Stories by Annie Bananie


Dreams

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I have a dream of having a van, just like this one. In my dream, I am driving my VW across the country and photographing families in nature along the way. The thing about me and dreams is that my dreams often come true. For example, I dreamt of teaching yoga at Rama Lotus and it happened. I love this story, because it’s one of those dreams that just fell in my lap. I was taking Kundalini yoga teacher training and wasn’t even finished the training yet, when the prenatal teacher approached me saying that she was moving to British Columbia and was going to suggest to Robert Hay the owner of Rama Lotus that I take her place. Once my training was finished, I immediately started teaching and was amazed at my luck! My dream came true and I taught there for over ten years. I have many more stories, just like that one and I will make my On the Road with Annie Bananie Photography come true as well. Dreams are possible, first we need to dream them and then take the actions required to bring them to life.

One thing that I have learnt is that dreams come true, but they sometimes happen in their own time and might look a little different. Throughout my 48 years on this spinning planet, I have found myself saying: “Wow, this is a dream come true, from a decade or two ago”.

What are your dreams? What dreams have already come true for you?

Hail Storm

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I think that we can all agree, that it’s been a wet, cold spring. I for one have been craving hot sunny days! So when the rain clouds parted for the sunshine this afternoon, Jay and I jumped into the kayaks to take it all in. We floated on the water and sat in stillness, listening to the birds, and feel the peace in nature’s beauty. It was one of those moments, where I got out of my head and really took the time to appreciate the world around me. The meditation didn't last long. We noticed incoming dark clouds and thunder in the distance. We made it back to shore, just before the hail storm hit. Balls of ice bounced off our cars and the patio table. The wind blew in it’s haste sending green leaves to the ground. Hot steam rose from the lake, as cold pellets cut through the water’s surface. It was like mother nature was confused as to wether it was spring, summer, fall or winter! Once the storm passed a beautiful sunlight shone through the trees sending a feeling of magic through the forrest. I grabbed my camera and braved the mosquitoes to take some shots.

Mac and Yoli

Introducing Mac and Yoli a sweet, fun, loving couple that will say “I do” September 21rst, 2019, and I am honoured to say, that I will be their photographer. I am so looking forward to celebrating their special day. Photography truly is my passion and it delights me to my very being, to be able to offer my services.

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Sweeper Ants - Travel Story

Mermijita in the Oaxaca province of Southern Mexico is a rugged, wild beach with a strong surf. Its black sandy shores are like hot coals in the heat of the day. It’s not a beach vacation where you float around in the ocean, while holding a margarita. It’s where you walk the water’s edge with the waves crashing at your feet, in respect for the ocean and its strength. If you dare to stand ankle deep, the tide tugs and tries to pull you in as you push back with all your might. People have drowned in its undertow and red flags fly at its shores reminding you that there is danger in its waters. You become humbled in it’s presence and experience being with it, in humility.

At the far end of the beach is Punta Cometa. You can see it at the top right corner, of this image. This rocky scape boasts hiking trails and a great sunset view. It’s the most southern point in the Oaxaca province.

At the far end of the beach is Punta Cometa. You can see it at the top right corner, of this image. This rocky scape boasts hiking trails and a great sunset view. It’s the most southern point in the Oaxaca province.

We booked our eco lodge through Air B and B and it did not disappoint. Our ECO lodge was at the end of the rugged beach and it’s wild nature was exactly what we were looking for. The lack of road access meant, no big resorts looming about only cacti, tropical plants and the quiet of the birds, the waves, and insects. Our taxi took us to the end of the road and we walked the beach to our little oasis. Other than one other bungalow, we were alone. And that is precisely what I needed. I wanted to retreat into the quiet of life in the jungle, a place where I could simply relax and do all the things that make my spirit sing. It had been a stressful fall and I craved a space where I could relax and just be, and I had found it.

My promise to myself was to wake up for sunrise, and greet the morning light gently caressing the world around me. I wanted to eat loads of papaya and write on a daily basis, and that is what I did. What did I write? I had a small computer and wrote with abandon about my growing up in a small northern town of Ontario, about my travels, motherhood, and being a business owner. I love writing, it is a form or release. When I walk away from a writing session, I feel lighter, with more space to move about in the world. I did yoga, read and simply relaxed while doing nothing. Jay was a perfect support. While I stayed at our hut and on the beach he would walk to town, go to yoga class, get a massage and found his own sense of a personal retreat. In the evenings we would meet to watch sunset and later make a killer supper and play crib. What a perfect little cohesive little existence we made for ourselves.

The palapa was a three level building made with brick and mortar. With no road access, Os the manifester of our cabana had brought all supplies by donkey. One brick at a time and one donkey load at a time, he built the palapa by the sweat of his own brow. His vision is to host people like us, who want to live in the jungle surrounded by wild life.

