slide show

Monday, January 15, 2018

Capture you. Capture the ordinary.


If you invite me over to your house...
for almost any reason...
there's a better than not chance..
that I'll bring my camera...

and take photos...
with you in them.
Yeah, I know you've probably got lots of pictures of your kids and even you're whole family. But how many of those photos have you in them? How many of those photos show you doing what you do every day, being a mama to littles... and middles... and bigs? D you have photos that capture the ordinary? Do you have images that show how you show your love to your family by doing what moms do every single day in and day out? You know, the ordinary miracles stuff that families are made of.

I'm a firm believer that mamas never have enough photos with them in them. These are among the photos that are treasures for their children.
And their children.
And the families they will have.
They are a legacy that show the love and the ordinary miracles that exist in all families between the crazy and the chaos. They are the images that slow us down and show us what's important when social media and commercialism says just the opposite is true.

Capture these images. Take the photos with you in them.
Ignore they clutter. The dishes in the background. Or dust bunnies.
Ignore the grey and coming wrinkles.
Ignore the way you didn't put your shoulders back in that frame.
Do put your attention on the slightly awkward expression you're making.
Or that 20 lbs you want to lose.
Don't see you.
See what's important.
See the love.
See the little things. The way God is so apparent in all the mediocrity.
See time well spent with one another.
Capture the ordinary.
The clutter will wait.
See the gift of touch. And holding hands. And holding babies.
Pay attention to the connections that exists within families.

From one mama to another, one that's seen her child grow up and move on and knows how fast it goes by, how precious time is...
Take. These. Photos. Now.
You already give your children so much. Please give them this.
These images aren't for you. They are for them. They are your legacy.

Thank you, Katie, for letting me in your home and take these photos.
Mary Alice and Sebastian's children thank you too.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

New for 2018! Referral program! 20% off!

Through my years of teaching photography I've been blessed to have the most amazing students from 5 continents! Over a thousands of them so far! And seriously... 
I. Am. So. Humbled!
that they'd pic me to teach them something that has been such a huge blessing, photography. 
Most of my students have been mamas just like me, with babies or toddlers or tweens and teens or even with grown children, but all with the same joys, frustrations, beauty and mess that raising children and having a family involves. I love these women, and I mean it when I say it really is a privilege to get to know them through their photos and share what I know about photography with them. 

One thing my students have consistently done over the years is to refer my classes to their friends. 
Or their sister. 
Or their mom. 
Or sorority sister 
Or neighbor. 
Or co-worker. 
And it's about time that I found a way to say thank you to them for passing on the word about my classes! 
So from now on, for every student that you refer to my classes, YOU get 20% off your next class! 

I asked my students what they though about this, and they said, Well that sounds great, but honestly, your classes are so amazing that we're going to refer you anyway! And I'm pretty sure I was blushing at that point. And then they suggested, How 'bout offering a discount to my friend instead? And I was like Wow! That's a great idea! But why don't we do both! A discount for both you and your friend! And right then and there, Ordinary Miracles referral program was born! 

So let me make sure I'm making it clear. For EVERY student you refer to any one of my classes (has to be a brand new students to Ordinary Miracles Photography classes) you will get 20% off any class. If you refer 2 students, you'll get 40% off, and if you refer 3 you'll get 60% off. And thus for every 5 students you refer, you'll get a totally free class! 

But I really want you to share the love too 'cause I know how much your friends mean to you! Our friends keep us laughing, drop everything and offer a shoulder to cry on, never judge us and keep us sane on even our toughest mom days. Our friends are just precious treasures! So I want you to pass on a 20% discount to your friend too! Just tell them to contact me before they register for any class to get the discount. 

So thank you so much for those of you who are passing my name and classes on! And thanks in advance to those of you who are going to do it in the future. I can't wait to meet up with you in class! 

Both the Manual Mode and Beyond Manual Class are currently registering. They are the perfect start for the person who is just wanting to start their journey in photography! 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Sorry. Not sorry.

Is it getting cold in your neck of the woods?
Are you deep into winter and the harshness of cold deep in your bones?
I'm sorry.
Really I am.
But not really.
I'm a desert rat, and I really don't do cold very well. I used to, but now I don't have to, and my blood has become thin. Thus the reason for living in the desert. It's a Catch 22 thing.
You see, the desert is awful in the summer. Maybe it goes without saying that it's hot in the desert in the summer. Like throw me in the oven and bake me, like the asphalt is melting, like burn yourself on the seatbelt, like the air is far hotter than the blood in your body, all summer long. Like we desert rats go indoors in June-ish and just don't come out till October. It's kinda like your winter except we don't have to shovel any snow and far less clothing.

So in the summer when we're racking up hundreds of dollars in air conditioning bills each month, we see all of your lovely green-grass, outdoor activity photos and sigh with envy... longing for our summer to be over so we can go outside again.

This year summer held on extra long, and it was awful. But now... now it's January, and well now it's perfect outside in the desert. Green grass, flip flop wearing, the garden is growing, go ride your bicycle and be outdoors weather! And personally I feel a need to rub that in a little. To make up for all those months I saw your summer photos when I was stuck inside. It's not fair, but it is a reward to the desert rats for surviving 120° for far longer than a human being should have to. 
So here you have a little outdoor loveliness of my flowers. My winter perfection while you're cold and probably going to get colder. 
Sorry for that.
It's not fair. 
But it is what it is. 
You can expect to see lots more like this clear through May. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Top 10 photos of 2017

and, as usual, by 10 I mean 13 because I can never ever whittle it down to just 10, and it's my blog so I can keep more if I want to. ***inset stomping foot and pouting here***

I saw my photography get darker in 2017. In years past my images were usually bright, bold and airy, and many still are, but in 2017 there were literally just more frames that were darker. I still see the bold striking colors and contrast that I'm always drawn to. But there's just more darkness this year, more blacks, shadows and low light settings. Maybe that translates to more soulful images. I don't know. 

