Yesterday afternoon a big storm swept through Reston. The skies went dark at 4:30pm, and the trees bent sideways. We watched from our window as the heavy rains hit the lake. The whole thing blew over in about 15 minutes.
What we didn’t know was that less than half a mile from our house, the storm was tearing up our neighbors’ homes. The Washington Post reported that at least one tornado touched down in the Reston area, although Fairfax County denies that it was a tornado. When I saw the damage that had happened to our neighbors’ street, I was inclined to believe the Washington Post. Something very tornado-like touched down on South Shore Road here at Lake Anne. Several houses and cars were crushed by huge fallen trees, and debris was everywhere. The whole area was chaos.
Mike, Danny, and I took a walk through the area last night, and again this morning. A street that we know well and love has been ravaged by this storm. We can’t believe how fortunate we were to be so close to the worst of the storm, but unaffected by it. Our entire street is just fine. I wish our neighbors on South Shore were so lucky.
I have a photo published in OM Yoga Magazine this month. I think it’s my first double-page magazine image!
It’s a photo of Mike Matsumura, a yoga instructor in Colorado Springs. He and his wife Charlotte own the immensely popular Pranava Yoga Center in downtown Colorado Springs. Just a couple days ago they expanded into a huge new studio, and I’m so happy for all their successes. This magazine feature certainly takes place at a great time in Mike’s career!
I took this photo of Mike in the Garden of the Gods at sunset. You can see more from this shoot here. That post also links to their engagement portraits and wedding photos, if you’re curious. I miss shooting the talented and bendy Charlotte and Mike. Congratulations, you love birds with excellent names.
My good friend Christy is attending the wedding of a family member next weekend. The bride and groom couldn’t afford to hire a professional wedding photographer, so they hired an inexperienced new photographer. Then a few days ago, that photographer got nervous, and canceled on her clients just two weeks before the wedding. That’s just horrible.
Apparently the bride and groom are unable to pay for anyone else. They asked Christy to help. Christy is an incredibly kind person who agreed to shoot the wedding, even though she is not a photographer and has never done anything like this.
Ordinarily, when someone contacts me and says, “My friend can’t afford a photographer, so I’m thinking of shooting her wedding. Do you have any advice for me?” I reply, “My advice is to say no.” I mean it. Shooting a wedding is a difficult and stressful responsibility, and you risk lifelong disappointment for the couple if the photos do not turn out.
But when Christy found herself in this situation, with a family member needing help at the last minute, I could empathize with her decision. Before I was a professional photographer, I found myself helping friends and family in need, too. I’m sure lots of other amateurs have been in this situation. After all, I understand that not everyone can afford to hire a photographer. After today’s conversation, I’ve decided to write a list of tips that could help people like Christy.
These are NOT my tips for professional photographers or new photographers who are starting a business. You can see my advice for new photographers here: How to Get Started in Wedding Photography.
These are my tips for amateurs who have no intention of becoming professional photographers, and are just trying to help desperate friends. Disclaimer: This information will not prepare you to become a professional, and it won’t guarantee that you’ll do a good job of shooting a wedding. But it could help you get through the experience.
On Sunday I photographed the Reston Sprint Triathlon for Reston Patch. I got up at 5:30am and walked over to Lake Newport pool, stopping first to enjoy the sunrise over the lake. When I got to the race site at 6:30, it was already packed with excited people who were getting their race numbers written on their bodies.
It was inspiring to be surrounded by so many healthy, fit, and motivated people. The participants ranged in age from 13 to 80!
This photo assignment came at a great time in my life, with my newfound love of running and racing. Every time kids tackled their parents at the finish line, I choked up like a fool. It was so much fun to witness. I found myself forgetting any journalistic objectivity and cheering for everyone as they ran past. If only I could swim and owned a racing bike, I would consider entering the race next year. For now, I’ll stick with running and photographing.
My technical strategy for these photos was fast shutter speed and AI servo focus. You can see the photo gallery on Reston Patch here, or click through to see them here:
Last year on March 11, I photographed most everything that happened in our family. I chose the date at random, as an example of a typical day in our lives at that moment in time. This year I decided to do it again, and compare the same date in two consecutive years. What a difference a year has made in our family!
On March 11, 2011, Daniel was 2 months old, we were sleep-deprived, and it was a chilly, late winter day.
On March 11, 2012, Daniel was 14 months old, we were much more energetic, and it was a warm, early spring day.
On both days, we had early morning cuddles, frequent feedings, outings for coffee, walks in scenic locations, and time with grandparents. Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures of dinnertime or naptime last year, so that story ends upruptly. This year I kept the camera going until Danny was tucked into bed.
Here is a fun comparison of the two years, side-by-side. I think I’ll do this every year. Give it a try with your families! It was so fun to go back through last year’s pictures and see how far we’ve come.
Jack and Nancy, celebrating their 50th anniversary with their family
July 22, 2011
In the ten years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve never been so far behind! My sweet little Daniel is an adorable bundle of pure attention hog. He’s totally worth it, of course, but I do miss blogging. Hello, everyone!
I wanted to make sure that I took the time to blog these photos of Nancy and Jack and their family. Their daughter, Susan, has been reading my blog for a while, and now it’s her family’s time to be featured here. They traveled in to the DC area to celebrate her parents’ 50th anniversary with a weekend of activities. The day of our photo shoot was officially the hottest I’d ever experienced, with a high of 106 degrees and plenty of humidity. They were such a happy, fun family that they grinned through the heat. People with a sense of humor are my favorite kind.
Happy anniversary, Jack and Nancy! I enjoyed getting to know you and learning about the adventures and love that have filled your last 50 years.
Hello, wedding planners! I know that lots of you are busy putting together the final touches for your weddings, so I thought it was a great time for me to return to my regular Wedding Ideas posts. I have such a huge collection of photos of wedding details that I love to use them to help inspire people for their own wedding planning.
The big color of the moment is purple. I saw tons of purple last year, which of course I loved, because it’s one of my two favorite colors. (My own wedding’s color theme was blue and purple.) Here are some photos of purple weddings, with great ideas for dresses, flowers, decorations, and favors. Enjoy!
Fields of Flowers
April 29, 2011
My friend Heather is having a baby this week! Heather has been one of my closest friends for 23 years, and together we’ve gone through high school color guard, college parties, post-college poverty, and professional accomplishments. And now she is having a baby boy just a couple months after I did. Now that I’ve moved back to Virginia, she and I are looking forward to our little boys’ second generation of friendship.
Last Friday I photographed Heather with her second baby bump. She looks so beautiful at 39 weeks!
Sophie, BJ, and April
April 26, 2011
My photo shoot with this adorable family was my first client session since my baby was born earlier this year. It felt great to be back! I’m still choosing to spend most of my time at home with the baby, but I am starting to schedule occasional sessions as I return to work gradually.
I absolutely wanted to make time for April and BJ’s family. They are preparing for BJ’s deployment to Iraq in May. It always breaks my heart to see families separated by deployment, and it’s especially sad that BJ has to leave only five months after their daughter Sophie joined the family. I took their portraits in their home in Alexandria, and then we walked around Cameron Station. April mentioned that she particularly loves black and white photography, which is a great format for the mood of several of their photos.
April and BJ, thank you for asking me to photograph your family during such an important time for the three of you. I hope these photos will help to bridge the distance over the coming year.
Hi, I’m Charlotte! I’m a photographer in Reston, Virginia. I love hiking, running, and exploring the world with my husband and young son.