I know that I have shared a lot about myself on this blog but I may have forgotten to tell you the most important thing of all: I am not a girly girl. At all. I have had one manicure in my life, for my wedding, and I'm pretty sure that my sister made me get it (it did look really good though). I have never had a pedicure, at least not an official one. Recently, my youngest has decided that she is really good at them so she gives me one once a week. She actually is really good at them, as a matter of fact, my sister complimented my toes one day. I don't color my hair and only get it cut every six months (or so) by my good friend and if she's not available, then I pop into Fantastic Sam's. I am far more likely to be able to throw a football in a perfect spiral than I am to perfectly apply makeup, especially since I don't wear it. But I think that the number one reason that I am not a girly girl is that I HATE SHOPPING. This presents a bit of a problem since I have 4 kids (3 of them girls) and they do need things at the store on occasion. Like, say, back to school, that would be such an occasion. An occasion that just happens to be happening right about now. So yesterday, we went out shopping. Oh, and I may have forgot to mention the most important thing: 2 of those girls are teenagers and the other is the youngest of 4, so really she is 10 going on 17 or so. Now mothers with teenagers know what a minefield shopping with a teenage girl is. Well times that by 3, and add in the fact that I hate shopping, and you may have an idea of why I chose this as my Friday Night Video this week:
This week I have been taking a lot of pictures but have not really had time to deal with them. When this happens, it kind of feels like laundry to me, it keeps building and building but it is too time consuming to take care of properly. The pictures that I have to deal with in my camera, on computer and in Lightroom from just this week alone rivals this pile of laundry. I have pictures from my mother-in-law's house on Sunday including a picture of all the grandkids, one with Nonni and Papa and one without.
I have pictures from my son's scrimmage on Monday.
Of course, I have pictures of the fantastically photogenic Jordan from Tuesday.
And I have pictures from yesterday's trek up to the top of Great Blue Hill. Including one under a tunnel that they all climbed down and posed under it, I didn't even have to ask them to.
When I was taking the picture on the left, my son was yelling at my daughter's friend to not look so happy since they were pretending to be in jail. If I were her, I would just ignore him since he is the one in the picture on the right that looks deranged. Oh wait, he's a 12 year old boy, he is deranged!
And since this weekend is Labor Day weekend and we have 2 cookouts and my son's first game of the season, I had better spend some serious time on these or I will really get buried under the pile. I think I will leave the camera home today and tomorrow though.
There is so much to talk about with Jordan's shoot that I am having a hard time deciding where to begin. Well, I guess, when in doubt start at the beginning. I know Jordan's mother from my work as a substitute teacher and one day, I happened to mention that I had started taking senior pictures. She remembered that and gave me a call this summer. I am so glad that she did!! Jordan was just incredible to meet and work with. She is a captain of the varsity field hockey team (along with Nicole), editor of the yearbook, super nice and just beautiful. But I think that the thing that most impressed me is that she wanted to take her senior pictures at her grandparents home. That just shows such maturity, she knew that having these pictures taken at her grandparents' house would make them even more special to her and to her family. And the thing is that she probably won't fully grasp how much until she is older.
It was a great location, there were tons of natural "props" plus a gazebo across the street and a bunch of family history in the yard. We'll get to that in just a little bit. We decided to our start our shoot over at the gazebo because it was prime time light time over there.
Then we moved back over to the house where I asked Jordan sit down on the steps and snapped a couple of more. She tried to tell me that she wasn't very good at posing but I would have to respectfully disagree.
Next we moved on to the boat. I almost swooned when I saw a red, white and blue sailboat in the backyard but I fell in love when I heard the boat's story. Jordan's grandfather is an avid sailor and this was the first boat that he owned. And he named after the grandmother that helped raise him. Of course, we had to figure out how to get Jordan up high enough to have her be next to the name. Luckily, there just happened to be a step ladder right next to the boat. This boat was just so cool, I loved it.
Then we wandered around the yard which had tons of props including a bell with a long town and family history and, if you can believe it, a cool orange couch (her high school colors just happen to be orange and black).
