Tree Climbing & Kids

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There’s one thing my kids cannot seem to get enough of on our African adventure – tree climbing. EVERY CHANCE THEY GET!

We get palm trees in Kuwait, lots of them, and they certainly add to the oasis look and feel of the desert. But it is very rare that you come across a tree that is climb worthy. It’s no wonder that when the kids come home to SA they are in tree climbing heaven. I am no professional and i’m not about to hash out statistics about why climbing trees is good for kids, all I can do is tell you what we have experienced first hand.

  • Outdoor play – the kids are always outdoors. The weather is amazing, the air is clean and they are constantly being drawn to the trees outdoors. I love the fact that it happily keeps them off their screens and tablets.
  • Creativity – its amazing what the kids come up with only one large earth grown prop around. Did you know that the ground is lava?! And apparently hide and seek can actually be played in a tree? And bark rubbing crafts are so much fun.
  • Gross Motor skills – they are constantly lifting their body weight, moving it around, pulling it up, pushing it through. They’re finding out what their bodies are capable of. Big movements left and right encourage both hemispheres of the brain to work together to solve problems. Excellent when you have a dual dominance child which means that both right brain and left brain competing for dominance.
  • Understanding their own limitations – they are discovering what they are capable of. They are figuring out when to climb higher and when to step down a little. And the joy in their faces when they climb higher than the day before is priceless.
  • Respect for nature – I am answering questions all day long about why we have trees in this world and why they are important, how do birds make nests, what animals live in trees, etc.

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We have only 3 weeks left of our holidays and I think the kids will miss the trees the most. Next to family of course.

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Happy Climbing,

la

As a disclaimer, I do urge you to please keep a close watch on your kiddos, safety first!

 

Happy Women’s Day from South Africa.

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On the August 9th, 1956, over 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, to protest the ‘Pass Laws‘ during the Apartheid era. The women stood there in absolute silence for 30 minutes and then started singing the protest song, Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.)

An adaptation of this phrase…

“You strike a woman, you strike a rock”

…has since come to represent a South African woman’s strength and courage.

National Women’s day has been celebrated every year on August 9th, since 2004.

It was then even more special that I had the privilege of photographing Deolandre: a strong, confidant young lady, on the eve of National Women’s Day as she prepared for her Matric Farewell.

(For our international readers, a Matric Farewell is South Africa’s version of an American Senior Prom.)

It marks the end of her high school career, the ceremonial coming age, the growth of an independent woman, the flourishing of hopes and dreams, the world in the palm of her hands. In South Africa it is a gift longed for by many, yet awarded to only a few. The moment I was tasked with, to freeze in frames for a lifetime. A blessing and a privilege indeed.

Camera: Nikon D4S

Lens: 50mm

Location: Clients home, Centurion

Time: 3 – 4:45pm

Lighting Conditions: A few indoor photos with good natural light, althogh most of the photos were taken outdoors with good natural light but before sunset. No flash.

Kids in tow, but I’m super thankful for the client’s little brother who did a superb job of keeping my 3 minions entertained and out of harms way.

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It’s a delight for me to be able to share a few of these photos with you. To celebrate this strong, confident woman and shine a light on many like her who are going through life changing moments. As women we need to lift each other up. We need to be each other’s biggest fans. We need to appreciate our differences, while at the same time enjoying our similarities.

This is one of the greatest parts of the friendship I share with Katie. She is always the first one to offer advice, guidance, and a prayer. She encouraged me even though we were in the same industry, she never once saw a competitor, she saw a friend and ultimately – a partner.

So, if you have a woman on your heart who has played a significant role in shaping the person you are today. Give them a call, give them your words, give them your love. It goes a long way.

Happy Women’s Day, wherever you are.

la

CrossFit with a view

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This past weekend we had the opportunity to experience CrossFit culture in all its glory. We ventured to the little town of Clarens for the Clarens Winter Games. And what a gorgeous setting it was.

We have close ties to the CrossFit Tiger Valley Box here in Pretoria and it was amazing to not only watch the members compete, but also passionately cheer each other on. As Katie noted in her post Strength and Beauty, it’s not just a physical strength that is at work, it’s very much a mental strength too.

