Adventure Awaits Always, Anywhere

Alicia and I emailed back and forth about session location, settling on a reservoir her son loves. We parked and headed towards the water, crunching leaves and sharing stories. We talked food and dogs, the stuff of everyday life. Once we arrived at the water, it was all skipping stones and yoga poses and family moments. I got to see kid hugs and high fives. I captured Andrew signing "I love you" alongside of Julia's "namaste" atop a tree stump. I tend to feel a session is going well when I am capturing genuine interaction with little direction, which was basically this entire shoot.

The sense I had when as I watched the goodness that is Alicia and Justin and Julia and Andrew is that for them, adventure awaits always and anywhere. They love to be outdoors. They know how to be present in the moment and content. When I wrap up a session like theirs I feel like I've been given the gift of seeing a family living the beauty that is uniquely theirs.

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Sweet Little James

When Jaime's mom heard I would be in Kentucky over the holidays, she reached out to see about a gift session. Jaime is my cousin, and I hadn't met her baby yet, so I was thrilled at the prospect. My time was limited, so arrangements were made on the one day that worked for both of our schedules. That day the temperature hovered in the high 20s- not ideal for photographing a young family with a toddler, but as Jaime and I texted, she insisted it would be fine. And she was right; it was more than fine.

Little James couldn't have been more thrilled to be outside with both of his parents to play with, and Jaime and Adem laughed their way through our time. We all fussed over James' hands (were they too cold?), but really the chill couldn't be the focal point when love shone so clearly in every frame of their session. I have so many favorites and narrowing it to a few to blog was difficult. I adore this session.

Songs and Memories

I'm working my way through favorite 2016 sessions, and this was a morning of singing and dancing, of running and laughing, of kids being kids and of parents delighting. I love the easy rapport we've built through several years of sessions, and I love little Anya's serious disposition in the beginning this time around. I love Bowen's determination to include his little sister. Here is a family comfortable being themselves, and I suspect what you see through my camera lens in these photos is what you get on any give Saturday. I love when that's what comes through in a session.

Waiting for Savannah: A Summer Maternity

Emily emailed a few days before her maternity session and asked if I thought we could do a few photos using her in-laws' pool. We'd planned a morning session in their backyard. August in Texas, well, it's hot. The pool sounded like the perfect ending for the shoot. The anticipation of baby girl number two alongside of delight in big sister number one filled every frame of our time together, and I especially love that towards the end Emily suggested a family jump into the pool. Those photos turned out downright magical, and with the thermometer still pushing 90 in mid-October, revisiting these photos for the blog seemed pretty perfect. 

Here is September in Thirty Photographs.

What I didn't foresee in setting out to do a 365 project was the way it would point me towards gratitude. My life is rich: the people, the places, the work I get to do and the beauty I get to see. The ordinary is extraordinary when held up to the light. Here is September in thirty photographs. 

September 1: Selfie with Jameson.

September 1: Selfie with Jameson.

September 2: Georgia spreads her arms and legs in the pool and shouts "Starfish," and the cuteness kills me.

September 2: Georgia spreads her arms and legs in the pool and shouts "Starfish," and the cuteness kills me.

September 3: Leftover 4th of July fireworks on Labor Day.

September 3: Leftover 4th of July fireworks on Labor Day.

September 4: How many kiddos can you fit on a paddleboat with Uncle Rudy?

September 4: How many kiddos can you fit on a paddleboat with Uncle Rudy?

September 5: Ice cream, before and after.

September 5: Ice cream, before and after.

September 6: Engagement session magic light goodness.

September 6: Engagement session magic light goodness.

September 7: New kitten for my little friend.

September 7: New kitten for my little friend.

September 8: The reluctant daily photo subject. 

September 8: The reluctant daily photo subject. 

September 9: *NOT* his birthday, but my lunch date on the 9th loves dinosaurs, and NEEDED to wear his t-rex shirt.

September 9: *NOT* his birthday, but my lunch date on the 9th loves dinosaurs, and NEEDED to wear his t-rex shirt.

September 10: Wherein all of my photography dreams came true.

September 10: Wherein all of my photography dreams came true.

September 11: Nadine in four frames.

September 11: Nadine in four frames.

