Thursday, February 24, 2011

Scenes from Polk County

 I love February in Oregon. It is so full of the promise of spring and yet reminders that it is still winter. These  are scenes all within 12 miles of home taken on a recent sunny afternoon.

 Beauty can be found at Beckenridge Winery, even in the winter.

 I loved the play of sun and shadow on the hills around Basket Slough.

 Filbert orchards are most beautiful without leaves, I have decided.

Here is another one of Basket Slough.

 The Falls at Falls City are powerful and thundering with the winter rains pouring over them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Day Full of Possibilities

It is not entirely true that I have spent every waking moment since the new year began strapped to a desk chair staring at a computer just feels that way.

January and February is a time for expanding knowledge which may mean going through an online tutorial or participating in a webinar or exploring that new software that is supposed to make my life easier but right now is making me crazy. It is also a time for housecleaning and since so much of my life lives on the computer, a lot of that housecleaning involves cleaning up, backing up, and reorganizing computer files. Ugh. I have also been putting the finishing touches on a new website that may actually go live by the 1st of March. That is very cool but it is all computer time.

Even the portrait sessions that I have done over the last two months have been brief respites from "virtual reality." For every hour that I spend behind a camera, I can count on three hours sitting at the computer.

Whine, whine, whine.

This morning I walked into my sun washed kitchen full of joy for the new day. It felt like a day full of possibilities and the computer could be put on the back burner. The problem with sun skipping across my kitchen floor is that I could see every bread crumb and fur ball (it is shedding season again.) Major cleaning was the first order of the day. I don't know about you but a clean kitchen really floats my boat!

By 11:00 am I was grabbing my camera, hopping in the car and heading out to photograph some scenic spots in Polk County. There was a beautiful sky today. The clouds came and went highlighting a group of trees here and there, beautiful in their skeletal form. I went to my favorite waterfall. It is a raging torrent, powerful and awesome at this time of year and played with different shutter speeds. The red of a rotting branch, half covered in ivy still with rain drops glistening caught my eye. Then there were the geese sweeping up  en mass and settling down again by the water of Basket Slough.

It was a fine day. I only have one image to show you right now. It will have to be a teaser. You see, processing images involves sitting at a computer and today I have more important things to do.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2011 Children's Portrait Contest by Haugen's

It's back! The Children's Contest has been an annual event at Haugen's since 1979. (Can you believe that! That would make this contest number 33!) Many of the early contestants have children of their own, now.

The entry fee for the contest is $35 and goes in it's entirety to benefit children in the Mid-Willamette Valley. We support Operation Backpack sponsored by the Willamette Valley Auxilliary of the Assistance League which purchases school supplies for needy school children. You will receive a complimentary 5x7 portrait with your entry.

How does the contest work?
1. Schedule your portrait session before March 31 by calling the studio - (503)838-5416 or email us today .

2. Schedule a consultation. If you have not been in to the studio before, we find it really helpful to meet with you to plan the session to make sure that your images are truely memorable. We will talk about clothing, backgrounds and possible props.

3. Arrive at the studio a few minutes early for your session with clothing (and props?) in hand. Don't stress. You will have time to dress your children (or undress them) and fuss with their hair. Let us worry about everything else! Get directions from Corvallis or Salem.

4. Schedule a selection appointment for a week after the session. This is very important. Without this appointment, you will not be eligible for the contest. This is when you will select an image to be entered in the contest and any images you want to purchase for yourself.

5. Voting. After you have decided on your entry, we will post the image online. We will send you an email with the link and then it is time to VOTE, VOTE, VOTE! The public will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite images by making donations to Operation Backpack. You will also have an envelope so that you can solicit donations and pass that link on to all your friends, of course. The portrait that raises the most will win the contest and a 24" Wall Portrait valued at over $700! Second prize is an 11x14 portrait valued at over $300. It is all good fun and stuffing the ballot box is encouraged. :-) Voting will end on April 10th, with the winner announced at the end of April.

FAQ's about the Children's Contest:
Can I have all of my children in one portrait? Absolutely. This is not an individual beauty contest (all children are beautiful, aren't they?) so the more the merrier. We can even include parents, grandparents or cousins. Our goal is to create images that are artful and emotionally meaningful.
Is there any advantage to having the portrait session done early in the month? Yes, the first people photographed will have more time to collect votes.

What if my child doesn't smile? Many times, the most interesting and compelling images do not have a smile. The face may not even show. The tilt of a head or the tiny toes turned inward may be all that is needed to make a connection with the viewer. Be open to the possibilities.

What if I need to reschedule? We ask for a minimum of three days notice for rescheduling sessions or selection appointments so that time can be made available to other people. If your child wakes up sick on the day of the session, of course, we will allow you to reschedule. Your selection appointment must take place within two weeks of the portrait session in order to be eligible for the contest and the special contest pricing is only available at that time.