But really in the end, Jordan's gorgeousness was really the only prop that we needed. Yes, I know, it sounds a little corny but it's true.
Ahh, this next picture. Jordan's uncle drove up on his motorcycle just as we were finishing up so of course we had to have her hop on. After getting a couple of traditional ones, I decided to play around a little and try to get her reflection in the mirror. It was only when I got home that I realized this picture symbolizes senior year perfectly: All the focus, energy and vision directed towards the future while deep inside there's a tiny part that can't help peeking back at the past.
Please click here if you would like to see the rest of Jordan's pictures.
Just a quick sneak peek for you today. There's so much to tell you about my shoot with Jordan last night that I wouldn't begin to do it justice if I tried to tell it today because I have a really busy day planned. I am going out to breakfast first thing this morning with a dear friend (sadly I am now of the age that I can longer call my friends, old friends, because in my case, it is true!) Then the kids and I are going to climb up Blue Hills with some other dear friends. Tonight there is a meet and greet for the new high school principal. And of course, there's always football practice.
Anyway, last night I got the opportunity to meet and work with Jordan. Jordan was absolutely wonderful to work with, so polite and friendly and gorgeous (sensing a theme with my seniors this year? As Yogi Berra once said, "It's like deja vu, all over again"). Since I have such a limited time and pictures speak a thousand words, I will let these pictures do my talking for today. Look for the rest of Jordan's pictures and story on the blog soon (I'm shooting for tomorrow, pun intended).
So I was having a conversation with my sister-in-law, Barbara, about my business philosophy the other day and how I am still very much a hobbyist photographer and that I take things very casual. But also that I try to make that perfectly clear by my blog, web presence and let's face it, by my very demeanor. For instance, the other night, Nicole's mother mentioned that I could potentially be pretty busy soon. I told her that I am not really looking to be busy for the sake of being busy but what I'm really looking for is people that will appreciate my work and what I have to offer. Which was probably not the most professional way to answer that question but it was the most honest. I am mainly doing this to keep satisfy my own creative urges. Obviously, I am always trying to make sure that people are 100% happy with their results. But I try to make it clear up front that if their happiness is contingent on me having all the latest gear, spending hours setting up the perfect shot or providing perfectly edited pictures with super white teeth and eyes, then I am not the person for them. And I am perfectly okay with that. I know that I am not going to be the right person for everyone, there is no way that I could be or in reality, want to be. Anyway, I was having this conversation with Barbara and she said "Oh, you are like the beach house that we rented down the Cape this year." I'm like a beach house? This I gotta hear. She went on to explain, "My mother thought that is was very odd that the owners of the house and their friends were parking on a corner of the lawn while we were staying there. I told her that they had asked us and I said that it was fine because the house cost about half of what a house 2 houses from the beach should have been" To Barbara's thinking, it was a trade-off and both parties were happy. They paid less rent and the owners were still able to enjoy the beach while they were there. And that is what I am looking for in a client, someone that sees the benefits of the trade-off that I am offering and will be happy with it. So I guess she was right, I am like a beach house. Now if I could only own one, like maybe this one.....
If Saturday was a slot machine, then we hit triple 7s. As a matter of fact, since it was 3 great families and 3 great places, I think that I'll call it the double trifecta of fun. We started the day off by going to the beach. We purposely got a late start, I think I may have mentioned that I like the beach the most when the heat of the day and the crowds are dissipating. Although the heat may have dissipated a little too much, it didn't take long for the kids to complain that they were cold. Of course, it didn't stop them from going in the water or anything (or jumping at the pier but that is for later in the post).
Oh look, it's the lifeguard sweatshirt. I think that I am going to make up a game and see how many places I can photograph the sweatshirt at. And honestly, how flexible can one person be? I could never do that, not even when I was young (which I was once, although my kids don't believe it) but I imagine if I tried it now, then I wouldn't be able to move for at least a week (at least).
