So that was July!

So looking over July, not much happened. We had crazy weather, with some very hot days and some quite cold nights (for July, that is) and here and there some pretty strong rain!


In some ways, I think I lead a very boring life. Not much happens and I don’t do much, but then again, I do find that little things happen that in some ways are funny to me when I look back on them a few days later. For instance, remember I was talking in my last blog post (or was it the one before that??) of my clothes line that broke. Anyways, my clothes line broke so I had to buy a new one and new pins… but it doesn’t just jump up and install itself; it has to be installed. Now if you knew me well, you’d know that I really don’t like to ask for help… if some comes along with help, I’ll probably take it but otherwise I’ll try to do it on my own. So here I go… hmmm… there is no way I’m going to get the cord on the wheel at the post at the back of the yard because I’m too short… and basically, I think it’s too high for just about everyone but now that means I need to get up on a step ladder. Oh, hurrah! … a step ladder, and a lone rusty post.. what fun! okay… so I lean it on the post and try to stabilize it as good as I can… still too high.. argh.. have to go up higher; this is not making me happy.  Okay, step higher now grab onto the clothes line, then the post and give it a good strong hug. Oh, hello mister post! Be nice.. I’m hugging you because I’m scared of falling over while putting this line up… so the post is nice and allows me to do that… so now I have to pull the line towards the post at the house… it’s on the patio and this is going to be easier. Phew.

Now the next thing is the line is way too long.. and I have a thingee that lets me wrap the wire in it and it should tighten it all but still I have something like 50-75 feet of wire left over. It’s really not pretty so I cut it. “Cut it”  sounds like I went ‘click’ and that was done.. but no.. it was not click.. it was ‘blick, clip, click, clap, mish, mash over and over for at least 20 minutes. Yes, to cut one measly cord. Let’s just say I’m not the strongest person to be doing this. But, I do get it done.  Now I put it in the thingee (which I don’t know the name of) and start winding it except that now it’s full of the wire and although it holds it without spinning out, I have done it wrong and I have a very loose and wobbly clothes line.. I swear, I’m like an episode of Mr. Bean putting up a clothes line. It’s probably very funny to everyone buy me. I sit down and look at it and feel quite discouraged. Should I cry? Will that help? Will it magically straighten out? heh… nope.. but I’m tired and I’m taking a break. I did get very lucky though as my son appears and says.. what the heck? And my only response is pretty much.. “WELL!! :-P ha.. so he’s like “I’ll fix it for you mom” … and I’m like.. do you want me to help.. He says, and why would I need your help? … so I respond sheepishly, because it’s probably going to be much easier with 2 people whereas he looks at me and says “So that’s why you were doing it alone? “  I’m adorable aren’t I? LOL

Besides the strong rains we’ve had, we’ve also had some pretty strong winds. Sometimes I go out in the evening and try to capture any birds that may be hanging around. This one evening there didn’t seem to be a bird in sight anywhere but there was a lot of wind. So much so that the hammock in the neighbor’s yard would fill up with air and look like a boat instead of a deflated sack… it actually looked pretty cool.

row row row your boat

I oftentimes go out for a walk in the evening and often close to when the sun sets. Usually I bring along a camera and the sun sets in a boring way. So I figure I’m going to leave the camera at home and I won’t drag around the weight and just have my walk and nothing to drag me down.  Not always, but often, I go up to where I went to school as a kid, then past the high school which is a music conservatory now and then do a big circle and come back down to my street and home. This takes me about 30 minutes. So, no camera, I leave. As I get to the top near my old school, I notice that the sky looks amazing. What you have to realize is that the school is high up and there is a road going  down from it that gives a fabulous view of a sunset. Of course, I have no camera. I grind my teeth a little and let it go.

Next couple of times, I bring my camera… it’s a no go, so I leave it at home again. This time I’m up by the school and I see a couple people leaving their yard with their cellphones and standing in the street. Of course, you guessed it, they are taking pictures of the sunset. This one is not only amazing, but even more extraordinary than that. There are rolling clouds all fired up.. and doing on forever. They are holding up their phones and taking pictures. Where is your camera, Maggie? Yep, it’s at home.  I guess I’ll bring it from now on I won’t have to tell a sunset story like men who tell of the fish that got away! … yeah, you know what I’m talking about! :-D

I have taken a few sunsets from my backyard though and although nothing like the ones I missed, still pretty… and yes, I cloned out the electric lines!

Sunset July 23sunset july 24

Also, this July I decided to take my bike out again. It’s been a couple of years and the reasons why are not important but let’s just say it’s been awhile. Long enough in fact that not only did the tires need air added, but partially done by pumping by hand before bringing the bike to the gas station to get them filled up. So I get ready to leave and ohhh…. I can’t brake with my back tire. My hand brake will not budge. The left one which regulates the front brake is working very well but not the back brake. I look online because again, I know nothing. Now there are many, many tutorials on fixing your bike but holy cow, I cannot find anything that looks like my bike. This is crazy. I don’t know what to do. I talk to Janne about it and he assures me it is probably an easy fix, that the wire must have rust on it and that needs to be taken care of. Okay, I can do that. So I bring out the CLR and use that. It does nothing . Next time I speak to him I explain what I did and he’s like… oh.. no…. no,no, no, no… that is no good and does not lubricate.. go out and water that right now and dry it off before it makes things worse. Oh, no… that was completely wrong. He now says you need WD-40. Okay, so now I buy that and now what? I’m so ignorant on so many counts and sometimes feel like Maggie needs an Idiot’s Guide for Dummies to Life. Apparently just spraying some of this on doesn’t quite do the trick. Now he tells me that you need to pull so that the inside of the wire is exposed and then spray there and spray in the clutchy parts too… and add enough and shake it so it goes into the line etc., and then leave it for a couple of hours to do it’s thing. O. M. G. it worked.. yes, the back brake now works. Now to get back on!!

