Friday, June 22, 2012

Welcome Summer 2012


The heat is on!  Summer started off here on the east with an incredibly oppressive heat wave.  However, that also means hours in a plastic child pool, running under the sprinkler, making water filled balloons to throw at anyone who passes by your "fort" and drinking iced tea.  That's what I think of when I recall my lazy days of childhood summers. 

But for some reason I just can't remember it being so stinkin hot out!  Yes you can fry eggs on the pavement (so the news proved the other day)and if I'm not in air conditioning constantly, this Momma is not too happy:))  However, we do have a community pool to really cool things down.

Though I have been very busy entertaining both girls the past few weeks, I was able to fit in a few days worth of blogging and posting photos  which is sort of "phototherapy" to me.  As I have learned "less is best" and I'm referring to the addiction of editing.  Due to lack of time, I somehow had to force myself to stop editing to perfection and simply try to capture their innocence and beauty by forgetting I have a digital camera, pretending it's film and getting the "shot" on the first, okay second try.  

Before it got so ridiculously hot out, I couldn't resist the warm setting sun during the evenings and strolled through the fields to find a place (where both Mom and daughter weren't freaked out but bugs) and catch the dreamy light as it cascading perfectly over my daughter's wide brim hat.  Seems to me these may be my most favorite photos ever as the last photo required no editing except a little de-fogging and the first two I added a bit of contrast to capture the shadows on her pretty dimples.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the warm, lazy summer days!


the long road

Friday, June 15, 2012

Favorite Photo Friday

I never getting tired of taking photos of my girls, especially Kira.  She so dislikes the camera and my requests to try different locations, that her photos come out so cute, ya know, with all the attitude a little five year old can dish out!  

How's this Mom?

Can you feel the tension?  Just look at those cute little hands with fingers pinched together and her dress hiked up as if to say "I'm serious here"lol, oh my goodness she makes me laugh.

So after the begging and pleading, finally a smile, with those dimples I can't resist.

Processed with Florabella Classic Workflow
Classic Rich and Modern Color and a bit of Drama all
tweaked just a bit.

So for more serious cuteness head on over to The Long Road to China and check out the other entries.

the long road

Friday, June 8, 2012

Berry Slim Pickings!

Finally, a post way over due!  

I have wanted to post photos of the girls for weeks now and and well, let's say things have been a wee bit busy.  

But first a quick update on Shelby.  Thankfully she continues to recover uneventfully from  surgery and finally started walking, no wait, I mean running... about a month ago and it's all good, especially since Kira now has someone to chase around the house besides me.   Also she navigates the stairs like a pro, puts her own shoes on and seems to also have an affinity for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons! 

Kira is finishing up pre-school today and I can't believe that I had to already register her for kindergarten, sniff sniff!  Yikes, where did the time go???  I am so proud of her.  Despite all the changes this year, Kira has been such a trooper; working so hard in school and completely enjoying her 4 hour intense gymnastics classes.  She too is a huge fan of the Jersey Boys (and if I have to listen to that CD one more time, it may accidently go flying out the window of our car) lol.  

Well both girls are huge fresh fruit lovers and as a treat we decided to go "berry picking" here in the Garden State.  It was interesting to say the least (the big cherries and strawberries were nicely packed in the farms local store) I basically needed a magnifying glass to find the strawberries and beans, but the cherries were fun for all of us.  

I totally enjoyed watching the girls and tried to capture their enthusiasm for "farm" life.  

My  Berry Sweet Girls!
(yes these eyes sparkle naturally) 

A berry fav of mine

Now where are those strawberries again?

Needless to say the best part of this outing was desert before dinner!

 Shelby makes some crazy faces upon tasting something new or in this case cold.  

Big sister Kira laughing hysterically at Shelby's ice creamed face.

Thanks for stopping by friends.  Here's to a Happy Summer 2012.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Everything I needed to know about photography posing...I learned from a pre-schooler!

Yes, it's so true, most of what I learned from posing children I actually learned from my daughter!  She is very determined and stubborn and so I thought, why not take advantage of doing things her way? Actually knowing the developmental behaviors of kids is really the key.  Although, Kira has always been set in her ways, most 5 yr olds love to run, dance, explore and of course dress up and use their imaginations.  So ya just got to work with it.

I used to believe that in order to capture those "perfect" shots I had to continuously keep my finger on the shutter button or by the end of a shoot walk away exhausted from trying to entertain a child who had their individual ideas of what "play" was (and sitting through an hour or two family session just wasn't one of them.)  
So my sweet, creative and feisty little girl helped me to realize that pre-schoolers are quite capable of knowing the true definition of candid photography.  
These images were taken with my D700 and 50/1.8mm lens.  I changed the ISO depending on the light since I love to shoot nearly wide open (f/2.2 or lower) and adjusted the shutter speed as needed.  Also I like to set my EV at 0.3; a nice combination that works for me when trying to obtain optimal exposure.

