It’s a Cat Day

My life has revolved around my cats for years, but it’s only in the last several years or so that I’ve worked to capture them camera. And my God, it’s not always easy to take photos of animals who just won’t stay still!  I’ve pulled together some of my favourites from my three generations of my much-loved felines. I hope you enjoy this very personal #EyeOpener.

First, there was my beloved Molly, who was part of our family for 17 years and dearly loved by me and Dave. It’s been four years, and I still miss her as much as ever ? (My God, that computer!).

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Then there was Zoe and Jake, the cats I adopted when I was living and working in Silicon Valley in the mid-2000s, I adored them both, but circumstances kept them in sunny California with dear friends – and I still get to see them.

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Jakey the Russian Blue was a total character from the get-go.  Zoe is sweet, gentle and very shy. While I would have loved to have had them with me when I returned to Canada, they love living with their other two cat-companions and I am so happy I found someone who loves them as much as me.

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And now, I have Grace, my smart-as-a-whip girl named for a Princess because she is one, and Reilly, the very handsome tabby boy with the slightly vacant stare who does a great ‘Timmy’s-down-the-well’ impersonation when he can’t find his partner-in-crime.

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Gracie is gorgeous, but one of my favourite shots is her very fierce yawn!

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Reilly, the jungle cat:-)

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I love these two. They were my comfort when Dave was ill and through his passing, and they make me smile every day. But then again, all my cats have done that for me.

I’d love to hear your stories and see your pics of your wonderful pets – please feel free to share!

Meanderings – Gastown

Vancouver, British Columbia has been my home for the past five years, and I love it for its beauty, culture and diversity. And there’s nothing that expresses that diversity more than its many distinct neighbourhoods.

I love choosing a neighbourhood and capturing its personality and vibrancy through my photos. Last week, I wandered through historic Gastown, the oldest part of Vancouver, and one of the most colourful parts of the City.

Here are some of my favourite shots from that walk. I look forward to sharing my photos from other Vancouver neighbourhoods as I continue my #EyeOpener adventures as a blind photographer.

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Celebrating Spring

Finally, spring has arrived in Vancouver – and it’s such a moments occasion that Environment Canada has issued a good weather alert for my neck of the woods:-) I find that quite amusing, but I’m looking forward to shooting cherry blossoms on the weekend. Photo walk, anyone?

In celebration, I thought I’d post some of my favourite flower photos. I love capturing depth of colour, form and the sheer beauty of nature. And I think I’m pretty awesome at it. For some people, that may be an #EyeOpener.

I imagine some of these images would look wonderful on a greeting card or wedding invitation. What do you think?

First, one of my all-time favourites, taken a few years ago at the Portland Rose Garden. It was raining, and I love how the water had fallen on this particular bloom.

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Next, a shot I’ve actually got framed here at home – a white poppy dancing in a gentle breeze. My friend’s garden in California has given me inspiration for many years.

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Then, one of my most treasured shots from Van Dusen Botanical Garden here in Vancouver. I adore yellow roses. They were my wedding flower.

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Another shot from Van Dusen – because I love the contrast and the delicacy of the flower.

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Again, from my friend’s garden – I love this blossom for its gorgeous colour and velvety texture. I can feel its softness just looking at it!

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Finally, a heartfelt Thank You. I’ve been so pleased with the reaction to my attempts to blog again and put myself out there for the first time in a very long time. I love how people have reacted to my photos, and to my #EyeOpener idea. It’s made me very happy to think that I have chosen a good path, and that I have a unique opportunity to showcase my talents and abilities as a disabled person.

 

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Sometimes, I Surprise Myself

For me, photography means more than getting that perfect shot – although I work as hard as anyone else at consciously perfecting that impeccable plate of food, or conveying the excitement of an event. I can do that. I HAVE done that. And I love the opportunity to do that.

This is one of my favourites. I love sushi. And no matter how many times I see this shot, I am instantly craving this meal again.