So I decide the next morning I’m going to take a ride. It’s been quite a while but they say about everything that you should remember doing “It’s like riding a bike, you never forget”. Well, I didn’t forget, but I was a little wobbly. I have lost some of my balance and was not great at it.  I need to go out a few times to get used to it is all but I would like to be able to go to the duck pond and by bike would be SO MUCH FASTER!  Anyways, my excursion was not great.. I was a little slow and when there was quite a bit of traffic, I would just get off and walk the bike along. I think that you are all thinking, “Wow, Maggie, you are such a loser Wuss! “.  I swear I will get it. I did get home in almost one piece because at the last moment, I got home and from the road onto the grass when I plonked down and keeled over on my left side with the bike landing on top of me. I’m fine.. a few scratches and a bit of a limp for one day. I just need to build my nerves back up and push myself again. I’ll be fine., you’ll see and I’m not as big a wuss as you all are thinking right now. :-P

I think I should blog more often and perhaps not write so much, but that’s too late now as I haven’t blogged and now I have tons of very ‘unimportant’ things to say. LOL.

One such unimportant thing is that most fruit that I’ve bought this year has been pretty lame. Full of water, tasting like water and not much else. Now I have water in my tap and it’s much cheaper. I do have to say though that cherries this year have been incredibly tasty and sweet yet tangy and a great price. And of course, when I have not much else, I will take pics of whatever is in my fridge at the moment, so you know I’m going to have some photos of cherries!

6  cherries

 and of course, some more.. they are yummy, believe me!

cupful of cherries

I checked in my backyard today and my raspberries are just starting to be ripe enough to eat. A few more days. Of course, you will probably see some photos of them but not quite yet.. they are coming though.. and if good, perhaps I’ll make a raspberry pie.. oh yum!

As most years, at the end of July, Beauce Carnival comes to town. It’s a fair with rides and games and I don’t know when they started coming here but they did when I was a kid and they come every year. When you don’t have a lot of money to throw around, bringing a camera to the fair to take photos is very cheap because you only pay if you ride or play, and I don’t intend on doing either. In previous years I usually end up with one or two shots that I really like and that’s all that is important. I do have one image that I might like to recreate somehow as it was taken a few years ago, but I do not have the original any more and would like a big version.

Okay, well believe it or not, while searching to show you the image, I have actually found I do have it in the original large format… oh, well… here to show you a version:

carnival zoom blur

Pretty cool, right? It’s not a hard shot to do, all you have to do is be very still (perhaps a tripod – but I just braced myself) and zoom in or out while taking the shot. If you are well placed you will get a great shot, but of course it’s got to be late enough for the lights to show up!  Well, although when I got to the carnival it was warm and the sun was shining strongly, the wind was kicking up and I was getting cold and I left before it was dark enough for a shot like this to be taken.  The ground space was so much different this year and larger than before and so freaking noisy. I was getting a bit bored and although I have some typical fair photos, the only one I really like is this of a young girl that was in a plastic balloon and rolling around on water. I don’t have a shot like this and I really like it.

splish splash

I know it may not be obvious here, but she was having a fabulous time and when it was time to get out of the balloon, it was not an easy task as you have to somehow manoeuver it and it’s not easy. She had lots of fun and it was fun for me to watch… the best part of the hours I spent there.

As always, I really appreciate comments as it tells me someone has actually read all this, or at least skimmed through it quickly!


Sweet Dreams are Made of These

Well, a little over a week has gone by and what has Maggie been up to, you ask? Of course, taking photos, being lazy, contemplating her navel, being lazy, taking a few more photos and so on and so forth; but you are here, so why not stay and take a look?

To start with, I’ll address the title of this blog: “Sweet Dreams are Made of These”.  I took some dandelion fluff photos (don’t know what they are officially called) but when I put it up on FAA, I got a comment from Michel that it reminded him of the Annie Lennox song and then another comment by Rene where she said it reminded her of the same thing. Now I can’t help myself and when I look at it, I hear Annie singing that song so I had to name the blog after that, because… who am I to disagree! :-D   Here is the image in question:

Sweet Dreams

I also did another dandelion fluff image that reminded me that apparently kids blow on dandelion fluff and make wishes.. and being a big kid at heart, I wished everyone could just close their eyes, and make a wish and I hoped all your dreams would come true. We could all use some good happening to us!

Close your eyes and make a wish

Besides the dandelion fluff images, I did take other photos albeit they didn’t make the cut for being sold but I think they are interesting in other ways.

Every year when my lilacs blossom, I get yell0w swallowtail butterflies and clearwing hummingbird moths circling it, sucking and nibbling away as if the best dessert were offered. This year was not different except it was. Usually the butterflies and moths are much bigger and so into the yummy treat that they completely ignore me and slowly chomp away. Not this year though. The swallowtail wingspans are normally about 4 inches wide, so quite bigger than regular butterflies. This year… only 2 inches or a little more perhaps?

yellow swallowtail butterfly

Some of them like the one above were in good condition, but some look like they just came back from war and needed hospitalization. I don’t know if they had been in a fight or just had extreme  trouble getting out of their chrysalis. Also the hummingbird moths were tiny and lacked vibrancy.  Looks how sad this looks:

humming bird mothHere it is not even feeding, just resting and warming up its wings

Look at a photo of a hummingbird moth from a previous year:

hummingbird moth


Besides being more vibrant and beautiful, this year both the moths and the butterflies were extremely jittery.  Maybe it was because although the sun was shining, the wind was cold and it was chilly. Believe me.. I think I was a little jittery too.

On Monday, there was an inauguration of a park that would be on main street downtown which has several places to sit down and have a coffee or a snack. The park would be called ‘Parc Albert Dumais’, named after the man that left the space in his will to the town and wished it would be turned into a park. How cool is that? I decided I’d pack up my camera and a couple lenses and go. I hoped to get there early to get a good spot but on the way met Susan, whom I had not seen since the end of last summer. We had a bit of a chat; she told me she was leaving for England on Tuesday as her daughter was going to Oxford! Holy Moly… She had just been in Jordan helping out at a Syrian Refugee camp trying to help get them passage way to Canada. Now in Oxford.. way to go girl! :-)   I got to the inauguration on time, but later than I hoped and was behind a lot of people. Of course, it started off with members of the town council:  the mayor, minister of culture etc., giving their prerequisite speeches: yada, yada, yada.. applause, applause, more yada, yada, and more applause. Finally the entertainment: Abidixie.  I was expecting some sort of Blues Band.. but as you can see in their name: Dixie.. it was a bit more dixieland but it was fine. It is probably not something I would buy to listen to, but they were good musicians and it was a nice time.


