Photo of the Day

Traditional head shots aren’t a genre of portrait photography that I’m drawn to, but when Maranda wanted some photos of her being herself in her amazing condo for her business website, it sounded like a lot of fun. She’s a non-traditional sort of person, and she wanted photographs that would show her personality. Now THAT is something I love to do!

There were costume changes, and props, and I’m not at all surprised that her adorable wiener dog Sadie totally stole the show. Here’s a sample of the fun we had.

non-traditional head shots and professional photography in Ottawa

Isn’t she stunning? And fun and kind and smart, too. If you find yourself in need of a registered nutritionist with expertise in essential oils and life coaching, reach out to Maranda. And if you find yourself needing business pictures of you being YOU, give me a call – I’d love to work with you. Bonus points if you have a sassy attitude and adorable dachshund.


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I don’t generally accept requests to take photographs at weddings, but not because I don’t like them. Being invited to document someone’s most important day is a huge honour, and there are always so many beautiful moments to capture. (Truthfully, it’s photographing wedding receptions that’s not really my jam, mostly because they occur to close to my bedtime for comfort. The travails of an inveterate morning person.)

So anyway, when Sarah and Richard said they were looking for a photographer to document their simple elopement ceremony, I knew I had to say yes. Informal, candid and playful — and did I mention it happened to be at the Manotick dog park? Most! Fun! Wedding! Ever!!

Elopement photography at the dog park

The late afternoon light was warm and soft as they exchanged their vows with the witnesses looking on. The maid of honour read a lovely poem about how falling in love is like owning a dog. It was delightful!

Elopement at the dog park

It’s not always easy to get two dogs looking at the camera even when you don’t have a park full of much more interesting things going on behind you. You see the look on the dogs’ faces? I had just warned the humans to beware of pending screech and then let out the most high-pitched, annoying squeal I could muster to get the dogs to look at me. Worked like a charm, and the humans laughed too. Win-win!

Ottawa photographer at the park

And then they lived happily ever after.

Elopement at the dog park

Thank you, Rich and Sarah (and furbabies Audrey and Timmy), for letting me be witness to your amazing wedding in the park!


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When this family and I planned a fun family adventure photo session at the Log Cabin Orchard south of Ottawa in mid-September, we weren’t anticipating blazing heat and high humidity, but that’s exactly what we got. Lucky for me, we also got two adorable girls and two patient parents, and bunnies! And apples – lots of apples!

A family outing at the Orchard in Ottawa

I love everything this photo says about childhood: dirty knees and pretty dresses and chipped nail polish and careful fingers gently stroking a fuzzy bunny.

Family photography in Ottawa

Those eyelashes! Those freckles!

A family outing at the Orchard

Maybe it’s from chasing behind my boys all these years with my camera, but my favourite pictures of kids are often when they’re busy concentrating on anything BUT posing for the camera.

A family outing at the Orchard

A family outing at the Orchard

Candid lifestyle photography by Danielle Donders

Then again, there’s something to be said for candid shots that become poses with a quick hug and a bit of direction. 🙂

A family outing at the Orchard

Candid lifestyle photography by Danielle Donders

I’m booked up for fall family portrait sessions, but have some openings in November and December for holiday family tradition sessions. How about candid, funny photos of you and the kids making cookies, going for a hike in the crisp autumn air, or making a messy family breakfast? (Almost!) anything you do with your family that you want to remember in years to come, I can turn into an easy, informal photo shoot. Send me a note and we can chat about how!

Thanks to this sweet family for persevering through a July-like blazing hot day!


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If you’re looking for a wonderful little spot to bring the family for lunch and a lovely view of the intersection of Ottawa’s two rivers, we had a really lovely lunch one summer afternoon at Ottawa’s new Tavern on the Falls.

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

It might have been because it was a Monday, or because the sky was threatening rain, or because it was mid afternoon, but we had the place pretty much to ourselves.

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

It’s a cousin to Tavern on the Hill, in Majors Hill Park. It’s a little tricky to find the first time. It’s tucked behind the Royal Geographic Society building on Sussex Dr, right in between it and the falls where the Rideau river meets the Ottawa river. The menu is simple, with gourmet hot dogs and an assortment of pre-made salads and wraps. We were impressed with the options for the hot dogs.

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

(They are so different in almost every way, and yet every now and then I catch the family resemblance!)

There’s also what looks like a full service bar, but we weren’t there for drinks. We did, however, imbibe in some ice cream after our hot dogs. It was spitting a bit as we finished lunch, but the umbrellas provided enough cover to keep us dry. In fact, it was a little hard to tell the difference between the sprinkles and the spray from the falls.

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

It’s a lovely area to wander, not too far from Rideau Hall. We didn’t make it that far, but we did poke around the falls a little bit, talking about how they’re the reason the Rideau Canal was built, and how Ottawa came to be settled because of them. Here’s the view of the restaurant from the other side of the falls.

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

You can really see in this photo why they called these falls “Rideau” – which means curtain.

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

We spent a lovely, lazy hour or so having hot dogs and ice cream and poking around the falls. I can imagine the sunset views are stunning, and plan to come back when the fall foliage turns colourful – won’t be long now! All in all, a lovely if not inexpensive lunch out with a gorgeous view, even on a rainy afternoon, and highly recommended.

If you go:
Tavern on the Falls is open from early morning (with Bridgehead coffee and Maverick’s doughnuts!) to late night, through the end of October, weather permitting. The street address is 1 John Street, but we found it by looking for the Royal Geographic Society and wandering around behind it.


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This was the third year in a row that I met up with this fun family for a “day in the life” candid documentary photo session. The first two were so much fun that they ended up being among my favourites of the year, and I was worried that we couldn’t possibly have as much fun for the third year in a row.

