren’t in the habit of visiting a portrait photographer, so really, there’s this block of time in my life where there really aren’t very many pictures of Jen and I at all.

What I want to leave you with is this idea.  Yes, professionally crafted images are important for marking the milestones of your life, but please, don’t stop taking snapshots either!  Snapshots are vitally important in remembering the things that happen through our lives.  Keep those snapshots, save them, back them up, treasure them like the gold they are.  On the very same hand though, make sure you build a relationship with an exceptional professional photographer who will craft remarkable images of you and your family at regular intervals in your life so you can display them in your home and craft beautiful albums to treasure forever.  Just remember that the snapshots fill in all the little gaps in your life in between those visits to your photographer.

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!


Christmas Cards?  I know right?  It’s that time again already!  I was working at The Creative Space today, a really cool creative coworking space in Barrie, when I overheard someone call out “30 days to Christmas!”  Holy cow.  Merry ho-ho is nearly here again.

This year I thought I would be clever and put my Wish List into a shared Evernote notebook that I can share with my family so they can see what I might gush over if it happened to appear out of Santa’s Sac this year.  The best part, of course, is that it’s a living, updating document so I can add to it and they instantly have access to the latest and greatest.  I can even add pictures and URLs so they get just the right thing, even order right from their computer and not have to go driving all over the county looking for it and getting upsold by some eager commission-based salesperson…

Ah, but I digress…

What I’m wondering is?  What are you doing for your Holiday Cards this year?  While time is starting to get tight to do something as creative as thsee cards we’ve designed for our friends and clients but the window hasn’t closed yet.  Or, if things are a bit hectic now in the lead-up to year’s end, how about putting together New Year’s Cards to go out with your family letter in the New Year.

Or, if yours is like many families, you have family members scattered all over the province, country, even the world and getting together for a family portrait is pretty challenging.  We will be around during the Holiday break and available to get together with you while the whole family is together for the holidays and create a beautiful portrait of all your loved ones.

Everyone not going to be in the same place at the same time?  Why not ask us about some of the creative ways we can put together a killer portrait from a number of separate sessions that work around your hectic holiday schedule?


It’s funny.  Not funny haha, but funny – this is interesting.  Through my photography this year I have met and made friends with a lot of people south of the border.  No not the Mexican border, sheesh, the Canada-US border.  As a result, I am much more aware of American Thanksgiving this year than I have been in years past, what with Canadian Thanksgiving nearly a month and a half earlier in October.  Granted, it is hard not to notice that it’s Thanksgiving in the States this weekend, what with the flood of Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales and deals pouring into my inbox this past week.

So today, when I checked in with my Facebook account, I noticed a link to a blog post about giving thanks by my friend, Lisa, who is a fabulous family photographer in Milwaukee, I took a couple of minutes to read her post.  Lisa starts talking about how easy it would be to not be thankful this year, seeing how this is the first year her family is celebrating Thanksgiving without her dad.  But very quickly she realises just how much she has to be thankful for, such as the memories she has of her relationship with her father.  She also talks about how much she values a portrait she has of her with her father and how the expressions and gestures in that photo take her right back to the moment.  I doubt very much that she would give up that portrait for anything in the world.

Read the rest of this entry …


‘Tis the season, isn’t it?  For some this is a time to start thinking about whether they are on the naughty or nice list.  For others it’s a time of celebration.  A time for giving.  A time for sharing.  For many though, it is a time for creating.  In homes all over the world creative and/or crafty folk put their skills to work creating gifts, decorations and fabulous feasts.  In our home over the last several years the approach of Christmas is marked by the frantic production of Christmas Bags and Santa Sacs.

Jen started creating the Christmas Bags for friends in 2007 followed the next year by the creation of the Santa Sacs for our wonderful friends, the Cordys.  Ever since, there has been a huge demand for these custom bags and sacs around this time of year.  Every year, by the time Jen has finished she says “Enough.  I’m never making another bag!”  haha. Yeah right.  I smile lovingly and nod.  Then a friend asks.  And Jen goes back into production.

It’s actually been a bit different this year as Jen has written up the instructions, developed patterns for a bunch of different designs, made the patterns available for sale and is even teaching a class on the Santa Sacs at Simcoe Sew and Quilt in December.  Of course, our Aussie friends all know about the bags and sacs so a few orders came in and have to be put together too, including one jumbo stocking.

Needless to say Quilts by Jen is a bit busy right now!

What does this have to do with film-making?  [Hit the jump for more and pictures of some of Jen’s bags…] Read the rest of this entry …


The Cordy Clan - January 2009

While the entire world is reflecting on Steve Jobs and the incredible impact he and Apple have had on life as we know it, another legend has passed on.  You may not have known Bill Cordy.  In fact, you probably don’t.  But those of you who have had the pleasure and honour of knowing him, know that he too, is a legend.

