Family Fun Five times over

A morning with 3 very active young children is one of the best ways to spend a late fall morning.

It was indeed a crisp, clean and to the point kind of day as temps hovered slightly above zero. My trigger finger was not too happy at times but seeing these three kids with perpetual energy keep me on my toes. And that alone, kept me warm.

Although most of the leaves have fallen there are still plenty of photo ops to be had at this time of the year. In fact, the muted colours, and often barren landscapes of November can make for a simple and elegant backdrop allowing the focus to be on the main subject of the photos – the family.

Should you be interested in a family portrait please contact me for more information.

Zacharie, Luke and Oliver taking a short time out under a mature maple tree whose leaves were, surprisingly, still on after Hurricane Sandy’s wind storm that recently swept through the city.
Younger brother vs Older brother in a friendly head to head foot race.
I just love this picture of Oliver. Three year olds at their best!
I am a mother of two myself and why is it when dads are around we become second fiddle? Just know that if it wasn’t for moms the world would be a lot more chaotic.


Les deux maringouins

I was originally supposed to be in Barrie, Ontario this morning but I had to cancel my trip last night. The idea was to visit my friend Gary so that I could take some pictures of myself and his bike for an upcoming ‘Traction’ article I am writing. Somehow, I ended up on Toronto’s best beach, with my two children, my mother and my camera.

It was a cool, sunny and blustery day. The waves were rolling in and the sand was wet under our feet. Quite a different feel compared to last week’s photo session with Dan’s kids. I called my mother in the early afternoon and asked her if she would be willing to help me keep an eye on the kids while I had my eye behind the camera. Conditions were perfect and I had to take advantage of it. I have been waiting a long time to take pictures of ‘mes deux maringouins’ (mosquito in Quebec as I affectionately call them) and was excited to finally have the opportunity.

When Luc first stepped onto the sand his head and eyes immediately went down. It was almost as if he was in a trance. Sand everywhere. He has seen sand but not this much and it was mesmerising. I focused my attention on him as I found it harder to take pictures of him. His brother Sebastien lends himself easier to the camera. Luc, on the other hand, is more evasive and quickly turns away or charges full steam ahead onto my lens. Today however, his head was down and he was not listening to any cues my mother or myself gave him. Luckily, the waves caught his attention. They also caught his shoes and by the time we left his feet and the bottom of his jeans were soaked. It was just plain fun to see him stomp on the water as it rolled in to greet his tiny feet.

On the flip side Sebastien was busy creating sand castles and sand art. It was fun watching them play and I consider myself so lucky having been able to record them with my camera. Too quickly though the sun lost power and my golden light was beginning to fade. I would soon need a flash to brighten up their faces. I decided to pack it in..already satisfied at the natural light pictures I was able to get.

Thanks to my mom for helping out and for my two beautiful children for being kids. I am super happy at the pictures I was able to get. When I look at the photos from today I see my children in all their splendour – happy, surprised or lost in deep thought…the pictures reflect their personalities. I will definitely be hanging up a few.


Canadian CX Nationals 2011

Hungry racers from across our great country travelled to Toronto to aim for the coveted title of Canadian National Cyclocross Champion this past weekend. While Pine Point Park set the stage and created a unique backdrop for photographers, spectators and racers alike. It was a perfect day for a cyclocross (CX) event – clear blue skies and cool temps.

But it hasn’t been an easy road or ‘clear sailing’ for organiser Ziggy of ZM Cycling and Fitness. Forced to re-organise when political ‘roadblocks’ set up barricades preventing him from starting the 2011 Nationals a few weeks ago, ZM had to quickly to re-locate this rather important venue. Despite these drawbacks, the venue itself was challenging as racers sprinted on flats and climbed steep hills several times within the loop.

For spectators the course was great as one could see all the action at various points throughout the course. And for me, as both an artist and a photographer I relished at the unique background and the opportunity to display how a bike race could be successfully held within a big urban city a stone-throw away from our country’s busiest highway.

It was my own personal challenge to showcase the beauty of the location and the suffering of the racers. I love shooting in the fall. Although I do miss the heat of the sun, the softer light and longer shadows are great for photography. I looked around and saw a clear blue cloudless sky and a bright sun. I put back my flash in my camera bag and stepped out of my car with only one camera and one lens. Today, was not a flash day. Instead I decided to let the sun and the hill lead the way to my creative vision. While most photographers were up on the hill shooting with the sun in the racers face I chose to stay below and shoot into the sun. Opposite of what you should do. But I wanted a silhouette shot with some cool sun flare action.

The grimaces shown on the racers steadily increased as they got further into the one hour race. With each climb pain and burning muscles created stone faced riders suffering trying to keep the pedals turning against gravity.

I have attended several CX races within the past few years. The atmosphere at Pine Wood Park was electric. Moving around I now stood  at the top of the hill and could hear fans cheering below drowning out the faint buzz of the highway. I found irony in the thought that bicycles and cars have more in common than merely being mechanical machines. Racers accelerated, driving their legs up and down while in the background a small line of dancing ‘ants’ used the on-ramp to accelerate onto the 401. Both metal machines commanded by a human touch.

It was almost the end of the race and my fingers were numb, but that did not matter. When I think of the pain the riders went through, with each breath deeper than the last, heart pumping, legs burning and back aching I could withstand a bit of cold. Afterall, it was their hard effort that allowed me to capture a few images. I am quite proud of the art I produced this weekend and to this I say Thank You to the racers, the volunteers and to the organisers.

PS I do have more pictures – both artsy and non-artsy ones. Email me your plate number and I’ll see what I have.