Year after year, I’m inspired by telling the stories of Goodwill’s Achievers of the Year. These are people who have had lives that aren’t as easy as mine but their desire to work hard and be good citizens makes me proud to know them.
And if you’re not familiar with all the wonderful things Goodwill does for this community, you should: http://www.goodwillwm.org/
Changing LIVES through the power of WORK.
I love Muskegon — my home now for over 16 years. I especially get excited when I get to be a tiny part of big project in our fabulous city. The USS LST 393 Veterans Museum used to be great but now it’s even better. With a fresh coat of “D-Day Gray,” she now looks the same as she did during the invasion of France on D-Day in 1944. Volunteers helped transform the floating museum just in time for a grand celebration that will happen Saturday, June 6th. Sadly, I won’t get to be there but come out and celebrate this local gem.
North Muskegon, Michigan
The day I photographed Brynnley, her parents said she wasn’t quite herself. She was sleepy and a little fussy. And you know what? That was quite alright with me. I’ll tell you why. Parenthood and being a baby – – especially a preemie like Brynnley – – isn’t always easy or “perfect.” There are good days and really bad ones. To me, what IS perfect is how a mother and father can love a child so much. They know the right songs to sing, the way she likes to be held, the things that make her feel safe and secure. So that’s what I got to photograph that day, tears included, but that’s life and what a beautiful one it is.
You know you have a creative teenager on your hands when they help scope out their own locations for their senior session. I remember Jon’s mom calling me and telling me where they were waiting for me. “You can’t miss us, Jon’s playing his guitar near this old red building.” I thought right then and there that this would be a great photography session.
As well as photographing Jon, we took some family portraits, too. Besides being creative and just really cool people, I loved their playfulness, authenticity and enthusiasm for one another. I left feeling like I wanted to be around these people more. It certainly didn’t feel like work. A few days later, I got an email telling me that they expected being photographed to be a bit like pulling teeth but they actually had fun. That’s what it’s all about – -both of us leaving feeling fulfilled.
Best of luck to you, Jon, in your senior year at North Muskegon High School and may your family always be by your side.
I love Natalia for being so unique. Vintage clothing, a viola and her tutu-wearing pug probably topped my most interesting senior session this year. And, we had some amazing light and a kind local who let us “borrow” his farm for the day. Congratulations, Natalia, in all your future endeavors.
Rebecca is a fitness instructor and trainer who makes really yummy vegan whole food bars and granola, too. The first time I met Rebecca was the day I took these photos. She has a positive energy about her with a killer smile and laugh. Rebecca runs a small local business, like me, and I’m fortunate our paths crossed. If a healthier you in on your horizon, look up Rebecca. You’ll be glad you did.
There’s something refreshing about a teenager who can be bold and have her own style. Natalia came wearing a vintage black birdcage veil and jewelry for her senior session. She also brought her viola and pug named Peri who happened to be wearing a pink dress and bow tie. (You’ll have to check the blog in a few weeks to see Peri!)
During my first conversation with Stephanie she told me she had dual citizenship between Chicago, where she and Dave live, and Muskegon – – the place where she grew up. The beaches of Muskegon were special and important- -so important that the wedding party came in on boats! The ceremony was on a private beach that the guests walked to through a path of hardwoods and hemlocks. Friends and family were the two words that came up over and over and over again. That was the focus. Stephanie asked me, “Could you just be a second set of eyes?” And so I was.
Thank you, Dave and Stephanie, for the honor of documenting your wedding day and for sharing your wonderful families with me. You are beautiful people.
Second photographer: blinkPHOTO
Reception: Century Club
Bride’s shoes: Benjamin Adams
Bridesmaids gowns: Donna Morgan
Disc Jockey: Definition of Sound
Wedding coordinator: CMF Marketing
July 22, 2013
The 7th Monday: Being a mom can be humbling and a wee bit embarrassing.
