September 2017: Reflections at Share Six | Fort Collins, Colorado Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

The September blog circle theme at Share Six is REFLECTIONS. I hope you’ll take the time to link around the full blog circle (next link at the bottom), and then submit to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages for a chance to be featured.

Please brace yourself for the shorter version of a very long REFLECTIONS story, touching on my passion for National Parks, and Yellowstone in particular this time. This summer has been a whirlwind for my family – a good whirlwind, but a whirlwind all the same. My husband recently left his job and we launched another company. With that employment change, we found ourselves with a window of time just before school started back to take another trip. About two months ago, we loosely decided to go to Casper, Wyoming to view the total solar eclipse, but once we had the extra vacation time, we decided to go to South Dakota to visit Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Wind Cave, Custer State Park, and more, before driving to totality, somewhere in Nebraska or Wyoming. However, as busy as our summer had been with other trips, and as fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants as we are anyway, when I started looking for campground availability four days before we were to leave, I discovered that nothing was available and we weren’t willing to wing it with first-come, first-serve campsite hopes for 11 days. I looked at the eclipse path and noticed the path of totality was right over our favorite campground in Grand Teton National Park and that we could literally watch it from the campground! We were just there last year, but jumped at the chance to return. We left early on a Saturday morning to try to grab a first-come, first-serve site that day, but went prepared to stay on US forest land until we could snag one, if necessary. Well, by 2:30 in the afternoon, we were sitting pretty in one of the last available – but very best – sites there! They filled up before 3:30 and the days leading up to the eclipse were a huge disappointment to many who arrived later, still hoping to secure a site. We count our blessings that things worked out for us to be there for the eclipse and all the other wonders Mother Nature offers in the area.

A huge piece of my heart belongs to the Tetons for its majestic peaks, wildflowers, days past when I camped in the back country there, and – I won’t lie – the moose! Still, my favorite National Park is so cliche, as it is Yellowstone. I love Bryce, Yosemite, the Tetons, Rocky, Acadia, Great Smoky Mountain, Arches, Canyonlands – I mean, it’s hard to go wrong! But I am a STEM girl (OK, STEAM!) and for the tremendous science, the fantastic geology, the spectacular colors, the Yellowstone Caldera, the wildlife, the fascinating variety of thermal features – Yellowstone wins. Yes, it’s crowded in peak season and I have yet to get there off-peak, but I ache to go in snow – soon! I am always incredibly disappointed by the lack of respect and care demonstrated by many tourists – including those who walk off the boardwalks, breaking the law as they enter the fragile thermal areas, and those who approach wildlife, far too close. Nevertheless, it is a truly magical place, full of so much to learn, observe, and appreciate.

Early in the trip, I got to talking with three lovely tourists from India, and their American tour guide as we watched a bull moose by the river below in the Tetons. I am not sure where the guide was from, but he seemed very attached to the Tetons, and was incredibly dismissive of Yellowstone. In my opinion, the two parks have very different vibes, but they are both phenomenal in their own ways. The guide had already taken the tourists to Yellowstone for one measly day, and he said that’s all you need there. He laughed at me when I said we were going up and asked if I had been before, which I affirmed. He then asked, in a very mocking tone, why I would return. Now, understand, this was not a negative conversation, per se, but my mind was blown by the question of why I would ever return. Even if it wasn’t for my own love of the park, I have small children, which he knew. The opportunities to allow them to grow up, seeing the park regularly, learn from tourists’ mistakes and others’ respect, and – most of all – to learn about the science there – are tremendous. Every time we take them, they learn more about nature, human nature, and our planet. They learn about wildfires, birth, renewal, and respect. So, Sir, wherever you are, I am sitting here, reflecting on the majesty of Yellowstone and your bewildering attitude that Yellowstone is worth no more than a one-day visit in a lifetime. I beg to differ, and offer some literal REFLECTIONS below for a very small peek into why it’s worth so very much more to me and to my family.

 

I sincerely appreciate you dropping by to check out my take on REFLECTIONS. Next in the blog circle is the fabulous It’s Still Life Photography! Please link over and see the post Elizabeth has generated for our theme. For a chance to be featured at Share Six, please submit your REFLECTIONS images to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages (tag #sharesix_reflections) by October 5th.

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August 2017: Collections at Share Six | Fort Collins, Colorado Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

The August blog circle theme at Share Six is COLLECTIONS. I hope you’ll take the time to link around the full blog circle (next link at the bottom), and then submit to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages for a chance to be featured.

I struggled with this theme. The biggest reason was that I simply have way too much on my plate lately, and haven’t had time to plan and shoot for it. I pondered recycling some old images that might pass for the theme, but eventually settled on sharing images from my family’s recent trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We only spent 2.5 days there, along with another 12.5 days in the state, but it was just the second time my kids have been to the ocean, and they were too young the first time to enjoy or remember it. We covered many of the typical tourist sites (Currituck, Bodie Island, and Hatteras Lighthouses; Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum; Wright Brothers Memorial; and a brief stop at the Elizabeth II ship) – and hiked the dunes until we found wild horses in Corolla. Still, the best memories will probably be the simple ones at the beach. I am a lifelong mountain girl, but the beauty, serenity, and joy we shared there on this trip has me re-thinking my status! My take on COLLECTIONS is the collection of MEMORIES we created on this trip and – for the first time ever – I am not sharing  six, but ten. Sorry?! As I write this, I haven’t even viewed all of my trip photos, yet I am packing to leave for another trip, so I decided not to agonize on the culling process. Cheers!

