Friday, November 6, 2015

2 Photo Collections of Family

For me the process has begun. Discreetly, yet underway.

Christmas may still be a speck on the horizon; there are still days of remembering and Thanksgiving  between then and now. Yet, the signs are here.  Retailers have stocked their shelves with festive items while promotions for the holiday season are underway.

When it comes to Christmas preparation one word typically has applied to me. That would be 'early'. Though I wait to decorate until after Remembrance Day, I do like to transform my home into a place of snowmen and Santas soon after.

As well, I like to start shopping months ahead of most other folks,  a practice I began decades ago.  Initially the reason was financial. As a young married with small children I found it put far less strain on my limited budget if I whittled away at the list, rather than try to purchase it all in one or two outings closer to Christmas.  I continued to do so later as I found it appealed to my need for a de-cluttered mind, as names were checked off.

Another early jump on the holidays is my family celebration. Several years ago, my siblings and I recognized that the festive season is busy enough with commitments and parties. We acknowledged that the really important thing is to get together, not the when. We opted for an early November gathering, which this year is this weekend.

I applaud my brother, sister and their spouses for agreeing that this is the way to do it. With hours of driving separating us and our children,  with so many other demands on personal time during the busy days in December, it's nice to know that we have found a way to bring as many of us together as possible for a day. 

To paraphrase the late American psychologist Joyce Brothers, some of the greatest happinesses in life have been family happinesses. We are rooted in, and root for, family. They rally support when you need it, circle the wagons to protect you.  When you are distressed, you can  find comfort in the open arms of family.

So as I look ahead to a weekend with the people whose tie to me is stronger than water, as we all think of the holidays, I hope you enjoy these collections of family-themed photos

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thousands of Thirsty Thursday Illustrations

Today, as it has become known in social media, is Thirsty Thursday. Its popularity is typically with college and business students who,  either having no classes or a light schedule on Friday, want to get a jump on an intoxicating weekend of partying.

And then there are people like me. They'll take the excuse provided by the idea of a Thirsty Thursday to sit down after a long day at the office and have a couple glasses of wine before dinner instead of finding more work at home.  It's not exactly taking it to the extreme that the name would indicate, but simply a reason to divert from the merciless end of responsibilities and chores that find us in the real world.

Let me say first, promoting the consumption of alcohol is not the point here. At least not to the extreme.  I'm an advocate of moderation and common sense.

However, if a little tipple is what's necessary to get us to slow down once in a while, why not.  If it means spending time out with friends instead of sitting in front of the television alone it can't be all bad. 

I come from a family where a cocktail was offered to each and every guest who stopped by, invited or not. For my parents it was about being gracious hosts. It was viewed as a welcome and no one was encouraged with a bottomless supply of gin to overstay it.   That to me, was the way life was lived.

So  tonight, I look forward to my well broken-in corner of the couch, where I will settle,  pinot grigio in hand to catch up on the week with my guy.  And in honour of everyone who will be raising a glass or bottle this Thirsty Thursday, here are some drinks of the clipart variety, perfect for promotions and fun projects:

Acclaim Images

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

37 Nov. 11 Animations

One week from today is Remembrance Day, Armistice Day and/or Veterans Day depending on where you live. The sentiment of all are the same, however.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary then, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."
— For the Fallen, Robert Laurence Binyon, The Times, September, 1914

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month  thoughts and prayers are centred around the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.  There will be solemn services in communities across the country, at cenotaphs, memorials and churches.

Until that time, we wear a poppy as a united display of gratitude and of our commitment to never forget. We will consider at times the loss of loved ones and the blessings that their valiant fight have given us.

And we will feel pride for the country in which we live, knowing that we are fortunate to be in a nation that values democracy.

As we will spend moments over the course of the next week in contemplation of the significance of this event,  here is a wonderful collection of Nov. 11-themed images from Animation Factory

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tips for Photographing Tots, Toddlers and Teens

Yesterday, Facebook reminded me about a post on my timeline from two years ago. It was a four-generation picture taken with my mother, daughter and granddaughter at our annual family pre-Christmas gathering.

Even though it was from the recent past, it was enough to set me on a little nostalgic wandering through the photo album created of that event.  It proved to be a great reminder of why I photographically chronicle events and get-togethers.  Obsessively some might say.  But seeing the images of my father, whom we lost just half a year later, was all the proof I needed.

However,  it was also fun to see the changes in everyone, especially the children, who grow up far too quickly.  Of these subjects there were many pictures as they are without question the most photogenic.

Getting them to co-operate isn't always that easy, though.  Also, being ready for the many opportunities they present for candid shots can be challenging when you're trying to visit with the adults in the group.

So, since I've been doing this for a long time and thought maybe a little advice might help me get the best from my camera as well as freshen my perspective,  here are some helpful tips for photographing little ones:

Digital Photography School Photographing Tots and Toddlers

Techlicious 10 Tips for Better Baby and Toddler Photos

It'sAlwaysAutumn Photographing Toddlers

100 Toddler Shots to Improve Your Photography

Photographer Moms Share Secret

Photographers' Favourite Candid Kids Photos

Digital Camera World 13 Tips for Better Pictures of Babies, Toddlers and Teens

18 Tips from Anne Geddes for Taking Great Photos

14 Tips for Incredible iPhone Photos of Children

wikiHow Photograph Children

Monday, November 2, 2015

2 Collections of Poppy Illustrations

This Saturday morning, while packing to head off for a night of trick or treating with our grandbabies,  my task was interrupted by a knock on my door. My head caught up in the whole celebration that is Halloween, I was somewhat nonplussed when I first saw who was standing on my porch.  It was a young person dressed in uniform,  a local Cadet.

It took me just a half second, of course, to swing my thinking around  recognize that Remembrance Day, the time to remember the heroes who have fought for our freedom,  wasn't that far off and the annual poppy canvass was under way.

Sporting a poppy over our heart is the very least we can do to never forget them.  Having made my donation, I stuck it on my jacket, where it will remain until the Nov. 11 service at our cenotaph,  then headed back to the task at hand.

Later, that evening as I was getting my three-year-old granddaughter bundled up for our official Halloween start she noticed the pretty red flower pinned on my jacket. It was, I explained, a poppy. Her tender years precluded her from understanding any significance other than it was "So beautiful."

Some day, however, in the not-do-distant future, she will sadly come to understand that the world isn't a perfect place, that people have fought and died so that she can enjoy all the wonderful pleasures she has. Including, I suppose,  the fun of Halloween.

In recognition of the sacrifices, the selflessness.  I have included here some collections of poppy clipart: