Good morning…

7:22 am. It is an absolutely gorgeous day so far. Our balcony faces East, I’m bathed in sunshine. It’s going up to 21 degrees. Sigh. Life is wonderful.

Janet Edmonds

Two weeks ago today my dear friend Janet died in palliative care in St. John’s, NL. 51 years old, bone cancer. Surrounded by close friends and family. She died as she lived, gracefully. She was an Actor by trade, a phenomenal one at that. We worked closely together a number of seasons at a summer theatre festival in Newfoundland many moons ago. The picture below was taken last summer when she visited Toronto. We had 3 glorious hours together which I shall cherish for a lifetime.

It’s too soon to clearly express…I’m still processing it. Heartbroken is a word I’d use. And grateful. Through action she taught us that no matter what life throws your way it can be met head on, eyes and heart wide open, with great humour, love and dignity. She didn’t allow cancer to define her. Instead she showed it her boot and said, Well if you’re here you’re coming with me. Try to keep up will ya? Lol. She had the BEST laugh. Chesty, charming and catching. She was unique which means there was only one ❤

It turns out another friend, who lives in Halifax, my hometown, has the same cancer. It was only a few days after Janet’s passing that I learned we’re talking months now. Well fuck. I couldn’t get home to see Janet. I was in school see and she was no longer able to handle visitors. But I’d had it. I was heartbroken and homesick (hadn’t been home in 5 years). I sure as HELL was going home to see Lynn. So, I put it out on Facebook asking for airmiles or aeroplan points to get me and my daughter Lily home, it’s important. I’m not working yet see…poor student, couldn’t afford to do it on our own. Lo and behold an angel came through for us. I found out Thursday morning and by that afternoon our eager arses were sitting on the tarmac in Halifax.  

Still processing our trip home too. It was an unforgettable whirlwind of love, salt air and meaning. Lily, who’s 8 now, got to spend quality time with her Auntie Danielle, my friend for 30 years, and her Nanny Jean & Auntie Joan on my husband’s side. 

Lily & Danielle

We were treated like gold, as is the East coast way.

Anni & I…I am a lucky woman ❤

It was also my 45th birthday on the Saturday…

Myself, Genevieve & Danielle…friends for 30 years…birthday brunch ❤

Old friends 😃

Myself & Rebecca, choir camp buddies since our teens…seeing ONCE the musical at Neptune Theatre, a gift for my birthday ❤.

Friends of mine who were in the cast of ONCE…Kirsten, Amanda, Cam, Me, Jon-Alex and Margot ❤

Myself and Margot Sampson…a fellow performer ❤

Doug & Danielle ❤…our loving hosts for the weekend

Myself & Jeremy Webb…Actor and Artistic Director of Eastern Front Theatre ❤

Kendra & I…friends for 40 years – HOLY poop!! ❤

Myself & Lesli Chandler…we performed together in the musical Cabaret at Neptune Theatre in the late-90’s ❤

Luckily Lynn had enough energy to see me Sunday afternoon. We had a whole 2 hours together!! I got to massage her feet and legs…it was…beautiful. Magical. Spiritual. Our time, it was love. She said she felt Janet was with us ❤. I feel indescribably lucky. Felt so good to give something of myself to one who has given so much of themselves to others. I love you Lynn. More adventures to be had 😄


At the airport Sunday evening waiting to depart…sad faces.

Here it is, Saturday again.

It’s been two weeks since Janet passed away. Still hard to believe. But I strive to live, love and be better. Every day.

Our time here is brief my friends. Make it count ❤

It’s 8:50 am…and I am bathed in sunshine.

Wed. May 31, 2017…after a 12 hour day at school. This is the face of a soon-to-be graduate. 2 more months of classes!!