 

I sincerely appreciate you dropping by to check out my take on COLLECTIONS. Next in the blog circle is the wonderfully talented Ceri Herd Photography! Please link over and see the post Ceri has generated for the theme. For a chance to be featured at Share Six, please submit your COLLECTIONS images to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages (tag #sharesix and #sharesix_collections) by Septemeber 5th.

July 2017: Artificial Light at Share Six | Fort Collins, Colorado Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

The July blog circle theme at Share Six is ARTIFICIAL LIGHT. I hope you’ll take the time to link around the full blog circle (next link at the bottom), and then submit to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages for a chance to be featured.

Just one year ago, as an almost-exclusively natural light photographer, I was quite intimidated by studio lighting. For years prior to that, I claimed (and believed) I hated flash photography. Well, I’ve come a long way, baby. Learning to control and position off-camera flash have been wonderful skills to develop, and they have made me a much better and more versatile photographer. I now regularly use off-camera flash in my photography studio, but also outside quite a bit, to supplement or balance natural light.

For this post, I considered blogging Independence Day fireworks, but quickly decided to focus on getting some simple, but nice studio shots of my son. He is eight years old with a silly streak a mile wide and zero attention span when his sister is engaging him, as was the case when I snapped these, all within the few minutes he granted me. I took some similar ones of my daughter a couple of months ago while he was at school, so I am especially glad to finally create a set of him. He seems to be in some in-between stage, but I suppose children always are? I am so very happy to have this record of him, with his mouth full of awkward adult teeth, too-long summer hair, Peanuts bandage, and sillies. When he simply couldn’t keep it together anymore, he sneaked off with his sister and they returned in various ridiculous costumes and fits of laughter. Those made for some good images to ward off high school girlfriends and to share at his wedding, should I feel a bit naughty!

 

 

I sincerely appreciate you dropping by to check out my take on ARTIFICIAL LIGHT. Next in the blog circle is the wonderfully talented KG Ledbetter Photography! Please link over and see the post Kathy  has generated for the theme. For a chance to be featured at Share Six, please submit your ARTIFICIAL LIGHT images to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages (tag #sharesix and #sharesix_artificiallight) by August 5th.

June 2017: Dreamy at Share Six | Fort Collins, Colorado Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

The June blog circle theme at Share Six is DREAMY / DREAMS. I hope you’ll take the time to link around the full blog circle (next link at the bottom), and then submit to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages for a chance to be featured.

Macro photography feeds my soul. I passionately love looking at the world – particularly the natural world – from new and different perspectives. Although it may sound odd to some, macro photography reminds me of my snorkeling experiences, in that it leads me to observe things I simply don’t see everyday. I refer to my macro botanical work as “buds and bugs” as I also love witnessing life at the scale of insects when shooting macro.

For this themed post, I took a little time to shoot in my gardens, something I hadn’t done in recent months. As an aside, you know how when you go biking or running, you often become aware of hills you hadn’t noticed before? The same thing happens when shooting macro in nature and breezes. Those tiny breezes magnify so much. I say this to say the breezes – nay – the WIND – in recent days made several of the subjects I wanted to include unusable, for lack of focus as the plants swayed about! In any event, I love the abstract qualities and the delicious, dreamy bokeh in these images, and hope you enjoy them, too!

I sincerely appreciate you dropping by to check out my take on DREAMY / DREAMS. Next in the blog circle is the highly talented Ceri Herd Photography! Please link over and see the post Ceri  has generated for the theme. For a chance to be featured at Share Six, please submit your DREAMY OR DREAMS images to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages (tag #sharesix and #sharesix_dreamy or #sharesix_dreams) by July 5th.

May 2017: Street at Share Six | Fort Collins Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

The May blog circle theme at Share Six is STREET. I hope you’ll take the time to link around the full blog circle (next link at the bottom), and then submit to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages for a chance to be featured.

When I got serious about my photography journey in the late 80s and early 90s, a great deal of my work was street photography, including people in larger scenes as well as close-up portraits of strangers. For that matter, much of my international travel photography throughout the years has been the same. For whatever reason, I haven’t tended to shoot local street scenes as much in recent years – most likely directly related to having small children. With them, I simply have less time overall, including time to just sit and observe, or to make my way to back alleys or the city at night. Sure, I love to photograph crowds at daytime street parades and street performers, but with children, I am currently less likely to photograph the truly interesting characters on the street. I would love to blog my favorite street shots, hand-picked from over the years, and perhaps I will. However, for this post, I am limiting my collection to my last outing, with the sole goal of street photography. I shot these images on Saturday, July 5, 2014, between 9:30-10:15 pm in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC.

I sincerely appreciate you dropping by to check out my take on STREET. Next in the blog circle is KG Ledbetter Photography. Please link over and see the post Kathy has generated for the theme. For a chance to be featured, please  submit your STREET images to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages (tag #sharesix and #sharesix_street) by June 5th.

April 2017: Connection at Share Six | Fort Collins Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

The April blog circle theme at Share Six is CONNECTION. I hope you’ll take the time to link around the full blog circle (next link at the bottom), and then submit to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages for a chance to be featured.

