Monday, December 29, 2008

Meet Matthew! and check out this video




So I must be the last person to ever see this video by Casting Crowns, Does Anybody Hear Her. But my nephew, only my favorite nephew in the entire world, finally sent me the link to his user page on godtube so I could see some darling pictures of his new little baby boy and he is just the cutest ever. I'll post some I snagged from his page in a moment (I can do that just because I'm his auntie and only his favorite photographer in the world, though I did not shoot these. I'm sure someone in the family did, like baby's mommy, Laurie!!!)
But I can't embed the video, try as I might to find an embed code, all I could find was the URL to youtube. But this video, stinking thing, made me cry! Boy, that could have been me years ago. That's exactly the way I felt - kind of invisible - especially around "church-going types" yet I was raised with all intents of going to church on Sundays, etc...but this video, wow, just awesome.
OK, so today is Monday, not Sunday, but that's my spiritual post for the week. Now for some darling pics.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More bokeh!



this third image, the kids strung the lights up really fast and I just never fixed them. They had a quirky appeal to them hung irregular like that and my granddaughter enjoyed them none the less. Ummm, glad Christmas is over, but I do enjoy the imagery.



why not? I've just backed up tons of stuff off my computer, deleted lots of RAW files and scrapbook papers/elements and then when I saw I had posts on my bokeh shots, decided to toss up some more! I've spent the afternoon reading at my desk while my computer did all the hard work. It was a necessity being that I had so little space left.
I read a fantastic article on Hugh Jackman in C&I, on Australia. Awesome. I want to see that show! Especially after reading the interview. Fantastic piece!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas bokeh





Just some random shots I took a couple weeks ago. I don't know why, but wanted to play with bokeh. 10 years ago these shots would have been tossed. Now it seems everyone wants some bokeh in their life! I threw in the one of the cake with the silver garland behind it since it classifies as bokeh/holiday too. After the holidays I'm going to put together a blurb book of just my holiday images/non people that I've shot over the years. That should be a fun project.
I may try using them as textures if I take the right photo for the main image. Meanwhile, have a happy Saturday.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!





It's nearly noon here and the house is just barely stirring! Totally unlike our bunch. As my boys were growing up, they were up before daylight on Christmas Day. My youngest had the luck to be born on this glorious day, and it was always a double celebration.
This year, my oldest son, his wife and their two little ones are enjoying Christmas morning at their home, so we are dragging out the day. Kind of nice actually. I slept in!
Now this is the first year for the little grandkids (2 of them anyway) to actually recognize that something is going on. We moved our tree from the entry way into the living area in front of the fireplace last night after little Miss Mya went to bed. Being that she is all about the tree and more so, the lights, she will surely notice something's up when she comes out of her room and doesn't see the tree. It should be fun.
How many of you kept your spending under control this year? We did, another hard thing for me to do, and it still feels like I spent too much and didn't get enough for everyone! I'm still waiting on some photo books I made through blurb to show up. Estimated delivery day-- sometime next week! So we may have a New Year's present thing going on.
My husband bought me a fantastic bottle of San Angelo (Italy) wine that I plan to enjoy this afternoon with our Christmas meal. Which reminds me, better get started and get the ham in.
Good food, wonderful family, little ones delight, I love times like this! The only thing missing is my sister and her family who live in Florida.
Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The CAKE!





Here's photos of the cake. I bought the Southern Living Christmas at Home magazine (2008) and this recipe was in it. Meanwhile, just drool! Merry Christmas! The only thing I did different was the topping. I used a bag of milk chocolate chips (Ghirardelli) and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream. About 40 seconds in the microwave, stirred really well and added 1 tablespoon coffee liquer, then drizzled it over it. Added toasted pecan pieces to the top and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. I have not tasted it yet, but look at it, how can it not be good?! It is after all, Southern Living tested! I found the recipe on the SL site and it credits original submitter at end of the recipe, as I have pasted it below.

Prep: 20 min.; Bake: 1 hr., 20 min.; Cool: 45 min.

Yield
Makes 12 servings

Ingredients
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 (16-oz.) can chocolate syrup
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnishes: Wintry-White Icing, strawberry slices
Preparation

1. Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH for 30-second intervals until melted (about 1 1/2 minutes total). Stir in chocolate syrup until smooth.

2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

3. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla and melted chocolate just until blended. Pour batter into a greased and floured 14-cup Bundt pan.

4. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and let cool 30 minutes or until completely cool. Garnish, if desired.

