...so it's time for another Iheartfaces challenge, love it!

b/w whole world in his hands
I love creating this pose for newborn photography and I recently took this image working with a wonderful family at a WPPI event with Me Ra Koh (You can read about it on my two previous posts).  Here it is in black and white with a little quick and easy refinement editing from flickrs piknik tool - it printed beautifully on a pearl paper sample I got at the WPPI trade show!  Don't forget to see more on Iheartfaces anything but a face challenge!


...so I went to WPPI, OH MY!

typicalLasVegasCasinoor if there was a hell
There isn't a whole lot that will get me to Las Vegas but a free pass because of paying attention to facebook updates from great vendors like Blueberry Hill to the WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) conference and trade show was something a hopeful photographer just can't miss.  So I pretty much bribed and begged a fellow hopeful photographer to go with me and off we went.  We walked ALOT!  We learned ALOT!  We even won a few things without even gambling and we spent a little money to improve our craft.
lemondropmartinistasting the pear martini at Fiammos
  Some highlights for me include going to the "Women in Contemporary Photography" event to hear several wonderful women speak (I was looking forward to Jasmine Star but they were all great) on how they got into the business of photography and make it a success.  There was quite a line to see them speak but there were plenty of seats and it was well worth the lessons learned.  I regretted my decision not to get an iphone to twitter because it surely would have meant a great giveaway during the presentation.
largecrowdtohearwomenphotographers womenincontemporaryphotography  
There is much to learn about papers to print on.  I have a 13" Epson printer I use for last minute projects that prints beautifully but I really learned a lot about the difference papers make.  I was carrying a usb flash drive with samples of my work and I had them printed by several different vendors selling papers as well as printers.  Ilford (who photography students most often used for b/w film processing paper) printed one of my still life images on a beautiful glossy paper, it came out absolutely gorgeous.  Another printed a portrait on an Epson matte art paper which looked beautiful but had these distracting marks from going through the printer.  A printer vendor showed me the new Epson 24" printers than run only about $2500 and printed on Kodack paper a couple of prints.  They came out nice, the printer is such a great price but the Ilford paper was far and above had the best results.  The new 17" printers from Epson are very impressive as well.  I am coveting a larger Epson printer for sure.
The Sony booth had some great demos of their video cameras and DSLRs going at all times.  They had some great speakers as well and they had a rotating display of prints from the speakers shot during their presentations.  They were so good!  I missed America's Top Model photographer and manly man, Nigel Barker who gave a big fashion show/photo shoot the night before I got there.  I shoot with a Sony and although many may snicker behind my back about it, I continue to see some pretty great work being shot with the Sony.  My friend is a Nikon shooter and although the Nikon speakers were a must see, she really enjoyed the Sony speakers especially Me Ra Koh (see my previous blog post).
so cute!
The Blueberry Hill booth
There were some great specials on albums but it was overwhelming which company to choose from!  We both want to have a portfolio of our work printed but choosing an album or book style within our budget was quite daunting.  I will have to write a whole post on this subject!  We both won free canvas prints and found some really good vendors for printing.  We saw a lot of ideas for marketing and new ideas for props and backrounds.  As I set up my studio, I have enough supplies from my previous career in the antiques business that I will be able to create my own props and backrounds.  One of my favorites was the booth that got me there in the first place.  Blueberry Hill has the cutest hats for baby photography, I got a fedora and adorable yarn kitty hat.  I would like to get more fedoras in other colors and the sock monkey hats in every color!  Can't wait to shoot babies with those hats!  Her partner for the show (Lemondrop Stop) makes the nicest floors and backdrops.  The floor looked great after thousands of people walked on it.  They are just starting out and their presence could have been stronger (I was hoping for a show special) but their products look fantastic and they are environmentally green.  I am definitely going to order from them.
They were always crowded!
Gotta get me this floor!
  Kodak was giving away some new types of film, so glad film is still being strongly supported.  I got some to practice on my daughter's Mamiya film camera, that should be a fun project.  I wish I would have had more time to spend with the equipment vendors.  I am looking to buy a continuous softbox setup for the studio we will build as soon as the weather gets better.  I saw an underwater camera case I would love to use for underwater maternity shoots.  I have the perfect pool for underwater photography so it would be a shame not to take advantage of it.  There were some nifty gadgets, books, equipment deals from all the vendors and lens deals from Sigma.  
bride modelwildmodel
I actually took these myself!  Really!
Some of the equipment vendors had live models to show the usefulness of their products and it was fun capturing images, I felt like I was cheating but the results were great.  There was some topless girls being body painted, I have no idea what they were selling but they drew a large crowd.  We came home with lots of literature, offers, notes from the great speakers and so many ideas to implement.  We walked miles and miles to see everything at least once, sometimes even three times to see the speakers and ask questions.  What will we accomplish from this?  We'll see won't we.
As I find great posts on WPPI from other blogs, I will list them here...


So I learned a new way to spell "Miracle" at WPPI...

and it has a whole new meaning for me.  Along with the miracle of a baby, I now will think of Me Ra Koh which means to me confidence and the support of other women reaching for their dreams.

See this in black and white as well as a couple more photographs in my flickr set.

I went to the WPPI trade show in Las Vegas to improve my photography, learn some skills and see what is available to me as a photographer (thanks to Blueberry Hill!).  I went with a friend who has some amazing opportunities and great gifts as a photographer (I will introduce you in another post) but feels she doesn't  have the confidence to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional photographer.  She met a speaker at the Sony booth she found inspiring and found out she was speaking the next day.  She realized her pass wouldn't let her see her speak so  I checked the internet to see if there was any other appearances in our area.  I found this invitation to actually spend time with Me Rah Koh personally at a lunch that included shooting with models!  We were so excited to have this opportunity together and as I was already very familiar with Me Ra Koh's story, I traded passes so she could go and hear Me Ra's confidence discussion.  

