Tuesday, September 14, 2010


To say that I like taking pictures would be an understatement. I LOVE taking pictures. I am passionate about taking pictures. I am consumed. It's who I am. It's what I do. Last week I drove by an old shed in the middle of a bean field, somewhere out in the country and last night I just had to hop in my car and go and find it again because it was stuck in my mind. 

That's the kind of photos I like taking. Ones that catch my eye or my imagination. Ones where the colour speaks to me, and even more importantly, the lighting.  I get downright excited about that.

I like to capture things. It's like hunting or discovering treasure. I like to do the photo journalism thing too, catching the moments that tell a story. And I absolutely love taking photos of faces as they go about life.

The other kind of photography, where you have to pose people and set them up with the perfect lighting where you have to figure it out or invent it rather than have it call out to you, is not a favourite activity.  All my Inadequacies scream to me then.

They say: 'You have no idea in the world what you're doing! Who are you kidding - you are NOT a photographer. You do not have the right equipment. You don't have a professional type camera. You don't even own a flash.' Actually - they're wrong about that - I bought one for a wedding I'm doing this weekend, it's just that I've haven't been able to bring myself to open it.  They dog me anyway: 'You know you DON'T have proper lighting. You don't have the technical knowledge or the education and you know darn well that you well that you have major mental blocks when it comes to f stops and apertures and that sort of thing.' Now, that is the truth. I spend hours each and every day playing with photos, but I have to confess, I cannot absorb the technical stuff. I have a rebellious nature about instructions and subconsciously I seem to go to great lengths just to figure out things my own way. In my own little world, it works. It's when there's an expectation beyond that, those irritating, persistent Inadequacies go on a tangent. 

But yesterday I had to shove them down and get on with the job of trying to capture my precious wee grandbabes.  After the fiasco with Spencer in June - five hours and only one photograph, I have been letting the Inadequacies win and have stuck to the fields. I keep thinking 'He's still little - we'll do it one of these days.' I thought that because he was such a little guy, we'd get to keep him tiny for longer.  Well, seeing him with Georgia yesterday was a huge wake up call. I absolutely have to get past all those issues and capture those sweet faces quickly.

It was a three person job. Over two hours for with only one set up. Almost three hundred pictures and just a couple that are usable. Again, confirmation that this type of photography is NOT what I can do, should do or want to do. It is best left to the professionals and I will stay as far away from it as I can. But for my own grandbabes, I'm going to have to make an exception. They hopefully won't be judging and evaluating the process.

If someone was to be observing how we got this done - the table cloths and the coffee table and the desk lamp, they would surely side with my Inadequacies.

BUT ... it has got to be done. So, Inadequacies, leave me alone - our babies are growing. We're going to give it another shot today.

As an example of my usual 'stretch' in not having the right props and having to come up with something creative afterwards ... have a look at his covering.  Of course, I can't put fully naked pictures of our babe splayed - newborn is one thing, but 12 weeks - well, that could be downright embarrassing for a guy. Any clues to what his 'blanket' is?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Georgia Homecoming

While Andy went to pick up his girls, Gibson and I got ready for the big homecoming. He was quite serious and focused on getting the job done, which really had more to do with the fact balloons were involved more-so than a baby.

After the balloons, it was time for the sign. Enthusiasm for markers and paper follow right behind balloons. He made sure every square inch of that paper was covered; his favourite design being 'hands'.  He needs no encouragement to draw - he finds a pen and it won't be long until he finds a surface to use it on.

As it turns out, balloons and markers don't hold a candle to his greatest pleasure with the task - his new found fascination with duct tape.  I know exactly what to get him for Christmas. Other than the fact that every second piece gets 'wrecked', it will be a very cheap way to entertain him for hours.

Then Georgia arrived home. He was very cool about it - not overly impressed one way or another. The only reaction there was from him was when they were talking about rooms and Ashley asked him if Georgia had a room. He laughed and said 'No.' with such a chuckle, as if she had just said the most ludicrous thing in the world. 

