Travel | Scottsdale, Arizona

Last month, I was fortunate enough to get a little break from my everyday and go on a weekend getaway with a fabulous friend. We spent some time at both the Grand Canyon as well as Scottsdale and enjoyed all the beautiful scenery and warm sunshine. We were there on an unseasonable cool weekend, but the weather was perfect for the Scottsdale portion of our trip and the cactus and gardens were in full bloom. I already miss all of the amazing pastel tones. Everything was so colorful, I could have spend days with a camera there. These shots are all from one morning stroll around our resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

All images are captured on film with Kodak Portra 400.

Desktop Background | May 2014

Dear May - Please, be nice and sunny and 65+ degrees. Okay? Thanks! I must be getting desperate for some nice weather. It's warmer, but the rain and grey skies are still hanging on around here. I just recently returned from a trip to the southwest and I fell in love with the sunshine and all the pastel colors everywhere. Stepping off the plane back home was a like a shock when the damp air hit me. I can't wait to share with you guys the film images I shot on my trip. I'm crossing my fingers that there is a good desktop background in there somewhere! 

Okay, well on to this month's background. Welcome to some water and lily pads from the Dallas Arboretum. Just click the link below for the size you need. Enjoy and feel free to share with your friends!

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BONUS! iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 

Images are being shared for use on your personal devices only. These images are copyrighted and not to be used for display on the internet, creative commons projects, or publishing without explicit written permission.

Featured | Winter Woods Session on Belle Lumiere

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I am so honored today to have my styled shoot "Winter Woods" featured on the amazing film photography blog, Belle Lumiere. If you are visiting here after viewing my feature, thank you so much for stopping by!

This is my first styled shoot shot solely on film. This session took place back in February at Sand Ridge State Park in Illinois. I was inspired by the long and snowy winter we've had here in the midwest as well as the outdoorsy feel of flannel shirts, plaid blanket, and pine trees.

I'm very grateful for our amazing model, Natalie, who stood in the cold for hours for this shoot. She was beyond gracious and fun to work with. I also have to give a shout out to my friend and fellow photographer, David Vernon, who also braved the cold and took part in this shoot himself, shooting a mix of film and digital. It was very fun to see two different looks from two different photographers of the same scene and subject matter.

I fell completely in love with these images when they came back from the lab. Thanks to the great team at Indie Film Lab, this session has solidified my excitement and passion for film photography.

If you haven't yet, then head on over to Belle Lumiere to see more images from this styled session. 

Desktop Background | April 2014

It is officially spring, but I admit I am still waiting for the temps to turn it up a notch. They are working on it, so I'm trying hard to be patient! If I could just open up my windows and doors and let some fresh air inside, boy, would that feel good! I promised last month that I wouldn't post any more winter images, and I'm keeping my promise. Here is my first taste of spring for you all. A little green, some flowers, some raindrops, and a bee! Ta-da! 

I'm still shooting some film and I have some film images that I am dying to share with you all. Any day now. I've also got an epic trip coming up where I hope to shoot more film. I'm stocking up now many various rolls and am having a hard time deciding what to take with me. Maybe, I will take it all. I'm guessing the TSA guys aren't going to like me. I bet they don't like hand-checking film rolls too much. 

Until them, let's do some spring cleaning and freshen up our screens, shall we? Click the link below for the size you need.  Enjoy!

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BONUS! iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 

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Desktop Background | March 2014

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You know, it's that time again where I hand out free goodies here on the blog. The time when you get to make your computer or tablet display all pretty and new again. It's been a long winter and there are definitely some gripers out there. You know who you are. I'm sort of with ya. I've hibernated and I'm ready for hikes in the fresh air myself. The good news about the winter hanging on is that I managed to squeeze in some awesome winter photography that I sometimes don't get to when our only snow is right around the holidays. I've even shot some film out in the snow. More coming on that soon! 