September 12: Nightly kitten routine looks like fetching and jumping for green beans. 

September 12: Nightly kitten routine looks like fetching and jumping for green beans. 

September 13: Anniversary photos for Debo and Tyler. So. Much. Love.

September 13: Anniversary photos for Debo and Tyler. So. Much. Love.

September 14: Every time I vacuum these two camp out on the landing.

September 14: Every time I vacuum these two camp out on the landing.

September 15: Pink.

September 15: Pink.

September 16: Early morning stalker.

September 16: Early morning stalker.

September 17: Photo by Ty. I am finally getting consistent at landing *small* jumps on the wakeboard. Ty surprised me with a properly fitting board, and it's made a huge difference. 

September 17: Photo by Ty. I am finally getting consistent at landing *small* jumps on the wakeboard. Ty surprised me with a properly fitting board, and it's made a huge difference. 

September 18: Grease... high school musical edition.

September 18: Grease... high school musical edition.

September 19: Besties.

September 19: Besties.

September 20: The reluctant daily photo subject, location scouting in the Jeep edition.

September 20: The reluctant daily photo subject, location scouting in the Jeep edition.

September 21: Photo by Ty. An eff cancer kind of day.

September 21: Photo by Ty. An eff cancer kind of day.

September 22: The look Albert gives me when Millie stalks from overhead.

September 22: The look Albert gives me when Millie stalks from overhead.

September 23: Lake sunsets win every time.

September 23: Lake sunsets win every time.

September 24: Abba's senior photos looked like recreating a photograph we took when she was 10.

September 24: Abba's senior photos looked like recreating a photograph we took when she was 10.

September 25: Savannah.

September 25: Savannah.

September 26: Happy birthday, Josh!

September 26: Happy birthday, Josh!

September 27: Never let go.

September 27: Never let go.

September 28: Because date night.

September 28: Because date night.

September 29: New glasses.

September 29: New glasses.

September 30: Dinner and a movie with friends. Elim kept yelling "ooky." I think he's ready for October.

September 30: Dinner and a movie with friends. Elim kept yelling "ooky." I think he's ready for October.

These Two

Sarah and Eisley and I scheduled and rescheduled because of rain, rain, rain. When we finally met for photos on an overcast evening, a tiny girl with the bluest eyes warily assessed me. It took a while for her to warm up, but when she did Eisley remained intently focused on her mama, wanting her close. The bond between these two makes me smile; they are the sweetest little family. Sarah is one of those moms who takes her kiddo in stride and parents with ease and laughter. Eisley is one of those babies who is inquisitive and busy. I loved watching this session unfold.

Incredibly Not Perfect

When Caitlin inquired about booking a session for her family, their third with me, she thought a lot about what she wanted to preserve about this season with her brood. Just before their shoot  she sent me an email that said, "I've finally decided to face the fact that every time my family is in front of a camera I try very hard to make us all look 'perfect.' (I use quotation marks because it's really such a farce.) Well, despite my efforts, my family and I are so incredibly NOT perfect... And I just can't do masks anymore...

"...Where I am now is that I want REAL... even if the cost is imperfect pictures where the darkness is captured along with the light." I heard a quiet yes resonate in me as I read her email. I knew their session would be something special from the moment Caitlin shared her heart. And it was. It really was. We hiked the muddy woods the children love. We wandered and talked and paused and laughed. It was incredibly not perfect. It was incredibly real and raw. Mostly it was incredibly beautiful.

This session makes me want to capture these kinds of photos for all the families I work with. They move me. I hope they move you.

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July Life

Snippets of life in July. Being intentional about a daily photo has caused a creative shift as well as a growth of gratitude. Paying attention and pulling out the camera daily has been so good for me.  I'm looking forward to sticking with it for while. I hope you enjoy seeing as much as I enjoyed making.

July 1: Making a list of the things she wanted to do at the lake.

July 1: Making a list of the things she wanted to do at the lake.

July 2: When it comes to baby whispering, we are a matched set.

July 2: When it comes to baby whispering, we are a matched set.

July 3: Beers in the water and endless jumping off the boat.

July 3: Beers in the water and endless jumping off the boat.

July 4: Playing cornhole; taunting Mom. Let's be honest; she probably won.

