"Capturing Life"

Posts tagged “islandmomphotography

Micah and Elise

Yesterday dawned cloudy here in the Pacific Northwest but quickly turned to sunny skies for the wedding of Micah and Elise on the farm where Micah grew up. The farm was the perfect setting for the beautiful ceremony.

Micah grew up in our local community, the eldest son of their wonderful family. Elise grew up mostly in South Africa, the daughter of missionaries. Elise came to Seattle to attend college where she later met Micah. The rest, as they say, is history.

Their engagement came after they spent time together designing her ring. Micah was still able to surprise Elise with his proposal, planing it to happen when they were out cross country skiing on Mt. Spokane.

Micah and Elise are both adventurers who enjoy rock climbing, snowshoeing, and everything about the great outdoors. They are headed out on a honeymoon that includes a road trip to places they can find adventure and climb lots of rocks.

Micah and Elise, it was a wonderful joy to spend the day photographing your wedding. Thank you for the opportunity to share in your day and may you have a long life ahead adventuring together.


One Special Engagement Session

This past month has been an incredible time in our family.  Our future daughter in law (or, I should say “Daughter in Love” because we all love her so much!) has been visiting from Toronto.  While we spent a week last fall in Toronto meeting her and her family, it just wasn’t long enough to really get to know her.  She was here for a couple weeks this past Christmas but, again, it wasn’t long enough with all the commitments we had during the Holidays.

This visit we were able to spend some great quality time with her.  We went camping, golfing, did 4th of July fireworks, had lots of BBQ’s, and watched she and our son laugh together and enjoy each others company.  It was delightful! It is also delightful that I will finally have a daughter.  I LOVE my boys fully and completely but I always wished for a daughter as well so I’m overjoyed that there will be another “girl” in the family AND that she is such a perfect fit.

When Austin and Felma asked me if I would take engagement photos for them, I was thrilled!  We carved time out this past weekend and spent a couple of hours working on the portraits.

They met 7 years ago playing a game online.  Since they were so young, it was not possible for them to meet in person and so they communicated for 3 years until they were old enough to take the next step.  When Austin turned 18, he purchased an airline ticket and headed for  Toronto, spending Christmas that year with Felma and her family.  They knew even then that their future included being together.

Originally from the Philippines, Felma has lived in Dubai and now in Toronto, Canada.  When she came to visit this past Christmas it was a typical Pacific Northwest Winter complete with mostly rainy days.  I’m certain she thought it would never be sunny and warm here so we were delighted to share our warm summer sunshine and beautiful scenic views that come in the summer.  At least she knows it can be warm and sunny and not always rainy.

They have plans to marry the summer or fall of 2014.  It’s a long ways off for two people who are in love and desire to be able to share their lives and be together.  School and job search responsibilities come first with the hope that they will truly be ready for the next step in their lives by next summer.

In the meantime, they will continue to deal with the distance between them and make the most of every moment they have been able to spend together in person.   Having had a long distance relationship myself with my husband (although not nearly as far apart as Austin and Felma are), I understand a little of how hard it is;  I also understand the character building and rewards that comes from waiting for God’s best in our lives instead of settling for something less than best.  They have chosen to use this time wisely by not only finishing school but also working on strengthening their relationship via some pre-marriage studies which will help to equip them for marriage in the future.

As a mom, I’m very proud of them for their willingness to wait, to try and do things the right way and get their lives set a little bit before taking the step of marriage.  I’m also proud of them for their teachable hearts when it comes to building their relationship and for the mutual respect they have for each others families.

I can’t wait until the day they are able to say “I DO!”.  It will be one glorious day for the two of them!


Becoming a Tourist in My Own Town

My 52 week challenge theme last week was “Be a Tourist in Your Own Town”.  Now, I technically don’t live in a town; I live on an island which has no official town.  We have a fairly large sized grocery store/strip mall, a couple of restaurants, and even a branch of the public library here all which, if placed in the same general area, could constitute a town.  Instead, I became a tourist on our island.

Bright and early on Saturday morning I climbed into our old Ford F250 pick-up truck and headed out.  I generally avoid driving the “beast” but I drew the short straw this time and that’s the vehicle that was mine for the day.  The “beast” and I made our first stop at the obvious choice for a morning outing.  The Camano Island Coffee Roaster’s Market Place.