There was also a guitar player that is not in the photo but I didn’t bring a wide lens and would have to move backwards and behind the crowd so wouldn’t have been able to get a picture anyways.  I am also embarrassed to say that something unusual happened to me because of how I normally shoot.  I shoot manual. Never Aperture priority or the P or TV or whatever they are called. I learned how to use manual when I had a point and shoot and have always shot that way. My son used the camera on the weekend to shoot a girl, her boyfriend and her parents for her high-school graduation. The weather (as has been the norm this year) was all over the place; sunny, cloudy, raining, cold, warm.. argh.. so he put the camera to A: aperture priority. Ha… well, Maggie.. couldn’t get it out of that mode. Seriously. I didn’t know how.. How could it be that I have used a camera almost every day for the last 14 years and didn’t know this… I am really not used to letting the camera decide what it thinks I should do and  wanted to crawl into a ball to have to feel like I was not going to get any shots. It was very sunny out, there was tons of contrast and the wind was cold and here I was pretending to know what the freak I was doing.. .but didn’t.  A friend finally helped me out, but I kept thinking inside: God.. he’s going to think I’m such an idiot!

While I was there, I met Anni Leblanc who is a commercial photog from this area. I met her when I joined an art group exhibition a few years ago. Apparently she’s not doing her photography right now as there was water damage and mold and then she got ill and has finally just recovered. She told me she also had signed up to got to school in Laval every second weekend or so to take some photography/psychology courses.  I had never heard of this before but I wish her much luck. One thing I wish I had like her: the ability to sell herself. Man.. she knows how to work it. She has that instinct and the confidence. I could use an extra dose! :-D

I did take a few images, but mostly just of the people at the event.  Here this little girl is offering up a chip to the older lady. Maybe she’s her grandma or something but then maybe not. It was so sweet! Want a Chip?

There was also these two little boys with probably their dad. They had seen something higher up.. it’s a bird, it’s  a plane.. I don’t know… maybe it’s superman! :-D

Look Up

The event was almost over when I noticed this guy that I recognized. Yes, a guy that I have befriended on Facebook but that I used to go to school with. He was moving in front of the crowd to get better photos. Yes, like me, he brings his camera around with him all over the place. Although we went to school together, we really didn’t talk. I think we were both too shy but on Facebook we’ve become friends because we share the same passion. He does mainly landscapes and as most of you know, I do mostly still-life but also like me, can’t help from taking pictures of everything else! :-D LOL.

I’m really not an extrovert type of person but I took my courage in both hands and blind-sided him and said hello! I think he was quite surprised to see me. It was pretty noisy at the event, but we sat down and had a bit of a chat. Some lady came and asked him for a book of his photos and he left for a short time to get one. He lives very close-by (so close you could practically spit to clean his windows!) and later he got me a copy to show me too. Gorgeous photos.. holy cow. I don’t do landscape but I know good when I see it and his stuff is really good.  He had to leave but gave me the book as a gift. How kind, right?  I live close to the woods so one day we’ll go and shoot together. That would be great. I was so pleased to meet him. Great Guy!

The next day there was a lot of chirping going on in my backyard. I went out to see and found that there was many juvenile birds that were learning how to fly around. They were pretty big for juveniles but some birds are like that. I wasn’t really sure if they were grackles or starlings but the net says probably starlings. If you know better, please let me know and I’ll correct it here!  It was again, kind of cold but sunny and very windy so I found them both cute and hilarious at the same time. Loos at the one to the left.. trying to keep his balance… and how funny the one to the right is with his feathers all lifted up like that.. haha!

Windy out there

then a quick pic of some columbines


then back to the birdies

Ruffled FeathersWould you look at those feathers? so cute!

then of course, I’m distracted by tall grass with lupine behind. Yes, the lupines are pretty but I like them as a backdrop in here!

tall grass

And then again, back to the birds… yes, yes.. don’t call me a bird brain, please! :-d

Pick that nose

Here I’m not sure if he’s scratching his head or picking his nose.. I’ll say he’s picking his nose.. that’s way funnier! :-D

Besides hanging around on the telephone and cable wires, they also sought food in the grass but when a plane passed overhead, they head for the trees!


Then yesterday, I went out and picked some Irises from the front yard. I brought a bunch to my neighbor Lyne and today I took some pics of mine to share with you all.  They are not the same Irises that are on the Quebec flag but Siberian Irises but they usually bloom on St-Jean, which is my province’s holiday on the 24th of June so I consider them like ‘my’ St-Jean Irises. This year they are a few days late… but as I repeatedly said several times in this blog post.. the weather has been weird!

Siberian Iris

Although they look like they are only one color, they actually are hiding an array of yellow and white lower down


They will not last very long.. a few days at most but I think they are beautiful. I’m easily pleased.

Most of these images are simply shared via my blog for those that like to know how my mind works and what I take photos of. The only images that I uploaded to FAA are the dandelions as I thought they were good enough. the other are just photos that I need to take.. even though they will never go far. Some of the photos are bigger than what are shown here but if you click on them, you will be able to see them a bit bigger.

As always, I adore it when people come by and even so much more when they take the time to leave a comment. Hey, so and so came and read this.. and then I think perhaps if you didn’t write a novella every time you blog, maybe more would come.. maybe more would comment!

Now off to watch some Masterchef Australia that I downloaded. So much better than the Canadian, American, British etc., Masterchefs… the Australian one has SO much heart! nothing can compare!




