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Welcome to my photography blog! Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to look around and stay a while.

"H" Family Photo Shoot

Friday, October 22, 2010
I photographed this little girlie last winter when she was brand spankin' new and there was 2 feet of new snow on the ground. We went out the other day in perfect weather and had a really fun shoot.

I loved this coat - great color and texture to photograph. 
This little kiddo really wanted to walk...

Dad found a bug to show her:

I've been really working hard lately - taking lots of photos for people. I can't promise anything, but I'll try to post some sessions when I can.

Isn't this a lovely family?

Back Light - Rim Light

Monday, October 11, 2010
I've been so stinkin' busy with my photography for the last several months that I have really had to prioritize things in my life. I used to always publish sneak peaks on my blog for each client photo session, but in order to actually spend time with my family, friends and horses, I've had to let the sneak peaks go - for now. 

One of these days, I'm going to publish a collage post of my favorite pics from each of my poor neglected, unpublished sessions. For now, I'm spending every spare minute just trying to get them edited, so that I can eventually get them back to my lovely, patient clients.

But I don't want to completely neglect my photo blog, and tonight I had a wild hair to post about my current photography love: backlighting.

Photography is a journey - it wasn't long ago that my comfort zone was window light and open shade, but now I've finally stepped into the light - and it's beautiful!

Morning light before the sun gets too high looks like this: 

and this:

Evening light in the last couple of hours before the sun goes down looks like this:

and this:

Sometimes with backlighting you get this amazing, dreamy haze. 

And you always get this little rim of light - rimlight - painting a glowing highlight around the subjects. Niiiice. 


I think it's fair to say that backlighting is my new photography addiction. And the beautiful thing about it? It's free and readily available for several hours every day.

Light is the first of painters. There is no object so foul that intense light will not make it beautiful.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

The Importance of Taking Pictures....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Photography is Like Horses

Thursday, September 23, 2010
The thing about photography is that it's a lot like horses. (If you know me at all, you've probably realized that I can relate just about anything to horses!)

How is photography like horses, you might ask?
Well, there's no such thing as just getting a horse - upon purchasing a horse, you must now have: brushes, saddles, blankets, clippers, grain, Dodge Cummins pickup, horse trailer, Parelli training equipment, new tires for horse trailer, fences, hay, hay storage facility, hay cubes, a trailer for hauling and storing hay cubes, tarps, jumps, barrels, Parelli home study course on dvd, bits, dental work, vaccines, loafing shed, water barrels, new shoes - or trimming - every 6 to 8 weeks, parts for Dodge pickup, bridles, fly spray, etc., etc., etc.....

Well, photography is the same way - once you purchase your first DSLR camera, you must now have: lenses, new camera case, external flash, external flash stand, reflector, tripod, a telephoto lens, gray card, memory card, a better camera body, a new computer, full version Photoshop, Lightroom, PS actions, an external hard drive, a monopod, reflector stand, another prime lens, a wide angle lens, lens cleaning kit, photography website, photography blog, photography books, more actions, card reader, cds and dvds to burn photos to, a Pro Flikr account, etc, etc, etc.....

Get the picture? They're both addictive, they're both time consuming, and they're both a journey of never ending self improvement. They're also both very gratifying and worthwhile.

And very, very expensive.

And tonight, I found another lens that I just cannot live without - MACRO, BABY!

After purchasing my new D700 - which I don't know how I ever lived without - I figured I'd better hold off for a while on getting any more photography equipment, but I've always got my eyes open for the next cool thing. That next thing, for several months has been a 105mm 2.8 macro lens. Well, I mentioned to my friend and photography mentor, Molly, the other day that I was wishing for a macro and she said, "Hey, I have one of those you can borrow and play with" (or something like that). It turned out to be the exact lens I've had my eye on.

So today I got to play with it for a few minutes. It was a little strange getting used to, but it's amazing and I can't wait to play with it some more. Here are a few I got in the 20 minutes I was able to spend with it today:

Maddie's nose ~ I never realized before how wiggly my animals were and how hard it is to get them to hold still!

Fred was nearly impossible to capture this close up! Aaargh! This photo isn't as sharp as I would have liked, but he just WOULDN'T HOLD STILL.

The kids were equally challenging - Luke had a very hard time keeping his eye open long enough for me to meter and focus, and then he kept closing his eyes and rubbing them, which made them red. But I thought this was pretty anyway.

So thanks to Molly for letting me play with this a little bit - so glad you're a Nikon girl!

It was cool to try it before I buy it, so that I'll be confident in my purchase. And there's no doubt I WILL purchase it.

One of these days. But probably not for a while... Sigh.

DON'T say CHEESE! Please?

