Friends = Love

So, we moved. Moving is exciting; and hard. We moved quite a ways a way from where we were so coordinating play dates really wasn’t as feasible as we had hoped. Not seeing old friends meant only one thing; make new friends. Of course there was concern about the kids making new friends and finding a little crew to do life with, but we knew with time, we would make this new place our home.

We’ve had so many people accept us, and with our little growing community, I hope that we continue to be just as accepting of others and that our circle of ‘people’ continues to expand.

The fact that kids are so resilient has been our saving grace. This time in our lives is one that people are offended by everything, they feel the need to post their political jargon all over social media, which in turns offends others – and quite frankly – I’m over it.

People, we need love. We need to love each other for every reason we can; because they are our friends, our neighbors, our family, our church, our anything. Everyone deserves love. Even if we don’t agree with them.

Love = Respect – and y’all  – a little love and respect go a long way.

To live the life of a child again – the innocence – the oblivion to society and it’s views – the passion for having and creating fun – I’d give it all to live everyday in that mindset.

So here – here are three precious girls, who are full of nothing but love – for everything and everyone, because we could all use a little more of living life as they do.

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Have grace, give grace and show grace and for goodness sake, show love.

Oh my, it’s been so long since I’ve blogged, I’m not sure I remember how. I have such a long list of ‘to-do’s’ for my photography gig, but I couldn’t leave this experience captive in Lightroom any longer.

The flu sucks. Luckily we have been spared thus far, but it did put a slight dent in our pre-Christmas plans with out of town family. I’m still totally bummed that they didn’t get to join us on this adventure, but I’m so thrilled with the company we had in their place, his bff, Fuller.

He’s had a thing for trains as long as I can remember. I remember a specific Pre-K student of mine 4 years ago with the same undying love and excitement for the huge and heavy hunks of mobile steel I taught while I was expecting my own little train lover. I’m pretty sure he shared his train mojo with Bentley in-utero. So, when I heard about the Grapevine North Pole Express at the Grapevine Vintage Railroad, I immediately started researching. I’m so glad to have purchased tickets when I did, as the popularity of the event causes sell-outs a month in advance.

So, what’s the big deal? Considering we had watched the Polar Express no less than 19.5 times from Thanksgiving to our selected date and I even heard “I believe” from his sweet little mouth while imagining his very own Coral Ridge Polar Express from the comfort of his room, I knew he would be ecstatic for a real train ride. It was even more exciting to think that this train ride would in fact, get all the way to the North Pole, pick up Mrs. Clause, and arrive safely back at the depot in about 45 minutes.

We strolled down Main St. towards the depot with a consistent little boy questioning whether or not we’d be late. We arrived an hour early and met our PJ wearing buddies in the cold night and patiently waited for our adventure to begin. Upon boarding the train, the ticket taker punched our tickets and we found our way to our seats.  North Pole Express-0918wr

To say that even the oldest of the crowd was thrilled to be on board would have been an understatement. North Pole Express-0938 WR

And these two, couldn’t believe that they were on a real train, much less on a real train together! What I would have given to have experienced this through their eyes.

We sang Christmas carols, on the ride to pick up Mrs. Claus.

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And there she was. I couldn’t stop staring at her. I may have been in more awe than the kids, but she was impressive. And I didn’t even know yet, just how lucky we were.

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Assuming there had to have been multiple Mrs. Claus’ retrieved at our stop, I was more than impressed with the amount of time that she spent with our children. I’m fairly certain that at some point I thought to myself, “I’m not sure what else I can photograph.” Although I may not have had a new scene to photograph, I’m fairly certain our kiddos got an in-depth explanation of the meaning of the coveted bell they all received as gifts.

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After he explanation of hearing the sweet sound of the bell. They all immediately began to see if they did, in fact, believe.

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What started out in my head as an expensive ($25 per passenger) train ride through the industrial area of Grapevine and Irving, all I could hope for is that he would enjoy being on a real train. My advice, go a night and enjoy the dark ambiance out of the windows of the cars and you can really feed to their North Pole travel imagination. Our train ride ended at the North Pole and we arrived to sudsy snow and what seemed like hundreds of pines lining our walk to the main show. Two silly elves explained and sang about the importance of the Christmas Spirit and then the big guy appeared. He reminded us all that there was Christmas Spirit inside each person and treated us to Frosty Snow Milk upon our exit. Will we go again next year? Likely not, but if he requests, then I could always have my arm twisted but will choose a slightly earlier departure to better match our bedtimes.


There’s nothing quite like seeing the most magical time of the year through a child’s eyes. Add in great friends and a classic movie that will always spark our wonderful memories from the evening and it becomes priceless.

