Giving Thanks!

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This is the week-end to give thanks in Canada, and we have much to be thankful for. Fall foliage in New Brunswick is always lovely, but some years are more spectacular than others, and this year is one of the latter. Every where you look the hills are dotted with a patchwork quilt of brilliant colours – deep reds, vibrant golds and everything in between. This week-end will probably be the peak of the season for foliage because once the winds and rains arrive, the dying leaves’ tenuous hold on the trees will be ripped away and they’ll fall to the ground.

ragweed-seed-head-web-copyEven weeds that are beginning to shrivel up in anticipation of winter offer beauty for those willing to look.

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And left over bits of timothy and grass seeds are hanging on – ready to start new growth next spring.

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And still a few plants and their flowers continue to thrive giving us more reasons to be thankful. I wish everyone a thoughtful and happy Thanksgiving!

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Posted in appreciation, BLOG, New Brunswick, photography, seasons Tagged , |

Autumn in New Brunswick

backlit-red-leaf-web-copyAutumn in #NewBrunswick means cool, crisp and clear days, cold nights and, most importantly, brilliant fall foliage! The peak time for the most colourful display is usually in about two weeks – around our Thanksgiving or mid-October. However, this year there’s a strong hurricane threatening the entire eastern seaboard from Miami through our area and beyond. So, I decided I should gather as many seasonal images as possible today – and if there are more to be had later, I can always add to the collection. We’ve had an unnervingly dry summer so the leaves are literally hanging by a thread, dehydrated and ready to fall with the smallest breeze, never mind hurricane force winds.

apples-web-copyAutumn also means apples. These very small, sour crab apples grow on my neighbour’s tree. They’d probably make good jelly but, as older folk are prone to say, they don’t make “good eatin'”. Other varieties grown in orchards throughout the area are much tastier for snacks, pies or sweet treats!

abandoned-house-knightville-web-copyIn the countryside around #Sussex the colours of autumn are just beginning to emerge. They provide a wonderful backdrop for many scenes, even this old, derelict farm house collapsing in upon itself.

beaver-lodge-web-copyThe industrious beaver family in the pond behind our house have been fortifying their dam in an effort to raise the dwindling water level that will provide their winter habitat and protection. Normally all that greenery behind them would be under water at this time of year – a testament to the long, dry months of summer.

deer-across-field-1-red-tree-web-copyMeanwhile, in the field across the road from our house, one lone red maple stands like a sentinel above a couple of grazing deer.

far-side-of-highway-web-copyIn the adjacent field the trees on the far side of the #1 Highway are just beginning to show off their autumn colours.

seed-head-web-copyHay scraps on the edges of the fields have gone to seed.

timothy-web-copySome stand out against the detritus of a season past its glory.

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Still, the view from our deck can be enjoyed as we keep track of the developing autumn colours on the far hills. Meanwhile, summer’s warmth is laid to rest  for another year under a canopy of colour.

 

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Posted in Autumn, BLOG, Canada, Fall Foliage, New Brunswick, photography, seasons Tagged , |

It’s all about relationships

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Relationships exist between people and between people and their critters. If we are lucky, good ones exist among family members.

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of photographing the Smyth family. We’ve been friends for many years and it’s always a pleasure to capture their special moments, memories and milestones.

Our photo session yesterday included two adults, 3 kids, 5 horses, a dog and a bunny. Wrangling a group that size is always a challenge, especially when you want to highlight the relationships among the group members – human and otherwise. But, with lots of cooperation from everyone – even the bunny – we had a good hour+ together and I came away with over 200 shots to choose from. For now, here are a few of my favourites!

 

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October denouement

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It’s the first of October, the denouement of autumn into that other season that we shall not name. Leaves on deciduous trees have been changing colour for the last few weeks and will probably peak in the next week or so.

The day began with the thunder of shotguns on this first day of bird hunting season. Ducks and geese fled overhead, quacking and honking in fear for their lives. But, as the sun rose, the hunters took respite until tonight when they’ll try again to nail those hapless birds. Truthfully I have no problem with hunting if it’s to put food on the table. I just fail to understand killing anything as sport. But that’s for another post someday.

