Life Love Lens : August {Napa Valley Photographer}

I recently got back from thee most amazing trip to the Napa Valley. What better way to ring in your 40th birthday than with your closest friends, in one of the most beautiful places in the country, with excellent wines and the most delectable food you will ever taste? I’ll tell you…there is no better way. I have to thank my friends for taking time away from their busy lives and their loved ones, for spending the money (Napa ain’t cheap), and for being there for me, not only as I turned 40, but for the last almost-20 years.

OK, I’ll stop being sappy, but will just reiterate that this was an AMAZING vacation. I left for this trip thinking I would probably fill up three or four memory cards with photos, but when I got there, I got a little lazy. I really just wanted to sit back, enjoy the wine, the food, and the company. So, I took way fewer photos than I had expected, and probably missed a ton of great photo opportunities. But I’m okay with that.  Sometimes you just have to put the camera down and  soak it all in.

I thought August Blog Circle would be the perfect opportunity to share a few of the photos I did happen to capture between sips of Cabernet. When you’re done taking a look at my photos, please don’t forget to click over to Theresa Hermus Photography (link at the end of this post), and be sure to click through to all the other talented photographers who are part of our little circle.

First up, here is a shot of my very first meal in Napa (at Bottega Restaurant)... corn fettuccine with wild mushrooms.  I was definitely a member of the Clean Plate Club that night.

 And here are my beautiful friends:  Jen, Karin and Kim.

 The wine caves.

 They say "Cab is King" in Napa.

 It was a great time of year to see the grapes.  We even got to taste some fresh picked off the vine.

Emilio of Tedeschi Family Winery (below) gave us a wonderful tour of their family owned winery.


Below is the most amazing quinoa salad I have ever had, with greens and edible flowers fresh picked from the garden at  St.Clair Brown Urban Winery.  I think it was at this moment I decided that I want to move to Napa and become a food photographer.   Maybe in my next life.  :)

 We stopped by Domaine Carneros to taste some bubbly.


On the patio at Domaine Carneros.  The views were stunning, and it was a gorgeous day (I think all the days are gorgeous in Napa)!

View of the vineyards from Artesa Winery.  I wish I were a better at photographing landscapes...I am really not doing it justice here!

Don't you want to visit Napa now?  I think you should.  ;)  I know I will be back for sure.  After all, I have to practice my landscape photography.  And food photography.  And wine photography, etc.  :)

Thanks for looking, now head on over to Theresa Hermus Photography to see what she has been up to.

Life Love Lens : June {Rochester, Michigan Child Photographer}

It is blog circle time once again!  I have been having so much fun working on these monthly projects and blogging about them.  I’m so grateful to be connected to these wonderful photographers.   With each month that goes by, I see some amazing photography coming from these ladies, and I am just amazed and honored to be a part of this group!

For the June edition of Life Love Lens, I will be sharing some images from a little road trip I took to Holland, Michigan in early-May.  Holland is home to the annual Tulip Time Festival, and I’ve been wanting to plan a trip there for years.  Tulips are my absolute favorite flower on this earth.  I love that they are one of the first signs of spring after the long, frigid, Michigan winter.  There’s nothing like that first sight of tulip leaves popping up from the ground, telling you spring is here!  The thought of walking through a field of blooming tulips (with my camera, of course) makes me giddy.

So I told myself 2014 was finally going to be the year we made it to Tulip Time.  I started having visions of my 3 ½ year old daughter prancing around the tulip fields in front of my camera.  I mentioned it to my good friend Emily Hutson (who also happens to be a photographer within this blog circle), and she told me that she had always wanted to go too.  So we made it happen!

Well, in typical Michigan fashion, the weather was pretty uncooperative, and due to cold temperatures, the tulips were a little behind in their blooming schedule.  So, the tulip field that we visited only had a couple rows that were barely in bloom.  I was still able to get some good shots, but nothing like I had envisioned, as the tulip field was still mostly green.

On day two of our trip, Violet and I visited a fun little place called Nelis' Dutch Village.  I was just looking for something fun to do with Violet before we had to get in the car for 3 hours, so I had no expectations about this place.  To my surprise, this was a fantastic location for taking pictures.  And somehow, they had tons of gorgeous tulips in bloom!  On a non-photography note, this place is perfect for small children, if you're ever in that area and looking for something fun to do with your little ones.  We spent several hours there, Violet had a blast, and I went to town with my camera.  Success!

Well, enough talk, let’s look at some photos, shall we?  And when you are finished here, please don’t forget to visit Sarah Ann Photography to see what she is sharing for the June edition of Life Love Lens!

 These next couple of images were taken at Windmill Island Gardens.

In the tulip field...there was one pink row and one purple row in bloom. Violet's two favorite colors...I guess it was meant to be.  :)



 Below, Violet found a broken tulip and decided she needed to rescue it.  :)

 Onto Nelis' Dutch Village, where we were greeted with these beauties!


 The background below is a giant "wooden" shoe/clog which was painted bright yellow.  Kids could climb inside it and then go down a huge slide.  Violet was obsessed with it!  I was obsessed with it as a photography backdrop.  :)

 They had a little Dutch schoolhouse.  Violet is pretending to be the teacher.

 Have I mentioned that I think this girl is TRÈS COOL???



 The merry-go-round had these amazing vintage carousel horses decorating the inside walls.

 And there were bunnies!


 And goats!

 Hello there Mr. Goat.

 And more beautiful tulips...

 I must have been on my A-game that day, because I never get this many real smiles out of this girl.  She has Photographer's Child Syndrome after all, which means she is usually making a weirdo face or running away from my camera.  Maybe I need to take her on more road trips.  Maybe tulips make her happy, like her mama.  All I know is I love that face.  I love her weirdo face too...but I especially love this face.  :)


 Sorry Nelis...this broken tulip was an accident, I swear!


I'm so glad Violet and I finally made it to Tulip Time!  I think we might have to make it a yearly tradition.

I hope you enjoyed checking out my photos.   Now head on over to Sarah Ann Photography's blog to see the beautiful images she is sharing today.  She is super talented...leave her some love while you're there!

Spring Mini Sessions! Metro Detroit Child & Family Photographer

I'm very excited to announce that I will be offering spring mini-sessions on Saturday April 26th, 2014.  These will take place at Bear Creek Nature Park, which is a beautiful spot located in Oakland Township, Michigan (just north of Rochester).  More details are below. I realize this is a bit last-minute, but I've been waiting to make sure that pesky Polar Vortex is behind us.  Now that temps are rising and the daffodils are starting to say hello...IT'S ON!!

Availability is limited, but there are still a couple spots open.  If you are interested, please contact me to book your spot.

Hoping everyone has a wonderful Easter!!