Posted in authentic, Day in the Life, honest stuff

The worm is not a pet and no, he can’t come inside

The rain clouds had turned the sky dark an hour and a half ago and a shower rushed through and dampened the ground. Still, we soldiered on and decided to plant some seeds in our garden space.

Miss G wasn’t interested in planting, but she did enjoy digging. 

I can still hear the little gasp she made when I found the first worm. She’s already fascinated with ants and roly polies and any insects that makes its way across the sidewalk.

The other day Miss G looked at me and said she saw a roly polie but now he was gone.

“Oh no,” I said. “Where is he?”

Her expression became very serious, but not sad, and in a strict, matter of fact tone she said “he’s dead.”

I said, “dead? Are you sure? Sometimes they just flip over on their backs and can’t get up again.”

“No,” she said, a little firmer this time. “He’s dead.”

My heart ached a little that already at 2 she understands that a bug not moving means he is indeed dead.

But on this day she had a new fascination. Worms.

I started it, I guess. 

“Oh! Look at this worm! He’s huge!” I said that day.

And so we looked at him. And then we put him on her wooden spoon I’d let her use for digging. 

“I want to keep him,” she told me, holding the spoon with the worm on it. “I want to take him inside with me.”

“No. Honey, he would be happier out here in the dirt. The dirt is his home.”

“No. He come inside with me. In the house.”

“Honey, you can’t bring a worm in the house. He needs to stay outside with his family. We have pets. Smokey and Pixel are our pets.”

Smokey and Pixel are our cats. 

I shouldn’t have mentioned the word “pet.”

“He can be my pet.”

“Honey, I’m afraid Pixel will eat him.”

She was indignant and saw right through my attempt.

“Pixel won’t eat him! He huge!”

I tried again.

“But she might think he’s a toy.”

She kept looking at the worm and said, “He not a toy! He a worm!”

In the middle of the conversation “he” becomes a “she” and now she’s mama worm.

“Mama worm happy here.”

“Honey, I don’t think she’s happy on a wooden spoon.”

She places the worm on her plastic slide.

“She happy on the slide. See?”

I point out the worm is crawling off the slide.

“She needs to be in the dirt with her family.”

“She happy on the slide.”

She thoughtfully pauses while laying the worm on the edge of the plastic slide. 

“I worry about her.” She said, her head hanging down a little and her lower lip pushing out.

“I know but she is used to living in the dirt. That’s her home. She can take care of herself there.”

She watched her and moved her a bit. She let out a heavy sigh.

“Bye mama worm.”

“Are you going to leave her here? Maybe we should put her back in the garden?”

She carried her back to the garden, set her in a hole and covered her with dirt.

She looked at the dirt a few seconds “bye, mama worm.”

She walked away, head hanging down. She ran to me and hugged my legs. 

“I hope mama worm okay,” she said.

“She’ll be okay. Do you want a popsicle?I think I have grape.”

“Pospicle! Yeah!”

Inside with her popsicle she says again “I hope mama worm okay.”

She is, honey, but she’s lucky to have someone who cares for her as much as I care for you. 

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Posted in honest stuff, keeping it real

Finding your voice

Finally finding your photography voice is both blissful and terrifying. 

There was a time I didn’t see the value in the shadows. Shadows were a nuisance and darkened what I really wanted to see. I moved all around and repositioned the pieces until everything was in the light and under my control again, just where I liked it. When I could control I felt safe, secure and free. This is true in life and in my photography.

What I failed to see for so many years was how the shadows made the light even more interesting. By jumping into the shadow and back into the light I began to appreciate the light instead of take it for granted. The shadows became a way to compliment the light and created a depth.

I found myself more willing to let go of some control and instead of making the light do what I wanted I let it be and worked with it.

What freedom there is in letting go and letting the light be light and the dark be dark and recognizing the beauty in how the two dance around and through each other – the perfect dance partners.

Posted in 10 on 10

10 on 10 August

I recently took a social media break and have been thinking a lot about why I photograph in the first place. While thinking about that, I also started thinking about some of my favorite photos and why I took them. I photograph to document my family’s life more than to impress anyone so I thought for this month’s 10 on 10 I’d feature ten of my favorite photographs from this summer and share a little bit about why they are my favorites.

