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Being a Mom is hard.  People say that to you when you become pregnant.  You believe it but you don't fully understand.  Women will talk about the pains of childbirth, the early sleepless nights, the terrible twos, teething, sickness, fatigue.  They will share their stories.  Which we all need. We need these stores.  We NEED to talk about all of this.  We rarely talk about ourselves though.  We rarely discuss the loneliness, the guilt, the boredom, or even the yearning for a previous life.

I wasn't in love with my daughter.  Not at first.  Everyone tells you that when a baby is born it will change your life.  That you can never imagine loving something more.  I cried big hot tears when they first put her on my chest.  Tears of relief and exhaustion.  I knew that she was mine.  That I wanted to protect her, care for her, and do what was best for her.  But I also didn't know her.  Our love affair was a slow one.  Getting to know each other.  Her revealing her brilliant shining personality one small moment at a time.  And then one day there it was.  That unimaginable love.  The kind that brings tears back when I think of anything happening to her.  I had a lot of guilt at first about not being bonded with her.  People asked if I just couldn't get enough of her.  If I just wanted her with me all the time.  Nope.  I needed space.  I needed to be me without being a Mom. 

These days its hard to find space in a small camper with a one year old.  She sleeps in the same room as us.  She cries, she snores, she coos--she wakes up really damn early.  As a Mom, Photographer, Navigator, Wife, and Researcher I'm still trying to find the balance in myself. And we need to talk about that.  There are days I just want to be one thing.  I just want to be a photographer that day.  Or I just want to be a tourist.  Or I just want to be a lover.  It is easy to get overwhelmed by all the roles and demands.  To pine for a simpler time instead of being present in this whirlwind.  Right now there are no babysitters.  All of my roles are full on all the time and I would be lying if I said it wasn't exhausting. 

But its also beautiful.  There is a lot of living in my life right now.  I get to experience a beautiful world that I shamefully haven't seen before.  I get to roam streets and woods and beaches and swamps.  I wash our daughter under the full moon.  I sing her to sleep amidst the background of crickets, tree frogs, and cicadas.  I read.  I photograph what is before me.  I talk about what is whispering to my soul.  I tell myself the truths I need to know.  It's okay to be overwhelmed.  Live here now.  You are enough.

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Let's talk about magic for a minute.  Not the Hogwarts magic (although definitely amazing).  I want to talk about the kind of magic that happens in the ordinary world around us.  The kind of magic that gives you goosebumps, the kind of magic that births dejavu, the kind of big magic that happens within us when everything comes together.

I'm a believer that magic comes to you when you need it most.  Like a breath of air when you're drowning.  On the road so far we've had a lot of highs and lows.  Much like the rolling hills that we travel down.  Times of pure magic.  Times of exhausted darkness.  We've seen more sunsets, sunrises, and stars than we have in years.  We've had more long talks and held gazes.  We've also snapped at each other and been on the edge of losing it more than we have in awhile.

We had set up camp after a particularly long day.  Lucy June had just not wanted to be in the truck.  She clung to my chest laughing and crying at the same time when I opened the door to try to put her in her car seat.  It's heart wrenching.  She cried off and on all day thanks to fatigue and four giant molars cutting their way into her mouth.  When we arrived at camp she was done. 

Sometimes distraction is our best friend.  So she and I embarked on a small hike.  We soaked in the sun, the new green of spring, and became flush with exertion.  But by the time we came back we were both done.  No one knows the fatigue of being on the road until you do it.  And we were all feeling its full weight that night.  By the time we had made it through a screaming dinner and put her to bed, Zach and I sat in a crushing silence.  Fatigue is also the bringer of doubt.  It whispers to you about your faults--your insecurities--your regrets. 

Out of the darkness glided a Luna moth.  Silent and gliding making large graceful loops into the lamp light.  It mesmerized us.  Brought us out of our own selfish thoughts to gaze at its translucent beauty.  It was magic.  The magic of childhood summers and teenage twilights.  That deep breath of fresh air.  Big magic in small ways. 



5 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer

IMG_6002 Full Disclosure: If you haven't noticed, I AM a Professional Wedding Photographer.  So this post is naturally a little biased.  However, Professional Wedding Photographers are more than just photographers for a Bride to Be.  We consult, we calm, we lend a hand, and we are involved in all the details.  That said, I see so many Brides go with a family member or friend for their wedding photography and it breaks my heart.  Not just because their pictures might not be great but because there is so much more to a true professional than just the pictures.