First, we stopped at our little library in Montague and checked out a fresh stack of books. (Embarrassing moment: Realizing someone had censored a scantily clad photo of a busty woman in one of the books by taping a little scrap of paper over the picture which made my six-year-old all the more curious what was under that little piece of orange paper.)
Next, we took a bike ride along the Hart-Montague bicycle trail. (Humbling moment: Harper throwing a temper tantrum because her bike was “tippy” and having two well-meaning women tell me that I should carry her because she was scared. Ummmm…and how do you suggest I carry her, her bicycle AND keep up with my six-year-old?)
We explored the wetlands where the White River spills into White Lake. We found frogs in the algae and saw mushrooms, trees and cotton candy in the clouds. (No embarrassing moments – -whew!)
Then we stopped at a store to pick up a few things. (Embarrassing moment: Harper asks in her loud whisper voice “Mom, is that a boy or girl?” referring to the lady behind the checkout counter.)
Lastly, we head home for manicures and dress up. (Humbling moment: I let the cat out of the house only to catch a glimpse of his tail which was covered with pink hairdo holders. So, I chase after the cat to extract the bows.)
We ate fresh blueberries that we had picked two days prior. (Humbling moment: Explaining that yes, indeed, eating lots of blueberries does make your poop an interesting purplish color.)
“A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.” – Andre Maurois
Next month, Don and Grace will celebrate sixty years of marriage. SIXTY YEARS. And they still make each other laugh. Don loves to read jokes to Grace who has a good sense of humor. They still snuggle. They still hold hands. Their home is simple but rich with family photographs and mementos from their well-traveled lives. And they love. Yes, they do a lot of that. Happy anniversary, Don and Grace. You inspire me.
Meet Happy Henry. No, really. He’s the happiest baby I’ve ever met. (And he just learned a new trick – – crawling!) Just wanted to share a few photos for now but more to come…
I love when people are in love. Even better, I love it when someone trusts me enough to photograph their love – – whether it’s a wedding, their new baby, or their pet. Love is love. It all speaks to me. So when I got asked to plan a portrait session turned into a proposal, well, as you can imagine, I was excited. (And might I add how awesome of Eric to put so much special planning into making this proposal extra memorable.) When “IT” was going to happen, I stayed back with a long lens and came closer after they had a bit of privacy but I heard Anne say, “I get to be your wife!” It was so perfect. May you always remember that you’re a gift to each other. Congratulations, Eric and Anne!
Blue Lake Township, Michigan
Every once in awhile, I get a chance to be creative with something other than people. It’s fun to focus on texture, shape and light instead of emotion, laughter and moments. Don’t get me wrong, people are my real passion but I enjoy a timeout — a chance to take a visual breath. Besides working with the two wonderful owners of Carnivore Hunting Products, I didn’t have to leave my home. I’m always rushing away to photograph weddings in some beautiful location but, on this day, I walked out my front door and onto the 28 acres that ground me. Looking up, I saw my sweet 6-year-old son watching me work from our bedroom window. “Yes,” I thought to myself. “I needed this. He needed this.”
Today I was hired to photograph the Veterans Job Fair aboard the USS LST 393 in downtown Muskegon. As I wandered around looking for things that caught my eye, I saw the Muskegon High School’s JROTC practicing before Posting Colors. This young teenager was so proud, dignified and honorable. Instantly, he made me feel patriotic and hopeful. Ironically, when I got back to my office, I received a phone call from my sister saying that my father, also a veteran, was nearing the end of his battle with terminal cancer. I’m not sure why but the two events seemed relevant. Intentional. I know today isn’t November 11th – – the day set aside to honor veterans but that’s just what I want to do — thank those that have sacrificed so much for this great country. Shouldn’t EVERY day be Veterans Day?
So, I think this may be the most amazing dress I have ever photographed. And, I must have prayed so hard for nice weather that the Rain Gods actually listened this time. Congratulations, Andrea and Nate. Your wedding was gorgeous — just like the dress, the weather and YOU. Happiness always.
