While I was out {My Life}

About a month ago I decided I needed to take a bit of a break from doing any new sessions to catch up on some processing that needed to happen, take care of some other things I had going on at my other jobs, focus on school work, and enjoy a bit of summer fun.  That month seemed to have flown by and crawled all at once. I didn’t achieve the catching up on school-work goal, and there are still some shoots that I’m finishing up, but it was a very productive break in that I got to spend some extra time with the people in my life who make everything worthwhile. 🙂 So before getting back into the swing of shooting this week I thought I’d give you all a glimpse into my month.

Spent a lovely Birthday weekend on the St. Croix River.

Numerous visits to the Farmer’s Markets in St. Paul and Minneapolis

Celebrated my amazing mother turning 50!

Visited with family.

Watched a theater camp final performance, celebrated birthdays and got to spend lots of time with these crazy kids and their wonderful parents.

Spent Monday evenings loving on some neighborhood kids.

Spent time laughing and catching up with lots of friends from all over.  Visited new wineries and restaurants and got to see this cutie and her parents!

Completed my first 5k (walked…here’s hoping for a completed my first 5k ran post this fall).

Now. Back to it!


Every so often I have a session that reminds me why I do this, why I choose to fill my time being a witness to others’ lives, to view their laughs, smiles and precious moments from behind my lens.  It’s because there’s something so humbling about being invited in, even just for an hour or less at a time, to be witness to these lives, to be trusted with the documenting of it, and to be humbled by the story being told.

This year I’ve witnessed the love of families as they celebrate another year of growth, the excitement and anxiety surrounding senior year, the first few hours of life and the love between husbands and wives as they commit to each other.  Each session has its own story, each family has its own soundtrack, and each time I am honored to be the one to share it with the world.  But sometimes, in the chaos of my own story, in the busyness of my own life I can forget to focus on that, I get lost in the schedules and deadlines. It’s in those times that God usually gifts me with a story I can’t look over, with a session that impacts my being, that snaps me out of my routine and throws me straight into His story.

Today was one of those times.  Today I got to be witness to a different story than I ever have been before.  Most of what I capture are the joys in life, the milestones, the yearly witness to continued life together, and the beginnings of stories.  Today was different, today was celebration of a life lived together and acceptance of the path ahead.  I’m not going to share the details of this story, it is their story to share, but I am so very humbled to have been witness to it.  To be able to see the love shared between two people, not in loud vibrant ways, but in small looks, and reassuring hugs.  To be able to see the faith in a God that promises so much more than just this life.  To be witness to all this, in a few moments of time, under the last of the fall leaves, and the quiet, warmness of an empty chapel, is a blessing that I could not have imagined.


So to those who trust me to be a witness to your lives, to your joys, your loves, your celebrations and your stories, to you I am thankful.


“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” ~ Albert Einstein

Pause. Take a moment and experience what is happening around you. Do we even know how to do this any longer? In a world of go, go, go, of instant communication and limited privacy do we ever just stop to experience the moment we are in?  I had a conversation tonight with a friend while at a local festival about this.   Throughout the day we had walked around and watched dancers and drummers, enjoyed traditional Japanese food and marveled at the Yukata and other clothing people were wearing. Everywhere I turned there was something photo-worthy, I spent the majority of the afternoon with my camera in hand. We ended the evening by staking out a piece of lawn near the frog pond to watch the lanterns being lit.  The lawn around the pond was full of families and friend laid out on their blankets and along the benches.  And in every group there was at least one person with a camera out, and in at least every six groups there was one person with a DSLR.  As the lanterns were lit the shutter clicks took off, people everywhere were snapping photos left and right, elbowing their way around for the right angle.  Bethany commented that this would be different if people still had film cameras. She estimated that half those people wouldn’t be taking photos. She’s right. In the digital world we don’t have to worry about high processing and film costs, we just click and upload to the computer and maybe to facebook.  Do the majority of these photos we have to take even make it off the computer any longer? It made me think.

As photographers, as a culture of digital cameras and camera phones, when do you stop shooting and just take time to appreciate that which is around you?  When do you pause, put down the camera and experience life?  Tonight there were beautiful lanterns being lit and floated along in the pond. Wonderfully soothing music being played and the temperature was near perfection. It would have been a gorgeously peaceful moment, except that only about 1/16th of the people there were actually in the moment, the rest were trying desperately to capture the moment on camera.   But what good is a moment captured if you don’t actually experience it?  I’m as guilty as the next photographer, I can’t remember the last time I went out without my camera.  Don’t get me wrong, I wholly believe that beautiful moments, that life, should be remembered and experienced again through photos. But I’m challenging myself to start taking time to experience the moments, to pause from time to time and put the camera down. To see the world without the boundaries of my viewfinder.