How beautiful is this mama and her glow, as she celebrates the coming of her third child with her very first maternity session out in some of Ohio’s lesser-known terrain. Since I had each background scene pre-mapped, we were able to very safely (and very quickly) walk just a few steps away from our cars at each spot to get these incredible views. Sidenote: I have been shown even more hidden gems since this session ;)
Everyone appreciates a portrait of themselves that makes them stop and think, “wow, I really like this picture of me!” When it comes to teenagers, this is especially true. In today’s age of selfies, millions of pictures across the web on the daily, of course magazines, YouTube channels and more… there is an endless stream of stuff that is influencing our kids and the way they feel about themselves. What I love about making portraits of teenagers is the way you see them light up when you tell them, “you are absolutely stunning,” and give them an experience that makes them feel stunning along the way.
That’s what beauty is all about - the way you feel.
When we did this session together, I saw so much light, happiness, and confidence coming through M’s eyes and body language. We had so much fun picking just the right pieces and parts to create these looks, but I think the best part of this process was watching M step deeper (and more comfortably) into her unique beauty with every snap of the shutter.
Getting comfortable in front of the camera can be a challenge… even as a photographer, I avoid the lens with everything I’ve got :p — then again, I just prefer to be behind it. And what a treat it was to be behind it on this day! We made a necklace out of Marigolds from my garden and used a vintage painting as a backdrop to create these head shots <3
When the Lemon Basil started to come up this year, I realized I had so much more than I would ever need for one season, even if I dried it all. But a wonderful thing happened towards the late part of summer. When the herbs started to flower, they attracted so many bees and other insects! It has been really enjoyable to watch. The scent of this herb is incredible - it reminds me of Lemongrass. Very aromatic and wonderful to bring for arrangements that will light up a room, and you can pick the leaves off for cooking or tea. It is delicious! I will definitely grow this again next year. It has been my first time working with this herb so closely.
Yesterday I noticed that a spider had built a home on the remaining blossoms and decided to go photograph her this afternoon. It was the perfect day for that, because I have been reflecting on the concept of Home so much lately. Not only did I capture Ms. Spider and a little corner of her home, but also framed the images so that our home was lit up in the background by the warm afternoon light. I love going out to the herb garden in the late afternoon when all the tiny creatures are settling in and I think these photos really translate that :)
How might you photograph something around the outside of your home in a way that tells a story about it? I invite you to do that, and share your results!
Blessings for your weekend,
This session with K. inspired a different retouching style than I normally create. Her sweet, soft personality deserved to be presented in just that way, so I created a Lightroom preset that is reminiscent of 1970's tones with allover soft contrasts.
When I have narrowed down a session to the best images, I consider the final presentation as a whole, and what tones would best complement the overall feel. With this Ohio portrait session, I admit so many styles complemented the gorgeous light and her darling expressions. But I finally settled on these muted, retro tones to really pull together the bohemian theme her Mother and I styled.
I was able to create the beautiful flower crown by weaving Hydrangeas into a hand-sewn headband. It looked perfect with K's curls in the golden sun! Hope you enjoy these images :)
"Keep close to Nature’s heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." - John Muir
Sometimes I like to create these Nature videos just for fun; the moments can be too beautiful not to share. I turned these clips into a short visual / audio meditation that can be used to start your day. For the days there is little time pause, or if it has been awhile since you were able to get out into nature, you can enjoy three minutes of pure Nature sounds. I am also cracking up at the end-credit in this video that I just realized is completely off-center *sheepish grin*
Hope you enjoy it nonetheless :)
The first time I talked to trees was as a child, although you tend to trust your actions more as a child, contemplate them less.
In my early thirties was the first marked experience as an adult when a tree undoubtedly spoke to me. This is not something you can say to just anyone without them tilting their head sideways and giving you a goofy stare. I had been spending pretty much all of my free time hiking and reconnecting with Nature - more time than most would consider "normal," at least that judgment has been placed on me by more than a few people.
"Are you sure it's healthy to spend all your time that way?"
A woman once said that to me.
For a time, I started to question whether or not that was true. Was I spending too much time alone in the woods? Was it turning me into someone weird and delusional? It wasn't long before I stopped asking myself those silly question and rooted deeper into my way of being that is indeed "normal" for me. (And if these kinds of experiences are delusions, I enjoy them a helluva lot more than things I used to spend my time doing).
On the day an enormous Grandfather Tree spoke to me, I was hiking alone on the edge of the lake in Delaware County, Ohio. The moment I caught the first glimpse of Grandfather Tree, there was a sudden urge to be nearer to him. So I went to him, placed my hands on the bark, looked up in awe and in a flash remembered the tree in my Grandmother's front yard that I used to climb frequently with my younger sister Jessica. Our little kid butts would fit perfectly into these "seats" that were formed where branches joined together, and we would climb from seat to seat, sitting in each one. "This one is mine!" I remembered my sister climbing above me exclaiming playfully, as I gazed in memory from an adult body that hadn't felt that kind of connection to a tree in a long time.
