How to enjoy a contemplative photo walk on a sunny Saturday in summer

1. Ignore the fact that there is laundry to do.

2. Grab your camera and a journal. (And sunscreen and a bottle of water if necessary.)

3. Wander down the street.

4. Get totally distracted by the fascinating paint strokes of the clouds against the sky. Imagine the Creator having fun with a paintbrush.

5. Stop to stare at some flowers.

6. Stare a little closer at the flowers, and notice that there’s a spider on one of them.

7. Take the road less traveled.

8. Stare at more flowers. Be thankful for the people who had the vision to protect this piece of nature despite the development all around it.

9. Get even further off the beaten trail.

10. Be utterly amazed when you find a deer staring at you. Stop to stare back. Get lost in its eyes for a long, long time.

11. Follow the deer into the meadow, and stare in awe at the beautiful shape of her body.

12. Leave the woods and step into the prairies. Marvel at the depth of the colours all around you.

13. Walk a little further and notice even more colours, shades, and hues.

14. Follow a butterfly around for awhile and try to capture it in flight. Give up and simple watch in awe.

15. Notice how stunning the wild grasses look against the blue, blue sky.

16. Stop to look a little closer, and notice a bug on one of them.

17. Stop by a stream and marvel at the way the light and shadow play with the reflections on the water.

18. Stare at a wooden fence for awhile and imagine yourself setting up an easel in that very spot to paint what you see.

19. Get captivated by the artful way in which plants dry up and release their seeds.

20. Stare at foxtails for awhile and remember the fun you had with them on the farm when you were a kid.

21. Find a bench in the shade, put down your camera, and just stare at the beauty all around you. Pick up your journal if you want to, or just stare. Give yourself over to the moment.

22. Say a little prayer of gratitude to the Creator of all that you have seen.

May I take your picture please?

As you can see in the post below this one, I’ve returned from my short trip to Toronto with yet another folder full of photos. My camera has become so much a part of who I am – an integral part of the way that I interact with the world. I can get completely lost in the moment, wandering around a new place, or discovering newness in an old place, when I view the world through my lens.

On my office wall, I have a series of photos of people I have have had the pleasure of meeting in India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. If you were to visit me, I could tell you a story of each one of them. When I need a little distraction or creative breathing space, I stare up at my wall and get lost in the stories I’ve brought home – stories of girls dancing in the setting sun, a laughing farmer telling us how he’d survived a flood, strong women with the dirt of rice fields beneath their fingers – stories that have transformed the way I see the world.

One of my favourite blogs is Shutter Sisters, a space where many people who know what it feels like to be in love with a camera share their stories and favourite images. I have the honour of having a guest spot in that lovely space today. Go on over and visit if you want to learn the story behind this photo:

The amazing technicolour dreamcoat and other photos

The jacket that spoke to me in Toronto… (My daughters’ reaction? They prefer not to comment on the grounds that it may incriminate them. Let’s just say it’s not preteen fashion.)
Nicole’s first band concert (that’s her in the centre front with the clarinet in her mouth). Their band instructor is a miracle-worker who can make grade 7 first time musicians sound good, and grade 8 jazz musicians sound even better.
And this is just a teaser for the next fearless post…

The year of living with a camera in front of my face

My creation
After buying my new camera at Christmastime, I started trying new things and looking around for ideas to inspire me. One of things I decided to do was the 365 project on Flickr. Starting on January 13, I’m trying to take at least one picture per day for a year. Unfortunately, I picked a rather challenging time of year to start such a project, because the daylight hours are all when I’m at work, so most of my photography is limited to what I can capture without sunlight. And these days, even when we have sunlight, it so flippin’ cold that you don’t want to risk frostbite just to get a picture.

By about the third day, I was wondering “okay, so what am I going to take pictures of today?” There are only so many interesting things in my house, and the girls are growing weary of having a camera in front of their face every day. But I keep trying… and I keep longing for the Spring when things start to grow again. In the meantime, this experiment has already afforded me the opportunity to look at things from a new perspective – which is rather fun. (Have you ever laid down on the floor to take pictures of your daughter’s feet?)

If you want to see what I’ve captured so far, go here. (I’m a couple of days behind with uploading – they’re sitting on the camera waiting for me to have a.) time, and b.) a few moments when my kids aren’t hogging the computer.) If you want to follow the journey, and you’re a Flickr user, feel free to add me to your contacts list.


After spending way too many hours over the weekend messing with my trip pictures, I finally have them loaded onto Flickr. (Well, actually I only loaded about a quarter of them, and yet there are probably still too many of them for anyone other than my photo-obsessed big brother.) You can find them here.

Here’s one of my favourites – I call it “Bum and Bells.”

Most pre-potty-trained toddlers run around naked and many of them wear bells like these. I’m not sure why, but I suppose it helps warn the parents if they’re wandering off into potential danger (especially since there are loads of fish ponds, rivers, and canals dotting the countryside). I guess this father didn’t mind running the risk of getting peed on.

By the way, if you’re wandering through my photos, please consider leaving some friendly comments – I’d love to know which are people’s favourites.

Note: I hope the new watermark on my Flickr photos isn’t too distracting. I don’t mind people using my pictures, but I prefer it if they ask first – hence the watermark.

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