Tag Archives: Photography

My Daughter’s Photography


Just wanted to share some photos that my girl has taken for her photography class at school.  I think she has a great eye for photography, and I’m pleased that she’s learning all the technical skills that I don’t have!!  There were different assignments for the photos, such as optical illusion, painting with light, night view, etc.  Her brothers and sister were sort-of cooperative models…and I tried to help out a bit, but my idea to take photos with sparklers on the basement stairs, well…great way to set off the fire alarm!!  (Hey, growing up in Guate we never set off any fire alarms with sparklers inside our *cement* houses!!)denna's ideas: my daughter's photography denna's ideas: my daughter's photography denna's ideas: my daughter's photography denna's ideas: my daughter's photography denna's ideas: my daughter's photography denna's ideas: my daughter's photography denna's ideas: my daughter's photography denna's ideas: my daughter's photography denna's ideas: my daughter's photography denna's ideas: my daughter's photographydenna's ideas: my daughter's photographydenna's ideas: my daughter's photographyAnd this last photo is of me….nice and creepy!!! 🙂denna's ideas: my daughter's photography

A glimpse of home…

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers

These hibiscus type flowers grew like weeds in our hedge…

Yesterday we visited the Devonian Gardens for the first time.  I wasn’t expecting a glimpse of my past!  It was our first visit to the Gardens and I was surprised to see so many plants and flowers that reminded me of my childhood.  I grew up in Guatemala City and our yard was always full of flowers and green leafy things!  Here are some of the plants that I was happy to recognize (though I can’t name them all!)

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers

I have always loved bougainvillea of any color and you can see it everywhere in Guate!

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers

I was so surprised to see this flower as I have never seen it outside of Guatemala before…it was in the butterfly greenhouse. Just 2 small branches of flowers…a taste of the masses of lilac blooms I remember…and I remembered exactly how the leaves would feel…like stiff sandpaper….

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers

We had a small coffee bush growing in our yard, and I remember popping the red berries into my mouth to see what they taste like, not like coffee that’s for sure!!

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers

These papyrus plants used to grow in our back yard and we would use them for pretend umbrellas when we were little….

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers


denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers

My Mom always had cacti around and we were always picking up spines in our feet and knocking into the prickly things!! (Ok, and even licking them! That was me…)

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowersWhat a beautiful day we had!  After a long long cold cold winter, seeing the flowers and greenness was a site for sore tired eyes, that’s certain.  And the gurgling of a little stream….nice!   Ahhh, my tropical memories!

Photo a day challenge for the faint-hearted…

Photo a day challenge for the faint-hearted…

Have you heard of the photo-a-day challenge?  Maybe you have been doing it for years.  I must confess that I have never done it.  (I won’t confess that I just might possibly have started the challenge once upon a time…)

The idea is that you take at least one photo every day for a year….and then….and then…..

and then you do something with the 365 photos.

And there you go.

That Was Easy.

Doesn’t sound very challenging?

Well it was for me! (too challenging!)

Take a few seconds and think about it:

1) Finding your camera.

2) Finding something to photograph.

3) Finding light to photograph it in.

4) Taking the photo (and maybe a few extra, just to be sure).

5) Downloading the photo(s) onto your computer–for me and my little buddy laptop, this can easily take up to 35 minutes!

6)  Finding a place on your computer to store the photo.

7)  Deciding what you are going to do with the photo: print? digital album? facebook? flikr? instagram?

(skip steps 5 and 6 if your photo goes straight to your online media).

8)  Probably should be making up a caption to go with photo.

9) Repeating procedure every day.

10)  For a year.

So now that you are excited and just panting to get at this fun challenge, I just want to say….you are a bit late.  It’s already January 15th.  But better late than never!!  Right?  (you remembered that that’s my favorite motto and seems to be my saying for this new year)!   Don’t listen to any negativity….you can do it!!  Starting today!

I am going to give it a try  (I just decided that 4 days ago).  And why?

Because I personally know one person who did it.  She did it, for a whole year.  (of course she’s a super-organized type A type person, but that shouldn’t make any difference…should it?)  She posted her photos on her Flikr account and will soon print them out in a beautiful coffee table album.  Her photos were fabulous, I must say (and I tried not to feel photo-envy, or motivation-envy either).  And she encouraged me to try the photo-a-day challenge (several times).

And because it might make me want to hone my photographic skills and actually learn something about photography.

And because it might be a cool way of documenting a Year in the Life of Us.

And it’s because it’s only January, and I haven’t gotten too far behind yet.

And because I have no other cool ideas at the moment.

