October 24, 2014

Instaweek


The kids' report cards were sent home this week and they both did exceptionally well!  David and I both value a good education so much for these kids, so we're beyond proud of their personal advancements since school started, and we're both relieved that they seem to have the hang of the whole school thing pretty well.  Noah is really building a strong foundation with learning how to write the letters he already recognized by sight before school started, and he's doing great with phonics, walking around several times a day singing the "every letter makes a sound" song.  He will often make statements like, "Train starts with 't.' What letter does floor start with?"  I hope this curiosity continues, as I know how valuable it can be in harboring a true love for learning.  We have to remind him to slow down when it comes to coloring and writing because he can be quite messy when he's in a rush (see fireman above!).  Faith continues to learn at a quick pace as well.  She's reached the point in school where she can answer some Jeopardy questions, which is pretty cool.  It's fun helping her with homework and projects because of the little refresher course I get myself on oceanic crusts, the lost colony of Roanoke, and so on.  We have to remind her to slow down on things also.  She tends to quickly gaze over assignments or questions and will often miss things she knows the correct answer to or skip parts of an assignment because she didn't take the time to careful read the instructions.  This is something I do myself, even now, and I often have to remind myself to slow down or read the instructions twice to make sure I got everything.  I hope we can get her in the hang of doing this quickly, because it's so disappointing (for her and us) to see her missing things that she clearly knows.

Noah had his first school field trip this week, to a local pumpkin patch, and I got to join him.  I chose ahead of time to leave my big girl camera at home so I could just be present in the moment and enjoy the day with him - and I'm glad I did!  As a photographer, it can sometimes be difficult to juggle the desire to capture the moment and actually live in it - I think I do a pretty good job of balancing it most of the times, but sometimes I find it's also better to just leave the camera behind and avoid the temptation.  Particularly when it's a trip with 18 four-year-olds and I'm babywearing a six-month-old...lol.  I'm grateful I get the chance to participate in things like this every now and then, something I missed out on when Faith was younger due to being a working, single mom.

Last weekend I stopped by the wedding venue and checked out the nearly 200 year old chapel we'll be getting married in.  I can tell you the idea is a bit more glamorous than the reality, as this rustic church is certainly no enchanting English cathedral!  But I know the ceremony will be beautiful because it will be a celebration of our love for each other, and this amazing family we've created, and we've tried to keep things pretty simple to stay focused on that, what we feel a wedding day should be about.

I've never been more grateful for the positive body image I've gained over the past few years than I am right now.  I've been back to my prepregnancy weight for awhile now, but I definitely don't have my prepregnancy body (the numbers now composed of far more fat than the muscle that used to make up the same weight) and I'm perfectly okay with that.  I'm glad I get to spend these last few weeks before our marriage just absorbing the overwhelming love within this family, a love that continues to grow more and more every day, and don't have the typical prewedding worry of how I will look in my dress or other insignificant wedding details.  Just a few short weeks away now, and I can't wait!

October 23, 2014

Halloweeny






I've been getting in lots of photography practice this past week, and luckily I just happen to have this adorable and willing model around all day.  Olivia really has been a great model to learn on, as the low light conditions of indoor settings plus the dynamics of a wiggly baby really offer a great challenge.  It's the first time I've had a baby and a big girl camera, and I've loved trying out new functions that I had previously known about but never experimented with because they just weren't necessary (different autofocus options, high ISO settings, etc.).  Of course, there's always a learning curve when you add another layer of controls to the camera, but I'm so happy to be in a place where the imperfections of a new journey are not only tolerated, but welcomed.

Over the past few years I've dabbled with the idea of doing a little photography on the side, usually sparked each time friends or family shower me with compliments and ask me to photograph them for one thing or another.  While I'm happy with the photos I produce for myself, I always hesitate to photograph anyone else because of those imperfections that I kind of love in my pictures.  As a hobbyist, it's amazing to look back and see how much my skill level has improved - I enjoy seeing how crisp (most of) my photos are now compared to April, since nailing the focus on my 50mm lens in low lighting.  But even then, there are so many photos I keep and post and absolutely love for what they are, because I love the people and things in those photos, and I love all of their imperfections.  Slightly out of focus eyes or a blurred baby hand don't make me love those photos any less, but that's not acceptable to hand off to a paying client.  I would over-analyze every photo for those imperfections, to the death of me.  Of course, my confidence level (and skill) would increase with practice, just like anything else - but that's the reason I'm happy to just snap away at this little family of mine for now, to learn more and more each time I pick my camera up, and to wholeheartedly embrace the imperfections I find in my photos, knowing they will only get better and better.

Over the past few months I've really pushed my basic, entry-level DSLR to its limits - and beyond.  It's really quite terrible indoors and playing around with new camera settings, as well as exploring new editing techniques have made some of the photos salvageable, but they often contain imperfections that annoy me because they aren't being used as a learning or growing experience, but rather are just frustrating limitations.  I've always said that my camera was more than sufficient for what I wanted to do with it, but I guess that as I've grown, the things I want have grown too.

October 22, 2014

Solids









Apparently, shirts taste better.

October 21, 2014

Ripley





I mentioned last week that I knew I needed to start photographing different people, places, and things in order to continue developing my photography skills.  It's so easy to develop a "go to" when it comes to shooting and editing - and I think it's really hard to keep growing if you always fall back on those same techniques without challenging yourself now and then.  I have some big photography goals for the future and I'm going to start aggressively pursuing them once the new year rolls around, but for now I'm enjoying the slow process of little challenges, like chasing our "other child" around the yard for a few snapshots.