So here are my top pics from the last year. 

This pic of Jude was taken in early 2017 at The Little Cabin in the Woods. I love the pops of colors in the fall leaves behind him, but the snow on the ground too that shows the transition of seasons. Not so mention those red cheeks on that adorable face! 

I found myself fascinated and looking for low-light settings this year to photograph in. Sometimes a photographer just gets lucky and life happens in the light you've been watching. 

This image, so small on the www doesn't do it justice. It's so so much better bigger like a pano should be. This pic is several frames stitches together into a big long panorama. It was taken at a beautiful park with the city in the distance, in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China, Ru's first home. For the China adoption mamas reading this, this is the "other" park right down the street from the China hotel. We visited it a lot in those first few days together. It's Ru's home. I'm hoping to find someplace that will do a big panorama canvas for us of this one. 

I got lucky with this photo, all of them in great light and connecting together. It was taken only a couple weeks after we had gotten home. I want Ru to feel this familial love and embrace forever. Don't we all?! 

This is my favorite macro image from 2017. It's a sago palm uncurling it's new baby palm fronds in the spring. I'm always fascinated with the world of macro and the little ordinary miracles it brings to life. 

I adore this photo not just because it has the man that has been my partner in life for so long and the little man that just entered it, but also because it really perfectly represents this season of life we're currently in. When our babies were little, Papa was very the one that would often take them in the middle of the night to calm them, and I'd find them like this, both asleep, a baby on his chest. Although our new little man is bigger and older, he's no different. Often he just needs the things he missed along the way. How lucky we re to give him that? 

The "dawn patrol" at the 2017 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in October. This was such a wonderful trip for our family. There's something about hot air balloons that is magical too and bring us all right back to our childhood, no matter how old we are. 

This sweet little one is getting older but still dresses in princess dresses, fairy wings and capes, sparkly crowns or cat ears every moment that she can. I love love love the way this images captures that. The way she races off the frame with her fingers out stretched and her little foot off the ground. This image is very much her and all she is within. 

I wish this pic had all of us, but still... Zombies. Chinese victory symbol and smiling faces. 3 things that really don't go together at all, but somehow it jsut works... just like us! 

Recently I forced myself to select a single favorite/best pic for 2017. This was the one I chose. There's a lot here, compositionally, figuratively, a lot more it says about where we are right now. Being a teenager is hard in many ways. And beautiful. And amazing. And this young man who is barely a teen anymore, still takes my breath away all the time. Being the mama to a man is something I'm still getting used to. 

I loved this pic the very first time I saw it on the back of the camera. Some photos just do that. I was free-lensing and both the strange depth of field and the purple pink tones coming from the upper right are from this photography technique. Not to mention that the contradiction of delicate flowers on cacti are always pretty amazing. 

This one's just magic to me. Sparkly and dark but still with the blue of the sky poking between the branches. I think I love it because it's how I want to find us as a family forever, together working some project or another.

I've had a couple people ask me it this pic was posed. It wasn't. She literally was trying to teach him about Christmas (specially What Christmas ornaments were) as they sat by the tree. It's everything about his first Christmas. It was a very special and highly anticipated holiday for us this year. And it did not disappoint! 

Happy 2018, my friends! I hope it brings you all you've been dreaming of! 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Wordless Christmas morning

Friday, December 29, 2017

For parent's eyes only...

Fair warning! 
Don't let your kiddos see this one! 

On Christmas Eve, we have a tradition of getting hot chocolate and riding around in the car to look at Christmas lights. This year, we decided to combine it with dinner. We went to a favorite restaurant and even at first bite, which was confirmed in the second bite I knew the scallops were off. After the cookies and milk had been set out for Santa, the kiddos were tucked in and finally asleep, and the real work was getting underway, at 10:30pm to be precise, it hit me all of a sudden! I was really ill with food poisoning for the next 5 hours. Like moaning and groaning and don't get too far from the facilities sick! Thankfully we had the wrapping done, but as you mama's know, there's a lot more that needs to be done on Christmas Eve after the kids are asleep! 
Just before that around 10pm, I was setting up my intervalometer to take pics the following morning. I was testing out my settings at 10:30 when everything came to a screening halt. Unbeknownst to us all the camera just kept taking pics. The next day, Christmas morning, I was woozy but okay. And to my surprise I discovered a whole bunch of photos that showed me what went on in my absence! My sweet wonderful elves, Livy, Boo and Papa hard at work, finishing up what I couldn't help with. 
This is what I discovered on Christmas morning... a beautiful little surprise present to me that reminds me how amazingly lucky I am to have this crazy wonderful family! 
Probably my favorite present of all! 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Goodbye Soccer!

Our 1st soccer season has concluded, and we crazy proud of our girl who dared to try something new with kids who were far bigger and mostly more experienced than she was, most of them boys. Tess played most of the season with untied laces, a thumbs up to her family whenever she passed by and enthusiasm in her heart as she does most everything.
She really enjoyed playing soccer and as a family I think I can say we all did. It was a wonderful way to get out on our gorgeous Arizona Saturdays and spend time as a family supporting her. So maybe she'll do it again. But maybe not because Tess is moving on to learning more new things. Right now she's making up her mind about joining an all-girls running club at her school and training for a 5K. Or parkor classes, otherwise known as ninja school.

Tough choice, right?

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