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But, as much as I want my strengths an abilities to open other people’s eyes, sometimes there are photos that pop up on my computer screen that surprise the heck out of me. And some take my breath away.

I get a thrill I can’t really describe when I discover an image, a moment in time, that I hadn’t set up, or spent time thinking about. They just HAPPENED – and they give me a glimpse of the world that I didn’t expect to see.  And those glimpses mean the world to me, because I never would have noticed.

That’s my #EyeOpener. I invite you to discover yours. It’s an awesome experience.

Here are a few serendipitous moments I am amazed and blessed to have.

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In my only-ever trip to Paris, I stumbled upon this pair and took this in mid-discussion. I took it so quickly, I wasn’t at all sure I had a clear shot. I was ecstatic to see that it indeed had turned out!

And in the pic below, I found these two soldiers observing a Remembrance Day ceremony in Vancouver. I didn’t have to see their faces to feel their dignity and respect.

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Then, of course, there was the bee…all I saw was a flash of yellow, so I held my breath and prayed. And then, I hit the shutter. I’m grateful I did.

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On Stopping and Starting

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I wasn’t prepared. But I did stop. For a whole year.

No writing except for Twitter and Facebook updates. And, frighteningly, when I look back, no photography except for spur-of-the-moment iPhone pics which caught fleeting glimpses of my life that I felt I could share.

Why?

A year ago today I left for Ottawa to be with my mother while she was in respite care, and to ease the caregiving burden that had weighed on both my sisters over the past few years. I figured I’d be there a month or so. It ended up being seven long, hard, sad months full of struggles, revelations, dramatic change and realities that continue to challenge our entire family.

The balance of the year also ended up bringing a lot of hardship, heartache and change for me back home in Vancouver, leaving me tired, listless, unmotivated and isolated, at least in my own head. Being away for so long left me with a pronounced ‘out of sight, out of mind’ feeling. A bad bug and an even worse fall had me laid up over most of Christmas and all of January. I also had to make the painful decision to leave my home of three and a half years at the end of February and move into a much smaller place that my limited finances could handle better. And then came March, with a bittersweet mix of the third anniversary of Dave’s death and my 60th birthday two days later. Quite the year, eh?

Good stuff did happen, of course. There was much laughter amid the tears and frustration. I re-connected with people I deeply care about back in Ottawa. My youngest sister and her oldest son both purchased their first homes. My youngest nephew announced his engagement. My nieces are beautiful, accomplished young women. My England family is thriving. And my friends, old and new, continued to be loving and supportive, no matter how defeated and bitchy I got.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that I’ve been stuck for a very long time. It’s time I unstuck myself. And the unsticking has begun, slowly but surely.

It started when I pulled out my camera again on a bright and sunny day two weeks ago and walked along the seawall and actually took pictures. Feel free to look at the full set, but this was a favourite from that day.

CAB_2038_2I can’t express how this short photo walk made me feel. The closest I can come to explaining it is to compare it to getting a blood transfusion. I was doing what I loved again. And it was only then that I realized how very much I missed – and needed – my photography.

And that, despite my own challenges as a legally blind person, I’m damn good. It’s time I reminded the world that this gal is talented.

I’m taking inspiration from my wonderful friend Marc Smith and his 30 Day Adventures blog he’s created and developed. He’s been dedicated, persistent, and committed to his vision, and I admire and respect that.

So, I’m taking some baby steps toward my new direction. Little by little, I’ll be where I want to be.

First, I’ll be taking the opportunity to show the world what I can do as a visually impaired photographer – and why my perspective matters. I’ll also shed light on my other talents as a communicator and advocate down the road, because everything I do is so closely entwined.

I’ve even come up with a new hashtag that I think captures what I want people to feel about the awesome things I do.

Introducing #EyeOpener. You’ll be seeing it a lot as I begin to tell my story, all over again.

I hope you enjoy the ride. I’m off to follow where my talents lead me.

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