Archive for March, 2010

Well, the waiting is finally over.

Our son, Finley Cole, was born on Friday, March 26th at 7:20 in the morning.

8 lbs and 21″ long. Complete with a healthy set of lungs.

Our lives have been forever changed.

Birth Session ~ Liberty Tree Photography

Birth Session ~ Liberty Tree Photography

All I can really say is “Wow.”  And my head is still spinning.

I spent the whole day yesterday at the gorgeous venue of the River Rock Casino Hotel and Conference center at ImageQuest, an annual 3-day professional photographer’s convention. This was only the second year that ImageQuest has been put on and I must say, the line-up of seminar speakers they had for this event was pretty stellar including Dane Sanders, Jasmine Star and Vancouver’s local husband and wife team Blue Olive Photography. I made it to the third day of the convention with Emily of Liberty Tree Photography and Heidi of Caged Bird Designs to listen to Jasmine and Blue Olive talk about the importance of social media and branding your business. I am also especially happy I managed to make it through the very long day of sitting in really uncomfortable chairs at 9 months pregnant and ready to have a baby at any moment. A big thank you to peanut for being so patient!

I must say the day started off with my wonderful navigational skills of Richmond *ahem* ~ we eventually got to River Rock and ended up parking what seemed like miles away from the conference center. After 15 minutes of trying to figure out where we were going, we got to the right spot and hopped right into Blue Olive’s talk on social media. One of these days I might actually join the 20th century and get a cell phone…..I used to own a cell phone years ago when we were living in Vancouver but there was no need for one after we moved to Smithers, especially since the provider we were with didn’t have coverage in that region at the time. I am realizing more and more how important all these networked tools can be for boosting a business and I know I am not even using them to a fraction of what their abilities are. I think after yesterday I have a better understanding of what Twitter is and how it can work for you. Aaaaand enter shameless plug. If you are on Twitter, you can follow me at simplyrosephoto. Or my Facebook Fan Page at Simply Rose Photography l BC Photographer. But in the meantime, I am going to go over my Blue Olive notes again and incorporate some of their ideas.

This, being my first photographers convention, it was really neat to see some faces that I recognized from browsing other websites online. I got to meet some really great people, newcomers and seasoned veterans alike, including Mikaela of Mikaela Ruth Photography in Abbotsford, Philomena Hughes from Prince George and even (drumroll please) Jasmine Star and her husband JD of Orange County, CA. Mikaela and I actually had the privilege of having lunch with Philomena, Jasmine and JD through a series of random events and it was fantastic! We chatted over salads, fries and tiramisu ~ Jasmine and JD are 100% genuine and some of the kindest people that I have met in the industry so far. They are obviously hopelessly in love with each other and JD is so supportive of his wife’s endeavors (he also shoots with her) ~ it reminds me how fortunate I am as well to have a husband that is so supportive of my pursuit of photography, even when it doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere fast most of the time.

Jasmine’s talk for 4 hours in the afternoon (4 hours! woo!) was astounding. I am not sure I have ever been so mesmerized or drawn in by a seminar speaker before. She imparted so much valuable information that I almost felt like I shouldn’t be listening to some of her trade “secrets.” But that is the beauty that is Jasmine Star. She has no secrets. She is an open, honest book, willing to share her life and experiences as a photographer to everyone. Listening to her talk, I loved how confident she was in herself and how she doesn’t compromise on what she believes she is worth. I think a lot of photographers do this, especially new ones starting out in the business and was a really great reminder to me to not compromise on certain aspects of my business. The biggest take home lesson was that YOU are the biggest asset to your business and being yourself is the most valuable thing. There were so many gems from that seminar talk and I am still processing quite a bit of it. I hope to incorporate some of her ideas as well, but with my own spin attached. She is truly one of the most inspiring people I have come across, not just from being a small business owner that happens to be doing photography but also from a life perspective. As the one lady in the audience said during one of the Q &A periods, “Jasmine, I love you.” Indeed! Oh, and this would qualify for number 18 on my 90 in 2010 list! Even though it wasn’t one of Jasmine’s own teaching seminars she hosts in her neck of the woods, I think the amount of information I walked away with yesterday afternoon is enough to strike this off.

