In A Tree With Amber

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I got an email from a gal here on base, wanting to have some pictures taken of her 15 year old daughter. She mentioned that they were moving soon, and they wanted some snap shots of familiar things and places- her daughter walking her pups, playing her flute in her bedroom, and reading up in the branches of her favorite tree.

It was a hot day, but there was a nice breeze. Before leaving, I had to run back into the house to grab a bandana to wrap my messy hair in. This was supposed to be an outside photo session- would the wind ruin it?

The wind was actually perfect. It gave movement to our shots, and broke any silence that may have been. The sound of rustling leaves is peaceful, not that we get to hear it very often, living out here in the desert.

I can see why she loves that tree so much.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I?

Before we went and played monkey in the trees, I chatted with Amber and her Mom in their squeaky clean living room for awhile. We talked about this and that, and then went into Amber's room for a solo flute concert.

Fact: I play the flute too. ...Kind of. ...Sometimes. ...When my daughter asks me to play The Star Spangled Banner on the 4th of July and I have to google the score because I don't remember it by heart anymore.

I guess marching band is this huge thing here? Kinda like football? Amber was telling me how they have to spend the entire last month of their summer vacation going to band practice for hours. Which sounds fun, to me, because I was a total band geek, but- its hot here in Texas!

I took some pictures of her reading the music that was all layed on out on her bed, making sure to capture some of her bedroom in the background.

Note: She has an Eclipse poster behind her bedroom door. Shes Team Jacob. Just thought I'd throw that in there :)

She played beautifully, by the way. And it was nice to hear her play some of the same songs that I used to play. I enjoyed listening to her flawless melodies, while awkwardly invading her personal space in order to get shots like the one above. Hopping all over her bed, and making a mess of her neatly folded blankets.

I'm still really new to photography, so getting up into somebody elses face, other than my own family, who is used to it by now, still makes me nervous. Will they feel uncomfortable? How close is too close? ...what if I bump the end of her flute with my lens? God please don't let me do that- this lens is expensive.

But Amber was really comfortable with all of it. Her flute sang its songs confidently, and she didn't even so much as blush.

I had given her a little bit of a warning, before we started, that I'd be getting into her personal space. I guess thats maybe something I should discuss with folks before hand? Can I pop and invade your personal space bubble?

Because when space bubbles are popped, it sure does make some pretty pictures.

When we were finished inside, we scooped up the puppies, who weren't really puppies at all, and headed outside and down the street to Amber's bus stop, where she reads up in a tree every morning before going off to school.

Also, Amber wears a tail. See shadow.

And can I just say, that those are some very happy, and very well loved dogs?

So there it is. The bust stop, her tree, and ... wait- didn't you say that you like to read in your tree? Becaaaause.

So off Amber went, literally running back home to get her book, and returning, cheeks nice and bright pink from the summer heat, this time on her bike, outfit complete with helmet (which made her Mama proud).

And then quick as the wind, she was using knot holes in the bark to get her footing, and jumping up into the leaves to get herself nice and comfy between her trees branches.

The breeze and the canopy of the leaves kept us nice and cool. I could tell how in love with her tree Amber was. Trusting it as she dangled her feet over branches and leaned her back against its splinters. She closed her eyes a few times, just relaxing in the warm evening air.

I had a really nice time photographing her. Its been way too long since I've hung out with a 15 year old. Their view on the world is so different than the ones that I'm used to surrounding myself with. It was eye opening. And pure.

And Amber was a gorgeous young lady who inspired me to be more confident with the things that make me happy, and not be so scared to give in to listening to country music. Thanks Amber.

Jen & Brent

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I know, its been awhile. I've been so busy with life, lately, that my side project of photography kind of got pushed to the back burner. And thats okay. Its so much fun, and so easy to submerge myself in, but really- I've got 3 kids, and a husband, and a cat. When do I really have time to take pictures of people other than them?

A few months ago, back in February actually, the day after I got my new camera. Thats when, hah.

Funny story of how I met Jen and Brent. Okay kind of funny. ...okay, funny to me.

A friend had posted something somewhere about my photography, and how I was looking for practice subjects. Jen had emailed me, wanting a family session done.

