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the gang’s all here! … {littleton family photographer}

i loved that when this client contacted me about photos she wanted to meet in person.  in this age of digital and impersonal communication it’s hard to truly connect in a phone call or an email.  to me connections are what life is all about so it was an easy request to fulfill.  we sat at starbucks for several hours chatting about family, life and photography.  i loved her instantly.  and i knew, because of our personal connection, that our session together set for a few weeks later would be just as lovely.

 

and it was.  the sun was out in full force but it served us well by warming up the kids so photographing the group was as easy as can be.  they absolutely swallowed me up with their smiles and excitement for the shoot.  there weren’t any awkward moments even though we had a pretty large group to capture before that afternoon sunset.

 

 

i applaud families that recognize the gift of time together and invest in capturing it.  and it’s truly an honor to be chosen.  i know just how many incredible talented photographers we have here in colorado.  i appreciate the opportunity to share my passion and talent with the families who trust me to document their moments.

mom admitted to me during our coffee together that she and her husband had’t been photographed together in 20 years.  she asked if we could set some time for just them to do a quick mini session.  of course we did!  and how adorable are they?

and i got to spend some time with each individual family as well.

thank you ALL for working with me to capture your special family time this past holiday season.  i truly enjoyed being around each of you!

 

the invisible boy…{littleton family photographer}

this is my boy.

my “invisible boy”.

I SEE YOU SON!

I WILL ALWAYS SEE YOU!

 

my youngest son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism by an amazing psychologist when he was 26 months old… Dr. Audrey Blakeley-Smith of JFK Partners/University of Colorado/Children’s Hospital Denver Development Pediatrics.   we are so grateful for her presence in our lives.  she is someone who has always opened her door to us in times of feeling overwhelmed with the issues associated with the diagnosis of autism.  for years we followed her advice and set our son up with therapies, private therapists, outside resources and programs to help him gain the social and emotional skills needed to navigate our overly social world.  she is the definition of a caring professional who not only understands autism but goes the extra mile time and again to help the entire family unit navigate ongoing issues and concerns.  i honestly can’t find the words to express how much we adore and respect her for all that she has done.  thank you for always ‘seeing’ our boy and for caring about him so much through the years.

she has coached our son (and us) for the past 8 years.   she has helped him along with way with a variety of autism related issues that transfer to this crazy social world of ours.  she’s gone ABOVE and BEYOND to get us the resources we’ve needed to help our boy.  we are currently struggling with the abstract concept of friendship:  having friends and being a friend, understanding friendships and how important connections are in this overly social world.  it’s an overwhelming concept for him and will probably continue to be for the rest of his life.

you see–with a diagnosis of ‘high-functioning autism’ it’s quite easy for our bright boy to fly under the radar at school.  academically he’s doing pretty well and is in a regular classroom with no supports.  ‘school’ in its traditional sense is pretty easy for him–particularly math where he is labeled as ‘gifted’.  so in an academic environment he would not be flagged for anything or needing any extra help.  at the “suggestion” of the school psychologist we removed his IEP a few years ago as he was functioning well academically.  after my rather bumpy ovarian cancer journey i insisted that he be given a 504 plan to ensure that his teachers are aware of his diagnosis and that supports are in place to make sure he has the tools to navigate the other softer aspects of school on his own.  i have alway been his advocate.  i understand that these soft skills are even more important for kids like my son and that the need for teaching them in school can, and often is, overlooked.   in my mind, ‘character education’ is just as important as basic academic skills.  kids learn social skills from a very early age and the ones who struggle are often silently overwhelmed in school.  so many kids on the spectrum push those emotions away as they are not ones that can be labeled and categorized.  they are abstract and dark.  this is something that has been silently happening to my son.  and like all things that are unresolved and churning inside someone–they will often reveal themselves in unusual ways.

so what’s been happening with my boy is that he starts to retract, to internalize his emotions and to express his building frustrations in new and surprising ways.

friendship is currently where he is struggling.  and this, clearly, is not something that is addressed during school hours.  kids are left on their own during the times when peer-to-peer interactions are at their height– group work, lunchtime and recess.