The first floor was a well equipped kitchen and a great place to lock our valuables. While in Mexico, one must think about where to store valuables, as theft is real. The second floor was a room open to the outdoors, with a fresh breeze, a hammock, and a writing desk. It was the perfect place to do yoga, read, write and hang out. The top floor was accessed by a ladder, kind of like climbing into a tree house. This was our bedroom and it sat right under the palapa. The bed was in-line with the window so that we could lie there under the mosquito net staring at the ocean. The waves were so strong and loud that the first few nights, I barely slept as each crashing wave sounded like a burst of thunder in a raging storm. The sleepless nights were not a bother, as I layed there in gratitude and in awe of my surroundings.

We were powered by solar panels, washed our dishes outside and had a dry compostable toilet. I loved the feeling of living in simplicity and cohesively with nature. There is something to the saying: “Less is more.”

Playa was a gentle dog. I loved how she would always appear out of nowhere, running towards me looking so happy.

Playa was a gentle dog. I loved how she would always appear out of nowhere, running towards me looking so happy.

A beach dog started following us everywhere we went, including in our hang out space in the palapa. We called her Playa, which means beach in Spanish. I am not a dog lover, but somehow she made her way into my heart. I felt sadness in leaving her, and that time came to soon. We spent 10 days there and I could have stayed for another month, a year, a lifetime!

There is nothing like nature to remind us that we are but a spec of dust in this universe of wonder.

There is nothing like nature to remind us that we are but a spec of dust in this universe of wonder.

The last evening, we ended the day, with the glorious colours of the sunset. Its pastel landscape, painting the sky and touching our souls with wonder and a knowing that there is something bigger than ourselves. Nature really is my church. We returned to our palapa full of gratitude and ready to cook supper.

In our absence a copious amount of ants had swarmed our lock box and lines of them marched in confident paths through the trees, and blades of grass. I swept them away with a broom and some water and got away with a few bite marks. Later Jay noticed that there were more ants at the neighbouring palapa. We didn't think much of it, but later we were alarmed.

After supper, I sat up in our hang out spot, swinging in the hammock and reading my book. A half hour later, I decided to go to the bathroom. Upon stepping out of my perch, I noticed hundreds of ants dotting the cement floor. I sat there stunned. Where were all these ants coming from? I walked around them and climbed the ladder to our bedroom. Here too, there were ants on the floor and climbing to the inside of our mosquito net, where we had carelessly left it open. Alarm bells started ringing, we can’t stay here! It’s an ant invasion!

Needless to say we packed our bags and walked out to the beach where phone reception was available and called Os (he was staying in the nearby town of Mazunte). As we talked to our host, we could hear the neighbours who were staying in the palapa next door. The sounds of them sweeping, hitting and yelping with ant bites as they battled agains the army of ants hit my funny bone, and I felt the situation was quite humorous . Like us, they were Canadians and well traveled.

Os explained that they were sweeper ants and to wait about 45 minutes and they would leave. At this point it’s 10:30 at night and we were about a 30 minute walk to town. We trusted in our Mexican friend and decided on waiting it out. Google told us that sweeper ants are carnivorous ants, who knew? They are relentless in their pursuit of their prey and come in swarms and march through homes and “sweep” through to devour salamanders, geckos, scorpions, and snakes. I am sure that they would eat a human if it was incapable of moving . We waited the 45 minutes under the stars leaning on our backpacks and gazing up at the spectacular sky. The milky way sparkled in it’s wake of wonder. Nothing like sweeper ants to make you come out and notice the brilliance above. Forty five minutes later, we returned to our bungalow and Os did not steer us wrong, save for a few ants imprisoned in our mosquito net, we were ant free.

Seven am the next morning came soon enough and our ant friends were back with a vengeance. While Jay was in the shower, and I was greeting Os, I noticed more ants. They were lined up in a 5 feet wide procession and marched up the kitchen wall. They moved in a wave, as though a black blanket on a mission. A couple of geckos cowered in a corner, huddled together for dear life. I stood in the kitchen doorway steps away from their path of execution, and under the palapa. Soon they wove their way through the palm fronts above me and cockroaches started falling from the sky and a scorpion fell at my feet. I didn't even know that all these critters were living right there in the palapa with us! It was very exciting and time to leave.

Despite the ants, I would come back in a heart beat. I have traveled to many places and this is one place that has etched itself in my very being. Thanks Os! It was super fun and exactly what I needed; relaxed with an exciting ending.





Annie Bananie the Clown

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I originally started my photography business as Annie Boudreau Photography. As much, as I am proud of my last name and the French Canadian heritage that it brings, I have been missing Annie Bananie. It’s a fun, loving name and I love hearing children call me “Annie Bananie!”.

People have been calling me that for over a decade. It came about on a Halloween weekend, while walking the streets of New York city. Jay my partner and I were newly dating, and jet setted to New York city to see some Grateful Dead concerts. It being halloween we decided to dress up as clowns with red noses, multicoloured wigs and clothes to match. I was Annie Bananie the Clown and he was Jay Bong the Clown.

It was the best time ever! People were stopping us in the streets, to get photos taken with us. I imagine that, on that day we made it to a few people’s social media feeds.

