Apr 25, 2015

Eight Months Old

  Photograph Eight Months 3 by Jay Scott on 500px

If you can believe it, Fiona was eight months old last Monday. She has grown like a little weed, is so very tall and eating so very well. I entirely support Angie's decision to try self-feeding. No purées for us. Her pincer grip has developed beautifully and today she ate a whole bunch of steamed frozen peas like it was nothing. She would've put her father to shame, were it a race. :-) Tonight she enjoyed a lot of chicken, vegetables and rice, combined with some pretty spicy green curry and coconut milk sauce. It made my nose run, but she wasn't complaining. I'm so thrilled at how much she enjoys those strong flavors at this point. I understand that it could change but for now I'm glad that she is more open-minded than I would've been as a kid.

  Photograph Eight Months 1 by Jay Scott on 500px

When she first figured out the concept of sitting up about four weeks ago I thought she was going to be crawling within a few days. I was wrong. She had the strength but just hadn't quite figured it out. Well, a few days ago she got it and when she is enticed by something like Kiwi's green monkey or daddy's shoelaces, look out. She can really move now. She hasn't entirely figured out the coordination of one hand than one leg but she sure can lurch forward with two hands and a hop her legs forward to get where she's going like a little bunny rabbit.

Thankfully one of the teeth that she has been working on has come through and the other three do not seem to be bothering her quite so bad. For about six days she was a fairly unhappy and shrieking little girl. Who could blame her? It certainly is good to have gotten a few smiles out of her and she sat like a little model in the laundry basket so that we could make her photo and daddy could try out his new backdrop that arrived just in time for her eight-month photo.

Today was her third swimming lesson and she was absolutely happy during the entire time. The previous week she cried through most of it but today she was in the mood and making friends left, right, and center. I'm very glad that I took my girls and had a chance to watch. There was even a dad there with a DSLR so maybe next week I will bring mine and try to get at least one really good photo. For now, here's what I got today.

What a delight it was to watch them swim and how badly I want to get in the water with them. It was pretty adorable watching so many little babies enjoying swimming with their parents and to watch the expression on the parents' faces was equally as enjoyable.

  Photograph Eight Months 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

Apr 23, 2015

The First 2015 CPA Photo Excursion - Model Shots

  Photograph CPA SK Photo Walk 1 - Cerulean Beauty by Jay Scott on 500px

Last Saturday was our first, of what I hope to be many, photo excursions based around The Canadian Paraplegic Association. There were more of us that were able-bodied and disabled, but the point was simply to have some fun and make a very casual opportunity for anybody to come out and make some photos.

This was also the first time that I had an opportunity to photograph a professional model. Colleen A Shalley of Masala Model and Talent volunteered herself and her time for us. It was a very good experience for me to have much of the pressure of posing someone removed. I have so much to learn about that and watching her choices and decisions made for a lot of education on my part.

  Photograph CPA SK Photo Walk 1 - Guardian of the Grove 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

Watching someone who knows their best side and poses slide into a situation as if she had done it numerous times before certainly makes for some lovely photos very early on. A lot of the first portion of a session with the talent getting comfortable being in front of the camera was removed. She had never met us before but that didn't seem to matter, much. Before long we were all joking, laughing and taking full advantage of her talents. There is so much more I would've liked to have done but I already felt like I spent more time making photographs and less time leading the excursion than I meant to.

  Photograph CPA SK Photo Walk 1 - Classic Thorvalson by Jay Scott on 500px

I had planned to spend more time helping those people that are learning to use their camera, be it a full-size DSLR or just a cell phone. I also did not want to pass up this opportunity to shoot. I would like to consider alternating planned dates between lessons and excursions. It can be difficult to teach on-the-fly but it can also become boring to sit around photographing something inanimate while you try to teach people how their piece of technology works.

  Photograph CPA SK Photo Walk 1 - Guardian of the Grove by Jay Scott on 500px

As I said, it's open to anyone. As much as I don't care for Facebook it is the best platform to organize an event. Our next excursion will be on May 30 at 1 PM starting at Rutherford Rink at the U of S campus. After that we will try going some different places but, for now, I wanted to make the events somewhere with the safety of indoors, in case of bad weather, as well as assured accessibility. If you are not on Facebook but would like to participate please contact me by e-mail at jayscottphotography AT gmail.com and I will make certain that any additions or changes to the plans are delivered to you. If you are looking for the event on Facebook just search within Facebook for CPA Photo Excursion. The relevant events will show up and I'm thinking about maybe making a group so that there is more room to post photos and have ongoing conversations.

I will get to my snapshots that were not photos of Colleen in a little while. Hope you like interested in joining us on our next outing and keep an eye on Facebook for potential additional opportunities before May 30.

