Thursday, March 31, 2011

3/31/11 - Happy Birthday to Me

I almost forgot about my birthday completely this year.  I'm not so thrilled about getting a year older, but it was nice to celebrate with my family.  Nathan was so sweet this morning. He was so excited that today was Mommy's birthday.

Didn't have much planned for my birthday. Actually, didn't have anything planned for my birthday.  I woke up like always...went to work like always...and didn't expect anything special aside from cake this evening.  I was pleasantly surprised when my husband walked through the door just as I was about to leave to go pick up Nathan from school. I love when he comes home early!

Rich said he wanted to take us all out to dinner and that I should think about where I wanted to go.  He should really know better. I hate picking restaurants.  I really didn't want to make a fuss and just wanted things to be easy, so we finally decided that rather try and go someplace "fancy" it would be best to just walk over to the local Sizzler so that I wouldn't have to worry if Nathan got a little restaurant inappropriate.  We could do the fancy dinner another night when it was just the two of us. It was absolutely the right move!  Nathan did get a little silly...and I didn't have to stress about it!

Walked back home and Nathan and Rich surprised me with a lovely cake, ice cream and...wait for it.....a lemon meringue pie!  YUM!  Happy Birthday to me.  :)

This is my favorite kind of birthday celebration.... a relaxed evening spent with the people I love.  Oh, and a really yummy cake.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3/30/11 - Park Play

Just so happens that I didn't have any pressing work that needed to get done today! A rare day indeed.  I decided today would be the perfect day for a long overdue trip to the park.  With all the bad weather lately we haven't been able to go to the park as frequently as I'd like.  We certainly made up for lost time today.  I had a blast with Nathan and got some fun shots of him playing.  I'm going to share way too many.

It wasn't that long ago that Nathan had a hard time reaching across these.  My how quickly they grow.  Nathan compared these little things to the mushrooms the cars jump across in Mario Cart.  tee hee.

Nathan was trying very hard to keep me from photographing him as he went down the twisty slides.  There are two slides right next to each other and he kept trying to make me think he was going to choose one, and then at the last second change and go to the other one.  He thought that was hilarious!  Joke's on you kid...I still got ya!

Since he was an infant Nathan has adored the swings. Still does. He's trying to learn the proper technique for the "big boy" swings. 

Here is today's official photo and my favorite part of our trip to the park.  Nathan was playing in this little tunnel and I was walking along the outside peeking in the holes you see there and saying "BOO!"  He loved this game.  I decided to try and capture him and all his joy for the game by just placing the camera up to the hole, crossing my fingers that I could get some kind of focus, and snapping.  I can't believe it worked!  Focus isn't perfect...but I'll take it.

Look at how much fun he's having!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3/29/11 - Nathan's Suprise Gifts

Whenever Nathan and I go outside to play, he likes to give me little gifts.  The most popular gift items are flowers, little red berries, and ripped in half ivy leaves. It's just the sweetest thing.  Every time he brings me one of these gifts it reminds me of that primary song we used to sing in church when I was a child:

1. I often go walking in meadows of clover,
And I gather armfuls of blossoms of blue.
I gather the blossoms the whole meadow over;
Dear mother, all flowers remind me of you.

2. O mother, I give you my love with each flower
To give forth sweet fragrance a whole lifetime through;
For if I love blossoms and meadows and walking,
I learn how to love them, dear mother, from you.

Thanks Nathan!

3/28/11 - Apiphobia!

I have a very real, and very irrational fear of bees.

It's difficult to pinpoint the exact moment that this severe fear was imprinted forever in my psyche.  Was it that time when, at the young and impressionable age of 8, my best friend and I were jumping over a small bush containing a not so innocent hornets nest?  My friend fell right in the bush and I witnessed as she ran all around, in and out of the house being chased mercilessly by these vicious creatures who were out for revenge? As I recollect, she was in the hospital for a week.  That probably planted the seed...but I think what really solidified was not long after that when my family and I were discussing various encounters with insects when I oh so innocently mentioned that I had never been stung by a bee.  My Grandmother hypothesized that perhaps I was seriously allergic to bees and that maybe God was protecting me by keeping me from being stung.

