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

morning

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!

 

wild & free

if one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams,and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. [henry david thoreau] a new favorite photo. :-)

i hope i never forget to live deliberately -- wild and free...

and i couldn't help but fall in love with these words of henry david thoreau...

...be yourself -- not your idea of what you think somebody else's idea of yourself should be.

i went to the woods because i wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if i could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when i came to die, discover that i had not lived. i did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did i wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. i wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.

what _____ looks like | month ten

wow! hard to believe that it's been 10 months that i've been working on this monthly project.  beyond grateful to those who invited me to participate. without further ado, THIS is a bit of what our may looked like...

a san diego business trip, shooting portrait clients and an editorial

two of my most favorite people in the world

joey's last photo :-(

me...right before dropping my camera and smashing this lens

a gymnastics meet

hearing for the FIRST TIME, while in the water

lots of swimming

a star student

favorite color: green favorite book: hop on pop favorite movie: avengers favorite sport: soccer when i grow up, i want to be: a zoo keeper i'm special because: i am nice favorite food: popcorn i have a pet: 2 pets -- a fish and a dog the person i most admire is: my mom and dad my favorite school subject: math

a brave little girl, who got seven shots, 6 scrapings and a mole biopsy

and a bunch of everyday life, which so often revolves around our living room.

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.

 

let your dreams fly free

most people never run far enough on their first wind,to find out if they've got a second. give your dreams all you've got, and you'll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you. [william james]

this is what i came home to yesterday...

KIELE:  mom, can i show you something? ME:  sure, what? KIELE:  you have to come in my room. ME: okay, what?

and she brought me into her room to see what she had drawn, cut and taped up on her wall...

sigh -- i love this child and the magical soul that she is.  she's taught me a lot over the years, that's for sure.

ETA: she told me today what she wants for her birthday (may 3rd) -- a vintage bird cage from the store down the street so that she can put it on top of her art cabinet (underneath her LET YOUR DREAMS FLY FREE).

let the season begin

super excited that the season for underwater shooting is about to begin. i actually was already underwater with cheryl jacobs during her film inspires! workshop.  but this shot -- mostly above water -- happens to be my favorite from the afternoon.

but how i love this one too.  red-haired CJ with her ziploc-bagged holga.

and a couple of my holga shots from the workshop, taken while walking around the neighborhood where the workshop was held.  hopefully more fun film shooting in the near future.  maybe even some home-developing too.

p.s. more exciting raffles being announced very soon!!

what ____ looks like | month eight

march madness.  another month that has come and gone in a blur.  a month that involved... location scouting after gymnastics

 

chillin' out after school

:-)

building lincoln logs

building forts

spring break and...

lots of beach time with friends

the beginning of swimming in our pool

riding with turkeys

st patrick's day pranks

saving a catepillar

some serious glimpses of my baby growing up

lots of laughter

and you can see more of our days here.

there’s a circle of 12 photographers participating in this what ____ looks like monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link]. next up… chubby cheek photography | child and family photographer.

ETA:  we've decided to extend the wallflower friends retreat raffle for another couple days.  winner will be announced this wednesday!!

what ____ looks like | month seven

where has february gone?  it seems to have just flown by.  but i guess, really, every month seems to feel that way.  here's a bit of what our everyday-kind-of-days in february looks looked like... as with every month, four trips to the horse farm / petting zoo.  always a new friend or two. and many old friends.

the new barn kitten had an eye infection, but my kids loved all over him anyways. and a rat got loose but didn't go far from his hairless friend.

fighting for attention.

falling off the new horse.

and bravely getting right back on.

barn windows.

the reptile room -- one of his favorites.

tire swing at the farm.

his new walking path.

