family, photography

The Moments In-Between

Goshen County Wyoming Family Photography, Torrington Wyoming Family Photography, Torrington Wyoming Photographer, Goshen County Wyoming PhotographerWhen we choose what prints to hang on the wall, we usually go for the beautiful family shot where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling. Those are the ones we print and share and put on Christmas cards.

But the in-between moments are my favorite part of family photography. Those moments where the subjects forget they are in front of a camera and let their guard down and get real. Like this moment between these two sweet siblings, Jack and Anna. I asked them to look at each other and try to make the other laugh without laughing themselves.

At first glance, they look like they are mad at each other. But they’re holding hands, you can see the smile playing at the corners of their mouths and there is subtle twinkle in their eyes. And isn’t that what having a sibling is all about? Equal parts love and frustration? Orneriness and love? Pushing each other’s buttons but always, ALWAYS having each other’s back, too?

So print those beautiful family photos. And cherish those in-between moments, too. They might not be perfect, but they are every bit as beautiful.

Teresa

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photography, Uncategorized, writing

The camera lies

Self Portrait.jpgThe camera lies.

How we look in an image depends on so many things…the angle the photograph was taken, the light in the scene, the lens the photographer uses.  There are subtle changes and distortions in every image, changes that can be more flattering or less complimentary to anyone in front of the lens.

The problem is that the brain accepts that photo as ultimate truth and then we alter our perception of ourselves, and usually NOT for the better.

“Oh God!  When did my face get so fat?”  I remember thinking to myself after letting my daughter play with my camera a few weeks ago.  I took that photograph, taken by a five year old laying on the ground with a $2000 camera she knows nothing about, and made it my reality.

What’s even worse is the camera doesn’t tell the whole story.

My photo shows a face that is heavier and fuller than it was two decades ago.  It shows my gray hair and my thinning bangs.

But it doesn’t show me.  Not the real me, at least, of which I’m most proud.  It doesn’t tell you about the degrees I’ve earned, awards I’ve received or the friends I’ve made.  The camera doesn’t  show the ten wonderful years I’ve had since I met my husband.  It doesn’t show the daunting pregnancy I endured with my daughter.   It doesn’t show the pain I’ve survived, the things I’ve accomplished, the person I was or the person I work to be every single day.

The camera shows the crinkles beginning to form at the edge of my husband eye’s.  But it doesn’t show the sheer infectiousness of his big rollicking laugh that I can pick out three aisles away in a crowded Walmart.

The camera shows the similarity between a mother and her adult son.  But it doesn’t tell the story of how he was born, months early, and the desperate fight and scary moments that young couple went through to raise that tiny baby into adulthood.

The camera shows a soft smile and kind eyes.  But it doesn’t show how that woman put herself through graduate school, started her own successful business, raised two kind and considerate children and became a respected member of her community.

So hate the photographs.  Hate the camera.  Hate having your picture taken.

But love yourself.  Own your story.

We are all more than the camera shows.  We are all beautiful and complicated and joyful and conflicted.  We are brave, smart, foolish and rude.  We are gracious, selfish, arrogant and humble.  We all have a story, and that story is infinitely more perfect than any single snapshot in time ever could be.

Teresa

country life, dogs, photography, Uncategorized

Canine Entertainment

This is how Wyokiddo and I entertained ourselves tonight.  Photographing the dogs while tossing them treats.

I set up some studio lights in our basement to take school photos of Wyokiddo.  I’d seen a funny series of images of dogs being thrown treats and decided to have some fun with it.  Wyokiddo and I giggled our way through two dogs and about two dozen shots.  These were the most entertaining!

Dogs Catching Treats WebDogs Catching Treats Web-2Dogs Catching Treats Web-3Dogs Catching Treats Web-4Dogs Catching Treats Web-5Dogs Catching Treats Web-6

photography, Uncategorized

Spooktacular

Huntley Abandoned House-2

As a photographer, I try to keep the editing I do to my images to a minimum.  I tweak the contrast, dodge here, burn there.  It’s easy to get carried away with the editing and alter the natural feel of the moment.

But sometimes it’s just fun to take a photograph and turn it into art.  This is a abandoned farmhouse here in Goshen County.  It’s a haunting building in its own right.   But through the magic of Photoshop, it becomes positively spooky!

