Charlie’s PreShow {Phoenix Pregnancy Photographer}

You know what this means don’t you?? Another newborn shoot coming up for me!? Wooohooo!? Little Charlie will likely arrive in Sept (though brother was early so we’ll see).? His mama Amber has that pregnancy glow about her for sure.? I was delighted that Amber allowed me to come do this shoot in their home.? In July, it is way too hot for pregnant mama’s to be outside in Phoenix, but the backdrop of Charlie’s nursery, their bedroom, staircase, and even their kitchen, was perfect for this shoot.? In fact, I like to encourage people to use their homes because it adds another dimension to the nostalgia.? Capturing the nursery and the first home baby ever lived in – sweet memories.

This is big brother Jackson.? Jackson is a riot.? Bundle of energy he is.? I know all about rambunctious little boys so Jackson and I became fast friends.? When I first arrived I asked Jackson his middle name and like a well trained young man he said “I can’t tell you that.? You are a stranger”.? Hee hee.? Touche.

By the end of the shoot when I was getting into my car though, Jackson yelled out “I love you”.? Jackson and I have something in common.? Strangers don’t last but five minutes in our lives.

A lot of hard work is put into preparing a nursery for baby.? What better way to celebrate the grand design than to use the finished product as a backdrop for pictures.? Didn’t they do a grand job on Charlie’s room?? I wish their AMAZING dresser would have been in these pictures but I didn’t catch the room from the opposite angle.

And mama’s bedroom is ready for baby too.? See the cradle?

Another benefit to using your home for pregnancy pictures is that it allows the opportunity for some draping.

And one more fun thing…

One of Amber’s passions is healthy cooking.? She has a cooking blog called The Mommy Chef with some fun healthy recipes for kids (and adults).? For fun, we decided to shoot a few of Amber and Jackson in the kitchen – another place where mommy and son spend some quality time.? 🙂

Anxious to see you all again when Charlie arrives!

The Old Man and his Horse

I know…what is a post without a picture?? This is for my brother.? He’ll “get” it.? 🙂

“You never know when your on a cattle drive if you are going to run out of water.” – Quote:? My very wise five year old nephew Graham.? 🙂

And for my brother (because I refer to this Old Chinese Parable all the time…)

The Old Man and his Horse (a.k.a. Sai Weng Shi Ma)

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before ? such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.

People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused. ?This horse is not a horse to me,? he would tell them. ?It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend.? The man was poor and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.

One morning he found that the horse was not in his stable. All the village came to see him. ?You old fool,? they scoffed, ?we told you that someone would steal your horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him. You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would have been too high. Now the horse is gone and you?ve been cursed with misfortune.?

The old man responded, ?Don?t speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I?ve been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge??

The people contested, ?Don?t make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse.?

The old man spoke again. ?All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don?t know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can?t say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next??

The people of the village laughed. They thought that the man was crazy. They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn?t, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money. But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, and old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it. He lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty. Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.

After fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn?t been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him. Once again, the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. ?Old man, you were right and we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us.?

The man responded, ?Once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don?t judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole book? You read only one word of one phrase. Can you understand the entire phrase??

?Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is one fragment! Don?t say that this is a blessing. No one knows. I am content with what I know. I am not perturbed by what I don?t.?

?Maybe the old man is right,? they said to one another. So they said little. But down deep, they knew he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had returned. With a little work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.

The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments.

?You were right,? they said. ?You proved you were right. The dozen horses were not a blessing. They were a curse. Your only son has broken both his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer than ever.?

The old man spoke again. ?You people are obsessed with judging. Don?t go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one knows. We only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments.?

It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There was little chance that they would return. The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing struggle. They would never see their sons again.

?You were right, old man,? They wept. ?God knows you were right. This proves it. Your son?s accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you. Our sons are gone forever.?

The old man spoke again. ?It is impossible to talk with you. You always draw conclusions. No one knows. Say only this. Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows.?

Happy Me

Oh happy day?

While I am working, Ty is sitting beside me saying ?I am so happy mommy.? I am just so so happy.? I love this house.? I love this family.?? I love my bed and my games.? Do you love me mommy?? I love you.? I love this place.? I am so happy.? Are you so happy??? I have conversations like this with my son every day.

And mama IS happy today too because I got my new lens and I am one happy happy happy girl.? I?ll talk about that more in a minute?

Tori this week?

Let?s see?what did my darling do today?? Removed the ribbon straps from her dress.? Twice.? Colored with marker on her face right before pictures.? Climbed up to the scissors, glue, and glitter pen that I had put up on the shelf to get away from her.? (I caught her before any damage was done).? Pulled sticky leaking lip gloss out of the bathroom trash.? Drug toilet paper through my bedroom.? Not too bad a day?for her.

This week she has been saying ?No me yike eeeet? a lot.? I grin every time.? She also said ?Me princess? and I got a kick out of that.

She spent some time with ?Bracken? this week and copied everything she did.? It was darling.? They are going to have so much fun together.? As you know, Braxtyn is a wild child as well and both Brooke and I feel we need to be armed and dangerous to handle this duo.? Gotta tell you about a funny from last week with Brooke.

Scene:? Sitting with Jim and Brooke at Aunt Beck?s table discussing the girls.

