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*We continue to follow Heirloom Portraits Photographer Katelyn Krueger in Northern Canada through her pictures and thoughts.*

Kate redefines the “Big Chill”

Our Kate seems to have garnered a bit of attention with her journey. Just before Christmas a reporter from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) contacted us and wanted to know more. In our eyes Kate has always been a “Star” but now a few more people can appreciate her.

The first installment read like this – Travelling Photographer ‘brought to tears’ watching northern kids grow up and had a lot of fun pictures in it.

This version actually is a little video of what Heirloom Portraits does and has Kate’s voice telling the story – One travelling school photographer describes watching northern kids grow up

When all is said and done, Kate is still on the road (or ice highway, if you like) and has a few photos for us from Pond Inlet, Nunavut.

Pond Inlet is a small, predominantly Inuit community in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada, located in northern Baffin Island. Pond Inlet was named in 1818 by explorer John Ross for John Pond, an English astronomer. Wikipedia. As of the 2016 census, the population was 1,617, an increase of 4.4% from 2011. – Wikipedia

 

Welcome to Pond Inlet, NU

Was lucky to see this as the next day it snowed to never be seen again this year by me.

A harvested Narwhal

… another cruise ship

It’s easy to see why there are cruise ships around when you can see icebergs and spectacular sunsets like these.

I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to Kate’s next stop. See you there.

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*We continue to follow Heirloom Portraits Photographer Katelyn Krueger in Northern Canada through her pictures and thoughts.*

Now, where were we? Ah yes, Clyde River, Nunavut.

Clyde River is an Inuit hamlet located on the shore of Baffin Island’s Patricia Bay, off Clyde Inlet, an arm of Davis Strait in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut Canada. It lies in the Baffin Mountains which in turn form part of the Arctic Cordillera mountain range. – Wikipedia

Clyde River in the Inuktituk language is Kanngiqtugaapik (Nice Little Inlet). It is also known as the “Gateway to the Fiords”. Here is Kate’s Clyde River…

Town in the background — at Clyde River, Nunavut.

In love with the view here.

Still in love with the view

This very small town provided Kate with some of her most memorable moments. There was extremely diversified subject matter, including

boats of many colours.

Magnificent giant bones.

Bowhead Whale Bone

Ribs of the Bowhead Whale

Part one of Bowhead Whale (head)

Part two of Bowhead Whale (body/ribs)  *(this part attaches to the head with those two black spots of part one photo)

Part three of Bowhead Whale (tail) — at Clyde River, Nunavut.

The next discovery was a first for Kate.

Polar Bear tracks (not so recent ones)

More Polar Bear tracks (more recent)….

Then we found him & followed him! NANUQ!!!! (my first)

NANUQ!!!! (my first)

NANUQ!!!! (my first)
*jumping over the waves*

There were a few other white furry surprises for Kate.

Pupppppppppies! Will be sled dogs next year.

I wanted to take this one home. Just too cute.

There were icebergs a plenty.

So many Icebergs in the distance – This is what the tundra looks like for anyone curious.

Lots of Icebergs

And the inevitable…

Of course there is an Inukshuk and I have a photo with it. What’s not to expect?

Town in the background

I think it is safe to say that this is one visit to Clyde River that Kate won’t soon forget.

Community of Clyde River from the hill across the pond.

*We continue to follow Heirloom Portraits Photographer Katelyn Krueger in Northern Canada through her pictures and thoughts.*

We have all been somewhere that we feel a connection with. A place you might even feel instantly at home, like you belong there.  Somewhere you will go back to  over and over again. Of course, the people who live there contribute a lot to that sense.  Personally I have found a couple of places like that. One is Las Vegas and the other is Glenlea, Manitoba (I know, opposite ends of the spectrum).  Rankin Inlet is that place for Kate. As soon as she lands I receive a message from her, “I am in my happy place.” (It’s on my bucket list)

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Rankin Inlet

“Rankin Inlet is an Inuit hamlet on Kudlulik Peninsula in Nunavut, Canada. Located on the northwestern Hudson Bay, between Chesterfield Inlet and Arviat, it’s the regional centre for the Kivalliq Region. In the 1995 Nunavut capital plebiscite, Iqaluit defeated Rankin Inlet to become territorial capital of Nunavut.” Wikipedia

Kate’s first comment on her first image pretty much sums it up.

Welcome Home! — in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

The Big Dipper!!! NICE

Don’t think this turned out too bad using my cell phone. — in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

Love its reflection. — in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

The annual photo with my favourite Inukshuk.

You can tell the star of the show was the “Northern Lights” this trip with Kate’s favourite Inukshuk playing a very strong supporting roll.

