Lifestyle

  • Whittier Kingfisher Regatta // Alaska boat life // Lifestyle Photography

    My friends over at Alaska Mining and Diving supply sell some pretty amazing boats. Top of their list are the Kingfishers. Every Summer, AMDS and Kingfisher sponsor a fishing tournament in Whittier, Alaska – for all the kingfisher owners. The tournament lets the fishermen compete in several categories – largest fish, largest shrimp, etc. It’s a great excuse to just get your family out and not only catch some fish – but add a little extra incentive to the competition with prizes. Who doesn’t love swag?

    This year, I was invited to come and photograph the event! I came to capture some shots of what the Alaska boating life is all about. We could not have asked for a more amazing day. The morning started early (you gotta get up to catch those fish!!) with some boats pulling out of the harbor as early as 5 am. At a more reasonable hour (7 am) I met up with the AMDS crews to capture the rest of the boats leaving the dock, heading out in the morning fog.

    It was magical.

    The sun came out shortly after 8 am and it was a beautiful day to be in Prince William Sound. As the boats began to return, there were smiles everywhere. Families took their kids, their friends, their dogs – and you can see that there is this fantastic community and camaraderie with the captains.

    This is the Alaska life – with boats. Seriously – do you have a boat yet? Maybe think about it ūüôā

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  • Alaska Life // Anchorage to Whittier // Photograph Summer Family Memories

    This one is all about that Alaska life. I was born in Anchorage. Raised my whole life here, and before this summer I could count on one hand the number of times I had been to Whittier. On prior occasions, my draw to the town had been to explore and photograph the iconic Buckner building (which – spoiler alert – it totally gated off and inaccessible now)

    The phrase “it’s always shittier in Whittier” is a common saying around these parts, but my husband has a deep love for Whittier in winter. It’s the closest place to Anchorage to go snow machining – and the snow fall there is usually epic. There have been so many years when they are still riding the mountains there at Memorial Day.

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    So when our good friends invited us to come camp (and help work on their boat – which sustained some major water damage over the winter) we thought – sure! And thus began a truly epic summer. We have been back almost every weekend since, and have just kept our camper there all summer.

    For those of you who don’t know me well, “outdoorsy” is not a word people use to describe me. Alaska life? Just doesn’t seem like my style. Don’t get me wrong – i LOVE the scenery, and I enjoy hiking, fishing, etc – i just am not rugged. I do yoga and drink fancy cocktails, and make art people!

    And yet – here I am falling in love with this tiny little town that has zero amenities (Although there is a bomb coffee shop – so that’s definitely helped!)

    But the best part has truly been hanging out with the kids. And let’s be real here friends. It still rains in Whittier. Often. But kids just don’t care! Cover ’em up in rain gear and they’ll play for hours – riding their bikes, beach combing, making mud-pies…¬† As long as they can pop in and warm up every now and again – they are happy as clams.

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    And yes-¬† we do pop them in front of some screens every so often for a rest. Our camper has a rockin’ combo tv/vcr and we have exactly 3 VHS movies they will watch. I can seriously quote Winne the Pooh for you we’ve seen it so many times at this point… So if you guys have any good VHS tapes laying around your kids have outgrown – seriously – send them my way!!

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    But it’s been a magical summer – and when we have had sun? Oh man… it’s definitely one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    So who’s in Whittier? Hit me up – let’s capture some of your family memories in the most beautiful place on earth.

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  • Preserving our memories // Anchorage lifestyle photography

    I’m going to get a little personal in this post. I don’t know if it’s just me – somethings I think it must be – but my memory is terrible. I have snippets of memory from my childhood – vignettes and moments – but to be honest, I often feel like my memories are pretty sparse.

    And I don’t think it’s just having children that sent my memory and mind into the crapper – I am pretty sure it’s always been that way. I remember after college chatting often with my roommate, who had gone to high school with me. ¬†She would talk about friends and things that had happened just a few years prior (in high school) and I almost always had the same response – I don’t remember that at all! She would shake her head at me and we would joke that high school was just a traumatic/terrible time for most of us, and I must have blocked the memories.

    Fast forward to 2017¬†-as I’m approaching 40 and even those college years and post-college years are so dim! I love looking back at pictures – because yes, even when I was in college we still hadn’t gone digital. No smart phones –¬†so all of my memories are captured in 4×6 print – in little albums and scrap books, that are absolutely treasured by me now.

    Having a baby is definitely a memorable event. No way to forget that experience (at least, not yet…) ¬†I KNOW that there were moments that were hard and beautiful – and I remember having this thought: there is no way I will ever forget this moment. But¬†I have. I am already seeing the memories become hazy and dim. I don’t really remember how tiny their little hands were compared to mine – or what their first words were (but don’t worry – I did write most of that down!)

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    What I do remember Рare the moments that I photographed. Because there is something about cementing that visual image into my brain that allows me to keep the rest. I can almost remember that new baby smell, or how soft their skin was. When I look at these images what I see is the preservation of my mind.

