We Love You, But...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

{June Family Photo Fun}
We love you, but we have to go away for a while. Tomorrow morning, bright and early (like not-even-BRIGHT-yet bright-and-early), we head to the open skies to fly to Utah for a two week vacation. We'll spend the first week up in the glorious, make-me-want-to-weep-with-its-beauty Teton Mountain Range, and the second week toolin' around with various lovely family and friends.

We won't be bloggin' much (or at all) during this time, but I promise to be back FULL force, with LOTS of photos and stories and session-shares and ideas and rejuvenated spirits upon our return in July.

Until then, adieu, ciao, toodles, and see ya on the flip side!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ashley, you got it! # 5 it was!

And everyone else who commented, you all have excellent taste as well. I could have easily printed any of them and been thrilled! I went with #5 specifically because I was diggin' his body language and the 3/4 shot (not full length, but not a closeup either)... And I LOVED his intent scowl. Drool was also charming to me, since that is SO Noah. Ha Ha!

Feel free to go check out the comments to see what other's opinions were on the shots... And I added some responses of my own there, too.

Congrats, Ashley! Time to email me your new address up in Ann Arbor. I can't wait to send you some goodies!!

Noah at 18 Months

Just ordered one of these for my wall, 11x14.
(First one to guess the correct one I ordered gets a mini-package of three of my favorite things-- Burt's Bees chapstick, Toblerone bar, and a headband. It's been too long since I had a contest!)

Love this kid. LOVE these shots. He is so full of personality and life!

(And yes, he IS crabby, lots of times!)

Celebrate The Good Guys:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

This one, for helping me become my best self...

And this one, for helping our children do the same.

These are the good guys....

I love you both. The best dads I have ever met.

Some Peeks, Some Randomness, Yadda Yadda:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hi! How's life?

I'm sitting at my desk, at 10:55 pm, having edited 66 photos since 8pm. I don't know if that's slow... or fast... or normal... But it's pretty par for the course for me. It's been going pretty smoothly tonight. My focus is good (until now, ha!). I think it helps that no one seems to be online tonight, so I haven't gotten any juicy emails/twitters/facebook notes/ ELW chatter....

MAN I'm pathetic. So tied in to my online universe. But I suppose since I am on this dang computer for HOURS each day, it can be understood.... A coping mechanism so the repetition of editing/proofing/working/bookkeeping/etc. doesn't bury me entirely.

Hm... Tangent. Back to business at hand. Amy G. and Beth M.... you have both been DEAR and SWEET and PATIENT with me as your photographer as I get through my May session backlog. And while we are still not at the finish line, and you both have a bit of a wait left, I wanted to give you a few sweet photos from your sessions-- I wanted you to know I haven't forgotten you!

Amy, you're first. I LOVED meeting you and playing with your sweet baby girl. She was a beauty! I had so much fun with you three! Enjoy a peek:

{removed by request from client}

{see that smile we caught? No worries on her intensity during the session. We got a few smiles!}

{removed by request from client}

{ I love the love between those two... After kids come along, this kind of love grows much deeper, but is harder to make time for. Trust me, I know. So when I catch a moment like this, it fills me with joy. Love is so COOL. You guys have it!}


Beth, you're up! We got those darling Pink Photos... Now for a few more 'round STL. You have such a sassy-pants daughter. You and Jason both have such amazing positive energy. And I am really really enjoying getting to know you better and better. Play date soon? Call me! (Love my November Mamas!)

{"Show me your teeth, Bella!"... Works every time with this cutie!!}

Ahh peeks! I am in AGONY over not getting all my sessions done yet. I have had some amazing clients in June, and I am still working frantically on my amazing MAY clients.... Remind me to NOT overbook like this again.

Future clients-- you listening? I can't overbook! I want to, but we ALL suffer!! So.... call me! Email! I am already full in September and October. We need to get you on the calendar!! :)


On to more randomness.... Oh. Okay, yeah--- Have I told you about the new collaborative blog I get to help administer? I don't think I have.

