Finding My Way | Personal

It’s been a long while and I’m just not sure where to start… I thought about just starting where I left off chronologically but then I realized that I just need to write a post, a personal post, marking my spot, where I am at right here right now.

My summer left me re-evaluating the important things. Things like my family and the changes in our life, my health and how taking care of myself is as important as taking care of all those around me (maybe even more important because you just can’t give from an empty cup), discovering just how hard it was to say goodbye to a beloved pooch and the quality of life I want to live, to live for me.

It was a summer of slowing down, being still and reconnecting.

Now there is a crispness in the air and the leaves are changing and fall is upon us. I often looked at this time of year as a new page, crisp and white. This year September has me feeling like change is just around the corner; the start of a new chapter is on the horizon. At the moment I am just not sure what that will look like and I am trying my best to embrace the unknown and that isn’t always a comfortable feeling for someone who is always feeling the need to be ready for what’s coming. Not something you can prepare for if you have no idea what IT really is. So, I have decided that my fall personal project will be a journey to discover a little more of who I am and doing a little soul reaching, soul connecting, soul surfing… soul lovin’. I am a little scared and a whole lot excited.

I read this the other day.

”I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:
I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.”

~ Brené Brown

Yup, it’s definitely time to show up and be seen.

Feels so good to be back blogging and sharing my art. I hope you enjoy this collection of fall beauty from a recent trip out to Cat Creek Falls, Kananaskis Country with my parents and my beautiful border collie girl as we adjust to life without our sweet Keeko.

Much love,

Michelle

Exploring Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park | Personal

Nothing clears my head more than a walk among the giants. I love the mountains, they soothe my soul.

We celebrated my husbands birthday this past weekend in the beauty of Johnston Creek Canyon, Banff National Park. A beautiful and quiet site in the campground, just the two of us and the dogs. Perfection.

Friday rained, rained all day. Snuggled up in the camper we watched movies, played cards and talked… I love those moments. Conversations about renovations, about kids, about funny moments, about car rebuild plans, about Hawaii, about us… I really do love those conversations. I love the time together.

Saturday we nearly had the canyon all to ourselves with Hwy 1A closed due to a bike race. I was most happy for this treat with our late start to the hike. We made it, well… I felt like I really wanted to give up but I made it… to the Ink Pots. I’m not in as good of shape as I had thought. The hike is 5.9 kms one way and the beauty of the Ink Pots is so worth the climb. We spent some time enjoying the view and recuperating. I took photos and was so in awe of the view and proud of myself for not giving up. The trip down was easier and by the time we reached the lower falls the canyon was full of tourists, I have not ever experienced the canyon so busy.

Sunday we packed up and headed to Two Jack Lake to meet up with friends for a paddle boarding experience. The weather beautiful and views are second to none. I enjoyed the peacefulness and serenity of being on the water on the paddle board, I enjoyed it more than I had anticipated.

It was an incredible weekend with my love.

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Spring Luciousness Feeds my Soul | Okotoks and Area Photographer

The weather thwarted our plans for a family session but the smell of the rain really called to me to come out and play. I love the beauty of my town and that I can find such luscious places to feed my soul.

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Painted with a Brush of Frost | Landscapes

It’s days like these that I really love the Canadian winter. It is so incredibly beautiful when there is such a thick coating of frost on almost EVERY surface. Add a little blue sky and sunshine and I can’t imagine anyone not utterly smitten with it all. Well except maybe the -13 C, which is a little tough on the fingers.

My captures of this mornings beauty…

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Rediscovering Winter | Landscapes

The weather has been incredibly beautiful and unseasonably warm for January in Alberta, so warm nearly all our snow had faded away. I really do have to say I was pretty excited to see snow in the coming forecast. A new, fresh layer of white untouched beautiful snow. I was giddy this morning when I headed out even with the slight wind and the snow falling. Peaceful and serene…

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Best. Christmas. Ever. | Personal

Ages ago when my children were small and deep in the ‘I want…’ part of Christmas I have longed to teach them the gift of giving, not just something from the store, a gift from the heart or maybe a gift from their own hands because for me those were the most precious of all. I come to learn that over time my kids did understand what I was trying to teach them and soon my heart (and home) began to fill up with drawings, words of kindness, messages of love, treats and these beautiful acts of kindness to make my life easier (well… sometimes it was the intention).

All my Christmases have been amazing… and always because my family was together. For me that has become the most important gift and having recently become empty nesters this year was especially meaningful.

I said I wasn’t going to buy any gifts this year except for the grandkids but in fact we all gave the best gift this Christmas… Time together and we all enjoyed in a beautiful cabin in Windermere. Late nights, card games, puzzles, tubing, hot springs, boot scooting on the ice, movies, pool games, ping pong, delicious food, photos and oodles of laughter. Best ever!!!

