Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year, New Challenge

As you've all noticed, I haven't been posting much  during the last six months or so.  Yes, I was busy but then who isn't?  Truthfully, I've been less motivated and really felt like I needed a new challenge.  While searching for tips on taking portraits, I found a link to a project called 100 Strangers.  The goal of this project is, you guessed it, to take pictures of 100 strangers.  But there are rules.  You must talk to each person and get permission to take their picture and post it on the internet.  You also need to post a little write up about each stranger.
After reading some interesting entries, I decided it was just the inspiration I needed.  Not only will I have the opportunity to work on my portraiture skills but I will meet people, hear their stories and no doubt be inspired.  I've ordered my mini cards (recommended to use with the project) from Little Moo.  On the front I have one of the 20 photos I've chosen and on the other side is my name, my blog address, my flickr address and a little thank you/merci message.  They are scheduled to arrive in January so I'll be ready to go.
I'm a little concerned about approaching that first stranger.  I will definitely be venturing outside my comfort zone.  But that's what learning's all about, isn't it?  Here's to a new year and a new challenge!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Update 14 - Sarah's Lilies

While visiting with our friend Sarah I couldn't resist snapping a few shots of her lilies. I'm not sure what her secret is but her lilies always seem to look so beautiful. I chose these two shots because of the softness and the colours.
I realize that I only posted a portion of the pictures that I would have had I blogged every day over the last few months. However, the task of posting these seemed daunting enough to keep me procrastinating for awhile. Now that I'm somewhat caught up I will attempt to return to blogging regularly. I also plan on visiting my fellow bloggers to see what they've been up to. Thanks to all of you who have continued visiting despite my lack of posts. I have missed blogging and missed visiting my fellow bloggers even more.

Update 13 - Garden flowers

Although I haven't taken many pictures over the summer, I did manage to get out to the front garden to snap some flower pictures. I know I've posted daisies a time or two before but they're one of my favourites and I can never get enough. I did try some different angles and perspectives though.

Update 12 - Will of the Wisps

Quebec is so full of culture and there are so many things to see. When we have visitors from out of town one of the places we like to bring them to is Atelier Pare. Atelier Pare is a museum that tells the legends of Quebec through wood sculptures. There are many beautiful sculptures and Scott and Francoise, the owners, are amazing story tellers. The above picture is a collage of the Will O the Wisps. These sculptures are mounted on tall poles and set in a semicircle in behind the museum. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you can read the legend.

Update 11 - Sunflower

Sunflowers are so happy. This cheerful fellow sprouted out of our back vegetable garden this summer. It seems that a few of the seeds from the bird feeder managed to find their way to the garden, resulting in this flower.

Update 10 - Storm Clouds

One afternoon we were out in the pool. It was a warm sunny day. At one point we looked up and saw clouds approaching. We decided it was best to get out of the pool. As we were standing on the deck we chatted with our neighbours. They were laughing because the clouds were over our house and it was still sunny at their place. Although the clouds looked like they might bring some nasty weather, they merely dropped a few raindrops and then went on their way.

Update 9 - Secret in the Garden

One of our friends came over with her children, Zef and Oceanne, to visit and swim in the pool. Once chatting, swimming and snacking were done it was time for them to head home. While her mom was saying goodbye to us, Oceanne was hiding in the garden. She wanted to surprise her mom when she came out. I noticed her there when I walked past the bedroom. I quietly got my camera and snapped this shot from the other side of the window. She looks so peaceful and content. It's hard to imagine she was planning something mischievous. I guess looks can be deceiving.

Update 8 - Bad Petal Day

We have a small garden behind our house. It's right under the kitchen window. One of the flowers we planted there is Monardia (Bee Balm). The flowers are very colourful and their pollen attracts hummingbirds. I actually saw one hovering over this flower. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera at the time.
I love how the petals of this flower stick out every which way. If only I could look so good when I'm having a bad hair day.

Update 7 - Soccer Sara

Our goddaughter Sara has LOTS of energy. She takes swimming lessons, goes to Circus School (You've already seen some pics.) and this summer her parents enrolled her in soccer. Peg and I joined her and her dad one evening. It was quite comical to see the little guys chasing the ball. Some were definitely more interested in drinking their water or chatting than dribbling the soccer ball through cones.
I took this picture AFTER her practice. She was running up and down the hill. As you can see, she still has LOTS of energy. Oh to be young again.

Update 6 - Raindrops

Overall, we had a pretty nice summer but we had our fair share of rain. I caught the rain 'in action' in the picture above. The rain was coming down rather hard on the deck. I opened the door and took the picture from inside.
After the rain stopped I ventured outside and took some more pictures. The one below was my favourite. I like the different sized droplets and realized afterwards that I could see my reflection in them.

