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Dec 16, 2014

Merry Christmas! UPDATED

Guess who got to meet Santa today?

We will be home and around, I even have new work for Challenging Reality that will be posted soon, but I think it's that time of year to settle down, relax and find some peace in whatever will bring it. Be that nostalgic cartoons (Garfield and Rudolph -- peeking from behind Angie-- are my favorite oldies with Shrek the Halls being my modern favorite), favorite music (Boney M is where it's at!), favourite movies (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation) or whatever tradition brings the warmth of memories old and not so old. Try to find time to enjoy them.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a happy, blessed new year to all of you!

Dec 12, 2014

Black and White Five Day Challenge

A few weeks ago I was nominated for the Black and White Five Day Challenge going around on social media. It was fun to have something to think about each day and, regardless of how long the photo took to make, to produce something with parameters to adhere to. Especially since I'm not much of a fan of grayscale photos. If I may be technically correct for a moment, black-and-white is inaccurate. It should be called the Grayscale Five Day Challenge but it wouldn't be the first time social media got it wrong.

Four out of the five photos I used a DSLR for but the busyness of catching up after the preparations for Help-Portrait necessitated one shot, the honey bear, just being a quick cell phone photo. Without further explanation, here are the five photos I made in order of the five days that I made them.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I like nutcrackers. A point of interest in this photo, the large white ornament on the tree is the footprint impression of Fiona Angie made with a kit that she bought. It's a little bit big but to be able to look back at that over the years, and how tiny her feet were, will be special.

The bikes are always a huge hit at our Help-Portrait event. We are very grateful to have Bikers against Child Abuse (BACA) there to lend a hand, entertain people and add to the fun of our event.

Besides being in a bit of a rush, the shifty eyes of our honey bear were the perfect quick subject for this day's photo. A little bit of hard light added to the drama.

Finally, while busily working on a stirfry, to make a quick frame of the mushroom medley we bought to be the highlight of the dish. Button, shittake, oyster and portobello were in the mix and it was nice to try cooking with a greater variety. They didn't cost much more than straightforward button mushrooms but we both agreed that we didn't feel they added enough to the dish to buy them regularly. The portobello were very nice and I found the texture of the oyster mushrooms very interesting. To anyone who has texture issues with their food I don't think you would like oyster mushrooms. I would like to try cooking with these with some type of a white or plush pasta sauce.

Nov 24, 2014

Frosty Apples For Ma

My mom has wanted me to make a photo of frosty berries or apples for a long time. Finally all of the conditions came together for me to be able to make a few nice shots today when I got home from some business. The early morning fog made for the hoarfrost, the wind had not blown it away, yet, it was not too far into the winter that the apples were shriveled or ugly looking, and it was in a location that I could easily get to. Though, the excuse could be made that the teleconverter I have been coveting would have made an even stronger, closer photo than these. Angie supports the purchase but perhaps I will wait a little longer to see if it's the right idea. There have been more than a few instances lately where it would be great to have more reach and that seems to say to me that this purchase would be justified.

  Photograph Frosty Thunderchild Crabapples 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

First, I will complete a few more shoots, think about it a little bit longer and maybe save a little bit of money from Christmas to go with birthday money to make my decision. One of my doctors believes that it would be better for my neck than the 200-400mm f/4 alternative, and be better for my mental well-being if I had that extra technology at my disposal. Unfortunately, Dr. Branimir Gjetvaj is not a medical doctor but one of genetics and ecology and an acquaintance who also knows his way around a camera so a bit of the weight behind his purchase opinion is lost there since his background isn't so much concerned directly with my health. Today, though, I was told that because of the number of times I have recently wanted more reach, in addition to giving my disabled self every advantage I can, I would be wise to consider this. Of course, neither of these guys are the ones swiping the plastic for the purchase. :-)

  Photograph Frosty Thunderchild Crabapples 1 by Jay Scott on 500px

Nov 20, 2014

Three Months Old

Our dear daughter turned three months old today. Far ahead of the curve, in our opinion and as sweet, cooperative and agreeable as babies get.

Our love for you is limitless, Fiona Lily.

Time flies, doesn't it. During a hectic week, this was the best part. I very much enjoyed working on the photos from Saturday's excellent shoot but I have a verbal NDA with the family so I'll need to wait awhile to share them. What I can say is that I have at least one new portfolio shot from the day which means it was a successful shoot.

Today during our Costco run we bumped into a real estate agent I had worked with in the past. He was great and it was good to see him, say hello and catch up briefly. He's been monitoring me on Facebook and inquired about a family session so there might be another short notice shoot to try and get the photos made and ready for Christmas cards this year.

Because of that I had best quit rambling and try to scratch a few more things off of the to do list, including getting him the information he wanted. Tomorrow's exercise with Paul takes priority but the afternoon will mean resuming that ever-growing list to see if I can complete an item or two faster than what is added to it.