    It’s kind of¬†like the images are my Rosetta Stone – to unlock the rest of the memory in my brain. When I look at the images of my husband holding our little girl I am immediately transported back to that hospital room. I remember the sunlight – I remember the time of day – the people who were there. But without this little key, unlocking all of that becomes a herculean task for my poor brain.

    I think this must be why I have been so drawn to lifestyle photography for most of my life. My favorite quote by Dorothea Lange is “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”

    Photography is so much more to me than a passion and an art form. It is my lifeline. I see in myself the ability to loose memories. To loose the ‘where I came from’ –¬†and I desperately want to hold onto the beauty of this life. Even in it’s messiest of days – to look back, laugh and love. At the memories of my daughters covered in finger paint, the way my girls love and hate each each other, at the way they let me snuggle them when they are little (because God¬†knows that doesn’t last forever!)

    So this¬†is my little ‘why I do what I do’ back story. I am in love with the photographic story of life because without it I would be lost. It’s so important to live in the present moment – but we also need to be able to look back at the journey. To¬†appreciate all of the struggles, the highs and lows, and everything in between, along the way.

    Life.

     

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  • Baby Max // Newborn Photography

    Max, my newest nephew, was an April 1st baby. I am curious to see how that plays out in his life. I mean, he’s going to have to have a sense of humor I think.

    He is one of the chillest babies I’ve ever met. I’m not quite sure how my sister got such awesome and easy babes (totally not fair!) I don’t think I heard him cry the entire week that I was visiting them in Seattle. That’s not even an exaggeration. He maybe whimpered or made a few squawks when he was hungry – but that’s it. He’s one of those babies that tricks you into having more babies because you think they are so great and easy! Then you get a “spirited” child, like my youngest and think – oh wow – how are we going to survive the next 18 years?

    But I digress… My fingers are crossed that Max stays this sweet and mellow his whole life!

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  • Newborns at Home // Anchorage Lifestyle baby photography

    I have been photographing this adorable family for years – and truly I love them! I know that baby Wesley is their last little one, so it was super important to capture some truly meaningful images of their littlest babe.

    What I especially love about newborn sessions at home is the opportunity it gives other family members (like siblings!) to remain in their element. Big brothers got to hang out, and be themselves, while everyone basked in the glow of having a new family member to show off and adore!

    It is probably the most relaxed session you can have! I know moms always stress a little bit about having a “clean house” – but it’s really not that important! We just stash the clutter in a closet and move on. No fuss, no muss!

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  • Pensacola Beach // Family Vacation Photography // Part 1

    So anyone keeping track can see that I have been to the beach an amazing number of times this year. I really should have spaced things out better – I know…

    But our Pensacola Beach trip was extra special. This was a trip we actually took back in April – a massive family reunion to celebrate my grandfather’s 90th birthday – which is a pretty amazing thing. He’s an amazing man – and so healthy – so it was a great time to get all of our extended family together – whom we rarely see since we live in Ak – and everyone else is basically in Alabama. It’s long day of travel for sure…

    Anyway – I made a deal with my mom that I would photograph, basically, the entire week, in exchange for her keeping my kids for a week while Chris and I went to Maui for our anniversary…

    And to be honest, I’m really not sure that I would have been shooting as much if I hadn’t made that deal – but I’m actually REALLY glad that I did. The images that I captured during that week are SO much fun to look back on. We rented this enormous beach house (thanks VRBO…) and it was the perfect home base for everyone. Everyone being a total of 23 adults and 7 children under the age of 5. It was crazy. But we also had the beach basically to ourselves, since it was the off season. The first couple days the weather was overcast – although still warm – but I loved the light. And the breeze. I die for an ocean breeze…DSYPhotography-5658 DSYPhotography-5490 DSYPhotography-5514 DSYPhotography-5544

    This was Harper’s first trip to the beach and she was NOT having the sand. Luckily Torah was the same way when she was little, so I came prepared with some water shoes. After a couple days she got over it, thankfully! Because who wants to be on the beach with shoes?!DSYPhotography-5570 DSYPhotography-5591 DSYPhotography-5682 DSYPhotography-5700 DSYPhotography-5724

    This guy – the reason for all of us being there. Yes – he’s a photographer as well. And yes, he still shoots film. Love his style! DSYPhotography-6742

    I think this is the only picture of him smiling from the week. He’s a tough customer – but I did get one…DSYPhotography-5797

    So obviously, a beautiful beach, great soft light – easy. But what I actually find to be my favorites, and the images I shot in the house while we were all together. Yes, the light was beautiful – but equally were the shadows. I just sort of kept my camera on my shoulder or in a quick and convenient place and kept my eyes opened. And the magic of every day life just unfolded around me. Everyone was so happy to be together, that it was just natural and perfect.