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It was hugely inspiring to watch individuals who have trained up to 2 hours a day performing with machine like abilities, and it was equally inspiring to watch the beginners in their first ever competitions leaving all of themselves on the open fields.

Well done to all those who took part.

My biggest challenge of the weekend was trying to photograph the event while keeping an eye on 3 rather needy minions. The lens I favoured was the Nikon, 105mm prime. If I was able to bring my 80-200mm that would have been the ideal lens for this event, but the 105 was a pretty decent 2nd choice. My 80-200mm was simply too big to travel with on this trip.

We had the privilege of staying in self catering units at Kiara Lodge, which was about a 10 minute drive past Clarens itself. This family friendly accommodation is set between the Maluti Mountains and Golden Gate. Another true gem of the Free State. Being only a 3 hour, 30 minute drive from Johannesburg, it really is an ideal getaway for a long weekend, especially with little children who don’t sit well on long road trips.

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The kids had an absolute blast at the lodge. They were in kiddie heaven. Giant blow up floor bouncy pillow, large colourful wooden climbing frames, large hanging tree swings, miniature golf, trampolines, and the highlight of the weekend – bunnies everywhere.

Note: If you do make your way there, please take lots of carrots for hungry bunnies, they are very friendly and this little activity keeps the kids busy for hours.

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I have come away from the weekend with a greater understanding of the CrossFit culture and a better appreciation for the depth of their passion. I come from a sporting family and have been involved with sports all my life, however I now manage an auto immune disease which limits my abilities and if it wasn’t for this, boy, I’d be right along with them.

If you have ever been tempted to give CrossFit a try, go for it! It will change your life for the better – this I am sure of!

Cheers from SA,

la

 

 

Sensory Overload, and our first misty morning.

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There’s something about going home. Whether it’s just to your childhood house you grew up in or your home country you travel back to.

And then there’s something extra special about coming home to Africa.

The minute I step off the plane, it’s like breathing out. My shoulders get lighter and my troubles seem far away.

It’s winter here now and it’s spectacular. The temps are so wonderfully mild. Our middays are reaching 22’C (70’F), but the mornings bring with them that winter chill I still fondly remember.

What strikes me the most about my first few days here is always the sky. The air is so clean and fresh. Such contrast to the desert life. I posted about our famous dust storms in Kuwait a few weeks ago and how, for the summer seasons, it seems that we live in a sepia world. When I land in South Africa, all my senses come alive, as if every colour is showing off. Every landscape is standing proudly at attention. I hear every single bird chirping, I have no idea what birds they are, but oh boy do they serenade. I smell every flower in full fragrance, the rains on the horizon before they fall, and every earthy grain of sand. Textures are in abundance and the influence the land has over it’s people and local design is unmistakable.

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My children are filthy. I’m talking about scrub them in the tub and leaving a dirty ring in the bath kind of filthy. And I LOVE it! They are out the house and exploring their environments every single day and I couldn’t be happier about it.

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This past week we woke up to one beautiful misty morning. It was magical. My eldest ran outside to share in my joy and found her very first dew drop.

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Aside from the land and her people, being around all our family and friends again is so special. Listening to the cousins playing outside, the familiar belly laugh of my brother and the kind words of my dad. The sweet giggle of my new niece and the warm comforts and hugs from loved ones who truly know you.

Yes, going home is special. 

Love from Johannesburg,

la

 

Brew Adventures & Inspirations

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Almost seven years ago we started our homebrewing adventure. I surprised Tom with a Mr. Beer homebrewing kit and in our tiny blue kitchen he crafted his first brew. The first beer recipe came with the kit and, while it was easy to drink, it was fairly un-remarkable. Regardless, he was surprised by how simple the process was and was hooked. Not to mention, this was a hobby I could totally get on board with!

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As we began exploring this new world of beer, we discovered more and more craft beers. If you didn’t already know, craft beer is made at smaller breweries and not mass produced on large scales like those from corporate breweries. Often times their smaller scale lends to more inventive and complex beers, as well as better quality ingredients. In the interest of learning more, we started seeking out new craft brews and Tom started absorbing knowledge.

