Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Every Night

Shooting everyday moments also means shooting every night moments too. Ours usually revolves around bedtime snacks. Since last night was watermelon, I took the time to snap a few shots.

Shooting indoors can be tricky. Shooting indoors at night can be near impossible. But, since I'm a tenacious gal, I have come up with a few tried and true techniques I use to get the job done. A few of which I am sharing today at Shutter Sisters.

This first shot came straight out of the camera.

This second version is my idea of a small tweak that makes for a much better shot all around.

All I had to do was dial out a little yellow/add a little blue, dial out a smidge of red/add a little green and boost the contrast a tad. A 10 second fix that improves the shot and makes it a keeper. Don't ya think?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sisterly Best Shot

As I observe my everyday life for the 'a week in the life' project, I'm seeing snapshots at every turn. Fleeting moments captured in still pictures. I'm seeing clearly moments like this.

My intention is to see my life for what it is; it's absurdity, authenticity, hilarity, sincerity (the list goes on) and the goal is to capture the many facets of my life that will remind me of today. I know that one day I will miss the tiny toys all over the family room, giving baths, little mismatched socks, making heart shaped peanut butter and jelly and sitting through elaborate plays starring fairy princesses and magic spells in the living room.

What shot reminds you of today?

For a little inspiration be sure to click over to Shutter Sisters first thing Monday morning. The lovely Hula has shared something about capturing the world around us in a whole new way. Believe me when I tell you that she converted me instantaneously. I'm sure you'll find her post and images irresistible.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

In Celebration of Today

OK, so I might be skipping ahead (considering this is only supposed to be the gathering phase and I'm already in playing with my photos mode) but the idea of honoring our daily life is a cool exercise. Plus, I finally figured out how to install my new fonts which is just like the coolest thing ever! It's so fun to play with new fonts!

Or maybe I'm trying to be the teacher's pet (even though Ali swears this is not a class). In case you didn't know by now, people consider me a Type A personality. *cough, cough*

Anyhow, here's to celebrating this weekend, in grand mundane fashion.

And don't forget to add your comment on the post at Shutter Sisters to get in the drawing to win a copy of one of Ali's books. You have until midnight tonight to comment.

Friday, September 26, 2008

You are Invited

Image today in honor of Flare Friday.

Taking a moment to extend a few invitations...

First, Ali Edwards is beginning an irresistible 'week in the life' project over on her blog which will start next week. I RSVP to her invite to join in the creative fun at Shutter Sisters today. And what's even more fun is that we have copies of her books that we are giving away to our readers. Be sure to comment on the post to be included in the random drawing.

Also, mark your calendars for next week (Tuesday 9/30 @ 5pm) as I am cordially inviting you to an event at The Attic Door in Burbank (So Cal). I will be sharing tips and tricks on taking awesome holiday photos and incorporating those shots into the perfect holiday cards. It's never too early to muster up some inspiration and get a jump start on these sorts of things. Won't you join us?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Love Takes Flight

This lovely work of art was created by the ever-charming super-talent Kelly Rae Roberts. Everything she touches is gold, I swear.

And speaking of gold, I am beyond thrilled to announce that her new book Taking Flight is now available. If you do nothing else, you must get this book. Consider it a gift of love to yourself. It is Love Thursday after all. Why not celebrate?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I can't get enough of this video by Jen Gray.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Rockin' My Best Shot

I remember the Christmas morning when my youngest daughter got her guitar. She's been a rocker ever since she came screaming, er singing, from the womb. I guess Santa figured the least he could do was to get her a guitar at a young age to foster her love of the rock star lifestyle; loud, wild and free.

But, as I have mentioned so many times before, she's a girl who plays by her own rules. You cannot pin one persona on her, no way. She's a renegade ballerina. A singing soccer star. A fierce and fiery, tender and true spirit. A wild and wonderful one-of-kind kid who lives life cranked to 11.

Now, neither one of my girls knew much about Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus when I got the job to shoot a handful of VIP parties and 'meet and greets' on the Best of Both Worlds Tour. I know, I know. It seems like an impossibility, but, it's true. But for me, after 5 concerts where I shot photos like the one seen on this cool site and some of the shots featured in this concert memory book book, I got to see a little bit about the life of a young rock star and almost all the lyrics to every song...

Fast forward to now where my girls are both really embracing thier inner rock stars. Especially the young one. Surprise surprise. Note the Miley/Hannah concert tour t-shirt.

How could I not share weekend shot as my Best Shot today? It's priceless.

Have you got some rockin' shots to share today?

The Baby Daze

what to expect

Wishing Happy Babies to Kristen and Rebecca, two rockin' mamas from Blogville that we know and love and that are ready to deliver bundles of joy sometime in the very near future. Blog buddies have been invited to participate in a remembering the baby years virtual baby shower so I have been pouring over photos of my own daughter's baby years. Sigh.

