Friday, November 28, 2008

Having It All

I just read an article about "Having it All" in life, and I thought it was pretty well said. So I won't try to say it any better, just go check it out and let's reflect together!! Our grandmothers and great aunts back in the day had difficult, busy lives, too.

(That's my dad, sucking his thumb)
The only difference between then and now, is the type of things we are busy with. The author suggests that this need of "Having It All" and the lack of peace we may feel if we aren't "There" yet (I'm of course referring to the magical destination of "Have It All-Land") probably comes from popular culture and advertising. I have to agree, but I have a hard time really deciding where the root of this came from. Grandma (or Great Grandma for you), in a nutshell, were happier with less. Adjusted for inflation, families of decades prior earned less but saved more. Their houses were MUCH smaller. But the pace of modern life now seems so fast! The author of the "Have It All" article did, however, make an interesting point about how grown women of today grew up as the first generation that was told we could Be Anything We Wanted To Be. She thinks that somehow the message we received was We Must Be Everything!
Ever feel like that?
(yep, that's me)
Ever held back just feeling plain GOOD without even realizing you're doing it? Instead, you're just too concerned moment to moment with making sure you are accomplishing as MUCH as you can in as SHORT of time possible? lol

For me, this time of year always gives me an annual gut check. It's almost like our culture tells us we will be frazzled, and that we had better "Do" "Buy" "Go" or else... and it's always been in my nature since I was little to be a little rebellious and think outside the box. So when I feel the Holiday Pressure on the horizon each year, I get in touch with the part of me that stands up and says "No! I WILL decide, thank you very much, what I need or don't need to enjoy my life. And if you've reviewed the things you're thankful for, you probably also came to the same realization that you Have a LOT of things that were luxuries for millions of people that ever set foot on this Earth before us. Like Love. Like a safe neighborhood. Like a closet full of clothes. Like electricity (man do I LOVE electricity).

What If, I mean WHAT IF you were living in "Have-It-All-Land" all this time and just didn't realize it? What would that feel like to be there? And not just for a few minutes until the cares of the world sweep you back up, but really, truly, releasing from whatever negative ingrained beliefs you have about what you SHOULD be doing or SHOULD be feeling. Sometimes you've heard it so much you don't even recognize what it's doing to you. . .

The really AWESOME part about this, is that the moment you recognize and wrestle a bit with those Shoulds in your life that you kinda just let slip in there, you can let them go. That doesn't mean they won't try to squeak back in your life (especially when you are too busy to notice), but a little introspection at the holidays can lead to a season that you end up truly soaking up and enjoying more than ever before. . . .

I have several exciting posts to post, including a slideshow to a "holiday" portrait shoot that turned into a "surprise" marriage proposal right before my very camera!! Stay tuned because I'm going to be doing some massive blogging next week!! Weddings, seniors, babies, families, & one exquisite belly dancer!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Senior Photoshoot--Shelby!!

This is Shelby. Shelby is a senior.

Shelby and I created some beautiful photos of her. . . .

But Shelby also has horses and wanted some images with them. I've photographed seniors with animals before, and I love animals, but I'd never shot a horse before. I did a little research on the internet, looking at different images and reading some advice. Horses may spook at flash, I was warned. That took me back to 4th grade and riding on my friend Keri's horses. We'd ride down the road and one of her horses was freaked out by mailboxes. Horses are so powerful! I certainly didn't want to spook it! I also pretty much nixed using a reflector, as those wiggle and wobble and reflect and their unpredictibility also may spook.

So I had a few ideas in mind when I arrived for the shoot, but sometimes as much as you plan, as a photographer you have to be ready for anything. Shelby's horses, beautiful and majestic, were no ordinary horses. They were ex-race horses. 17'2 hands tall horses. So big most people probably have never seen one close in their life. Keri in 4th grade had a horse that was 12 hands tall. That was a tall horse, I thought. But SEVENTEEN HANDS?!?!? That's GIGANTIC!

Does this look like a huge horse?

Well, you need more information to really tell. Shelby is around 5'8''. Notice that her horse's head goes from pretty much waist level to her forehead-ish area. Look down at your waist. Look at your forehead (lol). That's a huge head. And horses look kinda mad or distracted when their ears aren't pointing forward in images. We had a heck of a time getting Shelby's horse to have that desired alert-happy-horse look, especially when there was so much DELICIOUS grass around...and noisy cows that she wasn't used to hearing. . .I am going to take this moment to thank everyone who helped with the horse-aspect of the shoot!!

Okay. Enough about that. There was another prominent challenge to overcome. Full Sun. Or, Full Sun & Dark Horse & Blonde Subject. Sounds like a movie title! If I exposed the shot for Shelby, the horse would be underexposed. If I exposed for the horse, Shelby would be overexposed. Flash would have helped counter the effect of the sun, but I didn't want to spook the horse!


