Sisters in Autumn

“I just love this picture of my girls. The colours are so vibrant and their faces seem to almost pop right off of the portrait.  I have a moment in time – to cherish for a lifetime.  Thanks Marlene – for taking this amazing picture of my 3 beauties. You made this experience effortless for me. I look forward to doing the next one.”  Jenn Loeppky, Niverville, Manitoba



I photographed each of these three beauties at about 6 months of age.  So it was wonderful to see how they’ve changed.  But, I did still see their personalities now that I could see at that time.  Mom wanted a portrait in fall.  The day we choose was windy and chilly, but the girls were so co-operative!   Children do change so much, and having a beautiful portrait created will forever remind you of who they were at a specific time of their lives!   I always say, “You can ‘stop time’ with a beautiful portrait!”.

I was happy that Jenn was so pleased with the portrait and she sent me a photo of it displayed in their home.

What better way to decorate your home than with beautiful portraits of those you love!  Thank you Jenn, for trusting me to create a beautiful portrait of your girls in the gorgeous autumn colours.



Christmas 2015 in the Midlands of England

My best friend moved to the Midlands of England 3 years ago.  For at least a dozen years before her move, I spent every Christmas with her!  I really missed that and I decided to spend Christmas with her in December 2015.   I completely lucked out with the amazing weather they had in the Midlands and had an absolutely wonderful Christmas with my good friends in the lovely English countryside.

Here are a few highlights of my trip.

One of my favourite things about shopping in small town England is the difference in advertisements from my home in Manitoba to Oundle.  Just walking into The Co-operative grocery store, I was greeted by a display rack of Crumpets.  I love crumpets!   And, obviously, so does Sylvester Stallone!After a typical grocery shop – we went to the Thursday market.  Yes – it was December 17th and yes – the market was outdoors!  The weather was a balmy 14 degrees.  The fresh veggies were gorgeous!

My friend Inge, is a gourmet home-cook and she uses fresh ingredients from the weekly market in all her cooking.  I enjoy every meal she cooked!

One of the highlights of my trip to England is visiting Cambridge.  We drove to Cambridge on a beautiful, sunny day a bit later in the after to capture the lovely late day lighting.  The day started with a lovely pub lunch at The Eagle.  Then we just wandered around.

As a photographer, my mind sees scenes in a dreamy, sometimes surreal way and I often am quite disappointed with my camera captures!  But on this trip, I was inspired by Inge’s lovely ‘paintings’ and she taught me some of her techniques (along with a few Photoshop plug-ins).  When I looked at the original camera images and what I ended up with – I was so pleased as that is how I saw these scenes in my mind.   Here is an example of a street scene.  We walked up Green Street and I loved the very warm stones and the narrow street with many of the shops displaying outdoors on the sidewalks.  This is a ‘before’ and ‘after’.  I love the ‘after’!

One thing I loved about being there in December, were the bare trees.  They are so interesting when not hiding behind lush leaves!  The sun was going down and I saw the tops of the buildings with the warm sun and I knew I wanted to play with this image.  Here is another ‘after’ and ‘before’.

My favourite place in all of Cambridge that I’ve explored is Clare College.  This is the college Michael (Inge’s husband) attended.   Clare College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. The college was founded in 1326 as University Hall, making it the second-oldest surviving college of the University after Peterhouse. It was refounded in 1338 as Clare Hall by an endowment from Elizabeth de Clare. Clare is famous for its chapel choir and for its gardens on “the Backs” (the back of the colleges that overlook the River Cam).

I love standing on Clare Bridge watching the punts slowly meander down the River Cam.  This first photo is of a punt hugging the side of the brick wall.  A few times I saw the Punter actually seemingly balancing himself on the wall.

But this next image is the view I love the most.  The punt seems to glide along without leaving much of a wake.  It is a leisurely trip along a beautiful river.   I tried a few styles of painting on this image, but felt the Georgia O’Keeffe style suited it best and really evoked the emotion in the scene I saw.

By this time the sun was setting quickly and we decided to go to the ‘Backs’.  The Backs is a picturesque area to the east of Queen’s Road in the city of Cambridge, England, where several colleges of the University of Cambridge back on to the River Cam, their grounds covering both banks of the river. The name “the Backs” refers to the backs of the colleges. The area, from Magdalene Street bridge in the north to Silver Street bridge in the south, consists of the rear grounds of the following colleges (north to south).  I saw the amazing (almost full move) over King’s College and took a whole series of photos.  Because it was quite dark at this point and I couldn’t see detail in the buildings, I decided to create a Van Gogh style painting.  Really love this view!

I love Cambridge and King’s College.  Too bad we didn’t get a chance to attend Evensong at Kings on this trip.  But, I will be going back again!

Because this post is quite long, I will do another post in a few days.


