26 June, 2014

3 Minutes

I found this post this morning as I checked my Facebook from my computer. Gizmodo said "It's so much harder than you think" but for me it wasn't hard at all. Then I thought about it - I often go out in the garden and "watch the plants grow" as I like to say. I just sit there in silence, listening to the sounds of bugs flying around, plants swishing in the breeze, birds. If I have no responsibilities looming over me, I could sit out there for hours. No phone, no electronic devices. Just the plants and me. It's hypnotic.

I removed Facebook from my phone a couple weeks ago, and at first would go to my phone and not even realize the intention was to check Facebook... before it suddenly wasn't there and I would scroll around aimlessly on the screen for a few seconds before putting the phone down. Now I've gotten used to it, I interact with my real life friends more. My husband. My surroundings. When I'm out and about, I use the phone to check the time, or respond to a message from my close friends or employer before I slide it back into my pocket. Imagine if I got a watch and all I used the phone for was to check the occasional fact, look at a map, or message my friends (which was my original intention when I bought an iPhone six years ago!).

These three minutes weren't hard for me. Will they be hard for you?

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22 April, 2014

Rain on the Horizon

Last week, V and I went on a day trip to Trosa, which is about 45 minute drive south of us. It was a beautifully sunny, and almost warm day, but things looked a bit ominous on the way home...

Had a bit of fun editing them to look like old photos from my childhood, and I like how moody they became!

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07 April, 2014

Weekend in Photos

We had a lovely, busy weekend doing basically whatever we wanted, and it was pretty fantastic. I didn't heft my camera around on Saturday because we were running from place to place, and shop to shop - and I didn't feel like it. I wish I had brought it along anyway though. Looks like I might need to save some pennies for a less hefty camera for days like that.

I have been in quite a photography rut for the past several months. I just couldn't dig my way out, despite my best efforts - and it was pretty depressing. I even started to question myself as a photographer and wondered WHY ON EARTH can I not get anything in focus the way I want? WHY is that so hard for me right now? Also, I was suffering from feeling inadequate and on and on. Unfortunately it's times like those for me, that even people telling me that I am good and decent as a photographer makes me feel worse about myself... because I am a weirdo. But on a weekend adventure a few weeks ago, I brought my camera out because it was a sunny, bright day and I wanted to play with a reflector I got. 
The day turned out to be completely terrible actually - every single thing went wrong and while it's sort of funny now, it was exceedingly frustrating in the moment. A silver lining to that day was that in fiddling with a few settings on my camera, V discovered that I had accidentally set it to be NOT SHARP on focusing. What?! I didn't even know you could do that. Well I did apparently, but it's fixed now. That plus the combination of a few other inspirations has re-ignited my passion a little for this little hobby of mine and I do say it feels good to be scraping the rust off again.

Here are my shots from Sunday, and our little walk around the neighborhood. 

This (and several other gates like it) were at the petting zoo near our place. I love the sentiment; children who are giving up their pacifiers/dummies/nuks bring them to a special place and hang them with other childrens' old ones as a symbol of growing up. They can visit them whenever they want but they don't need them anymore. Kinda cute!

How was your weekend?

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02 April, 2014

Declan Sinnott and Owen O'Brien

Hey there!

I was going through some of the thousands of photos my husband and I have taken over the last few years together and came across a photo session we did with Declan Sinnott and Owen O'Brien while we lived in Ireland. This was in 2012, whilst Declan was working on putting out an album. Funny thing - I had never heard of Declan Sinnott or Christy Moore or Moving Hearts - but if you're Irish, and like Irish music, chances are you've heard of them. They're kind of a big deal.

Owen and Declan composed beautiful music together for the album, and while V and I were at Mr. Sinnott's home photographing them, we were fortunate enough to have a sort of insider listen to their creative process - and even got a sneaky peek of the album as it was in the works. It was nothing short of amazing. The talent that these two fellows have, and the sounds that come by their hands is truly a wonderful thing. After the photoshoot, I went and looked him up on YouTube and became a fan! Now his album "I Love the Noise it Makes" is one I listen to quite often.

Here are some of my favourite photos from their session:

You can listen to his album on Spotify too! Just search Declan Sinnott, and click on his album "I Love the Noise it Makes"

Rumour has it he's working on a new album. I for one, can't wait to hear it!

