Reconnecting!

This is one of the best perks of living in Utah . . .

Your BFF’s come in to town to visit!

Pam (who came from AZ) and Katie (who came from CO) always make for a fun girls night out!

Here we have Lindsay (who drove 33 hours with FIVE kids all the way from VA) and Lesley (who lives in UT).  I used to work with these fun girls when I was in high school!  I love these ladies!  It was so fun to see them!  It’s only been 15 years!  🙂

Sawyer Brown Concert!

WE LOVE, LOVE, LOVE SAWYER BROWN!

When we heard they were coming to Utah on their tour (Orem, Utah nonetheless!) we were STOKED!  David bought the best seats available . . . THIRD ROW!

Oh my.  Have you ever seen Sawyer Brown in concert?  You MUST.  Not only are they incredibly talented, but they are very entertaining!   Mark Miller (the lead singer) is like the energizer bunny on stage!  He keeps bouncing, and dancing NON-STOP!  The last time we saw them perform was in 2001 at the Stadium of Fire in Provo.  They have been touring for almost 30 years now!  You must go!

We had been looking forward to our date night to Sawyer Brown for months.  I love attending a great concert!  I especially love attending a great concert when you are up close and on the floor!  You can see the performers sweat, see detail in their facial expressions, and so much more!  It really makes the experience 10x times more fun!

Here are some pictures I took using a prime lens.  (That means I had no zoom on this lens.  What you see is exactly how far away we were from the band.)

Do you see the rain puddles Mark Miller is stomping through in the left picture?

Oh didn’t I mention the rain?  It was an outdoor concert and it rained.  A lot.

Torrential rain to be exact.

Here we are super optimistic that the clouds above us would just BLOW AWAY.

This is us just minutes before the concert was postponed . . .

It started pouring, so I sent David to get us some ponchos.

He came back with one.  THE VERY LAST ONE AVAILABLE.

He gave it to me  (Love that man!) and I stayed relatively dry while he got soaked.

Holy rain Batman!

The rain lifted a little bit (and by a little bit, I mean it was raining hard and not pouring) so the band came out to play in the rain!

It was an incredible show and the rain made it even more memorable!

Can’t wait to see them again!  (They’ll be in Wendover, Nevada in November . . . that’s not too far away for us!)

Hannah’s Turned FIVE!

Oy.

I’m feeling 110% behind on life.  Not usually a great feeling to have, but that means I must be having too much fun to slow down, right?

I’m not sure how it happened, but that little peanut I delivered on Sint Maarten is no longer a little peanut!

Hannah turned five!  This milestone was met with a party that was entirely too much work to put together.  🙂  (I’m writing this now, so next year I won’t get any big ideas!)

We Put up two big party tents, invited 10 of her friends plus their little siblings, and their parents, and my oh my . . . hosting 30+ people can be a bit overwhelming when they range from 1-40 years old.

We had an “Aerial” themed party, complete with plenty of “princess” themed extras.  Lots of cake (complimentary of the bakery, I had to out source something this year!) food, and warm water for swimming!

The weather forecast was scattered thundershowers (lovey for a swimming party) so we put up another tent and her outdoor party quickly became an indoor tent party!  Good thing too, it rained!

Happy fifth birthday to our little Hannah Bear!  (Your passport just expired and I have no excuse to get you a new one.  BUMMER.)

Hot Air Balloon Race 2011

I love the 4th of July!  It has always been my MOST favorite holiday and Utah is the PLACE TO BE for the best 4th of July festivities in the nation!  We discovered this shortly after we started our gypsy lifestyles about 10 years ago.  No one celebrates like Utah does!  NO ONE!

The 4th of July celebration lasts all weekend in Utah, and we love it!

One of our favorite traditions is going to the balloon launch.  It is a hot air balloon race and it’s quite exciting to see so many hot air balloons on the ground all being blown up at once!

This year Darth Vadar made an appearance.  The kids had no idea who he was so they were not as impressed as we were.  🙂

The Coca-Cola balloon is the tallest hot air balloon in the world.  I got some pictures of it last year with my Nikon D90.  (I went with my iPhone this year.)

On Sunday morning, we woke up to this balloon in our backyard!  Hannah was in hot air balloon heaven.

It’s not very often that you have a hot air balloon make an emergency landing on your street! 🙂  (Look how cute Paris and Hannah are checking it out.)

 

Running Faster Than I Have Strength

PHEW!

Holy whirl wind of a week!

I can honestly say, I have been running faster than I have strength.  Theoretically that is.  Well, I sort of do that literally as well.  (Let’s not talk about the upcoming Ragnar Relay race I’m doing next month, Okay?)