Happy Halloween!
Teresa

P.S.  Thanks to TheCoffeeShopBlog.Com for the fun PS actions and overlays!

country life, family, Uncategorized, writing

Lifetime Dogs

Emily and Roxy-3I’m reading A Good Dog by Jon Katz.  It’s a sweet story about a middle-aged New Jersey writer and his adventures with his border collie, Orson, and the other dogs in his life.

Katz says he’s owned several dogs, but Orson was his lifetime dog…that one special dog that you connect to more than any other in your lifetime.  Your canine soulmate, if you will.

I spread the ashes of my sweet lifetime dog, Hoops, yesterday.  Hoops died over a year ago, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it until yesterday.  So on a perfect Wyoming fall morning, the Roxy dog and I went for a walk and I said a final farewell to my big, fluffy buddy.  I scattered them under the big cottonwood tree in our yard.  It was his favorite place to bask in all seasons.  And the sentimental side of me likes the idea part of him watching over us from his familiar post.

We have other dogs, dogs that I love and adore.  I love the patience and sweetness of our lab mix, Roxy.  And I love watching Ziggy the border collie herd birds and chase a frisbee.  But I agree with Katz.  There are lifetime dogs, and Hoops was mine.  I miss that big fluffy bugger every day.

Wyokiddo is following in the footsteps of her parents and is already a dog person.  She especially loves Roxy.  They play dress-up and chase.  She reads Roxy stories and likes the white dog to be near when she’s sick or upset.

My daughter will likely know many more dogs over the course of her lifetime.  I hope that one day, she’ll also know her lifetime dog.

Teresa

 

family, nature, photography, Uncategorized

Camera-less Camping

Camping-15Outdoor Guy, Wyokiddo and I traded the heat and deer flies of Goshen County for the high country this week.  We spent two and a half days in the Big Horn Mountains in northern Wyoming.  Two days of fishing, eating s’mores, enjoying each other, hiking and watching wildlife.

What I didn’t do much of was pick up my camera.

It was a promise I made to myself, for me and my family, to stop taking photos and just enjoy the moment.  When I’ve got my camera in my hand, my mind is constantly thinking about photography.  Where’s the best light?  What’s in the background?  Can I frame this better?  Is this sharp enough?  Ugh, that’s too dark, better open up my aperture.  

I decided on this trip, I wanted to focus on being a mom and a wife, not a photographer.  And I’m so glad I did.  I got to spend the lazy mountain mornings with my daughter cuddled in my lap, warming up by the fire.  I got to watch my husband and daughter make s’mores and marvel at how many of their mannerisms are the same.  I enjoyed the calm and quiet of our camp, the heady scent of pine and the spongy feel of the wild earth beneath our feet.

I took a few quick shots so Wyokiddo will have something for her scrapbook, and I couldn’t resist a few snaps of the mule deer doe and her two fawns moving through our camp.  But mostly my camera stayed in it’s case, forgotten.

As I laid in our tent our last night in camp listening to the soft snores from Wyokiddo and Outdoor Guy, I promised myself that I would do this more often…put down the camera and pick up my life.

In twenty years, Wyokiddo isn’t going to flip through photos of our time together and go “Uh oh.  Mom blew the focus on this one.  See how my hat’s not sharp?”

She’ll pick up the stack of these images and say “My first camping trip!  I remember how tired my legs were after that two-mile hike we went on and how mom complained about how hard the ground was.”

Photos should document our lives.  Not consume them.

Happy not-clicking!

Teresa

country life, insects, nature, photography, Uncategorized

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Caterpillar.jpg

A few nights ago, we found this fat and sassy caterpillar happily munching on our tomatoes.  It was quickly apprehended and now lives in Wyokiddo’s bug jar.  At least for another day or two.

After some research, I discovered it is a tomato hornworm, so named because of it’s penchant for devouring tomatoes and the little horn-like appendage on it’s tail.  After it pupates, this caterpillar will turn into a Sphinx moth.  Google also told me this probably wasn’t the only caterpillar we had in our garden…where there’s one there’s probably 10 or 20.  Sure enough, on subsequent trips to the garden, we another 15 or so of the chubby green menaces.

As Wyokiddo stared at one mowing down my plants, she said “Mama, it looks just like the very hungry caterpillar in my books!”

It really did resemble the star of the Eric Carle books.  But this caterpillar won’t get a chance to eat through oranges, apples, pears, salami, cheese, pickles or an ice cream cone, and neither will his brethren.  You don’t mess with my tomatoes and live to tell the tale.

Teresa