Thursday, July 16, 2009

Baby Portrait Session :: 9 Months and Growing

Baby O. is back and cuter than ever~ sporting more new teeth which make him seem even older with that charming smile. We met at a local park this morning for some fun images of his very first summer. I know I say it all the time, but it's almost astounding the rate in which these little ones grow up. I remember when my three were babies and toddlers I would think people with kids in elementary school were soooo far ahead of me...that the toddler and preschool years would never end. Now my youngest starts kindergarten this fall, and I am thinking I'll need to quickly get adjusted to this new perspective!

Lately I have been photographing seniors in high school alternately with newborns and babies and my emotions get so mixed up when I hold these tiny people who seem to grow and change entirely too fast. This little guy is actually ten months old now (yes, we're a little behind~ life moves quick-- remember?) and his age is one of my favorites for babies in general. They are often content to hang out, don't mind trying new things and are just starting to learn how to keep Mom on her toes, but usually can't get too far too fast. I had a hard time narrowing down images for the blog~ he has so many great expressions and he and his mommy were having so much fun together as you can see. Enjoy!

This little guy is part of the "Baby's First Year" series which captures little ones at every important stage in their first year~ from newborn through their first birthday. The year ends with an album highlighting all your favorite images from the previous sessions and your choice of an 11x14 gallery wrap or 50 custom-designed 5x7 flat greeting cards.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Baby Portrait Session :: Celebrating Adoption

Well, he's not exactly a baby anymore~ at nineteen months he's a full-fledge on-the-move, I'm-all-boy toddler! But these little ones grow up so fast that I'm all for calling them babies as long as possible. Today's session was part of my Celebrating Adoption series~ a gift to good friends of our family who officially adopted this sweet little guy nearly one year ago. He joined their family just a few days after birth and has been a delight to his big sister, family and friends. Adoption is close to the heart of our family too, because our youngest child (ahem, the 'baby') joined our family in this same special way.

It has been a while since I have photographed someone between the ages of one and two. Let's just say he had a fantastic time this morning running, climbing the steps (over and over and over), and popping bubbles while we were waiting for that magical moment when he would stop and sit for a minute, or ten seconds... but, he didn't... (he's a boy, and I have two of them~ what was I expecting??) So there are plenty of action shots, which I love to see anyway. My absolute favorite images came at the end of the session when his daddy arrived, and you can just see this little guy's face light up and know that genetics don't make a family~ love does.

If you know someone who has recently adopted a child,
please have them contact me for more information on this special portrait session offer.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Senior Portrait Session :: Caryn

What gorgeous weather we have been blessed with lately~ and what a perfect evening we had to photograph Caryn for her senior portraits! This beautiful senior girl is from Elizabethtown and has a busy summer ahead~ interviewing for a job where she can continue working in her last year of school and helping with the planning of her older sister's wedding, just two months from now. She will attend Lancaster Co. Career & Technology Center this fall for cosmetology. Her sister also graduated from this program, so who knows~ maybe there will be a sisters salon opening in the future? So onto the images~ thanks again, Caryn, for a fun evening and best wishes with all your plans for the future!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Giving Back :: Joni & Friends Family Retreat 2009

This will definitely be my longest blog/image post e-v-e-r....this past week I spent three amazing days at the Joni & Friends Family Retreat at Spruce Lake Retreat in the Poconos trying to capture the spirit of this event in images. This retreat is a week-long, jam-packed amazingly fun vacation for families with special needs members. Volunteers, a.k.a. short term missionaries, are matched with a family member affected by a disability and spend the week helping them with activities and creating a friendship that often lasts many years. Parents and siblings also have special activities, meetings and worship times. This year the retreat theme was "Down on the Farm" and along with the popular annual events, like the talent show and water slide, there were wagon rides, a country fair, a hoedown and other farm related activities.

Some things are difficult to describe, and 'Joni Camp', as it is affectionately known, is really impossible to describe properly so about the best way to say it is "you just have to be there to understand." But knowing that many people will never get the chance to attend Joni Camp, the best way I can think to explain it is this: once you are there, you experience this other-worldly, overwhelming sense of peace, comraderie, patience, love and kindness that makes you forget about the rest of the world (and all its issues) and just relish in the fun activities and events planned by the Joni Camp staff, enjoy the wonderful food and simply spend time getting to know people. I was able to take our youngest and oldest kids with me, and was informed by the elder that we simply MUST attend the entire week next year, because this was the best vacation of her entire 10-year-old life!

So that is my text portion of this post~ now onto the images! Due to the passing thunderstorms last week, many of the events were moved indoors, so I was definitely feeling challenged in learning my equipment quickly in different settings and poor lighting conditions. I was pleased with how the images came out despite very little post-processing and came away with some images I will cherish because of the wonderful personalities that I can connect with them. I will post more images on the Circle of Life Photography page on Facebook since this series on the blog just barely touches the surface of what all goes on over the course of several days at camp. Please feel free to post a comment on what you think, or if you have been to Joni Camp, add a note about your experience to share with others just how special this time really is~ thanks!

The day starts off with some relay games for the teens

The water slide is always a huge hit...sometimes literally

Professional services, such as hair cuts, massages and painting nails are provided, and appreciated

Painting pots and planting herbs

Getting her turn on the "power swing"~ very popular with the young adults along with a rock climbing wall

Everyone looks forward to talent show night

Special friends

Adult morning worship

Doing the marshmallow prep for a mass making of s'mores...yummm


Photo gallery website for proofing and additional info: 

Circle of Life Photography's page on Facebook~ Click HERE to add this page to your favorites!

Michelle Miller allowed me to link to her brilliant post about the art of photographing ... I simply cannot say it better myself! Click HERE to read the post.

Giving Back~ Organizations supported by Circle of Life Photography

In giving back, Circle of Life Photography's main goal is to help those experiencing extreme poverty and nourishing them with food, shelter and spiritual guidance. Education is a big part of helping people learn how to help themselves and change the downward spiral of poverty for a better future for themselves and their children. Locally, a more tangible way of giving back is through using my photography gifts to serve others who are experiencing crisis (see NILMDTS and Pillows of Love.)

Compassion International~ Haiti's Child Survival Project

In 2011-12, Circle of Life Photography makes a monthly $30 donation to the non-profit organization, Compassion International, whose goal is to change Haiti through the rescue, nuture and discipling of children during the critical early childhood years.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation (NILMDTS) gently provides a helping hand and a healing heart for families overcome by the grief and pain of the death of their newborn or infant. Offering gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner is the heart of this organization. The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives. I am an active NILMDTS volunteer photographer for Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Lancaster Women & Babies Hospital.

Joni & Friends Family Retreat

I am honored to be a volunteer photographer at the Joni & Friends Family Retreat in the Poconos (Spruce Lake Retreat) for a week each summer (click here for past blog post.) Joni & Friends seeks to serve as a ministry of outreach to people with disabilities and their families across the US and around the world. Families from around the country attend Family Retreats seeking relaxation, encouragement and a time to strengthen their family.