The Cox Kids

When Jennifer emailed me to photograph her beautiful blonds I was so excited! We are “cheer moms” (sigh). Our daughters have cheered together for several years and had a ball! My kids came along with me hoping for a little play time when our session was over. 🙂 Did I mention we were blessed with beautiful rim light? Ahhhhhhh….

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The Schwarting Family

I love meeting new families. This sweet family told me they found me with a Google search! It’s good to know I am Google-able. 😉 Their little guy was such a cutie…and such a trooper at our session together! It was an extremely cold day with even colder winds; but he hung in there like a champ! Mom and Dad did too!

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Little Stuart needed a break to warm up, so we headed to the car for five. Since I was parked right next to them, I just kept making faced at him through the windows and shooting.

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Once his little hands got warmed up he was ready for some more adventures at Ross Bridge Park.

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Addison and Wells [Madison, MS sessions]

Whew! May and June have been super busy! I’ve been able to post a sampling of all my recent work on Facebook, but now I’m trying to get caught up on the blog. How cute are these kids I photographed last month in Madison, Mississippi? As I mentioned in previous posts from this trip, the weather was uncooperative at 50 degrees and rainy! The kids were troopers though, and once we got them in jeans and long sleeves they were ready to play!
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Thunder on the Mountain [Fireworks over Vulcan], Birmingham, AL

As I have done most all of my life on the 4th of July, we went to watch the fireworks show “Thunder on the Mountain” over Vulcan Statue in my hometown of Birmingham, AL. We have watched it from different venues over the years, but this year we chose to go back to our old apartment in Southside where my husband and I lived when we first got married. The apartment building sits right below Vulcan on 21st Street, so you can easily walk up to Warwick Rd to get a great view. I’ve photographed fireworks before, but never with Vulcan in the shots; so I was determined to get the mythical god of fire and Birmingham icon, in my shots this year!

If you are curious how to photograph fireworks, there is definitely a technique in getting them right. You must use a tripod due to the very slow shutter required. Don’t try to cut a corner and shoot them handheld, because all you will get is blurry images and jagged light streams. It is also helpful to use a remote trigger, if you have one, so you don’t cause any camera shake by holding down and releasing the shutter with your finger. These shots were taken on Manual mode with my 24-70 mm lens. Metering was set to Matrix (Nikon’s method of reading light from the entire scene not just one spot), single servo focus and autofocus of the entire scene (solid rectangle on the autofocus dial). I adjusted the shutter based on how bright the colors were in the streams of fireworks and how they were casting light on the Vulcan statue. I chose the aperture of f/16 so that I had good depth of field to get everything in focus. My shutter was set to BULB so that I could completely control the mirror up and down motion. The shutter speed on my shots varied anywhere from 1.0 sec to 8 sec, depending on how long I held down the shutter button before releasing it. The longer you hold the shutter open the more bursts of fireworks you get in one shot/frame. Press the shutter once and hold it open for several bursts then release it to close the shutter. Try to get the bursts at the beginning, otherwise you get more smoke than streams of color. You can find a helpful article on shooting fireworks here. Give it a try! It’s fun!

Hope you enjoy the images I took from this year’s Thunder on the Mountain.

Zoom Zoom

Last Sunday was the AMA Triumph Superbike Classic at the amazingly beautiful Barber Motorsports Park. It was my first racing event to shoot for Bruno Event Team. It was thrilling to see the motorcycles zoom by, hear their loud engines rev and watch them leaning so far on turns that their knees dragged the ground. These drivers have no fear! Here are some of my favorite shots from the day…

2012 PGA Champions Tour, Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek

Sunday I photographed The Regions Tradition for Bruno Event Team. It was my very first golf tournament to shoot, so I was excited…and nervous about the weather because rain was predicted all day and I haven’t ever had to shoot outside in the rain without the option of cover. It was time for me to get a game plan! There’s a first time for everything and I love a good challenge, but I also like to be prepared! Besides purchasing some rain sleeves for my cameras, this event was a really great excuse to go to Mountain High and buy the Gortex rain jacket I’ve been eyeing since early spring, but bought them for my kids instead – ha!