Update 5 - Canada Day in Streetsville

After a long overnight drive from Quebec City, we arrived in Streetsville, near Mississauga, Ontario, just in time to partake in the Canada Day festivities. It was a great atmosphere with singing, dancing and lots of Canadian spirit. This handsome RCMP officer allowed me to take his picture. Later, I put my camera on the tripod and took numerous pictures of the fireworks. I decided to combine them using Photoshop. Overall, I'm happy with the results.

Update 4 - Battle on the Plains

Our final outing of the year was a trip to the Plains of Abraham. Here the students were greeted and instructed by guides posing as Montcalm (French Army) and Wolfe (British Army). Once strategies were discussed, students were brought outside to learn some maneuvers. Once both teams had a chance to practice they executed their routines in front of the judges (parents and teachers) and we had to pick a winner. Both teams did an excellent job and the decision was not unanimous. The red (English) army came out ahead but only by one vote.
The students had a great time and learned a lot. If only all history could be taught in such an interactive manner.

Udate 3 - Water Fun

On one of the last days of school, we went to the park with our PreKindergarten learning buddies. The kids painted t-shirts in the morning and then played on the games in the park. After lunch the water games were turned on. The kids, big and little, had a wonderful time running in and out of the water. At one point I had to put my camera down as one of my guys decided that I should get in on the fun.
I had my back to the water games, my first mistake, and suddenly felt cold water running down my back. When I turned around, Jay was holding a sponge ball in his hand and smiling. Once the electronics were safe I 'helped' Jay get wet under the games. I felt it was only fair to return the favour, right?
Once everyone had a chance to dry off a bit we headed to the parking lot to meet up with the ice cream truck. Everyone had a cone and then headed back to school. A great day was had by all!

Update 2 - Professional Olympics/Olympiades Professionelle

Every two years the Olympiades Professionelle Quebec are held in Quebec City. This year the Canadian championship was held here and we took our Cycle 3 students. These Olympics allow students in trade programs to compete with other young people from across the country. Our students get to see the many possible trades that are available to them. There are also workshops where they get to test their skills at various trades. It's an amazing outing that is both educational and enjoyable. I captured a few of our students working on plumbing and electrical projects. Their skills were pretty impressive.

Update 1 - Renos: Before and After

YES! The renovations are done and we LOVE them. As you can see in the pics above, we lived in chaos for awhile but it was well worth it. In fact, considering the conditions that some people have had to live in due to severe weather I'd say we'd have no reason to complain about such a minimal inconvenience.
We were very lucky through the whole process. There were no major 'surprises' that often come with renovations and all the people who had a part in the work did a wonderful job. I'd still like to try and get some different pics, maybe a video would show more, but I think even with these you can see how much lighter both rooms are. Like I said earlier, we LOVE it! If any of you need cupboards, tables, or other wooden furniture I'd highly recommend Chez Ti Pere, impeccable work and service.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 28th - Circus Show

Our goddaughter continues to take her circus courses. She LOVES it. Today we took a break from renos to attend her second annual show. It's mostly little guys but in between they have a few young adults performing. We're not allowed to use flashes so I had to adjust my ISO to 1600. The show was amazing and the little ones were adorable. It was definitely worth taking the break.

May 26th - Renovation Chaos

This is the scene Peg and I came home to today after school. Apparently, Pierre and his son had a very busy day. We expected the bathroom to look as it is but we didn't think they'd get to the kitchen as well. They're very efficient. We have no water upstairs. Thankfully, we do have a washroom downstairs. Our laundry basket is our new dishwasher. We load up the dirty dishes, take them downstairs, wash them in the bathroom sink, dry them and put them back in the basket to go upstairs. Our living room is filled with the cupboards. Thankfully, our electrician will be taking them tomorrow so we'll have more room. The microwave and toaster are in the spare bedroom and we've converted the armoire in that room into a temporary pantry. It's a bit inconvenient but we won't complain. We know it'll all be worth it. Also, when we hear about those people who are losing their homes due to flooding or fires, our inconvenience becomes rather insignificant.

May 24th - Portraits

I've been taking portraits of my students for a project I'm working on. I took these while we were outside today. I've been doing my best to get candid shots. I don't want them posing for me. It's tricky at times but I'm managing to get a few done each time we're out. However, I still have quite a few to do so hopefully we'll get out a bit next week.

May 22nd - Some colourful Spring flowers

The renovation pics are a bit depressing right now so I figured I'd changed to colourful and happy flowers from the front garden. We haven't had much sun lately so it's extra nice to have these to look at. I hope everyone's having a blooming time in their part of the world.

