Fresh Air

Kenzie - 2016 Senior, Snow Mountain Ranch

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Nothing is more memorable than your Senior year of high-school, and what better way to commemorate those memories than through timeless photographs to look back on with family for years to come.

Kenzie, who is a 2016 West Valley High School grad, reached out to me with a specific location in mind, wanting that lovely sun-kissed light to glow in her photographs.  With the Washington fires this year, I was a little concerned for the haze, and excited to find a short open window in Yakima with the smoke off to each horizon.

We had so much fun walking around the beautiful trails at Snow Mountain Ranch, and it was easy to capture Kenzie's fun, energetic, and carefree personality - her smile shines through in every photograph, which the light can only compliment!

Here are some of my favorite highlights from Kenzie's session - thanks again for allowing me to capture your stunning photos!!

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Cassie + Danny - Canterwood Golf & Country Club

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Cassie and Danny are probably the most down to earth couple I've ever had the pleasure to work with.  Their wedding day was simple and elegant, and guests fun and vibrant!The best thing about weddings is that everyone gathers from so many different areas to celebrate, and this couldn't have been more true for this couple - you could feel the support and love that surrounds them just by being in the room.

The earthy tones and natural touches throughout their entire wedding day did not go unnoticed; from the natural wood ring boxes, Birkenstocks worn by the Bride and sister/Maid of Honor, to the blood stone necklace made for the bride on her wedding day - which is said to have grounding energies, among traits.

Here are some highlights from Cassie and Danny's wedding day - thanks again for allowing me to be a part of your special day!

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The De-Cluttering of Busy

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Lately, I've read a plethora of articles on the art of being busy, and they all ring true.  Busy has become a broad term for "don't bother me" or our self proclaimed idea that if we're busy, we must be successful.  On the contrary.  Being busy means there is room for organization; rooting what doesn't work, and seeding the will to spend quality family and down time.  I can say this first hand because I just spent the past year in "busy."  At first I thought it was amazing, I must be doing something right if I'm booking so many sessions!  A year later, enter the de-cluttering of busy.  Getting a lot of work is great, creating beautiful art is surely great.  Doing all of that while doing what you love - bonus great!  Overworking yourself to the point of injury, stress, and migraines?  Not so great - so what can we do with our busy schedules and hectic calendars?

I admit, this was challenging - I've never been organizational in the sense that things are tidy and in order.  I just learned to work hard, adapt, and it worked for me.  Until I had a kid.  My son just started Kindergarten.  I thought I was prepared, hey he'd been in Preschool for the past few years.  I thought I wouldn't be one of those emotional mom's, tearing up at the bus-stop, getting goosebumps as I drop him off at school, triple-checking his face to make sure there's no toothpaste or milk before he's sent off to play with other kids and, you know - learn stuff.  Boy was I wrong!  Those moments as the bus pulls away, you turn yourself around and make that seemingly long walk home, alone, as all your heartstrings trail behind you - it's heartbreaking.  Picture this - you're carefree and young, you have your life going for you, opportunities boundless.  We age, we mature, we have kids.  We learn to love someone else more than we love ourselves, more than we love life itself.  We nurture and raise them, giving up a plethora of things and spending all our spare time with them.  Then one day, they are gone.  Sure... it's not like he's gone off to college or anything - but that day will come.

What I have learned the past three weeks, is to embrace the routine.  Yes... the routine is golden.  My kid forces me to be a better person every day, and I love it.  Through this routine I've adopted a few new quirky traits, like sticking to working only a specific amount of time each night.  Setting aside designated down time.  Writing, when I feel inspired.  Heck, I foundtime today to blog.  All in all - I think that the business of our time gets caught up in the plan making and the dreaming and the what-if's.  And while some plans are necessary, I've really turned my gears to focus on the work itself, and give a little extra room for reading, movies, long drives, and camping.  Because as much as we need to follow the schedule we lay out in our pretty calendars, we need to focus on ourselves as well.

I'm gradually cleansing my schedule, sending it on a diet so that my life can feel more enriched.  A year ago I took the leap to full-time photographer - and it's been an amazing journey.  The weddings I have been a part of, the success I've created for myself.  I couldn't be more grateful.  The year to come I'm going to work smarter, and play harder.  I feel more creative, and my family, my home, and my body are thanking me.