Next we made our way to my new favorite place, the A street pier for a little bit of jumping. This spot has definitely been the discovery of my summer. I can't believe that no one ever told me about this place, it is awesome. It was a little crowded when we got there, so much so that the kids resorted to planning their jumps so that there would not be a line at the ladder (don't forget, it was cold, wah!)
Then we picked up some pizza and went to Fort Revere and had a picnic. Incredible views, awesome friends and pizza, really does it get any better than that? And I had the opportunity to show my friends a place that I love. They loved it too because really, what is not to love about 5 star views and a thousand feet of tunnels (a fact that had the kids almost giddy with excitement over the hide and seek possibilities)?
There were also a bazillion great photo ops which totally made my day. All in all, it was just a wonderful day.
Ok, so most of the pictures that I take, I end up feeling like the people are, well, my people. As you may know, when I call someone my person (or people), it's a big compliment because I am pretty particular about my people. And usually I end up growing so fond of my subjects that I forget that they weren't my people to begin with. Well today, I am happy to bring some people that are not only my people because they were awesome to work with but also because they are MY PEOPLE. I had the absolute pleasure the other night of taking some senior pictures for my niece and nephew And if that wasn't fun enough, my other niece came along as a consultant (she totally has a future, I am definitely adding her to this network of photographers and models that I am building).
First up is Ryan. In addition to being a great kid, he is a total computer geek to the point where he has designed his own websites including one for his dad's business. And he does it from scratch, he doesn't cheat and use Weebly like someone else we know. Being a typical boy, he did not want any part of this picture taking stuff (not even a little). But his mom wanted pictures and since he is also one of the nicest kids that I know, he took it all in stride. I think by the end, he was even enjoying the process (or at least, not totally hating it).
Next up is Mackenzie and the first thing that you have to know about her is she is a wonderful, really responsible kid, and not in that annoying, "look at me aren't I so responsible way" either, in a genuine nice way. Oh and she's a terrific softball player and athlete and she is beautiful (and to top it all off, she has the most beautiful strawberry blonde hair, EVER, but you'll be able to see that for yourself).
They were great sports too. There was a dried up waterfall that you had to climb down into to get to this really cool archway. Not only did they not mind climbing down there, it was their idea!
Just for fun, I have included a picture of all 3 of them together, the 2 seniors and the consultant. I love these kids, thanks to them all for being just so awesome.
So the other night, I was lucky enough to enjoy a beautiful night with 2 beautiful ladies in an absolutely beautiful setting. Nicole and her mom kindly picked me up for the trip down to Hull on Wednesday night. We started our quest at Fort Revere Park and I knew we were in for a successful evening because for the first time ever, I did not get lost going there. Granted I wasn't driving but I was the naviagator and I got us there successfully. Has to be a sign, right?
Nicole made my job ridiculously easy. She was polite and friendly and game for anything that I asked. And believe me, I asked a ton. Umm, walk through that grass and go find a place to sit? No problem. Sit on those steps? Absolutely Sit on this ledge? Sure. Make sure that I don't step back too far and fall off the side? She even had my back for that one.
The only thing that Nicole's dad requested was that we get a picture of her dimples. Since the smile never left her face the whole night, that was not a problem at all.
After a bit, we felt like we had exhausted the possibilities at Fort Revere (actually the bugs were coming out, I don't know if we would have ever exhausted the possibilities).
Then we decided to see if we could find this great spot that I had seen back in November when I visited the area with my husband. My navigation guardian angel must have been with us because I got us there no problem. And oh, across the street? Beach with a jetty and a view of Boston and Boston Light.
We ended the night at the A street pier and got some great shots there as well. We had to dodge some jumpers but they were all very respectful of our endeavor (and more importantly, Nicole's white pants!)
Nicole's mother was then kind enough to treat us all to dinner at the Sea Dog Brew Pub because we were having so much fun that none of us wanted the night to end (at least I hope that was the reason, not that I had driven them to the point of exhaustion and starvation). Thank you both so much, I had a great time and hope that you did too. Please click here to see the rest of Nicole's pictures.
