Friday, January 29, 2010

Our Get Away At Great Wolf Lodge

It was our first trip to Great Wolf Lodge – and it was a Great one!!   We were able to take part in so many of the things offered, including Cub Club, as well as Story Time, this combined with a pizza party with friends and lots and lots of time in the water made for a fantastic get away.  Our “Paw Pass” allowed us into our rooms – which was “very cool” for the kids, and our room was “WOW” -  with the kids having their very own campout section!  We sqwished pennies and coloured our own t-shirts took a trip to the Trading Post and splashed our days away at the Water Park – all this, in the middle of a Canadian Winter!!

Surviving The Road Blocks In Haiti

MAHaiti4 Michael Andrew continues to go to the orphanages in Haiti; assess the situation, record the information, and GPS tag the location.  The final official count he ended up with was around 120 orphanages, which he is now finding to be in reality probably closer to triple this number.  Michael is working with his driver, and bodyguard / translator Matthew as he continues to face the “daily” challenges of aftershocks and general safety, but even more so, of road blocks and red tape while trying to get supplies to those in need.  And the supplies continue to sit…at the airport.  As frustrating as this is for us to see, imagine what this must be like for those in Haiti right now, in desperate need of these items of basic need.  A country in dire need of help, and help sitting at their doorstep…at the airport.  The good news: Michael and Matthew were able to deliver a load of supplies to an orphanage in need just recently, with tents and food supplies – these guys must have seemed like angels when they arrived.   You can read more about Michael’s experiences at  CNN’s I Reports  or on  Michael’s BlogIf you know of an organization or are connected with an organization on the ground in Haiti that has supplies to be delivered to areas in need please email me, immediate information for transport will be given. 

*All Photos in this post by Michael Andrew

.MAHaiti1 MAHaiti3 MAHaiti5 MAHaiti6 MAHaiti8

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Now Playing

Now Playing At The Forest Kineto Theatre


It’s Complicated  

Show Times 8PM, Doors Open at 7:30 

All Tickets $5


Synopsis: Jane is the mother of three grown kids, owns a thriving Santa Barbara bakery/restaurant and has - after a decade of divorce - an amicable relationship with her ex-husband, attorney Jake. But when Jane and Jake find themselves out of town for their son's college graduation, things start to get complicated. An innocent meal together turns into the unimaginable - an affair. With Jake remarried to the much younger Agness, Jane is now, of all things, the other woman. Caught in the middle of their renewed romance is Adam, an architect hired to remodel Jane's kitchen. Healing from a divorce of his own, Adam starts to fall for Jane, but soon realizes he's become part of a love triangle. Should Jane and Jake move on with their lives, or is love truly lovelier the second time around? It's--complicated

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back From A Family Get Away

Well, I’ve been a little inconsistent with the blog the last couple of days – but I’ve got good reason!  Family Get Away!!!  I’ll post more tomorrow, but here’s a start!  For now, here’s a view of story time at our destination – can you guess where??

Story Time At Great Wolf Lodge


Monday, January 25, 2010

Upcoming Photography Class

Saturday, February 6 from 10-3 – A Great day of learning and experimenting with your SLR camera.  Get the most out of your SLR camera!SLR CLass Saturday rs

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Glide Track

Thought I would share this cool gadget with you.  It’s basically taking a prosumer product and designing it and glidetracksdvideocameradolly producing for those film makers without the Hollywood budget.  Easy to use, easy to install.   This just one of the many Glide Track products available on their website along with the glide track shooter – a glide track meant for still cameras that doubles as a shoulder support :


Glidetrack Compact from Alastair Brown on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Little Baby Kayla

New life is so amazing, and in the middle of the turmoil that is going on in Haiti and many other parts of the world right now – it’s nice to simply take a deep, sweet breath!  Welcome to the world Kayla!  And Congratulations Steve, Wendy and Xavier!


