Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Toddler and Puppy? Sure!

Working with the Kelley family stressed me out. It was early in the season, I felt pretty new at all this, and there was a toddler AND a puppy? Um. Sure! Absolutely. That's no problem at all! At the beach? Sure! (Panic! Never let them see you sweat!)

The day of the session dawned with beautiful weather, and after the first 15 minutes it was obvious that things would be fine. Having the most photogenic family ever didn't hurt, and Treasure was, well. A treasure. She calmed down just when I needed her to, and played with Nathan like a pro. Some training (both puppy and boy!) had obviously been going on!

Once I relaxed, and they relaxed, we made some magic happen. I hope you enjoy the Kelley family slideshow.

Always Home by Sound of Harris

Friday, February 18, 2011


Melanie has always shown the utmost devotion to her baby Gus. Since Gus is a therapy dog, I knew that he must be something special. In all the scrapbooking I've ever done with her, somehow I'm pretty sure I missed seeing any photos of Gus. So, to finally meet him on the day of our session, I was beyond delighted.

I have a soft spot for a fluffy dog. Our family dog as a kid was lovely and fluffy and his temperament was very similar to Gus. It was so relaxing to be with this canine bundle of love, and to see that the devotion that Melanie has for Gus is nothing compared to how he looked at her, and that their relationship was nothing compared to how Mel's PARENTS feel about their 'grandson'. Gus is one smart dog, and he knows where the easiest treats come from, let me tell you!

It's possible that Gus was easy to photograph that day because he was days before his surgery for his 2nd bum hip which made it hard for him to be energetic, but I think that calm, serene temperament is what makes him such a fabulous therapy dog, and excellent photography subject. Since we also had to reschedule because of Mel's own knee replacement surgery, you can see how this dog and owner belong together, and since they care for each other throughout their surgeries it also explains their devotion. In light of all of that, this song by one of my favorite artists seemed to fit just right.

I am happy to report that they have both fully recovered from their joint replacements. I just hope Mel's knees let her keep up with a younger, more rambunctious Gus these days!

Make it last by Tim McMorris

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


When it comes to uber-moms, the first person who comes to mind for me is my friend Melaura. We first met at playgroup, and the thing I remember most about her was how quiet and reserved she was. As I got to know her better, my admiration for her grew. I'm not sure I've ever known someone who knew exactly what they wanted the way Melaura did. "I want four kids." Which, of course, blew my mind. "Why?" says me. "I don't know. It's just what I want." So, her conviction that her family would not be complete until she had that fourth baby never wavered, and when it came time to celebrate that baby's arrival, we were all ready.

The thing I love most about this slideshow is what it DOESN'T show. It doesn't show that her husband Dan had to return to work two days before I photographed the baby, and that Melaura was almost falling over in newborn exhaustion. It doesn't show that there were two tired and hungry toddlers, and Melaura's oldest daughter also in the house. It doesn't show that it was one of the first insanely warm May days, or that the noise level in the house was extreme. It doesn't show Hobbs, who is Melaura's first baby, or how he was both serene and freaked out by the activity level in the house. It doesn't show that 4 kids = chaos.

It just shows how much Makayla was wanted, and loved, and cherished.

Better late than never.... Welcome Baby Cranford number 4.

Music: Fall by Jasmine Ash

Monday, February 14, 2011

VDay and Memories

In honor of my childhood, I give you a memory of two cousins who spent an unhealthy amount of time together. Thinking up trouble, scamming more overnights at each others houses, torturing younger (and in my case trying to torture older) siblings and cousins. Swimming until our fingers and toes were permanently prunes, our bodies shivering with cold, and our hair lovely shades of green. We shared a lot, and one thing we continue to share is a love of music.

Happy Valentine's Meghan. Hope when your day starts in CA it brings you love and contentment.

Broken Wings - Mr. Mister

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Tips

Last week I talked about the importance of batteries. Today, as the snow falls gently, and coats the landscape in beautiful whiteness, I want to talk about taking your camera with you everywhere. I'm not suggesting that you start lugging your SLR and all your lenses around with you... your camera phone will do in a pinch. Not to mention that today's camera phones and point and shoot camera's have phenomenal range and versatility, and support my firm belief that it is not the equipment that make the photograph, it is the effort and experimentation of the photographer. Let me say this again: Your Camera Doesn't Matter.