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23 January, 2014

New Wheels for his Wheels: a Fundraiser

Hello friends!

My dad is a cute old guy who, before 2007, was tall, strong as an ox, and very very kind. He was always the first to offer assistance and definitely the last one who would ever ask - which is why I am writing today. At the end of this post, there's a link to his fundraiser. Scroll down if you'd like to go directly there or by all means, read on if you're so inclined! This is his story.

2006 was a hard year for my family. We lost my grandmother (my dad's mother), a beloved cousin, my own mother (who lost her six year battle with Lymphoma), and yes - even the family dog. But my dad met and married a lovely lady who has stood beside him thereafter and through the best and worst of times.

Just a month after their wedding, in February of 2007, they had a really hard day.

The morning started out with golf and brunch. They went to the local casino for brunch because it was close and because frankly, casino brunches are good! When they came out to their car, they had found it was missing. Their car had been stolen!
They lost quite a bit of stuff inside the car as well. They filed a report but decided not to let that wreck their day. Instead, they made plans to drive to Idaho (in my dad's big 4x4 truck) to visit more family and pick up some presto logs for the rest of the winter.

Winter is pretty mild in Washington, and as they were driving over the Columbia river, my dad put the truck in cruise control. He had seen the temperature outside was above freezing and that the car in front of him was kicking up water, so he didn't think the road would be icy. He was wrong. The truck hit some black ice and spun wildly out of control, tossing my step-mother from the vehicle and onto the highway. The truck hit the barrier rails and climbed over (it was in cruise control, remember), then tumbled down a gigantic hill landing on its cab with my dad inside. My dad was still in his seat. He turned off the engine and called out for help. Called out for his wife... but she was a hundred metres away, up on the highway.

Rescue came an hour later, but in the meantime the pressure of the truck's weight on the cab had broken my dad's neck, causing too much pressure on his nerves and rendering him a quadriplegic for life.

Their story is a happy one, mind you! They have both recovered from the accident and are more in love than ever. They have had to make many new accommodations to meet the demands of this new life for them but they have been thriving. Through hard work and perseverance, they were able to learn how to live with his wheelchair and his daily routine, and after a long recovery period, they were even able to be sealed together in the LDS temple.

Not all of the changes were positive. He has had to receive help getting into and out of bed for the last seven years. He relies on other people to bathe him, to help him go to the bathroom, to get dressed. For someone like my dad, it was a lot to take on all at once. It was a lot of hard work for his new bride, too (but she somehow manages to always care for him with a smile!! They have help now through medicare, thankfully). When they were married, they had a dream of serving missions for their church. Now that dream and others seemed a million miles away from them, and a spiral of depression passed over them both. My dad wondered what his purpose was and why his life was spared only to be so helpless.
I remember hearing the story of one Sunday soon after they were able to start attending church again - my dad had started to cry because he felt so useless to others. He wanted to help others and he had thought the biggest way of doing that was through missions. He learned that day from his close church friends that they saw his situation as a way for them to give ministration to him. Soon after that, people seemed to realise how easy my dad is to talk to (and the wheelchair did help with this... he used to be so tall and strong, I understand that would make someone less willing to share secrets with him... hahaha). He gave some fatherly advice to people, and they kept returning to talk to him and take his counsel. Because of that, he and my step-mother helped three couples change their minds about divorce and really start working on their marriage again. 
Since then, they have moved to Utah to be closer to family. He is now a Sunday School President in charge of over 100 youths in their area. He teaches them and helps prepare them for serving missions now. 

Their new mission goal in life is to be a good example of faith and ever enduring love. Together they believe that if they can help people with that example, and if they can help people who want to change their lives for the better through advice and counsel - then that will be their mission.

Part of the changes that they have had to adjust to are getting from point A to point B with an electric wheelchair. They found a local lady who was selling her used wheelchair van, and voila! They were suddenly able to go places and see people! They could now attend church together and visit family! 