 ks3  ks5 ks2ks4

Friday, January 22, 2010

Michael In Haiti

MA1 Moments ago I was asked “Would you go to Haiti right now?”  Honestly, my answer is no, I think if I were single my answer may be different, but currently I feel I would be more of a liability there right now, and  I can do more help here with helping to raise funds, and helping to get information if possible to people like Michael, who currently are in Haiti.  Many of you may recall the posts I have made on Michael’s tutorials and seminars – AKA: Michael The Maven :) Michael, now in Haiti due to his intense desire to help the Haitian people was initially “absorbed” into a UN Convoy.  Michael is not sponsored by the UN, rather is self sufficient completing a project he came there to do: "make sure no orphanges fell through the cracks, by visiting each of them and providing logistical data to the larger organizations to know how to find them and what they need".  As reported on CNN this morning, one of the biggest hurdles they are facing in Haiti right now is getting this type of information.  Michael's first major task he needed to completed was accomplished EXTREMELY quickly – collecting the names and info of over 120 Haitian orphanages. In doing so, Michael used the resources of those not in Haiti - he wrote back to his blog readers asking for their help by giving input for locations and names of orphanages, allowing you and I to help in this way, this coupled with the fact that he is not facing a borage of red tape faced by some larger organizations.   Think about it – the daily bonuses we have of computer access and phone access is readily available to us, and is certainly compromised in Haiti right now. Today Michael is off to visit the orphanages – one at a time – assessing, GPS coding, and passing on the info of their needs so that vital supplies can be received.  The next issue however that is being faced is the fact that there is a bottle neck of supplies that need to be delivered.  Here’s where you can help:  If you know of an organization in Haiti right now – that may be able to help with delivering supplies – please go to the following blog and post the information.   Other requests and information are posted there as well.  You Can Help, Right Here At Home.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Now Playing

Now Playing At the Forest kineto theatre

Up In The Air

Up in the Air

Jan. 22,23,24,26

Show Time 8 PM

All Tickets $5


Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Danny McBride

Running Time: 109 min.

Warnings: COARSE LANGUAGE Detailed Observations: - Coarse language - Sexual references - Nudity in a non-sexual context - Scenes that may cause a child brief anxiety, or fear - Embracing and kissing - Mild sexual innuendo

Synopsis: Ryan Bingham, is a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and just after he's met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The House That Jack Built

n271637618728_2811 As promised yesterday, here is the story of a young woman’s desire to raise money for those in the devastated country of Haiti.  Jessica tells the story best herself so I will post this in her own words below. As a little side note, our connection with Jessica and here family is, that they live directly across the street from us, and Jack was the builder of our home as well.  The home that my husband and I walked through during the building process, before we were even dating.  Little did we know we would be living here a couple of years later raising our family.

Photo By: Casey Lessard

And now in Jessica’s own words:

The House that Jack Built is a memorial fund for my father. The money is used to build houses for families in Haiti that are homeless. My father was a builder of homes. He loved people and he loved to help people who were in need. He passed away five years ago. Before he died, he was involved in the planning for this fund.
I have had my hair in dread locks for five years, for me, they have been somewhat associated with my grieving process. Now, five years after my dad’s death, I am going to cut off my dreads, in honour of him and his desire to help the people of Haiti.
In light of the recent tragedy that has hit Haiti, the need for money in this fund is greater than ever. This money will help people to begin rebuilding their homes, their lives and their hope after the devastation caused by this earthquake.
My fundraising goal is$5000 (but now, after the tragic events in Haiti, I know that we will raise much more than that). I have 50 dreads on my head, the first 50 people to donate $100 are welcome to come and cut off a dread lock themselves. More details about the dread cutting day will follow.
How to give:
Send cash or cheque to:
Baptist Haiti Mission Canada
P.O. Box 11
602 Wellington Street
Wallaceburg, ON.
N8A 4L5
Include a note designating funds for the House That Jack Built/Jessica’s dread fundraiser. All donations over $10.00 are receiptable.
If you are outside Canada, contact me for info on how to give.