From a recent trip to the coast:

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Tempus Amisit

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I'm so excited to be back in the swing of things - it has been far too long since I last shared here.  I am grateful and humbled, always in awe, at the way things turn out, work out; nearly a year, and so much has happened in the months that have gone by.  In a nutshell, I couldn't feel more excited, and lucky to have the ability to be living what I am passionate about, now on a daily basis.  I've dreamed about this since I was a little girl; and now I'm doing the impossible!  2015 weddings are booking up, and I am so excited to start spending some time and care into some wedding-material posts in the upcoming weeks!  I've been stocking up on some great links and tips for all of my bride-to-be's, and can't wait to share them all!

In other news, 2015 is all about organization for me - and what this translates to is freeing up more space and time in my life to do more, live more, and experience more.  As adults, I believe that we should all strive to evolve and become better versions of ourselvesIn my journey shedding away the excess layers that have been holding me down, I am now finding time for more walks, bike rides, road trips, camping trips, and am planning my first extended backpacking trip!  I'm excited to share the creative visions I capture, and plan to share them in detail here, as well as turn them into works of art and decorative pieces for the home.  In the more frequent posts to come, you'll be pleased to find a mixture of session stories - from families, to newborns, children, and seniors - engagement pieces and weddings, landscape and art, helpful links and information, as I open up and share personal thoughts, insights, and stories.

To kick things off, the following is a series of more images I've taken over the last year . . .

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I was lucky enough to spend a day at the tulip festival up in Skagit county last month, and capture these shots as the sun was setting.  Spring has arrived early this year in Western Washington, and I couldn't be more ecstatic about it! I hope that you enjoy these pictures as much as I do . . .

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Sub Occasum Solis

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This sweet outgoing couple gave me the opportunity to photograph them last night, their silhouettes like statues set before the array of colors displayed at sundown.

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Rock the Shot - Seaside

My little guy L O V E S the beach! This is my submission to April's Rock the Shot photo challenge.

I just love his posture as he plays in the surf coming in over Seaside, OR.

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The Little Things

In my search for simplicity I have learned to just let go.  It seems simple, no?  That's an understatement - which may be the key as to why so many of get sucked into this game of life.  In my experience along this journey, I have found that just letting go creates this push and pull within myself... a swirling vortex of confusion.  Duality.  While my journey may be sloppy and messy, it has been necessary none the less; the reward, becoming always present and noticing the little things in my new found time.

The little things, like nature.  We become so cumbersome in our day to day business and happenings that we don't really slow down to smell the roses.  Such a cliche, but oh so true!  Noticing the changing light on the buildings as we pass them by, the birds expanding and contracting shapes in the sky.  In a blink of an eye, there were pink blossoms on the trees, and today they are a brilliant green.  It feels like just yesterday I was noticing the small details in the cracks of ice, the frost tipped leafs and nettles, nestled in the grove of bark.  The frost has since melted, and brought life to spring.  Crisp air, the smell of fresh mowed grass, the cool rain pouring rainbows in the sky against sun rays.  Before, I was so busy just being busy that I passed these details by without even a notion.  I felt life sipping away from me at a velocity I had no reasoning with.

By slowing down, it allows me to breathe deeper, think clearer, and free up space for the little things.  Walking the dog turned from a tedious task that was disrupting my work flow to a welcomed break.  Going to bed feels like a retreat rather than signaling all the lose ends of the day to clutter my dream space.  Waking in the morning is a time of gratitude as I welcome the day, rather than overwhelming anxiety over the to do lists in my head.

We must give ourselves allowances in a time where we are on the internet searching for new ways to organize, and for the next gadget on the market that will surely "simplify your life!" . . . while we live in an age of convenience, it can become us - and overwhelmingly so.  It is a token of relief when we can allow ourselves the time to take it all in and really experience what we have and where we are at.  These moments won't last forever, and I want to allow myself the opportunity to hang on to the memories when they are gone.

