Celebrating, Capturing & Remembering Life's Special moments
The snow has melted away into what seems immediately like summer. I spent a good part of my day today wandering in the sunshine at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum with my husband. I was quite thrilled to find these little itty, bitty flowers popping up through the dirt and leaves. Some of them seemed wisely cautious, with their petals still tightly closed, but a few hopeful few opened up their pretty faces to the warmth and sunshine.
I reversed my lens and freelensed, getting in really close to the tiny flowers to create this dreamy effect to represent the hope of Spring after our long, long winter. Although by now (the end of April) Spring better be more than a hope and a dream!
Here are the pictures I promised. This particular session was quite fun because Imostly  just followed Joe and Dianne around snapping happily while they played. This is most definitely my favorite way to take pictures. Thus my whole "celebrating, capturing and remembering life's special moments" tagline. I love capturing those real little details and moments as they unfold.
The weather even decided to grant us some special effects (aka snow), which was wonderful considering that just an hour earlier we discussed postponing the outdoor pictures due to the rain and slush. Minnesota helped create a perfect shoot once again!
I am looking forward to the wedding is August! As beautiful as the snow was, I do love sunshine.
Bubbles make me smile. They make me think of being a kid. They make me think of giggles. They make me think of summer. I love to try and count their colors.
As a kid I would chase them around trying to eat them, but was always disappointed at their taste. Even so the fun of chasing was worth even that disappointment.

It is Spring. I'm not going to say the snow is gone for good, because being Minnesota it would end up snowing just because I said it. However we have had some gloriously beautiful weeks. The leaves are peeking out, the sun has been shining, and I've started some seeds on our tiny apartment porch. I've also been loving long walks outside. Somehow seeing life spring up all around and having the sun shine down on my face somehow brings life and joy to my spirits as well. Everything seems cheerier with sunshine and green.
One of my favorite things about Spring in Minnesota is beautiful intricacies of those tiny little leaves opening up, shiny with newness and the most beautiful shade of green.
Sometimes I wonder how or why it is that I ended up in Minnesota after having spent my teenage years living on a beautiful tropical island in the Caribbean. Minnesota is gorgeous in the summer (though I prefer sparkling blue salt water to murky green with seaweed), really any place with sunshine and green is beautiful and where I would like to be right now.
Even though this has been a wonderfully mild (some might say warm) winter, and the sun has been shining more than normal, it is still lacking that wonderful happy warmth of summer or the tropics. I can tell partly because my skin is almost transparent (if I look close enough I can almost see blue veins!), and my faded freckles are just distant memories of beach days past. Funny, I used to hate my freckles, now I love them because they mean that sunshine has warmed my face.
I took a trip down memory lane to remind myself what sunshiney summer days look like. I'm not quite sure if this little trip gave me a needed dose of sunshine, or just made me miss it all the more. Either way, let me share a few wonderful summer sunshine moments with you just in case you needed some reminding too...
I know I always wonder what  other photographers use. So in case you are curious, these are the cameras I've been using up to this point.
My main shooting camera is the Canon 40D and the newest addition to my collection (and a very happy surprise at that). Perhaps another time I will post some of the other gear I use.
My secondary camera (and very first SLR) which I have used for 5 years is the Canon Rebel XT. It has been wonderfully faithful, even if it is not my go to camera anymore. I have kept it partly for sentimental reasons, and also because I look forward to photographing more events like weddings that almost require a second camera.
For about 3 years now my family has made a tradition out of going to an apple orchard. Traditions like this are super special to me. So, when we ended up at the wrong apple orchard (of the same name) almost an hour away (after an hour of driving) from where we were supposed to meet my family, I just about cried. It didn't help that I was already all sniffley and foggy feeling from an icky cold. I couldn't help thinking "who knows where we will all be next year?" With my siblings growing up, starting/finishing college and passionately pursuing God's adventures for their lives, I don't take for granted that we are all fairly close together right now. Not to mention that we grew up overseas, and even my parents are sensing the itch to get back out there. It really wouldn't surprise me if we all ended up in different corners of the globe within the next few 5 years. Meanwhile, as all that mental drama was tumbling around inside my brain, my husband got us to the right orchard. There we picked a few apples (windfalls were only 50 cents a pound!), I snapped a bunch of pictures and we all spent a few moments talking and just being together as a family.
Most people probably would have wondered if those few simple moments were worth all the trouble (especially since I was already feeling miserable with a cold), but they were SO worth it to me. I'm sentimental and nostalgic. I treasure moments like these. That is one reason I love photography, I can capture those brief beautiful moments in time. Then I can later look back at the memories and smile as I marvel over the adventures (both big and small) of life that God has brought us through.
It was recently brought to my attention that if you google "Black and White Photo" one of my pictures comes up on the first page. Crazy huh? If you google "Black and White Photography tips" the same picture is second.

This photo was one of the very first taken with my then very first, brand new SLR camera. I was 17, new to photography but quite excited about it and learning a lot at the digital-photography-school.com blog. I posted the jpeg to an assignment forum for black and white photos, and was thrilled to see it later in one of their articles. Fast forward 5 years and there it is on google. I am so glad that it isn't embarrassing in any way for me or the model (she was blessed to be a stunning, rather than awkward, teen)! In fact I am still proud of that picture. :-)

All this to say, never post anything online that you might not be proud to call your own 5 or 10 years later.

(Other google searches revealed to me that Anna Silverthorn is not a common name on the internet, and almost everything on the first page has something to do with me.)

Search & Win
I've been playing with some of my Spring pictures in Photoshop. Blending different layers and applying different filters. It is fun to learn more about Photoshop's powerful features this way. So much more intersting to experiment for myself than to read about it in a book. This is what I did recently.
My mother in law told me the edited images look like napkins. Anybody work for a napkin company that wants tulip pictures? :-)

P.S. These are the flowers that came from the buds in my previous spring post.
I've had so much fun with my most recent pictures this week. The whole process from snapping them to color correcting was invigorating. I feel like I am starting to be able to create the images I see in my mind, rather than just trying things "al azar" (randomly) or through trial and error. While we were outside I let my self play with sunlight some, as it was low on the horizon and creating beautiful backlight. I was a little nervous that they wouldn't work and would be unusable, but I am so happy I tried! I was also using my new camera, which also made me somewhat uneasy. I am realizing how tuned in to my old camera I am.

The shutter on the 40D is much quieter, and sounds a lot like the shutter would on my Canon Rebel XT would when it was slow shutter speed. With the 40 D I kept thinking the exposure was too long and the images would be blurry. The knobs and buttons are also in different places. On my XT I became so familiar with the layout that I could change settings without even looking at them. I suppose that's what happens when you use a tool for almost 6 years (wow! I can't believe it's been 6 years!).  So as much as I am LOVING my new camera, I am still getting used to it.
Even though I worked in some unfamiliar territory I am very satisfied with the results, and super excited to give the pictures to my friend.

One of my favorite parts of this shoot was right before little "J" and Dad went to go get ice cream (his treat for doing so well  even though he was sick). His mom came out wearing a white skirt and pretty white shirt. Little "J" stared at her with his mouth wide open and said with wonder "Mommy, you a princess!". Then he danced with her, looking up in awe and telling her repeatedly that she was a pretty princess. Is it just me or how many other 3 year olds with strep and ice cream waiting take the time to dance with mommy and tell her she looks like a pretty princess?