Added Note From Jessica:

One note: People have been asking me if the houses that were already built through the fund are still standing and yes they all did withstand the quake. So there is something to be said for making sure that structures are well built  down there.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Community Of Giving

MissionStatementWith all of the turmoil going around all over the world, and in particular Haiti right now, we have the pleasure of see some incredible people coming up with some amazing ideas to help, and/or raise funds to supply needed food and equipment to those who need it most.  Tomorrow I will post on one woman’s amazing personal story of how she is planning to raise funds and how you can be involved in this event.  Right now though, I want to tell you about another community that gives.  Yesterday I had an opportunity to meet up at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, with fellow photographers and medical personnel as we completed a training session with Julie Duggan and Yvonne Long, both photographers out of London.  The session was made up of a small group who came together for training with the non profit organization: Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.  The organization was set up only a few years ago and has grown into a world wide community of photographers and medical personnel who’s only desire is to help families, by supplying them with the free gift of professional portraiture.  A gift given in hope that “these images serve an an important step in the families healing process by honoring their child’s legacy.”  The organization is well worth looking into, and with only a few few paid staff the foundation is 99% volunteer. Of the individuals present yesterday were photographers as well as support and medical staff from the hospital.  Now I have always had a huge respect for our nurses here in Canada – they are absolutely incredible – but after listening to them speak in discussion yesterday, I don’t think I could be any more impressed – individuals who in each unique case are completely dedicated to their patients and desiring to help them to the utmost of their ability.  If you are interested in finding out more about NILMDTS  as a volunteer, photographer, or simply wish to be more informed about this program, please watch the video below and visit their website. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Shutter Speeds and Aperture

Understanding the relationship between shutter speed and aperture settings are key to taking great pictures, here is a brief video tutorial to help get a grip on this.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Matrix Effect

Ever wonder ,how they do the effect  in The Matrix where the characters are suspended in mid flight, and yet you get a 360 degree angle of them in that same position?  Well, wonder no more, if you get some friends together, you can create the same effect – Check out the video – it’s surprisingly simple – just need lots of friends :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Finding the right camera for You

canonnikon It can be so confusing deciding on what the best camera out there is.  And truth be told, the best camera for the person standing beside you, may not be the best camera for you.  Yes there are cameras I would never buy, like ones known to have a shutter delay.  There is also the debate of Canon vs. Nikon.  Canon is ahead of everyone right now - Yeah, but, that could all change around tomorrow - after all, it's technology we're talking about - something that changes by the moment.  If you are looking for a new camera for yourself, than seriously take a look at Snapsort.  This website is set up specifically to do side by side comparisons of cameras, I didn’t find that it did a totally thorough comparison, but it is still a useful tool.  It will even tell you the winner and loser for you - it's that easy.  Whether it's a point and shoot, or an SLR, this is a great site to check into before making your next purchase !

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Now Playing

Now Playing at the Forest Kineto Theatre

The Blind Side

Jan. 15,16,17,19

Doors open at 7:30, Show starts at 8:00

All Tickets $5

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Lily Collins, Ray McKinnon

Running Time: 128 min.

Warnings: LANGUAGE MAY OFFEND Detailed Observations: - Mild sexual references - Illustrated or verbal references to drugs, alcohol or tobacco - Scenes that may cause a child brief anxiety, or fear - Tobacco use - Restrained portrayals of limited violence - Restrained portrayals of non-graphic violence

Synopsis: Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home, is taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher's presence in the Touhys' lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own. Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. As a football player and student, Oher works hard and, with the help of his coaches and adopted family, becomes an All-American offensive left tackle.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sports Photography

kite ski trio rs 

ks 4Sports photography is not what I specialize in.  But, on Sunday, a photographer friend ;) and I took to quick trip out to see the kite skiers in Strathroy.  Unfortunately it was REALLY cold – a matter a fact – I’m sure these people out there must have gotten frost burn before coming in.  These pictures were taken with a 200-400mm lens from across the road (oh, did I mention I also wasn’t dressed for walking in the snow either).  The biggest thing you want to remember with sports photography is to have the proper shutter speed.  Unless you are going for a blur, you will need a really fast shutter speed.  In these pictures I had the advantage of great lighting on a bright sunny day and beautiful white snow, therefore I had no problem shooting these at f11  1/1250sec.  I probably could have gone a bit slower with the shutter speed, but in all reality, if necessary, I would have simply opened up the f stop some more, or adjusted the ISO instead.

