end of summer always brings that last punch of heat, and usually a dry spell for photographers, giving time to catch up on all pieces of work with loose ends. so is today, my review of the past 6 months and gathering of thoughts about the time spent with families and newborns and my own daughters.

|dustin, ashley, luke, noah| a family! looking back over these two baby boys coming into life and into their home i realize the gift of becoming “their” photographer. i realize all the more how wonderful it is to have continuing clients and being able to participating in their growing families. i see the passion in dustin and ashley for each other and their sons that matches my passion to record it for them. i think we were all love at first site…when you meet them, you know it is within their capacity to love fully. and what they like in life makes you want to just sit down and touch it all… all things natural and raw like mountains and cotton and textiles and leather and feather and folktale; things built by their hands and also things built within creation. i feel sure that if an ocean tumbled nearby they would love as much as i, the roar and spray and salty skin and pink beach glow.. when that day comes our shoot will look like watercolor on a canvas. today, in this shoot, we enjoyed brilliant sun. well maybe not so much enjoyed.. it was quite a surprise with an overcast sky forecasted. but you embrace what you get and we got sun. sun everywhere. and the remarkable contrast gave unexpected success to our outdoor half of the shoot. and the indoor became as interesting as it can get with an 18 month old and a newborn!!

so here are my beloved lauderdale’s, celebrating their newest son at day 7 of life outside the womb.

the very picturesque baker family enjoyed an evening at the circus.. you would have thought through the eyes of their 5 yr old son, brody, that this was the real deal. “you never can know a man unless you put yourself in their shoes and walk around.” isn’t that the wise quote from Atticus in to kill a mockingbird? as i worked through this session i wanted to do that with brody’s shoes. i have never had as captivated an audience as this young boy. watch his face through the shoot and i guarantee the same joy i felt. the look of total commitment to the moment… the family played. i clicked away. from sketches to shoot, every single thing worked. amazing!!!

seriously watching the “show”!! believe it or not it was a 60 degree evening with some wind.. we wanted these little guys to be barefoot. with this look you would never know there was momentary resistance at first, BUT between games and circus treats, there was not a complaint from beginning to end! [bribery is awesome] these little brothers are the BEST!!

i think i want to gobble him up!!

i see you, jude!!

and where would any circus be without a ring-of-fire to jump through? so funny! i was laughing so hard i don’t know how i kept any sort of focus. i was definitely off on my distance for the lens, but hats off to robert and brody on this one!

our last hoo~rah was popcorn… everyone in the USofA was posting images of their kiddos making snow angels. though texas had an unseasonably cold winter, we didn’t see much snow. so i figured popcorn could give us the ground cover to make some of our own kind of angels at the circus. five pounds of corn and three hours of popping filled one large black trash bag… wish i had doubled that ~ but i think both brody and jude were overcome with their opportunity to hang out in the center of a pile of white stuff. and eat it too for that matter. this will end our affair on a hilltop in the country of texas. it was a shoot like no other i have done. hearts to this family!

thank you my dear friend, kim, for use of your beautiful land… thank you for the assist, dominique holmes… thank you leigha and dan taylor for hand spinning the cotton candy… thank you, my husband, for many trips to asels in dallas for cardboard and other things needed to create these props, for patience while i worked and designed this shoot during your precious few hours of home life on the weekends…

our portuguesa kinfolk

February 26, 2014

a corner of mom’s garden…

the portuguese gathered on hagewa dr on a late summer’s eve. well, ok, not so romantic a day… a 90 humid-degree day of september. we came in from dallas altogether ready for the sweet breeze of autumn in ohio. a long knit skirt and blouse bought to wear, vintage table-clothes packed, new grandson in tote ready to meet more family, all the photographs i wanted sketched out and a vision that had been in my head over this past year for a real kinfolk table setting! not much of that materialized… i could hear wesley saying to buttercup, “get used to disappointment”! for the most part we were in shorts, jeans and t-shirts with the last drop of summer’s sunscreen smeared on our faces and dripping with sweat. not all of the family could be present… so to two of my own daughters, jordan and isabel, and nieces and nephews, katie, emily, daniel, bess and to my cousins, jamie and jody, — {all spouses and children thereof} you were missed so very much. our table would have been wonderfully endless if all were there. in the end, it was just a picnic. a really really nice picnic like the summer ‘family’ picnics we had growing up… maybe what we knew as kids at sharon woods, pushing picnics tables together and throwing the tablecloths out, watching the great uncles play chess and the young ones play kickball, softball, badminton and checking out the creek bed for fossils and salamanders… a day when most of the extended family could gather bringing their best part of the smorgasboard, was really a ‘kinfolk’? i think so, which would make us ~ hipsters!!.

