Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Wish for Peace and Love and all that other stuff

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
This is the time I'm supposed to sit down and reflect on the past year and tell you how thankful I am to have been so busy and to have been such a big part of the lives of so many people. I am thrilled really, but I'm not finding much time for sitting down, reflecting, and writing about it.

I do have a few minutes now. Although, I have some gingerbread in the oven, a child at my side begging me to play Buffy the Vampire Slayer with him on PS2, and about 16 GB of photos needing editing and sorting.

The holiday rush is almost over. I have a couple more sessions scheduled before the end of the year and a few more orders to fulfill and then I can call it a year. I really am thrilled to be so busy. It doesn't feel like work to me because I enjoy it so much. I'm thankful to be able to provide my children with gifts this Christmas when so many others don't have that luxury. I'm especially thankful to be able to help other families preserve the memories of their children and loved ones.

This year I've been a part of many weddings -- shared precious private moments with couples in love and their families. I've been honored to be present at the birth of a child, captured the senior portraits of some beautiful children as they enter into adulthood, and shared some precious moments with teeny tiny babies only moments old who are now walking and running and exploring the world. I am honored.

Once again, this Christmas I will turn my camera on my own family and record those priceless moments of wonder on my childrens' faces Christmas morning. I'll record my mom in the kitchen, with her Christmas apron, as she bastes the turkey and decorates her famous apple pie. I'll record my mother-in-law as she sets out acres of side dishes and mixes up her amazing slushy punch. I'll record my husband Jayme as he wrestles with the thousands of twisty ties that hold the toys in place. God forbid any piece of the toy not be tied with triple knotted wire to the inside of that box! I'll capture our little kitty Summerlove, seen in the photo I'm sharing above, as she pulls the garland, yet again from the tree and shreds it to pieces.

And I remind you to pull out your own camera and capture those moments in your family as well. Because even though the toys will eventually get old and be thrown out or passed on. And the food will be consumed and forgotten, and the sweater you got for your Aunt will eventually be out of style and discarded, the photos will live on. And they will always bring those precious memories back.

Now if you will excuse me, I have some gingerbread to pull out of the oven and some vampires to slay with my son.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The smallest subjects {New Braunfels Photographer}

Howdy folks, Jayme here again. We've already had several freezes here as winter makes its gradual approach, but the other day a flash of bright green on one of Lisa's rose bushes caught my attention. Looking closely, I was more than a little surprised to discover an automeris io caterpillar munching on some rose leaves (it was chilly, so it was munching very slowly!). These little fellows grow up to be beautiful io moths:


We have more than our share of caterpillars around the house, but this is the first I've ever seen this species outside of a book. It's got impressive tufts of defensive spines that will give you a nasty sting if you touch it, and rad white-and-maroon racing stripes running the length of its body. I instantly became obsessed with photographing it. I grabbed the 5D and my makeshift macro lens--a Nikon 50mm 1.8 AI-S mounted on a reversing ring--and set to work.


It ended up taking two days to get shots I was happy with. The little caterpillar was shy, and kept hiding its head in a defensive position. The chilly wind didn't help, nor did the heavy shade on that side of the house. I finally set up a strobe with a diffuser about 8 inches to the right, with a reflector to the left and after a good bit of waiting, captured some images I was happy with.

The thing I absolutely love about macro photography is that it opens up an entirely new world that we can't otherwise see. Look at the caterpillar's spines: You can actually see the tiny, venom-filled needles extending from the spines. And the hairy feet (caterpillars have hobbit feet? Who knew?). And the yellow spotting on its face, which simply looks like a uniform green to the naked eye. Photography is a window into another world, and I can hardly wait to look through it and discover new wonders!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Child is Born {New Braunfels Birth Photography}

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
One of my most exciting sessions ever played out early in the wee hours of the morning Saturday. One of my former students from the New Braunfels Community Education classes asked me to shoot her maternity session and then her birth when the time came. She was having a home waterbirth with a midwife present, although her husband would actually catch the baby, just as he'd done with their first child. Amazing!