Part of my job working for Heirloom Portraits is to scout for new photographers. Working as a photographer for Heirloom is one of the coolest jobs on the planet. Literally. It envelops all meanings for cool.

The ad for the job reads like this…

“Are you looking for adventure? Do you live to photograph? Our Photographers visit towns and experience travel that the average Canadian will never get to enjoy. Every day is a new and interesting experience.”

Job Title: Travelling Mobile Family and School Photographer
Location: Northern Canada including Ontario, Manitoba, Nunavut, North West Territories, Labrador, etc.”

It’s not an easy job. Photography skills are involved (although plenty applied that had none). It involves a lot of travel to remote areas in Canada. You are away from home for long periods of time (no you cannot make it home for visitations on the weekend). Your accommodations will not be 5 star hotels (because they do not exist in these remote areas). It is usually cold. You will probably be snowed in at one point or another. It is the kind of job that you either love and never want to give up or you find out pretty quickly that it’s not for you.

Heirloom is an amazing company to work for and the people who work there are a remarkable team. Our photographers know that although they may be out there on their own, the team is just a phone call/text/message away. It’s really kind of tricky to explain to you what our photographers experience. I listen to the stories and look at the photos and I am alway in awe (and a whole lot jealous). As our 2018-2019 season has just begun, I thought it would be interesting to see Northern Canada through the eyes of one of our photographers.

Say “Hello” To Photographer Kate

Kate is now in her 5th year with Heirloom. In my opinion she was born for this job. So, I asked her a few questions…

Me: When we first hired you, what was it that made you think you would like to do this job?

“I have always loved going to new places or even returning to the same places. Travelling in general is exciting to me. Photography was something I have always loved. So to find a job where I am travelling and doing photography, it’s a dream come true.”

Me: What is it about the job that makes you want to keep doing it?

“I still love travelling and I still love photography. The connections I make with the people in each community keep me wanting to come back. I have seen children grow from babies and are now in Kindergarten. I have become “Aunty” to some of them in a few different communities. Why would I want to give that up?”

My plan is to share Kate’s season with you through her pictures and her thoughts. Her first stop was Baker Lake, Nunavut.

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Baker Lake, Nunavut 

This is where Baker Lake, Nunavut is in Canada. GoogleMaps

According to Wikipedia, Baker Lake is a hamlet in the Kivalliq Region, in Nunavut on mainland Canada. Located 320 km inland from Hudson Bay, it is near the nation’s geographical centre, and is notable for being the Canadian Arctic’s sole inland community. The hamlet is located at the mouth of the Thelon River on the shores of Baker Lake.

Here is Kate’s Baker Lake…

Welcome to Baker Lake, NU — in Baker Lake, Nunavut.

The Airport In Baker Lake, Nunavut

The town

Made friends with a Siksik — in Baker Lake, Nunavut.

He liked getting his picture taken… — in Baker Lake, Nunavut.

It’s hard being a model so he needed some food. — in Baker Lake, Nunavut.

 

In Baker Lake, Nunavut.

This is one way to transport myself and gear to a new school – in a grocery truck! A great way to start a morning, with bananas — in Baker Lake, Nunavut.

Apparently I’m funny. The kids all wanted me to have a picture so this is what we got!  🙂  — in Baker Lake, Nunavut.

 

Sandhill Cranes

In Baker Lake, Nunavut.

I have been visiting Baker Lake now for four years and this is the first time I made it to the Inukshuk. Every year I’d say I will get there. I finally did it!  — in Baker Lake, Nunavut.

I hope you will enjoy seeing more of Northern Canada through Kate’s eyes in future posts.

I am delighted! Now that’s a word I can honestly say I have never used when describing myself. Check out the very talented Mike Allegra’s doodle of me over at HeyLookAWriterFellow.

How could I not be delighted? Thanks Mike. via Here Ya Go! The Winning Doodle!

Family Secrets

Every family has secrets. They may not admit it but they do.

My family just happens to have more than most. That happens when you have a large family. A family that is “blended” from different parents and adoption can have some stories. Add in-laws and the secrets can get way out of control.

My birth was one of the bigger ones. Yes, I was an illegitimate child. According to “legend” my grandmother tried to pass me off as a neighbour’s kid that my Mom was babysitting. Let me just say my Mother was a great baby sitter. Don’t ask me about my grandmother.

Perhaps the longest kept secret (at least for me) was who my biological father was. I found out when I was in my early 20s and actually met him just before my 27th birthday.

Of course we have had our share of drug users and abusers. I believe every family does.

Unfortunately, we’ve also had family members  behind bars.

Pat in jail

No this one is not real. In this case we were exploring an old jail in Cobourg, ON that has been turned into a restaurant.

Yes, all of these were some of the worse kept secrets in history. There is one secret, though, that has been kept secret until just recently. It’s absolutely, hands down the best kept secret in all of my family.

