An Afternoon with our Busy Bees

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day, and the first warm day after a spell of cold, rainy, and snowy weather, here in the Foothills. The first day the bees could fly, and forage in three days.

And forage they did, on the ever emerging fields of dandelions, at our home near Millarville.

I know to many dandelions are a scourge, something to be battled, and poisoned, but to those of us who keep bees, we welcome the bright, sunny flowers, which in May and June are a huge source of pollen and nectar for the bees, that they need an abundance of.

The bees use the abundant pollen from dandelions to raise their young, feeding the larva.

I’m overcoming my own bee fears, as I learn more about these fascinating creatures from my husband.

Our yard was abuzz yesterday afternoon, so I lay down in the grass, (with a distinct possibility of getting stung, as the bees were everywhere) and attempted to capture the bees in action.

I just love this picture of this girl covered in pollen- pure gold for the bees.


They collect large loads of pollen to bring back to their hive, in pouches on their legs. You can see the orange pockets on this bee, as she gathers her load of pollen.

Bees-2 Bees-8

We then visited Josh’s new bee yard, as he’d been having trouble with one of his new package bee hives, and wanted to check if the new queen he’d put in had been released.

I suited up also, and was pleased to discover that I could still operate my camera with gloves and a beekeepers veil on. Being in the bee yard made me quite nervous when I did it for the first time a few weeks ago. This time my comfort level had increased considerably. I even had bees crawling all over me (apparently, you’re not supposed to stand directly in front of their entrance, which I was doing as I photographed).

Here is Josh using the smoker to calm the bees a bit before he opens the hive.

beekeeper in the MD of Foothills


Here is a frame with the Queen Bee. She is the longer, darker coloured one, near the edge.

Queen Bee in hive

All was well, as she had been released, and has been laying eggs. The next generation of bees will soon arrive!

One Response to “An Afternoon with our Busy Bees”

  1. jolene

    Wow! You captured this so well!
    We don’t try to get rid of our dandelions and now I’m really glad we don’t!

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Easter Promises and Blessings

Today, on Easter Sunday, I was so blessed to be asked to attend, and capture images of Baby K’s Baptism at the beautiful, historic Christ Church Anglican Church, near Millarville.

I’ve already shared so many wonderful moments with Baby K and his family, as I’ve been chronicling his first year with Watch Me Grow Portraits, but today was truly a blessing.

Nothing could be more beautiful or perfect than this young life being dedicated to God on Easter Sunday, as we all celebrated the Divine gift of God’s love, forgiveness, hope, and the Easter message.

I was so glad I could share Baby K’s Baptism today, along with another couple being Baptized.

Easter Blessings Everyone!

Christchurch Anglican Millarville

Christchurch Anglican Millarville

Christchurch Anglican Millarville

Christchurch Anglican Millarville






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Chilly First Day of Spring Family Session

When you live in the Foothills, the first day of spring often does not guarantee sunny warm days, and the flowers and leaves will still take weeks to emerge. But that was ok with this family, as Yvonne loves winter, and chilly, cuddly days. It ended up being the perfect weather for the type of family portraits they were hoping for. They made the trek out to my home studio near Millarville, to take advantage of the great natural scenery we are so lucky to enjoy!

We took a short hike, and made use of some of the natural props. The family dogs, Puddles and Pang joined us, and got down with their country selves, checking out all the foreign sights and smells their city noses are not accustomed to.

family portraits near MillarvilleCandid Portrait of boy with dogs near Millarville

I had a great time capturing plenty of spontaneous candid portraits of this fun loving family as they tickled, teased, and laughed with each other. Thor did not want his mom to give him a kiss, and she had great fun teasing him about it, promising not to kiss him, and then stealing a kiss.

candid mother and son portrait

We then went back to the house where my husband had built an outdoor fire for everyone to warm up, and have a break. After a hot chocolate and a little snack, we captured some portraits of everyone cuddling by the fire. We included some of the beautiful quilts made by Thor’s Grandma in the portraits, as a relevant prop to their family. I love the portrait of Thor cuddling with his quilt, and favourite stuffed animal.

As Yvonne is a lover of winter, we created some winter magic for her with a bit of snow. (In truth, it did feel like it might actually snow, so it didn’t feel like we were creating too much of a stretch)

I then warmed everyone everyone up by the fire again with a bowl of chili:) Thanks for the great session guys.

