On a beautiful sunny Saturday in July (2014), I photographed Sara and Rob’s wedding. As a hobby photographer, this was my first real job; I felt both excited and panicked – what if I messed up? I heeded the cautionary tales that well-meaning friends shared and ensured I had an extra battery. Even though everything moves along so quickly at a wedding, I was able to relax and get into my zone. It’s easy to find beauty when there is so much love in the air. For me, taking photographs of people, especially catching those unguarded moments is such a wonderful gift. I am so grateful that I was asked to capture the moments from this very important day.
This was an intimate wedding of about 25 guests, at a beautiful beach location in West Vancouver. The bride and groom were perfectly calm and enjoyed their day with friends and family. It was such a joy for me to be a part of this happy occasion. The car holding the wedding rings has a personal significance to the couple. A friend of the couple who was not in attendance, gave them the giant beach ball, which was blown up by an uncle after the ceremony and rolled out onto the lawn for the kids to play with. It turned out to be a great prop and we have a lot of fun photographs with the beach ball. You will see a cheeky, spontaneous kiss from the bride’s son to the daughter of the groom! And finally, at the reception, after taking a few photos of the couple’s rings, I returned them and was lucky to catch the groom on bended knee re-enacting the proposal.
I have uploaded more photos from this wedding on my smugmug site.
This is by far one of my favourite photographs. Taken with my iPhone 3GS back on June 3, 2012. I was sitting in the yard on the ledge of the small herb garden hanging out with my kids and observing the so many bees at work. It was pure luck to catch this particular bee in flight just before he landed on the flowering chive. I love that I can see his legs dangling and his wings are even a little bit in focus! Nice going little iPhone!
Editing done in Instagram to give it that old world, a-moment-in-time-feeling.
Finding Beauty Everywhere.
These are some photos I took one year ago (May 2013). I had a beautiful pot of lavender on my outside deck. The weather was hot and the sun was shinning. This fuzzy bee caught my eye and so I ran for my camera. The bee seemed to linger for quite some time enjoying the lavender.
Note that this is most certainly a bee, with very obvious L-shaped antennae, unlike the bee-fly from the previous post.
Related article: “Plant a Bee Attracting Garden”
Finding Beauty Everywhere.
On March 9, 2014, I stepped outside, delighted but not surprised to see the crocuses in full bloom. What did surprise me, however, was to see the first bee of the season; surely, was it not too early? I snapped some photos until the ‘bee’ took his leave.
Upon researching a little more about what I had photographed, I learned that bees have long L-shaped antennae and have four wings. These were details that I hadn’t noticed before. If they were striped, landed on a flower but especially with a fuzzy body… The moral of this story is far more reaching – how we look at everything and everyone. Once we engage, ask questions and begin to understand, compassion follows.
The ‘bee’ in these photos turns out to be a bee-fly. With only two wings, the bee-fly has much more control when flying and has more precision when hovering. The bee-fly has huge eyes, which take up his entire head. Similar to bees, the bee-fly feeds on the nectar in flowers and some bee-flies are very important pollinators. There are hundreds of kinds of bee-flies, some look like honey bees, bumble bees, yellow jackets or wasps.
Did you know?
At least 71% of the 150 ‘true flies’ (Diptera) families include flies that feed at flowers as adults. Diptera (Di = two, ptera = wings) have been documented to be primary pollinators for many wild and cultivated plant species. Many people think of flies as a nuisance (although there are many species that are!), few people realize their importance in the life cycle, such as:
- food for valued bird and fish species
- pest control
- as decomposers and soil conditioners
- water quality control indicators
- as pollinators of many plants
Bee-flies seem to be the first to grace our beautiful flowering buds in early spring because they are more tolerant of the cold. So, in light of learning about their value, won’t you join me in looking more closely at these stunning creatures? Let’s encourage all pollinators to visit without being shooed away! 🙂
Finding beauty everywhere.
These photographs were taken with a Nikon D7000, AF-S Micro Nikkor 85mm lens.
I came across this beautiful flower last October. It caught my eye as I drove my regular daily route to and from my neighbourhood. What an unusual sight, to see a delicate flower still in bloom so late in the fall in Vancouver, BC. I thought it must be an artificial plant; some people do that kind of thing to keep a bit of colour around during the fall and winter months. But after a week of passing by and noticing some petals falling by the wayside, I figured the plants’ time had finally come to withdraw for the winter. To my surprise, a few days later, I saw another bloom. With that I got the message: “Take my picture, already”, the plant seemed to say.
I did some very unsuccessful research to find out what this species is. If anyone can identify this plant please let me know.
It is so delicate and obviously hardy. It reminds me a little bit of an orchid (from the back), but one that can endure the cold. What do you think?
UPDATE July 2105: I’ve learned that this beauty is a Japanese Anemone. This particular one looks like “Lucky Charm” or “Cinderella”. I’ve just adopted a “Lucky Charm” plant. A lot of buds but no blossoms yet.