Daily Morningness: Sharing Mornings From All Over

So... It's a Photo Blog. Thirty photographers from all over the world, coming together to share the blog and contribute to a common theme. In this case, the theme is mornings.. those quiet, not-quite-full-steam moments in the earliest parts of each of our days. Our assignment is to find one moment a morning to snap a photo of and share on the blog. It is such a cool, interesting collaboration. Some of the contributors have kids, so their mornings are full of the noises and details of mom-life... Some of the contributors have gardens they spend their mornings in... Some work, some stay at home. Each have their own vision and passion, and the personalities are really starting to emerge in the photographs they share.

A few of my entries:

My own personal goal for my entries is to SLOW DOWN and look for beauty in the ordinary. To celebrate this life of mine RIGHT NOW, just as it is. I see that this is a common thread in all our entries-- beauty in the ordinary. So... as if you don't have enough blogs to read... go check it out! Add it to your reader. Post a comment or two if a photo calls to you... Get to know the contributing artists. It is a neat and easy celebration of mornings and life and humanity.


A few last bits of RANDOM....
Remember how I watch tv/movies/videos/etc. on my monitor behind my Photoshop editing screen? For fun (and a bit of a confessional), here is a list of what I have watched recently. I'm warning you.... it is ARBITRARY, random, and sometimes embarrassing. :) Bachelorette (totally hooked!), Here Come the Newlyweds, Wipeout Sliders, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Daily Show, SNL clips, Highlander, 30Rock, Intervention

Netflix: Three to Tango, Man Vs. Wild, Quantum Leap, Armageddon, Baby on Board, Dexter, Age of Innocence, Faerie Tale Theatre: Frog Prince, Mad Men, She's All That

Phew! But it gets me through!! I don't know what I'd do without something playing in the background!! Anyone want to weigh in on my good and bad choices here? Anything that horrifies you? Any guilty pleasures of your own, movie/tv-wise?


Last random bit, I promise, and it is just.... well.... 75% of my time and energy actually ISN'T photography... it's this:

And he is my WORLD. Well, his daddy, too. (Love that man!)
And Noah is amazing me right and left... Talking so much, delighting us with his dance moves, his sense of humor, his recall, and just his FACE, ya know? I mean, LOOK at it! He is AMAZING.
He calls me "mama"... He makes "beep-boop-BOO-beep" robot noises. He pretends to vacuum the living room and says "vack-ooo!" and wants me to use the REAL vacuum all the time. He makes out with his lamby-lovey then passes the soggy thing to ME to make out with. (I politely plant a light smooch on it, then pass it back.)
He loves apples ("BAP-pos!"), cookies ("goo-KEE? goo-KEE??")... grapes ("peps"), and peas ("peas!")...
He is.... just..... MAN I love him.

So. there. There ya go. Peeks. New blogs. My baby boy. And a pretty darn good life, documented for the moment.

Toodles! Back to editing. Let's get 17 more photos done and call it a night. And try to do it before 2 am.
**fingers crossed!**

This Could Become an Expensive, Addictive Hobby

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Life in miniature... Tiny people, tiny trees, a familiar setting recreated in a whole new way...
Motion stopped.

{The Trocadero: Paris, France}

Just imagine the money that goes into making miniature models... Train sets, cityscapes... Details. Paint. Tiny little details put in just the right spot.

{Side Canal: Venice, Italy}

It boggles the mind, really.... Magic, manipulative miniaturizing.

{The Eiffel Tower: Paris, France}
{Heidelburg, Germany}{Heidelburg, Germany}

Maybe there's an easier way. (though no less expensive...)


A tricky photographic technique involving this lens:

At only $1200 for the lens, it's a walk in the park, right??!

But for the effect of making gorgeous landscapes and cityscapes take on a whole new surreal, miniature look, why not?

(Here's a good link to some INCREDIBLE examples using this lens:
50 Beautiful Examples of Tilt Shift Photography)

Okay, okay... I'll tell you why not. Do I have $1200 lying around to be spent on a HOBBY lens?!!
Heck no! Phew!!

