Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's a black and white world in the winter

Where I live, there is a long river valley that bisects the city.

There are many bridges to choose from to get from one side of our burg to the other and this one is my favourite, by far.

I have always liked the bold beauty of the black lines and angles against the sky. It seems so solid and permanent, especially during those many times when my life felt anything but.

My husband's grandfather was one of the workers who helped build it in the early 1900's.

Once upon a time, trains and street cars shuffled across the very top many times a day. Now a historical society runs a tram car across it during the summer months.

I did reprocess the raw file to be black and white, It wasn't much of a leap anyway, given the cloud cover and snow. I just liked the slightly more stark feel it gave all the dark lines.

1/250, f11.0,55mm, iso 200 - eos rebel xti camera, no tripod (and it was cold!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No, really, why does it make that noise?

I mean, is it eating your face?
A big, black thing with one shiny eye, staring at me and it seems to be stuck to your face and it and you are making really weird sounds -
can that be good?
can I play with it?
can I eat it?
Oh...never mind, my butt itches, must explore that with great enthusiasm now...

(what I imagine my oldest daughter's dog is thinking when I snap her picture)
shutter1/50, 55mm, f5.6,iso 200

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My baby, my own

My baby, my own, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

In the play therapy office this morning.

For the second time in the year and a half that I have known her, my daughter played appropriately on her own.

I love the sunlight splashed all over her and the barest glimpse of her face in the window of the door that she is looking towards and the fragility of the tower so tall and made of solid blocks but so easy to upset and knock to pieces - but also possible to rebuild with again.

So much like her.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Departure

For a long time, I have been wrestling with ideas of body acceptance both on my own personal level and on a societal level.

My two daughter's are a part of the catalyst for that.
The idea of either of them every saying that they hate their bodies or even just a specific area of themselves, makes me feel physically ill.

Our situation is somewhat unique in how much influence I have over their ideas about shape and self.
We home school, which means that they are with me for the majority of each day, not with other girls of the same age and we don't have cable tv (and we don't watch the free channels either), nor do we have magazine subscriptions to anything to do with glamour or vogue or celebrity.
That makes me it, right now, the place where they get their ideas about female beauty, strength and ability from.

Fleeting as that is, it is also very powerful and has me examining what I say out loud and inside about my own body.

Just for the record, yes, the whole family has library cards and are allowed and encouraged to read and watch all kinds of fiction and non fiction, we go out of the house and into society more than we don't and our decision to home school has nothing to do with ideology - it just turned out to be what worked best for us and we are registered with and support our public school system (which has an actual building and staff specific to administering and supporting home schooling).

Cameras are a big part of my life these days, I love using them, but I find it very difficult to have them turned on me as the subject -- as do many, many people.
And people are my very favourite subject.
In order to understand and be sensitive of their discomfort, which in turn will hopefully help me to take better pictures, I have slowly begun to turn to self portraiture.

It's been hard to do.
Sure pointing the camera at myself and clicking the button isn't hard, but keeping the shot, examining them, has been.

Now add to that mix that I bare any part of my body and then publish it?

Let's just say, it took two days for me to actually do it.

Well, let's make that more like hmmmm (I was 10 the last time I thought I had a great, strong body and I'm.....okay).....31 years for me to actually do it.

Here I am.
Low light.
Late at night.
In my grandmother's mirror.

1/8 shutter
50mm lens
Canon 30d
iso 160

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Weather Outside!

The Weather Outside!, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

Drifting snow, wind a blowing and mercury dropping.

Perfect for staying indoors with hot drinks and the fireplace flickering.

Started early this morning and hasn't let up yet.

Canon rebel xti/100mm lens/shutter 1/13, f14.0

Saturday, January 26, 2008

unexpected orchids

unexpected orchids, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

This seems to be my week for flowers.
I have taken pictures of a lot of other things and of a fair number of people (which I admit is my most favourite subject of all) but this was the "right" one.
Even my eight year old said "you should put that one picture of the flowers on the stick on your, um thing, the photoblog".

Who am I to argue with that?

The orchids were actually over my head.
Arcing out from a pot on a high counter at the vietnamese sub store, I was entranced and the nice shopkeeper smiled his approval and nodded as I gestured with my camera at them.

They are beautiful and they also make me think of a friendly man and delicious food.

I did this hand held with the 30d and the fabulous 50 mm lens at f1.8, shutter 1/400, iso 200 and I didn't mess with it much, if at all in iphoto, I might have toned down the light a little but I can't remember.