Jerry Mills, Birmingham, Alabama, Southern Living, DECEMBER 2007

In a snapshot spirit


You'd think, me being a PROfessional photographer and all that, that I could get a group shot of my three little ones, but ummm, their parents aren't any help whatsoever, love them BUT, this was the best I could do in one sitting. Now, give me each one alone, kick out their parents and maybe it would work. I used to kick parents out of my studio and then they'd be awed at the great shots...not so easy to do with my own kids! But anyway, I love these pictures and put them together in a 'card' for this year's scrapbook page. Now that's a laugh. I haven't scrapped in years.
So here's enjoying the start of what could prove a crazy week. I need to get little miss in a dress for a proper girlie photo. She loves dresses and she just got a new dolly this week (early present) that she absolutely loves. So you know that will be part of her photo.
On another note, Sunday was awesome. I darted down to the paper and helped out a co-worker so he wouldn't have such a long day. We had to get our annual "Letters to Santa" section together and I've done it for a few years, so it was easy for me to take on that project.
Then my husband took me over to the mall in Lawton and we had so much fun. Made a stop at the Dillard's perfume counter. I am pretty sure I know what I am getting! Some Donna Karan Cashmere Mist! Yummy! Then we ate at Garfield's, calamari appetizer and sandwiches, onion rings for me, cheese waffle fries for him. My gosh, I was almost stuffed after the calamari! Then the onion rings, JINORMOUS!
Came home and then I started making holiday desserts...from scratch no less -- chocolate fudge bundt cake, apricot cream cheese coffee pound cake, and some Ghirardelli's chunky candy -- white chocolate and chocolate melted/swirled together with toasted pecans on top and some sea salt. Oh yea! Photos tomorrow evening will be forthcoming! And the recipes!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oooh...chocolate martini




I'm not a martini drinker. But after my son mentioned that he saw a Chocolate Martini on the list at Olive Garden, I decided to google and get a recipe. With list in hand, off to the package store I went. I reinvented the recipe as who the heck can afford a bottle of Godiva chocolate liquer! It was more than $20! It was so creamy and really didn't taste like I was drinking alcohol. I had two. I'm such a lightweight and ended up taking a nap not long after. Hah! I do have a slight headache, that's what vodka does to me. Oh while I was at the store, the clerk pointed out a huge bottle of Chocolate Vodka...wow! They sure know how to try and sucker a person in. But I was strong, didn't go for it. I do have my eye on a bottle of Reindeer Red (wine)..not sure if it's good or not. I might get it after some research...

So, here's my recipe:

1 1/2 shots chocolate liquer (Kamora) couldn't afford the Godiva!
1 1/2 shots creme de cacao
1/2 shot vodka - used Smirnoff's Vanilla..delish!
2 1/2 shots half-and-half

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gift ideas on etsy!

About now, you are probably thinking what am I going to buy 'Aunt Peanut' for Christmas...well, no fear...

etsy is of course, one of the best places to shop online! It's been awhile since I've done a post like this, but I'm in the mood tonight. So here goes!
I love this first idea. I'm into words, letters, numbers, game pieces and this stuff is stylish and in these days for the smart decorator. You can also get these coasters and tray separately at Carolina Cottage's shop at etsy.
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=103016


Next is something just fun for the guy on your list or the car enthusiast.
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6387518 I like this shop for all kinds of reasons. Love old cars, but this is just fun quirky. Hubcaps and old license plates made into clocks. I posted an Oklahoma plate here, but I was tempted to post the Colorado one! This is 8 Mile Creek Designs shop.



Next on my list tonight is Single Stone Studios. Very hip, very chic decals for your walls! I like this first one because it has a Christmas feel to it!
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5988949



And this one is just so right.

Kid photo ideas on flickr!

Told you I'd be back *and I may return later today! Doing absolutely nothing much today....procrastinating....
But there's the link, copy and paste it to check out an image I found. This is a set up that anyone can do at home! And just plain cute. To fancy it up with 'snow'...look online at a scrapbooking store or free sometimes, a snow texture or overlay. Those who do digital scrapbooking can really fancy up such an image.
http://flickr.com/photos/25400184@N07/3079611821/

Great finds!


This is a 'double post'...I'll be back later today to post some really great ideas with links to fun photos if you still are looking for clever kid photos for your Christmas cards!
Friday I visited our local Goodwill store which I hadn't done in a long while. Well, it was definitely my day! I picked up a ton of fantastic items, mostly really cool second hand toys! All were about 99 cents, so that was even better. But the best thing I found was this robot for $3.99. I bought my boys robots when they were little along with some fantastically huge dinosaurs. Somehow though when we moved to Oklahoma, the entire bin of those items never made it. That was 11 years ago. Now my boys are grown with children of their own. The babies are still young enough that getting good used toys for Christmas won't matter. I'm fairly picky about what I get for them, but I made a good haul this time.
Back to the robot. So, I get it home and my youngest son starts digging around in the sack like a kid again, which was really enjoyable to watch. He finds the dinos and spies the robot. Next thing you know, this robot is walking, talking, swiveling, flashing lights. The darn thing works!!! I snapped a couple pictures with my tree in the background. I need to remove my backdrop from behind the tree and finish decorating. Every time I put shatterproof ornaments on it, my granddaughter, the busy little bee that she is, helps take them off and replaces them! Cute!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Red and Gold

Brewing up some Christmas
Wonderful Christmas colors! I also titled this one Brewing up Christmas!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Days of Christmas!

