2007 has been an amazing year! It's fun to look back at my blog and see how far I've come this year and how many blessings I have experienced. This year I shot 23 amazing weddings! I was so blessed to be a part of each and every one of them.
Looking back, I've picked out 10 of my favorite happenings this year to review in the order in which they occurred:
1. My trip to New Hampshire last January.
Not only did I get to visit one of my favorite families in the world, I also got the chance to shoot for the fun of it around this beautiful state. It's so rejuvenating to shoot for yourself in a new location. Click here,here,here and here to read more about this fabulous trip.
I started this humongoid list of goals on February 7th of this year. When I first started it, I was completely overwhelmed and not too sure of the whole thing. But it's quickly become something that I really enjoy working on. It's been fun to track my progress here with you. So far, I've completed 32 goals--some big, some small--but I'm right on track to completing my list by November 4th, 2009. One of the fun results of this quest has been seeing some of you inspired to come up with lists of your own. It's fun to read others' lists because you really get a sense of who they are and what is important to them. Fun stuff!
3. My first TV appearance!
In March I was asked to appear on a little-watched local Arizona TV channel on "The Pat McMahon Show." I was interviewed live about my photography and it was a fun experience! If you haven't already seen it, here's my segment:
4. The One Light Workshop San Diego
In April I attended my favorite workshop of the year in San Diego. I hung out with a fabulous group of photographers and learned about how to use off-camera flash effectively. Click here to read about it and see some fun images. This experience has led me to host an upcoming One Light Workshop at my home this next month. Should be fun!
5. My Dixie
Total cuteness came into my life in May in the form of my puppy Dixie. It's amazing how much a pet transforms your life. Dixie is my cuddle-buddy and my entertainment. Right now she's half-way on my lap wondering why I pay so much attention to that stupid contraption with the screen and not more to her. She just pawed my face. What a love.
6. Launch of my new Custom Blog!
In June I left blogger for a fancier custom model designed by Brock Martin of Infinet Design. Brock was a pleasure to work with and I couldn't be happier with the result. My new blog allows me to post huge photos and has been a great success. Since the launch in June, I have had over 115,000 visitors. In July, I had an average of 250 visits a day and that has grown exponentially to an average of over 1200 visitors a day in December! Thanks to all of my blog readers for joining me on this journey and for all of your sweet comments and emails! I really enjoy getting to know you! Blogging blows my mind. It makes the world smaller and at the same time is the most powerful marketing tool a small business owner can invest in in today's culture.
In June my grandpa had another heart attack that he survived. Thankfully he's still alive and kickin'. In July I took a week-long vacation to visit my beloved grandparents in Florida. It was really precious time. Click here to read more.
In September I had the opportunity to speak at Pictage's annual conference. I had been attending this conference for three years to hear other speakers and finally took the step to get my own butt up front. I spoke on blogging and it went really well! Click here for all the details.
In October I had the chance to go to Hawaii for the first time and shoot a wedding there! Andy and Jonna got married on the beautiful island of Kauai. My friend Kim and I had a great time for a week exploring the island by boat,car, and helicopter. We also did a fun trash the dress session with the couple. What a great trip!
In November I was able to do something for a cause dear to my heart. Both of my nephews have autism. They are both SO special. Fulfilling one of my goals, I organized a team and raised money to help find a cure. In the process I raised awareness for this disorder that has reached epidemic proportions-- 1 in every 150 children are diagnosed with Autism. The walk was an amazing experience with a turn-out of over 7,000 walkers who are in some way affected by Autism. Click here to read more.
That wraps up my highlights of 2007. It's been a great journey! I can't wait to see what 2008 holds!
Those of you who know me know that I am a bit of a reality TV fiend. It's good stuff. And I love dancing. If I were to do life over and I couldn't be a photographer, I would want to be a dancer.
As one of my Christmas presents, my parents got tickets for me and a friend to go see the Dancing With The Stars Live Tour and it was tonight! My friend Shannon begged me to bring her and I think she was possibly twice as excited as I was to go, which made it fun. Every five minutes she'd remind me of how excited she was :).