We worked hard and I was able to capture a handful of shots where everything "lined" up--exposure, pose, expression, position, and EARS all RIGHT! I hear "hallelujah" when I see this shot above! lol

Now, I've been reading Annie Leibovitz' new book, At Work. She was in town last week Lecturing at Benaroya Hall and I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the sold out show and early enough to get a signed copy AND sit in the very front (more on this later). Her book includes behind the scenes stories about how a handful of her 40-years-of photoshoots came to be. I couldn't help but feel in good company when it comes to banging out a successful no matter what. In fact, I enjoy and even look forward to the unpredictability. Bring it on...
Oh but lastly, I have to mention the realization I had driving on the way home from this shoot. Race horses are the one type that are probably the MOST used to camera flashes. I had thought about giving it a try and seeing what would happen, but I made a judgment call and decided against it. But knowing what I know now about race horses, it would have been safe enough to give it a try. In the end, this was a shoot to remember and will retell anytime I'm around photographers and we're dishing out our best photoshoot stories.... :) Thanks Shelby!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Senior Photoshoot---Katie!

As I continue on my quest to catch up with blogging, we arrive now with the lovely and captivating, Katie...

And BF Colton came too and was incredibly sweet and helpful. . .

When we were talking on the phone planning the shoot, I remember Katie saying that she didn't think Enumclaw would be the ideal photoshoot location. I hadn't shot there yet though, and she was agreeable to giving it a shot. Can you believe this wall we found? Enumclaw, you Rock!!

A more few faves...

Katie & Colton, I had a great time shooting with you guys and generally messing around with ideas. I appreciate your reflector folding skills (Colton is the only person to ever fold the extra large one correctly on the FIRST try). Have an amazing senior year Katie!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Vienna 5 and 6 months!! Studio Vs. Location

This is a good opportunity to compare studio versus outdoor (or "location") shooting. Here we have Vienna's 5 month images from the studio!

The Watermelon Pucker...
When you can't beat 'em, Dad joins 'em!!!
Whoa Mom, what is THAT?!

High Key studio portraiture, basically, is shooting white on white, or at the very least it's lightly toned. This would be an example of a high key shot.

With studio portraiture, everything in the shoot needs to be preplanned. The lighting, backdrops, props, etc. The sky is the limit in terms of what your possibilities are, but it takes much more space for shooting, but more for storage of studio stuff. Also, studio shooting gives you ultimate control. By nature I'm not very high-maintenance, and my studio shooting reflects that. I keep it Simple. . .even if it's like this shot below, it's simple. This only took one light and one backdrop...

I have realized over the last few years that I am the type of person that functions really well in uncertain or uncontrolled conditions. I love the variety and uniqueness of shooting on location. I love the unpredictability of a wedding day. The whole world can be your studio, if you are willing to give up some control and think on your feet. It just depends on what you want the outcome to be.

I think like most photographers, I started shooting outdoors, around the house, etc. I can imagine that when a photographer eventually tries the studio, there are some of us who hear angels sing and realize that they truly love aspects of studio shooting. For me however, I just have to laugh at how truly shocked I felt the first time I stood in front of a white backdrop. It was And foreign. There weren't the usual conditions I was so comfortable working with. After the shock wore off, it turned into amusement. It was like discovering photography again for the first time, and it was an opportunity to play and make mistakes and search for answers. I will never be done learning about studio shooting...which means I'll never get bored!

Ahhh, but on location, that's where I feel the most at home. Speaking of home, I love it when clients take a chance and let me shoot at their home even though "There aren't any good spots here." There's ALWAYS good spots, and I think it's especially helpful to have a professional photographer show you where they are so that you can appreciate aspects of your home in a whole new way!

Okay so last week, we took advantage of the backyard maples at our place!!

It's hard to believe you are already six months, Vienna! See you next month!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tracy & Ryan! Pickering Barn!!

Tracy & Ryan were married on August 31 this year! I especially loved this shot below from the Bellevue Gene Juarez because of the motion and expressions on everyone's face as they see Tracy's transformation into a bride. I can hear the gasps as I look at it. . .

Tracy chose The Pickering Barn in Issaquah as her wedding venue. The history is amazing. The Pickering Barn was part of a dairy/farmlands and built in the 1890s! Eventually the barn and farmland was donated to the city in 1997 and the barn was restored/remodeled. It's so cool to have been there, and then to see the images of it from a century ago... I posted one below. It has Pickering Place retail center to one side across the street, but acres of undeveloped wetlands to the other. If you are looking for a venue for your wedding, you have to check this place out!!

The Pickering Barn Today.......
The Pickering Barn 100 years ago (from the other side). . .

Ryan didn't get a glimpse of Tracy until she walked down the aisle...and both had waited a LONG time for that moment! They have been a couple for EIGHT years!! Just wait until you see his reaction below...

But first, a cool fisheye shot of the hall. . . .

and I loved Tracy's details-- elegant, simple, gorgeous.

Okay here we are; Tracy's Grandpa walking her down the aisle. . .

And Ryan seeing her. . .

OH it just makes my heart split in half, do a spin, and stick back together when I see a moment like this. . . sigh. . .

Lots of laughs during the ceremony though!

A couple of my very favorite shots....

Congratulations Tracy & Ryan! I wish you all the BEST in your life together! Thank you SO much for asking me to be a part of it!! See Tracy & Ryan's wedding slideshow here!