Family Composite Portrait


Hi Marlene.
I don’t even know where to begin. 2015 was the year of our 50th wedding anniversary and I wanted a family photo to celebrate this milestone. I had something very specific in mind, for a specific place in my home. You seemed a little doubtful that this could be done but were willing to come to my house to check. And wow! You came up with something you had apparently never done before. Each family got their own portrait, you put them all together, and it is absolutely amazing! Our photo shoot was less than an hour for 19 people and yet everyone looks amazing! And how you captured everyone’s personality in the picture is beyond me! Marlene, our portrait is amazing! You made us all look amazing! And you were so right, a 72″ portrait is not too big! We just love it! And I have not even said anything about your service, which was just up and beyond also! Thank you Marlene! We think you are amazing and just love you!
Dora & Bert Penner, Steinbach, Manitoba

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  I love my clients – especially when they keep coming back!  I photographed Dora in 1989, their 4 daughters in 1990, Myra’s wedding in 1991, and then Alysia got married in 1995 and finally, Natasha’s wedding in 1999.  In 2006 I had a wonderful session with Cynthia and her beloved cat.  Two years ago, Dora and Bert came in for a portrait of just the two of them, and at that time she said their 50th anniversary was coming up in 2015.

She came in with her girls for a Portrait Design Consultation and, with 5 opinions, no one was exactly sure what we were going to do!   Dora indicated she wanted something different than what most people do with large family groups.  I was a bit stumped until I remembered seeing a wonderful photographer in the US that does a lot of Family Composites.  I suggested this to Dora and she loved the idea!  This was going to be a first for me!

On the 31st of October – the family came in, and I photographed each of the 5 groups.   I chose my favourite images of each family and composited them in one panoramic image.  They came in for the Ordering Appointment not knowing what to expect – but when they saw the completed design of the family portrait – they loved it!

Their entire order was ready for pick-up on December 12th (just two days before I left for England).  I was so happy that they would have their beautiful portraits for the Christmas season.  Her is a portrait of Dora and Myra picking up their order.

Thank you, Dora, for trusting me with a new idea – and then loving it!



Portrait in a bed of yellow flowers

“Again I say thank you to my most wonderful photographer. I really got into my flowers this summer. Marlene agreed to trek out to my flower bed on a very hot summer evening to capture this fun image. I have seen images of ladies lying on a bed of roses, I chose these happy pansies & Marlene got me to smile. She makes me being silly look good. And I still have thoughts for a future project.” Roxanne Poole, Winnipeg, Manitoba

This is the most recent portrait I photographed of Roxanne.   When I arrived at her condo today to photograph it on display, I noticed she was wearing the same clothes as the portrait and I knew exactly what she wanted!  A portrait of her in front of her portrait!   Isn’t it grand?


I had the privilege of photographing her a few other times!  The first time was when she turned 60.   I loved photographing in her condo and getting to know her!


Then in 2014 I got another call from her, really excited about an idea she had.  This time she came out to the studio .  Together we created some lovely images!    She sewed the skirt herself and a few months after the session, she was attending a wedding (wearing the skirt) and the photographer complimented her on it, and what did Roxanne do?   She gave it to the photographer!   (She needed to borrow a suit jacket as a cover-up to retain her dignity.   I’m still chuckling about that story!)


She told me of an idea she had that she wanted for a portrait, but it was too late to do anything in 2014, but earlier this summer I got a call from her, letting me know she had planted some lovely yellow flowers in a local park and wanted to be photographed surround by them.  Her accent colour in her condo is yellow and I loved the idea of creating something unique.  The only problem was that the flower bed was not very large and it was surrounded by a gravel pathway and a fence.  And we had a tree inside the flower bed we had to work with!


And Roxanne had no problem lying down amongst the flowers.  When we went back to the condo, so showed me where it was going to hang, and I realized that it was to be a vertical image, and I had taken a lot in a horizontal format.  But, going through the images, when I saw this one, I knew it was THE one.  Beautiful – just beautiful!


Here is the image (without the glare on the glossy finish she chose).


Thank you Roxanne for choosing me to capture the ideas you have.  Looking forward to our next ‘adventure’ together!


Family Portraits on client’s yard!

Hi Marlene,

As always, you were right!  Thank  you for convincing me there would be a good spot on our yard to be photographed; I now see the area as more than just ‘the rest of the yard!’ 

We have been fortunate over the years to have you photograph us numerous times and each time you capture the true character of each of us. Your artistic talent is second to none! Thank you so much.

As you can see, I chose not to re-paint the wall color as it works with both, the 2004 and 2015 portraits.

 Sincerely, The Wiebes: Frieda, Albert, Auriel, Sidney, Celia


When I went to scout out Frieda & Albert’s yard, I was so excited to see 3 gorgeous backgrounds that I could use.  This really was my favourite.  I love the depth of the background in this portrait in the client’s location.   By the way, if you’re driving by my studio, you can see this photograph displayed outdoors!

I asked Frieda to photograph their portrait on their wall and she sent me the photograph of the previous portrait, which was moved from over the loveseat to over the piano.   I love the portrait I did of them in my back yard when the children were much younger.  The fall colours were amazing.