Jens and Leslie are seriously great. We had the opportunity to spend a day with them capturing little moments of their time together. It was a fun afternoon of baking, feeding their chickens, and doing a crossword with their handsome dog Troy before meeting up with a bunch of their friends for hot cocoa and a fire on Madison’s completely frozen lake Mendota. We said farewell to a great group while they huddled in close to the fire and the sun set over the Madison skyline.
A tree bustling with cardinals in the heat of summer is a beautiful thing, but how much more exciting is a single cardinal, outlined by the stark snow in the chill of the winter?
It can be so easy to let the cold get into your bones this far out from the warmth of spring. I took a walk today, the crunch of the snow was so satisfying as I walked on through the quiet. I stopped to admire the trees lining the river. Their big buds told me that they are even more eager than I am for the thaw. They must ache for when they can finally wake up, stretch their arms, and spring to life. I un-fogged my glasses and could almost feel the potential energy I was surrounded by. Not long yet I thought. Not long yet.
Rounding up these images gave me such joy. Looking back over our photos of 2013 took quite a bit of time, and I feel like these are only a fraction of my favorites from the past year. We got to travel to quite a few new places, shoot our first international destination wedding, team up with a couple of non-profits, start an exciting new project with friends documenting craftsmen, meet and make new friends, and of course, enjoy many cups of coffee and shared meals. What a blessing this year was. Go ahead and grab a cup of tea or coffee and take a look at the favorites I narrowed it down to.
As I was getting ready to leave after shooting this session, Brooke thanked me. She said she was a little worried it was going to be weird, or that I would find their life boring. As she put it, “All we had planned is hanging out and playing with our daughter, that’s what we do when we’re all at home”. What I tried explaining to her is that to me, it’d be nearly impossible for a session to be boring. I’m only there for 2-3 hours, and I have no idea what other people’s lives are like. Every time I leave to shoot a lifestyle session, I’m filled with excitement. There’s something so special in being invited to simply hang out with a family for a few hours and document their “boring mornings together”. Those are the kind of mornings that most likely make up many of their days. But those days aren’t going to have those same routines for forever. Brooke & Nate told me how every morning when their daughter wakes up she has these specific things she does. Those things are going to be quite different in a year from now. Even more different, and harder to remember in five years from now. All of that to say, I’m honored when a family invites me in, and let’s me capture those everyday memories. I’m hoping they’ll be able to look back at them and recall just what it was really like.
We recently had the pleasure of shooting these two lovely people at the Celebration Farm in Iowa City. But before we get to the photos, there are a few things you should know about Adam and Chelsea.
1. They are crazy in love, like a lot.
2. They are fearless. Shooting a wedding in November means that the sun goes down before it ever should. So your photographers drag you out some desolate sub freezing wheat field to take pictures in the waining light and you’re totally OK with it? Score!
3. They (and everyone who came to the wedding) seriously know how to have fun. We’ve never seen anyone get down like they all did. And we see people dancing a lot.
You two are the coolest. Move back to Wisconsin so we can take you out for beers and cheese?
John Muir once said: “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity.” Working on a computer more often than we would like, Muir’s thoughts really resonate with us. We spend many hours in front of many screens. Stresses that, I’m certain, would have made Muir quake in his hiking boots.
When we visited the mountains, many of the tundra grasses had gone to seed; an impressive feat as the unimaginably short growing season came to a close. We spent the days hiking past moose and marmot alike, struggling to take oxygen into our badly-adapted midwestern lungs. While we took one last pause to take everything in while the daily thunderstorm loomed in the distance, I think it became clear to us what Muir really meant. This is not a luxury or a vacation to us anymore. It’s something we physically need. When we left the mountains it felt like saying goodbye to an old friend, and although we had just been introduced, it became apparent that, all this time, we had been homesick for a place we had never been.
This is one of those posts that I have had saved as a draft for a while now, trying to rewrite and come up with the right words. This family is some of our closest friends, and the excitement of them having brought another little one into this world just overwhelms me with delight. Josh and Jill now have three children, Ruby and Dylan who we know quite well, and now Sawyer, who was born on October 10th, at 1:45 in the afternoon. I had been taking portraits of Jill and her growing belly nearly every time we hung out, and when Sawyer’s due date came (a week before he was born), we decided it’d be fun to do a little mini-session to capture them as the family they’d been for three years. They were well adjusted to Ruby being the big sister and Dylan the little brother, with no other siblings in this world quite yet. It’s such a special time, in my opinion, to be able to document a family on the cusp of such a big and exciting change like that.