oh canada!

goodness, it's been a while.a long while. i could make lots of excuses but i won't bore you -- other than sharing that it's been an amazing, whirlwind, full-of-travel, kick-ass kind summer. so where do i start? oh canada. yes...CANADA!!

this past june, i held a workshop in grand bend, canada. i feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to share with 10 amazing, awe-inspiring, beautiful women!! i truly feel that each and every workshop i am able to teach is such a gift in my life. i am blessed -- and so very grateful. and so i start with some special and very important thank yous --

to those who attended my canada workshop, i cannot thank you enough for entrusting and believing in me. thank you for opening your hearts, minds and souls to all that i had to share. each of you is unique and special and i can't wait to see where your journey takes you over the coming months and years. from the bottom of my heart, i thank you: lisa tullett amber lowe meg henderson tracy higgon sherri davis stephanie jackson heather ellen jennifer floyd & jessica thew

thank you hilary camilleri, for taking such awesome care of me while in canada and ensuring the workshop was seamless, from beginning to end. and i thank you for your kind and gracious friendship!

thank you sherri davis for working so hard on this beautiful, heartfelt video, captured during our workshop days together.  i will never forget our foxy visitor and the full moon rising...meant to be!!

thank you to the cranston family, claire and nina, who all volunteered to model for the workshop (photos shared below).

thank you to the wonderful workshop sponsors: dream a little dream with me the organic bloom lensbaby ketti handbags baby p designs 3 annies camera bags erin darcy design the flower studio

in closing, i wanted to share this incredible email i received after the workshop, which had me in lots of happy, grateful tears:

Dear Deb, Shortly after our workshop, our family packed up and headed to the cottage for a couple of weeks. It was complete chaos and I didn't end up getting the time I needed to honestly reflect on what you gave to me at the workshop. I knew I had walked away refreshed, motivated, and inspired, but also knew that something deeper had happened in those two days.

I am home now and the kids are asleep. I can finally sit down, think, and write.

I can't thank you enough for your honesty and for presenting yourself as a "real" person. Until the workshop, you were some famous photographer that I worshiped. After the workshop you were Deb. Deb who had a dream, worked her ass off and is now one of the most talented photographers I know. You weren't handed your gift on a silver platter. I needed to see this more than you know. I needed to see that an everyday mommy like me, could be great at this art.

You took the time to explain things and teach things that I am sure are very second nature to you. I felt safe those two days knowing that I was there to learn and you were there to teach. No stupid questions could be asked.

An inside look into your work and how you approach a shoot and editing was incredible. I can't even begin to tell you how much I learned during that time!  You inspired me to keep going with this art and be honest and true on my journey. These words have not left my head. Before I arrived I wasn't sure if I should be doing this or return to teaching. I am now committed to this amazing art and have put teaching on the back burner. I understand I have a long road ahead and that there is no end to the journey. Before you, this would have scared the shit out of me. Now I am excited.

More than anything you have motivated me to KEEP GOING.

Deb, you were incredible those two days. I could have listened to you forever. You add so much value to this art and I respect you more than I can express.

THANK YOU for the opportunity to learn from you and get to know you. I would do this all over again in a heart beat. I hope that we will meet again some day but for now know that you have left a really big awesome mark in my world. So grateful for our time.

last but not least, some of the photographs that i took at the workshop...

i'm hoping to now get back to regular blogging.  or maybe a bit of tumblring.


there will never be a perfect time

you will never have this day again.each day is a gift. breathe and notice. today. every day. relish the beauty and charm of the present. enjoy this day because... before you know it today will be gone. [modified from poem by jan hatmaker]

for my dear friend, robin, who i met during my air force days (we worked at the military hospital in tucson together). we haven't seen each other in over 12 years, but she will forever remain one of my dearest, truest friends.  a few days ago, she wrote on my facebook wall...

My beautiful, talented friend....So I pose a question that lots of my friends are requesting an answer to as well...... I MUST get family photos done, but I hate the way I look in pics. I would like something hip and funky to wear.... Got any advice on photographing moms like me? Seems all the families you take pics of are BEAUTIFUL. Also, if you lived in a cold area, would you postpone your sessions until it warms outside? XXXOOO your fluffy friend.

short on time, my initial reply to her was that she is beautiful and fabulous through and through and THAT is what the camera will capture.  and i shared with her that she needs to read THIS.

i told her that i would post a cold-weather chicago shoot here on my blog, for her to see.  so here it is. i was supposed to photograph this family three weeks prior to our actual shoot date (when it was much, much warmer), but i was really sick at the time and had to delay my chicago travel. the original planned 70-degree weather ended up being in the 40s.

i also think it's important to include the words from my client, emailed to me after she saw her gallery for the first time...