July 4: Playing cornhole; taunting Mom. Let's be honest; she probably won.

July 5: After the rain.

July 5: After the rain.

July 6: Goddaughter. Super hero. Both.

July 6: Goddaughter. Super hero. Both.

July 7: All in a day's work.

July 7: All in a day's work.

July 8: They are so much braver than last year.

July 8: They are so much braver than last year.

July 9: Slalom.

July 9: Slalom.

July 10: Celebrated Donna's birthday with a 15k. We both got age group awards and chased running with tacos. Win.

July 10: Celebrated Donna's birthday with a 15k. We both got age group awards and chased running with tacos. Win.

July 11: Mom sitting at my sister's bedside almost 24 hours into her labor. We thought we'd meet Jameson on the 11th, but that wasn't to be. I love this photograph, as it tells so much about the way my mom loves.

July 11: Mom sitting at my sister's bedside almost 24 hours into her labor. We thought we'd meet Jameson on the 11th, but that wasn't to be. I love this photograph, as it tells so much about the way my mom loves.

July 12: Capturing the miracle of new life amazes me always. Capturing the miracle of my nephew's arrival? I don't quite have the words.

July 12: Capturing the miracle of new life amazes me always. Capturing the miracle of my nephew's arrival? I don't quite have the words.

July 13: Getting to know Jameson.

July 13: Getting to know Jameson.

July 14: Hospital kisses.

July 14: Hospital kisses.

July 15: I married a badass.

July 15: I married a badass.

July 16: Jump!

July 16: Jump!

July 17: Brothers. Eye roll.

July 17: Brothers. Eye roll.

July 18: Besties.

July 18: Besties.

July 19: The linen cabinet.

July 19: The linen cabinet.

July 20: Sleeping in the morning light.

July 20: Sleeping in the morning light.

July 22: When in proximity to Chicago, eating as much Chicago-style pizza as possible is essential.

July 22: When in proximity to Chicago, eating as much Chicago-style pizza as possible is essential.

July 23: My cousin Allie got married, and I loved being a guest at their wedding. A big camera photo had to happen, of course.

July 23: My cousin Allie got married, and I loved being a guest at their wedding. A big camera photo had to happen, of course.

July 24: The skies at dusk, always friendly, even after a 3-hour weather delay.

July 24: The skies at dusk, always friendly, even after a 3-hour weather delay.

July 25: A hard day.

July 25: A hard day.

July 26: Our cats prefer the dog's food.

July 26: Our cats prefer the dog's food.

July 27: How had he only been here two weeks, I wondered? It seems like we blinked, and he'd been here forever.

July 27: How had he only been here two weeks, I wondered? It seems like we blinked, and he'd been here forever.

July 28: Experimenting with double exposure. Love him. Love this place.

July 28: Experimenting with double exposure. Love him. Love this place.

July 29: Posed dog in the magic light. Cat walked into the frame and stole the show.

July 29: Posed dog in the magic light. Cat walked into the frame and stole the show.

July 30: Our niece on his side meeting our nephew on my side. We scored in the family department.

July 30: Our niece on his side meeting our nephew on my side. We scored in the family department.

July 31: Apprentices in Uncle Ty's lab.

July 31: Apprentices in Uncle Ty's lab.

Adventures in the PNW with the Bestie and Her Sidekicks

"To live would be an awfully big adventure." -J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan A friendship forged during twenty-something globetrotting fueled by passion and marked by adventure started with a whole lot of wandrelust. It's fitting, then, that these days my friendship with Carla looks like everyday explorations with three inquisitive minds. We may not be collecting passport stamps these days, but our conversations remain rich. The time we get together these days, fleeting because of the many miles between DFW and the PNW, is something of a sacred space for me.

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I learn a lot from Carla. She's wise in her relationships. Her marriage is full of grace and kindness. Her intentionality with her children- genuine consideration for each little personality and heart- is something I hope to emulate in motherhood some day. The places she takes her brood on any given day invites imagination, wonder and an appreciation for what is beautiful on this good earth. While we didn't manage a single family photo during my last trip, what we did capture tells a whole lot of story about what really matters in the life of my dear friend. Revisiting these photographs inspires and delights me.