My Dad and my brother are avid golfers and have volunteered and played in the Pro-Am at this tournament, so I picked their brain about my shots and the course, looked online at other tour photos and read the PGA guidelines for photographers. I asked my dad to come along with me to assist and carry the umbrella as another layer of protection for my equipment. It would also allow us to spend time together while both of our worlds collided — golf and photography! He happily agreed, as I knew he would.

Even though the weather didn’t lend me the sunshine, blue skies and fluffy clouds I ordered, I had a great time being out there with my dad and photographing the fun environment of the event! And, I decided to look on the “bright” side of things…the umbrellas added some color to the shots, while the rain added texture.

A perk to shooting these events is meeting other photographers. I met the official PGA Tour photographer and sports shooter Chris Condon who was super kind and helpful to this first-timer. What a nice guy with incredible talent… and he’s a Nikon shooter! The portrait photographer in me wanted to shoot the tight shots like Chris and the other sports shooters were getting with their 400 mm lens, but my job there was to shoot the “feel” and environment of the event; so, I enjoyed using my wide angle lenses to capture just that. And you know what?! It felt good to get out of my comfort zone. Isn’t that what challenges us and makes us all better at what we do? I sure think so. I’m so grateful to my friend, Gene Hallman, for encouraging me to do so.

The next event I will be shooting is the AMA Triumph Superbike Classic June 22-24 at Barber Motorsports, so be sure check back for that post in a few weeks. Now, here are some of my favorite images from the Regions Tradition. Thanks for stopping by.

By this time we were wet and tired after a long day that started at 5:00 a.m., but here’s an iPhone shot of my Dad and me after the tournament was over. Love my sweet daddy!

The Hubbert Family

Carl was so sweet when he called me to purchase a gift certificate for his wife Andrea for her birthday and surprise her with a family photo session. Don’t you love that? Way to go Carl! He gets lots of perfect-gift-from-hubby points! I should’ve known the rest of his family would be just as fun. Andrea is in the theatrical arts, so no worries getting her to relax in front of the camera and their girls are ADORABLE! I had a great time meeting them and playing around downtown on a beautiful spring afternoon!

What a fun session! After it was over and I was getting in my car to leave, I noticed the amazing sunset God was busy painting. I grabbed my camera and went back into the park to capture it. Amazing!

Allie

I had the pleasure of photographing Allie in her nursery at home a few weeks ago for my friend Kimberly. I have photographed Allie’s older brother and sister, who are twins, and now it was her time to shine, and boy did she! Allie was so smiley and happy for me and those big blue eyes were sparkling. She was getting dedicated at church that weekend so Mom wanted a few in the Christening gown too. Precious!

Ann + Daniel…Cajun Style!

A few weeks ago I photographed Ann and Daniel’s wedding as a second shooter for Kelly Cummings. I was thrilled when she asked me because I’ve been wanting to shoot with her since we met in Las Vegas two years ago at WPPI. It’s always so much fun to shoot with someone you’ve never worked with before because you always learn something new from partnering on a project…maybe it’s how each photographer relates to the client, or sees a lighting opportunity a little differently. Every photographer approaches shooting with their own unique perspective, so it keeps the creative juices flowing to bounce ideas off each other! I love creative collaboration! So thank you Kelly, for inviting me along!

Ann and Daniel’s wedding was at American Village, which I was also thrilled about, because I’ve been wanting to shoot a reception in the barn! But, the most amazing thing about this wedding was how sweet and relaxed the bride and groom were and how much they were in love and so excited to embark on their new life together. I loved their reactions to each other when they had their “first look” before the ceremony! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bride smile and laugh as much as Ann did! She glowed of pure joy!

