Portraits: February 2015

I've seen a few bloggers post portraits of each of their kiddos each month for a year, and I thought it would be a fun way to document the boys, so I'm jumping on board. I had originally wanted to start this project in January; New Year and all that, but I'm not going to beat myself up...so here's February! 

Above was taken during our Superbowl Sunday snowstorm. It's been the only really good snow (12-15 inches) we've gotten this year (PRAISE!) and the boys had a blast running after Niall as he plowed the neighborhood out. 

And below; Matthew is becoming quite the little model. Every time I get my camera out he begs me to take his photograph and then instantly says "lemme see Mom" and studies his own goofy mug in the back of the camera giggling at himself. I opened up the front door one morning mid-month as we waited for the car to warm up a touch, and Matthew was looking dapper on the stairs so we did a quick little photo shoot before school. I love the little drop of drool on his bottom lip in this shot because it's just so perfect. This kid, is STILL drooling. 

Anyone else out there posting monthly pictures of their kiddos? Want to start with me now (Laurel!!)? Link up in the comments...I'd love to see what you've been up to!


Several mornings this week Niall has been up just before sunrise, shoveling snow. We haven't gotten a ton of the white stuff. Just a couple of inches over the course of the last week. But unlike the snow we've dealt with in other places, warmer places, this snow sticks around. The problem with this, according to a new neighbor Niall met while clearing our driveway, is that the top layer warms just enough to melt slightly, but because the temperature hasn't risen much (we haven't even hit 15 degrees this week), it turns to ice. And that, isn't any fun. So he shovels, almost daily, so we can semi safely get into and out of the driveway. 

The boys are desperate, I mean absolutely dying, to get out there in the mornings with their dump trucks and bulldozers and help him clear the way for the cars. I considered bundling them and letting them get all their energy out before breakfast, but dang, it's just too cold out there. 

A couple of mornings ago, because he was so disappointed at the thought of staying inside while his Dad worked away, I propped Christopher up on the counter in some pretty light and let him eat his oatmeal while watching Niall work. 

I like how these quick shots turned out. Our house has these strange little pockets of unexpected and oddly placed light. It's not terribly open and bright in this little old place. I'm challenging myself to learn how to shoot the kids in here this winter, with my 50mm. Window light and getting creative with my positioning are my priorities!

Katherine & Chris - Chicago Engagment Session

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this session with Katherine and Chris. I've been eager to get my camera on a couple of non-squirming subjects with our new city as a backdrop since we touched down in April. A few weeks before Christmas, I got my chance and shot this sweet little engagement shoot on a foggy day at North Avenue beach and in the Lincoln Park Zoo. As I drove in towards the city that morning, I prayed the fog would hang around. Prayers answered...foggy engagement session below.


Earlier this week, I shared a little session I did with sweet 6 month old Lou in our upstairs guest bedroom. When we moved into this house, that room was immediately a space I'd knew love. It's window faces east, towards our backyard and the room gets beautiful morning night. When I started decorating the room, I knew I wanted to keep it very simple and bright, so I choose to keep the walls white and added a white dresser, white floor lamp, white shelves, white mirror, and a white bedspread. It's pretty much devoid of any color whatsoever...and I love it. 

I'd been wanting to capture some images of the boys in the room and I've been thinking about grabbing my camera almost daily after shooting Lou in there a few weeks ago.  After their epic Lego session this morning with Niall, I figured they'd be calm and eager to have a little down time snuggled up in bed. I was wrong. 

These images turned out nothing like I'd imagined they would. The boys were wild, as they typically are, and I quickly realized I wasn't going to get any sweet shots of them snuggling up together or relaxing calmly among the blankets. I yelled out direction to them as I clicked and got way too sweaty and irritated during the whole thing.  I culled through all 400 of the photos I took, flagging all the blurry images with limbs flying into and out of the frame, and I narrowed down the lot to about 20 images . As I began editing them, I smiled and shook my head at my sweaty irritated self. The emotion the guys show in these pictures is 100% accurate. It's perhaps the most authentic session I've ever done with them.

They ignored every single thing that came out of my mouth up in that bedroom this morning, wildly flinging themselves all over each other and that bed they're never allowed to jump on. And as I scroll through this set, I'm so glad they did. I learned a great lesson with them today. Sometimes I just need to let them be.

Louisa: 6 months old

This sweet girl makes an appearance again! Lou and her Mama stopped by for coffee, chats, a nap (Lou), and some photographs a couple weeks ago. You might remember her sweet newborn session I posted exceedingly late, just a few weeks ago. Well she's just over 6 months old now, and is just as cute as ever. She's maybe the quietest, calmest, smiliest baby I've ever spent time with and my face just lights up every time she smiles. It's seriously the best. 

Big thanks to Lousia and her mama Colleen for hanging out and letting me get a little click happy. 

A couple minutes at the Nature Reserve

A couple weeks ago I wound my way though a part of town I'm not too familiar with in search of an open field I'd spotted back in our first weeks in Illinois. At that time the field was tall with dried out wheat and it opened to the west, which I noted would be great for afternoon or evening light. I never made it back during the spring or summer, but we found ourselves with a half an hour to kill a few weeks ago, and I decided we'd head back and check it out. 

I found out it's actually a nature preserve for Lincoln Marsh and had a trail of sorts winding though tall fields and across marshy dams. Looking back, this may have been the last warmish week we had this year.  The temperature was mild that day, and as the boys and I walked and walked, further and further away from the car without another person in sight, the sun started it's quick late fall descent. I was conscious of being out there alone with the kids, so we didn't wander as far as we'd have liked, but I've got the spot bookmarked now and I can't wait to head back for a snowy walk in the coming months (actually, probably more like weeks) with Niall and crazy Barley too. 

Amelia + Nathan

A few weeks ago I spent a morning with Amelia and Nathan hanging out in the West Loop, their old neighborhood, and snapping some pictures of them. I'd never shot a couple before, having spent the majority of time behind my lens chasing small kids around, and I have to say I found the exercise so refreshing! 

I had a great time hanging with these guys and scoping out the neighborhood. We kept passing restaurants I've read about and Nathan and Amelia, both architects, answered all my silly questions about building facades and sloping rooflines. It felt like part architecture tour, part photo walk, part hanging out with good friends. Good times, for sure. 

Four Frames with Christopher

I'm still slowly learning about the light in our house. I'm figuring out how it changes, which rooms look the best at which times of day, where little pockets fall. It's been really fun, and photographically challenging. Our old (new) house was very open and full of natural sunlight. Our new (old) house is boxy has small little windows and lots of shadows. Shooting with my 50mm in our old house posed no problems at all as there was lots of room to move about. Here, something shorter would probably be a bit better, because we don't have as much space.  As the weather gets more frigid by the day, I expect a lot of my shooting to happen indoors this winter, which will be totally different for me. YAY!

Here are a couple frames with Christopher. I noticed he stepped into some pretty window light just behind my workspace last week, and since the camera was handy, I took a few frames. I'm sharing both the color and black and white of a couple as b&w processing is totally outside of my comfort zone. With all the moody light and shadows in our house though, I'm feeling like now may be a good time to work on it!