Chiana and My Photoshoot

The weather has been all over the place lately with the sun poking out its head and then rain on and off, several times a day. I decided that I would pick some flowers before they became all rusty from the rain and do a shoot. A couple of days before I brought in some forget-me-nots that I noticed were blooming when I went out to put some clothes on the clothes line in the back yard. On a side note; it was just a load of towels and the first time I’d put clothes out this year because of the weather. Well, to start off, all my plastic clothes pins just snapped in two. I had left them out during the winter, and believe me, they were no longer good for holding anything. I did however have some wooden ones and since I didn’t have that many pieces decided that  I probably had enough. So I began to pin them up when what happens? The clothes line breaks! yes… my towels on the ground in the grass and now I have to bring them all in, all wet and heavy and put them in the dryer. Now I need to buy not only new pins but a whole new line! Yes, the life of a photog is very glamorous as you can see! :-D

Back to my photo shoot. :-D

So anyways, I decide to see what’s blooming that I can use. There are some Lupins that look fine. They are not bright blue like the Texas Bluebonnets variety, but they are a mixture of a subdued pink and some darker, murkier blues but I think I will be able to do something with them. Oddly enough, these flowers grow in my yard but I have never planted them. They grow wild in the woods and I think I may have somehow dragged some seeds on my pants while out wandering around doing what I love to do… taking photos. I also find that I have some irises that have bloomed, not many but that’s okay and my lilacs are just starting to bloom so I should just grab a bunch of those too. They are not completely open, but we are expecting rain on and off so figure that some is better than none.  I rummage through my containers to choose items I could use for this shoot. I actually like to use small teacups and stuff the most but these are all quite big, so out come the teapots and yes, a large vase. The vase is out of crystal and not something I would ever buy myself as it’s fancy and I prefer a more minimalist look but it’s from my dad and he brought it back from Europe and I have to say that when the light hits the cuts on it, the rainbow of colors that spills out is amazing.

choice of containers

Okay, I think I’m ready. Of course, Chiana, my cat, has noticed that I’m going to do a shoot and comes to investigate. What you all must understand is that she is never available for a shoot if I want to shoot her, but almost always available to stick her head or her butt in when she has not been called upon. Some of you may think that I’m a cat person and that is odd because I grew up with dogs and never thought I would ever have a cat but friends of my son had found a pregnant abandoned cat and brought her home to take care of her. Once she had her kittens, they were all given away, but nobody wanted Chiana as she was the runt. My son said, maybe you’d like a cat, mom. And I said, no, I don’t think so.. but he brought her home just to show me.. ahem… yes, then you put this tiny thing in your hand… she was so small and your heart just melts. I could not send her back.  I named her Chiana because of the name of a female alien in a sci-fi tv show called Farscape. She was all grey and silver and very catlike and I thought her name fit my new cat to a T. It’s been already 11 years since I got her, but look at how tiny she was with her eyes just bulging out of her head, could you have sent her back?

My Cat, Chiana

So back to the shoot. Once I placed the lupins on the table, I had not even chosen how to place them yet when she got upon the table  and decided to check out what was going on.

Cat notices I'm doing a shoot


Hey Maggie, are you doing a shoot? Perfect, time for me to see if you are doing things correctly!

Cat confirms I'm doing a photoshoot

Actually, do you know what? I think this looks like a very comfortable place to lay down! Let me test this out.

The Cat settles in


Oh, Chiana.. you are not serious are you?  I take a shot from the other end of the table.. yes, that is the vacuum cleaner you see… and behind that my computer area… oh, yes, if I knew beforehand,  the monitor would not be showing my spam folder. LOL

The Cat gets comfy

She is a beautiful cat though, you have to admit.  Look how much she’s grown!

the cat is pretty

I figure I’ll lure her away with some lilacs… they smell nice but cats can be finicky about such things… so we shall see.

cat smelling lilacs

Cat will not budge

They smell fine, Maggie. Continue with your shoot! :-D

Well, the morning shoot was not to be… Chiana stretched out and settled in for a snooze and I decided I’d try later in the day.

Preparing for her cat nap

Later that afternoon, I did do a shoot but I promise you, she was on the table but at the other end. I really didn’t get to do the shots that I thought I would.

So I did a couple shots of some forget-me-nots closer in:

polka dots in the morning

The old copper pot

Copper pot and an apple

then finally decided to do some shots closer up

Never forget our love



Forget me not

and a triptych of some irises

Triptych of Irises

I also did the featured image at the top with the forget-me-nots and the feather.

Some people may say that I should have just shoved the cat down but really, it was kind of funny. ;-)

Also, if some of you missed my last blog entry about my run in with a duck and what I thought was a beaver but turned out to be a muskrat!

A reminder:  To see the images a bit bigger, be sure to click on them and also, if you have never commented here before, the site puts your comment in a queue for me to check out before the post shows up but every time you comment after that, it will know that you are okay and it will not be held. I also love to hear your comments because I know that someone has stopped by to look at the photos and maybe even read what I write!

:-) Maggie


Here Comes the Sun

To quote the Beatles, Here Comes the Sun, it feels like years since it’s been here! :-D

Ha.. well, after literally weeks of daily rain, it appears we will have a few days of sunshine and I was really pleased to get out into the warm weather. I decided yesterday, that I would go out after 4 for a couple of hours to be back around 6-6:30 for supper, which seemed reasonable and I thought the sun would not be as direct than earlier in the day. When I got up in the morning, it was still fresh, so although I had a shirt on, I was wearing pants that were kind of thick (like fake suede) and thick socks, but I thought I’d be fine so didn’t change when I went out. I also only brought 2 lenses… because, well, they get heavy. So, since trees are just starting to flower, I brought a macro (which also being a 105mm ) can take slighter wider angle images and a telephoto .. well, just in case!

I went down to an area where there is usually a tiny stream.. since several years, it seems like it was just a trickle, but with all the rain we have had, there was plenty of water. Water is always so lovely in the woods as it brings lightness with it and reflection and just makes any image

If you look at the top of the image, you will notice a couple logs that are crossing the stream. As I was about to leave, I noticed some movement there but I was using the 105 and it was too far to see. So I switched lenses to the telephoto and had to up the ISO as it was darker up there where the sun was hidden by the trees.  Moving in closer, I was to have a bit of a surprise… there was a Mallard Duck! Holy Cow! How cool was this?

Mallard Duck

Actually, I was just telling Carol about this on Skype this evening and only when I was doing post did I realize there was another duck there. If you look directly right of the log, almost completely hidden is another mallard… a female! This was a surprise to me tonight because I did not even notice until just now.

