Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31 -Good Ole Hockey Game

While out walking the dogs we passed by the neighbourhood skating rink. Some young guys were out playing hockey. I spotted a hole at the bottom of one of the boards so I lay down and took a few shots. I found the perspective interesting and the subject natural as he wasn't aware his picture was being taken.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 30 - Frozen in Time

Despite the freezing temperatures, Peg, the dogs and I bundled up and headed out into the elements. The purpose was two-fold, the dogs needed a walk and I needed a picture. The sun and the blue sky made the walk pleasant although somewhat chilly.
Somehow, no matter how nasty the weather, we manage to make it through to Spring. Perhaps one thing that gets us through is the knowledge that Spring will arrive and the hope that it will get here sooner rather than later. While the ice in this picture shows us water frozen in time the little bit of green grass is one of the many things that reassure as that Spring will indeed be back.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 29 - Olympic Challenge

For the last four days the Olympics have been at our school. Although Peg, who just happens to be the Gym teacher, has been preparing for weeks she trained the leaders on Tuesday. She spent the Tuesday training her 36 leaders from Cycle 1 all the way to Cycle 3 (Grade 1 to 6). They learned all the 12 events and helped prepare the material. They had a day out of classes but worked hard just the same.
On Wednesday we had the opening ceremonies. All the team flags, as well as the Canadian flag, were carried in by the leaders. The Canadian anthem was sung and they read an adapted version of the athletes' oath. They also wore their team colours and created a cheer. On Thursday and Friday each cycle participated in their Olympic events. Teachers were there for support but the leaders did all the teaching. The Cycle 1 leaders lead the Kindergarten events, the Cycle 2 lead Cycle 1 and Cycle 3 lead Cycle 2 and helped out during their cycle's events as well.
Of course the finale was the closing ceremonies where medals were presented, cheers chanted and thank yous said to the many people who made the event possible. It was an amazing few days! There were NO discipline problems, the kids were enthusiastic and the leaders did a fabulous job. The picture above is a group of Cycle 1 students attentively listening to their Cycle 2 leader. I felt this picture captured the respect and camaraderie that was the centre of this wonderful event. I was proud of our students. They demonstrated the true Olympic spirit. Bravo, kids!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 28 - No more pictures, please!

Obviously doing the 365 project means taking a lot of pictures. While I have been trying to vary my subjects, angles and perspectives, my 2 Great Danes, Dexter and Sadie, often find themselves at the other end of the camera lens. Although Dexter is blind and doesn't see the flash I think maybe he's getting tired of being my subject. Or maybe he's developed a sudden case of camera shyness. Either way I think he's trying to tell me something, "No more pictures, please!" I guess it works for both of us as still subjects are much easier to photograph than moving ones and he does move A LOT.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27 - National Literacy Day

I never need an excuse to buy magazines or books but today I had them. One, it's National Literacy Day; a time to appreciate our ability to read and the many literature options we have. Secondly, a couple of my students had given me gift certificates to Renaud Bray for Christmas and I hadn't used them yet. Finally, I had some rare extra time in my day and I happened to be close to a mall. Although it is a primarily French book store I was able to find some English material. I chose a couple of photography magazines a very appealing novel. I look forward to diving into my reading zone. In fact, I think I'll go do that right now.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26 - Birdie

It was a Day 4 today so I spent the morning in the gym teaching Cycle 3. Afterward I figured I'd take out my badminton racket and play a bit. I tried a few different perspectives and this is what I came up with. Lighting in the gym is a bit tricky. Guess I'll have to work on my adjustments before Olympic Challenge Day this Friday. I'd also like to play around with some badminton action shots. It's nice there's never a shortage of things to work on.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 25 - It's Contagious

One of the best parts of this '365' journey is that I'm not doing it alone. I have my followers and fellow bloggers as well as friends and family. However, the one who is always there to help me carry camera equipment, set up a shot, choose the right pic or help edit my post is Peg. She's got a case of Strep throat so she spent the day at home. At one point she looked outside and saw the icicles on the deck bench and decided that it would make a good picture. I guess she's caught the photobug too. I guess it is contagious. Thanks for your contributions Peg.
I cropped the photo and changed it to black and white. I figured it would help convey the greyness of the day. Here's to more seasonal temperatures and iceless roads.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24 - Nothing but blue sky - for now

When I checked the weather and saw that we had a week of cloud, freezing rain, rain, snow, scattered flurries and wind ahead of us I figured I better capture the blue sky while it's visible. It's hard to believe what's coming when you feel the sun on your face and there's not a cloud to be seen. However, I guess we need those cloudy days to appreciate the sunny ones. Not to mention the necessary moisture they bring to the water table.
Stay warm and dry and remember the blue sky is always there even if it's behind a few clouds.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 23 - New Toy

I ordered a remote cord for my Canon during the Christmas break. I purchased it off eBay from a company based in Hong Kong. It only cost $30 and shipping was absolutely free. My only complaint (very small) is that the battery was almost dead. However, since one of these 'toys' usually cost $100 plus I'm definitely not complaining.
Of course I had to play with my new toy right away so I ran out, bought a battery and starting shooting. The shutter was open for about 17 seconds for this shot and I put my hand and remote in front of the box for about 90 seconds. I thought the effect was kind of neat so this is today's picture. I look forward to much more playing and many more photos.

