Celebrating, Capturing & Remembering Life's Special moments
That title is a mouthful isn't it? Lots going on in the story of this precious family right now. I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph last week, squeezed in the last few days before Dad deployed to Afghanistan. A baby girl, their fourth child is also on the way. I deeply admire this family for their strength, courage, love, energy, creativity and general gusto for life. I can easily say this is the most emotionally impacting photoshoot I have ever done. As I edited the photos I found myself laughing, crying and praying for this dear family with an intensity I never realized photos could inspire.
Here's a peek into their lives, perhaps they will inspire your prayers as well:
As I was taking this picture I heard a little conversation going on in the minivan behind us where the kids were warming up. It went something like this:
"Are they going to KISS?!"
"They ARE going to KISS!!!!"

This conversation wasn't held in the eewww gross tone you might expect from kids that age about kissing. It was more of a tone of sheer delight, trying to predict when Mom and Dad might kiss. An almost identical moment occurred later at the house, when we thought the kids had gone off to play. We turned around to their whispers, and there they were, all three lined up on the stairs, peeking through the balcony railings whispering the same thing. Love those kids!
It was a little chilly. If you look at the S's face you can see her adorable attempt at smiling through chattering teeth.
Little S had just gotten up from a nap when I arrived, thus this perfectly natural and precious moment as she rested in her Father's arms.
Did I mention I admire this family for their liveliness and energy? These kids are NOT afraid of the camera. Made my job especially fun. :)
"Daddy, do deedoodeedoo!" - S
Translated: "say tickle tickle!" Apparently the act of tickling her little toes was not enough without the sound effects.
"Was that smile good enough for a blizzard?" - J
"Was that the grand finale?" - T
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.
I had big wonderful plans for a winter wonderland sort of family session shortly before Christmas. Minnesota, however has a way of messing with any kind of outdoor plans I make and gifted us with some rain, slush and general cold ickyness on the date we had set. We improvised and ended up at the Arboretum library where some sweet family moments unfolded.
Thank you Minnesota for raining on us in December. I wouldn't have thought to take family pictures (with a toddler) at a library. Without your weather surprise I would have missed out on these warm, fuzzy memories with this sweet little family.
I love this family and so enjoy watching them grow. Not only that, but they keep choosing me to capture those special moments with my camera. I had so much fun chasing these little boys around this fall and equally as much fun editing the photos. See how much the boys have grown since the sessions I did here and here
I took these photos of lovely senior Regan on a beautiful, warm day a couple of weeks ago. I was thrilled by this assignment, as I took her sister's wedding pictures last year. I found a year ago that it is nearly impossible to get bad pictures of this family, and this session is further witness to that. :-)
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Today I had the privilege to photograph a couple who has been married for 50 years. This month their marriage will be transitioning into a new phase as the husband enters memory care. As I edit the pictures different emotions stir in me, but one prevails, awe. Awe at the love that persists and is still evident in the midst of challenges and confusion. Awe at how a kiss, or a hand held still brings comfort even when perception is cloudy.

My slogan for photography is "celebrating, capturing and remembering life's special moments", and I felt like I was able to do exactly that today. The special moments of life aren't all thrilling, exciting and happy. Some of them are tinged with sadness and uncertainty. Even so they are worth celebrating and remembering because even the painful moments stand on the shoulders of joyous memories. There is beauty in the transitions because often the mourning is proof of what was, and is in it's own upside down sort of way a celebration of remembrances.

This week my husband and I celebrate our 3rd anniversary. As I browse through these pictures I think of us in 47 years. What will our story be? What moments will we be remembering and celebrating as we contemplate a new phase of life?
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...
Minnesota is being crazy this year. Becky and I had some fun ideas planned for some fun Minnesota snow filled winter engagement pictures. But Minnesota decided to just sort of comply.
Instead of a foot or two on the ground (perfect for snow angels, snowball fights or snow men) it snowed while were taking these pictures. Even so, it snowed just enough for a faint dusting on the ground, which didn't even last long enough to give us a white Christmas (quite the opposite of last year).
Yet the pictures were fun, the falling snowflakes added character to the pictures and it was just cold enough to make us shiver and feel a little numb, so we had an excuse to defrost a little at a coffee shop.
I am super excited to show off these pictures. This is my first "engagement" session (besides awkwardly trying to take  my own), and everything worked together nicely to make it a very fun experience.
I must say though, going into the pictures I was a little discouraged. Just the day before the fall colors were at their peak, but it seemed to me that on this day the wind was on a mission to rob me of every last vibrant leaf. Not to mention it was also very cloudy. Now clouds are normally a photographer's friend, but I had some very specific pictures in mind where I wanted that special golden glow that only a sunny evening provides. Then to make matters worse as I stepped out of my car to go meet the couple, I was just about carried away by the wind with my reflector as a sail (that reflector ended up being the challenge of the afternoon by escaping my assistant's grip on various occasions, once hitting me square in the face).
In the end all my worries were nullified, and the wind I was so afraid of ended up being a beautiful addition to the images. The wind added a sense of energy and humor throughout the evening that I couldn't have planned for. Then, at just the right moment, exactly when I needed it, the sun peeked out to give me that yummy golden glow I was hoping for. Thanks Austin and Erin for letting me celebrate, capture and remember these special memories with you! I can't wait for your wedding in December.
By the way, this session marks the completion of one of my photography goals (read about them here). I did not know them before they asked me to take their wedding pictures. Photographing their wedding in December will complete one of the goals that I thought might have been the most far fetched, and have been looking forward to since the day I got my first digital SLR camera.
*For some reason the colors in these pictures are looking slightly muted compared to the way they look in other programs and on facebook. If you want to fully appreciate the awesome golden light you might want to check out the album on my facebook page.*