Engagement Portrait in the Foothillscandid children's portraits snowy family portrait


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First Day of Spring Reception Celebration at Heritage Park

This weeks’ Throwback Thursday fits nicely with tomorrow’s Spring Equinox, as this beautiful spring Wedding Reception took place on the first day of spring a few years ago. The renowned Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary, made the perfect backdrop for Mila and Clancey’s wedding portraits, as they both love all things country. The Gunns Dairy Barn was the perfect venue for their reception and dance, as it not only fits well with their country theme, but one of Clancey’s volunteer groups meets there regularly, so they feel a connection to this place.

I met Mila several years ago at an outdoor art market, and we got along instantly. She hired me to capture Engagement Portraits of her and Clancey where they board their horses near Black Diamond, AB. We had an amazing engagement shoot, and captured some awesome moments.

They had planned a destination wedding, but as I had a very young child at home, I was unable to travel to capture their wedding day for them (although it had been discussed).

But I was honoured to be invited to capture their reception celebrations upon their return home, as many of their family and friends wanted to celebrate the marriage of this happy couple.

Our portrait session included several of our favourite Heritage Park buildings, and settings. It was nice to have the park all to ourselves for photography , as the park is not open to the public in March.

Wedding Portrait at Heritage Parkcouples portraits at Heritage Park portraits at Heritage ParkMila_Clancy_110TW Portraits at Heritage Park

We then gathered by the Gunns Dairy Barn as guests arrived, and captured some quick impromptu portraits of Mila and Clancey with their families, and special friends. This made a great addition to the album I prepared for them of their special day.

Gunns Dairy Barn

Their evening was a fun filled night of stories, happy memories, laughter, and dancing.

Many couples may think this kind of event doesn’t necessarily warrant coverage by a professional photographer. I’m so glad Mila chose to have their informal reception photographed, because although it was a casual affair, the images with all their family and friends, in a lovely album, will be something they can treasure and relive over and over.

Page11 Page12 Page13 Page14SE Page15SE


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Birthday Letter to my Eldest Son

Today we celebrate seven years of having you in our life. Seven years of watching you grow into an amazing little boy. Happy Birthday Brodie! I’m sharing these lifestyle portraits of you through the years, so everyone can see the wonderful boy you are!

Just like every other family, we have our stories of struggle, triumph, and celebration when it comes to parenting. Your arrival to the world was a little scary. Thanks to the fact that we live in a First World Country, have access to modern medicine, and the blessing of the good Lord, you arrived safely.

Thus began our journey as first-time parents. There have been plenty of ups and downs, highlights, misfortunes, mishaps, and certainly many of those stories that although not funny at the time, we can laugh about now.

Being our first born you had to bear the brunt of our inexperience. You handled it with grace, patience, and you forgive us our mistakes quickly, with all the innocence of a child.

The first year was so much fun, as we watched you make each discovery, and reach each milestone. It was as perfect, as it should be.

baby portraits

But by your toddler years, it became apparent that something was amiss. You seemed to be trying so hard, but you just couldn’t talk to us. Then you gave up. And hard as we tried to get you to make a sound, all you could manage were some very thoughtful mmmmmm, hmmmmmmm sounds, as you pondered, but could not describe the world around you.

Lifestyle Toddler Portraits Brodie_1759

It was a long hard road for all of us, with many tears on my part, as I hoped I was making the right decisions on your behalf-but you did it! You got through your early struggles, you learned to talk, and you achieved all the goals that had been set out for you.

Winter children's Portraits

When your brother arrived, you seemed to know that your lifelong friend was finally in the world with you. I love the strong bond that you two share. You take your role as a big brother so seriously, always protecting and watching out for your little brother.

siblings portraits SadSummerDay

You take things seriously, and yet you love a good joke. You’re careful and cautious, but then you can be quite a daredevil-especially on your motorbike. You’re creative, inquisitive, and you quickly understand the mechanics of how things work. You’re caring, thoughtful, and kind. And you love to be silly.

You’re an amazing little boy, and we love you so. We love watching you grow, and seeing the boy you are becoming. Happy Birthday Brodie- B-Boy!

outdoor kids portraits BrodieTruckin_12 TrampolineBoys-9

archery portrait

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A Country and Western Fashion Shoot in Okotoks

Happy throwback Thursday. Here’s some Wild West inspired, Country Fashion photography, featuring the handmade jewelry of artist and designer, Maureen Janssens, of Buffalo Girl Studio.

