From the category archives:

Photography

How often do you get to see FIVE generations in the same room?

Five generations

That’s Beloved’s grandmother, his father, his sister, our niece and our grand-nephew. Isn’t that extraordinary?


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I am the first to admit that when I launched my portrait business four years ago this month, there was a lot I didn’t know. I’ve learned so much about using or creating light, posing, interacting with subjects, the effect of various focal lengths, and digital post-processing to name but a few.

In the end, though, sometimes all you have to do is show up and point the camera in the right direction, because the cute speaks for itself. I mean, really, does it get any cuter than these two?

Portrait of sisters on a red wagon by photographer Danielle Donders

Sometimes the hardest part of a photo session is not keeping the adorable kids for myself at the end of the day!

More photos from this fun porch portrait photo session soon – if you think these two are cute, you should see the whole family!


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About a week or two into the World Cup, Simon came home asking for a soccer ball called a Brazuca. He and his friends played World Cup soccer each day at recess, rotating who would be each country, and he wanted to play at home, too. My suggestion that he play with one of the 47 other types of ball we have stashed around the house was met with disdain. He really, really wanted a Brazuca.

I had put it on the vague to-do list that always runs in the back of my mind. If the boy wanted to play soccer, and buying him a soccer ball got him outside and moving more, I figured an official ball was a small price to pay. Imagine my delight, then, when that very week my contact through the Rogers Mobile Ambassador program mentioned she had a few official Sony World Cup soccer balls to share – did anyone want one? I think I may have replied in all-caps, I was so excited. Me me me me me, please!

It arrived when we were in PEI, but the boys have made good use of it ever since.

World cup fever

Simon loves it, and has called his school mates several times this week to see who wants to play soccer up at the school. Thank you Rogers and Sony for making me the coolest mom on the block – for this week, at least!


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One of the unexpected beauties of our trip to Prince Edward Island were the beautiful pink, purple, yellow and cream lupins growing wild almost everywhere we went.

Lupines at Basin Head PEI

These ones were growing between the dunes at Basin Head provincial park, but they were in just about every vista we saw. I don’t remember ever seeing them around Ottawa – surely we’re in a similar temperate zone, can I grow them here? Honestly, before we went to PEI, everything I knew about lupins I learned from Monty Python!

PS WordPress really wants me to spell “lupin” as “lupine” – but they’re not really wolf-like, are they? Hmm, today’s photo seems to raise more questions than it answers…


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I wouldn’t have thought a rocky beach would be preferable to a sandy beach. Luckily, the beach at Greenwich PEI National Park has both gorgeous sand and great big red sandstone rocks for jumping. This is one of my favourite photos of the trip.

Adventures in PEI

It says summer and sand and sea and play – all the things that comprise a wonderful day at the beach.


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Fifteen years ago on July 3, 1999 Beloved and I were married. It seems fitting that 15 years of marriage is celebrated with the most fun day of our adventure on Prince Edward Island. It also seems fitting that it was our favourite day not by design but happy accident. That’s pretty much how we roll.

Souris is a scenic 60 minute drive up the far eastern side of PEI from our home base of Murray Harbour North, conveniently passing through the town of Montague “the Beautiful” also known as “Montague, home of the only Tim Horton’s for 60 km in any direction.” We set off to Souris with two objectives in mind: Chef Michael Smith’s Flavour Shack, and beachcombing for sea glass. We nearly drove by the Flavour Shack on our way into town – it sits with a few other lovely little shops on a boardwalk on the beach right as you’re coming into Souris.

We arrived just as they were opening for the day, and in addition to perusing the selections of autographed cookbooks (bought one!) and embroidered aprons (bought one!) there are some unique PEI products and ingredients, as well as some original illustrations by Chef Michael himself. Did you know he was a design student before he became a chef? That explains the lovely neat chalk writing, eh? And while we perused, we chatted with the influx of his staff, who were busy preparing for the Village Feast scheduled for the day after we were to leave PEI. Despite the fact that they were dealing with minor fiascoes like the Chef’s flight being delayed and a hurricane bearing down on their event with less than 48 hours to go, they were remarkably kind and friendly. And this photo is going up in a frame in our kitchen:

