Category Archives: Inspiration

Expectations

I have had a blog post brewing inside for a LONG time…revolving around the idea of how photography has shaped my life in some pretty significant ways.  Instead of waiting until the whole idea is clear, I am going to address it in parts.  And for now, focus on the idea of expectations.

I cannot tell you how often I have walked into an experience with my camera with the hopes of a particular experience or outcome; maybe an inspiration that has developed for me, or an idea I have that I would like to create or find – only to walk away with nothing.  The let down can be tremendous, the wind taken out of my sail.  It is not something I enjoy…so as it goes for me, I have wrestled with this and believe I have come to a peaceful resting spot. It is probably the convergence of several things in my life that have allowed me to do this, the change in my employment two and a half years ago, the energy that has come from the successful birthing and growing of two businesses, the spirit that has been awakened inside of me…and others.

I approach things differently that I once did.  When I walk into an experience, whether it is with my camera or not, on a paid photo shoot or simply shooting for my own personal interest – I have grown to be much more peaceful with what is, rather than look for what I want or expect.  And in so doing, I have been graced with inspiration and reward.

Most recently was a trip to spend time photographing the therapeutic herd at Peace Ranch.  I have been hearing how playful the horses have been in these cold Northern Michigan mornings, so sought the first available morning I had to try and capture some of the fun with my camera.  Since I do not live there, I cannot just go out when the wind is blowing and they are running, so I just hope to capture some of it on my frequent visits.  Well, you can probably guess what happened, there I am with my camera and there was no movement to speak of…I remember thinking to myself as I walked around the snowy pasture, this is still beautiful and I am so thankful for this opportunity. What a terrific way to start the day! I did not give up and go home, I stayed…some of the time in silence, doing nothing more than standing/crouching and breathing.

Lesson for life – be open to the possibilities.  Things do not often play out just as we expect them, but that does not mean there is not beauty in what does…or that growth can happen regardless. Kids do not always perform during family shoots as parents would like…but I challenge you parents to trust that I will capture them regardless.  For when you can go with the flow, meet people and experiences where there are at, there is more comfort, therefore better results. Instead of morning play at the ranch, I captured some beautiful portraits of some of the members of the herd.  And for that I am thankful.

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Ponderings

I’ve been pondering the feel I want to this blog…going between solely blogging about photography gigs to blogging about my personal life to blogging about whatever beauty comes to mind via a photograph.  I haven’t been writing much the past few months, in great part because I feel I have come to a sort of a bottleneck effect.  My lack in writing has not been because of a lack of business, lack of photographs taken, or lack of inspiration. Actually, it’s been quite the opposite.  I have ideas flowing throughout my head all the time, and literally thousands of unedited photos on my computer. I feel at times they are flowing faster than I have time to keep up with.  When something rises to the surface, I hit the “is this appropriate material for my photography blog?” question.  In 2014, I vow to break through the bottleneck, sharing my inspirations one at a time.

Today, I am resting in the place of blog material here being anything that moves me because of a photograph.  I feel it important for prospective clients to know their photographer.  To see their pictures and feel moved by them, but also to know a bit of their spirit.  I can think of no better way to do that than reveal pieces of myself in writing, and non-business related shooting.  Despite the belief of many, it is not the camera behind the photographer that makes the photos, or their lenses, or years of experience or training.  It is the heart.  The heart that speaks to the eye and comes out via the lens.

So for 2014, I will play with using this space as a platform for a wider scope of photography, not just shooting for paid clients.  I hope to reveal pieces of who I am, and what I find beautiful, via blogging and the use of my images.  Before the image for today, I just want to say thank you to all of you who have supported me in any way.  From hiring me for your family shoot, your once of a lifetime experience of a wedding, or the birth of your child, to the moments you don’t want to forget.  I consider it an honor and am continually humbled to do what I do.  And thank you to those who support me in different ways, sharing how an image has struck you, referring me to friends and family seeking a photographer, and following my work on facebook.

