Guess which blog is featured in Capital Parent Newspaper?

Thanks a million to the amazing Lynn Jatania for writing this very sweet feature on Postcards from the Mothership for the Blogs We Love column in the May 2014 in Capital Parent Newspaper!

Featured in Capital Parent Newspaper

I knew Lynn was writing the feature when she asked me for the photo (truth be told, I took that photo because I didn’t have a recent one to give her!) but I had no idea what she might say. I laughed out loud when I realized she was quoting my rant about the time the detailer refused to clean my filthy car in her feature. Yes, my bloggy peeps, THIS is my legacy. 😉

Lynn is a tireless community builder in Ottawa’s ever-growing online community. In addition to writing for Capital Parent and her own blog Turtlehead (which just celebrated it’s TENTH anniversary!), Lynn is also the brains and the heart behind Blog Out Loud Ottawa. Also? She’s one of the most genuinely lovely people I know.

You can see the online version of the article on the Capital Parent website (page 13!) and you can find paper copies at various locations including the Ottawa Public Library, Shenkman Arts Centre, Boomerang Kids, Dovercourt Recreation Centre, Kanata Recreation Complex, Tiny Hoppers, Fun Haven, and many daycares, arenas, and community centres all across the National Capital Region.

Thanks Lynn and Capital Parent for the kind words! I wish I could express how flattered I am to hear that you say that silly old blog and I make you and others feel good. I can’t imagine a more delightful compliment!

Royalty Free Images Aren’t Free: Finding and Using Photos to Use Without Getting Sued

Have I ever mentioned that I won our school district’s speech competition when I was in Grade 7? I have always loved public speaking. I’ve been really lucky in the last few months in that I’ve had a terrific number of opportunities to do what I call my “blog and pony” show to internal GoC audiences, talking about how we’re using social media to connect with Canadians in a government context at work, but this opportunity was especially exciting for me. I had the great honour today of speaking at the Social Capital Ottawa conference on a topic very dear to my heart: how to find, use and share photos online without getting sued. (Remember my infographic?) I love this topic because it’s at the intersection of a whole whack of things I’m passionate about: social media, blogging, sharing and photography.

This whole experience has been a HUGE learning curve for me – and I thought I was pretty knowledgeable when I proposed the topic! I learned SO MUCH about copyright and how not to violate it. Did you know, for example, that the DMCA does not necessarily apply in Canada? Or that “fair use” is an American concept and different from our Canadian “fair dealings”? Or that “royalty free” does not mean “free”? (Okay, I knew that last one, but I didn’t know it eight years ago when I started blogging.)

But I learned some other really neat stuff, too – like how to build a Powerpoint deck that doesn’t have 800 words on every slide (unlike almost every Government of Canada internal “deck” I have ever seen), and how to share a presentation on slideshare, and how to administer a quiz and record the results in real time using Google docs, and how to use storify to capture a story on Twitter. And now I’m going to wrap it all up into one big bundle and blurt it out here for your adoration.
Continue reading “Royalty Free Images Aren’t Free: Finding and Using Photos to Use Without Getting Sued”

Featured in Ottawa Parenting Times magazine

This is fun! A couple of months ago I was asked to contribute an article about why I blog for Ottawa Parenting Times magazine. The article was published this weekend, so I can finally share with you. How fun is this?

OttParentTimes feature

The issue is jam-packed with other great info about family activities around Ottawa – if you didn’t get one in your Ottawa Citizen on the weekend, you can pick one up around town, and I hear it will be an insert in the Globe and Mail this week, too. Or you can check it out online – look for profiles of three other great local blogs, too! (*waves to Becky*)

Thanks to Peter and the Ottawa Parenting Times! 🙂

This week in pictures: winter family fun – and an award!!

How cool is this? I just found out that Postcards from the Mothership won third place in the “Art and Photography” category of the Canadian Weblog Awards!!

2012 Canadian Weblog Awards winners

I had been nominated in three (!) categories: Best Parenting Blog, Best Blog about Life and Best Art and Photography Blog. (And a HUGE thank you to whomever nominated me!) I love the fact that the Canadian Weblog Awards are juried (no grovelling for votes!) and I love love love that I won in the Art and Photography category. Thank you!!!

So, ahem, how about some photos?

On Saturday, we went out to enjoy Manotick’s Shiverfest with a little sledding. What we didn’t realize until after was that the city had closed all its hills because they were so icy. We’d hauled ourselves out in the cold, though, and we had the hill to ourselves for most of the time we were there, so with me playing traffic cop to make sure nobody took off too soon and wiped out a brother, we ended up having a lot of fun.