Day 22 - Good Food and Good Friends

I'm only getting to yesterday's post now but I have a very good reason for being late. We had supper with friends and got home late, too tired to post. We had a lovely evening of eating and chatting. Most of us are teachers so of course we spent the better part of the evening talking about students and school. Hazard of the job I guess.
We started the evening with a lovely vegetable platter and then moved to the dining room to 'cook' our supper. We tried a variety of combinations on the raclette. My favourite was cheese, asparagus, mushrooms and egg but all the others were pretty tasty as well. After a leisurely meal we finished off with a delicious double choclate cake from Le Petite Cochon Dingue. We were all reasonable and stayed within the recommended portion sizes suggested by the dotted lines.
All in all a very enjoyable evening and something I should really do more often. So often I get swept up in my various tasks and responsibilities and don't make time for friends. I think maybe I need to work on my time management.
Have a great weekend and do yourself a favour; make time for your friends.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21 - Surprise!

I realize I said in yesterday's blog that I would have pictures of the beetles in the next couple of weeks. Well, as you see here it happened sooner than we expected. These are pictures of my mealworm, now Darkling Beetle, Zoey. When she is completely done her metamorphosis she will be dark brown. Zoey was already in a pupa stage when we got the mealworms a couple of weeks ago. I put her aside but wasn't so sure that she was still alive. Today during class one of the students noticed that she was moving. So we expected change soon. I had two students working with me after school, A and K. 'A' just happened to be looking into the container when Zoey magically turned into a beetle. We took her out of the container and put her on a piece of construction paper so I could take pictures. Watching her through the micro lens was amazing. We could see her learning to walk with her new found legs. The girls figured Zoey would need a bigger home now that she's a beetle so they found a container, put in some bran, a piece of potato and even built her a little paper house and toothpick ladder. I'm sure Zoey is enjoying her new home while she awaits the arrival of the other beetles.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 20 - We're changing!

We had an exciting time in Science class today. When we took out our mealworms we noticed that a few of them have entered the pupa stage. Some students were worried that their 'pets' had died but then they reminded each other that the changes were going on inside. They are anxiously awaiting for the beetles to appear. I should have those pictures within the next couple of weeks.
It's fun to see the kids so curious and excited even if it's sometimes difficult to contain the extra energy. I went to my blog and showed them the pictures I had taken of the mealworms when we first got them. They asked to see the other pictures on the blog. We had a really interesting discussion and the interest in our class blog (A Picture a Week) seems to be rekindled. They even added a post today. Good news all around!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 19 - My Addiction

I was in the process of taking pictures of melting snow on a scarf when I bumped the table and spilled some Diet Dr. Pepper, my drink of choice. I decided to switch subjects and caught this droplet of pop which had beaded on my placemat. Not only does it taste good but it's cooperative and helpful. Cheers to all!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18 - Angel of Happiness

We have a collection of angels. This is one of my favourites, Angel of Happiness. I experimented with background, flash and angle. In this picture it almost appears as the light is shining down on her and the wind is blowing in her hair. I find it interesting that statues with no face can express so much.
May the angel of happiness shine down on you all.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 17 - Berry Nice Day

I decided to take my camera and tripod to the backyard so I could take pictures and the dogs could have some time outside. They play pretty rough and run fast so I had to make sure to keep me and my camera out of the way. Luckily, Sadie and Dexter were respectful of my space and I managed to get a few pictures taken.

I decided that the Crab Apple tree would be my subject. It was also pretty windy so focus was tricky. It was about 4 in the afternoon and still light outside. I took pictures with and without a flash. I found this one interesting as the background appears black even if it was still daylight. I'll be sure to come back to the tree in early spring when the Bohemian Waxwings come back to clean up the berries. Maybe the dogs will stay inside for that photo shoot. :-)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 16 - The Gift of Water

So much of what we do and see involves water. We take showers, make ice cubes, wash clothes and of course turn on the tap to get a drink of water whenever thirst hits. Not to mention the numerous water sports that many of us enjoy. Water is such a precious resource yet most of us take it for granted. We merely assume that when we need water it will be there.
However, when we look around the world we find people who appreciate water for the gift it is. These of course are the people who, unlike us, cannot just turn on a tap. Maybe we all could take a lesson from their 'fountain' of wisdom.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15 - Sushi Friday