So, I suppose my fragile brain interpreted two things.  Bees are relentless and will never stop until they sting you...and I must be horribly allergic.  Now...I know that these two things are (most likely) not true.  My intellect knows that I should not be afraid of bees...but my fight or flight response is perhaps slightly askew in this instance.  The longer I lived my life without being stung...the worse my phobia got. 

Anyway....last year I discovered that, for some reason, when I'm holding my camera I have this unexplained bravery and tolerance for bees. As long as I've got the camera up to my eye I can manage to stand still and photograph these terrifying little creatures.  Sadly, as soon as I put the camera's back to a solid feeling of "WHAT'S THAT ON MY NECK?!"  But I suppose it's good that I can face my fears.  Maybe one of these days I'll get stung while photographing them and the fear will just go away.

"She's facing her fear! She's facing her fear!"

Monday, March 28, 2011

3/27/11 - Self Portrait

This shot was taken on the way home from today's head shot session.  I was shooting at one of my very favorite locations, and took a couple of so so shots while waiting for wardrobe changes during the session.  Fortunately, on the way home I noticed how lovely the landscape was, so I thought I'd get out and take a few shots.  Then....a miracle happened. It had been overcast ALL day, but the sun briefly broke through the clouds.  I decided I'd like to get a sun burst...then thought it might be fun to get a nice backlit self-portrait.  I focused, then set the camera on the hood of my car, set the 10 second timer, and placed myself in the scene.  I bracketed the shot and combined two photos so I could keep the detail in the clouds.

I just love the lens flare in this shot.  Too bad I wasn't dressed for the occasion...but, that's pretty much how I dress for a session.  I usually get pretty dirty, and the last thing I need is to worry about ruining my clothes during a shoot.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

3/26/11 - Spent

This shot was taken as today's head shot client was changing in her car.  Just a reflection of the way I've felt the last few days.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

3/25/11 - Childish Centerpiece

I think this must be Nathan's idea of a lovely centerpiece for the table.  This car has been sitting on our kitchen table for about 5 days now.  Does that make me a bad homemaker or Nathan a bad decorator? 

Bonus photo:

 Captured Nathan admiring himself in the sliding glass door during dinner.  I especially love how Steinway is laying on the floor behind us.

Friday, March 25, 2011

3/24/11 - Follow the Bouncing Flash

This is a photo of Nathan watching himself on You Tube.  He is always so amused with watching himself.  It borders on a problem.  He loves to goof around with his reflection.  It's so bad that if we forget to close the blinds on the back patio sliding glass door in the kitchen...he can't eat because he's so enthralled with watching his little reflection dance, wiggle, and gallivant about.  He ended up in a brief time out tonight because after I closed the blinds during dinner he had a nice little tantrum...he was so desperate to watch himself.   After dinner I showed him a few of his youtube videos and he was pleased as punch.  Nathan TV and a Mommy made lolli....perfection.

As he was watching, I noticed how lovely his smile was and how interesting the light from the computer looked illuminating his little face.  I'm so thrilled with how the light in this image turned out.  It was VERY dark in the room....the overhead light in our office isn't working for some the only light was from the computer screen and my flash.  I pointed the flash directly at the computer screen and it turned out just the way I wanted it. It's a simple little picture....but I had some fairly solid technique going on. I just may come out of this project a better photographer after all. 

3/23/11 - Nilly's View

This image was taken while Nathan and I were stowed away in the bedroom as Rich placed a very nervous Nilly in her cat carrier. Rich was taking Nilly to the vet...a trip that she sadly did not return from. Today was the day that we had to put Nilly to rest. I'm so sad that I didn't take a picture of her today. I considered taking a picture of her in the cat carrier, but it just didn't seem right...and to be honest, Rich and I both thought she'd be coming home again.

