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Category Archives: Families

Natalie and Starbuck

 

Right from the first moments of arriving at the barn, I knew these two had an extraordinary connection. Natalie’s love for this horse runs deep, and Starbuck… well, he will do almost anything for her. I loved watching them interact with each other as I captured these pictures. When we went into the field, all Starbuck wanted to do was munch on the fresh green grasses at his feet.. Natalie would lightly smack him with the rope to get his attention the way good friends playfully nudge each other when one is acting up. They each had their own idea about how this photo shoot was going to go, and for Starbuck, it wasn’t about looking pretty for pictures. When we returned to the barn, I was so moved when I watched them hug each other as Natalie gently removed his halter. I found myself smiling the entire time I was editing these photos, because I was so utterly charmed by this horse. I was editing, but also reminiscing at the same time.. wishing I could go back and visit Starbuck once again. Speaking of halters, don’t you just love how he has a custom bridle with his own beautiful nameplate?

 

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A Turn for the Better

 

As I was driving to the beach to do this session, I had my doubts. Little raindrops were lightly tapping my windshield and the trees were swaying a soft dance. I thought to myself, just wait and see. The weather can be unpredictable when you live on the coast, and sometimes things can change quickly. Although I knew this, I dreaded calling this family and cancelling so last minute, as I know how challenging it can be to prepare your kids for a photo session. And the drive wasn’t all that short. I parked my car and walked a small stretch of the beach, and while there were a few raindrops, it wasn’t serious. And sure enough, as soon as we all met each other and began the session, the most beautiful thing happened. The warm fading sun slipped behind a cloud and the soft filtered light was absolutely magical. It is my most favourite kind of light! And what a delightful family. I got completely lost somewhere within my camera as I clicked frame after frame. If it weren’t for the diminishing light, I could have gone on for hours. Sometimes it pays off to be patient, when it comes to the variable weather and see what unfolds!

 

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The Golden Girl

 

The last time I photographed this beautiful family was eleven years ago. How the kids have grown! I don’t think I would have recognized any of them if I passed them by on the sidewalk, but as I looked through my lens, I saw the young children they used to be in each of their faces. I even noticed some of the same mannerisms that they had as young ones. We change over the years, but in some ways we never change, and that is a wonderful thing. What was really fun and unique about this session though, was that it was an extended family shoot… which included their beloved chicken Golden Girl! In all the years I have been photographing families, this was a first. How delightful! What a sweet creature.. so willing to pose quietly for me as the family gathered and prepared for the shoot. I kind of wish I could have a chicken now.

 

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Fun at Willows Beach

 

I’m always amazed at how resourceful kids can be when they are playing on the beach. No screens of any kind are needed here. These three beauties found all kinds of things to keep them immersed in play. They used the charred remnants of a beach fire to write their names on stones (complete with little hearts), they built sand castles with only their hands and imaginations, they performed countless gymnastics moves on the pillowy soft sand, while I stood back and marvelled at how flexible they were! I wish I could do a back bend! Children have a way of simply being in the moment and creating their own worlds of adventure just by being present and spontaneous. It was so beautiful to watch these girls be themselves and take advantage of the sea and sand this lovely early Autumn evening.

 

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Bug Catching and Puddle Jumping

 

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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A Boy and His Favourite Dog

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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The Importance of Being Silly

 

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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Rocket and his Family

 

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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A Birthday Gathering

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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