Awhile back Peg and I started a Friday night tradition, sushi for supper. It's our way of celebrating the end of a work week and the beginning of a weekend. We don't do it every Friday but at least once or twice a month. It's a nice healthy supper of sushi, fruit and cheese.
Now, those of you who are sushi connoisseurs may cringe when I tell you our sushi is cooked. We call it our very own wimpy sushi. The actual name in French is Maki de printemps. As you may be able to see we get the ones with brown rice and shrimp. It's our regular order. So much so that when Peg called today and said she wanted to place an order they knew exactly what she wanted to order. Now that's service!
Have a great weekend everyone. Eat healthy, rest, spend time with family and friends and take time to appreciate life's many gifts.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14 - Close Game

Two of my students play on the school basketball game so I decided to work in my class a bit and then go to the game. After all it was the last game of the regular season. They played a great game but unfortunately lost 31-30. Can't get much closer than that!
Of course, I brought my camera along to see what I could capture for the pic of the day. So far, my experience tells me it's easier to take pictures of hockey games than basketball games. I tried to get the players in action but no luck. I managed to snap a picture of the ball on its way to the net. Even better, it was our team shooting.
So, I guess both the players and I will keep practicing our shots (Pun intended).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 13 - Class Pets

As I mentioned yesterday, 'A' and I were trying to take close up pictures of a mealworm yesterday after school. I managed to get a few shots but it was tricky; the little guy would not stay still and I was using my macro lens without a tripod. I chose 2 pics today so you could see different views. I would like to experiment some more with the macro and paper towel.

In case you're wondering, our class has mealworms for the next few weeks. They have named them and are taking care of them as they observe the changes their little friends are going through. Otherwise, they're learning all about metamorphosis. It's wonderful to see their curiousity and energy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12 - Silver Smile

One of my students stayed with me after school to help out. We tidied up the classroom and then I took the camera out and we were taking pictures with the macro lens. We were actually trying to get a picture of one of our mealworms. I'll tell you more about that tomorrow.
Once again, Peg came to the rescue with an idea. She suggested I try using the macro lens to take a picture of A's braces. She was a very good sport, holding her pose so the slow photographer could line up the camera and take the pictures. The good news is that A's teeth are doing well and the silver should be off for the summer.
Be sure to show your smile today!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11 - Summer Freshness in January

Although these are local tomatoes, neither of us would do very well on the 200 mile diet. We buy local when possible but sometimes you gotta have a banana.
Peg had the idea of spraying the tomatoes to give them that fresh out of the garden look. The picture's okay but I'm not happy with the lighting. Unfortunately, with shorter days and longer nights lighting will continue to be a challenge for awhile.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 10 - Putting a Cold to Bed

I felt a cold coming on earlier this week. I tried Cold F/X for the first time and I seemed to be winning the fight against the germs. Unfortunately, an irritating cough and a bit of congestion made it through. I HATE cough syrup and will do almost anything to avoid it. I just have to hear the words 'cough syrup' and the face contortions begin.
Eventually, I did give in and take my medicine. Maybe I should have taken a picture of that. Anyway, after some medicine, lots of liquids and some time in bed with a good book by Diana Gabaldon I'm feeling better. If all goes well, I won't need to take any *&^%$ (sorry can't say it again) tonight.
Stay healthy!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 9 - Life's a Game

As a teacher, I enjoy having the opportunity to see my students outside the classroom pursuing their interests. I've seen students playing hockey, soccer, baseball, football, rugby, figure skating and acting. It's a small gesture that seems to mean a lot to the kids and their parents. It's also an opportunity for me to get to know my students better.
This evening I went to watch Dim play hockey. He scored a goal and came close to scoring three or four others. Here he is on a breakaway. It's not the best 'technical' photo I've taken but it captures his energy and enthusiasm. I plan on bringing my camera to future sporting events to work on my technique.
Life's a game, go play!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 8 - Traces

I decided to take my camera with me on our 'doggy' walk this evening. I bought a really neat camera carrier over the break (It's called Cotton Carrier). It looks kind of like a flak jacket that police officers wear so it's not exactly a fashion statement. However, you can hook your camera on and not worry about it falling or swinging around. It's one of the better purchases I've made.
Anyway, back to the photo. While we were walking Peg pointed out the tractor tracks. We decided they'd make an interesting photo. As we continued walking I was thinking about the photo and what I would say about it. Like tractors, we too leave traces behind. What trace have you left today?

