May is for Mothers and June is for Grads (and dads).
If you have a son or daughter graduating this June and you waited to do the senior portraits because you knew their style or physical appearance (or grades?) could change by the end of their senior year, then I am most certainly speaking to you!
May is really perfect for getting those seniors photographed in time for the big announcement. PLUS, if you book with me in May, you have the opportunity to get in a little Mother’s Day gift to go along with the Senior’s session (and have a special present for dad out of it, too!)
With every senior portrait session, I like to include a few images with mom.
I firmly believe that the senior portraits are my clients very first personal branding images. But these images are as important to mom as they are to the senior. Mom is usually present for these sessions and she is always invited to be in an image or two because her years of support facilitated the pending pomp and circumstance.
Yes, it is a big deal and mom is celebrated for her efforts every year on the second Sunday in May.
A woman named Anna Marie Jarvis led the movement for a day of commemoration for mothers after her mother’s death. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers. Jarvis might not be pleased with the commercialization of how Mother’s Day has come to be observed with a token card or gift. After a mother’s passing, it’s not unusual to wish you had done things a little differently and spent some kind of meaningful time together.
It is gratifying to me to watch mothers and daughters interact under my direction, they laugh because they don’t normally hug or feel that close. When I get the opportunity to give a mom that kind of a gift, it is chicken soup for my soul.
What do you do when a storm comes thrashing at you? When the water pounds the shore like thunder and the waves look like they’re threatening to pull you under?
It was getting dark, it was barely 1:00 in the afternoon, but the clouds were gathering off the Oregon Coast and the sea was looking very angry.
Ever since visiting that sturdy lighthouse on the Heceta Head bluff a few years ago, it had been my dream to be there for Christmastime.
The lighthouse itself is fascinating to me. I love lighthouses because I am drawn to light but also because they are rich with symbolism. Guidance and strength through a stormy journey, comfort to know you are not alone.
Heceta Head Lighthouse was first lit in 1894. I cringe at the thought of how hard life could have been back then on stormy days. It would be easy to think it was a bucolic time with nothing but peaceful views should I have only made one visit on a beautiful day.
Having grown up near Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, I have a background of wanting to live history and it is especially wonderful to experience history at Christmastime. Something about that feeling of all those souls who have experienced Christmases past and the traditions of how they celebrated is very inspiring.
Check-in time at the Heceta Head B & B is 3pm, there were no refunds for cancellations if the room could not be refilled in our absence. The weather predictions were somewhat dire. We reached the lighthouse about 2pm, running about an hour or two ahead of what was going to turn out to be a very menacing storm.
I knocked on the door and a woman answered, she was very kind hearted although she didn’t appear to be too happy with me being early (usually I’m late and still get that same annoyed reception). I asked if she could please turn on the Christmas lights outside so we could take our long planned photo (I think I was mentally planning this picture for 2 years). She grumbled a bit but she understood the storm that was coming and obliged. We got our shot and then left and got lunch.
Knowing we were taking this trip, my goal was only 2 pictures that were “must haves.” One was Mike and I in front of the decorated house for our Christmas card (which I will post after I mail the cards. hehehe) and the other was for a shot of the beams against the night sky, which I posted twice because it is an incredible shot. It was my assumption that I would have lovely weather for these pictures and then in the morning, get shots of everyone there once day broke, breakfast would be served and we would all be freshened up from traveling. Yes, what a wonderful plan that was.
When we got back for check-in, it was about 4:30pm and raining pretty steady. After we brought in our bags, I wanted to quickly get my second must-have shot out of the way before it got completely dark. It was dark enough to see the beams pretty well and so armed with golf umbrella, flashlight, tripod and camera, Mike and I hiked off to the end of the bluff where the weather felt much more intense. We hunkered behind a utility shed beneath the mighty tower. In the driving rain and wind, Mike held as steady as he could with two hands onto that umbrella as it pulled him upward, we huddled best we could trying to keep the camera dry. The rain was whipping us hard in our faces pricking like pins and streaming down the backs of our necks. I worked as fast as I could, although it felt like it took an hour, I think it was only 20 minutes. I setup the shots, trying to focus through rain speckled glass and darkness, I took only 5 and only two of those were any good. We were soaking wet and I did not want to wear on my husband’s patience.
However, God had a much different plan for this shot, not nearly so plain and simple as what I had in mind and not nearly within the lengthy time frame I was planning on.