Our goal was to create a fashion shoot with a look and feel similar to what you’d see in the Style pages of the magazine, Cowboys & Indians, to showcase her American Southwest style jewelry.

Fortunately for us, Bernie Brown of the Boot Hill Gallery in Okotoks allowed us to use his Gallery for our shoot, which couldn’t have been more perfect.

The Boot Hill Gallery features Bernie Brown’s popular western themed pencil drawing art, as well as fabulous country furniture, home decor, gifts, and great western clothing.

Our talented models featured, Maureen’s gorgeous daughters, her handsome son-in-law, and the ever so lovely Mila.

They all got to wear the cool western duds, pose on the rustic furniture, and of course, model Maureen’s beautiful jewelry.

Fashion photography is not my main area of focus, but this shoot was so much fun, and I just love the country and western look! It’s always good to expand one’s horizons, and try new things. Working in the rather close environment of the Gallery was a bit of a challenge for me. The Gallery itself is large, but I did not want to move or interfere with the displays or merchandise, and I certainly did not want to have my equipment damage anything. But in the end, I loved the final images we came up with from this fashion shoot.

And I absolutely love Maureen’s bold, and stunning jewelry designs, where each piece is unique and handcrafted.

handcrafted Jewelry

Country and Western Fashion Shoot Country and Western Fashion Country and Western Fashion Southwestern Style Handcrafted Jewelry Southwestern Style Handcrafted Jewelry Southwestern Style Handcrafted Jewelry Western Fashion Shoot American Southwest Jewelry

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Science, Innovation and Creativity Unite at Telus Spark

Yesterday we took our boys to visit the Telus Spark Science Centre in Calgary. Once we discovered that the Dinosaurs in Motion exhibit was there, we knew we had to include it in our family outings for this week. This was our family’s first visit to the Science Centre, and it was a very fascinating place to visit, for the kids.

David, who is dinosaur obsessed, was enthralled with the Dinosaurs in Motion travelling exhibit. In addition to this exhibit, there were a few actual fossils on display from the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, AB. David is in love with the Pachyrhinosaurus, “Patchi”, who is the main character in one of his favourite dinosaur movies ” Walking with Dinosaurs”.


The exhibit, Dinosaurs in Motion, features life size dinosaur fossil models made from metal, designed by Artist/Blacksmith John Payne. John’s creativity, artistry, and ingenuity are inspiring indeed. The replicas of fossils are accurate, and  can be made to move, imitating lifelike movements, using cables, pulleys, and gears. Some of the dinosaurs required a lot of strength to operate, to be made to move, while others used robotics, and remote controls to achieve movement. It was a very engaging exhibit, and even Brodie has taken an interest in these ancient creatures. David, lover of dinosaurs that he is, even admitted he was a bit scared of the size and ferocity of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The size of many of the dinosaurs was rather intimidating.

Tyrannosaur Rex metal exhibit

Triceratops Metal dinosaur model

operating the dinosaurs

using robotics

action kids photography

Dinosaurs in Motion exhibit

I love the merging of science, ingenuity, art, and creativity which is what this exhibit, and the entire Telus Spark Science Centre is all about. The kids’ brains soaked it up like a sponge, as they explored, examined, experienced, and discovered the many hands on exhibits and activities.

candid, on-location kids portraits

candid, on-location kids portraits

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Love is in the Air-Our Epic Valentines Card Creations

I got the idea to create my kids’ Valentines Cards that they hand out to their friends after reading a Blog post last year on SLR Lounge.

I’m certainly not the only Mom to make their kids’ Valentines. I just love seeing all the creativity out there of parents and their children, that comes to life on occasions such as this. As photography is my thing, that is of course how I’ve chosen to express my creatively, and help my boys give away something personal. I created these this week at my Home Studio in the Foothills, near Millarville.

It was a whole lot of work, more than I thought it would be at first. I had told myself to get them done in plenty of time, so that I could have them printed at a Lab, rather than at home. But of course, as is the case with most personal projects, it got left to the last minute, and I ended up having to print them at home. Which was a shame, as professional printing is much better quality, and easier in the long run. After fighting with paper jams, running out of ink, and staying up late, I hope maybe next year I’ll be more organized:)

I wanted the photos to be a good reflection of who the kids are, making them really personal, as well as to coordinate with the small gifts we were including with the Valentines.

Unfortunately, David was a bit under the weather all week, and wasn’t in the mood to cooperate. Photographically speaking, this shot could have been better, but it’s the best we could manage, last minute.

