Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mrs. South Dakota

We're happy to extend our congratulations to one of our clients, April Kelling, for taking home the Mrs. South Dakota title yesterday. We just heard from her and there's loads of excitement in her voice.

We had the privilege of sponsoring April through advertising, and we're very happy for her and her family. She'll be traveling to the nationals in August, and with this young woman's heart and character, she'll be on her way in more ways than one. You can't talk with her and not come away smiling. She's mesmerizing.

April's #1 care isn't the run-of-the-mill. It's not world peace and goodwill, all-encompassing and politically correct. Instead, it strikes to the heart, to a reality that America has swept under the rug for decades. April hopes to use her title to help develop a better awareness about the truth of abortion and the effects it can and does have on mothers. These days the big business of abortions always seems to come back to the woman's choice and telling us 'what South Dakota really wants', but thankfully there are people out there who are still willing to stand up for those who simply can't stand for themselves, the children. April has a voice because the rights of the child do matter, regardless of the popular culture.
That's because April herself was adopted, right on the border of the same issue she stands for today. She has a great deal of respect for her birth mother, who contrary to the opinions that carried her day, chose instead to carry her child to term. Today, April has a great career, a wonderful husband and some really beautiful kids, all because of her mom's choice.

Her charity is the Alpha Center, a nonprofit agency that specializes in supporting expecting moms and dads through counseling, pregnancy tests, and even ultrasounds. When it comes to pregnancy and the how-to's of caring for that little one inside, you name it, this place has it.

We hope you take it all the way April. If anyone can win their hearts, it's you.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tim's Senior Session

Tim brought along his girlfriend for his senior session, and there were no problems getting a good smile out of him with her by his side...imagine that.
We tried some different angles and light and I really like what we pulled out.

I love to study people as we shoot. One thing I can tell you about Tim, he has a tremendous focus and the potential to change the world. It's there beneath the everyday, beneath the culture of high school life, just hidden from plain view. But it's there. It's as simple as the determination of his voice when he talks about football or wrestling.
Put it to you this way, I caught one of those quirky documentaries on PBS the other night, the making of a Samari Sword, and I was intrigued, literally transfixed.
Hundreds of years ago the ancients figured out how to forge two steels together. Without understanding the science of it, the old masters forged some of the most powerful swords of all time. The outer core, which is the strongest and yet the most brittle, had to be superheated and folded over onto itself time and time again. Then, at just the right moment, they'd wrap that hard steel around a softer, more bendable steel. At the atomic level, those two metals would come together to form one of the most pristine instruments the world has ever known. They were unsurpassed in sharpness and their strength was almost unmatched.

That's what I see when I see a guy like Tim. A soul with all the raw properties for greatness. A little time, a little refining in the fire, some patience and some molding... In my humble opinion, not trying to force anything here, but I've seen what happens when a guy like Tim finds Christ. They set the world on fire.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Day at the Park

Our niche is shooting families at play. And I mean families at play. Not just kids at play. I'm talking mom's and dad's. There's nothing more exciting than studying them through the lens, those older grown-up types that have wrinkly foreheads and straight faces, called the 'adults', as they rediscover the fact that they are really just big kids too.
Can we take your portraits? Yes. Can we pose a shot? Mmm-hmmm. But would I rather take your family to the park and let everybody tear it up? Hands down, no comparison. There's just something about getting outside the four walls with God's green earth down between your toes. Running down by the river as the water is rushing and pumping along is just very freeing. It's why you'll see me outside March-December, until the winter snow just won't let us play any longer. For those of you who talk to me on the phone in the summer and insist on the indoor, photo-studio session, just know that I am on the other end, frowning like a little whipped puppy. I love the outdoors that much!
The Erickson's are a fun-loving crew, so we took them out to the park for their outdoor session. The river was high and fast and the sun was beaming. They brought along their dog Nevada, who is still very much a puppy at heart. The shoot was very interesting with the wagging tail drifting past the camera frame, and the curious wet tongue, trying to taste what flavor of lens I was using. My favorite was when the family came together for a shot and she naturally walked right to her position. In a very matter-of-fact manner, she sat down as if she were one of the kids and stared just off camera. I think she was under the impression that if she made eye contact with me that I'd be telling her to move. So, just like a kid, she chose to pretend instead that I simply did not exist. :) I loved it.

