Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Prospero Ano y Felicidad

New Year's

Happy New Year, everybody! Doug & I are still enjoying our time in Buenos Aires. We even took a day trip to Uruguay yesterday. It's been an amazing experience. Tonight we rang in the New Year with some friends at a tango show. I'm telling you, these women have specialized hinges in their knees - their legs were flying all over the place. It looked absolutely amazing but certainly not natural! We've only got a couple more days here before flying home (to face the reality of snow - yuck!). I can't wait to sit down and really go through all my photos! Plus, surprisingly, I have a lot going on in January to get excited about! May all of you have successful and happy 2009s!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I Hunger For the Argentine

Okay, I dug deep for this quote - it's from the Annie soundtrack! I didn't want to go straight for Andrew Lloyd Weber - I'll need that for a later post!

Doug and I arrived safely in Buenos Aires on December 26th and have been living large since! The first few days were dedicated to the wedding that brought us here, but today was our first entirely free day. We walked around the neighborhood of San Telmo, saw the smallest house in Buenos Aires, and chatted with both our taxi drivers about Obama. Apparently he's the popular choice. Tomorrow we are taking it to another country and doing a day trip to Uruguay, which will be really cool. I'm taking tons of photos, of course, so there will be plenty to post when I get home!

La Iglesia de Pilar

The wedding we photographed took place in this church. Beautiful, huh? I won't even begin to delve into the wedding details because we'd be here all day. Suffice to say, it was unlike any wedding I've ever attended or photographed. The ceremony started at 8:30p, although you were expected to be at the church around 8p, and the reception went until 6a. If you can believe it, Doug and I were there for the whole thing - no napping and no caffeine (on my part). It's now 8:45p in Buenos Aires and things are just getting started! I hope everyone had wonderful holidays and I hope you all are excited for 2009!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

People Who Need People

I only have one brother and one sister, but I come from a very large extended family. My grandparents had twenty-four grandchildren. I was number 21. Even though we range in age from 15 to 47, we grew up together. We've been in each others' weddings. We've visited each other at college. When I was little, I got to see my cousins off to the prom. They babysat me, took me to the movies, took me to school, and took me to the Kowloon in Saugus. It was a wonderful way to grow up. Christmas has always been one of our "family times." The tradition has always been the same - a big sit-down dinner featuring homemade raviolis in homemade sauce. When I was little, we used to sit at banquet tables winding through my grandmother's basement. There was bingo, too. When we outgrew the basement, we moved to a restaurant. Now, we eat at a church. There was a time when the number of people eating swelled to about 65. Now, everyone has their own families and the number is smaller again because they have to spend time with their in-laws. For the first time in my life, I will be switching up traditions this year and it kills me. I don't let go easily. With both my grandparents gone, this Christmas dinner was one of the traditions we tried to hold on to, in their memory.

This photo is of my Auntie Lanie's family. This year, she wanted to send out a Christmas card with a photo of her and my uncle Robert with all their grandchildren. They have 21. Outside of giant wedding guest photos, this is the largest number of people I've squeezed into a photo since I started my business two years ago. It's certainly the largest number of people who are related! My aunt was thrilled with the results and she left me a message saying she hoped I used this photo on my "work screen." I assume she meant my website. And since you can't say no to Auntie Lanie, here it is:

Auntie Lanie

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday! I can't believe today is Christmas Eve. Doug and I leave tomorrow for Buenos Aires and we're not quite packed, but we're getting there. One suitcase down, one garment bag to go! I will hopefully blog from the road. I am SOOOO excited!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Basin Street Blues

I'm going to rant for just a second here. Last night, in the midst of the snowstorm, I took the train into Boston for a concert (more on that later). I managed to snag a seat on the T (subway for those of you non-Bostoners) and settled in for the ride. At the next stop, a woman got on with her elderly mother. There were no seats for them so they stood and held on to one of the poles. I watched, embarrassed, as not one person close to them offered these women a seat. Where have our manners gone? Is it just Boston? Is it because everyone was cranky because of the weather? It was just so upsetting to me that in this day and age, and at this supposedly charitable time of year, no one found it in their hearts to stand and let this older woman sit down. After watching this for a little bit, I finally made eye contact with the woman (they were on a different level than me - yes, the T now has stairs in some of its cars) and asked if her mother would like my seat. After speaking, they decided to stand for the rest of their ride. Frankly, this elderly woman looked a lot more steady on her feet than a lot of other passengers on the T, so I felt she could probably hold her own. We all got out at the same stop, and were in fact going to the same concert, and they thanked me for offering my seat. The daughter said, "You'll notice none of the men offered to stand so my mother could sit." Now, I don't think chivalry and manners should be practiced by just men, but COME ON PEOPLE! Where's your sense of decency?! When you're old and gray and don't have a ton of energy, I bet you'll hope some kind person will stand so you can sit on the train. Here's the thing, I don't have a lot of money to be donating to this and that charity. When my friend send me letters about walks they're doing, I can't support (monetarily) every single one. Here's what I can do: offer an elderly woman my seat so she doesn't have to stand on the train. It's free. It doesn't take any extra time. And frankly, it might just make her day. Maybe she doesn't take the seat, but at least she knows there are people out there paying attention.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Take These Broken Wings and Learn to Fly

I love this photo of Josie - it's the calm in the eye of the storm of a 2 yr old! Only a few days after our photo shoot, she managed to break her arm! Yikes! Something tells me it didn't slow her down all that much!

