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a time for reflection…

{http://firstdescents.org}

I just finished a program through this amazing organization for cancer survivors/thrivers called First Descents based here in Colorado.  I was selected to participate in the (FD40+) mountain climbing program in Estes Park in August.  And over three weeks later I am still processing it all.  During that week “Out Living It” {their slogan} meant stepping out of ALL comfort zones, letting walls down and people in, being completely vulnerable and doing something I never thought I would or could.  Of course, cancer completely changes everything about you and, to be honest, the word ‘fear’ was completely redefined.  From diagnosis through 18 weekly chemo treatments all the way to learning to live and balance your life after… I now find myself fearful of NOT making the most of my days rather than being fearful of trying new things.  I completed a multi pitched climb to the top of a huge mountain and repelled down (there were a few tears, a few moments of panic and a few prayers along the way.)  It was the most paralyzing fear I have ever experienced. (Honestly, I really didn’t love mountain climbing.   But I loved pushing myself.)   And I completely loved having my new First Descents family believing in and pushing me as well (particularly my dear friend “Phishy” who literally talked me “up the pitch” when I was freaking out and my friend “I Can D” who cheered me on from the summit of her nearby mountain as well as my climbing partner “Tension”.  We all had nicknames for ourselves for the week…mine was “Shutterbabe”. )

Here is an image of some of my fellow climbers celebrating their summit..

Throughout the week I felt raw and exposed but also fearless and completely alive.  Once I summited “The Thumb” in Prospect Park in Estes I asked our awesome volunteer photographer (Bear Bait) to take my photo so I could really believe that I’d done it. I’ll cherish these images forever as well as the entire FD experience. It truly was indescribable.



Here’s her image of two of our climbing instructors at the summit:

But earlier this summer my family took a quick trip to Grand Lake, Colorado and the four of us rented two double kayaks and paddled the circumference of the lake.  It was a truly peaceful and magical experience for our family.  As I look reflectively back on things “out living it”, for me, means getting out and making memories with them rather than climbing mountains by myself.   Something about the view of the mountains from that kayak, the path and potential of the deep water, along with the fresh air and the peaceful solitude opened up something in each of us that day. I will forever be a mountain girl and ‘home’ will always be Colorado.

I am so grateful to First Descents for the truly life-changing week in the mountains and to all of my fellow cancer survivors/FD family for an experience that I probably will never find the right words to explain. I feel blessed and forever changed by all of it. We truly are better off for all that we let in.

Kat - September 17, 2015 - 3:14 pm

You’re a bada** Mary Beth

some long overdue collage love…{denver documentary photographer}

look at the love that exists within this family. when we are together i feel that i can never take enough pictures of them. they believe in the power of the moment and the importance of capturing it– often. they believe in letting their kids be themselves and trust in me to capture the personalities as well as the connection between them. it’s quite an honor. they don’t care about the light or that their kids are looking at the camera or posing. the just want to capture it all. and that is pure magic to me as an artist and a mom myself.

i think if our sessions together as ‘documentary photography’ in its purest form. it’s where i’d like to take my business–capturing ‘a day in the life’ with a family…and i’ll be blogging about the details of those sessions that i’ll be offering very soon. basically it’s just spending a day with a family capturing it as it unfolds rather than trying to create/ perfect the moment in a short session.

fischer family may 2015 jpeg2

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an adorable family affair… {littleton family photographer}

it’s always an honor when i am selected to be a family photographer…an honor to be trusted with such an historical responsibility. (family photos are an annual tradition in our family also–as i make sure to take one time per year to be in front of the camera and not behind it and it’s quite an ordeal for US–so i get the stress, planning and the preparation for sure.)

i loved the location for this sweet family–it really suited them and it’s a spot i have not shot at before so that made it all the more fun. i love the challenge of showing up before a session and scoping it out for the right light and angles.

photography for me is a creative passion. it’s a chance to forget about everything else and truly be in the moment–working to make things flow and be fun for the family behind my cameras. the time zipped by with these guys and i spend time editing with a huge smile on my face. these guys are the real deal–fun, funny and totally connected.

so thanks K family for working with me this year! sorry it’s taken me so long to get this post up! i really enjoyed working with you guys and i love these images!

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yes yes–i do!

weather on wedding days is not always perfect. often it’s less than perfect. but what’s nice is that the two getting married rarely if ever get phased by it. they are doing what they are supposed to be doing–being in the moment and enjoying the anticipation of what is to come–their marriage! and these two were no exception. clouds circled the sky as we ran around and took some photos before the ceremony but i honestly never even saw them look up. instead they exchanged sweet glances at one another (and some strange glances from time to time at their photographer who was asking them to stand in some crazy places for the photos–especially when i suggested the middle of the street…)

and just as the ceremony was about to begin in the courtyard behind the church in denver…drops fell lightly….then not so lightly….then pretty darn hard for a brief time. but the simple and sweet ceremony continued and all the guests stood staring (as said drops fell) at this gorgeous and obviously in love couple as the pastor performed the ceremony. the rain lightened up a bit but no one cared. all were there to witness the joining of these two in holy matrimony and didn’t really care what the weather’s plans were.

as the rings were placed on each other’s hands the clouds began to part and the sun peeked through. the pastor introduced the new mr. and mrs. and the light rain stopped for a minute or two as if to concur that this was a blessed moment. and the sun stayed out for us to get a compete group shot outside of the church–perfection.

it was a true pleasure to be selected to capture this lovely lovely day.

i wish this family all the joy that life has to offer!

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raindrops didn't stop this lovely ceremony...

raindrops didn’t stop this lovely ceremony…

love this photo.  love the look on her face...

love this photo. love the look on her face…


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