I needn’t have worried.

It was a bright, sunny late spring morning, and we had a lovely time exploring the historic locks at Long Island on the Rideau Canal.

Family fun at the locks

Family fun at the locks

I love the setting for the wide variety of backgrounds – grassy hills with trees, giant stone locks with wooden doors and bridges to clamber across, concrete steps and big wooden docks in the open sunshine. It’s a photographer’s paradise!

Playful family photography in Ottawa

Family fun at the locks

Family fun at the locks

Of course, it certainly helps that this family is content to just hang out and have fun while I follow them around with my camera. And it also helps that the kids (and of course, the parents!) are super adorable and easy going.

Family fun at the locks

Family fun at the locks

Family fun at the locks

Family fun at the locks

Playful family photography in Ottawa

I really love this quiet little moment between mom and daughter. My favourite photos from a session are always the ones I wish I had of me and my kids, and this is definitely a keeper. No posing, no looking at the camera, so stress – just mom and daughter, being together.

Family fun at the locks

And how can you not love a kid who spontaneously dances like this?

Family fun at the locks

Seriously? Adorable.

Candid Manotick family photography

Documentary-style candid family photography sessions are my favourites. Invite me to come along on your family’s favourite summertime adventures: a day at the beach, a picnic at the park, family game night or a trip to the farm. If you love to do it, you should preserve those memories – I promise that those are the photos you’ll treasure in years to come, when you see your family’s quirky personalities caught forever.

I’m now booking for late summer and autumn sessions, and spaces are limited, so get in touch today!


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We’re back with more stories! In case you missed it, the adorably amazing Christine Hennebury and I have been playing a game that we’ve recently opened up for anyone who wants to play along. Each week, I take or choose a photo and share it with the players, each of whom use it to craft a piece of flash fiction. We’ve moved to a bi-weekly schedule to accommodate the madness of June and what I hope will be a lazy summer break. I like how this week inspired a lot of the players to riff on the theme of relationships, and quirky ones at that!

Photograph of a rocking chair on a porch

Worth the Wait
by Christine Hennebury

“I’ve heard that’s all she does, just rocks in her chair and watches the road. She’s waiting for him to come home.”

“Ah, well that explains it then. I heard that he was getting released this afternoon. They must be inside.”

“At their age?”

“What does their age have to do with it?”

“Um…ah…I…”

“Listen, why don’t we finish painting this porch another day?”

“Yeah. Good plan.”

__________

Click through to read:
The Old Rocking Chair
by Gal Podjarny

__________

Sunday Morning
by Mimi Golding

He picked up her knitting that she had left on the porch and moved to the rocking chair.

Holding her last project in his lap, he looked out across the veranda, his mind drifted to the past, to the images of her working the garden, her apron filled with the bounty she collected for the soup pot. With it came the memory of scent, of the aromatics cooking in the morning’s bacon renderings.

Chubs, their skinny marmalade barn cat, rubbed up against his legs, bringing him back to the present.

“Woman! Get me a beer!” he shouted over his shoulder.

And that was the last thing he remembered.

__________

Untitled
by Bob LeDrew

The rocker was moving. By itself. Again.

He looked over. Just the wind. A strong breeze making its way around the house, finding the objects that could be moved, leaving those to heavy for its ephemeral power.

But it was pleasant to imagine otherwise. That had been her rocker, as this was had been, and still was, his. It hurt to sit there alone. But it was also necessary. He needed to experience the pain, over and over, like a tongue poking at a gapped tooth’s absence, like a teenager, cutting herself to feel the pain as familiar.

He sat because if he was going to be reminded she wasn’t alive anymore, he might as well dive into her absence, to drown himself in the pain that her death had brought. One man, sitting on a porch, with an empty rocker rocking. Out of balance and asymmetrical, like the rest of his life since the day he’d come back from the hospice with a large paper bag full of her few personal items.

The rocker rocked. It was a beautiful day, and the wind coming around the house cut the heat of the sun nicely, vinegar to the sun’s sweetness.

And then he heard the wind whisper his name.

Want to get in on the game? Write your story and leave it in the comments, or leave a comment and I’ll add you to the list!

Read previous stories here:
The school bus: A photo-story collaboration
The workshop: A photo-story collaboration
The gate: A photo-story collaboration
Perspective: A photo-story collaboration
Patience: A photo-story collaboration
Anticipation: A photo-story collaboration
The Plan: A photo-story collaboration


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The school bus: A photo-story collaboration

20 May 2018 Creative licence

Over the years I’ve developed a fondness for photos of random things, photos that beg you to ask the question “why?” Lucky for us, the question “why” makes great inspiration for flash fiction. Each week, I send a photo to a growing list of players, and they riff on it with a piece of flash […]

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The workshop: A photo-story collaboration

13 May 2018 Creative licence

We have three players this week in our ongoing photo-story game. Each week, I toss out a photo to a group of players, and whomever has the time and/or inclination sends back a story inspired by the photo. I find it interesting that these stories have varying vibes of darkness and melancholy, despite the bright […]

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Photos of the day: Five things that make photographers happy

4 May 2018 Mothership Photography

Dawna and I have worked together on and off for more than a decade. While I’ve bumped about here, there and everywhere, she’s worked in the same building most of that time. So when she accepted an offer for a new job recently, she asked if I would be interested in a little lunch-hour photo […]

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Ottawa family fun: Open House at Oliver’s Mapleworks

9 April 2018 Ottawa Family Fun

Every year on or around the first weekend in April, the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers host an open house. I don’t remember how exactly we heard about Oliver’s Mapleworks in particular, but they met my planning criteria of a fun family day out that would likely be a little less crowded than some of the […]

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