Each month this year I squeal with delight as I turn the page of my beautiful British Columbia and the Sunshine Coast 2015 Calendar, which was gifted to me by a dear friend.
Each of the twelve months has an exquisite wildlife photograph showcasing the passion, talents and artistry of Bill, Wanda, Serena & Angela Keay.
Here is a sampling of some of what I'm talking about, so you can see for yourself.
The Keay family cares about the environment. Their calendars are printed in Canada on FSC certified paper, old, growth-free, harvested sustainable forest practices, processed chlorine free, vegetable based inks.
Of course I was drawn to give as many of these calendars as I could as gifts myself as a portion of the proceeds went to the Gibsons Wildlife Rehab Centre.
Here's some feedback I got about this daily smile maker that causes a chain reaction of inspiration, serenity and a beauty infusion across the miles:
The calendar was such a beautiful gift. It really touched me as the pictures were so serene and beautiful offering a calm over my heart when I looked at them. It truly was a beautiful gift to receive. Kim Thompson
I was touched and honored to receive this gift. The photos are beautiful. Knowing it supports a small business is even better! Shauna L. Bowling
I was delighted to get such a beautiful calendar with quality photos of things I love to see. If I could pick a favorite from all those gorgeous months, it would be September with the little Polar bear crossing the log. Next would be April with the stunning picture of the symbol of our country. Of course, each month is special in its own right. This month's hummingbird is amazing.
I LOVEEE my Keay Calendar! The photos are so vivid and appealing I've no way of deciding which can be a favorite. If hemmed down ... hmm ... nope. It's impossible.
I received a wonderful calendar as a gift this past holiday season. As I read through the information I see it is produced to serve a good cause. It is always appreciated when I see people going outside of the corporate world to add some good to the world. Michael Friedman
I was overawed by the beauty of this calendar the first time Wanda showed it to me, even prior to publishing it! I just knew I would have to share it with as many of my friends as possible, and as soon as possible. It was my joy to be able to do this after publication.
I was thrilled when Wanda agreed to participate in an interview for Inspiration Station. I'm grateful to my friend (and Wanda's neighbor), Vicki Warner of Life Talks - I Write, who was able to meet Wanda for lunch and get her valuable perspectives on my questions. I'd like to share them with you now...
Maria: Wanda, tell us about yourself. What draws you to this passion of wildlife photography?
Wanda: Started 35 years ago, passionate about creation and the whole business of miracles. As you look at flowers, even dandelions are marvels of creation, and see the interplay between all forms of wildlife (not including man)?
I wanted to make a home job to be with my girls. I think I was bitten by the adventure bug that comes with extreme wildlife photography. I loved the challenge of being tough in order to survive certain experiences.
Some things stick in my mind, like the time I went for 22 days without a shower, or comforts. Like being a few feet from a polar bear as it charged me, and shaking my head at the Inuit man that wanted to shoot it.
Understanding the discipline of making your body smell of friendliness instead of fear. It's a calculated risk, not something everyone wants to do.
Maria: When did you first realize you had a talent for photography? How did you learn the technical aspects?
Wanda: When I married Bill he was a press photographer, and I loved his artistic talent. I decided to sell his work as fine art. He went to College to be a photojournalist, and was head hunted by a newspaper, before he even finished his program there.
His home town Castor, in Alberta, was a place where even as a child, he would see the migratory birds. This always fascinated him, and he started his wildlife photography with a small Brownie camera.
Maria: How awesome that three generations of the Keay family participate in the business. Can you tell us about your family and how long you've been working together?
Wanda: The girls when they were in their teens were allowed to come on adventures with us. They have natural talent, and learned through osmosis to observe and photograph. You have to have an artistic eye.
Maria: Your love of mother earth and wildlife is evident in each of your exquisite photographs. This wonderful picture that I received as a gift fascinates me. Would you be able to share a story or two of how you are able to capture such natural poses?
Wanda: That particular one, we were off shore, about a hundred feet away. For about 30 minutes we watched a big, black speck and two smaller specks getting closer and closer to us. We weren't a threat.The boat was moored.
She walked right in front, and one of the cubs started to slip on the moss, so she reached out to save it. The light was perfect.
Maria: I am thrilled that a portion of the proceeds of your British Columbia and the Sunshine Coast 2015 Calendar go to the Gibsons Wildlife Rehab Centre. Why is this special to you and your family?
Wanda: I met them about 20 years ago, when I was fundraising for another group, and thought, "if I had a chance I would like to help them out." Now I have a chance, and they are very busy people, with no chance to fund-raise, yet they really need funds. They are the only rehab centre on the SC.
Maria: What's next? Is something on the horizon for 2015 that is inspiring you that you are able to share with us?
Wanda: I'd love to photograph a Blue Bear. They feed off blue algae that grows on glaciers, and it makes them go blue, if the light is just right. That might not happen this year though. Bill is going to Washington State to photograph some particular landscapes that interest him. He wants to do it in an abstract way.
Maria: Do you have any words of wisdom or guidance for anyone who has a passion they yearn to develop into a business?
Wanda: You have to believe in yourself, and go into it with the thought that you've already succeeded. You cannot doubt, and even if you have to use tunnel vision to stay with your belief, it will make it happen. If you believe, it will happen.
Maria: Is there anything else you'd like to share? And, thank you ever so much for taking the time to tell us about Keay Wildlife!
Wanda: Every individual person can make a difference for our planet, which is our space ship to save us. If we all worked to do something, no matter how small, the earth would be a much better place. Things like Individual contributions, picking up litter, recycling, feeding hummingbirds etc, all make a difference. Everyone can do something.
Maria: Thank you for your time and the inspiration, Wanda.
Until next time, appreciate the wonder that is around you,
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Interview with Kim Thompson
Gail Sobotkin: Walking a Sand Labyrinth
"Tell Skinny I Said Hi."
Introducing Shadows by Bill Holland
A Few Of My Favorite Things
Sannel Larson: The Total Picture
Meet Wanda Keay: Passionate About Wildlife Photography
Meet Michael Friedman: The Man Behind the Talent
Fine Art America
Meet Shauna Bowling: The Inside Story
By The Grace of God "Still Alice"
This blog publishes the third Sunday of each month. I look forward to your visits and appreciate your feedback.
Please enjoy your stay...