Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ordinary Days and Adventures

I think I post about "adventures" a lot.  I call them adventures because I'm pretty easily amused and even going to the grocery store counts as an adventure to me.  An adventure, in my mind, is anything that is different or out of the ordinary.  Anything that isn't working or sleeping.  But in my eagerness to glaze over the "every day" because it seems boring to me, my life may seem more exciting than it actually is.  Or maybe not.  Maybe you are all just thinking, "Geeze, Laura, it's a trip to the grocery store.  It's really not as exciting as you think it is!"

Regardless, yesterday was a pretty ordinary day.  I woke up before dawn (silly winter sun schedule), and headed off to the office.  It was my colleague's turn to teach the class that day, so I settled in at my desk to provide user support.  I answered the phone as it rang, and I stayed on top of our inbox.  It was a fairly slow day, so I even had time to catch up on some personal stuff - like trying to see if my credit card, employee ID, and bus pass made their way to transit's lost-and-found from last week or if they really were stolen.

After work, I headed home to one of my light teaching days.  My heaviest loads are mid-week, so Monday and Friday are a little less packed.  I had 45 minutes before I needed to leave to teach my first student, so I tackled the things I have been avoiding the most on my to-do list.  I grabbed the pile of dirty clothes that needed some stain removing attention before they went in the laundry and pulled up a stool to the sink.  45 minutes later, I had gotten a little carried away and had four loads piled three feet high in baskets for Nick to help me take down to the laundry room on the first floor of our apartment complex.  Somehow it ended up being a strip-the-entire-bedroom-and-washroom-of-all-linens day.

While Nick took care of starting that, I ran out the door and drove up the hill to teach a couple little girls piano.  I was back home again shortly after 7:10pm, and transferred the laundry over to the dryers before heading upstairs to spend the next hour sweeping, washing the floors, dusting, rotating the dishwasher, and cleaning the washroom.  At this point it was after 8pm, but that still seemed super early to me because normally I would just be finishing teaching, so I felt miles ahead of the game!

I briefly considered making something for dinner, but decided against it.  I grabbed up my boots and hoodie and announced I was "going on a food finding adventure!" to Nick who was editing away like a mad man in the office.  See, the other benefit of making everything sound fun is that people want to do it with you.  Next thing I knew, we were both heading out the door to pick up some sushi and drinks for the evening.  When we returned home, we grabbed the last of the laundry and had it put away in record time.  By shortly before 9:30pm we managed to be all settled down in our freshly washed bedding and clean house with sushi in hand and enjoyed an episode of House.  By then it was approaching 10:30 and Nick still had almost 4 hours of editing to do, so he headed back to the spare room/office until the wee hours of the morning whereas I got almost a "normal person" amount of sleep that night!

Okay, well... maybe it wasn't a completely ordinary day in that I didn't stay up too late, work too long, and consume take-out burgers.  However, it was a day full of ordinary things.  Ordinary things that I don't normally easily have time for.  And thus, I loved it.  So I guess by my definition of adventure - Monday was a pretty decent one ;).  Yes, I just called cleaning my house an adventure.  I told you I was easily amused!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Family Weekend

This Friday my dad came down from the interior for a visit.  It was a very quick trip, with him arriving Friday after work and leaving Sunday morning.  We went and grabbed some groceries, came home, put some pizza/wings in the oven, and played a couple rounds of Ticket to Ride.  After staying up chatting for a bit, he headed to bed and Nick and I watched the newly released episode of Parenthood.  Now that it's the Fall, we need to juggle all our regular Netflix shows with our favourites coming back for the new season.