Yesterday I bought some flowers and as we walked around the house we found some bright pink azaleas that caught Kira's eye and so as you can see this is what she did and how she wanted to use her "props".  Notice she wanted a "pony tail that was off to the side" so I had no control over this spontaneous shoot, which made it even more fun!

Here is the typical, "okay Mom, you can take just one picture," with hands placed strategically on the hips and a face that says "you've got one shot

Oh how this child makes me laugh and if I can say one thing, her attitude is adorably displayed in the image above.  She wanted to blow bubbles and I wanted just one more photo and again, her face says it all.  I love her laughter, pouting and most of all her sensitive personality.  But this image I'm saving for her future husband:)) and in gallery of favorite images.


The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.

Albert Einstein

Thank you sweet Kira, for these very important child posing tips.

Friday, April 6, 2012

To crawl or walk...what will she do?

The weather has been beautiful this week, so once again I dusted off my camera and went out to take some much needed photos of Shelby.  BTW pardon the funky hair piece I can't say I like it but that face, oh I can't resist:))  So I carried Shelby to the park and we found some shade and great light.  I immediately started taking photos, but unlike Kira who so dislikes the camera this tot is always saying "cheese", it's pretty funny, only thing is I want some pout every now or then, then I say am I crazy?  Who wants their child pouting, but it's all for the sake of a good photo, only!

Shelby quickly discovered she loved being outside and much to my surprise stood up!!!  Yes I couldn't believe it, she stood and held onto the tree.  So the looks she's giving seem to say "you want me to do what? Why? I love being carried everywhere!"

 Then I put her on the grass to see if she would crawl and yep indeed, the babe crawled.  Momma was very happy indeed.  Only 3 weeks home after being in traction and that mermaid wrap for 7 weeks, Shelby was finally crawling.  Prior to this she was extremely timid about crawling and only wanted to sit or lie on her tummy.  She also lost about 5 pounds so she's so tiny again and needs to get some strength back in those skinny legs.  So I was doing my own PT with her in a fun way and I think she actually realized she could negotiate corners better if she crawled.

We couldn't be happier for this small milestone in her recovery!  I'm thrilled and she knows it.  Well gotta run now.  More posts to come.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring is here!

So the day started off packing drinks and snacks, setting up the car and heading off to CHOP for Kira's follow up on the ruptured ear drum scenario.  I felt so organized, the girlies were fed, bathed and dressed an entire hour before we had to leave!  Yay for me.  We arrived early and I went to check in and the receptionist told me "uh hmmm, her appointment was yesterday".  I asked her again and she repeated it.  Okay it was my fault I gazed at the calender and for some reason thought it was a Thursday not Wednesday.  I felt so bad dragging them all the way into the city and even worse knowing I had to come back next week.   Mental notes don't cut it any more, now written ones don't either!  I guess being somewhat sleep deprived and stressed doesn't help either, so now I have to find another way to keep my important dates in mind.  Perhaps temporary tatooes!

Well on the way home, we passed by these gorgeous forsythias in full bloom and well I couldn't resist a few shots.  It was late in the afternoon and brisk so Shelby was sitting nearby, staying warm.  Both girls had colds too.  But I wanted some photos of Kira "when she's in the mood", they usually come out best.
Mommy, I picked these for you!

I love Kira's sense of elegance as she held these branches back so gracefully.  Then she
proceeded to act like the typical tomboy she is and ran around the park till she wanted to go home.
I love watching her play, she's always fascinated me and still does as it takes so little (when we're outdoors) to entertain her.
Awh, my baby love still holding her flowers for me. 

I couldn't resist taking this photo from my car.  I do love how the skyline of Philadelphia has changed so.  I used to drive this route hundreds of times when I was working or studying at Penn.  So of course I took a short drive down memory lane and drove right by the doors of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.  I worked in the operating room as a new graduate and I can still see the window in this photo where I would sit while circulating and gaze out onto 38th and Spruce.  They were good times and I worked side by side with some of the greatest surgeons in medical history.  I didn't know it then, but HUP taught me so much and I am still grateful for those years of experience.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Welcome Home (again) Shelby

Most already know that our Shelby is finally home!  We are ecstatic and thrilled that our little daughter is back home safe and sound after a very long 2 month hospitalization.  Though she has little or no recall of her long surgery and in patient recovery, we still had to do a bit of drug weaning at home and empty one of her drains for about another 5 days and now her biggest challenge is learning to walk again.