As noted in my March Share Six post, I am working towards better work-life balance. Part of that resulted in limited shooting this month, except during a family vacation and some gadget photos. The majority of the most special and intimate moments of late were captured only on my gadget or not at all, and that’s OK, as that is part of living more in the moment lately, even though I don’t have amazing images from those moments to share. In any event, I am pulling some of the images from as far back as last April, but they haven’t all been previously shared.

When I think “CONNECTION,” I think of my children more than anything else. As a parent, beyond basic health and happiness, my highest hope for my children is that they become and remain close friends for life. I work to nurture that every day and never plan to relent. Perhaps it’s because I lack that in my own life, or maybe it is simply natural for a parent to want that more than anything. Most likely, it’s both. In any event, my children are almost 3 years apart in age, and often into pretty different hobbies and interests. Like most (all?) siblings, they fight regularly, unfortunately. Still, I know in my heart that they truly, deeply, love one another. I don’t know if they would go to the mat for each other just yet, but I think in time, they will. Sometimes these authentically documented moments of them loving one another help get me through rough patches with them. They are visual reminders of the depth of love in their relationship, even when it’s a bit below the surface.


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Hammock Time
I am tempted to say, “This is everything.” But it’s not, because the cumulative love shared here – and in all the images that didn’t make the final six cut – they are everything!

These kiddos are still little and thankfully their feet don’t stink (much) yet. They snuggle often and can’t stand to miss out on whatever the other one is doing, ever! If I am on my (better) hammock, both of them are on it, too. If one kid is in my lap, they both are. And so it goes with their own little special moments, too.


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Halloween Day at my son’s school
After enjoying Halloween fun at my daughter’s preschool and then downtown, she and I headed to my son’s elementary school to celebrate there, as well. My Mommy heart swelled so huge, as my kids grabbed hands and ran ahead of me in the haphazard costume parade through other classrooms. Once we returned to my son’s classroom, I melted watching him welcome my daughter to work right alongside him, shoulder to shoulder, on all their fun activities – BINGO, scavenger hunt, and more. I mean, what little boy does that, when he has his entire class full of friends to play with? My little boy.


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River Rock
This is the only image in the bunch that was posed in that I sent them out to the rock. Their adoring expressions as they hung out on the rock together, though? One hundred percent authentic, of course.


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Soccer
They can be so boisterous and silly! However, they are also often quiet, caring, helpful, and loving. Here, my son is tying his sister’s new soccer cleats, which she just had to have because big brother had recently received some. (The same thing just happened here with roller blades, too.)


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Saturday Morning Snack
I spotted them just like this, facing the wall across the room next to my office. I quietly grabbed my camera as quickly as humanly possible to freeze this sweetness forever.


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Easter Morning
They were sharing a bedroom this time last year. They both slept in rabbit ears the night before Easter, then climbed into our bed the next morning. By this point, only my son was wearing his bunny ears, but have you ever seen so much sweetness between a brother and sister? Their connection melts me at times.


I sincerely appreciate  you dropping by to check out my take on CONNECTION. Next in the blog circle is one of our newest blog team members, Claire Porter of Wilhelmina Photography. Please link over and see the post she has generated for the theme. For a chance to be featured yourself, please  submit your CONNECTION images to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages (tag #sharesix and #sharesix_connection) by May 5th.

March 2017: Restore at Share Six | Fort Collins Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

The March circle blog theme at Share Six is RESTORE. I hope you’ll take the time to link around the full blog circle, and then submit to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages for a chance to be featured.

My take on RESTORE is more introspective, raw, exposed, and broad than most of my posts. It is a multi-faceted view of renewal and restoration of many aspects of my life, including Spring’s return, physical and mental health, relationships, and my home.

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Renovate

Being Major League DIY’ers, my husband and I have been personally, extensively renovating our homes since before we married. We are in our fourth home together, and the only one that didn’t succumb to our vision was our last one: beautiful, extremely well-built, only 10 years old and good to go. Unfortunately, there was no rational reason to renovate it in any way and thus put our own stamp on it. We lived in it for only five months before pursuing our current one. Apparently we require a project house at all times.*** I typically describe the course of action as, “We accidentally bought a second house in less than a year of living here.” In any event, our current home, known both as “The Tree House” and “our forever home,” is no exception to the renovation trend. The highest priority project at the moment is the master bedroom suite, shown here. We have been in this home just over a year and have never actually slept in our bedroom. Juggling all the crazy of every day life with kids, hobbies, and hands-on renovations keeps us quite busy!

*** In all seriousness, our first house in Fort Collins truly was a wonderful house, but it lacked the tight-knit community we wanted. When we heard through the grapevine that our current home would become available, in the neighborhood we originally wanted to buy in, it was not that we truly wanted another project house. Instead, it was that our forever home here is in “the village.” You know that saying: “It takes a village to raise a child.” We have two kids to raise and are finally living in that village we have longed for. Despite all the hard work we put into aligning our mid-century modern home with our architectural vision, we are living the dream in our fabulous neighborhood.