Sadly I couldn’t get a composition that I really liked as this was taken from way up a small hill, looking down, and it was very steep. I was thinking that if I was with someone, I might have shimmied down and then I would have back-up to get back up! :-D But it was not to be and I tried going around to the other side, but there just was no way to get a better view … so I figured I’d come back the next day in the morning when the light was on the side that would illuminate it better and I’d at least have a less noisy image.

On the way into the woods, I noticed these nice yellow globe flowers someone had planted in their backyard so took a few photos of those. Nothing extraordinary but most photogs will understand not being able to pass anything by.


globe flower


I then entered the woods and parts of the trail were simply full of water and you had to walk on the very side and grab a branch or two along the way to not fall into those huge puddles.

I was starting to feel quite hot and sweaty and not great… really not great… like I should get to a bathroom soon, and not to pee. Yes, I ‘m sure you all understand what I’m saying. To make matters worse, the mosquitoes were relentless and I was getting pretty hot. To save weight, I had not brought any water, and having had only an orange for lunch, was thinking I should have brought some nuts or something to keep my blood sugar up… well, no.. of course not! heh.

So I decide that I will go home. There’s no way I’m going to defecate in the bush with swarms of mosquitoes watching close-by awaiting their chance and it was just not going to happen. I took a trail that leads out but into the back lane of a row of houses. At the end of the lane, I can see an elderly man cutting the grass behind his house. When he sees me approach, he stops me to ask how the mosquitoes are.. haha… I don’t want to be rude as my mother taught me to have good manners and be nice.. so I stop to chat. He says “Why don’t you have a big referee whistle around your neck? ” “Now, why would I do that?” and he goes on to tell me that he’s lived in his house for the last 40 years and in that time all the instances where bears, coyotes, wolves etc., have traveled through his back yard.  Now, remember, I need to go to the bathroom… but I can’t tell this stranger that.. but the sweat is starting to burst out of my forehead and I’m starting to get really worried. He seems oblivious.. oh, yes, one time he left something in the bbq and went somewhere with a friend and to be honest, this part of the story gets a little screwed up as my mind is preoccupied with what is going on in my body and that I really, really need to go. After this, I tell him that I’m really sorry but I need to be somewhere and must leave and reluctantly he lets me go.

It’s another 10 minutes before I get home and seriously, unlocking the door, I think I was starting to shake a bit. Open darn door… and finally it does, and I sprint to the bathroom without a second to spare.





So this morning, another beautiful day with warm weather, I decide I’m going to go back to the stream with the light in the right area of the sky and hope that the duck is still there (yes, I know now there is another duck.. I guess they were trying to have a bit of a love connection but I didn’t know about the other duck, right? ).  I don’t bring my bag, I only bring my telephoto as that’s what I’m after. It’s already hot out, but it’s not very far, I will be fine.

I get there and there is not a duck in sight.  Nothing, nada. Ugh. I’m disappointed but there is nothing to do, that’s how the cookie crumbles some times. I’m just about to leave when something starts crossing the top of the tree trunk. I pull up my camera and missed his face by a millisecond.



oh my gosh.. what is that? I think it might be a beaver, but I’m not sure.. I’ll have to check the photos at home. I’ve been able to take 3 photos in all before he disappears to the other side. Once home, I realize that it doesn’t have a beaver’s tail, it’s furry and internet search makes me believe it’s a muskrat! Of course, someone out there might know better and correct me and that’s fine as I’m not positive.

muskrat's tail

I try to enter the woods from the other side to see if I can see it better but I cannot see it. To be fair, he does blend into the landscape pretty well. Also, since it had rained for so long, the ground is not mushy, but certainly spongy and although not leaking water, it felt like walking on marshmallows. No matter, my trials and tribulations, no muskrat anywhere to be found and I went back to the same spot in the stream hoping the duck would reappear but he was not putting in an appearance either. I decide just to go home.. it’s hot.. and I have trees in my backyard, let’s see if I can find a bird or something.

Well, the birds were really quiet.. either further away or in hiding but I didn’t see any. At all. I did however see this small day moth. It’s a Mourning Cloak or so says the internet. I know I seem very ignorant but one of the fun things about finding a new animal or bug is finding out online what the heck it is. It’s not rare and lives just about everywhere. It’s prettiest with it’s wings open and with it’s wings closed, it pretty much resembles a dried leaf and could easily not be seen. At first I’m perhaps 15 feet away but I slowly move up closer… very intrepid.. I move silently and without brusque movements as I don’t want to spook it and have it fly away. I am shooting with the telephoto so can’t really get as close as with another lens anyways.
Mourning Cloak

And that was it. As I entered the house, I could hear a bunch of ducks that seemed to be in the gully below but my foot was in the door and it was hot; it will have to be for another day.

I hope you enjoyed my small adventure.. my life is quite boring so this is just about as exciting as it gets.. lol. If you stop by to read this, I’d love to hear that you’ve been here, so leave a little comment as it makes me so happy. Remember too, that the first time you post, the site doesn’t know you and waits for me to allow the comment, but once allowed, next time you come, it will remember and the comment will appear right away.

:-) Maggie

p.s. Clicking  on the images will make them bigger!

blog title for may 2017

I thought spring was finally here

As the title suggests, I thought spring was finally here. Yes, a little over a week ago, there was still a few feet of snow outside but then it rained and rained, then 22C and then more rain.. until it was all gone. Not only gone in my front yard which faces South, but also on the other side of the street which takes much longer to disappear as it is usually in the shade and takes a long time, but oh, my! the rain.. it made it all disappear and I was feeling exuberant and happy as winter seemed to be finally gone and spring finally here… oh, my.. again, what a fool I am. Of course, I should have known better. Of course it is not over!! What was I thinking?

