“Children see magic because they look for it,” ~ Christopher Moore
I’ve known Henry for a few years now and, yes, he gets cuter every time I photograph him. But man, oh man, does his energy grow exponentially. I won’t lie I had a hard time keeping up with this little man but I love that everything is an exploration. A rock. A tree. A stick. (And next year, I’m wearing my running shoes.)
I love rural life. For anyone who doesn’t know, my minor is actually agriculture. Sooooo, the Wilburns are pretty much my favorite type of family. When your kids can walk down the middle of the road it’s a perfect place to grow up. And, my favorite moment of the night was when a frog jumped onto Marlee’s face (I still hope she isn’t too traumatized by that.) Wilburns, please have me back, I never got to take pictures in the chicken coop!
Photographing Brendon combined two of my favorite things — exploring backroads and photography. My nephew, Brendon, is a senior at Portage Central High School but we photographed his senior portraits near Stony Lake while on a family camping trip. Little did I know, we’d have a bright red cast to contend with from a skateboarding incident. Brendon has quite a creative spirit so I think the cast just added to his style.
So proud of you, Brendon, and looking forward to seeing all that you’ll accomplish!
Norton Shores, Michigan
The Sass siblings have awesome personalities that popped out tonight from making great faces to screaming at spiders. I think they’ll sleep well tonight!
Twin Lake, Michigan
My grandfather used to give me “spinners” or flips in the air when I was a little girl. I owned a popcorn business when I was 13 years old. I used to ride our family milk cow, Blue Bell, like she was a horse. My sister gave me a huge shiner when I was a sophomore. And guess what? I don’t have any photos of those memories. Not a one. Not even a snapshot.
Here’s my point, this is the third year the Schalks have invited me to photograph their family, mostly with a focus on their three adorable daughters. I can’t help but to think what a true treasure that they’re giving their girls. Whether or not I’m the photographer taking the photos, it’s just a reminder that life happens so quickly. So get out your cameras, folks, and take some pictures!
Oh, and if you love the clothes that the girls are wearing, Kate makes them. She’s incredibly talented so check it out here.
Harbor Springs, Michigan
Most of you know that I took Mondays off during the summer to spend some quality time with Yuri and Harper. I documented my Mondays and blogged about them because I felt like I was photographing everyone else’s memories but ignoring my own. I kept up with the picture-taking portion but got quite behind on the blogging.
It may seem silly to see these images from summer when we are still up to our thighs in snow with single-digit temperatures still forecasted for this week but then I thought better of it. Being reminded of warm days spent with my children’s childhood friends who share their toys, play hide-and-seek with fervor, who hike holding hands and who rest on rocks to warm themselves after getting messy with ice cream is what we could all use right now.
(Don’t get me wrong, I love winter but our wood supply is unsustainably low. I’m asking for drastic measures, Mother Earth.)
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.
I love families that play a little during their photo sessions and play the Renbargers did! We actually weren’t expecting snow during our session but down it came and the little ones had so much fun catching snowflakes with their tongues. The cold kept our session short but I’m so glad they were up for the outdoor challenge. Here are a few of my favorites!
“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” – John Ruskin
A toddler who is expressive and loves to read (no, REALLY loves to read) + a Boston terrier who is just as expressive and waits for crumbs dropped by the toddler who takes her eating “very seriously” + a really fun (and hip) couple = a really great family photo session.
Thank you, Motts. You were incredible. Oh, and now that I heard you added another Boston terrier to the mix, we should do this again sometime!
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 know Jon is a teenager — a senior at North Muskegon High School — but he’s already quite an interesting human being. He plays the guitar. He’s traveled to France. He plays soccer. Interesting, yes, but also kind, polite and considerate (he offered to carry my camera bag!) Also, Jon scoped out his own locations for his photo shoot. Impressive. Nonetheless, his mom had to bribe him with a slushy for a smile or two. In between Jon’s senior photos, we took a few family photos which I’ll share soon. (And by the way, Jon’s mom and younger brother are pretty awesome too.)
Thanks for being fun, creative and, most of all, being yourselves.
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…
July 15, 2013
The 6th Monday: If I’ve learned anything from being a mom, it’s that you have to be prepared that the day you may have planned isn’t going to turn out the way you had hoped. Mothers have to be spontaneous. You have to go with the flow. You have to sometimes make lemonade out of lemons. And you have to know the right words to say when a six-year-old drops his slushy in the dirt.
Yuri: “Mom! I dropped my slushy in the dirt. You have to buy me another one.”
Me: “Honey, I’m sorry you dropped your slushy but because you were careless doesn’t mean you’re entitled to another one.”
Yuri: “But that’s not fair! Harper now has more slushy than me!”
Harper: “I’ll share with you, Hudda (that’s her made-up word for Yuri)”
So, that was the major part of my “Mondays with Mom.” Trying to teach my son a lesson. Appreciating that my daughter was willing to share. Trying to not let a simple slushy ruin a day that means a lot to me.
And then Dad gets home and joins them in the sprinkler, we found a cicada shell and we picked wildflowers. Yesterday, we made lemonade.
They say good things come to those who wait. As I photographed Nick and Michelle who were preparing their home and their hearts for a baby boy, Michelle said to me, “You know, this baby is a miracle.” And indeed it’s true. Nick and Michelle, as I have learned, just gave birth to their son a couple days ago. I feel so blessed that I got to document their love and anticipation for what was to come. With a love of good tea, knitting, super funky fashion, books, and a dog – – this little boy is going to have an enriched life with crazy awesome parents.
P. J. Hoffmaster State Park ~ Norton Shores, Michigan
Sue Moblo has 13 grandchildren with more on the way. Every summer she would round them up and plan an outing. Three years ago, they found camping. Sue says it’s a “down to earth” way to get to know who her grandchildren really are. “It makes me feel good when I’m around them,” she said. “They make you feel young.” So for a day this past summer, she hired me to capture their youth. Cousins playing a game of Ninja. Putting together puzzles. Warming their toes by the campfire. Making s’mores. Hugging. Laughing. Being a family. “If you keep them close, they’ll always be there to take care of you,” Sue said. I have a hunch she’ll never have to worry about that for as long as she lives.