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Restore

As far back as anyone can remember – at least since I was 3 – I longed for a classic Mustang: red convertible with a white top and interior. I am not really a car person, although I know more about them than most of my peers. Still, there has just always been something about classic Mustangs. I love old muscle cars in general. OK, I like many old things in general, but Mustang-love may well be where it all started. A few years back, my husband surprised me with my dream car for my birthday – except that Ruby has a black top and interior, instead of white. Happily, I have found I actually prefer the black these days. We were living in Washington, DC at the time, and he had been late coming home from work a few times, always to my irritation, as I was anxious for help with the kids. As it turns out, he had been out shopping to fulfill my dream, often riding the Metro train out to the end of the line, meeting someone with a Mustang for sale. Each time I was upset about him getting home late, he sucked it up and provided a plausible explanation about working late – never giving up the surprise even the tiniest bit. I had NO IDEA. He pretty much won Husband of the Universe with all the stunts he pulled in securing and hiding this car from me until the big reveal at my birthday party! Ruby is a 1967 in show car condition, almost entirely original,  never wrecked, and largely restored in the 90s. We have added a few safety features and kids’ car seats, with more tweaks to go, but she’s completely road-worthy (and awesome) as is. The unofficial deal at our house is: Ruby is my eye candy and joy ride, and my husband is responsible for keeping her on the road and running well. Maybe he drew the short straw, but I think he actually enjoys his end of the deal, too, if for no other reason than giving me the ongoing joy of having my dream car. This weekend was beautiful, so he backed Ruby out of the garage, fixed a leak of some variety, did some magic voodoo work on her power steering, did a few other maintenance things, washed her, and then sent me out to drive her around a bit. My first ride of the season was relatively brief, but awesome! #mylittlepony

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Renew fitness

I have recently re-committed myself to physical fitness, after a long period of time where I simply fell to the bottom of the priority list too much to provide proper care for myself. For a whole host of reasons, fitness has been a lifelong challenge for me, but I have finally reached a point in these parenting years where I can realistically prioritize my health every day, and I am doing so. I can’t wait until great weather is more consistent and I can do nearly all of my daily cardio exercise outdoors through Fall. Until then, I am grateful for my treadmill, with a view of the Rockies, on the off-days. The downside to this fitness journey is that I am spending much of my former personal photography time working out, and I am not dragging my camera along on the trails and to the fields where I often take my kids, because I am no longer sauntering along with them. I have important work to do out there, and it doesn’t involve a camera! Once our warmer weather is in full force again, I hope to hike in the mountains with my camera more, and run on the trails by our home a bit less, so perhaps I will then strike a better balance and combine my photography and workouts more.

Nourish.

Revitalize

No successful physical fitness approach would be complete without taking great care to nourish the body with healthful, vibrant foods. We were in a rut at my house of making huge, one-pot meals, with a heavy emphasis on filling staples such as brown rice. Given that, I had sadly, genuinely forgotten how wonderful salads can be. With my priorities in check again, we are enjoying not only wonderful salads, but more homemade sushi, summer rolls, baba ganoush, and a wide variety of fresh, whole foods. My family is vegan, and preparing enough veggies and proteins to satiate growing children is no easy feat, but everyone seems to be enjoying our recent meals more – including a return to more thoughtful and visually appealing presentations of it.

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Return of Spring

This time of year is everything to me. I absolutely delight in watching all the blooming lovelies make their appearance in our home gardens, even before we have our last snowfall. With Spring’s return, I also reflect on the parallels with my own health and self-care.

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Rejoice new skills and new wheels

Spring is all about new things – new babies in nature, new buds, and – in the case of my daughter – a new life skill! She recently graduated from a balance bike to this pedal bike and she is slaying the trails as I jog along behind her. Meanwhile, my son has done the same with rollerblading. Alas, they are already outpacing me, and I am struggling to figure out how to continue sharing this great, quality, bonding time on the trails with them, while allowing each of us to become stronger and more capable in our various modes of transit. I am open to your suggestions! Right now I think I will get them unicycles. That should slow them down until my running pace increases enough to keep up with them, yes?!

I sincerely appreciate  you dropping by to see my take on RESTORE and perhaps learn a lot more about the person behind the lens. Next in the blog circle is Mike Wade of Rural Life Photography, our guest blogger and winner of the recent {Music} theme. Please link over and see the post he has generated for RESTORE! For a chance to be featured, please  submit your own RESTORE images to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages (tag #sharesix and #sharesix_restore) by April 5th! Especially for this theme, we welcome some back story on how your image represents the theme!

Roots and Twigs Photography Feature at Dads in the Wild, “Back in the Den”

 

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I was recently invited to interview with Dads in the Wild, sharing some more information about the main Dad in my life. I hope you’ll take a moment to click below to see the images and thoughts I shared!

Back in the Den: Roots and Twigs Photography

February 2017: Shadows at Share Six | Fort Collins Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

The February circle blog theme at Share Six is SHADOWS. I hope you’ll take the time to link around the full blog circle, and then submit to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages for a chance to be featured.

Shadows can add much depth, interest, and drams to an image. My children are getting more interested in playing with their shadows, creating shadow animals with their hands, and also taking note of their full body’s shadows on various surfaces. Even when they aren’t paying attention to their shadows, I certainly am. So here are some favorites of my kids and their shadows and a shadows and silhouettes image from Yellowstone National Park that I just had to include, as well. I hope you enjoy my collection and complete our blog circle for what promises to be a particularly interesting series of images.

