Sunday, November 30, 2014

Drumroll Please.... It's the 2014 Blaschke Family Christmas Card {New Braunfels Photography}

Every year I put a lot of thought into our Christmas card. It has to be unique. It has to be fresh. I've had this one in my mind for a while. But I lacked the underwater skills and the retouching skills to create it to it's fullest possibility. So I practiced and practiced for years and years and I finally think I reached a point in my life to pull it off.

Each element was photographed separately and put together. It took a while to collect all the props and costumes and then to shoot each one. I photographed myself in studio on a white screen with a remote trigger and I'm sure if there were a fly on the wall he got a funny show of a middle-aged women wearing a mermaid tail flopping around to get organized.

I was really impressed with my younger daughter's ability to smile under water so easily. I suspect she's part mermaid. And The Boy was a laugh a minute as usual. He was opposed to the theme of happy mermaids greeting a pirate with treasure. He wanted me to put a sword in his hand and make him fight them. We saved that one for the outtakes.

So without further delay, here it is -- the 2014 Blaschke Family Christmas Card.

Lisa On Location Photography

Friday, October 17, 2014

Farewell home, here I come Great Unknown.

Since my last blog about selling my house, I've gotten a lot of messages and e-mails asking how it's going. Almost every session I shoot, my client will ask me "how's that house hunt going?" Up until now I've been nervous to say much, afraid that I may jinx it. But at this point there's no way it can get more jinxed so I'll just tell you. Buying a house at the same time you're selling one sucks. It sucks. There it is.

Selling the house was the easy part. Thanks to an amazing agent, Dawn Loding, and a super cute super clean house that I must take total credit for, the house sold within the first week. They were only the second couple to see it and they snapped it up.

We thought it was a breeze at that point. We also began house hunting at that time and fell in love with an amazing house that had everything we needed. The glitch was that it was a Fannie Mae owned home that had been empty and on the market for years. We thought it was destined to be ours. Lo and behold, dealing with Fannie Mae has proved to be a nightmare. I won't go into all the details here because it will take an entire blog to get you up to speed on the ordeal we went through with them. Let's just say that I will be filing numerous complaints and writing to my president when this is all over. Long story short we were in a contract for the house and we just ended that contract today, just in time to get our earnest money back. It feels like breaking up with someone -- or actually more appropriately -- being dumped. Even though technically we did the dumping. We didn't want to. We just didn't want to bring our family into a house that has years worth of racoon feces in all the air ducts causing toxic fecal matter to be blown all over the house every time the fan starts up. No biggie, we just refused to breathe in shit on a daily basis and asked that to be cleaned up.

We may still get the house, if they can clean up the crap. But it's looking like our chances are slim. Regardless, it won't happen before our lease back period is over so we will be forced to look for temporary housing, another ordeal because we can't sign a lease since we don't know how long we'll be there, and we have pets -- indoor and outdoor pets.

We'll also begin house hunting again tomorrow. It'll be hard to jump back out there when our heart was set on the Fannie Mae house. The tricky part is finding a house without a Homeowner's Association. I want to move my studio into my home eventually and I just won't have an HOA telling me I can't do that. Most of the HOAs around here seem to have issues with home businesses.

Maybe one of these houses we look at tomorrow will sing to us. Maybe one will be big enough for me and all my loved ones, have space around it for photo sessions, have extra space for a studio inside, and be so perfectly perfect it'll make us forget about our broken dreams with the other house. Or maybe Fannie Mae will get off their rears and fix the crap in our dream house so we can move in. Fingers crossed!

Lisa On Location Photography

Monday, September 15, 2014

Please Buy My House. Pretty Please.

I have run out of room in the homestead. That's the conclusion that I've drawn. I thought getting a studio would help. And it has. I've emptied a lot of crap out of my house and have filled my studio. But I've been called a chair hoarder and a camera hoarder and a lens hoarder, and basically a hoarder of cool stuff. And I've reached the point where I no longer have a place to go with all my cool stuff. So I'm upgrading.

I love my wood laminate floors that are so tough they stand up to my butter fingers and tendency to drop heavy objects. They just don't dent or scratch at all. I love my brand new energy efficient roof and the way it cuts down on our utility bills. I love all the little fixtures that I picked out. The built in shelves in the hallway upstairs and the library that Jayme painstakingly crafted in his office.

I love my house. I love every inch of it. I even love the handprints on the wall of the back patio that my son made when he finger painted outside. That stuff ain't washable after it dries on the wall, FYI. Who knew? I love the tick marks we've hidden in the hall closet that have documented every inch of growth my children have made.

I love the ducky stencils that I put along the wall in the "Ducky Bathroom" as we refer to it.

I love the house and all its perfect imperfections. My wish is that I had this house on about an acre or two of land so I could add onto it and spread out a bit more. But, alas, it's in a subdivision and since the HOA would frown upon us buying the house next door and connecting them together, we need to move.

This house was perfect for us in 2003 when we bought it. We had two small girls with their Barbie dolls and Little Ponies. They didn't need much space. Those girls are teenagers now and we added a Boychild to the family in 2006.

