Northfield Senior Photos | Samantha

Senior Photos for Samantha Were a Breeze

She’s  a strong girl who knows what she likes. Her personality is inviting and she has eyes you can swim in. She’s a brave sort and I liked her instantly. We took some time over at St. Olaf in the flower gardens while the mallow and ehinacea were in bloom. Butterflies and hummingbirds were everywhere. Most of the butterflies were all over the pink flowers. So cool! The evening was really warm, but Samantha was at ease. My favorite image from her gallery is this one of her adjusting her hair. She thought I was still getting my camera ready, and that was true, but I still sneaked this shot in.  She has the longest hair! I remember having long hair many years ago, though I doubt it was as pretty!

After we left St. Olaf we went to a few local spots I hadn’t tried yet this year. One of them was the bridge over the Cannon River downtown. Also, there are some trees I like off of the county road on the way to Dundas. Mostly we both preferred the photos from the more urban settings.

I’m hoping that March, Prom and Graduation all give me more chances to capture this gal. I also hope I don’t cry at those events… 🙂

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Northfield Senior Photos |Madison

Meet Madison and see her Senior Photos

Now here is an interesting and fun lady! Madison is adventurous and up for challenges. In fact, last summer she put on a formal gown and hopped into the pool for photos. It was a blast, to say the least, and many great photos came of the day. So, when she asked if I’d like to do her Senior Photos I was all kinds of thrilled! We went all over and tried all kinds of looks.

Madison’s favorites ended up being from a mentoring workshop I gave while we were at the Walker Arts Center. I like those, too, just not as much as I like the ones with all the moodiness of the rain.

My favorites are from the Stone Arch Bridge.  The November weather was true to seasonal form: wet, cold, drizzle and overcast. The scenes from The Guthrie Theater’s River Overlook Deck were perfection. Also, the cars that were going by had their headlights on. So, when the grey of the day combined with the golden headlights the contrast and bokeh were amazingly pretty.

Her mom’s favorite senior photos are the ones we took during the summer at a local haunt: Hot Sam’s. It was extremely warm and we had gotten a fair amount of rain the week before we visited. The mosquitoes were ravenous. I’ve never seen so many mosquitoes!  Even so the photos turned out wonderfully rich with summer color.

There is definitely something for everyone in her senior portfolio and I have to thank her for being such an awesome sport. There are many people who can’t be summed up in only three or four photos. Madison is one of those people, just like Kemry is: You see, when a person finds so many things enjoyable and beautiful it can be very hard to choose! What complicates things further (and makes them better to my way of thinking) is how the person sees themselves.  Is the world a part of who they are or are they a part of the world? Thoughts like those make graduation hard to think about, but I still can’t wait to see what great things this gal does in life!

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Twin Cities Wedding Photographer | Duke Wedding – Hastings, MN

When your foundation is faith, not much else matters. As far as wedding photography goes,

you can’t ask for a sweeter situation: Ashley and James quilted together a homespun ceremony that included their families and friends, no matter where they were that day. Cars broke down, shirts were too small, and the cicadas were loud. The thing is – while those things happened, they didn’t detract from the very special things being said and promised. The video of the exchange of rings takes me right back to that fact. In the background you hear her mom heaving a joyful sob. It’s amazing. I couldn’t take my eyes off their hands.

Ashlee wore a vintage dress and a handmade crown of dried flowers. She made the guestbook herself from sections of a tree. The wedding took place at her parent’s home in Hastings, MN. Her father built the gazebo for the ceremony. James and his crew set up the seating and the reception spaces and his father played guitar while Ashley walked down the aisle with her dad.

Handmade, homespun, beautiful and original. 

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Visiting Dallas

Simple Photos of Complex Things

Generally, I prefer simple things over the ornate but when a place is both I am happiest. Take the Magnolia Hotel in Downtown Dallas. Built in an era of oil-boom money meets pre-depression optimism and designed in the baux-arts style (think love affairs with limestone facades and small gargoyles) the place has tall windows in wood casements, deep-set details in the ceiling moldings, crisp light and wonderful views. It is adorned carefully with many small features that don’t overwhelm you but still impress.

So, staying there was a treat. There are few things I crave after a long day of traveling more than a simple and clean quiet place to unplug for a little bit and this was exactly what I needed. Added bonus: the hotel backs to what has become a residential area of happy tail-wagging dogs on leashes – eager to check afternoon pee-mail;  and happy couples ambling to the local for an evening unwind with friends.  I met 5 dogs on this trip. Sitwell, Lucy, Abby,  Mojo, and Lady. Dallas has changed for the better in these regards. It is so nice to see healthy life on the streets I used to avoid at night. What was once overrun with blight has become rather a posh place, but not stiffly so. Except for one location: The IM Pei (Field St. Fountain Place) Building.