Thank you so much for dropping by to see my take on SHADOWS. Next in the blog circle is Kim Sidwell Photography. Please link over and see what she has put together for SHADOWS! Again, for a chance to be featured, please  submit your SHADOWS images to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages (tag #sharesix and #sharesix_music)!

January 2017: Music at Share Six | Fort Collins Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

Our January blog circle theme at Share Six  is MUSIC. I had the best of intentions for this theme, but fell short of my goals. My images are all new, but not exactly what I planned. In any event, there are three instruments included in these images, each with some significance in my life.

My Alvarez Regent acoustic guitar was a Christmas gift from my best friend in college. He and another close friend spent Christmas break teaching me chords and practicing. I believe my friend must have also given me my Indigo Girls “Strange Fire” chord book, with which I practiced. I was progressing well, but once school resumed, I put my guitar down and never picked it back up in earnest, unfortunately. It holds its tune very well, it sounds lovely, and I admit that this project prompted me to dig it out of a storage room and seriously consider trying to learn again.

As much as I love guitar, “my grass is blue” (as a sticker on my guitar case in fact reads!) and banjos and fiddles are my favorite instruments. While we were engaged, my husband surprised me with a Rover 5-String Banjo years ago. Unlike the Alvarez, it does not hold its tune well, which resulted in even less commitment to learning it than the guitar. The truth is, I am a dancer. I never really sat still from dancing long enough to learn an instrument. I still dream of learning to play and maybe, with young kids who ought to learn, too, there’s hope yet.

The third instrument I photographed does not belong to me, but I have “visitation rights.” I must admit that my real affinity for it is a bit shallow. As I noted above, bluegrass is my favorite style of music, but Dwight Yoakam is my favorite artist. This particular guitar is an Epiphone Dwight Yoakam “Dwight Trash” Casino Outfit in Jackpot White. There were only 250 of these guitars made in this color, and only 250 made in Roulette Red, the other color. My brother-in-law owns this beauty and I happily got to spend some quality time with it over the holidays, again.

Ironically, my djembe and didjeridoos didn’t make it to the blog, but perhaps another day. When I had free time, I actually played both much more than the instruments I photographed. The natural rhythm I have for dancing translates far better to drumming – both hand percussions and kits – than to learning a stringed instrument, but I would still love to learn the latter.

Thank you so much for dropping by to see my take on MUSIC. Now, please visit Katherine at Cobert Photography, who chose the theme, to see her images, and continue the circle blog to view and comment on everyone’s work.

Please join us for this month’s theme by posting your MUSIC images on the Facebook page at Share Six  and to the Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_music.

December 2016: Bokeh at Share Six | Fort Collins Fine Art and Lifestyle Photographer

Our December theme over at Share Six  is BOKEH. One of my favorite types of bokeh is when it has a magical pixie dust effect, such as the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree. For the first time EVER in my life, I am living in a home with an artificial tree. I fought the occasional proposal of getting one throughout my childhood, and decorated my houseplants when I was in my 20s. Since becoming a bona fide “grownup,” I have wanted to build a “sculptural tree” – a piece of art, itself, upon which to hang ornaments. Long story short, that tree is still in my dreams. Getting a real tree was out of reach this year for many reasons, so we bought this second hand artificial tree from a neighbor Friday night. We then spent the rest of the weekend, off and on, adorning it with treasures we’ve collected and created along the way, as well as making paper garland from flower bulb catalogs and ornaments from recycled popsicle sticks. I am all about a simple, classic holiday season, so these activities were good for my soul. *** Disclaimer: Don’t judge if I end up with a shiny tinsel tree forest /\ /\ /\ and vintage color wheel(s) in the future, befitting our Mid-Century Modern Home! Also, if you know how to make that happen, please drop a line!! *** I am even handling the artificial tree well – for the most part. I miss the scent of a real tree, and the scrawny base of this thing does nothing for me. I have plans for next year, though!

Thank you so much for dropping by to see my weekend take on BOKEH. Now, please visit Applewood Photography to see her images, and continue the circle blog to view and comment on everyone’s work.

Please join us for this month’s theme by posting your BOKEH images on the Facebook page at Share Six  and to the Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_bokeh.

Our Thanksgiving Wishes to you

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Share Six! Please link to to read our community blog post, and may you all have much to be thankful for this season! ~ Tori

Former President Bill Clinton at New Belgium Brewery, Fort Collins, CO, November 4th, 2016; Roots and Twigs Photography

Friday, November 4th, I awoke to a Facebook post indicating former President Bill Clinton would be speaking on behalf of Hillary Clinton at New Belgium Brewing here in town that afternoon. Whaaaat? I hadn’t heard anything about it earlier, but I couldn’t *not* go if there was any way. The first Presidential election in which I voted was 1991, and Clinton took office in 1992. I lived in Washington, DC for 11.5 years, during terms of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. I have attended Inaugurations, seen a couple of Presidents from afar, stood aside for countless motorcades, etc. When Clinton was President, I worked at 16th and K Streets NW, just North of the White House. Clinton occasionally dined at the restaurant right outside my office window, and I watched the preparations, including setting up large entry tents to prevent views as the motorcade unloaded and rooftop snipers, all in place for his presence. Now in Colorado, politics are a much, MUCH smaller part of my life. In many ways I am grateful for that, but I got a bit of an adrenaline rush thinking about seeing Clinton in my new city. Long story short, not only did I make it, but so did my young children – AND – we were front row,  shook his hand, spoke with him, and got our photo with him. It was all pretty exciting for what I expected to be an ordinary, busy Friday afternoon.