I just had a hard time posting again so soon after the last one! MM is just so cute! Can't wait to get my new grandson in his little red striped pants (Old Navy) with a stocking hat! Should have done that today=Sunday, but was trying to keep from being more sick. I'm still feeling icky, but must go to work today=Monday..blah...I never hardly sleep Sunday nights before work. It's horrible going to work so tired. Been this way for years!
Vintage Kitchen holiday
Anyway, here's the start of my Days of Christmas. These were shot at the Prairie House, a beautiful restored home in the historic district here. They hosted a candlelight tour this weekend and I did photos for it on the first day, but had to beg off day two because I felt horrible. Everything aches and I think I've pinched a nerve in my back.

The Prairie House is open for holiday tours and worth seeing. We did Santa photos and Santa wore white. I'm holding off posting those since it was a fundraiser and so those need to be purchased from the PH committee. I donated my services and was happy to do so. Every room had a tree in it! And I didn't even photograph them all!
Festive chandelier

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Christmas hats, silver ornaments and one cute baby!

From here on out, you will see a ton of Christmas images. It's December, so why not?! This, as most of my sessions with little MM go since she lives with us, was impromptu. When she came toddling in, in this new red outfit, with scarf and all, I knew it was time to shoot some photos! I created this top one with a lot of elements I have. I think I did pretty good considering I don't do much digital scrapbooking!
Silver ornament fun and a twinkle of snowflakes

And these images are priceless! It started when she picked up the ornament ball in her feet, center shot, with no prompting, then kept on! As for the hats, she does not like hats, so to get this many shots with some Christmas fashion for the head, whoohoo!
She loves her red suit!
Now, the trick is to get all three of my grandchildren in one session. Tricky, but I'm going to try!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Looking back for the future...





If you're a regular follower, these photos will look familiar. I've posted them before and they are on my Web site. So why am I posting them again? Well, I will get to that in a bit.
But, it's partly because I've just spent time looking at the fabulous refreshing blog of Anne Ruthmann, based in Massachusetts. Her engagement photos of couples are so capturing and her writing, well, being a writer, I admire her postings. So I started thinking, what is it about her blog that I love ... her work ... I mean there are thousands of photographers and just as many blogs to browse. When I go to post, it's like a roadblock. Maybe because I write for a living so when I actually have the freedom to write what I want, my fingers just STOP!

As I read entry after entry, it finally dawned on me why Anne Ruthmann is such a great photographer specializing in couples. She CONNECTS with them. She finds out WHO they are! Well, that's what I do in journalism, but as a wedding photographer, I think I've not been so good in that respect.

It wasn't for lack of trying, but it seemed like I always connected more with the bride's mother, since she always seemed to be running the show ... in many weddings. I just don't want any one previous client thinking I have singled them out. No, not at all. I'm really going out on a limb here and divulging what I believe are some of the cons I've listed for myself.

Wow, this is going to take a bit of time posting this. I may regret it tomorrow! Hah!

These images I've shared here are those of couples that I did connect with! Christian and Laurie in Florida and Charlie and Ryan in southern Oklahoma. Well, Charlie and Ryan are much, much younger than myself and yes, I'm friends with her mom, but I've known Charlie for sometime and was familiar with Ryan. I didn't shoot their wedding, but did get to shoot their reception and it was fabulous!
As for Christian, he's my nephew and more like a little brother to me since he lived with us for so many years. I'd have to say it was the most fabulous 3 days of wedding photography I've ever experienced!
And he makes a great 'assistant' even when he's in the shot!

Now, the reason for this post is I really wanted to succeed as an engagement/wedding photographer. I had a client once tell me that yes, I took great shots, but throughout the wedding she probably never spoke more than a dozen words to me. And those who know me, know that probably drove me crazy. Yes, it did and to this day, I have pondered greatly over what I could have done different. Well, I should have realized at the consultation that the conversation was more between myself and the bride's mother and the intended groom. That right there was a huge STOPLIGHT that I never acknowledged. Everything seemed fine. But looking back, apparently it wasn't.
I don't ever want something like that to happen again. Oh nothing bad happened, but just having a feeling of discontentment on either side (mine or the bride) is something I don't want to repeat. So, with that, I backed off weddings. That was a couple years ago. I've had a lot to learn in that time and had a chance to review how to 'sell a wedding package' that doesn't have me pulling out my hair six months later. So many wedding photographers claim to sell a complete package, shoot the engagement, then the wedding, edit the images and then hand them over to the couple, and they never have to look back. They create beautiful coffee table style books and don't have to worry about redesign, the couple accepts it as is.
So, how can I accomplish this? Do I even want to?!
Now, with all that out in the open, here's why I posted this. I am seriously considering getting back into the engagement/wedding business for 2009. I've proposed to my youngest son, who will be 22 and is pretty adept with people skills and a camera, at joining in with me. He likes the idea! That means two shooters at each wedding booked.

