About 9 months ago, I had the pleasure of spending some time with a few beautiful women at Salmonberry Birth Center. Jen Watson & Angie Hotz (both Doulas & Childbirth Educators) organized this little shoot for Andrea, during the last couple weeks of her pregnancy. For no other reason than to spend time together, create connection, and to pamper this beautiful mama.. I actually feel like these photographs are just a bonus.. Although, I am hoping that Andrea is able to look back at these moments and see her radiance, and strength... And I am hoping that Angie is able to use these photos to share her beautiful handmade jewelry with our community.. And, these may even show some women what the inside of Salmonberry looks and feels like.. Warm, safe, and inviting. To top it all off, I was fortunate enough to photograph Andrea's home birth just a couple of weeks later.. I look forward to sharing that part of her journey here with you next.
All images shot with available light.. Which there was very little of! It was windy and rainy outside, so we hugged the window and soaked up as much light as we could. I love that we can see the sun moving lower through these images.
Interested in a maternity session with either just you, or you and your partner? Please contact me here for more information and availability.
When Sara first e-mailed me, I could tell immediately that she had it together - she knew what she wanted, and was putting in the effort to make it so. She and her husband Evan wanted their story documented for reasons close to their hearts - the love between them is a truly a joy to witness. When we met before the big day, they were sitting a mere foot from each other, and still they were smiling and blowing kisses through the air towards one another. As their photographer, I was pretty stoked at about every level. I crave that connection and it's what I am drawn to most about birth photography. Most people I've talked to about what I do expect the moment of birth to be the climax, and maybe for some it is.. But not for me. I relish in the details, the moments of connection, and all the strength and love throughout labor and delivery. I love watching dad step up to the plate as he supports his beautiful wife while she's doing one of the most amazing things on earth. I love watching mom wrangle all the strength within, and still somehow exude an air of loveliness throughout. I've never seen love as potent than moments after birth when each parent lays eyes on their babe for the first time, and also when mom and dad look into each others eyes with pride and gratefulness. It's amazing to witness, and fulfilling to shoot.
So when I heard from Sara that their birth plan was being thrown to the wind for reasons I won't go into here - I was worried. I was worried for her, and looking back - I think I mourned for the experience they so badly wanted, and had planned so diligently for. It's heartbreaking to do everything right, and somehow still have things fall apart.
Amazingly though, while I was at home worrying, Sara and Evan were taking it all in stride. They were going with the flow, and baby stayed happy throughout a three day induction. Although I had joked with my husband about camping out in the hospital waiting room, I patiently waited until I was summoned to head over. When I arrived, Sara was at 3 cm dilation and within one hour, she was at 10cm and ready to meet her beautiful girl. Talk about good timing ;)
I can't thank the birth team at Harrison enough for all the love and care that was provided to this family during labor and delivery. I was reminded yet again, that there are no certainties in life. It just take one person to elevate a situation from so-so, to wonderful. The nurse in these photographs, Wendy, was literally the best nurse I have had the privilege to work with. Not only did she treat Sara and Evan with compassion, empathy, and respect - she welcomed their Doula (Jen Watson) and I both onto her team with open arms. I left feeling hopeful about this hospital, and for that I am grateful.
[Gear Info: All images captured on a 5DMarkiii with 35mm f/1.4L ii, 50mm f/1.2L, and 85mm f/1.2L lenses. All images shot with available light.]
Thank you for spending your time with me here and with this family's amazing story. Please leave me a comment with your thoughts and find me on FB! I am currently accepting birth clients with due dates August - December. I look forward to hearing from you!
My sister, Tamar. It's hard to say what I am going to say, because it makes it real. It forces me to face the fact that my life isn't always what I want it to be. I can't will it to happen, or 'try harder', or keep working towards a goal. Tamar lives across the country from me, back home in MI. It's probably the hardest aspect of my life - being away from those I love, especially her. She's the last bit I have left of our mom, although my children are a constant reminder. Whenever she comes out to visit, we always make plans for photo time - I mean, always. But, for one reason or another, the amount of time we spend actually taking photos is like 20 minutes. It's kind of hilarious actually. But when we do it, we do it. I'm grateful for this time we had together. And even though these were meant for her new website, I already have plans to print some for our walls because we just miss her so.
The most challenging part of being a professional photographer (for me) is creating connection with strangers. People who hire me to shoot their births, or take their family photos, or even simple portraits like these.. It's all about the connection. I've been blessed with the birth clients I've had so far.. Six wonderful families who really put their trust in me to create my art and capture their story simultaneously. Birth is where I thrive, I feel SO ALIVE and I'm able to just be - I call it an out of body experience. Something comes over me and I go into the zone of creating and I am gone. I often need to look at the photographs myself to see what actually happened, or to grasp the time line because it goes by so darned fast. Portraits are tougher for me, it's more of a director role - I'm touching your hair, fixing your clothes, telling you where to stand, etc.. So when my sister and I went down to the bay, I was a little nervous. Not fumbling around stuttering nervous, but butterflies in my stomach, I'm about to ride on a roller-coaster nervous. The good kind. When we got to the shots of her looking out onto the bay waiting for the sun to go down a bit, I had tears in my eyes, because as I was looking through my viewfinder at my sister, I saw our mom. In Tamar's extreme laid-back coolness, her eyes, and her smile. It was truly beautiful. We were connected, in a big way. I felt so revved up and alive from these 20 minutes that it's made me want to shoot more portraits for members of my community. To really connect one on one and have that intimate experience to create beautiful and meaningful photographs that will be cherished.
