Sunday, August 26, 2012


I have neglected my blog for a few months now. Why, you may ask? Well, I had planned to have my blog focus strictly on photography and photographers. The goal was to feature photographers from within the province of Ontario, where I live.
Unfortunately, after putting requests out via Facebook and other avenues, no takers to be featured.
So-o-o, I am rethinking the direction I now want to take my blog.
Sadly,  I haven't yet decided.
Stay tuned as I plan to start posting again, regardless of the subject many possibilities!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


It has been some time, once again, since I've posted on my blog. Well, the new computer nightmares are slowly being fixed, but the operative word is 'slowly'. I certainly hope this post goes through without too many issues and/or frustrations!

A few months ago, I did a blog post on photographers from 'The Great White North' and one of the photographers I discovered while doing my blog was another Etsy shop owner, as well. I was SO impressed with her shop and her images.

As time has gone by, we've actually had the opportunity to meet in person, which just added to my opinion of her talent, her spirit and her enthusiasm.

I sent her some questions and here are her personal responses:

When did you first get interested in photography?   When I was a child…reluctantly.  My father is a photog (35mm) and was always dragging us with him hiking, climbing, caving and he always had his camera with him.  I used to get SO annoyed that he would stop every 10 minutes to leave the hiking trail because he spotted a bit of fungus he just had to take a picture of (RE-ally, fungus?).  Then came the fuss (or what seemed like fuss when I was 6 yrs old) of his getting set up for the shot!  Oh, how I used to rage inwardly.  Now, I’m dragging my husband off the trail every ten minutes for exactly the same reason!  Does my dad ever laugh at that now!

 What kind of camera was your first and what do you use now?   I had a funny little boxy camera when I was 12, I can’t even remember what it was, but I know I loved it.  Then I had a Polaroid that I loved because you could see the results in a few minutes.  I had a Minolta 35mm when I was in my 20’s, but I was more interested in art then, painting, woodworking. 

Now I use a Canon EOS Rebel T2i  (18mp); I also have a Pentax Asahi Spotmatic 35mm with a 200mm lens which I love. My point and shoot is a Fujifilm Finepix S1500 (10 mp) – which I also love. I used to take it everywhere, though I don’t use it as much nowadays.  It takes awesome pics!

What, in your opinion, are the advantages and disadvantages between ‘point and shoot’ and ‘DSLR’?  The obvious advantage of a point and shoot for me is the weight and size and the fact I can stuff it in a waist pouch and carry it.  It takes beautiful pics, but the worst part for me is the focusing (be it AF or MF or the AF/AE lock) if I’m trying to photograph a spider in a web and there is (for eg.) lots of green grass in the background, it’s a fight to get it to focus on the spider!  You think you have the focus (locked or not) and then, it loses it right to the background!  Arrgh!  Therein lies the problem, you can’t change what it is…a point and shoot.

The worst part of a DSLR is the amount of ‘stuff’ you need to cart around for a day of shooting.  I need macro lens, wide angle lens and telephoto lens,hood, filters, batteries, cards, etc, etc.  The pack gets bigger every year.  But I love a DSLR to be able to fine tune your settings, or use the AV (aperture priority, for ex.) if you need to.  My point and shoot has an AP…but with a DSLR, it really works. LOL As soon as I got my first DSLR, I could focus on that same spider the first time I tried…Hallelujah!  I love the same things as everyone else, I think, the ability to shoot in RAW/JPEG; create interesting shots and have your DSLR help you do that by taking sharper pictures with more depth: so many options for creativity!  The ability to be able to print your pics at very large sizes without losing resolution is wonderful.  I could go on, but…  

What type of pictures do you tend to shoot the most?   I’m a nature nut…though I do love to shoot animals and infrequently people.  I tend toward rustic, historical buildings and objects of pioneer life, the simple life…

 What type of art, photography etc. do you have in your own home?  I love colour! I tend towards an eclectic mix of photography (often my own, so I can rotate it seasonally); along with folk art (some of it mine).  I am drawn to fall and winter art; whimsical art and wildlife paintings, particularly by Canadian artists and photographers.  I won’t start listing them or we’ll be here all day!  Go Canada!!!  I don’t have a particular ‘look’ or ‘type’ of anything that I purchase…it has to appeal to me either on a soulful level or comical level or I just have to have it!