On Friday, it rained and on Saturday, it rained again and then got cold .. and colder, and around 7pm the rain had turned to sleet and then through the night we had a snowstorm. Yes, you heard me right.. a freaking snow storm.  On Sunday, I looked out and waited for it to melt, hmm… but melt it did not, it just stuck there sneering at me.. looking me in the face and saying, nah, nah, nah, nah, naaaah!  So yes, it was back. I went out in the late afternoon, and the snow was filled with water and ice and was extremely heavy.  Then it snowed again… and Monday morning became a slip and slide situation. ha! It snowed again. Not as much, but still… s.n.o.w. … it is so necessary in December as Xmas wouldn’t feel the same without it and January, oh, my.. so beautiful.. I mean, it is cold, of course, but gosh, so pretty. February comes and some days it’s pretty, some days, you are almost screaming.. Go away already… I’m tired of shoveling. I could stand to see some greenery. March comes along and you start to feel hopeful and of course, April… it’s Easter and people are showing off their wonderful egg hunts and their spring flowers… I have some too, but I have bought them at the store.. everything is still covered and smothered in snow.  So you can understand that it’s May 9th, and we still have snow.  I’m disappointed but feel a little guilty about it because further South, in the Montreal region, there are plenty of places that are dealing with flood. So, snow is way better.  But Still!!!  okay, okay, they say that tomorrow will not be freezing, announcing 12C but I’ll not believe it before I see it.

Besides that, well, I’ve written a basics tutorial about Still Life Imagery and doing the setups etc., on shuttertactics ( yes, one of my websites that lay dormant for a while, but that I’m trying to revive). You know you want to read it.. and I’ve included a bunch of still life images that make it even more worthwhile.. check it out here:

Besides that, I’ve done more tulip photos that I will add here. In the featured images at the top, you can see an aster with a violin that I took with a small bouquet I bought at the store, but the flowers weren’t very exciting and truly didn’t last very long. At least it gave me an image to put at the top of the page.

Before I add some of the images that I have taken, I’m going to add some links for those that are interested.

My youtube channel:

To purchase my images online:   Unfortunately, they have done some work in the past few days and the background is not as it is supposed to be and instead it is all black for which I apologize!

To follow me on Facebook, check out:

Okay, now some images

I think my favorite is The White Tulip and the Green Apple. What’s your favorite?

by the way… it’s so great when someone leaves a comment as I know you’ve been here. If you have never commented before, it waits until I approve it before it shows up, but once approved, it will approve any comment you leave after that.. so it would be so cool if you take a moment to say HI!! :-)





For the Love of Tulips

I thought I’d do a blog post with some of my last photos, which are mostly tulips. Why do I love them so much? I don’t know, but although I find most flowers beautiful, there is something about how elegant yet humble they are. To me they are just so expressive. The long pliable stems makes it possible to create images where they look like they are tumbling over or have sensitive emotion. To be honest, although people send roses to express love, I think I would much rather receive tulips. Sort of makes the time you can send them very short.. heh.. but not receiving any grand gestures of amorous activity lately or in the near future.. but that’s alright,  I’m doing good; well I would be doing better if it were not that I have caught a cold and feeling just a bit under the weather but much better than yesterday so should be back in tip- top shape soon.

So anyways, back to the tulips ;-)

This image called Spring is Calling is one of the first tulip images I did this year. I put it on facebook and I was very lucky that someone saw it right away and knew it would look lovely in their living room. They ordered it on canvas and within a week have received it and it’s already hanging on their wall. I received a note from the buyer today, saying it was beautiful, that the quality was great, it was very well packaged and they were happy. This black border on the image was not included, as it’s only a border to bring out the image on the blog and is not intended to be shown. They did mention that the mirrored edges, which mirrors what you see on the sides of the canvas looked good on the side where you would mainly see it but the little portion where the leaves are, did look a bit odd, but since it was not the main view it was fine but it is something I need to be aware of in the future. She was happy though and because she received it within a week, I’m also happy! Spring is Calling

The next image I did was Love is in the Air. Sometimes people see images that I have with a violin and think that I can play. Gosh, I wish it were so, but sadly, no. A friend of my son had bought the violin to learn how to play it and then his life got busy and he decided to give it to me to use as a prop. It’s not a very expensive violin but I just love it.  I placed the tulips on the violin and composed with the scroll  to make a wide image that I liked the composition a lot. I actually really liked the shadows created by the scroll and the tulips on the wood. That’s kind of sexy.  Flowers and Violin music could only be better with the addition of some really great chocolate! :-) Love is in the Air

Next came Phantom Spring. The image is called like this because frankly, we still have snow outside and although tulips give the illusion of spring, it’s not really here. The illusion is why I thought of a phantom and I liked this composition where the tulip at the bottom has turned in a odd way but to me makes the composition that much more interesting. You will often find that I like odd things, but slightly odd.. and not way out there, but just enough that they are not every day. Again, all the black borders on these images are for the blog sake only and are not on the images if they are to be bought. I’ll put a link up to my online sale place lower down but if you are in the Abitibi region, most of these images can be bought directly from The Gallery Gaetz where the owner would work with you to choose the perfect mat and frame for every image and you would not incur any shipping charges either!

Phantom Spring

I then added an image that is from a small bouquet that I bought. It had some nice flowers, but it also had many that just were not up to par and that I had to take out and not use. This is basically what I was left with but I liked them. I created a nice little bouquet but felt it was perhaps a bit too traditional and although there is nothing wrong with that, I wanted to give it a bit of a twist so set it in black and white. I actually like black and white florals as it forces you to put color aside and just concentrate on shapes and texture. I called it Bouquet in Black and White. As you can see, I’m not a writer! :-D

bouquet in black and white

If you thought I was done with the tulips… come on.. you know better! :-D Of course not and in the days to come, I’ll probably put up more but with this cold I’m carrying around, I want to take it a bit easy. This image is called Tulips in a Teapot. I love this teapot as it has such a lovely shape and I also love the polka dots but I’m not much of a tea drinker. I sometimes have a tisane (herbal tea) especially at a time like now when I have a cold but normally, just give me a rich, bold coffee and you are making Maggie a happy girl. Please none of that coffee that is so weak that it’s almost a crime to call it coffee. I only have a big cup every day, but it makes me very happy. So, basically, I really don’t use the teapot much but have found that I love it as a prop. Someone like me who adores doing still life images finds that having props to use really is essential but can also be expensive so you will see the same pots and cups etc., in my images, over and over because that’s what I own, baby! :-D