I have been considering offering birth photography for a while now so I jumped at the chance. I knew that it would involve basically being on call the days around her due date. I didn't have any weddings on the calendar around that time -- the only thing that may have prevented my being able to arrive when I'm needed. What could possibly stress me out?

I got the first text from this mom early Friday morning, her labor had begun while I was in the midst of setting up a massive photo shoot with Santa and hundreds of pre-schoolers, kindergarteners and first graders at the elementary school near my home. My mind immediately started swimming with the stress of the moment. Oh my gosh! She's having her baby! It's happening! What do I do! Imagine the sitcoms that play out when one of the characters goes into labor and all the other characters run around, boiling water, getting suitcases, creating havoc. That was me. Santa Claus sat in front me along with a line of children waiting patiently to have their portrait made with him.

So I did the best I could to pull myself together, made a few calls, arranged for childcare, arranged for Jayme to take my place at the school if I needed to run. And then I began shooting and waiting. Shooting and waiting. The shooting ended after a few hours and then it was just waiting. And waiting. At the end of the day she texted me to tell me it probably won't happen. Labor had stalled out. Nothing happening.

I made the mistake that night of staying up late to read. I regret those precious few moments I missed when I got a text at 2:45 a.m. telling me her water broke and the baby's coming. How do the midwives handle it? All I wanted to do was close my eyes again and go back to sleep! I pulled myself together and ventured out into the cold night, where the fog made driving difficult and I had a seriously hard time reading the road signs to her home.

Once I got there I was impressed by the peaceful environment of her home. Mom is surrounded by her family and her doting husband, the lights are down low (thank goodness for the high ISO capabilities on my 5D), soft music plays. The moment of birth came soon after my arrival. I had a pool-side seat to one of the most peaceful entrances into this world any baby could hope for.

Today I'm sharing an image I captured during that golden moment. You moms can relate. The pain is over, replaced by the realization that your baby is here as he's placed on your belly. The joy at his birth coupled with the end of the pain, the sweet sounds of his first cries and the end of the long months of waiting -- not to mention the heartburn.

This baby boy was welcomed into this world by his father's hands, his mom so joyful as well as his grandmother and grandfather, his great grandmother and his big brother. All surrounding him and celebrating his arrival. This photo captures that moment I was so honored to be a part of. Silent Night soon plays through the speakers. An appropriate song, for this peaceful night.

I left the home a few hours later after photographing those first kisses, those first cuddles, that first exam, the first nursing and the first dressing of this sweet little boy. His mommy drifts off to sleep with a smile on her face, cuddling her new baby when I slip out the door as the sun comes up on another beautiful December day.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Beagle Has Landed

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Santa came a little early this year in our home. Actually, I should say he sent his most trusted elf. At least that's what the note said that was attached to the box with a big bow on it that was left on our front porch the other night.

The doorbell rang three times. My oldest daughter checked the door and found a quivering, whimpering box with a big red bow.

We have a history with boxes on our front step. Some of you may recall the box that was left two years ago. Out of it popped our darling Siamese, Holly. It was only fitting that our newest baby made an entrance in this grand fashion as well. We still miss our Precious. She disappeared the Fourth of July and, after papering the neighborhood with fliers and knocking on doors, we came to the conclusion that she was stolen from us. Santa decided it was time to move on.

Enter Polkadots -- at least that's what the boy is calling him. He's a chewing, peeing, yapping machine. But the kids love him so I guess we'll keep him. It's nice having an instant floor cleaner in the house. I spilled some corn flakes, in comes, Polkadots, mess is gone. I dropped a chicken nugget, enter Polkadots, mess is gone. Cat threw up under the table -- enter Polkadots -- okay now that's just gross.

It looks like he's here to stay, barking and chewing, and all. Welcome to the family Polkadots.