Cool as a cucumber, that little dude was.  You'd have to wonder if he really grasped that this newbie was going to be moving in permanently. But soon it was fully apparent that he understood the program.

When Ashley sat down on the couch, she noticed new pen mark that hadn't been there when she left.  She said to Gibby, 'Did you write on the couch?  You know you shouldn't do that.'  He replied, with such seriousness: 'No. De BABY do dat.'  Ash shook her head and said 'No Gibby - YOU did that.' He looked her right in the eye and again he insisted with great conviction and emphasis: 'NO. De BABY do dat.'  

Two years old, minutes into his new big brother role and he's found how totally handy it's going to be to have a sibling. He's a sharp cookie for figuring that out in record time, and she's a sharp cookie for being able to draw at 48 hours old.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labour Day Weekend

This was without a doubt, the most memorable Labour Day weekend that I’ve had in a long time. Well … try – forever.

It started with a wonderful wedding that was quite remarkable. It was a good friend of both my son ( who was best man) and my son-in-law.  Ash, being four days past her third due date, was uncertain if they’d make it. They did. We all did. Our whole family was there and that made it especially fun.  The fact that it was an outdoor wedding and the weather was nothing less than crazy, made it even more fun.  One minute there was rain, then sun, then rain again, then sun while it was raining. The bride was determined to have the ceremony outside as planned, so the nuptials were postponed for twenty minutes to see if Mother Nature would co-operate. She did. The sun came out as if on cue.  The guests assembled quickly, but by the time the girls all arrived by motorcycle, it was threatening again. As soon as the bride joined her groom, the skies opened up and we all were baptized.  It set the tone for a great time.

As I left late that night, I said to Ashley –“If you intend to go into labour tomorrow, I need you to do it before 8 am as I’ll be leaving for Toronto at 9 and won’t be able to get back until nightfall.”  True to her ever-considerate nature, she called me at 7:45 am to report that the babe had graciously accommodated me. 

Seven minutes old - she looks like she's been well fed already.

And so the real-deal Labour Day began. Everything calmly and smoothly in motion: the social events completed, no one needing to be called from work, Gibson already settled in, enjoying a fun weekend with his other Grandma; just a lovely Sunday afternoon in the middle of a long weekend – convenient and excellent timing. And best of all for me ... I was home.

I missed my wee grandson’s arrival twelve weeks ago and although that is part of his birth story, I am not wanting to be absent for such an occasion ever again. I'm not very good at waiting while I don't know what's happening with my own child - regardless of their age. It's hard on me nerves.

This time, I was there – right there.  I don't know if I'll ever know if I was actually allowed to be part of it just to try and make up for missing out on Spencer, or because I was a bit of a basket waiting for Gibson and they figured it was safer for the old girl's heart if I was close by. And cheaper on the cell phone bill. Whatever the reason, I was totally honoured that my son-in-law would invite me to be part of such an important and significant event in their lives. It's one thing being close to your girls and being welcomed in to share in that, but for a husband to let his mother in law be there, that is an immense honour to me that I will forever be quite humbled by.

Aunt Alyssa took this photo with her cell phone when she was three hours old.
I have only been witness to four other lives coming into this world and I was a little pre-occupied at those particular times. This was an experience I never imagined that I would have. It leaves one speechless. Even me, who generally has an over abundance of words for any occasion.

What was running through my head was how surreal it really was. Twenty seven years earlier, one week from then... next Sunday, I was in the same hospital, giving birth to this amazing, strong and focused woman. And now I was there, experiencing another miracle. I was trying to get my head around the whole thing ... what has brought me to this point, where all the time and all the years have gone. I can’t really.

My precious, beautiful little grand daughter. My precious, beautiful daughter.

I still have more emotion that I do words. Pretty well all I can say is – Beautiful.  The miracle; the moment; the parents, the baby … all of it.  Beautiful.  Simply beautiful.
Georgia Trista Ruth Agar           Sunday, September 5th, 2010               8 lbs 10 oz