[b] school

There are many different ways of keeping up to date in the photography world.  Some take hours and hours and hours of your time, and others, well, it seem to be a lot about who you know.  One fast and easy way to get a quick daily stream of ideas and latest trends in photography is to stop in at the b school during “study hall”.  You can also sign up for a membership, though I have yet to do so, as firstly, I just don’t spend a lot…any time in the chat rooms, which places like this tend to really promote.  For those who do profit from these, then this is as the slogan says – a place to b!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Windows 7 vs. Vista

Yesterday I spent a fair amount of time doing an entire from scratch reboot of my studio laptop.  Due to the fact that it was a new machine I was eligible for the free Windows 7 upgrade, which I  easily punched in the numbers on the website, and 2 days later UPS showed up at my door with the package!  I have worked with a number of Windows programs, Windows 3, ME, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, and I’m sure there are others in there as well, not to mention a few PDA, and Smartphone versions as well.  But lately Windows has really been pushing the Windows 7 experience, trying to appeal to the general public after   taking a real hit with the problems associated with Vista.  Now don’t get me wrong, Vista definitely has it’s issues , it is probably the most nit picky version anyone on a pc has ever used, despite it’s '”pretty colours”.  The one thing I had heard about Windows 7 though, is that it reverts back to a lot of the XP, and yet, has several helpful concepts in it as well.  Personally, I’ve only had Windows 7 for less than 24hrs, so I have yet to find any issues – on the other hand, I have already found my re installations to be MUCH smoother, and am beginning to really like the little shortcuts that it has to offer.  If you have recently purchased a new pc in the last few months with VISTA, it might be worth checking out whether you are eligible for the free Windows 7 software package.  In the meantime, take a quick look at this video I found on youtube (which by the way – youtube is a much better place to find out about Windows 7 than the Windows site itself :(  )to see just a few of the user friendly changes that have been made:

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Good Time For Point & Shoot Cameras

Sometimes the advantages of a tiny point and shoot camera can out weigh using an slr, and Saturday was just one of those days.  We had made last minute arrangements to head out to Boler Mountain for a family skiing trip.  The weather was crisp and clear, and neither Ralph or I had been skiing in quite a while, a matter a fact I believe it was the first time since we got married!  The kids as a result, had never been skiing – so this was about to be an adventure – and it was!  I brought along the little point and shoot due to size, weight, video (which my current slr does not have, though several lines do now) and the fact that if I fell on it – it wouldn’t cause irreparable damage :)  -  sometimes, it’s just good to have a little compact in your back pocket!

Friday, January 08, 2010

the Good Food Box

53-Good Food Box I started hearing about “the Good Food Box” back when our daughter was born.  I thought about it several times, but each time ended up passing on the idea due to the fact that “I thought” I would need to drive to Forest to get it, and realized, I would likely forget, but I’ve no longer got that excuse.  First of all, let me tell you what the Good Food Box is:  It’s basically a program set up in our community, where individuals or families can order single or family boxes at a cost of $10 or $15 respectively.  The box is filled with nutritious food ie. potatoes, apples, onion, cucumber etc. and they are available for pick up in 4 local areas: North Lambton CHC – Forest, Zavitz General Store – Thedford, Kettle Point Health Centre – Kettle Point, and, best of all – Arkona – we actually are getting door to door service thanks to Marlene MacKenzie!  If you have heard of the program before, but just never looked into it thoroughly, take a look, you may just save yourself a little money, eat some nutritious food, and support some local growers!
52-Good Food Box 51-Good Food Box

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Now Playing

Now Playing At The Forest Kineto Theatre

The Princess and the Frog

Jan. 8,9,10,12

Doors Open at 7:30 P.M.
All Shows begin at 8 P.M.
All Seats $5.00

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Eh! O' Canada Go!