Emily, Heidi and Mikaela before Jasmine Star.

The fuzzy peaches that cost Emily her lunch with J*!

Jasmine Star.

Wow. I never realized I had grown a double chin. I hope that goes away….

Well, any day now apparently! Or longer, depending on how keen the little tyke is. I’m holding out a few more days to make it to ImageQuest at the River Rock Casino in Richmond to see Jasmine Star and Blue Olive Photography give seminar talks. I will be attending with two other ladies, one of which is Emily Hoskins of Liberty Tree Photography, who recently covered our maternity shoot at Granville Island. Emily will also be covering the birth as well so we will be packing along cameras and overnight bags just in case!

I was looking over my 90 in 2010 list this morning and have decided that there are a few items on there that no longer work or are possible to accomplish.

#40 - Find a backyard garden-share in my neighborhood and have a summer garden.

The only lead I had for a backyard garden-share ended up being something I wasn’t expecting at all. I was greatly disappointed with the outcome and went back to the City Farmer Backyard Sharing site to see if anything new in our area had come up, but there wasn’t. I think I will try to do some planters in my dad’s tiny backyard area and focus a bit more on attending farmer’s markets this summer and produce shopping just up the road. I have been dreaming about garden-fresh broccoli lately, which is unlike anything you will find in a regular grocery store. Here are some pictures from 2 summers ago in Smithers, the first year I ever had a garden at the Northern Roots Community Garden. I grew everything from different varieties of sunflowers to onions and even tried corn (which doesn’t work outside that far north). The Russian Mammoth Sunflowers were definitely the showpiece of the plot. I wasn’t expecting them to get so large, but hence the name “Mammoth.” I will miss gardening yet another season!

#60 - Have a garage sale with my dad.

Well, this is proving to be difficult already. My mom likes to collect things and as we have been organizing and getting rid of our own personal items for the summer sale, my mom goes through the pile just as fast and incorporates these give-aways with her own things. A major run to the second hand store will happen next week, to keep our clutter and my parent’s to a minimum!

That’s all for this dreary day in the city. Happy Sunday!

Quite a bit has been going on lately and I’m trying to pace myself a little bit more. Sleep seems to evade me now at night, however I feel like I am adjusting accordingly. It’s amazing how this is all coming together, my body just seems to know what it’s doing on its own. The next part is scary, but millions have gone before me. It can be done!

I attended my first Small Business BC seminar on Monday titled Branding - More than just a Logo. It was led by Angela Bains of CA Design Group, which is a Burnaby-based branding firm. There weren’t many of us in the seminar and two of us were photographers, which ended up being a really great time of networking and sharing ideas. And all of us were women! I walked away feeling really good about being a small business owner and all the possibilities in the future.

Small Business BC is a really fantastic resource for any business owners out there who are just starting out or are looking for some help. I am planning on taking some more seminars in the future and even take advantage of their consultants in developing a complete business plan. It’s going to be a big year in organizing my business foundations!

I have been thinking more and more about this little one that is coming, looking after a household and running a small business. I have found myself on more than one occasion feeling rather overwhelmed at maintaining all of these daunting tasks but I felt empowered and hopeful after reading a blog posting by Roxanna J. Hooge about being a “Momprenueur.” Everyone I know that has kids has been saying how horrible the first three to six months are sleep-wise but somewhere in the back of my head, I keep thinking and hoping that everything will go fairly smoothly. This new phase of life is certainly scary and we feel completely unprepared but excited all at the same time. I am positive that it will take time to figure our lives out all over again….but so worth it!

I am fairly certain I will never accomplish number 84 on my 90 in 2010 list. We have gone to Ikea about three times since we moved to Vancouver two and a half weeks ago and haven’t been able to come away without at least one item in hand. Today, however, had an extremely good purpose ~ a change table and a few other last minute items.