Shiverfest sledding fun

Shiverfest sledding fun

Listening to Lucas hoot and holler, somewhere between exhilaration and terror, was priceless, as was his bellow of assurance at the bottom of each run. “I’m okay mom!”

Shiverfest sledding fun

The next day Tristan and I braved the cold for a wander around the Lime Kiln Trail. The poor wee birds must have been starving with the recent deep freeze, because I swear we could have just sat in the car and held our hands out the window to feed them. We’ve fed the chickadees many times, and I’ve never seen them so aggressive.

Feeding the chickadees

Feeding the chickadees

The middle bit of the week was a little less photogenic. Tristan put together this “cracker napkin” and I thought it would make a good instagram shot.

Cracker napkin

And there’s always room for a cat-dog shot, right?

Cat's eye view

(I’d like that one a lot more if the light had been a little better and the shot a little less grainy. Oh well.)

And then suddenly, Simon was nine years old!

Happy birthday Simon!

Can I eat my cake now mom?

Doesn’t his expression say “okay mom, one more, but can I eat my cake now please?”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think there is a birthday party at some point today for which I should be getting ready… 😉

Come and play along with the I Love Ottawa/Gatineau photo contest!

I mentioned last week that I’ve been invited to participate in a fun new contest to help raise money for the Ottawa Food Bank. The launch event was this morning. It was a horrible morning outside (sleet and howling winds that turned into a blizzard while we were there!) but a warm and friendly morning inside as I had the chance to fawn over chat with Mayor Jim Watson, digital media teacher Allison Burnet, old friend and blogger Andrea Tomkins, CBC weather man Ian Black and two of my Ottawa radio heros: CBC All in a Day host Alan Neal and fellow Manotick resident Sandy Sharkey from BOB-FM.

Launch of the I love Ott photo contest w @harry_nowell @jimwatsonottawa @blacksweather @sandysharkey @missfish and @alannealottawa

Of all the celebrity and media personalities there, the kids were most impressed by the fact that I met Sandy Sharkey. 🙂 I kinda thought I was in radio heaven watching this interview take place:

@sandysharkey and @alannealottawa chatting at the #ottgatlove photo contest launch #ottawastarsinmyeyes

So yes, it was a lovely morning, but one with a great purpose as well: all participants will be submitting up to three photographs on the theme of “Why I love Ottawa/Gatineau”. Entries will be framed by contest sponsors Harry Nowell, Artopix, Dave Andrews Fine Art Printer and Patrick Gordon Framing, and then sold at a silent auction on February 23 at Ottawa Studio Works to raise funds for the Ottawa Food Bank. How fun is that?

Would you like to play along? Members of the public are invited to submit up to three high-resolution photos on the theme of “Why I love Ottawa/Gatineau” to the contest Facebook page between now and February 16. Convince your family and friends to vote for your photo and the one with the most votes will be printed, framed and included in the auction as well! You can also follow the contest twitter feed (run by Allison’s digital marketing class) on Twitter (@OttGatLove and #ottgatlove) or even check out their inspiration board on Pinterest.

Will you be playing along? If not, at least help me with some inspiration. For most of the one week I have to come up with my entries, the weather forecast is calling for daily HIGH temperatures in the -20C range! (Yikes!!) So the challenge may now be how do I best show my love of Ottawa – indoors!!

Edited to add: Thanks to Alan Neal for including me rambling on your segment on All in a Day today, and thanks Harry Nowell for this fun photo of Alan stealing my ideas interviewing me. 🙂

Speaking of adventures in publishing…

Before I became obsessive about photography, I was in love with words. I’ve always loved to tell a tale, and to find the perfect words to do it justice. Once upon a time, I thought I might even write a book some day.

Well, I didn’t exactly write a book, but in the same week I self-published not one but TWO photography books on, take a look at what else is in print: my very own article and photograph in Ottawa Family Living magazine. How fun is this?

Ottawa Family Living magazine, December 2012

OttFamLiv Mag Dec 2012 pg 2

That’s my byline! I wrote the article AND I took the photo of Watson’s Mill. I’m pretty darn pleased with myself. 🙂

Watch for your copy of Ottawa Family Magazine (also featuring my friends Sara McConnell and Karen Wilson, among others!) in this Saturday’s Ottawa Citizen.

Edited to add: oh look! Here it is online!

Willie the Celebrity Cat, Now Appearing in a Magazine Near You

As if he weren’t insufferable enough, the ginger menace is now appearing in this month’s issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. Look!


Here’s the original, from my own Christmas Story last year:

A Christmas Story (4 of 4)

Fun, eh? But the way I found out about Willie’s appearance (via Getty Images) makes the story that much better. I received this e-mail on the weekend:

Hi Dani!

