I’m Ready for BlogWorld – but Is It Ready for Me?

In a few short days I’m headed for Los Angeles and my first-ever BlogWorld and New Media Expo conference. I’m beyond excited…so much to see and do, so many people to meet, and reconnect with again.

But is BlogWorld ready for this legally blind attendee? Or seniors or anyone with physical challenges? Large conferences can be daunting for people with sight, hearing or motor impairments, so I’ll be sharing my experiences and offering my perspective over the course of the three-day event. I hope my observation are helpful to all conference organizers out there.

Here are some of the things I’ll be paying close attention to, based on what’s important to me.

Signage – Are all signs large enough to be seen? Are there enough of them? Can the content of these signs be read easily? Are meeting rooms easy to find and identify?

Stairs and Glass Doors – Are stairs and glass doors clearly marked? I’ve tumbled down more than a few stairs and run into several glass doors in my time:-(

Lighting – Is there adequate light in all meeting rooms and corridors?

Audio – Are the sound systems adequate, with no muddiness or distortion?

Power Outlets – (One of my pet peeves) Are outlets easily identified? Are there enough of them? Are some outlets at mid-wall height and not all at floor level? And are power cords out of the way and not trip hazards?

Elevators and Ramps – Are all meeting rooms accessible via ramps and elevators?

Assistance – Are conference staff and volunteers trained and prepared to help disabled people if required?

Many of you may read this and this that my wish list is unnecessary – of course this is a no-brainer. And in a perfect world, I wouldn’t even have to mention anything. But it’s not a perfect world, and we still encounter more obstacles than you may imagine. So I may vent a bit. But I’ll also applaud, loudly, whenever I can.

If you face some challenges and are planning to attend BlogWorld, or if you have an experience or suggestion to share, please comment below, or contact me. I’d love to hear from you!

Photo Friday – Evoking Time and Place

I don’t call myself a world traveler – I wish! – but I have been fortunate to visit a few places I had only dreamed about as a kid. In 2006, I visited Tokyo, and I really credit that experience with the start of my love affair with ‘serious’ photography. And that’s also when I began to think of myself as a visually impaired photographer, who could show the world that everything is possible.

During that visit, I realized how much I wanted to hold onto the feeling of Being There, of giving anyone looking at this collection a strong feeling of time and place. And even five years later, I can look at these photos and smile. It was a magical trip.

This photo still remains one of my all-time favourites, taken with one of my first point-and-shoot Canon Power Shot cameras. No matter where I am, I’m back in this small market near a major temple, wandering, overwhelmed, loving every minute.


This is another favourite – the stair railing seemed so out of place to me, something I might see in my home town of Montreal.It prompted me to focus on various types of architecture wherever I go.


Finally, I loved this shot of this little boy, who decided that he just wasn’t going to walk anymore:-)


Feel free to visit the rest of my Tokyo set here. I’d love to hear what you think.

Want to Go to BlogWorld? Here’s Your Chance.

The awesome folks at BlogWorld and New Media Expo have kindly given me a three-day full-access conference pass ($1,300 US) to give away! The pass gives you unrestricted access to all keynotes, presentations, panels, Expo, Social Media Business Summit and official parties and closing reception.

So, if you can get yourself down to Los Angeles from November 3-5, leave a comment here, or RT my tweet about the offer, and I’ll draw a winner at random at 5pm PT on Wednesday, October 26.

I’d love to share some of my good fortune with one of you. Good luck:-)



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On Luck and Fate and Guardian Angels

I have said more than once online and off that I am so very lucky. I’m afraid I sound like a broken record sometimes. But it’s true. Despite all that’s happened over the past several years, I consider myself fortunate.

I’ve got my health, I live in a wonderful city, I have the most supportive community of family and friends I could hope for – and my passion for photography has opened new doors to endless possibilities.

Well, this past week, I got even luckier. And it all started with the awesome Amber naslund, who posted an opportunity in her Brass Tack Thinking blog that I couldn’t pass up – the chance to attend BlogWorld and New Media Expo in Los Angeles in November.

That post sent a lightening bolt through me. My first impulse was to sit down and tell her why I’d love the chance to go to BlogWorld after missing it last year. The day before I was to leave, my husband Dave collapsed at home and began what would be almost five long months in hospital before he died in March. I wrote it all out, then deleted it, then wrote it again. And hesitated again. Was I being too selfish? Too impulsive? Did it really matter?

So many of the people who commented had such great reasons for wanting to go to BlogWorld. They had plans, objectives. I just wanted to make my dream happen. So I sat and agonized for a while longer.

Then I said, “What the hell.” and hit Send. And forgot about it.

And then, an unbelievable turn of events. Out of the blue, a gentleman contacted me and said that he had read my comment on Amber’s blog and wanted me to come to BlogWorld as his guest. I said yes, after demanding proof that this was all legit, which it was. We had a long chat over the phone last weekend, and I discovered that he was all too familiar with heart disease and the slow decline of someone afflicted with a heart attack. We both choked up during the call, and it made his offer all the more special to me.

So, I’m going. I’m looking forward to some fabulous presentations, to hugs and conversations, to experiencing LA for the first time, and hopefully, some unforgettable BWE parties! And I plan to write about the experience on all my social media channels and take all the pics I can. And, especially, to share some time with the man who has made this all happen. I consider him to be a true Guardian Angel, and I can’t thank him enough.

After all, his name is Dave🙂

Photo Friday – Sharing Experiences

I love taking photos of events at restaurants and bars – the decor, the ambiance, and especially the food and drink. For me, it’s not only capturing the essence of being there, but also re-creating a taste sensation that I hope will prompt someone to visit to the location and have an equally enjoyable experience.

One of my favourite photos continues to be an iPhone shot I took at Hapa Izakaya in Yaletown here in Vancouver. Nothing staged – this was simply my sushi dinner. But I still get hungry every time I look at it! My friend raincoaster actually made this my first food shot to appear in a blog – Manolo’s Food Blog. I was thrilled.

Then, last week, I was fortunate to attend the ‘official’ re-launch of a new bar/restaurant in the beautiful Shangri-La Hotel – the Xi Shi Lounge. A gorgeous venue, delicious, inventive food and fantastic beverages. My slide show of the event is below. The shots were very well-received, and I’m very pleased with my contribution to the celebration.

Who knows? Someday, I may get paid to do this:-)