2020 a pandemic year in Review

I am not sure where 2020 went. Honestly if I sit and think about the months and days individually, so many things did happen, but as a whole the year was a complete bust.

We rang in the new year in Florida. The girls and I took a road trip we will never forget.

March brought about the COVID-19 school shutdowns in Ontario, and I thought I would lose my mind. So to combat the boredom I bought a kayak. The girls and I tried to take it out as much as possible. Fishing, sight seeing and trying new things were all on the agenda.

As spring progressed into summer and the lockdowns were ramping up, and we were all finding our places I began helping out more and with Ziggy’s Feathered Friends, and all the little baby birds. Hand feeding them all is hard work, but so rewarding. I started a TikTok and tried to keep up moral. Throughout the whole year I think I only shot two or three events.

So my days became less and less about art. In July I changed all of that with a new iPad and Procreate. I started doing digital art, and ramped up my home based maker project with my items tagged A Tail Feather Creation. Soon I had lots to do. Masks with custom drawn designs and logos, shirts, mugs, cups and more. Things were getting really creative, but still not much photography…

We settled in well with distanced learning, feeding babies and keeping busy making, all of a sudden Christmas and New Years were over, and I have come to realize there are NO BLOGS WRITTEN IN 2020!! Having photographed only a few families due to COVID-19 restrictions, and mostly using my creativity in different ways, I have decided to try in 2021 to do one themed shoot each month. I did no styled or themed shoots in 2020, just three gorgeous families.

Fingers crossed that I will be able to do way more sessions in 2021.

If you can read this, YOU ARE TOO CLOSE.

Our province is still/again/forever under a severe province-wide lockdown. I am not allowed to do any photography for my customers unless it is for commercial reasons (I have no commercial clients). Just imagine all these families with free time but I cannot document any of it.

I have instead invested some more time and money into my other creative outlets and ventures which prompted me into changing the name of my business from Tail Feather Photography to Tail Feather Photography and Creative Studio. I have been busy making non-medical masks, t-shirts, custom logo’s, pouches and thank you cards. Having fun with my Cricut Maker and figuring out what I can make people that they cannot get elsewhere. I cannot compete, I just want to make quality arts and crafts.

Thinking forward, this is a new month, and I need a new photography theme to focus on. I was thinking of evil little red riding hood. I have my model and my costume all worked out. I just need the weather and the GOVERNMENT to relax. In the meanwhile I am keeping busy with all my making. Mugs are next on my list. I need more mugs with swears in my life. Ha.

The Lady In Red

Occasionally a really strong creative idea will pop into my head. So strong that I need to try to create it almost immediately. I visualized “the lady in red” sometime last week and very quickly it all came together. I have felt in a creative rut lately, having not done any styled shoots in 2020.

In my mind the scene involves the lady in red as a wife, married to a dapper Dan type man and to borrow from the Bare Naked Ladies, they are “lovers in a dangerous time”.

I put a call out for models and the PERFECT couple I know were free to indulge me in my creative vision.

Colleen and Steve are amazing artists themselves. Westminster Park is their band, and you can find them HERE go take a look and listen!!

We started off in a little park area in the middle of a suburban setting, then quickly moved into a more urban setting. Steve’s portrayal of my dapper Dan was right on. Colleen was perfect for my lady in red, moody and folksy.

I am hoping to do one creatively styled photoshoot each month in 2021 and keep on making beautiful memories, art and friendships. The following are some of the shots I captured that day. ENJOY.

What is a ‘Bombshell Girl’?

I know NOTHING about fashion. I dress solely for comfort and purpose. I see fashion as something people do in magazines or on TV. I do not wear makeup daily or even style my hair. I don’t make a great girl I guess…but I do make art. I see other people and I can imagine them in made up settings. I invent back stories and strive to re-enact these scenes with my camera. I suspect other artists will understand what I am saying, but not everyone does. When I met Jorden I had an idea, a brilliant idea. All I needed were some cute jeans shorts, white tops, running shoes, do-rags for my two cutie girls and a sweet location.

My family and Jordens’ decided to head to Cambridge, Ontario and visit the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory on Labor day at the end of this past summer. I had packed the girls required ‘outfits’ and we scouted a location along the way. I was looking for a car or truck show, a quick stop spot or, to meet up with a traveler who owns a classic car or truck. You see Jorden does like fashion. She dresses up most days as a Bombshell Girl. A what?? Beautiful women who loves bright red lipstick, curled up hair and gorgeous dresses or outfit in a 50’s-ish style are the norm for Bombshell Girls. They gather and attend shows, have their photos taken for calendars and dress to impress just in their normal lives too. Google it, it’s a real thing.

This idea had been bouncing around in my head for months, and on this day the whole plan came together perfectly. As we were driving to see the butterflies, I saw from the corner of my eye this most amazing old rusted truck. It was just off the road, but completely accessible to my small girls and the rest of the crew. The boys were beyond bored, Trevor, Jorden’s partner managed traffic for me, making sure in my zest I did not wander into the road. Bailey is Jorden’s daughter and she helped to wrangle the girls for us. What an amazing end to a fun day!

Jorden does not consider herself a model, but to me she is the best kind of model, chill, natural and full of life. I cannot wait to have my next story come to life as clearly and perfectly as this one did. Art for art’s sake.

It’s a Dog Eat Dog kind of world, and I want to live there!