On the drive down, as I imagined how these pictures should look, the weather was somehow beautiful in my mind and these two images I was setting out to get were supposed to be a cake walk. Even if the weather had been clear, I had no idea what exposure settings I would need for such bright beams against a night sky but assumed I would have all the time I needed to figure that out. However, God had a much different plan for this shot, not nearly so plain and simple as what I had in mind and not nearly the time frame I was planning on. “Beams against the night sky? That’s baby stuff! How about instead we add driving wind and rain and just for ambiance, a thundering surf beneath your feet to scare the living tweedle out of you?”
My skill level honestly isn’t anything to brag about, it’s my risk-to-reward ratio that I’m most proud of. Risk-taking that feels beyond what I know I’m capable of doing has always been a driving force, ambition over brains, that’s me! Photography has pushed that for me to an even higher degree. The more difficult the shot seems, the more determined I am to get it. I don’t realize who, what, where or how but I am simply lost in the frame – of mind.
It was time to settle in, have a drink, play a game, visit with new friends. We stayed up and talked and played cards until 11. When we got to our room it was difficult to fall asleep. The wind howled and with gusts recorded near 70 mph! The walls shuddered with every blustering gust. The surf below our window reverberated in thunder upon thunder pounding the beach and lightning illuminated the entire sky. About 3am the hum of the heater in our room stopped and the ambient glow of the night lights went out. Through the window, we watched with some comfort as the beams from that mighty lighthouse searched across the shore.
Then to our shock and disappointment, sometime around 4:30am, the mighty lighthouse went completely dark.
How can this happen? Not now, this is the storm of storms! This is the time of most need! But it happened, everything had gone cold and dark. Everyone inside the keepers quarters that morning reacted differently to the circumstances.
The highlight for this stay, for my husband, was the gourmet seven course breakfast expected to be served by 8:30am. Mike was looking forward to that the most and it was talked about until bedtime. When it was ready, they were supposed to ring a bell for us to gather around the table. Aromas would arouse our senses, coffee would be ready, Christmas trees lit to greet us good morning.
However, at 6:30am, I was the first one to wander out of my room, buzzing around the main floor looking for clues as to how or who would be coming to help us and if breakfast was going to be a reality. There were no caretakers to be found. There was a nice gentlemen we met the night before that was in the capacity of grounds keeper, he said he stayed in the basement and there was an emergency contact for us to reach him if needed, but the fellow never came upstairs that I could find and he didn’t answer his phone. I knocked on the door to the basement but there was no answer. It crossed my mind that he had either left for his other job or he had died of fright in his sleep. I began turning on all the battery operated candles that were scattered about the rooms. Then I used the bathroom and discovered a new surprise, no running water. There were two fireplaces, but no logs to burn. No water to heat, no power to heat it, no heat to heat us, no coffee to brew. No leadership to be found.
An older couple in the room next to ours packed up immediately and left. There were obviously going to be bathroom issues and no one was happy about that, especially them apparently. By 8 o’clock, there were six of us left and some caretakers had shown up. I heard one speaking to the fellow downstairs, the one I thought that may have died. He had stayed holed up down there not knowing what to do and so he didn’t do anything.
I had assumed a place that can host up to 10 guests per night, a place that was apparently vulnerable to weather, would have backup generators. I assumed that once staff arrived, things would normalize. My assumptions here exceeded their abilities.
By 8:15am, still no coffee brewing and breakfast couldn’t possibly be the stunning spectacle that it appears to be on their website. Realization of the incompetence here was overshadowing my already lowered expectations.
What do you do when a mighty light darkens, there is no leadership and those around you are running around like chickens with their heads cut off? What we did was go into town and talk to others who have just experienced the same storm, overcoming their circumstances while keeping their wits about them and powering through. Be it with their own challenges or helping others or continuing to run effectively their own small business. These are the survivors of life’s storms.
When the light dims in my life, I talk to others that know what I’m going through, tell them my story and they tell me their’s. When I look back at what I have been through and I have kept my head, then I know it was not just a difficult journey but a learning adventure and that is when I really know that I have experienced something of true value, a building block for my life. Now I’m not saying I want my next trip to go this way, no thank you! But I can certainly appreciate more the ones that go well and I can accept the ones that were unexpected even if I can only find a tarnished silver lining.
An incredible night of fun and fellowship, the North Puget Sound Association of Realtors held an unforgettable night of awards inside the Anacortes Transit Shed that was transformed into a Christmas inspired wonderland!
Besides the installation and swearing in of the new board members . . .
