Documenting events is something that I enjoy. Being able to tell a story in images and allowing the participants to go back to those days they spent there.
I was invited the incredible opportunity to capture the Women in Film Documentary Camp at Silver Falls Park. I got to meet some people doing some amazing story telling along with other film professionals that were there to teach others how to build what they need to succeed.
Lots of workshops, screenings of documentaries currently in the works, and industry camaraderie meant to build each other up instead of dragging each other down.
I want to personally thank Amanda, the President of Women in Film for allowing me to come and capture what you do. I learned some great aspects of storytelling and picked up a few pieces of video gear to start building my stories. I’ll never be able to tell a story as they can, but I can at least try, right?
It started with an email way back in 2015. Adele was looking for a photographer in SW Washington and somehow stumbled across my website back then.
She and her fiancé Jared live in Indiana and were having a wedding there, and then flying over to the west coast to have a wedding with Jared’s family in Longview. An excellent, low-key, fun event here in the PNW? I’ll take it!
It was the first real clear, hot sunny day, so I packed along my appropriate lighting gear that lets me fight the sun when it’s too bright outside.
I met Jared out while he was wondering around Tony’s property and he gave me the quick tour. Since they already had their big party, they were having a small, casual ceremony and then dinner, dancing, and drinks afterward.
Their ceremony was in the wide open sun, and they stood beneath a handmade arbor while saying their vows and planting a tree together.
For portraits, we meandered through the property trying to find as even as light as possible. The wooden fence along the perimeter had some great shade trees dotted along it what worked perfectly for little hangout spots out of the bright light and hot heat.
The property had this beautiful barn with an elegant loft that would hold the entire family. Below, there was a covered patio where a sweet song was played by Tony and his guitar for their second first dance together.
It was a perfect gathering for celebrating these two!
I wish them all the best and to SSDGM!
I keep seeing this topic appear on blogs, workshops, and of course, hearing out of my friend’s mouths. So I thought that I would respond here because no, I don’t exist, I should, but I don’t.
Let me tell you about how I got started in photography, it starts off kind of off track of this subject, but it loops around and will make sense once we get to where I am today. So stay with me!
You see, I didn’t just pick up a new DSLR and decide “Hey, look! I’m a professional photographer now!” I got my first camera as a gift from my husband about a year after I had my daughter. He purchased me a Nikon D80 because he figured that would be the less expensive route than me continually taking our daughter to one of those mall stores every few weeks. Back then, I wasn’t into the art; I just wanted super cute images of our daughter to remember.
About a year later my parents called us up to their house for dinner. We found out that my Dad had been diagnosed with cancer. It was in his colon and that as of that time, it looks like they may be able to address the situation. About 6-8 months later, we learned that it had spread and had become terminal.
Here is where the existing in pictures hits. This is where my camera never left my side. This is where I fell in love with the art of imagery as I captured as many images as I could of my family together.
I caught so many pictures of my dad and my daughter hanging out, playing, and of course napping, I am so happy that I was able to have my camera there to help me get those cherished images.
But I noticed something just recently. You know how many of those images have me in them? None. I was so wrapped up in capturing everyone else, that I never even thought about putting myself in there. I am thankful for family members grabbing some shots with their phones that I can see, but I think a lot of us get so wrapped up in what is happening around us, that we forget that there are moments that need to be frozen with us in them.
That is where us photographers come in. Put down your cameras and your phones and join in on those moments. Bring in one of the amazing photographers around you and let them capture those times for you, and let them make sure that those snippets of time are preserved.
So where do I go from here? I go from constantly being behind the camera, to taking a deep breath, forgetting all those subconscious things that are floating around in the back of my head to making sure that my daughter will have those images to look back on us having a wondrous time as a family. I go from worrying about being bullied again for not being the “perfect” looking female, to look at us and look how awesome we are.
I am going to start existing in pictures. And you know what? You should too.
Sean proposed to Mariessa near the redwood deck at the Hoyt Arboretum, so what better place for their engagement session. They also brought along their beautiful 1-year-old Irish Wolfhound.