Moments like this one suspended in time make my mommy heart break into a million pieces. Sniff sniff.

Before I get really nuts and post some kind of slideshow featuring 500 of my favorite baby pix, I will just say to the mothers-to-be congratulations on yet another beginning where a new little person joins the family ranks and the whole world begins again. Despite the sometimes seemingly endless days and sleepless nights, you are welcoming the mystery and magic of the sacred days of babyhood.

Here's to avoiding colic, getting a shower now and again and taking as many naps as humanly possible.



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Lovely Day

"Love is woman's moon and sun..." -Dorothy Parker

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sleep is for the Weak

At BlogHer this summer there was a book signing for Sleep is for the Weak—an anthology of stories from the wildly popular mom bloggin’ crowd. And there, sitting at the table signing stacks of books were a group of women I have had the privilege of getting to know both online and in person. Women who share the joys and the struggles of motherhood with us; fiercely passionate mothers that aren’t afraid of telling it like it is. The good, the bad and the I can barely hang on to a shred of sanity ugly. Been there.

Watching, live and in person as these talented mamas got their due recognition in the real world (as opposed to the virtual world) was super-sweet, signing their names to a book, with actual paper and real ink, handing their written words off to the masses with no keyboard or laptop to be found. Well, OK, laptops were no doubt back in the hotel rooms.

Since many of the book’s contributors are bloggers that I got to know pretty early on in my blogging days they are near and dear to my mommy blogging heart. Having the book in my hot little hands is like having a little piece of them with me. Reading hilarious anecdotes and heart wrenching truths from the likes of Jenny Lauck, Liz Gumbinner, Kristen Chase, Alice Bradley and Eden Marriott Kennedy (the list goes on and on) is a dose of good mommy medicine and a celebration of how brave, bold and brilliant the mothers of the blogosphere are. But, you don’t have to tell us that…because we already know.

Sleep is for the Weak is available for purchase through Amazon.

This review was written for The Parent Blogger Network.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Light-Hearted Best Shots

This has been a tough week on the kids. Of course, I am in full celebration mode of having my time back-sorry, but mama needs her time-but for them, it's been an overload of new things; people, places, schedules, things to remember, homework to do, etc. Both girls, back to school all day everyday meant a roller coaster of emotions from excitement and enthusiasm to hesitation and melt-downs. Total brain over-load.

This weekend we just needed a little levity and what better place than our our backyard? Here's how my kids blew off a little steam from the pressure-cooker that is the first week of school.

How did you capture this past week? Hopefully you had a little fun while you were at it. Do share!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Getting A Little Perspective Today

Today is A Little Perspective Day!

A day to focus on how are children view the world through the lens of a camera. The shot above was taken with a trust point and shoot many years ago when my youngest daughter was barely 2 years old. Pretty sweet shot!

So, let's see what your shutterbugs have come up with!

Leave your links in the comments so we can take the day to click around for a Little inspiration. And don't forget to add your pix to our Flickr pool too.

For tips on how to get your children into the 'click' visit my article at PBS Parents.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's Nice to be Noticed

Sometimes in our day to day work we get lost in the job. Rushed and distracted we go about our business taking care of tasks if only to check one more to-do off our list. The days go quickly and there's not much time to really reflect on our successes and yet, every day is an accomplishment, a reason to applaud ourselves.

As mothers, we wipe noses, hands and bottoms. We tote, juggle and shuffle 10-20 pounders and their gear. We manage to get kids up and out to school clothed, fed, homeworked, and back again for more food, baths, books and bed. We get through laundry, dishes and bills. And somewhere in there we hopefully eek out time for ourselves. For many of you reading this, that time often consists of blogging; about family, motherhood, our feelings. Or we turn toward something other than that. We write about gardening or politics. We cook or paint or take photographs to keep our autonomy. We create communities so that we may be seen and heard and understood. And yet, sometimes through all of it, we don't notice or acknowledge how much we are doing and how well we are doing it.
Women often fall prey to guilt from all the things we are not getting done. We focus what we're not doing and we hold close the notion that we aren't enough. But, the truth is, we are enough. And what we pull off every day is amazing.

Since the launch of Shutter Sisters, I have been a busy blogger on top of everything else. Getting through my to-do list has felt next to impossible and some days I am sure that it's never going to get done. All the plans I have for myself, my career, my blogs might never come to fruition. I so quickly forget that in fact everyday I have things out in the world to celebrate. My children for one who grace the world with their very beings. My photographs which fill many books and hang on many walls beyond my own and live on blogs that people visit every day. I know this is all true but sometimes I forget to enjoy it.