The most incredible moment of the evening was to witness Officer Mike McClaughry receive an award honoring his citizenship in the community. (I apologize, I don’t recall the exact name of the award).
To see all of the images from this delightful and meaningful event, CLICK HERE
Please respect the copyright if you will be reposting to social media.
The images from the portrait booth look might look a little more amazing this year than usual because I opted to use a prime lens with a warm, softening filter attached. (A GlimmerGlass Filter actually). I hope you like the look.
If you choose to use any of these images in your social media, your are certainly welcome to do so. Keep in mind that photography is intellectual property and is protected by copyright law.
In this instance, if you are only sharing any online, you won’t need to request permission but do remember to credit your photographer when posting. Thank you!
As a photographer with a passion for beautiful images, I need you as a client.
When you plan for a session in front of my lens, prepare to feel gorgeous.
Because you are more to me than a client, more than a subject, you are my inspiration to create beautiful images, ones that you will love.
As you prepare with wardrobe, hair and makeup, you will feel yourself transforming, you will feel yourself becoming confident and glamorous.
Inside my Conway studio, the surroundings might appear minimal and that is intentional. My studio is mainly about the amazing light that is built in by the classic window styling. The minimal surroundings put the emphasis on you, the openness is meant to be filled by the movement and spirit of creating, to allow for mobility in achieving angles and poses. I will be guiding you through the entire process.
It isn’t your job to be photogenic, although at this point you will obviously know that you are, but relax and have fun because I will be directing and posing you, moving around you and adjusting light modifiers toward and away from you in order to capture incredible images that I know you will love.
Yet that’s not the end of the story. We connected, probably by phone or in person, had a consultation on wardrobe and discussed the best booking dates. I likely assigned you a makeup artist and hair stylist to be ready for you the day of the shoot. Then that delightfully fun shoot with you and maybe even a friend or daughter or mom. We would have done poses that might be worthy of a yoga class, and you held up like a super model. There were a couple wardrobe changes and hair & makeup adjustments and we most certainly laughed a whole bunch! This energy produces something for keeps! This is a power session and I work to create for you a lasting memory as evidence of your genuine beauty that gleams through your smile, your eyes and your movements.
After our session I will caringly edit the images, looking for your genuine expressions, the one’s you might not see in yourself as often as you used to, the ones that reveal your inner self. I look for those graceful poses that show off that best version of you and the images that have that perfect mix of shadow and light intended to create a picture worthy of a renaissance painting. I would love to reveal those images to you in print a few weeks after our session.
There is so much more to a portrait than just the simple snap of a shutter especially when inspiration is there to capture and create something to treasure.
Over the summer, Arc Dance works intensively on producing a “Summer Dance at the Center” event. This past summer, I had to privilege to be involved in photographing these incredible dancers. The show is performed the Leo K. Theatre under the Seattle Space Needle. Since this program happens every year, and although I’m getting this out after it ran through two consecutive weekends in July and August, I suggest you mark your calendar to look for it next season. The Company garners choreographic and dance talent with a variety of background and experience. This past summer’s performance consisted of 5 world premier dance pieces. #SummerDanceAtTheCenter
Upcoming Arc Dance Events
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in beautiful dance events, some traditional and some a little more modern, check out their events page HERE!
You know me as a portrait photographer but I also enjoy landscape photography.
This past May, my husband Mike and I visited The Palouse region of Washington State. It’s a place I’ve wanted to visit for years and finally took the opportunity. We chose early May because the wheat fields are newly sprouted and the winter wheat has been harvested, so the hills have lots of dappled colors.
The view from Steptoe was incredible. We stood atop the butte only to be awestruck at the beauty. The sun as it glazed over miles and miles of velvety wheat covered slopes created dramatic shadows in the shallow valleys and gave the view the kind of delicate contrast that creates the richest, painterly scene I have ever taken in with my own eyes. The billowy landscape looked like soft mounds gently folding into one another all the way to the horizon. We were so captivated by the glorious view that we stood there from mid afternoon until well past sunset. Still, we couldn’t wait to get up at 4:30am the next morning to see the sun’s glowing magic from the east and how those shadows might look.
The time of year, the weather and the time of day all managed to coincide into gorgeous images and I wanted to share these incredible views with you.
I have created a gallery of some of the images I captured in those two picture-perfect days and making them available for you to purchase as comforting wall art for your home or office. I have never before offered my images as art for purchase so I am considering this a *Grand Opening Special* and for the month of June!
I am offering a promotion of 15% off your purchase of $50 or more.