I've started a garden with my son.  Yes, shocking - me!  Known for my lack of a green thumb, it currently consists of . . . drum roll please: Spinach.  Yes, that's right.  One. Pot. Of. Spinach. The little things.  Starting a garden (yes, I'm really going with "garden" here) really makes you stop and slow down.  There is something special about planting a seed in the dirt, watering it, and watching it sprout and blossom as it comes to fruition.  Like little children, we nourish our seedlings, and watch them grow into little people.

Just as the spinach, I've been watching my little boy grow.  In a matter of weeks his language has developed to another level.  At three this may not seem as exciting as a milestone; but it's special none the less.  He's asking questions about all kinds of things - and some of his questions make me really think before finding an answer.

It's in these moments where I wonder, how it is that we came to a place to hold so much experience - the experience to wonder like a child, and to find the answers in science and mathematics, becoming common knowledge.  It is fascinating, really.  Life, in general.  The questions he poses, where I may have given a simple answer in my exhaustion after work in the car on the way home from preschool, I now think about the knowledge I'm really feeding him and begin to wonder what it is that ignites that imagination.  I want to cherish those moments, that wonder.

The little things.  Caught up in work and schedules, appointments and meetings, internet searches and reading, cooking and cleaning, planning... to the very last little detail so that nothing can run astray from our expectations.  It's easy to lose sight of the little things that matter most.  The messy.  The tedious.  Even the ugly.  There's beauty in everything when you take the time to really pay attention.

Along this journey I've learned that part of letting go means to just. say. no.  Setting  boundaries that become your mantra.  Little steps I've taken to get here... working closer to home allows me to spend less time in traffic and on the road.  My shift pushed a little later allows me to really enjoy the morning and keep to my natural time, because I'm truly that night owl, no matter how hard I try to fight it.  Embracing challenges rather than fighting them; acceptance is key and sticking to personal priorities - allowing the rest to slide.  My house might be a mess, but it's also a sign that it's been well lived in.  My eyes are no longer heavy with sleep, my body thanking me as I take the time to remember to sit a little taller and breathe a little deeper.  Meditating at least once  a day, retreating to my place of serenity allowing me to balance my emotions and frustrations - we all have them.

At the end of the day, it's these little things that matter most.  Nourishing our body, mind, and soul leads to a healthier life, and a sense of fulfillment; rather than chasing a boundless goal.

Taking time to slow down and smell the roses has allowed me to see all the little things that has since, been the highlight of each and every day.  And as long as there's sight on these little matters, life feels enriched and sometimes enchanted.

They say that we photograph most, what we are afraid of losing.  And for me.. it's the little things.

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We all can't help but pine for warmer weather and clear skies.  This past year here in the PNW, while there was a large accumulation of rain on the days we did see it, we have been lucky to have dryer weather and clearer skies.

In the nostalgia of a season that is nearing, I love learning new techniques and couldn't wait to try this out last summer.  I donated both of these photographs to the Art for Oso auction in support of raising funds to donate towards the families effected by the #OsoSlide.

These shots excite me, as I think about all the actives that are just around the corner.  This year I have been experimenting with freelensing and cannot wait to share those in the upcoming weeks!

If you are interested in contributing towards the families effected by the slide, you too can help through a second auction which begins at 7pm Friday, April 4th, 2014. Visit the Art for Oso Auction 2 Gallery and feel free to like, share, and bid on any of the photographs that have been donated by the many photographers who have joined together to form this fundraiser.

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Montem Ardere

As the sun was setting last Summer, I captured this shot of Mt. Rainier.  I'm extremely drawn to exploring this area; this highway is only open about 1/4 of the year due to road and weather conditions, so each year it holds something different and unique as the snow melts, revealing its new wonders each visit. I'm looking forward to what this year holds . . .

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Timeless Getaway

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This really enjoyable weekend with my little family captured an essence that remains timeless in my memory and my heart. These photographs are not only precious to me, but also was a step forward in my work and accomplishments on a professional and personal level.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do ..

Oregon Coast

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I've always preferred the sunrise over sunset, but it is a rare occasion that I am out early enough to enjoy it.  Sometimes I wonder if my natural clock is set in the tropics of the Pacific; I spent ten days in Kailua on Oahu, loving each moment.  This was before my son was born, in 2009 - so I, naturally, planned to fulfill a dream and get up early one morning to watch the sun rise on the East coast.