So I have to say that for all my anticipation for our shoot last night, it exceeded my expectations. But then again, what more can you ask for from a shoot than a gorgeous location, gorgeous light, a gorgeous night and a gorgeous girl? Well hopefully gorgeous pictures but with all the rest working in my favor, I feel like I kind of stacked the deck on that. Enjoy this sneak peek of our shoot, I hope to blog about the rest of our shoot tomorrow.
So later today, I am meeting with a great kid to take her senior pictures. Since her brother is the same age as my oldest daughter, I have known her since she was in second grade. I know I sound like a broken record (funny saying since most kids would have no way of knowing what this means) but I really can't believe how fast the time is going. She is a terrific kid, always pleasant and polite, and beautiful to boot. Her mother is coming with us too and she is an absolute sweetheart. She was the librarian at the elementary school when 3 of my kids were there and they loved her. She had a special bond with my youngest and would often joke that she was going to take her home someday (by the way, I'm still waiting). Not only do I have all that to look forward to but we are also going to one of my favorite places, Fort Revere in Hull. Fort Revere Park is a historic site that contains the remains of two seacoast fortifications. It has a ton of character and a lot of different options for picture taking (a lot of graffiti too so sometimes that is a challenge to shoot around). I actually took my daughter and her 2 friends there last year when they were finishing middle school and this senior and her mom loved the results so they decided to use the location as well.
There are a couple of other reasons that I am excited about this. One is that it is going to be another beautiful day here in New England and what could be better than spending sunset near the water? This summer has been the weather equivalent of the movie "Groundhog Day", every day is sunny in the 80s. Well except for last Saturday when my extended family was having a cookout/reunion, that day was a washout but that's a story for another day. And the other reason that I'm excited is that I feel like I have learned a ton in last year and I can't wait to put it all into practice. Tune in the next couple of days to see the results and to see if I can indeed be taught!
Last night, my daughter and I went on a little scouting expedition because this Thursday, I am going to be lucky enough to take some senior portraits for my niece and nephew. Let's not even discuss the fact that I have nieces and nephews that are graduating from high school because I seriously can't believe that they are getting so old. Over this past weekend, we had a family cookout and it was just crazy to see them all showing up at all different times, driving themselves around. Anyway, we were discussing the pictures so I asked them where they wanted to have them taken. Since one is a male (that would be the nephew), he doesn't even want to have them taken so forget him helping out by actually having an opinion. As a matter of fact when I was making the plan with my niece, his mother said, "When you go with her, please just bring Ryan, okay? Otherwise, he'll never do it." And my niece lives down the Cape so she wasn't really sure where to go. After I thought about it a bit, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to try a spot I discovered this winter. I hadn't ever been there in the nice weather or at the time of day that we were planning to shoot so I thought it might be a good idea to check it out beforehand. So I grabbed my trusty model (a.k.a. my youngest daughter) and headed out last night to check it out to see if it would be a good spot. I am so glad that we did because it was not pretty, AT ALL. And it didn't even have good light. But luckily, after driving around the park a bit, I found a spot that was even better! The scenery was beautiful, the light fantastic and there were a bunch of cool looking trees. Bingo, perfect spot. Below are a couple of the quick test shots that we took just so I could get a sense if the spot would work or not:
So not only were they just fabulous to hang out with and take pictures of but the Leo girls also were wonderful enough to send me some awesome thank yous in the mail. Now, I am of the belief that there is nothing quite like getting something fun and unexpected in the mail so I was very excited when I opened up the envelope. When I was a kid getting something in the mail was just the greatest thing because it was almost always something good like a birthday card or an invitation to a party. Now of course as an adult 90% of our mail, actually probably 99%, consists of things that you really don't want like bills or junk mail. So I think it is even more fun now to get something unexpected in the mail than it was when I was a kid. The one to the left is a little light so it may be hard to read, it says, " Thank You, I had so much fun! Love To, Suzanne". So sweet! She also put a picture of her and her sister from the photo shoot on the other side. I love how accurate she was, right down to the hair flipping up and the design of the dresses.