I know spring is around the corner, and therefore I promise next month's calendar will be filled with spring imagery. For now, I'll keep the mood consistent with real life. A little bit of snow left in March, but lots of green sprinkled in. You know, for St. Patty's Day. I  may not be Irish, but green is my favorite color. 

Well, you know how we do it. Click the link for the size you need and voila! Also, I'm still considering adding iPhone sizes as well. Any interest? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Film | A Preface

I think since I started on my photographic journey seven years ago, I've dabbled in just about every little genre of photography. Probably not all, mind you, but I've tried my hand at all of the obvious subject matter that every new photographer tries.

It's taken these years (while to be fair, probably still very early years at what I'm hoping is a lifelong journey) just to even begin to hone in on what really moves me and drives me about photography. Every photographer I know wants to get better and wants to find their voice in their art. From my experience it is a journey. I've got a boat-load myself of fair-at-best images, some pretty good ones that I am proud to share, and some no matter how imperfect, I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Over the past year, I've become completely drawn to a certain look. I spend a lot of nights putsing on Pinterest looking at those gagillions of images out there. I started to discover that I was liking a very specific look over and over again. I also started wondering why none of my images looked like this and maybe this is why I've been frustrated with how a lot of my work looks. Maybe my tastes have simply evolved, but I've been craving my work to look more like the work of others that I'm drawn to. I like the tones of these images, their slightly imperfect nature, their almost organic look. I soon realized that the work I was drawn to was mostly made up of images shot on film. 

I had an epiphany! Film! You see, when I started getting seriously into photography, it was already the digital era. People were already shooting 10 mega pixel digital SLRs with CF and SD cards and computers, and Photoshop, and monitor calibrators, and Wacom tablets. I didn't start with film. It's like I missed a whole world of experience and by the time I jumped in the pool, the waters were very different from how many experienced photographers began. This post isn't about film vs digital at all. Digital is great. I learned a lot, and fast. I can see my results immediately and adjust quicker. I'm addicted to the immediacy that digital provides me. I love coming home from a shoot and off loading my images from my memory card. 

Over time, however, I've become increasingly frustrated with a very specific thing. It doesn't matter how quickly I can offload, and see those images (you know, those hundreds from one shoot), it still takes me hours in front of a computer screen to cull, and edit those images. I've not only had to learn the art of manipulating my camera to create the look I want, but also had learn another whole batch of skills to manage those images and edit them. Like many, I've spent money of presets and actions only later to hate them for never looking the way I wanted or have spent hours tweaking them to my liking. Eventually though, I've learned to create my own for processes I repeat over and over. After all this learning and experience, one thing is still nagging at me. I still don't fully love the look of my digital work. I'm spending all of this time trying to create a certain something and I'm not getting there. 

So, this epiphany has me excited again about photography. With a toddler in the house, I no longer have as much time to go out and make images, let alone spend the endless hours editing them. I got into photography because I enjoyed being behind a camera, not behind a computer. I keep having this nagging feeling that I can do better. 

I guess this is where my film journey comes in. I've purchased a film camera, and 10 rolls of film to get started. Maybe this will be another passing phase in my journey, or maybe it won't. Either way, I'm hoping that it pushes me again. I'm hoping it makes me a better photographer or gives me a new way of looking at my work, or gets me a little bit closer to the style that moves me. If nothing else, I hope it frees me from my computer and lets me spend more time behind a camera and more time with the important people in my life. If I have it my way, those two things will get combined regularly. 

So, here's to the new film journey. I hope you will read along and learn with me. I'm sure there will be many mistakes, but I'm hoping there are a few success too. Next post, I will talk about the gear I've chosen to start with and why and some of my first learning tools to get started. Until next time.

Desktop Background | February 2014

This winter has been one of the most bitterly cold ones since I've lived in Central Illinois. Move over snow days, arctic blast days have taken your place! I could pretend this image is from this year, but it's not. I shot this last January when it was (now I would I would refer to as) a mild winter. I little late evening sun and likely some very fermented berries make up this wintry image. It's a little different from my usual pretty, but unique is beautiful too. 