Friday, January 25, 2008

where ever you are

where ever you are, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

As part of the ongoing saga where I try to get a good, clear photograph of a bird in my neighborhood.

Look hard, you might see it hiding in that thicket of branches.


There is now a bird feeder on my back deck - being assiduously ignored by all avian life.

My photography club is looking for volunteers to go out to a wilderness area and help document the wildlife in the area.

I would love to go, but understandably enough am concerned that my very presence will cause every creature to go into hiding or flee the area!

Just got to keep trying.

This was just a few doors down the street from me. In a lilac bush and I even dragged my tripod out for it. Froze my fingers off, but I had fun, and I am sure I looked interesting to the neighbors, dragging this huge tripod and camera combination down the sidewalk, the wind whipping away at my clothes.

canon 30d/70-300mm telephoto lens/shutter 1/800, f5.6

Thursday, January 24, 2008

deep sea?

deep sea?, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

The inside of a tulip, that is all it is, but I look in and see images of coral reefs under the sea, and anemones and sea stars.

That maybe the influence of the documentary on ocean life that I watched with my family the other evening too...

whatever it is, I find it beguiling.

For way too many more pictures of flowers, up close and personal please click on the flickring gawdess link on the side to get to my flickr account.

Although I didn't spend as much time as I would like on it (things like feeding children and paying bills kept coming up) - I did try out different things like shorter and longer exposure and using the big flash.

stats:shutter 1/10,f2.8,canon 30d, flash on, iso 200, 100mm lens macro

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


tulip, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

Photography is changing things about me.

I asked my husband to bring me flowers - so I could practice using my 100mm macro lens.

As a surprise he included a small bouquet of these shell pink tulips.
Cheerful and resiliant, these are a kind of flower that have been known to actually push their way up through the snow to bloom in the climate we live in.

Spring is still a long way off for us but seeing these on the dining room table reminds me to keep the faith, it is coming.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

In The Alley

In The Alley, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

We found this tree, not much more than a bush really, caught by security bars against the window in an underused building.

Who hung the Christmas balls, tinsel and ribbon on it?

I can imagine stories about that, but I won't likely ever know.

There it was, off an ally, to the side of an empty lot, in an area that could be called the "inner city".

Where the poorest live and where many of the people that used to be in mental health facilities were "mainstreamed into society" ended up.

Stats: canon 30d/70-300 telephoto/shutter 1/40/f.5.6

Monday, January 21, 2008

Creepy Peep

IMG 2326, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

It is ugly and unredeeming as a building but what it houses is even more so.

Should I be so fascinated by it?
It doesn't matter, I am.

I wonder about the people that work there. What a job.
It is open 24 hours, consider what the graveyard shift here would be like.

And I wonder about the people who are the patrons and who have to clean it.

This all becomes just an ordinary backdrop to them.
But to me, it is extraordinary enough to photograph.

It is literally a stones throw from prosperity and a version of respectibility.

I drive past this building and others advertising similar wares almost everyday with a van full of kids and have had to answer questions

The other thing I was thinking about, is in thirty or forty or fifty years - what will someone who sees this picture think?

Will it be such a foriegn idea to them? Will it seem quaint?

stats: twilight/70-300 telephoto lens is/canon 30d/.shutter 1/60/f5.6

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Blue Blur

Blue Blur, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

Someday, I will taken a really crisp clear picture of a bird in flight.

Aaaaand, someday I will also take consistent pictures of birds sitting still too.

Until then, I will occasionally post slightly blurred images of these creatures because they intrigue me so much.

Despite the fact that my family now teases me and calls me the bird frightener because they seem to sense my presence and flee the area as soon as I even touch my camera, let alone go outside with it.

This is a blue jay with a peanut in its beak.
So happy was it about this matter that it shrieked so loudly and repeatedly that I was drawn out into my front yard to look for it.

A number of magpies were attracted as well, and one had just tried to rob the blue jay of it, right before this shot.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Blue Door

Blue Door, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

On a spur of the moment we went to go and get Bánh mì (vietnamese submarine sandwiches - only more so).
My husband stood in line to order and I wandered around, camera in hand taking pictures - this one was taken through the shop window and across the street.
The street was gray, the light was too but this door sure wasn't.
I like doors anyway - eyes may be the windows to the soul but sometimes, doors are the lipstick of the building and I couldn't stop taking pictures of it.

I punched up the colours and light a touch in flickr editor, but even before I did, my oldest daughter said "Wow, that blue just pops!" and she is right.

