All these beautiful images of Benjamin’s entrance into the world has gotten me in the mood for BABIES!! So here comes a sale!! If you book a newborn photo session during the month of June, and pay a deposit – you can have the 1.5-2 hour session for HALF OFF! The session can take place anytime in the next 9 months, the approximate date and deposit just need to be take care of in June 2013. If you have any questions, or would like to set something up – contact me soon!
I know I just blogged about stories…and my love for photographing them. But as I sit here, editing a labor and delivery shoot and sitting on about 1,000 pictures so far of the early rehabilitation of a rescue horse, I felt moved to simply write about it again. The gift of storing away memories in our brains in priceless…no camera, just memories. But you know what? Details of events eventually escape us. And I know the argument, we’ll remember what’s important…I think the details are important. And a photograph brings us back to that place, no matter where we are or the amount of time that has passed.
Yesterday I was blessed to be a part of my very first, and hopefully not my last, labor and delivery as a photographer. The gift of being invited into this most intimate moment in a family was a gift I will not soon forget. I can’t wait to share the images with the new parents. I’m certain there were details of that day that escaped their attention, especially mom. I got them, and they’re gorgeous! The first moments in a little person’s life…captured. Look for a special blog post with pics soon!
For the past few weeks, I’ve also been collecting images as I watch the story of Fiona, a Clydesdale American Saddlebred cross rescue, learn to trust again at PEACE Ranch. I have a general idea of what the end project will look like, but am waiting for much of it unfold as time goes on. For now, I’m seeking to catch the details so I can tell her story.
We all have stories to tell, and I happen to think catching them on camera is beautiful…and incredibly exciting! I look forward to the next opportunity!
I want to divert a bit from the photos I’ve been busy editing and projects I’ve been working on for a personal story. It has touched my heart so much, I feel inspired to share – so here goes!
My 7 year old has struggled for some time with being scared at bedtime. She has a nightlight, we keep the hall light on, and she has several “snuggly” items in bed with her. We chalk it up to an easily suggestible, very creative and imaginative mind. When peers in her classroom talk about “bloody mary” and the “dogman,” it doesn’t just go in one ear and out the other for her – it stays with her for quite some time. And she works through it at bedtime. Last night she was particularly upset, and I was balancing the line between being motherly and simply letting her be. I was near her bed, completely out of ideas, just repeating what I say every night when in pops her older brother. [side note - our kids fight just like any other sibling pair, I just choose to share the wonder moments:)] I’m sure she was thinking he was ready to tell her to quit all the fussing, when out of his mouth comes, ‘here Payton, this rock has really helped me [hands her a good size rock]…it takes all bad thoughts and dreams from you and replaces them with good ones…all you have to do is keep it by you…you can keep it for however long you need.’ Stunned mom….stunned sister….no one said anything for a good 2 minutes, but she examined the rock, I’m sure looking for a trick of some kind as her brother is quite the magician! He kept encouraging her to take it, and she did. The moment ended with him hugging her and saying ‘good night, I love you,’ to which it was responded to with the same from her. And get this…she was quiet!!! She totally believed it, not another word came from her mouth and she fell fast asleep!
I’m still stunned, a day later. Tonight as she was laying in bed, I heard her shout “mom! I SAW the bad dreams leaving!!!”
I’m pretty proud of my son for recognizing a need, and working in his brain for a way that he could help. He responded so compassionately, so patiently…it was so sweet. It reminded me yet again of the purity in their hearts…and that they do indeed like each other:) I love those kids!!
A friend of mine emailed me a few weeks ago, asking if I’d be open to photographing a fundraiser for a local youth battling brain cancer. The fundraiser would take place at Blue Oxer Farm in Cedar, MI. Of course, I said! It is my opinion that it is crucial for us to be connected to our larger community and also for us to give back – in whatever shape that take for each individual person. When I say “crucial,” I mean for our own happiness and ability to live life to the fullest. For I think that is quite simply how we are wired. We are wired to be connected, to be community. So even though I do not know this young gal or her family, I have a camera, I know how to use it, and I love to tell the story! I gave a gift to this family, but throughout it all, I also received a gift – the gift of giving.