Day 7 - Yellow Buses

As green leaves are a sign of Spring, yellow school buses are a sign that kids are back at school. Today was our students’ first day of school in 2010. While most were happy to be back there were many tired faces. As we all know, it’s tough to get back into routine. There were hugs, smiles and many holiday stories throughout the school. However, everyone was looking forward to heading home at the end of the day, even teachers.
We sometimes have problems with cars passing the buses while we’re loading. I think I found the solution while taking pictures today. I was able to go out before the students were dismissed and the buses had yet to turn on their lights. While I was taking pictures I had two drivers ask if it was okay to pass. Maybe we should take pictures everyday!

Day 6 - She's a real bear

Okay, so Peg’s not a real bear but her hat makes her look like one. She actually purchased the hat this summer. We had a nice lunch at Cafe du Monde and then went walking around Old Quebec. We decided to ‘play’ tourists and wandered around some tourist shops. Peg found a rack of assorted animal hats and chose this one. The hat’s called a ‘knitwit’ (Be careful. I said knitwit not nitwit.). She figured if she’s going to have white hair she might as well look like a Polar Bear.

It keeps students at school entertained. She’d heard comments such as:
“Hey Miss, should you be wearing that during hunting season?” “Miss are you a cow or a kanagroo?” ) Obviously, this student needs to brush up on her animal knowledge. I guess it’s a multipurpose hat. It keeps her head warm as well as making people smile and talk.
Today I experimented with a technique I read about on another 365 blog site (Langley 365). He had used Skittles which have more colours. I only had leftover Christmas M & M’s so I tried it with that. I took the lid off the bowl, put on some plastic wrap and then used a dropper to make droplets. You have to make sure you have nice full droplets or you don’t get the desired effect. I tried using a few lenses and found it worked best with the standard lens that came with the camera (18-55mm). I also had to attach my other flash and aim it away from the shot. When I tried using the regular flash there was too much glare.
It was a pretty cool experiment and I’d like to try it again. Maybe I’ll use Skittles next time. However, Peg suggested I use marbles. That is if I haven’t lost them by then. I guess I’ll have to play with it a bit and see what happens. I’ll be sure to post some of my results.

Day 4 - Taking it Easy

Today was a lazy day, one of the last before it’s back on the treadmill of work. We’ve had a wonderfully relaxing break and are bracing ourselves for the quickly approaching back to school day. Other than walking the dogs, reading and doing a bit of school work today I spent some time going through my new book series, Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Boxed Set, and reviewing some photo sites. It was a good day!
After our walk, the dogs were pretty Zen. Christopher decided that Sadie needed a pillow and blanket for her ‘nap’. She looked pretty cute and since Dexter got his time in the spotlight yesterday I thought I better give her time in the limelight as well. Not that either of them read the blog but fair is fair.

Day 3 - Diggin' for Spring

This is one of our Great Danes, Dexter. Dexter is 2 years old and he LOVES to dig. As you can imagine, paws as be as his don’t take very long to dig significant holes. The good thing about Winter holes is that they make a lot less mess than the ones made during rainy seasons. You also don’t need to haul in snow (or dirt) to repair them. Let’s just say that our mop spent a lot of time out of its cupboard between March and December.
I was outside looking to be inspired for Day 3’s photo. Dexter came to the rescue. When I saw him it made me wonder what he was digging for - like he ever needs a reason - and thought, “Hey maybe he’s diggin’ for Spring.” If that’s the case he’s got a ways to go. Here’s to Winter’s clean digging!

Day 2 - Le Trait-Carre

It’s a beautiful snowy day in Quebec so we decided to take the dogs for a walk around the neighbourhood. Thankfully, my stepson Christopher is home from university so he helped walk the dogs and I was able to play with may camera. We live in Charlesbourg near a historical area called “Le Trait-Carre”. (Sorry no accents). The church above is at the centre of the area. There are all kinds of things to see and it’s a great place to walk. If you’d like to learn more about the area check out their site ( By the way there’s a great fudge place just up the street from the church, La Fudgerie. It’s a quaint place. I’ll take some pictures another day. Maybe go in for a sample or two as well.
The picture above isn’t the one I wanted to put up but I was having some technical difficulties with the portrait one I tried posting. It looked good on the entry page but was MUCH bigger on the main blog page. Guess I have some stuff to learn about iWeb. The good thing is I have at least another 363 days to explore!

Day 1 - Polar Raspberry

Last year we received a gift certificate for a brunch at the Quebec Aquarium. Due to a busy schedule and weather we only just got to use it. We had a lovely brunch and enjoyed visiting the animals. I managed to get a few good shots but this was one of my favourites for two reasons. The obvious one is to show this guy’s got attitude and is adorable. The other is the colour of his tongue. While we were there we learned that Polar Bears have black skin under their white fur. This pic demonstrates that their tongues are black as well.