These are some of my favorites of our time away…

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Out and About the Acreage

This past weekend I flew to Edmonton to spend a weekend with my folks and for my Dad and I to attend the Edmonton Photographic Tradeshow. Flying is certainly NOT my thing but that is another story for another time. I travel to Edmonton often as my daughter and two grandchildren live there but seldom do I dedicate time to spend with just my folks. I see them every time I am up but often the grandkids monopolize the time and the conversation and we feel the need to cram just a ton into a short few hours. So I was really looking forward to this opportunity. My Dad is the reason I became interested in photography and although he has moved to making videos, he still enjoys getting out there with his camera. I enjoy sharing this passion with him. So to dedicate some time for us and photography was simply perfection.

I arrived Friday night, spent the evening recovering from the flight and catching up. The tradeshow was Sunday so we had some time to poke about and take some snaps in the area, what better way to spend a gorgeous afternoon. Here’s a snippet of my perspective.

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I made a purchase at the tradeshow and  upgraded my camera to a full frame and I’m pretty excited to get out shooting with it. Watch for some beautiful portraiture to come along in the next few days as I acquaint myself with my new camera.

Celebrating 20 Years

We are quite the duo…

Love stock cars, racing and Sprint Cup (but not the same drivers)

Love dogs

Love camping, quadding and playing in the mud

Love sunsets and sunrises (in the winter season when he doesn’t have to get up so early)

Love adventures, hiking and the great outdoors

Love creating

Love car shows, swap meets and Street Machine Weekend

Love comedy, live theater and musicals

Love popcorn

Love the closeness of family and laughter of friends

Love life and…

US!

We explored, experienced and enjoyed while we were out at Baker Creek. These 20 years have been so amazing and to take a moment to realize how much we have grown as a couple but also how much we have grown individually and the amazingness of how we celebrate and honor the things that make us who we are and encourage each other.  He is my very best friend and I am so excited to see where the next 20 years takes us.

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Cat Creek Falls… after the flood | Personal

The discovery of a new happy place, a place to reconnect with mother nature, a place to let go of the day to day stress and unplug happened so very long ago when my neighbor asked me to photograph these falls so that she could have a picture for her wall.

It is an easy hike from the parking lot in Cat Creek Recreation Area (which is currently inaccessible due to damage from the 2013 floods) we parked alongside but off the highway and made our way up the first hill climb.  The trail is (nearly) do able with a stroller.  At the top of the first hill is a bench which offers a great view of the mountains and the valley where the Highwood River flows. The trail wanders along over a low ridge the switchbacks down towards the creek and since the floods the two wooden foot bridges have been replaced and today they were getting a fresh coat of paint. The trail ends in front of a beautiful little waterfall gushing through a gap into a high walled rock basin. It is a touch cool with the steep canyon walls until the sun manages to peek around the trees but very beautiful and serene.

I love watching the light catch the wet rocks in the shallow water as the water flow is low in August. There was a sense of openness today as I took in the canyon view, something was definitely different but tough to put my finger on it. I was more than happy to perch my tripod in the freezing cold creek water and capture a few photos.  It wasn’t until I returned home to compare images that I could see the difference. A large rock that was sitting on the shelf of the lower section of the falls has since been dislodged and likely somewhere along the canyon floor. Change is beautiful.

We enjoyed a little creek play and a delicious lunch before heading back. I really do recommend this little trek, it is 3 kilometers return from the parking lot. Definitely enjoyed right down to my youngest walker (3 years old) and the littlest bumped along in the stroller (she actually even fell asleep on our trek back). A perfect little family (or dayhome) adventure.

Directions:

From Highwood Junction, the corner of Highways 40, 940 and 541, go west on Highway 40 ~6 km and turn south into Cat Creek Recreation Area. Remember this stretch of Highway 40 is closed from December 1st to June 15th every year.

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Keegan | Creative

I am a visually inspired person and I enjoy the beauty of many other artists and after doing a photowalk in downtown Calgary with some new friends I found myself moved by Ashleigh’s excitement and incredible inspiration from the downtown architecture (check her out… Ashleigh Amber Moore). Her intention was to translate the uniqueness of the architecture to her jewelry designs. It’s that kind of inspiration that happens to me when I see a scene, an image or even a mood created by the uniqueness of the light.

Recently for my 365 Grateful project I set out to photograph the ripples of rain and ended up being pleasantly surprised by the unexpected beauty of the scene and I immediately had an image that I thought would work perfectly in this scene. As with many ideas that have come in the past I have not challenged myself to recreate usually for ridiculous reasons but my goal lately is to really explore. Happily and without reservation I chased the image in my head…

Watching the forecast and hoping for bright overcast skies and maybe even a touch of light rain I set out but those conditions were not happening instead I had bright sun.  When I arrived on location and unloaded my necessary gear instantly the light began to change… so I headed into the stream and set up quickly to catch the light that was coming around for me, the rain started to lightly fall and my lovely model (my darling daughter) happily immersed herself in the water. Thank goodness for warm temperatures and a slightly tepid stream (well once you’re in it anyway). Within a few frames I had the shot I set out to do.

Muddy feet and all my heart was happy and my model was too!!

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