March 2018: Contrast at Share Six | Fort Collins, Colorado Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

The March blog circle theme at Share Six is CONTRAST. I started shooting SLRs, processing my black and white film, and spending countless hours (and – later – all-nighters) printing my images in darkrooms nearly 30 years ago. My love for contrasty images is very closely aligned to those days, but I have brought that love to color digital images as well, albeit to a lesser extent. I generally process my fine art images with the full range of tones, from pure black to pure white. I use histograms to help guide this aspect of editing, but there’s always an element of artistic license, as well. I am a bit of a purist in my photography work, and never shoot or process with HDR, and I rarely blow any value out of an image, other than the occasional bright sky. I think balancing the tonal values and artistic vision associated with contrast in an image is as delicate as any balance – and certainly as worthwhile. I was very tempted to pull images from my all-time favorites for this post, but decided to stick with a goal of shooting new ones, in the location, time, and light available for creating this blog post.

As I write this post, I am preparing for one of the busiest and most challenging weeks of sessions I have ever had, so I had to *make* time to shoot. We’ve had a few recent days that smiled upon us with the promise of Spring to come, and my family took advantage of one such day to explore a new-to-us hiking area. The images from this post are from an hour there, finishing about an hour before sunset. Shooting when I did presented me with harsh light that I often struggle with, but generally love for its contrast and dramatic conversions to black and white images.

As always, I hope you will follow my blog, as well as follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see more of the work I share. I also hope you will take the take the time to link around the full blog circle of talent. You’ll find the next link and details about how to submit your own images to be featured at the bottom of this post.

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

 

February 2018: Color at Share Six | Fort Collins, Colorado Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

The February blog circle theme at Share Six is COLOR. I’ve been very busy with clients and rebuilding this website (How do you like it!?), and not shooting for pleasure, otherwise. Thankfully, I made sure to shoot some great, colorful, historic signs along Route 66 in Albuquerque, Gallup, and Grants, NM just a few weeks back. It was hard to curate it down to just six – and, I failed. =)  I am sharing seven, but there will be more sprinkled around my various sites, in case you want to see them. Along with subscribing to my blog posts here, please follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see more of the work I share.

As always, I hope you’ll take the time to link around the full blog circle. You’ll find the next link and details about how to submit your own images to be featured at the bottom of this post.

 

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

 

January 2018: Winter Light at Share Six | Fort Collins, Colorado Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

The January blog circle theme at Share Six is WINTER LIGHT. As you may recall, I took a spontaneous road trip to Wyoming and Northwestern Colorado over Thanksgiving, from which my last Share Six post was derived, for WONDERLAND. Thus, it may come as no surprise that I was on yet another spontaneous road trip and shooting for the current theme when blogs went live on the 6th – except mine. I am tardy, but I hope you won’t mind, once you see this month’s beauty below. As always, 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.

Christmas came and went, but I still had 11 days to figure out before my children returned to school. So what’s a girl to do but take a spontaneous road trip – leaving less than 24 hours after deciding to do it? This one took me to New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and the Western Slope of Colorado. I re-visited a number of beloved places and went to lots of new ones, too. I could have easily posted a hundred images for this blog post, but I just rolled a dice to decide which ones to use – almost! Below, you’ll see beautiful, soft, warm winter light play on adobe structures in Ranchos de Taos and Santa Fe, as well as golden hour shots in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. I love the warmth of the light – especially on adobe walls and red rocks, as well as winter’s long, deep shadows. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram to track my adventures in something a bit closer to real time!

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

 

December 2017: Wonderland at Share Six | Fort Collins, Colorado Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

The December blog circle theme at Share Six is WONDERLAND. 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 is the case for many others, the fall/winter holidays often leave me feeling a bit lonely and blue. This year, just 3 days before Thanksgiving, I got ahead of those feelings and began a plan to spontaneously leave the very next day for a quick trip to visit wild horses and Grand Teton National Park. I mean, it had been almost three whole months since I last went – ha! It was the best decision I have made in quite a long time. Not only did it prevent holiday blues, but it was, in fact, one of the best short trips of my life. The wildlife in the Tetons was far more abundant than it has ever been during the past 17 years of summer trips – including moose, my favorite animal to see there. And talk about a winter wonderland! There certainly could have been a lot more snow around – and there was – but rain on the day I traveled melted much of it. Still, it was still beautiful around Jackson where most snow was melted, and the snow remained in the actual park. I refer to snow as “the great equalizer” because it makes even the brownest, drabbest landscape beautiful. Of course, the Tetons are gorgeous without snow, but it does add a touch more magic everywhere. Winter wonderland all around, indeed.

I kind of like the saying, “Math is Hard,” just because it sounds silly, but I am so pro-math that I can hardly joke with it… Still, my six images became twelve this month. #sorrynotsorry  All of these images were taken in and around Jackson, Moose, Kelly, and Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming over the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend.

Several of these images are currently listed in my Etsy shop as prints, and all of them can be purchased. I will also be adding photo jewelry, key chains, magnets, and ornaments options in the near future, and have already made several pieces featuring these images.

—-

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

 

November 2017: Harvest at Share Six | Fort Collins, Colorado Lifestyle and Fine Art Photographer

The November blog circle theme at Share Six is HARVEST. 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 have lived almost all of my adult life in cities and when I have gardened, it has been in small raised beds or  mixed in with flower beds. However, as I tell people, I grew up “gardening by the acre.” It’s in my blood, but I am far from a legitimate farmer these days. Still, I want to ensure that my children know where food comes from and that they have a certain measure of self-sufficiency when it comes to growing and preserving their own food. The images I am including here include home-grown carrots, lettuce, and rhubarb. There’s also an image I shot at my childhood home, as my daughter learned how to crack open walnuts from the walnut trees there on the property with a hammer, just as I did as a child. And I’m not sure I could get away without a couple of pumpkin harvest shots! I haven’t grown pumpkins as an adult, but we grew them a lot when I was a kid, especially “Tennessee cooking pumpkins” which are great for pies, but less brilliant orange for jack-o-lanterns. Of course, we carved them up, too, and also toasted the seeds for snacking.

—-

I sincerely appreciate you dropping by to check out my take on HARVEST. Next in the blog circle is It’s Still Life Photography by Elizabeth Willson! 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 HARVEST images to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages (tag #sharesix_harvest) by December 5th.

 

Teen Twins – Fort Collins and Boulder Family Photographer

Family with Dogs Portraits! – Fort Collins and Boulder Family Photographer

I looooove working with families with dogs! They inject so many more opportunities for candid moments than many sessions offer. Plus, I am just a dog person. =) We got such beautiful light for this session, another golden hour one. Thank you so much for a fun and beautiful session, guys!

Family Portraits – Fort Collins and Boulder Family Photographer

I just realized that, while I shared photos from several of my last sessions, I never blogged them, so watch me go add them! I met this fun and easy-going family during the golden hour for a park session. I love it when the parents are happy to let the kids be themselves and express their true personalities in photos. The son, especially, did this in front of my lens. Thank you so much, for such a great time, guys!

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.

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.

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.

 

{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?!

750_2217_LR1400

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.

 

750_4762_LR1400

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.

750_5126_LR1400

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.

750_2918_LR1400-2

 

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!