Slice Of Life And Apple Pie - Anchorage Family Photographer

WHERE DID THE TIME GO?!

My youngest just graduated from preschool and is on his way to kindergarten next year! I'm obviously excited about this, but I'm also a little sad. He's the one that keeps me company in the morning. So this morning I decided I want to capture some of our time together. Usually I'm busy cleaning while he is doing his thing. But, this morning I decided to help him make an apple pie. He LOVES to make pie. If he could, he would make one every day. So check out the photos below to see him making his pie. 

DON'T WAIT TO GET PHOTOS LIKE THESE!

In my business I offer beautiful portraits, and storytelling adventure sessions because I realize as a mother both of them are important.  In the long run it's the little moments that matter, they can take you back in time. So don't put off having photos done of your family. before you know if they will be grown up!

THANKS FOR CHECKING OUT MY BLOG!

Why I Love This Portrait - Anchorage Family Photographer

  Not everyone loves black and white portraits, but they are timeless to me. This could have been taken 100 years ago or yesterday. I love the way her hair is blowing across her face and the way the light is hitting her face beautifully. The clouds are dramatic, along with the hair you know it's a stormy day. The plants and the mountains in the background give a sense of place, and texture to the image. The way her little hands are holding her dress out so delicately touches my heart. I really love this image because to me it's a timeless portrait of a beautiful little girl. 

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The Slope Wife Life: Let Go Of Perfection

It never gets easier. There are always new challenges. 

It's not easy being a slope wife. I always get asked if I get "used" to my husband being gone. Ummmm, no. I miss him like crazy. There are lots of times where it is just not fun. So I just wanted to pass on some tips that I've learned over my years of being a slope wife. 

Tip #1. Let go of perfection.

I have been a slope wife for going on 10 years this year, I have 4 kids ages 13, 11, 9, and 5. My husband left for his job on the slope the week after my 3rd child was born. So, I had a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and a baby. They all have their unique challenges, and they are their own personalities. But, raising your kids alone for long periods of time is hard. My hat goes off to parents living the single life. 

We live in a society today that is showing you and telling you to be perfect.

Let it go, life is too short to be living your life to someone else’s standards. Let me tell you a story. One time when my husband was on the slope, I was trying desperately to get my kitchen clean. I had some friends that were going to come over to visit, and we lived in one of those homes where it was an open floor plans. You could see the kitchen, living room, and the entry area all at the same time. I kind of hate these floor plans, because anyone who comes into the house sees your dirty dishes! 

I actually spent a lot of time cleaning up the kitchen, plopped the kids in front of the TV, and ran upstairs to take a quick shower. Upon coming back downstairs nothing looked out of the ordinary.  As I turned the corner to walk into the kitchen I knew something was wrong.

I was sliding across the floor like a rollerskating, disco dancing queen.

My arms swung wildly in desperation trying to grasp onto anything for balance. But to no avail. The kitchen counter was as slick as a used car salesman. Finally, I came to a stop when I slid all the way across the kitchen, and fell to the ground unable to grab onto anything.

I was upset!

One of my children had felt the need to spray the floor, fridge handle, and the kitchen counter with cooking spray. The next thing I remember is them jumping up on the couch laughing at me from the living room. I tried to get up, but wasn't going anywhere fast. 

What in the world were they thinking!

All within a few minutes they managed to create a rollerskating rink for their mom and shattered my idea of having a clean house for the company. I think kids must have some sort of radar that goes off when they know you are trying to accomplish something. Eventually I pinned down who did it and asked him why. His response was that he just wanted to know what would happen.  Now, we do our best to keep the house clean, but I’m not putting on a front of perfection anymore. I don't run around like a mad man trying to clean up when someone is stopping by.

Ain't nobody got time for that!

Just relax, let go of perfection. Kids grow up fast, and then who will be around to make your life interesting. 

You are a rock star mom!

 It's hard being home alone with the kids. Take them out for dinner when you've had a hard day, relax in a bubble bath. The kitchen can wait until morning. 