We looped around the park stopping in the trees, fields of flowers, and on the redwood deck itself. The weather was perfect, and the sun gave us some perfect light peeks through the trees to give them the enchanted field. After they had mentioned their love of all things nerdy, I knew that we were the perfect match for each other. Hiding in trees while talking D&D, her sadness when she realized she left her stuffed Pikachu in the car, and discussing of Tolkien.
Their wedding is up near Sunset Falls at an eclectic private property in September. I can’t wait to have fun with these two again!
Kelsey and Jaremy found me on social media, and after a delicious round of beers, they picked me as their wedding photographer!
For their engagement session, Kelsey wanted something out of a fairytale, especially since their beach wedding is Disney themed (I’m doing a happy dance in my head as I type that).
One of my photographer friends recently informed me that Round Lake has its camas lilies blooming and I knew we should at least fo check it out. Fields of little purple flowers, green forest, and raging waters, sounds like spring in the northwest!
We were quite a ways from the trailhead when it started to rain. Luckily, they had their lightsaber umbrella to keep them dry and make some cute shots. We continued to hike towards lower falls as the rain starting coming down harder and then turning to hail. We made it to a rock outcropping that made for a perfect water shot and hung out there trying to see if we could wait out the rain. We couldn’t, it kept coming. We were all (mostly) prepared for rain and headed back towards the trailhead. Stopping along the way to the bridge and under the big tree, we got pretty soaked but had a great time.
Hopefully, their July wedding in Lincoln City will be slightly more dry and sunny! Can’t wait till then!
Congratulations to Ashley and Nick on their super fun wedding at McMenamin’s Edgefield!
The spring day was a typical Northwest. We were lured outside by the sight of sunshine and then had to dash back inside when we felt the first raindrop. Between all of that, Ashley and Nick are amazing. I could tell that one fo my main challenges would be trying to get these two *NOT* to make faces at one another in the pictures. But of course, we captured those as well.
Mcmenamin’s Edgefield is one of those venues that no matter how many times you go, you always find something new. The vegetable garden and lawns were off limits, as the ground was soaked and the bridal party was wearing heels, and who wants to get mud on their dress?
So my amazing assistant Eleanor and I brought them around to the fun spots that weren’t permeated though with the recent rain. Old buildings, ivy, and worn wood are always a great backdrop to highlight how amazing everyone looks.
We did the separate parties before the ceremony as Ashley was wanting Nick to see her during the ceremony. I focused on his reaction as he saw her for the first time. The officiant was one that knew the family and made a wonderfully personal ceremony for them both.
After they were married, we took the entire family out to the orchard and tried as hard as we could to keep them all rounded up. We stole the couple after the families were captured and meandered through the property using the just blooming herb garden and wonderful walkways they have hidden all over the place. Thank goodness the rain held off for a bit and gave us some gorgeous golden light.
We are so happy that we got to capture these two amazing people!
I’ve been thrown off my usual business schedule these last few weeks after some heartbreaking events involving our pets.
Athena, our 9 year old Rat Terrier, was losing a lot of weight and becoming lethargic. For always being a happy, hyper pup, we knew something was instantly wrong. I took her to the vet who quickly diagnosed her with worms and ran some blood tests. Having 10 acres full of small critters for her to hunt, the worms weren’t a surprise, but the results from the blood test were.
We got Athena 6 months before the birth of our daughter. Wanting a friend for our other dog and knowing that a bond between a pup and a child is amazing, we knew it was the right thing. Little did we know that the Rat Terrier we adopted was full of energy, rebellion, and so much personality. Athena grew up side by side with my daughter. Going on adventures, playing catch me if you can, and dressing up as princesses and going to a tea party. Her moments of stubbornness were worth all the others.
I got the call at work, it was kidney failure. There were treatments, but there really wasn’t a cure for it.
Two days after the appointment, I let our 3 pups outside in the morning to do their morning romp. About an hour later, only 2 came back, Chewbacca and Athena. Odin, the 13 year old chihuahua was no where to be found. We scoured our acreage, drove up and down the country roads, talked with all the neighbors. Nothing. This was very much unlike him.