Brooke:? Now that Braxtyn is four (she turned four yesterday), we have really turned a corner.? She has stopped getting into things. When she disappears quietly for awhile I have finally stopped worrying she is in to something.

Jim:? So you?re telling us we have two more years of this?

*****About 30 minutes passes. ?Brooke quietly interrupts a conversation Daniel is having and beckons him to the hallway guest bathroom.? She is trying to be quiet and unobvious.? That drew everyone?s attention immediately.? 🙂

Being a good sister and Aunt, I approached the scene with caution.? Braxtyn had gotten into Karsyn?s makeup box.? Makeup everywhere and on all sorts of things.? Bathroom sink totally plugged up with toilet paper (I think).? Water all over the floor.

Brooke and I just stared at each other a moment.? Then we laughed.? We laughed hard.? 🙂

So much for two years.

{Topic Change}

Back in January, when Tori was in the hospital, a few different Doctors did double takes making note of her very petite bone size.?? When she was little I didn?t notice so much but lately I have thought her wrists barely bigger than a newborns.? The other night I decided to test this.? My findings as follows:

Tori?s wrist size (almost 30 months):? 3 7/8?

Cooper?s wrist size (6 weeks):? 3 6/8?

Ryker?s wrist size (same age as Tori):? 4 ??

Cozette?s wrist size (13 months):? 4?

I was right.? She does have wrists the size of a newborn.? Weird huh?

{Topic Change}

If you are interested in photography, you might want to read on.? If you could care less about photography and just like to look at the pictures, I would skip this next part if I were you and just scroll down to all the pictures.? 🙂

I don?t usually write about photography technicals on my blog because the majority of people reading don?t care about the hows.?? Today though, I want to talk shop because I am IN LOVE with a new lens and I have been talking a few people?s ears off discussing options and many of those individuals were smiling sweetly having no idea what I was talking about.? So (mom)?this is for you?

I have been shooting with a 24-70 2.8L zoom lens.? I love it.? It?s a wonderful pro series lens and it is definitely my workhorse.

HOWEVER, I have had my eye on an 85 1.2L prime for quite some time.? I don?t want to spend the almost 2 grand for it yet though.? I need to pay for baby number four first.??? For months I have been thinking about this lens.? Daily.? For real.

I am a sucker for ?super shallow depth of field with creamy gorgeous bokeh (bokeh is a Japenese word for the blur in pictures).

I broke down and bought the 85 1.8.? It isn?t the $2000.00 lens I still want but it will do for now.? I tried it out tonight and I HEART this lens big time.

How does one achieve a very shallow depth of field with beautiful bokeh?? There are several factors involved and I will keep my explanation very simple because there are a zillion web articles out there on this topic all of which will say it better?but briefly this is what you need to know.

Lenses do matter.? Some lenses will achieve much better bokeh then others (which is why I want the 85 1.2).? Having said that, you can achieve a shallow depth of field with your camera by shooting wide open, placing your subject as far from your background as possible while still keeping the subject composed well, and getting as close to your subject as possible.? Also you will want to use the longest lens you have.

While I love my 24-70 and wouldn?t give it up, the 85 1.8 allows me to shoot wider while being at a longer focal length.? This opens up more natural light opportunities as well.? The 85 length is also perfect for portraits.? I tend to get distortion when I use my zoom because I often end up shooting a wide angle too close.? Sometimes distortion is good.? Usually I don’t like it.? I notice a lot of photographers purchasing nice 50mm lenses but I prefer the perspective of an 85 better.?? Liza pointed out to me (I love Liza’s brain) that the human eye has the closest field of view to 50 mm so that means a 50 mm will get the perspective that we are used to seeing (but don’t shoot too close or you will get distortion).? Shooting with either a wider angle lens or a longer lens changes the perspective.? The artist in me appreciates that.? No 50s for me.? :)? (I actually do have a Canon 50 1.8 lens.? It was my starting lens as it is very economical – under 100.00.? It is a great lens and I highly recommend it over stock lenses.)

Clear as mud? 🙂

Or just skip all that above and take a look at what I mean.? I love it!? Did I say that already?

These were all taken at our pretty ugly community park a block away.? There was a field of weeds across the street that I used as well.? Yes I said weeds.? It’s July in AZ folks.? The light was soft and diffused this afternoon because I went out right before it stormed.? (Yeah – it rained!)

This is angry.? She wanted to be on the playground.?? I, however, wanted to shoot down on her with only her eyes in sharp focus.? I didn’t mind the angry eyes at all.? 🙂

This is NOT…I repeat NOT Tori winning the battle.? This is compromise.? Very necessary when photographing a 2 year old.? My 2 year old.

There is actual a painted iron fence behind her but with the shallow depth of field, you can barely make it out.? Nice.

Thank you to Amanda for making Tori this outrageously darling dress.? I ADORE the fabric she chose.? I love bright and colorful pillowcase dresses for shoots.

Until next week…

Amber Sneak Peek {Phoenix Pregnancy Photographer}

I love facebook.? I really do.

Recently a client posted images of her daughter on facebook.? A friend of hers contacted me for pictures.? The name sounded familiar so I looked up her profile on facebook.? I wracked my brain until I figured it out but it finally came to me.? I met Amber over 20 years ago.? I liked her then and I like her now.? A lot.? :)? I was in “love my job” mode as I took pictures of? little Charlie still hidden in mama’s womb.?? More from this session next week…