A Lovely Little World

Adventures in Southern Ontario

Tag: dunnville (page 1 of 2)

Highlights of 2016: Photo heavy as always

In 2016,

I was free from depression.

I loved music festivals, art crawls, hikes, bonfires, urban exploration, and spending time with “my tribe” (as much as I hate the terminology).

One of my best friends got married. Another walked her first runway (the one in the hat). Her husband started an amazing band (also the one in the hat). I did fun photo sessions with great people.

I visited the ROM Chihuly exhibit, Ripley’s Aquarium, the AGO and the AGH (multiple times).

I planned a photo walk with 500px. It got rained out, but it didn’t matter. I had my first solo Art exhibit.

I stayed at a cabin in Haliburton.

I started a new job in a city I love. I explored and walked that city, a lot.

I bought a new car! I helped amazing people do heartwarming things.

I saw how beautiful the world is at sunrise. I tackled things that scared me and found direction I didn’t have before.

I remembered how much I love music and started learning to play guitar.

2016 was an amazing year for me. The first year I thought I might be close to happy. Maybe you haven’t had your year yet. Maybe peace feels impossible. I know this is cliched, but please hang on.

All it takes is a little bit of light into the darkness – a second to weaken its pull and then you will slowly begin to push it back. You will find the path, the fog will break, the darkness will lift. Please don’t give up hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas time in the city

Tomorrow is the big day, Christmas Day! In fact, I suspect most people won’t be reading a blog post on Christmas Eve, but that’s okay. I’m writing it out for me anyway – sharing my thoughts this season, and a few of my favourite captures of the people and places I love, (starting with a few snaps from a family session with one of the best girls in the ENTIRE world).

Truthfully, this Christmas has been tough for me. It’s my favourite time of year normally, but some reason, this year single-dom hit me harder than other years.  Everyone around me is settling into relationships, and I’m just not. Not even close. All of that being said, things haven’t been all bad. I’ve realized how grateful I am for the friendships, family and support that I do have, and it dawned on me that if I had to trade all of that for a romantic relationship, I wouldn’t do it. I love my people far too much for that.  I stopped volunteering at the soup kitchen when I started my new job, and I still received presents from people there, which is almost too sweet for my heart to handle, seriously. I get to take photos (and hang out) with friends all the time. My co-workers are amazing, and the kind of people you know will be your friends for life. And I really love my Church.

I didn’t have a lot of time for Christmas adventures this year, but I still got in most of my Christmas movie favourites, and my friends who just got married, still had our annual Christmas movie night, only this year, they made a whole Christmas dinner, which was amazing. It was just on a work night this year, because all of our schedules have gotten so crazy.

The last few years, I’ve done all my shopping online and even though this year, I still did most of it that way, I went with Sarah, Joe and Katrina to pick up a few small things, and that felt really festive…. particularly because they dressed like deranged elves, just kidding guys.

And finally, the city is just so pretty at Christmas. Everything is festive. I didn’t even photograph most of it. Delivery truck drivers wear Santa hats, and formal offices look more playful with fairy lights. My favourite though, is balconies on apartment rises, decorated with colourful lights that you can see from faraway.

And I did make it to a Santa Clause parade, and any Dunnville parade is a treat for very unexpected reasons, (think Star Hollows or Pawnee) but that’s a post for another day.

Christmas reminds you that miracles happen all the time, and that’s something for which to be grateful.

JT: A couple session

When I first started doing photography professionally, I swore off weddings, not couple sessions, just weddings. In a way though, for photojournalist type photographers, they really are a dream. Weddings come with so many emotions, and sweet moments, and people are in some ways more informal with the photographer, because they’re thinking about love and looking their best. I love going through the photos afterwards even more, which is weird for me, since editing is usually my least favourite part of the process.

