North Carolina Bound

I have not taken a vacation, a real vacation in more than a dozen years.  I carry a pretty heavy schedule majority of the time due to working a full time job and photographing events and concerts thought out the year.  But this year I decided I needed a break, a long two week break in the mountains of North Carolina.  My best friend of almost fifty years lives in a little town called Concord.  So on October 15 I boarded flight 818 and headed north. IMG_1422

It was a very short flight; less than an hour and a half and was uneventful.  We landed on and I made my way across the tarmac to my waiting friend.  I should mention that she too is a Debbie.  When I got off the plane the temperature was cooler, but still warm, however I was in for a surprise.

On Tuesday we took off on a road trip up through the Pisgah National Forest and up through the mountains searching for some color and some waterfalls.  The color was missing from this scenario as North Carolina had longer than normal summer temperatures which was keeping the leaves from changing.  Not to mention two hurricane’s had passed through the area.

Our first stop was a little diner where I enjoyed a nice plate of NC style BBQ, one word; Yum!  Our adventure continued as we drove through the mountains of the Pisgah National Forest and the weather took a turn and it started to rain.  This did not stop our trekking the beaten path to find a waterfall; not only did I find one, but a covered bridge too!  Giant score for me photographically speaking.  The rain was coming down pretty steady but my excitement built as I heard the sound of rushing water and once we arrived the sound became deafening, but in such a wonderful restorative way.IMG_1373North Carolina-3

This next week we stayed close to home and I was able to photograph some local birds and experience a change in temperature.  Then on Saturday our other best friend flew in so we made another road trip into Charlotte to pick her up. Did I mention she too is a Debbie? (North Carolina will never be the same).

 

That weekend we invited a few friends who live in the area over for a gathering, it was great to see them and to meet their families.  So much love in one place……incredible.

On Monday October 22 we three Debbie’s took off on a road trip once again.  We drove up through the Blue Ridge Parkway and I was able to find more color, the temperature had dropped from the upper 70’s to the mid 30’s and settled around 45 degrees.  For this Florida girl it was cold, but the crisp air, sharing time with my best friends and just enjoying the ride and the color seeping through the trees was something I can’t explain in words, only heart can.  We drove up to about 5000 feet, found a lovely little restaunt to have lunch  and then off to find Linville Falls.  We didn’t hike to the top, but I was happy with what we found.  Continuing our drive we found icicles popping out of the side of a mountain.  So we pulled in to a parking area and I hiked back to the area where water was seeping out of the rocks.  My lungs were screaming with the thinner and colder 37 degree air, but it was so beautiful.

I needed this time away, I needed to do some life reflection and to be with my girls who know me so well.  I have not laughed or loved like this in a very long time.  They are amazing; we are amazing to have had this friendship of 50 years that is so deep and unshakeable. The T-shirts Debbie brought us says it all the back has the three D’s and it says “True Friendship Grows Forever”.

I love these girls so much and I was sad to depart.  I will be back…..again.

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Like Spring, Change is in the Air

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Spring is a great time for renewing……

For many months I have been contemplating making some majors changes.  Even though I have made a good amount of change in my life, I knew I needed more.  I also began really looking at my business and  even though I love every photograph I take I realized that I need to direct my energies into something a bit more specific.  I enjoy every aspect of photography, from meeting people to the last image I work on, but I know success will come from specializing, so as of right now I am taking myself out of a couple of markets.

I have had this pull of wanting to photograph women over forty. I feel we are such a neglected group of people.  At this age we are raising children or may be getting ready to hatch them out of the nest, but we are so busy we neglect ourselves.  We are no longer in family photos because most of the time we are the photographer or we are uncomfortable with how we look because we simply don’t have the time to take care of our own needs and have let ourselves go.  As I have shared in prior posts I was so guilty of this, for as many great vacations our family went on, I have lots of photos of my ex-husband and our boys, but none of myself and it makes me incredibly sad to think they don’t have photos of their mom. When I’m gone how are their kids and grandkids going to remember me?

I have shared this before; it took me stepping in front of a camera to understand how important it is.

This brings me to my changes…..I have changed my look totally and I have also changed my reach on photography. I will continue doing events and concerts because I truly love the challenge of them, but when it comes to portraiture work I am scaling back on weddings and families and I am going to focus on women, specifically women over forty.  I feel this is where I should be.  I will only photograph weddings and family portraits when they are referred, but I will no longer solicit for them.

I am in the process of creating some studio space for myself so that I can invite clients to my home for a shoot if needed, although my passion is being outdoors and getting the perfect images with nature all around. I am in the process of re-evaluating where my pricing needs to be to make a living at doing what I love.

