Saturday, April 30, 2011

She loves me, she loves me not...

This is my beautiful niece Amanda, her charming husband Geoff & their incredibly smart, pretty, adorable, happy, silly daughter, (& my new BFF) Andrea. They came to stay with us for a couple of days to relax & so Amanda could check out my DSLR cameras for a future purchase of her own. This photo was taken as they were getting ready to head back home to Oregon this morning & I couldn't wait to post them for our entire family to see how big Andrea is getting.
The photo above is how happy Andrea was during most of the visit but when it came time to say goodbye to Auntie Kim, she wasn't very happy ;)
I actually let Amanda take some photos of me & Andrea together for practice with the kitchen window light & even though I look absolutely horrible (and I'm not kidding, not a great moment for me so please be kind), the two below totally crack me up. Andrea had me laughing so hard I didn't have a chance to even try to pose for the photo. I love the look this sweet little girl has & it makes me feel pretty special I could get her to smile so big.
Yep, it's official, She Loves Me. Gotta love those dimples, such a cutie pie. It was so good seeing them, Lady already misses cleaning up the floor after her & I already can't wait for another visit.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I'm really that excited...

...I can hardly sit still to type this. I have had a frustration with flash these last few years & haven't been able to do anything about it, until now. Flash is Not one of my favorite things to use, however it's sometimes needed. It doesn't look natural at all, I really don't like it on my camera blowing people away, bouncing it isn't always possible & most importantly, it takes away from the moment. With that frustration comes really, really exciting news to share, I have added "PocketWizard" to my photography arsenal & I can't wait for my next wedding to use it. Don't I sound like an infommercial? The excitement you are reading is NO comparison to the absolute joy I feel & could never express it enough in writing. I was literally dancing on the inside, when I got it yesterday but didn't want to scare the kids by actually dancing in front of them, plus... I was sitting in the car with very little boogy room. Jon knew how excited I was though. He smiles & gives his standard "Ahhhh, is that your new camera part?" As if he didn't know, I've only been talking about it since the beginning of the year. But I Love it when he feeds my excitement. I love how happy he is for me, how he keeps me growing with my passion & keeps me strong believing in myself. Oh how I love this man.
Now I'm not saying this product fixes all my flash frustrations & don't get me wrong, there are still times I will refuse to use flash of any kind but Love the idea of having this for the moments that are right. I had previously purchased a light stand & an umbrella for more indoor posey shots. Now I can take the flash off the camera, put it on the stand, adding more depth & direction of light without the frontal blast, giving me even more control. It's like a huge bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup to me, it gives me that warm, comforting kinda feeling. This is huge, especially for family group photos in homes with not so ideal lighting &/or bad weather outside.
The word Flash has now changed, in a positive, almost loving way, almost. The possibilities are endless incorporating this into certain future portrait sessions but I definitely see a "grunt" (as Lee @ Crown Camera would put it for a helper) in my future for those sessions. I always want to continue with my current photography style, staying Me, by using as little artificial light during most of my sessions as possible.
This "PocketWizard" set was over $400.00 but was needed more than the 70-200mm 2.8 IS lens I want for weddings (approx $2,500.00, no wonder why some artists starve, lol). When I started photography, I was so sure I would be completely satisfied with the kit lens (Canon 18-55 along with a Promaster 70-300mm I got from Crown) & I made it clear to Jon I wouldn't need anything new for a looooong time. That was a stupid thing to say, lol. I will have to post some photos of what I have as camera gear now, what I use most, what were smart & not so smart purchases (for me) & what I want next (the want list just keeps going & going & only gets more expensive. I should also tell you how I want Jon to involves the 5d, Mark II around my neck instead of a ring on my finger. I would totally use a camera more than a ring ;) & it's about $2,500.00 anyways. Hey, whatever I have to do to get what I want, lol & how many people do you know that got proposed that way, totally unique to us).
I'm trying to be humble but really jumping & screaming on the inside...Really, How exciting for me, this opens huge doors especially how I see my future 1st dances, portrait sessions, my own art & so much more. There are times when I had wished for something like this & didn't think it would ever happen this soon,...It's like Christmas in April for me. Learning on my own is the only way to go in the beginning, so I don't see any limitations, boxes or rules. But I am thinking about attending the next flash course at Crown Camera, I never want to stop learning. BTW, if I haven't mentioned it before, Crown Camera in Redding is the best place to have your photos developed. In my opinion you're wasting your money by going to dept stores, the quality just isn't there, they tend to come out dark & if I don't process the photos perfectly, Crown will make sure they come out their best, other stores just don't do that. If it's important enough to get the photos taken, to get them developed & to have as a forever memory in your album or scrap book, make sure they're developed by people who care about photography. NO I don't get $ to say that.
So, to wrap this up, (and still keep my feet on the ground) I'm so excited to use my flash for the 1st time since getting the Canon 580 EXII Speedlite late last year (I already have the Canon 430, since 2009). I can't wait to be challenged in so many ways & to start, the 1st challenge is learning how to operate the "PocketWizard", LOL. Bring it on!!!!