In other news since I've blogged last, I've been shooting some film and I'm about to start posting my first blog series about my journey next week. So, please stay tuned in for that. I have a lot to learn about film, but right now film is inspiring my photography passion and I'm eager to grow and learn the world of film photography. I'm about to start round 2 of Project Double Take with my good friend, David Vernon. We are excited to have our flickr friends over at the Peoria Flickr Group play along with us. If you are from the area and want to play along, please come join the fun.

Okay, on the FREE stuff. You know how we do it. Click the link for the size you need.  Also, I'm considering adding iPhone sizes as well. Any interest? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Images are being shared for use on your personal devices only. These images are copyrighted and not to be used for display on the internet, creative commons projects, or publishing without explicit written permission.

Desktop Background | January 2014

I feel like I should write something poetic about the new year; about resolutions or the importance of taking stock in last years accomplishments and setting goals for 2014. I never know what profound thing to say. I, of course, am very grateful for all I have in life and I have a few improvements both personally and professionally that I would like to focus on for 2014. I know that I should probably write them all down and cross them off as I go, but the truth is that I've learned that life just goes on whether you meet these expectations you set for yourself or not. So, I'll keep doing what I love, love those in my life that matter most, and try a little harder than last year to grow and be a better version of myself. I won't be setting the bar too high or shaming myself for not shedding a few more pounds. As long as I can allow life to happen and try not to get in my own way, then I'm doing just fine. 

I do, have a few goals for my photography, which I am guessing is why you are here reading this blog in the first place. One of which, is to shoot film and regularly blog my mistakes and successes in doing so. I will dedicate a special blog post to this coming up. I'm hoping, once I have shot enough, I can regularly share some film images on here. In the meantime, I hope to continue to do what I love, which is getting to be a photographer, wife, and mother. 

And, it's been a big tradition around here to provide monthly desktop calendars. So, cheers to 2014! Enjoy your FREE January desktop calendar. 

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Desktop Background | December 2013

December is here and I've already been a busy little bee. This time of year is filled with so much busy; mailing Christmas cards, wrapping presents, decorating house and yard, making cookies, mailing gifts, and of course, prepping images for clients for their own gifts and holiday cards. It's a good busy though. I'm actually pretty close to being able to put my feet up with some hot chocolate this year and just watch it snow or curl up with a good book. It's a rare year for me. Usually, I'm running around all the way up until the end. I hope you all check things off your list and then just sit back and relax. Go for a winter walk outside and watch the snow come down. Slow down a little during this busy time, or you might miss it. 

I hope you enjoy a little winter wonderland on your desktop or device this December. Happy Holidays to my friends, family, clients, and readers. I always appreciate your support. I wish you and your families well this holiday season! 

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Desktop Background | November 2013

November, the month of thankfulness. As it gets to the end of the year, I start to reflect on how the year has progressed and I'm not quite thinking about what next year will bring just yet. I'm thankful for the wonderful opportunities I've had this year to photograph some good friends, both new and old. I'm surrounded by people who believe in me and my work. I'm thankful for their support. I'm also thankful for my wonderful family. While photography might be a passion of mine, my real love is for them. I have them in the back of my mind when I'm working and they are the people I most want to share my creative nature with. They tolerate my kind of crazy, I'm thankful for that. So, here's to November. What are you thankful for this month? 

While you are thinking about it, be sure to download November's desktop background (with calendar!). This image was made last fall, while spending time with my sister and nephew at the Dallas Arboretum. It didn't feel like fall with the warm Texas weather, but the arboretum sure looked like fall. It was a fun time and a good memory, with a little bit of photography mixed in. 

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Images are being shared for use on your personal devices only. These images are copyrighted and not to be used for display on the internet, creative commons projects, or publishing without explicit written permission.