Use Promo Code GOS2018 at check out and the discount will automatically apply.
Even if you do not intend to purchase, please visit the gallery and enjoy the images!
You undoubtably know someone who has a baby and carries with them a smart phone packed with baby pictures. As soon as you hear the words, “oh, I took the cutest picture of Baby Bumpkin last week . . .” You know what’s about to happen. It’s like a trigger. And the ensuing five plus minutes you’ll never get back.
Their phone is out, you are trapped. The dizzying array of images speed by as the proud mom or dad anxiously push past the seemingly endless stream of photos of last night’s dinner finally landing on the series of images of Baby Bumpkin pushing dog biscuits into his mouth.
Guilty as charged. Yes, I do it too.
Seriously though, phones do a really nice job these days for snapshots and when mom or dad have taken the time to set up a shot with nice light and have moved the pile of laundry out of the background, it’s a good chance that they’ll have some pretty good photographs.
But when you want to capture a portrait with something a little extra special, hire a photographer. A portrait session provides a package of memories in a fun mix of chaos and calm with an occasional sentimental family moment in between all the while expressions and interactions are being recorded. These are intentional memory making opportunities.
Scheduled photography sessions being planned regularly into a family’s calendar used to be one of those purposeful activities, either annually or bi-annually, intended to give mom and dad a chance to dress up and create a fun day with their little ones. The importance of recording these moments reach their full potential many years down the road, kind of like a savings bond.
More often than not, a portrait session is set up by families with small children and especially families with babies. Babies are fun and somewhat easy to pose when they’re asleep. Sleeping babies have been popular and this type of portrait is best for newborns it’s very peaceful and sweet. Older, alert babies, are going to be more wide awake, bright-eyed and smiling if possible. And photographing wiggly, wide awake babies is a challenge. A big challenge.
But I’ve come up with an interesting concept for creating interesting and precious images that make some beautiful portraits with children and their families.
This past February, I had an idea to create a large nest as a photography prop. I commissioned it to be created to a specific size by a woman in Flordia who has an Etsy shop, CarolAnn’s Creations – I received it in May and have employed this prop on three shoots now. The reaction to the scene has been consistent from the parents.
The nest is a hefty 25 pounds, it is flat and secure, it will not tip over. I line it with naturally dyed wool. Once baby is placed into it, they seem to immediately get a calmness, they look very comfortable are either curious of their situation or restful and want to get snuggly into it. Mom and dad simultaneously stand back and sigh the sweetest sighs as they see their little one central in this dreamy scene.
The three sessions I’ve done with this so far have been babies ranging from 5 months to 18 months. The nest itself was an investment in my business and it does take a bit of lugging around, but the value in these incredible portraits is worth it for families with babies in that age range.
I found that putting it in the park and decorating it attracted quite a bit of attention. Passersby ooooh’d and ahhhhh’d when the run into our dreamy scene.
Last Sunday evening, enamored by the sunset filtering through the foliage at a roadside park, I pulled over and walked into the forested trails. The brilliance of golden hour produces a glow of light that captivates. In the picture it looks like a cone of light that I could walk straight into. The field inside the grove of trees is filled with hundreds of tiny yellow wild flowers and the orb of light casts an orange glow on them.
The orb of light reminded me of the Wizard of Oz, when Glinda (The Good Witch of the North) would arrive to the scene to help Dorothy find her way to “the Emerald City” so she could finally get back to her home in Kansas.
In pondering this idea of an orb being a vehicle of transport for a “good witch,” I looked up the spelling, is it Glenda or is it Glinda? In doing so I ran into her ‘bio’ on Wikipedia.
Holy Yellow Brick Road! There is so much more to her character.
Glinda, also known as the Good Witch of the South is a fictional character created by L. Frank Baum and she first appears in his book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – written in 1900! She is the most powerful ‘sorceress’ in the Land of Oz and ruler of the Quadling Country which is south of the Emerald City (imagining Burien or Tukwila but not quite Federal Way). Glinda is also the protector of Princess Ozma.
Harry Potty got nothin’ on this Wonder Woman! I’m thinking that Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Mario Brothers may all have ties to this old story, but where did such imagination come from for a fantasy with sorcery and royalty? King Arthur texts maybe?
Glinda’s history begins near the end of the first book but we don’t find out until the second book that Glinda plays an active role in finding and restoring Princess Ozma to the throne of Oz. Baum decides to write the second book to imply that the search for Princess Ozma began long before we are introduced to Glinda in the first book. In the second book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, the princess is introduced to the reader as a boy named Tip and is about the age of 12. Baum tells us that Glinda had been searching for the princess since her disappearance as a baby.