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The sedum have flowered and changed colours from pale pink to a deep rose shade. Left untrimmed in winter their determined seed heads will be seen above the snow and those birds who spend the season here, as opposed to heading south, will feast upon them.

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Meanwhile, the hayfields have been cut for the second time and most of the bales taken away to feed the herds of cattle over the coming winter months. A few ignored or forgotten ones remain as distant trees mark the changing of the seasons. Summer is truly over.

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And the remnants of the black-eyed Susans punctuate the changes in the gardens – hanging on as long as they can until cold winds rip their shrivelled petals away from the seed heads. Like the sedum, those small black seed heads will remain until spring providing sustenance to the over-wintering birds and those returning early from their southern vacations.

October is the month of drastic change, beginning with clear and bright days with cool nights and ending by heralding the dark, damp and cold that is November. Luckily it is also the month that gives us the most brilliant of colours before the total denouement of the season.

Posted in Autumn, BLOG, Fall Foliage, New Brunswick, photography, seasons Tagged , , , , |

Images tell stories

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I sincerely believe that every image tells a story. What that story is depends, to a large extent, on the viewer. As a photographer I have a story in mind when I shoot an image. But, as the viewer, you may see a different one – and that’s ok.

Can I come in?

Can I come in?

Good images evoke emotion. And emotion is individual. Look at the art on your walls or scroll around the internet – how do the images you see make you feel? Nothing? Move on! An image with a story to tell should make you want to linger and listen to it.

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Here in New Brunswick bird hunting season has begun. In the fields across the road from our home hunters lurk in blinds and behind bushes waiting for the unwary avians to pass by. And overhead I hear the panicked quacks and honks of ducks and geese fleeing for their lives as the sounds of shotgun blasts echo off our walls. This I can not photograph and so I turn to more peaceful images to soothe my troubled soul.

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Posted in BLOG, photography Tagged |

Pre-Balloon Fiesta season has arrived

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Every year, before the official start of the #AtlanticInternationalBalloonFiesta, some enthusiasts arrive early to take to the currents above the Kennebecasis Valley – we call it the pre-Balloon Fiesta season. This year is no different.

Early this morning I went out on the deck to hang some laundry on the line. We are having an unseasonably warm week and this morning the air was heavy and still, not a breeze stirring the leaves. Harley was with me and staring intently into the distance, not barking a single ‘woof’. When I turned to see what had captured his attention I saw three balloons taking to the air – heading west toward Smiths Creek. In the early morning silence it was an incredibly peaceful scene to witness.

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Even the single bird on the wire wasn’t disturbed.

bird on a wire _DSF3119 - Version 2I think Harley and I will enjoy the week-end if the weather cooperates and keeps the wind to a minimum so the colourful hot air balloons can soar up and down the valley.

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Our peace was shattered moments later, though, when our neighbour’s little orange and white kitty came to visit. He’s not at all intimidated by Harley’s loud barking. For his part, Harley is barking with joy, tail curled and wagging, just dying to make friends.

kitty at window _DSF3151 - Version 2He seemed to enjoy taunting Harley through the window.

He's growing up to be a handsome lad!

He’s growing up to be a handsome lad!

 

 

 

 

Posted in BLOG, New Brunswick, photography Tagged , |

Summer is flying by in my garden

Here in the Maritimes summer in the garden is flying by much too quickly. I took a walk around the yard today creating photographs of what is happening (or not) in a couple of my very basic gardens. You have to understand that my passion is photography, not gardening. But, that said, I do appreciate how much a garden or two add to the ambience of a yard, making a house and property feel more “homey”.

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan

The petals on my Black-eyed Susans are showing the ravages of time but they are still a bright spot out there in the yard.

Day Lilly

Day Lily

And while most of the lilies have given up the ghost, there are still a few buds waiting to extend summer just a little longer.

Double White Rose and Bee

Double White Rose and Bee

I’m always amazed by my Double White Rose bushes that continue to bloom into the fall. They keep the local bees happy!

Double White Rose bud

Double White Rose bud

And there may be more to come before the official end of summer.