The Slope Wife Tips

5 Tips To Being a Support For Your Postpartum Partner

As a mom of 4 kids I can tell you that it is exhausting to give birth. I jokingly tell my husband that I have been sleep deprived since my oldest was born 13 years ago. It is emotionally and physically exhausting to raise children, but it's worth it! I always heard people tell me while I was pregnant to get sleep now because once the baby was born, I wouldn’t get any sleep. It didn’t really hit me that that was true until I was so sleep deprived that I couldn’t even think straight. So, here are some tips to be a support for your postpartum partner to help her get sleep, and feel great. 

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#1: Take time off work to be home.

New moms have just had their bodies work harder than ever, and go through changes that are really dramatic in a short amount of time. They need sleep, which is hard to get when you have a newborn that needs to eat every few hours, and poops just as often. She will need help. Stay home, take the baby so that she can rest, shower, and eat.

#2: Accept meals and help from friends and family.

These people know how hard it can be to add a new little baby to the family and they want to help. Graciously accept their meals, it’s one less thing that you will have to worry about doing. I’ve learned over time that having a community around you that will help is essential to raising children. Just don't forget to do the same when your friends have babies! 

#3: Hold the space for her.

What does that mean? Don’t assume that you know how she is feeling. Not everyone has the same emotional reactions to things, and while we might have a good idea of how she feels, you could be completely wrong. If she shares something with you, ask her how she is feeling about it. You might be surprised about what she says. We need to allow others to feel what they are feeling, and acknowledge it. I really believe that most women just want a listening ear. Instead of immediately giving advice, listen to her, and then ask if she wants advice or if she would just want you to listen to her. This is so important and something that I believe a lot of people struggle with.  

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#4: Surprise her!

Take the time to bring her something that you know she loves and enjoys. That could be anything from flowers, to a specific food, to a gift. She deserves to know that she is appreciated for all that she does. It's amazing how the little things in life can really affect how we feel. 

#5: Enjoy this time!

I know that everyone says to enjoy the time when your kids are little. But it is so true! They grown up so fast, and before you know it they are to big to hold in your arms. Enjoy this new little one and the wonder that they are. 

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What to do if your toddler wont co-operate for photos? Tips from a photographer who was that toddler!

       Early one morning my mother decided that she was going to take me to go get my photo done at the local JCPenny's. She had 6 kids at the time, and obviously wanted to show the world her youngest little beauty! I'm surprised that I can even remember this event seeing as I was so young, but I do. The photographer sat me up on the bench, stood behind the camera and told me to smile. Now just in case you don't know me well, sometimes right off the bat I don't like people. I did not like this photographer. Looking back on it, I felt like he was talking down to me. So, I did what every little sassy pants toddler does...I REFUSED to smile. He then proceeded to try everything he could do to make me smile, and nothing worked. Out of desperation my mother bribed me with an ice-cream shake if I would just give her one smile. I can still remember the desperation in her voice! At that point I knew I had won! I gave my mother what she wanted, this sassy little smile, and we were out the door to get that shake.  What is interesting is that this last Christmas this picture came up, and we didn't talk about how cute I was. We laughed about what a stinker I was that day! So, what can you do to have a stress free photo-shoot with your toddler....

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  • First, hire a photographer that is good with kids. I try my best to get down to their level and introduce myself right off the bat. Kids often get talked down too, and if you read the above story you'll know that they don't like it.
  • Maybe a sitting portrait isn't for them. Let them play for a bit, and then try to engage them. Talk to them about something that is interesting to them and try to capture their reaction. Please don't ask your child to say "cheese", there is nothing I hate more than the word "cheese"! Ask them what their favorite color is, their favorite thing to do with mom, ect. 
  • Try not to bribe. I've seen this tactic many times. I've seen kids be bribed with anything from ice cream to a trip to Disney Land. Often times the parent has to keep bribing to keep their kid to keep smiling. My approach with toddlers is to just let them be. They like getting attention, so take the focus off of them for a bit. Then when they are ready, play with them, and most of the time they will want to be part of whatever is going on.
  • Bring a snack. Something that wont stain their clothing. Food makes most people feel better, and it often makes kids more cooperative. 
  • In the end just ask yourself what you want to remember about this moment? Do you want to remember how frustrated you were? Or do you want to remember picking flowers with your toddler and making them giggle. The best photos are made from real emotions.

Tips on how to Photograph the Northern Lights - Alaska Photographer

On Christmas night I stood next to my car in -40 degree temperatures outside of Denali National Park trying to capture the perfect photo of the Northern Lights.