I LOVE THEM!  Thank you so much for the amazing pictures. You delivered exactly what I had hoped to get! I have looked over the gallery several times before sending you a note so that I could let you know some of my favorites, to impress upon you, more than just a simple thank you -- how happy I am. But I ran into the problem that I could not choose.  I love them all.  I'm so happy that I can look past the weight I need / wanted to lose before you took our pictures.  Love love love.  That is a lot of love coming from me.  They make my heart happy.  Okay YEAH...so excited!

of course, can't help but love the last two photos of the night.  after our shoot, the kids were excited to show me their play room, so of course, i brought my camera back out and took a couple more photos.

and here's a few photos from my family's cold-weather session in kansas (2009), courtesy of leigh miller photography.  it was FREEZING!

what _____ looks like | month twelve

hard to believe i've been sharing these monthly posts for a full year now. although technically, this is really post eleven since i didn't share last month. BUT i think i had a pretty good excuse, being in tanzania and all -- and  i think i made up for it with my RIDETZ posts. :-) july was an exciting month for us, filled with lots of traveling: san diego, CA carson city, NV tahoe, NV san francisco, CA vegas, NV (an unplanned stay & ER visit) battle lake, MN.

we spent less than a week at home in july, which was perfectly fine by me.

what our july looked like begins at camp oma's in NEVADA...

with the cousins

my animal lover

izzy and her walking stick, on our hike

at the top

and back down again

the 1989 van

hands off

sky & great grandma mary

guitar practice


TAHOE lake stop

our hotel in SAN FRANCISCO

cool paintings that filled the walls of an entire alley way

overnight at alpana's

sick at the airport causing an unexpected two-day layover stay in vegas, NEVADA

back home in TAMPA & boating with our besties

a week family vacation in MINNESOTA with martha & her family. new friends...

sometimes, but not often, cheering up was necessary

with daddy

at our cabin, which we didn't spend much time at all (thanks to martha & her fabulous family :-) )

photo shoot of ellie & sky (shooting with and styled by martha)

cabin break

paint by number

soul sisters

lots of swimming in the lake and some super fun time shooting in the water.  a separate post on that coming soon.

there’s a small circle of photographers participating in this what ____ looks like monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link] — starting with stephanie moore | tucson family photographer.

and with that, i say good day and...

an evening in the water

last weekend, our dear friends asked us if we'd like to go out on their boat with them.  we absolutely love spending time with the skubins, so of course, our answer was an overwhelming yes, yes, YES!!  having not shot underwater for quite a while, i decided to bring my D700 and underwater housing with me.  it was different than what i'm used to (shooting in my pool) but i loved it just as much.  there's something about shooting in the water that so resonates with and speaks to me.  i don't think i could ever get enough of it (except for dealing with my wet dreads).  lucky for me, we're headed to MN for a week -- to a cabin on a lake, where i'm connecting with the amazing  martha (of i see the moon photography). martha and i dream and talk about lots of shooting together, including underwater.  :-) and i so cannot wait!!! here's a few of my favorites from our amazing evening together just off of our (almost) private island...

ETA:  nothing like just finding out that tropical storm debby is continuing to leave her mark in the pinellas county waters.  the pinellas health department just issued a health advisory declaring that the waters at five popular beaches are a potential health risk because of high bacteria counts.  why? because of...

FECAL MATTER that was washed from the land into the gulf.

OMG, how gross!  of course, the waters we were in is one of the affected areas.  yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck!


remembering max

most who read my blog already know about my journey with max and his family.  the mikulak family graced and touched my life more than i could ever express. i do my best to continue to photograph the mikulak family in san diego every year. and this year, our session took place a few weeks ago...

and when our session was done, there stood hannah just like this...

with the light beaming through max's urn and hannah. and it was in that moment that i was so perfectly and beautifully reminded that max was right there with us!!

i feel so very blessed to have the mikulak family as part of my life.

and don't ever forget to live life to the max!!

my very first photograph of max, captured december 2007.

win a photo session AND digital files

i'm super excited to share a raffle that i've launched in conjunction with my fundraising for the foundation for tomorrow (TFFT). RAFFLE [a $3,450.00 value]: a one-hour photo session in the tampa bay area one 11x14 print 30 high-resolution digital files on CD

HOW TO ENTER: donate $20 HERE for every $20 donation, you will receive one raffle entry you can enter as many times as you wish submit your first and last name when donating email me that you would like to be entered into the raffle

PLEASE NOTE: eligible for raffle if you live in the tampa area or are willing to drive / fly to the tampa area session must take place september 1st through november 15th, 2012 session location is limited to 30-miles of 33629 tampa zip code session is for immediate family members only [parents & children]

if you're in the the tampa area, please spread the word. you can read more about my upcoming trip to tanzania here.



if you would like to join this effort by offering a similar raffle to your clients, email me for more details. also, i have some exciting raffles for photographers coming SOON!

