Photographing a family of strong women

Yesterday, I had the chance to stray from taking Senior Portraits (like here, here, and here), and instead photographing a  family of strong young women and their strong Mom.

Holiday Family Photos and getting to know your subjects through a lens

It was so much fun.

Holiday Family Photos and getting to know your subjects through a lens

I have said it before, but I really do enjoy uncovering each person’s unique personality and beauty. I give very little direction, and if I do, it is for silly poses to loosen everyone up. Sometimes I use them, but more often than not, they are a tool. It is hard work to be in front of the camera.

Holiday Family Photos and getting to know your subjects through a lens

We only spend a very short amount of time together, but it is enough to get a glimpse into who they are. During one session, I can clearly see who is comfortable in the spotlight, and who would rather not be noticed. Who needs to move around, and who can hold the same face for 30 minutes. And you know what? They are all beautiful in very different ways. Even if they happen to be related to each other.

Holiday Family Photos and getting to know your subjects through a lens

Thank you, strong ladies. It was truly a pleasure.

*****

How do you photograph other people?

Senior Photos: Uncovering Personalities

I had the privilege of taking the senior photos for another one of our friends who we have known since she was 2.

Cheese Louise, people! Where does the time go?!

Senior Photo Session

When I take senior photos, I like to chat. A lot. I am goofy, and ask them questions, and it always seems to work at putting everyone at ease. It totally works for adults, too. It is awkward, for most people, to be the main focus of attention. I think it may be especially true when you are a teen. This helps them to relax, and act as natural as they can for the camera.

  Senior Photo Session

We had a great time chatting and laughing.

Senior Photo Session

I still get glimpses of that toddler from so long ago, through this delightful young lady. She is as strong and confident and good natured, as she always was.

Senior Photo Session

It is fun to see what each person comes up with, and what poses they are most comfortable with.

Senior Photo Session

Every single one of the people I photograph is different from one another, and they are all beautiful. It is my pleasure to uncover their unique personalities and help them shine. That is my favorite part.

Getting away before school begins: A Lummi Island vacation story

 Our family wanted to have a relaxing mini vacation before the rigorous school schedule starts up again this week. I say “wanted”, but I think we all really needed it. Our Summer has been full of running around and activity. While that is fun, I felt like we needed to recharge our collective batteries, and get out of dodge for a few days. What better place than Lummi island?

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

We left on Sunday for the beloved Island. As we were packing up, I told our youngest to go out to the car wih her bag. A minute later she darted inside screaming and crying. Through the sobs, I decifered the words “Mama Mouse” and “Babies“. I ran out to take a look, and there were brand new pink mouse babies and a whole lot of stuffing in the rail of the sliding door of our van.

OK.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

We stopped what we were doing to think about what to do next, and spotted the Mama carrying her little ones further into our car. *sigh* We haven’t even gotten on the road, and we now had three more passengers signed up for the trip, whether they knew it or not.

Since we could not see where they went, we decided to continue on.

A Lummi Island, WA vacation story

Let me pause here to let you know about our 10 year old daughter, Falafel. She has a knack, let’s say, for being the one to find nature in crisis, and the one to be moved to tears by it. Always. She is the one who found the abandoned nest in our yard, even though my husband had mowed the day before, and the yard is an acre. Last month, she was standing beneath a tree in our front yard, when suddenly, a young bird plummeted to the ground next to her feet to it’s ultimate demise. Only after, mind you, a few hours of our girl trying to give it water and bring it back to health, amidst lots of sobbing.

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Now there are newborn mice to fret about, and they are somewhere in our car.

So we take two ferries and drive a few hours to get to our home away from home (for a few days). It is beautiful. The home has been remodeled, it has brand new appliances, and the view is spectacular. And then we go into the master bedroom, and it smells like sweaty man pits. Serious body odor, and I cannot find where it is.

I sometimes feel like we are living in a Seinfeld episode.