Peace, love & light,





cup…SS 1/800 f1.8 ISO 2500…deep depth of field, frozen motion


frozen…1/1000 f1.8 ISO?…frozen motion, shallow DoF


blur…1/100 f6.3 ISO?…deep DoF, blurred motion…a lower shutter speed would have worked better in this situation making water to appear more silky…


chair…1/160 f2.8 ISO?…deep DoF


carving…1/125 f1.8 ISO 800…i cropped this for close-up, intended for shallow DoF but it’s hard to tell because it’s now in close-up


candy (looks like candy to me :))…1/250 f2.5 ISO 2500…shallow DoF, off center focus


mask…1/125 f1.8 ISO 800…deeper DoF but I wouldn’t call it deep still quite a bit of bokeh


column…1/200 f5.6 ISO 200…captured through a window…deeper DoF…objective to have detail of column (not in silhouette) without the BG getting totally blown out


lamp…1/160 f5.6 ISO 2500…deep DoF, off center focus…unedited


window…1/100 f5.6 ISO?…deep DoF


shaft…1/320 f1.8 ISO?…shallow DoF


Klara…1/640 f1.8 ISO 2500…off centre focus, frozen motion


owl…1/200 f1.8 ISO 1600…off centre focus, shallow DoF

All shots taken with a Nikon D90 85mm lens.

Tuesday I had my second Basics of Photography session with my mentor Nicole. She really is a fantastic teacher. Keeps it very simple, easy to understand. And she’s so nurturing…I feel very blessed to have her in my corner. I want to reach for more more more learning and know I can do anything with her on my side.

She focused mostly on aperture…how to achieve frozen and blurred motion, shallow and deep depth of field. A deep Depth of Field (DoF) is when most if not all of the photo is in focus, very little or no bokeh (blur) providing the viewer with more detail. This is achieved with a higher number of aperture (f-stop). Thus the opposite is true for a shallow DoF, lower f-stop. See the guide below…as you can see I definitely should have used a lower shutter speed to blur the tap water.


We also talked about using the light meter in my camera seen through the viewfinder. What I love about Nicole is that she really stresses not getting hung up on the numbers. These are guides for sure which I need to know in order to get the shots I want. But the exact numbers are not important, make sense? The meter is also a guide which we have the choice to follow or dismiss depending upon what look we want. It is an extremely helpful guide in my world 🙂

In terms of lenses I learned that the smaller the number of the lens the wider the shot, larger frame…higher number smaller the frame.

Next step for us is learning Photoshop. Itching to get my new laptop and get at it!! And continue shooting of course. Nicole has created a closed group on Facebook for all her students to contribute their work in order to get feedback from Nicole and the group itself. Really useful I find…loves me some constructive feedback!

My homework is to create photos using A. Shallow depth of field (DoF) B. Deep DoF C. off center focus (rule of thirds) D. Blurred motion E. Frozen motion. I focused more on the deep DoF as I tend to use mostly shallow.

Anyhoo…hopefully this information is useful for those of you still learning or needing a gentle reminder. I’m really enjoying shooting in Manual, I shall never go back. I will be out shooting more next week. Lily’s March Break this week plus her getting sick has kept me out of service, thus the lack of postings.

Sending you all peace, love & light for a stunning weekend!

Thank you so much for dropping by…always deeply appreciated.

Big love,


Still Life

Remaining true to exactly what is there, no editing other than to increase contrast and straighten (I tend to shoot with a lean lol). Practicing using my NIkon D90 with 35mm lens in Manual mode: Shutter Speed, ISO and Aperture (f-stop) all controlled by me for the first time. This is a glass of “near beer” I was drinking yesterday. I realize now I wish I had moved the glass to a spot on the table that wasn’t inhabited by a sticker (lower left-hand corner), it’s a bit distracting. And in the first photo I would give myself more space on the bottom of the glass. Lessons!

near beer near beer2

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. ~Clay P. Bedford

peace & light,


Notes: It’s All About the Light

First lesson in the Basics of Photography with my new mentor & dear “old” friend Nicole Bond Winters. An hour and a half of wonder give or take the time it took to rejig my tetchy laptop as we’re doing this via Google Hangout. So wonderful to see her beautiful face. Lots of learnin’ and laughter. Quite brilliant to discover what I already knew and what I really didn’t.

We focused on the three  settings of Manual Photography (as opposed to Auto). I feel liberated! No more auto for me, now I really get to play!

