Sneak Peak for the “O” Family – Maternity

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So these are my friends, the O Family! I was so excited to do this shoot for them, because this baby that is coming is one that we all prayed for! We are so excited that he or she’s arrival is so very near.

The day of our shoot, we had planned for the lovely light of that “golden hour” right before sunset, but what we got was overcast and one of the coldest days in the south!  I guess you just can’t plan for everything!  We pressed on regardless, and while it proved a little tricky at times, I still managed to get some great pics of this lovely little family.  I’m sure it took all of us several hours to defrost but hopefully after they see these, they will think it was worth it!

Now I can add “maternity” to my portfolio! Stay tuned, because I get to do the newborn session too! I can’t wait!

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“C” Family Children’s Dedication Sneak Peak

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I am the first to admit to my friends and clients that I’m still getting used to “flash photography”, my comfort zone most definitely being in natural lighting. However there is a time and place for flash, particularly in event photography. An area that I am dabbing my foot into and learning much about these days.

One of my biggest fans and encouragers to continue in the photography business is Mrs. C. Her faith in my abilities, and encouragement to step out of my comfort zone has been a blessing to me in the short time I’ve known her.  I was honored when she asked me to take pictures at her children’s dedication service at a local church recently.  She was confident in my ability to capture this special moment in the dimly lit building

It was a very special day for all who attended, including me.  I’m grateful for the continued opportunity to watch these kids grown and capture the special moments in their lives.

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My First Newborn Session

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So obviously I am playing “catch up” tonight. I’ve been swamped with photo sessions, continued learning in photography classes, post processing, and developing a solid business plan to move forward in this here little leap of faith! It’s been a crazy, wild ride already! Anyway, I’ve already given this sweet girl’s “sneak peak” on my facebook page, but I would be neglect if I didn’t show you my very first newborn session, and introduce you to this sweet baby girl.

I have to admit…I think I’m going to LOVE newborn sessions! It’s a good thing too, because I have two more scheduled this weekend! Nothing like getting those sweet baby snuggles AND a solid nights sleep! 😉 Seriously though, this was so much fun. I learned a lot through this time, particularly that baby is in charge! You may WANT a cute, scrunchy sleepy baby pose…but if baby is more interested in that weird looking black thing attached to your face, you are more likely to get the very cute, puzzled, “who in the world are you?” look!   But I love that just as much. 

These precious little ones have so much personality, and I love being able to try an capture that with my lens!CopyrightSommerDaysPhotograpy-0126

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Sneak Peak for the “C” Family

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Meet the “C” family, my first official session where I didn’t have a previous friendship before the day of our photo session.  However, within 5 minutes I felt like I had known this warm, friendly family for my whole life.  🙂  

This session was a celebration of family, Mrs. C’s birthday, and a milestone anniversary!  Since Mr. C’s work allows him access to the marina, we were able to take advantage of the beautiful backdrop for our time together.  It couldn’t have been more perfect, or any more beautiful of an evening.   And honestly I couldn’t imagine a better present then capturing memories with the people you love, to mark those special years.

Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary Mrs. and Mr. C , I hope you love these as much as I do!CopyrightSommerDaysPhotograpy-0205

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Digital 102 Assignment: Night Lights and Light Painting

My very first attempt at getting night lights!  You can't tell from this picture, but it was just after sunset and DARK!!  The only light was the passing lights of the cars.  It made me so happy to get this one first time out!! Settings: ISO2000 1/24sec f/18
My very first attempt at getting night lights! You can’t tell from this picture, but it was just after sunset and DARK!! The only light was the passing lights of the cars. It made me so happy to get this one first time out!!
Settings: ISO2000 1/24sec f/18

So I never updated you on my last week’s photography homework assignment. It was Night Lights and Light Painting. Of course it was the coldest week we’ve had to date in January since I started class, which made getting outside not so much fun. However that fact did give me an opportunity to use my new fingerless gloves that a friends surprised me with a couple weeks ago!