It's amazing the way a dog just assumes that they are among the rank and file as the rest of the children in the family. Their 'place' is always nearest their family, where they can dish out pure, unconditional love in the form of wet kisses.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Nancy & Brock

I know I said the next few blogs were going to be for the crumbsnatchers, but I had to post just a few images of Nancy & Brock.
They'd asked if we could shoot at an old barn for their engagements, and it just so happens I've got a good friend by the name of Dean who has just such a barn. In fact, if I could afford it, I'd chopper that whole thing over to the back yard of my studio and shoot to my heart's content. The character and the history it holds within its old boards and rusty nails can't be fabricated.
On the way out, I was thinking about taking them up into the loft, where the floorboards creak and the chance of falling through is a crazy reality. Then Nancy just casually mentions, "Brock actually fell off of a barn and broke his neck, just like Christopher Reeves, only the other direction, and that's the only reason he's not paralyzed....when was that honey?"
Brock says, "That was Memorial Day weekend, three years ago this weekend!"
My stomach dropped down to the brake pedal and I'm thinking, do we really need to tempt fate? Do I really want to be shooting these two love birds and then see Brock lose his footing or crash through the floor and out the camera frame....would that be good for the mood???
Believe it or not, we did it anyway! It was this hair-raising challenge, a feat that we found ourselves unable to walk away from. Up we went and I could feel the barn shifting with every step.
The shots were breathtaking and sexy and intimate. The love between them was somehow highlighted in that place. The light was golden and Nancy looked as near to an angel as any human could possibly be as she stood in this dark old barn with just one stream of sunlight casting through the window. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Jeff & The Girls

Our studio has a history with this family, but it's been awhile since we've seen the girls. So the moment they stepped from the car and their beautiful, sparkling eyes looked up at us, there was a flood of memories. It was a genuine feeling of privilege to see these little ones again. Kari and I were instantly excited, and God must have been smiling down because we had a gorgeous, soft day to capture some of our favorite smiles. My guess is He had a little help ;)

There was also 1 new addition to the family, a bubbly, happy little baby girl by the name of Tiana. And was she ever happy, giggling and lifting her head up, doing everything she could to roll over on her tummy...right up until the moment the big, bad, extremely loud freight train went screaming by, blowing it's horn at top notch... After that, the session was definitely over for her.

Jeff was a teddy-bear of a dad, and the girls smothered him in hugs and kisses.
It was great to see him in the middle of the dog-piles. He's there for them and he's strong enough to help them weather any of the storms in life.

Autumn was the leader of the new trio. Ready to hold the baby. Ready to run the fastest. Ready to blow as hard as she could on the dandelions. Ready to try anything new. She has this amazing confidence about her.

Brooklyn was happy to follow her sister in playing hide-and-go-seek, although she would have preferred we didn't get her knees all dirty. Sorry kiddo. Blame it all on the photographer. He was just after that one shot, you know...(her smile made it all worth while).

We even grabbed a few shots of one of the cousin's while we were at it. At the end of the session, it was a blessing just to see the joy, to see that spark of life, glowing and brimming over in this family.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I realized as I was looking through a few of the more recent blogs that I'm not posting very many family blogs. So, for those of you who were wondering if all we ever do is weddings and engagements, the next few blogs will be full of crumb-snatchers (not my own). ;)

Here's a few of Tanner & Tristan. Tristan is a little firecracker, very outward with his personality, full of daring and yet totally void of fear. I think he would walk a high-wire on a skyscraper given the chance.

Tanner on the other hand, is more soft-spoken. He has a sensitive side, and it's plain to see in his eyes that he's always thinking, always studying. He's on my boy's baseball team too, and though he's quiet, he has such a strong confidence that he can whack that ball like it's standing still.