Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Tis The Season

I can't believe it's been over a month since my last blog posting!  Since we've been back I have been quite busy with getting the house ready for Christmas, sent out Christmas cards, shopping and wrapping presents, getting ready for the Last Chance Christmas Sale and doing a few photo shoots of families and babies...yes I said babies.  Who knew this landscape/wildlife photographer would be taking pictures of babies and having a blast doing it! 

Here's some of the pictures and fun I've had with these photo shoots.  First up was Erin, Pete and PJ - I photographed them about this same time last year and was pleased to be asked to do it again for them.  The weather was absolutely perfect for this time of year, really no wind to speak of and even though the sun had set there was still enough light. PJ is a gorgeous little girl and very serious so it was difficult to get a picture of her smiling but thanks to her mom being silly we caught one. 

Pretty in Pink

Pete, Erin and PJ

PJ and her mom Erin

My second family shoot was with the Potter Family, I first photographed this lovely family when baby Gavin was still in his momma's belly.  He's such a handsome little guy and he was pretty good for his Baby's First Christmas pictures.  

Since I am photographing more people and because I do not have a studio I am learning how to use digital backgrounds and overlays.  It's been fun learning these new techniques and trying to perfect them. 

Jane, Brandon and baby Gavin

Cutest little Santa ever!

Being photographed is tiring work

The last family that I photographed before Christmas was Mallory Ehaloak, her baby Zane and her niece Tia Jayne.  Zane is about 10 months old and is such a cutie pie with a million faces.  Here's some pics from her Baby's First Christmas photo shoot. 

Mallory and her daughter Zane

Tia Jayne and baby Zane

Such a beautiful baby

Having fun with some Christmas sparkle

He is real!!!  

The sun will be rising again on January 11th for a grand total of 28 minutes and 34 seconds. We have been in a warm spell up here for the last week or so with temps sitting around -20'c to -30'c much better than -50'c and it's supposed to continue.  Here are some pictures of what the light looks like at this time of year.

Cloudy this day but the Martin Bergmann was sitting pretty in the bay

Love when there are clear skies as we get these 
gorgeous horizons

Jeffery Sather made this ice sculpture and I just
had to ask him to pose with it for's pretty cool.

Even though the road is blocked with snow to get to 
the bridge we took a walk to get a picture.

A blooper of a Christmas photo

Waiting for Santa to arrive

Christmas 2016

The Thursday before Christmas the skies lit up with some Aurora Borealis.  What a show that night and it lasted a long time.  I keep an eye on a website that shows the forecast and kept on looking out our window but with the street and Christmas lights I couldn't see any.  Then I received a text from Marg telling me to get out with my camera, so I met her and Athlyne out of town.  Mind you we didn't have to go far out of town to see them, here's what we saw that night. 

They swirled and danced

Here's Marg and Athlyne watching them
You can see some pink, yellow and bright green

They covered the sky and we didn't know which way to look

This looked like the eye of the storm

So much activity

As you can see we didn't have to go far from town to see them


Here's another of Marg and Athlyne watching them

Talk soon!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

On Our Journey Back

A couple of days before we left Yuma we drove to Felicity, California population two…yes two. It is a quirky little place and was founded by frenchman Jacques-Andre Istel who named the town after his wife Felicia. It is recognized as the Official Center of the World by France and the Imperial County of California. It is home to a post office, a pyramid marking the official center of the world, a non-denominational chapel that seats about 12, a piece of the original spiral staircase from the Eiffel Tower, a sundial modelled after the hand of God from the sistine chapel and the Museum of History in Granite. 

We could not get into the pyramid as it was closed but the chapel was open and we also toured the grounds and read many granite pieces that showed the history of the world. The chapel is built on top of a hill made from 150,000 tons of dirt and it is a copy of a church in Normandy. The granite rows expands from the center outward into a star shape and many of the world’s events are etched into the granite. 

The entrance to the museum

Whenever we drove by we always wondered
what was this staircase to no where 

The pyramid

Replica of the Liberty Bell

The is the sun dial in the middle of the granite

We thought this was a maze from afar but 
it is actually ready for new granite pieces

The chapel at the top of the hill
You can see this chapel from the highway

View from the top of the chapel hill

Inside the tiny chapel

The stone that is outside carries on
to the inside of the chapel

All the doors are painted this amazing blue colour

Our last night in our Southern Home was spent with friends; Debbie, Norma, Delores and Art and we met them all at Da Boys Italian Restaurant where we had our fill of pizza, beer, salad and of course dessert…a huge piece of red velvet cake that all of us shared.  The evening was good and of course shared a few more laughs. 

We left Yuma by 8:00am and headed north towards Las Vegas where we drove through to Salt Lake City for the night.  It was a long day of driving but after having something to eat and a good night’s sleep we were ready to hit the road again, this time to Billings Montana. It was a shorter day so we had time to relax at the hotel, which was good as we drove through a bit of a snow storm in Idaho. From Montana we took turns driving to North Dakota and Manitoba we had clear roads and no snow on the ground.  We thought for sure there would be snow as you know it is the prairies. 

The next couple of pics are taken as we were driving.

View of the Missouri River

Our first sight of snow

Then it just became worse - we actually drove through 
a snow storm in Idaho

There is still no snow in Manitoba but we will be arriving to our Northern Home with the white stuff on the ground.  We will stay in Yellowknife for one night before we head to Cambridge Bay on Thursday.  It will be good to be back in the Bay even if it will be much colder than where we came from and much less sunshine. 

So hard to believe there is no snow on the ground in Manitoba

I was trying to get a picture of Molly but instead 
Blitz decided to photo bomb her

Here's the pic I was trying to get

I don't have much to say about this pic
except you know he was having fun because
of the big goober on his face...