At some point this winter I may even have a video compilation of Fiona to share. However, that will require many more hours of work using software I'm not familiar with so, no promises. :-)

Nov 15, 2014

Little Lady Bugs

I've been meaning to share these photos of Fiona in one of the favourite outfits she's been given. Passifiers aren't that interesting to her, but she certainly has found her fists.

Beneath the cuffs of her pants are black bows on the socks. I didn't think I'd be so interested in the cute ensembles Angie put her in. The below shot was a tricky one because those legs just never stop kicking.

Red bum ruffles. Only a baby can get away with those.

She was a little tired after freshly waking up from a nap but I really enjoy the increasing number of expressions she shows us.

Since these photos she has had a visit from grandma and grandpa, grown so much, giggled to a degree that could melt the Grinch's heart and just continues to captivate us with her first experiences and developing personality.

For those tired of baby photos, I have more family shots and some other subjects coming, soon. Until then, Challenging Reality has been revived. Just in time, too. It will be featured in the next issue of Parascope, the Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Paraplegic Association's quarterly magazine. I'll share a link to the PDF once it's out. The site updates will not be quite as regular as before but I've carved out time to commit to it so there are few excuses for it to not continue forward.

Finally, Help-Portrait is upon us in a few weeks. We've worked hard and it's looking good, except for donations. Last year we were flush with cash but had no location confirmation and few committed volunteers. This year we have plenty of people, but could use more money to ensure we can afford printing consumables as well as food. Each bit that has trickled in has helped. However, if you feel compelled to support us, please email me at jayscottphotography AT or b.johnson AT Next year we will try additional fundraising methods including auctioning or raffling off our work, steak nights or other things that give the donor more than just a warm feeling.

Nov 4, 2014

Kiwi in Red

  Photograph Kiwi in Red - Full by Jay Scott on 500px

I have no reason to believe that Kiwi has been neglected since Fiona arrived, though her behaviour might convince you otherwise. However, today's photo was for Kiwi and she knew it. She didn't pose quite as well as usual because her perch wasn't as comfortable as she's used to. But we got the shots and I hope she enjoyed the attention.

  Photograph Kiwi in Red - Headshot by Jay Scott on 500px

My biggest frustration was, once again, struggling not with the photo's execution, but with limited space, a wheelchair that just cannot hop over a precisely aligned lighting setup to tweak a setting and the other limitations not based on my photographic ability. As always, I was grateful for Angie's assistance with the photo and posing Kiwi as well as taking my van in for the seasonal inspection and winter tires.

Oct 30, 2014

Ten Weeks

In some ways it's so hard to believe that she is 10 weeks old and in other ways it seems like it has been so much longer. Maybe because of how quickly she has changed, how the adapting to our new family's routine is turning out and maybe because of how far she has progressed already in her little life.

  Photograph Three Bears by Jay Scott on 500px

We figured that a Halloween costume might be a bit of a waste for her this year but she did get a suit that included a hood with bear ears. It was only fitting that we put her between her to biggest teddy bears for a photo. It seemed like an adequate Halloween costume for her.

That suit, like many of her clothes, are rated for much older kids than her. She really is growing like a weed, strong as can be and way more interactive than I ever expected her to be at this age.

Is much as I don't love winter I am looking forward to the endless photos that will come with her along with our Christmas decorations. Probably in the exact same location with the exact same background as the above photo, nice bokehlicious Christmas tree lights in the background should make for a nice shot. I definitely want to get one of her on the floor under the tree. I don't know if she will be sitting up by then but we have our ways to help support her.

I may wear my Homer Simpson costume tomorrow but I'm pretty sure I won't be as cute as our little teddy bear.

  Photograph Three Bears - 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

Oct 28, 2014

Paul, Barb, Emma, Olivia and Bailey on Campus

  Photograph Autumn Session with Friends by Jay Scott on 500px

It was two years ago since I had the privilege of photographing this family of dear friends. The older I get the more often I ponder how time flies.

  Photograph Olivia by Jay Scott on 500px

So often I have quite a bit of commentary to add to posts full of photos but this time I think they will speak for themselves.

  Photograph Emma by Jay Scott on 500px

I cannot believe how much Emma has grown up in just the last little while. Braces off, become so much taller, and into that next phase of life where things change so much. This might be advanced age talking, but I don't remember middle school being quite as difficult with regards to appearance and popularity as it is for kids, now.

  Photograph Olivia by Jay Scott on 500px

We had already postponed the photos two times because of bad weather and someone being sick. Of course, I began getting my first cold in two years the night before our session. Today is the first day, 11 days after it's set in, that I feel almost normal. However, I was not going to let a little sore throat make us postpone the last possible warm day of the year for us to get these photos done outside.