Engagement sessions are wonderful. It’s a celebration of love documented with a hint of anticipation for what’s to come. Oh, but Lee and Lisa upped the ante. They came straight from the doctor’s office with news that they were having a baby boy. Yep. I got to photograph that…a pure joy, excitement and overwhelming love for what’s to come. Congratulations, Lee and Lisa, and may you always savor the feeling you had on this day.
When two people are so in love it makes my “job” so much more fun.
I kept trying to cut down the number of images for Jeff and Lis’s blog post but, try as I might, I failed. I realized it was probably because of all the weddings I have photographed this year, Jeff and Lis’s was the closest to my own personal style. First of all, they were married in the same chapel that my husband and I were married in 10 years prior, then throw in all their vintage-inspired touches and DIY projects along with their two dogs as part of the ceremony and…. BINGO…you have this photographer’s dream wedding. And did I mention the birdcage veil?!
I don’t know why, but Alyse was nervous to be photographed. She’s gorgeous AND photogenic but she brought along her mother and older sister, Emory (oops, I mean, Marie), to help her feel comfortable. Her mom carried my heavy camera bag the whole time and Marie held my reflector (if you two ever need a job…) Anyway, Alyse, you made my day. You shared your fun family with me, battled a few bumblebees and braved cold Lake Michigan waters. You have my best wishes for a happy and beautiful future because you are a happy and beautiful person.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” ~Seneca
Birth. Graduation. Wedding. Engagement. So blessed to be photographing such happy occasions!
When I chatted with Emily about her upcoming wedding, she really wanted the day to be about the gathering of friends and family that would come to celebrate with her and Jordan. She didn’t have an extensive list of photos she wanted, Emily just kept saying it was about the guests. No getting ready photos, no dollar dance or cake-cutting pictures. And for me, that was just fine. It was fine because the stress of missing a crucial wedding component for a photographer can add a few gray hairs, but on a more serious note, it allowed me to focus on the REAL meaning of a wedding in the first place…LOVE. Thank you, Emily and Jordan, for three beautiful days of celebration – – the rehearsal, wedding and Sunday brunch. (oh, and I think I gained weight just by editing these photos…the food was AMAZING!)
Typically, I get to meet wedding clients prior to their ceremony but I didn’t get that opportunity with Jon and Becky. So, I asked them to email me a little about themselves and about the wedding. They wrote, “We are both science people. We both like being outside and little details in nature.” The wedding would be held at Becky’s parents’ home on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan in Manistee. With every wedding I photograph, I feel it’s my duty to learn as much as I can about the couple so I can capture what is important and cherished in their eyes. I leave wondering if I’ll ever see those “science people” again but thanking them for allowing me to tell their story. Thank you, Jon and Becky, you are wonderful!
Alyse drove from Lansing to have her senior photos taken near Lake Michigan. We did that and a whole lot more. I found out Alyse is a pretty good soccer player so I figured she’d be up to my photographic shenanigans. And she was. Alyse battled some bees, climbed through weeds and even jumped in the lake! To top it off, Alyse’s mom carried my camera bag the whole time (my shoulders thank you!) and her sister held the reflector. What a family. Thanks for taking risks, Alyse, I can’t wait to show you the whole batch.
Even though I have my camera stuck to my nose, I can’t help but be drawn into the sweet, sacred moments that I witness during weddings. Scott and Becky’s wedding was held on the centennial farm where Becky grew up. She got ready for the big day in her parent’s old farmhouse among her niece and nephews who napped in nearby bedrooms. Family and friends hustled around making the last minute preparations. Then, Scott and Becky met privately in the barn before the ceremony started. My favorite moment of the day was when Becky pulled Scott’s hand to her heart and asked, “Can you feel how hard my heart is beating?” When the guests witness such love, they somehow get a little sappy themselves. A cool plane flew over the barn and the cows grazed a little closer as if guests themselves. To end the night, Scott and and brown-eyed Becky danced to “Brown Eyed Girl.” A perfect ceremony. A perfect setting. A perfect couple. Congratulations on your wedding and your new home, Becky and Scott!