while tables were being set outside… soup and a sundry of other delicious portuguese morsels were being prepared inside… with a busy one-year-old at our knees 🙂

the portuguese did not invent croquet. that has fallen into an argument between the irish and british. but the portuguese do have some little known facts that may surprise you: portugal is the oldest country in europe ~ they produce 70% of the worlds cork ~ they invented the ukulele {the name given to the instrument while sailing into a hawaiian port. and fyi… my mom has a talent with this instrument!} ~ the portuguese were the first colonized power to abolish slavery ~ they are the most fish-eating people in the world ~ and they were the first to circumnavigate the world, though only one of the fleet made it home and magellan, who captained the voyage and was commissioned by spain, died late in the journey ~ and one more tidbit, the portuguese diamond is the most valued in the world {of course that has a history all it’s own}

the menu ~ designed and researched ~ thanks mom 😉

yep ~ we celebrated the lucky ones of the family who have birthdays in september!words of my mom ~ the first generation of american portuguese from the ‘do Adro’ family… “My grandmother, Beatriz Oliveria Do Adro, came to America from Lisbon, Portugal, on the SS CANADA. A then single mother due to divorce, she brought two of her four children with her: my father, Henrique {Henry} and his sister, Luiza {Louise}. My father was nine years old. the year of transport was either 1922 or 23 with a discrepancy of age listed on the manifesto. Their port of entrance is unknown… though I am sure someone in the family will someday research that fact! Grandma moved her little family directly to Cincinnati, first living in Corryville and then settling in Madisonville. She followed the lead of her brother who was already living in America. She took a job as cook at the Cincinnati Hebrew Union College where she met Ted Haynes. They later married, making her the grandmother fondly remembered as ‘Grandma Haynes’.” {grandma haynes is pictured in the small oval frame above}

the adro sisters ~ norma and deloris ~ breaks my heart that i didn’t get a good photograph of them together (photo credit of aunt dee: kim carlin)

THE END! as you can plainly see 😉

luke at home

February 3, 2014

“baby luke comes home” an altogether lovely ‘lifestyle’ shoot. both mama and daddy comforting their little sweetie ~ O my heart. dustin and ashley oozed tenderness toward each other and their son. luke was wrapped up in their arms, layers of their arms over him, over each other. and to top it off, he was wrapped in the purest organic cotton diapers and blankets ever. ok, so the organic envy was happening while behind the camera ~ drool! i think i touched every piece of it. enough said 😉

the privilege of a lifestyle shoot… documenting through the doorway to the most intimate place of a home. dustin and ashley together on their bed made a cocoon for luke to rest.

heading into an apartment in dallas i would not have guessed how illuminated the space could be!! infact, i was a little anxious about the light, but lucky me on this morning!

ashley cupped her hands around luke’s head almost as though recreating the womb’s soft cradling.

NOT to take away from this exquisite new life ~ but while you are gazing, check out the chair. it’s the real deal. a genuine eames rocker! those sharp and soft lines benefited this image.

in finishing this shoot, we touched on a little lineage factor. ashley lived her childhood out in alaska, so we decided a little ‘paul bunyon’ was necessary! so the snow and pines came out in their living room on a very hot end-of-summer dallas day.

dustin, ashley, luke… thank you for inviting me into your home! i know the apartment is just a momentary stop for you all. i can’t wait to see what will be in the house you restore! make sure the light is just as awesome! my love to the lauderdale family <3

when stacey approached me about photographing her family, we talked about the usual things in an interview… personalities, places for the shoot, and {since this is the season of christmas family sessions} how we could collaborate and develop a christmas theme. surprisingly, stacey said that was a sort of by~thought. to include it would be fine, but what she really wanted to begin for her young family was documenting yearly the changes… marking time. yes! indeed the best answer anyone could give a photographer. so here is the product and matching of her heart’s desire. i love this family’s beginning ~ married 4 years, daughter at age one. AND a lil’ merry christmas tah boot!

