Girlfriends 8.29.2017

My intention was to blog  about my creative journey. To bring you along as I grow and change as an artist.  Instead, I have allowed four months to go by without a peep. What the heck have I been doing? I have gone to a workshop, done a session for spectrum inspired, a couples session , an intimate session, and joined the unraveled school.  I have also been practicing a bunch on my family and will cherish those images forever.  Although I have a lot to say about all of that, today I want to mostly talk about my past weekend in Flagstaff.  

I had the opportunity to assist Coleen Hodges and her assistant Jen with their mini-sessions in Flagstaff.  They are raising money for Spectrum Inspired and their trip to Ireland on behalf of the nonprofit in a couple of weeks.  I haven't been away by myself for a long time.  This little trip allowed me to catch my breath. 

I have a handful of women who know everything there is to know about me and love me anyway.  Girlfriends like this hold you up when your legs have lost all their strength. When your heart has been broken in a million pieces, they help you search through the couch cushions and your nasty car to find every last piece so you can be whole again one day.   That is what this weekend was.  I let go of expectations and allowed myself to just document us, as a creative.  We laughed, cried, ate a wonderful meal, did work, and maybe found a couple of those missing pieces I have been looking for

So this post is me. Where I am now, as a creative, with some of my favorite people.

Sarah's Birth Story

My friend Sarah has been so supportive of me and this adventure.  When she asked if I would come document her birth she was met with an enthusiastic, "Hells YES."  Then the reality of my real job set in.  I work full time night shift as a punching bag....., I mean an ER nurse.  We decided I would come if it was possible and left it up to chance.  God smiled down on us that this actually worked out!

Panic set in when I started to think about  photographing in low light. Although I plan to revolve my craft around natural lighting,  I needed a flash.  I didn't own one and I didn't know how to use one. My husband went to the amazing  Foto Forum with a list of questions.  They were so much help and I plan on bugging them A LOT.  I saved up and bought a 430 EXIII, watched you tube, creative live videos, and practiced. I highly recommend watching the Mastering TTL Flash  class in creative live with Mike Fulton and Cody Clinton.  It was so helpful and I need to watch it 10 more times so that all the info actually sinks in.  

At last, in the wee hours of the night, I got the call.  When I got there Sarah was calmly laboring with John by her side.  Her mom was there too as solid support.  The midwives were watching over her labor and reported that it was coming along nicely.  There were two of them. One, a seasoned veteran who was present at Sarah's previous birth and another in training. While talking with them I considered becoming a midwife... for about 30 seconds.  Sarah was a freaking rock star.  Watching her trust her body to bring her baby into the world was a powerful reminder that our bodies were made to do amazing things. Baby Vayda came into this world calmly and into the hands of her father who handed her over to her mother while announcing that they had" gotten a girl!"

Seriously, such a beautiful moment. 


I've been told not to mix business with pleasure.  Photography blurs those lines. It's personal to me.  When I am invited into your home or to photograph an experience, it's sacred to me. Years from now, I want you to look at the photos and remember what it felt like. The sounds, the warmth or the chill in the air, the smell, the softness of newborn skin, the way your heart skipped a beat when he brushed your hair aside.  It is all sacred.  Mixing business with pleasure is necessary.  Although I am helping you preserve your story, YOU are a huge part of MINE.   I suppose THAT is what this blog is about.  

The door opened when Coleen Hodges and Ace Fanning gifted me a seat in their workshop.  This door was allowing light to shine in where it hadn't been for a long time,  I sat there staring at this sudden stream of light wondering how I could have possibly been picked and knew I could not waste this opportunity.  Waste it, I will not!! So here I am developing a website and starting a blog.  If it sucks it's because I don't know what I am doing. Which is exactly why you are still reading this.  It's kind of like watching a train wreck. 

What you can't see:

I am going to start this photography journey off right with a proper cake smash.  It is appropriate because you don't see photographers like Co and Ace doing this kind of stuff. They have more respect for themselves, but I guarantee you, they did them.  I know this because I paid Coleen to take my #3's cake smash pictures.  Which were fantastic, of course!

If you are wondering...  Sometimes I refer to my kids by number.  It is easier than typing their name, until it gets changed into a hashtag, then it gets annoying.  After saying their name, everyone asks which one they are anyway.  So, I'm saving the trouble.  For the sake of you trying to get to know me, Davis (#4) turned one. I decided to practice my cake smash photography skills since I will be doing an actual paid cake smash gig in a week.

#3 turned 3 three days before #4's birthday. Confused? Go ahead, read it again............... Got it?OK, so I work the night shift as an ED nurse and worked the night before #4's birthday.  Using the other half of Keagan's cake was the only way he was going to get cake. (fourth kid problems) I just turned the half eaten part to the back and poof! A whole cake! To all you moms out there that think you need a perfect cake just to get smashed.  Good news! You don't!

He hated the cake. He actually gagged. #1 and #2 were standing by with spoons in hand to help him out.  They made a giant mess and in the end he was pretty happy about turning one. In hindsight.  I would have put pants on him.  I couldn't use half the pictures because, cock 'n balls.  Lesson learned, more to come!  Welcome to the journey!!