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While it took me a little longer to develop my palate, I loved every brew tasting and brewery tour along the way. It was on those adventures that I discovered my passion for photographing beer. I found myself inspired by the rainbow of natural colors that comes with a flight of tasting glasses arranged on a wood board. Much to my Tom’s chagrin, I found myself asking him to wait to taste until I had the perfect photo. Last summer I was humbled when the Virginia Tourism company contacted me to purchase one of my images and feature it in their #VAcraftbeer photo competition.

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Many brews and several years later, Tom is now brewing here in Israel in our bomb shelter. Yes, you read that right, we have our very own bomb shelter equipped with it’s own A/C unit making it the perfect place for fermenting. Using equipment he’s gathered via online purchases and at the occasional stop at a homebrew store, he has been exploring a myriad of beer styles. Among the recipes he has tried are: a Belgian wit ale, an Irish-inspired red ale with roasted chestnuts, a pumpkin ale, Belgian ale with honey and sage, and a barleywine – aptly named the “Bomb Shelter Barleywine” since it was fermenting (and then aging) down there for months.

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We’ve also had a blast exploring the nascent Israeli craft brew scene. A few of our favorites include: Alexander Brewery (4), Busters Beverage Co. (5)Dancing Camel Brewery (6), Galil Brewery (1), Jems Beer Factory(3), Libira Brewery (2), and Shapiro Beer (7).

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There is also this fantastic place called the Beer Bazaar, with several locations around Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, they focus on distributing local brews, including their own, and have pubs with selections on tap. Not only are the beers delicious, but the people behind them are fun to hang out with!

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A about a month ago, another brave homebrewer gathered a few other homebrewers together to create an American expat “brewmaster” event.  With the help of our friend, Shayne (below top left), they invited the guys behind the Beer Bazaar, Shapiro, and Busters Beverage Co. to spend the day with us at this beer tasting event and homebrew “competition”. The professional brewer took the time to taste and rate each of the homebrews. After their thoughtful deliberation, they shared their thoughts with the novices. Tom was awarded best aged beer for the Bomb Shelter Barleywine and he was humbled by the response and feedback he received from crowd, especially the pros. Like most of us creatives, he is often his harshest critic, so it was great to see how positive the reactions were to his craft.

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We don’t know where this homebrewing journey will take us one day when Tom retires, but I love the idea of opening a family brewery back in Virginia. Until then we will continue to learn and drink better beer. On that note, the next time we head home to Virginia for a little rest and relaxation, we will be touring a few breweries, new and old favorites. I will, of course, be documenting our brew tour and exploring the colors of the beer world, from the golden wheat to the ruby red ales to the dark brown stouts. Stay tuned here and follow along on Instagram and at my hashtag #dgbrewphotos.

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Share your favorite brewery and/or brew with us in the comments below, maybe you can introduce us to a new one!

Cheers,

kdg

An American Patriot Abroad

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Growing up as a military brat has impacted my worldview in so many ways, probably most significantly when it comes to patriotism. The sight of a the American Flag makes my heart swell with pride, the National Anthem chokes me up, and I stand a little taller with my hand over my heart while reciting the pledge of allegiance. I am so thankful to my parents for instilling in my siblings and me that sense of patriotism in so many ways including the American decor around our home, always celebrating the 4th of July (especially when we lived abroad), and allowing us to be a part of our dad’s military service – I am not kidding you when I say I grew up climbing on tanks.

Isn’t my little bro a cutie with his tough guy face?

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It is a legacy that we are passing down to our children, although their perspective will be different as expatriates. By the way, when I first heard the term “expatriate” or “expat” I was appalled – moving abroad did NOT mean I was breaking up with the United States of America, ha! The term simply means a person living outside their native country for any reason, not that they don’t still love their native country. Living the expat life may even strengthen one’s patriotism as we experience life away from all that we know and love.