  Photograph Paul and Barb by Jay Scott on 500px

I know that I missed a few of the shots I meant to get because of my sore throat and foggy head but I'm pretty sure that we still all had a good time and I know that I was happy with the results.

The above photo was a stretch for me. I don't do well with low contrast, washed out photos. Normally I can keep the flare under control but the light coming through that shrub was both beautiful and contrast destroying but it did make for a lovely setting at that time of day.

  Photograph Olivia by Jay Scott on 500px

Credit must go where credit is due. Without the skillful assistance of my friend and fellow photographer, Gerald Murray, I would not have been able to have added the extra edge that I did that day. He's also a very fun guy that adds a nice dose of comedy. Something I did not have that day.

  Photograph Emma by Jay Scott on 500px

I'm happy to say that I will be adding to my portfolio a few shots from our session together. I would still like to go back, get the shots I missed and do some more inside since we didn't really take the greatest advantage of the nice interior architecture of the University.

  Photograph Emma and Olivia by Jay Scott on 500px

  Photograph Emma and Bailey by Jay Scott on 500px

I was really happy when they arrived and saw that Bailey was with them. Of course, I have a soft spot for dogs and she is just the sweetest. If only we could get her to teach Kiwi how to greet people at the door with a friendly tail wagging and a closed bark-hole. :)

  Photograph Emma, Olivia and Bailey by Jay Scott on 500px

  Photograph Olivia and Bailey by Jay Scott on 500px

  Photograph Paul and Barb by Jay Scott on 500px

  Photograph Autumn Session with Friends by Jay Scott on 500px

It was really nice to have a photo session at the optimum time of day. The weather was so warm. How often do we get +20°C near the end of October? Even the breeze felt warm and in made for some of my favorite photos with the girls' hair blowing nicely in the breeze. I had it all timed out for when the sun would hit each building and be glinting through each corridor between the buildings and, in my opinion, we hit each location at the perfect time and I got exactly what I was looking for in regards to the natural light.

I look forward to doing many more with these dear friends.

Oct 27, 2014

If Every Autumn Were Like This...

Autumn has never been my favorite season. September always feels like Sunday afternoon before going back to school for the week. The urgency to complete tasks before the ground is covered with inhospitable snow always felt like the hurry to complete homework before the new school week began. A number of good things have happened in various Septembers of my life but so have a number of terrible things and, as much as I'm pretty good at forgetting the bad, some of these have not been erased with time's selective eraser.

This September, and even this October, has flown by because of our preoccupation and enthrallment with our daughter. However, we are very happy that it has been such a nice few months, most evenings being more comfortable temperature and insect-wise outside than they were in June or July, so that we could spend as much time outside with our little family than we expected based on previous year's autumns.

Most years our late-to-bud and late-to-shed linden tree freezes then drops its leaves. This year it has been nice enough for them to go through their entire change and fall naturally. I really enjoyed watching that process in addition to the nice weather. When it does have this opportunity to go through its cycle naturally it made for quite a lovely, steady, observation. Mixed with the other colors in the backyard neighborhood the pallet is quite gentle and pleasing.

I decided it needed to be photographed in some simple shots just to be recorded and shared. The last one was made on a slightly chilly evening by the light of our patio lights and rope lights. I observed the nice falloff of light while escorting our skitter-ish little dog for her evening outing. Those rustling leaves sure are a distraction and a little bit scary to her. You can't see me rolling my eyes, but they are.

No, I'm not looking forward to winter as the first flakes fall outside today, but you deal with it as we tough/stubborn Saskatchewanians do. Hopefully the winter tires on the van this year will make a difference, now if I could just get winter tires and a power drive on my chair we'd be getting somewhere. Or, better yet, people abiding by the bylaws and shoveling their sidewalks.

Doesn't matter, I've got a head full of ideas and things I want to do this winter that should keep me going until the first signs of melting.

Oct 20, 2014

Two Months, Already!

My, how she has grown. The double chins are developing beautifully. She's standing up with lateral support for over ten seconds and her neck is almost strong enough to let her site in her borrowed Bumbo Chair and awesome gift from Auntie Robin, James and Will, her Jumperoo.

  Photograph Two Months - 1 by Jay Scott on 500px

Her eye colour is coming in (the left one caught some extra light, hence the brighter look); they seem to be blue. Her kicking is beginning to hurt when she sits on our lap and her interaction is well ahead of her age. But, I may be biased. ;)

What would a session be without some outtakes?

Yeah, a beautiful day, multiple flashes and a reflector would make me pull away, too.

For these last two photos a meme came to mine. The Most Interesting Man in the World. My caption would be, "I don't always pose outside for a photo, but when I do, it's +23 in late October."