Saturday morning came super early for me at 6am, though Nick got to sleep in for a bit as his wedding started later in the day.  My dad and I, however, headed off to the gun range for him to compete.  He used to be the national champion in trap shooting over 30 years ago, and is just picking it up again now.  While he registered for the day, I wandered outside to take some pictures of the dewy morning spider webs.  Unfortunately, I guess it looked like I was doing "nothing" as I was timidly approached by some of the girls working the range and asked if I could help out for the day since someone called in sick.  They showed me how to load the machines that fired out the clay targets, and I kept an eye on them throughout the day, reloading after every couple rounds in the various events.  I did, however, negotiate a free lunch and drink out of the deal ;)

After my dad did extremely well, in my opinion, we headed home for the evening, picking up a few new fish on the way - yes, more fish.  I am obviously a terrible fish owner as they keep dying / jumping out of the tank.   Later, I edited some photos while my dad napped, and then we spent the night reading and blogging on the couch together.  I wished him goodnight, and headed to bed around 11pm.  Nick didn't get home until the wee hours of the morning today, unfortunately, but Nick and I are relaxing for the remainder of today and spending some time together before the beginning of the new week :)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

365 Photography Project: (Days 263 - 270)

Friday, September 20th, I "only" had to do a little bit of correspondence and exporting photos.  9.5 hours later, I was still right where I started (physically) :P.  So much for an almost day off!

Sunday, I headed over to a wedding shower after church and it had all my favourite goodies that I'm so allergic to.  But... I ate them anyways!  Nick and I are really looking forward to heading out to Alberta in 8 weeks to watch our friends finally tie the knot!

Monday, we decided we needed food.  The fridge was pathetic and we were hungry, so we headed out after work and piano teaching to go grab everything edible in sight at the grocery store as fast as possible.  You should understand that we gave up on making grocery lists years ago.  We walk into the store, and with very little communication to each other, we can divide and conquer in under 20 minutes.  We know the usuals.  We know what we like.  We know what a good sale is.  We are like extreme shoppers.  It's kind of scary how we can whip in and out with no list, and no talking and have food for weeks that we're both happy with.  (Obviously we also eat the same things all the time...haha).

Tuesday, I really loved the daily I shot below.  However, I have a confession to all fellow photographers.  My daily photo went a little something like this:

"I have nothing to shoot.  I can't think of anything to shoot.  I'm home alone and I got nothing.  Maybe I'll shoot this?  No.  Maybe there is something on my deck to shoot.  No.  Hey, the deck light means I could make a silhouette!  But.... my tripod is all the way in the other room.  I'll just set the camera on the couch.  Hmmm, the couch is kind of low.  I'll just kneel on the ground so I fit in the frame.  Ow... why does kneeling hurt so much when you're older.  And I can't be bothered to focus my shot until I know I have the framing right.  Oh!  That's neat!  Let's take one or two more.  Done."

Wednesday, we enjoyed the fruits (literally) of our Monday grocery shop.  I have a problem with lunches.  I really don't like bread very much and sandwiches are even worse.  It means I'm a real pain to make lunches for.  I would happily take all these random snacks over a "proper lunch" any day!

Thursday evening, Nick was at a SUPER LATE meeting from like 8:30pm to midnight ish.  I took a little time to myself to stop working, run a bath, and read.  I also went to bed at a semi-decent hour.  Man, I felt so good the next day!  You would think I would LEARN from this experience and do it more often, but alas, no.... haha.

Friday, after work my dad came to visit.  There is a trap shooting competition this weekend and it was being held near us.  For those of you who don't know, my dad is a little bit awesome.  He used to be the national champion in trap shooting 30 years ago, and he's just getting back into it.  That's right, my dad is cooler than your dad.  He played a couple games with Nick and I on Friday and then headed to bed as Saturday's shoot meant he (and I) had to be out of the house by 7am.  Nick, sadly, had to shoot a wedding all day, but at least got more sleep than we did!

And yes, those are MY trains.  I won the first round before solidly losing the second!

Saturday, I could have easily picked a photo of my dad for my daily.  That would be the obvious choice, right?  But this spider web is kind of cool....  I'm going to do a separate post about hanging out with my dad this weekend ;)

Alright!  Double digits left!  Only 95 days and counting until we made it through this project - yay!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 253 - 262)

Somehow in my daily postings on this blog, I didn't actually put up September 4th's photo!  Well, here it is.  I had to dust off the old guitar to learn a duet part to play with a piano student.  :)  Turns out it was in a pretty hard key, so I'm glad she just asked me to play with her on the piano instead, haha.

Okay, now back to Thursday, September 11th, where I was supposed to be!  I try to avoid the oh-so-common food shots, but this week I was swamped, so I'm pretty sure food was my daily photo subject at least three times.  The first time was when we ordered pizza (and non-dairy chicken wings for me) and ate in bed.  I want to remember these days because they are awesome, and I hope they never stop!

