Thursday, July 29, 2010

Big Things Come in Small Packages {Red Thread Treats}

Just wanted to post a picture of one of the newest "treats" available from Red Thread Photo.  It is a unique 3x3 mini-accordion book....perfect for throwing into a purse or backpack!!   Also great as a gift....

And one of these comes free with every Senior Session this year!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Breathe {inspiration for wednesdays}

The challenge of the photographer is really the challenge of all of us who want to live, move and connect with others on this planet.  As a photographer, I often ask myself, with each session, the question what do I want?  Sure I want pictures that are pleasing to the eye, exposed correctly, artistically composed, sharp where they are supposed to be sharp and soft where they are supposed to be soft...but all this can be done with formulas,  calculations and "correctness".  What I want - what I really want - is a revealing of someone's character.

I am looking for that unguarded moment when my subject is entirely him or herself.  A moment when they are fully and unself-consciously alive; a slice in time where they let go of "image managed" and live exuberantly from the heart.  And I know that the older the person I am photographing, the more challenging this becomes because we all learn to be fiercely protective of our identity...and are afraid to let people see us as we are.  We guard it like a secret.

However, the job of the photographer is to bring this secret out into the open and capture it in all its beauty, glory, and dignity.  It is to see the exception and not the rule, to follow laughter and playfulness and not just correctly placed composition.  It is a quest and adventure into that other person's life.

But isn't this the "job" of all of us who want to connect, love, know and be known by those around us?  What we want from others is not formulaic, pat answers, but an entrance into their heart, stories and passions.  We want to see them animated and fully alive...because it invites us to become that too.

What if....upon meeting someone new (or someone we have known a long time!), we ask questions that open us up to wonder and curiosity about that person?  What if...instead of looking for a single answer (what do you do for a living?), we looked for wonder instead (what in your day makes you most fully alive?)?   What if...we made space for the true nature of that other person to come out?   And what if...we entered all of it with a kind of  serious playfulness and lightness that allowed us flexibility beyond our rigid social constructs?

I think we would be surprised at what we find.  I think we would find ourselves standing in more unguarded moments - both our own and our subject's - and it would frighten us and make us feel more alive than we could imagine.  We would hear stories that make us want to cry and laugh; we would feel real heartfelt passion; we would taste the strength of connection.  We would begin to really SEE each other.

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pretty In Pink {Seattle Newborn Photography}

I do believe this little flower gives new meaning to the phrase "pretty in pink".  Born only a handful of days ago, I'Lee is just beautiful and amazing!!  I LOVE photographing sleeping babies!!

Of course, little hands and feet need to be documented...because they grow so fast!!

I LOVE this picture of I'Lee!!  Wide-eyed in wonder...I hope this is how she always sees the world.

So who says girls can't wear blue??

And, I just HAD to put this picture in last.  I love mama kisses on babies cheeks!!  It is almost as though all moms wish they could push their love into those chubby cheeks and straight into their little one's heart!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Marry Me: Tori and Darrin {Cle Elum Wedding Photography}

Well...I just figured out what day it is AND that I missed a Wednesday Breathe post!!  Sorry....we had guests over and we were having too much fun with them!!  But to make up for it, here is a super fun (and LONG - really, I love so many of the can I limit it???) set of pictures from a wedding last weekend.  So grab a cup of coffee and walk with me as guests through Tori and Darrin's big day!

If I had to write a recipe for Tori and Darrin's wedding day it would include these ingredients:
a cup of EASYGOING-NESS (is that a word?)
a huge handful of CARE FOR OTHERS
a whole gallon of FAMILY and  FRIENDS
dashes of DETAILS
all mixed with generous portions of LAUGHTER....

The first thing that struck me about Tori on the morning of the wedding was her easygoing spirit.  She wasn't stressed and was able to enjoy all the people around her.  I came in and she walked me around the room, introducing me to everyone, giving me an update on the happenings of the day....all while being so calm.  This continued the rest of the day with her and Darrin - not being stressed about time, chatting along as we took pictures, and really, really enjoying the unfolding events of the day.

Tori was a beautiful bride!!  That showed not just on the outside, but I could see it from inside of her too!!  It was amazing to see that on her wedding day, she consistently took care of others first!  From bridesmaids to family to guests, Tori and Darrin were always very aware of everyone else.