Shannon brought her point and shoot and got these shots to document our time. This is the view from our seats:
A cool blurry action shot:
Now I have to say that the show was fun but a bit of a disappointment in certain aspects. I think our stop on the tour got jipped due to the holidays. A lot of the stars and dancers weren't at this show because they were with family for the holidays. Not kidding you--there were ONLY 3 STARS in the show; 4 if you count Wayne Newton who didn't actually ever dance. The three were Joey Lawrence, Drew Lachey and Sabrina Bryant. Sabrina was definitely the high point of the show. She is amazingly spunky for how small she is.
Now to the low point. As aforementioned, Wayne Newton didn't dance. I suspect he was willing to do the tour but the producers decided that no one really wanted to see him dance so they decided to have him sing. THREE FULL NUMBERS of Wayne Newton singing. The third song was the lowest point -- "Danke Shoen" and he sung it while walking around the floor kissing women who were in the audience on the cheek. This was Shannon's reaction:
And I scored the number:
Very sad. Shannon summed it up nicely by saying, "You must have to have been from another era to appreciate him. Because he's not good." Shannon's really good with words.
So overall it was a fun night. But a little light on the "Star" part of "Dancing with the Stars." And a little heavy on the Wayne Newton.
This afternoon I met up with Brian and Kate in downtown Tempe to shoot their engagement photos. They met a year ago New Year's Eve at the Tempe Block Party so this was the perfect place for their session. If Kate looks familiar, that's because she is Kevin's sister and was part of Kevin and Marissa's wedding in November. I was so excited when they booked me for their engagement shoot because I remember how stunning and photogenic Kate looked at the wedding. Anyhow, Brian and Kate had fun with their shoot and we got some great images. Here are a few of my favorites:
How cute are they? Total naturals. Congrats Brian and Kate! I had so much fun hanging out with you today!
Jim and Mandi got married on Saturday and theirs was my last wedding of 2007! Their wedding was intimate with a lot of family, had a Christmas theme and was held at The Castle at Ashley Manor. I thought Mandi looked so beautiful in the above photo.
We only covered the tail end of the preparation time before the ceremony. I liked this photo of this cute little girl primping in front of the mirror. It's got a great sense of motion:
Matt Sloan of Sloan Photographers is a great friend of mine and he helped me out that day by being my 2nd shooter. He does such a great job of connecting with kids and making his subjects feel comfortable being photographed. It was fun to have him along and watch him in action. He got these great shots of the guy's side of things. The adorable ring-bearer:
A touching moment I caught in the girls' room:
Jim and Mandi saw each other before the ceremony, which I thought was great because not only was it dark after the ceremony, it was fridged! Here's a few of my favorite portraits:
I love capturing photos of the guests arriving before the ceremony begins. I spy on everyone with my long lens and try to capture fun moments as they happen. I love the look between these two:
Mandi breathed deeply the whole way down the isle, trying desperately not to cry.
Everyone found creative ways to stay warm:
The cute ring-bearer waiting for his part:
Mandi had her emotions written all over her face throughout the ceremony--very sweet:
The reception details followed the Christmas theme:
I love this shot of Mandi and her father dancing:
A Matt Sloan special:
I love how this shot turned out. It was pitch-black out but I was able to use my flash and pan with the car to get this effect:
To see more great shots from this wedding, click here to view the slideshow!
Thanks so much Jim and Mandi for allowing me to be a part of your wedding!
Sorry if this is the first time the news has been broken to you. But I've lived under this reality my whole life. My parents chose not to entertain the illusion of Santa as we were growing up and the bonus was that we got to open all our presents on Christmas Eve!! Woo-hoo! I'm already playing with my toys :).
This Christmas Eve we got together as a family at my sister and Josh's house. Here's their scrawny poor-man's tree with a crazy amount of presents under it. Noah was so excited he kept asking every 2 minutes if we could open presents.
My cute sis doing all the work in the kitchen:
Josh and Elijah hanging out on the couch:
My cute parents and of course, Dixie came along for the festivities:
Noah was so into the presents this year. He handed them out to us and even helped us open ours on occasion.
I quickly lost interest in taking photos and so unfortunately there aren't others of the present opening shananagans. The whole thing kept going and going though.
I made out unbelievably well this year. My mom always goes overboard. I got tickets to see the "Dancing with the Stars" Live show, gift certificates to the spa, perfume, a Fossil purse, and a few other fun trinkets.
After a piece of pecan pie, I promptly fell asleep on the couch. I guess all the merriment took a lot out of me. Here's me and my sis and Josh shortly after I came-to:
Fun times! Hope your time with your families this year is super-special!