Saturday, October 27, 2012

Movember is almost here

It's almost that time again when millions of normally clean-shaven faces start looking like they belong at a NASCAR track or Porn star convention.

Yes, I'm talking about Movember!

Each year starting November 1 and going until November 30 me and millions of men worldwide grow our 'staches out to support men's health issues particularly Prostate Cancer. While some duster growers get sponsors for cash to donate to their favourite Men's health Charity and others do it to spread the word, I am doing it to annoy my Wife...and spread the word. If you feel so inclined please feel free to drop a few bucks to Prostate Cancer Canada or any of your own fave charities.

My plan is to get my 90's lip rug grown and take a picture everyday of its magnificent progress to share on my Google+. It should be good.

GQ Gary

Can't wait!

Cheers everyone and if you see me on the street, don't be scared... it's for charity

Gary Paakkonen

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Hillbilly Move...

The Start

I realize that it is a drastic change to go from a temperate climate like Southwestern Ontario to the frigid blustery cold of Manitoba, leaving behind my friends, Daughters and Grandson and for what? A change? A chance for a fresh start in the country? Helping out Wifey's family in the prairies?

Well yeah, all of the above really! It was also kind of like something calling me to head 'Head West ol' bastard' kind of thing.

So I quit my job that I had for 10 years, sold most of our furniture and belongings, left my awesome 2400 square foot house and packed up the remainder in a Chevy pick-up truck, a U-Haul and a Chevy Aveo with roof racks and commenced with the Hillbilly move.

Day One

The trip itself was very uneventful but we did stop at a couple of places on route for a couple of images.

The first night we arrived at the Sportsmen's Motel in Wawa, Ontario around 1230am. I had to wake up the desk clerk to check in. The gentleman was a whole lot more cordial than I would have been. He checked us into two outdated but clean and comfortable rooms.
I woke up fairly early in the morning to wander around and see what kinds of shots I get and noticed the spooky Psycho style sign for the Motel. Reflecting back I was very happy to realize there were no knife wielding maniacs in my bathroom.

Sportsmans Motel in Wawa, Ontario

Day Two

We made a stop in White River, Ontario that has the distinction of being the birthplace of A.A.Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh.



Off we went following the Trans-Canada Highway through the Canadian Shield and the scenic shores of Lake Superior, through Thunder Bay towards our second night layover. Just before we got to our new motel I spotted a fantastic reflection of the amazing sunset bouncing from one of the numerous little lakes dotting the landscape. As luck would have it, there was a rest area on the far shore of the lake. I quickly pulled the truck in, grabbed my camera, tripod and filters and ran my fat a$$ about 700 meters back along the highway to set up and catch the glorious, fiery oranges, reds and yellows.... but no. I was about two minutes late but did manage to get some blues and purples.

ReflectionsA sunset reflects from a small Northern Ontario lake

Also because I was still out of breath from my run, I set up a long exposure of an eighteen wheeler for some blue hour light trails heading east.

Trans Canada Long ExposureLong exposure shot of truck tail lights along the Trans Canada Highway

Shortly after we arrived at the Trading Post Motel in Ignace, Ontario. What an awesome place for the money. For $85.00 taxes included we got a fantastic newly refurbished room with a 40" smart tv with Netflix and Web tv. Free long distance to anywhere in North America, Free WiFi, pet friendly and 6, count 'em SIX beds! At the front desk I was greeted by a giant Batman. Outside along the front of the Motel were a whole slew of Super Hero statues guarding us.

The Trading Post Motel in Ignace, Ontario. They are the best motel, by far, that I have spent the night in... and as an added bonus, they have a bunch of superhero  statues out front :)) 807-934-2386

Day Three

Last day on the road and we blasted through to the farm with only a couple of quick stops to eat and let the dogs do their business.
We stopped just outside of Kenora, Ontario where I grabbed my artsy shot of the trip. I shot straight up into a yellow tree with a massive pine tree framing it. I converted the image into a black and white negative. I'm not sure whether I like it or not so I will torment you with it... my bad :)

Infrared trees in Northern Ontario.

The rest of it

We are now mostly settled into our tiny little house and now the fun will begin. We are going to refurbish and do a lot of rebuilding here. I have a massive loft in the barn in which I will build a small studio and a huge man cave!
This past Thursday night we had our first snowfall. The dog's and Alpaca's seemed to enjoy Not so much! But we will make the best of it.

Alpacas in snowthe Alpacas enjoying the seasons first snowfall

First SnowThe first snowfall of the year and Charlie and Winston are out playing

So, now it's just a matter of finding a job... or rather trying to decide what I want to do with myself now that I am all grown up!

Cheers everyone and Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!


P.S. The first anniversary of the Chrysta Rae Scavenger Hunt on G+ wrapped up for entries yesterday. I managed only 4 of 10 shots but I blame it on the move. Now I'm looking forward to November's hunt!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

We're moving....

The Farm

 The Paakkonen's are in a state of transition. After many hours, day's, weeks and month's of painstaking debate, we have decided to pull up stakes in Kitchener, Ontario and make the move to rural Carmen, Manitoba.

 We have been given a fantastic opportunity to live in a peaceful, rural setting where we can explore and grow our photographic talents.

Heather was there taking care of her sister for about four month's and I flew out at the end of July for a week.

 At the farm so far we have three great dogs, soon to be five. Three Alpacas, Three goats, Three Guinea Hens, a Pot Bellied Pig and a billion cats! There is a small barn in which I will be converting a loft into a Studio/Man Cave for Paakkonen Photography...I cannot wait!