Samanthas pre "American Idol" moment

I went to my niece Samanthas talent show at her school the other day so I could capture photos of her doing what she loves most, singing. People don't understand when I say I don't like to use flash due to how much it affects what's going on but this was a case where I could have used it & it would have been ok....however, I love the mood in these photos, it's like the kids are on stage, preparing for their American Idol moment. The photo above is Blake, the announcer (He did a great job) & the rest of the contestants are also included in these photos. No my niece didn't win but that's ok, she did something that a lot of adults won't even do...put themselves in the spot light, literally.
Let me help Blake out here, Introducing Samanthaaaaa......!!!!!
Below is my fav photo.
These last guys cracked me up, they weren't really part of the talent contest but incredibly funny playing music with a plastic cup on the end of PVC, I never would have put those 2 together.
I had to stand in the middle of the gym to get these photos so I'm glad they had the spot light on so not everybody could see me. I'm not brave like my daughter & Samantha, I don't like to stand in front of Anything to get the attention lol. What a fun afternoon & congrats to all the kids who found the strength to shine, it goes above winning in my book.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Contest Winner! & Good-bye Winter

Contests are my way of paying it forward, to continue to give to others by using my time & talent (if I would be so bold as to say I'm talented) & I feel like I'm a better person for it. Whether it's my contest winner getting the photos taken of themself or to give the session to another, it's a good feeling to be a part of. So let me quit yacking & announce...
THE WINNER OF MY CONTEST IS ALICE B. You will be receiving an email today announcing you as the winner. Please contact me within 5 days at, comment to this post or call me (530)356-0756. I'm looking forward to talking with you & Thank you to all who entered.
With everything else going on, it finally feels like Spring has arrived so I wanted to say a quick good-bye to winter. Jon & Lady will miss the snow dearly, me not so much. Although I love it when it visits, snow is better enjoyed for just a day or two then it needs to go & let the sun shine in. Just like camera batteries, I don't do well in the cold but love the beauty it creates.
These photos were taken back in February & Lady had so much fun rolling & digging in the snow. The best things in our life are sometimes tossed aside & discovered by others as treasure. So glad she's part of our family. So blessed for the little things.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Alicia, Ryan & family

This is my niece Alicia, her husband Ryan, son Aiden & daughter Rose. When I took my last trip to Reno, to take photos of Kittys 90th Bday party, I stopped by Alicias in the middle of the day, (before heading back to Redding) & got a few updated photos of her family. It was an overcast day, I thought it was pretty chilly outside with a threat of rain but we made due & had a pretty fun time together.
Can't remember who got read the riot act, just glad it wasn't me lol. Then Rose put her Christmas dress on to model for the camera, she was instantly happy...funny how girls do that sometime.
Aiden has a thing for Spider Man & Justin B. So after he showed me how Spidey shoots out some web, he sang me a Justin B song, almost knew every word too, no kidding. The b&w below, he's striking a JB pose, what a cutie!
What a beautiful family, I don't mean to be biased but look at those smiles. Can't wait to see them again.
CONTEST UPDATE: TIMES ALMOST UP. If you haven't entered my FREE SESSION CONTEST, it's not too late, you have until this Sun, April 10th @ midnight. To make it easier on anybody who still wants to enter & so you don't have to go back to the contest page, just comment to this post with your name, email address (for the winner to be contacted) & why you want to win a free session. People have also asked if they can enter the contest for another person (as a gift) & the answer is Heck yeah , as long as they agree to it, Enter away. Paying it forward is so cool & I have no problem doing that at all. Getting so excited it's almost over, can't wait to hear from you, Good luck!

Friends & Viewers