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-

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Six more weeks of winter....

Yup, you read this right, six more weeks of winter! And it's all Skipper's fault...;-)
On February 2nd, ground(h)dog day, Skipper threw a long shadow and our fate was sealed....

The weather report agreed.

Never would we have imagined, though, how much winter was about to come. It started the following Saturday with rather heavy snowfall.

As I was doing the dishes, I marveled how beautiful the amaryllis looked, reflecting a bit in the window, with the snow coming down in the background.
By afternoon it got even worse. Glancing out of the window I saw Fin and Lexie contemplating what was happening. I was wondering what they told each other....maybe Fin told Lexie about his time in California? Times without this fluffy white stuff coming from the sky ;-)

Sunday came and went, and the snow never really stopped coming.
This is what we woke up to Monday morning...

The chicken were not amused, and we actually had to shove the snow off the coop, in order to avoid damage.

Chaos the next morning the snow had finally stopped and things slowly returned to normal. As I pulled up to work that Tuesday morning I got greeted by a wonderful rising sun.

The animals are coping quite good with this extreme weather. The horses "grow" some icicles,

but otherwise seem to enjoy the snow

Leica thoroughly loves her first winter,

Skipper maybe not so much...

The cats carefully checking out the snow.

Another big dump of snow came the following weekend, breaking some records. Rumor had it that this was the biggest snowfall in the last 80 years.

But as soon as the sun is out, I have to say it's just outright gorgeous, no matter if you are on the Kimberley ski hill,

  or at home.

Black and white view of our backyard...

And this is the weather report from this evening....seems we are not done yet!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

As Cold as Ice....Images from the International Ice Carving Competition at the Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival 2017

After my not so successful attempt in photographing the ice sculptures at the Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival last year, due to weather and timing, I made sure I had enough time and opportunity to capture them in their full glory this year.

What a venue, what a location, what amazing art!
Below the entry to the ice sculpture competition, framed by the majestic Rockies and Victoria glacier.

Every 3rd weekend in January ice carvers from all over the world meet here to compete. Ten teams of two, that are specifically invited for this event, transform 15 300 lb blocks of ice into a sculpture that represents a given competition motto.
This years motto, on the occasion of Canada's upcoming birthday:
"Canada - True North"

The rules are hard, the ice is cold, the time is short...

Intrigued about what "Clinebell" sculpting ice is, I did some research, this is what I found on the companies website: 

Pretty cool, literally....just imagine the logistics of getting 150 300lb blocks of ice situated....

Altogether I visited the festival 4 times during the few days I stayed in the area. The first time Sunday night, right after the competition had ended. And I was just blown away.....
Please click on the images to appreciate the details!

"Training Day" by Team Biasas won 1st place and the people's choice award this year.  The brothers Antonio and Ross Biasas, from the Philippines, delivered an amazing piece of art. Unfortunately the sculpture was located in a spot where it was extremely difficult to photograph it properly. I tried my best but feel I could not do it justice. It shows in unbelievable detail a mother bear catching fish swimming in a river, with her cub on the shore trying to copy the mothers hunting habits, while being challenged by what I believe is an eagle.

From the single scales on the multiple fish to the bubbles in the water and the intricate feathers of the eagle, the details are just mind blowing!

"Ancestral" by Team Russian Bears came in second.

The sculpture by Eduard Ponomarenka and Valeriy Batalov is very imposing and impressing

Clear forms and an exact execution make for a deep impact.

Team Jelgava made 3rd place with this monumental sculpture.

With "Memories of the North" Karlis Ile and Maija Puncule from Latvia created an epic piece of temporary art.

Looking at the sculpture from this angle one can indeed imagine how these majestic creatures roamed the area, they fit in just perfectly!

The Carvers Choice award went to another remarkable sculpture, "Lone Bison" by Team Ice Choppers. Even more remarkable that this was just a team of one, Don Lowing from the USA!

Again, a sculpture with lots of detail and meaning...

While I was strolling back and forth between the sculptures, I ran into this gentleman, a different kind of sculpture, but nevertheless, he caught my attention.  Honoring the Canadian Pacific Railway Swiss guides centennial this statue is dedicated to the memory of the Swiss mountain guides and was put in place in October 1999. He didn't have an eye for the sculptures, though, his mind was on the mountains....

Back to the ice...apart from the winners there were more extraordinary sculptures that are worth mentioning.

"Northern Roots" from Team Scott & Kee, (Scott Harrison, USA and Kee Gawah, Sweden/Malaysia) depicting an imposing dream catcher, is another example of intricate and detailed craftsmanship.

The artists' statement about this artwork sure helps taking in the full meaning of the sculpture and the thought process behind it.

"Northern Descent" shows us one of Canada's' signature bird in an iconic way

Team Frozen Art, Dean Murray and Edwin Hutchison from the USA, absolutely living up to their team name!

I just had to play with light and detail on this one...

Last but surely not least, my favorite sculpture of the competition.

"The Guardian" by Team Sakha, Egor Stepanov and Alexey Andreev from Russia, Republic of Sakha. These two won the Carver's Choice Award as well as the People's Choice Award last year with their sculpture " The Beloved Blue Shore". 

Majestic, elegant and and just stunningly beautiful.

I wish I would know the idea behind this sculpture...a Native Canadian version of Lady Liberty, holding a maple leaf in her hand, standing on a moose/caribou guarding Canada...that would be my interpretation...

Tips for visiting the International Ice Carving Competition at the Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival:

During the actual competition one needs to buy tickets to visit the site, the tickets are available at the Banff/Lake Louise website.
If you are not a friend of crowds, just wait until about 5.30 on Sunday, or any time thereafter on the weekdays following the competition weekend. Entry is free and way less people are around....
For twilight and night photography you will need a tripod!
The sun hits the area only between about 10 am to 11.30 am during this time of the year. Visiting the ice carvings during an overcast day is rather frustrating, as they just don't show as well. If there is no sun in the forecast, go at night!