Rain Thoughts

We had rain and thunderstorms most of the day today. In fact by 8:00 pm when it finally stopped we had accumulated 2 inches, which is a fair bit for our area. I was mildly annoyed when I woke from a nap at 5:00 pm and found it starting to rain. I needed to take my dog for a walk. She’s not got much for fur, so walking in the rain is really not her favourite thing. So I sat back down on the couch and looked at my phone for a bit in annoyance. After a few minutes I got up and went around opening almost all the windows in the house, hoping the cooler air from the rain would cool the house off, and then I made popcorn because if nothing else I could have something to eat while I waited for the rain to stop.

Then I sat on the couch again, right beside a window. I finally looked out the window for more than half a second. I really looked. I watched the raindrops pound down into the puddles on the deck, bounce off the car in the driveway, and form little rivers down the edge of our street. And I started to notice things. The first thing was that the rain was actually coming straight down. There was no wind, it wasn’t being blown against the house. I noticed that I couldn’t hear any birds chirping, everyone had hunkered down for the storm somewhere. And I noticed the sound of the rain, the hard drumming of the heavy rain on the roof and the deck and the trees next to the house. And how the waves of sound changed as the intensity of the rain changed. And of course I noticed the thunder (though I didn’t want to mention that since I’m likely to get flack for having all my windows open during a thunderstorm), it's deep rumble, a few times so close that you could feel it, like sitting in a teenagers truck with a subwoofer under the seat, except way better.

It was lovely to sit and just watch and listen to it.

So, Radar and I sat on the couch eating popcorn and listening to the rain. I’m pretty sure she liked the rain too, not just the popcorn. I finally relaxed a bit and gave up trying to make a plan around nature.

Eventually I wandered back into the kitchen with an empty popcorn bowl. As I set it down on the counter I glanced out the window and noticed water just pouring over the side of the eavestrough.


That only means one thing: It’s clogged. So I ran and changed into shorts, grabbed a hat and threw on my “water-resistant” coat (Ahem, water resistant is not waterproof, Briana. Surprisingly enough, water resistant is not all that helpful in a downpour), and my Vibram Fivefingers.

And then I did what I end up doing every summer during heaviest rain of the first downpour of the season… I crawled out the upstairs window onto the roof, and walked across the house to unclog the downspouts. Since I’ve already admitted to having my windows open during a thunderstorm I may as well admit that I was also home alone while doing this, so no one knew I was up there.

After clearing the jam from the one on the back of the house I walked across to check the one at the front, jammed as well. So I cleared that one too.On my walk back to the window, I noticed that the eavestrough that goes across the front of the garage was overflowing too.

I actually legitimately stopped and thought about this one for a few seconds. It goes around the front of the garage on a sort of false roof line. A section of roof that divides the first and second levels of the house above the garage.

This false roof is about a 16-18 inches wide. It’s 10-12 feet off the ground. It’s pouring rain. No one knows I’m on the roof. No one else is even home. I’m soaked.

So obviously, I walked out onto the narrow edge.

I kept as close to the wall of the house as I could. I carefully went around the corner, basically hugging it, and then made my way gingerly across the front of the house to the far corner. I had my hands on the wall the whole time. Gripping the window frames or the corners of the house when I came to them (because hanging onto an inch wide piece of slippery plastic window frame is obviously going to save me from falling 12 feet to the concrete driveway if I lose my footing). When I got to the corner of the house I hung onto the edge piece (how very secure and safe of you, Briana) of the siding and knelt down on the false roof, leaning to clear the clogged downspout. Once it was cleared I stood back up very carefully, and then retraced my precarious path back to the main roof, and back inside through the window.

After all the roof stuff I ran around the backyard connecting the overflowing main rainwater tank to the secondary tank, hoping to drain a bit off and get the second tank filled up. Every time I stepped on one of the round paving stones that make a trail across the backyard, I stepped into an inch deep puddle of water.

The best part is, besides the eavestroughs being cleared, that after the rain finally stopped, there was amazing raindrops on everything so I got to take plenty of lovely macro photos of raindrops on plants!