It was as if the tree encouraged me to remember.
The tree's roots twisted up out of the Earth and across the soil in an artful display. I sat on them, held onto one of the roots with my hand, closed my eyes, and did a short meditation. When I opened my eyes I had a bunch of scattered, new information in my awareness. I did not consciously arrive at the ideas, nor had I ever considered them before (which made the sudden presence of alien thoughts in my psyche even more peculiar). That is the only way I know how to describe it.
I took several photos of the Tree before I left and all I could think about for the rest of the day was how I thought the tree communicated new ideas to me. Basically letting me know, telling me straight up, that it was a conscious being. The way it had done it was really subtle. There were no words, just flashes of imagery and feelings, mostly. Those flashes and feelings lead to a great deal of insight, over time, which ended up answering a lot of my existential questions.
I have attempted to share this information with people in a number of ways, but the way that worked best was via the card I created in the Universal Mind Oracle Deck entitled, "Giver, Karma." The tree on the card was the Grandfather Tree from this story :)
HOW TREES COMMUNICATE WITH ONE ANOTHER
Trees communicate with one another, transporting nutrients through intricate underground root systems that become interlinked through fungal threads, or mycelium. These "Mother Trees" are able to recognize their own seedlings and tend to favor them, sending nutrients through the dense mycelium highways to help their youth grow into strong, resilient adult trees. Such communication enriches the forest and its root systems.
It is a gift to experience the consciousness of Trees; we can sense their wisdom, experience, and life-sustaining vibrations.
WHY TALK TO TREES?
It makes sense that Trees would communicate with one another, but why would a human attempt to talk to a tree? There are many reasons - the first being the sheer joy and wonderment of the experience. The next reason I would offer, is to thank them for what they do. Just how much they do for us is not something I considered during my teens and 20's. I like this article about the reasons trees are so important. Talking to the trees helps us tap into, and reconnect with our intuitive language. We may be conditioned to use words most of the time, but there is an entire language that doesn't need words that exists all around us, all of the time. The insight and clarity I have received through the many interactions I've had with trees is awe-inspiring. They have so much wisdom to share about our Earthly, human experiences and can help us remember that humans and animals are not the only conscious beings on the planet. Through that, we begin to respect our surroundings more while at the same time, tuning into ourselves and our true nature. It was not so long ago that speaking to the trees was "normal" and natural.
HOW TO TALK TO TREES
There are many ways to talk with trees and other elements in nature. I will list some of them here, but I encourage you to go out and experiment in your own way. Sometimes they will let you know they are listening, through the rustle of a branch, a gentle isolated breeze, or simply a feeling in the core of your body that feels a bit like butterflies fluttering about.
1. Place your hands on a tree, or its roots, close your eyes, and tune into its energy.
2. Gaze upon the tree and simply observe it. Many times this will bring thoughts, questions, and answers up from the subconscious and into your conscious awareness.
3. Study a tree that you are drawn to and get in touch with its textures, leaves, colors. Get to know the properties of the tree and journal about how it applies to your life at present.
4. Sit with a tree and silently offer gratitude for its presence. As you do that, begin to open up to the tree in the same way you would a trusted friend, then listen from the center of the heart. Don't judge or overthink the experience, just give it a try and see what happens.
If you're still not convinced after reading this article, here are a few others that might strike your fancy.
2. Do Trees Talk to Each Other? Smithsonian Mag
3. Yes, Trees Really Do Talk - Daily Mail
4. In the Language of Trees: How Plants can Teach us to Communicate - Wakeup World
I often get comments about the pastel color tones I use in my photographs. While I don't use the Mextures App for everything, it is one of my favorite image processing tools for mobile photos.
I've been using Mextures since... well, maybe the beginning of its existence! While some of the artistic filters/textures can be harsh or overdone, the more you work with the Mextures App the more you realize it can also be used as a subtle enhancing tool. One of the coolest things about the app is that you can save your filter presets as "formulas", which then generate a formula code that can be shared. This allows artists to exchange filter formulas for free! I've developed my own personal style within Mextures thanks to testing and playing with formulas to find what I like / don't like and over the years have created 69 formulas to date.
I really like to enhance the colors of my nature photos *just enough* to give them a dreamy touch, without feeling overdone. If you love the magic hour like me, you'll love the following Mextures Import Formula I created. It's useful when you can't *quite* get Mother Nature's dawn / dusk colors to translate into a photo.
The code for this Mextures formula is: SQDAKZD
To import the code, simply open Mextures, select 'Manage', click the red ' + ' sign at the bottom of the window, then enter the formula code. Importing and using the code is 100% free.
Once the formula is imported you can easily tweak the levels to suit your tastes.