Category Archives: Blog

Ice Shards

I was driving to Leeland the other day for some beach photography and stopped dead in my tracks on the side of the road, alongside Lake Leelanau.  From the road, I saw little spikes on the ice, like shards of glass.  When I got out and closer, I was simply in awe at the beauty. Magnificent and perfect little ice shards.  And the sound it made on the lake reminded me of wind chimes.

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Images for sale here

We live in a beautiful world.

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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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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.

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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.


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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Family Reunion Love

It has been far too long since my last entry…the only excuse I can think of is that my creative brain has become so full the past few months of moments of joy and inspiration, that it has been hard for me to pick out just one thing at any moment to write about.  So while the blog has been missing, I have not been silent at work!  Thank you to those who continue to entrust me with capturing their most precious moments.  I am continually humbled to do the work I do, blessed to step foot into your lives if for just a moment, and overjoyed to deliver to you images that make your hearts smile.

Last weekend I photographed a family reunion, and told the story with my camera. I knew one of the families, and another member only through Facebook.  There were more than thirty people gathered at Turtle Lake Campground on a cloudy, rainy and surprisingly chilly Saturday.  I blended into the rhythm, and quietly snapped away for four hours…paying attention to tender moments of connection, emotions, and the activities.  I could write a book about all that’s gone through my head since photographing this very special family, but will try to sum it up in a few thoughts…

…make the effort to connect with those you love.  We are given today, a living and precious gift, and it is up to us on how to live it.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow, so live for the present.  Don’t wait, connect.  You are beautiful just how you are, right now.  Take care of your elders, they have taken care of you.  Treat them with respect, love them, touch, and breathe in their peace. Laugh a lot. Encourage your kids to play, to be, to connect in a positive way with each other.  Help watch out for others’ kids.  Pray with and for each other.  When it gets hard, connect more.  Ask for help, share your burdens with those you love.  Eat good food.  Don’t complain about things you cannot change, like the weather – but embrace it and continue on.  Buy good coffee.  Be interested in each other.  Welcome outsiders.  When you say good-bye, stay in touch.  Get everyone together yearly. Take family pictures…be YOU in your family picture so you can recognize yourselves.  Love deeply.

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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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SALE on Newborn Photo Sessions!

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!


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