Northern Lights | Madison WI Photographer

Last Wednesday night's solar storm brought a beautiful display of Northern Lights, which were visible from the Madison area all throughout the evening. I spent hours watching rolling waves spread across the horizon, and the lengthly storm even meant I was able to get it from multiple locations. 

 

Elegant Edgewater Wedding | Madison WI Wedding Photographer

Ted & Cheryl's wedding was a beautiful, elegant day, allbeit more than a little windy! Strong breezes forced us indoors for the ceremony and reception, but if you have to be stuck inside you can't beat the grand ballroom of the Edgewater, or it's SkyBar, with it's awesome views. And the sunset we got? Unbelieveable! 

Venue: The Edgewater
Florist: Floral Expressions
Invitations: Sugar Pear Designs
Music: Sophisticates of String

 

 

 

Astraea's 3rd Birthday Portraits | Madison WI Children & Family Photographer

Too often it feels like things need to be "perfect" before we get photos done. I'm no exception, I've put off my own family photos for a long time, and in the past I spent a lot of time not photographing my own kids due to an abundance of excuses, mostly related to wanting everything to be perfect before I bothered with it. 

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What's that thing they say about cobbler's children? They have no shoes. Well that's certainly been true for a certain photographer's children and photos the last several years. 

Last year I meant to do birthday portraits like these of my daughter for her second birthday, and then I didn't. I couldn't find the right location, I didn't have the right outfit for her, etc... so it never happened. I was too busy focusing on what I didn't have, so I didn't do anything.

THIS year I swore I really was going to do it, and that I'd do it on her actual birthday so there would be no putting it off until later... and then we got unexpectedly busy and my plan was derailed by errands and appointments.

Luckily, I had learned something from last year's mistake; capturing the memories was more important than being perfect, so I went for it anyway. On the way out the door I grabbed some of her dress up favorites and I took what I could get: The last ten minutes of light, in an office park, 20 feet from the parking lot, while we waited during my husband's appointment. 

Being willing to give up the quest for perfection gave me the best photos of my daughter that I've ever taken. This is exactly who she is... soft, and sweet, and goofy, with a massive personality. In other words, completely 3.

When I focused on what I had and not what I didn't have, it was clear I didn't need to do anything to make these moments perfect, they already were. 

(P.S. If I can do this next to a parking lot, just think what we could do with your family portraits at a REAL location. What are YOU waiting for? I'm now booking September and October portrait sessions and expect them to fill quickly. Contact me today to schedule yours!)

Beautiful Spring Wedding at The Chapel of the Archangels | Beaver Dam WI Wedding Photographer

Angela & Jason's Earth Day wedding at the Chapel of the Archangels in Beaver Dam had a thoughtful, modern vibe in a beautiful old restored church setting. The beautiful details where completely outshined by the connection they had with each other and their loved ones, and the laughter was contageous all day long.  

At the end of the night we had blast creating some artistic photos of the bridesmaids playing poker (you know, like you do at the end of your best friend's wedding), and took a few minutes to step outside for a night shot with the couple. 

Hands down a fantastic start to my wedding season <3

Engagement: Leah & Justin

From our first meeting I knew Leah, Justin and I were going to get on famously. We spent 4 hours at that first meeting talking about mutual love of gardens, geekiness, this awesome city of Madison, and adorable cat antics. It could have easily gone on longer. 

And the engagement session? Was every bit as much fun. We visited the beautiful UW Arboretum last week on the perfect spring night, and took a beautiful walk together. These two radiate joy and love, for each other but also for everything around them. I'm so excited for their wedding day next month!

Home Office Problems | Madison WI Children's Photographer

Having a home office and a toddler is a challenge most days. I usually save my editing for late at night when both kids are in bed and I can focus at the task in hand, my daytime hours usually bounce between trying to answer emails, catch up on bookkeeping, and prep for my next shoot, all while making sure my daughter isn't tearing apart one room or another(spoiler alert: she always is).

Some days I feel like a crazy person for trying to pull this off, she doesn't let me get anything done and by the evening I'm too wiped to pull up my desk chair and start working again. Last week, as I collected ALL of my pens from the basement, I had a particularly lovely fantasy about working in a real office where no one throws your pens down the laundry chute while yelling "WHEEEEEEEE". 

Then again there are days like today when she made a coloring nook in the dormer window (a space in our tiny cape cod that we have repurposed as an open closet), she hauled in some pillows and set herself up on a storage bin, as I worked like mad to catch up on some critical projects, knowing at any moment she'd be climbing the cabinets or swimming in the dog's bowl again or begging me to come play with her.

But she didn't, she spent the afternoon making up drawings and stories and singing to herself and letting her imagination run wild in the fort she had made and reminded me that all too soon she's not going to need me every second of the day anymore, I am grateful for this time. 

Rustic Winter Wedding at the Barn at Harvest Moon Pond

The weeks leading up to this January wedding at the Barn at Harvest Moon Pond in Poynette WI had been unseasonably warm, and then Saturday came and the windchill was -15. While the wind was howling outside, inside the barn was brimming with warmth and a lot of love.

Many of the more intimate venues in the Madison area don't have space for getting ready as well as both the ceremony and the reception, which is important for winter weddings. At Harvest Moon Pond the old hay loft of this barn has been converted to hold ceremonies, and two ready rooms downstairs for getting ready when the weather doesn't play nice.

And there are cool spaces inside the barn that make for beautiful portraits as well.

But we also braved the frigid temps and stepped out for the sunset, between the sun's warm glow and the sweet love that Russ & Tiff have for each other, you'd never believe it was -15 degrees outside!

All around, a beautiful wedding at a stunning location, with one of the loveliest (and toughest!) couples I've ever had the pleasure to work with. 

Snowfall | Madison WI Childrens Photographer

Apart from a couple of cold snaps we've had so little winter this year, it's hard to believe it's already March and that by next month the first little green buds of spring will be appearing.

My daughter loves the snow, and I love her exploring spirit. I snapped these shots quick on the way to pick up her brother from school yesterday. In 2017 I'm working hard to remind myself to take real photos of my own kids because I was especially lacking last year.

Black Tea Fig Bars with Chèvre and Almond

I made up these delicious bars for an Oscar party (what punny movie themed food name did I come up with? 'Hidden Figbars") and they were a hit! They feature preserves from one of my favorite Madison WI food makers, Quince & Apple, with soft cheeses all wrapped up in a delicious pastry.  

You'll need: 

2 puff pastry sheets
2oz softened cream cheese
2oz chevre cheese
1/8 cup of sugar
Quice & Apple Fig & Black Tea spread (or other preserves)*
1 egg, beaten
Almonds (optional) 

Black Tea Fig Bars with Chevre and Almonds - Yum! YUM! #MadisonFoodie

Black Tea Fig Bars with Chevre and Almonds - Yum! YUM! #MadisonFoodie

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together cheeses and sugar until well combined. Fold out your pastry sheets on parchment paper and spread cheese mixture in an even rectangle down the middle third of each sheet. Top cheese with Quince & Apple's Fig spread (I found 2-3 rounded TBSP per pastry worked well, adjust to your liking).

 *Feel free to substitute another preserve flavor, I also made a strawberry rhubarb version that my kids went crazy over. 

Slice the outer two thirds of the pastry in a diagonal fringe so you can fold the sides over the top in a braid (for more detailed instructions I used my friend Amy's method). Place both pastries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with egg.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, topping with almonds after about 12 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar, slice into bars and enjoy :)