Scallops on Quadra Island

In July Mike and I took a quick camping trip to Quadra Island with his family.  It's a beautiful island that is just off the coast of Campbell River, BC.  Mike's parents have been going camping there every summer and have since Mike was 8. This was only the second time that I have been camping there, but I know for sure that it won't be the last.

The first time Mike and I went there, we had an amazing meal of fresh scallops. This year I was looking forward to fresh scallops for weeks before we arrived on the island. Luckily for me, the campsite manager told us that the fresh scallops were arriving on only our second day there. And they did not disappoint!

We cooked the scallops in butter, with some chopped garlic and pepper added for flavour. The simplicity of it really brought out the beautiful taste of the scallops themselves. 

Once the scallops were done, we added caesar salad, garlic bread and some chilled white wine. Dinner by the sea could not have been better.

Well, good thing it's almost supper time where I am, I'm getting hungry just looking at these photos!

Jasper National Park - Columbia Icefields

The Columbia Icefield (which are made up of numerous glaciers) are a huge attraction in the Jasper-Banff area and a trip to Jasper wouldn't be complete without a visit. The drive along Highway 93 or the Icefield Parkway as it's more commonly called, is one that really drives home the majesty of the Rocky Mountains and awe at the forces that shaped them.  

In May the ground near the Icefield was still covered in deep snow and the trees are still bare except for the hardy evergreens.  But in the wide flat swath that follows along on the right side of the road the trees are few and most of them are small. This flat area makes the sudden eruption of the mountains even more awe inspiring. As we get closer to the icefield, I am reminded for the reason for the flat barren section. 

It marks the path that the glacier carved through the rock in eons long past. 

The reminder of what ice and water and force are capable of is always stunning to me. Especially when the results are so easily seen. 

When I was in my early teens my family would often go camping in Japser. And almost every time we would visit the icefields. We would walk up the path to the foot of the mighty glacier (which in summer looked like a pile of unmelting, dirty snow) and see the markers for each year and imagine how big the glacier was then, and how much smaller it was now. I remember stopping at one of the markers to take a photo of my mom next to it. The marker showed where the toe of the glacier had been in the 1970's when she first traveled to Jasper with her parents. As I snapped the photo of my mom next to the marker, I couldn't help but notice that where the toe of the glacier was now wasn't even visible in my shot, just brown dirt and rocks that it had left behind.  

This memory is so clear in my head because I remember feeling sad that the glaciers were slowly (very, very slowly) disappearing. I felt sad that I would never see it as it was when first discovered in the late 1800's, and people in a 100 years from now will never see it as I have.

Mike and I took a group bus tour up on top of the Athabasca Glacier (which is one of the larger and most easily accessible glaciers in the Columbia Icefield). It was very awe inspiring to be so close to the glaciers, to stand on them and to even put our hands in some melted rivulets of glacier water. 

It might be hard to believe, but on the spot where our buses parked and where we stood, the ice of the the Athabasca Glacier is thicker than the Eiffel tower is tall. 

So of course I took a photo of my feet, with an Eiffel tower high worth of glacier beneath them. 

It was pretty amazing to be at the bottom of Malign Canyon one day, and on the top of a glacier the next. That's one of the beautiful things about Jasper.

Maligne Canyon in May

It seems like forever ago that Mike and I went camping in Jasper. The cold nights of May in the Rocky Mountains are wiped out of my memory with the intense heat of July and early August. 

Well... almost out of memory. Seriously, if you're going to camp in the Rocky Mountains in early May, pack lots of blankets, and at least three layers of cloths to wear at night. 

Other than that, it was an amazing trip. Mike had never been to Jasper, and I hadn't been in years. It was a perfect early anniversary trip. One of our favourite days was when we went to Maligne Canyon.

"Maligne Canyon is carved into the Palliser Formation, a layer of limestone deposited in a shallow tropical sea by lime-secreting plankton about 365-million years ago. Some geologists speculate that parts of the canyon were originally deep caves that have since been uncovered by glacial scraping and water erosion." (from the Parks Canada Website)

Since we were there in May, there was still a fair amount of ice and snow in parts of the canyon. Someday I would like to go back in winter and see the amazing ice formations that are there. Of course, if I go in winter, I won't be camping in a tent. 