Inside the Camano Island Marketplace.

It’s one of the best places for tourists to stop when they are out to explore our island.  The Coffee Roasters is the brainchild of Jeff Ericson who is not only a top notch  entrepreneur, he’s also a top notch humanitarian.  He started out roasting coffee beans in his garage and eventually built a fantastic commons area which houses his coffee roasting business and several other local businesses as well.  His coffee is organic and free trade.  I hear the coffee is fantastic; I’m not a coffee drinker (Sorry, Jeff and Jodi) so I walked out of the Marketplace with my favorite Chai Tea Latte’.

Local artist, John Ebner, paints Northwest scenes and prints them to various media such as these tiles.

I wandered around the Market Place Common’s area for a bit, locating the tourist type things that Jeff Ericson has placed there.  From the HUGE Crab Welcome Sign to the seaside photo boards, there’s a little bit of fun to be found.

Doesn’t every tourist place need one of these? Best part is, one of our very talented young local artists, Heather Dixon, painted these signs.

Del Fox Meats offers a great hamburger or pulled pork lunch and the bakery has some delectable cookies to finish off the meal.  One of the shops had some great “twig” furniture, for lack of a better term, and so, since there was no one out and about yet, I had to try them out.

Having enjoyed the tourist attractions at the Marketplace, I climbed back into “the beast” and drove the short distance to the Chamber of Commerce welcome center.  There I found some local artwork

and a wonderful sign that helps visitors locate their destinations on the island.

I decided to take a few moments to finish my latte’ and enjoy the peaceful moments.

With my latte’ cup empty and the morning hours fleeting, I jumped back into my ride and found myself at my next destination: English Boom Preserve.  Once a logboom location, English Boom Preserve is now a wildlife sanctuary with a nice beach and walking trails.  It also sports views of Mt. Baker and Whidbey Island in the distance.

The English Boom Preserve sits along the beach below the small airport on Camano Island. There was an airplane taking off as I was sitting there enjoying the morning sun.

My morning of vacation was drawing to an end as I drove towards home.  I decided to take in one last tourist destination which is perhaps the largest draw for tourists to our island.  The Camano Island State Park is one of the more beautiful places I’ve been and it’s only 5 minutes from my house.

There are camp sites, boat launch, and more beaches to enjoy.  We use to own a boat and launched it there often.  There’s a strong current running through the area so it made for some challenges when loading our boat back onto the trailer. They have a dock there now but it sadly wasn’t in place when we needed it most.  Ric and I have spent many evenings sitting on the driftwood watching people load and unload their boats.  It provides a great study on human relationships.  *grin*

My mini-vacation now complete,  “the beast” and I headed for home.  It’s a treat to take time on a sunny northwest morning and spend it playing tourist in my own neighborhood.  Well, for that matter, it’s just a treat having a sunny northwest morning, but that’s a theme for another day.

Get Lost on Camano Island

It’s Graduation Time

Congratulations, Graduates!

It’s that time of year when students who have 13 long years of education under their belts make the transition from compulsory education to elective education and launch out into the world.  In more simple terms, they’re finally graduating!!

This spring has been fun for me as a photographer.  I’ve had two recent Senior Portrait sessions that were filled with joy for me.  I love doing Senior Portraits and seeing these young adults launching into the rest of their lives.  (okay, so I love doing ALL portraits but Senior Portraits are especially fun for me!)  There is so much hope, joy and sense of accomplishment in their lives at this stage of life and it shines through each of them as a bright light.



One of these soon to be grad’s is Leanna.

Leanna is a beautiful young woman, highly gifted musically, and one of the truly sweetest young women I know.  She enjoys her horses, music, friends and family.  She has a brilliant future ahead filled with many possibilities yet she has a wonderfully down to earth perspective about her giftedness.



The other soon to be grad is Eli. 

Eli is part of our extended family. It was such a joy to be part of his senior year and photograph  his  Senior Portraits.


Eli has big plans for his future, heading off next fall to Washington State University  to possibly pursue a degree in Math. (WSU ranks tops in our household being my husband, Ric’s, Alma Mater) His optimism and wonderful smile coupled with his sense of humor made it a fun time together working to capture his personality on camera.