Alene Gamel of I Do I Do! Wedding Planning thought of every detail to make Ann and Daniel’s wedding day just perfect. After the beautiful ceremony in the chapel, the wedding party and guests headed to the barn for a Louisiana style reception complete with shrimp and grits and andouille sausage catered by the fabulous Vasilli Bouloukos of The Happy Catering Co. Ca c’est bon! Carol Riley of Lillie’s Flowers did an amazing job making it feel just like being in the low country with spanish moss hanging from the wood beams and flickering lanterns illuminating the barn. Ann and Daniel’s first dance was to Etta James’ “At Last”, one of my all time favorites! I couldn’t keep from smiling behind my camera just watching them. Now I’ll share with you the story of Ann and Daniel’s day as I watched it unfold through my lens…

An Evening with Jasmine Star

Jasmine Star is an international wedding photographer that has been celebrated and widely published as a photographer and speaker. I follow her work and her blog because she mentors other photographers with her workshops and speaking engagements, is enthusiastic and real. I love the REAL part! I went to several of her workshops last year at WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) in Las Vegas and they were quite inspirational.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to Atlanta with a few other local photographers to hear Jasmine speak again at her workshop called The Fix. I had thought about going, but put it on the backburner because arranging for my children and covering my two classes at the gym on a Monday just seemed like a lot of trouble. Well, at 9:00 yesterday morning when I talked to my friend Stacy Richardson who was going, I decided it was worth the effort to be able to go, learn from Jasmine, and mingle with other photographers. So, after many phone calls, emails and texts, my children were taken care of, my classes were covered and I was off to Atlanta at noon to hit a few stores and grab some dinner before the workshop.

Stacy and I met a few months ago since she moved from Annapolis, Maryland to Birmingham and we have become fast friends. I meet several other photographers for the first time, one of them was Alisha Crossley who rode with us. Once we arrived in Atlanta we made mad dashes through IKEA and Trader Joe’s. I’m a huge IKEA fan and go there every time I’m in Atlanta, but this was my very first introduction to Trader Joe’s and now I’m obsessed! WE NEED ONE IN BIRMINGHAM! It’s an organic food market with a little bit of everything! LOVE! Stacy had talked about how amazing it is since she shopped there all the time in Annapolis, so she took me through aisle by aisle and indoctrinated me with her favorite items. She had been going through withdrawals since her move, so she was absolutely giddy…as you will see in the photos. It was cracking me up!

After our quick shopping sprees (I’ve NEVER left empty handed from IKEA and it felt strange), we headed to find dinner near the workshop venue. We landed at Figo, a little Italian spot that had a yummy Caprese salad and grilled chicken. There was a huge free-standing Anthropologie across the street, but much to my disappointment (and Brad’s relief), it was already closed. It’s on the list for my next visit!

It was time for The Fix workshop! We headed into this really neat warehouse called The Foundry at Puritan Mill…my kind of atmosphere with huge old metal windows, exposed brick, wood beams and huge white linen drapings of fabric. The room was filled with 200+ photographers from around the south, and that many photographers in one room is always exciting! You could hear lots of clicking as Nikons and Canons roamed the room, and everyone was glowing from iPads and iPhones lighting up their faces.

Jasmine delivered her presentation as she always does, full of passion, inspiration and conviction (even tears) to share her experiences with eager listeners. She gave challenges to set goals about specific aspects of our business and encourage us to push through change even if it’s uncomfortable and a struggle sometimes. Change can be good as it’s often improvement for a better version of ourselves and our business. I love that! So true!

The Fix was worth my time and efforts to get there, but I also got so much out of just riding in the car with Stacy and Alisha talking shop – ideas, vendors, methods and dreams. I’d say The Fix was just the fix I needed right now as a mom, girl, friend, photographer and business owner!

our navigator, Stacy
Stacy and her Trader Joe's addiction
The actual "Fix"
Wonder if my kids would eat Edamame if it was covered in dark chocolate???
Going home happy with several bags full
For Milanese teenagers, “figo” labels the outstanding, truly appreciable or much-loved. Their tagline is "Be Yourself", which seemed very fitting for the evening.

I only brought one lens with me, so you’ll have to excuse some of these wide shots being less than perfect!

Jasmine and me
She thinks I'm funny - yay! 😉
From left: Stacy, me and Alisha
Some of the other photographers from Birmingham and Tuscaloosa that attended. It's so fun to meet new friends!