The Un-Professional Photographers Approach to Harvest Moon photos

The afternoon before the Harvest Moon, discuss the photographic opportunity with other photographers. Determine exactly when moonrise will be (7:28 pm here) and what path it will take over your area (seemingly across the centre of town along Highway 12). Analyze all the different possible locations you could go to figure out which one will be best.

When you get home from work, eat, then fall sleep on the couch until 7:07.


Rush around, slap a long lens on and a stuff a memory card in your camera, rush out the door with your dog. Drive to a brand new location you had not previously considered or analyzed.

Realize you have no appropriate tripod. Luckily, find a point & shoot gorillapod in the backseat. Attach the not strong enough gorillapod. Look around for a minute, realize you’re going to have to get on top of the car. Climb out the window. Position camera with the lens propped on the lens cap on top Subaru’s handy roof rack bars, obviously designed for unorganized moon photographers.

Start to shiver while you wait. And wait. And wait, because you’re there 20 minutes before the moon is even set to start rising, and you're parked below a high ridge, which means you won’t actually see the moon when it first starts to come up anyway. Scramble back through the window and find a forgotten jacket, thank the universe for the person who forgot their jacket in your car. Curse yourself for wearing giant boots that you had to remove before climbing on top of the car.

Climb back onto the top of the car. Sit. Wait. Take a few test shots. Text your brother with questions about when the moon is supposed to rise and if it's supposed to be North East or South East. Glance up and realize the moon is already a couple of inches over the ridge now, way off to the North East. Not anywhere near the building and trees you wanted it to be behind. Scramble to get the camera and yourself back in the car, rush down the road 100 metres until it looks like the moon is coming up right in the spot you want it. Move the car 10 feet forward for good measure. Climb back up on top of the car.

The moon is not quite where you want it, shouldn’t have moved those last 10 feet.

Compose and start shooting anyway, work with what you got. Guessing at appropriate settings. Take lots of shots.

Once the moon is getting high, with just tiny bits of it behind the trees, google “shutter speed for moon photos”. Find out 1 second is WAAAAAAYYYY too long.


Knock it back to 1/50th, shoot some more. Once the moon is fully past the treetops do a couple handheld attempts and climb back inside the car, trying not to slam your frozen sock covered toes off anything.

Go home.

Dump photos.

Write a blog post about how embarrassingly unprepared you were for the adventure.

Lessons learned:

  • 1 second is way too long.
  • Scout your locations on nights before the full moon.
  • Google things you don’t know before you start shooting.

So here's the few shots that came out sort of interesting... 



Bentley - possibly the cutest little town in Central Alberta

So now that I work in Lacombe, and its getting warm-ish (currently hailing), that I should start riding my bike to work. My bike has been sitting for awhile, so I figured it needed a tuneup. This morning, my sister and I headed out to Bentley, so I could take my bike to Bentley Cycle. 

We stopped at The Cross-Eyed Giraffe for a fantastic breakfast of homemade cinnamon buns, pan scramble and coffee. It was super yummy!


After breakfast we stopped by Past Connections Emporium, an antique shop. I wasn't allowed to take photos inside which was unfortunate. They have a beautiful collection. 

Then we headed across the street to Queen Bea Clothing Marketplace (also on Instagram), an adorable little clothing shop. Sheila, the owner was super friendly. She has fantastic assortment of unique clothes, including a wide selection of natural eco-friendly fibres. She also has a great selection of accessories like purses, scarves, and really unique jewelry. I bought a pair of bamboo leggings for $27. I'm excited to see how comfy they are, bonus that they're bamboo. It was such a cute shop, I'll definitely be returning!

After Queen Bea's I dropped my bike off at Bentley Cycle, a super friendly family business, with a great selection of bikes. I'm hoping to take my mom back and convince her to buy a bike when I pick mine up next week.

After dropping the bike off we drove around some of the back streets of Bentley, checking out all the adorable little houses. There is so many small, cute houses in Bentley. I'm thinking I might like to live there someday when I can buy a house, such a cute little down. Bently is definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. 
On our way home we stopped by to check out Sandy Point, on the west side of Gull Lake. It looks like a pretty nice beach so we'll definitely head out there again when it warms up.

Central Alberta has got some great little communities and small businesses, hopefully I can check out a few more this summer. 