“Learn the cheer” – You’ve probably seen or heard the ads.  It’s huge advertising campaign put on by Pepsi, and as an added bonus – there are very mixed feelings over the whole thing!  Some hate the cheer, some like it, and some, well, they just don’t know any better.  One way or another, whether you wish to get involved in the empire of big business or not - the Olympic athletes are competing soon, and the World Juniors have just finished –( in a HUGE nail biting game I might add.  Our guys did Great, and though we were sooo close, the boys to the south got the gold – ahhh, but we are just saving it for the Olympic games right?)  and these athletes deserve some cheering!   If you are against the pepsi cheer, then gladly cheer something different; but keep in mind, if you think you are making a stand by getting upset about the cheer being a big advertising campaign, then you are simply adding to the popularity by trying to stand out :)  In the end, I’m just wanting to hear the “O’Canada” part to music while seeing our athletes on the podium!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Sparkles From Above

snow prints

Winter can be one of the most amazing times of the year.  Even taking a walk during winter is so much different than any other time of the year.  The smell is so fresh, the sounds are muted, and each breath taken is so crisp and clean.  I went for a walk this evening with my family and got to enjoy the sparkles as they fell, and the giggles on a peaceful night.  How about you – what do you like to do during the winter months?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Local School Bus Information

Well it looks like we could finally be getting our regular dose of winter.  The snow squalls have subsided outside our windows for the moment – but more is expected, therefore – Buses Are Cancelled!!!  For all of you in the Lambton/Kent area waiting for the announcement to come on the radio who don’t know about the website yet, I thought I would just pass this on today FYI.  So to check out the daily news on whether buses are running in your zone simply go to:

Enjoy Making Snow Angels Kids!!


Sunday, January 03, 2010

“I’m the first one on the new road!” ~Mater

Did you see the movie cars?  Right after Lightning McQueen does a terrible job paving the road that gets destroyed during his fearful run from the back firing police car that ends him up in Radiator Springs?  The scene is hilarious; Mater, the rusty tow truck, with a very simple sense of enjoyment goes for a drive on the less than impressive newly paved road with overwhelming excited as he exclaims - “I’m the first one on the new road!”  That was me – no really, this morning, I’m out…finally, after a week of waiting for something to snow blow, I get to get out there !  Sure, I wasn’t the first out blowing snow, but it was my first run of blowing snow with the snow blower! Yeah!  And my neighbour Ann Marie, knowing I was thrilled to be out there came outside in the blustering wind and took pictures!!!  Enjoy the snow day!…maybe we’ll have this again tomorrow and get to keep the kids home one more day!  For those on the road, drive safely. :)

A Snowblower A Snowblower2 A Snowblower3

Friday, January 01, 2010

Mac vs PC

IMG_9924_resizeI’ve got an opinion now, and it’s not simply based on industry standards, what I’ve heard, or what I see on commercials etc.  I like the Mac, and honestly, I like the PC, which I prefer is based on software, price/value, and ultimately, what I am comfortable with.  The Mac, wow, I mean, it is faster, and I’m hoping that Windows 7 will have some impact on that, though there is a long way to go; even the basic start up.  As far as software goes, well, if you haven’t got both sides (mac/windows) installed on your Mac, things really start to look limited-even the blogging software is cut right down.  There are options of course-and some very nice ones at that, coming with nice fees attached though.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s heard the comment, once you go Mac you’ll never go back, well, certainly not based on performance of the machine, I’ve tested it for just over a month, and I’m ready…to go back. Time to sell of a 17” Macbook Pro.

 IMG_9927_resize IMG_9940_resize IMG_9918_resize IMG_9921_resize IMG_9923_resize

Happy New Years!

 IMG_9849IMG_9854 IMG_9848

This morning I went for a walk before everyone got out of bed, I thought about a few things, but mostly just enjoyed the light snow fall, crisp crunch of the frozen ground, and quiet all around.  Happy New Year Everyone!!  Enjoy this new day!