We also got distracted in the marketplace (surprise) and were looking at some cute drinking glasses that would match our dishes that are actually stored away in crates at the moment. We looked at each other and my husband says to me, “What do we need nice drinking glasses for? We should be buying these plastic cups instead.” He leans over into the adjacent bin and pulls out those brightly coloured plastic cups that everyone with kids has (along with the accompanying tiny plastic plates).

So we bought a set.

I never thought I’d ever own any plastic cups like this. But seriously, what’s the point in glass cups with kids around?

I have also been meaning to take some photos of the gorgeous cherry blossoms a block away from our place. The crabapple blossoms outside our front door are just beginning to bud and will take another few weeks to bloom, but my favourites are definitely a block away. They look like heaven on a stick and smell just as nice. This is the kind of “snow” I don’t mind!

I just got news from my friend, Emily, that our pictures from Granville Island are up on her blog and I am super excited to share them with you!

We headed out yesterday afternoon and the weather co-operated for the most part (it was chilly, but we worked with it!). Granville Island is a veritable arts heaven, we didn’t have to go a very far distance in a matter of a few hours for the entire 2-something hour shoot. We did stray into the market however for a bite to eat and to try something with the crowds that were too polite to co-operate (for details on that, check out Emily’s blog posting).

All maternity shoots now complete (this also completes number 65 on my 90 in 2010 list, although slightly altered), we are ready for the baby to show up! OK, who are we kidding, we aren’t ready at all…..but I guess the biggest baby shoot  is yet to come ~ Emily will also be providing coverage for the birth whenever that happens in the next 2 weeks. Or later! And hopefully not sooner because we haven’t even looked at how to install the car seat yet. Hm, better get on that.

To get to the blog posting from Liberty Tree Photography, go here.

To get to our gallery, go here.

I feel really bad for my kittens.

We were worried about how they would do in the moving truck for 2 days to Vancouver but once they were in their army canvas cat carrier, they snuggled up and went to sleep. And for 9 hours on the one day! I was seriously impressed that a cat could sleep so long.

But now they are inside all day and night in a small basement. They’ve been really great about it and haven’t gotten stir-crazy at all. They’ve got a number of favorite napping spots already….a few we made for them and a few they have found on their own. We’ll let them out soon enough to brave a new neighborhood with really big cats out there. There is one humongous male cat that has been stopping by in front of the biggest window downstairs. And squirrels, oh the squirrels. They’ve never seen squirrels before and they make my cats go mad.

This is Diva. She is her name.

This is Dani. She’s precocious but so friendly with everyone.

And this is what they end up doing most of the day these days.

Well, here I am. I’m back after a painful week of commiserating over the sad, sorry state of my hard drive failure. I’m pretty much running up to speed on normal production now, except experiencing setbacks due to my loss of business materials ~ so I am trying to figure out how to work around that.

I’ve had to reconfigure all of my editing software from scratch, including finding all my actions, brushes, patterns, papers, shapes etc for Photoshop. I’m sure I’ll collect more as I go again, but for now I have enough goodies to keep me entertained and some new goodies to fritter away the time with. I use the Production Toolset from Kubota Image Tools quite frequently and since I lost that as well, contacted the company to see how I could get this back since my downloading link has expired (I bought the set 2 years ago). They informed me of a trial of their Dashboard 3 Pro containing every single action they produce (there are 250+!)

Um, yes please.

The dashboard is so easy to use and I actually love a lot of their colour/creative/b&w actions. I do use actions in my final edits which helps create some more visual interest in a photograph, however I like to alter them the way I like and don’t often use the action straight-out-of-the-box. I use them as a base from which to work and will pick and choose certain looks I like and combining certain steps from multiple actions. I often find the actions that come directly from the developer are too processed or dramatic for my taste, so I will tone them down a bit and make some customized adjustments. Alas, I lost all those too in the hard drive failure. But for any photographers out there who like using actions, even just a little to bump up the look of a photograph, I highly recommend checking out this trial from Kubota Image Tools. I think you’ll be very impressed!

But back to the main reason for this particular posting….