366 Reflections & December Photos

When I first started this challenge last year my purpose was to figure out what I wanted to do with photography. I don’t know if I figured out what I wanted to do with photography. But I did learn plenty. Some of the key highlights that have come to mind recently are: 

  • I don’t love editing. I’m doing more work in camera so I can spend less time in post-production.
  • The more work I do in camera, the happier I am with my shots.
    • Manual: I’ve been shooting in full manual for something like 3-4 years now. I think this has been a huge contributor to my satisfaction with my photos. 
  • I don’t love shooting portraiture. I like to have a human element in my landscapes, but I do not like posing groups, or individuals in formal portrait type settings (EXCEPT: Yoga photography, I will always love doing yoga or dance portraits). I do like environmental portraiture.
  • Flash photography is not as difficult or scary as I originally thought. 
  • I do like landscape photography. 
  • New gear does not make you a better photographer. I have not, and probably will not ever truly outgrow the gear I have.
  • There is ALWAYS something new to learn.
  • There is ALWAYS something beautiful or interesting in your immediate surroundings.
  • There is ALWAYS another perspective from which to shoot an item. 
  • Hanging your work up at a local event, in an art display is incredibly gratifying and sort of makes you feel real.
  • Look over your work occasionally. Collect your favourite shots in an album. Try to think of keywords for themes you see in your favourite work. Try to keep those in mind when you go out to shoot. 
  • Personal projects or bodies of work are fun. They don’t ever have to see the light of day, but they are motivating. My projects this year were a timelapse of City Hall Park in Red Deer, and my ongoing collection of before/after development photos of my home town.
  • No amount of book reading, research, or youtube tutorials, can replace or make-up for time spent shooting. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE.
  • Like I’ve learned in yoga and meditation, this is my practice. There is no comparing myself to others, because their practice is not mine. 
  • There is no value in judging or criticizing someone else’s work. Offering constructive ideas and suggestions can be ok, if the person is interested in hearing it. 
  • Printing your own work is great, too a point. There’s only so much wall space in your house. I started with printing some small stuff, 4x6. I have these hung on wires with tiny clothespins so I can change them out. I’ve only done larger prints of shots I really love. It is great to see and hold your work, but storing 12 large canvases when you only have wall space for 2-3 is pointless. 

In December 2016 I took 724 photos, and posted 65 to Flickr.

Here is the December shots. I'll do another post soon, maybe next week, of all the 2016 photos I've posted. Enjoy December for now!


Nothin' lasts forever, even cold November Rain

Such a great song. And also fairly appropriate, as this challenge is technically ending in a few short weeks.

And it has been a fairly dramatic year of photography, atleast on my end. There's been lots of love/hate moments. I don't think I "need some time all alone" away from photography. But who knows how I'll feel on January 1st. 

All the depressing ending, uncertainty aside, here's the photo roundup for November.

Oh also, you may have already known this, but Guns n Roses is coming to Alberta next summer. I'm sure its going to be an amazing show. I few people I know are going.

In November I took 854 photos. That may turn out to be my smallest number per month for the year, we'll see how December goes. Previously my low number was August, with 857.

I posted 79 to social media or Flickr.


October Photo Harvest

In October I shot 1270 photos.
I posted 156 to Flickr or Instagram.

Thoughts for the month:

  1. This year is very quickly coming to a close.
  2. I remember thinking that 366 seemed to far off. I remember the 60th day being a milestone for me, then 80, then 100. And now theres less than 60 left in the entire year.
  3. I want to continue this in the new year. Its become a habit now, and I feel an important part of my daily life. Somewhat like a gratitude journal, this forces me to look for beauty every day.

Enjoy the photos, thanks for looking!


September has ended, WAKE UP!

In September I took 1612 photos.
I posted 109 photos to social media. 
I printed and showed some photos in the Lacombe in Pictures photography show at the Lacombe Harvest Festival. That was weird, and cool, and exciting. I got to meet the local photographer who organizes the show, and he had some great feedback and advice and ideas for both my sister and myself. I'm hoping to help the organizer promote the hell out of it next year and get more people to participate.

I went camping twice.

I went bridesmaid dress shopping with my best friend and the other bridesmaids. 

It was a pretty good month.

Cheers to September, lets hope October turns out alright too. Enjoy the gallery!