Also the fact that my husband was still fairly immobile made it a little hard to wander too far from home and be adventurous. I really would like to head into the city and try these again! Even still while I felt composition lacked some on the interest factor, I was thrilled to finally be able to understand the “technical” side of Night Light photography, and Light Painting.

The key ingredients are: tripod (so you eliminate camera shake with the low shutter speeds), wireless remotes or exposure timers, and low shutter speeds. The lower (or sometimes called slower) shutter speed allows the shutter to stay open longer and therefore capture as much available light as possible. For the newbies, it is also the thing that causes the streaking of car lights that you see in “city” night pictures. Since the cars are moving, the camera is capturing the light AND movement.

I was thrilled to discover the bulb setting for my shutter speed on my camera that let me determine the time elapse of my open shutter. Using my new wireless remote allowed me to really eliminate the need to touch my camera  and therefore I had almost no camera shake.  It made it so much easier!!  It amazes me how completely dark settings, can look like daytime with that option.

And for the record, my wireless remote is my new favorite photography toy!! Couldn’t have purchased it at a better time!!

Next weeks assignment is “Panning”, which is where you track a moving person or object, and capture the movement while keeping the subject in focus (more or less). Right after class my hubby and kids picked me up (they took a mini field trip to a local museum) and we headed over to a local park in the city and I already got some great shots. Can’t wait to post them. Be sure to check in Monday night or Tuesday for those.  We also have our “Field Trip” outing to a local train museum on Saturday morning!  I can’t wait.  I will be sure to post those pictures too!

Nightlights Settings: ISO 200, shutter speed 5.3 seconds, aperture f/22
Nightlights
Settings: ISO 200, shutter speed 5.3 seconds, aperture f/22
Nightlights Settings: ISO 320, shutter speed 2.9 seconds, aperture f/20
Nightlights
Settings: ISO 320, shutter speed 2.9 seconds, aperture f/20
Silhouettes Settings: ISO 200, shutter speed 1/25 seconds, aperture f/11
Silhouettes
Settings: ISO 200, shutter speed 1/25 seconds, aperture f/11
Silhouettes Settings: ISO 200, shutter speed 1/10 seconds, aperture f/11
Silhouettes
Settings: ISO 200, shutter speed 1/10 seconds, aperture f/11

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My Happy Place Project

Day 1:  My boys.  The only pic I took on New Years Eve and Day.  My ballerina girl was at a sleepover, and we let the little man stay up to watch the ball drop.  He was thrilled.
Day 1: My boys. The only pic I took on New Years Eve and Day. My ballerina girl was at a sleepover, and we let the little man stay up to watch the ball drop. He was thrilled.

I have to admit, I don’t usually put much stock in New Year’s resolutions or that there will be any true change with the simple advance of the clock from 11:59 on December 31st, to 12:00 on January 1st. However this year, I think I was looking forward to the turn of the calendar, as much as I was to Christmas, if only for it’s symbolic picture of a fresh start.

2012 was a tough year for me in a lot of ways. God in His wisdom decided He needed to re-prioritize a few things in my life. It has been a painful journey, fraught with misunderstandings and hurt, death of vision and dreams I felt were from Him…and perhaps harder still to see, hidden blessings. I wish I could say that I’ve navigated it all perfectly and as a picture of grace, but that wouldn’t be true. Frankly, there have been times that I’ve flat out thrown a “temper tantrum” that would put any two year old to shame, because I’ve not liked the path He’s chosen for me to walk. But God has been so gracious to me, forgiving when I humble myself before Him, giving me strength to pick up and move forward again and again. And in that process I’m catching more and more glimpses of the simple truth that, when He allows pain into our lives, it is often used for a deeper and greater good.

While this blog and my journey into photography is only a temporal part of the bigger picture, it’s still now a part of my story. You see, it is these trials and a few other circumstances, that have created the “perfect storm”, that has closed one door and opened another. And honestly, it has pushed me to walk through that door, in a new direction of something I may not have been brave enough to step into otherwise.