i  did some research and came up with a list of books and materials to help begin the dialogue at home about some of his frustrations (in addition to seeing our wonderful psychologist every few weeks).  we picked up a copy of The Invisible Boy by Patrice Barton this weekend and LOVED it for a wealth of reasons.  firstly it is a fantastic book that tackles the issues of friendships (and the give and take associated with them).  i believe each of us at some point has struggled with feeling ‘invisible’ in our lives–unappreciated and unremarkable within the crowds we’ve found ourselves in.    most of us eventually process this and work to make strides to move forward.  after reading the book my son opened up to me about some issues that were bothering him.  and i opened up to him as well…sharing issues with him about how i’ve felt ‘invisible’ in my own life.

as a mom, an introvert and a shy kid myself i’ve always wanted to keep connections open with my kiddos.  it all sparked when i began treatment for ovarian cancer.  my kids were so small and surely so scared.  i wanted a place where we could keep the dialogue open as well as a safe place for them to vent their concerns and fears.  so i started a journal project with them.  it was a place where they would write and i would write them back.  over the years it’s morphed into a very cool ritual with them…one that i treasure and hope that they will someday treasure as well.  we’ve filled several journals in the years since i finished treatment and, to be honest, those books are the first material things i’d grab in the event of a fire or disaster.  their feelings are so special to me.

so in writing to my son this quiet morning i couldn’t believe the two pages of emotions i poured out into his book about feeling invisible over the years and how i too have struggled with friendships and relationships (especially with my family, which i am very open about).  it was so cathartic to spill my feelings to him on those pages.

it’s been a theme that’s run thoroughout my life to make sure that other’s don’t feel invisible…whether it be through my photography or through the connections i’ve developed and fostered through the years.  we chatted about the ideas presented in the book and he admitted that he really loved it.  i spent the morning researching others to include in our private reading/bonding time and i’m excited to dive into those as well.

all in all–i want our educators to realize that social skills/character education is an important topic that just isn’t handled properly in school.  so it’s up to us to talk about it and address the concept of being a friend and having friends at home with our kids.    i see it as an ongoing conversation and ongoing work to help my son see the value in working on building friendships and social connections in life.  i’m so glad we broke the ice and have begun the journey in dealing with these insecurities so that the pain can be dealt with constructively.

we are so glad we found this book and look forward to learning of more like it in the weeks to come.  if you’ve got a story or a book to share–please do in the comments below.

i love you son.  i will always go the extra mile to make sure you are seeing others and being seen in your life.

MOM

 

Hillary - February 13, 2017 - 12:38 pm

What a beautifully written and intimate peek into your world MB. I got teary reading it. You are a devoted and loving mom and your boys are fortunate that you and your husband were alerted to your younger one’s needs and could do all you do.
We do all have times of feeling invisible…I, too, may check out that book. Not just for myself, bilut I guess it could also help in better “seeing those who have been slipping out of sight! Much love…you are a beautiful woman, mother, wife and friend! ❤️

tamara yount - March 5, 2017 - 11:12 am

MB, you continue to inspire me… as a mother, a friend, a creative and a human being. you are always learning, sharing and caring with such determination… to know you is to SEE YOU. I love you dear friend. Namaste’

Max… {littleton photography instruction}

Max has an insatiable desire for learning.  He loves photography.  And he has one of the coolest and most unique families I’ve ever known.  (I’ve been honored to photograph them for many years now.)  All of this was a terrific recipe for our day together this week.

His mom contacted me at Christmas to purchase  gift certificates for some one-on-one time with me to learn photography.  She decided to redeem one on his birthday this past week.

Great gift idea!  (Such an honor to spend some of your 11th birthday with you!)

We met for breakfast and went over the plan for the day together.  Then we set out for a few hours in the park learning some of the basics of photography.  We included some time to practice what we learned.

We learned about the tools the camera offers for capturing portraits (my passion) especially aperture as a means to isolate your background.  Max loves nature photography so we were able to translate it to his passion as well.

He loved playing with my 70-200mm f/2.8 but quickly realized it’s a monster to hold!  (I’ve had carpal tunnel surgery in BOTH hands due to my profession as a photographer).  We talked about using prime lenses and your FEET as a zoom lens instead!

Max listened so well and took notes on the outline I provided.  His interest and intense focus really impressed me.

And while he was taking notes I got some great portraits of him as a way to further explain aperture.

It was a perfect day…and the clouds acted as a natural light diffuser for our session together–a very important part of portrait photography.