love love LOVE the weeds of texas in november!!! you could not pay for something better to shoot through and around… cough and sneezes aside 😉

this next series will end our most lovely time. i want to say here that this one didn’t ‘just happen’… when i was rearranging the load of props in my car i pulled out a chair that i decided against and with that my camera rolled out of my bag and dropped to concrete 3 feet below as did 2 lenses. a weird habit for me is to keep a hood up on my lens when i put it down. that hood and the filter of my 85mm lens were destroyed, but all else intact. within an hour of this event a friend texted me to say that God had put me on her heart… wanting to know if there was something specific to pray for. it is common, almost casual and ordinary to say that God is good, but to say that God is intimately involved in the details of our life everyday is almost intimidating. and if nothing less, it is surreal. but this afternoon two weeks ago, i got to know His intimacy. He overcame me. He overcame everything that was against this moment. dear lynlee, thank you. also thank you jenna and craig for being part of the praying for this shoot <3

traveling down my memory lane… or the lane of my business, i have found so many fun shoots that i didn’t take the time to blog. admittedly, this was before i used any layers or actions… admittedly, i still questioned why i had recently gone from film to digital. before pinterest when i would just comb through magazines for idea feeds and do some of my own sketches. this is a solid favorite of almost 3 years ago. a young couple: he loved swing, she loved the beatles. so we melded their decades in this quaint capture of a little bit retro… little bit vintage afteroon “date”. doorway strings of beads from our favorite shop in forreston, tx ~ BonTon’s vintage market!  elizabeth had a nice stash of albums, two adorable dresses {thrift shop finds} and her mom’s old record player. add to that a few large pompom flowers… ice cream cones, a town with antique character and voila {if i have spelled that correctly :/ you get the gist} ~ happiness.

isabel by definition

October 29, 2013

isabel ~ as a personal note to you, i have loved this session more than most because of what you allowed me to capture. a vulnerable heart. an emotional battle. a need for rest from some issues of college life. a strength that is not your own but divinely set in your mind regardless of what you have to go ‘home’ to. through out this i found a few quotes suited to you, to this moment ~ tears in the beginning, a twinkle in your eye in the middle, contemplation and serenity in the end. as i found in a quote from the 16th century, sir francis bacon (gotta love the name) penned in, of beauty, “there is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion”. meaning it is the sum of it all |you, the difficulty of your moment, your fatigue from school, work, and your most beastly roommates| all of this is deepening you, therefore adding layers of unpredictabled beauty to what already existed. a little fyi to the english major… poe directly quoted this too. thank you for taking the journey to a sweet spot on this earth to be with us for a few days. and without apology, God is the beginning and God is the end. within that infinite bracket is His creative, pursuing, immeasurable compassion and loving kindness. i love you dear daughter.

“give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.” shakespeare ~ macbeth

“fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.” neil gainman ~ caroline

“i thought i could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. sorrow, ho’ever, turns out to be not a state, but a process.” c.s. lewis ~ a grief observed

isabel by definition ~ God’s promise

this blog is two-fold… it does indeed represent ezra at 9 months of age, but more deeply and even spiritually it represents the deliberate and concentrated efforts of a father over, wrapped around, forming, his son. the value of a father in life is undeniable and i fall short in vocabulary to make it more substantial. it is in these images though. the potter and his clay, cash elliot and his son cash ezra…

i have watched my son-in-law throw clay for years now. this day i thought it would be different. just put a piece of clay on the wheel, spin it a little and let ezra’s hands take over– however, i learned, putting a piece of clay on the wheel can only be done one way. no shortcuts. no matter what. accompanied by the posture that a potter gains from the strength the work requires. please take your time reading this process before scrolling to the images.

cut the piece of clay from a large block
knead and mold into a rounded lump
center it – a hard deliberate throw onto the center of the wheel
apply motion to the wheel by foot pedal
wet hands and cup around the lump
press into the center as it spins
sponge water over the clay
apply pressure with hands, thumbs, fingers
sponge water
press, pull, build the walls
sponge water
press, pull, unique shape taking form
push, pull – discipline, realign, love
water – comfort, compassion, mercy, tenderness, love
push, pull – “because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in”
water – “I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with unfailing kindness”
trim down, cut off edge, reshape a bit
maybe add a handle or interesting design as cash does
finished form
stamp with the potter’s mark revealing forever who the maker is – “you too trusted him, when you heard the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation. And after you gave your confidence to him you were, so to speak, stamped with the promised Holy Spirit as a guarantee of purchase, until the day when God completes the redemption of what he has paid for as his own; and that will again be to the praise of his glory”
drying, the vessel’s most vulnerable time for breaking – “even though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i will not fear, for You are with me
fire again – “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
completed vessel
a process that will never change… for any of us

something else i learned in this moment is that as the baby applied uneven pressure and wobbled the shape, his daddy simply wet the clay, and using hands and fingers pulled it back into shape. it was effortless to him. what was ruined, was not permanent. cash, you are one who has known both perspectives. you are the clay and you are the potter. God has used your life to allow me|many to witness the process of working the rebuilding of your walls and the humility of being worked on. the potter is as clear in allegory to me as when i watched surgeons work to keep the right balance of moisture while repairing something within the human body.

