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Happy Birthday Kezia!

To my sweet girl…

You are a magical and wonderful young lady who delights in life.  And everyday you live that life with love, kindness and wonder.  Always I will be completely enthralled with you and everything you do.  It is my privilege, and an absolute joy, to be your daddy.  I am deeply grateful for each day I have watched you being and becoming the amazing person you are. I am excited for many more with you my dear.

Happy 9th birthday Kezia!

With all of my love,

Me


Snowbursts

Just before the holidays, and the cold snap that came along at the same time, my daughter and I played in the snow the day after a blizzard had blown through.

Kezia was brushing branches to watch the snow fall.  She called them snowbursts and with the bright sunshine lighting them, it felt like a bit of magic.

We had a lot of fun playing and taking pictures, as you can probably tell.  And so did our hound Lacey who chased snowballs and dove her head into the snow constantly!

We had been snow-free up to that point in December (the 20th) so the excitement to be returned to a proper winter wonderland was palpable.  I love hanging out with this sweet girl and this was a great day doing just that.


Tobogganing in Kananaskis Country

 

My children, one of their good friends and I went to a hill along Highway 66 west of Bragg Creek in Kananaskis last week.  It was at the front end of the latest warm spell in southern Alberta so it was great to be outside and there was still a lot of snow. In between runs we all made together, the kids made a few runs where I photographed them flying down, catching air and spraying snow with little regard for its well-being.  A fantastic afternoon with my two very favorite people in the world.

Kian went full punk off of one jump.  Later Kezia plowed through it!


Olympic Plaza contemplations

A morning scene from the edge of the Olympic Plaza in Calgary’s downtown. It’s a small park with a million stories. This was a sunny morning earlier this week where the moment suggested the light and the dark sides of many of these stories.


Flashback Friday – kids in motion

This image is from 2011 and was taken along the Elbow River.  Kezia was 2 1/2 years old and running with Kian who was 4 1/2.  I used a shutter speed of 1/6th of a second for a relatively long shutter and panned with the kids as they raced by.  I love playing with motion and creating, or capturing, movement in these types of images.  The blurred lines that layer to create the scene remind me of an Impressionist painting.


Snow day, snow play

A storm hit southern Alberta yesterday and laid down the first thick blanket of snow in Redwood Meadows.  Early October always feels too early for winter to come but this should melt in the next day or so.  My children are not ones to miss an opportunity so they were outside as soon as the howling wind had eased a little.


Tsuu T’ina Pow Wow: Friday’s Grand Entrance

The Pow Wow is the centre of the Tsuu T’ina Nation’s Annual Celebrations.  Last Friday evening Kezia and I went to the Redwood Meadows Fairground before the Grand Entrance.  Kezia was invited to join her friend dancing afterwards which hit the night out of the park for her.  The photography was great along the way with the beautiful regalia in the late sunlight.

 


An evening at the Tsuu T’ina Rodeo

Under mild protest my son and I watched the last half of the evening set of the Tsuu T’ina’s 43rd annual rodeo last night.  Kian found a few boys to play kendama with so that bought me a little time to photograph.  The sun dropped into some wildfire smoke that laid above the horizon which made for dramatic backlighting.  I will share more soon but I’m packing my gear and heading over for Sunday’s short go this afternoon.  Here a cowboy lifts the calf into position to fix three of the legs with a half hitch knot to complete his run in the tie-down roping event.


Super fun at the Calgary Stampede Midway

My children and I went down to the Calgary Stampede on Friday for a day on the grounds.  We ended up staying for 10 hours and they spent most of that riding, sliding, dropping, stopping and flying around, over, through and across the midway.

We rode on the Skyride which takes you over the middle of the fairgrounds and affords a great view and an opportunity to map out the order of rides, games and food.

It was hot, by Calgary standards – around 32°C, so the misting and water stations were important oasis stops for us throughout the day.

One of those water bottle refill spots was in the Agrium building.  The cool air and really interesting agricultural kiosks and interactive centres kept the kids interested and allowed us to lose some heat!  Kezia loved feeding the chickens in particular while Kian enjoyed watching the day old chicks waddle around their pen.

