The Walker Family

Now that we are settled in the Tampa Bay area, I'm ready to launch my photography business in January 2017. It's time to move beyond the stock photography work I've been doing, and time to start taking clients. In preparation, I've been putting together a few shoots to beef up my web portfolio (which will be coming SOON), and last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing the Walker family. The Walkers live in our neighborhood, our kids play together and along the way, the grown ups forged a friendship as well. We adore this family, and it was such an honor to get to take their family portraits. 

I won't spoil the entire gallery, since the Walkers may have some grand plans for these images, but here are a few of my favorites from the session.

Clickin Walk 2016

Each year, Click Magazine and the associated women's photography forum, Clickin Moms, sponsor a weekend of regional photography walks all over the world. This year, I attended the Tampa/St. Petersburg Clickin Walk, which coincided with the St. Pete Art Walk. 9 other photographers and I set out to walk the town, take in the sights, and photograph whatever inspired us along the way. We visited a glass blower's studio, a ceramics/clay sculpture studio, and several other locations, and these are some of the images I grabbed that evening. It was a fun way to meet some local artists and photographers and get the creative juices flowing once again!

Big changes. Huge.

It's been so long since we've had a chance to chat! Let me catch you up!

In February, our family received orders to move to Tampa, Florida. We were to arrive in Tampa by the 15th of May, so in mid-April, movers arrived to pack up all of our worldly belongings into crates and load them onto trucks, that would put them in a container that would be stacked on a ship destined for Florida. It's mid-May, and our household goods are still on a boat somewhere, but our family is here in Florida, "glamping" in our new home. We're living with bean bags, lawn chairs, a card table and air mattresses, but hey, we're together and it's home. 

In the interim, I've begun a new photo-a-day project, which I will be updating here on a monthly-ish basis. The kids spent two weeks with their grandparents in Texas while Brad and I bought a car, secured a home, and then drank and shopped and ate our way through central Florida. We spent a week in Orlando visiting Mickey and the gang (since we HAD to stay in a hotel before we could move into our home, we figured we might as well make a vacation out of it). And we've had several fun outings to explore our new home town. In typical fashion, I've taken lots of pictures, which I will slowly dole out in the weeks to come. 

Keep checking back--lots of new images and updates to come!

More from Click Away 2015: Lensbaby Portraiture with Caroline Jensen

When I discovered Caroline Jensen was offering a Lensbaby Portraiture class, I knew I had to sign up. Caroline Jensen is a fantastic artist and instructor, and I appreciate the work she does using the Lensbaby lenses. Lensbaby lenses allow a photographer to selectively blur parts of an image for artistic effect. The look is very different, and the lenses are manual focus and can be tricky to use, but the effect is gorgeous when done correctly. Here are a few images from the on-location shoot we did at the Alamo.

Highlights from Click Away 2015

This past week, I visited San Antonio, Texas to attend the 2015 Click Away Conference, a photography conference sponsored by Clickin' Moms. The conference was three days of classes, shooting demonstrations, hands-on workshops and field trips around the area to practice what we were learning. I have been looking forward to this conference for months. For years, I've been a part of the online Clickin' Moms community, forming friendships on the forum with women I'd never met in real life. But this past week, I was able to change that: I had the opportunity to meet with and get to know the women behind the avatars, and it was such an amazing experience. During the conference, I was able to take a few courses that involved shooting models. The first of these was with Mae Burke, a photographer in Texas specializing in motherhood photography. I really enjoy Mae's work and it was such a pleasure meeting her and seeing her in action. Toward the end of class, we were separated into groups of 5 and allowed to shoot the model. Although it was crowded (5 women with cameras crowded around a  mom and her baby) I managed to get a couple of shots during my 1-2 minute window.

I really enjoyed photographing this lovely model and her adorable munchkin. I would love to have had more time to work with them, but I was content to listen to Mae explain the ins and outs of breastfeeding and motherhood photography, a niche area of photography that holds great interest for me, as I am interested in eventually shooting birth and breastfeeding photography.

That's all I'll share for today--keep an eye out for additional shares over the next few days (as I catch up on editing--and laundry-- from a week away).