November 2016: Texture at Share Six | Fort Collins Fine Art and Lifestyle Photographer

Another month has come and gone, and it’s been an incredibly busy one with fall sessions, head shots, illness, and Halloween. In fact, it has been so busy that I barely had any opportunities to shoot for myself, including new work for the TEXTURE theme. I am disappointed, as I deeply love textures – both visual and otherwise. Hopefully this collection of past work underscores this truth. As usual, I struggled to cull my images to only six! I easily could have shared only macro botanical images, but looked for a wider set of subjects which I believe exemplify textures’ contributions to photography.

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Aged Hardware

I am drawn to hardware, aged metal, aged wood, and – of course – textures. I was walking along a canal in Washington, DC when I stumbled upon this extraordinarily beautiful and simple hardware.

 

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The smooth texture of the water, along with cool tones, are what truly elevate this otherwise ordinary duck photo to something more, in my eyes.

 

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A fun childhood moment – their first (clueless) adventure with Fun Dip. Their innocence, the reflections, and the gritty texture of the candy make this photo for me.

 

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“Buds and Bugs,” more commonly known as “macro photography” is one of my favorite photography styles. I have boundless love for looking at the world at this scale. There are so many wonderful textures, subtle variations in color, and so on that can be seen when we slow down to take it all in.

 

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Crypt Door at Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France. The light beyond, the intriguing bat design, and the aged metal texture and color make this one of my favorite images from my winter afternoon at the cemetery. I became fascinated in the ways in which people honor their loved ones in death in the late 90s and seek out old, interesting cemeteries when I get the chance.

 

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Mist. Is mist a texture? I could have included any number of other images, but I think mist is an interesting texture! Strong sunlight behind my family cast our shadows on quickly moving mist at Yellowstone National Park this summer. It was such an interesting phenomenon as our shadows quickly changed sizes, shapes, and definition. The air is so dry at home in Colorado, it’s hard to imagine such a scene, but this is yet another fascinating occurrence around the thermal features in Yellowstone.

 

Thank you so much for dropping by to see my take on TEXTURE. Now, please visit Sharleen N Stuart Photography to see her take on it, and continue the circle blog to view and comment on everyone’s work.

Please join us for this month’s theme by posting your TEXTURE images on the Facebook page at Share Six  and to the Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_texture.

Roots and Twigs Photography Solo Show at Bath Garden Center and Nursery, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Location:   Bath Garden Center and Nursery, 2000 E Prospect Road, Fort Collins, CO 80525 in Fort Collins

Friday, November 4th, 10:00am-7:00pm
Saturday, November 5th, 8:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, November 6th, 8:00am-6:00pm
Monday, November 7th, 8:00am-7:00pm

Bath Garden Center and Nursery has graciously invited Roots and Twigs Photography to show and sell photography artwork in a solo weekend show, running from Friday, November 4 through Monday, November 7!

The show will be located in Bath’s indoor garden center. Prices start at at $20.00 and pieces include both framed and matted-only pieces. Please make payment via cash or check at Bath during the show. And while you are there, you can also shop Bath’s amazing plants, garden decor, holiday decor, and items from other local artists.

Many of the fine art images I will be selling are included in the Fine Art galleries here on my website, sorted by subject type.

Are you on Facebook? Refer to this Event page link to keep track of updates and the date!

Can’t make this event? I will be at Bennett Elementary School’s Holiday Fair on Tuesday, November 5th, from 5:00pm-8:00pm!

Roots and Twigs Photography Holiday Fair at Bennett Elementary School, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Tuesday, November 15th, 5:00pm-8:00pm at Bennett Elementary School in Fort Collins

Please come shop Roots and Twigs Photography and many more local artists and crafters at the Bennett Elementary School Holiday Craft Fair. You can also support the school by enjoying the spaghetti supper during the same time.

I will be selling my fine art photography as matted prints as well as framed prints, accepting cash and credit card payments. I will also have portrait session portfolio pieces on display. I look forward to seeing everyone for my second year at this wonderful event!

Many of the fine art images I will be selling are included in the Fine Art galleries here on my website, sorted by subject type.

Are you on Facebook? Refer to this Event page link to keep track of updates and the date!

Can’t make this event? Please check out my solo show at Bath Garden Center and Nursery in Fort Collins, November 4-7!

October 2016: Time at Share Six | Fort Collins Fine Art and Lifestyle Photographer

Time is this month’s theme at Share Six. I have wrestled with choosing a direction for this theme. My initial thoughts related to the seasons – the various times that cycle annually. Since I couldn’t photograph the whole year in a month, I continued to brainstorm. I thought about our daily routines at home: the distinct things that happen each and every day. But my schedule hasn’t allowed me to capture a day in the life well lately, either. I finally settled on this particular Time of the year, Fall, as well as this Time in my life and related priorities.