Days go by and I put up fliers, posted in social media groups, file with the shelters, and post on Craigslist. It’s been 3 weeks now and we haven’t heard a thing.
My husband and I bought a house when we were engaged and I BEGGED him for our own pup. Both of us grew up always having a family dog. He told me no dog until I married him. 2 weeks after we got back from our honeymoon, he brought me to pick up a pup he had picked out. An adorable little black chihuahua. Growing up I always had shorthair pointers or labs, never a small lap dog. I was hesitant, but he insisted that our small backyard would be unfair for a bigger dog.
With my love of Norse mythology, I dubbed him Odin. We were inseparable. He slept snuggled up with me every night, when I sat down, he was in my lap, he was basically my shadow.
About a year ago, he went outside at night and came back in with a giant gash on his side. He wouldn’t hold still for my husband. He ran straight up the stairs, found me, and instantly went into shock. Just taking meds, I was unable to drive. My husband grabbed him and rushed him to the ER vet. He had been attacked by a coyote.
The vet was trying to convince my husband that he would be paralyzed and not make it through the night. He called me with the news. Knowing that he had ran up the stairs to me, I knew his spine was not damaged and begged him to let him stay overnight and see if he can recover. I went down the next day and he was constantly trying to stand in the vet kennel while full of tubes and IV’s. He had not only made it, but he wanted nothing but snuggles with me. After holding him for about 10 minutes, the vet came in and told me that if i could get him to eat, he could go home.
20 minutes later we were in the car and heading home.
Knowing that the coyotes were becoming a problem, I started searching the Humane Society to see if there were some larger dogs so that we could form our own pack. Low and behold I see a pup that I know!
The past summer, a random dog had shown up on our property and invited himself inside. We came down in the morning to see him curled up on the couch just dozing away! We had doggy doors open to the outside so that our pups could come and go as they needed, and the neighbor dog figured them out. We walked our road to find that he belonged to a large family that was away on vacation and “Cruiser” was on a rope and had escaped. So he became part of our family for a few days until his family returned.
Later that fall, he was taken in by another neighbor who wanted a buddy for his other dog. That neighbor ended up having to move to an apartment and could only take one dog, so he turned Cruiser into the shelter. I think it was fate that day that drove me to find him. My husband went to the shelter on his lunch break, told the Humane Society his story, and came home with a new friend that night. My cousins daughter and my daughter had named him Chewbacca when we came for the sleepover, so his named was changed.
The 3 amigos ran the property together every morning, snuggled in a giant pile to sleep, and tried to steal as many treats from each other that they could.
One week after Athena’s diagnosis, we woke up to her not being able to stand and having a seizure. We were in tears but knew what we had to do the next morning. The husband and I met at the clinic, made sure she was comfortable, and let her go. I think she knew, once we got into the clinic she seemed to give a giant sigh of relief.
That day we picked my daughter up and all went home to support and comfort each other. After lunch, my husband told me to load up Chewbacca, the remaining pup, and head towards the Humane Society. After losing 2 of his best buddies, he was starting to act lonely and not be himself. We were all ready to bring another goofball into the family.
I think that trip helped my daughter and I a bit. We got to meet amazing pups that are so deserving of a home. We didn’t find the perfect one that day, but it wouldn’t be long.
That Friday I spied a pup on their website that I couldn’t scroll past. His name was Zachary, he was 2 1/2, a cattle dog mix, and was transferred from a shelter in California.
I took Chewbacca down to the shelter and met him. He came into the room without hesitation. Greeted the worker and I and just sat at my feet. I knew it was him.
He and Chewbacca had a tense first few minutes, but were quickly exploring the outside meeting yard.
Another meet and greet with our daughter, and we loaded him into the car. He found my heated seats, curled up, and was instantly as ease and fell asleep. There is currently a 60 pound mutt, belly up on my lap snoring away.
Our pets truly become part of our family, losing them is so hard on everyone. I wanted to give back to an organization that has helped us through this and has given us 2 amazing dogs. With Easter around the corner, and idea popped in my head. I only had 1 upcoming weekend open and it was only 5 days away.
