Tag Archives: photography

Running With Purpose: A Photographic Record

21 May

I am participating in the 2012 Wordcount Blogathon, which means one post every day for the month of May.

I am currently reading a running book that has a lot of great advice in it. Since I will be posting a review of the book in the near future, I will not give away too much about it now, but one thing it says is that every run should have a a purpose. You shouldn’t just go out for a run for the sake of putting miles onto your running shoes. You should have a specific goal to improve endurance, train for hills, work on form, and so on.

It’s really too bad that I got this book so late in my training for next weekend’s half-marathon. I confess that my purpose on many of my long runs has been to simply get through the 18km or 20km without dying.

In general, though, my training has been a lot more focused than it was last season. I have incorporated hills and speed training. My long runs have included race pace segments, and in a couple of cases, actual races. I have done some strength training, although I have not been as consistent with it as I’d like to be. Since I started reading this book, I have been paying more attention to form, and in fact, one of my runs last week was entirely devoted to practicing my form.

Today was my last longish run before the half-marathon. At this point, my training is done. I’m either ready to race 21.1km or I’m not. Apart from keeping my limbs loose and relaxed, no running I do over the next seven days will improve my chances for a good race.

Therefore, my purpose for today’s run was simply to enjoy myself. And to take pictures.

A beautiful day is a welcome sight for a runner heading out of the front door

A perfect day for a run in the Rouge Valley

Beautiful reflections in the Rouge River

Lake Ontario in all of its springtime glory

A family of Canada geese enjoying the sunshine

Waving to my American friends on the other side of the lake

My favourite graffiti

Aerial view of the river I ran along earlier in the run

(Photo credit for all pictures: Kirsten Doyle)

A Friend Who Saved The Day (And My Sanity)

12 May

I met my friend Fran about fifteen years ago. We met more or less by default: my boyfriend and her boyfriend were old high school buddies. We always got along well enough, but we didn’t really become firm friends until just over two years ago, when Fran emailed me to tell me she was moving to Canada. By then both of us had long split from the boyfriends who had been responsible for us meeting in the first place.

Despite living on the other side of the country, since Fran came to Canada she has visited me in Toronto several times. During her first visit we ran a race together. I did the 10km race and Fran – running in her first race ever – did the 5km. During that same visit, she assembled an outdoor grill that I had been given and that had me stumped. This is why you have friends who can put helicopters together. Seriously. That is what Fran does for a living.

During Fran’s visits, we always seem to go through an inordinate amount of wine. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Most recently, Fran came to my wedding. I can safely say that if she hadn’t been there, I would have been lost. She arrived three days before the wedding, when I was roughly halfway through a week-long nervous breakdown. By this point, she had already helped immensely, having offered to play flute music at the wedding ceremony (Fran can fix helicopters and play the flute like an angel).

On the day she arrived, Fran and I went driving all over the place, picking up the guest favours, sorting out a camera for the as-yet unconfirmed photographer, buying crafty stuff to make the guest favours look pretty.

The following day, while I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off and doing frantic last-minute shopping, Fran calmly took charge of the guest favours. She spent the day wrapping them, putting ribbon around them and even adding a bit of hand-written calligraphy to finish them off. They looked gorgeous.

I have to pause at this point to give credit to my Mom. She helped with the guest favours too. Enormously. For a day and a half the two of them – Fran and my Mom – were at it, working hard to make everything look perfect. If it hadn’t been for them, I honestly don’t know what I would have done.

Fran also helped keep me from unraveling completely at the seams. During the day, she was offering practical help with all kinds of things. During the evenings, she kept me supplied with wine, good humour and great conversation.

On the day, she drove back and forth to the reception hall with her friend Corrigan, dropping off things that needed to be dropped off and helping keep everything in line.

And of course, there was the music at the ceremony. It was beautiful, it was personal, it made the ceremony complete in a way that some random organist could never have managed. The musical interlude continued at the reception, where Fran and Gerard’s cousin Liam played a wonderful set of Celtic music. They played together effortlessly, despite having met and practised together for the first time the previous day.

Then there was the photography. We had a number of people present with cameras, many of whom are very capable photographers, and Fran was one of them. She took hundreds – literally hundreds – of fantastic pictures that are a wonderful record of a perfect day.

Fran, if you’re reading this, thank you does not begin to be enough. You came through for me in so many ways at a time when I really needed it.

Next time you’re coming to town, let me know and I’ll stock up on wine.

Performing Artist In The Making?

16 Apr

Sometimes it is just not possible to write a post. People get sick or busy, unexpected things happen, and life just gets in the way.

Or sometimes people throw bridal showers for you – or in my case, Jack & Jill parties – and you spend the day drinking red wine and watching your future mother-in-law pay $50 for the privilege of throwing a pie in your fiance’s face.

The last of the guests has left, and the last glass of wine for the evening has been drained. It was a good, good day – one that I needed, because my stress levels have been through the roof. I’m in no fit state to write because I’ve had a lot of wine and I’m slurring my words. Instead, I offer you this picture of James acting like a ham.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Light

7 Apr

The theme for this week’s photo challenge is Light. This is one of those things that can be interpreted in many different ways. Instead of going for some metaphorical meaning, however, I decided to go the literal route today.