None of the information about the search is mentioned in the Wonderful Wizard of Oz which makes me wonder if the series idea came later.
Who we have always recognized as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, (as she was known in the famous Judy Garland movie), she is actually a screen writer’s composite version assembled from the entire Oz series. There are 17 books in Baum’s “Oz” series and Glinda of Oz ranks at #17 and was published posthumously in 1920.
It has long been my belief that books and movies created in lengthy series’ were a recent thing to keep us committed to characters in order to buy merchandise and continue anticipating future releases. However, starvation and making a living have been around since the dawn of time. I have now recalibrated my belief to realizing that planning “series style” may have been developed when it was discovered that creativity could be leveraged to pay the bills. This business plan has served many story writers well. It’s also possible that creatives are simply just voracious creators.
I however am not a voracious reader. I have not read any of the books myself but in reading ABOUT the series, so many things come to mind. Glinda is obviously, in Baum’s thinking, a most powerful female hero with super powers. I find the gender factors mystifying. Who was writing about this kind of fantasy in 1900? A female super hero? A missing princess disguised as a little boy? I am not familiar with many fantasy stories of the early 1900’s but neither have I ever been a fan of fantasy fiction. It was the incredible visual textures in the Wizard of Oz movie that triggered my curiosity to seek a little more backstory on my longtime affinity for this shimmering legend.
Baum acknowledged his writing was heavily influenced by his childhood reading of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, which he was deliberately revising in his “American fairy tales” to include the wonder without the horrors.
One of my favorite wonders that I found in researching Glinda (if this indeed is a “fact” about a “fictional” character) is that, in the books, Glinda is depicted as a beautiful young woman with long, rich red hair and blue eyes, wearing a pure white dress. Glinda is much older than her appearance would suggest, but “knows how to keep young in spite of the many years she has lived” – It is said that this is a fact that is established in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by the Soldier With Green Whiskers.
God created man in His own image and His beauty He reserved to give to women.
The beauty of women intrigues me to want to photograph women more and more. It’s not just the skin-deep kind of beauty, but the sincerity in the eyes, the gentle motions of the frame, a formidable spirit and tender heart.
A woman’s energy is ignited when encountering other women that share similar enthusiasm for life.Iron surely does sharpen iron, a fact proven to me again and again when I am in the company of other women, especial women with entrepreneurial goals who are driven by their enthusiasm to reach them.
My blog post today began a few of months ago in LaConner. I met with some friends that are hair stylists and beauty consultants
Business women don’t only know business, they understand the hearts of young women.
The #LaConnerModelCall started out as a simple idea. One of a fun day of hair, makeup, clothing and photographs. But the transformation wasn’t just of those getting the makeovers, it also tipped the axis a little for those of us offering our services.
On the day of the model call, with the hair salon owner’s permission, I worked with my husband to transform the parking lot of the LaConner Hair Design studio into an outdoor photography party. But then, what I got was not what I expected.
The mother daughter team who own Thavin & Marcob, Rachel & India were originally planning to provide a rack of clothing for trying on but another transformation was happening for them at this time also. Their business would soon be moving to Oak Harbor. Instead of a sample rack, they brought over what they called Brand Awareness Swag-Bags that included outfits for the girls to not only try on, but to keep! That was a huge and generous surprise to everyone.
Every young lady we served that afternoon showed a sense of confidence and radiance once each of them individually received so much personal attention from the hearts and hands that were serving them.
Many caring for the one. Is that not beauty right there?
What I saw was a renewal of the spirit in not just the girls but in the women offering the services. We all felt the transformations, it was magical.
Beauty holds out a loving hand to serve others, beauty promotes others ahead of itself and beauty creates relationships. I could not have been more impressed at how these budding beauties carried themselves with grace and gratitude. I could not have been more proud to be involved with all the businesses that came together to create such a fun day full of warmth and care.
Thank you everyone who participated. I hope we get to do this again soon!
My ultimate goal in portraiture is to achieve expression and connection with my subject while capturing their images utilizing soft lighting and posing techniques. My inspiration is from the masterworks I used to view as a teenager. I would frequent the Detroit Institute of arts and stare at the works by French artists like William Bouguereau or Jacques-Louis David, 19th Century neo-classic painters. The way their subjects were lit and posed, they look like photographs.