Onward —>

Stance: Free hand cupping the bottom of the lens, elbows IN

Shutter Speed is like a curtain
letting in light
The higher the # the faster it draws open & close, less light, freeze motion
Lower #, slower draw, more light, blur motion
First question to ask yourself, “What is my objective? Do I want blurred action or frozen in time?”
Proceed from there

ISO: sensitivity to light
Lower # lets in less light (100, 200) outside daytime
Higher # more light (800—>)
Indoors, nighttime

Aperture (f-stop) & Depth of Field:
Lower number (1. 8) lets in more light, call it shooting “wide open”
Higher # (4 etc) less light

1.8 (low #) is the “beauty stop” focuses on eyes the rest “falls away” (blurry, lovely “bokeh”) fab for shooting portraits esp of women 😉 (less wrinkles lol)
Higher the stop more detail, sharper image

Tips to Remember:

Scale…what’s closest to the camera is largest.

When shooting two people together say, a couple, keep them on an even plane so they’re both in focus, use f-stop 2 & higher. For 3 people, stop 3 & higher and so on —>

Your camera wants to grab focus on the lightest part of the scene (in auto focus).

When shooting, the exact “numbers” are not what’s really important…they are constantly changing depending on the light because light is never constant. Most important, key ingredient, is your heart. Be inspired and allow the meter to do the guiding ☺

Das it for today! Hopefully this is helpful for other budding photographers out there. Next one Monday morning ☺

Thank you Nicole for helping me to become more confident in what I’m doing. Photography is the one place where I’m not “depressed” or “Bipolar”…I get to be me, to fly. Tis a peaceful, joyful place and your guidance will allow me to soar! You are one helluva lady, lady.

Til next time…

Peace, love & light,


Nikon D90 35mm F-stop 1.8 ISO 400 SS?

On Speaking Out

On Facebook yesterday I posted an amazing article by a woman who lives with Bipolar II Disorder (like myself) who struggles with self-stigmatization and shame (like myself). (

I have been very open with my friends & family on FB and in person about the challenges with this mental illness I face…being open though doesn’t mean it is easy to do so. “…never easy to declare publicly or with your nearest & dearest etc…I struggle with stigmatizing myself every. day. Add to that the fact that I’m on Disability?! Sssshhh! Hush yourself! I feel like I’m broken somehow. It’s not easy but I try. Speak up & out anyway you can, despite the fear. Do it for you 💜” were the words I wrote to accompany the post.

Then, something beautiful, unexpected happened…flowing words of love & support in response…one comment in particular I present to you below. Blew me away. May you also find inspiration and solace in it too.

“Give us permission, through you, to have a flaw, because flaws are the norm. When you hide your flaws, you teach us to hide ours. I love to say that we are just waiting for one teacher, just one, to give us permission to be who we are now. You appear as this, big or small, straight or bent. That’s such a gift to give. The pain is in withholding it. Who else is going to give us permission to be free, if not you? Do it for your own sake, and we’ll follow. We’re a reflection of your thinking, and when you free yourself, we all become free.”
~ Byron Katie, Author

My friend Maggie concluded by saying:
“Been at the mouth of that whorl, Julia, love to you for speaking it for so many of us! xo”

So…yeah. I feel humbled, grateful and emboldened. I am going to continue to speak up and out for the rest of my days because it appears it does help others. The best reason to have this illness.

Peace, love & light,


It's a clear day in my 'hood...february 2015

A Box of Woe

I LOVE this idea from blogger Silver Threading. I’m totally inspired to start my own box…
Different from writing in a journal I think for it is in the action of tossing our woes/grievances away that aid us in actually letting them go in order to move on with our day.

“I have a box of woe.  I write down on a piece of paper what is driving me crazy at the time and drop it into my box of woe.  POOF!  It is instantly gone.  The thing that was driving me mad is now out of sight, out of mind!  Time to move on and get busy!”

Writer’s Quote Wednesday by Silver Threading

Thank you Silver Threading for sharing this great idea!

Peace & love,