Waimea Bay

Over Labor Day weekend, my husband took the kiddos camping with my son's Cub Scout pack, so I had a glorious 3 days and 2 nights to myself in my home. After sitting in silence (glorious silence!) in my house for about an hour, I got dressed and loaded up my gear to head out for a weekend of photography projects that I'd had on my radar for a while. I need some new images for my Offset catalogue (Offset is an elite professional stock agency for which I am a contributing artist).

On the North Shore of Oahu, after driving through the picturesque and historic Haleiwa town, down the two-lane road that hugs the shoreline, you'll come to Waimea Bay. The bay is a gorgeous expanse of water dotted by giant boulders left behind by Pele when she sculpted the island from lava and fire. In the winter, the waters here are turbulent, giant swells pounding the shores with a rumble that echoes through the mountains behind the bay; but in the summer, the waters are calm and smooth, and the large boulders are a favorite of locals and tourists alike, who climb them with the intent of diving into the cool ocean waters below.

I planned my trip to the bay around sunset, pulling into the parking lot as a procession of slightly-sunburned beach-goers headed in the opposite direction, pulling wagons of sand toys and tired children. Despite the late hour, there were still plenty of adventurous tourists and local teens scaling the rocks and lining up to leap from the edge of the jagged boulders into the gently-rolling waves below.

September-web-20

After capturing the action on the rocks, I moved down the shoreline to capture a few landscape images of the bay and the scenic coastline.

I happened to look back toward the boulders and noticed that the crowd had thinned, leaving just one woman standing on the top, looking so calm and quiet as she contemplated the beauty around her.

If you have the opportunity, I would highly recommend checking out Waimea Bay. Far past the hordes of tourists on Waikiki Beach, it is a place of amazing beauty and light-hearted fun. If you'd like to jump, be certain the conditions are safe to do so (you can always ask the lifeguards to be safe), but it is great fun and a rite of passage for many Hawaiian youth. And although winter wave patterns prohibit jumping (and often, even swimming in the bay), it is still a gorgeous location to capture a sunset from the comfort of a beach blanket, preferably with a glass of wine in hand.

Exciting news!

Last week, I achieved a personal goal that I set for myself 3 years ago: I was accepted into the CM Pro group on Clickin Moms, a large women's photography forum. Although I fell in love with photography back in high school, spending hours pressing a shutter and developing in the darkroom, I didn't get serious about learning how to improve my skills until a few years ago. I joined Clickin Moms to take their online courses and learn the art of photography, and from the beginning, I was in awe of the amazingly talented CMPros who taught the courses and mentored the newbies, whose work was featured on the blogs, in the magazine, and in the forums. I made a commitment then that I would work hard to learn and produce that quality of work. 

In the interim, I've taken multiple classes, read stacks of books, and put my work out to be criticized and critiqued in my quest for improvement. I am just a few days shy of completing my first 365-day project, and I have taken thousands of images, working to improve my use of lighting, composition, color and form.

A couple weeks ago, I submitted a curated portfolio of 150 images for consideration, with the hope I would be accepted into the CMPro program. Recently, I woke up to find an email welcoming me into the program. It's an honor to be welcomed into such a talented group--but more importantly, I set out to do this and I achieved my goal, despite homeschooling and motherhood, moves and personal difficulties. The end result is wonderful--but it's the process and the growth I've experienced over the past couple of years that I value most. I still have so much to learn and so many areas to grow in my quest, but I've reached a benchmark that once seemed so far off.

I owe a massive 'thank you' to my husband for his unwavering support--for not grimacing at my expensive hobby, the costly classes, and not balking at the weekends I would abandon him to walk the streets shooting. And a big thanks my lovely kiddos, who have (mostly happily) allowed me to stick a camera in their faces on a daily basis. I certainly couldn't have achieved this without them.

Now that I've been accepted to the ranks of CMPro, I'm looking forward to sharing my work with a larger audience and continuing to explore and experiment and play with my art in the company of some really, incredible and awesomely-talented women. Want to see for yourself? Click over to the CM Pro Daily Project page. You can see some of my shares there, and you can enjoy some really inspiring images from the rest of the Pros.