It took kind words from a stranger to remind me that what is happening at Shutter Sisters (or any other part of my life) doesn't rely on what I plan to do in the future with it. It's not about my looming to-do list but instead what exists right now. What IS.

Reading Scott's insightful words made me realize that the true purpose behind Shutter Sisters is being seen and understood perfectly, even by an outsider (for lack of better words) and perhaps even more surprising, a Gadget Guy. It was the little nod I needed to make me sit my action down for a few minutes to enjoy what I have accomplished, and what I do everyday.

I encourage you to do the same for yourself, over a few deep breaths. I promise, it'll be time well spent.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Best Shot Through Fresh Eyes

Seeing the world the way your children see the world is a gift. The beauty of handing your kids the camera is getting a glimpse into what see as important to capture in a photo. It can be enlightening and inspiring!

A portrait of a sister under trees in upstate NY, summer vacation 2008
My oldest daughter spent her graduation money on a new camera. Her own camera. I have never been one not to share my cameras with my kids but she wanted her own camera, not mine. Of course, I couldn't be happier that she loves photography despite it's prominence in our everyday life. I am thrilled that my love of photography hasn't caused her to run the other way. At least not yet anyway.
Over at PBS Parents today, my Expert of the Month post goes live. Go check it out! I hope it inspires you to encourage the children in your life to get into photography. I would love to hear your comments over there so we can start a little discussion in the next few weeks on the subject. You can even add photos that your kids take in the Flickr Pool called A Little Perspective. I'd love to see what you're kids come up with when they are behind the lens.

And on this fine Best Shot Monday share with us your best capture of the week.
And how about a little something EXTRA this week here at Mother May I?? I propose this Friday A Little Perspective Day. That means you can pop over here and share a link to your favorite shot from your child's photo collection. Let's honor their creative vision-no matter how young they are. What do you think? Are you up for a Little fun this week? Hope to see you back here on Friday, if not sooner.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

On Our Last Day of Summer

rocks on the porch in oregon
photo shot with this cool camera

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.

~The Wonder Years

Best Shot Monday's post will come on Monday this week. : ) Come back by tomorrow! Thx.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Ready for Change (and I'm not just talking politics)

Hello. My name is Tracey and I am the mother of a middle-schooler.

As of yesterday anyway. Wow. It’s still so surreal—surreal and bittersweet but truthfully, more than anything I am just so excited for her—for the new chapter in her life and in mine. I have let her take the lead on this one; as I watch, wait, try to read her as she makes her way into adolescence growing and changing, becoming her own person. I am inspired by her grace.

But, growing and changing means puberty and that word can strike terror into any mother’s heart. Lucky for me, as long as I don’t say that word, talking about it isn’t as hard as I had thought. I have made a very conscious effort to act as breezy as possible about the changes that have come and those on the horizon for my daughter. Being open about own body, my cycle, etc. have made for some pretty perfect ‘teachable moments’.

For example…
What happens when you mix a trip to Disneyland, a pair of white bermudas, and a mother who is ill prepared? One of those 'teachable moments'. My daughter swooped in to save me, in calm yet heroic fashion whipping out a quarter from her purse. Isn’t that what this is for? she said pointing to the metal box stuck to the bathroom wall. OK. She’s savvy. I’m impressed. My problem was quickly resolved with very little incident all thanks to my 10 year old. I beamed with pride.

All of this to say that despite the fact that I have been open and honest about these things, I was eager to review a DVD called “Healthy Chats for Girls – an age-appropriate sensitive-yet-fun discussion about Puberty and Growing Up” for the Parent Blogger Network. And I am glad I did.

The DVD comes in the My First Period Kit created by the kind, approachable and celebrated doctor Crystal de Freitas. Who by the way, is not only a mom to 3 kids but is a published author of books on the complex subject of our children’s sexuality. She’s an expert.

Considering the only education our young girls get about ‘coming of age’ (beyond the trash the media serves up) is the one film shown in elementary school to all 5th graders. Now, I can’t pretend to know how that info is delivered—I actually missed that day of 5th grade which I will admit is an absence of which I will never get over—I don’t think they’ve updated that film since they first created it and the fact that the film is shown in a room full of mortified and therefore giggly and chatty girls isn’t really conducive to really listening, let alone learning. That said, I am happy to have the Healthy Chats for Girls DVD to share with my daughter in the comfort of our own home, no distractions, just an authentic, easy to understand, painless “modern approach to that traditional chat between a mother and daughter”. That’s how the DVD is billed and that’s exactly what you get. Take a sneak peak if you want to see for yourself how it’s done.

I would recommend the Kit to any mother with daughters. After all, we need all the help we can get as embark on our new adventure through puberty (again). There. I said it.