Sunday, September 19, 2010
As a portrait photographer, I wish there were one message that I could send to the world and shout from the rooftops. But since I'd definitely break my neck if I tried to climb on any rooftops, and shouting makes my throat hurt, I'm going to shout it from my photo blog instead.

To all you parents out there:

Please don't teach your children to say "cheese" whenever you point a camera at them!

thank you.

Wow, it feels good to get that off my chest!

I've taken a lot of family portraits this year and almost every single time, there's a child - or all the children - who have been taught to do the 'cheese rictus' by their well intentioned parents.

Case in point

(sorry about the quality here folks, this was cropped out of a large family group photo)

Has anyone ever seen this face before? I see it ALL THE TIME. Same smile, different day. And an otherwise adorable child turns into a grimacing little statue! Sometimes it's not quite so severe - often, they just pull back their lips, but their eyes are SO not smiling.

In this extreme case, I was trying to get the little guy to talk to me and interact and laugh at my jokes and he was so frozen in this face that I was afraid he would be stuck that way forever! He couldn't talk, he couldn't move - he just knew there was a camera involved so he went into automatic cheese mode. (And let me just say, that this was a LOVELY family and a good little guy who was just trying to do the right thing.)

So what should you do instead, you might ask? Well, my favorite thing is to say something that the kids are bound to think is extremely funny - translated: anything super-silly, slightly gross, or a combination of both, like "monkey boogers". I've even been known to tickle them, make muscles like Arnold, and do the hokie pokie. What we're goin' for folks is a spontaneous smile - even outrageous laughing is better than the deadly cheese rictus.

So give it a try and let me know how it goes. I'm out to change the world, one grimacing child at a time.

Flower Girl - pick your favortie edit

Sunday, August 29, 2010
I love taking photos, I really love taking them. And then I love getting them up on my computer screen (yay digital!) and looking at them - and finding that one amazing image, that treasure of a captured memory that's just beautiful and exceptional and special. That's the reason I take photographs.

But the editing....

The editing is about to kill me (boo digital!). I've gotten to a point in my photography that individually, my images don't usually need much editing, thank goodness. But the sheer volume of the photos waiting to be edited can still be a little overwhelming. And very time consuming.

I need at least one day to get away from my editing, and that day is Sunday, of course. I've decided that if I must get on the computer at all on Sunday that the time should be used to work on my own family's photos, my personal blog and my personal scrapbook pages.

I bought Brynn a darling new dress on GapKids the other day - I just adore it. She wore it to church today and I couldn't resist taking her picture afterward. And I love this photo, it's one of those special ones - to me at least.

I brought it in to Photoshop and performed my standard edit: crop, a little unsharp mask, a smidgen of levels adjustment and a squeaky bit of curves, and this is what I got:

Pretty girl, don't you think?

(oh, and I burned the edges just a tad)

And then, because this image is just for me and I can go a little crazy with it, I decided to play with some of my favorite Florabella actions. Let me know - if anybody's out there - which of the edits you like best. Or maybe you don't like any of the fancy stuff and like the "normal" one best. I'm curious to know.

Ready? Okay.

Edit #1: Primrose ~ soft & feminine with a rosy tint....

Edit #2: Retro Lolipop ~ dramatic & colorful with a bit of 70's feel to it....

Edit #4: B/W Chestnut ~ (I LOVE the Florabella black & white actions, they're so easy and gorgeous! No more muddy black and whites for me.)

Edit #5: Wisteria ~ Dreamy and slightly hazy...

Edit #6: B/W Rain ~ Another lovely black and white action with a cooler tone....

Edit #7: Morning Glory ~ Sunny, bright and warm....

Is that too many to choose from? I actually could have done dozens more. Let me know which ones are your favorite. I'm so immersed in photo editing for so much of my life that I feel like I loose my perspective, so all feedback is greatly appreciated.

For my good friend Katie, because I love ya....

Monday, August 23, 2010
I've been so busy taking photos for people lately that I haven't had time to blog any of them!

My friend Katie had a baby a month ago and I went down and took newborn pics of her gorgeous little girl when she was a couple of weeks old. I told Katie how behind I was on my editing and that it might be a while before I could get the photos to her.

And Katie, being a good friend, totally understood. Except that every time I talk to her she tells me how excited she is to see the pics and that she just can't wait. And then today I talked to Katie on the phone and she said, "Can you pleeeese just send me
one? I just want to see one so bad!"

So I stayed up tonight and edited a few to put up on the blog - because Katie's a great friend. So here's a sneak peak for you Katie. Congrats to your great family, you deserve to get such a gorgeous, sweet little girlie, and she's so lucky to have been sent to such an amazing family. Love you guys!

Not only do they have a new human baby, but new puppies as well. This little toot buppy snuggled right down in the basket with little Mayzie and went right to sleep.