Taking Chewbacca down to my studio, I tested it out, posted it online and it was a hit!
5 days later some amazing people brought their pups down to the studio, donated some money, and received some fun images! Nothing like trying to keep bunny ears on pups, especially when their other dog friends are trying to take said ears off of them!
I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for making this a fun and successful event. I will be heading to the Humane Society this weekend and dropping of a check to hopefully help some more amazing pups find their forever home.
Continuing on our trip along the coast, we head south again along the 101.
First stop? Thor’s well and Spouting horn. During high tide, these two sites are amazing (and dangerous) but our timing wasn’t the best. We had a date with an animal park in Bandon, so we stopped and checked it out at low tide. While it’s still really cool to see, we played along the rocks finding lots of different little tide pools.
We got back in the car and headed towards The West Coast Game Park Safari.
I grew up in southern California and moved to the PNW when I was 8. We were the first in our family to move north, so we would take road trips almost every summer to go and visit. Each time, my dad tried to find a different way with new things for us to check out. One of my favorite routes included this animal park.
From the outside you just see a small building and the entire place surrounded in wood fencing. The minute you walk in you are surrounded by free roaming goats, peacocks, llamas and donkeys. We got a few ice cream cones full of animal feed and headed in. My daughter is a huge animal lover, so she was in complete heaven.
In the enclosures they have foxes, black bears, cougars, tigers, panthers, and a herd of antelope. They have 3 different show areas where they rotate different animals for you to pet and interact with.
We had the pleasure of petting foxes, bears, lynx, caracals, and a baby tiger. It was just as amazing as I remembered when I went there as a kid. It was definitely hard to get my daughter out and to the next camping spot.
This time the KOA was awesome! Large sites, lots of playgrounds, showers, and a little general store where we could stock back up on essentials. We made camp and celebrated our first full day on vacation with amores and Jameson.
I haven’t shared some of our adventures in awhile, so I thought I would share some of the longer road trips and longer adventures that we’ve enjoyed as a family.
My bucket list consists of visiting all the National Parks. I have been to quite a few, but my family hasn’t, so we starting planning our family vacations around them. My husband’s passion is all things beer, making it and of course drinking it. So when we were planning our road trip down to Yosemite in 2015, I mapped out the trip to cover parks AND beer! And of course, we have our minion, she was 7 on this trip, so all things that we could find for her to enjoy are included as well. One of the other things I think on everyone’s mind is budget. Sure, you could probably find a cheap hotel in all of the locations we went to, but we decided that since we have the gear and love to camp, that we would find and stay in a KOA as much as we could.
We left on a Friday after work, so we kept our first destination just a few hours outside of Portland, OR. For dinner, drinks and sunset it was Pacific City, OR. A gorgeous little beach town and the home of Pelican Brewing.
When at the coast it’s fish and chips for all! He went for the taster, of course, and I am a HUGE fan of their award winning Kiwanda Cream Ale, so I just had the one since someone has to drive us to our first KOA.
We spent some time on the beach and watched the sun set behind Haystack rock. (Yes, there are two rocks named Haystack on the Oregon Coast).
After dark, we got back into the car and headed to our first camping spot, KOA at Devil’s Lake in Lincoln City. Of course we got there at dark and had to use our headlights to setup the tent. Luckily we have an awesome setup from Kelty. It’s light enough to backpack and big enough to sleep us three comfortably. You can check it out here if you’re looking for a great, light, easy setup, and comfortable tent.
The daughter and I went straight to bed while the husband stayed up and told campfire stories with our neighbor.
When we woke up I got to check out the full accommodations. This would be my first time staying at a KOA, so I wanted to see what they were all about. We were crammed into small sites with a picnic table, a fire pit, and a small stream behind us. There were spots for RV’s and some cabins, but my first impression, not impressed. However, we were there for less than 12 hours and spent less than $30 for the spot.
We cooked some breakfast (yay cast iron dutch ovens) and headed south on 101. Next up was Thor’s well, West Coast Game Park Safari, and camping at the Bandon/Port Orford KOA.