 

feeding.

the aviary.

my boy.

dirty feet -- more often than not.

boat ride with friends.

seeing dolphin along the way.

our almost-private island.

heading home.

hands off!

a visit with jen.

and shooting with jen.

one minute up | the next minute upside-down.

sky and ryder with my camera.

twisted.

few quick photos during our shoot.

balancing act.

trip to the state fair.

building the snail a home of shells.

which ended with the boy yelling in the girl's ear and the girl giving a throat punch.

after gymnastics.

portraits with my new lens.

chicken, for the school 'moosical'.

his first speaking line -- "but others are boiled and made into chicken soup...buccbuuuuuuk."

the gift she made her best friend, using the separation of cool and warm colors.

peace.

there’s a circle of 12 photographers participating in this what ____ looks like monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link]. next up… chubby cheek photography | child photographer.

may we never stop

we don't stop laughing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop laughing. [michael prichard]

i think there is nothing better than a great laugh.  and to be honest, i wish i had a better sense of humor, was funnier and laughed more than i do.  don't ever ask me to tell a joke because it would be rather painful.  maybe that's why i'm so drawn to capturing a true, honest great laugh so much -- which is often a tough thing to do for someone who is not funny.

inevitably, we WILL grow old, but may we never stop laughing as we do...

 

how we roll

this is how we roll in this family...

have been wanting to try an animated image for quite some time now. and just happened to take these of skyler, at my in-laws house over the holidays. we seem to find her rolling, swinging, flipping much of every day.

hope you're having a great weekend!

be present

where are you? what are you doing? do you know what you want? are you listening? pay attention. stay focused. stop looking at your phone and computer. turn them off. put them away. be here. now. in the present. be with who you're with. talk with them. live with them. take some time. think. do you understand who you are? what you were called to do? pause. take it all in. what is your community? who is your community? what does local mean to you? do you have a presence? if you left your community, would you leave a mark? lead in the place you're called to. don't worry about the past. the future will come later. it's all about now. here. go all in. be rooted. when you're home, be home. focus. look at the big picture. be present. - adapted from a 'catalyst' mailer

19-jan-12-11-Edit

i received the above quote in an email the other day, from hands & voices, a non-profit deaf | hard-of-hearing organization.  and it basically stopped me in my tracks. i read it. and re-read it. and read it again. and it's had me thinking ever since. i long to be present -- i mean REALLY present -- in my life, in the lives of those i love and care about, and in all that i do. i think being truly present is such a gift. and something i will be vigorously striving for in 2012.

are you present?

i love you...

after weeks of cutting out letters and words, my kids and i made this the other night -- an 'i love you' collage on a 20x20 canvas. and i love it so!

originally inspired by this 'i love you' collage

next, i'm going to make the 'I WILL SURVIVE' pot from this post.

ETA:  i've been getting some questions regarding how i made my 'i love you' collage.  so, here's what i did...

i started with a 20x20 canvas purchased from michaels. i didn't want the background stark white so we painted it a light beige. then the kids and i spent weeks cutting out letters from magazines, junk mail, etc. -- all shapes and sizes. to place the letters, i painted a layer of modge podge and then began sticking 'i love you' letters and words. the hard part is making sure that a complete word goes all the way to the edge, so begin thinking about this when you get close. once i had a few rows done, i modge podged on top of the letters. once the entire collage was done, i did a final two layers of modge podge on the entire thing. note: we were very low on Vs and Ys and had to do some more cutting of those letters. it was quite a time consuming but worth every minute!! it was super fun seeing how creative the kids got with the letter cutting -- a dragon's tail became a letter O, an eye became a letter I.

family favs | 2011

sharing some favorites of my kids from this past year.  my goal was to narrow it down to 20 images; however, i didn't quite make it.  28 images | 35 photographs...

one of the best changes i made with my photography in 2011 was to take more everyday photos of my kids.  i plan on doing even better in 2012.

lensbaby | interview and info

so fun to see my lensbaby interview reposted on the lensbaby blog yesterday.  not sure if i ever shared the interview here...

i get asked a lot of questions regarding shooting with a lensbaby (i've actually received five emails over the past couple days).  most often, it's inquiring about my favorite lensbaby products or which products i'd recommend. so i thought i'd share a bit about that here (lensbaby makes for a great christmas gift).

first, you need a lens.  i have both the composer and composer pro lenses. the composer pro is definitely more solid / sturdy feeling.  and for a $50 difference, i'd go with the pro.

then you need an optic (or two or three...). i started using a lensbaby years ago, with the double glass optic. some are discouraged by the fact that with the double glass optic, you have to internally swap aperture rings.  however, honestly...i rarely swap the ring. most of the time i'm shooting with with the f/4 ring in.

not long ago, lensbaby released the sweet 35 optic, which is awesome because you can adjust the aperture on the outside [versus having to insert a new aperture ring in the optic].  the sweet 35 is an awesome optic; however, for me personally, i've become so used to my double glass optic (some habits are hard to break) and i seem to be more of a 50mm shooter than a 35mm shooter.  so i still seem to default much of the time to using the double glass optic.

i have almost all the optics and wish i could share more thoughts on the other optics but i haven't shot with any others -- YET!! it's definitely one of my 2012 goals; experimenting and playing with the other lensbaby optics.  anyone want to model for me?

here's a few of my favorite lensbaby photos shot in 2011...

and i'm so honored to have this shot grace lensbaby's sweet 35 optic box.