Right place, right time. That hardly ever happens, right? I ended up with a child free afternoon this past weekend in Sarnia, Ontario. Of course I headed over to Carman’s Foto Source in Mitton Village to chat photography and see what’s new. It is located at Ontario St & Mitton St. S in an older part of town with dreams of revitalization.

Mitton Village

I was returning to my car when the most adorable face caught my attention. When I did a double take, she was gone…had I seen her or not. I just had to investigate further. The store is called Dog Eat Dog, The front boasts two HUGE glass windows full of amazing housewares and decorations. With a push of the front door you are greeted not with a hello, but a huge friendly nuzzle from Legend, a very personable bulldog. He is just the sweetest soul, and his owner/handler and the shops owner Chrissy is fabulous too. I took a quick pop through her shop and probably only saw a fraction of what her 28+ artisans have to offer. I made a great purchase of a housewarming gift for my cousin, and got really excited to cross items off my Christmas list.

I have fallen in love with this shop and its resident doggos. Legend lives up to his name 100 percent and the newest member of the family is Fable. Her serious face is what lured me into the Dog Eat Dog vortex. I had to stop and take some pictures of these two characters when I was done shopping. Fable has pink painted toe nails and is waiting not-so-patiently for her pink tutu with fairy lights. Legend has this to die for little hat I almost couldn’t handle. Chrissy is also taking donations for the Humane Society in the store, this is where Fable was adopted from. To anyone looking for a unique gift, possibly with the F-Bomb written on it, look no further than Dog Eat Dog in Sarnia, oh also doggie snuggles too!

WTF, Birds?

When I tell people that I spend a lot of time with birds there are only two reactions. The first one is something like “oh my grandmothers cousin’s daughter had a bird named Petey who could talk. The other is WTF. If you have never spent any time with parrots, you should! Quickly you would realize that not only are they beautiful, and smart, but their poop is much more manageable then a large breed dog. NO really, they are beautiful. Below is a photo I took of a 9 year old Great Green Parrot (Bouffon’s Macaw) named Bowie.

Bowie, showing off.

Tail Feather Photography is the culmination of five straight years of almost daily bird photography. My mother decided to open her own bird store when she lost the job she had had for seventeen years. Her start up capital came from threatening to sue the blowhard for firing her without cause. Fast forward five hard years and many, many birds later, she has a client/customer base that includes Bowies owners. People who trust my mom and by extension sometimes me. These bird owners trust us to provide the best toys, inclusive collections of food and treats, clip their wings, trim their nails, board them, in home house-sit or heaven forbid help to re-home them. We also run Parrot Club-London and Area, where we offer a meeting space for two hours a month. This is a great space to have deep conversations, swap personal stories and of course meet each others birds. If you are interested in more information check them out here; https://www.facebook.com/groups/2318177405091493/

Taking photos of birds is tough but very rewarding. They help to sell the birds, they offer lasting high quality memories for their owners, and these portraits have helped me practice enough to want to start my own photography business. Tail Feathers are strong, and often bright an beautiful, so Tail Feather as a name called out to me. I don’t just take pictures of birds of course, I love all genres of photography. I have so many pictures in my editing cue, I am sure this blog is just a distraction from that task <wink>.

Crimson Bellied Conure Baby

My moms store is located in Dorchester, as is our second Wednesday of the month meetings which are held at Rachel’s Book Hall. Stopping in is always a good time at Ziggys Feathered Friends. If you want to see more shots of birds check out my Instagram in the widgets on the right.

When you #WIN, first place at gift giving.

Gift giving can be hard. Especially when the recipient is a grumpy 75 year old. That is a lot of former gifts to beat or not repeat. Last year for my father in laws milestone birthday my sister in law had a brilliant idea. We as a family bought him six laps in an exotic car. We thought this was a unique gift as he appreciates good American muscle. Pete, my father in law, was speechless, a thing I never thought possible. He spent weeks deciding what car to choose, only to find out they were fully booked for the remainder of the season.

Lamborghini Gallardo

Fast forward to summer 2019. We fnally had a date, it turned out to be a beautiful, but windy Saturday in September. The laps were being driven at Toronto Motorsports Park in Cayuga Ontario, just south of Hamilton. While the racers to be were in class getting driving lessons I was scouting the park. There were cars, racers and people everywhere. Finally the group made it out to the track where they were taken on a quick loop in a Porsche 997 Turbo to check out the lay of the land. By this point I was beside myself with a potographers excitment. There were so many opportunities available for great shots, action, art, scenic, and of course lifestyle, the place was full of anticipation.

Toronto Motorsport Park

Pete had finally decided on a Ferrari F430 as his exotic, I would have chosen the convertible Lamborghini Galardo in orange, but hey, this was not my adventure. Besides those two car choices and the Porsche 997, Pete could have driven a Corvette Stingray in a deep metallic green. By the time it was finally his turn I had taken about three hundred photos already (gasp). I then proceeded to take a hundred more. I expect twenty well edited photos to be my end result. Pete loved every minute of his tour. We had finally bought the perfect gift!

Ferrari F430

We were all excited, but the fun wasn’t over yet. It turns out an add on had been purchased and the kids, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law all got to take a lap in the Porsche 997 Turbo too!! If you are looking for a one of a kind gift check Toronto Motorsports Park for more information.

Uli Bieri and my fam-jam