Archive for 2008

I know some professional photographers are going to be angry about the content of this blog post, but hopefully not too many of them bother to read my little blog. Yes, I gave away an image to a publication for free. Obviously this lights a fire under pros who think they should be compensated for every shutter press. Ehhh… sorry? When it’s your kid and a magazine with a circulation of one million, I think you’d opt for the bragging rights. :)

Back in July the kids and I visited a very cool indoor play area in Chicago — Dayfrog! If you’re ever in Chicago, check it out with your kids. We enjoyed it so much that we spent two days of our visit there. While I was there I took some snapshots of the kids (shocking!).

The images weren’t great quality, just family snaps in low light, but I had a couple that were OK. A while back the owner e-mailed and asked if I would send him something for an upcoming article. Of course!

Here’s a photo of Brandon that accompanies their article in the December issue of Midwest Living Magazine! How cool is that? I’m supposed to receive a copy of the magazine soon. Brandon is trying not to let it go to his head. 😉

Click the photo to see the whole page.

Winter is coming…

October 9th, 2008

… and I’m getting ready. I liked winter so much more before I had kids, especially toddlers. Slush, mud, snow, and puddles are coming — for the next 6 months. I’ve built a simple portable studio to keep me busy this winter.

I’ve tried it out with both kids and I can already see that some big powerful lights need to be on my agenda. Right now I’m working with 2 speedlights, an umbrella and a tiny softbox. I have 3 paper colors so far, but I can see that paper will become addictive.

Here are a few shots from my very first try. I’m pretty excited about the possibilities! I just need to get a little more creative.

There is a difference…

October 6th, 2008

If I could will the world to learn something (I won’t say one thing because there are a lot of things I want the world to learn), it would be that there is a difference between what is RIGHT and what is legally acceptable. That ethics, morality, and right and wrong are not dictated by the laws of this land.

In so many cases, I hear people excuse behavior with the “it’s perfectly legal” clause and I see people whose actions demonstrate this without words. I see people returning items to stores that they admit having used for almost a year just because the store policy allows for it. I see people who lie shamelessly to get what they want because it is so rare for honesty or compassion to flow freely that they feel they have to in order to get what they need or want.

I like to believe that there was a time in this country, maybe not so long ago, when people still truly believed that right and wrong were completely separate concepts from what their government allowed. I believe there was a time when customer service wasn’t dead and when people gladly waved you into traffic. I believe there was a time when generosity was common and people truly helped one another — and not just in the midst of a crisis or natural disaster.

These are things I want to believe. I need to believe that this spirit might still be alive somewhere — because we might need it someday.

We hosted a very small family party for Brandon’s birthday today. My sad little attempt to get a family picture was mostly thwarted by the wind and the fact that Bailey’s resolve to run away into the street was surprisingly strong. The lack of a tripod made it even more of an adventure.

Stu managed to get one shot with my setup before Bailey ran away again… all subsequent attempts were completely unusable (unless Miss. Bailey Angry Face is a good look for a family portrait). I snapped a few of Tabitha and Brandon, too — these turned out better than the group shot.

Click the images for slightly larger versions on my flickr. :)

These were my first real shots using my complete off camera lighting setup. I am loving the results of adding off camera flash. I think it really has the potential cause a bit of an addiction to buying lighting gear! :)

Word from GM

August 24th, 2008

I do have to mention that back in the end of July, after a particularly heated conversation with GM’s insurer, a shiny new 2009 Cadillac SRX was delivered to me through Enterprise. After driving that minivan for more than 3 weeks, I was over the novelty. I was pleasantly surprised that she was willing to see it my way and help me get a comparable rental while they continued their investigation into my car fire. It really hurts to write out a check for a car payment when that car is sitting in a dealer’s parking lot.

It has now been another month (making the entire process 2 1/2 months so far) and I have finally heard from GM. Surprisingly… they are going to fix my car. No kidding! I have to laugh when I think about this entire process and how much easier it would have been had they simply agreed to do the right thing way back in June.

I can only imagine the money that they’ve spent on 8 weeks of rentals, investigators, engineers, attorneys, and insurance adjusters just to come to a conclusion that was absolutely inevitable. No, I did not set my car on fire and yes, they really need to pay to fix it.

The dealer says I may have my car back as early as the end of next week!

A couple "ah ha!" days..

