motherhood::journey into the great unknown

this past sunday, i had the opportunity to take maternity photos for the daughter of my friend pam. 


taking portraits of people other than my daughter, of course, is something that i don’t do alot of.  and taking portraits of an expectant mother and her husband was a first for me!


but look how adorable they are!  can you even imagine how pretty this baby’s eyes are going to be??


this miracle never ceases to amaze me. 


the whole time i was taking pictures, i kept thinking…i swear it doesn’t seem like that long ago i was pregnant with kelsey.  and now this baby of mine is a senior.  in college!

January 09, 2015-3

in just a few more months, she’ll be graduating and moving out of her college apartment into her own apartment.  she’ll have a ‘real’ job and health insurance and a 401K.  my little girl.  how is that even possible?

kelsey crop

you may have noticed….i have touched on this a few times recently.  it’s not something i dwell on in an anxious kind of way, but it is something i am mindful of.  and that is the reality that kelsey’s new job may take her further away from home.

four years ago, these were the kinds of thoughts that would send me into a complete tailspin. 

I’m trying so hard not dwell on thoughts like, “This is the last Christmas that Kelsey will be living at home.”  … The problem is that It just went by so fast and I’m not ready for this part of my life to be over.  december 2010

one thing that keeping this blog for the past four and a half years has revealed to me, as if it should come as any surprise at all, is my resistance to change.  my general dislike of uncertainty.  and i can see how that has shaped my motherhood experience as well. 

something is ending…and i am afraid of what the future holds. 

looking back, it’s not just this particular phase of my life.  but even from the very beginning…trying to imagine my life with a new baby.  how different everything would be and how unsure i was.  i mean honestly, you can probably cut and paste in just about every major childhood milestone here in this equation.

what is life going to look like and will i be cut out for this?

well that is except potty training.  i was overjoyed to not have to change anymore diapers. 

so fast forward 21 years and here i am yet again….the threshold of change.  the cusp of the unknown.  uncertainty in every direction. 

what i have finally learned after all this time is that basically, motherhood is a journey into the great unknown.  seems like just about the time you get sort of comfortable with where you’re at, then the next big thing comes along to change everything.

but what a grand journey it is. 

so what is the future going to look like this time around?  well…i have no idea.  but it’s going to be ok. i know this.  because based on 21 years of previous experience, it has always been ok. not to say that there won’t be some transition or difficult days.  but i know my girl and i know myself.  and we’ve navigated this journey pretty well so far together. 

Photo Jan 26, 9 30 57 PM

and really…that’s the beauty of this…it’s not a solo journey…we have each other.  plus we also have a good and loving God along with us who will pour out his Grace into all of our broken places.  He will shine his Light and guide the way for us. 

i have nothing to fear.

          fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  isaiah 41:10

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my month of mornings

i’ve never really been a morning person…but recently i started taking pictures in the mornings instead of in the evenings.  i’m sharing the whole story with my friends at focusing on life today if you’d like to read all about it.


basically it started out as was a way to kill a few birds with one stone.  but as a result, i’m learning to see mornings in a whole new light.  mission accomplished.



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for the new photographer

this, my friends, is the very first picture that i put on my blog.

also included in that post were pictures of a cat-hair tumbleweed and a hair ball.  which i am not sharing with you today.  #yourewelcome

the above photo was taken with my first dslr camera four and a half years ago.  the above photo was taken before i knew anything about aperture, shutter speed, or iso.  the above camera was taken before i knew anything about composition.  the above photo was taken before i had taken any of my big picture classes.  the above photo was taken before i had a clue about post-processing.

in contrast, here are a couple more recent photographs that i took of my sweet pumpkin.


these photos tell a story.  and not just that pumpkin likes to lie around a lot.  although that is a true story.  no, these these photos show pumpkin in her surroundings.  they show how she loves to curl up in a puddle of warm sunshine…wherever that my be.  and these photos capture little details like the tufts of hair at the tip of her ears and the delicate wisp of her whiskers.

i am sharing these two sets of pictures today because i want you to know that i did not start out here taking good photos.  i mean, sometimes i want to cringe at how bad some of my photos were in the beginning.  i suppose i could delete them, but instead i leave them here on my blog to tell the story of my photography.  to share with you the journey.  and oh what a wonderfully thrilling, excruciatingly frustrating, joyfully liberating journey it has been.

over the past several months, i have received several emails and comments asking for photography tips and advice on how i achieve the look and feel in my photographs.

seriously…asking me.

this is something i hope to incorporate more of in my blog….sharing some of my knowledge and process as it pertains to capturing these kinds of ‘everyday life’ kinds of photos.  and as i started jotting down some notes, i thought it would best to first do a break down on the basics of exposure, depth of field, composition, focus, etc.

but here’s the deal…there is an outstanding website – – and they have some of the very best tutorials for beginning photographers.  seriously, 90% of what i have learned about the basics of photography i learned from DPS.  their articles are incredibly well written and informative.  and personally what i love about them, is that they speak to the more scientific, left-side of my brain that needs to 1) understand the individual elements of photography and 2) how these elements work together.

instead of re-creating the wheel, i thought i would point you to DPS. but i’ve done the digging for you and found the links for the tutorials that were most beneficial to me.  and i’m grouping them together and putting them in the order that best helped me to get my head around the basics of photography.

ExpsoureJanuary 21, 2015

Baby Steps to Manual ModeJanuary 22, 2015-4

CompositionJanuary 16, 2015

Focus and Camera SettingsJanuary 09, 2015-11

ok.  so what next.