So here it is, my top five reasons for hiring a Professional Wedding Photographer:


  1. Experience I cannot stress this enough.  When you are hiring a professional you are getting experience from many many weddings.  A professional isn't just taking the shot in front of them, they are thinking ahead to the next shot.  This is crucial in weddings.  Weddings are hectic and a time crunch.  You want an experienced professional who knows how weddings flow, who knows what to expect, and especially who knows how to deal with the unexpected. IMG_2593
  2. Professionals are, well, Professional As a wedding professional I am personally invested in each wedding I photograph.  I want to make a good impression and do my best for you.  Word of mouth is also key, I know that your friends and family are watching how I handle myself.  You don't want to hire a friend and have them hanging out with the Groomsmen when the cake cutting is going on.  This is my job and I give it my all. IMG_4285
  3. Unbiased Third Party Weddings are highly emotional events which is why I love them!  The love is flowing, the friendship, but also the stress.  At times it is crucial to have a third party who can diffuse the atmosphere and does not have a history with anyone involved.  It's easy for me to ask a family or friend to go ahead to the reception while we do couples shots without hurting their feelings.  They don't know me and have no beef with me, or at least I hope not!  The point is its easy to give direction, instruction, and move people along with some authority when they don't know me. _MG_4584
  4. Art My favorite part!  You are hiring an ARTIST.  There is so much more to photography than having fancy equipment, or just pointing and shooting.  Photographers are painting with light, gently revealing emotion, paying attention to color and lines, and capturing raw reactions.  This takes experience (see Reason #1), and an artistic eye. _MG_4242
  5. Products A wedding professional is going to offer you amazing products.  The wedding day is over, Uncle Jim has given you your photos on an unlabeled burned CD and they're now sitting in your drawer.  And that's where they will stay.  I offer my clients high end albums, gallery wraps, metal prints, countless options so that their memories come alive off their walls.  You are going to pour so much time, energy, and lets face it--money into your wedding that you should have constant reminders of that amazing day surrounding you. That is what makes those memories last and remind you of those emotions years from now. IMG_5750

We all know that weddings are expensive and wedding photography is one of the most expensive parts of your wedding.  However, it is also the most lasting.  If you hire a professional you are not paying just for the act of taking photos that day.  You are paying for consultation, communication, behind the scenes, experience, an artistic eye, high end editing, gorgeous products and it will be well worth the money because you will have the best.



Still Moments 7.13.15

blog01 I figured it was about time for another Still Moments post.  Lately I have been working on a series of personal fine art work that I have had in my head for a long time.  Chairs.  It sounds weird but there is something about a chair alone that speaks to me.  I feel that they both speak of the absence of presence while becoming personified. We all get inspiration from different places and the inspiration for this series came from the movie, "The Village."  In one frame there is an empty rocking chair in a field.  There is something about that one frame that just grabbed me.  Maybe it was the mystery behind it?  Did someone just get up and walk away?  Was there a reason?  We will see how this series evolves but I am fascinated to see where it goes.



Focus on the Details

IMG_4894 What makes a great visual story?  Portraits? Emotion? Location?  Context?  Details?  The truth is all of these scrambled together are what make a story ring true.  All of these aspects help us to encompass the full story of a moment or a day.


Lately I have been really been moved with how authentic my fellow photographers are with their struggles and where they are on their creative journey.  So with all transparency, where do I struggle?  Details.  Details are not my thing.  Speed Racer will be the first to tell you that I am a big picture person.  I love people and emotions so that is where I am most comfortable and the photos that I am drawn to.  However, when you really go back and look through photos its those tiny details that drive the story home.  It's the photos of a grandmother's jewelry on a wedding day; or tiny toes at a newborn shoot; or the disaster of a kitchen after pancake making during a day in the life session.  I CHERISH these little details and yet they are the photos that I struggle with most in capturing.  Maybe because I know they are so important?  Or maybe because I am so enthusiastic its sometimes difficult to slow down?  Whatever the reason I am determined to work on these in my own work.  THUS!  The Focus on the Details series.  This series is a challenge to myself to work on capturing details not only in my professional work but in my personal work as well.  Stay tuned to see how these evolve!

P.S.  Photographer or creative professional?   What do you struggle with in your work?  Comment below!



Still Moments 4. 30. 15

blog For some reason there is nothing like a still moment with a curled up kitty.  There's something about that warm fury body on a rainy day that calls for blankets, a warm cup of coffee, and cuddles.  We have two cats, Briscoe and Sookie.  Sookie is featured here.  While I pass by them a million times a day in this position, there are some moments when their peaceful nature just strikes me.