August 22nd, 2008

Brandon and I hit the park before his hair cut appointment (desperately needed). Brandon is a tough one. He has a lot of limitations in his posing. He has no trouble picking up a bug, but do NOT ask him to sit anywhere near one. No, he won’t sit in the grass, no not on the rocks either… nope, he won’t lean up against that wall. I am definitely being punished for what I did to my mom. :)

Here’s one from our park trip. Full midday sun, in the shade… I was surprised to find so many cool locations at one park. It’s a definite keeper and would be awesome with someone who is more willing to get a little dirty.

And from my favorite series yet… it’s Brandon looking “like a grown up going to work…” There were taken in the neighbor’s yard in the few minutes we had before dinner (post hair cut).

I am dying to scope out thrift and consignment stores in the area for more props. This chair really made my day — $5 at the thrift store AND it folds — BONUS! Fits in the car with no trouble at all.

The rest of the images from those 2 series are on my flickr.

… all of the things we’ve planted were getting bigger. Tonight I made a big (healthy) Italian dinner with parsley and tomatoes from our own garden. We always seem to choose the quick fix, but even with Bailey screaming and hanging on my arm while I’m cooking, I still love to make a big complex meal.

We’ve been in an endless dinner loop, so I’ve been forcing myself to make only things we have never had before… or at least new variations on old favorites. Convincing Brian that there could be a healthy alternative to his beloved mini meatloaves was a painful 10 minutes I will never get back, but I won. I WON!

Brandon’s 6th birthday is coming up in 2 days. I’m sad and excited and amazed all at the same time. No more toddler sizes. No more “not really” school and pretending he’s still my baby. In fact, I’m positive that pretty soon he is going to tell me I can’t call him baby anymore. That’s gonna suck.

Brandon is having, by far, the longest birthday ever. Even longer than Brian’s birthdays, which tend to drag on for at least the entire month of April. In the name of Brandon’s birthday we finally checked out the zoo in Madison on Sunday and this weekend we’re taking Brandon and two friends to swim at the indoor waterpark in Rockford (the entire extended family has decided to tag along). In 2 weeks, when Uncle Brad and Aunt Tabitha get back from their trip, we’ll have yet another family party. No, he doesn’t get a big exciting kid party with piles of presents, but I think there’s a chance he will survive anyway.

We also bought our first family game console — a Wii (which I resisted for ages). I had to agree to something and it was *not* going to be another machine that requires no input other than pressing buttons — we get enough of that around here already. And I’m not going to give in to the whole, “buuuttttt…. Chris has more consoles than I doooooooo.” (Betcha thought Brandon said that… It’s more pathetic when you know it was my 37 year old husband). 😉

It is now 2:15am and Bailey is still awake after her unfortunate late nap. When Little Bear is over, we are going to desperation mode and locking ourselves in the bedroom.


The Bedtime Enforcer

I've been lax…

August 8th, 2008

It’s been a while. I feel like we’ve done too much for me to include it all here. We took a trip down to Chicago and stayed right in the heart of downtown. The kids and I found an awesome indoor playground just like the one I dream to build here. I know that the economy in Janesville wouldn’t support the prices they are charging for admission in the city, but I think it’s absolutely essential for kids in Janesville to have something to do in the winter that is not McDonald’s and Chuck E. Cheese’s. Moms (and dads) need a place to relax, have some coffee, and connect with each other.

I’ve been thinking so much about where I want to go with my career in the future. It will only be a few short years before both kids are in school all day. I am feeling that I need a change. I need something real and tangible after so many years of selling a virtual product to virtual people for virtual money.

I’m still not sure if I have a true passion for photographing other people. I do know I am truly passionate about photographing my own children, but that isn’t really an indication of anything meaningful. Who doesn’t like pictures of their own kids? The line between momtographer and photographer is the question of whether I can work with and capture the emotions of children who are not my own.

A mom I just met (my new Mary Kay consultant, in fact) mentioned that she’d like me to practice on her kids, so I’m excited to give it a try. Expectations will be low, hopefully. I’m also excited to meet up with a local photographer who found me through my craigslist plea for free practice work.

I feel that I’ve had an AHA! metering moment and my exposure is really improving, especially now that I know all it takes to get Brandon to pose for me is $1 per finished shot. 😉 It’s a small price to pay for a willing model!

Here are a couple from our 2 more recent attempts. I have exhausted the areas around our yard, so I hope to beg a neighbor or two for access to their yards, too.

This post is already far too long and Brian should be walking in the door any minute! His flight was miraculously on time. First time for everything. :)