January 20, 2015

well, to start with are a few links to some of my posts about photography.  honestly these are some of my very favorite posts ever.  and the things i share are still very much the guiding principles of my photography.

next, wherever you are in your photography journey – whether you just got a new dslr for christmas or you are looking to improve on what you’ve already learned – i would highly recommend finding a group to connect with.  depending on type of photography you enjoy, there is a group for everyone.  here are links to some of my favorite places to plug in and connect.

flickrJanuary 13, 2015 – ok so i know sometimes flickr gets a bad rap for all of the changes it has undergone in the past few years.  but i don’t care.  flickr was the first place i joined and i have made so many wonderful connections.  there is so much inspiration and community.  and there are a myriad of groups you can join.  here are a few of my favorites.

clicknmomsJanuary 09, 2015-12 – if you have aspirations of becoming a professional portrait photographer or even if you are just hoping to capture meaningful photos of your home and family, clicknmoms is a wonderful website full of great inspiration.  you can also pay for a membership which give your access to their forum with literally thousands of tutorials.  and finally, they offer some wonderful educational opportunities.

kimklassen.comJanuary 12, 2015-2 – if you enjoy still life photography and are looking for a wonderful community to be part of, kim’s website is wonderful resource for a levels of photographer.  she is so generous in sharing her knowledge and has created the studio | online.  a class that “holds space for creative connection and growth, centred around but not exclusive to still life photographers.”

now, if you’re new to photography, you might be thinking “kelly, i don’t even know what kind of photography i like!”  and guess what….that’s totally ok…. sometimes it takes a while to hone in on your vision.  it certainly did for me.  but that my friends is part of the journey.  the twisting, turning, winding, up and down journey that is art.

if you were to ask me four and a half years ago what i wanted out of photography, i would have said to take pictures that accurately reflect what i love about my life – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  and well…that pretty much still holds true.  from capturing my daughter’s smile and the light in her eyes, to the simple joy of a quiet moment at home.  expressing my gratitude for my ordinary, wonderful life…this is my passion and my creative vision.


wow….this was a long post…a lot to take in.  i know there is a ton of information to absorb and digest.  so give yourself permission to take your time. to let it sink in.  give yourself permission to play and practice and take lots of shitty pictures.  because you will.  i still do!


i know you’re probably sick of hearing this by now, but i think it always bears repeating….photography is a journey.  so if you’re ready for the adventure of your life, grab your camera and get out there and take some pictures!

love, kelly

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this old house.


i would just like to go on record to say that i think this is the reason so many photographers find it hard to stick with a 365 project…sometimes the photo ops can be kinda slim pickins.

hence, a photograph of my hair dryer.

i took this photo one day last week.  i had finished getting ready for work and i happened to have my camera upstairs with me.  i thought the light was pretty on it and i thought yeah…what the hell.  so i snapped a couple of shots to get one that was just right. because you know…there are so many subtle nuances of a hairdryer, hairspray, and round brush.

anyway, once i got done, i just laughed to myself.  oh yeah kelly…you really hit it out of the park on this one.

but it doesn’t really matter to me that every single photo is a winner, because my 365 project is about capturing my everyday life. and drying my hair is an everyday kinda thing.

also, i do some of my best thinking while i dry my hair so there’s that.

but drying my hair in the winter is a bit tricky. i have to do it in the main bathroom because we have a space heater going in our master bathroom to keep the pipes from freezing and our 100 year-old fuse box can’t handle both.  but it’s ok…i’ll take drying my hair in here over another broken water line ANYDAY.

exhibit a:024

perhaps you remember the pipe that burst which lead to the whole master bathroom renovation. that we did four years ago.

holy hell.

also, as a sidenote…a deranged lunatic hijacked my blog and wrote most of those posts to reader beward.

anyway… in related news, last week i also took a picture of the doorknob on the door to our bedroom.


i know it’s super lame, but by next month there will be subtle signs of spring.  the days will be getting longer allowing for more shooting after work.  and i’ll be running around like a crazy person trying to capture it.

so i think it’s fitting that any year-long photography project of mine would include pictures of my old house.  and even though these kinds of photos aren’t really all that exciting…i mean it’s a hair dryer and a doorknob for heaven’s sake….pictures like this tell the story of my life. and my old house.  and when i go back and look through my year of photos, i’ll remember that it was winter.  and how much i love the light that pours in through my east windows in the morning.

taking pictures around the house is nothing new for me.  because i love my old house – and not just the windows and the light…but also the creaky wood floors, the drafty old windows, the cracks in the plaster at the top of the stairs.

now i am a firm believer that home is where the heart is…the house does not make a home. but this house, with all it’s stately “charm”(otherwise known as imperfections)…this is the setting for the stories of our life for the past nine years.  this is where we have celebrated birthdays and holidays.  this is where kelsey sat at the bar everyday and watched gilmore girls after school.  this is where tripp washes the cars.   this is where i learned to take pictures.


so today i am giving a nod and expressing my gratitude for this old house we call home. letting my {A}rt inspire my art.


thank you for letting me share it with you.

love, kelly

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the weekend in pictures

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like we have for the past few januarys, tripp and i have taken a little weekend road trip. this year we drove over to northern arkansas and stayed at a cabin overlooking beaver lake.

this year we mixed it up a little and took the furbabies.  as good as it was for us to get away…i think it was good for them too.  nothing like fresh air and sunshine to clean out the cobwebs so to speak.

keep close to nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. wash your spirit clean. ~john muir

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