The next day I dropped Nick off at the airport after work on Friday for a Calgary wedding, and came home to an empty house.  I don't get lonely very easily because I have my never-ending to-do list that keeps me company, but I don't love it when he's not around.

Saturday, September 13th, I was up at the crack of dawn to shoot my first wedding under our company's name.  It was actually my 8th wedding of the Summer, but the first that was completely mine from start to finish.  The couple was a dream to shoot, and you can see more pics in this post HERE.

Sunday, was an editing day!  As was pretty much every single other day this week as I wanted to see if I could finish an entire wedding in less than a week with 500+ photos.  (I did!).  So here's where my gear sat, and continues to sit a week later, still waiting for me to put it away!

Monday, after work and teaching, we had a worship team event to go to for the evening at church.  I should mention that I pulled my first all-nighter on Sunday night if you don't count the 45 minutes of sleep I got between 4:45 and 5:30am.  So I was pretty tired through that meeting.  We dropped another team member off at home on our way back and I grabbed this shot out the car window:

Tuesday, I taught until 8pm and then texted Nick asking him to bring dinner home.  We are probably the only family excited about all the fast food coupons in our mailbox!  We had some A&W while I continued to work on editing the wedding and then headed to bed.

Wednesday night is Life Group (Bible study) night again now that it's September.  I came home from work, taught two students, edited as many photos as I could before we had to leave, and then we headed out (grabbing Subway on our way because we need to give all the fast food places equal love or it wouldn't be fair).  I'm actually a little appalled at how much take-out we have consumed in the last 7 days as I type this!  Haha.  Subs have vegetables.  Thus, they don't count.  I grabbed this shot on my i-phone on our way home through the rainy window.

Thursday, we put a stop on the fast food.  Kind of.  Does picking up a pre-cooked chicken from the grocery store count as fast food?  Why do we also have bananas and potato chips on our plates?  I don't know.  I was editing while Nick made this, so ask him, ha!

Friday, I FINISHED EDITING the wedding.  (I still spent Saturday) exporting and uploading, etc., but the majority of the work was done by late Friday night.  We actually had time to grab a quick movie with friends as an editing break, and I grabbed this shot in the fog on the way home.  Nick indulged my "go around the block again!" for it.  He also indulged a quick stop at home because while I had my camera and light stand in the car, I didn't have a tripod or flash on me as I thought we were just going out for a quick movie.  If you're wondering how long ten seconds is in feet (because that's how long the self timer on my camera is), it's the distance from the hood of the car that the camera is sitting on to where we're standing in this shot!  I could JUST make it, but Nick can run faster and doesn't have a gimpy foot, so he actually was the one to press the shutter button and then make the mad dash down to me for this shot!

Cindy and Victor Wedding

Last Saturday I had the privilege of recording a very special day for a beautiful couple.   If I wasn't completely in love with photographing weddings before, I am now!  These two were a complete riot right from start to finish!  Also, a big thank you to Brett Alexander Photos for being my second shooter and getting up at the crack of dawn (literally) on a Saturday morning with me ;).

And, yes, you read that correctly - last Saturday.  I managed to get their 500 photos edited in just under a week, and it nearly killed me, but it was so worth it!  I edited on the bus, on my lunch breaks, while eating all my meals, while watching t.v., etc.  Nick had to literally pry the computer out of my hands every night because I couldn't get enough of this fantastic, fun couple!  Here's a little glimpse of their day (please ignore the fact that Blogger just loves turning black and white photos sepia toned... sigh....).

While I was upstairs with the bride as she finished her hair and make-up, Brett was outside waiting with the guys for the door games to begin.

There were push-ups, tests to be passed, lady-bug wings to be worn, and a lot of laugher and singing to be done before he was allowed in to meet his bride.

While all this was going on, us girls were working on the finishing touches.  The last of the jewelry and taking some time to document this AMAZING dress she had shipped over from Thailand.  This was just one of her three dress for the day, but it was hands-down my absolute favourite ever!

After that, we headed off to the ceremony location which was to be in a church nearby.

