The Bitter Sweet Nostalgia and Comfort of Photographs

I don't know about you, I hope I am not alone in this, but it's at night, when everyone is fast asleep that I feel waves of nostalgia roll over me.

As a mom, there are other things that tumble through my mind as well, all sorts of worries, spasms of anxiety, lists of to dos and self judgments of all the things I haven't done. Night time has always been my contemplation time; when the lights are off and there's nothing to distract, nothing to divert me from my mind's wanderings.

Most often my thoughts turn to my kids. As they sleep with wild abandon, I think of their innocent selves, I think of how much they have grown and will grow and I feel a bitter sweet sense of longing to slow things down. How did they turn so quickly from chubby gurgling baby, to a far slimmer, talkative toddler? How did their imaginations explode so massively? How can I keep them in their trusting, joy filled innocence for as long as possible? Have I kissed and held them enough? Will I always remember the smell of their honey scented skin? How long will my eldest let me pull her in to nuzzle and sniff her hair? What did they look like when they were twelve months old again? Will I remember what they look like now? Will I look back at now, this moment, and wish I had seen how little they still were and miss this time?

It's at these moments that I take great comfort in knowing that I have my photographs. I can walk into my living room and look at the photos I have displayed there. My girls as newborn babes, as crawlers, as rambunctious pre-verbal toddlers, as mischievous, fully verbal three and five year olds.

I will look at those images and I will feel deep love, some sorrow and wistfulness for moments now long past, joy that we have these experiences together, excitement for what is yet to come. The photos are the ties to the past, the documentation of a life-time, something to share with future family. They are priceless. I take great comfort knowing that they are there, to remind me, to send me back to those moments.

And now I'm all teary.

S

PS check out my events page for upcoming mini sessions!

 

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Babies, Babies, Babies!!

I am so lucky to get a chance to take pictures of babies, newly arrived on this earth. I had a lovely little cluster of newborn shoots recently that had me all giddy with delight. All of these sessions took place "on-site", meaning I went to each family's home. I think it's really important to provide that service, I mean, who wants to leave the house after giving birth? Everyone is in their laying-in, baby-honey-moon stage, and I love to enter into that environment, and take pictures where everyone, especially baby, is at ease. As these lovely families would attest, I don't require a lot of space to take pictures, often just a few feet of space with some great natural light.

My first session came with the arrival of Kayla, such a delight to Christine and Steve and big brother Brayden. She was so bright eyed and easy going. In fact, she was so bright eyed that we never got any sleepy baby poses as she just wanted to stay awake to take it all in, despite some good mama's milk. Christine had gorgeous hand knit items they'd received as gifts that we got to outfit her in. I was so pleased with the images we got from this session. Big brother Brayden LOVES to do photo shoots (we did a session a little while ago when Christine was still cookin' Kayla in her tummy and he took to it right away). He could not wait for me to get set up and was super eager to get into position. He is the sweetest kid and I am so excited for him; he is already nailing being an amazing big brother.

 I couldn't and still can't stop giggling at little Kayla's spiky hair- I LOVE it!! Asian baby hair is the BEST ( I can attest to this as my sister had that hair too and we used to pour over her baby photos and laugh and oooh and ah). Here are a few of my favorites from the session! Look at those alert little eyes.

 

Next, baby Chase. He was only a week old! So tiny and so fresh that he still hadn't lost his chord (ironically, a few hours after our session, it came off, Autumn informed me! Cue head smack.). I always suggest that if there are any special "props", items of significance you want to include, that we should use that rather than props that I can (and will) bring. Autumn and Ricky had some great props and ideas and we tried to incorporate as much of it as we could. Like Kayla, Chase was resistant to sleep even with mama's milk, but with patience we managed to get a few gems with him curled up on the back of a big toy truck. I love these! He was so cooperative.

I have to share this: Little Chase was...very well hydrated (as all babies are, drinking milk all day long!), and as a result of all my administrations, removing diapers, wrapping and placing him, was quite stimulated to ease his little bladder...several times. I say this, because when one looks at baby pics they often don't think of all the stuff that happens in the background, between the shots. It's not all picture perfect, but it is perfectly normal and totally joyful! Autumn and I, both seasoned moms, are unfazed by such things. We were well stocked with swaddling cloths and baskets, so a quick switcheroo and we were back in the game. Big Brother Rilo needs mentioning here too. I had the pleasure of first taking his picture along with mom and dad over a year ago. He has grown quite a bit since then! Adjusting to being a big brother, can be a big learning curve (this goes for all kids welcoming a sibling!) but he was taking it in stride, guided with love and patience by mommy and daddy. He is a sweet, curious boy who, it would appear, had remembered how to model from last time! He gave me some great, direct gazes (his Magnum?) that made the shots- thanks Rilo!

