Personal

D-Day

The last World War turned on this day 75 years ago.  If that is history you aren’t familiar with, you owe it to yourself and those who sacrificed on our collective behalf before to learn more.  I offer a humble thank you.  Thank you to those who have served.  Thank you to those who lived on and to those who we wish had.

 

Photo credit unknown. Unfortunately the photographer cannot be credited as this is a photograph in our family which did not have that information on the back.

 

I thank my grandfather, Percy – he’s sitting in this photo taken during WWII, for his service and the life he led afterwards despite the horrors he endured and the friends he lost.


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


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.


A spooky and fun Halloween night

 

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Halloween had a little shadow over it this year for us but the kids excitement and enthusiasm was quickly kindled and we had a great night.  Our community is fantastic for trick or treating and the neighbours helped to make it a lot of fun.

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Kezia was dressed as Rey from the latest Star Wars movie – she had her Jedi skills on display all night long.

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Kian made his 80’s cartoon style Skeletor costume at home and enjoyed playing the character and doing the high pitched voice.

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I enjoyed touring around with the kids and they were very accommodating while I snapped away – and were very generous sharing their candy with me.

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First day back to school

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-1477

It was a busy morning getting ready for the first day of school in time for the bus this morning.  Bobbi did a great job having everything planned out for the kids so it wasn’t chaos.  Kezia is super excited to get back to class to see her friends and get Grade 3 started.

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-1478

Kian and Bobbi are embarking on a home schooling adventure this year which will be amazing for both of them.

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-1506

Kian is very excited about the opportunity to dive deep into subjects and be more in control of where his efforts are placed.

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-1496

Both the kids are excited about each other’s path this year.

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-1523

It was fun to photograph them together, and get one with Kezia and I (thank you Bobbi), before she got on the bus to get her year started.

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-1533

 


Happy Birthday Kian!

Happy birthday Kian - © Christopher Martin-2061

My dearest boy on your ninth birthday I should soon start to refer to you as a young man for that is what you are and have done the work to become.  I love how much fun you have doing the things which you are drawn to do.  I love your fierce commitment to equality and fairness.  I love the joy you take from time spent with me, our family and your friends.  I love everything about you and especially love learning about the new things you pick up, the dreams you have, the challenges, the triumphs and everything else that comes.

Happy birthday Kian - © Christopher Martin-2085

I tremble, a little, when I think how fast your first nine years have flown by but I am incredibly excited to see where you will take the many yet to come.  I am humbled to be your father and honoured to be your friend.

Happy birthday Kian - © Christopher Martin-2379

Happy birthday my son!  Let’s make sure all of the wishes you made come true!

Happy birthday Kian - © Christopher Martin-2243

 


Happy birthday to my little angel

Kezia's birthday party - © Christopher Martin-0219

Today you celebrate your 7th birthday.  The joy you share with me and everyone you touch is just one of your amazing gifts.  Every minute I am with you I fall deeper in love with you, with everything that you are and with everything that you are becoming.  It is a wonderful honour for me to be your daddy, to be part of your journey and to celebrate you.  Happy birthday my little angel.  Happy birthday Kezia.

Kezia's birthday party - © Christopher Martin-0294

Kezia's birthday party - © Christopher Martin-0201

Kezia's birthday party - © Christopher Martin-0218


Christmas day around the house

Christmas Day with the kids - © Christopher Martin-8254

Christmas Day with the kids - © Christopher Martin-8226

Kezia and Kian had fun from early Christmas morning when Kezia told her grandparents she just missed Santa Claus.  We made it out sledding in the backyard before lunch and then we had family visit in the afternoon.

Christmas Day with the kids - © Christopher Martin-8265

Christmas Day with the kids - © Christopher Martin-8283

Christmas Day with the kids - © Christopher Martin-8364

Christmas Day with the kids - © Christopher Martin-8342

On Boxing day we had thirty family members come over for dinner – kids and adults all seemed to have a great evening.

Christmas Day with the kids - © Christopher Martin-8407

Christmas Day with the kids - © Christopher Martin-8410

I hope everyone is enjoying a lot of family time!


Light painting with glow sticks

Kian looking through light - © Christopher Martin-1430

After a great evening with another family who came over for dinner, we enjoyed having some time playing around before bed.  Kian and Kezia had a bunch of glow sticks that they connected together and swung around in the dark.  We had a lot of fun tracing out crazy patterns during a series of long exposures.

A ball of crazy light - © Christopher Martin-1407

Kian looking through light - © Christopher Martin-1446


Halloween Tricking and Treating

Halloween Tricking and Treating - © Christopher Martin-2519

The kids in Redwood Meadows were out on the prowl last night tricking and treating their way around the town.  Our troop of cousins, friends and a couple of adults headed out just before dark.  The neighbours were characteristically generous and all of the children made out like bandits.

Halloween Tricking and Treating - © Christopher Martin-2505

Halloween Tricking and Treating - © Christopher Martin-2566

Halloween Tricking and Treating - © Christopher Martin-2534

Kian was a skeleton assassin and Kezia was a leopard.  Both stayed in character for much of the night – except when daddy asked them to pose together for a quick shot together.

