behind the scenes

as many of you probably already know, i'm pretty obsessed with underwater shooting.  so i thought i'd share a couple behind-the-scenes photos and thoughts. shooting underwater is WAY tougher than it seems.  i use equinox housing, which is large and heavy (originally designed for diving videography and photography), but the quality and security of the housing is amazing.

my friend, emily, who was visiting me last week said,

"you couldn't pay me enough to photograph underwater!"

although she did so-graciously oblige to be my underwater subject a time or two, while here.  :-))

here i am in our backyard pool (photo courtesty of emily corey), being held down by ryder, while photographing underwater.  i think i'm going to have to invest in a weight belt, to keep me down, in the very near future.  and a swim cap for my dreads.  it takes my dreads eight-plus hours to dry every time they get wet.  it's kind of like having a wet dog wrapped around your head and neck for eight hours...not fun!!

and most of my dresses have now made their way into my pool.  steve's bike has became my drying rack.

and a new 'flooded reverie' image from last week...

and a photo of em and lu, while they were visiting.  capturing this photo of em reaching out her hands to lu makes my heart so incredibly happy (they waited a long time for their precious little girl).

super exciting things on the forefront with this underwater adventure.  hoping to share some news and updates VERY soon.

from coast to coast

san diego will always hold a special place in my heart (for many reasons).  and i can honestly say that i loved our one year in kansas -- the fields, the green, the cows, the country, the slowness, the family time. it was a magical year. but here we are now, in tampa FL, and i am thrilled to be back at the beach. we're already really enjoying FL although...i think i'm going to love it that much more once we're settled, i have kiele's school stuff situated and it's less than 98 degrees, with 98% humidity. it's. so. darn. hot. here.

the other week, i was enjoying watching the kids skim board and then...i saw the orange hat walk by. :-)  i couldn't help but think -- i'm exactly where i'm supposed to be. © deb schwedhelm | tampa photographer

old beach --

new beach --

this is me.

there comes a time when you have to stand up and shout:this is me damn it! i look the way i look, think the way i think, feel the way i feel, love the way i love! i am a whole, complex package. take me...or leave me. accept me...or walk away! do not try and make me feel like less of a person, just because i don't fit your idea of who i should be. and don't try to change me to fit your mold. if i need to change, i alone will make that decision. when you are strong enough to love yourself !00%, good and bad--you will be amazed by the opportunities that life presents you. - stacey charter

the other day, i so longed to shoot for me--to create images that emerge from my soul. with the goal of pleasing no one else but me.  selfish? i guess. needed? absolutely. as a portrait photographer, i'm commissioned by families, to shoot for them. while i always stay true to my style and a part of me is infused into each and every photograph, in the end, i'm still shooting for them.

so on monday, while the little ones were at gymnastics, kiele and i went to go find a location to shoot. thankfully she was game to shoot too. having a specific shot in mind, as i usually do when shooting for me, i desired a forest-looking location. we found one cool woodsy area, but not the right light. then behind a building, i noticed the perfect little spot--weeds, trees and great light. there even seemed to be a bit of a matted path, which made it easy to walk further into the woods. so i parked behind the building and began shooting kiele in the weeds. soon thereafter, i noticed these men smoking on the side of the building. clearly, they were employees. kiele and i followed the path a bit further into the woods when all of a sudden i hear,

hello. helllllooo. (whistle. whistle.)

hellooooo. (whistle. whistle.)

i'm not sure why, but my initial thought was that it was some kids and we needed to go. the keys were in the car, along with my purse...and everything else.

kiele. come on. hurry. come on.

of course, she couldn't hear me because i had put her implant in my pocket, while shooting. so pulling her in my hand and kiele with raven mask on, we appear from the woods and two men (aka DHL employees) are looking in my car (they had opened my passenger door). they told me that i'm not allowed to park on their property and i have to leave immediately. i had parked in the very back, right next to the woods, where there was parking spots, nothing.

i shared a few words with them and left, hoping that i had gotten what i longed for.

and i did. these make my heart happy.

p.s. my fav image of the three is the last one.  i'm planning to go out again to do different shots, focusing on the nest (no mask).  we found the nest at the apple orchard, while apple picking.  it had fallen out of one of the apple trees and was sitting empty next to a tree.  i love it so.

new friends

i'm honored.  and so excited.  recently, one of my photographs was selected for the center for fine art photography's 2009 international exhibition of fine art photography--an exhibition jurored by andy adams. the show, in ft collins, colorado, starts today and will run through october 31st.  i was hoping to attend today's opening reception but unfortunately i'm not able to...but still hoping to see the show sometime later this month.

you can see all the exhibition's selected photographs here.