Thursday, August 14, 2014

A zoo popped up in my backyard!

Last week a zoo materialized in my backyard.  (Yes, it's taken me way longer to get to this posted than I had hoped, but better late than never!)  It was a sweet zoo with more animals than I could imagine, lovingly cared for and arranged by two fabulous zookeepers, pictured below!

It seemed unfair to get to enjoy it all by myself, so I'm sharing here with all of you.  My favorite exhibits are highlighted with photographs.  Animals not shown here (but also in the zoo) were penguins, wolves, foxes, brown bears, polar bears basking in the sun and bunnies.  We hope you enjoy it!

First up were the free roaming monkeys...

... and the free roaming cats! The cats were everywhere! (I know that's quite shocking.)  :)

I was particularly fond of the leopard's lair and Sea World, tucked away in the corner.

One of the most interesting exhibits was definitely the Endangered and Mystical Creatures area! I mean, really, what other zoo shows THESE kinds of animals?!

I just loved the Lion's Den. As cute as they are, alas they are still wild animals!

Some of the more domesticated animals could also be found here...

The horses were out in the pasture, 

the frogs and ducks had their own pond,

the guinea pigs were just finishing up a meal,

the sheep were grazing and holding hands and

the cows were lazing around in the sun.

You can't have a zoo without including the reindeer.  

The chimpanzee was quite adorable in the tree.

After seeing all of the cool animals, I must say that the giraffes and elephants were, indeed, my favorite!

We hope you enjoyed the tour of the zoo! The animals were very happy to have visitors!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What a riot!

So, this blog post is kind of a secret.  These photos will be a gift in a few months for a very special person in the family.  What a fun bunch they were, as evidenced by the shots we got below in this Sneak Peek.  Who wouldn't have a good time with this group?!?!

And that's a wrap!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Flying High at iFly!

So what happens when you go indoor skydiving for your own birthday?  You decide it would ALSO be a great idea for your kids to do it for THEIR birthday.  Not sure I really thought this through as, now, three of the four of us in our family want to go again and again and again and again.  (My hubby has no interest, having already jumped out of a plane in the past. S'alright. More time for me and for the kids!)  What a crazy fun day!  First the kids had some training, learned hand signals and got suited up for their flights, including goggles, ear plugs (which looked like mini carrots) and helmets. From the get go, I could tell that their instructor, Paul, was going to be fantastic!

Time to fly! First up...Peyton!
Then Will...
Then Mags....Then, Olivia...
and finally, Jenna!

All the kids rocked it out on their first flights!  On the second round, 4 of the 5 of them decided to do the "high flights" where the instructor took them up in the tunnel.  It's a ton of fun but you do get a lot of wind up your nose!  :)

After all the kids were done, our instructor went in to show us what he could do (and frankly, all the things I hope to do someday.) He flew to the top, walked up the walls, came down like was ridiculously cool!

Everyone was beaming from ear to ear, wishing they could all go right back in and do it again!  I'm sure we'll all be back, hopefully sooner rather than later.  Check out our accomplished flyers. Kudos, as well, to Paul who made the adventure even that much more fun!

We finished up the celebration with pizza and cake at home.  
Such a great group of kids they all are!

Happy, Happy Birthday munchkins! Please don't 11 come too fast.
Love, Mommy

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Perfect Morning!

I had the pleasure of photographing the sweetest family this past weekend.  We all were fortunate enough to have an absolute perfect weather day.  The little guy in the family was adorable and watching his parents interact with him was so much fun! We captured many wonderful moments. Here is a sneak peek into just a few of them.

This one I posted in honor of Daddy's Day.  Such a perfect moment between the two boys.

During the day every day, there are lots of "oohs" and "aaahs" and pointing from this little guy. We have it pretty much summed up right here.

Who doesn't love playing with a good, fluffy dandelion?!?

This is my absolute favorite shot of the entire session! What an irresistible little smile!

Yep, you guessed it! He's a big Thomas the Train fan.  Clearly.

I had such a great time with the three of you.  You made it easy to photograph the love you all have for one another.  Thank you so much for trusting me to capture these moments and your family at this point in time!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Taking Better Photos: Change Your Perspective

This is the second in a blog series I'm working on about taking better photos. A little later than planned, but here we go. If you missed the first one about Looking for the Light, you can find it HERE.  This series will revolve more about the creative side of taking photos, as opposed to the technical aspects of things like shutter speed, aperture and ISO.  Those things are definitely important as it is the controlling of your camera that allows you to create the images that you want, not simply buying a big, expensive body and lens. But for now, my focus (pun intended) is to get you to see the world a little bit differently and capture it that way.

We all get stuck in ruts, in many areas of our lives.  We get up at the same time each day, get ready in the same order, eat the same breakfast foods, drive the same routes to work, read the same kinds of get the idea. The same thing can be applied to taking photos.  More often than not, we grab the camera and take it from the exact position we are in. I'd venture to say you are standing up, observing whatever you want to take a picture of.  However, the world can look very different if you change it up a bit.

Let's talk about photographing children.  Little kids are just that. Little.  The world looks very different to them at their eye level.  What would happen if you got down to their level and took the photo instead. You get a much more intimate photo than one from a birds eye view.  Or perhaps, your munchkin is laying down. Get the camera at the same level as their eyes and it all changes.

At this time of year, beautiful flowers are all around us. If you want to photograph the flowers, chances are you stand there, look at it and take the photo. But, what happens if you take the shot from directly above the flower instead of the side? Or, what if you get down and shoot it from underneath? It's a totally different feel.  It may feel weird laying down on the sidewalk to get a photo from a different angle. Fortunately, I learned to tune everyone else out (who most likely doesn't care anyway) and do what I needed to do to get the shot I want.

Details are one of my favorite things to photograph.  I often refer to myself as a zoom junkie, as my zoom lens is my go to lens, 90% of the time!  I love to get in close and really focus on some smaller part of the scene in front of me. Yes, that means that you may be cropping out other aspects of whatever you are photographing, cutting off someone's head or hands. If you do it with intent and artistically, it can definitely work.  This one is reflective of my daughter's age right now. If I let her wear these every day, she would.  I'm not kidding.  I wish I were.  When you zoom in, you let your viewer know what you want them to really focus on in the photo. 

So, the next time you plan to click your shutter, ask yourself if you can find a more creative view, take the photo from a different angle?  Squat down lower, lay down on the ground, get way up high, zoom in closer and find a detail you want. Move to a different spot before you take the shot to see what it does with the light (per the first post in this series).  See what happens...I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised and your photos will have a whole lot more variety to them. 

Go forth and click!