And what is a trip to Jasper without photos of the many different types of wildlife? Apparently these Rocky Mountain Sheep think that crosswalks are for them too.

Halfway Through

I can hardly believe that it's the end of July already! 

Things have been a bit crazy for us here in Northern BC. Well, mostly just for me and Mike. At the end of May, Mike had surgery on one of his kidneys. It wasn't anything life threatening, but he had a birth defect that was surfacing and causing his kidney to swell to three times it's normal size, which in turn caused him a lot of pain. 

Since our town is pretty small, we had to travel to the next nearest city for the surgery and I was there for about 3 days while Mike was in the hospital.

After spending June resting and recovering, he's now doing much better, and is almost all healed up. 

As if looking after a sick and hurt husband wasn't busy enough, I was also working a second job. This job however, was one that I was really excited about. 

The Dawson Creek Art Gallery hosted an installation and exhibit by Ian Johnson and I assisted him in setting things up. The piece was called 'The End of the Tunnel' is part of an ongoing series called 'Modern Manias'. 

Working with Ian was a wonderful experience. It was great to get to know him and to help him bring his vision together.  If you want to see some photos of the process you can see them here on Ian's website. 

I still have lots of photos to share from our time in Jasper in May that I will be sharing soon. I hope all of you are having a fantastic summer! Tell me about what you've been doing.

Polaroid Week Day 5

And that is the end.... of Polaroid Week for this spring.

Hopefully there will be another Polaroid Week in the fall, another beautiful time for shoot Instant Film. 

This week, as most Polaroid Weeks, has been such a whirlwind of wonderful, amazing, creative and inspirational photos. Now that it's over I plan on going back through the pool, through my favourites and other peoples as well, and making some notes about ideas, techniques to try, etc. Hopefully it will give me some exciting things to work on this summer.

I have been overwhelmed and honoured by all of the comments, favourites and conversations I've had with people this week. This is an amazing group of people, and I'm proud to be part of it.

Here are the last two photos I submitted for this Polaroid Week, another photo of Mike and a photo of Maligne Canyon in Jasper.

Till next Polaroid Week, take a look through all 5 of my favourites galleries and keep on being amazing everyone!

Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5

Polaroid Week Day 4

I can hardly believe that Polaroid Week is almost over! I shall miss it when it's gone, but I might finally be able to pull myself away from the computer because I won't be hitting 'refresh' every 5 minutes on the group pool.

For my photos for Day 4, I took a break from the mountains and the trees and instead found some photos of the sea and the breeze. I took these photos in early March when Mike and I were down on Vancouver Island visiting family. I completely forgot that I hadn't shared them, and so I figured Polaroid Week would be the perfect time for that.

They were taken with my Polaroid 250 (I've been really enjoying using peel-apart film lately) and the film was expired Polaroid IDUV. I love the bluey tones that it comes with. Perfect for photos of the sea.

And for those who don't have time to delve into the well of inspiration that is the group pool, here are my galleries of daily favourites for Day 3 and Day 4.

Only one more day left, then I get to digest and simmer all the inspiration from this week.

Polaroid Week - Day 3

Day 3 of Polaroid Week

These two photos were taken with my Polaroid Land Camera 250 (A wonderful camera that was bought through Rare Medium in Seattle). I haven't spent a lot of time using peel apart film in the past, but recently I've been trying to use it more. The film used for these was Fujifilm 3000B (which is sadly being discontinued). Because it's not a film I have used much, I'm still learning about some of it's tricks. 

For instance, because of the high ISO (3000), trying to shoot a landscape photo in full daylight ends up with a super washed photo. Unless you have something in the foreground (like the trees in the image below). Also, I love shooting portraits on this film. Love it!

And here is my day 2 favourites gallery! 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go and look at more amazing photos!

Polaroid Week - Day 2

Day 2 of Polaroid Week, and I just have to say, WOW! 

If you haven't been looking through the group pool, do yourself a favour - get a cup of tea or something relaxing to drink, block off a few hours of time and go have a look. There are so many people doing some amazing and incredible things with instant photos - Emulsion Lifts, Double Exposures, Mosaics, adding Glitter (yes, glitter!), and even creating mini sculptures with the photos! Seriously, I am in awe of all the creativity there.

