A wise mentor once told me, "Always have a personal project. It will help prevent burn out and keep you growing." My family life is my personal project. My loves are the reason I started taking photographs in the first place. My intention was to document every day moments that slip by all to quickly; experiences that come and go in a single year. I did two years of a 365 project before I got too concerned with technical perfection, branding and business. I realize now that, yes, sometimes I create a snapshot, but other times my well-trained eye makes art disguised in an every day moment. Also, I see my journalism background speaking through these images. This year, my word is wholeness. My intention is to embrace all of me rather than only the parts of me I "think" are worthy of public view. I'm realizing that even the parts I tend to deny show up in my work. These photos bring me so much joy. I remember the stories, the love, and the laughter behind them.
Every Day Moments
"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It's to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." ~ Elizabeth Stone
True statement and becomes even more evident when she leaves for college. While I am excited for all the adventures she has ahead of her in this new experience of independence and self reliance, I want to go too.
This weekend she came home for a visit. Her first words to me coming off the train were, "Mom, I love college." I'm so happy. I just wanted to sit with her and hear about all her new friends, classes and teachers. I listened to stories from getting meals to relating to her fellow floor mates.
All weekend I wanted to make a photo that spoke to her precious presence. This one seemed fitting.
In nature there are no judgements. The weed doesn't judge itself inferior. It pops up right next to the more acceptable, planted, wanted flowers. The dandelion offers us an opportunity to let go of the judgement of good and bad and instead just see its beauty.Read More
It's going to happen whether I like it or not. The class of 2016 will graduate this year and my baby will walk across that graduation stage with her friends and classmates. To be quite honest, it kind of snuck up on me.
When she started kindergarten, my friends and I laughed as we thought of a 2016 graduation date. It felt so far off...like an Orwellian prediction or back-to-the-future moment. And now it's here. She's applying to colleges, filling out financial aide forms and ordering cap and gown. In less than six months, she will graduate, so we are planning her senior portraits.
As the child of a photographer, she gets her photo taken more often than most, but this all-important milestone moment is almost too big for me to handle. We keep talking about it, planning what she might wear and where we might go, but to take the step of actually taking camera in hand and making her senior portraits...
Well, the thought of it brings tears to my eyes. We will do it, yep. But maybe not today. When we do though...it will be great. The photos will document who she has grown up to be, that kind, smart, spiritually centered young woman, who knows herself. I'm so proud of her.
So for now...I will share a few photos I've taken along the way and soon I will share her senior portraits...just not today.
With gorgeous summer weather and warm water, the sunset called to me. I took my littlest down to the beach after dinner. It had been a busy day and we both needed a little fresh air and freedom.
We played. She created a sandcastle and a new friendship and I made some beautiful photos with golden light and motion blur.
Her new friendship didn't come easily. She doesn't warm up to new people very quickly, but her new friend was persistent. Even though she did her best to ignore him in the beginning, he just kept right on talking and building. It didn't take long before she was laughing right along with him.
Creating wasn't all that easy at first for me either. I had the intention to use some motion blur but struggled to find the right subject matter. I kept reminding myself to trust the process and allow the image to reveal itself. So I took a few deep breaths and just enjoyed watching the scene around me, relaxing into the moment and allowing myself to be present.
With my awareness in the present moment, I was reminded why this is my favorite time of the day at the beach; the last couple hours before the sun goes down. The sand is cooling, tourists are packing up and there is this peace that comes over the beach. In that place of awareness, I noticed perfect opportunities to create what I wanted. I made room for the magic.
One of the photos in this blog post was featured as part of my weekly collaborative photo project, Life in Loud. To learn more about Life in Loud click the graphic below.
We have the good fortune to live near the beach and we go there often...like daily. But this day at the beach was a little different and special because my stepdaughter and grandson joined us. It's been years since my stepdaughter had a break in her life to drive down from Northern California. When kids grow up and get jobs, you don't get to see them as often as you would like. And, as a result, our grandson had never seen our home or our beach.
I will tell you though, that Danielle couldn't have planned it better. I think this was one of the best Father's Day gifts for my husband; to have all our kids under one roof...around one dinner table...together on our beach. And for me, it was an opportunity to photograph so many of the people I love at a place I love to be. Thankfully, my girls hijacked my camera so I got in a few photos too!
I can tell you that going to the beach might be an ordinary occurrence for us...and it might be for you as well...but it made for a very special photo session.
An image featured in this blog post is part of my ongoing collaborative project called Life in Loud. To learn more about Life in Loud click on the graphic below.
As the days get longer, I can hardly stick with the still-in-school evening routine. Really! Who wants to do homework, get a bath and try to sleep while the sun is still up and the beach is right down the street? So on this night, we decided to live on the edge...ha! I took my littlest on a walk through the neighborhood and down to the beach to get some ice cream.
We live in a neighborhood that many only get to visit. And as we walk and say hello to neighbors and store owners who are our long time friends, it reminds me of Mr. Rogers and his neighborhood. No, we don't have picket fences or perfectly manicured lawns. Our neighborhood looks different than most.