I have these friends who are always up to try anything, and I really wanted to try using smoke in wedding-type photos. We went to the beach, they were, as always their gorgeous selves, and the smoke did not work AT ALL the way I wanted. That being said, I’m determined to give it another go, I will master this eventually. In the meantime, here is a couple that makes everyone believe in love. It’s true, I’ve seen the comments they get on Facebook. Watching them interact was even better. Even if they were on their best (not that good for the record) behaviour.

cutest

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Mudcat Festival Part 2 – The Stotts

It’s Canada Day, and I haven’t even posted the rest of my Mudcat Festival photographs. I’m not doing any Canada Day events today, in part because last year I went to the Falls and it was so busy and so much waiting for a very brief firework display that I needed a year to recover, (kidding, I’m just really lazy today!) Canada Day people typically gather in parks to listen to music and catch up with people, so we can pretend these photos are from today.

Beau Bear colourful hair footwear Graeson's sweet face group portrait Haines family Harrison Jimmy P joe Kevin kid table nate Sarah photographing the Stotts Sean the stotts 01 the stotts 03 the stotts 04

I really enjoyed the music in the park on the Thursday night of the Mudcat Festival, and not just because I’m friends with the band. The Stotts put on a really great show; it was lively, catchy, and just good music. James Favron has a great stage presence and the other James and Matt are just super talented. The park was full of younger families and friends of the band, as well as a whole ton of teenagers (friends of the drummer), but people weren’t drunk like at the other younger demographic events. James has a two year old and baby himself, who were out there dancing with James’ wife, and also trying to run onto the stage, so the concert was kid friendly. In fact, the park was full of kids running through, so it wasn’t exclusive in that sense. It was just a really fun night. We had perfect weather, and the Mudcat organizers sold coffee and t-shirts. I ran into more people that I’m friends with now than I did the whole weekend. I realize this is basically just a post full of pictures of people you don’t know, but they’re photos that document the event for me, so please try to enjoy them anyway!

I only made a few cell phone videos of the show, so I won’t post them, because the sound quality isn’t great, but here’s a video so you can here their sound. Also check out these photos by SGWills Photography.  And for those of you who don’t know, a mud cat is just a cat fish, and also Dunnville’s mascot and hockey team. It’s a weird creature to have a festival for, but that is Dunnville.

Dunnville Mudcat Festival

If you’ve ever watched Gilmore Girls, you have a pretty good idea of what small town life is like. Not in the sense that small towns are quaint and idealistic, but in that small towns are full of unusual people and quirky happenings. When you go to a festival, you will run into dozens of people you haven’t seen since high school, other than when you ran into them at the festival the year before. Nothing really makes sense, particularly the parade, which definitely has quite a few tractors, but if you watch it for the kitsch factor or you’re a very small child, you’ll enjoy it. The parade actually runs the Saturday of the Mudcat festival, and although it’s not the first major event, I’ll start there, because I laughed a lot. Honestly, most of the people who turn out put a lot of work into their floats and so forth, and that is too be applauded, but no matter what, it’s Dunnville and I love it, but it’s weird.

Here are a few of the good and bad moments of the parade. I didn’t capture all unfortunately. I was too enthralled, then I was like, “oh no! I’m missing preserving this!”, and started snapping, even though there were people standing in front of me and I’m short.

 

Mudcat Parade 2016

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The Mudcat Festival also has a Midway, Street Dance, Fireworks and Live Music. The fireworks are always really good. The park on the river is jam-packed with people and that’s always fun, although sometimes it’s tricky to get good seating.

Dunnville Mudcat Fireworks 2016Dunnville Mudcat FireworksDunnville Mudcat Fireworks 2016

I’ve just realized how photo heavy this post is, so I’ll break it into two posts! I’ll save the photos from my favourite event until last. What other small town festivals are good? Are there events that are different? Maybe I should try to hit up a few for comparison.

