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Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Smith Family

Last weekend I met the Smith family for the first time. Karen called me about a month ago and said that her friend, Trisha - another client - told her she needed to get images of her family made as well. (Thanks for the sales job, Trisha. The check's in the mail... well, kind of. With the referral program, you now get $50 off your next session. Sweet!)

So Karen & Larry and their adorable (and extremely polite and well-mannered, I might add) kids Jenny and Taylor loaded up the car and met us at a beautiful park near downtown Dallas last Sunday taking advantage of the amazing fall weather we've been having to create some great images. Once again, I managed to schedule a session that coincided with an important sporting event - Larry races motorcycles and had a race that afternoon, but was gracious enough to skip that one in favor of spending some time with the family to do some photography. Good choice, dad.

Everyone was great and both Jenny and Taylor we're the human equivalents to Play-Doh... willing to mold themselves in any position I threw at them. Thanks guys.

Here's a few sneak peak images from or session. Click on images for a larger preview.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Swampscott, Sun Rise and Spencer

What's in a name? Well, I'll tell you what's not in a name... and that's anything remotely telling about the name Swampscott. First of all, and maybe this is just me, but if I want people to know how beautiful and quaint a town is, chances are anything with the word "swamp" in it isn't gonna make the final cut. I mean, c'mon... Swampscott?? Is this the best someone could come up with for their beloved city's name? Sounds more like a member of a shady crew you'd wanna shy away from down at the docks to me.

[cut to headline]
"Swampscott, Shotgungary and Beerbobby arrested on charges of tax evasion at local boat house."
[end headline]

Naming considerations aside I spent the night at the house of my cousin Aaron, his wife Jen, and their 17 month-old little big man, Spencer, Friday night just outside of Boston in this cozy, coastal getaway. Such cool established neighborhoods with towering trees, hills and miles of coastline made this little suburb amazingly peaceful and serene.

Umm, what time are we getting up again?
So, Aaron asked me Friday night (after midnight actually) if I wanted to try and catch a few images of sunrise down by the water at a little after 6 in the morning. To say I'm not a morning person is like saying Bostonians hate the Yankees... it's a given. I must have been high on fall color, though, 'cause I agreed to giving it a try, but secretly hoped he'd A) forget about it, B) sleep through his alarm, or C) wake up, realize it was only 30-some degrees outside and decide to skip it. No luck, though... being a trader on Wall Street and living in/near Boston, this guy's used to frigid, early mornings. So, off we went and I'm so glad he dragged me along. I haven't seen a sunrise since, well, I don't even know, and it was amazing. Check out the cool beach images.

THE Game
After we got back to the house and my body recovered from the shell-shock of being up so early, it was time to settle in for THE game all Buckeye fans live for every year against Michigan. So, we all put on our OSU gear, grazed on tons of awesome food the entire afternoon and celebrated what's become a customary whipping of the Wolverines. Good times were had by all. Well, maybe not so much by Aaron and Jen's friends that also came over. They're unfortunately fans of the maize and blue variety, and as you can tell by the look on their adorable little daughter, Makena's face, her Big Blue eyes can't believe the Wolverines got pummeled again.

Thanks, Aaron, Jen and Spencer for being such gracious hosts and opening your home to me. It was great seeing you again, and can't wait to return the favor in Dallas sometime soon.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Please Come To Boston

No, seriously. You really need to come. I mean it.

Boston and the surrounding neighborhoods are beautiful. So much contrast between the busy, hectic city and the calm and peacefulness of some of the nearby outlying suburbs. Truly one of the great cities in our country, and if you haven't been here already, what are you waiting for?Here's a few more images from my recent tip. Click on the images for larger previews.

This was a small public cemetery in the middle of the city that memorialized all those who died in The Boston Massacre. It's very cool how the city has re-purposed several of the graveyards to be celebrated memorials and parks where people come to visit and relax.

Fall colors! Yeay! It's such a beautiful time of year here right now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Boston is Cool

Scratch that. Boston is cold. Actually, I'm just a big baby. It's not that cold here... yet. But when I'm comparing the weather here with the sunny, low 80's weather in Dallas, it's justifiably frigid. I got in this evening, dropped my bag off at the hotel and took a quick walk to find some dinner and grabbed a few images along the way. I really like coming to Boston because it's got such a rich history and cool things to see and photograph at every turn. And downtown is so people-friendly with all the greenery, parks and cool little neighborhoods. There's plenty of hot sports opinions waiting to be heard here, too. With the Red Sox winning the world series, the Patriots steamrolling everything in sight, and the Celtics off to the best start in the league this year, it's hard to argue with them.

Check out this big guy sticking his tongue out at me when I took his picture.

Suzanne and Ryan {engaged!}

Suzanne and Ryan recently got engaged and made a trip up to Dallas to spend a Saturday afternoon with us to create some images of this amazing time in their lives. Both are graduates of Texas Tech (all Tech graduates reading this post with their guns up, it is now time to put them back down), and I had to apologize to Ryan within the first five minutes of the session. It seems when Suzanne's mom and I spoke on the phone and scheduled the appointment weeks in advance, we failed to take into account the Red Raiders would be playing Texas during at the same time as our session. Oops. Sorry again, Ryan. I felt your pain, though, as my Buckeyes were also playing at the same time. Hey, in hindsight everything turned out for the best, though, as we had a lot more fun creating these amazing images than we - or at least I - would have watching both our teams go down in flames.

Both Suzanne and Ryan were great... very laid back and willing to do anything I asked... I wish all my sessions were that easy. Very fun couple, and I can't wait for them to see all their images. Here's a few sneak peeks (click on images for larger previews).