Why?

Because photographing the northern lights is addictive, magical, and so much fun. It was also on my bucket list, and it’s probably on yours as well. The dancing lights can be fleeting, so I want to give you some tips on how to get it right the first time.

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Protecting your camera:

Taking your camera in and out of the cold can cause condensation, and so it is very important to properly protect your camera. I place my camera into an extra large airtight ziplock bag. I then place the camera into the camera bag that I have also had out in the cold. The condensation will form on the bag and not on my camera. The reason I place the plastic bag into a cold camera bag is to allow the camera to adjust slowly to temperature changes. Just be sure to let your camera warm up slowly, it can take quite a while.

 

Protecting yourself:

Be prepared for the weather! I live in Alaska and -20 or colder at night is normal. I wear thermal underwear, long sleeved shirts, a heavy winter coat, snow pants, snow boots, gloves, large mittens over my gloves, hat and a face mask. I also use hand warmers in my gloves, and my boots. I like to be warm! Obviously this might be overkill for where you live, so prepare yourself accordingly. DO NOT touch your tripod without gloves in very cold weather. It can be very painful, I know from experience!

 

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Recommended Gear for photographing the Northern Lights

  • Tripod: You will need a tripod for the long exposures that are required.
  • Shutter release: Although this isn’t a requirement, I find that using one helps keep the photo sharp, and free from camera shake.
  • Wide angle lens with a wide aperture: I use a wide angle lens exclusively for my northern light photos.
  • Extra Battery: You will be taking lots of long exposures, and the cold reduces battery life! Be sure to keep an extra battery on hand. I keep mine inside my coat to keep it warm.

Recommended Camera Settings

Your camera settings will vary depending on the brightness of the Aurora, but here are some good starting points.

  • Aperture: Keep your f-stop around 1.4-2.8, or the widest your lens will open up.
  • ISO: Start with an ISO around 1000, and increase or decrease as needed.
  • Shutter Speed: Shutter speeds will also need to vary depending on your desired effect. If the lights are dim try shooting around 1/15-1/25th of a second. If the lights are bright and really dancing, increase your shutter speed to 1/10 of a second or faster to catch the movements.
  • Focus: I set my camera on manual focus, and focus to “infinity”. Then I check and adjust as needed.

The northern lights can be unpredictable, and can change in intensity. You will need to adjust your settings as needed throughout the shoot.

Don’t let the dark winters keep you indoors and away from shooting. Yes, it can be hard to drag yourself out of your cozy bed, but it is worth it! Just don’t forget to stop for a moment and really enjoy what you are seeing. Now get out there and capture some magic!

Goddard Family - Sitka, Alaska Family Photographer

    Last fall Mary Goddard from Sitka, Alaska contacted me about collaborating on a project together. It's called the Tlinglit Legends. Our plan was to tell some of the Tlinglit legends through  jewelry and photography. We spent months planning, and it finally all come together. I flew down in March. The trip down there was an experience. I missed my first flight out of Anchorage due to a crash that happened. I quickly changed my flight thinking that I would be there by 6 pm. They put me on a plane to Juneau, Pettersburg, Wrangell, Ketchikan, then they canceled my last flight to Sitka. I later learned that chain of flights is called the Milk Run. Because those cities, are all located on islands in Southern Alaska, and they need their mail, medications, ect delivered. The crew had flown too many miles and had to take a break. Hours later I was put on a plane back to Juneau, and then finally made it to Sitka. The next day we got to work on the shoots, and I can't wait to show you what we came up with! After our final commercial shoot Mary, her husband, and little boy got together for a couple of quick family photos. It was late in the day, overcast, and started showing. Most of those things would be a photographer nightmare, but I love, love, love how the photos came out. Take a look below, and let me know what you think! 

   The trip down to Sitka was exhausting for me, I missed my family, and I was flying standby which wasn't ideal. Luckily I made it on all of my flights, but the flight home was iffy. One more person and I would have not made it home until the next morning. All that being said, I would love to go to Sika, and Juneau again. I would want to bring my husband or one of my kids with me, and I would need to book a few sessions in my trip down. So if you are from Sitka, or Juneau, and you want to have photos done....reach out to me, and then reach out to your friends to see if anyone else is interested. 

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