I LOVE this picture!!  The wind was blowing so hard at the hotel, we had a tough time doing outdoor pictures.  We made sure we had plenty of hairspray but that veil just had a life of its own!!

...a sweet moment between Tori and her dad...

Tori and Darrin decided to see each other before the wedding.  I love it when couples do that because it gives us more time to get pictures of the two of them together, but I also like to create a special few moments just for the two of them as they have their "First Look".  (Although I do warn the couple that it is a little strange to have the "paparazzi" lurking in the bushes or the corner of the room capturing their every move!!)

Remember I said that part of the recipe of Tori and Darrin's day was FAMILY and FRIENDS?  Well, even the location spoke to that.  They got married on a private ranch in Cle Elum that belonged to family friends...and it sounded like those relationships went back a way into the past.  There was a sense of deep connection (can we say a red thread???) in all the parts and pieces of the day!

Tori and Darrin's bridal party was FUN, FUN, FUN!!  A combination of friends and family, they kept me laughing and gave me plenty of photo opps!  I especially love that little flower girl....does she know how to work the camera or what??

This may be my favorite set of pictures from the day!!  My husband came along with me because I knew it would be a long drive home, but he turned out to be not just a driver, but my sherpa, my IT department, AND a second shooter.  I love his perspective juxtaposed to mine.  (His is the top picture....mine is the bottom.)

...a bridal portrait...

...and a portrait of the groom!!  (yes, that is a toilet he is sitting on!!)

Tori and Darrin were very intentional in their details.  There were not too many, but the ones they chose were true to them and really special and unique.  Tori has a thing for these cute guys lined the chairs at the ceremony!!  However....wait until you see the cakes!!

Continuing the details....the reception took place in a tent (where we ate) and lead into an old barn (where we danced).  Inside the barn, Tori and Darrin hung two walls of pictures from their family photo was so cool!!  And then of course...there were the cakes!!

They actually didn't have the cakes out for everyone to see during the dinner, but brought them out, hidden in boxes, and revealed them to the guests.  There was much ohh-ing and ahh-ing and lots of kiddos crowding in to get a look and try to poke a finger at these ducks.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that they did something so special with their cake!!  Plus, it made for great pictures afterward!!

Although there was MUCH laughter throughout the day, the reception was full of smiles, laughs and partying!!  Kids and grandparents got out there on the dance floor, and the groomsmen even sang a special song to Darrin.  It was an amazing party!!

Tori and Darrin, it was an honor to be invited to your wedding!!  I loved every minute of it and feel like I could tell a hundred more stories!!  I know the recipe of your wedding day is a great start to a lifetime of love!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hey, Class of 2011!! {High School Senior Photography}

Hey, if you know a member of the Class of 2011 or you are part of that elite is time to start thinking about Senior Pictures!!  And here is what I am going to do for you...

1.  Leave a comment on the blog OR become a fan on Facebook and leave a message to get 10% off your Senior Session.

2.  Schedule your session before August 10, 2011 to get your 10% off  (that doesn't mean your session has to take place before August just needs to be on my calendar!!)

3.  I will take your name from the blog or facebook and put it into a drawing to take place on August 10.  One of you will receive a free Senior Session!!!  Winner will be announced on August 11th!

{Senior Session is normally $300 and includes:}
2 hours total at multiple locations
(4 wardrobe changes)
CD of 30 high resolution, fully edited pictures
Online gallery of photos
3 inch accordion mini book to show off your amazing pics!!

(I wanted to post a picture of the accordion minis but evidently I am out of storage space....the problem is being solved as I write, but takes about 24 hours!!)

Just a heads is limited, so book early and the offer runs out at 9pm on August 10th.  AND for those of you thinking you will wait until spring, just know that those sessions often need to get rescheduled because of our crazy weather.  The BEST months for Senior Sessions here in the Northwest are August, September and most of October.

I can't wait to meet all of you!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake...(Wallace Stevens)
or perhaps it depends on a nap in the hammock!!

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

(posting this a little early as we are traveling tomorrow)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More Sunshine and Shadows!!!