You see, I managed to get chucked from the  public fountain area of the place because I was scolded for using a “high-power telephoto lens”. Two things about this confused me completely. One: I was holding a 50 mm and my husband was kitted with the 24-70 mm. Two: The building has mirrored windows you cannot see into except at night. Whatever the tenants are doing in there must be special.

Now on to the people!

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Visiting Texas

This trip to Texas was full. Here’s what went down:

  • fed my niece dinner, twice
  • saw my brother and his wife, twice
  • toured Cowboys Stadium (otherwise known as “went to church”)
  • met new cows
  • made friends with a new farm dog – she likes cheese
  • met the new (to me) children belonging to our circle of friends (5!)
  • stayed in a historical landmark, twice
  • shot two deer (with my camera)
  • photographed a landmark that started my love affair with photography, twice
  • flew Southwest for the first and second times
  • made Melissa VERY happy with GLUTEN FREE CAKE
  • met a multitude of dogs, the coolest of which is called Sitwell – a heeler
  • contracted a cold (which I attribute to gross airports and not children)
  • talked with my brother until the wee hours for the first time in decades
  • rode in the car for 5-hour drives across Texas, twice and received ZERO TICKETS 
  • perused 26 seed-catalogs 

In all, the stats reflect a truly Texan trip with a varied set of experiences. Now, if you ask my cats, they will explain they were less impressed with this trip. In fact they were displeased. More on that another day.

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People in Texas Places

Several Texas Places, a lot of Texan Faces

Many people came to the BBQ at the family farm just a few minutes after this photo was taken. I met 7 new people on this trip to Texas. Two brides and five babies. Missing are Anson and Leandra, Bill and Leslie and daughter K, and Matthew’s sister Emily and her husband John and their crew of three. Ten people in all missing from this image. Now, I balanced the camera on a cooler in the West Texas wind, so I feel lucky we all have at least 1/2 of our bodies. I have been tempted to cartoon in Anson and Bill. That seems fair and just. However, doing that to the lovely ladies who put up with those two didn’t seem right. So – here it is. The West Texas Family Photo.

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Twin Cities Wedding Photographer | Creamer Wedding – Apple Valley, MN

Julie and Chuck are a sweet couple who find fun in almost everything.

I first met Julie a few years ago while visiting an office at Carleton.  I could go into all the details, but you aren’t here for computer talk – are you? She and I started talking and made fast friends. Here is something that makes wedding photography a lot easier to do: Her sense of humor was the first thing I loved.  The second thing I loved about Julie was that she has a good size family. Last summer I took her son Alec’s Senior Photos.

Before the wedding, we managed to walk at the track once a week or so. Those walks were full of discussion on all topics, but my favorite walks were when I could listen to her tell me about the wedding plans and her progress. I kept hearing her descriptions of the cake table: Seven kinds of dessert cakes, cookies and the wedding cake itself. She had me at seven. I was also in love with her Christmas Tree idea. She had people send her a wedding photo of themselves and she framed them and hung them on the tree at the front of the ceremony space. It was so endearing. She managed many other ways to make guest feel included and valued. I think that must be the biggest challenge to brides. My understanding of Julie and Chuck as well as the kids became more clear through those talks and when it came time to actually photograph the wedding I was ready for the sharp-witted and camera-shy family. Well, almost!  I enjoyed many kinds of cake, a snowball fight and plenty of pretty photos!

While they keep a light heart about life, there are some things that are to be taken seriously at all costs: love, family and dessert. Maybe that’s the secret to this couple.  I really love wedding photography.

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Dallas Photographer
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Twin Cities Wedding Photographer | Ward Wedding – Northfield,MN

August afternoon weddings are bound to be warm, but the Ward’s simple and elegant ceremony was also touching.

We all met up at Bridge Square in Northfield so that I could do some pre wedding photos of the family and the couple. Casually and in stages the family collected near the fountain. Everyone was relaxed and very much at home. We waited on the last of family to arrive while the final touches were put on the the bride’s outfit. After I photographed few groupings and took some couple photos we formed a caravan to the church. The select few of us were allowed to share in an extremely moving ceremony, during which I cried. These two loving people put the emphasis on each other for their wedding and I just love when that happens.

Now, I love weddings. I really love weddings. This one got my emotions all stirred though. Maybe it was the hot sun, maybe it was the way these two looked at each other. Or, maybe, it was that the whole of the day was about nothing  more than the promises of respect and loving care between two people and the family they were blending. If that won’t get you – nothing will.