His shots were put into a gallery with comments on the composition, aperture choice, backgrounds etc.  I added comments for him and encouraged him to do the same.

His mom sent me a photo of him reviewing all of the technical information this morning!  What a thrill for me to see!

 

I shared screen shots with him about the editing process and how the camera information is available (how was able to share it with him).  Next session we will talk about shutter speed, color temperature and editing.

And as our parting shots he got one of me and I got one of him!

(I’d like to start offering more sessions like this…message me if you are interested and please share this post with anyone who may be as well!)

I am already looking forward to our second session coming up Max.  Thank you for spending the day learning!

XOXO

MB

be. here. now {littleton documentary photographer}

 

i am always thinking about photos.  my mind honestly can’t escape it.   and lately i’ve been thinking a lot about different styles of photography.  specifically ones that are my passion and showcase my creative soul.  i’d really like to do more documentary photography–day-in-the-life photography, everyday images…’the gift of an ordinary day’ sessions.  i’ve done a few of these sessions this past year and have loved them–the thinking about them, dreaming of new ideas for them, researching,  doing the sessions and editing the images to produce powerful  and treasured archival images for the families.  this type of work makes my heart feels full, gratified and satisfied.

the other day i was laying on the floor in our living room with my youngest son.  i watched as he played with some of his toys that were scattered across the floor.  we started talking about the toys and he got excited to have my full attention and began to explain them to me.  the passion in his eyes was obvious and it excited me.  i ran to the office and grabbed one of my cameras and started snapping away.  (he’s the son of a photographer so he doesn’t think much of me having a camera around.  admittedly he does tend to pose a bit when i have it but i did manage to get some honest and candid shots as well.)

i realized at that moment that we were indeed having one of these sessions.  he talked, i listened.  he smiled, i snapped.  and snapped.  no flash, no posing.  it was one of those times you know as a parent will pass so quickly.  a regular night’s events that didn’t signify anything special or monumental.  but i know how quickly he’s growing and that sooner than later his interest in these toys AND his interest in hanging out with me will be long gone.  i loved that the living room was messy and that he had on his fun minecraft socks that we have to tear off of him before school or church.  i loved that he was thinking about the creative ways he plays with the toys and letting me into his mind and personal creative space.  i loved our impromptu connection.

THIS type of photography is my passion.  i find myself reflecting on images like these from years past with my boys (luckily i have TONS of photos of course of everyday moments)–my heart aching tremendously at the swift passage of time.  i’ll forever cherish images like these and will fondly recall our time together this week when i look back on them.

 

my son showed me each of the little characters from his Minecraft set.  he explained their role in the game and how he likes to play with them (as well as a reminded me that there are a few more he’d like to get..hint hint.)  his innocence was pure.  everything flowed simply and perfectly.    and i love that while i was editing the images in the office he came over, notived that i was working on them and gave me a gentle hug and said, “thanks mom.”   it made my night.

often times i forget to be present in his life.  this experience reminded me of how important it is for both of us and how much we gain by spending simple time together.

i know in the age of cell phones many people feel its excessive to invest in a photographer to capture simple moments.  but remember how important it is to actually be captured in your images with your family rather than being the one  taking the photos.  your children will treasure images like this one and they can be forever preserved in your personal family memory books.

email, call or text if you are interested in setting up one of these ‘gift of an ordinary day’ sessions with your family.  i am offering special pricing with digital downloads to all who book a session.

oh and aways remember to BE. HERE. NOW.  you’ll never get these sweet simple days again.

Patti Klobe - January 11, 2017 - 9:34 pm

That makes me cry…seriously! What a beautiful idea. Reminds me so much of my son. We’re Interested! We’ve been planning on contacting you for a while now…probably closer to spring

so very very thankful…

how lucky am i that i get to do my dream job?  how lucky am i that i get called upon year after year to be a trusted family photographer?  and that i get to meet and spend time with the most amazing people.  that i get to be witness to sweet and special connections, love and special moments that are forever preserved in professional photographs…

my heart is full of much appreciation to all of those who trusted me to capture their memories this year.

thank you thank you thank you.

 

so i ask you as you reflect on your memories this year–what will your story be?

i’d love to be part of it in the coming year.

leave me a comment with your contact information if you are interested.   i’m offering a very very very special secret deal today only.

with much love and appreciation.