Once again, congratulations to all the senior’s who are graduating.  I’m so proud for each of you and the accomplishment you have achieved to this point in your life.  May you each achieve your hopes and dreams for your future.

The Importance of Family Pictures

My Dad was usually behind the lens but this particular time my mom was our family photographer.

All my growing up years I have fond memories of my dad, our family photographer, taking pictures to document the wonderful memories of life.  This was “back in the day” of film cameras and, while he knew some basics about picture taking, he was not by any means “professional grade”.  He didn’t need to be.

The photo albums in my mothers collection show moments such as our family trying to have a family portrait on Christmas day via the timer on my dad’s camera.  Invariably the timer would trigger the camera to take the photo before my dad would have time to get back into the picture and we’d have his backside someplace in the frame with the rest of us laughing.  There are the photos of our family at Yellowstone National Park with the lovely Old Faithful in the background and my mother sternly telling us to get down from the railings in the foreground.  There are pictures from our family’s ocean property where we camped with another family on a regular basis.  There are the photos from every Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthday, graduation, vacation, family reunion and any other event my dad had his camera ready for.   We have gathered together over the years to view the slides and look at the photo albums that contain all these years of family pictures.  We laugh, we remember and we bond once again.

In my view, family pictures are one of the important elements in the heritage of each family.  They transcend time and help us return to the early days of our family unit, before time and older ages took us each in our own directions.  Ric and I already cherish our own family pictures and the memories they evoke even though our kids have not yet completely launched from our home.

This past Christmas season provided me the opportunity to participate in “memory making” events.  The kids of some very close friends of ours asked me to take secretive portraits of them for their parents’ Christmas gift.  It was so fun to meet up with them, spend an hour or so playing, and provide them with some great family portraits that will hopefully be cherished by their parents in the years to come.  I love these young people and was honored that they asked me to participate in such a fun gift.

I also photographed an intimate wedding just after Thanksgiving, capturing the beginning of many memories ahead.  The bride and groom had both experienced great loss in their lives and found new love.  It was the beautiful occasion of their new future together.

My own family Christmas time was filled with the joyful memories of our first Christmas with our future daughter-in-law.  As you can well imagine, this photographer took a plethora of family pictures, carrying my camera every place we went and trying to capture photo’s on the sly.  Sadly, however, my family is well on to my trying to be sly and discreet and know all my tricks so it’s more difficult to capture them unaware.  Still, I managed a few photos of them living life in their own unique ways and was able to get those memories documented for our family.

Just after Christmas another family arranged to have me do portraits while they were all together for the holidays.They are a growing family as they add new generations and they desired photos to document the stage their family is currently at.  For every family unit there is a unique bond that occurs.  Why not take the time to capture those memories along the way?


Busy Life

What a few weeks it has been.  Since Thanksgiving, the time has flown by me at a speed much faster than my personal speedometer typically travels.  My photography has been competed against by my almost equal love for cooking, by trying to somehow get motivated to do the Christmas shopping that needs to be done, and by working at cooking classes.

When I get overly busy, I become focused, pressing to get everything done, closing out everything around me except for that which must be dealt with.  I hate to admit it but I must be honest:  my family is often squeezed out by the things that I feel have to be taken care of.  I’m sorry, guys, but I think I’m back in the “mom” and “wife” saddle again.  Thanks for putting up with me and for helping me!

Several weeks ago, I received a phone call from a friend describing an upcoming event, a Dessert Theater evening, and was asked if I would consider overseeing the dessert portion of the evening.  I contemplated it and agreed to take it on.   Thankfully I have some excellent friends around me who were willing to step in and help.  I could not have done it without them. 

The event was planned to serve a little over 200 guests.  I chose to serve 4 different dessert choices so that there would be something for everyone.  A friend of mine offered to make one of the desserts and I began baking the other 3 a few weeks before the event.   3 different desserts with 240 servings each equaled a very full freezer!   I think it was torture for my family to have all the great smells and sights of Cream Puffs, White Chocolate Raspberry Torte, and Mini-Brownies, yet not be allowed to touch any of it.  They barely survived the torture.