Lilac buds

Lilac buds

Even the lilac bush is still loving the heat of summer and putting out new buds.

Rose Hips

Rose Hips

Meanwhile, the roses that have finished for the season are happily setting their rose hips. The birds will be happy when the temperatures get colder.

Berries on the bush

Berries on the bush

Here’s where I have to confess my ignorance. I have no idea what type of bush this is and consequently no idea what type of berries these are – but the birds sure do like them!

So, that’s how I spent this warm and muggy summer afternoon – roaming around the gardens taking photographs while there’s still lots going on out there. If you want to make some nice photos of your garden, take your time, look for a variety of angles and simplify, simplify, simplify. All of these are shot at ISO200, f/5.6 and, since there was a slight breeze, a shutter speed of 1/500. My goal was to isolate a small section of each plant. Since the sun was shining brightly on the rose bushes, I used my body to put the roses into shadow so I could emphasize the bee, the petals and the leaf texture. The lone lilac bloom was lovely but the garage siding isn’t particularly attractive so, by using a long focal length (135mm) and a reasonably wide aperture I was able to blur the background to an almost solid gray, letting the lovely lilac flower star!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer. It’s not over yet, but as the days grow ever shorter, it gets more and more important to get out there and enjoy it while we can!

White Rose

White Rose

They call these the dog days of summer. Hmmm. I wonder why? ‘Til next time.

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Posted in BLOG, Canada, gardening, New Brunswick, photography, seasons, summer Tagged , |

A beautiful day in the neighbourhood….

Yesterday was a perfect day – warm and sunny but not hot and unbearable. What more could you ask for when sitting out in an open field photographing the 2016 area Pony Club Rally.

Ready for the first cross-country rider.

Ready for the first cross-country rider.

The kids had set up their tack rooms, ready for inspection, in their horse trailers. And, while that was going on, the grooms and riders were preparing for the cross country phase of their event.

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Then it was time for the riders to walk the course!

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And, of course, the volunteer jump judges (conscripted friends and family) were heading out to their assigned spots as well.

The first rider on course was testing out the jumps.

Shyanne White

Shyanne White

She was followed by the Pony Club competitors:

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Everyone had a safe ride and good fun – that’s what it’s all about! Congrats to all the riders, grooms, teams, coaches, judges and organizers for a terrific day!

By the way, for anyone wishing to purchase any images, the watermark will be removed prior to printing.

 

 

Posted in BLOG, horse photography, horse photos, horse training, horses, photography Tagged , , , , , , |

By the bay

When you live in southeastern New Brunswick you get to spend a lot of time by the bay – the Bay of Fundy that is. Home to the highest tides in the world, the changing scenery is always intriguing.

Sitting on the bottom of the bay

Sitting on the bottom of the bay at low tide in Alma, NB

These fishing boats are stranded – low and dry -waiting for the tide to come in and float them high enough to sail out through the gap and into the bay to fish.

 

 

Shells anyone?

A touch of whimsy

Who’d have thought that serious fisherfolk would have a sense of humour? These ones did, naming their boat “Dead Men Tell No Tales” and providing a decorative pirate theme to the bow and flags.

Moving up the bay you can glance across any field and glimpse the shores of Nova Scotia in the distance.

Albert Co. fields facing the shores of NS

My day ended in Hopewell Hill overlooking the Shepody marshes, where the goose-tongue greens grow, across the Bay of Fundy to the far shores of Nova Scotia.

Hopewell Hill and the Shepody Marsh

Posted in BLOG, New Brunswick, photography Tagged , , , |

98 Years Young!

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Annie Mary Wright was born in 1917 in Shepody, Albert County, New Brunswick – a rural area overlooking the Bay of Fundy near Moncton, NB. She passed away last December – still alert, intelligent, young at heart and as outspoken as she’d always been.

My Aunt Annie has been a character in the story of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was little and my parents would take me to Albert County to visit my Grammie, Grampie, uncles, aunts and cousins, I remember her simply being there. She would often show us things around the farm, the flowers, the animals, always subtly teaching us things she thought we children should know. She did it well because I don’t remember being taught – just learning.