So with that back story, you might better understand why as I was visiting the blog of another photographer whose work I absolutely love and respect, I was impacted by her post, “The Wonder Project”. Seriously, Mary Anne’s artistry and knowledge is what I aspire too. I love her heart that comes out in her pictures and blog as well. Anyway, I could relate on so many levels. It was that post and echoes of Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts” that have inspired me to throw caution to the wind, and commit to jumping in to my own challenge.

This challenge for myself is called, “My Happy Place”, and it will be my attempt to take a picture a day (or close to) of something that makes me smile, a blessing in my life, a beauty God has opened my eyes too, or things that take my breath away. The things that take me to my “Happy Place” where I’m overwhelmed by His goodness to me. My hope is that it will not only stretch me artistically, but that it will also affect my attitude, change my perspective and keep my focus where it needs to be. So here is my start in 2013, choosing to keep my eyes on God, the good things He has put into my life, and all that He has for planned for me in the year ahead.

One of my favorite families in the whole wide world.  This pic makes me smile everytime I see it.
Day 2: One of my favorite families in the whole wide world. This pic makes me smile everytime I see it.
My pooch.  She bounces when we go outside to play without a leash.  I love her quirkiness.
Day 3: My pooch. She literally bounces with delight when we go outside to play without a leash. I love her quirkiness.
Day 3: Crepe paper flowers with complimentary plastic bee, from the cutest little man I know.
Day 4: Crepe paper flowers with complimentary plastic bee, from the cutest little man I know.
Day 5: Flowers from my husband, who knows me better then I know myself sometimes. They came on a day I really needed to be reminded I am loved.
Day 5: Flowers from my husband, who knows me better then I know myself sometimes. They came on a day I really needed to be reminded I am loved.

Overdue Post

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My all time favorite shot that I’ve taken so far…like ever..like ever ever. 🙂

So an update on what I’m learning, and how I’m challenging myself to grow is long overdue! As I started this blog, I really was planning on posting all the things I was learning on a regular basis.  Honestly, I did not think I would have such an overwhelming response from my friends and families to take their pictures (but I’m humbled and grateful for it!). It’s been crazy, especially with the holidays trying to get it all done, and figure out how to keep up with shoots, learning about photography and editing, homeschool and normal life. I absolutely LOVE what I’m doing however, and that makes all the difference from being stressed, to just going along with life’s crazy. In the midst of it all I AM being challenged daily. So I’m sure your thinking, “You keep saying that, but how exactly are you being challenged?”  I will do my best to summarize it all….

So first off…all these shoots I’m doing are forcing me to pick up my camera and take pictures.  It’s making me apply the technical knowledge that I’m learning on a regular basis, which is helping me make it applied knowledge that I can access quicker and quicker.  It’s also exposing my trouble spots.  At every shoot I’m learning what not to do, or seeing what I wish I had done, or frankly seeing areas in my technique and composition that I need to work on.  I had an aha moment as I was chasing the illusive crispness in my photos the other day with making sure my shutter speed is fast enough.  With my 50 mm I finally figured out my shutter speed needs to be at least up around 1/80 for me to be happy with the results…but then I got a zoom lens for Christmas (a Nikkor 18-200 mm) and I’m struggling again to find that sweet spot.  I guess there is still some fogginess that I need to work through with it all, because what I think I understand doesn’t always seem to work in every situation.

On that note…picking up my camera, I’m hoping to do that more this year.  I want to expand my knowledge to more areas, not just portraiture.  Lifestyle and nature photography (including HDR) are areas I’d love to explore more.  Really I just want to hone my ability to see artistically, and capture God’s beauty wherever I find it.  I’ve been playing with the idea of the “365 Day Challenge” where you take at least one pic every day for a year…but I’m afraid with my crazy life, to commit to that..so I’ve been thinking of a weekly challenge.  But I’m so ADD sometimes, I think I need direction.  If any of you, know of any bloggers out there doing challenges like that please feel free to share.  I have participated in You Capture before I had my DSLR camera (who I’ve named George…but that’s a post for another day), and am thinking that I might need to go back there and start up again.  This weeks theme is “festive”. Hmmmm….now that Christmas and New Years is over, I’m not feeling particularly festive, so I may have to get creative!