So I went to my digital programs and grabbed photos that I have taken from the last 15 days  (ok, some were tweaked a bit, but they were the kind of photos that I would have taken on that specific day if I had been thinking about this challenge).  And then I went into my digital scrapbooking program (all programs by Creative Memories of course) and made some simple layouts for a future wonderful coffee table book (that you will be forced to look at if you ever come and visit me–and if it ever gets done!). As I was setting up my future book, it seemed like a good idea to have one month cover a two page spread, so roughly 15 photos per page and 24 pages for the book.  Seems do-able.  After spending some time and thought (I won’t tell you how much), I came up with the layout for this first page! (didn’t take long to drop the photos in!)denna's ideas: Photo A Day for January 2013

I’m going for simple (which is totally unlike me, don’t know if I will be able to handle the sleek simplicity zenness or not)

And it just may be the very first and last page that you see from me!! 😉

But, really, I just want to encourage YOU to try this simple and fun challenge!!  If I can do it, anyone can!!  (oh wait, I should probably say that at the end of this year….)

If you search for the phrase “Photo A Day” online there are a whole bunch of fun-sounding ideas that pop up.  Like almost game-type contests and encouraging articles, ideas, all sorts of stuff that are way more motivational than my sorry post!!  I had forgotten, but there are also lists of ideas for each day of the month, to give you some inspiration for what to photograph. Here’s a link with an example of a list and links to the people who joined the challenge at a content housewife. That’s kind of what my friend did, though I think it was a topic for every week, such as self-portrait, motion, B&W, children, etc.  Really, you should try it and start today (just make up a few things for the last 15 days)! Let me know if you are going to try it out and maybe we could come up with a fun list of ideas!

P.S. I just found this site, which I haven’t seen before, called 365 project where they have it all set up for you, looks easy to do and inspiring…..(not that I’m really looking for inspiration…until I get desperate).

P.P.S.  I’m just going to put my photos on my book pages, I’m not on instagram or flikr, and don’t really plan to go there at this stage of my life….baby steps, baby steps….



So this is it.  Fall.  (It’s here, yay!)  I love fall, but I have been feeling very rebellious lately, and it’s not from the weather.  Guess I’m trying to find balance. (that’s a popular thing to say and it puts my teeth on edge just to write it).  I started realizing how rebellious I felt when we went on an impromptu picnic on Sunday afternoon.  We went to one of our favorite parks with buns and cream cheese and oranges and pepsi.  It is a very popular spot for wedding photography sessions.  On this beautifully hot day, there were no weddings around, but you couldn’t take 10 steps without stumbling upon little photography shoots. Shoot.  They were swarming all over the place!  The photographers with their big shiny cameras and huge lenses, crouched down cajoling little children to look here and there, placing stuffies and piles of leaves around their subjects.  The photographers were calm and smiling, constantly talking; the add-on people (usually moms) weren’t quite as calm, saying ‘do this and do that’!  The subjects were dressed up, some very dressed up in Sunday best and high heels.  Posing here by the bridge, now down by that bush, now laying in the fallen leaves and gazing up at the photographer, now down by the river, now gazing into each other’s eyes.

And I sat there in my picnic chair, the sun beating down on my back, and sulked.  As I watched all the activity, I despaired at the fakeness of it all.  Part of me was just soaking in the beautiful day and the leaves, but sadly, the other part of me was disgusted.  The posing, the cajoling….and the thing that bugged me the most was that everybody’s doing it.  As I have done so many times, in so many photoshoots.

We sat at the picnic table, with our humble picnic (first taste of chicken bologna for some) and watched as a group came right up beside us to bask in the leaves while the photographer snapped away.  They said that it would be quick, and that was fine.  It gave us something to watch while we ate.  It was fine, and surreal at the same time. 

I had my camera along, of course, but didn’t even feel like pulling it out of the bag.  Resisting “camera envy” was taking some little effort on my part.  I thought maybe my daughter would like to take some photos, after all, what a gorgeous day.  But the kids were busy playing with Henry.  It was so peaceful and relaxing.  I dozed off in a daze of autumn and cameras. 

Giving myself a shake, I got up and grabbed my not-so-very-shiny not-so-big camera and halfheartedly started snapping some photos of the kids, the leaves.  Almost forcing myself.  I started feeling a bit better when I lined up the oranges on the picnic bench: when in doubt, snap away at still life, that’s my motto.

My daughter came up with some ideas for photos which she took, like throwing leaves at the photographer. 

There was no energy in me to set up a “family photo” to freeze this picinic day in time, propping up the camera and posing myself with everyone…..but old habits die hard, so they say.  “Everyone come over here and sit by this tree”.  Snap snap.  “Lean back and get your face out of the sun”.  But this time I didn’t bother to get worked up over it or even to command everyone to smile.  I just snapped away, knowing that the photos of Henry with his kids in the fall by the “Children’s Bridge” would be worth the effort….someday it would.This looks real enough.This is posed:Deep down inside, I know that if the camera doesn’t come out, I will regret having missed the priceless moments, and that’s why I need to make the effort.  To not miss those priceless photos:

When I was at home that night, editing the photos (yes, they are all edited. Everything you see online, anywhere really, has been edited -and touched up-FYI)

I started to feel better: about my skills, my camera, about the reasons for taking photos at all.  Even about the posing and stuff.  Kinda.