She is extremely motivated though and in the past two weeks has made great strides in standing with assistance and taking small baby steps.  Her tiny little legs are straight for the first time in her life and I think she feels a bit unbalanced.  It's cute to see her laugh and giggle and say "whoa" at her new found stance.  I can say without a doubt she is one amazing little girl who continues to laugh throughout the day and constantly request her sister by her side.  

I simply can not say how grateful we are to Dr. Gearhart, the nursing staff, pain management, nutritional services and the wonderful Child Life Specialists who kept her entertained when we couldn't be there.  Shelby is a healthy little girl who continues to show her strength and resilience.  

We thank you all for the wonderful comments and prayers during her recovery.  

Shelby, you go girl, the world is your canvas!

Life is like riding a bicycle
In order to keep your balance,
You must keep moving!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I Heart Faces Photo Challenge "Beautiful Black and White"

I adore any opportunity to photograph my Kira  and when we were playing in the weeds last week, I took this and loved how I captured a little dimple and smirk in this photo.

I decided to convert it to a Black and White and enter it in this weeks photo challenge at "I Heart Faces", since this is the face that defined my role as a mother and the reason I love photographing my children.

So head on over to I Heart Faces and see some of the amazing entries of this weeks photo contest.

Photo Challenge Submission

This photo was submitted to the i heart faces photo challenge.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Beauty in Light

My pretty daughter.  
Her back was directly facing the light source, the beautiful setting sun, yet I was able to capture even tones without over-exposing her cute little face.  
Most of you experienced photogs already know how I did this, so it's probably not that exciting if this is already part of your bag of tricks.  For me I'm like a kid in a candy store after exploring the beauty in back lighting.

Remember way back in the days of 35mm film and how shooting towards bright light would over-expose your image?  Also there were no instant replays on a digital display to show you if your lighting was properly exposed, so what did I do?  Easy, I avoided it!  I shot landscapes, flowers, still life anything that would tolerate natural light without a hand held light meter or gray card.  I know I was lazy, but somehow I managed to capture pretty decent photos with only the use of my polarizing filter.  Now fast forward uh hmm, many years and However,  when I found I loved to photograph people, I chose low ISO film and shade.  I still did that up to last week!  I knew my Nikon was capable of pretty amazing things but I kept to what continued to work for me and really never explored it's capability, mostly because of habit and what "worked".   For example in the "old days" I would not like the grain on 1600 ISO film and therefore never used it; however I could bump the ISO up to 3200 on my camera and barely notice any grain or noise as it's often referred to.  Got to love technology and the advances of digital technology.  Additionally you can even reduce or add noise with photoshop.  But truthfully I have always loved photographs that appear natural looking and so I wanted to share my new found love of ambient light, especially back lighting in these photos of my daughter.

I am definitely ready for Spring, but more importantly we can't wait to bring our Shelby home in just a few more weeks.  

Shelby has been such a good patient and Monday she will have her epidural pulled and then if she tolerates lying still in traction, they'll take her back to the operating room in 1-2 wks to have her pins and tubes pulled.  We are praying for her continued recovery, despite a bit of a setback last week.  Kira misses her little sister so much, I can't wait to see them together laughing and playing again.  Two months is a very long time for Kira to wait for her best friend and sister to come home.  Again the outstanding medical care at Johns Hopkins was worth every worry as our Shelby is well loved by everyone there!

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love is Sweet

What could be sweeter than than hearing your daughter telling you her "secrets" or who she has a "crush on" now, or even "Mommy, I love you."  To me these expressions of love are more precious than any physical gifts (except their art work on the floor and walls) and so I took these photos of my girls to remind me how much I love them and the gift of love they bring to me.  

Little girls are precious gifts, wrapped in love serene. Their dresses are tied with sashes and wrapped up in dreams.

"Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice. Oh My Gosh!! It Happened Twice!"

Author: Unsure

I would be remiss if I didn't say that Valentine's Day would be so much sweeter if our darling Shelby was here to help sweeten the day even more.  But I am thrilled to know that she is doing okay on her long road to recovery.  Last evening the nurses commented to me on the phone that "your daughter has captured our hearts"!  It was obvious to me the way they played with her, but to hear that personally, just made me think how special and courageous this little girl truly is.  I look at photos and snipets of video of her several times a day, but they make me sad to see her in that drug induced stupor to keep her from moving.  Plus I miss her so much, I just want to grab my keys and head on down at any moment.  But, logic kicks in and I have to remember that big sister Kira needs her Mommy too, more so now because everything is a bit confusing and the past few months have been centered around preparing Shelby for surgery. 

"In your face I see all the beauty of a flower in your voice I hear all the splendour of the sweetest song."
Author: jully

"Daughters are like flowers, they fill the world with beauty."
Author: Author unknown

Happy Valentine's Day!

© Hunan Spice
CoffeeShop Designs