I am happy, though, to have this image which was taken as I sat in Nilly's spot on the bed. She had such a lovely view. I will really miss her in that spot.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3/22/11 - Nathan's Pick

I was really feeling lazy today and seriously wanted to blow off today's picture...but I didn't.  Instead I turned to my child to help me through my creative block.  "Nathan, I have to take a picture.  What should I take a picture of?"  "Take a picture of my car I made!"  Nathan painted this little ceramic car about 6 months ago....maybe even more.  It's been stuck to our fridge ever since.  He notices and comments on it often and will sometimes ask to play with it.

Great idea Nathan.

It was at this point that Nathan assumed complete creative control over the project.

I asked Nathan to come on the back patio with me and sit crisscross and hold the car in his lap.  He informed me that, yes the patio was a good idea, but that he would be sitting normally in the chair and not crisscross. Fine.

I instructed him to hold the car in his lap....I was just going to take a close up shot of the car. Nathan decided that it would be a much more powerful shot if he ate the car.

Really Nathan?  What is it with you and eating toys lately?

He proceeded to play with the car, making it soar through the air, crash, and vroom all about. Pretty much everything but hold it quietly in his lap.

He did for a moment set it quietly in my lap and instruct me to take a picture of it there.

I hate to admit it...but in the end the kid was right.  The photo below (the official photo of the day) is far superior to what I wanted him to do.  But I'm not gonna tell him, I don't want it going to his head. I suppose that I will continue to listen to the wisdom and guidance of Nathan when I'm out of ideas.

3/21/11 - I'm Lovin' It

Nathan and I went on quite a shopping trip today.  I promised Nathan that if he was a really good listener at the store that he could get 1 small new toy.  He was such a good boy on our almost 2 hour shopping extravaganza that not only did he get a new small toy, but he also got to have McDonald's for lunch.

Nathan always gets the same thing: "A hamburger, yogurt, french fries and milk."  He has this order memorized and if you were to ask him right now what he wants for lunch, it's a darn good bet that he will say this.

Today we just quickly went through the drive-thru and came right home to eat.  We had such fun playing with the kids meal box and he just loves the "Aqualad" figurine that came with it.  Aqualad lights up...Nathan is such a sucker for that.  However it looks like he may have confused it for his hamburger cause he kept sticking the thing in his mouth.'d think he was teething again or something.

Finally he found his cheeseburger....but boy does he eat it strangely.  By the time I snapped the photo below he had eaten the entire bun and was finally working on the actual burger contents.   3 yr olds sure are messy.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

3/20/11 - Rain Rain Go Away

I'm so bummed. We have been planning a trip to Disneyland with our friend Paul for quite some time now. Today was going to be the day until someone turned the sprinkler on and forgot to shut the darn thing off!  It's been raining all day.  I don't mean the typical California "rain" that consists of a slight drizzle that delays traffic an extra hour per 5 miles.  No...I mean the type of rain you folks experience in other places in the world...the kind that is even too hard for me to take my 3 yr old out to splash in the puddles in.

GRRRR...too much rain.

Tried to take a picture from the safe covering on our front porch...but as I's very difficult to capture rain. I should really put up an audio track. This rain is LOUD!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

3/19/11 - Super Moon!

I've been wanting to get a great shot of the full moon pretty much ever since I picked up photography. For some reason I've never been either able or willing to do it.

I decided that tonight was the night. It being a rare and wondrous super moon and all..I had to capture it.  I'm pretty darn pleased with the results.  I also got some fun night photography shots with longer exposures that I think are neat too.

We were a touch worried that I wouldn't be able to get a clear shot because the sky was very cloudy tonight. I do love this shot though. The clouds made for a beautiful scene. 

Check out that lens flare!  Who woulda thunk that the moon could produce lens flare like that. I love it!

I must give my darling husband a great deal of credit for the above photos.  He was clever enough to find the spot where we could get a clear shot of the moon...truly, this was no small feat.  He made sure we had the evening free to go out and get it done.  He is even the sole reason why I have a decent tripod. When I couldn't get a clear shot from my current vantage point, he suggested moving several yards away which was the ticket to finally getting a clear shot. Without him, this would have been a far lesser image, so I hereby officially give him 40% credit for today's photos.  Thanks Rich!