It’s not an easy road, but it will be a wonderful journey even if the road gets too bumpy and I think I should turn back, I won’t! Photography is my passion and I will live my dreams.  I also need to nurture my relationships with others, my tendency is to steamroll into whatever I am doing and neglect the people I care about, but I have learned I must have healthy relationships and make sure those I care about know it.  I must also take care of my emotional and physical needs and  allow myself to be taken care of from time to time.  Also, I simply must take my camera out for a day of shooting either alone or with friends, but I must do it.  Life is all about the journey and what we leave behind.  What is your legacy?

Empowering Myself As A Female Photographer

 

One of the most difficult things for me as a photographer is to be comfortable in front of the camera.  My job is to make my clients comfortable and to allow them to relax so that I can show them how beautiful they really are.  Now fast forward to this Mother’s Day weekend, here I am with my photographer youngest son who is going to take me on a journey of self discovery in front of the camera.   I trust him fully as he knows me better than anyone, and knows how I feel about being in front of the lens instead of behind it.  This is where my journey of self-discovery and empowerment begins.  We took off for behind his place of residence which is within the Big Cypress Preserve, we were sure to be alone and I could really try and let go without anyone but him watching me.  At first I felt awkward and out of control, but soon I started to really enjoying the attention.  His gentle coaxing me into posing was exactly what I needed.  Tommy has an incredible artistic eye and was able to pull things from me, no one else would be able to do.  I had him use my camera and even though he was a bit uncomfortable at first he soon took charge and got the images we were both wanting.  I can tell you as a woman who battles her weight and looks, I was totally out of my comfort zone with this.  

Six months out of a destructive relationship where I never felt good enough or attractive enough, I have found who I really am;  a beautiful over 50 woman! I also realized if someone does not like how I look or my size, it’s not my problem, it’s theirs and I will not allow anyone male or female to make me feel less than I am.  It’s not my concern if they are too shallow and/or insecure and must make themselves feel better by being destructive with someone else’s feelings.  I control my own emotional weather.

I could tell by my son’s excitement that he was capturing magic, and I was getting more excited to see what he had taken.  He would stop now and then and show me an image he really liked.   My goal as a photographer is to make women feel beautiful and to show them the images I create on their behalf is who they really are.  I made New Year’s resolution for 2014 to be more authentic and to live my life being more open and expressing who I am as a woman.  I have my friend Karen Ziegler to thank for opening my eyes to this revelation and in doing so I have become the happiest I’ve been in years and I’m no longer afraid for people to see the ‘real’ me which has made me stronger and I what I want in life. 

My passion is to present to woman just like me, a way to show their beauty.  I purposely didn’t edit my photos to show I have freckles, eyes that disappear when I laugh and I am not a size 2, but I love how I look and I love who I am.  I am a real woman full of life and ready to take on whatever God has for me.  My past is simply that, my past and my future is going to be exciting, but my NOW is amazing and I would not change anything. 

So o all the beautiful ladies reading this, I encourage you to go out and enjoy a full photo session, find a photographer you like and are comfortable with and let go of all your fears and foremost be real, show the world how beautiful you are.  Ladies Empower yourself, live authentically and never allow anyone to treat you less than you deserve.  Until next time, I will catch you behind the lens. 

Here are a few of my images

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Embracing the Beautiful You

 

Hey ladies! How many of you have had recent photographs taken? I know for me it’s been years as I am not comfortable in front of the camera. I simply avoided being in photographs, using the excuse that I was the photographer. When my boys were younger and we were on vacations I rarely appeared in any photographs because I was so overweight, I really disliked myself and the way I looked. I would cringe when I saw any images of myself. Reality is, my boys don’t have many photographs of me with or without them. This makes me very sad. I was young and didn’t realize how extremely selfish that decision was. I know many ladies feel this exact same way. My boys now grown and I cannot go back and change that mindset I had within myself, but I can make up for lost time. Recently I had my friend Geva take a few shots of me and they are gorgeous, I trusted her with doing this because she is quite talented and is an artist so I knew what she would see would be something I would like.

As I age I want to embrace my beauty and not recoil away from it. Ladies let me tell you, if you are shying away from the camera STOP and allow someone to capture your true beauty. Your children are going to want to look back at the photos when you are gone and be able to show them to your grandchildren and beyond. Leave a beautiful legacy for the young men and women in your life. If you have a photographer then wonderful, call them and tell them you want photos taken of yourself. If you don’t have a photographer feel free to call me and I would be thrilled to reveal the beautiful you through the lens of my camera. I understand many of us are in that forty and over age category and are beginning to show those wonderful character lines on our face, and maybe our hair is beginning to lighten; embrace it ladies it’s all part of our life. And for you younger ladies please make sure you allow photos of yourself with your children on vacations and for special events. Don’t wait until your children are grown and realize life has passed you by and you are not in any recording (photographs, videos, etc) with your children.

As you can imagine this was not an easy post for me, but I am including photos of myself and some of my friends I have recently taken. Don’t wait, get those photos as we are never guaranteed our time on earth so do it today.

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