observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

  • Welcome to my photo journal

    Living on Vancouver Island in B.C. Canada Diane loves the scent of forests and rain, the rhythms of the sea, and holds discoveries and stories in high regard.

    Where mornings begin with a drum roll! --Diane M Schuller

    Updated on random Mondays ... simply an online journal of an ordinary life. Come on in to enjoy a breath of West Coast air.

    Photographs never forget

    I’m definitely on a roll with getting as many of my unprinted photos off the computer and in print. I write about it frequently here on my blog and the most recent of those posts showed the photo books I created as a gift for my grand daughters — by the way, the photo books were a huge hit with them!

    print your photos

    These two photo books I made for myself (by Zno).

    One is a compendium of favourite family photos; the other is a mini portfolio of some of my favourite creative images.

    Photographs really do look better on paper. That applies to printed photos intended for albums or for framing. It also applies to photo books. Some photos, when printed, will even make you gasp. I know. This is part of the reason I’m on a roll getting my photos printed — they look so good in print. I’m proud of them and they bring so much joy. I’ve really had a solid change of mindset — I’m focusing more on ensuring my photos are printed rather than making sure they’re stored digitally in two (or multiple) methods. Digital files are not forever; prints last 200 or more years.

    Let me tell you a story about this photo. As you can see, it is in one of the photo albums I recently had printed. It was an extremely hot day. My son had invited me to join his family for a weekend at the lake. We camped in their holiday trailer and spent that day out on the water in my son’s boat. At the moment this was taken, my son was taking the girls to the washroom. He had a camera with him and took a photo of them on their way back. Every time I see this photograph, my heart flutters and I linger, reviewing the memories of this image. I think about how loving and caring my son is toward the girls. How he so naturally takes care of their needs. How there is such a strong bond. I remember this because it was photographed (10 years ago). I cherish these moments because this photograph is printed (I actually also have a physical print of this in a frame.)

    importance of printing photos

    Softcover Photo Book by Blurb

    As I mentioned in the more recent posts about photo books, I’ve been trying a few different companies to see the differences in quality, colour, and even price. But to be honest, although most companies fall within a range that is really only dollars in difference for the exact same thing, for me the most important criteria is quality as well as service (if there is interest, I’m willing to summarize my own findings). Some photo book companies are more intuitive to use, some downright simple, and very few are a bit frustrating to figure out. But in the end, by getting images off the computer (phone, tablet, or DVDs) and archived in a physical format, we ensure the reason we took the photo in the first place is being held forever.

    I don’t ever plan to print every – single – photo. I simply print the ones that I want to preserve and enjoy for a long time (like the photo and story above). And in turn, even once I’m gone, my family will be able to flip through the printed photos (albums and photo books) and reminisce and laugh and maybe even cry. The printed photos become a legacy. Photos on the various technologies will all disappear or be lost or tossed away, never to spark emotions in the way holding physical photos does. A print will always be there.

    So keep taking photographs. But print one and take pride in it. Display it. And print your favourite family moments to create an album or create photo books of those moments. Put the most recent photo book on your coffee table. Let family and friends pick them up, browse through them, and be touched. Photographs never forget.

    The palest ink is better than the best memory.” ~Chinese proverb

    So my dear friends, may your week ahead include getting started printing a few photos. It will warm your heart.


    For Inspiration:

    One of my long time friends was a teacher and she always created a family yearbook photo album from their photographs. She eventually switched over to making their family yearbook as a photo book. They’re easier and slimmer than making photo albums. I’ve always thought that was such a great idea. Here’s a link to another young mother who is using photo books to make her family yearbook — she also provides you with her how-to tips.

    Printed Photographs are Gifts

    Photo books are easier than organizing loose photos



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    sherri - February 19, 2018 - 8:35 am

    again, a good reminder to me of something i haven’t done

    i absolutely love the nonchalant walking on the road

    what a fine, family memory

    Lisa Gordon - February 20, 2018 - 1:12 pm

    I just love the photo of your son and granddaughters, Diane. Such precious memories.
    I am glad that you are doing this, and having so much fun doing it!

