Being the first Friday in February, I've decided it's the official, unofficial start of Fridays at Fleming, a weekly photo essay of my visit to Fleming Beach/Macaulay Point here in Victoria.
I've been going for about a year now with my friend Shannon, her dog Tica and sometimes my dog Mr Coco joins us. Sometimes my husband comes too. Recently I've started bringing my camera again because even though I know this place well now, each time I visit it's a bit different and I want to try to capture that same, yet differentness. Translating what I see and feel.
Here is installment one:
It all started with two seagulls just sitting on the boat ramp,
but then dogs were headed in their direction so that moment of peace was short.
The water was so calm -- literally the calm before the storm as the wind gusted up to blow-the-lid-off-a-garbage-can level in the afternoon.
Tica had her first treat on the picnic table.
Mr Coco wanted to be carried for a while.
We trundled along and happened to meet up with our friend from a couple weeks back, Rowan, who stopped in for treats. There were more dogs, crow friends, a face in the rocks.
A sky that tells a different story every time I visit.
Little surprises along the way and a seagull who could strike a pose.
A very happy dog and her stick, little Uncle the Schnoodle puppy and then Sophie, who was one of the friendliest dogs I've ever met, stopped by to say hello.
Then we were back at the docks where a little one checked out the scenery and then the geese flew overhead.
Tica wore her peace beads on our walk today.
Some may just think they're wooden beads strung together by her human, but they're actually magical.
Not only did Tica make friends with a giant bear of a Bouvier named Bizou, she also decided today was the day to walk all the way down to the end of dock.
We've been walking at Macaulay Pt for about a year now and though Tica always wants to walk onto the dock on the way to the parking lot, though she only ever makes it a little ways. Sometimes 10 ft, sometimes 5, once she made it about 20ish.
We do offer treats to see how far she'll go, but her fear always ends up overriding her love of treats and she lets us know she's had enough and will turn herself around to walk nervously back to shore. Not today though. There was no turning back. With some soft milk bones on offer, she put her bravest feet forward and made it all the way to the end where she got some "Yay Tica!" treats and I got a couple photos in and then she realized where she was and decided to head back.
So we did.
It was a big day.
Along with Bizou, Tica also met little Leeroy the Boston and Bodhi with the balls (the built in kind), who she flirted with. She also spotted Sidney, the seal who hangs out there too.
Throughout all this dog-ness, the sky and clouds made for an intense backdrop for this Friday adventure at the point.
It was December 20. The day known as "Suzy Day" in our home.
The day our little Suzy passed away in 2013.
The day I go visit her in our backyard and place a rock on her grave.
But this December 20 I couldn't.
It was so quiet that morning when I woke up. No sound coming from cars on the roads and a different sort of light coming in through the blinds.
Between the cold temperatures, having to dig trenches for our little dog and making sure the bird feeders were well stocked, I planned on spending most of the time hibernating inside.
Except I saw my grasses. Tall and marking the place of that new garden bed. I'd planted them in the front yard so they'd catch the setting sun. I've yet to trim them ever because I love to look at them swaying in the breeze. They are the holdouts. And this day they inspired me to spend a bit more time outside, with camera in hand.
Though I didn't venture from my yard.
The snow was light and feathery and I could sweep it with a broom. It landed on the delicate remnants of plants, filled all the nooks of the yard and created a roof over the pet cemetery, seemingly offering extra protection for our missed friends, as well as blanketing Suzy's special resting spot.
It brought contrast and definition to an otherwise monotone yard of lives well-lived and new ones waiting to regenerate, where it stayed for days until the rain and warmth melted it away.
This wasn't a change of season, it was just a change in days... in weather. An opportunity to see my yard with different eyes.
An impermanent art installation that vanished as quickly as it arrived.
Reminding me of life's impermanence.
The wasp nest.
There were times I felt I had been transported somewhere very far north (or south)...
... or felt moody and dark.
There were times of remembrance,
and watching the water come in and cover the green rock,
and being captivated by the birds.
And I didn't forget my rocks.
I bought a new camera last week, then returned it the next day because the lens stopped working.
It was smaller and lighter and meant to be easier on my body - the days of lugging heavy cameras and lenses around are numbered for me sadly.
Long story short, I decided not to get a replacement, but now I'm second guessing that decision. It ticked a lot of boxes on my wishlist, but it's kind of taking a step backwards in the gear world in some respects. And I didn't fall in love with it when I took that first image like I've done when pressing that shutter release for the first time on my other cameras.
As well as the camera tech stuff I take into account when photographing, there's also a connected feeling I get. It may be a wee bit different, depending on which camera I use, but it's always there, no matter what camera I'm using. I didn't feel it during that short visit and I questioned if it will ever come?
I know photography isn't just about the camera -- there's knowledge of the gear, the gear itself (camera bodies, lenses, filters), the human behind the lens, their unique perspective to their subject, post processing, etc. - reminding me of a story:
"a photographer goes to a friend's house for dinner and the host says 'you're a wonderful photographer, you must have a fantastic camera!'. At the end of the meal, the photographer says to the host 'what a wonderful meal, you must have a fantastic stove'!"
For now I'm mired in indecision so am sharing some of my test images, to "put them out there and add them into my work" to see if that changes anything for me. Some of the images have had post processing, some not.
Thanks for looking!
When the chance to go hang with horses one afternoon came up recently, I jumped at it! After all, it was part of an equine assisted learning program developed by family in Saskatchewan and they are now certifying others to teach the program and it's one of the coolest things to participate in. On this afternoon we ran through a couple exercises and although it wasn't my first time taking part, each time seems new and different, and each time I learn something that surprises me and is soooo cool.
In one exercise Feather (the sweetest of horses) was to push a yoga ball forward between two curbs. She wasn't to leave the aisle, but we (my human partner and I) also couldn't touch her. So while my partner walked on one side of her, my dog-knowledge instincts kicked in and I started calling to her like I would my dog friends. And these horse people watched in earnest, along with a healthy dose of confusion as I said "Feather, come on Feather! That's a good girl, Feather" I called in my saccharine-sweet and higher-than-ususal voice. Each time I called her, she moved forward towards me. When she finished the short course everyone laughed and said they couldn't believe she responded to my calls. To me - someone who knows way more about dogs than horses - it seemed natural, but to the horse folks, well, they were pretty surprised by what happened. In the end we agreed that horses can pick up on energies and the energy I was giving out was not one that would be met with anything other than love and praise when she got to me. I'd only known Feather a short while, but that little bond was evident and proved once again that horses can teach us a little something... or two.
This program was at Heart Lake Farms in Victoria, but you can learn more about the full program at www.cartierfarms.ca.
I can't share photos of the event due to privacy, but here's one of my and my new bestie, Feather.
I've been feeling like I'm stuck with my photography, but it's probably more like I'm overwhelmed. I have projects that are partially finished but I just can't finish them. I have ideas for shoots and books. Short- and long-term projects... even a wee film. But something just isn't jiving so instead of forcing it, I'm taking a short hiatus.
My garden is proving to be a great diversion too. If given the chance to work in my garden or sit at my computer inside while the sunshines outside, I'm going to head outside.
So while I take a breather, I hope you enjoy some imagery from my ever-changing garden.
Thanks for visiting,
Moro + Saru on film
Thetis Lake, 2014.
After many years, I’ve finally confirmed who this dog is and who his human is (thanks M!) and sent it to them outta the blue because I know I’d wanna see other people’s of my dogs. Moro’s mom said it made her day, so yay!
So just to clarify, if anyone has of my dogs, I wanna see them!
More from this outing HERE!