To end this blog entry here's a couple more pics of the burrowing owls in Yuma.  We had to go back to Barb's house to return her golf clubs that she borrowed to Craig and momma was out.  

Well hello there!

She's so adorable

Talk soon!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Up Up & Away

What a busy fun-filled weekend we had which was so suiting as it was our last weekend in our Arizona home. (insert sad face here)  It started off on Friday with the Annual Veterans Parade. We went to the same parade last year and I found that this year wasn't as good as last year but we still enjoyed it. 

I had to take this pic for Craig's dad as he loves trains

My all time favourite car

From there we met up with our friends Debbie and Art and headed over to see her sister/our friend Norma as she just got out of the hospital.  She is doing amazing and looks great. 

Here's Norma and Craig hamming it up for the camera

From left to right:
Debbie, Art, Craig and Delores

Debbie asked me if we saw the shrine at the Saint Thomas Yuma Indian Mission when we went and we didn't see it so after our visit with Norma and Delores we drove over to the mission.  The shrine is tucked away on the side of the hill on the left of the mission and if you didn't know it was there you would totally miss we did. 

Since we were in the vicinity we drove through the Fort Yuma Quechuan Tribe again and took a couple more pics of the buildings and visited with a couple of local cats on the premises. 

The shrine is built in the rocks on the side
of the mountain

Took another picture of the statue of Father Francisco Garces

The following 3 pics were taken on the reserve.

Gorgeous views from this old building

Absolutely love these old doors and windows

Massive archway to the entrance of this old building

Debbie, Art, Craig and myself headed to the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival here in Yuma just before sunrise on Saturday.  As per their website there were 30 balloons and pilots this year and the West Wetlands Park was the host on the Saturday and Sunday morning take offs. I have never been this close to hot air balloons and they are massive. We were up and out the doors before sunrise as that was when the first balloon took off as the American national anthem was sung.  They couldn't of asked for a better day, hardly any wind, warm and sunny. It was interesting to watch them unfold their balloons, start the industrial fans, ignite the flame and sail off. 

Morning sun peaking through the balloons

Beautiful weather for the balloons

As some were taking off others were getting ready

Well hello up there!

Up and away

You didn't know where to look as there were so many,
here's Debbie and Craig

This was supposed to be the final balloon to launch but
the winds changed and they aborted.  This poor
fella was trying so hard to control the balloon

Had to take a pic of this young family as it was Dad's first
balloon launch and they were so excited

Debbie and Art watching the final balloon sail in the distance

We were home by 10:30am and that's after we stopped and had coffee and muffins. By 6pm we were off again, this time to the Desert Sun Stadium where the Glow was happening. Norma and Delores came along and our friend from Phoenix Cheryl and her friend Barb joined us as well.  

You could walk through where the balloons were and every time they ignited that flame you could feel the heat.  The announcer would yell out 5-4-3-2-1 and all the pilots would light up their balloons and they would glow in the dark. It was a sight to see as these colourful balloons would set the dark sky aglow.  

I think this is my favourite pic of the evening
Not all balloons were present but I think I counted about a dozen

After the "Glow" we said our good-byes to Cheryl and Barb and made plans to meet up again the next day for Sunday Brunch.  The remaining 6 of us carried on, this time to Cocopah Speedway to watch the sprint cars races.  Much to our surprise a racer from our home province of Manitoba was there and won one heat, he came in 6th or 7th in the end.  There were anywhere between 6-8 cars per race but at the end there were 24 cars and 30 laps around the track.  We all kinda giggled to each other when we first sat down as the people in front of us had ear protectors on and safety glasses. WELL that bit us in the butt as when those 24 cars raced around the track the Arizona dust flew and I think we were all cleaning dirt out of places that we didn't think there would be any.  Rookies...

After the races Debbie and Art came by and we played Rummy and had a few more laughs from our day's adventures.  

And they're off

#82 was from Manitoba! 

I have to back track a wee bit; the weekend before, Cheryl and Karen, friends I met from our GSP Group on Facebook come down from Phoenix to spend the day with us. We first met them a couple of years ago and were so happy to see them again.  We met them for lunch at Mi Rancho and then came back to relax at the house and spend some time with Molly and Blitz as they have never met them.

Cheryl and Karen with Molly and Blitz

This past weekend Cheryl returned to Yuma as it was her friend Barb's birthday so we got to hang out with her again.  Her friend Barb is a photography buff and knows of some good places to photograph some wild horses, burros and just down the street from where she lives a family of burrowing owls call it home. Their home is under a sidewalk and she said they come out first thing in the morning and again in the evening.  Lucky for us they made an appearance before we left Barb's place.  I'm thinking Barb and I (maybe Craig) will be driving out to places to do some photography next time we are down.

Here's Blitz giving Cheryl some lovin'

Cheryl with Molly and Blitz

Momma and 2 of her babies peaking out from under 
the sidewalk...can it get any cuter than this?

Was a fabulous weekend to end our vacation here in our Southern Home.  It was great to catch up with some old friends and meet a couple of new ones. We will cherish these friendships as it makes our time here that much more fun.  We have already talked about when the next time we will all see each other and we will be looking forward to it. 

We finished a lot of projects this time as well and we have really enjoyed the backyard and will keep on enjoying it and making more memories there in years to come.  Mid-week we start our journey back to Manitoba where we will spend a couple of days with my mom and then in the city for a day before we fly out to our Northern Home.  I'm thinking all of our bodies will need time to adjust as we haven't had a day here less than 30'c and CamBay is well below zero.  

Talk soon!