This is part of The Bloom Forum’s 10 on 10 blog circle so after you visit my post catch the link at the bottom for the  next photographer on the list.

I love how free my son is in this moment. He truly was that joyous about running through the sprinkler during a heat wave that hit our area. I love the way the water fans out around him as if it is celebrating too. 

This was a particular hot day and my husband and I were stressed about many different things but we didn’t let our stress stop us from driving an hour north to Ithaca NY for a small Shakespeare festival and to see the lake. This photo includes my three favorite people, my husband, son, and daughter.
 

I have an entire series of the kids playing together at the creek on this day but I love this image of my son throwing a rock in the creek with his sister looking on. Do you remember when all your responsibility included was throwing stones in a creek? I wish I had appreciated it more back then!

My son found a way to make running through the sprinkler even more fun..making mud after the ground is wet and trying to touch mom with it.

I have several of my daughter playing with water but this one of her beaming while she plays with the hose makes me smile because she was genuinely having a blast.

I had to share one of my son at the splash pad at a local lake and swimming pool near us since it has been our favorite place to visit this summer. I love the way the water, which falls from a bucket above, is falling all around him.

I love the expanse of the sky here in contrast with the smallness of the boy against the field. The clouds were dark that day but we never actually got any rain, even though the local farmland really needed it. This property is owned by a neighbor of my parents. 

My daughter was in the kitchen while I was trying to cook and she was wreaking havoc as usual, pulling things out of drawers and putting aluminum foil around her like a towel but then she paused and the sun hit her just right and I started photographing her in the light in one of her rare moments of pausing in her destruction.

I love this photo of my daughter because this summer was when her attitude- I mean personality- really started to show.

I love this one simply because of how relaxed my son was on a very relaxed summer day.

Continue the blog circle at Lenkaland. 

Posted in authentic, honest stuff, personal reflections, raw, thoughts on photography

Children should be photographed as if they are children not adults

I have been watching a trend in photography in recent years of photographers purposely dressing and posing children as if they are adults. It’s not a trend I am a fan of because I feel like our society is rushing children out of their childhood.

Dressing children in stylish clothes, posing them in a field and telling them to give their best model face or runway walk does not appeal to me and neither do the resulting photos. It’s not, of course, the stylish clothes that bother me. Stylish clothes are always wonderful. It’s the idea of coaching a child to look older than they are.

I also don’t support making high school senior girls look like women on a street corner of a major city in their senior photos, but that’s another post for another time.

I enjoy showcasing childhood as it is.

When I photograph children I want them to look like children.

Children  have plenty of time to look fierce.  For now they should be able to simply embrace the joy of childhood.

Children do not always have a smile on their face so I’m not saying photos of childhood should only feature smiling children. There is a place for “fierce” looking images, but I’m not a fan of coaching a child to look this way.

I find myself drawn to the beauty of childhood in all it’s forms: the smiling and the crying moments. My goal is to capture the now of a childhood not the rush of childhood into adulthood.

I know I run the risk of sounding like an old fart here, but to me we push our children to grow up too fast. 

Let them be little. 

Let them be children.

Let them revel in the innocence that is so short lived.

I love photographing children as they are and who they are without asking them to dress a certain way or pose a certain way or be someone they are not. 

Childhood is such a blink of the eye in his journey we call life.

I want them to savor it, not rush it.

Much like we adults need to savor life more instead of rush it. 

Posted in The joy of motherhood, week in focus, Weekly Favorites

The week in focus | Elmira NY Child Photographer

Last week we had a mix of nice and rainy days but Little Miss didn’t care what the weather was because she rain outside to slide on her new slide no matter what the sky was spitting.

It’s a inexpensive slide meant for toddlers but even her brother found a way to have fun with it, by leaping off it and attempting 360 turns in mid-air.

It doesn’t matter the height of the slide, Little Miss, who isn’t even 2 loves them and finds a way to get to the top and slide straight down to the bottom.

We visited a playground last week that had three different size slides. She was in toddler heaven, running back and forth to each one. She has no fear, climbing up a ladder to the top of the one playground set that had even me a little nervous to climb.

If she’s this much of a daredevil at 19 months, I have no ideawhat the age of 2 will hold!