My final session was in beautiful Petaluma at Anat and Travis's home with their new addition, baby Ayden. Let me just say that, as a photographer I couldn't have asked for a better setting. Their home was perfect for a lifestyle shoot, Anat having carefully chosen colors, props and furniture for Ayden's room, which made my job exceedingly easy. Some of my favorite shots from this session took place right at the beginning, on their bed with the light streaming in, with them cuddling and laughing, Travis tending to Ayden when he fussed. Again, I had promised that mama's milk would most likely do the trick and he'd be all sleepy, but these babes keep proving me wrong! Ayden, like his cohorts, wanted in on the action and didn't stay in dream land for very long! All babies are different and Little A did not like going sans clothing, but that was okay because we had plenty of cute swaddling cloths and clothes to dress him in. I think he and I had a connection, because he posed just perfectly for me with nary a fuss.

In fact, all these babes were incredible! I cannot believe how amazing all of these sessions were, how lovely and welcoming each family and how chill and adorable these little ones were. I left all of these sessions feeling totally jazzed, and filled up with love.

I wish so much joy to all of these beautiful families. I know that at the session I seem very down to business, trying to get all the shots in, but inside I am SO very much aware of what it is like, adjusting to your new addition. It's not all roses, it is exhausting and confusing, but also SO incredible, even mind blowing. You made a human!!! Thank you for inviting me into your homes to document such an incredible moment in your lives.

As always, with gratitude and love,

S

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Sadie & Chris & Little Miss Ellie

I was surprised and honored to be chosen out of a long list of suggested photographers, when Sadie put a call out on a Facebook group for recommendations. I'd thrown my name and website in the mix, not hoping for much given the stiff competition! 

Sadie was ready to do her engagement photos as soon as possible and I was happy to oblige as I had an opening that upcoming Sunday. And then began the search for the best location. The challenge was to find a place that we could park a Mustang for a few shots, but that was also kid friendly so her daughter, Ellie, could be in a few shots as well as the family dog, Roxie.

I spent a couple of hours over several days looking for the perfect spot and kept coming up empty. One location would be great for a car, but not kid friendly and vice versa. Where to find open space without fences or restrictions where we could feel comfortable taking pictures? I sent out an email to a friend who had a connection to a piece of property out near Sebastopol. On their end, Sadie and Chris had a friend who had property but he was away on vacation.

Come the day of the shoot, Sadie and Chris's friend had come through...right as my friend had finally answered with a yes. Suddenly we were flush with options. However, I wanted Sadie and Chris to feel as comfortable as possible, and their choice of location was not only familiar to them but also fantastic, so we went with that.

What gorgeous grounds we had access too! 

Sadie had let me know that this was not something they were used to doing, so I was prepared to help guide their poses, and yes I did some of that, but it actually turned out that they were naturals. Having Ellie there at the beginning really helped loosen us all up with her beaming smile. Then onto a couple of shots in the Mustang- so cool! Chris's Mustang was just the perfect prop for these two- Sadie's idea all the way! Its gorgeous red interior and shiny silver body was the perfect backdrop.  I favor the one hour photos session as it gives us all a chance to relax into it; by the end of the session Sadie and Chris were taking poses as though I weren't even there. They were also so cool with me continuously saying "Okay, last shot!" and then totally not making it the last shot, because I kept finding great spots to have them pose. I had a lot of fun.

I really appreciated their amazing sense of humor. Their love for one another was brimming over.

This family of three to be was stunning and the love they share made me kind of weepy, actually, as I went over the shots during editing.

I hope you like the shots as much as I do!

S

 

 

 

 

 

Quarry Hill

What a super fun day we had exploring the botanical gardens at Quarry Hill just off Highway 12 very close to Glen Ellen, CA. Despite a chilly day, and the fact that many things are not in bloom at this time of year, the place was still a ton of fun with lots to see and experience for the little ones. And the mamas got in some good walking as well!

Some fun cottony flowers they couldn't get enough of.

Some fun cottony flowers they couldn't get enough of.

Enjoying the Buddhist flags and rock pile after a steep climb.

Enjoying the Buddhist flags and rock pile after a steep climb.

What a view!

What a view!

Little M loved the vines...especially the irrigation.

Little M loved the vines...especially the irrigation.