The beautiful flowers were from Forget Me Not. So pretty!

Northfield Senior Photos | Ian

Ian’s Northfield senior photos were fun because it isn’t often that yourmodels bring a bass and play a little bit while you work.

For his Northfield Senior Photos we visited a couple of spots around Northfield, one of which is near to his heart. You may remember his role as a tour guide in the Junior Posse and as a player in the bank raid reenactment. He also plays bass in a couple of groups.  Maybe you ‘ll get to hear him before he goes to college. I hope so. He’s darn good.

For those who have never met this guy, you will quickly find out he has a lot going on. Aside from school (where he plays bass, participates in Cross Country, the school plays, and a few student club activities), Ian is also into Lacrosse. I have no idea when he sleeps. Ian has a depth that I accredit to his love for history and for his respect for archiving and keeping the stories of others alive. This guy is witty and he’ll make you laugh, when you least expect. 

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Family Photography – Dallas, TX

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Today’s Picture of the Day is worth every bit of 1,000 words. Maybe more. I feel a wealth of emotions when I look at this picture. I’m looking at her and rumbling around my head is absolutely nothing but the idea that she will no doubt be the funniest, coolest and most interesting kid I will ever know. Because her parents are all of those things.

About a month ago I was looking over the pictures (including this one) from the family reunion in 2013 and I got to thinking. Mostly about family, kids, life and the things that separate me from other people I know. All of the dynamics of my life are seemingly simplified.

  • I don’t have any children
  • I don’t have any relatives that need care
  • My home is relatively maintenance-free
  • Most of my friends are in other states
  • Work-life has calmed into a regularity for me
  • The cats are finally aware that I don’t have any control over the weather

Basically, my life is calm and drama is non-existent. I’m finding out there are not very many people who have the “luxury” of that claim. I’m glad because I don’t want other people to go around feeling these things:

  • What I wouldn’t give to be brave enough to be a parent!
  • I’d trade many things to have my grandparents back.
  • I like that the house doesn’t need tons of work – It’s just that I  adore vintage architecture and this current house doesn’t have that feel at all.
  • I would prefer to have my friends closer. The few sweet ones I have here in Minnesota are wonderful – but I bet they tire of my face.
  • I vowed when I came to the Internet in 1996 to never discuss work thereon, so none of that. It suffices to mention I am happy with what I do and I am challenged plenty. However, I would like to do more photography projects. Just not in winter. I still don’t have a winter skin. Hanging out in a snow drift taking pictures just sounds uncomfortable to me.
  • The cats, well, they complain less and less as the daylight hours grow longer and longer each day. I know they’d prefer sunny warm days to nap under hostas in the shade, though.

What I am getting at is that the simplicity of my life has come at a price. I’m happy with my choices, pleased at the experiences I’ve had and look forward to the ones sure to come, but nonetheless – slightly lost after dinner with what to do with myself. I admit, there are some rooms I could paint and I have a little housekeeping to do (like file my Tax Return for 2013), but on the whole it’s sometimes too quiet at the Pixel Playground.

Maybe that’s why I have grown such an affection (they are essentially family as far as I am concerned) for the few people I do see regularly here: they are wonderful, brave and special and occupy the spaces that would otherwise be filled with kids, activities, projects and errands. I don’t get to spend time with them as often as I would like, because, you know, they do have kids, activities, projects and errands. I’ll take all the free time they want to give me though! Unless of course I end up with kids, activities, projects and errands. Admittedly, I prefer hearing about the things going on with others more than I think I might like to be doing most of the stuff myself (read: this coward can’t handle vomit or diapers very well).

In a few weeks I get to hold that beautiful baby you saw at the top of this post. The experience was spiritually moving the first time and I doubt I’ll be less moved by how much she’s changed since. She has transformed her parent’s lives (more on those thoughts in another post) forever. She’s beautiful. Just like her mother.

Isn’t it odd how we look into the future wondering what will be, how things will turn out and just what folks will be like? I look at pictures of my niece that way – looking forward to her report cards and sending her a few bucks for being better at math than I ever was. Because she will be.

What do you think of when you look back at pictures of your family? What about the ones of you and your friends? Do you think of the sounds and feelings of that day or do you remember just the people? Both? Does viewing old photos and pictures take you to the moment or is it less of a journey for you? Everyone is different. I’m always curious how people respond to pictures. I guess that’s where the drama is for me.

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Dallas Photographer
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Los Angeles Photographer