The photo above was made the second time we met Grandpa Bill. We had met briefly during a Christmas party at the Cordy’s in a year or so before when Bill had come up with Rob and Irene to spend Christmas with the family that would go on to become our very best friends in Roxby.

The following year, 2009, we went to Grandpa Bill’s place on the river in Moorook for the Australia Day weekend and had a blast skiing, kneeboarding, and just relaxing and chilling out.  It was a special year for Bill that year, celebrating his 90th birthday, surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  We were honoured to celebrate with him and we all went out to a local winery, Banrock Station, for lunch.  “Bring your camera”, Scott said, “We’ll get a big family photo.”  As it turns out, this was our first family portrait.

I remember his son, Rob, and grandsons, Scott and Jamie, telling some of their favourite stories about Bill during the birthday celebrations at the river that weekend.  Coming of age stories.  Learning to drive stories.  Farming stories.  Relationship stories.  A lotta love in those stories.

You can see Bill there in the middle of it all.  As bright and cheerful as ever.  Sharp as a whip.  I mean this guy had it going on.  He was always the first one up in the morning at the river and you could hear him whistling as he went about his morning.  He would trundle off to the corner store as soon as the papers arrived to get his daily crossword and news fix.  In my family, all of the elders have finished off their days in increasing levels of care, so meeting Bill and seeing him still living life to the fullest at 90 was refreshing.

We caught up with Bill several more times over our time in Australia and always the same cheerful attitude.  Always made us feel welcome in his home.

It came as a shock to learn a week or so ago that this mighty fellow had been taken down by a heart attack that laid him up in the Loxton hospital.  Our hearts and thoughts were with our friends as they all converged on the river to be with him.  Up and down he went, but after a week he was looking pretty good.  The doctors weren’t going to let Bill go back to his home though, those days were over.  Not that Bill was particularly pleased with that.  Not a nursing home kinda guy, you know.

Then, this morning it came as a shock  to receive a note that Bill had passed during the night (our night, Australia’s arvo).

We wish you god’s speed Bill.  You will be remembered forever.  You will be missed.  You will not be forgotten.  You made your mark.

I invite all of you who knew Bill, or were touched by him, to say a few words in the comments below… (you might have to hit the jump to get to the comments)

Read the rest of this entry …


As we set up our studio we are faced with many, many choices.  Too many to count, even.  Well, okay, they are too many to count because I’m keeping track of all my projects in Omni Groups’ fantastic OmniFocus which I implemented after Jen and I both read David Allen’s terrific book on mastering stress-free productivity.  Whilst I’m uber-excited about finally having all the junk in my head neatly organised in a system I can trust – and let me tell you what a difference this has made ’cause no longer do I go to bed and fight with reminders of all the things I need to – this post isn’t about productivity systems.  Phew, that was a close call.  Just about went waaaay off track there.

Just a sec – chocolate break – Jen just brought me a hot chocolate…. yumm-o!

Okay, right.  So, setting up our studio, we’ve had a lot of choices to make.  One of the most significant choices was how to adequately display samples of our art.  This might seem fairly straightforward, but since our studio is in our home, our examples had to reflect our lifestyle and be art that we wanted to have as a part of our everyday lives.  Since we are passionate about the benefits fabulous wall art and albums bring to our clients having images we feel the same way about in our own home was really important to us.

When we were living in Australia, our best friends, the Cordys, became our “adopted” family.  Just before we left Aussie to come back to Canada we created some beautiful family portraits of our friends in the Outback bush near our home.  The image up top is our absolute favourite portrait of them and it now hangs in a central place in our home as an incredible 30×60 inch gallery wrap canvas mounted in a floating frame.

When I ordered this image from our awesome printer in Calgary and decided on top of the line Breathing Colour canvas, I wondered about how it was going to fit in to our home.  Would the size be adequate?  Too much?  Not enough?  I needn’t have worried.  It looks amazing!  I can’t begin to tell you how much joy having this art hanging above our stairs is bringing us, having our “family” with us and not tucked away in a corner or on a shelf to be seen on dusting day.  And yes, we have had a few cries too, as we miss these guys so much!

I’ll be honest.  This is the largest photograph I have produced.  Even as a photographer, I had my doubts about the ability to print large portraits from cameras today without the incredible resolution of medium and large format cameras.  But when I look at the quality of this print, I am in awe of what can be created with a great image, amazing media (the canvas) and a printer who is committed to excellence in his art of printing.