If you don't have time to look through the whole pool, here is a gallery with my favourites from Day 1

For my own part, I'm sharing more photos from Jasper, AB. These two are part of a series of photos showing hotel signage and typography from Jasper.

Check back tomorrow, there are more polaroids and inspiration to come!

Polaroid Week is BACK! - Day 1 Photos

It's one of my favourite weeks of the year!  Polaroid Week, the week were people from all over the world converge on one Flickr group and share our Polaroids, comments, thoughts and generally have a wonderful and inspirational time!

Since I spent the last week in Jasper National Park camping with my husband, I have a good selection of camping, mountain and other photos from the week. So here are my photos from Day 1. 

The first photo is of Mike making pancakes for breakfast one morning. It was taken with my SX-70 camera using Impossible Project SX-70 colour film. 

The second photo was just of our camp site table while we were cooking. There was a beautiful beam of light that was breaking through the trees and highlighting my mug of tea. It was taken with a Polaroid 250 Land Camera and Fujifilm 3000B.

For more amazing photographs, check out the whole pool here

Words to Shoot By - GROW

It's been a while, but Words to Shoot By is back! This week's word was GROW.

While not much is growing yet here in Northeastern BC, a lot of things were blooming in March when my husband and I took a trip down to Vancouver Island. 

This is the cherry blossom tree outside my parents-in-law's house. On the last evening of our visit I had a few photos left on a pack of ID-UV film that was in my Polaroid 250 land camera. I had to use the photos before we left, otherwise they would probably be ruined when they went through the carry on x - ray at the airport.  So I pulled out the ladder from their garage, climbed up and balanced a teensy bit precariously as I used the last of my film. The evening light was perfect and the blossoms seemed extra pink that evening, as if they knew they were being photographed. 

See the other wonderful interpretations of 'Grow' over on the Words to Shoot By blog. Also, check out the words from last month that I missed contributing too - 'Coffee' and 'Rain'.

On Turning 30

A couple of weeks ago I turned 30!

I love birthdays. I love my birthdays, I love other people birthdays, I love people who celebrate animal birthdays. I love birthday cake, birthday parties, birthday hats, birthday balloons. I love how anything becomes extra special when you put the word ‘birthday’ in front of it.

I believe in birthday weeks, not birthday days.

What I’m really trying to say here, in case you missed the message, is that I really REALLY like birthdays.

My husband bought me 30 balloons for my birthday. So I took a polaroid self portrait with them surrounding me. :)

My husband bought me 30 balloons for my birthday. So I took a polaroid self portrait with them surrounding me. :)

Over the weekend as I talked to people during my errands around town I would usually mention that it was my birthday and I was turning 30. Most people were happy and congratulatory. Some people though, reacted by asking me if I was going to tell people I was 29 and holding, giving me a knowing wink.

‘No, I’m going to tell them I’m 30. I'm really excited about being 30. I think it’s going to be a great year.’ I would respond.

They would either give me a surprised look and say ‘oh, well good for you!’, as if I was keeping my chin up in the face of tragedy, or chuckle to themselves and say ‘you'll change your mind once you’re my age.’

It wasn't a reaction I was used to seeing, and it almost made me wonder if I SHOULD be worried about turning 30.

At this point it would be easy to think of all the things that I haven’t done with my life. All the things I've wanted to do, all the things that other people much younger than me have accomplished and all the opportunities I have ‘missed out’ on, or will miss out on by being ‘older’.

But I'm not going to let myself think like that. I love the life I have lived so far. I love the life I am living right now. I have spent these last 30 years on this earth learning, discovering, growing and changing. And I will continue to grow, change, learn and discover long past turning 30, long past when I turn 50, long past when I turn 80 and hopefully long past when I turn 90.

Yes, age is just a number, but it’s your number. Own it.


This year my number is 30 and I'm excited to see what surprises and new adventures that life has in store for me!

New Layout and New Logo

It's been far too long since I've been here. Life has been incredibly full of up and downs recently, but I think there are finally starting to be more ups than downs! Hurray!