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It’s amazing to think that 240 years ago when the American flag was designed and made by Betsy Ross, it branded the country. Just like a company logo, we see the stars and stripes in red, white, and blue, and associate different things with it. Talk about long lasting design, right? For our boys, as with other kids I imagine, it symbolizes the US embassy, making it through customs when we fly home, where we come from, and reminds them of some of the people who love them the most. When I asked my big kid what he thought of when he saw the American flag he said: “I know where my family is, it means home.”

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As they grow up as citizens of the world, it is important for us to keep them tethered to their country, its history (the good and the bad), and a deep appreciation of the civil and military servants in our family tree. Therefore, we are intentional when we are back stateside to visit National Parks and museums, share family time and stories, and experience the conveniences like Target – ok that last one wasn’t patriotic per say, but we miss it a lot! We want them to be proud and humble to be American, to realize they come from the land of the free, and be brave, like all those heroes who have sacrificed for it.

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Today, on our Independence Day abroad, we will wear our red, white, and blue, cook out, and toast to the freedom our fore-fathers planned for us. We will share stories about our favorite past 4th of July’s and help the boys make their own memories. {Not to mention a little patriotic photo fun!}

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How will you spend your 4th? Are you stateside at a BBQ or at a fellow American expat’s celebrating? Whatever you are up to, try to snap a few patriotic images and firework shots to share in the comments! We would love to see them!

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cheers friends,

kdg

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Thanks for this adorable quilt Aunt Courtney! They love learning the US geography with it!

Check out Courtney’s amazing hand-made quilts here!

She {SHARES} Truth

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I have a confession: I judge books by their cover. As a visual person I cannot help but be drawn to books with well-designed covers. I could spend hours in a bookstore being inspired and shocked by the choices of the authors and publishers – yep that’s me browsing and judging all before I read one word inside.

When it came time to choose the next book for our Bible study I was drawn to several books – friends, we are so blessed with so many great Christian authors (and cover designers)! Then I came across this beautiful black, white, and yellow flat lay with a yellow binding and a clean logo on top and I had to know more.  Open Your Bible was simultaneously a simple title and a call to action.

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I sent it to my co-leaders as my choice and, as with all things meant to be, they had both chosen it as well. This six week study changed all of the lives of the ladies sitting around my dining room table. The authors Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams, of She Reads Truth, spoke straight to our hearts; they challenged and encouraged us. The core of the study is that the Bible is for all of us and for now. Through sweet anecdotes, wisely chosen scriptures, and prayers – not to mention beautiful images and clear layout design – they spoke Truth to and over us, as well as taught us how to approach the Bible on a daily basis. {Bless their hearts!} I highly recommend this study, it will meet you wherever you are in your faith walk and grow you.

On the same day as we made the decision to go with their study, my co-leader Kristy sent me this promo video for the She Reads Truth Bible. A Bible for the creative heart and visual learner. A Bible designed {and GOD breathed}…for me.

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We talk a lot about inspiration here on It’s A Colo{u}rful World. We have shared people who inspire us, books we love, places we’ve been, and gushed over the array of colors that surround us. To a creative, inspiration is like water to our parched souls. For this creative heart, divine inspiration is like a frosty glass of ice-cold water in the desert.

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Needless to say, I was inspired, and since my birthday was coming up I made my prayer warrior momma proud and asked for a Bible for my birthday. Let me tell you I LOVE THIS BIBLE!

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It was made for creatives like me who geek out over custom fonts, beautifully lettered graphics, streamlined infographics (maps, charts, and timelines), and lots of white space for notes and sketching. I have never seen a Bible quite like this. The attention to detail and intentional design make my heart so happy and it inspires me to dive deeper into the Word daily.

“Every human word and element  in this book is an intentional invitation for you to both read Scripture and grow in your affection for it. ”                     Raechel Meyers & Amanda Bible Williams

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In addition to all the aesthetic beauty that was added to the most beautiful words ever written, the ladies at She Reads Truth added reading plans and devotions for each book of the Bible. Each book has a section with a key verse that summarizes the book as well as a description of the author, context, message and purpose, genre, and how it fits in the larger picture of the Word.

