Never alone

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For beautiful eyes,
look for the good in others;

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For beautiful lips,
Speak only words of kindness;

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And for poise,
walk with the knowledge
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that you are never alone.
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-Audrey Hepburn

A beautiful, young couple. In love and waiting for the arrival of their first child.
It was an honor to get to know them during their Maternity Portrait session.
They enjoy the outdoors and nature and were hoping to have their portraits
in the woods.

We were fortunate with a peek of sunshine on the day, it made the below freezing temperatures seem warmer, at least.

At their Image Reveal last night, they were excited to see the photographs
and relieved they didn’t look as cold in the images as we were while taking the photos.

Memories preserved for a life-time. She will never be eight months pregnant
with her first child again, except in her Maternity Portraits.

We all deserve to feel beautiful-

During her photo experience, she was a natural beauty in the street clothes she had selected just for her photo shoot. She changed into her softball uniform and swung her bat like a pro. Each pose and expression easily achieved with her electrifying smiles, her eyes sparkling, her personality bubbling.

Toward the end, we left her mom and grandmother at a picnic table in the shade as we went back into the woods. She gave me more expression, energy & if it were even possible, more enthusiasm. We laughed a lot. 

When she thought our session was about to wrap up, I pulled out her flower crown. (During our consultation and wardrobe follow-up messages, I found out her favorite colors & then I hand-made a crown to compliment her personality). It’s sometimes a gamble–a flower crown and a tulle skirt by surprise.

This client had given me her trust and allowed me to place the crown on her head, and just went for it. She transformed from the girl in street clothes, to the athlete ready to play ball to a princess in the woods. 

During her photo reveal where she saw her slide show and images for the first time, I know she felt special. She felt seen. She got a chance to see herself the way the world sees her.  Full of life. Beautiful. 

Beautiful women

  
A strong woman is one who feels deeply & loves fiercely. Her tears flow just as abundantly as her laughter. A strong woman is both soft & powerful. She is both practical & spiritual. A strong woman in her essence is a gift to the world. -unknown author

I’m always grateful for a woman’s trust when she’s on the other side of my camera. While I attempt to make her feel relaxed & beautiful, I wonder how she interprets my gestures, especially when I see THE shot. (I’ve been told) I sometimes make sounds – like an audible smile noise, sometimes just “yesyesyes”, quite often a tear forms in my eye when everything lines up & I hope the photograph looks something like my vision! 

I see a woman’s strength. Its not in the form of skinny, in perfect makeup, in designer clothes. I see strength in what she’s been through on her journey up to when I press the shutter. I see her beauty shine when the wind messes her hair, when she laughs with her girlfriend, when her feet are bare, in the earth, on a mountain, splashing in the shallow water of a chilly lake. 

She’s the woman I love to photograph. With her stories, with her pain, with her resolve & her laugh lines and all the reasons she is who she is today. That is real. That is a beautiful woman. 

Gratitude & the Mountains

Hiking boots. 4:30am alarm. Fender-bender.
3 Generations. Mountains. Gratitude.

For many, this collection may seem completely at odds. ©WAVphoto

Years ago, my hiking partner & I would greet the day with an early alarm. Rising with the alarm would be crazy to assume, as neither one of us would have slept a wink, knowing we had the opportunity to hike together in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of upper New York State.  One of the first on the trail that day gave us the chance of collecting all the spider webs, making our footprints in the mud from the night before and getting a jump on the summer daylight. (the truth: most days it rained when we hiked…there was no beautiful sunrise).

Back then, we hiked with a mission to finish hiking all 46 peaks in the Adirondacks over 4,000 feet in elevation. Once we accomplished that goal (and it was a huge accomplishment) everyone wondered “what’s next?” will you continue to hike or just pack it in now that you’ve accomplished your goal? I knew instinctively that I’d return with my camera. It wouldn’t be a hike, it would be a photo op. The photo documentation from our hikes had consisted of: arrival at the peak – sometimes with a marker or a plastic disc with the mountain name – in the rain – the swift removal of my point & shoot from the zip lock baggie, one shot at a selfie with both of us in it, the return of the camera to the zip lock & trying to get below the tree line for shelter so we could take in a quick energy break.