As for this image, I draped this wrinkly white cloth and put some books under the cloth to bring the teapot up because I needed the space so the tulips could be free. I love this composition with the tulips sprawling out of the teapot but the light still coming right through some of them.  A photog that I know because he’s a friend of Carol’s (who is at the moment in Patagonia taking marvelous images – can I be a little jealous?? ) called Peter Lin, told me that he was scrolling on Facebook and noticed this image and knew instantly it was mine. This is not the first time someone has told me they can recognize my images as I have a certain style. I think that is true. My images are often pretty and sensitive and many of the things that people say good art is not. It doesn’t show destruction, desolation, world hunger, climate change, illness, sadness, hunger, garbage on the side of the road etc., but there are plenty of people doing that and they are great at what they do and probably live in places where it is more appropriate to take those images. I tried for a bit but I didn’t enjoy it and I felt it was not me and that I was portraying what others wanted and not what I wanted. Be true to thine own self if nothing else. As for this, Tulips in a Teapot, is an image I am pretty proud of as I love the composition. I love the flowers all bent over and gracious and I love the light through the leaves and the upper tulips. I think an image with good composition has great bones and light is what makes an image interesting. It gives it life and depth and emotion.

tulips in a teapot

Here is a link to my images where they can be purchased if you are interested:

In other news, a few weeks ago, I created a book of image of my favorite still life photographs from the last couple years. I created a book about 2 years ago with a mixture of images but it is on sale on Amazon, and I will attempt to take it off and put it on blurb as Amazon only sells it to the US (which excludes the rest of the world.. d’uh!) but also, Amazon takes a heftly commission. If these books were el cheapo, then that would not matter but they are of high quality and the paper used in the images are almost as high quality as what I print my gallery images with. Seriously, I would not want people to cut up the book to put on their walls, but they could. Anyways.. back to my new book.  I was really pleased with the quality of the book and everything looks amazing but again, the book is not cheap. The quality is there, but they don’t give it away and when they give out sales, it is usually to the authors so unless you uploaded the book, you could not partake of getting a discount as a fan. I wrote to their facebook page and was answered that they do once in a while have sales for people who want your book to keep an eye out. I know that Johanne had asked and I told her to wait for a sale and last night, I got an email, for 25% off. All you have to do is add the code: SHINEON25 to your order and that’s it. Oh, very important.. offer is only good until April 13th, 2017. That does not give a lot of time, but if you want the discount, you need to act soon. I would say to not pay for express shipping because seriously, standard shipping is very fast; it takes a couple days to make the book and a couple for it to arrive.. Think a week in all. Only thing express shipping would do is perhaps get the book there one day earlier and empty your pockets for no reason.

Book still life images

Here is a link to purchase the book if feel so persuaded. You can preview what is inside the book and to purchase, simply click on the little shopping cart. Remember to use the code: SHINEON25 for the 25% rebate.

I know it is still not given away, of course, and I understand that you may not be in the means to purchase the book. I really do understand because as an artist, I know that many of you are also, that money doesn’t grow on trees or fall from the sky. If not, I would really appreciate it if you could perhaps share a link to it on some social media platform hoping to help me out a bit.

That’s it for today and I assure you there will be more images forthcoming and most probably more tulips. I hope you are not bored with them yet! :-) Maggie

Any comments let me know you passed and make me feel good… you want me to feel good, right? :-D


Partially Fixed

When I started on Facebook, I thought I’d take a temporary reprieve from writing here because I was also posting on Google +, Pinterest, and Twitter and it was all new and I felt it was a lot and I wanted a break… but then as life often is,when I decided that I should get back to blogging here, something had happened to my website. One of the things was my website background was not showing up. I thought it would be an easy fix, but everything I tried didn’t work. So it was pretty bland (to be honest, it was just plain medium gray) and I hated it and I would just leave it on its own for a bit then try again, and again couldn’t fix it.

So on the weekend, I asked Janne if he could take a look. Although he’s a graphic designer for the company he works for, he’s actually really good at CSS and stuff and I knew that if anyone could, he would be able to. Well, he went in during his lunch hour and looked through the work and somehow the CSS was telling the website background that I added to be invisible. Can you believe that? I cannot fathom how, or whom, or what happened. It’s ridiculous. Anyways, I should have asked way earlier, because he fixed it. It looks like it is supposed to.  Well almost…

There are a bunch of little things that are no longer working or showing up properly. Now before I go on a tangent and ask him to fix that too, I will see what I can do on my own, but if I have not figured it out in a week, then I’ll ask. I hate to bother people when I should be able to fix it on my own, but I know he will be helpful.  My sharing icons are gone… so no FB, Tw, Pinterest, Google+ that you just press on to share, which is too bad because I not only would put up images that I want in my portfolio, but show images that were good but didn’t quite make the cut and I go through my procedure, my thoughts, how they come about and although I don’t have a huge audience here, people that come have enjoyed what they have read and looked at.

There are also other problems. Little things that are annoying to me but may not be noticeable to the casual looker. Normally when you come on to the site, you can either use the menu, or you can click an icon which makes the images that are in the slideshow at the beginning go full view, so it is not obstructed. It’s minor, but it would look so much better as its supposed to be.

So, besides that, since I’ve begun selling online, I thought it would be interesting to others how it came about, and what I’ve learned and if they should do the same and as always, add a bit about my process. To me, that is the fun part because I do a lot of still life images, they are not what is presented in front of me, but rather how I decide to compose them and what works and what doesn’t. I’ve another website that I want to start working on again ( where I would do some photographer interviews and also some tutorials either by me or by other photogs that I know. I don’t know how many interviews I will do, but I think some fun tuts would be interesting for me and others to read. We’ll see. First I need to get this thing working again.

I hope you all come along for the ride.




A little birdie told me

My, it has been a long time since I’ve blogged and a little birdie told me that it has been long enough.

I used to blog at least once a week or sometimes even more, but I had hurt my foot this summer and had complications and had to have my leg up without any pressure on it for a long while. It inhibited me from not only blogging but from taking photographs, from spending time online and I watched way too much crap television. I actually binged on it. I also did a bunch of pencil drawings and some watercolors. I tell you, when you do mostly digital work for a long while, going back to traditional threw me for quite a loop as once something is down on paper, it is not so easy to change. In photoshop, if you don’t like a color choice you made, well, hue/saturation to the rescue. On paper, you are done.. it’s baked, no turning back and if you hate it, well, it’s time for the garbage can!