Lummi Island, WA Vacation story

I proceed to wipe every surface (including the door frame because that is where it was the strongest), and I STILL CAN’T GET RID OF IT. We ended up spending the night in there with a fan running, but because I am a “super smeller” according to my husband (and I have to agree. I really am- I can smell obnoxious odors from a block away if the wind is blowing right), I buried my face in a pillowcase that I brought from home, the entire night because I just could not un-smell it. The next day, we stripped the bed and washed the sheets, and I located another strong smelling spot which was on the pillow shams. I can only guess that a smelly guy rested after being at the beach on top of the bed, and the odor stuck. The odd thing is, it was only in that one room.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

The next morning, I took the girls down to the beach, which is full of barnacle covered rocks (I am sure you know where this is going). It was so peaceful and beautiful and quiet, until Falafel slips on some seaweed, and falls onto the barnacles. I sent her back to Jim at the house, crying and bleeding, and turn around only to see The Bee do the exact same thing.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

I kid you not.

  A Lummi Island, WA vacation story

We all got in lots of relaxing after that, which is what the whole point of the trip was.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

We even hiked two of the three nature preserves on the island.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

Mostly, though, we just sat and looked and listened.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

There is a peace and stillness on this island like no other.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

We have only stayed on the opposite side of the island (here and here).

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

It was nice to have a different experience this time.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

The second night, we go into the room, and it still smells. Jim and I give up at this point. Luckily, there is a pull-out couch in the livingroom (with a gorgeous view of the water), so we bunk there. The Bee, evidently is nose-deaf, so she took that room, and our Falafel had the whole downstairs to herself. Everyone was happy.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

It felt good to read a whole book in a few days (which usually takes me weeks or months to do). And I brought a craft to try out (which I will share with you later this week).

Lummi Island, WA Vacation story

I pre-cooked all of our meals before we left, so all we had to do was heat things up. That right there was brilliant, if I do say so myself. Not having to actually think about meals was heavenly.

Lummi Island, WA Vacation story

Our girls both were excited about making smores (GF and EF, of course). Sadly, there was a burn ban, so no fires allowed. We made them in the oven, anyway.

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We realized that our girls need nothing more than a beach to explore to keep them happy every day. They looked at every rock there was to look at, and had a blast doing it.

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There was plenty to keep them entertained for the entire trip. It was lovely.

A Lummi Island, WA vacation story

 We have enough rocks and seaglass to start our own beach, now.

A Lummi Island, WA vacation story

There were moments when they couldn’t comb the beach, but the high tide didn’t stop our 10 year old. She insisted on playing on that rock, singing, happy as could be, in the cold (I was wearing a fleece sweatshirt) for an hour and a half (and would have stayed longer if it weren’t for me).

Lummi Island, WA Vacation story

Overall, we had a wonderful mini vacation. None of us wanted to leave, which is always a sign of a successful time away.

A Lummi Island, WA vacation story

This week, we journey into a new school year, with fond memories of our time on Lummi.

Where have you recharged, lately?

Accessible Play for All

Owen's Playground: Accessible Play for All regardless of ability

Owen's Playground: Accessible Play for All regardless of ability

Owen's Playground: Accessible Play for All regardless of ability

Owen's Playground: Accessible Play for All regardless of ability

Owen's Playground: Accessible Play for All regardless of ability

Owen's Playground: Accessible Play for All regardless of ability

Owen's Playground: Accessible Play for All regardless of ability

Owen's Playground: Accessible Play for All regardless of ability

The girls and I had the absolute privilege of attending the opening ceremony for an all inclusive playground called Owens Playground. If you have a moment, I encourage you to check out the story behind it here. It was incredibly beautiful and happy to see this place, which began as a thought, come to life. And what was even more beautiful, was seeing the diverse crowd of greater than 500 people that showed up to support and play.

We had the pleasure of meeting Owen, just a few times, and call Stacy and Kelsey our friends. It was an incredible emotional moment that I am so thankful we were a part of.

I know there has been a lapse in sewing posts around here (which I promise to remedy soon), but I felt compelled to show this snippet of joy that we shared, in hopes it will shine a little light where there is so much darkess, as of late. Social media is wonderful, on one hand, because it is a great channel to connect with others. On the other hand, we get bombarded with bad news all the more rapidly.

I think the world needs more happy. And this is happy at it’s purest.

What Happy have you seen this weekend?

Back from Fiddle Camp with TMI

fiddle camp

fiddle camp

fiddle camp

fiddle camp

fiddle camp

fiddle camp

fiddle camp

fiddle camp

fiddle camp

fiddle camp

Oh my goodness! We are back from Moses Lake Fiddle Camp (like last year) and tons of fun was had. While The Bee was fiddling her heart out in class for 6-8 hours a day, we took our Falafel everywhere there is to go in Moses lake. Swimming at the waterpark, running at the Highschool track, movies, bowling, and even a gymnastics class for our little gymnast! The most fun was had with our friend,  and her adorable boys on the lake.