The couples filed in, and the poor flower girl featured above was so brave - for about three steps.  After that she abandoned her duties, burying her head in her father's shoulder.  But this was quickly forgotten when the bride walked in on her father's arm.

The ceremony was simple and sweet.  They worshipped and prayed together; exchanged looks, smiles and vows; and officially began their new life as a couple.

The joy on their faces after they were pronounced husband and wife just radiated throughout the day:

We left them to their rejoicing and headed over to the reception location to get a few shots before everyone started to file in:

In order to get the couple to kiss, you had to perform a song or tell a story.  There might have even been some interpretive dancing throughout the day!  But this couple knew what was what, and always rewarded you handsomely for your efforts.  None of that little peck on the cheek stuff for these guys ;)

There was the usual speeches, cake cutting, dancing and toasting.  However, this couple hit it out of the park with their first dance.  It started out innocently enough with a slow dance, but then transformed into an entire performance of swings, and dips, and choreographed moves.  They even did the robot at one point!

After the reception ended around 4:30pm, we headed out for some quick shots outside on the grounds.  I loved that we could do their shoot afterwards instead of in the middle of the day as the light was perfect :)

We headed down for a few last shots at the beach a short drive away, and then called it a night :)

If you want to see a few more photos from this wedding, or photos from other weddings this Summer, you can head on over to the business page on Facebook :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 247 - 252: Summer Adventure Recaps)

Friday, my husband took me on The Most Amazing surprise date!  I won't elaborate more here as I wrote an entire blog post just about the awesome experience, and if you're interested, you can check it out HERE.

Saturday I was hired to shoot my very first Romanian baptism.  I read a little about it beforehand to be prepared and heard that it was "like shooting a wedding".  I was skeptical, but it really was!  It was an almost two-hour ceremony full of intricacies and emotional moments.  You can see more pictures if you like on my business page HERE.

Sunday was my brother-in-law's birthday, and he happens to be going to school this year about an hour from us.  After Nick finished some work at the church in the morning, we headed out to the Valley.  On our way we stopped to try and do one last blueberry picking trip, but unfortunately they were all rotten and on the ground.  We did enjoy exploring a different farm than usual and picked up some delicious treats at the little store for our anniversary later next month.  After that we headed out for a swim and some dinner with his brother.  I chose the wagon shot as my "officially daily" for Sunday.

Monday was a very busy day.  I worked at the office, and came home to two regular piano students and one new one.  He is a work friend of ours in the film industry so he stayed and chatted for a bit after and I used that time to actually make a big pot of chili which is not something we usually take time for!  After he left I got back to work editing the baptism photos from Saturday.  (I had already been editing on the train and during my lunch break, as well, as they ordered over 100 photos, and the colour casts were horrible in the brightly painted church.  They specifically requested no black and white photos, so I had to spend a lot of time getting skin tones to look half decent).

Tuesday, I continued to power through editing photos on my lunch break, during my train commute, and after piano students.  I finally finished them all and sent the gallery off for approval to the family.  The good news?  They loved them and had no revisions!  

Wednesday, after work I headed out to an adjacent city to teach two piano students and had Nick pick me up to cut my commute home in half.  On the way back we used Mobile Bandit to search for coupons and found a two-for-one deal at Quiznos.  We grabbed some stools by the front window and munched away at our subs in the sunshine before heading home to get ready to almost immediately head out again to Life Group (bible study) that is now back on it's regular Fall schedule.  That night was the kick off, so we reconnected with everyone, had some snacks, and then headed home to sleep.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

End of Summer Date

Sometime in the Spring of this year, Nick and I were sitting in a restaurant lobby waiting for seating for Wing Wednesday.  We were talking about how last year we didn't get to do anything fun really because of the work hours we kept.  We were talking about how we wanted this year to be different.  

Since we're never without electronic devices close at hand, I asked Nick to pull out his calendar and we were going to "schedule dates".  We thought up fun things to do and put them all throughout the Summer every few weeks or so.  (It takes a very long time to get seats on Wing Wednesday).  And while we changed around what some of them were, we did them all!  