Until recent years, I have dreaded Fall. I didn’t actually dislike Fall at all, but I looked ahead and dreaded the limited daylight hours (along with some other perceived downers) of Winter, instead of living in the moment. In recent years, I have prioritized shifting my life perspective to a more optimistic one. Somewhere post-college, I became rather “glass half empty.” It may be a long battle to wake up sunny every day, but it will be worth the sweet victory when I achieve it. Instead of loathing Fall, for Winter’s impending arrival, I now appreciate Fall for what it is. All we have is this moment, with no further guarantees, and I think losing loved ones and having children have been great life lessons on the matter.

Everywhere I have lived has truly seasonal weather. However, never have I experienced such distinct seasonal shifts in the culture and activities as I do here in our new-ish home state of Colorado. Our conversations and activities are rarely about work or deadlines. They are about how we enjoyed the weekend, the weather, and the outdoorsy lives we are blessed with here. We don’t hunker down and hibernate in Winter, just trying to get through and make it until Spring (well, until maybe that last month of it!). We get out and enjoy it, too. Even though I don’t ski (yet?!), the enthusiasm of so many friends here who live for it, brighten Winter a bit, as well. For all of these reasons, I now FEEL and EXPERIENCE the beauty and opportunities of each season more.

I love Fall. I love everything about it. It is my favorite season during which to photograph people. It is full of gorgeous colors, crisp air, and preparations for the next beautiful season, with its own identity. Fall is also a very introspective time of year for me. Winter is busy with holidays and indoor activities, as well as cold weather fun; Spring is energized with new life and buds, and anticipation; Summer is just plain BUSY with vacations and gardening, and fun… Then there’s Fall. For me, it’s a time when we have successfully survived first of the school year madness and hit a stride, and we can enjoy some weekend family time before the holidays suck us into their chaos. My family took a day trip this past weekend to one of the many nearby mountain areas we hadn’t yet explored. The day was full of beauty, peace, reflection, and discovery. These photos are from this Time in our lives: our time with young children, soaking up nature comfortably and easily before Winter sets in, quiet time reflecting on priorities and family, and a beautiful and peaceful hike to a Buddhist stupa nestled high up in golden aspen groves. I don’t always succeed in recognizing and celebrating it, but for all its shortcomings, this truly is a beautiful Time in my life.

Thank you so much for dropping by to see my take on Time! Now, please visit Sharleen N Stuart Photography to see her take on it, and continue the circle blog to view and comment on everyone’s work.

Please join us for this month’s theme by posting your Time images on the Facebook page at Share Six  and to the Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_time.

 

September 2016: Black and White at Share Six | Fort Collins Fine Art and Lifestyle Photographer

I am happy to announce that I have recently joined Share Six as their newest Blog Contributor! I came on board just after the blog circle’s 6th of the month release, but they were kind enough to pull me in, anyway. September’s theme is {Black and White}, a theme that’s very close to my heart. Thank you so much, Katherine Cobert of Cobert Photography, for choosing it!

Black and white film photography was my first love. With digital, I have strayed a bit – and I do so adore color, as well. Still, black and white feels like home. I love the focus it brings to patterns, contrast, light, emotion, and structures, as unnecessary elements and distractions are stripped away. I found culling my black and white images to just six to be incredibly difficult, so I recruited some help. I still want to include more, but here is what I came up with, as a rule-follower this time. With the exception of the first image, taken in early 2015, the balance of these images were taken in Spring and Summer 2016.

Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and see my take on Black and White! Now, please visit none other than Cobert Photography, who chose the theme, to see her take on it, and continue the circle blog to view and comment on everyone’s work.

Please join us for this month’s theme by posting your Black and White images on the Facebook page at Share Six  and to the Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_blackandwhite.

 

BE INSPIRED Session featuring Roots and Twigs Photography

  Thank you so much, Dear Photographer, for this wonderful feature opportunity! Please click below to view the featured session and read the interview!

Source: BE INSPIRED Session featuring Roots and Twigs Photography

{BLUE} Artists Inspired Blog Circle Contribution, Fort Collins, Colorado Photographer

A wonderfully talented and diverse group of online photographer friends and peers has come together to begin a new blog circle. I am terrible about blogging regularly, so I pounced on the opportunity to embrace the structure and community this new project offers. Our first theme is BLUE. As my family heads out on vacation for the first time in nearly 5 years, summer’s end looms in the not-so-distant future, and back to school shopping commences, I find myself with limited time to create a gallery of new images. Once we get into the swing of the new school year, you can look forward to fresh images each month, probably often alongside some old favorites. For now, I hope you enjoy these, some of my favorite BLUE images to date.

Blue Ridge Mountains, NC

Blue Ridge Mountains, NC

I have always been a mountain girl at heart, and these particular mountains, well I think of them as “home.” They were never truly my home, but I did grow up just beyond their shadows. They are even more beautiful in person, and I feel pretty fortunate to have spent many a long weekend – and even a solid five week spell – right there among them, breathing in their clean air, admiring wildflowers and wildlife, and making memories. In nearby Asheville, I ate at the best restaurants on the planet as far as I know, danced to the music offered by amazing buskers, and felt one with the area. I remember far too well the sadness that washed over me as I looked at these mountains in my rear-view mirror the last time I visited, knowing it would be a long while before I returned, as my family planned our cross-country move.

Santorini Ironwork

Santorini Ironwork

Santorini, Greece is a series of living postcards. I took this photograph on film in September 2003. I have included it as a simple nod to my passions of international travel, photography, and architectural elements.