I have no idea what props to bring. Are they important? No. Often simple pictures are best and we do have props here at the studio. Think about emotional symbols that you might include in the portrait that will make the images more meaningful like items that help tell a story, or things that have been passed down in the family.

I don't want my child's photograph on the internet. Is that required? No. You can still participate by having your child's photograph made and making the donation to Operation Backpack. We will not be posting names or any other personal information.

Check out this video from past Children's Contests!

If you have any questions, please call us at (503)838-5416 or email us!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Baby Soft Skin and Wall Portraits

Warm and soft as velvet with that smell of baby powder and mother's milk, everyone who has ever held a baby in their arms has experienced the amazing feel and smell of babies' skin. I love it and I know that the images I create are powerful reminders of these memories.

Sarah is a new mother, but not just any new mother, she grew up in a home with a canvas portrait on the wall that we did of her as a babe in her mother's arms. She knew what it had meant to her to see the connection and loving relationship with her mother in a beautiful piece of art on the wall. She wanted a portrait just like it on her wall for her son to see and experience every day as he grows.

This is why I believe so strongly that wall portraits are the most important way to treasure the important images in your life. There is nothing that warms a home and expresses what is truly important to the people that inhabit it than large portraits of their family on the walls. Of course, the portraits have to be well done: beautifully lit, composed and finished with professional care. But when they are well done, you have a timeless work of art hanging in your home made deeply meaningful by the fact that they portray the bond and love in your most cherished relationships.

My home is filled with wall portraits and I am thrilled that Sarah's home will be now and that every time she sees this portrait on her wall she will be transported back to the time when she could hold Sebastian in her arms and feel the softness of his skin.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Salem Oregon Children's Portraits

The south Salem Walmart is closing out its fabric department. Sad, but true. The great thing is that all the fabrics have been on sale for insanely low prices and Autumn was johnny on the spot (gotta love that girl!) She called to tell me that they had this really cute fabric and even took a picture of it and emailed it to me. Ten minutes later, she was buying it and it became the inspiration for our valentine background. Isn't it great?

Peyton is the little girl holding the heart. She definitely has a mind of her own (can't you tell?) Thankfully, she likes being in front of the camera almost as much as I like having her in front of mine!

I have been photographing these guys since they were babies. Patrick is getting ready for first communion and is so proud of his new suit and the gold tie that he picked out himself. Anna used to cling to her mama and scream. Now look at her turning into a young lady!

I love the days when my studio is filled with children. It fills my heart with joy. I guess that is why I keep coming up with more excuses for parents to bring in their children. I am so looking forward to the Children's Contest and the Easter Petting Zoo!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More New Things

Waiting.......... I feel like this bowl is waiting for something....... small. A baby, perhaps?

I saw this bowl and pitcher sitting on a table at a charity auction Saturday night and at that moment, I knew it was waiting for me to take it home. Now it is waiting for the perfect little person to inhabit it.

"A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for." unknown


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Baby and Birthday Cake meet Photographer

What better way to celebrate baby's first birthday than with cake and frosting smeared everywhere? Addie came in to the studio the day after her birthday for cake number two (The first one was at the family party the night before.) and we had a rip roaring time!

I have a terrible sweet tooth so it was all I could do not to dive face first into the cake right along side Addie. But, alas,  the mature and sensible voice inside my head won out. After all, how could I pick up my camera if I had frosting all over my hands?

We plan to have a birthday cake session be a regular feature of the Year in the Life plan so I see lots of butter cream frosting in my future!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Year in the Life of... Addie!

"Do you have a minute?" I was sitting at my computer multitasking with too many screens open at once when Autumn came out of her office and wanted to chat.

"Sure, what's up?"

Autumn is my right hand woman at the studio. We used to have a job title for her but her job keeps morphing and for the time being, I have given up on trying to describe what she does in a nice, succinct little title. I keep throwing jobs at her and she never says, "no." I try to tell her that never saying "no" is dangerous and she needs to let me know when enough is too much. We are still working on that one!

"I am pregnant." Autumn said hesitantly.

Holy Moly!

Fast forward a few months and I was doing newborn photos of little Addie. Now, I am getting ready for her one year session, complete with birthday cake! How did this all happen so fast? That is one of life's eternal questions.

It has been incredible to bounce Addie on my knee, watch her smile and laugh, and photograph her through out her first year. I believe that every child is one of God's amazing miracles. Isn't she beautiful?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Creating a New Set for Valentine Portraits

Today is a day for creating something new and fresh. The sun is shining (woohoo!) and I am feeling like running away from the computer that has been occupying way too much of my time. This Saturday we are having a Valentine special and this piece of fabric is the inspiration for the set. Normally, I go for simple backgrounds but it is a new year and this is really fun. We are thinking about using this as wallpaper with a light wood floor and white molding. A red velvet heart should complete the Valentine theme. What do you think?

If you are trying to decide what clothing goes with this background, I am thinking white would be a great choice. There will be an album on Facebook next week so you can see how it turned out!