May 19th - The Demo continues

The demolition stage of the renovations is coming along. I managed to remove all the ceramic out of the washroom except for the bit under and behind the toilet. The doors are off all the cupboards in the kitchen and bathroom and we've managed to take down some of the cupboards in the kitchen. As you can see, I've started removing the ceramic from the kitchen wall. It comes off quite easily. I moved the fridge close to where it will be when the kitchen is completed. The handyman will be arriving soon to do some more demolition before the rebuilding begins. The kitchen is still functional but we both keep forgetting that someone moved the fridge.

May 18 - New windows

Peg stayed home today while the window company came to install the new windows in the back. It was very hard for her to let go of the beautiful cedar windows that were there before but everyone assures us that PVC is much easier to maintain. She snapped this pic just after they took the first part of the window out of Christopher's room. She finds them very white and is looking forward to when our handyman puts in the stained wooden casings.

May 16 - Pool or pond?

Between the renovations, school and the rainy weather we haven't had the time to get our pool up and running. However, these ducks don't seem to mind. They stopped by this morning and took a dip in the pool. I noticed them as I was eating breakfast. I grabbed my camera and headed outside. They didn't seem to mind getting their picture taken but decided to leave when Dexter joined me. Hmmm, I wonder why?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday, May 9th - Final Crocuses

After all the rain we had last week the sun has been a very welcome sight these last few days. The plants and trees are happy and colour is popping up everywhere. I spotted this bunch of crocuses and decided I would post one final shot. Hope the sun is shining at your house too.

Sunday, May 8th - The Demolition Begins

With most of the choices made and the shopping done, we figured it was time to start the demolition process. We thought it easiest to start in the bathroom. We managed to remove most of the ceramic tiles around the bathtub. It was a bit tricky to get started but went quite smoothly afterwards. It was actually quite cathartic, a good way to release any frustration or anger. We expect that removing the floor tiles won't be quite so easy. It was a messy job and Dexter isn't too keen about the changes. Unfortunately, he has quite a few more to encounter before the whole process is done.

Friday, May 6th - More Crocuses

The crocuses are opening nicely. Here are a couple more pictures. I took them with my macro lens.

Tuesday, May 3rd - Thoughtful

Snapped this picture of Em as he was deep in thought. Not sure what he was thinking about but it looks pretty serious. I decided to add a few dancing leaves in front of him. Not sure if I like the effect but . . . Em is a student and a loyal blog follower. He informed me that's it been quite some time since I've posted. Hmmm, who knows, maybe he was thinking, "I wonder when Mrs. Longney's going to post on her blog again?"

May 1st - They're opening!

Was very happy to see the crocuses opening today while working in the yard. Of course I had to run in the house and grab the camera. They're a bit dark but I like the contrast between the open and closed flowers. Hope you like these flowers too because I plan on taking a few more pictures of them.

Thursday, April 28th - The wonder of pictures

Woke up bright and early this morning and went to Montreal with my students for the book launch, Quebec Roots:The Place Where We Live. Before the book launch we visited the McCord Museum and saw this amazing exhibition by Andre Cornellier. It's a panorama of Montreal inspired by Wm. Notman and Son's panorama which was done 100 years before. Cornellier took approximately 5000 photos, 1300 of which make this panorama.
In the afternoon, the students got to see another amazing piece of work - their own chapter in the book. It was a long but gratifying day.

Tuesday, April 26th - Before

No, I haven't died or fallen off the face of the Earth. I won't bother making excuses because I know everyone is busy. I guess you could say I just sort of fell off the bandwagon for a bit. I will be doing a number of posts today but not one for every day. I've given myself permission to ease off since it's my second year doing the project. I will do my best to post a few times a week for now. Oh, and my sincerest apologies to my fellow bloggers. I not only haven't been posting myself but haven't been checking out all your wonderful pics. I do plan on catching up on all the great pics.
As I mentioned a few posts a go, we're renovating the bathroom and kitchen. I decided to post a couple of before pictures before the demolition starts. I will be sure to post pictures throughout the different stages. Wish us luck.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 114 - Sadie

After a very rainy day, the sun was a welcome sight today. We took the dogs out to the farm for a run. They had a wonderful time and so did we. I decided to take my camera along, something I haven't done in quite some time. I snapped this picture of Sadie as she was standing on the hill and watching Dexter. As you can see, there is still a bit of snow around. The good news is they're announcing warm temperatures and rain for the week ahead so there shouldn't be any left by this time next week. YES!