What is one tip you’ve learned to improve your photography?  One I love…Use your telephoto as a macro! It’s harder than it sounds, but it’s great as I love to photograph bees and wasps.

When you do portrait work, what is your biggest challenge?   I don’t do portraits as a rule, but I am called upon at various functions to do it anyway, with good results!  Lighting first; I get that worked out as soon as I arrive. I prefer to take portraits outdoors, preferably on an overcast day (or in the shade).  The next hardest part is just getting everyone to FOCUS and not make faces!  I really respect anyone that can do that for a living!

What type of photography is more difficult for you? I have to try them all first…

Is there a particular photo you just haven’t managed to shoot yet, but you really would like to get?  The Alps…ah, yes…the Alps on a misty morning!  In the meantime, I’ll settle for another trip to the Rockies!

Who influenced your love of photography?  Both my parents…my dad (the photographer), but also my mom, Joan Patterson, was a great inspiration of mine for both art and being an artist.  My Grandmother, Alice Steeves, said, don’t listen to anyone who tells you can’t do anything…GO AND DO IT!   Awesome advice!

Name one photographer you admire living or dead and why.  Freeman Patterson – the quintessential Canadian Nature Photographer (and writer): I remember seeing his photos as a child and thinking…’WOW…that’s so beautiful….how did he do that?’  My father loves his work!

Which shot, up until now, are you most proud of? Hmm, good question.  I do love my ‘Eye To Eye’ (dragonfly), it really stirs up conversation wherever I go – one of my best selling prints (to date)…but honestly, there is about 20 shots I am proud of!

One tip you could give a relatively new photographer…Take lots of pics, lots and lots and be critical of your own work.  When you’re first starting out…you take pictures of any and everything (then you want to sell them all).  Be ruthless, pare it down, and find the subject within the scene…bring it in close; cut out the clutter. One professor used to say…ask yourself…is that just a nice picture of a kitchen…or does it say something, tell a story…even better, he said…would YOU personally buy it…if you wouldn’t buy it, don’t keep it!  Wow, that was a good one!  It’s hard to be critical of your own work, but do it anyway!

How do you use social media to grow your photography business…FB for starters; its growing slowly but surely.  I have an Etsy website and I will expand from there.  I don’t dare start twitter, because I will surely forget to tweet…I feel I spend far too much time on the computer and not enough outdoors taking photos.  Still it’s part of the bus. so I am learning.  Computers are not my strong suit; how’s that for funny (cue the laughter). I don’t have an iphone, which is heresy these days. Haha!   Who knows, I may just do it in the future…and then I can tweet a pic from the Alps?

What shot has eluded you so far?  An owl! 

What is your ultimate goal as a photographer?  To become the GO TO photog for The Nature of Things, Canadian Geographic and all other environmental organizations and magazines.  Hey if you’re going to dream…dream!  Also, I’d like to really meld the social media and online work with my outdoor activities and become a nature photog everyone wants a photo from!

What awards or acknowledgements have you received thus far, if any?  Only a horticulture award!  Does that count?  So far, no photography awards, but my dad called me the other week and said one of the winter pics I sent him…was absolutely PERFECT!  OMG, I nearly dropped in my tracks!  High praise indeed!  Dear old dad – he has an excellent eye!  He’s also a valuable critic for me…

I’ve had wonderful feedback from customers and shoppers at the craft shows I attend (as well as through my website).  My work is selling steadily at the stores its in and gaining momentum…that is very sweet!  To me, that is what it’s all about…if the public likes and in some cases loves my work, I’ve done what I set out to do: bring a little taste of nature into someone’s life.

