Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dresses for Spring

7:59 sunrise
18:56 sunset

We've had warm (for this time of year) weather the last few weeks and I am hankering for the next season.  Even though it is currently -13C outside I have been thinking spring.  Okay, to be honest, I have been thinking spring dresses - both new and old.

The Fresh Collective is one of my fave Toronto stores and since I will be heading to Toronto at the end of March I have been trolling the Fresh Collective facebook page to see what's new.  Here are some of the things I am crushing on at the moment:

Most awesome bike skirt.  I feel like this one has the bike-wife written all over it so I will pass.  But I think the designer (Desserts & Skirts) creates these in other fabrics.

Super cute blue cowl dress by Fresh Baked Goods

Other super cute blue dress by Spruce Clothing (love the neckline!)

And a pair of shoes that I simply must own:

In addition to these funky new things made by Canadian designers, I am in dress love with several of the latest vintage offerings over at Small Earth Vintage.  Karen's got such a great eye for dresses.  I troll her shop on a regular basis and some of my favourite things have come to me through her. I am hoping that one of these lovelies is in my size.

1960s abstract print dress
1960s blue abstract print dress, by Pennypacker

1950s spring floral print dress.  The colours aren't really my thing but I love the belt, buttons and bow.
1950s spring floral print dress with bow, by Shelton Stroller

1960s aqua piqué dress
1960s robin's egg blue piqué dress with roll collar and bow

1960s candy coloured striped dress
1960s L'Aiglon candy stripe dress

1960s beaded cocktail dress.  Alas, I already know this one is the wrong size so I won't be having it.  But that doesn't stop me from wanting it.
1960s beaded champagne bubbles brocade cocktail dress

Which item is your favourite?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Duelling Cameras

8:31 sunrise
17:57 sunset

Another sunny, warm Sunday meant that it was another day for a snow bike ride.  I still have my friend's fancy-pants camera and I thought I'd try taking it with me to see if there is any chance I would ever carry a DSLR on a bike ride.  Worked well today but I think I'd worry too much about breaking it to carry it regularly.

Sierra brought her camera too - not quite a DSLR but a compact camera that allows you to change lenses and generally takes high quality images without feeling like you are carrying a child around in your backpack.

When all was said and done we enjoyed a fast lap around Quickie and took around 100 images between the two of us.  I downloaded Sierra's photos and she grabbed mine and then came her idea for a blog post: we each choose our favourite five images from the day and our reasons why.

I easily whittled mine down to a top 13.  But 13 isn't five, even in my math world.  So then came the hard part - what is it that makes me love a particular photograph more than another?  Why do I like some of these and not others?  Aside from basic things like an image (usually) being in focus, what makes one photo 'better' than another?  Let me show you what I picked.

Taken by me: I like that both Julie and Kris appear in this one.  I also like the colour of the trees around and behind them.

Taken by Sierra:  Again, Julie and Kris.  There were a few similar to this to choose from but this was my favourite.  I like it for the landscape orientation, the fact that you can see Guinness (Paula's dog), and the clear view of the trail.

Taken by me:  This is a bit of a weird choice but I like it because it makes me smile.  I take a lot of self-portraits and this is an example of how sometimes they can be bad but sorta good.  I didn't crop my face out, I just didn't get it in the frame in the first place.  I chose it because it is still bike-themed but looks different from the others.  And by the way, I rode off with my sunglasses still on my helmet after this. Nearly lost 'em.

Taken by Sierra:  This and the next photo are my top two favourites.  I love the trees in this and the light (sooooo pretty!) and I like where I am positioned in the shot.  (Can you see where Sierra propped her bike up?)

Taken by me:  I've been a bit obsessed with lens flares since spending time in Arizona.  I like that the dogs are visible and so to is Julie's face but mostly, it's the sun in this one that does it for me.

I take photographs not only because I like pretty pictures but also because I like to document things.   A little voice inside my head often tells me that less is more and that I don't need to post 10 photographs of one particular bike ride.  In fact, if there are no especially stellar images from that ride, I probably don't need to post the photographs at all.  But I can't help it. I want to capture the feel of the day, all participants who were there, the landscape as well as the more detailed shot.  I'm not saying I succeed today (neither Sierra not Paula appear in any of the above shots, which bothers me) but that sentiment does guide how I choose what to keep and what to delete.  The technically "better" photo is not always my favourite.

Wanna see what the bike-wife chose?  Me too.  I'm curious to see if we picked any of the same images.  Head on over to Mrs North 60 and let her know what you think.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lots of Light in the Copper State

8:51 sunrise
17:38 sunset

When I woke up this morning there was no doubt: we weren't in Arizona anymore, Toto.  The light coming in through our bedroom window had a distinctly white/blue/grey tone.  For the last ten days I had been seeing nothing but light of a yellow/orange variety.  It's amazing to me that, while the quality of the light is something that appeals to me in a huge way in both the Yukon and Arizona, the nature of it can be so different.

I took more than 200 photographs on our trip, partly because a friend loaned me her digital SLR and I wanted to play around with it.  I'm no artiste but it's fun to see how different cameras "see" things and of course having the camera perform better in lower light conditions is a bonus - especially because I'm lazy and often use the ol' auto settings.

Here are a few of my favourite light, sun and shadow images from our trip:

In Organ Pipe National Monument:

In Prescott:

On the Apache Trail in the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix: 

Driving towards Tucson on highway 79:

Phoenix at dusk:

And this is what the light looked like back at home today.  Pretty, but definitely not southwestern.

That's okay.  I'm ready to be back.  I am so thankful that I have the means to travel but I am even more grateful that I have a happy home.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I can see Mexico from here

No really, I can see Mexico from my campsite.  We're at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument which shares a 50km stretch of border with Mexico.  The campground in which we spent our first night was a mere 6.5km from the town of Sonoyta.

It's beautiful here - spectacular morning and evening light and enough sunshine during the day to worry about getting a sunburn.  It's isolated, too, which surprises me given that Tucson is only 200km away and Phoenix about the same distance.  I've borrowed a friend's camera and Ben seems to be committed to taking photos of me taking photos.  Le sigh.

Last night I was woken up by what I can only assume was the hoot-hooting of a great horned owl.  After all the warnings by park staff and our guidebook I half expected to be woken up by a thirsty Mexican migrant crossing through the park.  But no, it was just a bird.

The area south of Interstate 10 in Arizona is an odd place.  The border patrol drives up and down the highway and we drove through checkstops where I was asked for my passport.  Add to this the aid stations scattered through the desert and I felt like I was in another country.  Not the USA, not Canada, somewhere.... else.  That said, it is beautiful and I'm looking forward to more camping among the cactus.  But first - a few days up north with friends in Prescott.