At night, we went to the Contra Dances, which are always a blast. Any student can jump in and play with the band. One night they had over 100 people playing. It is so much fun to dance too.

Now for the TMI part. The last night we were there, I ran out of clean underwear (as one will do when one tries not to pack too much stuff), so I went “commando” ahem with the thought that I would sit on the sidelines and photograph all the action. That is when the caller came over and asked me (out of about a dozen other people sitting around us) to particpate in one of the dances, because they were short one person. How could I say no?! Ha! I danced very carefully so my dress didn’t ride up, and laughed the entire time. My husband just said, well you’ll get a great story out of this one.

Now you have, I am sure, waaaaaaay too much information about our trip. The most important thing is it was fun…and we are back! Afterall, there is no place like home (uh, and somewhere you can wash your underwear).

Seattle

Seattle

Seattle

Seattle

Seattle

Seattle

Seattle

Where have YOU been lately?

Star Hair

While I was perusing Pinterest, as one often does (and by “one” I mean ME, and by “often” I mean every night), I found this fun hairstyle for the Fourth of July. I gave it a try, and it came out adorable. BUT a little while after I did it, my girl was complaining about it pulling and hurting the back of her head, so it didn’t last the whole parade. Luckily, though, I am an opportunist when it comes to blog work, and photographed her with it (before we went to the parade) for an upcoming tour I am on. Since the tour is next week, I can only show you her head.

Star Hair

Cute, right?! I actually can’t wait to share the whole outfit with you. That will have to wait for another post.

Have you tried any hair styles you found on Pinterest?

Fourth Recap

Brace yourselves for another year of a crazy amount of Fourth of July parade photos.

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I made another skipper top for my youngest (like here, here, and here) so she would have something festive to wear to this year’s parade. She paired her stripey shirt with her Wonder Woman skirt, and she was good to go.

After the parade, we actually watched fireworks! In the 19 years we have been out in WA state, we have never seen a fireworks show. Our Falafel came up to us and said it was her dream to see “actual fireworks”, you know, not just the animated ones, and we realized we needed to make this happen.

We are all exhausted, but had a fantastic day, all together. AND it didn’t rain! WOOHOO!

How was your fourth?

Too Short to Model

Too Short Model dilemma

Looking at that title, you probably are thinking, “What do mean,

Too Short to Model??!”

Well, let me explain. My redhead has wanted to either act or do print modeling for many years. She actually did a runway modeling job last year for Rock it Like a Redhead and again for the Trashion Show this past Spring (both unpaid). Since she was little, she has had a love of acting and being in the spotlight . And I, not being in that field, had absolutely no idea where to start. Now that she is 16, braces off, and an adult size, not to mention that social media makes these things a bit easier, I asked around and found the names of a few modeling agencies to check out.

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One of the requirements is that women should be between 5’7 and 6 feet tall. Both agencies had this stipulation. If you are not that tall, don’t bother. Well, I measured my girl, and my ruler said she was 5’6.5, so we decided to take the risk, and go there for the open call. It is only half an inch, afterall.

We filled out the paperwork, I took special headshots and stressed about printing them (it only took about 7 times printing to get it right), we rode the ferry into Seattle, and walked 30 minutes there…only to find out she is too short. They measured her, without her shoes, and said she measured 5’5.5, and sent us on our way without a consideration, and told us that when she grows a few more inches, she can come back.

OK. Well, she is done growing, so that isn’t going to happen.

I was genuinely surprised. I thought, if anything, they would turn her away because of her pale complexion (which can be difficult to photograph), or her wild mane of red hair (which can be equally difficult).

This is not the end of the world, by any means. To her, though, it feels quite devastating. As a parent, I was trying to support my child in doing what she wants to persue, right now. And we both don’t give up very easily.

So my question to you, dear readers is: “Are there any other agencies/ roads/ ways for my daughter to do this, or is this brick wall too thick to bash through?”.

Look for the newsletter next week. I just couldn’t manage everything this week!

On that note, have a great weekend.