Just wanted to let you know how much fun it was to open the December 2012
issue of Good Housekeeping magazine and find your Willie (albeit in reverse)
on page 35!

Last year’s Willie-and-the-Christmas-tree sequence is one of my all-time
favourites of your photo stories.

I’ve been reading your blog since 2007… until this moment as a lurker!
Someday I will tell you the story of how I found ‘Postcards from the
Mothership’, and why I love to visit regularly, even though I may not match
your usual reader profile.

Sincere good wishes,

B.W. in Saskatoon, SK

Is that not the best? I smile every time I re-read it. I don’t know what I find more delightful, the fact that Willie’s picture (ahem, MY picture!) got licensed in a national magazine, or the serendipitous and incredibly heartwarming way I found out about it.

It restores my faith in the Interwebs, it does!

And hey, speaking of my photos, I completely forgot to tell you about this one, too! This came out while we were on vacation – my photo of the lover’s locks on the Corktown Bridge ran in Winter edition of Ottawa Magazine. Fun, eh? That one wasn’t licensed through Getty but sold directly to the publisher.

Sale to Ottawa Magazine

Here’s the original:

Lovers' locks on the Corktown Bridge

And look, I even got name credit!! All this plus a great family photo shoot — I wish all weekends could be this much fun!

Hi National Post readers!

Welcome National Post readers!

If you’re looking for the blog post referenced in Sarah Boesveld’s article in the weekend National Post, it’s here:

On the issue of kids being banned from public spaces, I love the quote Sarah pulled out of our interview. She wrote:

Danielle Donders, a mother of three boys in Manotick, Ont., near Ottawa, was offended when she was blocked in the doorway of a shop by its owner as he told her she couldn’t come in with a stroller —an experience she wrote about on her blog Postcards from the Mothership.

“I don’t think kids should be banned from any place because kids are as different as grown-ups. And you know what? There are some grown-ups who should be banned from public spaces,” she said. “If I have a really extraordinarily well-behaved child who likes sushi and who is able to make conversation better than the guy who sits next to me in my cubicle, then I should be able to make that judgment call. And I would hope that if my child is throwing the sushi around that I’m going to intervene — that’s my job as a parent.”

After flying from Ottawa to Florida with three kids ages 10 and under who were complimented not once, not twice but three times, and who earned a free meal from one Delta flight attendant because she was so charmed by Simon’s gracious manner, I think it’s safe to say that all kids have good and bad days, but to issue a blanket ban of all kids is a ridiculous idea.

What do you think?

Now appearing on Today’

When I started this blog a million years ago, one of the dreams I held was that I might some day have my writing published in a major glossy magazine. My storytelling focus has wandered from my keyboard to my camera over the years, but I have never lost my love of telling a good anecdote. And now, I am super-proud to be able to share this: my first publishing credit on!

Click on over and enjoy my contribution to their new feature: Melt-Your-Heart Moments. I wrote about that most amazing parenting moment: watching your child’s first dance recital, first choir concert, or first halting acting performance as the third tree to the left in the school Christmas pageant.

Very timely, too (I love it when the universe is synchronific!) because just today my heart melted into a pile of proud goo at the school talent show where not one but TWO boys took to the stage. Simon and his buddies brought the house down with their dance routine to LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem (there are not words nor photos that could do it justice), and Tristan finished off his first year of guitar lessons with a solo on stage.

talent show 2012

Could I be any prouder? I think this is as good as it gets.

Proudest Canadian photographer EVER!

When I got my royalty statement from Getty Images last week, I was pretty excited. Not only was it my highest-grossing month to date with 10 sales, but it had some pretty interesting-sounding buyers: a couple of European ad agencies, Microsoft (!), and Macleans magazine. I was particularly curious about the Macleans one, not only because it paid a pretty penny. Not in my wildest dreams could I picture a more awesome use than this!

Proud Canadian

See that bottom-centre photograph of the skaters? I took that one on my lunch break on a freezing but brilliant day back in January!

Skating on the Rideau Canal - Beginners

Talk about proud Canadian moments!

And I found this one, too, which isn’t nearly as awesome but interesting nonetheless:

Found in the wild - Caiman sale

That’s my picture of a caiman, snapped at the boys’ school Halloween party featuring Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, masquerading as a crocodile on the website for NBC Miami, channel 6. 🙂

I tell you, between having a picture of Lucas and Willie used to support the concept of “cutest kid/pet picture ever” and Macleans using this one to define the ultimate Canadian moment, Getty has been doing as much to boost my ego as line my pocketbook!

So you think this qualifies to enter as a “Proudest Canadian” moment?