My New Camera...... and my best model

Sunday, July 25, 2010
To afford it, I've been selling off everything that isn't nailed down, including two lenses and my old camera, but I finally did it: I made the leap to a full frame sensor camera! The Nikon D700, and it's awesome!

My previous camera was a great camera and I'm very happy with so many of the images I've gotten with it over the last year and a half, but I really felt like I was ready to move on.

My friend, Molly, has let me "foster" her nice 80-200mm lens for the last while, but on my old cropped sensor camera body, it just wasn't very usable for me. But with this new camera, the lens is different, closer to the subject - a lot easier to use and the perfect focal length for portraits. Yay, since this is the nicest lens I have.

So I got the new camera on Wed. and played with it yesterday and today, and oh so conveniently, I have the perfect little model living in my house. I always say we're a match made in heaven: I love to take pictures, and she loves to have her picture taken.

I bought this pink hat this spring on a winter clearance sale and I haven't used it yet. Glad I remembered it today - cuuuute!

Taking a rest with some Russian Sage - I love that stuff and it's blooming right now.

One of the things I'm noticing already about the new camera, is that I'm not going to have to edit my photos nearly as much. And that's a HUGE reason to


Maybe I can get some of my life back that normally I spend editing.

Outtake alert!

I got a kick out of that one and wanted to include it.

This girl's so tan, she looks like she lives at the pool! Oh wait, she actually does live at the pool. Or on her horse or on the trampoline.

I think this one's my favorite:

Her hair is several shades lighter than it was 2 months ago. I've been calling her "blondie" lately.

Yep, she's my best model: willing, beautiful and confident in front of the camera.

And here's my second best model:

The last two nights while I've been playing in the yard with the new camera, Fred has climbed up on the kids' play house and watched intently while we shoot. From the exact same spot. I think he thinks he's a panther in a tree.... Good ol' Fred.

Well, good shooting times ahead. I'm looking forward to new adventures with my new partner in crime. Maybe I should give it a name, we're going to be very close from here on out.

Catchlights, babeeee!

Saturday, July 3, 2010
I was taking pictures at our town's 4th of July celebration today (we shut the whole place down on and go to church on Sundays) and couldn't resist taking photos of some of the cute little kiddos who crossed my path. As I was looking through the photos tonight, I realized that my favorite shots don't have anything to do with whether or not the subject is smiling, but how good the catchlights in their eyes are. It's all about the catchlights for me.

So here are a few of my favorite catchlight captures of the day:

My friend Rachel's scrumptious little guy, his eyes absolutely have FIREWORKS in them!

(you can see by his spoon that he was helping to judge our soup contest.)

My wonderful and amazing friend Deanna - also judging soup - with her beautiful baby blues.

It's a well known fact in photography that brown eyes are harder to capture catchlights in, but I beg to differ.

(my daughter - right - and one of her BFFs,Tyana.)

Seven year old bathing beauty, Page, sporting catchlights in her cool shades.

And finally, Miss Eva Diva, the darling oldest daughter of my friend, Autumn, with her gorgeous blue eyes:

(I didn't get her eyes as sharp, but I loved this shot so much, I wanted to include it anyway.)

And the title? "Stickem' up!"

I told her, "You can shoot me, but please don't get my camera!"


Four Handsome Boys

Sunday, June 27, 2010
A while back, I went to St. George and made an evening of it - - 4 photo shoots in one night. I should have put these pics up a long time ago, but I've just been so behind. So sorry guys, here's your postview instead of preview. But I loved the pictures and had to post them.

This family had 4 of the cutest little boys, I could have photographed them all night! We had a great location with lots of fun old stuff and beautiful greenery. We started out on this old wagon...

And ended up with this wonderful shot - - how sweet is this?

Love that!

I have something of a twisted sense of humor and when I saw this sign, I had a stroke of inspiration - thank goodness Mom and Dad were such good sports.

The boys were not only handsome, but super-duper cooperative, which made things easy for me.

*a funny thing to note: their dad told them not to smile with their teeth showing, and so none of them did....

And apparently, sometimes when you've had 4 boys in a row, you can get a little on edge and take your frustrations out on the feller responsible...

Awww, now this is much better....

Thanks guys, for putting up with me and letting me capture your family, I think you should just keep having those boys - at least 3 or 4 more!

Katie's Maternity Shoot

Thursday, June 3, 2010
My good friend Katie, is pregnant with her 5th baby. She recently moved about 2 hours away (darn it!) but we've still been wanting to get together and try some maternity photos. Katie has several family members who were also wanting photo sessions, so we scheduled them all for the same evening and managed to squeeze Katie in between 3 other shoots.

Here are a few of my favs of Katie and her "baby bump" ~

I think these with the kids are my very favorite - how adorable are they?!

Cute, bump, baby! I can't wait to meet that little kiddo.

And take her picture, of course!