We watched movies.  We went berry picking and even baked pies.  We bought cheap bikes and explored new areas we've never seen before.  We tried out a gaming coffee shop and played other board games with friends.  We went to the beach multiple times.  We drove out into the middle of the night to shoot stars and watch a movie in the back of our car.  We went on an impromptu trip to the Island.  We stayed up too late on weeknights to watch fireworks (twice!).  We even went to the Vancouver Aquarium for the very first time.  

And then we were sad.  Sad it was over and the Fall was back full swing.  In the midst of the more hectic schedule come September, Nick planned a surprise date last Friday night after teaching.  What I didn't know was that it was the "Last Summer Adventure" date for 2014 and he planned to go out with a bang!

I didn't know what we were doing, but I was told to bring my wide-angle lens and dress up fancier than I normally do for the office.  I figured out it was fancy dinner reservations but was slightly confused when we stopped for McDonald's on the way.  Apparently when we had to give up the earlier reservation (when I reminded Nick I still had to teach one student after work), the only other option was for 9pm.  Fancy shoes and black dress on, we headed off into the sunset (literally).

We were about 5 minutes away from the location before I finally guessed it.  We were going up in the gondola!  I have heard about this gondola, but had never seen it.

We reached the top of the mountain with a couple hours to spare before our reservations, but sadly we JUST missed the sunset.  Regardless, we explored and followed paths in search of where the best view could be found.

As it grew dark, we headed off to the restaurant, where we ate really fancy, tiny dishes and were thankful for the McDonald's we grabbed on the way, haha.  However, with the fresh warm bread and slow pace, we were both stuffed by the end.  We didn't get a table right by the best view, but it was still pretty close.  The steak was hands down the best I'd ever had, and the little "cubes" of deep friend mashed potatoes with cheese were amazing.

We turned down the desert menu to go home and watch t.v. instead because as fancy as we pretend to be, we really love simple pleasures.  Back down the mountain and home we went.  Unfortunately, road construction added a considerable amount of time to our trip and I fell asleep in the car, meaning we went straight to bed with no t.v., but it was an amazing night and a wonderful way to wrap up one of the best Summers ever :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Photography Interview

Just a short post to say I was recently honoured when fellow photographer, Jill Camacho Quash, asked to feature me in her blog!  If you're interested in the read, you should head over and check it out!  Plus, her blog / website is gorgeous, so you should go look just for that alone :)

Check it out HERE. :)

Photography 365 Project: (Days 240 - 246)

Thursday, I came home and iced my feet as they were bugging me after a weekend of shooting and I had another two-day wedding coming up:

Friday, we went over to some friends for dinner, board games, and hot chocolate.  We haven't gone out in the evening together to play games with friends in a while so it was a lovely treat!

Saturday, I slept in because I didn't have to arrive to shoot until the evening.  I headed down to the bride's house to shoot her and her family getting ready as well as the ceremony that followed.  Her sister is practicing her dance in the mirror here.

Sunday, was the main photo shoot and the reception.  We didn't have a lot of time to get all the shots done, but I feel like they still got some really nice ones from the day.  I have a few of my favourite here, though I picked the top left one as my official "daily".  You can see the rest of their wedding on our business page if you're interested :)

Monday, was a holiday and a day to do laundry as we ran out of a lot of things - including matching socks!  My feet were okay thanks to shooting without my shoes for most of the weekend and running around in the ice cold fountain for a lot of the shots, haha.  

We relaxed, we did paperwork, we ran errands, we watched t.v.  We were actually highly productive for a "day off", though with 10 hours of errands, paperwork, piano teaching, etc. I don't know if I would actually call it that.  It was at least a day off from the office!

Tuesday, the rains starting to come.  Welcome to the beginning of our 10-month wet season on the coast.  I used the opportunity to try out a shot I had been waiting for.  Here are the results!

Wednesday, I had apparently used up all my inspiration the day before, so I just grabbed a few light trails from our deck and called it a day.  It could have also had something to do with the amount of energy all my piano students had that evening.  Wow.  They need to bottle and sell that stuff!  Haha.

And now our little group is rejoicing that we're less than four months to the finish line.  Out of the 100 of us that started, 25 of us are still going strong and are on track with our 365 projects.  It's been awesome, but I'm still really looking forward to being all done ;)