Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mom's 80th Birthday Party #NikonMOMents


My mom doesn't like being the centre of attention. And she certainly doesn't like having her picture taken. So, a couple of months ago. when I asked her, "What do you suppose the subject of my next Nikon MOMents post is going to be?" she answered with a bit of trepidation, "My birthday party?" You guessed correct, Mama!

Luckily, Mom will do anything to support her "baby." (I'm the youngest of three.) Mom turned 80 in September and we celebrated with a small family gathering at my brother's house. Mom urged me not to invite too many people (there's that centre of attention issue again).


Don't get me wrong. Mom isn't shy. She's well known for sharing her opinion. She's not one to sugar coat things. And she has led a fascinating life. She was born and raised in a small town in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Her dad was a coal miner who Mom remembers whistling his way home from work. (Mom was the only girl, with three brothers, so she was the apple of her daddy's eye. That's one of her brothers, above, with my lovely aunt.)

Her mother was a homemaker (and the inspiration for my love of baking), who was sent to the sanatorium twice with tuberculosis. Mom left home as a teen to attend a boarding school to train as a nurse. Then followed nursing jobs in Florida, Montana and Calgary, as well as a stint as a nurse in the Canadian Armed Forces.


All that excitement aside, I remember a childhood with Mom as a busy (and often tired) full-time psychiatric nurse. She was the one who lugged home all the groceries, cooked and did most of the cleaning. We weren't the most helpful kids. Mom often remarks on how tidy we are now that we have our own homes. And we occasionally got up to no good. (I'm looking at you my daredevil brother.)


Nowadays Mom likes to read books and play games on her iPad in her little house by the lake. I think her favourite day of the year is birthday celebration day at the Fallsview Casino. (She gets treated to game play and a fancy birthday meal.) She can still do some damage grocery shopping. (I get my love of food and cookbooks from her.) She also takes care of my dad. And she is a great source of cuddles and hugs for her grandchildren. Just ask my daughter.


As I mentioned in my first post for Nikon about our anniversary trip to New York, I firmly believe in documenting life's special moments with a real camera. In other words, not with your cellphone. If you want to snap a quick picture on the run, your cellphone is awesome - so handy. But I pretty much take my Nikon D3300 everywhere I go. (And my other Nikon too - yes, I carry two cameras now. But then I never have to change lenses.)

That's my dad making a goofy face for the camera. He does that. A lot. And we love it.


While posed shots are fabulous and absolutely necessary, my favourite shots tend to be the candid moments. Like this picture that one of the kids took of me and my in-laws laughing it up. (Can't remember what we were talking about, but clearly it was funny.)


My brother made a sweet toast to the birthday girl. (I realized after that I should have used the Nikon D3300's video capabilities to capture this moment, but I do love this shot nevertheless.) That's my sister on the right. I'm the only non-ginger in the bunch.





Here's my brother's lovely fiancee and her look-alike daughter.


Sometimes it's hard to take a lot of photos when you are hosting an event. Fortunately, the D3300 works wonderfully even on the "auto" setting. So you can share the photo responsibilities around. My kids took many shots at granny's party (sure many of them were unusable, but that's the beauty of digital - no waste) and I want them to be comfortable with photography too. Plus, they bring a different perspective to picture-taking, both because they are at a different height and because of their unique personalities. My daughter took this picture of her grandparents.


My brother-in-law and my husband, likely making fun of me. People do that. Because I take A LOT of photos.


The photos are a great reminder of all the little party details - like the fact that the kids indulged in the hot tub.


And my brother's backyard man cave. I couldn't help picturing it with hardwood flooring, an iron daybed with lots of pillows and an antique writing desk. But then I guess that wouldn't be much of a man cave, huh? Lucky my brother's fiancee is more generous than me. (Or maybe she just wants him out of the house?)


When it comes to parties, I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels it's necessary to get shots of the food, right?


Especially the dessert, including my mother-in-law's delicious lemon cake, above.



My tip is to take pictures of the food while you're preparing it. Once the party is in full swing and guests are hungry, it's hard to make them wait while you take photos. Just look how harried I appear to be while dishing out cake.