We took a photo at the goosebump books photo stand and people thought that we were part of the display and again wanted photos taken with us. It was pride weekend and a boisterous, woman slapped me on the bum. I know, not very politically correct, but it was all in good fun. It was a fun experience of meeting people, and an open hearted adventure.

That weekend propelled me to start writing a blog entitled Annie Bananie the Clown. I wrote about my life as a mom, my daycare, travels and my felting workshops. It got some traction in the Ottawa community and I even felt a little like a star of sorts. One morning while standing at the Loblaws check out counter with my groceries all packed in bags, I realized that I had left my wallet at home. I looked at the cashier with an apologetic smile and said: “I forgot my wallet”. The woman next in line said: “I will pay for your groceries.” I turned in surprise and said: “Really? Why would you do that? “ She replied with: “You are Annie Bananie, right?”. I said: “Yes, I am, and I will pay you back of course.” And so it went, she paid for my groceries and I paid her back. It was such a nice feeling to have been taken care by a total stranger. It was also a nice feeling that she knew me, without really knowing me!

And so it goes, Annie Bananie has had many travel adventures and is back to bring families onto their own photography adventure. Please join me among the trees and nature for a fun filled experience that you will not forget. There is one guarantee in life and that is that life is always changing and photographs are the time capsules that preserves those changes.

Big hugs and love,

Annie Bananie :)

Spring Photo Sessions

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Hi There,

I would like to invite you to come and play with me. I love meeting families for a walk in the woods to take beautiful family photos, to be cherished for a lifetime. Please have a look at your options and do get in touch :)

Happy Spring!

 My signature session 

This session starts with a pre-session phone consultation.  This is where we discuss your vision for your images. It’s where questions can be answered and seeds planted for a wonderful time together.  The session itself takes about 60-90 mins.  

 Locations

Fletcher Park in Ottawa, is a beautiful place for a walk and family connection. The weeping willows, ponds, trees and ducks make for stunning photos, with lots of room to run around and have fun. 

 Val-Des-Monts, My Studio in the Woods is a beautiful 30 min drive from Ottawa.  I have access to 400 acres of land with a stream, and a lake. The scenery is awe inspiring and it makes for a beautiful backdrop for family photos. 

***If you have a special location in mind, that works as well.

 The Flow of the Session

I specialize in genuine family connection and emotion, rather than stiffly posed pictures with fake smiles.  Sessions begin with us walking together and we let the story unfold. Sometimes children want to run and play, other times they are shy and want to snuggle with parents.  We let things evolve organically and naturally.  Ideally, we end up with a mixture of shots; whole family shots, kids together, kids separately, kids with each parent and parents alone. 

Session Premiere

Approximately three weeks after the session, it’s time for the session premiere.  We’ll meet to watch your gallery, and download your photos to your mobile app. We will discuss your favourite photos and talk about options for photo books, canvas prints, prints and more.  

The above link "view gallery" gives you an idea of the gallery that can be created for your family and also the style of photography that I shoot. 

 My spring dates are:

 Fletcher Park 

 Saturday, May 11th-  – 08:30 (Mother’s Day weekend) 

Saturday, May 18th– 08:30 and 18:00 - BOOKED

Saturday, May 25th- 08:30 - BOOKED

Sunday, May 26th– 08:30 - BOOKED

 

My Studio in the Woods in Val-Des-Monts

Saturday, June 1rst- 08:30 -19:00 - BOOKED

Sunday, June 2nd- 08:30 - BOOKED

Saturday, June 15th-08:30 - BOOKED

Sunday, June 16th– 08:30 (Father’s Day) - BOOKED

Saturday, June 22nd -08:30- BOOKED

Sunday, June 23rd- 08:30 - BOOKED

 

My Signature sessions are $299 and includes:

  • 20 or more professionally, edited digital photos

  • A downloadable on-line gallery 

  • Mobile App

  • 8 X 10 canvas of your favourite photo

 ***$50 minimum product purchase.  I have a great printer that yields a professional finish, for great satisfaction.

 ***Layaway plan available

If you have a different date or location in mind, just let me know. We can make anything work.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Hugs and love, 

Annie Bananie :)

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Fall Photo Session

It’s hard to believe that it has been months since my last blog entry. Truth be told, I have been so busy with being a mother, photographer and daycare provider that writing has been put on the back burner. Lately though, I have had an itch and here I am writing.

One highlight, I have had this fall is photographing families in nature. I truly believe that adults and children benefit from being in the presence of trees, lakes and the fresh air of the great outdoors. It also provides a beautiful backdrop for family photos and allows children and their parents to run, play and have fun. As parents we crave to give our loved ones an experience of family connection and that is what I love to provide. In this photo session we met on a friend’s land and had so much fun. Not only did we take photos but we played hide and seek, ran, discovered different mushrooms, leaves and each other. The photos speak for themselves.

Fricky

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Meet Fricky our cottage friend.  We have him trained to hop right into our hands for some peanut treats.  He is busy as ever coming back and forth from his hole under the deck to our outstretched hands.  He is so cute and not shy!