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to check out the open house at the Yarrow EcoVillage, which also happened to be #45 on my 90 in 2010 list. I did a posting about the open house at the EcoVillage a while back and it can be seen here. I headed out with my 8-month fat belly, my husband, fellow photographer friend, Emily Hoskins and her family and had a pleasant preview of the 8 hectare site on Yarrow Central Road. Folks who lived there were handy to describe their way of life in this live/work community, how their structures were built and what the future vision was for the site. Ultimately, the end result of the Yarrow EcoVillage will be zoned as mixed use for commercial, housing and farming. Their plans were impressive to say the least and work is just starting to expand for more co-housing units in the next few months.

Here are a few shots from our afternoon at the EcoVillage.

There was a little creek at the back end of their property. It was a nice, quiet area.

Blueberry farm next door.

Onion or garlic? Not sure, but things have been obviously growing here for a while!

One stretch of the housing units was made out of stackwall. I really love the look of stackwall.

Entry way to an upstairs unit.

Entrances to two units with more stackwall.

Inside one of the newer places. Very open, focused on lots of natural light and natural materials.

Some of the beams that were waiting to get used in future construction. I loved the lines in these wood cores.

Well, I was unable to recover any of my business data so I have been busy getting my workstation back up to speed the past few days. It’s a lot of work! I hope to be editing and posting again by Tuesday so please come back and often after that!

All these postings without pictures are bumming me out, so I will leave you with some yummy wedding frocks that have caught my eye. The other day I watched two back to back episodes of Say Yes to the Dress on TLC. OK, I have to admit, I really love this show. I will watch as many episodes of this show in one sitting as I can simply because I love wedding fashion and seeing all the different gowns that the Kleinfeld’s associates bring out for their clients to try on. I was looking at some gowns online today and here are a few of my current favourite gown designers and styles for the spring 2010 season.

Monique Lhuillier is by far my highest pick for elegant and unique wedding gowns. Her dresses have clean lines, rich fabrics and are more on the couture side of things. I never used to be a big fan of bigger styled gowns, but Monique’s designs have changed my heart and I am loving her unique layers and applique-style skirts. The first three gowns shown here are from her spring 2010 collection.

I  love strapless lace overlays with a sash. I think they look so classic.

This is the sort of thing that has me won over. I love all of the whimsical detailing of this dress.

And this. I am getting increasingly partial to highly textured gowns and there seems to be
a lot more of this kind of thing showing up.

I love this vintage designed gown by Lazaro. The layers of ruffles remind me of petticoats.

Same dress, skirt detailing.

Again, same dress from the back. I think this is so gorgeous!

This is a Vera Wang gown called Callalilly. I am loving the delicate layers and the
shoulder embellishment. Very pretty.

Another Vera Wang gown with layers but pleated layers for an extra feel of
whimsy….and with a sash. This one is called Fairydust.

A Jim Hjelm gown that has it all….lace overlay, a sash, a pretty sweetheart neckline.
This is such a classic romantic gown.

And my favourite of the entire selection. This Melissa Sweet gown
has all the elements I would havechosen for my wedding today ~ a bit of a vintage feel,
some lace overlay but not over the top, a small waistband and gorgeous flowing silk organza.

Bad news.

My workstation is fried.

This is extremely bad news for me as I have not backed up any of my business materials, production software or internet links which I rely quite heavily on from my extensive research the past 1.5 years. I do have all of my photos backed up on an external drive and all of my RAW files backed up on DVD’s so at least that is good news. All of my music, my journal I have sporadically written in the past year and a half and other personal items don’t seem to be recoverable at this point by the store we purchased the computer from.

I do have a name of a data recovery specialist that I am going to contact tomorrow to see what’s possible and how much something like this is going to cost. And the crazy part is is that I was going to make recovery discs of everything this weekend. Lesson of this story is….ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER. I always thought something like this couldn’t happen to me, this is the first time I have never had an issue with electronics like this. I have realized that I too, am not immune to electronic malfunction. I have learned my lesson in an extremely painful way.

I am hoping that something can be done to recover my business folder. I have a lot of work ahead of me if it can’t be recovered or if it’s too expensive. Rebranding (again!) may be closer than I think…..

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