National Mall Independence Day Fireworks

National Mall Independence Day Fireworks

From the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I moved to Washington, DC for well over a decade. It was an incredible place to live for a while, first as a single person, and later, with my husband. Although we never wanted to raise kids there, we loved our neighborhood, the diverse food options, public transit, and museums while we were there. And, of course, Independence Day Fireworks on The National Mall were an annual tradition and highlight. I took this image by the base of The Washington Monument while we awaited them in 2014.

Available sizes: 4×6, 6×9, 8×12, 10×15, 12×18, 16×24, 20×30

Rockabilly

My husband and I chose Fort Collins, Colorado as the town we wanted to raise our kids in way back in 2001, before we were even married. Life happened and the move was substantially delayed. In any event, we spent some time in Colorado in July 2013, in part to simply enjoy it, but also a bit in part to make sure we still wanted to make the move. I took this photograph during that blissful trip.

Night Sky, Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman! Bozeman gave Fort Collins a run for its money in becoming our forever hometown, when it came time to actually pack our bags. We all loved Bozeman and look forward to visiting as often as possible. One night while we were there in November 2014, the sun was setting and the sky was dark, except a band of light near the horizon. It was sleeting and we didn’t know our way around well, but we found this nice clear view of the sky and water right by a dumpster behind the mall. Who would have guessed?!

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Since moving to Colorado, I have really been taken by the beauty of the prairies, often with a mountain backdrop. That was the setting when I photographed this. However, for this capture, I wanted to focus on that warm, late afternoon light and deep blue sky, each punctuating the beauty of spent blossoms.

 

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A few times along the way, I picked up a number of antique, blue, Ball Mason jars, and a few other brands, as well. I love the unique, apparently-hand-lettered nature of the jars. No two appear identical, and if you look at the jars in the image, you can see what I am referring to. When we moved into our new house, I put this handful of my jars on the (very high) window sill mostly just to get them off of the floor. One early morning, as I walked into the kitchen for coffee, this beautiful blue scene caught my eye, so I snapped it, of course. They make me feel nostalgic for simpler times, and they are simply lovely, too.

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So I said above I am a mountain girl, but I am also very drawn to water, which is a bit harder to find here in Colorado, compared to my East Coast roots. I love this tranquil sunset scene and that still reflection on the water.

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This photograph of my daughter, on the first – and actually last – day of using our kiddie pool this summer was taken as sort of a mindful documentary shot. I had ideas about finished images in my head before I ever picked up my camera, but it is authentic to her actions. I didn’t plan for her sunglasses to match the pool side, so that part was a welcome gift of chance!

I hope you have enjoyed this random collection of some favorite BLUE images, and learned a few interesting things, as well. I look forward to blogging future months featuring my new work, as well!

AI Blog Circle logo

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

Please continue your journey around our blog circle by visiting our next talent, Sharleen of Sharleen Stuart Photography at this link!

My Muse; Fort Collins, Colorado Children and Family Photographer

I really never gave any thought to the notion of having my own muse until the past couple of months. In fact, I also never considered myself an artist until a similar time frame. I have a very strong technical training and background, so becoming an artist has been a bit unexpected, despite the fact that I have always been a designer. In any event, it has become abundantly clear that my daughter is my muse during the past few months. There’s internal tension within me related to this. It’s important to me to raise her with compassion and character. I don’t want appearances to rank highly on her list of important things in life, and that’s a very fine line I walk, as her mother and a photographer. Thankfully, she’s predominantly silly and fun, and rough and tumble, too. Also, like her mother, she adores gardens – both flowering and edibles – so we spend regular time in ours, picking things and looking for ladybugs, butterflies, and more. I try to be as invisible with my camera as possible, but of course she knows it’s there. In any event, I truly enjoy capturing her joy and curiosities, as well as childhood details. Here are just a few of my recent favorite images of my muse, all taken at home, and mostly in our gardens.

As always, please click on images to view them larger and thank you for dropping by!

Muddy Trail and Swampy Creek Banks Play; Fort Collins, Colorado Documentary Photographer

Wow! This post was supposed to publish two MONTHS ago, and I just noticed it in the drafts folder. So, imagine if you will, that is about April or May as you continue through this post!

We just came out on the other side of highs in the low 40s and 3 days of snow flurries, but the kids and I decided to get out and make the most of it yesterday before the school week began again. We set out to find nice, clean rain puddles to play in, but that’s not exactly what we found… The trail was muddy and – according to the kids – very sticky! My son got legitimately stuck several times, but he could have avoided it by walking in the grass like his Mom! From the mud play, we worked our way on down to our favorite climbing tree and along the creek bank, which quickly became rather swampy, but we pushed through. My daughter, spirited and fun, as she is, delighted in stomping and plowing through it. Eventually she tripped over grass under the water and got soaked. No worries – up and at ’em with a huge grin, immediately – and followed by deliberate falls after that. Best part? Her mud was pretty much all gone by the time she got done in the “swamp.” Full disclosure: it WAS a cold walk home for her, but she’s a #mightygirl!

Theme Winner | June 27; Colorado Fine Art Wildlife Photography, Fort Collins Photographer

Thank you so much, Inspire me, Inspired be., for the feature for the weekly theme {up close}! Congratulations to everyone featured!

Source: Inspire me, Inspired be., Theme Winner | June 27

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