During the miles of footprints on the trails I saw so many beautiful places that I wanted to photograph. Carrying a camera & spending the time to stop & start seemed counter to our success at that time. However, in my mind, my creative thoughts flowed constantly…almost as strong as the river we ascended Seward Mountain in. I pictured a beautiful vista – we passed several – with a strong woman in red, in complete possession of her beauty and power with the Adirondack mountains as a stunning & supportive backdrop. The mountains with all their beauty couldn’t shine as bright as a strong woman. The combination, in my mind, was powerfully crazy. It kept my thoughts occupied as the long winter months dragged on, just waiting for the opportunity, the stars to align, the moment when I could look thru my camera, press the shutter and capture the beauty, the strength, the elegance, the moment.

Until it happened.

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A small window created itself. Then closed. The only day for a hike was postponed by a fender-bender. It couldn’t be helped. Fortunately no one was injured, just the mounting anticipation postponed. It had already been two years, what’s another day?

Funny thing when we listen to the energy of the universe.

The fender-bender was only to delay our hike, avoiding heat, humidity and…rain & thunderstorms. The weather the following day was…incredible. It began with a gift of a beautiful blue moon reflecting on the lake. We hiked a long road into the base of the mountain, uphill all the way.

I carried my pack with my usual hiking gear and an additional pack with my camera, a few dresses and flow-y fabric and a few assorted props. Gratefully, my hiking buddies/models helped to carry the additional pack. We quickly ascended to our destination. Up. And more Up. I had only seen photographs of our location, sight unseen but listening to the universe.

The day was just dawning with beautiful sun rays peeking through the trees along the trail. The birch trees glowing white. The river singing alongside our path. My only Adirondack hike of the year and I anticipated the smell of balsam. I wasn’t disappointed.

With excitement came our last turn off the uphill trail, I was leading and as the trees parted, I came out onto the granite ledge. W. O. W. All I could say was “wow”…with that raspy, not-really-a-sound but more of an exclamation, almost to myself…and to the universe. Gratitude flowed over my soul as I looked out onto the most beautiful sight I had only dreamed of. Mountains to the left and to the right, mountains I had climbed over 25 years, with the beautiful blue lake, nestled in between. Blue sky and white clouds as far as I could see.  There really are no words when you come across such majesty. Nature is an incredible editor, making everything just so.

My girls, hiking buddies, taking in the view as well, were psyched! I had packed a couple dresses and fabric – game ON. Hiking boots and beautiful dresses! I could not contain my excitement for another minute. The three of us, bonded by legacy. Our fathers had known each other years ago at a local camp (the Greatest Camp in the Universe). We reunited recently, after one of the connectors passed away. We were together to sprinkle some ashes in his beloved mountains.

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Our hike quickly erupted into a photo session…my vision came to life right before my eyes! It’s always a wonderful feeling when others will take your lead and trust you immensely – to allow me to coach their body into a moment and wait for me to photograph it. Completely vulnerable. Strong. Incredible. Feminine. Powerful. Without a doubt, beautiful.

We laughed. We worked hard. Almost as hard as the hike to get here. My vision had come to fruition. These women made it happen. I was filled with gratitude beyond words. Just images.

my vision of strength

The final series was with both women. A bond with roots 50 years in the making. We are the middle. Our sons were also at the Greatest Camp in the Universe this summer, together. Continuing the legacy of their grandfathers.

I positioned the models on the edge of the cliff, allowing their poses to naturally flow, as the clouds came over and covered the sun, as the breeze blew cool air through their hair, their hands connected, the moment captured.