    Have a wonderful week, my friend!

    Pockets of happy moments

    Simple things remind us of happy moments and childhood times. Carry them in your pocket or have a place where you can be a kid again. Going to a playground, or childhood swimming hole, or a swing, or playing a certain game, or [insert your happy place]. Although not verbatim, this is essentially what I recently overheard a gentleman sharing with some friends.

    “To smile: look back at happy memories.” — unknown

    Don’t dismiss this idea as ridiculous. Surprise yourself when you realize how splendid you feel and that your smile has become permanent.

    Photo credit: The Mirror {UK}

    Don’t you love those random memories that make you smile no matter what’s going on in your life at a particular moment? Me too.

    One of those random memories I think of right away is something I often did as a child growing up. Being a lover of horses and longing to some day own one of my own, I would run around the yard neighing like a horse, loping as if I were the free running horse of my dreams. Those make-believe moments manifested in many other ways. I’d set up jumps on the front lawn made from broom sticks, rakes, and hoes held atop the seats of our chrome-legged kitchen chairs and would pretend to be the champion show jumper Snowman as I sailed over the crude show jumps. I spent many childhood hours imagining, running, jumping, and neighing, until eventually my dream became a reality. A segue into another pocket full of happy memories.

    {For anyone who’d like to read more about the famous equine, click for a brief summary about Snowman. }

    Wishing you all a week ahead slipping out happy moments from your pockets.


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    Lisa Gordon - February 12, 2018 - 12:03 pm

    What a wonderful post this is, Diane!
    A perfect “Monday” post, and it makes me smile.
    Thank you, my friend, and have a wonderful week ahead.

    sherri - February 12, 2018 - 6:45 pm

    i used to love hop-scotch and haven’t thought of it for years. the motion in these images is incredible. gotta love the greyscale image. i’m always fond of them.

    Andi - February 14, 2018 - 3:26 pm

    I love this post. Such beautiful pictures to match equally beautiful words.
    I often pull from my stockpile of wonderful childhood memories and am always glad when I do.

    let the music set you free

    “Close your eyes and let the music set you free.” — from Phantom of the Opera

    Do you remember when Starbucks ran their “The way I see it” project? They asked mostly known individuals to respond with a response to that statement and they printed them on their take out cups. Words of wisdom on a paper cup.

    Here’s what the cellist Yo Yo Ma had to say, (his was number 7) “What I look for in musicians is generosity. There is so much to learn from each other and about each other’s culture. Great creativity begins with tolerance.”

    Interestingly, another musician, Youssou N’Dour, wrote this numbered 21 for the same project, “People need to see that, far from being an obstacle, the world’s diversity of languages, religions, and traditions is a great treasure, affording us precious opportunities to recognize ourselves in others.”

    Last, but not least, I leave you with a third one from “the way I see it project,” Number 267: “Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears — it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more — it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.” — Oliver Sacks, Neurologist and author of The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain.

    Wishing you all a week filled with the tonic of music.

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    stephanie o young - February 5, 2018 - 7:12 am

    love the photos…especially the last one! there is a whole story in those jeans. And I adore Yo Yo Ma’s quote….a gentle reminder to myself to be more generous! Thank you

    Lisa Gordon - February 5, 2018 - 2:35 pm

    What a great quote from Yo Yo Ma, and I absolutely love these photographs, Diane!

    sherri - February 5, 2018 - 5:49 pm

    an exceptional collection of beautiful instruments

    love the contrast of the worn jean knee to the refined, graceful instrument and what i know you have been hearing

    DIANE J PATMORE - February 5, 2018 - 9:29 pm

    All good advice from wonderful people
    Such a relief from politics and football!

