Christmas Snow | Photography Bucket List, Personal

I’ve had nighttime snow portraits on my photography bucket list for quite some time. Here in Virginia Beach, usually, snow is a little hard to come by, so I really had my fingers crossed that we’d get some snow while visiting my folks over the holidays. They hadn’t had a white Christmas in quite some time but… my chances were better for snow in Northern Pennsylvania than they were here at the beach. (However, I may have jinxed us on that one this year… )

Someone must have thought I’d been a good girl last year because it started snowing the day after we arrived on my parents’ farm. Daytime snow. Gorgeous, blanketing everything, and just in time for a white Christmas. But… by nightfall… the snow had stopped.

Thankfully, a day or two after Christmas, I got my wish. You should have seen the look Chris gave me when I asked him to come pose for pictures with me… yikes! We were all snuggled in and ready to start a movie so going out in the snow was not quite as exciting for him as it was for me. As you can see, the end result was well worth our efforts:

My Christmas wish: Nighttime snow pictures!!

My Christmas wish: Nighttime snow pictures!!

Here’s the trick to setting up this type of shot: one light behind your subject, low and pointed up toward your subject’s head, and one light infront of your subject, either bounced or diffused onto your subject. Here, I used one of my off-camera-flash setups with the stand as low as it would go and a white umbrella to really blow out the light and catch all the falling snow around us. Then, on my camera, I used a flash, synced with the OCF, with a diffuser since I didn’t have anything to bouce the light off. (We took this shot in my parents’ driveway next to the house which is situated in the middle of the woods and my parents’ house is stained a dark black walnut color.) I also had to turn on the front light on the house so that my camera could autofocus and we stood outside the glow from the light. There aren’t any streetlights where I grew up!!

I’m really hoping we’ve seen the last of the snow for this year here at the beach but hopefully you can file these pointers away until next winter!

A & B Dance Company | Dress Rehearsal – Virginia Beach, VA

This one is a little bit of a stray for me from my typical portrait sessions but one that I absolutely loved and was so honored to be invited to capture.

I had the pleasure of photographing the gorgeous ladies of A & B Dance Company at the end of last summer, during one of their regular lessons, really just to see if I could do it. Low light and high speeds can be challenging for any photographer and when you add the element of timing, to capture full height and extension of every leap and turn, well, I just wasn’t sure what I’d be able to get. That day in the studio taught me so much and thanks to lots of practice since then, I was excited to see these ladies again and really see how much I had grown as a photographer.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, and I was invited back to photograph the Company’s dress rehearsal. What a difference a few months can make! The routines they had only worked with a few days when I first met them had now been polished into awe-inspiring elegance and so many more had been added to their repertoire. Every piece was mesmerizing. And, what was even more remarkable and inspiring to see was the way that they all work together and encourage and support each other. This is an amazing group of girls!

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It was hard to choose just a few images to share with you, there were so many and these ladies have so much talent. They have great personalities, too, which you can see here in a few of the company portraits:

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Thank you so much, Ashleigh and the ladies of A & B Dance Company, for sharing your gifts and inviting me to capture them for you! I wish you all big, amazing successes and blessings in your lives – I know that each of you will go far and touch many!!

More Snow! | Virginia Beach, VA

I swear I moved south for a reason – to get away from the cold weather! Apparently I didn’t go quite far enough!! Here in Virginia Beach, we receivedfour inches of snow two weeks ago and then, last week, another eleven inches.

My poor Moai was burried nearly to his mouth!

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Since we don’t seem to own a snow shovel – a fact I intend to rectify shortly – Surfer Hubs had to clear a path through the back yard for the dogs with a hockey stick. Believe it or not, it worked pretty well! Once he had a path, Rex decided this snow stuff was pretty fun – and tasted good too!

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Here’s a shot of our street. Looks like a few brave souls were able to venture out. Not me, the Cav was going nowhere! I was pretty glad, too, since I can’t afford to wreck another car and these Virginia Beach drivers are a little crazy when it comes to precipitation of any sort…

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I secretly don’t mind a little snow because it doesn’t usually last very long; I just hope there won’t be any more this year. I’m ready for spring!

February | Goals and Making Lemonade

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Twelve lemons. 2013’s lemons. Finally ripe and ready to be made into something wonderful. Like lemonade. Or maybe a lemon chess pie…

When I picked these yesterday, I thought this was ironically fitting. And to add to the irony – there won’t be any lemons this year. All of the buds were frozen last fall when I didn’t get the trees in early enough one evening. One lemon for each month of a challenging year and now a year without lemons. And I’m perfectly okay with that. And I can’t wait to turn these lemons into something delicious – just like I’m working to turn last year’s challenges into this year’s victories!

January’s Goals:
(which didn’t get blogged in January, so you’re seeing them here for the first time)
Workout – gym, Jillian, something – woohoo!! I did great with this before coming down with the flu and will be getting back on that horse now that my cough is clearing up
clean out, clear out, put away everything Christmas
– tax docs done – I got a really good start on this, just a few deductions left to add in!
no spending – no clothes, shoes, or accessories purchased!! (I did have to buy a new printer… but this was a business purchase, not a personal one)
– learn more about SEO
have the trim painted at my house
– blog twice/week
– meal plan
read the Word
read for pleasure
take more non-client pictures – yay for beach snow!!
time for recharging – nothing like the flu to knock you on your behind and really make you sit back and take it easy
purge & organizethis is an ongoing effort, but we made great leaps in clearing clutter this month!

Goals for February:
– Keep up the workout efforts
– Design personal photo albums and finally get those pictures somewhere other than hard drives!
– File taxes
– Install new carpet in my house – last step before it goes on the market!!
– Organize my bedroom closet
– Make a freezer meal
– No spending – except Valentine’s Day
– One evening each week with my business (minimum)
– Read for pleasure
– Read the Word
– Something crafty
– Weekly date night with Chris
– Blog twice a week – this will happen one of these days, I know it will!
– Drink more water and take my vitamins every day

I’m excited to see how many of these get checked off! And… how many adventures we have in the process! Creating margin in my life means that while I have a list of things I’d like to accomplish, I can also be flexible enough to wonder off the beaten path and see what else is in store for this month. I’ll report back next month on my progress!

As a little reward for hanging in there and making it all the way to the bottom of today’s post, here’s Miss Molly, ready for me to stop photographing lemons and throw the ball already.

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