Stay tuned for a slideshow in a future post.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

From the Memory Box

I was looking through some old photos tonight and came across two of my favorites of little Zoe from years gone by.

I love the first one from way back on her 4th birthday. And the second one is just classic Zoe. She loves the belly rubs.

Friday, November 9, 2007

10 Reasons You Aren't Getting Anything Done

The following text is from a post penned by the good folks at If you haven't checked out their site, give it a try. It's been rated as the #38 most popular blog in the blogosphere by technorati with a self-described goal of helping you get thins done faster and more efficiently.

This post really hit home with me because I sometimes get frustrated and/or overwhelmed with where my life is or isn't going, and I'm guilty of several things on the list. Ideally none of you need to read this post and you're lives are progressing exactly how you desired/planned. If not, though, I hope this post inspires you to take back control of your life. Enjoy.

If you’re not reaching the kind of success you imagine in the areas that are important to you, one or more of the following things might well be true of you:

1. You don’t have a goal.

A lot of time we find ourselves “spinning our wheels”, struggling through a day-to-day routine that isn’t getting us anywhere because we don’t know where we want to go. Sometimes we had goals when we set ourselves on a particular path, but we’ve changed along the way and those goals are no longer that important. Sometimes we simply did what was expected of us without ever stopping to think about what we eventually wanted to accomplish for ourselves. Whatever the case, figuring out what your goals are and, just as importantly, whether your current actions are helping to achieve them, is important.

2. You don’t have a vision.
Setting goals is important but isn’t enough to drive you to the finish line; it’s important, too, to be able to imagine yourself as the achiever of your goals. How will you feel, what’s the payoff, why is it worthwhile to follow these goals and not some other ones? If goals are the end result of a journey, your vision is the fuel to get you there.

3. You don’t have a plan.
If goals are your destination and a vision is your fuel, your plan is the map to get you there; without a plan, you have no idea what immediate steps to take to achieve your goals. Planning means taking stock of the resources you have, the resources you need, and the steps you have to take to put those resources into action. The world is full of people with goals they have never accomplished because they didn’t have a plan — don’t you be one of them.

4. You’re too certain.
Too much certainty creates inflexibility. If you’re sure that your plan is correct, and refuse to accept the possibility of error, you may well find yourself stuck when an unexpected change comes about, or when your plan takes you in an unexpected direction. However strong your plan and however sure you are of your goals, make room for periodic reassessment.

5. You’re not certain enough.
At the same time, too little certainty will paralyze you. If you refuse to take a step because you aren’t positive it will move you towards success, you won’t make any better progress than if you had no goals at all. Keep your eyes open and be willing to change, but have faith in yourself, too.

6. You don’t learn from your mistakes.
A lot of people take their mistakes as signs of their unworthiness. They take setbacks as proof that they were never meant to achieve anything in the first place, and that they were stupid to even try. Mistakes are crucial to success — if we take the time to analyze them and learn from them. Even when they bar us irrevocably from attaining a goal, the lessons we learn from our mistakes help us to make new and better goals.

7. You reject outside influences.
A lot of people see the influence of others as a weakness, or worse, a restriction or even “pollution” of their innate creativity. This is, in a word, hogwash. We are first and foremost social beings, none of whom has ever accomplished anything without the help of others. Welcome and accept other perspectives on your strengths and weaknesses, your successes and failures. Accept help graciously when it’s offered. This doesn’t mean you should take every piece of advice offered you, but you should listen seriously and openly and weigh carefully the input of others. And learn from their mistakes, when you can.

8. You worry about being copied.
Often we close ourselves off from other people not because we’re afraid that they will influence us but that we will influence them, that our brilliant ideas will be taken up by someone else and no longer be solely ours. So we avoid sharing our passions, and spend our energy jealously guarding our “secret” rather than simply moving forward. In the end, we turn our passions into burdens that become difficult to carry instead of a joy.

9. You use up your reserves.
When I’ve found myself at my lowest points, it’s always been for lack of a reserve — whether of money, of time, or most crucially of energy. In part this was the fault of inadequate planning and over-certainty — I should have reassessed my situation more realistically before exhausting my resources — but whatever the cause, it’s a dangerous place to be. A mistake that could be easily recovered from under normal circumstances becomes overwhelming when you’re too broke or too exhausted to respond adequately. Keep track of where you are financially, materially, and emotionally before you find yourself too worn down to continue.

10. You fear success.
Forget fear of failure, it’s fear of success that kicks us the hardest. It’s the darnedest thing, too — the kind of thing that you don’t imagine possible, until one day you realize that you really don’t know what to do with yourself if you ever accomplish your goals. On the other side of success is the unknown, and believe it or not, the unknown is often scarier than the known world of struggle and unfulfillment this side of success. When I realized this, one night as I drifted unhappily to sleep, it jerked me straight up in my bed!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Holiday Season Can Now Begin

Well, it's finally happened. That annual ritual that signifies Christmas is right around the corner has transpired, and the holiday season is now officially open for business. Call it the Groundhog's Day equivalent of indicators that Jolly St. Nick is packing up the sled. Yep, the Chambers family scheduled their annual Christmas pictures. Every year, I use the Chambers as my gauge that it's time to start thinking about getting serious about the holidays. Laura and Andy were brave enough to volunteer to be my first official clients back in December of 2004, and we've been creating images of every year since.

I was shocked how much little Emma had grown in the past year since our last session. And her hair! Wow... she's a Julia Roberts starter kit! And John, this little guy wasn't even around yet for our very first session, and now he's well on his way to becoming a big boy who looks just like his dad.

Here's a few images from our session last Sunday. Click on the images for a larger preview.