So.... even better--- how about FAKING it in Photoshop?

Here's my dirty little secret, revealed:

I've been hearing about the tilt-shift lens recently, so I finally took the time to google it. Realized I'd NOT be getting myself one of these incredible lenses any time soon, but started noticing the phenomenon of faking the "look" in Photoshop. And if there's a tutorial out there, I am girl not afraid to muddle through it until I figure it out.

And once I got this one right, I was like a kid in a candy store. SUCH fun!!

I'm thinking of photographing THINGS in a whole new way! I'm ready to go stand on rooftops... The Arch. Balconies. Anywhere I can get some height to try a few new shots to manipulate.

So will this be my expensive, addictive new hobby? Well, for now, EXPENSIVE, no. Addictive?? VERY possible. :)

But if anyone is hankering to get me that lens, my birthday is in 2 weeks.

I'm just sayin'.

(P.S. To clarify-- All photos in this post are of REAL places, from Joe's and my trip to Europe three years ago. I just did the tilt-shift tutorial on each of them to make them LOOK like miniatures. Yay!)
(There are a ton of tutorials out there, but this one was the breakthrough for me: Go play, then tell me about it in the comments. I wanna see YOUR miniatures!)

Some Mama Time: Jenna’s Mother’s Day Shoot {St. Louis Family Photographer}

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The day before Mother’s Day, I had a really fun shoot scheduled with Jenna and her mom—a gift Jenna set up for her mom for Mother’s Day. The plan? Some portraits, some playing around, a few vintage hats and teacups, some “girl time” in the city, and a whole lotta mama-daughter love.

First up, some posed shots. You'd think with these photos all being in one static spot that it'd be easy to pick just one favorite... But often, these parts of a session are my toughest ones to sort. I am just so much about a person's EXPRESSIONS and catching the subtle facets of a personality that I really struggle to narrow down the finalists. In the case of these amazing women, they ROCKED this segment. And I adored every single shot...So I had to include ton of my favorites here:

{that first one is an homage to THIS famous portrait... Jenna's idea!}

Don't you love that they let me put my hats on them... and even goofed around for me? I think those are nearly ALWAYS my favorite photos I take-- ones that look beautiful, but with just a touch of whimsy or spark.

After the posed part of the session, we walked around my darling neighborhood and had some fun just catching the moments between the two.}

{this next shot was completely Mom's idea... And at first I wasn't sure if I could make it work... The first reason being we didn't have a big mirror. But then one of the shops we walked into had this beautiful mirror and we gave it a go, and VOILA---}
Aren’t these two women beautiful? I am so blessed to have met them through my sister Beckie. They are the real deal—hearts as big as the ocean, smart cookies, and gorgeous in front of a camera.

Thank you, Jenna, for such a fun shoot idea, and for letting me play as much as I wanted to. You are lovely!


Saturday, June 13, 2009

My small boy has taken to perching on my lap when I am on the computer during the day... Comfortably nestled into my left arm, asking for all the doo-dads that surround us at the computer desk---- chapstick. A mini garden gnome ("doll", to him). A stuffed owl. Infant fingernail clippers (gotta get his nails trimmed somehow... this is usually the time!). Headphones (he listens to "Hamster Dance" and "BananaPhone", among other songs). Lotion. A candle. A wind-up centurion on a horse. Our Skype camera.

He is content for moments, then wants to move on to the next thing. Sometimes I can get him interested in a Hulu clip of Sesame Street...

And though I'd LOVE two hands to type... full energy devoted to editing/writing/hanging out in my online universe (oh, such a vice!)... I'd LOVE to have time time time.... I recognize in a very visceral way that this little warm, wiggly, demanding body in my arms is only going to want to be there for a short while. That even if he moves on and up and is replaced by a younger sibling toddler... and then another... and another..... One day, all of them will be too big. Too busy. Too grown.

This is the season of my holding chubby hands and laughing at mangled new-word attempts... Of cuddling the kiddo WITH the lamby. And the blanky. And the penguin puppet. All in one mass pile.