Kezia the leopard at Halloween - © Christopher Martin-2516

The Redwood Meadows firefighters had one of their trucks parked outside and stopping there was a highlight for the kids (and another source of heaps of candy!)

Halloween Tricking and Treating - © Christopher Martin-2537

Everyone had a really great time – running between houses, jumping around and sharing a lot of laughs.

Halloween Tricking and Treating - © Christopher Martin-2560


First day back to school

 

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-4988

Kezia and Kian were excited to start their new school year at Banded Peak today.  The first morning had a good dose of chaos but we still had a few minutes to take a few photos before the bus picked them up.

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-4975

I’m looking forward to a great year for these two wonderful children who I love so very, very much.


Happy Birthday Kian!

Kian - © Christopher Martin-0394

To my son Kian, you are a strong, brilliant warrior.  I love your sense for doing what is right, your passion for knowledge, your rough and tumble physicality, and your love of life, light (and Minecraft!).  And, above all else, I simply love you.

Kian's 8th birthday party - © Christopher Martin-0737

Kian - © Christopher Martin-3603

You have held my heart in your hand everyday since you were born eight years ago.  There is no place I would rather it be.

Kian - © Christopher Martin-1815

Kian just after his 1st birthday.  And below, from last fall flushed after a long play in the leaves.

Kian - © Christopher Martin-1373


Summer in Osoyoos

Running through the vineyard - 2014 © Christopher Martin

We are enjoying some family time at the Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort in Osoyoos, British Columbia. The trail down to the water is through the Nk’Mip Winery and their vineyards. When we went down last night for a swim in the lake, it was great to watch the kids running down the pathway.


Kian’s snowball fight – birthday party mashup

Ready, set, blow - © Christopher Martin-9958

(as always, please click on any image to open a webpage with a higher resolution version) 

The party for my son’s sixth birthday was scheduled for last Sunday but a heavy blizzard blew in the night before and travel on the roads was treacherous.  We postponed the party to save family from driving in the storm which left Kian quite sad for a little bit.  Fortunately his friends who live nearby bundled up, came over and we all headed outside for some tobogganing on the little hill behind our house.  Not much sledding happened as the gang decided a snowball fight was a better use of their energy and time.

The snow fighters - © Christopher Martin-0076

With smile restored and spirits high, Kian had a great time playing and the rest of us followed his lead.  Kezia helped me to return fire after the attack above but then turned her sights my way a few minutes later.

A daughter's attack - © Christopher Martin-0014

Her brother liked Kezia’s idea and joined in the attack too – Traitors!  I was worried about a full mutiny but their attentions soon turned to other targets.

Snow fight - © Christopher Martin-0046

With a small crisis (though rather big to a young boy) averted, we ended up having a great day and Bobbi even arranged to have some cupcakes to finish off the birthday celebrations.  Which Kian enjoyed blowing out a solitary candle on (three times as I had a couple of different images that I wanted to make in mind).


A princess’s birthday

Princess run - 2013 © Christopher Martin

It was my sweet little girl’s birthday last weekend.  Kezia had the whole day devoted to the celebrations.  She started running and kept going through the whole day. The princess party started the festivities where we hosted four princesses, and one alternately enthusiastic and reluctant prince.

Birthday cupcakes - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Playtime - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Princesses decorating - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Whistle kiss - 2013 © Christopher Martin

In the afternoon, the family arrived and Kezia was happy to carry on well past her normal bed time.

The evening gang - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Happy birthday Kezia – we love you and the light you create everyday.


Halloween on the mean streets of Redwood Meadows

Well, not mean at all in actual fact.  My children (the teenage mutant ninja turtle and the ladybug) joined up with two of their best friends (the rooster and the monster) and it was quick work to capture a photograph of the four of them before they headed out on the streets.

Great fun for the four parents to watch these characters having so much fun.  Our little group scoured the neighbourhood for other costumed mischiefs, joining into loose packs and descending on homes in search of loot.  As a community, Redwood Meadows really gets into this event.  There were spectacular haunted homes with graveyards, animated ghouls, roaring voices, fires and event a 12 foot high pumpkin cactus inflatable that was lit up.  Crazy stuff.

There was even one home that scared my son, who playing a teenage mutant ninja turtle, wasn’t afraid of much and usually attacked anything that inspired a bit of fear (to our mayor, John, and his wife Shana I say very well done – I was scared too!)  Here was one of the denizens in the yard of the house who stayed in character the whole night and I was only sure it was a real person when I looked at the images closely afterwards.

Once the scare was out of his system, Kian (aka the ninja turtle) returned to burning fuel in top gear – running, diving to the ground, shortcuts through the trees between houses.  Standard procedure for a little boy and a lot of fun to watch.  Kezia was cold so she pulled mommy back to our friend’s house nearby.  The monster and the chicken were having a great time so, along with the turtle, the three of them kept rolling for another hour.  Impressive given it was close to freezing and we covered a lot of ground.  Stamina, camaraderie and the lure of candy – a powerful mix.