She and my Dad, Hillman, were very close, being only six years apart in age and the first two children in the family. When Dad was 11 years old, he set off to go to the School for the Blind in Halifax. My grandmother and a no doubt wide-eyed 5-year-old Annie accompanied him on the journey. I can only imagine Annie’s excitement as she embarked on her first train ride followed by what I’m sure was a tearful goodbye to her older brother. They stayed close until the day my Dad died, frequently talking on the phone.

A Crazy Cat Lady?

I found an old love letter that my Dad wrote to my mother back in the 1940s, and in it he talked about Annie and a litter of kittens she was nurturing. Her love of cats obviously began at a young age! I distinctly remember the house and barn  at the farm being overrun with them any time I came up to visit, despite Grammie’s efforts to get them out of her house! It was a family trait, not doubt, as Dad also had a life-long fondness for cats! She kept herds of them until she was 96 and moved into Forest Dale Nursing Home in Riverside-Albert. Leaving them behind was no doubt one of the most difficult things she ever had to do. She had a sign in her room that said “Cats are like potato chips, you can’t have just one.”  A crazy cat lady? Cat lady for sure; crazy? Not likely!

Annie and her 'cat' pillow

Annie and her ‘cat’ pillow at her 97th birthday party

A woman ahead of her time!

I always admired my amazing and somewhat eccentric Aunt Annie. She was brilliant, fearless and confident, a woman ahead of her time. Extremely intelligent, she was also very well educated at a time when that was remarkable for a woman. She received the Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for achieving the highest marks in the county in her high school entrance exams. At the age of 15 she graduated from Riverside Consolidated School as valedictorian and received both the Birk’s Medal and the Governor General’s Award for her academic achievements. She also had the highest marks in the Province in the 1933 Matriculation exams and received the Lord Beaverbrook Scholarship that allowed her to attend the University of New Brunswick. She graduated with a BA in mathematics and biology in 1937.

She received a National Research Council Grant and went to Montreal to attend McGill University for graduate studies in genetics, receiving her Masters of Science degree in 1941.

A born teacher, she taught school in Montreal and after ten years, returned to Albert County to teach in various local schools. After retirement she continued to tutor students in math and sciences, helping them to unravel complicated concepts.

98th birthday celebrations September, 2015

98th birthday celebrations September, 2015

Interested in Everything – and Opinionated too!

She was intrigued by the world around her and at the same time devoted to the minutiae of her families’ lives. My husband and I brought our son David to Albert Co. for a family visit when he was about 1 1/2 years old. Annie was enthralled and never forgot to mark his birthday with a card or call.

Some say she had an acerbic wit and sharp tongue. I just think she didn’t suffer fools gladly and promptly made that clear! She wasn’t shy about expressing her opinions. When my professional career path took me away from the music I’d been raised with,  I made the mistake of telling her that I rarely played the violin or piano any more. She let me know in no uncertain terms that I was wasting a god-given talent! When I had my long, thick, very curly hair cut short, she was similarly displeased! She was alternately imperious and hilarious but her laugh was infectious.

When she was a young sixty-years-old she went to Nairobi as a delegate to the Associated Country Women of the World Conference. Her favourite memory was of the strong, mellow black coffee she enjoyed while she was there.

Times Transcript article by Joyce Hudson

Times Transcript article               by Joyce Hudson

Family meant a great deal to Aunt Annie. I’m glad she had a chance to meet my husband, Joel. He was quite taken with her and has often remarked how much he’d enjoyed meeting her. He felt she was quite an amazing individual.

Joel, Aunt Annie and Me September 2015

Joel, Aunt Annie and Me
September 2015

As she marked David’s birthdays and later followed his globe trotting adventures with glee, she also remembered my birthdays. She called every year and I will miss those calls as the final link with my Dad’s generation has been broken.

This quote from Linda Hogan’s moving book, Solar Storms, seems fitting:

“Walking, I am listening to a deeper way.

Suddenly, all my ancestors are behind me.

Be still, they say. Watch and listen.

You are the result of the love of thousands.”

Thank you for your love, Aunt Annie. Rest in peace.

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