These are a few photos of the things I have been up to recently. Pottery, Photography, and Pretty kitty cats. That pretty much sums up my life. 

Spring is finally starting to show through the snow, even in the Great White North. The days are getting longer, the sun is getting warmer and the snow piles are getting smaller. I can't wait till things start growing and the country side is green again.

In other news, I've done a big website update - new photos, new logo, new... just about everything! I will certainly be showing up here on the blog more often than I was, so look for more new photos and new posts coming soon!

Cheers!

Ashley

January - Heartbreak and Happiness

Hello 2014! 

It's been far too long since I've posted here.

After my break from social media in December I was looking forward for sharing photos and stories from our wonderful Christmas on Vancouver Island. 

And then our beloved cat, Spandy, became really ill and within a matter of days we had to make the difficult choice to let him go. We'd had him for seven years, since right after we started dating. He was with us when we first moved in together, when we got engaged, when we got married, when we moved up north. He was there for all the big events and for all the small ones. For every morning, every evening, for every smile and for every tear. He was always there.  Even after almost a month, the pain is still very raw. 

It just felt all month like we couldn't get our heads above water. A week after we let go of Spandy, a huge windstorm blew through all of North Eastern BC and approx. 20,000 homes lost power - and ours was one of them. We were without power or heat for over 48 hours, and because our place is so poorly insulated, it was cold enough to see our breath at night as we tried to sleep underneath 6 blankets. Thankfully the temperatures outside were quite mild for this time of year. I try not to think about what could have happened if they weren't. 

Last week, shortly after two very stressful days of travelling and missing connections and airlines shuffling flights around, we received the sad news that Mike's Grandmother had passed away. She has been suffering from dementia for a while and had been in the hospital because it had gotten so severe. While we are relieved that she is no longer in pain, it is still hard that she is gone.

In the midst of all of this, we are trying to get through day by day, and I am trying to remember all of the exciting things that are happening in our lives right now.

  • I'm teaching a Beginner DSLR photography class through our local college
  • My mom and I started taking a pottery course.
  • Mike is organizing a local ball hockey group
  • We flew out to Manitoba to celebrate my Oma's 90th birthday and had a wonderful time there.
  • We have each other, and our family and friends.
  • Little Artemisia, the kitten we rescued last May, is a constant reason to smile.

January was a month filled with such heartbreak as well as so many happy things, that I feel as if my emotions are just worn out from all the up and down. I will try to post more things soon, but for a while it might be more photos and less words for a while.

I hope all of you are having an amazing 2014 and have wonderful things happening in your lives.

Cheers,

Ashley

 

 

A December break

It's hard to believe that December starts on Sunday. It feels as though this year has gone by so fast, but also that it has been so full of many wonderful things.

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It's hard to even begin putting down all the wonderful times I've had this year, the places I've visited, people I've met, old friends I've caught up with... I know that I am blessed.

Recently though, I have not been focusing on those blessings and remembering them as they are. I have found that instead, I've been counting what I don't have, rather than what I do. And that is not how I want to live my life.

So I'm stepping back and taking a break.

This December I'm going to take a break from social media, from Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, and all of those things that make it so easy to compare your life with the lives of others.  I'm going to instead focus on some of my favourite holidays - Advent and Christmas - and fully enjoy the joyful buzz of the season.  

And so, this might be a bit early, but I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season, whatever holiday it is that you are celebrating, and I will see you again in the new year!

Merry Christmas!

(PS. I will still be checking my email, so you can contact me that way if the fancy strikes you.)

Fall Colours - Terri

Fall in the north has already slipped away. Our trees are now bare and the threat of snow hangs heavy in the air.

I'm happy I got to capture some of that fall spirit with a friend of mine, Terri, before it all disappeared. Terri was so gracious in letting me dress her up with a crown made of rowan berries and a snuggly warm Hudson's Bay Company blanket I found at my parent's house.   

There is something about the way Terri wore that berry crown that reminds me of Frida Kahlo. 

It was such a fun little shoot, thanks for helping me out Terri! And also thanks to my husband Mike, who held bags and crowns, and helped Terri not trip over the blanket as we walked through the forest.