The evening included not only dessert, but the local high school choir came to sing Christmas songs and there was also a drama presentation by a very talented performer, Rich Crouch, of Show and Tell Family Projects.  He did a fantastic monologue telling the story of Jesus’ birth.







In the midst of all this, I was asked if I had time to do a quick family portrait session.  It involved a new baby and 3 siblings.  I decided that I wanted to make time for it so squeezed in a morning session.  The baby is 3 weeks old and just sweet and cuddly.  Having never photographed babies before, aside from my own back in the “old” days of film photography, it was yet another new photographic adventure.  I snapped a few shots that were on par with what I prefer to see in my photography work, but overall I was not that thrilled with the outcome from the session.  I made a few crucial errors in judgment, such as thinking how fun it would be to use the red cuddly blanket for Christmas time, forgetting completely how the color red would look reflected off the baby’s skin.  As seems to be my personal mantra, live and learn.  Ha ha.  I seem to learn best by experience, both good and bad, and as long as I learn from it and remember it for the future, then I guess it’s okay.








Today brought the past couple of weeks to completion with the annual Solis family Christmas picture-taking event.  It was quick and relatively painless but brought back memories of year’s that were not so seamless in their process to capture the perfect Christmas picture.  I recall one year, in particular, when our oldest son, Austin, was about 3, and our middle son, Nathan, was just a few months old.  We had this fantastic idea of placing them in a red sled, and placing that in front of the nice cozy roaring fireplace.  It was a picture perfect scene and the outcome looked fantastic on our Christmas cards; it’s still one of my favorite all time pictures of them.  The work of getting that picture, however, was anything but easy.  We would just get the fire stoked and blazing, get the kids settled in the sled and me ready with the camera only to have Nathan suddenly slide out of his brothers lap on the slippery plastic sled.  Then, as we were getting Nathan re-situated, Austin would jump up and run off, leaving us to go play.  We’d coax him back, get them re-settled, only to have the fire die down enough that we had to start the whole process over.  It took 2 hours to get the one Christmas card picture and both Ric and I were perspiring profusely by the time we were finally done.  They look so sweet and innocent in the picture and one would never know the work it took to get those cards out that year.

We’ve come a long way from that place and now it’s only the dog that we can’t seem to control enough to get the pictures taken.  I had my family ready and done in a couple of minutes but it took us several more minutes to get the dog to be even close to how we thought she should be.  In the end, we ended up going for a more fun picture that is anything but “picture perfect”, yet for our family who loves to have things be just a little out of the “perfect” range, it’s exactly what we’d like!  Here’s a few out-takes from today:








That is the encapsulated version of my past few weeks.  Not a lot of photographic perfection, lots of commitments that feel as if they have made me work harder to find my vision when I do have my camera in hand, and many opportunities to be challenged, grow, and hopefully learn from the good and not so good pictures that have come from my camera.

Now, on to try and get that Christmas shopping done……………………………………..

Stuck in a Rut

I think I’m becoming stuck lately.  You know, the kind of stuck where you feel yourself slowly sinking, seeing your feet disappear into the murky water below and you begin to slog your way through each step.  Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration.  But, I notice that I’m tilting just a little these days.  Am I walking around with my head tilted so that everything in the world around me seems askew?

Maybe it’s just my camera.  I think it’s taken control of my sense of balance, making my hands tilt the camera body as I fight to regain a balanced vision.










Maybe everything around me is tilted and I’m still upright, walking perfectly balanced.








Whatever it is that is happening, one thing I know for sure.  I strongly dislike being stuck in a rut.  It’s time to get my equilibrium back, to take control of my camera, to say “NO” to the urge to view the world at a tilt.  In the ongoing effort to find a creative perspective, the tilt has taken control.  I must resist and strive to find a different, more unique way to see my world and to fan the creative fires.  Or, at the very least, I need to tilt my camera a different direction so that there is at least something to break the stagnant feel of my latest photo’s.

Thanks to the latest FREE  e-book from Craft and Vision , I think I may have some new inspirations to try.  I’m thinking maybe a personal challenge is in order.  Maybe each week I’ll take on one of the 11 ways to improve my photography and see what happens.  It will be just in the nick of time, too, and will save me from mundane things like using camera tilt to make something look more interesting than it really is.  🙂