By the end, we were covered in mud and salt water. My cameras were covered in mud (yes, literally), my boots, my pants, and my bottom. It was perfect and I loved every minute of it. I love you sister!
[Gear Info: All images captured on a 5DMarkiii with 50mm f/1.2L, and 85mm f/1.2L lenses. All images shot with available light. I also shot these on my EOS 1-V with 35mm Fuji400H and I cannot wait to get these scans back! Please check back for an update :)]
What can I say that will allow me to express the affect of attending this birth?!
Tiffany was the winner of my 2016 giveaway. She is a photographer herself, and I remember feeling excited and also a little nervous about that! When I met Tiffany, Bobby, and their beautiful girls - I knew right away that their birth was going to be full of love. I hope I have been able to show you that here in these photos. I came home after a short 8 hours, feeling completely high. The love between the birth team had been palpable, and I felt a little stunned by it. The level of support from friends and family throughout was really kind of amazing! What a blessing it is to have this kind of support throughout labor and delivery - and so obviously in Tiffany's case - life!
A special thanks to Puget Sound Birth Center. What an amazing place to give birth..! I was blown away by the peaceful and humbling energy of midwife Melanie Dickson and two student midwives, Katherine and Erin. Thank you all so much for the amazing work you do in our community.
And one final thank you to Tiffany, who has so graciously allowed us all into her life. Sharing these photos takes bravery and courage, and I think we can all see throughout this story, that those are two things she definitely has. She is a very special woman and I am deeply honored to have been there to capture this part of her journey.
So please enjoy the birth story of little Ember, a beautiful baby girl born just last weekend and who will forever be in a safe and sacred place in my heart. Thanks so much for having me, Tiffany, Bobby, Rayne, Saige and Ember..
[Gear Info: All images captured on a 5DMarkiii with 35mm f/1.4L ii, 50mm f/1.2L, and 85mm f/1.2L lenses. All images shot with available light, at f/1.2-1.4, ss 1/40-1/125, ISO 3200-8000.]
I appreciate you for spending your time with me here and with this family's amazing story, thank you!
I had the most amazing opportunity a few weeks back; I met Heidi on a Saturday afternoon, and had the absolute honor to photograph her and her family just a couple of days later during her labor and delivery. Heidi was in labor for three days, and I only showed up for the last 25 hours ;). It was incredible to witness her strength and grace. The love and support from her family was mind-blowing. I was so incredibly humbled to be present, and also so grateful to walk away being forever impacted by this family, her team of midwives, her doula, and the staff of Jefferson hospital, in Port Townsend, WA.
[Gear Info: All images captured on a 5DMarkiii with 35mm f/1.4L ii, 50mm f/1.2L, and 85mm f/1.2L lenses.]
It is only fitting for my very first blog post on my website to be this one. A weekend where something inside of me clicked, in a big way. There was a shift so deep within me, that it's hard to share here. Not because I can't put it into words, but because it is so close to my heart and I long to keep it a secret. I met the most beautiful souls full on wonder, beauty, pain, healing, longing, etc.. I was pushed so far, and I felt so much. I wondered how it would feel to see my photos, and to see the photos of my peers. I wondered if I would feel ownership - we were all there shooting the same. exact. moments. What I found though, is that we are all so very unique, and we all see things so differently. Here, is part one of my story:
We arrived on a Friday evening, at 5pm. These first moments were filled with nerves, for me. I did what I usually do when I feel like this.. Well, two things! First, I went to grab a glass of wine as was suggested by our lovely host, and second - to grab my camera, this light was calling me.
I lingered here for a few moments after everyone headed in. I couldn't help it. The rest of our first evening is a bit of a blur, in a good way. There was a lot of sharing, crying, eating, and wine drinking. Our second morning, I spent some time outside with the chickens writing in my journal before heading to Whatcomb Falls State Park for an exercise with a partner.
Beautiful afternoon spent with beautiful people.. I spent some time in the woods with Tammy, silently, just 'earthing.' I think those six minutes were the most peaceful of the weekend.. Feeling close to the earth, and to myself. I felt so comfortable around Tammy's energy, and afterwards, we sat in the woods and talked all about motherhood, and how we both love it so.
This same evening, we had the honor of shooting the most lovely family alongside Joy. I couldn't get enough of the experience. I learned so much from this evening!
This evening led to a relaxing bonfire out in that field of wildflowers with lot's of talk to what is next for us all, and what some of us would like to leave behind as we look toward the future. I left behind grief, and welcomed love. Letting go of some of the pain I carry with me, in my minds eye, and through my camera lens. Welcoming love, that of my husband and children, and my commitment to love those I love, harder. Welcoming clients and allowing myself to share healing imagery with others, and to share my personal projects with my peers and really, the world.