Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sharing A Passion

I feel so very, very lucky to have a friend with whom I share my passion for photography.  You may remember seeing photos from last February when Tracy came into town and we spent the day together in Chicago, visiting a photography museum and then taking pictures of each other and the beautiful city!  Well, this time it was my turn to go visit Tracy in her neck of the woods in Iowa. So, I set off on Thursday morning after I got my kids to school.

Tracy had asked me to take some photos of her and her daughter while I was there. Happily, I agreed.  As a fellow mom and photographer, there is very little proof that I exist in my family in my library of photos. That's because I'm always the one holding the camera. The same goes for Tracy.  I'm sure many of you can relate.  So, after I arrived and her daughter woke up from a nap, the three of us headed out to find a good spot to take photos.  As we were driving, I noticed a field with tall, yellow grasses.  We parked the car, got out our gear and spent the next 2 plus hours taking photo after photo after photo.  (I took 444 in all.)  Tracy's daughter was a very willing little participant and did a great job when we asked her to do some specific things.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Tracy also snapped a few photos of me and her daughter.  These two were taken by Tracy.

After we got home from this shoot, Tracy's husband came home and just us grown up girls headed out for an extremely yummy dinner.

The next day, Tracy's daughter went to Tracy's sister's house so we could have a bit more time for just the two of us. We went to this fantastic little French cafe owned by a French woman and the food was incredible!  It was cute and quaint and so, of course, we whipped out our cameras and snapped away.

We lingered for about 2 hours, eating and talking over lunch, coffee and then we shared a delicious dessert.  As it was raining outside, we weren't in any hurry to head out into the miserable weather.

However, in true photographer fashion, we did head out into the rain and drove to an abandoned, literally falling down house, that was purchased by Tracy's sister and husband a little over a year ago.  They purchased the place for the property, not the house, which you can't even enter. But, through our lenses, this was a GREAT subject for even more photos of our adventure together!
This is a fascinating house.  Oh how I wonder about the people that lived there and what happened in life to make the house end up this way. And, I wonder where these people are now.

I started to say to Tracy..."These types of cellar doors always remind me of...." and she finished my sentence for me with..."The Wizard of Oz?". Exactly.

As we walked around the property, Tracy pointed out these 4 little crosses hanging on the back of the house, seemingly in perfect condition. A stark difference to the rest of the property. And, I think, such an odd place to hang crosses.

We started to drive away and I glanced out the window.  I suddenly spotted these buds, way up high in the tree and realized this was a blooming magnolia.  So, the car stops again, I hop out and snap about 10 photos. This must be quite the site with this tree in full bloom.

From there, we decide it time to move on. Driving back up the road we came in on, we spotted a wild turkey roaming through the woods. I kid you not. But, I'm not posting a photo because everything I took was blurry.  But, it was definitely a turkey.

Having not yet taken any photos of the two of us, we thought the long road surrounded by trees would be a great  place to stop and use my new wireless remote.  It took us a bunch of tries (about 15 or so) to get it right...hence one of our "bloopers" below.

This next one was fairly decent.

And FINALLY, the one we liked the most!

The time Tracy and I spend together is so inspiring and motivating. We get to geek out over everything photography and completely understand where the other one is coming from.  We've gotten pretty good at planning trips to see one another and oh how I hope this continues.  I feel so very, very lucky to call her my friend. After meeting as dancers many years ago and then losing touch for awhile, it's so funny how life comes around and now we share a new, different passion.  So unexpected and so completely amazing.

Thanks for a fabulous couple of days, Tracy! See you in a few months...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Picture Inspiration - Week 8 - Random

So, clearly, I'm not caught up yet on my assignments. But, my goal is simply to get them done and be happy with the image posted, even if it's not done "in time."  Week 8's challenge was to take a photo of something random. I think you might agree that red boots on a tree stump in front of a falling down, abandoned house is rather random.  I spent a few days in Iowa with one of my best photog friends and we had a blast! More photos from our time together coming up in the next blog post.

On to Week 9 - Observation Mode!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Week 7 - Picture Inspiration - The Shape of Surprise

So yes, I'm a bit behind on Week 7, considering it is now Week 8.  Life happens and then I catch up when I can!  This week's assignment centered around reflections again, only this time we needed to only capture the reflection, not the object being reflected.  I was waiting for the right situation to arise. It finally came yesterday while I was downtown with my munchkins, seeing a play, getting ice cream (as the photo implies) and playing at the park.
Who doesn't love to see a painted ice cream cone on a window?  

This is another reflection I took last year, so it's from the archives.  I spotted this with the help of a friend who was with me on the fantastic architectural boat tour on the Chicago River.

And now, on to Week 8...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The N Family Sneak Peek

What a wonderful family to photograph for my first spring shoot!  It was extra special for me because the mom is a friend of mine.   We used to dance together in high school for a local ballet company.  However, we probably haven't seen each other in about 20 years or so.  The other cool part, was that my friend lives in New Jersey and checks out my images on Facebook. So now, I can officially say I had clients fly in from New Jersey for their shoot!  Well, they were really in town to help her mom get her house ready to sell, but STILL!  :)  When she emailed to see if I was available, I couldn't have been happier.

We met at Cantigny in the morning.  It's one of my absolute favorite places to take photographs.  I'd gotten a bit of scoop on her kids a few days earlier. Her little guy loved the camera and was a piece of cake to photograph.  Her daughter, on the other hand, wasn't quite so thrilled with the photography outing. But, we knew we'd get her to warm up. And, once we did, she was all smiles!  We first got her to warm up over the pretty daffodils that have finally started to bloom.