3/18/11 - STEAMROLLER!

Steamroller is this great game that Rich invented.  He tells (read makes up) one or another lovely story of something his Dad did when he was a child and then always ends the story with a very quiet and gentle "and do you know what my Dad did?"  Nathan says with a knowing grin..."what?" 

Rich exclaims: STEAMROLLER!!!!   and proceeds to roll back and forth over my child.

Nathan loves this game.

And after steamroller is over...they just plain roll about. 

silly boys!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

3/17/11 - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm so excited that I remembered to wear green today.  You don't even know.  For the past 5 yrs straight I've forgotten to wear green.  As a school teacher, that just does not fly!  I always have to make something out of green construction paper after I get to work.  But long last....I remembered! No pinching for me. HOORAY!

Rich got Nathan ready for school, so his green is classy and subtle. Greenish pants, green lettering on his school shirt, and shoes with green trim.  He whispered his celebration of the day rather than shouting it.  :)

I thought it might be a nice surprise to go for Shamrock Shakes after picking Nathan up from school.  I also thought it might make a fairly decent photo opportunity. We quickly stopped by Mickey D's to get the shakes and went to the park near our house to make use of the natural green background that is abundantly available there.

I was right.  Here are a few from our super quick "session".

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

3/16/11 - Charlie Sheen Flowers

These are the first flowers that Nathan and I have instantly agreed on!  We saw these strange Protea flowers and had to have them. They look so neat in our kitchen flower spot.

So why the "Charlie Sheen Flowers" you may ask?  Well, as we were standing in the checkout line...Nathan noticed a funny picture of Charlie Sheen on the cover of one of those gossip magazines.  Mr. Sheen was wonderfully disheveled in the sticking straight up...eyes so wide open you'd think they might pop.  Nathan decided that he looked like the flowers we picked out. HA HA! Clever boy.  So now Nathan calls them the Charlie Sheen flowers; he's so current and topical!

Wish I could remember which magazine it was so I could link to the photo.  He really does look like our flowers.

3/15/11 - Family TV Time

There has been a wonderful new development in our family. We have discovered perhaps the first television program that we can all watch as a family. Rich thought Nathan might enjoy watching one of our favorite reality shows, "The Amazing Race".  Rich and I always like to pick a "horse" to root for and we got Nathan in on the fun.

Rich picked: Zev and Justin (we need a catchy nickname for these guys)
Amber Picked: the Cowboys
Nathan Picked: the Globtrotters

I've got to say...we've all got some pretty darn good horses this year. It's gonna be a tight race.

Anyway...this evening's photo is just a quick snap of Nathan (and a very blurry Daddy) watching the show together. I always loved family tv time as a little girl and am so excited that we are reaching that place now in our family. Life is good.

3/14/11 - On the Road Again

Today was an extremely busy day.  I spent the vast majority of the day working on the images from Saturday's newborn session.  I had warned Nathan the night before that Mommy was going to have to work a lot tomorrow and I think it really helped because he was just perfect!  The day went so smoothly. I got tons done, and he seemed to enjoy playing near me, in my lap as I worked, and even by himself in his room for a short while.

The only problem was that I never did take a "photo of the day" break. Perhaps I should have taken a photo of Nathan crawling through the cubby in our coffee table, or the playing cards that he scattered all over the office floor as I worked, or Nathan playing Hot Cross Buns on the keyboard.  But nope....sadly, I was just too busy.

At about 5:00, when Rich got home and I had to leave for Harborlites rehearsal, I realized it would have to be an iPhone day. I resolved to take a photo in the car on the way to chorus.  Now some of you may be thinking that this sounds like a dangerous thing...which would indicate to me that you've never driven from the Valley to the OC at 5:30pm on a Monday.  Trust me...there is no shortage of perfectly safe photo opportunities.  Let me show you why.