 Below is a small sampling of the images from the farm and surrounding area. By clicking on the images you will be directed to the Hi-Res Gallery where I have posted all of the pictures from the trip... don't forget to come back :D

Charlie with the barn in the background

6 month old Charlie.

Charlie grabbing a frisbee in front of the goat pens

Charlie the frisbee dog



Winston photo-bombed me as I was setting up for a macro shot :))

I was preparing to shoot some macros of this bee on a thistle when Winston snuck up and photo bombed me...

Bruce in a meadow


Heather throwing the frisbee for the super dogs

Charlie the frisbee dog

Merlin the Alpaca


Hershey the Goat

Hershey the Goat

Baby the Pig... AKA Ham Sandwich :D

Baby the Pot Belly pig,,AKA Ham Sandwich
Baby AKA Ham Sandwich

My 50's Fordson Major Tractor... Love this thing!

This is a 50's model Fordson Major farm tractor. Quite rusty and crotchety but an awesome cruisin' machine for picking up rural Manitoba chicks :))

Bob, on walk-about around the acreage


Ya,it's a cat

Model by Gary ats on the farm...Don't know it's name since it is not a dog...She did look just prissy and bitchy enough to be a model! Not sayin' models are bitchy or prissy... send hate mail to..

Lightning strike... Yikes!

Lightning StrikeLightning Strike at the farm

Star Trails

Trees by Gary PaakkonenTrees entry into Chrysta Rae's July 2012 Scavenger Hunt on G+

Sunset Manitoba

Long Exposure sunseta 13 second exposure just before Blue Hour. 9:50pm local time

Local area, Canola field, Sunflowers and old Grain Elevators

Grain Elevators

Happy Wifey :))

Dancing Heather

Flying home

Seat back live TVSeat back live TV

So I've been back for awhile now and Heather flew home a couple weeks ago. We are super busy selling off a lot of our our old crap...errrr.... quality home merchandise. I did however manage to get eight of ten entries into the August Chrysta Rae Scavenger Hunt.

I will post those images sometime later this week.

Cheers all


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Holy crap, I should do a better job updating

Well it was May since the last time I updated this blog so this is gonna be a long one. Grab a coffee and a smoke or whatever your comfort dictates to you to do, sit back and come along for a tale of our summer thus far.

As always; clicking on the images will bring you to my website gallery where you can view more pictures in glorious High Def, and for my shameless plug, you can buy stuff there too!!

Lost Boys Riding Club

My friends at the Lost Boys Riding Club in Toronto commissioned me to design a new patch for the club. After a couple of months and some bouncing back and forth ideas, not to mention numerous trips into Toronto, we decided on this guy.

A Patch I designed for my friends in the Lost Boys Riding Club of Toronto.

Thanks for the opportunity guys, it was a blast!

Riverside Carnival with Kayla and Gaeb

As always, we sugar the kid up first...
Gaeb, Kayla and me daytrip to the carnival at Riverside Park, Cambridge, Ontario

Our $3.00 Punker wigs

Gaeb, Kayla and me daytrip to the carnival at Riverside Park, Cambridge, Ontario

Gaeb, Kayla and me daytrip to the carnival at Riverside Park, Cambridge, Ontario

A selfy with my Punk Wig... sure is heavy holding up the big Nikon...

Mowhawk selfy at the Cambridge Carnival

Gaeb called this his 'Sliver Slide'

Gaeb, Kayla and me daytrip to the carnival at Riverside Park, Cambridge, Ontario

Gimme my pole crazy ol' carny!

Gaeb, Kayla and me daytrip to the carnival at Riverside Park, Cambridge, Ontario

Long exposure panned shot on the Merry-Go-Round

Gaeb, Kayla and me daytrip to the carnival at Riverside Park, Cambridge, Ontario

We let the two year old play with darts.... Yayyy! Click the image for 720p Video

sadly, we had to leave and Grandbabyman was not pleased :(

Gaeb, Kayla and me daytrip to the carnival at Riverside Park, Cambridge, Ontario

Gaeb's Big 3

 For Gaebriel's third birthday Kayla packed Gaeb and me into the rusting soccer-mom van and we took off to the Toronto Zoo.
Smiling Turtle
A smiley tortoise swimming in his enclosure at the Toronto Zoo
Hippo's chillin'
Hippos keeping cool at the Toronto Zoo
Gaeb working on a sugar rush

He's there :D

My fave's, I just want to pet them!

Gaeb making sure there are no bears and what-nots following us
Gaeb at the Toronto Zoo


Petting Stingrays and Sharks
Petting stingrays
Petting stingrays

A quick ride on the Merry-Go-Ride

gaeb and Kayla ride the carousel at the Toronto Zoo

Then back home and his party the following weekend

More sugar rush makings...

Gaeb's 3rd Birthday Cake and Cupcakes

Jennifer 'Cake-Nose' Perchak


Opening presents

Bubbles with Katie, Norm and Buddy. The temperatures were so hot and the yard was so dry that Gaeb's back was like a dirt magnet. Poor little guy looked like he a nuclear hair growth on his back :))

I think this post is long enough, don't you?

As some of you know we are moving to Carmen Manitoba to live on a farm at the end of September (That's where Heather has been all summer) so the next post will have some shots of the farm and it's animals. I will post those in the next day or two so stay tuned.
I will also be posting my +Chrysta Rae Scavenger Hunt images for both the May and July hunts, they were awesome!

Cheers all and see ya in a couple days!