Some friends of ours arrived...we are so excited!! We had to do a few silhouettes...then off to more swimming!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Of Sunshine and Shadows {playing with our cameras}

So a week or so ago over on the Red Thread Facebook page, I suggested that we all play a little with our cameras using the theme "Of Sunshine and Shadows". Don't know if you have yet or not, but you can mess around with sun flares, shadows or silhouettes...isn't summer a perfect time to do all of that? (And remember, we are playing...not looking for perfection!!)

If you take an image that you'd like to share, you can post it here in this Flickr account. (At least I hope it will work...some times it takes me a while to figure out new technical stuff. If you have problems, please let me know!!) I'd love to post some of your images on the blog...

Here is what came out of my camera these last two days:

Using my 50mm (because it was the only lens I had with me at the time) we stopped by the side of the road near sunset for this shot. I wish I would have gotten the sun directly behind the dandelion, but I was on a very slippery slope that was headed down, down, down into some very prickly bushes...oh well. But I like the image so much it just might claim some wall space in my house when I get home!!

Now I think there is nothing like jumping to get little kids (especially boys) to cooperate with you as you play with your camera. I used my 24-70mm for these next three images. The timing was perfect with the sun just about going down behind the mountain...and I got really low (like laying on the ground) to make it seem like the jumping was super high. I metered for the sky behind this little jumper and had him leap away!!

The following two pictures were taken this evening, but we just missed that lovely flash of sunshine. You can see that you can still get the effect, but it may not be quite as "WOW"!! For both of the following I used my 50 mm (because it was on my camera and I was running out of time) but it limited me on the angles I could get. (If I would have had time, I would have put on my 24-70mm.) Again, I metered for the sky behind my beautiful subject.

Last one below...while not a perfect silhouette, I liked the splash!! (Plus the mountain in the background kept me from being able to do a great sitting silhouette.) Oh well...this is why we are PLAYING and not looking for perfection!!

By the way, if you liked this, you can head over to this site belonging to a friend of mine. I got to be a guest blogger today to share some other tips about playing with our cameras and Getting Down and Dirty!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

The tick marks on the post bear witness to how fast children grow. Beside each line is a name and date forever solidifying the measurement in that moment of history. Each year of their lives, children have a quantifiable number for how much their bodies have defied gravity.

But what about all the other parts of us? What about those deep, mysterious places in our characters and souls that rebel against weighing or measuring but have nonetheless grown or expanded, shrunk or diminished?

Our time out here, at the lake, has become a cyclical growth chart of my life and of my family's life too. I have been coming out here since before I can remember - spending the summers at my grandparents. I grew up here; each year I returned I was the same and yet different - a little bit more than the previous year.

Now my children have come almost every year of their lives, and I have marked their growth in inches, to be sure, but also in form and substance that defies numbers and categories. Returning to this location each year helps me to see the richness of character the past year has produced, the places of growth, and even unresolved, hidden places. It helps me see and demarcate the "MUCHNESS" that has sprung up in all of us.

This year we have watched our son go from timid and shy, worried and fearful to a young boy full of courage. Last year the tick mark told me he was afraid to go out too deep in the canoe, afraid of tipping over, fearful of even swimming in the lake. This year, he jumped into the canoe, wanted to learn to paddle all by himself, learned to start our little motor and drive the boat himself, AND I can't get him out of the water!! Yes, the numbers tell me he has grown taller and older, but something more has happened. He has expanded. Courage has overtaken fear; worry is being pushed our by bravery and risk.

And I wonder if this is true with all of us? Have we grown in our MUCHNESS ? Are we more than we once were? And when do we stop to acknowledge it and find some way, like those tick marks up the wall, to document it? (and celebrate it??)

Summer is a great time to do this, you know. Many of us visit the same vacation spots or do similar activities; even if we do not, summer tends to allow us to slow down a little, linger a little longer and reflect on our lives. So why not, during one of those times, write down two lists? One column being "who I am not anymore" and another being "who I am becoming".

Let that be our growth chart - our indicator of how aspects of our character have expanded or diminished. Then, let's celebrate (or perhaps grieve) what we find to be transforming in ourselves so we can get on living into our MUCHNESS!

Breathe, Smile and Go Slowly.