If you click through to the larger image you might notice that the MPH on my GPS says 0.0 -  hrmph!  At least I had my iPhone camera to entertain me as I waited.

 Bonus Photo!

Nathan wanted to reprise the previous day's fun of jumping onto the pillows this morning. Since it was so much fun the day before, he insisted I take photos of him as he jumped. SO, I tried very hard to figure out the delay on my iPhone and snap a shot. Here is my favorite resulting image:

Man...that just looks like a horror show! Good thing 3 yr olds are so bouncy and bendy.

3/13/11 - Sunday Fun!

It just has to be done.  This must be another day of multiple pictures.  There were just far too many snap worthy moments that I could hardly put my camera down for about an hour and a half this morning.

It started just as we were finishing breakfast and Nathan started playing with those Mardi Gras beads he had gotten at school a few days earlier.  As he was playing with them I snapped a few pictures thinking...why couldn't you do this on the actual day of Mardi Gras....but never mind that. He was very cute...swinging the beads in large circles....putting them on his head...creating sculpturesque art with them.  As I snapped away I already figured I'd have a hard time choosing the official picture of the day.

Enter collage #1:

THEN, we ventured upstairs where Nathan continued to be totally adorable.

After a little while, he started jumping off the chest in our bedroom..which he's often apt to do.  I grabbed the camera and tried to get a photo of him mid-air.

THEN Daddy decided to get in on the action and madness ensued. We had silliness galore!

 Official Photo of the Day:

See that little hint of pink in the mirror behind Nathan? That's me. :)

Nathan continued to jump and jump and jump each time insisting that Mommy take a picture so he could see.  Now I REALLY didn't know which picture I'd choose. So I say...why choose? Can't we just have it all? The beauty of the day was...all of it. I can't favor one thing over another. It was a wonderfully enjoyable morning.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

3/12/11 - "The" Pose

Have I ever mentioned how much I love doing newborn sessions?  What could be better than spending the day photographing a baby?'s a lot of work, but it's a good kind of work.

Today's session was my longest session ever.  This sweet boy is older than the ideal for a newborn session.  We like to see babies at about 5 days old for optimal sleepiness and skin smoothness. Today's newborn was at the ripe old age of 15 days!  I went in to the session knowing that it was going to be hard to get a sleeping baby...but I'm pretty determined.  I usually quote my newborn sessions at 3-4 hrs...but right at the 4 hour mark this little one finally fell into a nice what you want with me...sleep.  I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to play with an origami baby.  Luckily the parents and I had the extra time available to play.

I'm so glad because I was finally able to get this "I'd like to stay on my side please" baby on his tummy for a head on hands shot.  Isn't he just the cutest baby you've ever seen?

3/11/11 - Sunrise

This photo was taken at 6:30 this morning.  I was cheerfully (HA!) getting ready for work this morning when I noticed how beautiful the light coming in the bathroom window was.  Quickly ran downstairs to grab the camera and hoped that I could capture the beauty of it. I'm not sure it translates...but I hope that it will help me remember.

This is actually two different photos gracefully slapped together. The one on the left is about 2 minutes before the one on the right.  I love how quickly the lighting changes that early in the morning. 

Nice bonus....didn't have to think about the daily photo all day long! Woo Hoo!!!

Taken with the 100mm 2.8L Macro. Settings aprox ss 1/160 f /14 ISO 250.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

3/10/11 - Pink Carnation

Here is the flower of the week.  I decided on the very affordable little pink carnations.  I really adore the look of these particular carnations.  The petals are just so frilly and delicate looking. I had a blast playing with the good ole macro lens this afternoon capturing these beauties.

If you read the comments below you'll see that my mother asked if Nathan chose the flower pictured above. The answer is no.  I couldn't decide between the pink and the purple flowers, so I asked Nathan which one he preferred. He liked the purple ones, but I just couldn't let the little pink ones go, so I got both. They look really lovely in the vase together.

Here is a close up of the purple ones Nathan picked.  Which ones would you have picked?