To get close to nature, all I have to do is open my door. Racoons climb through trees and hedges in my yard, coyotes roam the streets and on many occasion I have heard them teaching their young how to hunt at night. We can hear owl’s call and woodpecker’s at work. A pair of Bald Eagles nest near us. I have read that it is common for Eagles to use the same nest for many years. One day while running around the track a Bald Eagle flew overhead. A couple laps around the track later, the Eagle returned along the same flight path carrying an impossibly large branch securely gripped in his talons. I was amazed to see the Eagle land in a not too distant tree, presumably adding this branch to a nest.
The photographs I am sharing today are from a pair of Bald Eagles that rest on a high branch in a neighbours yard. With a Nikkor 18-200mm lens mounted on my Nikon D7000, I was able to catch these majestic birds of prey. I get a little advance warning from them on the days they are flying overhead. When the first eagle lands, (I think the female, because she is larger), she calls out to her mate to join her; at least that is my impression. When I hear her calling, I race outside with my camera.
Of course, it drives me crazy because with this lens I am unable zoom any closer to the subject. I have cropped these photographs in Aperture and realize that there is a loss of resolution in doing so, but I am working towards getting myself a telephoto lens before this pair moves on.
I hope you enjoy seeing these Bald Eagles up close.
Did you know that snails and slugs are part of the same species? The term ‘snail‘ is a common name used to describe land snails – terrestrial pulmonate gastropod molluscs. The term snail encompasses the thousands of species of sea snails, freshwater snails and the snail-like animals that lack an external shell but have an internal shell called slugs. There is also snails, called semislugs who carry a shell too small to retract into.
Since 1999, my husband and I have walked our Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs in the beautiful wooded trails of British Columbia; in torrential rain or shine! Our kids learned how to walk and ride their bikes on these same trails (in rain or shine), memorizing their way around the trails and getting in touch with the delicate ecosystem in the process.
On many occasion the kids and I counted more than fifty slugs on one walk. And have occasionally come across giant slugs and a family of many baby slugs.
After a few years of observation we decided that we wouldn’t pick them up. Aside from eating leaves and garden plants we observed that slugs like to eat the dog waste that irresponsible dog owners leave behind on the trails for others to step on.
We also learned that if you do pick up a slug and have slug slime on your hand, that the best course of action is to wipe the slime off with a cloth or allow it to dry before brushing it off. Adding water and soap makes it impossible to wash it off.
Slugs and snails are pretty easy to deal with in the garden, because they move so slowly and don’t bite. Some gardeners use a copper strip to discourage the Gastropods from entering a flower bed or from climbing a fruit tree. Others just pick them up and relocate them.
#Compassion for all beings.
Canadian from birth, with a mélange of ancestry: Sicilian, First Nation, Acadian/ French Canadian and having explored almost every province in Canada, I yearned to step foot in Italy. I still haven’t been to Sicily, but in 1996 or 1997, and it could very well have been 1998, I was presented with an opportunity to visit a few different cities in Italy. I took this photograph using a disposable Kodak camera set on panorama.
As I write this, I have the original print in front of me. The colours are fantastic. But that is Italy for you. It seems like every photograph comes out as a work of art. I scanned this image to post it here.
I have yet to sort through boxes of old photographs; I will get all my non-digital photographs organized this winter and scan in a few.
Venice in July.
The crane fly is a type of fly. It is an insect.
Crane flies resemble and are often mistaken for very large mosquitoes, but unlike mosquitoes, crane flies
do not bite or sting people or animals.
The female crane fly has a much larger and longer abdomen than the male crane fly. At the end of the female abdomen is a severe point, which gives the appearance of a stinger. Crane flies, however, cannot and do not sting.
You will see a photo of two crane flies mating. My son was with me when we saw them. They were on the grass and we nearly stepped on them. He thought it was inappropriate that I take their picture – as a parent, I’m thrilled he as a conscience! What are the chances to come across a pair of crane flies mating? I was amazed.
Unfortunately, I only had my iPhone 4S to take this photograph and it is somewhat limited in the macro department.
An interesting fact to learn about this gentle insect is that once they become adults, most adult crane flies feed on nectar or nothing at all, and in lieu of eating they mate, then die.
So next time you see a crane fly, don’t panic. They are harmless and have quite poor flying skills. They are also very delicate, in the case you need to relocate one outside.
About these photographs:
Taken with a Nikon D7000 and iPhone 4S.
Dragonfly (Anisoptera) vs. Damselfly (Zygoptera)
- Dragonflies keep their wings open at rest, as seen in these photographs. Damselflies’ wings are held closed.
These images are of two different Dragonflies. The first image is of an injured, reddish Dragonfly. I was out for a dog walk with my kids and came upon this Dragonfly just resting on the sidewalk. “What’s it doing there?” It didn’t move for a while. I pulled out my iPhone and snapped a picture before the dog pulled me away. Only later, when I looked at the photo did I notice why the Dragonfly was just sitting there. All three legs on his left side were not positioned like the other side.
My daughter pointed out the other, greenish Dragonfly. “Look!” I grabbed my Nikon, which luckily had the macro lens already attached. As I approached the Dragonfly, I just started snapping in case it should fly away. Lucky for me, I had a very patient model and was able to capture these photographs before it had had enough of this paparazza.