The Redwood Fire Department is very involved in our community and they had vehicles parked in different parts of the community and the firefighters were out giving candy.  They are a great group of men and women and we are lucky to have them.  The kids, maybe not evident in this picture, were completely thrilled to talk with a couple of the firefighters AND get candy from them.

We returned home well after bedtime and after one treat each (daddy included), we all fell asleep quickly.  Wrapping up a wonderful evening in our little town.


Fire Station Party – happy birthday to my son!

Friday was Kian’s 4th birthday and it kicked off a birthday weekend that was a whirlwind of fun.

Our local fire station, the Redwood Meadows Fire Department, allowed us to throw Kian’s birthday party at the Fire Hall in the garage right beside the fire engines and emergency response vehicles!

The kids, and most of us adults, had a great time.  The fire fighters on duty were incredible – allowing the kids to tour through all of the vehicles, explaining gear, reinforcing fire safety in a fun way and really having fun with the children.

An incredible group of men and women.  Their work in the community is amazing and it was fun to have a chance to talk with them and see their interest in teaching and playing with the children.

A huge thank you to my wife, Bobbi, for putting this event on; the fire department for everything they did that made the party incredible, Trisha for her amazing desserts, my parents for helping pull it all together and all of the families who came out – I hope everyone had a great day – we did.

Happy birthday Kian – with all of my love to my big boy.  I love being your daddy and helping you as you blaze your trail.  You amaze me every day.


Hospital Miniatures – Images from Alberta Children’s Hospital

When my son is sleeping, I have made a few photographs of the view out the window as well as the scene inside.  Most images here were made using the Lensbaby Muse lens at F/2.8.  I’m not feeling super inspired in the last few days but it is fun to work with the depth of field focus effects you can create using any of the Lensbaby optics.

Kian loves this wheelchair but I framed it in a somber mood here.


Portraits of my son

With Kian in the hospital for a few days, we have had time to just hang out, which has been great.  Not good circumstances but a definite silver lining.

Along with us is the camera and as we’ve toured the hospital I’ve taken photographs of my little boy, here are a few.


Fire Walking at Quantum Leaps

Bobbi and I had an amazing weekend on a retreat at a riverside paradise near Golden in British Columbia.  Quantum Leaps is run by Annette Boelman and Brian Olynek and is a retreat centre in the Blaeberry Valley.  Annette and Brian have created a haven for inner and outer reflection and discovery.  They are generous, caring people and it was very special to share time with them.  Our small group came together guided by Amarin on a series of explorations.  On Saturday night, we built a huge fire collectively and then we walked on the coals in a Fire Walking Ceremony.  It was one of those experiences that I am still thinking about a couple of days later and feels like a profound step towards a great part of the journey.

Note: Please click any image to open much larger on its own page.

Here our group is preparing for the fire walk as the fire burns down.  I am so happy to have shared this experience with my Bobbi, looking over her shoulder in the photograph above.


Annette begins raking the fire

Sparks stream upwards while the flames profile Brian.

Boards we wrote on ignite over the embers

The fire, the tipi and a man

These are the coals we walked over!

Bobbi walking over the coals and then enjoying the feeling afterwards

That’s me staying focused…

… And then playing in the moment

The night sky beyond the fire

If you make the opportunity to walk on fire, you may find it very worthwhile.  For the record, none of us had any burns and all enjoyed the night and the sharing.  As far as the retreat, if you want to find time for yourself and those you want around you, Quantum Leaps is very highly recommended.  When we left, the Kokanee salmon were just starting to run and will be driving upriver for the next month.  Bald eagles were beginning to arrive, I saw a different one each morning perched in trees along the banks.  A black bear didn’t find me but was out by one of the cabins and has been a regular visitor over the past few days joining deer and the occasional elk which also enjoy the grounds.


Picture the Cure Auction

” Picture The Cure”  is a not-for-profit community based organization whose mission is to raise the awareness, bring dedicated people together and honour cancer survivors and victims.

In Calgary, in association with The Camera Store, they held an auction at the end of June which included over 40 pieces of artwork.  I contributed a framed 20×30 print of the Nuns at Prayer in Myanmar.  Angelo Avlonitis, the owner of Art Country Canada in Bragg Creek, donated the glass and frame.

I am very happy to have been able to contribute to this very worthwhile project.

Evelyn Drake, the organizer who I worked with leading up to the event, is walking 60 km in The Calgary Weekend to End Women’s Cancer – I hope you have a great experience!


Beginnings…

Well, there needs to be a starting point whenever something new is begun.   This first post serves as a manifesto to guide whatever follows.  It is a simply a declaration of  this blog’s purpose and my intentions.

I have lived in a few places (here and there being favourites), spent time (at various speeds) in several careers and studied a few different things (formally and informally, sometimes with purpose and sometimes without).  This is vague and necessarily so.  The experiences loved, suffered, enjoyed and tolerated along the way have formed who I am but this blog is focused on now and what comes next.

The subject is photography.  The focus is my involvement with the art, study of the craft, development of my style and what I am communicating.  My photography is a work in progress and I want to use these entries to help me expand my vision and drive my growth as an artist.

So, with this picture made just after sunrise on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, I begin.

sunburst from behind clouds sitting above the ocean