It wasn't too difficult rolling out of bed at four am (being sure to check for roaches first, of course), as I'd been up at six am each morning - on vacation.  Being nine am here on the mainland, I felt like a Goddess there on the island - being able to rise so early with a bounce in my step (prior to an ounce of caffeine) was enlightening and challenged me to fill the day with as many adventures as possible.  It also, made me feel like a hundred years old; as while I was rising at six am - I was also crashing around eight - nine pm!

On this particular morning, I woke and crept out to head down duck lane (true story) in the dark; warm salty pacific breeze gently hissed through the palm trees planted between the lanes in the road.  This and the lull of my flips shuffling against the pavement, became an unforgettable lullaby under that silent starry night.

At the end of duck lane, the sky began to glow as I turned down a sandy path of overgrown flowers scaling the walls on either side of me.  I headed for the East coast somewhere in Kailua, relaxed on an unknown beach, and just as majestically as I had imagined it, gracefully watched the earth rotate, greeting the dawn, with Oahu by Menomena playing in my ear buds.

As those rays pierced across the surf, I became enchanted with the surfers out on the waves.  They left just as quickly as I had spotted them; what a beautiful lifestyle, I can only imagine - to say at your eight am shift while in your business suite, that you already went surfing at dawn...

I gathered my things and headed back after a short time; promising that from that minute forth, I would live my life with purpose and ever fulfilling direction - taking one look back upon the graceful glow against the water, I snapped this shot (with my low pixel, point and shoot, early 2000's model no-name brand camera) - blinded to how it actually would turn out.

And to this, I share a gimps in to one of my most savored memories of this lifetime.

Bene Velle

I took this shot a few nights ago in Kirkland and is entered in a photo contest at SCCA.

I titled it Bene Velle meaning Wishing Well, as the iconic symbolism provokes my deep emotions for the patients, caregivers, and loved ones, treated at SCCA, and those in my own personal life who have succumb to the disease of Cancer.

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I was standing before Seattle as our sphere was turning its face against the transitioning colors over our evolving sky, and this single thought occurred to me; how lovely it was to be apart, but one, with it all - with our feet planted firmly amongst the dirt.

As I looked over the water, glowing sky lanterns taking flight from the hill nearby - I thought, how lovely it is to have an escape from the epicenter of chaos; oh how perception so easily changes with such minor perspective adjustments.

Spring is in the Air

With spring in full bloom, I ventured out to the marsh's of Lake Washington and around Seattle, and snapped some delicate shots that hold a dear spot in my heart.  I love how the light transcends through these photographs, and blushes in the champagne essence giving off that luster of Spring.

Fluffy Tufts

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I spent a day at the end of September after photographing my first wedding, taking my time driving from Eastern Washington back to Seattle, stopping at some of my favorite pastimes along the way.

One of my favorite spots in Washington happens to be a spot among the Pacific Crest Trail, where I spotted these fluffy guys basking in the sunset of the most picturesque evening.

It was so peaceful walking and meditating amongst these tufts, listening to the breeze.. and on the opposite sides of this crest, a great ravine, and a lake before Mt. Rainier {pictures to come in later posts}.

I am looking forward to returning this Summer for some backpacking trips.  This field of tufts was such a welcoming surprise, I can't wait to see what's beyond the bend of the trail during my next visit.

Crystalline Skies

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A dear friend and I went on a short drive recently, aiming for a mid-day hike to a lakeside, but were pleasantly met with beautiful, fresh snow - and plenty of it!  We didn't even make it to the trail head, but stopped along the way and had ourselves a few good snowball fights, wandered along the snowy river, and listened to the creaking trees, heavy among their new weight : : :

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I just love the mountains, especially on days like this when you can see the the dimensions of the trees and hills through the particles of fog and clouds, bringing out all the colors of the seasons.  Even in the dead of Winter, there seems to be a glow of warmth breathing from the forest that calls my name.

I'm so glad that we got out here this day; not only was it refreshing, but I ended up coming down with a bad case of the flu which seems to be spreading pretty badly this year, and ended up with cabin fever for about three weeks!

This gets me excited for snowshoeing, which I am planning to try for the first time in the next month or so, and I can't wait!  There is a frozen waterfall I'm just itching to photograph!