teenagers

We had the studio light up for my nephews (here) so the teenagers (Ellie & Kate with my nieces Lauren & Rivers and their friend Johnny) decided to play. I set the camera for them and plugged in the light and they had so much fun. And I LOVED the photos they downloaded to my computer!

I honestly LOVE having teenagers so much. (I claim these nieces of mine too!) . You know when you meet people for the first time and over small talk they ask you how many kids you have and their ages, etc… When they learn I have three daughters (currently 12, 14 & 16) there are responses like-

  • wow, you have your hands full
  • there are a lot of hormones in your house
  • your poor husband
  • how are you doing?

But truly, I LOVE being a mom to teenage girls. They are independent in so many ways, which makes room in our relationship for more fun. Teenagers LOVE to have fun! I love seeing their personalities shift and change and become their own. They share more with me now, because they are deeper thinkers than they were in early elementary school. They want adventure, which stretches me out of my comfort zone…which is good for me!

  • Are they sometimes moody? yes.
  • Do they love their cell phones more than me? sometimes…ok, maybe always 🙂
  • Do they have perfect grades and on a direct path to ivy-league? nope
  • Do we agree on everything? again, no

And yes, I love that too. I remind myself frequently, what I was like at their age. They are so much further ahead than I was! I have learned a bit of what is natural development at this age- how important their peers are to them and their desire to be more independent and can relax when that comes up. I have let go of the idea of wanting “perfect kids.” I really did want that when they were younger. I am so grateful that my relationships with them have taught me not only to be at peace with not having it, but I truly do not want that. Especially because no human is perfect and hiding imperfections is not a healthy way to live and weakens relationships. They have taught me so much…and we are just getting started. I feel so lucky.

Now let’s take a look at a few more of their photos:

and my very favorite…

I will be using the light box a few more times this week- photo booth for the 6th grade Valentines and I want photos on my wall over our new couch in the basement…I will share the details of the equipment AND my favorite setup for the best light next week!

the right place at the wrong time

(left) 75mm | f2.8 | 1/100 | iso200 (right) 120mm | f2.8 | 1/100 | iso200

I was chatting at a social function last weekend and a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, asked me about life. As we chatted she mentioned my challenge to take photos every day in a congratulatory way. I fumbled around explaining nothing perfect was going on here. In fact, most of those days my photo has been with a phone…or not at all. Life got busy with my dad’s passing, Halloween, then Thanksgiving…and now Christmas. But honestly, those are excuses. Most days when I think of picking up my camera I think “I don’t know what to do” I love photographing people…but during the daylight hours I am often alone (more excuses). It’s time to watch my thoughts and exchange them with- “I know what to do” “this is fun” “I am creative” “I keep my own commitments”

Although there is much room for improvement, these photos are a result of a success. Kate and I rushed to a dentist appointment in October, forcing Sophie to miss tumbling class. We got there just in time and were told by the receptionist that I had the date wrong. They expected us one week later. Kate noticed my camera and said that we could take photos in the parking lot. She volunteered to be my subject that day. I was thrilled. Here’s to having a camera handy…and being at the right place at the wrong time.

(left) 70mm | f2.8 | 1/100 | iso200 (right) 200mm | f2.8 | 1/100 | iso200
(left) 70mm | f2.8 | 1/100 | iso200 (right) 70mm | f2.8 | 1/100 | iso200
(left) 70mm | f2.8 | 1/160 | iso100 (right) 123mm | f2.8 | 1/160 | iso100

a new partnership

K97A5675.jpg50mm | f1.2 | 1/4000 | iso250

October 25, 2014: It was the first day I had strapped a 50mm 1.2L Canon lens on.  I rented it for a photoshoot I had that day.  While still in my possession, I decided to try it out on my family members.  We went up the street and found a quiet spot…with autumn dressed trees all around us.  I loved that impromptu photo session…but this image motivated me to find a way to make sure that lens was in my own camera bag.  It is still one of my very favorites.

a few more from that day SOOC (straight out of camera) with the exception of a bit of cropping…

K97A5677K97A575650mm | f2.8 | 1/640 | iso250

K97A568250 mm | f1.2 | 1/4000 | iso250

K97A569250mm | f1/2 | 1/4000 | iso250

I loved the above image of Ellie…the hair is so soft…and the depth of field so shallow…the brim of the hat soft.  I loved her expression.  The drawback of shooting that shallow is that her nose is in perfect focus…but her eyes aren’t.  Generally, if your subject is looking at the camera…it is best to have their eyes in focus.  (oops!)

But…once I moved back a bit (moved myself back because it is a prime lens) we nailed the focus on quite a few.  The details above were the same (f1.2 | 1/4000, etc…) for the next image, but moving back changed the depth of field significantly.

K97A5702

K97A576650mm | f2.8 | 1/640 | iso250

This one will always be a favorite for me…it captured each of their personalities pretty perfectly. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Remember…those are all SOOC (with the exception of that first one…I am not sure about that).  I wanted to show what the lens actually does…without any Photoshop or Lightroom treatment on them.

drew itself near

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24mm (24-70mm lens), f2.8, 1/250, ISO6400

“Why would your creativity not love you?  It came to you, didn’t it?  It drew itself near.  It worked itself into you, asking for your attention and devotion.  It filled you with desire to make and do interesting things.  Creativity wanted a relationship with you.  That must be for a reason right?” -Elizabeth Gilbert

This is an excerpt from BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my favorite books of all time.  I love the message of believing that any creative idea that comes your way LOVES YOU!  Why wouldn’t it?  And why would it come to you if it didn’t?  I am working hard to forget the excuses…and embrace ideas that come my way…and KEEP EMBRACING them when obstacles enter my path.  I am ready to ignore excuses and love creativity right back.

create a dream: QUILT MAKING

This is the first post in a series I will be sharing regularly.  I have recently become more aware of the power of creativity in a world filled with consumption.  Creativity is so much more than artwork & craft projects.  Creativity is anything that you are doing with deliberation and effort.  Creativity is found in:

writing, gardening, proactive relationship building, cooking, plumbing, music, woodwork, photography, cleaning, organization, exercise, meditating, working blogging, even weeding!