Candle In The Wind

Battle of nature: sun vs. storm

All roads lead to the light

A benefit of early morning running: witnessing the birth of a new day

Indiana sunset

Waiting for the bus under the glow of streetlights on a winter's morning

Driving home to the accompaniment of the sunset

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ocean

31 Mar

I thought I’d start participating in the weekly photo challenges. Some of the weekly themes are somewhat obscure, but this one – Oceans – is a nice one. Here are this week’s offerings.

Not really an ocean, but gives a hint of the vastness

Cape Town, South Africa.

Long Island - seeing the ocean for the first time

Couldn't resist this one - eyes the colour of the ocean

Life As Seen By My BlackBerry

17 Mar

On days when words fail me, my BlackBerry comes through. I have gotten into the habit of taking pictures with it, because it is so convenient. I don’t always have my camera with me when Kodak Moments crop up, but I always, always have my BlackBerry.

As a result, I have a multitude of pictures stored on this trusty little device (people are always telling me that iPhones are better, but since I’m anti-Apple and refuse to own anything that starts with “i”, I am not likely to find out). And so, on days when I do not have the time or the mental wherewithal to assemble coherent strings of related words, I can rely on my library of pictures.

As I do today, as I give you this photographic offering.

Yes, it's blurry, but it's still a great pic!

Dopey and Dopier

Sign made by James: No Dogs Allowed

What's he doing with his face?

What's he doing with his face again?

George and his creation

Proof that they *can* sit together quietly!

Move over, Gordon Ramsay!

Polar Bear Riding

14 Mar

I have been busy today. Busy at work, busy commuting, busy freaking out over wedding plans, busy getting the invitations prepared and sent out.

What this means is that today, I do not have time to write.

Instead, I offer you this picture of my children riding a polar bear.

Polar Bear riding!

Wordless Wednesday – Brothers

23 Feb

Someone once told me that you know an idea is good when someone steals it. I am stealing the Wordless Wednesday idea from my friend Amy. I hope she doesn’t mind and that she feels flattered!

There is something special about the bond between brothers, and for today’s post, I want to offer you some pictures of my two boys – very special brothers indeed.

Driving Lessons (2007)

Sleeping Beauties (2007)

Winter Fun! (2008)

Drinking Buddies (2008)

All Aboard Thomas The Train! (2008)

Water Play (2010)

The Greatest Love Of All (2010)

Best Vacation Ever

3 Feb

These pictures were taken during the Best Holiday Ever, back in 2008. Gerard and I packed the boys up along with five hundred of their favourite belongings, and drove down to New York.  While we were on the road, my mother was in the air, flying in from South Africa.  We all met up at my brother’s Manhattan apartment, spent a night there, and then drove to Long Island the following day, where we spent two of the happiest and most carefree weeks I can remember.

We planned the crap out of this vacation: knowing how all of the changes associated with vacations can affect a child with autism, we had to be prepared. There was some concern that we were “overplanning”.

It paid off, though.  Thanks to all of the planning, George had all of his routines in place, along with all of the things associated with those routines, even though we were in unfamiliar surroundings.

The house we stayed in (borrowed from a friend of my brother’s) was a hit.  The beach was a hit.  Most of all, being with my mom and my brother made the vacation something truly special.

Negotiating early morning Manhattan traffic at the end of a 12-hour drive

Almost there! Driving to my brother's apartment.

George gazing off into the distance

James, enjoying his first time on a real beach!

Drawing in the sand with James

George on tippy-toes - love this picture!

James watches as I bury George in the sand (Mom and brother are in the background)

Like I said, it was the Best Vacation Ever.  I even got to go running a couple of times!

Photographic Retrospective

25 Jan

Do you remember the days when we used to take pictures with cameras that required film?  When all 34 pictures on the film had been used up we would take it to the drugstore for processing and pick it up three days later (eventually, drugstores got their own in-store processing equipment and the concept of “one hour pictures” was born).  We would go home and look at the pictures, only six of which were any good, and we would throw them into a cardboard box already containing seventeen thousand other pictures.  Every time we put the box back in the closet we would say to ourselves, “I must buy albums and get these photos organized”, but we would know that the pictures wouldn’t be looked at for at least six years, when the bottom of the box would collapse and all of the pictures would fall onto the ground.

Things are so much easier now.  We just take the picture, plug either the camera or the SD card into a slot on the computer, and ten seconds later the pictures are there for our viewing pleasure.  We print the ones we want to print.  Mostly, though, we make desktop backgrounds out of them, upload them to Facebook, and email them to friends and family.  There are no pesky films that cost a fortune and get all screwed up if you open the camera at the wrong time, no dusty old cardboard boxes that take up space, and no pictures lying around that we cannot bring ourselves to throw out even though the top of the subject’s head is cut off and the red-eye makes everyone look like minions of Satan.

The thing is, we look at the pictures.  If we don’t like them, we can edit them, remove the red-eye, fix up the lighting.  And if we really don’t like them, we just hit the Delete button.  Easy-peasy.  The point is, we end up with pictures that we actually like and enjoy looking at.

And that’s what I was doing earlier today.  I was looking at pictures of my kids from when they were a lot younger and littler, and marveling about how they’ve grown and changed since the pictures were taken.

Here are a few of my favourites…

George, age 3

James' first Halloween, aged 10 months. He was a pirate!

Family picture taken on Gerard's birthday, 2006. George was almost 3, James was 8 months

George (almost 4) and James (19 months)

James, about 15 months

George, aged about 3 1/2 - a rare shot of him looking into the camera

Ah, how they grow up!