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!!!

what ____ looks like | month four

another crazy month. come and gone. i'm not really sure where it even went. but thank goodness i have some pictures to remind me. here’s a bit of what november in tampa, florida looks like [kind of crazy to still be catching butterflies, swimming, wearing shuts and running around barefoot]…

finding and holding a butterfly, in our front yard.

ALWAYS dirty, dirty feet. kids play outside barefoot every day.

one of skyler's gifts to me. they usually end up on my inspiration board. that's where she likes them.

yep, this is how i found them one day.

the barn nursery. sky loved holding the piglet until the barn dog became interested. then she got too nervous.

we so love seeing the new additions. these were the new ducks, who are now pretty big. last time we were there, they were in the geese pen and the geese were crazy protective over them [and loud]. we're waiting on baby bunnies to be born. any day now.

more new barn friends. with each visit, we always seem to find new friends.

the deer were so timid when the barn first got them and now they love to be pet.

this guy scares me. i finally was able to take a picture of him, but not without hissing at us.

sometimes i like to explore the other areas of the barn with the kids. sometimes they don't.

the only place ryder wanted to take flat stanley was...under water.

location scouting for my editorial shoots.

playing on a tire swing. sky was doing all kinds of tricks. she's pretty fearless.

sky also seems to sit on the couch every way except how she's supposed to.

ummm...homework and TV.

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.

so thankful

being military and living wherever the military sends us, we rarely are surrounded by family during the thanksgiving holiday. i actually can't remember the last time i saw family at thanksgiving [probably in my 20s]. but we almost always have invitations from friends [often our military family] on thanksgiving day. this year was no different -- loving friends opening their hearts and homes to us, for thanksgiving dinner. BUT we declined those invitations because we thought we were going to spend the day at disney world.  UNTIL we learned that even thanksgiving day itself is one of the busiest days of the year at disney. so very last minute, we decided to do a simple thanksgiving late-lunch [turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, stuffing, strawberry jello salad and pumpkin pie] at home, followed by a movie [hugo to be exact]. we are so blessed and fortunate. and i am so thankful...

for every little bit i've been blessed with.

wishing you all a very happy thanksgiving -- surrounded by and doing whatever you love and choose to do on this day of celebration and gratitude.

thank YOU! xo

your voice

let's be honest... i had a rough couple of weeks. beyond my husband being gone, a bathroom renovation that is going anything but smoothly, and a re-roofing that left me saying "i really just hate that" [although they are fixing it]...my photography journey had me in tears [more times than once].

wondering... where i'm at. where i'm going. just trying to make sense of it all. of anything really.

but it's like trying to make sense of things in the midst of a tornado.  the eye -- the center of the storm -- is there. you know it. but you can't get there. you can't even see it. you can't get to that bit of clarity...that bit that makes sense. it's all just swirling. that's how things have been and felt lately.

but today, my friend sent this to me, prefaced by...

saw this today and thought about you.

don't dilute your inner voice by soliciting the opinions of others, heeding them over its counsel. why ask mere mortals for advice when you're guided by sacred wisdom? treasure your sixth sense. treat it like gold. wear it close to your heart, and don't allow anyone to rob you of its power. -sonia choquette

can't even begin to share how much this quote speaks to me. so much about this photography journey is trusting yourself. allowing yourself to just be. and learn. and grow. but trusting, and listening to that inner wisdom, along the way. and not being influenced by the craziness that surrounds you. and well, there's a lot of craziness going on in this industry right now.

with that being said, another wise, inspirational friend emailed me last week and shared how i need to just be patient. there's so much i still don't know. i'm still not educated on. instead of focusing on what isn't happening at this moment, i need to embrace and be grateful for what IS happening.  words of wisdom from someone who has been there and done that.