Apr 8, 2015

Mommy and Me

  Photograph My Girls at Easter by Jay Scott on 500px

It took me way, way, too long to make a portrait of my two girls. Together, that is. I know that Angie wanted to feel that she was looking good on the day that I made the photo. We all know that Fiona always looks good. :-) At least for the five minutes that I have her attention and then it starts to drift. That's okay. As long as I'm set up and ready to get her during her best times following eating when she is just full of smiles.

This wasn't her best time and I missed focus on the best smiles because she so consistently wiggly but it's alright. I love her smiles but a little more serious face is good, also. Angie has her giggling up a storm in the living room right now. She didn't have the best nap this afternoon and that's always when it's easiest to get her giggling. For that matter, Angie and I laugh at our own silly jokes the hardest when we are very tired, before bed.

And, what would a photo session be without a nice outtake that shows her mid-laugh with those two cute little teeth showing in the bottom? I think she is working on a few more. She has been eating like a little horse, enjoying all of her milk as well as the feast she enjoyed at Easter dinner. She also had a very generous portion of the spicy pasta sauce we made the other night. I hope she continues to enjoy eating all of those delicious and adventurous things that Angie and I enjoy so much. I'm prepared to cook differently, if necessary, but it would be nice if she stayed interested in the intense flavors that Angie and I typically enjoy.

Mar 26, 2015

Seven Months Old

  Photograph Seven Months - 1 by Jay Scott on 500px

I know that I said in my last post that Fiona's picture with my parents would be her seven-month photo but I needed to make a photo to take my mind off all of the recent business I have been going through with Home Care. What will be more perfect than a shot I had in mind of Fiona, little as she seems when we set her on the floor, on our bed with a huge, sweeping black backdrop?

  Photograph Seven Months - 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

I received a call from the director of home care and will be having a meeting with him and the nursing operations manager tomorrow at 10 AM. Here's hoping they see my reasoning and things stay as they are with the status quo. That would be the best case scenario. The alternative, which is the least I will settle for, may be enough to appease me. At least he was good enough to call me back and was very friendly. I have heard nothing but good things about him being a pleasant and reasonable person and that will at least make for a less stressful meeting than it could be if he were not as pleasant.

  Photograph Seven Months - 3 by Jay Scott on 500px

As little as I might sleep tonight, it's probably a good idea to get to bed and try to find as much rest as I can. These photos should at least keep me smiling if I'm laying there awake staring at the ceiling. Hopefully this is all over and resolved tomorrow and I can get back to the things that I feel my time is worth spending on, not these months of research, writing defenses, responding to e-mails and finding my reasoning bouncing off of brick walls.

Mar 22, 2015

The Good Things and Our Precious Seven Month Old

  Photograph Proudest Grandparents by Jay Scott on 500px

Excuse me if I'm brief. I just completed a document that was 4400 words, 25,000 characters to take to the director of home care, to stand in my defense to have my care maintained as it is and as it has been for 13 years. Ridiculous, I know. Understandably policies change, methods and knowledge grow, but in this case it's unreasonable, they're trying to put me inside of a box which I do not fit and to accept what they are proposing would mean great illness for me. How do I know this for sure? Past experience and 17 years of intentionally educating myself about how I function now.

I may need to go further than this. At times a person just wants to roll over when they're being mistreated and deceived but there is a principle that must be stood on. I fear that should I just give in and either accept their proposed changes to my own detriment or go with private care which is not cheap, to say the least, that I would regret it the rest of my life. I have not spent the last few years delicately working on becoming more assertive and standing up for myself as a valuable person, to be kicked in the head like this.

The last thing I'll say about it is that I am absolutely dumbfounded how one little sheet of paper containing a long-standing policy, not reasonable given my circumstances, they've now decided to use, is what these people are standing behind against all of the proof, evidence and experience I am providing them with. It's completely irrational, unreasonable and unethical. As much as I derived a degree of satisfaction from hearing the waiver in their voices and seeing the tremble in their hands as they delivered the news that they knew was unjust, I suppose sleeping on a bed of over $150,000 annual salary would ease their guilt. They even disregarded a surgeon's orders. I wonder how that would look to the eyes of a higher authority.

So, negativity aside, spend your energy fighting, formulate your defense, choose who to approach next to hear reason, and focus on the good things like incredible parents, a beautiful seven-month old daughter, a pillar of support that is my wife, and an enthusiastic little dog who's always happy to give me a hug and make me smile. All of that is great but I am not unappreciative of the friends and other supporters who have lent me their offer to do what they can, if there is anything at all. Perhaps I will need to start a social media firestorm. If it comes to that I will be asking a favor that you share, whatever form that takes. But, for now, it's time to go grab a few minutes of shut eye while I can and try to focus on the good things.

I've done what I can do for now and that makes me calmer than anything.