At the Flavour Shack

While we chatted with the staff, I could hear Tristan and Simon talking to one of the young ladies affiliated with the Flavour Shack. (They all seemed to be related, but I lost track of who belonged to whom!) She was telling them about Basin Head with its “singing sands” and a bridge from which you could jump into the water. I have great admiration for a young woman who can speak with such kindness and enthusiasm to a couple of pre-teen boys! Once we had had our photos taken and tucked our new purchases safely into the car, we spent another little while wandering the beach right beside the boardwalk looking for sea glass and other treasures, but the tide was fairly high and while we filled our pockets, it was admittedly nothing quite like what we’d seen in Nova Scotia in 2010.

We had a quick lunch in town (I’ve grown rather fond of seafood chowder, something I’d never tried before this trip!) and explored the Souris Lighthouse with an exhibit of sea glass and its various sources.

Souris and Basin Head PEI

Souris and Basin Head PEI

Souris and Basin Head PEI

Tristan and Simon lobbied hard for a visit to Basin Head beach after listening to Brittany’s recommendation. It had been windy and coolish in Souris, and after being pelted with sand the previous day at Cavendish beach the day before, we weren’t sure if we were up for another beach day. With nothing else in mind, we figured at the least we’d go and check out the singing sands and stick our toes in the surf. Best decision of the day!

Souris and Basin Head PEI

Despite the fact that the water was a brisk 13C, you can see we stuck a little more than our toes in the water.

Souris and Basin Head PEI

Souris and Basin Head PEI

Souris and Basin Head PEI

Souris and Basin Head PEI

Souris and Basin Head PEI

Sitting on the sand at Basin Harbour with my camera in my hand watching the boys play was the happiest I was in our whole vacation. It was truly a perfect afternoon and a wonderful way to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

The boys were thwarted in their plans to jump from the bridge into the inlet, though. Brittany and her friends may get away with it, but the “NO JUMPING FROM BRIDGE” signs were enough to convince me it was a bad idea, despite the handful of teenagers who were doing just that. This was the only jumping in which the boys indulged at Basin Head – but it was enough to keep them happy!

Souris and Basin Head PEI

On the way home, the tide was receding and we couldn’t resist stopping one more time near the boardwalk to hunt for sea glass.

Souris and Basin Head PEI

There was a bounty! This is just a portion of what I had stashed in my pocket.

And we chatted with this gentleman who was harvesting soft shell clams for a local restaurant. He’d only been at it for about 20 minutes and had filled one entire bucket.

Souris and Basin Head PEI

And this morning, a mere 72 hours after we left PEI, I found myself googling “Souris vacation rentals 2015″. I can’t think of a better endorsement for the day than that! This time, though, we’ll be sure to time our visit to catch either the Mermaid’s Tears sea glass festival or the Village Feast – if not both!


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Photo of the day: Basin Head beach

6 July 2014 Ottawa to PEI 2014

So! Many! Photos! Now that we’re back home I’m hoping to work my way through a bunch of my favourite photos from PEI as the photo of the day over the next little while. This was from our last day. While we were visiting Chef Michael Smith’s Flavour Shack, some of the girls who work [...]

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Photo of the day: Stalking Chef Michael Smith at the Flavour Shack

4 July 2014 Ottawa to PEI 2014

Remember how my mom said I should call our trip to PEI “Stalking Chef Michael Smith“? Well we couldn’t very well come all the way here without making the drive up the coast to Souris, PEI, to see his brand new (9 days old!) shop the Flavour Shack, could we? Is it ironic that my [...]

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The boys of Green Gables, Cavendish beach and more lighthouses

3 July 2014 Ottawa to PEI 2014

So this pretty much sums up our vacation so far: Even though it was a longish drive from our rural corner of the Island, we couldn’t really come all the way to PEI without checking out Anne of Green Gables shore, could we? An hour and a half drive up the twisty, winding north coastal [...]

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Photo of the day: Canada Day in Charlottetown

2 July 2014 Ottawa to PEI 2014

If you’re going to be in PEI for Canada Day, there are few things better I can think of doing than going to see Anne of Green Gables the Musical at the Confederation Centre for the Arts for their first performance of their 50th (!) season. That’s more than 2800 performances and 16 different Annes [...]

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