I have a love|hate relationship with black and white photos. They are either, in my eyes, amazing or so-so. Trying to balance the color in the image so that it is still represented as intended in the black and white version is very difficult to me. I’m sure I just overthink things, but I guess its just in my nature.  Here are some images I have taken this past month and I’ll explain to you what I like or don’t like about the image in b&w.

This image I love.  He stood perfectly in the small amount of light which allowed for highlight framing. There is just something I love about an image that is dark and intriguing and then out of nowhere, the subject just pops. This one will have a special place in my favorite folder forever.



This next one is to show how you can manipulate colors within black and white images. Her face was painted a beautiful magenta with blue accents, which typically in black and white are not as drastic as I portrayed in this image. Tweaking the color slides after converting to black and white allowed for me to make these two colors stand out a little more to leave the intensity of the paint intact without the actual color.


This next image is one of my favorites of a sweet little girl. The focus is sharp but look a little soft because of the lack of dark features. Everything about the image is really great, technically, not to mention the shear adorability of her. I may have just made up a new word…. Anyhow, I love this image, but not so much in black and white. There are too many light tones and not enough contrasting tones to balance the image. This is the image with a deep vignette added and slightly darkened, and then converted to b&w. Her eyes are so blue that they pop, seriously. Some people may love this, but I think it makes the image almost look over edited. What do you think?




Ok, here is another that I’m in love with. When I talk about balance, this is what I mean. Her light skin and outfit against the dark board are, to me, ideal for a black and white conversion.


This last one is another that sits in my favorites folder. He looks so sweet and innocent, and Lord knows… this image actually was nice in both color and black and white, but I felt that the black and white conversion helped with the over all mood of the image. His sheets on this day were yellow and would give to much pop to the story being told. Black and white conversions can completely change the mood of an image and thats the reasoning for my choosing to change this image.


Well, I’m no expert with black and white images, but I hope that what I have learned over the past few years can help to give you a little insight in your photography adventures, if you have them. If not, then I hope you enjoyed me blabbering about what all I’ve learned. Again, these images aren’t the epitome of black and white conversions – I do much better with color! 🙂

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Please take a trip through our blog circle and see what the other ladies have in store for this month’s theme. Start out by checking out the very talented Lindsay of Lindsay Crandall Photography.

June is here, and well almost over. That means that we are half way through 2014. Doesn’t quite seem possible. For this month’s blog circle, our theme was water. What’s more appropriate during the summer then to have a theme that revolves around most of what we do most during this time of year. It certainly helped that I was enrolled in a Clickin’ Moms course to push the composition of my photos to the max, and the fact that we had our little family vacation that involved tons of time around the water.

So again, I’m flooding you with images of my kiddos, as they are my subject most and the reason I began my photography journey. I hope these inspire you to bring your camera out more and capture some of your every day!

When you are finished here, please head over to Paisley Lane Photography and check out what Kendra did for this month’s theme!

Happy Summer! 🙂


When I see or hear the term ‘wide open’, I can almost immediately belt out in the Dixie Chicks hit “Wide Open Spaces”. As fun as that might be, and as horrible as it may sound, it has nothing to do with photography.

The term ‘wide open’ in photography refers to the aperture of the lens that is being used being completely open, or set to the lowest number that it will go. The lens I chose for this post is my trusty 50mm f/1.4. It was my first ‘real’ lens I purchased and I have taken some of my most favorite images with it. If you are looking for a great first lens to add to your DSLR, then it’s what I recommend!

Back to aperture. It affects the depth of field  (DOF) in your images. The more shallow the depth of field, the less amount of the subject will be in focus. There are DOF calculators that will tell you the exact distance that will be in focus depending on your focal length of the lens and your aperture. It’s all dependent on the aperture, the focal length and your distance from the subject. I don’t use one, but I have practiced enough to know that if I want my entire subject in focus, I bump up my aperture to at least 2.8.

Here’s my first image. I posted it a couple of week ago, but I knew I had to take advantage of the scenario unfolding before me for this blog post.

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My sweet girl and I explored a Monarch Butterfly exhibit and brought home a chrysalis to watch one emerge before our very own eyes. About 4 days after we brought ‘her’ home, that’s exactly what she did. Letting her go was on of the toughest things she’s done that she somewhat understands. She still bows her head and pouts when I show her this image. The area allowed to be in focus for this image was miniscule. Beyond a lucky shot, but it now has a permanent home in my favorites folder.

Here are a couple more images I grabbed of ‘her’ before she flew off to find a new home.

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I hope you have enjoyed this short and sweet blog about ‘wide open’ in photography terms. Please go check out Quad City Photographer Aubrey Schlue of Aubrey Dawn Photography and her take on this month’s theme.