After that, we took a walk to a few other places in the park and then ended up at my favorite open field which is lined with trees. I wasn't sure what it would look like as there aren't any flowers and the leaves still aren't on the trees. But, this is such a sweet spot and I'm so happy with how the images turned out.  One of the best things about this area is that it gives the kids space to run and have fun. That ALWAYS creates better photographs!

I do believe this is one of my favorite shots from the entire session!

These two were such willing subjects and we all had so much fun.

I love the happiness here.

My friend's mom and brother also joined us.  It was nice to get a couple of family group shots as well!

Thank you so much for the opportunity to photograph your family and to see you again!  
I love how life comes around full circle sometimes! Safe travels back home.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Break Fun

Yes, I know. Spring Break was finished about a week ago. So, this post is a bit overdue.  That's what my twins club resale does. It consumes my life for about a week, leaving little time for anything else.  So, I'm now playing catch up.

On Spring Break my two munchkins and I met up with some new friends we made last December.  We all met while standing in line waiting to see Santa, at Santa's House on the Riverwalk. It took about an hour for us to finally get in to see Santa and I'm pretty sure we talked each other's ears off the entire time.  It took us until last week to finally get together again, but we've stayed in touch through Facebook since that December day.

We started out at the Children's Museum in Naperville.  It didn't take the kids long to warm up to each other again and about two and half hours of hard core playing ensued.

Standing under the water bubble. This is lots of fun for both the little girl under it and the kids who get to toss water on top of it.

You can't go wrong being at the wheel in a pirate ship or crawling out of the bottom of it.

Only at a children's museum is it this much fun to blow air at your head. Somehow she doesn't think this is as much fun when I'm blow drying her hair at home.

Upstairs is a tunnel, shaped like a triange, lined with mirrors with a few windows to let light in.  Ummmm yah. I could have taken photographs right here for several straight hours.  What an awesome spot!

What little kid doesn't love a teeter totter?!

I loved his concentration while putting these shapes together.
More building with shapes. These magnetic ones are really fun!

Upstairs at the museum, there is also a stage. My little guy LOVES to create performances.  After announcing to all the parents watching that the show would start in 3 minutes, when it was time, the curtain opened and these 12 or so children all sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" in unison. It was a rather proud mommy moment for me and a truly fun site to behold.

After the museum, we headed downtown Naperville and everyone enjoyed some yummy gelato at a fairly new shop called Gelati's. It's now my favorite place to go when we do spend time downtown.  Once all the ice cream was consumed, we headed to a nearby park.  The kids played for about another hour and half while my new friend and I chatted a mile a minute and bonded over our mutual love of The Letter People from our elementary school days!
This was processed to have a bit more of a vintage feel to it.

Once it was finally time to head home, we all walked to the parking garage together.  The 3 oldest kids decided to race to the top. I had just enough time to pull out my camera and snap one shot.  There is something about this final image that I just love.  To me, it's a moment of pure childhood play.

I'm so thankful for new friends and wonderful experiences! A fun day was had by all!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Picture Inspiration - Week 6 - Seeing Double

Oh goodness! Life has been crazy.  Two times a year my twins club hosts a huge resale. And two times a year my life is completely consumed by preparations for this great event.  It's such a valuable event, but it takes all of my time for about a week. That means I've not had nearly the time to play with photos that I normally would. Even now, I should be tagging for the sale, but I decided I absolutely HAD to get this blog post out there.  Plus, I'm a pretty decent procrastinator!

And how funny! I just looked at the title of this week, reread how I started this entry out and now you are probably expecting to see photos of twins.  Alas, such is not the case.  Though, this week's photo is of ONE of my twins.  Our assignment for this week was to find a reflection and compose our image so that we were photographing not only the reflection but the actual object being reflected as well.  Once you start looking for them, you'd be surprised at just how many reflections you'll see.  The image I created is below.  My kids and I met up with some new friends at our local Children's Museum.  There is this really cool tunnel in the shape of a triangle, lined with mirrors and it has small circular windows on top to let the light in.  I loved this thing for taking pictures so much that I tossed up asking my husband to build me one.  :)
I love this moment with him, completely engrossed in his own world, enjoying every moment of being a kid.

Here are 2 more images that fit this prompt.  These were taken a day later at the Arboretum.

Start looking for reflections.  You'll see them everywhere!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Picture Inspiration - Week 5 - To Infinity and Beyond

While I'm sure an image of Buzz Lightyear immediately came to mind upon reading this week's prompt, alas photographing him was not our assignment. (though, I might sneak in a photo of him at the end.)  :)

We were to use repetition (rhythm), a shallow depth of field (where one part of the image is in focus and rest is blurred out behind it) and a diagonal to draw the viewer's eyes into the photo where it could look as though this image continues on into infinity.  I took these at the 11th hour, during a visit to the children's museum in our town, while spending the day with a fabulous new friend, her 2 girls and my two children.  (that blog post coming up soon!)
Giant Children's Dominoes - about 15 minutes worth of fun for my little guy.

Just some cool balls on a rod that I shot while my munchkins were focused elsewhere.

And, just because this is one of my all time favorite shots, the alternative version:
To Infinity and Beyond!
Buzz Lightyear Meets Buzz Lightyear

(I couldn't resist).