 I would like to thank Jeannette for both her patience and sense of humor trying to get this blogpost finished. You can find her on Facebook as Finchfield Photography or check out her Etsy shop at:

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Well, it's been some time since I've had access to my blog. Apparently, some weird Blogger problem. I couldn't find my blog and was given a message that I no longer had access..hmmm! After a lot of help and suggestions, my nephew Gerob, finally seemed to get it sorted out for me.
This short little blog is more a test to see if everything really is OK again!
I'm also in shock now that I'm up and running again! Imagine my excitement to realize I can now post videos again...woot, woot! Let's hope it doesn't go away again.
Quite frankly, I don't know where to begin again, as there has been so much going on, but by the weekend, I'll try and list a few highlights.
I think I'll begin with another photographer interview. This girl is amazing. Her name is Jeannette Loney and I actually did post one of her photos on my 'Great White North' blog segment. It turns out she lives fairly close and have definite plans to meet up with her soon. She's such a great person as well and I can tell she also has a great sense of kind of woman!
For now, goodnight....back soon.... I hope!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

ART AND HEALING EXHIBIT...Now in full swing!

Well, the joint effort between myself and Anne Cavanagh is now up until May 28th.

We have had a number of friends and family who went to see our exhibit. Both of us have received some wonderful comments and compliments. I have only been back up to the hospital once since Anne and I hung the exhibit. Neither of us had sold anything, as yet. There is lots of time left however, so I'm optimistic.

It was an valuable lesson for both Anne and myself. This was the first time for both of us to hang such a large personal exhibit. We learned many new tricks, particularly in relation to where to place the eyes, hooks and wires if work is being held on chains. Place the eyes and/or tabs no lower than two to three inches from the top of the picture. Ensure that the picture wire is completely tight. Don't leave any slack in the wire. It took the both of us and two hospital volunteers just short of six hours to hang our pieces. At the end of that day, both Anne and myself were exhausted! We couldn't wait to get home and put our feet up. Since my car accident, if I'm on my feet too long, I begin to have back problems again. It was no different this time.

Anne and I were so pleased with how we complimented each other's works. With a couple of exceptions, we had no idea what the other was bringing. It was a great surprise to find that we had a number of 'theme' pieces that could be hung together.

Between Anne and myself, we have almost eighty pieces hung with a lot of enthusiasm and optimism on both our parts. There is a tremendous amount of traffic that goes up and down that hall each and every day. If nothing else, the exposure will be amazing!

...anxious and fingers crossed!

Good luck, Anne!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

TRANSITIONS..Photography show will end March 15, 2012

Kawartha Artist Gallery and Studio is currently hosting a show for photography members. Sadly, the show ends this Thursday. At the opening reception, I had the opportunity to meet some of the new photography members. In a number of instances, we all love to photograph the same type of things. It's so much fun to just 'shoot the breeeze' with other photographers. Every time this happens, I learn something new of a 'tip of the day' if you will. Congratulations to three new amazing photographer that joined the group....Rick Doner, Angela Slater and Michael Eckersly..welcome and all the best!

The quality of the work is really wonderful and it's great fun to 'sit' for a segment of time at the gallery and watch when people come in what they gravitate towards. It reconfirms that you 'shoot' what you like and see and there will be people who will love it. Never underestimate your own talent.

In the past few weeks, I've had the pleasure of meeting some amazing photographers and in the future hope to feature more Ontario artists.

I've spent time re-discovering so many wonderful artists on Etsy and my new 'addiction' is Pinterest. So-o-o-o much fun!

Margaret Hamilton

Here is a sampling of just a few of our local photographers work..really beautiful, intriguing pieces!

The past weekend was the Warkworth Maple Syrup Festival and Juried Art Show. I was fortunate enough to have two pieces entered. Unfortunately, neither sold. I was happy, however, for other members of the Spirit of the Hills Assoc. as a number of them sold pieces...yeah! Over the weekend, over 600 people came in to see our show. Wow, that's a fantastic weekend! The businesses also did quite well. I think the amazing weather helped!

Now running crazy to get the last minute details finished for a joint exhibit I'm doing with Anne Cavanagh(see my blog feature). We will be displaying at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre for almost thee months....great pun intended!

Friday, February 24, 2012

ANNE CAVANAGH.... A multi-faceted talent!!

This post is to draw attention to my new friend, Anne Cavanagh.
Anne is going to be my 'partner' in an art exhibit which is coming in mid-March at our local hospital.