I’ve had an exceptionally busy week (I had 10 shoots in four days) photographing so many lovely people.  I’ve attended two weddings, (I cried at both of them, even though I was working!) taken Hannnah to ballet EVERY SINGLE DAY LAST WEEK in preparation for her performance over the weekend, and did I mention it is finals week for me?

Oh yes.  FINALS.

I really do try to keep my life in balance, but these last two weeks it have been totally out of whack.

I just need to get through this week . . . I just need to get through this week!

In my rush to fit everything in this week, I FRIED one of my Speedotron strobes and possibly ruined part of my power box during a night shoot this week.  No, I will not think about that.  I will not think about how much that careless mistake cost me . . . no, no I won’t!

On a happy note, I shot the most BEAUTIFUL bridal session last week (and their wedding over the weekend!) and I really must share just a few images with you.

This is Kari Ann and Jared.  They are really good at being in love and staring at each other.  🙂  I have more from their session (and many other sessions) bigger and better on my photo blog, so check it out!  The small scale of these images do not do them justice!

When my life calms down a bit in a few days (and after I catch up with emails, and clients, etc) I will be back with so many fun pictures and stories to share!

Working Girl

This little sass-a-frass is going to be in a book!

I came across a casting call for a four year old little girl and I submitted this info on Hannah:

Age:  4 years
Height:  43 “
Skills:  Coloring, dancing, singing, and talking to anything that moves.

I think that last “skill” is what landed her the job.  What do you think?  I put together a comp card for Hannah a few months ago and I think it’s working.  🙂  I haven’t decided on an agency for her yet.  Really, I haven’t thought much about putting in her in an agency for a while.  I should look into that . . . anyway, I’ve been her agent so far, and so far so good.  She’s done one commercial, one book shoot (it’s for a book on crafts for kids), and I’ve been contacted to see if she would do another commercial in a couple of months.

Yes.  She works.  For money.  Not for free people.  I do not have time or interest in that.   We’re opening up a bank account just for her so she can endorse her checks and let her money sit and accumulate for years.

Maybe she’ll be able to pay for college by the time she goes!

Here is a shot of her right before her shoot:

She was sad they asked her to take her earrings out . . . she thought they were the highlight of her outfit!

She is a great listener, and takes direction well from anyone.  She loves to act, so when they told her to look surprised, she really pulled out her “surprise” face and it made everyone laugh.  The book comes out in October and I met the author at the shoot.  Sounds like a fun book and I’m sure we’ll be buying it to see Hannah and to make kid crafts!

 

Woot! Woot!

One of my images made it into the Academy of Art’s Spring Show!

THIS IS REALLY A BIG DEAL!

Every year, AAU puts on a huge Spring Show where their students can show off their best work.  Thousands of pieces are entered every year, and only about 150 pieces are selected.  You can only imagine my excitement when I found out this image was accepted!  Each image is submitted blindly so the industry professional who select which images to put in the show have no idea who shot the images they are looking at.  It’s always nice to hear your clients tell you they like your work, but I somehow felt validated as a photographer when I heard I made it into the Spring Show!  (Your clients and family like what you do, but does that mean you actually know what you are doing?)

I photographed this image in between semesters last summer.  I decided to add it to the documentary category at the last minute!  (You can only submit up to nine images total, three for fine art, three for commercial photography, and three for documentary.)

Now I’ve got to get it printed, matted, and sent off to San Francisco!

This show is attended in high numbers by industry professionals and the public alike.  It is great exposure for me (potential commercial clients will be there!) and I can now say I’ve had work in a gallery showing!

Did mention I saw an ad the other day for The Academy of Art’s Spring Show 2011 in Vogue Magazine?

Yes.  This art show is advertised in Vogue.  Hello!

We were planning on attending the show whether I got in or not, but now, this makes me more excited for our trip to San Francisco in a few weeks!

We’ve Been Keeping a BIG Secret for Eight Whole Days!

Hannah has been talking about going to Disneyland for months.  And by talking about it, I mean, SHE’S DYING TO GO.

I’m not even sure how she knows so much about it honestly.  Remember how we live in Utah and not California?  Clearly we have nothing here that even resembles the happiest place on earth, so really, unless she has heard an earful from her friends, we have no idea where she is getting her information.   She is CONVINCED she has enough pennies to get us there and is ready to go STAT.

Well . . .

We have wanted to take our kids to Disneyland since before they were born.  In the last several months, we have been entertaining the idea of taking them, and trying to figure out the best time.

You see, both Hannah and Dallin still take mid-day naps.  (Yeah, yeah, go ahead and play the world’s smallest violin for us . . .)  Toting around cranky kids in the afternoon just sounds like SO MUCH FUN, we decided to NEVER try it.