Now, I want to paint our front door the same colour and I have always wanted the pheasants in flight grill - ever since I was a little kid.

(Canon 30d/70-300mm IS/f5.6/shutter 1/15)

In web wanderings, have you seen this or this?

Friday, January 18, 2008


towering, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

yesterday, I was thinking of Wilson Bentley
the first person to ever take a photo of a snow crystal or snowflake.

I read a kid's picture book about him once, about 12 years ago and was enthralled.

Wilson Bentley loved snow, I can understand that, I do too.

He had to work a lot harder and longer than I did and his pictures are...the stuff of dreams. He took over 5000 pictures of snowflakes and of course, no two were the same.

Stats: Canon 30d, tripod, 100mm macro lens (I have trouble figuring it out but I am working on it),shutter 1/25, f13. I have another shot of snowflakes on flickr.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


bowl, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

A Carribean grocery store drew us into the parking lot - we love Jamaican patties.
I was also attracted by the glass vases and bowls in the window of the large Polish sausage/grocery/gift store beside it.

"Go ahead in" I said waving him towards the lit door of the patty store, "I just want to get some shots of this stuff."

"No way! Haven't you noticed that guy staggering around this otherwise abandoned parking lot? I'm not going to leave you hear to be mugged!" my husband was indignant.

For some reason though, it struck me as funny. The guy in question, was clearly not that capable of walking any two steps in one direction, let alone successfully mug anyone.

So I was laughing and that made it hard to get a crisp picture of this amazing confection of a glass bowl. And it was twilight and the window I was shooting through was at parking lot level and quite grimy.

That this picture turned out as clear as it did really surprised me.

Looking at it now makes me think of how lucky I am.
How rich I am in so many ways.

(Yes I did increase the saturation of the colours a little in flickr piknic, not a bad little editor - f5.6/shutter 1/20/telephoto at 300mm/iso 200)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

fiery windows

fiery windows, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

the bookend photo to my last post.

I was standing on the lip of a river valley taking my sunset pictures and when I turned around to leave, I realized that the show continued on the windows and balconies of this condo building.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Because it makes me happy

Because it makes me happy, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

Is it cheating to use a picture of a sunset?

I feel, in an odd, slight, pertaining only to me kind of way, that it is.

Sunsets are beautiful, period.

There is no need to have an artistic eye to notice that and capture it for the rest of the world to discover. It isn't a hidden, uknown thing.

I hesitated before posting this one, because in part, I am trying, in photography to document how I see the world in my own unique way.

Except that, there it damn beautiful and me with a camera.
It took my breath away and even though it happens everyday, it really doesn't last very long...and I like looking at it...I even made it my desktop picture...

That is part of this journey then.

Just because something like this has been done before, possibly to death (even in oil paints and black velvet) - doesn't mean that there isn't value and pleasure in doing it again.

Especially, if like me, it is the first time.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Drugs, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

Yesterday, my husband hauled my sorry butt off of the couch and drove me around our town, for an hour or so, specifically so that I could take pictures of things.

Normally I would embrace this kind of outing, but I was feeling rather aimlessly down and sort of didn't want to be there.

Not for long though.
It was about 4pm when we started out and the light was fantastic.
Maybe it knew that it only had a very short time left before night fell and it was making the most of it.

Drugs, is the second picture I took. (The first one is a sign exhorting passersby to come into a 7-11 and buy something called a french toast taquito!?)

It turned out a bit sharper than I expected, what with taking it from a moving car. The light and shadows, I also like, but what really attracted me to it in the first place - is the barely noticeable wrought iron that curls along the spine of the sign.

It is gorgeous and yet so hidden.

I also like all the trolley cables and power lines. Lately, instead of trying to cut those out of my shots, I am trying to embrace them.

(Canon 30d/70-300 telephoto IS/f5.6/shutter 1/800)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Frost Sparkles

IMG_1997, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

The weather is turning warmer here and that makes the frost do interesting things.

I was sitting in the passenger seat of the car when I noticed the sun hitting the garage window. My husband then had to wait while I got out and went and took some shots of it.

I don't know why there are sprinkles across the glass or why there are zig zaggy lines of it either.

It's kind of magical like that.

30D/f.5.6/shutter 1/200/kit lens

Saturday, January 12, 2008

orange work gloves

orange work gloves, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

Some of my kids take sport lessons at a "private" country club kind of place.
We don't belong to it, frankly, we couldn't afford to belong to it and wouldn't be able to get in the doors if it weren't for theses classes arranged through an outside organization.