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    But OBVIOUSLY we had to do everyone’s family portraits on the beach, which was loads of fun, and we had some epic sunsets so I got some delicious golden light. Stay tuned for part 2 to see some of those…

    It was such a wonderful and memorable trip – but already faded in my memory – until I look through these images and am transported back – to the smell of the salt water – the sound of the waves crashing on the shore – the delicious humidity on my skin – and of course – the warmth of being with the people I love most in the world. These images are priceless for that alone.

    So… have camera. Will travel ūüėČ

  • Sarah is new // Alaska lifestyle newborns // baby photography

    I adore this family. I know – I say that about all my clients – but it’s true. I met Angie working at BP and we just hit it off immediately. She was my coffee date escape partner when needed to step away from our desks before going postal… We just get each other. Angie knew me through both my pregnancies and when she got pregnant with Sarah I was SOOO excited!

    We had an incredible maternity session – she and Michael were just over the moon already for their little girl – and they made my job super easy! Check out those images here!

    Angie also has impeccable style. She is about the cutest thing and her home in Wasilla was so beautiful. Sadly, they have since moved out of Alaska (and I miss her like crazy!) but it was so amazing to be able to capture some images of baby Sarah in the very first place she knew as home.

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  • Kids fashion (or lack thereof) // lifestyle portraits // Alaska kids life

    I’m really not sure what the appeal of nakedness is in Alaska. I mean- it’s cold here…

    But my kids are all ’bout it. Today they stripped down the minute we got home from church and insisted that it was naked (ie, just wearing underwear) bike riding time, fortunately in the house, because it was pouring down rain and about 40 degrees outside…

    And they didn’t put clothes back on until dinner time, when they were finally cold enough to allow jammies (NOT for bed mind you – just for coziness) – which I can definitely get behind because, um, I pretty much live in yoga pants on the weekend…

    But I can’t lie, I totally love seeing them running around in nothing but just in their cute little toddler character underwear. They are growing up so fast, and this little bit of wild abandon is just so beautiful.

    I hope they keep this freedom and love their bodies for a long, long time – and for sure I will be encouraging them to throw their clothes to the wind whenever they desire¬† – even if we have to crank up the heat. And as long as we’re not at the grocery store. Please – for the love of God, keep your pants on at the grocery store kids… Mommy does not want to get arrested…

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  • Seattle Family // Lifestyle Portraits at home

    First of all – I absolutely love this family. I have been photographing Kip and Taunisha since they first got engaged, like a million years ago. And I adore Avery – she is the most spunky, outgoing and joyful little girl around. My kids are totally in love with her.

    Side note – when visiting Avery you had better request her Sugar Plum Fairy dance, because she nails it.

    Taunisha really wanted to shoot at this incredible building near their home south of Seattle and the weather and golden light were to die for – we dream of such days in Ak…

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    And it was amazing and beautiful and we created stunning and gorgeous images!

    Then we went back to the house, and in 10 minutes we created absolute perfection. As a mom, these images speak to my heart. There is so much beauty in these moments between – winding down from the grand photo-shoot adventure, everyone can just relax and be themselves – at ease.

    These are the images that we will look back at (as parents) in 10 years that will bring tears to our eyes. They will spark a memory of the sound of a 3 year old’s laughter long forgotten.¬† The way she loved to bounce on the bed and ham it up for the camera. The way she loved with abandon.

    This is life. Real life. Beautiful, messy, perfect.

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  • Telling a story // Alaska family photography

    I was hanging out with my kids this weekend while my husband was out of town. A pretty chill Saturday – we had a birthday party to attend in the afternoon, so the kids had picked out their ‘birthday’ outfits and were looking pretty cute – and while we were playing I pulled out my camera and just had fun capturing a few details.

    But here is the main thought that was going through my head while I was shooting: I wish I had someone here to photograph ME interacting with them! Because they wanted me to play and interact with them – and we were having a ton of fun, playing doctor, reading stories and just being.

    So I’m telling their story here – rather than our story – and that’s ok, for a quick Saturday, but how much more impactful and precious would these images be with mom (or dad!) included?!

     

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    My oldest is obsessed with lining things up perfectly like this… Please tell me all kids do this…!!

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    And 5 minutes later – done – and moved on to the next mess…

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    Quick yoga break… Her forward fold is pretty impressive. Kids are so flexible!

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    While I had fun clicking away here and there, and I love some of the moments I captured – there is definitely the piece of Saturday at home with mom that is missing.

    This is the story telling experience and imagery that speaks to my heart. These moments where life happens between the lines. Where we grow and play and just love each other with no agenda. Where it’s ok that the house is a disaster, because this is real. We are messy – we play and we don’t clean up after ourselves right away (because really, what’s the point with little ones?!). We probably have some fights, some tears and some pouting, and then some hugs and snuggles and love. It’s not always about every image being beautiful. It’s about every image telling a story. The story of our life.