This series, WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS, is to highlight women in creative endeavors that make the world a better place.

After photographing her family for a portrait session, Mandy and I went upstairs together.  I was dying to photograph her in her sewing room.  She is passionate about quilting and her work is BEAUTIFUL.  I am of course passionate about creativity and was thrilled when she allowed me to photograph her in her element.  I am grateful that she would take the time to answer some questions I had for her.

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Why do you quilt?

I quilt because it found me.  I quilt because I had never known how to express myself in any other way until I began quilting.  I quilt because it feels like a calling-a blessing in my life given to me from God.  There’s nothing like being able to wrap my children in my own quilts that I have created in fabric of colors, textures and tones of my choosing.  I believe God shines through me when I quilt.

What is unique about you?

Ready for this? I promised myself that I would be totally transparent when Carin asked me to do this.  So here we go…I can hear and see dead people. Yep! It’s true! I do! My mom calls me the “Mormon Medium.” Lol!

one

What is your favorite thought to think?

My favorite thought to think is imagining Jon (my husband), myself and our children on holidays to foreign places. Is that silly? Us traveling and seeing the world together.

What is your greatest hope?

My greatest hope has to do with the religion I live.  I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we have temples we can go to that teach us and help us become better people.  My greatest hope is to be in the temple with Jon and I and our 3 daughters all together!

Can you think of someone who inspires you to be a better person? Who? Why?

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

Because when I am with him I feel like that’s what it will feel like to be with the Savior.  Ultimate love and joy. When I feel that from him it makes me want to be like him. I want to be the kind of person that makes other feel joyful and totally loved and accepted.  He embodies that and is my priceless mentor and example. I love him.

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Is there anything you do daily, no matter what?

Yes! Talk to or see my mom.  She’s my best friend in the whole wide world!

What is your favorite failure/mistake?

Well this question needs to be answered with a story.  The failure was being terribly homesick on my mission to the point where I was begging my mission president to send me home.  I had already had one interview with him in which I shared my feelings.  He told me to give it another month and that I could call home on Sundays.

I went the next month still crying everyday, riddled with anxiety.  I went to the next interview and had virtually the same conversation however, near the end of the interview my mission president, E.K Wigglesworth said to me ‘Do you know hwat I see in front of me? I see a little spoiled selfish girl!’ In that moment I decided I didn’t liek that man! At all! Whatsoever!

Afterwards, my compation and I got on our double decker bus, #52 back to Sheffield, England.  It was raining and I was fuming.  When we got to our flat I ran up the narrow staircase into my room.  I slammed the door shut and knelt down and asked God ‘Did you hear what that man said to me?’ I heard a “Yes.”  Then I asked “Well what do you think?’ Then I heard ‘HE’S RIGHT!’ In a clear resounding voice!

It was this failure that taught me how to forget to forget myself and serve others.  This failure taught me how to be totally dependent upon Heavenly Father for everything.  Especially for how I thought and felt.  And ironically, that man, E.K. Wigglesworth is a daddy to me now.  I spend a week with him and his wife Pam in Bournemouth, England each New Year.  He was right! I was a ‘little spoiled selfish girl!’

two

What tool could you not live without? Why?

I could not live without prayer.

Because being able to talk to my Heavenly Father, the father of my spirit is everything to me.  I would be lost in this world without prayer.  I need Him and need to talk to him everyday of my life.  I know that He hears and answers my prayers and without prayer, my life would look so different.

Which trait are you most grateful for in yourself?

That I love people.  I love all people, and I even tell them so.

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What is your favorite book?

I should say THE BOOK OF MORMON, which is one of my favorite books. However, my very favorite book is EAST OF EDEN by John Steinbeck.

What is your greatest success?

I would have to say that my family is my greatest success.  I have had many opportunities in my life to be successful in the world around me.  I have a Masters Degree in Mental Health & Counseling.  I am a Licensed Mental Health Therapist. I am busy with my husband’s business, Jersey Mike’s, running all of the fundraisers we do.  Yet, my family, my marriage and my children are my greatest success.

three

What does the world need more of?

The world needs more love and acceptance and less judgment.  Could you imagine a world with no judgment? Just love and compassion.  That’s the world I want to live in.

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I absolutely love all of the colors, textures and patterns found in Mandy’s room.  I also absolutely love her.  Thank you Mandy for sharing!

truly SEE

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top & bottom left: 35mm, f2.2, 1/400, ISO 2000

bottom right: 135mm, f3.5, 1/100, ISO 2000 | San Francisco, CA

From one of my favorite photography books, TAO OF PHOTOGRAPHY by Philippe L. Gross & S.I. Shapiro-

“SEEING, in the finest and broadest sense, means using your senses, your intellect, and your emotions.  It means encountering your subject matter with your whole being. It means looking beyond the labels of things and discovering the remarkable world around you.” -Freeman Patterson

A PRACTICE OF SEEING-striving behind a camera lens to see beyond what is just in front of me; to engage all of my senses and truly SEE.