Showing posts from February 10, 2013

Family Photos for Family Day

For many Canadians this is a long weekend.  While British Columbians celebrated their very first Family Day, which is not a federally-established event, last week,  residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario mark the occasion on the third Monday in February.  Folks in Manitoba celebrate Louis Riel Day at the same time and Prince Edward Islanders will be recognizing Islander Day. The only provinces not observing this holiday in February are Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. I recall when there were hints of a February holiday for  Ontario. Some suggested it was a political strategy with voters so grateful they'd remember the party that gave them another day off at the polls. There were mentions that we just simply needed something to look forward to in the middle of winter,  a possibility that makes complete sense to me.  But the official stand is that it has quite simply been set aside to observe exactly what it implies — the im

For Valentine's Day: Photos of Seniors in Love

Today,  while walking to work, I met a local senior leaving the grocery store with a bouquet of flowers. It quite simply warmed my heart to see that after 50 years of marriage he was still intent on showing his sweetheart that she still is his sweetheart.  We often think of romance and passion being associated with youth, and I, being at that mid-point in life, recognize that younger people don't generally think of older people when they consider romantic couples.  But, what I've come to see is that love often gets much sweeter, more enduring as we get older. By your senior years, assuming you're in a healthy relationship, you boast levels of trust, familiarity and friendship that can only be attained in time.  It has taken hard work,  understanding and a commitment to succeed.  All, of course, while keeping love and romance alive with your best friend.  Many say it was never intended that people would live this long, thus be committed to a monogamous relationship f

Clipart Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

When it comes to celebrating a cultural holiday, my lineage leans more towards Oktoberfest than Cinco de Mayo.  But I do like a party and good music,  and there's little doubt that both of these play a large part in the annual celebration of Mexican heritage and culture. Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for the fifth of May, the date when the event is commemorated. It honours freedom and democracy from the early part of the American Civil War and the Mexican Army's victory over the French on May 5, 1862 in the state of Puebla. While it is not a national holiday in Mexico, it is an official holiday in Puebla.  In America, the Mexicans and Latinos living in California were the first to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in that country. Now, those celebrations centre around traditional Mexican symbols and prominent people of Mexican descent. Students are educated about the historical significance while music and regional dancing highlight many of the special events. The festivities have reach

Tips and Techniques for Taking Better Pictures

Don't you love those photos that pop?  You're looking at an image of a lovely landscape,  a posed portrait, a famous face or spontaneous sports shot and it actually looks better than if you were seeing it in reality. It's vivid, breathtaking in its perfection. Rarely manage anything close to this myself, at least not on purpose. There have been nice photos I've taken at a favourite vacation spot up north, which have a bit of this quality, but I credit Mother Nature far more than I do me.   Breathing life into a photograph is in part achieved because of talent. But technique is also a factor and on that score I'm still a work in progress. Ansel Adams had talent in spades. His black and white landscapes had clarity and depth. But he put quite a bit of it down to technique, which he attempted to share with others through the Zone System he developed with fellow photographer Fred Archer.  A technique that determined the best film exposure and development, Adams sa

A Country Collection of Illustrations

When it came to home decor, a friend of mine several years ago had the quaint country look down to an art form. Her century-old home was a homage to a more simple aesthetic, charmingly appealing, warm and cozy.  Cluttered with folk art and rustic knickknacks it always felt like the kind of place you could come in, put your feet up and enjoy an easy night of excellent hospitality. Over time, of course, times and tastes change and never one to miss the trends she has gradually moved away from the folksy to a more French country design. Her home then was lovely and still is. But I rather miss that charming country cottage vibe. While I never quite bought into the whole country theme for my home even when it was the bandwagon of choice; there is a knack to achieving it well and I wasn't sure I had it;  I was definitely attracted to the style. And my eye is still drawn to that rustic appeal.  There's something very welcoming about the look and the elements that go into creatin