The Quiet

It is a wet gray day here. The kind of day where you probably want to just stay inside.

I have to go to the grocery store but after that my plan is to hunker down and enjoy this first day back to our routine and normal schedule.

Christmas decorations have been taken down and pine needles swept up. I’ve always enjoyed this feeling of emptiness, this sense of quiet, that comes when the colorful holiday dress has been packed away.

IMG_0012I feel like I can think a little more clearly, a little more cleanly, if that makes any sense at all.

The winding road that travels through the anticipation of Advent and the hills of joyous celebration of His arrival lead us to the summit of Epiphany when He is revealed to the whole world. The space where we stand is vast and stretches free and wide open.

This same road will eventually descend into the valley of Lent and into the darkness of Good Friday before bursting into the brightness of the Resurrection.

The rearranging caused by Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany is a way to orient ourselves to the reality of our need for Christ.

Our need for this baby is great.

Our need for Him to grown in favor with God and man is immeasurable.

Those seemingly empty spaces need to be flooded with the understanding of our need for a Savior. For One who would bear our sin and take it to the cross and defeat a foe we can’t hope to rule over on our own.

Inhale the quiet.

Breathe deeply and rejoice that Love has come.

DPP ~ Day 15

The joy of a mama and her boy.

The older I get the lower my tolerance for the sappy and the maudlin. Consequently I got over “I Can Only Imagine” well before the radio stations did. “The Christmas Shoes” song made me gag after I heard it two or three times and “Mary Did You Know” has been ruined for me with it’s commercial success.

But, while I may refuse to listen to it on the radio, I can ponder the message of that song.

And I wonder and marvel at the joy and love that was between that mother and her son.

A Gypsy Princess

“Stop trying to get it right. Just take the picture.” ~ Sally Mann

Because I am often taking pictures for other people I try to remember the various rules of photography…proper exposure, good light, composition and the rule of thirds, etc.

I want, and aim to try, to capture clean bright images that show a connection between the subjects. With family pictures I like for my pictures to tell stories that reflect the relationships between husband and wife, parent and child or brother and sister. With senior portraits I want to somehow reflect, at least in some of the images, the idea of one journey coming to a close while another is beginning.

Sometimes though I just want moody pictures. I want to move outside of my typical and explore a little. I want to not worry about the rules so much. I want to stop trying to get it right and just take the picture. And occasionally the results are exactly what I want and what I like to call “Pictures My Mother Doesn’t Understand.” A little darker, plenty of grain and just different from what I normally shoot. (For the record my mother is one of my biggest fans and rarely asks anymore if I’ve run out of color film when she sees something in black and white 🙂

Once again Sarah was a willing participant in my shenanigans last month when I got a wild hair to do some experimenting and we ended up with a series of images that I stuck with the pretentious artsy name, Gypsy Princess.

Photography has held my interest all of these years because it’s so versatile…so much can change from one image or session to the next depending on location, timing, subject…a hundred different variables. It’s so fun to me.

New Baby Sweetness

Last week I shared a post of some of my favorite maternity photos along with some beautiful quotes on motherhood from Elisabeth Elliot. It seems only fair that this week I share some sweet pictures of the little fella who starred in those tummy pictures.

I say little fella but the truth is Mr. G weighed in at a whopping ten pounds and was twenty-two and a half inches long. That is a whole lot of baby and my goodness, he is just the sweetest!

baby sweetness, new baby, newborn,

I love his mama to pieces and have known her for a really long time. She was our very first babysitter so it’s a little crazy to be photographing her babies. I also got to be present at his birth and I don’t have words for what an amazing experience that was.

babies, newborn, lifestyle photography

Although I wasn’t around when his big brother was born (they were living in Germany) I have had the pleasure of photographing him before. He hasn’t quite figured out this whole little brother thing but I bet he’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

newborn, babies, siblings, brothers

Normally when I photograph newborns I have the family come to me for a variety of reasons the two main ones being I’m familiar with the light and I crank the heat up to about eighty degrees or so, even in the summer. But I’ve been drawn more and more to the lifestyle kind of images I see from photographers whose work I admire and Justin and Jess were kind enough to let me experiment. (I also got to document the birth and it gave a whole other layer of awesome to that experience.)

It was a risk we all took and thankfully I had rented a good wide angle lens and there was plenty of natural light coming in their windows. I say all of that because if these last two images were the only ones that had turned out I would count the whole thing a success.

Maybe it’s the light or the expression of delight so evident on the faces or just the overall love a parent has for a child but I am so pleased with these. Something about being at the right place at the right moment to snap the shutter is the way Ansel Adams put it.

baby, newborn, lifestyle photography

baby, newborns,

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior 
are the children of one’s youth.
Psalm 127: 3 & 4

DPP ~ Day Eight

Advent. It still seems new to me…this practice of celebrating the season of Light. I feel a little bit like the toddler that can walk but is still somewhat unsteady on their feet. A little wobbly yet in the fullness of my understanding and in our practice but steadily gaining ground. We came to it late, my family, but by the time our children are grown and in their own homes my prayer is that it will just be their way…this recognizing the Light that came to earth…but not just remembering…not only reminiscing about the sweet Christ child…but also living in the promised hope that He will return again.

Because these were taken within a few minutes of each other and I had a hard time choosing between the two I am going to share both. The first for today’s DPP and the second for my weekly black and white project.

DPP 2014 Christmas Advent

photo b/w advent Christmas

The Bird Watch Continues

I hope you aren’t getting bored with the bird posts because frankly I am still utterly fascinated. The little things are just so incredible to watch.

I’ve been wanting to get a particular photo of them and have been completely frustrated with my lack of success. Their hearing is some kind of crazy and even when I am being my most stealthy (and I have five kids so I can be stealthy!) I wasn’t having much success.
Basically I wanted to get a silhouette of them on my door. Nothing fancy, I’ve just enjoyed seeing their little outline as I walk past the door so I thought it would be a cool image. I almost had it the other day, too.
The father (or baby daddy as we say) was perched on the inside of the wreath and his silhouette was perfectly outlined. My camera was close at hand…I walked very quietly up near the door…sloooowly raised my camera and…
Tried to change my exposure so I wouldn’t blow out the image and the clicking sound caused him to fly away.
At that moment I realized that if I wanted the image I was going to have to put the camera on auto and hope for the best. No time to get all artsy.
Today, when I wasn’t even thinking about it, I saw him land on the wreath again. Moving quickly to grab my camera I flipped it onto auto mode and sneaked back into the hall foyer. He was still there!
A few hours later I noticed that the mama was on her nest with her head turned at just the right angle to see her silhouette if I stood on my tippy toes. I grabbed my camera and managed to get the shot of her.
(The bird like shape at the bottom is a leaf from the artificial flower that decorates the wreath.)
Technically speaking they aren’t the greatest images in the world. The shadows are uneven in their lighting  but they still make me happy. 
I can’t wait for the babies to be born. Although from what I’ve read the mama stops cleaning up after them at some point which means I can expect quite an icky mess in a  few weeks.
Not sure I’ll post a picture of that though.