As a photographer, I see those beautiful single-family-homes with quiet streets that other photographers post on social media and sometimes wish I lived on a street like that. Instead, I have car-lined streets, apartment dwellers, an eclectic beach scene and a front row seat to sunsets that remind me how beautiful this world can be.
I'm just now starting to embrace who I am as a photographer and a lot of that comes with embracing where I live. So here are some photos of our neighborhood, cracked sidewalks and all.
Note: One of the photos in this blog post was featured in my ongoing photography project and collaboration: Life in Loud. To learn more about Life in Loud, click on the graphic below.
This weekend, dance inspired me; not only the dancers' athleticism and grace, but also the choreographers' creative work.
I recently finished reading the Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, one of our nations most prolific and well know choreographers. While the book was about being creative and applied to all artists, she also offered an inside look into the mind of a choreographer. With this new appreciation for choreographers, I attended my daughters' dance competition and watched/photographed the dances on a whole different level, especially my daughter, Domenica's, duet titled "Juxtapose. "
To be honest, I didn't know the definition of Juxtapose until my oldest daughter, Katie, schooled me. "Don't you know what juxtapose means?" she asked me with an impending "duh" in her tone.
"It's a literary term and means to compare and contrast two things."
Watch out SATs and the AP English exam...this girl knows her stuff.
With this fresh understanding, I saw the dance with new eyes. I appreciated the interconnection of the two dancers and the mirrored movement that looked so effortless. While viewing the photos with Domenica, she said that the two girls learned their parts separately because their dance teacher wanted it that way. They only practiced together a few times, making their synchronization even more impressive. Michelle, their teacher and choreographer for this dance, thought everything through: the dancers, music (or silence in the second half of the dance), movement, costumes, approach, execution...everything! This attention to detail in presenting her art pushed me to re-evaluated what I'm creating.
I went to this dance competition hoping to add photos to a fine art personal project I'm working on featuring the life backstage and came away with new inspiration. Juxtapose. The idea of comparing a dancer's work backstage or in rehearsal with their onstage performance, and the diptych above was born.
Juxtapose - no longer just a literary term but also an expression in both dance and photography.
Here are a few more backstage and onstage photos from "Juxtapose"...
This post is part of my ongoing collaborative project called Life in Loud. To see all the artist work from this week's gallery, click on the graphic below.
If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around to hear, does it make a sound?
I missed it! A moment I can't get back but will be forever reminded of by a photograph.
The story starts on a perfect little hike for the whole family at the Wild Land Conservancy located at the base of the San Bernardino mountains in Oak Glen. Not too rigorous but filled with adventure. Along the trail we found tall fir trees, fluffy cotton-tail bunnies, and a slightly murky pond with a floating dock. I was enjoying all the sights with my camera, focusing on my composition and exposure.
My Dad and I were left behind at the pond making photographs. When I caught up with my husband on the trail he said, "Did you hear the woodpeckers?" I responded, "No! Where?" He just shook his head. I had completely missed it! A tree filled with woodpeckers knocking away on a tree along the path. I was so wrapped up in thoughts that I completely missed something really cool right in front of me. An experience, that could not be captured in a photograph. An EXPERIENCE!
If many woodpeckers make a sound in the forest and a photographer is too wrapped up in her own thoughts, does it make a sound? NO! No it does not! At least, not one that I heard. Seriously...I didn't hear a thing! When I realized what I had missed we were too far along to go back.
But the lesson was not lost on me. Oh no! Stay present my friends. All we have is this present moment and there is so much richness right here. Photographs are wonderful. They are treasures and keepsakes. But they have their limitations. You can see your loved ones in a photograph, but you can't hear their voices or feel their tight embrace. You can see a beautiful flower, but you can't feel the warm sunlight on your skin or smell it's sweet fragrance. No, only the present moment offers the precious fullness that life has to offer.
Recently, a teenager passed away in our town. I didn't really know her or her family. When my oldest was a baby we were in the same swimming class with them, but that was a long time ago. As I view photographs posted online of this beautiful, vibrant young woman, I feel grateful that so many have these wonderful photographs to remember her. But, as a mom, I'm certain her family would give anything to have one more hug or to hear her laugh one more time. Those moments were only available in the present.
The present moment is fleeting but bountiful; rich and wise. Enjoy it. Don't miss the woodpeckers knocking in the present caught up in mindless chatter of the future.
One of the photographs in this blog post was featured as part of my ongoing, collaborative photography project called Life in Loud. Learn more about Life in Loud click the graphic below.
Nearly every holiday we have a family gathering filled with tons of love fun and Easter is no exception. My niece's April birthday nearly always falls close to Easter, so my sister-in-law combines Easter fun with birthday games. This year, we had a sack race. It was fun for the kids of all ages!
Hoppy Easter Friends!
One of the images in this blog post was featured in my ongoing weekly project Life in Loud. To learn more about Life in Loud, click the graphic below.
March was definitely my lucky month. We got a visit from the newest members of the family (along with their parents); my 9-month-old twin niece and nephew. I had babies in my house and you can bet my camera rarely left my eye. They were only here for one night and these are my favorites. My sister-in-law promised me more session time on their next visit.