closing with some photos from my family session this past saturday...

what ____ looks like | month five

i'm a bit short on words with this post because we just returned from our nevada vacation. we arrived home on the 31st, picked up charley and headed right back out -- to our friend's house for a new year's eve celebration together.  we spent the night, returning to our house yesterday afternoon.  then it was unpacking, grocery shopping, working on the yard, mail opening, uploading and editing photos, etc. so much to do but i'm ready for things to get back to normal. i'm also ready to get my butt back into shape (ugh!). so... here’s a bit of what 10 days, with family in nevada, looks like...

putting the finishing touches on oma and opa's really tall christmas tree, with the help of uncle joe.

opa sharing photo memories on the laptop, from last summer's visit (all the cousins stayed at oma and opa's together, for three weeks).

dogs, dogs and more dogs. my kids so love them.

there's also lots of games. uncle dan helping ryder with the polar bear puzzle.

ryder and daddy playing battleship together.

and cousins working on the 1000-piece puzzle.

skyler decided she wanted to climb the house's rock wall.

and then the other rock wall.

and finally the rock walls in one of the casinos in reno.

along with walking a tight rope.

ryder played lots of soccer with his uncles.

and with the dogs. sometimes we had to put izzy back in the house because she would actually stop the ball.

skyler finding a new way to sit on the kitchen chairs.

the cousins (minus one) -- ages 7, 8, 8, 9, 10 and 14. kiele spent most of the vacation at her dad's in CA; she joined us on the 28th.

having fun with tires.

our elf found a new friend mixed in with oma's christmas ornaments. even though oma's elf wasn't "real", sky sat him with our elf, joy.

always so much food at oma and opa's. there's something sitting out at all times of the day. and lots of eating, i did.

oma reading the littles 'twas the night before christmas' right before bed, christmas eve.

more tomorrow. :-))

there’s a group of 12 of us participating in this what ____ looks like monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link]. next up… stephanie moore | tucson senior photographer.

it's that time of year

...to finish and upload my family's annual book. makes me teary as i look through our family photos from this past year and put together our book. and i so love that my kids look through the books over and over again, giggling as they flip through the previous years' books.  they just happened to be flipping through the books today -- showing me all the pages that bring back memories or simply make them laugh. :-) mmmm...i treasure these books more than i can even express. worth every bit of time it takes to make them!! not to mention, they make fabulous christmas gifts too.

here's this year's layout...

[larger version HERE]

and here's a few of my favorite page spreads...

makes my heart so very happy!!!


so grateful for the magical gifts i received last week from one of my clients. francesca emailed me this so kind, heartfelt note, after seeing her photos...

deb, we all can learn to take pictures by reading manuals, going to workshops, using photoshop. but what you do... you CAN'T learn. it's in you. it's the power to understand the little glimpses of bliss that can show up on a daily basis. it's SEEING what, as mothers and fathers, we feel in our hearts. as I told you before, you gave me the pictures that I carry in my soul but now I can print them :) hope you get back two-fold what you give to people like me. and its not just the pictures.

and then i got this hand drawn beautiful portrait in the mail of...ME.  :-) notice the awesome beads at the bottom of my dreads.  and i so love the heart on my dress and my colorful camera...along with being surrounded by hearts and flowers.  who could wish for anything more?!

here's a few photos from our session together, in chicago.

their middle child is their wonderfully spirited one [with the best dimples ever] and i so love the face she gave me in the photo on the right.

and you can read some of francesca's thoughts about our time together here.

francesca, thank you for entrusting me with your family's photographs. thank you for your hospitality. thank you for your kindness. can't wait until the next time!! ;-) xo.

lensbaby love

most of the time when i photograph other photographers and their families, i try to focus on family shots and photos of the photographer with his or her kids (because we're just not in the family's photos very much).  needless to say, my heart was so very happy when karen requested some lensbaby photos of her kids.  here are a few of my favorites, from our time together in chicago (which reminded me so much of growing up and made me miss the midwest).

having a 14-year-old, who most of the time doesn't want to have anything to do with me, this photo melts my heart...

i heart mr. fischer

i  think i met terri when i reached out to her about her dreads.  but i actually might have met her (pre-dreads) because of her wonderful film photography. can't really remember (because i have a terrible memory).  but i do know that we became friends on facebook.  i always knew she was special.  and then terri and julie came to visit me last year, in kansas. and our friendship has just continued to grow. yes, she really is that special...and more. a few weeks ago, terri shared the news that tom was diagnosed with a slow-growing follicular lymphoma. while slow-growing might sound better, it's actually not.  it means it's been around longer.  and often tougher to combat.  six rounds of chemo are in tom's immediate future.  he begins round two tomorrow.