Mar 13, 2015

Pizza and a Candle

  Photograph Pesto, Goat Cheese and Italian Sausage Pizza by Jay Scott on 500px

Take out pizza I will always be what it is. Adequate, cheesy, fast, effortless and free of dishes. That doesn't mean it's great. Every time Angie and I make pizza we always praise ourselves about how much better it is than what you order in. No, it's not health food, but we do our best to minimize the sodium, nitrates, and preservatives. The flavor is always better with our freshly prepared ingredients and, as for dishes, since we wash them while the pizza is baking, it feels like there are none because when we are done eating, we are done eating.

Like I said, it's not health food. We splurged on a package of Italian sausage at Costco last time and have been enjoying it very much in different recipes, despite the fat content. That kick of spice and the texture of the meat is something unique that we both really enjoy. We decided to go all out, inspired by the red sun-dried tomato pesto we bought a while back, and combined those ingredients with red onion, mushrooms, Italian sausage, goat cheese and a generous sprinkling of marble cheese.

The pesto made a wonderful pizza sauce substitute, not that different from the lovely prawn and pesto pizza you may have had at Earl's before. In fact, that was what I had at my first meal out I had after my injury in 1997. Still on the menu so it must be good. But, I digress. I could see us using traditional marinara pizza sauce less and less in the future as combinations like this, and our Thai pizza, always satisfy us more than traditional pizzas. It's good to be able to cook well, at home, and in control of exactly what we are eating.

Last week I decided to make my move when a piece of glass came on sale at Don's Photo. I had been keeping my eye on this tele-converter for some time, had saved almost enough money, and then the sale price showed up making that last little bit of savings unnecessary. I have been more than happy with the image quality which can often be degraded when you add a stopgap solution such as a tele-converter as opposed to buying a dedicated lens. However, to get the additional telephoto length I wanted it would have been much, much more money as well as a lot more weight which may or may not have been something I could handle. I am very happy with the compromise as the image quality is absolutely satisfactory and the price was very manageable compared to the alternative. Now I'm looking forward to the birds returning to the Forestry Farm because I will be much more ready for them this year.

In addition to more telephoto, it also doubled my macro capabilities as you see above. That is a typical slender dinner candle, less than 1 cm from the wick to the edge of the candle. I think there may be a few more water drop photos in the near future. For now, I have some excellent projects on the go, hindered by a rigmarole with home care to finish dealing with, and then I hope to get back to fully enjoying our daughter and to the other activities that fulfill me, including work on Challenging Reality.

Mar 8, 2015

Final Winter Drive and More Fiona

  Photograph Boffins Club Gazebo in Winter HDR by Jay Scott on 500px

Optimistically I included in the title of this post the word final. The last couple of days of warm weather, bright sunshine and receding snow and ice has made a lot of people feel a lot better about the eventual spring. As Angie has cautiously pointed out, we certainly could get more snow and another good dose of winter but at least the next week of highs well above zero should mostly clear off the roads and start the shrinking of the snow banks around the city.

  Photograph Innovation Place Pine Cones by Jay Scott on 500px

This last photo drive was actually a photo walk/wheel as I braved about -10°C to actually get out of the van, make some photos even with a little auxiliary light and breathe the fresh air. It felt good to be out and it didn't even take all day for my legs to warm back up. What caught my attention most of all was how absolutely quiet it was. How much time have I spent in this exact spot enjoying the scenery, the sounds and smells of this place? A lot but almost all of it was in the spring, summer and fall when many of the nice water features and wildlife sounds are consistently impacted by the running of air conditioners on the roofs of all of the big buildings around the area. It was very refreshing to get out by myself, not see a single person and just smell the smells of winter and the pine nearby.

  Photograph Innovation Place Pine Cone by Jay Scott on 500px

In past years when I've wanted to get out and do some photos during the winter I've often shied away because of the great limitations I have of where I can get by vehicle, but especially by foot/chair. After finding what I had found this year I feel a little bit braver and have a few more ideas of where might be suitable, and safe, for me to go independently next winter. I'm not certain I want to think that far ahead as I have spring on the brain but getting out and just giving it a try got my wheels turning in my head.

My good friend, Paul, and his girls made good use of the pond-turned-rink this winter. The one time they were there entirely by themselves in the evening, spotlights on the ice and classical music playing overhead. If we get a nice warm evening next winter I would really like to have a photo shoot down there, by that ice with some people having a blast skating under the gazebo and around the island. If it isn't that warm we could fire up the fire pit they always have stocked with plenty of firewood and include that as part of the shoot.

Finally, what post would be complete without yet another of our lovely daughter? Her hair is coming in so nicely, so soft and fuzzy. I knew I had to make a creative photo out of those glistening golden-red strands. So, making the most of the smiles she had available to me we made a nice creative photo of her with some purple hair. I was reminded that this photo might be enough precedent for me to not be upset if she decides to die her hair purple when she is a little bit older. All I will need to do is to remind her how in style vibrantly colored hair was when this photo was made and that should squash her idea. :-)

  Photograph Fuzzy-Haired Daughter by Jay Scott on 500px