Recently I decided it was high time to pull out a pack of Polaroid IDUV film that I've been saving. I'm glad I took a couple photos with it, the colours worked really well with the HBC blanket.

Rome - One year Later

One year ago, Mike and I were in Rome.

It's hard to believe that I am still finding pictures to share, but every time I think I've shared them all with you, I find a few more. 

Going to Rome, was such a wonderful experience, one that I hope to repeat many times more in the future. I miss the warmth of stone benches around fountains, the cats that weave in and out of spaces, the cobblestone streets beneath my feet, the friendly people everywhere we went, and well, of course the food.

So, here's to Roma, the eternal city, may she ever remain and continue to draw us in with her beauty. 

All of my images from Rome are on my Flickr page, in the set 'Rome 2012' if you want to see them all together. 

Summer Cocktail - St. Germain and Prosecco Fizz

It's well past summer here, but today I'm reliving it a bit with the last installment of my adventure in cocktail making. This is the St. Germain and Prosecco Fizz.  

The local liquor store in town had small 7 oz. bottles of St. Germain for sale one day, and I splurged and picked up a few. I've heard so many great things about St. Germain, the elder flower liqueur from Europe, but I couldn't justify spending $60 on a regular size bottle. This would give me a chance to try it out, find out if I liked it, and perhaps if I would ever want to spend the big bucks for a larger quantity. 

After I got home, I want on an internet search for what to make with it. I wanted something that would use the small amount I had efficiently. I ended up settling on a recipe from Food52 - The St. Germain and Prosecco Fizz

It was a big hit! I'm so glad I had the opportunity to try this specialty liqueur.

St. Germain and Prosecco Fizz

Ingredients: 

  • 1 part St. Germain liquer
  • 1 part Prosecco
  • 1 part club soda
  • 5 mint leaves (muddled)
  • 1 part fresh lime juice

In a glass, muddle the mint leaves. (I had to look this up, it means pressing and slightly grinding on the leaves with a spoor or with a pestle.) After the leaves are muddled, pour the liqueur, prosecco, club soda and lime juice in. Add ice ans stir slightly. Garnish with a lime wedge if desired.

Kaidy - Besotted Workshop Session

It was wonderful to be able to take photos of Kaidy at the Besotted Vintage Workshop in August. She and I were both a little nervous. It was her first time modelling for something like this, and it was my first time shooting people in portrait type situations. I think the two of us made some beautiful images.

I loved the details of this shoot, the flower crown and bouquet were made of dried flowers, which is a fantastic idea for a different and beautiful look. 

Nick and Lauren - Besotted Workshop

Nick and Lauren are an adorable couple who were so gracious to allow us to photograph them as part of the Besotted Vintage Workshop in August.  It was wonderful to get to take photos of them and especially in such an amazing set up! This lace tent was amazing and I kind of wanted to just lay there myself and watch the light and shadows play in the canopy.

I learned a lot of things taking photos of these two. I learned I need to be more confident in giving people direction for posing. Initially I didn't want to give to much direction as I wanted to try and capture things as naturally as possible. However it would seem that what looks natural in the end image sometimes need some unnatural direction behind the camera.  I also learned that I need to work on keeping people in focus. I was disappointed with how many of my photos were out of focus. I guess that is a skill that just needs more work, or perhaps I just need to slow down. I was pretty nervous so I might have rushed a bit rather than just take a breath.  

Despite this though, I had a really great time and am pretty pleased with some of my images. 

The last image is one of my favourites.  I took some photos with my film cameras too, but I will share those in a different post. 

Till then! 

Besotted Vintage Workshop - Head Table

This beautiful head table that was styled by Besotted Vintage was just amazingly lovely in person! The centerpiece is a beautiful combination of live flowers and greenery, silk flowers and deer antlers. Larissa, the owner of Besotted Vintage, said that the key to mixing live flowers and silk flowers is to use real leaves or greenery in amongst a few large silk flowers. I think it works beautifully!

 (Also, something I learned, when trying to style a table with champagne glasses, don't shell out for real champagne to fill them. Use ginger ale or an alcohol-free type of bubbly drink. Much easier on the wallet.)