After the first of the year I will revisit this subject and if interest comes my way to be chosen as someone's photographer, I'll just have to see where it leads. It's not my photographic talents that I'm concerned about. I think my work speaks for itself. It was more the after-the-wedding work that put a damper on things. Mainly my spirit!
But I hope to offer Oklahoma couples a more contemporary approach to their 'wedding photographic memories' than what is being offered these days.
Meanwhile, if you need a solid wedding photographer, visit www.truelight-photography.com. The Walkers are knowledgeable and likeable!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Homemade love

Baby loves whipped topping!
Homemade love is more than something sewn or crafted. For me, it's the joy that comes from being with my family and seeing the joy of life they get from the things I do for them. Like baking pumpkin pie. It's a big favorite in our house. And pecan pie! I could not find my pie plates this year and only was able to make the one pie. Even went to Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving day to find more plates and had no luck! Sold out!

My granddaughter finally got to taste whipped topping today on her 15 month birthday. She never made it to the homemade pumpkin pie that I made, but she definitely enjoyed the topping. This probably is one of my most favorite images from any Thanksgiving in years. Though it was the day after, it still was T-day related because of the pie. Some of the other images do have her in it and not just her little hand. Many are a soft focus, on purpose, as I was going for a faux vintage look.
The pie is a recipe I've made for years, Pennsylvannia pumpkin pie. It will go in a self-published cookbook I'm making through blurb after the holidays. It's mostly going to be filled with lots of beautiful images of food and some favorite recipes.

What is it that is homemade love for you during the holidays? Share your little stories on my comments page!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Great writer, good story!

I must share the link to a touching story. The content of the story is amazing and the writer, Robert Bridges, is one of CNHI's Best of 2007 finalist writers in Div. III (smaller circulation than the paper I work for). I had to go see for myself what makes this guy stand out from hundreds of others who enter this contest each year.

Read the story and you'll discover for yourself why he's such a good writer. The story itself is one though, that needs to be shared over and over. There's a small photo with the story, which I found interesting in that the Polaroid survived the ocean trip.
http://www.suwanneedemocrat.com/archivesearch/local_story_053113553.html
A note for those wondering what prompted this post. CNHI picks only one winner and a finalist in each category, should the judges find entries worthy. I was a finalist in Div. II, also for features writing. Even though these awards were announced months ago, I haven't had a chance to go and just read some of the other winning writer's works. I'm really glad I did tonight. Oh, I'm just getting started reading them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The official announcement


Well, hopefully! I posted a quick image last week, but here's a much nicer baby birth card of my new grandson! Isn't he so cute?! I love that little button nose!

Black and White tree fungi


Here's some fabulous tree fungi I found while doing a shoot for a magazine featuring influential people in October. This was in the backyard of Ed and Betty Apple. A beautiful garden with all these wonderful gifts offered by years of nurturing and nature. Ed will be on the cover of the magazine, Influence, a small product our newspaper has launched. It's the second issue and I did the photography. Usually I'm the one doing the feature writing, so it was fun to get to break away from that.
I must admit, I think my images could have been much better of Ed, but considering several 'hurried' factors, they are OK. Ed is a former Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner. I had the pleasure of interviewing and writing a feature on him some years ago when he retired. His wife, Betty, is a nurse who really embodies the caring spirit.
It was worth it this time though not to be the writer, just to be able to find the hidden treasures like this tree fungi. Ed pulled out some photos from more than 30 years ago, I believe, showing the bareness of their yard when they first purchased the home and property. Children and grandchildren later, the yard has all these little things around it that show the work and love of a family.

I was inspired to finally post these images after visiting a beautiful blog tonight, Springtree Road at typepad. All this lovely black and white imagery and nice writings. Plus she includes lots of links in her writings to other blogs featuring black and white photographs. Ummmm..so, is it a photograph if it is online? Or is it imagery? I think it's imagery until you actually print it, then it becomes the photograph. Share your thoughts! I've also included a color/texture version for my fans!
And psstt....I need some blog followers! See below!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Second post in as many minutes..

This is from my flickr stream and is in the video at the top of this blog. I love this shot. The colors, subject, everything about it.
Little berries

My cat does not like dogs

Bokeh Kitty1

She quickly hit the top of this fence when discovering an unwanted dog in the neighbor's yard on the other side of our yard from this fence! Apparently, they are dog-sitting. A german shepherd and not a bit friendly.