  Photograph Two Months - 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

Tomorrow are her first immunizations. It will be tough, but, then, how much of parenting is difficult decisions for your child's best interests?

Oct 8, 2014

Seven Weeks

Can you believe she's seven weeks old? We aren't quite sure where the time went but our baby sure is growing. Getting so strong, so interactive, and those giggles just melt my heart.

  Photograph Seven Weeks - 1 by Jay Scott on 500px

I really liked a polka dot onesie Angie had dressed Fiona in the other day so I chose a background to suit that theme. The top she's wearing was different than the one I that had caught my attention, but the bright pink was fine with me and suited my theme nicely.

She fell asleep on my lap and had a mighty grip on my finger.

  Photograph Seven Weeks - 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

Photo credit goes to Angie.

Oct 2, 2014

Boffins Club - Last Warm Evening of 2014

I know the possibility exists that we will have another few warm evenings this year. But warm evenings, that are calm and comfortable enough for a couple of quadriplegics? I'm not so sure.

I'm not sure that the photos I made that night with Paul's company are that breathtaking but it was just great to be out in such a nice area, so nicely lit and populated by such nice people. It would've been nice to just sit down by the pond but to be chatting while the long exposures were being made just fit my description of a perfect evening.

I have seen some really nice work by a fellow local photographer in this area. I communicated with him a bit and determined that they do not close the gates at the Boffins Club at night. Maybe they do later on, but they were still open would we left there after 9 PM.

Seeing his work made me decide I needed to get there before the end of the nice weather but I needed to arrive with an idea. An idea that I hadn't already seen him capably execute. If you are on Instagram I highly recommend following him. His handle is @thecinnamon. Some great work with some aerial photography thanks to his quadcopter and a clear creative and technical understanding of what he's doing.

  Photograph Boffins Club Koi by Jay Scott on 500px

Of course my idea involves defaulting to what I'm good at, off-camera flash. It took a little bit of tweaking but I managed to get a few shots with the Koi in the photo, illuminated by the flash I had aimed at the water. I even forgot to bring the bread crumbs I was going to to lure them into the right spot. I think enough people have fed them this year that when they see humans they come looking and expecting treats. It sure was interesting to watch them shoot away every time that flash fired. That's one of the reasons  you will see the streaks in the water from the leaves that were moving the entire time of the 20+ second exposure, while the slow-moving fish were not to be seen as streaks because they took off so very quickly.

The last shot was just simply taking five minutes to move the tripod 10 feet one direction (Paul and I were pondering our jealousy of how quickly an able-bodied person could have picked that tripod up, rotated 90°, and set it down where they wanted it while it took us five minutes) to make a photo he thought looked like something out of Hansel and Gretel.

  Photograph Boffins Club on a Hot Autumn Evening by Jay Scott on 500px

I must say that I've been enjoying doing some more scenic type photography. In my mind I feel optimistic about trying to do more of this in the winter but we will see what happens. There may be a few more less inspiring shots made out of the window of my van where it's a little bit warmer, unless getting around is easy and I'm feeling motivated.

Sep 29, 2014

Two Lil Punkins

Last week we received a miniature pumpkin in our veggie basket from the co-op we are in. We aren't sure if it was meant to be consumed and, if it was, we wouldn't know what to do with it. Maybe it would roast up nice and tender but, for now, it is purely decorative. It was the perfect prop for the next series of photos of our daughter.

  Photograph My Two Lil Punkins - 1 by Jay Scott on 500px

  Photograph My Two Lil Punkins by Jay Scott on 500px

Again, I know this is not everybody's preferred style of photography but I wanted to post it and keep it here even just as a record for the times I will come back to look at these posts. Sometimes the best way to see how well your skill is developing is by looking at where you've come from.

This was taken at the same time as the fall images in the previous post.

  Photograph Robin Smith Memorial Garden Abstract by Jay Scott on 500px

Sep 26, 2014

Oh, Autumn.

  Photograph Robin Smith Memorial Garden HDR by Jay Scott on 500px

You're so lovely. But today is our likely last day above 25 and one of the last days that our house will get warmer without help from our furnace. Enjoy the weather and the beauty while it's easy to get out and enjoy it without a 20 minute clothing application process. That said, I'm planning on trying to find more locations to safely shoot from my van this winter. Try to stay safely warm, but still make something interesting. One shot in particular, I have in mind. I'll let you know if it gets made.

  Photograph Robin Smith Memorial Garden Double Exposure by Jay Scott on 500px

Above I was trying to continue with the abstract by making a double exposure of the tree in the photo below and the path in the top photo. Like it? Hate it? Let me know.

  Photograph Robin Smith Memorial Garden in Full Autumn Beauty by Jay Scott on 500px

It was a very comfy day for Fiona's first-of-many trips to the Forestry Farm.