The younger one drew this next picture. This drawing made me go hmmm because I haven't flown a kite in years but ironically enough my youngest daughter recently bought herself one and we flew it when we were down in Newport on Friday.
Yesterday, my friend and I went down to Newport to do the Cliff Walk and then over to Brenton Point Park to fly some kites. It was an absolutely glorious day featuring a wonderful sea breeze to cool us off and not a cloud in the sky. The Cliff Walk offers seriously gorgeous views of the ocean on one side and the mansions that have it as a backyard on the other. We happened to be talking about one such mansion when someone walking by heard us and let us know that it was actually Salve Regina College and that we could go inside for no charge if we wanted to. Seeing as we love free, we were all over that idea.
Next we saw this tree that was just too cool (both literally and figuratively) not to stop and take a break, and some pictures. My friend's son actually could fit into the trunk of the tree.
This fence and gazebo was just beautiful:
This is funny, when we were taking these pictures of my friend's son, someone walking by yelled to him, "Raise your arms, that will make the picture perfect." I have to agree with him!
Of course, as we all know too well, when dealing with kids, it is not enough to be in one of the prettiest places on earth, if they are hot or tired or hungry or thirsty, that is all that you will hear about. However, we had some tricks up our sleeves to deal with their various issues like when they complained about being thirsty:
After lunch, we were all much happier and no one could complain about the spot we picked:
Then we went to fly our kites. Brenton Point Park is one of the best places to fly a kite because there is always quite the wind action. At first, this caused us much consternation but I have to hand it to my daughter she kept trying until she was finally successful:
I am sure that you will hear me complain about the football season at some point. Actually scratch that, you have already heard me complain about the football season. So that said, what I am going to say may sound a little strange or even hypocritical but man, do I love football. It is far and away my favorite sport. It is my favorite to watch my son play, to play myself (I can throw a pretty decent spiral). I love it at all levels - high school, college, professional. I know that it is violent and that there is a lot wrong with it but there is a lot right too. A well played football game plays out much like a chess match and a well put together team can teach a player much about the importance of teamwork. I know that the violence of the sport is a hot button topic du jour but actually I think that is great because that means that there are a lot of people working to make the sport safer. Often times when something seems the most dangerous is often when it is the safest. What I mean by that is that football today is probably safer than it was back when my husband played as a kid because there is better equipment and more awareness about what could go wrong. Even though this awareness is sometimes what makes us feel less safe. A perfect example of this is a couple of years ago when there was a news story about how lemons for use in drinks were horribly germ ridden. My dad immediately stopped getting a lemon in his drink. My take on it was a little different, I decided that now lemons in drinks were probably one of the safest choices that I could make.
Anyway, my son had a scrimmage tonight and it was great to have an almost game to watch (and to take pictures of). Like I said, I am sure that I will probably be complaining about something football related in the not too distant future so please feel free to remind me of all this when I do.
This video wasn't around when Friday Night Videos was on but really it is the only video for this post. Happy Friday, everyone!!
So in addition to having a great day at the beach, there were also some notable sights. Well actually notable is probably not the right word, maybe unusual would be a better one. I'll let you all decide for yourselves.
We saw a cloud that looked like the state of Massachusetts (and I know that it actually did because when I showed the picture to my husband and kids, shockingly they all agreed):
A piece of concrete that was randomly in the middle of a dune and randomly painted to look like a grasshopper. BTW, the artist did a great job, I love the colors that they used.
A lifeguard in a Speedo. At first, I thought this beach may make them wear these but the rest of the lifeguards were clad in board shorts. Maybe this particular lifeguard watched too much Olympic diving and is trying to channel his inner Tom Daley?
A quick funny story, when it was time to get ready to go, our kids were still in the water. We didn't want to get wet so we yelled for them to get out and waved them in from the shore. They thought we were saying hi and very politely waved back.