I had signed us up for the Garden Party as well.  What a miracle to have just what we needed to direct us in the direction of our dreams!  The most exciting part for me was to hear women speak who had applied for the SOAR scholarship like I had (although the year before) and who didn't win.  They took it hard as I did but pushed towards their goals in spite of not being chosen.  That made me very excited.  I feel like I'm too old sometimes and there are many who don't take me seriously (including myself sometimes).  But the miracle of meeting women just like myself was soooo inspiring!  There were gifts given by sponsors to those in attendance that I am grateful for, that I consider a blessing to help me reach for my goals.  There were younger women who made me feel like one and the same along with them, that reaching for my goals could be attainable no matter what!


It was appropriate that some of the "models" we shot was a beautiful new family.  The miracle of a new baby to draw together mama and daddy to each other as well as to their baby.  It is a love I have felt four times in my own life, when hope and the future looks it's brightest!  I am so comfortable photographing babies.  I kind of held back and watched everyone else take their pictures and when the crowd thinned out a little, I jumped in with my red sweater and my favorite ideas not even realizing I had taken and cradled the baby in my arms as I gave direction.  It is just so natural to me and someone pointed it out, thankfully the parents didn't mind (they were so sweet and fun!).  I hope they enjoy these photographs of their beautiful little girl Hannah as much as I enjoyed taking them!  Thanks to Julie Watts for taking the lead with all of us on this shoot!

hannah's sweet smile          babyhannahfeelsthisway

I have a new baby now, my photography business.  Every day I will care for it and nurture it, train it and grow it.  Thank you Me Ra Koh for the miracle and inspiration along with the other women!  Thank you Mike, Rachel and Hannah for letting me spend time with you to photograph your family, may you continue to be blessed in your family as I have been.  Thank you Trish for coming with me on our trip that became a journey of sorts, won't you all come along and see what happens?


...SOOC Old Master Portrait Session

Sydney in a red dress
Click on photograph to view on black in flickr
I've been meaning to take this photograph for a very long time.  We bought these beautiful vintage ball gowns and I wanted my daughter to pose for me in one of them but she was a little hesitant.  She used to be pretty bold about pictures but they were mostly candids during her adventures on road trips or in Mexico, Ecuador or Katrina Relief Work in New Orleans looking grungy in Tyvek suits or overalls and kerchiefs.  I wanted to capture her beautiful face dressed up in an exquisite gown lost in thought.  She has made the same face when she is lost in thought all her life, her eyes look almost a little sad...I think the word I am looking for is wistful.  She has always dreamed big, we have told our children their dreams are possible if they work hard and stick with those dreams despite the obstacles.  She has definitely had more than her share of obstacles and she has come through them with a strength and determination I admire.

So she tried on a couple of the ball gowns and they fit perfectly.  She was thinking about how they could be made up as tea length gowns as bridesmaids dresses for her sister's possible wedding.  (I have 3 girls and between them, their friends as well as the event planning/photography we are involved in...there is always alot of wedding talk!)  Of course it must be said that Anthropologie just introduced their new wedding line (see it here and just die!)well, that would get any girl swooning over a beautiful gown.  I pestered her to pose for me in the red gown for a portrait idea I have had for years, I begged, cajoled and just plain wore her down.  She was having a bad day and after a heart to heart to boost her self confidence about her own beauty, she agreed to let me take her photograph.  She got ready for work and put on the dress with only a short time for a portrait session.

I posed her next to a window on a cloudy afternoon against a metallic glazed wall behind her murphy bed.  The light was just so perfect and moody to create the old masters oil painting type portrait I was after, I only needed a little fill light reflected off a white matboard.  I aimed to use a wider aperture which creates such a beautiful effect with a slightly darker exposure and with just about 10 frames shot...nailed it.  The only criticism I have for myself is that her hand on the left side of the portrait disappears into the darkness too much.    I could play around with this in photoshop, add a texture...some brushstroking, print it on canvas but straight out of the camera is an effort I am proud of.  What do you think?  

...so February is Go Red for Women month

and Iheartfaces.com hearts hearts!  See more photos that "Go Red" here:  


grandma reads to the baby
Click on the photo to see the details on my big red bible...

I almost posted another photo but I decided to save it for another day, another post
(but it's sooo good)... Sydney in a red dress/

This is something all women should think about.  Five years ago the day my husband turned 50 and we were contemplating our age...I went to the hospital with chest pains.  After 3 days of tests and an angiogram, I was diagnosed with angina.  Because my heart rate and blood pressure was regularly so low, I could not be put on heart medications as they lower blood pressure.  My cardiologist said that the risk for me was for my heart to just stop.  Well, I had been sick and bedridden with fibromyalgia for about 10 years and this was the last straw.  I wanted to see my children find love and discover their gifts, I wanted to see my grandchildren born and the way things were going, it wasn't going to happen.  I got to work researching and reading everything I could get my hands on.  
A five minute interview with a Dr. Hotze on a morning show got me researching thyroid issues and how it relates to the heart.  His book gave me my life back ("Hormones, Health and Happiness") and  now I no longer suffer from fybromyalgia or depression or angina or anemia and all the other stupid things that were keeping me from living life to the fullest.  Here I am now with a grandson and another grandchild on the way watching my children grown and finding their way in the world, married to the man I've loved for  35 years still having adventures together.  
Life goes by too fast, this is why I blog now.  I want to share what I am learning with other people and my family especially the biggest lesson - that it's never to late to LIVE!

for more information go to  http://www.goredforwomen.org/ and http://www.drhotze.com/