The hospital designates one hall to feature local artists which is called, 'The Art and Healing' hall. There is the potential for a lot of exposure and should Anne or myself sell anything, a portion will go to the hospital foundation.

Long before meeting Anne, I had admired her work. She is multi-talented, but I especially love her graphite drawings the best. Someday I'll commission her to draw my grandchildren. Anne teaches drawing lessons and enjoys that aspect of her art, as well. When you visit her website, you will agree she's a great teacher based on the student art sampling she displays.

I have Anne's permission to draw from her website in order to do justice to her art and her passion. I hope you appreciate her work as much as I.

Here is Anne's bio, in her own words....
Anne Cavanagh is a Peterborough-area portrait artist who creates black and white drawings in a realistic style.
Anne especially loves drawing children and is inspired by their genuineness. “Children are totally involved with life, they have nothing to hide, they are so curious – that’s what I find so compelling,” she says. She often uses her young son as a model, observing his exploration of the world and how he is amused by the smallest things. Her sensitivity and talent in capturing the essence of childhood moments has now evolved into a business where she specializes in children’s portraits.

The primary medium of Anne’s artwork is graphite, which she uses to create her detailed drawings. She also likes to experiment with untraditional materials, such as dried grasses and beeswax, by adding them to her drawings.
Anne studied art throughout high school as well as in the United States, France and England. At the post-secondary level, she combined her love of art and science by obtaining her BA in Pre-medical Illustration. Recently, her work has won two awards at the Buckhorn Fine Art Festival in 2006: the People’s Choice Award and First Place, Open Class

These are just three of my favourites, but there are many more I love as well!

Her commissioned work would be such a special gift for a mother, grandmother,friend, daughter, son or someone very close to your heart. I hope this gives you a great gift idea for someone you know and love.
Here is Anne's website for you to contact her:

Both myself and Anne are quite excited about our joint collaboration. Each of us feels gratified when our art speaks to someone's heart and moves the person on some level.
Thank you Anne for teaming up with's been such a pleasure getting to know you and I believe it's just the beginning of a warm friendship.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Although this show opened on Sunday, February 5th, it will run until Thursday of the coming week. I have been in a few shows put on by the Kawartha Artist Gallery and Studio(KAGS). I've decided to begin featuring each show I enter in from here on out.
This show has some outstanding artists! The majority of this show is painters, a few photographers, and a couple of mixed media pieces. There are a number of phenomenal artists in this show, so I am listing their names and will include a few samples of different artist's work at the Gallery.
Personally, I was honoured by one of my pieces being picked for the poster, the flyer and a bookmark KAGS does for each show presented.

Some members participate is almost every show. Some prefer to select definite ones to perform and attend. I am one of the latter.
This area of Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Port Hope, Trent Hills Region have some phenomenal artist to feature. Here is a list of the artist's that participated in 'Bringing in the Sunshine'. If you google any of these names, you can get info on the artist himself/herself and go from there, if interested.

Jaan Teng, Nancy Simmons Smith, Linda Paterson, Kim Tucker
Lisa Masters,Tom Young, Cathy Rowland,Sue Cowan, Angela McCumber,Judi Waymark, Elaine Goselin, Nan Sidler, Marilyn Simpson, Elli Urquhart, Vera Penrose, Susan Sydney, Gail Hawkins, Bobby Rowland Paterson, Daphne Molson, Linda McFadden, Bob Lockie, Sharon Taylor, Margaret Tough, Krista Quellette and, of course, myself.

Here is a sampling of just some of the fantastic work submitted for this show!

