Childhood is fleeting

This weekend my camera and I were blessed by the presence of Eudora. She is one of my favorite subjects of all time as she is ever the entertainer and gives me great smiles.

There was a moment in our Sunday photo session at Brightleaf in Durham in which I was reminded just how fleeting is childhood. 

We had crossed the train tracks to take photos amongst some nearby fall foliage. We were safely away from the tracks when we heard the train headed our direction. What luck, I thought! Eudora will get to see the train pass by!

This vivacious little goofball, who moments earlier was energized and owning the camera, had retreated into an innocent, frightened (not amazed, as I had hoped) shell. She was rightfully terrified of the loud noises from the train. I was shocked and instantly felt horrible for subjecting her to those decibels. 

We raced away, far, far away, from the train and the tracks as fast as our legs would carry us, all the while Eudora plugging her precious ears. 

She recovered instantly, because she is brave and strong and amazing, and because children are so blessedly resilient. She and I are still friends, though trains and her are not.

And of course, she nailed the remaining portion of her session.

Our shared train experience reminds me of the fleeting nature of childhood and its innocence, and how one day, not far from now, Eudora will no longer be afraid of trains and loud sounds but will have new and exciting challenges to face. 

I trust she’ll tackle them well. She’ll handle them like a boss, just as she did this incredible photo shoot.  

(Note: That snazzy little dress she’s wearing – a tribute to Mo Willems book “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.” 100% adorable and I wish I could pull that look off myself)

When the kids come home for the holidays

When the kids are home for the holidays, you seize the moment and make memories. The Schneider family had the brilliant idea to capture the memories through photos. 

One of their big requests was to try to get their dog Fiona in on the action. And why not…she’s a super cute pup?!

Look at this one – she’s looking right at the camera! What a stunning little specimen. 

We staged the photo session at the family’s Pittsboro home, which was naturally gorgeous and full of fall color. The family specifically loved this transplanted Japanese maple. 

Following the group portraits, we took a few individual shots, including these fine wine/bourbon drinkers. They warmed up to the camera in a wonderful way – with their favorite beverages!

And Fiona’s favorite family member wanted a personal photo with his dog.

The mother-daughter photos always steal my heart. 

And a mom-and-dad photo for good measure. 

All in all, this family totally rocked their photo shoot. I can’t thank the Schneiders enough for making this gig so enjoyable!

Johnson family brings on the charm

The Johnson family has captured my heart once again! I got to walk the fine campus of UNC-Chapel Hill with these gorgeous people for their session. Mark is currently finishing an advanced degree in education at UNC, so the campus holds a big place in their hearts.

Plus, it’s gorgeous!  We kicked off our session in McCorkle Place, which was painted in beautiful fall color.

Also, people walking dogs. Check out how I quickly removed this dog-walking photo bomber, below.

We wanted to recreate this photo on the steps of South Building from two years ago, but currently South Building is blanketed with Campaign banners (possibly for the next 10 years :( …yikes).

 

We had to frame this year’s photo further to the left of the columns of South.

And then there was my attempt to get smiles out of big brother Jacob. He was fighting an ear infection (and we didn’t know it), so truly he was a trooper. And he cracked a few adorable smiles. 

Baby Julia will be turning one in January and she was displaying her best crawling and balancing talents. She is very sweet and on the move!

Here’s one of my favorites from the session. They look absolutely snuggly and cozy and warm. Those kiddo’s sweaters are too cute.

Thank you, Johnson family, for trusting me with your precious memories!

Kylie and Co.

The Moore family just helped me and my camera kick off fall, and I couldn’t have picked a better crew. Kylie just turned two and absolutely lit up in front of the camera. She also has the adorable nickname ‘Squeaky,’ which I got to call her the entire session, so there’s that.

We headed to Yates Mill County Park looking for fall color. And though the leaves haven’t quite popped yet – at least not in Raleigh – this family’s beauty and joy was captivating. 

Who needs leaves when you have these smiles?!

Kudos Moore family on another successful session. Much love to this sweet bunch!

Woodlake Community trail

As a photographer who leans toward taking portraits in natural settings, my eyes are always peeled for new and different locations. I once visited the Woodlake Community trail in southwest Durham with a photography class and fell in love with the variety of scenes found there. There is a playground, two lakes and three miles of paved walking trails.

For families, this is great. It provides a great deal of entertainment for young children within a small space and keeps them energized throughout a photo session.

From the photographer’s perspective, the setting is nice because there is both shade and sun, plus a variety of backdrops that range from forest to fence, and lake to tall grasses.

While it is most exquisite during fall, when the foliage surrounding the lake is on fire, today’s visit (and inexcusable cell phone photos) showcase some nice nooks for photos even in the dead heat of summer.

One critical thing to note: this is a neighborhood community. I would recommend bringing only very small groups here (4 ppl or under) for photos, and absolutely no equipment beyond a camera and maybe a reflector. Also, because it is a natural setting, there are often geese present. Just something to consider. 

Now snap away to your heart’s content.

B is for bubbles

I attempted to make this session with baby Max and his family all about the bubbles. I thought I could distract from the camera with those enticing bubbles (and a new bubble machine, too). But not all plans are destined for success.

Folks, I was outsmarted.

Max knew better. He knew what I was up to. Don’t get me wrong, he liked the bubbles, but he is also as smart as an engineer. He wanted to dig into the bubble machine and figure out the mechanics. How does this contraption work?

Most babies leave it at, oooooohhh shiny bubbles.

Anyway, so Max made me work for it. I had to beg and plead for smiles. But oh, they were worth the wait. He’s perfection – eyes, nose, lips, brain. Everything. I love this kid and his laid back family.

 

Ready for take off

For years I’ve been told that the RDU Observation Park is a must-visit gem of the Triangle, particularly with young children. Today, I finally brought my children to check it out, and it did not disappoint. 

It has an observation deck to watch planes of all sizes take off and land, a climbing area built over a sandpit, a “runway,” sprawling grassy areas and restrooms. The air is filled with the soundtrack of jet planes. It is only a short walking distance from the General Aviation Terminal, which is air conditioned and features big glass windows for private flight viewing.

This is one of those magnificent locations that is fun for families, unique and works quite well for some interesting photos. I’m so glad I packed a camera to test out the space on my favorite subjects, my Busbee babies.