Here is what I ended up with for David’s Valentine. He’s a Lover of Dinosaurs, and of course, wanted to share that love with his friends. We included small dinosaur toys as gifts:)

Valentines Kids' Portraits for Personalized Valentines Cards

I was organized on this count- I printed the name stickers early, and had the kids sign all their Valentines early, as trying to get kids to sit and write their name 20 times in one evening is way too much pressure (something I learned last year;) I was really proud of David, who’s writing is still a work in progress. But he signed all of his Valentines, and it was excellent writing practice for him.

Here is the photo I did for Brodie last night. It was tricky making the hearts from glow sticks. We had to use a lot of tape, which then hard to be edited in the post-processing. Getting the exposure right was tricky too, to properly expose Brodie, and get the effect of the glow sticks glowing as well. But, for a bit of last minute creativity , I think it turned out pretty well. We included glow sticks as the gift with his Valentines Cards.

Valentines Kids' Portraits for making Personalized Valentines Cards

I really love how this one turned out from last years’ Valentine’s Day.

Valentines Kids' Portraits for making Personalized Valentines Cards

And I already had a super cool idea for Next years’ Valentines photo and gifts;)

Wishing everyone a day filled with love, Happy Valentine’s Day.


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Valentine’s Baby Kisses

Yesterday was Baby K’s six month old photo shoot, in his year long series of Watch Me Grow portraits. With Valentine’s Day coming up soon it was only fitting to have a Valentines themed portrait shoot.

Baby K’s lovely and very talented mother built the kissing booth prop for us to use for our on-location photo shoot at their home in Millarville. She’s so creative, and she did a wonderful job indeed, ensuring that her son’s Valentines portrait was extra fun.

Big Sister S gave it a test run as we checked the lighting. I just love her expression as she’s waiting for a kiss.

Valentines Kids Portriats

Baby K is definitely a heart stealer, as he mans the kissing booth.

Valentine's Baby Portriats

I absolutely love this priceless expression on Baby K’s face as mom goes to plant one on him.

Valentines Baby Portriats

Once our Valentines mini session was over we headed upstairs for some lifestyle portraits, and candid portraits, of Baby K, and his family.

Dad makes a great acrobat swing for Baby K, and he just loves to swing in dad’s arms.

Candid Baby Portraits Lifestyle Baby Portraits

Big sister loves to cuddle, and look after her brother.

Sibling Portraits

Baby K actually stayed awake for some family portraits, this time around.

Kayden6Mths-159 Lifestyle family portraits

One thing is for sure, Baby K is growing up fast, as children do. It’s been so rewarding to capture some of his special moments thus far, during his first year.

I’m looking forward to our next photo shoot just in time for Easter. We’ll see what creativity Baby K’s mom and I can put together to make his first Easter special.

Until then, Happy Valentines Day, and enjoy those baby kisses:)

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Action Photography Captures from Sunday Funday

I’m a bit behind on my blogging, as it’s been a busy past few weeks. Several evenings of  Hockey Portraits for the Pond Hockey League in Black Diamond, volunteer responsibilities, helping with the kids at school, and a suddenly, albeit briefly, sick boy have kept me hopping. So on Sunday, the gorgeous temperatures meant it was the perfect day to relax, and spend time together as a family, at our home near Millarville.

We enjoyed a lovely day around the campfire, complete with hot dogs, and chips. As most of the snow is gone, we had to look for other activities for the kids to enjoy. One of their favourite things to do is ride their quad around, and since it was warm enough, they were able to enjoy this favourite activity in January. And of course, it made for some excellent candid photos, and action photos, as I captured their love of motorsports.

Brodie is getting to be quite a good rider. I know he’s having fun, but he has such an intense look of concentration when he’s driving the quad, as you can see in these photos.

Sports action photography

I love the look of pure joy on David’s face, as he holds on tight, loving to go for a ride!

candid kids portraits

Kids action photography

I love how the snow spraying up adds to the overall drama, and fun of these action photos. I captured some with a fast shutter speed to freeze all this action, and then I slowed my shutter speed right down, and practiced panning, so I could capture the sense of motion in the images. I really like both effects, and I’m glad I captured some of each style.

kids action photography

kids sports photography

I’m really making a point of trying to take photographs daily. The kids are enjoying having all of their fun moments captured. Now, at some point, we’ll need to get them into print:)


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