The van worked for a long time. They have had regular maintenance and some modifications to it to keep up with the changing circumstances. Together, they have been able to visit friends and family in the states, but now unfortunately it has become too difficult for my dad to ride in the van anymore. His body continues to change and adjust to his lifestyle, for better or for worse. He has lots of pain in his legs (from nerve ends trying to make connections to the brain but failing when they reach his broken neck scars), and pain when he sits. When they drive in the van, my step-mother has to be especially careful when driving over bumps and cracks in the road because every little bump causes pain to shoot up his body. Because of the pain, my dad only leaves the house on Sundays for church or to go to his doctors appointments. Rarely, he will rally himself to go to an important event with family but it is a real struggle for him.
New suspension in the van would remedy the problem! Unfortunately, it is impossible to install new suspension on their old van because of the way it is designed and modeled. They have looked into it a few times to no avail.

I went to the USA to visit him and my step-mother over Thanksgiving, and was heartbroken to see how much he stayed indoors. He would love to go out and do things, but the pain of riding in the van is just too much of a deterrent for him, and it is my opinion that he would flourish if he had the chance to get out more. 

All my life, my dad talked about traveling and seeing new places. Seeing the world! Going on missions! But he is reduced to spending day after day in his bedroom, looking at the world through the window of the Television and internet. 

I would like him to get out more. And to do that, he needs a new (used) van. I was shocked when I looked into this project and saw how expensive even used wheelchair vans are! I have put together a fundraiser for him to help him reach the goal. Please have a look, and if you could find it in your heart to share it or donate if you are able, we all would be so very grateful.
Here are some photos I took last year when I visited. It was a cold day and he was almost shivering during this shoot so we had to be super fast!

We wrapped him in a blanket - and I quickly snapped this outtake (haha!):

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22 January, 2014


Way back in August (and I briefly touched on that in this post), Jessica and I were texting and bemoaning the fact that we live in separate countries - despite the fact that compared to most of our friends and relatives, we are practically neighbors! ha!
Anyways, we were bummed about something and mutually sad that we couldn't hang out together more often. I think the following week, she surprised me with offering to sponsor a plane ticket to see her, as long as I took photos of her for her anniversary.
Uh. YEAH! Of course!!!

So we finally got to see each other again! Hooray! We had loads of fun together and I was adamant that we not be tourists too much around Finland. The reasoning behind this was because I had toured it in 2012 a little with V when we went to photograph her wedding and she had just spent a week crazily touring with her bestie, Sheila who was visiting from UK. Add all that to the fact that I am a bit lazy, it was sorta hot out, and most of what I wanted to see was inside Jess and Ville's house - and we stayed inside a lot... except for the day we went to Estonia.

Estonia is a lovely little country just across the Gulf of Finland, and only about a three hour ferry ride! Jess was able to finagle a couple of €4 tickets for a day trip for each of us. Meaning that the ferry would take us there, we would have 4 hours to doodle around in Tallinn, and we had to be back on the ferry before it took off and stranded us. Lots to see!

Adventure time. I took about a bajillion photos while we were racing around the city. Jessica had been there a few times by this point, so she has a great little map of where to go by the quickest routes to see the main things memorized. I narrowed it down to my favorite shots from the day and now, for your viewing pleasure will overload you in Tallinn photos! Fair warning: I only brought one lens with me on my trip to Tallinn, and I agonised about the decision before packing... I brought a wide angle lens - and therefore it may seem like I have a childlike fascination with wide-angles :-) Okay. Without further ado...

 Ready for our busy day of exploration!

 Leaving Helsinki...

 the Gulf of Finland


 It's almost the same thing - photographing souvenirs rather than buying... right?

 This was a cute little train carrying tourists on a hop on hop off tour of the city.


 I love the old guy in this photo. Also - anyone need a "decent bowl of elk soup"? I hear this place is the one to give it to you. :-)

 I am actually really interested in trying tar soap... but not for six euros.

 To make your own mulled wine spice...

 remember what I said about how I only brought the one wide angle lens? Yeah. I was less than a metre away from this bird before it hopped off.

 The orthodox church. We weren't supposed to snap photos inside, but... I did. You're welcome.

 The Irish Embassy. Aww... I miss you too, Ireland.

 Tallinn from above-ish


 This is the academy of sciences and we weren't supposed to be inside the gate (it was open for a delivery) - but we quickly snuck in for a couple snaps anyway. Sneaky sneaky!

 Little note - Cobblestones, while gorgeous, suck to walk on for long periods. Just so you know.

 This tree was just too cute. I couldn't resist.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

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