Monday, May 29, 2017

Spectacular Scotland

If you are following me on Facebook or Instagram you probably have read that I was positively running out of positive adjectives during this amazing dream trip through Scotland. Well, actually only through a small part of Scotland.
Yes it was that good!
Over 7000 images later I'm now facing the editing....which is part overwhelming and part great fun as I can relive the trip!
There are more blogs to come, for sure one about Edinburgh, the Kelpies, the castles and maybe more.
For now a few highlights, following the route we took:
We flew into Edinburgh and stayed in Musselburgh, which gave us a good location to scout out East Lothian, Edinburgh, and, of course, some golf courses.

Please feel free to click on the images for a better view

 Tantallon Castle, with Bass Rock in the distance, East Lothian

The Kelpies in Falkirk, absolutely stunning sculptures. 
More about them in a dedicated Kelpie blog.

 The Edinburgh Castle sits high above the town, here seen from Princess Garden

We spent two days wandering through Edinburgh, and could have easily spent many more. Again, I will go into more detail in an Edinburgh blog. If you ever want to photograph in Edinburgh, I highly recommend checking out Tom Foster's website: Spectacular Edinburgh. His website and Facebook/Instagram posts were a great inspiration!

The National Monument on top of Calton Hill

Melrose Abbey

From Edinburgh/Musselburgh we drove farther north to THE "birth place" of golf....

St. Andrews! 
If I counted right, St. Andrews has 11 golf courses within a radius of a few kilometers.
But St. Andrews has not only golf courses, it is also a renowned University city and, of course, has a castle and an abbey. Plus a cafe with the best scones we had during our trip, the Gorgeous Cafe.

St. Andrews Cathedral

From St. Andrews we headed farther north towards Stonehaven. Scotland is known for it's wool and
the producers of this wool are everywhere. As it happened to be lambing season, I could not stop ahhing and ohhing at these cute lambs 

Scurdie Ness lighthouse on the way to Stonehaven.

As we finally arrived at our Stonehaven destination, the Dunnator castle, we found out that it was closed due to high winds. Some of the outbuildings in the castle area are covered with slate shingles. The wind had blown these shingles off before, so to be on the safe side, the castle had been closed. Makes me wonder though, how many days in the year it is actually open, since wind is more or less a given there.

From the Dunnottar castle we continued on to Inverness. Another good location to scout out the nearby attractions, as the Urquhart castle (above) and the Speyside distilleries.

Strathisla distillery is the oldest continuously operating distillery in Scotland, and also the most photogenic! Their 17year old whiskey is to die for!!

From Inverness we headed to Dornoch, paying the Mermaid of the North a visit on the way. This girl was hard to find, surprisingly as she is truly beautiful.

At the Royal Dornoch golf course my caddy services were asked for again. 
If only all golf courses were this breath taking.

And the reward came the very next day: The heritage tour at the Glenmorangie Distillery,
including a yummy lunch at the Glenmorangie house. More in a separate blog!

Wildlife and lighthouses are never far away in Scotland...

Chanonry light house

From Inverness we then headed towards the west coast, to a charming little town called Ullapool.

If you ever visit Ullapool, make sure you stay at the Ceilidh Place. Ceilidh stands for coming together, play music, sing, read and have a good time. And you will just have that as the restaurant offers the best coffee I had in Scotland, a great dinner menu, good music and...a bookstore.

Next on the agenda was the famous Eilean Donan castle, as we visited it in the afternoon we had rain, wind and low we came back for the night photography, the rain had just stopped, no wind and high just a teaser, more in the promised coming up castle blog.

Here a species I was surprised to not see more often, the Scottish highland cattle. When I found them they were either eating or sleeping and if you dare to call on them to get a front shot...they walk away...
I need to work on that next time we are in Scotland!

Oban was our last stop before heading back to Edinburgh. A cute little, bustling port city.
Obviously people here know how to travel....

...and how to live on the edge!

On the way back to Edinburgh we passed by Kilchurn Castle, another famous one...and indeed the only one where the rain persisted.

Back in Edinburgh, we had one more day to enjoy before we had to fly back home.

Victoria Street at night

I travel quite a bit and I have to say these two weeks in Scotland were one of the best trip I ever had! 
Hopefully you can enjoy and partake a wee bit in Scotland's splendor through my images, and as promised, there are some more detailed blogs already in the making.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Spring - Happy Easter

Last month it was all about seniors...this month it will be all about juniors.

With the arrival of spring also came the arrival of my new chicks.
This year, I got some Lavender Orpingtons ( the grey chicks), a breed I always admired, as they are just beautiful birds. Turns out the chicks are equally photogenic.

That determined looking chick will be a Wynadotte once she is grown up.

The yellow little models are Chantecler chicks. Chanteclers are THE only pure Canadian chicken breed. No, they do not play hockey, they might like Tim Horton and they are for sure cold hardy!

My inner photographer had of course some photos in mind, but the well being of the chicks was my first priority. Surprisingly the chicks seemed not to mind at all, and posed quite nicely.

Tea for two!

The Canadian version of a beach chick...

Unfortunately I could not understand what this chick whispered in the polar bears ear, while the other one snuggled right in.

So, you put an egg in the pot, keep it warm, don't water it, and after three weeks a little chick will grow, right?

And if you add peas to the mix you shall get chick peas!!

Flower girl

Perfect framing 

The chicks and I wish you a very Happy Easter, 
many eggs and a fabulous spring 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sincere Seniors

...winter edition

We are all guilty of it: we take hundreds of photos of our puppy or kitten, lots of images during the active time of our pets, but almost none of our senior friends.
And then, one day, they are inevitably gone and we wish we had a current picture or two.
As a professional photographer I often hear these words of regret: "Oh, I wish we would have you come and take photos of Maxi while he was still alive".
And I would have loved to do that, I even offer a 15% discount on all my pet sessions for senior animals (dogs and cats over 8 years old, horses over 15 years old).

Last month though  I had the opportunity to photograph two wonderful mature dogs:

An almost 14 years old lady by the name of Lily:

For Lily we had planned an outside 'on location' session.

Originally we hoped for photos in the snow, but it was to hard and hazardous for Lily with the amount of snow we had.

Lily gave everything and it was heartwarming to see how much 
positive energy this girl still has in her.

And then there is Cesar:

A true gentle man!

 Again, on location, this time indoors. In my opinion a pet is much more relaxed at home versus in a studio. Although it is much easier to light sufficiently and work with props etc in a studio, the animal is most likely to cooperate much better if he is not nervous about the strange environment.

And this location had wonderful high windows with lots of natural light.

Isn't he handsome?

And of course, if we are talking about senior dogs, 
the senior closest to my heart can not be forgotten!

Skipper through the snow! 
He did this just for me, normally he hates dressing up as much as he hates the snow. 
Not surprising considering the lack of ground clearance...

He sure got white around his muzzle...showing his tremendous wisdom!

-The eyes are the window to the soul-