This is a non-profit gallery so each artist that sells a piece(s) at these shows keeps all the revenue.
On Sunday, February 26th, a new show will begin strictly for photographers. This show will be called 'Transitions' At the moment, I'm trying to decide which pieces to enter. I now have my canvases in hand for the Peterborough Hospital Foundation Exhibit beginning in mid-March. I may put a couple of those pieces in the 'Transitions' show. If I could sell a couple, it would help defray the costs for the hospital show. Hmmm, decision to make!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I really love living where we get four seasons. Today, was one of those days, especially.
I just woke up this morning to very large snowflakes coming down and over the next few hours it accumulated so beautifully. It was the kind of snow that's slightly damp, so it sticks to the trees and paints such a beautiful landscape. If I hadn't had so much to get accomplished today, it's the kind of snow I love to go for a walk. Although, yes, it's cold enough to snow, it somehow gives off a warm and sheltered feeling.
Grant it, it's not the best for driving in, especially if the snowploughs aren't out right away to clear the roads. My husband drives limousine and he did have to go out later in the day, but he said the roads were pretty good by that time.
Me, I love looking out our picture window and just watching it fall. The little chickadees were busy eating from the feeders and seemed completely oblivious of whatever the weather.
A few hours later it had warmed up more and already that picturesque scene had started to melt away....sigh!
Overall, we've had a very easy winter to date. I would love a few more days of that soft, large, flaky snowfall before the spring comes.
There is something romantic about the snow. I want to get out next time and photograph like crazy.
Got to the love the great white north....I know, I do.
I have a shop on Etsy and for the first time did, what they call a 'treasury' today. You promote other artists work that you admire. I called mine 'GREAT WHITE NORTH WINTERS'. I'm including just a couple of the wonderful Canadian photographer's pieces of winter I featured in my treasury. Is this not beautiful photography? Is winter not just so beautiful!


Jeannette Loney

Friday, January 27, 2012


This is an event our city has held for 21 years. The purpose is to raise funds for health services in our city. In 2010, $210,000 was raised. As yet, the figures for 2011 haven't been published. In the past, it has been held at one location. In 2011, however, they decided it was time to try something different. So, they called it 'City Sidewalks' and almost all the events were held in the downtown core. Most of the shop owners participated and many of the events were held at a local upscale nightlife spot, called 'The Venue'. It was indeed different and feedback was both positve and negative about the changes.I've had the privilege of designing, donating and decorating a tree which is offered up for sale, auctioned or raffled off. I have done this for the past four years. Along with the funds raised, many people enjoy some or all of the events that take place over most of a week. Last year, it was held the last week of November. Here is the link to see what it was all about..

I just love coming up with new ideas for the tree I do. This year was no different. I decided on a white tree with orange, rust and crystals to add impact. For the event, the venue is dimly lit, so the lights and decor from the trees really pops. As each year has passed, the Festival of Trees committee tell me they look forward to seeing what I come up with and say they aren't disappointed. Fortunately, each year my tree sells fairly quickly..whew! Here is my tree for 2011!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Sadly, once again, I've been remiss in posting on a regular basis. It's now been two months so it's a bit disconcerting to decide where to begin.
I've decided that I will start back where I left off and over the next few days just do some highlighting.
After many frustrating experiences, I've now managed to get my father into assisted living. My brother and I have set him up with new furniture and tried to make this transition as pleasant as possible. Initially, my father gave me a lot of grief, but when I finally explained he had no choice in the decision, he seemed to come around. It's so difficult explaining to someone they are incapable of safely looking after themselves and they have a disease called Alzheimer's that prevents them from doing so when they think they are perfectly fine. At this writing, my brother and I now have Power of Attorney and have taken over his affairs completely. For my father, we now know he's safe on a daily basis, getting fed properly, getting his medications administered properly, his personal hygiene is managed better and he actually has people to interact with on a daily basis if he so chooses.
This has been difficult for me as my father and I have never been 'warm and fuzzy' with each other, so it's rather ironic that this responsibility has landed in my lap primarily. Ah, life has so many lessons to teach us! For me, I've learned more tolerance and compassion and forgiveness for someone like my Dad. He was always such a proud, stubborn and energetic man. To see him in his present state is tough regardless of our relationship. Life has handed him some tough lessons and experiences as well.
I'm not sure, at this point, what he thinks or feels. When I go to see him, however, he appears somewhat grateful, somewhat relieved and a little less fearful.
Who knows what lies ahead, but I can only hope someone will help me out if I should end up with this cruel disease as well.

These pictures were taken in May 2010. He now looks so frail, by comparison....sad! He is now 92 years old. It's an odd coincidence that he and his sister (the two oldest) are now the only surviving siblings of five in his family. For my generation, my brother and myself(the two oldest)are the only two surviving siblings of four. Strange!