While at the same time, my husband had been talking to a friend of his at work, about getting together on a weekend or something, having our kids play, yadda yadda. So his friend had told him to tell me to add his wife on facebook, and we'd get together soon.

So I did.

And then while they were texting one day (my husband and Brent), because apparently its not just women that sit around and do that, Christopher had mentioned that I had recently added his wife on facebook, and Brent's response was "the photographer?".

It was all kind of confusing, at that point.

So I went back into my email folder, and hah, turns out the gal that I had been talking with through email, was the same gal that I had added on facebook, and she thought I was adding her because I wanted to take pictures of them, and I thought I was adding her because our kids were going to play, and ... ok anyways. It was kind of a cute story, right?

So I did go over and take their pictures one morning, before her husband left for an out of state work thing. It took me forever to edit her pictures and get them back to her, but eventually it all fell into place. I wanted to share my favorites from the session...

I had to start off with that family photo, because its just so good.

They were so playful, and so full of energy. Really, all I had to do was stand there and push my finger down on the trigger, and perfect images popped up on my display screen.

Thats Zara. Shes a cutie, right? She uses the word "like" a lot. Kind of how teenagers and adults do, ooonly, shes 3. Its adorable. And shes extremely animated with her hand motions. Every sentance is spoken as if it were a story from an epic adventure to which she saved the world.

And thats Xander. He was born just a week after my Evelyn, and shares the same birthday as my Eleanore. He screams loudly, and at everything, enthusiastic about everything going on around him. He chews on washcloths, seems to spit up constantly (only when around me, though), and looks really handsome in a pair of overalls.

Zara loves Xander.

We've hung out several times since I took these pictures. We really like Jen and Brent. He wears weird five fingered running shoes and drinks breakfast smoothie, and she sings along to Disney songs loudly and beautiful while changing cloth diapers. They're into organic and healthy living the same way that we are. I can't even tell you how refreshing it was to have a conversation about probiotics face to face with someone.

We've had BBQ's, gone bowling, gone for walks, eaten raw cheesecake, jumped on trampolines, watched True Blood- always a fun time to spend time with them.

And obviously, their kids rock too. heeee.

She plays peek-a-boo with him.

He plays on the swingset with her.

And somewhere, between all of those things, Mama and baby cozy down for a quiet snack. Such a beautiful moment.

Finally, someone I can hang around breastfeeding with!

And the last picture that I took before my camera ran out of space (999 shots later), was a glimpse of Mama loving Papa, and vice versa and so forth.

A cute couple, with a couple of cute kids.

Andrew & Jonah At The Fountain

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A few Wednesdays ago, I met up with a gal named Lynet, and her two boys (Andrew and Jonah) downtown for a brisk photo session by the fountain.

We had been emailing each other for awhile, but finding a time and a place to get together had turned out to be much harder than we anticipated. Even with the date that we chose, the temperatures were chilly, and with sick kids (both mine and hers), our visit almost didn't happen.

But the invisible daytime stars aligned, and at ten am I put my camera together, tied my laces, and quickly started following her in-motion toddler (Andrew), quickly as I could.

He was off! Picking up his feet, and moving in every direction available to him.

The fountain! No, the bench! No... sticks and acorns in the bushes over there, to throw into the fountain!

When we were done running around and getting the sillies out (aaaand, keeping him from running into the street), it was time to get down to business.

She takes pictures of her boys all the time at home, but seemed to have a little bit of trouble getting shots with both of them in the same frame. Something about the older sibling not being a big fan of the younger one? I think we all know how that goes.

So she had brought along some lollipops, the giant over sized kind that kids only dream about, and we set them up on a bench side by side, to see what they'd do.

Alright so maybe we were pushing our luck a bit, but- we thought it was worth a try.

And then, while Andrew was busy devouring his giant stick o' sugar, Jonah got cozy over in the shade with the leaves.

But soon the leaves lost their crunch, and even though that lollipop tasted very much like a rainbow- the boys got tired, and hungry, and were done.

And I don't argue with babies when they're finished.

So we packed up and put away, wiped the dirt off of our knees, waved our hands ta-ta, and went in our separate directions, all while remembering our fresh memories from our hour at the fountain...

Andrew & Jonah. January 26th, 2011. Downtown Abilene Texas.