A week from today, in fact, dare I say, EXACTLY one week from now, Doug and I should be landing in Buenos Aires. We'll be there through the New Year, which means, when I return, it will be 2009. Even with all of the crazy things going on in the world, I can't help but be excited about the upcoming year. There are going to be a lot of changes over here at Margaret Belanger Photography and I'm looking forward to tackling them all, and maybe cleaning all the clutter off my desk! In the meantime, lots of preparation for Christmas and for our trip. Time to go shopping!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You Better Watch Out

You Better Watch Out

Besides an engagement shoot coming up, I am done with sessions in 2008! It's been such an amazing year - I have learned so much and am so excited about the direction my business is taking. Christmas is a great way for me to wrap up the year because I start getting all the photo cards in the mail. I love when clients send me their cards. When you photograph a family, you never know which photo they will choose to use, so it's a great surprise to see them all. I've got them taped up around a doorway in my house and they make great decorations.

Buenos Aires is right around the corner, which I guess is how I'll really end 2008. I'm photographing a wedding on December 27th, which I know is going to be fabulous. Doug and I are trying to finish up Christmas stuff so we can focus on packing and preparing. I am going to try to blog from the road - I think the hotel has WiFi, so I should be okay. I'm sure I'll shoot a million and one photos. I'm SOOO excited!

Quick Movie Reviews: I saw Vicky Cristina Barcelona last night and enjoyed it. Good acting, good storyline, great characters. The characters are really multi-faceted, which lends itself to the nuances of the story. The movie got a fair amount of Golden Globe nominations and won't be around in theaters much longer so it was on the top of my list. Penelope Cruz was great. Since Golden Globes separate Comedies and Dramas, it will be interesting to see if the movie receives any Oscar recognition. There's a fair amount of competition. Overall, I recommend it, either in the theater or at home.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Easy Like A Sunday Morning

As soon as my wedding season started to wind down, I started booking all my family sessions for the holidays. I love the idea that people are using my photos on their holiday cards and are giving them as gifts. I've gotten to meet a bunch of new cool families, plus I've been able to catch up with some I photographed last year. I love that my job is to basically meet people, hang out with them, and capture their personalities. Sure, there's definitely some pressure to get the perfect family photo, but I try to keep the experience as painless as possible. When I worked at a studio, the pressure reduced some children, and even some parents, to tears. My goal is to take as much of that pressure away as possible! By going where my clients are comfortable, the portrait session starts off much more relaxed. No searching high and low for parking that then makes you late for your studio appointment. No dragging children through the mall. No waiting in line. It's a great system.

This family was a lot of fun to photography. They had this big finished attic that we were able to use for our "studio." Dad stood by while I photographed the kids, occasionally reading them passages from Junie B. Jones to get them to smile. The two little girls couldn't wait to hold their baby brother.
Laughing Sisters

Here's the whole family. I love the bright colors!

The day I took the photos was one of those early really cold days we had right before Thanksgiving. The girls didn't really want to play outside. Can't say that I blame them. This little guy had no choice! He looks so adorable all bundled up!

Things that are wicked exciting right now:
1) Golden Globe nominations came out today! I'll be making my list and checking it twice! I was thrilled to see that most of the nominated films are movies I already wanted to see. It's nice to know I won't be dragging myself to the theater to spend money on movies I'm not that interested in seeing. I've already seen a bunch of them, so that's helpful too. The broadcast is on Sunday Jan 11th, so between now and then, I'll be checking in with nutshell reviews I'm sure.
2) Christmas is 2 weeks from today! Eeks!
3) Doug and I leave for Buenos Aires two weeks from today! That's insane. We've been starting to prepare for the trip, but I have a feeling we'll be doing a lot of it last minute.

Monday, December 8, 2008

When You Wish Upon A Star

When I photographed Sofia, I was transported into her enchanting world, a world where Tinkerbell had given her magical powers. I was smitten. How can you not want to hang out with a little girl with magical powers?!

This photo was taken in a fleeting moment of relaxation after showing me her dance routine. Yup, her dance routine!
From Above

And here she is with her trusty magic wand!
Magic Wand

She told me in no uncertain terms that being able to use the camera does not count as magical powers. However, she reassured me that if I practiced, I could get some magical powers, too. Abracadabra!

I love how little she looks on her big bed, just hanging out with her magic wand.

This was such a fun shoot (obviously). Sofia even colored a picture for me to take home! You better believe it's hanging on my fridge.

Today was pretty chilly. Hope everyone is staying warm and getting their shopping done! Doug and I are all thrown off this year since we won't really be participating in our usual Christmas traditions. I'm usually on top of all my shopping, but this year, I feel behind. Oh well. That's what the internet is for!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Feel Sheltered In Your Love

My mom is impatiently waiting for me to post something new, so here we go. Ruth and Chas got married at the end of September at the Grandview Inn in Jaffrey, NH. Theirs was actually the 2nd wedding I've shot there. The location is amazing! The Inn offers a ton of great nooks to take photos, inside & out, which is always important when planning an outdoor wedding in New England. We experienced some rain the day of Ruth and Chas' wedding, but they were troopers and decided to get married outside. It drizzled, but nothing we couldn't handle. Thanks to Mother Nature, it cleared up in time for us to shoot the formals outside. I just went through and watermarked a bunch of photos to post, but there's something up with flickr today and I can't seem to generate the code. That means you'll just have to enjoy the slideshow!