Teenagers take up space with their size 9 shoes and their musical instruments and piles and piles of books and so do 8-year-old boys with their baseball gear and remote controlled robots.

So it's with a heavy heart that I write this blog begging you to buy my house. We found another one that's perfect for us (it has plenty of perfect imperfections as well), but unfortunately we need to sell this one before we can move forward with the purchase of that one. So tell your friends. Share with your families. This house is a steal for some family who will appreciate its perks and accept its flaws for the character that they are.

The complete listing can be found here.

And here's the listing: Click here.

Lisa On Location Photography

I Love Fan Mail {New Braunfels Wedding Photography}

I love getting e-mail that makes me smile. Every so often I get one that brings a tear to my eye and makes me walk a little lighter. Here's one I got from one of the nicest Mothers of the Bride I've had the honor of working with.

"Dear Lisa, I just wanted to thank you for your exceptional service. You have been so kind and accommodating throughout all three shoots. Your artistic talent is beyond compare and that you are also kind and understanding makes you a gem! I thank you and your husband for making Candace and Adams wedding run smooth, and for making it such a special day. God has given you such a wonderful talent and we are honored that you have shared it with us. Rest assured I will do my best to direct others to your door. Can't wait to see the pictures! Thank you again"

Isn't that awesome! That was a truly amazing wedding. I just love it when I get to spend so much time with my client families and get to know them so well. We did get to spend some time together. Candace brought her family to her engagement and her bridal session and we all had a lot of fun. And when the whole family works together and supports their bride, we can get some really fun images. Take a look at these:

Candace's grandma -- one of the nicest funnest grandmas I've met -- helped arrange the plane for those photos.

Her bridal session was just as much fun -- despite being in the 90s.

The wedding was a huge all day affair. I'm not going to lie, I was exhausted at the end of the day. But it was totally worth it. We got some fun images and I really enjoyed spending more time with this family.

Lisa On Location Photography

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Los Angeles, an overrated city that we needed to see, but don't feel the need to return to. What I did on my summer vacation Part 7

When I was a child we drove through L.A. but my dad didn't stop. He wasn't into the hype and had no interest in sight seeing so I always wanted to return on my own so I could actually stop at all these cool places and spend a little time.

Our first stop was the La Brea Tar Pits. The Boy enjoyed the tar farts that came up every so often. And we all loved the abundant amounts of fast food containers and beer bottles that were hopelessly stuck in the tar, to be preserved for generations (I'm not sure if my sarcasm came through on that last sentence so I'll just spell it out here -- some people disgust me).

We toured the museum and posed for cheesy photos in front of their green screen. Jayme happened to be wearing a green shirt so he got lost in the background and it looks a little disturbing. This is one of the many reasons I shoot on white backgrounds when I want to extract. Anyway, let's all point and laugh at the silly photos.

Next we hit the Hollywood strip to see the stars. Only we didn't really see any stars in the living breathing celebrity sense (although Jayme swears he saw Jeff Daniels riding a bicycle through the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco). We made do with the stars on the sidewalk, and then the hands and footprints in front of the Chinese Theater. The girls had to find the Harry Potter stars and we took our cheesy photos, bought our cheap plastic souvenir crap (and Jayme did a little scoffing at the Scientology offices) and then we hit the beach.

We drove to Santa Monica Pier, but we took the long way down Sunset so we could see a bit of the city. L.A. is big. Really big. But it's also smoggy. I felt like a had a layer of film over my eyes the entire time I was there. Like I was seeing the world through a frosty glass. I'm not sure how people who live there can stand it. When we left the city it was like I could see clearly again. The clouds were lifted.

So we walked around the pier for a little while, got ice cream and then hit the overcrowded, polluted beach. It was a bit different than the beaches we're used to in Texas, but I would not say better. There were just too many people and too much trash. The coastline we saw along Oregon was the most beautiful, cleanest and most interesting. The image you see below of my daughter silhouetted against the beach is actually altered. I had to remove about a dozen people behind her in the water and along the sand.

We intended to hit the Griffith Observatory that evening, but the ride back to our hotel took twice as long as it should have. I mapped it out and it appeared that our hotel was about 14 miles away and GPS was estimating 35 minutes to get there. I scoffed because most of the way was an interstate and was sure we'd be there much sooner. Well, I had never experienced L.A. traffic. It actually took us about an hour and a half to go those 14 miles. Lovely. We decided to grab something to eat and hit the hay.

This ended our little excursion down the western coast. We caught a plane for home the next morning and were thrilled to return to the somewhat cleaner air of San Antonio.

I thought the trip was amazing. Sure the kids squabbled but I have the amazing gift most moms have to be able to tune it out. I just heard the sweet sounds of excitement coming from the backseat. Jayme tells me they bickered nonstop. He pulled me aside the evening after we returned home and said "no more road trips. Please." But I don't know. I kind of want to return to Yellowstone National Park next year. What do you think?

Lisa On Location Photography