Ice cream after lunch and slushies in the afternoon were necessary – at least to us!

But, this was a day of rides and we did that with very few other breaks.  It was the first time the kids have come down to the Stampede and I am really happy that they loved it.  I’ve always had a lot of fun down here – on the midway, at the rodeo, watching the chuckwagons and the grandstand show, etc.  I’m excited to share more of the fun that the Stampede has to offer with them.

They hit the Euro Slide early in the day and later in the afternoon.  The sun was behind them for the afternoon rides which allowed for a cool look by over-exposing the shots.  I definitely had a lot of fun playing while photographing these cool cats!

The Outlaw Roller Coaster was one of Kian’s two favourite rides.  He made a couple of runs solo on that after going with his sister the first time.  He didn’t mind having the front seat all to himself – and it worked well for the photographs too!  My favourite is the riding philosopher as he finished his last ride on this one.

And then there was the Starship 4000!  It was the consensus favourite and they both rode it A LOT.  Kian went 13 times and Kezia rode 16 times – in a row!  Dad was a bystander while they racked up their circular miles inside the spaceship.  It spun around pasting the riders against the wall but still allowing them to move around a bit.  I didn’t go on this one but I have been told by both kids it was AWESOME!

We didn’t even get into the games that line the midway alongside the rides.  Kian definitely liked this pink monkey so he’s looking forward to trying for one of them next year.

We finished the day off with a couple of flights on the hang gliding ride called the Cliff Hanger.  I liked flying like Superman – the kids did that and enjoyed making faces and having a blast as they spun around.

A great day at the Stampede – we’ll be back next year!


Calgary Stampede Rodeo – Day 1 Bareback

I was fortunate to be able to join a great group in the infield for the first day of the 2017 Calgary Stampede Rodeo (thanks Todd!).  It’s been a couple of years since I had a good opportunity to photograph down there.  Our seats were at the top of the infield which afforded a great view from above the chutes.  The bareback event was foreshadowed by the novice bareback riders and they had exciting rides.  Below, Lane Ferguson from Granum, Alberta rode Xotic Departure to the day win in the novice bareback event.

A little while later, the professional bareback riding got started.  Caleb Bennett and Up Ur Alley put up an 85.50 on the first ride.

Cole Goodine on Soap Bubbles went the full time as well but fell a little short of Caleb’s opening mark.


I’m always amazed watching both the cowboys and the horses – balance, power and speed on both sides of the contest.  All are world class and they did more than their share to help the Stampede to live up to its name as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

Richie Champion astride Twin Cherry won the Day 1 money with a score of 89.00.  The first image in this set shows Richie set up well on the horse during the winning ride.  Below, the pair explode out of their gate – setting the tone for a great ride.


International Women’s Day

This year’s theme, “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030” draws attention to the very real and very troubling trends of gender inequality, pay gaps and pressure to reduce or impede women’s rights around the world.

I worry about the world my daughter will find around her as she grows.  My hope is in people on large and small scales making changes to reverse these trends and to realize true equality.  And, my opportunity is to effect these changes in the areas I can influence.  Most importantly with the people in my life and my daughter in particular.

A day is not enough but the awareness highlighted on this one day will hopefully, and willfully, radiate forward.  I celebrate the women in my life and treasure the impacts you have on me, my family and the lives we lead.  Thank you.


Kezia’s dance competition season begins

This year is my daughter’s first as a member of her dance studio’s competition team.  She has been working hard on her three routines and last weekend was the Springbank Dancer’s public performance ahead of the spring competition schedule.

Kezia’s is competing in three categories – hip hop solo, small hip hop group and large group musical theatre.  All of the routines are great for her and allow her personality to shine throughout.

She loves performing and this weekend was no exception.  She danced wonderfully and had a great time – on and off stage.

It was the first time I got to see each of her dances on stage and in full dress.  The choreography done by the studio’s teachers is great and she has put in the effort to learn them cold.  It was really fun to watch it all come together and see Kezia doing what she absolutely loves to do.  And I absolutely love watching her do everything she wants to do.