For all the times I want to tear my hair out... mostly, he makes my heart sing.

Other things that have been making my heart sing:

We went to the circus yesterday.... A beautifully done local one-ring affair that is under a true bigtop, with amazing costumes and a live orchestra... Incredible. I sat there for the first 20 minutes, looking at my son's awestruck face, then back to the incredible, AUTHENTIC circus, and held back deep, powerful emotion... Joy. The heart was singing for sure.

Joe's hugs have filled my soul lately--- well, always, actually. He and I meet in the middle of a room, and unspoken, a hug occurs-- arms tight, head resting on chest, tighter squeeze, a few murmured words of love, of gratitude, of affection.... then back to whatever we were headed to do-- laundry, naptime, baby bath, groceries, whatever... But those hugs, sprinkled throughout the day, give me a deep sense of contentment.

Catching moments on film that look the way I envisioned them... Whether it be a deep woods or a hilltop or just a small, unimportant morning moment, I have had some incredibly satisfying photography experiences lately. I have so many more to share soon...

Summer in general-- cotton candy at the circus, the smell of sunscreen at the children's fountain at Tower Grove, slushies from Sonic, Art Fairs, fireflies, flip flops, neighborhood strolls, gelato from down the street, hamburgers, summer thunderstorms....It's like summer is an easing of the muscles, a relaxing, a deep breath.

It's good, this life. It is really, really good. These are the moments that will define my memories when I am 100 years old-- the things that remind me that above all, I had a happy life.

Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.

~MLK, Jr.

Friends Let Friends Think Outside the Box: Torn Paper

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I promised you a few more:

I absolutely have to give credit for this idea to Duston Todd and THIS post. He is an incredible film photographer/artist my friend Katie introduced me to, and his work has completely captured my imagination. I love this paper idea, and am thrilled that my two girls were trusting enough to let me implement it.

A few more, for your (or at least MY) enjoyment:

(and of course the ubiquitous mustaches....)

(and some outtakes, in color... LOVE the color almost as much as the black and white... I dunno... Something about the faded finish...)

These girls + getting together in real life = TOTAL SYNERGY.


Friends Let Friends Think Outside the Box: The Wisconsin Sessions

Monday, June 8, 2009

So... a month ago I had the wonderful opportunity to take my boys for a road trip up to Wisconsin for a long weekend get-together with two of my dearest friends. The plan? Both had hired me to do their family photos, which turned into a bigger, more elaborate adventure involving two plane tickets from Utah, one packed car from St. Louis, three 18-month old toddler boys, some custom-ordered oversized balloons, and a few fake mustaches.

The result? An unforgettable weekend filled with magnificent photos and even more magnificent memories...

Thanks, girls... For letting me play around and for being willing to think outside the box!

{Warning: a gazillion photos ahead. I just simply couldn't pick a few favorites.

Warning #2: I have a few more AWESOME ones up my sleeves. Saving them for the next post so they have the OOMPH they deserve.

Warning #3: Some of these may be a bit... ahem... UNCONVENTIONAL. Ya know what? It's my style, evolving and discovering itself and getting comfortable in its shoes... Roll with it!}

{A little mustache magic--}

{the three of us.... Online Bessies and proud of it!}

{The Garage Session: **swoon** over this light!}

{And yes-- we thought we'd try to get these three precocious boys in a shot together, in their matching sock monkey t-shirts (explained more HERE)... But the garages setup? FORGET it. All were OVER it by then. Pretty much THIS is the best we got... Ha ha!}


{A few downtown Milwaukee shots...}

{And a few more of we three.... For now.}

Thanks for indulging me. I mean, sure, I should have narrowed down the photos... For your sake. But, well.... It's MY blog. And I ADORED this weekend. And the girls and babies and husbands involved. So neener neener. I'll throw down 35 photos in one post if I wanna.


If I haven't chased you away by now, tune in next time for a few last clever ones... And a homage to THIS guy.
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