So, carry a way to take pictures every day.  Use it to document the small things, and then you'll be in the habit of having it with you to document the big things too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

(quote monday)

"The reason Art is VALUABLE is precisely why I cannot tell you how to do it. If there was a map, THERE'D BE NO ART, because Art is the act of navigating without a MAP." Seth Godin

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Things I read...

I like to read. I read a lot of blogs these days. Some cuz they're funny, honest, interesting, inspiring, or because someone I know writes them.

I like to read. I read lots (and lots, and lots) of (fiction) books. I have 3 bags of books downstairs to be donated. If you think I mean nice, small plastic grocery-type bags, you'd be wrong. I have 2  - 13 gallon kitchen bags, and one large black 'yard waste' bag that I am unsure of its actual gallon-measurement, but I confess I have trouble lifting it.

I like to read. I read less magazines than I used to... I just don't seem to have the time.

I like to read. I read more business books now than I ever have in my life, including textbooks I should have read in college.

I like to read. I'm not a huge fan of the digital book readers, since I don't travel enough out of town to make carrying more than 3 books in one device appealing, and as I move about my day I will never remember to carry a regular book with me, let alone a digital reader. However, I'm truly in love with the Kindle app I have for my Android phone. I still forget my phone a lot, but a lot less than I would forget to grab a digital reader.

So, here is some of what I'm currently reading:

I just finished Seth Godin's Linchpin. I read it on my android Kindle app - so I actually finished it. It was fascinating and scary at the same time.

I am re-reading A Wrinkle In Time by Madelenie L'Engle. I read this as a kid, and loved it. I found it when Matthew and I hit the library yesterday and thought I'd read it again. I do this a lot with books I enjoy, it is like visiting an old friend.

I found this blog/website today, through Deb Schwedhelm's blog (obviously, I read hers too!) and I loved the statement that Stephanie Beaty includes on the page I linked to.

This is just some of what I'm reading. A good friend sent me a whole block of interesting/funny/amusing emails last night, and I confess... I don't always take the time to read them all. But, since I did, I learned about this: Yosemite Frazil Ice.

I also recently found a blog on Minimalist living called Be More with Less. The name alone gets me excited. LESS. That'd be awesome. Perhaps unrealistic, but awesome. There, I learned about this: Weather Inversions.

I like to read.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday Tips

The number one best camera tip I can offer any photographer (besides experiment) is to buy extra batteries. It doesn't matter if you own a SLR, a DSLR, or a point-and-shoot camera... running out of batteries and not being able to capture what you see in front of you is a needless sort of frustration.

When you research what camera to purchase, don't forget to take note of the type of batteries the models you are comparing use. It varies greatly, and might make a difference to you when choosing between two similar models. The convenience of standard batteries (AA) might make a difference if you plan to travel with your camera. No need to pack extra chargers when you can just stop anywhere to pick up fresh batteries.

With that said, the battery life on some AA powered camera's can become another source of frustration. So, even with the convenience of purchasing new AA batteries, I recommend also investing in a charger, and rechargeable if that's the camera option you go with. I find it most convenient to have a full set of batteries on a charger, and a set in my camera. Easy to grab the fully charged set to throw in your camera bag when you adventure out with your point and shoot.

Most DSLR's require a larger power source, so they either use larger standard batteries, or just more of them. Some come with their own, proprietary rechargable battery packs, usually little blocks, and each camera typically ships with just one. (although some places offer add-on packages that include an extra battery - check the price on purchasing a 2nd battery to know if the add-on is a good value).

The most common, non-standard battery packs for DSLR's are as follows:
  • Lithium Ion (Li-on) — This is what my Nikon uses. The battery life is long, but is easily depleted when I am forced to use my flash. They are rechargeable, and can be charged again and again for a long time. Replacements are pricey, but worth having an extra.
  • Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) — Ni-MH batteries are the most common replacement for standard AA, since they can be recharged again and again.
  • CR-V3 — This battery type is equivalent to 2AAs, and come in both rechargeable and non-rechargeable versions.
Having an extra battery pack or charged standard batteries makes it less important to pay attention to the battery warning light. Especially since that's the least reliable feature on a camera, and running out of power is the most frustrating (and avoidable) issue that you can plan for.