As I pressed my shutter for the final time that morning, tears fell from my eyes. The beauty. The majesty. The honor. I knew that was my final frame. There could be no more.

Legacy bonds

Gratitude poured from my soul, from my eyes. My vision of my hiking partner in a red dress on a mountain, strong, beautiful, came to life. The legacy and friendship between three people captured forever.

On a mountain.

 

photographs in nature | WAVphoto |Autumn walk

 

I walk, I look, I see, I stop, I photograph.
-Leon Levinstein, 1955

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Every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
-John Muir

 

 

 

 

 

harley

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‘start small & begin promptly’

I love it when I look at something and am instantly inspired! A small
photograph in a frame – is obviously something important. Reading
the caption behind the glass case I learned this small shed
was in a backyard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin about 110 years ago.

The shed belonged to a family named Davidson.

If I added the fact that ‘serial number one’ motorcycle
was built in that little building with a friend named Harley
you might start to piece together, Harley-Davidson.

Harley & the Davidsons

Harley & the Davidsons

The Harley-Davidson brand is known in every corner of the world,
easily recognizable on most highways especially in the warmer months.
Over 3.5 million (2002) motorcycles have graced roads, fields,
race tracks, police lines, postal routes and even the front lines in
two World Wars.

I just visited the Harley-Davidson museum where this photograph hangs and what impressed me the most that day was enthusiasm for everything Harley,
a familiar brand that started in this tiny space, a 10 x 15′ shed.

Harley is not just a brand of motorcycle or rider, it seems to be part of life for those who choose to breathe in that air.  It’s a culture.  I saw it in the excitement of a staff member who was thrilled to share his knowledge
of the layout of the building so we wouldn’t miss any exhibit. He loved his job, anyone could see it.

An exhibit, ‘Living Lost’ – photographs from the front seat of a Harley on a cross-country ride. Gritty in open nature, greasy from side of the road repairs, soft in the future generation of HOGs (the term used for Harley Owner Groups), this display showed the camaraderie among riders.

The evolution of fuel tanks ranging in color – looked very much like my memory of a vast display of butterflies. The ‘Wall of Tanks’ was clean & simple yet spoke loud in volume of history, longevity and miles of open road.

Harley-Davidson wall of tanks

Harley-Davidson wall of tanks

One of the most moving pieces I’ve seen in any museum was the ‘Tsunami motorcycle display’. When the devastating wave hit Japan in March 2011 a motorcycle in a container was washed out to sea. The container drifted 4,000 miles and washed ashore on the coast of British Columbia. It was found in May. Inside the container was a Harley, the Japanese license plate still intact. Finally tracking down the owner who survived, it was learned many in his family perished, his home lost.  The owner asked if his Harley could be donated to the museum in Milwaukee as a memorial to those who were lost. The motorcycle is encased in glass in the same condition it was found, the salt water corrosion continues to make progress.

tsunami motorcycle display

tsunami motorcycle display

The structure of the museum is steel, strong & sturdy, held together by rivets.
‘A rivet is the strongest bond that holds things like I-beams and jeans together. A rivet is exposed to the elements & takes on whatever nature throws at it’ (from the Harley-Davidson website).

I’ve been a visitor to a few Harley events – they’ve always intrigued me – viewing the common thread of Harley; the camaraderie between thousands of owners & riders, the feeling of freedom on the road & being connected by a unique energy & culture, being exposed to the elements & taking on whatever nature throws your way.

And to think every time you hear the roar on the back road or highway – it all began in a 10 x 15′ shed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

www . Harley-Davidson . com

 

 

 

 

 

bespoke

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I heard she thought she wasn’t pretty
I heard she thought she didn’t fit in
She thought she was different.

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We went to the woods
We breathed the air
Supported by the earth under our feet

We laughed
We created

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She is beautiful
She is unique
She is strong

The experience

The photographs

I showed her how perfect she is
She celebrates

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