Here are some of the foods I prepared ahead of time - white bean dip, roasted veggies, lentils and rice and brownie bites. The AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G lens on my D3300 has a large maximum aperture of f/1.8. It has been a blessing for taking food photos, because it provides a nice focus on the food while blurring out the background. I can't remember what life was like before I had it actually.



Okay, Mom, that's it. Your time in the spotlight is over...for the moment. It's Thanksgiving this weekend, after all.

We had a lovely time at my mother's party and I'm happy we captured so many special moments on camera. You can follow the other Nikon Moms and check out their special family moments using the hashtag #NikonMOMents.

Do you have any photo tips to share?



Disclosure: I am part of the Mom Central Canada Nikon MOMents team and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

28 comments:

  1. Wow. What a great milestone. Looks like you celebrated your mom in style. Beautiful pictures. Looks like everyone enjoyed themselves and all of the delicious food. Happy Birthday to your mom.

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    1. Thanks Maya! We had a great time and I think Mom was happy. :) Jo

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  2. Happiest of happy birthdays to your mom-- What a great set of memories you've created with those photos!!

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  3. Hey Jo, glad I popped in to see this wonderful post. Happy 80th Birthday to your lovely Mom!! She looks marvelous and it looks like everyone was enjoying the day. I love the shot of your girl draped around Grandma :) And I think I finally figured out where your daughter got her beautiful blue eyes in the shot of your grinning dad. I'm totally with you on the chick conversion of the man-cave ... but what would you call it? Enjoy your Thanksgiving!! Wendy x

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    1. Hey! I'm glad you popped over too! Thanks for the birthday wishes and the kind words. Yes, my little one is quite cozy with granny. And, yes, you are quite right (and observant!) - she gets her gorgeous eyes from grampy. Hmmm...the man cave becomes woman-womb? I don't know, maybe that's gross. ;)

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  4. Love the family photos - happy birthday to your Mom!

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    1. Thanks so much! I'll pass along the wishes. Jo

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  5. What a fab day with lovely photos of your family! I always try to get pics of the food before it's attacked but it's not always easy!

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    1. You and me with the food, right? Obsessed much. ;)

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  6. Loved reading about your Mom - it was fun to be at your party, from my iPad!

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    1. Thanks Jill. Glad you could come. ;) Jo

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  7. My party was fun & amazing. Even the rain quit for that 4 or 5 hours. I appreciate the work & coordination that went into it, and enjoyed the food & family. This post & the beautiful pictures will enable me to enjoy it over & over, in memory. Thanks family & thanks for the well wishes of your blogger friends.

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    1. Yes, we were blessed with a beautiful day of rare fall sunshine! You are most welcome. You deserve that and more. xo Jo

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  8. It sure looks like you and your family had a fabulous time...it's hard for me to fathom all the knowledge and experieces that one person can accumulate and all in 80 years....I was thinking of that not long ago when my Grandmother turned 80...There is nothing wrong with aging when done gracefully, I just fear losing my mind due to dementia of some sort...Thank you for sharing!!!

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    1. We did indeed. You're so right, so much knowledge and experience. I often think we should take more time to listen to the stories of older folks. And it's true, those of us who can age without mental or physical illness are very fortunate. I know what you mean about dementia. We need to start doing crossword puzzles. ;) That's what my dad does to keep his mind "fresh."

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  9. i adore the photo of you unposed and having a great time. kudos to the photograhper!

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    1. Aw, thanks Chrissy. I like it too. The party was a bit of a whirlwind so I'm grateful for the moments I got to sit and chat.

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  10. Happy Birthday to your Mama! What a life! Love those photos.

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  11. Happy belated birthday to your mom! :) Great photos

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  12. It was so lovely to see your Mom's big milestone... she doesn't look a day over 65! I agree, it is wonderful to capture family memories with a good camera. There's nothing better to bring back the feelings of the occasion than seeing the fun and joy on everyone's faces.

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    1. Thanks Lisa! Yes, it's great to be able to look back at posts like these (since I rarely get the pics printed ;) and see how much fun we had. :)

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  13. Looks like it was a great party! 80 is such a milestone!!

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    1. It was a lot of fun! Thanks so much. :)

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