    Jennifer - February 9, 2018 - 11:07 am

    The first couple of quotes are quite timely as tolerance seems to be tested these days.
    Music is a great tonic, but I would go a step further and say that sound itself is restorative and healing. I love the way wind stirs the leaves in the trees and makes a hushed noise that sounds like water. That gentle noise always makes me feel relaxed. The repetitive sound of waves rolling ashore is another favourite. I find it hypnotic and absolutely soothing.

    3 things I’m into, at the moment

    This first one will come as no surprise, but living with less and making space for things that matter is number one on the list. I truly wish I had embraced this years ago, though perhaps I wasn’t ready years ago. The key thing is that it has added such freedom and joy and space to my life.

    “For the longest time, I thought I needed to be more organized. Now I know I just needed less stuff.”Alysa Bajenaru.

    After Halloween I bought an Instant Pot. I had been wanting a new pressure cooker for years and when I learned how versatile the Instant Pot is, well it didn’t take a lot of convincing. I’ve been using it with great regularity though, so far, it’s primarily for the pressure cooking. It also steams vegetables, makes soup, makes yoghurt, even bakes a cheesecake. My favourite uses so far are to make fall-off-the-bone ribs and fork-tender roasts in less than an hour (without hours upon hours in the oven), and dynamite baked beans in just over an hour! Everyone who has one also raves about how great it is for hard boiled eggs because the pressure causes them to peel flawlessly. I plan to give that a go very soon.

    Teaching Heidi a few tricks is another thing I’m into. She now knows how to spin in each direction with a hand signal, though I need to put it on cue.  We’ve also started work on pivots but the plan is to progress that to side-stepping. I train using no punishment whatsoever, including no verbal corrections. Everything I train is positive and encourages the dog to think and figure things out on their own. In fact, most of the training I do is also done entirely off-leash so it’s important that training is fun. I keep the sessions short so that we end with her still wanting more. This way, she is always eager to train and eager to learn.

    Since this is simply a for-fun extra post, I’m leaving you with a link for a cake for the weekend. I’ve made it only once but oh golly it was so good. I thought you may also like to give it a try. I don’t think ginger is just for Christmas. It’s for anytime cool weather. Enjoy!

    So dear friends, what are you into at the moment?

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    Sherry - February 3, 2018 - 10:16 am

    Love your approach with your dog! I wish more adults took this approach with children.

    Gabriele - February 4, 2018 - 7:29 am

    My son has an almost 1 year old mixed pug and dachshund who is very keen to learn tricks. I’ve never had a dog so playing with him is a new joy.

    Lisa Gordon - February 5, 2018 - 1:33 pm

    Your Heidi is just adorable, Diane!
    I use the same training approach with my dogs. It just seems to work, and I really could not be any other way with them.

    The Instant Pot sounds like it is so useful! I am going to look it up. Thank you for sharing, my friend, and have a wonderful week!


    sherri - February 5, 2018 - 5:51 pm

    your dog is beautiful

    i’m surprised it doesn’t have blue eyes

    Jennifer Connell - February 9, 2018 - 11:20 am

    I have been toying with the idea of buying a slow cooker, but this sounds so much better. It also looks to be more compact than a slow cooker which tend to be ginormous (my kitchen is small and storage is at a premium). I also like the idea that it’s not “slow”.
    One thing I need to teach Piper (our youngest dog) is not to fear/bark aggressively at strangers. My other Shelties have always been so laid back. Piper is the anomaly. Any suggestions?
    The cake looks delicious!

    unknown blessings

    Everyone has a story. I’ve always believed that.

    Unknown Blessings

    A neighbour in our community whom I hadn’t spoken to other than a quick “hi” in passing is one of those who has an interesting story. Recently he told my husband he had to put down his 16 year old dog so when I saw him a few days later while I was out walking Heidi, I walked across to him to express my sympathy. He really appreciated the acknowledgment and I could tell he wanted to talk so talk we did.

