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If you ever need someone to catch you a grasshopper (or in this case, a beach hopper of some sort), Ava is your girl. At first I thought she was pretending to catch little critters in the sand… but I quickly realized that she was actually collecting real ones in her hands! She was lost in a world of her own while she combed the beach for ladybugs and other random but delightful things. Then she was visited by a familiar four-legged friend who just came in from a swim in the sea. They had a couple rounds of tug-o-war before they parted ways. And when it was time to go home, her rubber boots couldn’t help but collide with the puddle in the path. She’s quite an expert at puddle jumping… but she had enough as soon as she realized how wet she was getting. Back to the van for some yummy goldfish crackers and a rest from a busy day on the beach.

 

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He has two live Chihuahuas as family pets. But the one he wanted to bring to the beach was his stuffed one… his name? Chihuahua, of course! How cute is that? Usually when I photograph children his age, I get all kinds of cheesy smiles when they see the camera pointed at them. All teeth showing, happy little grins, but not so authentic. Kieran was different. When he looked into the camera, he would bat his eyelashes at me. Blinking and blinking… every time he heard the click of the shutter. It resulted in many photos with his eyes closed… or half closed. But of all the children I have photographed over the years, not one has done this. It was almost as though he was flirting with the camera… showing his coquettish side.. playing with me. He made me laugh so hard I had to put the camera down! Such a sweet charmer. What a beautiful child. And so much fun to play with on the beach in the raindrops.

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Aren’t these two little girls cute as a button? Their parents are pretty wonderful, too. We headed to the beach closest to home and hung out for a while. The younger one loved to make faces at me… every time the camera was pointed in her direction, she would stick out her tongue or squint her eyes, or make some silly funny face. She’s just practicing for when she grows up, as I know she wants to be an actress, or a singer, or a dancer… someone in the limelight. But I also knew that if I was patient, and kept watching, she would present something beautiful to me… and I can tell you, my patience paid off. The older one loved to have one on one time with me so that we could talk and I could take her picture without her little sister coming in to steal the show (which she did attempt to do a few times!) Those big thoughtful eyes behind her glasses… just adorable. There’s nothing I love more than to photograph children who present themselves purely as themselves… they are so good at that. No fear of the camera, no masks… although I did see a few funny faces, but that is the kind of mask that makes the whole experience so joyful!

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I had to start this blog post with a picture of Rocket looking soft and fluffy and clean because from the moment we hit the beach, he was determined to change that. I’ve never seen a dog suffer such agony as he squealed and squirmed and pleaded with his people to be free of the leash and to finally have unlimited access to the water. In fact, I think he would have been swimming by moonlight if given the opportunity that evening! You will see the adorable aftermath of all that water-dog bliss at the end of this gallery. We practically had the beach to ourselves, and it was a gorgeous, peaceful hour before sundown. These boys are growing up fast… Kyle, the younger of the two, has such a beautiful pensive look about him, as though he is looking at you, but he’s somewhere else entirely, lost in a netherworld of his own making. Shawn is a quiet one… but self assured with such a warm nature. I love his giggle. I think we got the last warm summer evening of the season. Perfect… so perfect.

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I’ve had the pleasure of photographing this wonderful family several times throughout the years, and they are such a warm and friendly bunch. I think they have become quite comfortable being photographed … The kids (siblings and cousins) loved to ham it up in front of my lens, and it made for a very funny and entertaining session, complete with a jumping shot! (always a favourite.) It was a special occasion this time around… it was their grandfather’s birthday, and the love that was expressed between these beautiful people was so evident and endearing as I watched them laugh and play together. I always strive for a meaningful connection with the people that I photograph, and it’s so very easy to do so when those people feel like dear friends. I was welcomed with hugs, and we shared in the current events of our lives, and before we knew it, the sun was going down, and it was time to say goodbye. But not forever … I hope we will do this again one day!

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