Back to the birdie. Yesterday, while I was having lunch with my son, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something hit a window at the back of the house. I couldn’t see what it could be besides a bird. Well, it was. It was a tiny redpoll and it was laying on the ground and looked like it might be dead. We brought it in and rubbed it softly and then we could feel a pulse.  It didn’t look hurt, no broken wings or feet and no bleeding. It still look stunned but now its heart was beating hard. We went out on the front steps and put him down on a post and it just sat there and let me take pictures of it until it felt ready and then it took off to meet back up with his friends and I guess you could say, this was both our lucky day.

Hope you enjoy the photos and I would love any comments; it’s been so long.






Field Strawberries

When I was trying to come up with a title for this blog entry, I was had thought I’d call it ‘Black and White and Red all Over’ because those are the colors in my photograph and it reminded me of the joke we used to say when we were kids.  “What’s black and white, black and white, black and white and red all over?” and the answer, of course, was a nun tumbling down a long staircase. Silly, I know but it did come into my brain for a brief moment but not so brief to not let you in on my initial idea.

It is not unusual for me to take photographs of either flowers from my garden or fruit or veg that I have just bought that looks yummy and delicious. They become my models and no release needed. I try to think of new ways to present them but as I said in yesterday’s post, I find I’m always using the same things.  Sometimes just to get something different, I need to get into crafting mode like I did today. It’s perfectly fine though, because I love doing things with my hands and it pushes me to be more creative.

Today’s subjects were these lovely field strawberries. They are actually difficult to find these days as so many big companies grow them in hot houses and they are genetically modified and stay fresh for a long time. These little strawberries are pretty tiny compared to the imports but what they lack in size they make up in flavor. They also go bad quickly, but not a problem as when you are this yummy,  the distance from photoshoot to belly is not far!

Looking through some craft supplies, I found this wonderful little cotton lace that you can add around  a pillowcase or attach to the top of a basket. At first I tried with a small black box but although the photos were good, there was just not enough breathing space on the sides and I didn’t need that much, so you can imagine how tight the fit was. Whenever possible, I prefer to get the composition as I want it in frame. I will crop later if I like a longer or wider feel to the image, but it’s got to feel right in camera.  This has bitten me in the butt a few times when an image was not exactly straight and after cropping it feels too cramped. But, as you all know, old habits die hard. :-D   So I found a fabric covered navy blue box that was a gift and had a couple of small bottles of porto in it. I knew I could nudge the dark blue to black easily. I taped up the cotton lace all around and redid the shoot. I had to fix the little edges at the top of the lace as it was an un-sewn edge but that was quite simple in Photoshop. Bit of vignetting and selective sharpening and I’m very happy with the final result.

I hope you like it too.



p.s. – still having problems posting linked images in Google+. I’m not the only one, many people with the same problem.






Mostly Cherries

I love cherries. They are so YUM but they are usually quite expensive but when they are in season they are so affordable and taste better than any other time of the year.

Of course, this means, that I must take some images before chomping down. I had a bit of a struggle this year but I think it was simply because I use the same props over and over all the time and then I feel a little like I’ve done this before. See the image of the martini glass – oh yeah, well, you’ve seen it with raspberies, blueberrries, blue Curaçao and even popcorn. Now, it’s cherries. Best thing is that once the shoot is over, you bring your prop to your desk while uploading your images and pop one after the other in your mouth. HA!

So, many images with cherries today. I’ve not uploading them all as I did some in a low container and I felt the container was not the right shape to show the cherries off. I also photographed them in these beautiful milk white vase but was not impressed with the end result. Perhaps tomorrow, I’ll give it another go; you just never know! When I think of how many different ideas I work with for an image and the different types of containers that I try it with and then change backgrounds and what my subject is sitting on etc., it makes me laugh to hear people say that photography is easy. Yes, it can be; you can simply point anywhere and just click.  You might get really lucky and get a shot here and there but I can assure you that working to get your subject will give you better results and actually make you feel good as you have put so much of yourself into it.

Once that is done, then it’s time to tweak those images. Heck, they are taken in RAW format which means the camera does not one iota to make your images what they finally become. They often look more flat and less vibrant than your eyes saw so you help them along to become the image you wanted to share. There have been a few conversations around my head lately about purists and not using Photoshop to post-process them. To me, that would be like Ansel Adams coming back from a shoot and dropping his film at Walmart for the 1 hour quick development plan. Please, if you want your photos to truly reflect who you are, make them yours. Make your own decisions and don’t leave those choices to your camera.  Always remember, you are the artist.

I also took a few photos of 2 of my peonies that are past due but that I still find beauty in them. They dry slowly as they sit in the vase and slowly sip their last drops of moisture and slowly wrinkle and become like beautiful old ladies that still pin up their hair and still have a twinkle in their eye. You not only see the beauty they once where you find them just as fabulous when past their prime.  I hope one day when I’m wrinkled (okay, okay – more wrinkled than today – lots more wrinkled) that I will still be considered fabulous by someone.

I was going to post this yesterday but while I was doing my post for my images, Chiana, my cat, got on my desk and I was having a problem as her butt was in my way. I always place my Wacom in front of me and move my keyboard to the left at an angle for my shortcuts in PS. Well, mademoiselle did not appreciate me pushing her behind a little so started wagging her tail (for all you dog owners, unlike doggies, when kitties wag their tails they are annoyed) and this whipping of her tail was hitting the programmable buttons at the top of my intuos. She make something crazy happen and my work was zooming in and out and I couldn’t stop it  — nor save etc., So I had to reboot and at the end of it all, just decided to call it a night.  Which ends up being fine because I post-processed the ‘still life with cherries’ today and perhaps would not have included it in this blog post.

Today, I’m having trouble posting images on Google+ that link to where I sell them online. Not sure what is going on. Waiting for an answer from the Google+ community as I don’t seem to be the only one with the same problem. :-P Reminds me, I should put up a tab here for people that may be interested in my work.

Well, I hope you enjoy the images.

much love,