Photo Blogging Challenge – Friends and Family (April 2015)

I prefer to photograph landscapes, abstracts and the occasional macro. One of the reasons I volunteered for the Beakerhead photo crew last year was so that I’d have to start photographing people! This month’s Friends and Family photo blogging theme provided another opportunity to hone my skills. But since every member of our family is averse to being photographed, I had to exercise some creativity with the family part of the theme.

Coincidentally, I answered the call to photograph people in two other contexts this month:

  1. I took a 5 hour shift at the Beakerhead TinFish display at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo where I photographed a lot of people dressed in costume (and some in regular street clothes). In addition to my own camera, I took a lot of photographs using visitors’ camera phones; and
  2. One evening I volunteered to take basic portraits of the Board members for an organization where I regularly volunteer. As each director’s bio is posted to the organization’s website, it will be accompanied by one of these square format head shots. After I agreed to take this project on, I realized I’d never done any real portrait work nor had I ever shot with flash. I had to spend a bit of time reading about simple flash setups and a bit more time experimenting with my camera and flash. I learned enough that I’ve started carrying packing my flash in my camera bag and I’ve used it a couple of times since.

Now, here are the Friends and Family photos I made for the photo blogging challenge:

1. Family Portrait – We’ve been accumulating Lego for about 20 years, starting with an elaborate Technic set we found in a Paris department store back in 1995 BC (before children). We set out to cultivate our boys’ appreciation of Lego beginning with a set of Primo Stack-n-Learn bricks and then with Duplo, including train and zoo sets. They soon graduated to Bionicle, Star Wars, architecture and other more complicated sets. Since their junior high school years, the time they spend building with Lego has dropped to almost none. But that’s okay – it means Mr. GeoK and I get to do more of the building! We now have bins full of Lego bricks, including one bin dedicated to Lego minifigs. With the help of our oldest son (who is just back from his first year at university), I dug into the minifig bin to put together Lego stand-ins for this family portrait.

From left to right: K in his high school uniform with his ever-present mug of tea; C headed off to work for his first co-op term; me with camera; Mr. GeoK ready for a long hike.

2. Take a Hike – The tag line for this blog is a good indicator of the fact that we view hiking as a family activity. Starting with 4 to 5 km trails when K was less than 4 years old and progressing to 25+ km day hikes, we hike in the Canadian Rockies every chance we get. It used to be that we slowed our pace so the boys could keep up. Now, they pull way ahead of us and end up waiting at the top! The back deck of our Calgary home is a good spot to watch the snow disappear from the mountain tops and based on how quickly its receding, it’ll soon be time for us to pull on the boots I lined up on the deck railing for this one.

We’re a Vasque family!

3. Family Photo Walk – Over spring break, Mr. GeoK and I went on a photo walk every day. Since he recently invested in a long telephoto lens, we often went in search of birds. I am terrible at remembering to include people in my landscape photographs, so while I didn’t make this image specifically for the photo blogging challenge, I’m happy I have one photo to share that shows my specially chosen family member in our favourite place to be together – outside!

Mr. GeoK photographing a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye ducks.

4. Taekwondo Friends – Almost 12 years ago I enrolled in taekwondo as an out-of-shape white belt student. Our oldest son began his training at the same time and our youngest son started a year later. In addition to the obvious fitness benefits, I am motivated to continue my training by the sense of community at our club and the many taekwondo friendships developed over the years. Thanks to a tripod and the 12 second delay on my camera shutter, here I am with two inspiring taekwondo friends.

I regularly train with these two guys. They are incredibly fit, skilled and fun to train with. They also embody the taekwondo tenet of indomitable spirit.

5. Walking Buddies – I don’t often meet friends for coffee or lunch. Instead, we usually meet up at a walking trail and visit as we stride along at a decent pace. Between spring break and income taxes I only got out for a couple of buddy walks this month, both times with the same friend. I her met shortly after I moved to Calgary in the mid-1980s. We lost touch for several years when I changed jobs, but reconnected 7 or 8 years ago and have been walking semi-regularly ever since.

My best walking buddy is always patient when I slow down or stop to compose a photograph – even when it takes me a while to set up my tripod and bombard her with instructions on where to stand so that I can run into the frame after I start the 12 second countdown on the shutter!

Putting together this month’s set of five photos has provided a great opportunity to reflect on the importance of the friends and family in my life. I am going to try to continue to reflect that in my photography and even though PJ won’t be sharing the May photo blogging theme until tomorrow, I’ve already made a note on the planning page in my notebook to include at least one photograph with family and/or friends!

That’s it for me this month. I’m interested to see whether any of my other ideas occurred to some of the other participants. To see PJ’s take on the theme, head on over to A ‘lil HooHaa. All the other participants for this month will be listed in the link up at the bottom of his post.

PJ will announce the May theme over at A ‘lil HooHaa on Friday, May 1. We always welcome new participants, so please join us!

11 thoughts on “Photo Blogging Challenge – Friends and Family (April 2015)

  1. Pingback: Nice, New and Looking Ahead - Out & About with the GeoKs

  2. I am currently in the Canmore area, enjoying the amazing sights and trails around here – thank you for your blog and interesting trail reports! Since you love LEGO mini figures, you should check out’s sport mini figs (link below – I don’t have a website). They have awesome Calgary Flames players and goalies to add to your collection. Thank you again for your trail guides… Back the the trails for me and I can’t wait to be out there!

    1. You’re welcome…and next time the weather is bad enough to keep us indoors, I’ll definitely check out for those Calgary Flames minifigs.

  3. cmiked

    Great photos, again! The LEGO family is perfect and I love the boots. I liked seeing you as well. It’s nice to put a face to someone I’ve followed for a while.

  4. Love your take on the theme this month! The Lego idea made me laugh, and the hiking boots are a brilliant idea! And the landscape shots are stunning!

  5. Ha! The legos are great! Legos are one of my favorite toys, and they really cultivated that sort of tinkering, puzzle-solving engineer brain that I have today. I hope that one day I’ll be able to share the greatness of legos with my future family, as long as I can afford it! :p

    I like your creative interpretation of the theme in the first two shots. Very nice job! 🙂

  6. webfoot5

    I’m going to agree with amaryllisturman about the boot shot. Great shot, but I think the one that connected with me the most was your Lego shot. All parents buy Legos so they can put them together. 😉

  7. katherinez

    The boots and the Legos are my FAVORITES! These are all fantastic but the boots in particular are such a great look!

  8. I have really enjoyed looking at this theme from other parts of the world. It is good to see the people element in your photographs. In the 3rd one, the family member really gives the landscape a strong sense of scale. I can feel how vast and big your land surrounding you is!

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