Upon arriving, I met Abby Gross and her parents, and then began my exploration shooting. In my mind, my focus was on “the story…on telling the story.” So I looked for the experiences, watched the people, captured expressions and caught the moments. Here are some favorites from the afternoon…
My absolute favorite subject to photograph are kids. I admire the way they are just themselves in front of the camera. Not yet old enough to be tainted with the pressures and expectations of our society. They are care-free, natural and as authentic as they come. Thanks to the kids I have been able to photograph, I have now adapted a strategy with adults to help them arrive BACK at the place these beautiful children are…to feel comfortable enough to let loose, show their natural beauty and authentic, not forced, smile. There is such a difference when I look at the photographs…I instantly know when I’ve captured their essence for something glorious is sparkling in their eye, their smile lights up just so and they all of a sudden look absolutely beautiful. Thank you children for showing me what this is!!
When I’m shooting kids especially, I enjoy simply playing with them…with my camera in hand of course. I find all sorts of beautiful giggles, unique expressions, and one of a kind poses that I would never be honored to witness if I were in a studio or more rigid with my style. It is a very fun challenge for me, and I grab every opportunity I can. Below are some pictures I took while on the playground with a group of kids from church. Authentic, real, innocent and absolutely beautiful.
I had the joy and honor of working with the first and fourth graders of Eastern Elementary last week, as they came to visit PEACE Ranch for their culminating experience as part of the Heroes in the Community program. I had visited each class prior to this experience, and shared a bit about photography. I talked about some general hints on how to take a good picture, but really emphasized the importance of shooting from your heart and looking all around your environment. I’m a self-taught photographer, and place a great deal of value on being present in the moment, and finding beauty wherever you are. Put a camera in the hands of someone with that mentality, and I believe the results will shine.
So once the kids had their cameras (huge thank you to The Camera Shop in Traverse City for letting us borrow 10 amazing little cameras!!), I walked around the ranch with them, sometimes giving pointers, answering questions and giving a lot of praise when I saw them changing their perspective, finding something unusual, or framing their shot in a unique way. My spirit was on fire, and I had a ball! Throughout the experience, I also shot with my own camera. I can’t share them all here because I didn’t get permission from all the parents. However, you can view them all on PEACE Ranch’s facebook page. The fourth graders are here. And the first graders here.
Thanks for visiting!
Meet Isaac Bader…class of 2014! I met Isaac and his family last year when they moved here from South Dakota. There was an instant connection our families shared – Isaac has been a camper at Klein Ranch, and has helped work as an assistant Wrangler there the past few years. And his mom worked as a cook out there for a summer. In 1998, I was the Wrangler there, and Justin was a counselor. We instantly fell in love, got engaged the next summer and have been happily married now for almost 13 years. Go figure – he even knows some of the horses that were there when I was! I love everything about Klein Ranch – and it felt so good to speak to others who knew it like I did. So when Isaac asked me to do his senior pictures, I immediately thought “hat, chaps and cowboy boots.” I found the perfect location, and here are the results from our first session! The season of senior shoots begins!
See the color versions here.
Full gallery here.
During the slower times of the year, one of my favorite things to do is to go on a photography adventure. I pack up my camera, and just drive. Usually alone, the radio off, soaking in the scenery, stopping when something catches my eye. Just the other day, I stopped en route to Suttons Bay for a group I was leading, drawn to this beautiful old tractor.
Fishtown – Leeland, MI
Prints available for purchase here.
I completed the journey refreshed, invigorated and ready for the rest of the week. Thank you Northern Michigan for all your incredible beauty!
I hope you all had a very happy Easter this past weekend! My folks were able to drive over from Minnesota to share the weekend with us. And as is usually the case, the time went by incredibly fast, and was filled with many a memory. I find myself riding the fence of wanting to photograph every moment of times like this and wanting to soak in the moments minus the camera. I AM in the moment when I’m shooting, but it is often in a different way that when I’m not. As I get older, I find it easier to judge the situation and come to the best answer for me. This past weekend, I focused on documenting our adventure to Point Betsie, on Lake Michigan.
My dad brought his video camera, and lost it to my son – who proudly took over the videography. I’m excited to see his finished product!
My dad is a Teacher, and a scientist…I love it when he’s here, for all the science type questions my kids come up with can be directed to him! And in his gentle and patient way, he entertains their questions. I think he’s talking about the ice formations we discovered where the water meets the wall.
My beautiful mom soaking up a few moments.
Ah, it’s that rare photo that I am IN!! With two of the three loves of my life…
As I stood off in the distance, capturing their interactions, I heard the crashing of the waves, the cool breeze, and my son playing his harmonica. It was absolutely beautiful.
I’m thankful for the memories.