Funny thing was, right then my friend messaged me to ask if I could take their family photo the next day.  I said yes without hesitation.  We met at a beautiful park, along with scads of other “family photo sessions”, I tried to ignore the fancy cameras and equipment around me.  I was just going to do what I could and not stress (about camera envy, the fading light, my lack of experience, or anything else).  My friends kinda posed themselves, recreating poses that they had done in their wedding photos 10 years ago! 🙂  I tried not to be bossy, and let Henry try and get the kids’ attention.  I just snapped away.  And later edited.  And when I saw the photo of Michelle and Will, I knew it was all worth it.  When I saw on my computer screen the kids making funny faces, surrounded by their parents’ love and desperation, I knew that it was worth it, and that’s why I’ll keep trying….trying to not give in and give up.  (worth the posing, the dressing up, the fuss, the running around, the fake smiles, the “cheeses” and funny faces…!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 I’m still not sure if I want to do a “fall family photoshoot”….I just can’t decide.  (But if I do, I know who I’m going to call!)  We will see.  I’m sure it would be worth all the fuss, though.  I think.

Moose Jaw library and gallery


There’s a beautiful building set in gorgeous Crescent Park in Moose Jaw: the public library, museum and art gallery.  The kids enjoyed both checking out some books to read and checking out some of the interactive displays in the gallery downstairs.  I had fun taking some photos the day that I visited….. 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

my “bum art” collection


My spur-of-the-moment photo art collection.  Really, I did it to embarass my kids, what can I say?  I know that on my “about me” page of this blog I have a list of things I don’t like, i.e. vulgar things, stuff like that.  Just to show that I’m not a total prude, I decided to post my little bum art collection of photos that I took at Christmas time.  We visited a wonderful art garden, on the top of a hill overlooking the colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala.  Without meaning to (at first) I took the monkey bum photo, then realizing that it was embarassing to most of my kids, I kept on…the youngest one was obviously not embarassed at all, and was very enthusiastic to do a bit of posing!!

This reminds me of the trouble it took to find out how to say the word “bum” in another language…namely, Spanish. But maybe “bum” is in another language for you….in the USA it’s usually “behind” or “butt”…which I always found a bit on the vulgar side, I admit. I prefer the often-used Canadian word “bum”… I think that word probably would come from England, though I haven’t acutally looked this one up! Anyways, I guess it was a bit embarassing when I was young, trying to find out how to say  bum in Spanish.  I think we always used the word trasero, which means “behind”.  Then one day I was at the ice skating rink (the only ice rink) in Guatemala City…and there were only a couple of people skating, and I happened to be talking to a girl who was skating (very well), and since it’s easier to bring up the subject of “behinds” when you are practicing a sport where you are likely to end up falling on your behind…it was kind of easier to drag it into the conversation!  She laughed and told me the word nalgas, which I later figured out meant “bum cheeks”.  😉

Anyways, this last trip down there I heard a few “new ones” for me, so thought I would write up a little list of ways to say “bum” in Guatemalan Spanish, to go along with my little “bum art” collection.  As far as I know, they are just funny slang and not offensive or vulgar.  (Of course I have no idea what they mean in Spanish from other countries!!  Just have a laugh, and don’t get insulted, please!! 🙂

trasero–behind or rear end

nalgas–bum cheeks

fundillo–(I think this is old-fashioned slang)

chumasera—(I’m pretty sure this is the back end of a vehicle, as in the rear end of a car!!)

las pompas, or la pompa

el pompis–(I think this might come from a TV show, Chespirito?)

las nachas—-(this just sound too too funny, like nachos! So I guess if you say “buenas nachas”, that doesn’t mean good night!!)

el mero, mero—literally, the head honcho! haha! (the head honcho, that’s English slang)

Enough laugter, now let’s get down to the serious ART:

colorful Mosaic monkey bums

Strangely tailess horse patooties….oh, ah, and ahem….someone else’s…..

yikes, this one is a little more graphic, but it was a challenge to try and get the Triple Butt shot….(is this, like a famous statue of something…the 3 muses or such?)

there were even scary bums in trees

ok, ok, there’s a behind in this photo somewhere…….somewhere……

this next piece of Art was accidental…my girl was going to pose beside the statue, and I was in the middle of saying, No, step back! but snapped the photo anyways….so this one looks weirder than it was meant to…..!!   (! que nalgitas!!)

and this one, was just perfect….

but she was still in “bum mode” and wouldn’t show her face even when I wanted her to!!

the final bum….

titled “Simbiosis”, this sculpture was the last bum in my collection, snapped out the window of a moving car, close to the airport.

A fitting “end” to the collection, eh? 😉