as soon as i heard of tom's diagnosis, i knew i had to get out there, to photograph the fischer family.  to capture all the magic that they are.  i tried to get out there immediately after i heard but lots of factors prevented me from doing so. but last weekend, everything fell into place (much thanks to the women of the witches brew) and i was able to travel to wisconsin to photograph the fischer family.

i'm not really sure how to do justice to the amazing family that they are.  but i'm hoping that photos will show what i am not able to put into words...


also, please check out terri's t-shirts, for sale on etsy. she's saving the money to send tom on a dream-come-true fly fishing trip in alaska...once he's in remission and has beaten this beast (like seriously kicked it's ass kind of beaten). we HAVE to believe that that is the way this will all end up, right?!!!

i'm a proud owner of both an "i heart mr. fischer" t-shirt and a goddess t-shirt.  it's obvious how cool the t-shirts are but they're also seriously great quality.  i love my t-shirts.

a special thanks to julie, who opened up her house to me, while in WI...and drove me everywhere.  you are such a magical soul.  thank you for your friendship.  thank you for everything.

p.s. cancer fucking sucks!!


people come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime.when you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. - author unknown

the J family definitely came into my life for a reason, season AND a lifetime!!

after kiele was born, i had to go back to work (as an air force nurse) when kiele was six weeks old.  i started her at a facility day care and after many days of tears, frustration and heartache, a friend had recommended me to  the J family, an in-home daycare -- more specifically momma carmen (as kiele came to call her).

kiele was a difficult sleeper and eater.  but that was no challenge to momma carmen, who made a Philippine-style hammock in one of her bedrooms, rocked her to sleep and chased kiele around with food.

momma carmen was such a gift in my life!!  i'm not sure i can ever fully explain or thank her enough.

that was 14 years ago.  and now momma carmen's daughter (who i met when she was 12) is married with two kids and just happens to live in san diego.  so when i was on my trip last month, i was able to photograph momma carmen's daughter and her family.

i can't even begin to share how much i love the J family.  they are such a gift in my life and i feel so blessed to call them my family!!  love and miss you so!!

i almost forgot, i just happened upon this photo of M and kiele the other day (from 11 years ago)...

upcoming travel sessions | child and family photography

just got back from travel sessions in VA, NC and san diego and am super excited about lots more traveling around the corner... salt lake city, UT -- may 7 - 8 denver, CO -- july 23 - 24 maui, HI -- july 13 - 20 san diego -- sep 3 - 7 NY, NY -- sep 9 - 11 chicago -- sep 13 - 14

session dates still available in each location (regular pricing | no additional travel fees). please email me for more information or to reserve your session date and time.

closing with a few photos from one of my san diego sessions...

VA, here i come

yep, i'm off to virginia beach, VA. actually by the time this launches, i will already be on my flight. while there, i'll be photographing this family. baby scout is now six months old, with a full head of fabulous hair, and my friend, steph, is now rockin' an awesome, new pixie cut.

and this family. not sure if peanut will be included again this time, but i do know that she is lou's precious baby.  it was 30 degrees when we did the photo below.  looking forward to the predicted 60s. hoping to dodge saturday's rain/thunder/wind forecast.

along with photographing a few families, who i am super excited to meet, one of them being in OBX!!

i'm home tuesday evening and then headed to san diego on thursday, for family fun and more client shoots.

the beaty family | coming home

i had already blogged about lifetime's new show, coming home, which features military homecoming stories, here.  but last night's episode (episode 2  | daddy's little girl) featured the beaty family's homecoming. if you missed it, no worries, you can watch the full episode here.  the beaty family is on episode 2 (daddy's little girl) and starts about a third of the way in.

love them so!!

some of my favorite photos from the beaty family's homecoming...

upcoming travels | sessions

lots of traveling in the near future -- VA, OBX, san diego, HI, NY & chicago.  and i'm super excited about it!! VA -- april 16-17 OBX -- apr 18 san diego -- apr 23-29 HI (maui) -- july 11 - 21 NY -- august (dates TBD) chicago -- october (dates TBD) san diego -- november (dates TBD)

still a few sessions available. please inquire if interested in more information or reserving a photo session.

also, i had the pleasure of sharing on the creative mama today.  you can check out my post here.

a few photos -- all from past travel sessions:

coming home | debut

last december, i had the most amazing opportunity to photograph the beaty family homecoming. mike was deployed for seven months and their daughter, scout, was born while mike was gone (two months before his return).  they also have two boys -- four and two years old.  yes, steph is a super woman!! and lifetime television was there too... to record the beaty family reunion, for their new series Coming Home, debuting this sunday at 10 PM EST.

here's the series trailer:

being a military family, i can't wait to watch this series. brings tears to my eyes just watching the trailer!!

i hope you'll watch!

steph isn't sure which week her family will be on the show. i'll be sure to keep you posted on any updates i receive.

here's some of my favorite photos from their homecoming...