“Still, God, You are our Father. We are the clay, and You are the Potter. All of us are what you made us.”

happy first father’s day cash!

ready for his first lesson!!

this is the mark of a potter. cash’s mark and pottery name is: He > I {read it out loud}

*scripture references from above:
Proverbs 3:12 NIV
Jeremiah 31:2-4 NIV
Ephesians 1:13,14 JB Phillips
Psalms 23:4a NAS
James 1:2-4 The Message

“dreams are nothing more than wishes and a wish is just a dream you wish to come true.
if only i could have a puppy
i’d call myself so very lucky
just to have some company
so share a cup of tea with me.
i’d take my puppy everywhere
lalalala i wouldn’t care
we would stay away from crowds
with signs that say no dogs allowed
O we…. we’d be so happy to be… together”
{the puppy song, harry nilsson}

Alyssa came to me in the moment of when these puppies were just a potential… saying, “Well, she might be pregnant and if she is i want you to do our pictures when the puppies are about 3 weeks old! i am actually in a sabbatical moment evaluating all of this photography business… but puppies… please, who could resist. i have never done an animal shoot, but thoughts of posing rushed into my head and i said yes. softie that i am.

here you indeed find that puppies were conceived and plentifully so! belle is pretty brilliant at hunting i’m told ~ and a good first time mama! she let me handle these pups and move them any which way i wanted.

i need to say a word here about alyssa and ryan ~ a complete opposites-attract kind of couple! alyssa couldn’t be any more girlie and adorable, feminine {in that perfect sheer mint green blouse} and sweet… ryan, the hunter, is as the word would describe! a texas man who didn’t want to have too much to do with those balloons. BUT somewhere underneath all that brave, strong, guy exterior, there was a piece of his heart that enjoyed blessing his wife with this session. you can see it in his eyes… and he also loves his hunting companion, belle. so for those ladies in his life ~ here is one very cute spring puppy photoshoot!

2013 senior | bethany

January 10, 2013

~ bethany ~

in my years of work, even going back to the days of film, this shoot stands out as one of a handful of favorites. as i reviewed, sorted, selected, edited, i was captured by the fullness within this young woman and at this realized her life was opening wider kind of like the land we were photographing on. these images document a moment in the life continuum, the unique place in time which is just between child and adult. as you will see in what follows, bethany is multi~gifted. she has not lost her head to her gifts, but instead has developed heart areas that make her a most balanced young person. without doubt she will do well. and i will someday see her pieces in galleries and rejoice in knowing ~ her.

 our session took place on a very pretty, private, article of land. once found i visited from roadside several times and just took my time going past. admittedly i also stopped and photographed from the road and spoke with the woman across the street. i thought without doubt that we had come to a simple neighborly type of relationship. we knew each other’s name; i had expressed my love for what i saw across the street and my hope to photograph on that property someday. she pointed out the gate and the neighbor of ownership, she showed me the natural spring and the path to cross over the water. i asked about her wheat fields and she explained how the planting goes. farm life and such… pretty picture.

within minutes of arriving early on the morning of bethany’s shoot i was met by this same woman ~ my neighbor person. she was angry i was back, she was going to call the police if we didn’t move our cars to the other side of the road. stunned. silenced. quickly trying to think of what was the right thing to do… i reminded her it was just ‘me, sally’. “i know who you are” she said…” i think you are obsessed with that barn.”…i could go on. we went quietly on with our appointment. within five minutes of crossing over into the beautiful land of my ‘oz’ a young man {son of owner whom i had never met} came over the hill on his 4 wheel and welcomed us. he offered any assistance we needed. he smiled and laughed a little at what we had just experienced and said, “don’t worry, she has always been jealous”. he had been up before dawn to move horses and cattle so the land was safe… i could go on.

sometimes we get such visual lessons of biblical truths… we literally stood on the road between jealousy and generosity. we started at the creek bed and white rock… then moved up the hill to the high grasses and on toward the beautiful barn. cs lewis wrote in his 7th book of narnia, the last battle, “further up and further in“. i felt a little of that on this side of the road. so with a full and grateful heart, in peace and almost sanctuary, i photographed the lovely ~ bethany!

 ~ i hope you enjoy my view ~