    “Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.” –Native American Wisdom

    He told me what he did for his dog incorporating his Metis beliefs and death rituals. It was quite touching and something entirely different from our North American beliefs. I can’t get it out of my mind since talking to him especially because of what he shared with me. It appeared to me that it was important to him that someone would listen.

    He told me his dog died in his arms. He then bathed her and dried her. He explained that he played music she liked to listen to and slept with her that night. He had asked some people to come over and talk about her that next day but I don’t know that anyone did, because he didn’t say people came over, just that he asked. He knows someone further up island who has some wild unused property and that’s where he took her to bury her. All the while he talked with a calm, almost matter-of-fact tone and I could tell he appreciated me listening. He did tell me he appreciated my expression of concern.

    It’s pivotal sometime, even to strangers, to give them your time and to be genuine in your concern. It was a small thing for me and all I gave was some time but I could tell it meant a lot to him.

    Be strong enough to stand alone,
    be yourself enough to stand apart,
    but be wise enough to stand together
    when the time comes.
    ~Mark Amend

    “We’re all made of stories. When they finally put us underground, the stories are what will go on.” –Charles de Lint, author

    Everyone has a story. Wishing you all a week of story-making.

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    Susan - January 29, 2018 - 11:21 am

    So true about listening. I’ve always been interested in rituals, I find in them new understanding and opportunities for personal growth.

    sherri - January 29, 2018 - 10:17 pm

    it was very kind of you to give your time to this man. not many people will do that; or even have the knack for talking these day.

    love, love the image

    Toffeeapple - January 30, 2018 - 8:05 am

    That is a very heartwarming story Diane, I am glad that you gave him some of your time.

    BTW, the link did not open for me.

    Diane - January 30, 2018 - 12:14 pm

    Thanks for letting me know about the broken link. I found another link that has most of the same information even if it’s not as “pretty” a website: http://www.sicc.sk.ca/archive/saskindian/a89mar11.htm
    The link has been replaced in my post above.

    Lisa Gordon - January 31, 2018 - 11:23 am

    Bless your heart, Diane.
    Just making some time, and REALLY listening to someone makes such a difference, and I truly believe that if more people did just that simple thing, it would make such a difference in our world today.
    Happy day to you, my friend.

    Jennifer Connell - February 9, 2018 - 11:30 am

    I keep dreading the day that Buddy takes a turn for the worst. There are days when he looks like a rumpled shirt. He walks haltingly from his bed to the water dish and then back again for a snooze. When I ask him to go outside he argues me with a throaty growl, but he usually rallies and comes for a walk. 19 and still hanging in there…

    This I like

    This I Like

    “I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” –Lewis Carroll Through the Looking Glass

    Golden Hour on a field of grain

    The things I like are a soft summer breeze, mare’s tails clouds, fields of grass or crops swaying in the breeze, the hush of a calm sea disturbing a pebble beach, a raptor on the wind, water-smoothed stones. I’m not fond of plastic, especially discarded plastics, people who gossip, messy yards, and people paying attention to their phones instead of the person in front of them. I also don’t care for germ-laden public toilets or drivers who shouldn’t be. But I so love my son’s laughter, memories of my mother, dreamy sunsets, carefree walks on a forest trail or sandy beach, and someone playing piano.

    May your coming week be sprinkled with the magic and awe of the simple things in life that make your heart sing.

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    Toffeeapple - January 22, 2018 - 10:17 am

    Another beautiful and thoughtful post. Thank you Diane.

    Lisa Gordon - January 23, 2018 - 11:11 am

    So many of the things I like (and dislike) also.
    I love these photographs, Diane, especially the last one here.
    It is so peaceful.
    Have a wonderful week, my friend.

    sherri - January 24, 2018 - 7:47 am

    i, too long for those elusive days in my memories

    your images are gorgeous. i particularly love the 3rd image in this post