The next thing, is I am actively looking for resources that teach me and help me learn about photography and editing.  I took a trip out West to visit a friend and she introduced me to Scott Kelby and his books, which I have yet to own but LOVE!  I’ve also have been doing a trial basis with his website, and have decided that as soon as I can afford it I need to upgrade to the year subscription.  Seriously the amount of training videos I’ve been able to watch on both photography and Lightroom have been both helpful and AMAZING!  What a rich resource and proving well worth the money I would invest in it.

Also I’ve signed up for a couple courses at local photography school and I’m so very excited about them.  The hubby and I worked out a deal to cover the homeschool stuff on Monday’s since that’s his day off, so I can get away for the class over the next 6 weeks.  It starts this Monday!  Eeeeek! I can’t wait.   I also will be doing a once a month workshop over the next four months on how to start a photography business.  I figured, it was worth the investment to learn what I need to up front, before I get set in my ways and make lots of mistakes. It is so much easier to do it right from the start, don’t you think?

So these are just a few of the things I’m doing and thinking about.  How about you?  Where are you in your journey with photography?  Have you set any goals or challenges for yourself in the new year?  If so I’d love to hear about them!  Maybe we can encourage each other as we head into 2013!

The “W” Family

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So this afternoon I went out with one of my favorite families in the whole wide world! I first met the W family right after we moved back to the States from Hungary. My hubby and I were in the throws of burnout from our time in ministry, and I had the added pleasure of a severe case of postpartum. We joined the small group at our church, that Mr. and Mrs. W were leading that following fall. Quite frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t tuck tail and run far, far away from our raw and oozing neediness! However, instead of running from us, they embraced us, cared for us, and loved on us at a time when we needed it most. Honestly even just typing this, the reality of their love and care for us brings tears to my eyes. They became true friends, and fortunately saw us through to a time where we weren’t quite as messy as when we first met.

Now years later, while life makes it incredibly difficult to find time to get together, our kids still consider each other best friends.  And if Mrs. W and I are fortunate enough to find an opportunity for a coffee date, it can quite literally turn into a 6 hour gab fest.  They are kindred spirits through and through, and time and distance don’t ever seem to change that.  If you can’t tell, I love this family from the very core of my being, and am so grateful God has crossed our paths I am blessed to call them friends.

When I got home and was able to see the pics on the computer, I was nearly coming out of my skin with delight. It helps that my subjects are absolutely beautiful, but this is such a different setting from what I’ve usually done, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The tracks and concrete made for the perfect backdrops for this beautiful family. And despite us all being VERY COLD, we survived, and hopefully they will love the outcome of the sacrifice as much as I do.Wenaas Family-0123

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The “P” Family

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So I finally feel like I’m “catching up” after a series of shoots in close succession, and the holidays. It’s been a little crazy trying to squeeze my editing in around family stuff, but again…can I just say how much I am enjoying this. It doesn’t feel like work at all. I’m learning with every shoot I do, and I can feel myself being stretched and grown.

Here is my final shoot from the holiday madness…meet the “P” Family. Ms. P is a dear friend of mine and I couldn’t be more proud to say that. She is a testimony to me daily of strength, beauty, and dignity that comes from being sold out to God and His purposes in our lives. She has 6 simply beautiful kids that she loves deeply, and I so enjoyed my time with them, trying to catch their personalities in pictures for her. I also enjoyed watching the smiles and bonding that happened as we braved the very windy and cold day.

To the P family, I hope you know how beautiful each of you are inside and out, and I hope this is only the first of me “catching you” with my lens. 🙂

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