I just finished editing the pictures from my solo camping trip through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this past September.  I’ve never camped by myself before, and it was an amazingly transformative time for me.  I don’t want to fill this post with all words and little photography, so I’ll share more of that experience in posts to come.  For now, I just want to share the power and importance of self-care, of silence and personal retreat, of experiencing and embracing beauty.  I loved the quiet moments of this time, and the unending supply of gifts of beauty.

IMG_1771 IMG_1829 IMG_1920 IMG_2240These and similar pictures available for purchase here.

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The camera is an instrument…

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”
~Dorothea Lange

IMG_1426You know that feeling you get deep in your soul, that sometimes shakes your being into action, and you go and start something new?  I’ve noticed it this week – the idea came to me yesterday, and resting in this quote has made it feel attainable!  I’ve found that when that happens, and it doesn’t go away, it’s usually something I need to pay attention to.  Stay tuned for a new service by Moments Captured!

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Something About Her

I had an early morning photo shoot at Peace Ranch last week.  I got there early, as I typically do for a shoot, to just breathe in the place before my client arrived.  After eyeballing the spots we would go for various shots, I decided to pay Fiona a visit.

Something about her draws me close.  I’ve attempted to photograph her rescue journey, being there the day she arrived, capturing the dance between she and Jackie as she learned to trust again, and now documenting her sudden alteration into complete blindness.

On that morning, I stood on the other side of her fence, near the water.  She came closer…and went purposefully for a drink.  I think that was new for her to be able to do alone, in the last 24 hours.  I was excited for her!  She drank, and drank…and allowed me to scratch her head.  When she was done, her head remained low and I scratched behind her ear, and she leaned into it, seemingly enjoying herself and wanting more.  I smiled aloud at the beauty of the moment, the trust she had in me and the gift of touch and connectionIMG_0210

Here are my thoughts about her that parallel our lives…

  1. She is living with two equine caregivers, with full sight, and is dependent on them to give her comfort, alert her to danger, and show her where the food and water is.  Fiona is like the child, when children’s caregivers are calm, they sense no danger and are therefore calm.  This calmness allows them to be themselves, explore, learn and grow.  When human caregivers are on high alert, it immediately transfers to the children.  Actually, all the moods of human caregivers transfer to children, or are felt by them.  Our kids depend on us to teach them everything about life.  What a tremendous responsibility.
  2. Stressful and life-changing things happen.  We have two choices: we could fight it, hope to make the immovable obstacle go away, or we can learn to live with it and continue to allow our spirit to shine.
  3. When a child suddenly needs more care than the others, or perhaps they were born needing a different kind of care, we need to adapt.  Quite simply, it is the job of the parents to do this.  First there may be some learning involved, talking to other parents in similar situations, or experts in the field.  Then there must be implementation of newly learned strategies.  And there always needs to be support.
  4. Relationships are crucial.  Without them, navigating the curves and bumps in life slowly becomes unbearable and may even be impossible.  IMG_0225

Images available for purchase here.

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Blindness Hits

I’m struggling with how to start, there’s so much to her story.  Maybe you’ve seen glimpses of it on either mine or PEACE Ranch’s Facebook page.  I would like to help tell it, someday.  But not yet.

As I sit here tonight, actually ever since I was in the moment yesterday afternoon, Fiona has been on my mind.  The image of this beautiful animal, broken, afraid, and thirsty…tentatively moving toward the sound of water splashing in a bucket…the simple act of drinking now difficult. She depended on her ears and rested on a trust that was only three months young, as she only recently, and very suddenly lost the sight in her one good eye.  She is now totally and completely blind. As Jackie moved around, she spoke softly to let Fiona know where she was.

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In the moment yesterday, I saw true compassion given by Jackie, and a respect for the adjustment to this unexpected obstacle in Fiona’s life. I saw the trepidation in Fiona, uncertainty, and then the satisfaction from a healthy drink of water.  Her equine caregiver moved, she followed. I imagine she seeks to be close to him. He gives her comfort.