We decided to take our kids to Disneyland after Dallin gave up his nap so all of us could go ALL DAY and not have a meltdown.

Well . . .

After our successful vacation last week in Las Vegas, where our kids took a three hour nap in the hotel room and  Dallin didn’t have a panic attack (like I expected he would) when he realized he was going to sleep in a foreign place, we decided to entertain the idea again.

And by entertain the idea, I mean we got home from Vegas and three days later, David sent me an email (I was out and about running errands or something) with our tickets, and hotel confirmation.

I know.  The guy rocks!

So my friends . . . we are going!  Next week!  All week!  Three days of driving (one to get to CA, two days to get home) and three days of fun at Disneyland and California Adventure Park HERE WE COME!

Here’s the thing . . .

Our kids don’t know!  I mean, I’m sure we could tell Dallin and he wouldn’t say anything or be overly excited for that matter because he is not the one saving all his pennies and talking about going all the time . . . but Hannah . . .

Oh. My.

Have you seen how excited that child gets?  I’m not sure I could handle her anticipation!  She might explode!

As many of you know, Hannah is an early riser.  During the early morning hours of 6:00 AM to 7:30 AM, she happily keeps herself busy.  A few days ago, she created these images during the hour and a half she waited for us to wake up.

This is her at Disneyland, as a princess of course!  Check out that castle!  Looks pretty authentic to me!

In this image, she told me she is thinking about Disneyland, that is why the castle is so small.

This next image is of David, and Hannah, and me, with a LAMP.  Please friends, let’t not forget to pack a LAMP on our way to Disneyland!

Check out my long legs, and low maintenance hair!  She got David’s buzz just right, and look at how cute she is!  Not sure where Dallin fits into this picture . . . maybe we didn’t have room for him in the car because we had to pack a HUGE LAMP.

Oh, how I love her hearts.  This one reads from the bottom up:

“Emily and to David.”  Apparently, we are on a first name basis with her.  Also, I LOVE how she spells.  Soon enough, she will spell everything correctly and I’m just not ready for that day.  Can’t she just stay four and a half FOREVER?!

This next picture is of Lighting McQueen.  (I’m sure it wasn’t obvious, so I thought I’d help you out on the interpretation of this image.)

And finally . . .

Her shoes.  She traced them on the paper and then drew the straps.  She has informed me that she is wearing these shoes to Disneyland whenever we go.

Clearly we have a child that loves to draw and can’t wait to get to Disneyland.

We’re not sure when we’re going to tell her, but we’ll be sure to video tape her response!  We’re thinking the parking lot of Disneyland would be a fine place to tell her . . . what do you think?

Based on how she responded when I brought home a “princess dress” last week from the Disney Store (she jumped up and down, squealed, yelled, “I’m so GRATEFUL!” and then started to cry tears of joy!) I’m afraid she might have an aneurysm when we tell her!

How am I going to tell her she has an appointment to get her hair done at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique?  And that she’s going to have breakfast with every princess she can think of a Ariel’s Grotto?  What about the World of Color?

As you can see, we are just as excited about all of this as she is!  I can’t wait to tell her!

Giant Octobox? Check.

I’ve added some upgrades to my equipment and my software.  Everything arrived within a few days and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and under qualified at the same time.

Photoshop CS5?  Check.

Lightroom 3?  Check.

Giant 5 foot octabox?  Check.

2400 watts per second Power Box?  Check.

Two powerful strobes?  Check.

What am I going to do with a soft box this size?!

Looks like I’m now prepared to photograph a group of 100+!  🙂

Wishing I Was In Beijing

I had planned to be in China right now.  Beijing to be exact.

My good friends, Leigh and Ray (Leigh went to medical school on Saba.  I first met Leigh at her house early in the year 2007 and we instantly bonded over our love for trash mags, and TMZ.  YES.  I JUST ADMITTED THAT.  AGAIN.) are in Beijing adopting their son.  He is now eight years old, and they have both had a miraculous journey to get to this point.  Leigh asked me last year if I would accompany them on their trip and photograph their journey, and of curse I was in!  Unfortunately, international adoptions aren’t free, and due to extra last minute expenses with the adoption, an all expense paid trip for me to photograph their adoption in Beijing had to be nixed.

We were both so sad.  🙁

Since China, is well . . . China, (aka COMMUNIST) Leigh does not have access to her blog or facebook while they are in Beijing.  I have been receiving daily emails (along with 100 other people of course) documenting their journey.

I cry during each email.  A LOT.

There is no doubt that God has his hand in all things.  Leigh and Ray are such a great couple, I’m so glad they finally have their son!  I will post a link to her blog when she returns from China so you can read more of their story!