I am sort of in awe of the size of this complex and the number of people it takes to try and run it and keep it cleaned and maintained.

This is a picture of one of them.
I cut the picture down a bit and had to play with the lighting a little in iphoto edit.
I'm still not crazy about it. The colours are just not as vivid as they were in real life, but I like what I have anyway.

In attempt to actually learn from this all, I will put the stats below:

-and a freebie from our frosty day this past week. Just down our street. I love that the picture is nearly black and white w/o being adjusted to be. My husband thinks I am crazy to love the grey weather and to be honest I wouldn't like it all the time but some days like that are just perfect.

This one: 30d/100mm/iso200/f2.8/

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pine cone

Pine cone, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

Sometimes, you take a shot and you think, hmm this one is nice - and then when you look at it later - it is like - yeah, this one just works!

And that is how I feel about this one, it just works.
I was trying to capture the sense of frozen mist that was about. Where I live, it is VERY dry but the weather patterns are changeable and it was both very cold and yet quite humid, so everything seemed to have been sugared.

This pine cone is right beside my front step.
I used my tripod and my fixed 100mm lens.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Doggies!, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

(And this picture also works as a Happy Birthday for Yankee T!)

We have "lots'o'doggies" at our house according to my oldest daughter and uh, everyone else.

Here are two of them.

These are our wired haired standard dachshunds.
Both were show dogs in their previous lives - not that you would know it to look at them now.

I got this shot because they both decided, at the same time that they wanted to sit on my oldest daughter's lap and I happened to be on the couch beside her when it happened.

Used my Canon Rebel XTI with my beloved 50mm lens.
It is a fast lens and absolutely wonderful for upclose pictures of people and pets.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bright Snow

Bright Snow, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

When someone from my area of North America complains to me about the cold temperatures and snow that we get....
I am just flabbergasted.

I love it here and I love winter.

This was taken with my telephoto lens (70-300mm), of of my front step. We face south and for the few glorious hours of daylight, we bathe in the sun's rays.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Crystals in the soup pot

Crystals in the soup pot, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

"Where is our other good soup pot?"
At this point, I was getting freaked out. I mean where could it have gone?
It was nowhere to be found in the kitchen or even on the main floor.

My husband's eyes lit up - "Hey, I think I know where it is!" And down the basement stairs he went, returning, victoriously waving the pot at me, only a few seconds later.

No, he hadn't put it there, that was me.
When the humidifier thingy on our furnace started leaking copious amounts of water onto the floor by the furnace, I had grabbed it to use to catch the leak.

And forgotten about it for a few weeks, and in our dry climate that was all it took to have these crystals form in the bottom of the pot.

Using my 100mm fixed lens, which is good for both macro shots like this and for some kinds of portrait shots.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Pumpkin in January

Ephemeral Art, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

A leftover from Halloween.
My oldest daughter 14, rigged herself up a bit of a pattern to get the dimensions right and then spent the better part of two days working on this carving.
It was fairly spectactular with a candle in it on Halloween night, but I like hte look of it even more now, emerging from the drift, snow filling in the details, blue shadows around it.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

In the Window

I have long been a fan of looking in the windows of other people's

Not up close and personal, not staring, not taking stock of what is
actually happening - it isn't like that.
Actually I don't want to get any closer than standing on the public
It is the sense of just getting the shortest glimpse of what is
inside and then moving on.

With our days being short, the sun rises after 8 am and sets by 4 pm
for big chunks of the year - it is particularly interesting to take a
walk in a residential area at twilight, before it is truly dark but
when many people have turned on their lamps or are bathed in the
flicker from television sets.

It is like walking through a large and jumbled collection of film clips.

Also, this one is interesting to me, because I have never understood
why people don't set up their living rooms so that they can look out
their windows more.
The reflection of the snowy tree and the image on the tv, work for me

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Big Eyes

Sometimes I think she is more eyes than dog and way smarter than me.
I love the way her face is so clear and the rest of the body is in
soft focus.
That would be one of my favourite lenses, the Canon fixed 50mm.

Friday, January 4, 2008

You like that, eh?

IMG_1606, originally uploaded by gawdessness.

My brother is definitely not the last of the die hard heavy metal boys from the 80's.
Now, in his late thirties, a manager and married to a school teacher - you can still find subtle traces of that passion around his home.

About Me


Photo Quotes
When I ask to photograph someone, it is because I love the way they look and I think I make that clear. I'm paying them a tremendous compliment. What I'm saying is, I want to take you home with me and look at you for the rest of my life.
- Amy Arbus