Ralph’s Plum Jam. As a matter of fact when I started this post in 2014 I turned to He-Who and said, “I need that recipe for your brother’s jam to finish this post.” He looked at me with a blank stare.

He-Who: “What recipe? I don’t have the recipe. He doesn’t give it to anyone.”

Me: “You told me last week he finally gave in and gave it to Keri-Lynn (He-Who’s daughter)”.

He-Who: “That did not happen.”

I will not burden you with the rest of that conversation. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.  Four years later I still do not have the recipe, Ralph has moved away from his plum trees and we are always on the search for plum jam.

We all have one of “those” relatives that are hard to explain. For me, it’s this guy. Captain America.

Even though Bruce is referred to as “My Brother-In-Law From Hell”, full disclosure, I love this man. Frequently, however, our opinions are galaxies apart. Infinite galaxies. But over the years we have found ways to work around our differences without involving any death stars. Sparring, tucking, rolling…you get the idea. That all changed over the past year. You see, my Brother-In-Law…bare with me…this is so hard…*weeping*…supports #45. In a BIG way!

OK. There. I said it. Just yesterday I was talking to Barrie Doyle , a former professor (now friend), at one of his book signings. We were talking about how this particular difference of opinion has divided long-time friends and even family members. It has brought out the worst in everyone. I was determined not to to let this happen between Bruce and I. Soooo…this is how our conversations go whenever politics rears its ugly head:

Him: He’s great!

Me: I love you Bruce.

Him: Did you see whatever very, very amazing thing he did that day?

Me: I love you Bruce.

Him: He’s making everything better!

Me: I love you Bruce.

This will go on until he either gives up and leaves the room, or I leave the room, or my sister comes into the room, gives us both “the eye” and asks what’s going on, at which point we both leave the room. My latest visit  south of the border put me in a very awkward spot. Bruce was doing something to my vehicle (no, he wasn’t cutting the brake lines) as he keeps the thing going for me. Then he took it for a spin, but within the length of two houses, turned around and put it back in the driveway. He immediately told me “there is no way you can drive that car.” It was unsafe. The back wheel was about to fall off. This resulted in me driving with Bruce in his truck to get parts for my car. I was trapped in the front seat for the duration.

Later, when I started to tell He-Who about my being a captive audience, He-Who started to laugh uncontrollably. He didn’t stop all night. Every time he looked at me he started to laugh again. He knew exactly what had happened — Bruce started singing #45’s praises as soon as my seatbelt clicked. I was like a deer caught in headlights. Now, this man was taking me to get parts for my car. Then he would take those parts and fix my car (no matter how long it took) so I could drive back home, safely. There was no way I was going to berate his hero. So I bit my tongue. I bit the inside of my mouth. I recited to myself, “I love you Bruce. I love you Bruce”…the whole way. When we got back he had a big grin on his face and I looked like Munch’s The Scream. My sister took one look at me and did a double facepalm. 

Here’s the thing. This man who makes me crazy with his politics is also kind, big hearted, generous, brave, hard working and… my family. That’s not to say that he’s a saint. He’s made his share of blunders. He’s also the first person to offer a helping hand. He would give you the shirt off his back and offer to have it cleaned first. As I said, over the years, he’s kept more than one of my vehicles on the road. He works hard at whatever he takes on. Some of his construction jobs have had him working in sweltering heat or frigid ice. He’s worked at heights that he admits terrify him. Not too long ago he had to conquer both his fear of heights and “big ass” spiders while working on the Grand Island Bridge.

Off the job he’s the first to volunteer when someone needs a nail hammered, a screw turned, or a shower plumbed. He’s a good husband to my baby sister

and a good father to her children. Raising them as his own and putting up with a lot that only a father could understand. He has kept his family safe and sound. When someone needs him, he’s there, usually before he is asked. And one of the things he does better than anyone, is making this little one feel like a real life Princess.

Not the one on the left. The little one on the right is his Princess.

He is her Prince Charming, her hero, her Papa. He calls her his Best Buddy.

All of his grandchildren know that he will never let them down. He will listen to them and embrace them with a hug that you know is genuine. I can vouch for that hug. He greets me with one of those hugs and says good bye with one of those hugs. Every time!  It makes you feel loved and cared for. One of his favourite things is to be the first person to wish me a Happy Birthday. On that day every year, long before the sun is up, the phone will ring and I am treated to his rendition of “Happy Birthday”. He is a man of many talents and quite the mystery, I might add. Perhaps a little more like James Bond than Captain America.

Although I refuse to agree with his politics, I can’t bring myself to hold them against him. Unless, of course, I get trapped in a car alone with him again.

Tom Lucas

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