Fiona’s rescue story has taken a turn, and it continues.  My heavy heart feels peace knowing she won’t do it alone. And that she was able to successfully nestle into her adoptive home before the full blindness hit.

You can read more of Fiona’s rescue story on the PEACE Ranch blog.

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Different Than Expected

The first thing I do after importing a photo shoot onto my computer (and backing it up), is to go through the pics, and start deleting so the gallery is manageable, for both the client, and for my editing.  I don’t know many people who want to go through 500 pictures to choose the one they want to hang on their wall!  For me, it’s the hardest, and most time-consuming part of the editing process and it’s often done numerous times, over the course of several sittings.

On a recent shoot I did, I was going through this deleting process, and came upon this pic – one I would normally delete immediately, even if the composition and everything else was perfect – just because I missed focusing on the boy running, he was blurry.  It’s very important to me that my images are crisp and clean.  I think I actually did delete it, then brought it back.  And it’s managed to stay standing through all the rounds of deleting.

So in this dance I’ve been participating in with this image, I posted it last night on my facebook page, and was surprised at the comments that came!  I guess folks saw what I saw in it, that something that prohibited me from deleting it forever.  Toward the end of the thread of comments, someone said this: “Hmm… kinda like life, we may think we do things that are mistakes, but end up beautiful, maybe I’m getting too deep…”  No, that’s not too deep at all!  You may have forgotten, but I’m also a Marriage and Family Therapist!  So these types of connections are pretty common for me to experience!  And for those of you that didn’t know that about me, don’t worry – I take off my therapist hat during shoots:)  But I do keep the compassionate, non-judgmental, meet you in the moment hat:)

Anyway, this is true – I find that we often go through life expecting things to be a certain way and then feeling frustrated or even angry when they turn out differently.  I for one can speak to that fact!  Thankfully, I’ve learned how to seek comfort in the unknown and flex in the changes.  According to the facebook posting of this pic – I still have growth areas:)  Thank you Scott for sharing your wisdom – it rang true!  And this picture is a reminder of that for me.  So in addition to the ethereal beauty, the innocence of childhood, and the joy in any given moment, I also see the gift that is received when we can be open to things being different than expected.

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Power of a Photograph

I just sold a print of this image to someone who, upon seeing it said “Anna, I LOVE the sound of the horses running while I’m in the pasture…and this photo makes me makes me hear and feel it!”  THAT, is the power of a photograph, the power that I seek to capture, the power I feel when I look at something and visualize what the photograph would look like.  A photograph should stir something up for you when you look at it.  If it doesn’t, well, then…it’s just a snapshot.  When going through my images from a photo shoot, pictures are deleted that don’t elicit an instant whirl of emotion in me.  And it’s evident immediately.  Thank you Terri for your support!  And your words that hit the nail on the head!IMG_3312

Photo available for purchase here.

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Scared at Bedtime

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!!

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Telling the Story

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…IMG_8080IMG_8085 IMG_8190 IMG_8216 IMG_8295 IMG_8317 IMG_8324 IMG_8348 IMG_8350 IMG_8503 IMG_8576 IMG_8605 IMG_8619 IMG_8623 IMG_8625 IMG_8670 IMG_8737 IMG_8754 IMG_8780 IMG_8827

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Photography Adventure Along M22

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.IMG_5196

Just before getting to Immanuel Lutheran Church, where my group is held, I noticed the ice skating rink in town.  It’s looking like the end of the season!IMG_5199

Once my group was finished, the real photography adventure began! I traveled north to Omena, and then over to Leeland on M22.  Stopping for construction, barns, old vehicles and wild turkeys.

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IMG_5272Omena, MI

IMG_5325IMG_5341IMG_5349IMG_5393IMG_5396-2IMG_5424IMG_5441-2Fishtown – 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!

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