 

Posted in 10 on 10, Motherhood in Action

10 on 10 for March | Athens, PA Photographer

This is part of the 10 on 10 post I do each month with a group of ladies from The Bloom Forum. Find the link to the next blog at the end of the post!

After a couple weeks of bitter cold, spring came this week. My kids and I had such severe cabin fever we spent most of our time outside as soon as my son was off of school. We didn’t do anything very exciting during our outdoor adventures, we simply enjoyed the warmth and sun. We went from colder temperatures on Saturday, where my son and his friend were wearing winter coats on the empty playground, to temperatures in the mid 60s and then 70s for the rest of the week. Shedding our winter coats felt so amazing that even when the sun set in the evening and it was a little cooler we still kept our coats off and sat in the yard, afraid if we went inside Spring would disappear again.

 

I expected my son to want to visit a playground on one of the warmer days but instead he wanted to spend time in our backyard. I soon learned it was because he wanted to be a daredevil by running up a board and jumping over our fence and by finding ways to prop the board up to make it even more dangerous to play on. I remember writing not too long ago about how my children are competing to see who can give me gray hair first and the competition still seems to be on.

 

The board eventually broke and luckily my son wasn’t hurt when he fell. Before the board broke a tall chair my 17-month old had climbed up in fell over with her on it. Most days I seem to be looking from side to side and in front of and behind me to see which child is leaping off which dangerous thing and which one I have to tell to stop before they get hurt and their mother ends up in the ER with stress induced panic attacks. But at least it will be nice out while I have the attack! 

 

 

Continue the circle with Laurie Schultz

 

Posted in Uncategorized

I always want to remember | Sayre PA Child Photographer

I always want to remember these days. The days when you grabbed Four, the old cat at Grandma and Grandpa’s that used to be mine, and tried to carry her around the porch like one of your dolls. We were lucky she didn’t try to scratch you, since she’s an outdoor cat and your used to the ones that live indoors.

I want to remember how you took off for the stairs by yourself and reached up for my hand and then walked down those high concrete steps with only my hand as your support. At 16 months of age and already climbing stairs on your own, not crawling but actually doing your best to walk up them on your own.

Posted in personal reflections, Storytelling Photography

Why documentary photography? | Athens, Pennsylvania photographer

Sometimes I want to give up on photography that speaks to my heart so I can make a quick buck with some quick poses but then I remember why I love lifestyle, or what I also call storytelling, photography.

It’s real.

It’s emotive.

It tells stories.

It’s memories frozen in time, not poses.

One of my favorite, newly found photographers is Lisa Tichane and she spoke at Click Away, a photographers’ conference, this Fall about why she incorporates movement in her family photography.

If I look at this image, (posed portrait photo) what does it tell me other than look how sweetly they were posing for the photographer? . . . this isn’t real. They are playing a role. As a photographer what story am I telling here except the photographer was there? . . As a family photographer this is not what I want to provide my clients. I want to create memories for them. Memories that wll remind them who they really are in 2015, not the fact that I was there.

She’s right. I have frames full of photos a family member used to give us every year for Christmas. It was the only gift she ever gave and it was her children looking uncomfortable and unnatural in posed portraits. I don’t want this to sound like a complaint, because the images were a kind gesture and we appreciated them each year. However, even though the lighting was lovely the only thing those photos tell me about her children is they know how to follow directions and be forced to smile.
I couldn’t tell from those photos that the youngest was full of crazy fun or the second oldest loved all things sparkly and shiny or that the oldest was a sports fanatic.
Eventually these portraits made me uncomfortable, partially because the family members no longer spoke to us and partially because the expression of the one girl was so full of discomfort I felt bad she’d been forced to pose.
I put those images in a closet and filled my walls with images of my children being children. There is one of my son standing in my parents driveway, wearing my dad’s fishing hat and another of him standing in a pool of light in a local creek.  
There are others of him smiling at the camera,but none of them were forced and I didn’t ask for the smile.

The photos on my wall tell a story for me of a boy who likes to explore the fields at his grandparents’ house. They tell a story of a family who isn’t always perfect, but is loved, is trying, is striving to be better.

I have images of smiling faces, but almost none of them were obtained by asking for them, they came naturally, they were gifts, given to me in naturally happy moments.

Most importantly, the images I treasure most tell a story and that story is what I want to remember as the years pass.

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
— Karl Lagerfeld