 

Adventures in Tick City

I finally got a new bike, and it’s actually a really old bike, and a really ugly colour, but it rides better than the old bike, so all is well. I really wanted to take it for a long run, and Joe had a free day (he and his fiancee are planning a wedding, so that rarely happens!) so we set out around the town. I saw a pile of junk off the side of the road, so naturally I wanted to check it out. (Who doesn’t want to look at old piles of garbage?) The piles of garbage lead to a trail and two really dead and flattened and dismembered opossums but I thought we should still check it out. Joe sent photos to Trina, who is usually the voice of reason in situations and she didn’t seem alarmed, so we set out. It was really pretty and for the next two days, random ticks kept appearing in our lives. One climbed down his suit jacket at Church. The moral of the story is, if you’re going to explore creepy junk piles, be prepared for ticks. The junk piles were cool though. See below.

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Joe happily texting Katrina, oblivious to the ticks clinging desperately to his clothing.

 

Bonfire Weather

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People always say “don’t take photos in the heat of the day. The light is too harsh”. Usually it is, but sometimes you just have to do it. Sometimes the day is so beautiful and the weather just perfect, and you want to preserve the washed out tones and the bright glare because it feels good and the moment is good. You can’t always follow the rules with Art and life. Sometimes you have to follow the direction of your heart.

Joe and Katrina Engagement Session

Summer Adventures

When I was about four years old, my dad performed at Kingdom Bound, a big Christian music festival at Darien Lake. I hadn’t been back since and even at the time, I was so upset because I didn’t get to ride on the ferris wheel. My friends have gone a few times but I never did because of work or money. I finally went this year, and… I rode the ferris wheel. It’s really tall and that’s about all I can say. It moves really slowly, but has a great view.

Liz and I saw Robin Mark in the Worship Tent. Sarah, Joe and Trina went and saw Cutlass. The music was great, and I also really enjoyed going through the Marketplace and seeing tables for some really important causes. That same weekend, one of our friends came for a visit with her son, so we went fishing at the Port Maitland Pier. I DID NOT FISH. Joelle and I wandered around and of course, I just photographed the whole thing. Katrina tried fishing with gummy worms because she didn’t want to touch real worms. Apparently, that’s not that unusual but it was hilarious to me.

A View of the Riverfront

It’s hard to form a clear picture in your mind of where exactly the new condo would go, based just on drawings.

Condo development

You can see Main Street and the area of the marina/Boat Club and then you can see the big red and yellow chunk that would be the condo on the river front. Here’s what I want to point out…. that little tiny bit of blue right behind the red, that’s the only bit of river frontage left on that stretch of Main Street. If you look at where they want to give us “green space” if they develop that spot, it’s that little tiny wedge squeezed between the condo and that last little bit of river. Now there is a lovely bit of park with a gazebo down further (the orange circle), but there’s fence and everything separating the park from the water front.

I took some photos at the spot the other evening to help people visualize what exactly is planned.

condo spot 02 condo spot 04condo spot 05Condo spot

This is the spot, right beside the already existing condo complex. Right now, it’s trees and grass, and a small spot where you can walk down to the river. In the third photo down, the one with the windmills…. that’s the only open view of the river from this side of the bridge. condo spot labelled

My diagram isn’t even that clear, I just realized…. but the point is, the condo is planned to be built directly in front of that spot where I drew the red line, blocking the view of the river. I am not in any capacity opposed to growing a town and progress, I just think when it’s such a valuable asset, you don’t sell it off for private development. If the community decides the town needs a building there, that belongs to the town, and is not privatized, that’s something different. I just don’t believe for a second that we should sell the last bit of river frontage to a developer that wants to make money off the view.

Anyway, that’s my rant for the morning. If you’d like to sign the petition, it’s right here:

Petition to save waterfront

There was an article in the Sachem this week suggesting that Bernie Corbett sided with the people (the majority of the town) who want to keep this a green space. I want to remind people that he still has to take this information to Council and they ultimately decide what happens, not Mr. Corbett alone. So don’t be indifferent about this. It’s not said and done yet and we want to make sure this land is protected for future generations.

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