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In the front section there is an overview on how to read the Bible, including a summary of the topics covered in the Open Your Bible study. Then, following the key features pages, there is an introduction to the Christian Standard Bible translation. You can tell that every element was prayerfully and purposefully executed.

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If you have been searching for more from this life, for a place to go when you don’t know what step to take next, or if you are hoping to grow your faith, this Bible will inspire you. Take a step toward the ultimate Creative and He will meet you there, even in your mess.

“We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope” – Tim Keller

Come. Seek. Find. Be inspired!

blessings friend,

kdg

LINKS:

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Painting, if my kids can do it, so can I

IMG_1311 copyWhen I was in Junior High, my top 3 subjects at school were Art, History and Accounting, 97% for all 3, but who’s counting right?! With my heart in the arts from the beginning I continued down that path with a skip in my step. My grade 12 art finals were the last time I painted anything of significance. I mentioned before how my gran is an artist and how she really inspired me as a child and into early adulthood to embrace my creative side.

Almost 20 years later I find myself inspired once again to pick up the brush and dust off the old easel. I have started painting again and I’d like to take you through my first few pieces. What I have found so many years later is that my skill set for composition has greatly improved from my experience in advertising and more recently in photography. My understanding of colour has grown in leaps and bounds with my studying of interior design. That last point was a surprise to me. I thought I knew all there was to know about colour, turns out there’s so much more to how, why and when certain colours go together, which is one of the many inspirations behind this blog –  you’re welcome.

Side note: There’s an important lesson here, never stop learning in life. You may find yourself using your newly found knowledge in unexpected places. With our whole lives ahead of us, and so much information out there, there are so many channels to enrich our characters and influence the people we will become, and ultimately, the legacy we leave behind.

Let me take you through my process. Go easy on me, like I said, it’s been almost 20 years.

The concept

  • Inject joy into the images that I capture in and around Kuwait.

How

  • With careful consideration of the use of colour in my painting of these images onto canvas.

The process

  • My starting point is photography. I go on many walkabouts in and around the city. After I select my personal, favourite photos I begin to work on these images, one at a time. I prefer to work from photographs I have taken and not from other’s work as this makes it personal and original, not simply a painted copy of someone else’s vision.
  • With a 4×6 print carefully taped to the easel I start with a loose sketch. From there I carefully pre-select my colours. With my pallet board prepped, my brushes and pallet knives ready to go, I begin the process of trying to extract the interpretation of the photograph I see in my mind and project it onto the canvas using acrylic paint.

Kuwait Water Towers:

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Photo: Kirrily Morris

Typical Kuwait Date Palm Tree:

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  • My most recent work explores mixed media. I do enjoy the structure that photography brings, but I prefer the depth I get from painting.

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The only way I know whether I am finished or not is when something inside me says: “Yes, that’s what I saw and that’s what I want to show people” 

Now that the painting is finished, what do I do with them? You may remember my friend and inspiring cultural photographer, Kirrily Morris, also based here in Kuwait, she has started an Instagram and Facebook art gallery called PhotoArt Kuwait. She invited me to join her gallery so this will be my main platform for now. It is a place where people can purchase slices of Kuwait life and hold on to the moments of joy that this season has brought them.

We would love for you to follow us and keep a look out for new work being added to the Instagram and Facebook account often!

Special thanks for the courage to pursue a long forgotten passion goes to my children. I saw them painting so confidently and so proudly and I envied that. I always thought that painting is something I’d love to get back into, but filled my head with lies thinking that it was something to be left behind in my childhood. But why? Why not paint? Isn’t it great that our kids are able to teach us something, that WE can learn from THEM! If my kids can do it, with such confidence and joy then so can I. And so can you! Honestly, no matter what it turns out like as long as long as you enjoy the process it is worth it!

Happy painting,

la

 

Flavors of Fatherhood

{Guest post by: Jenny Delaney Frickie}

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Fatherhood is not something you can easily define, for the seasons of fatherhood are as fluid as the cold beer he drinks after a long hard day. There are many different kinds of fathers in this world. There is the stoic father who laborers tirelessly for his family, expecting his actions to speak the words he can’t seem to share. There is the goofy dad who seems to be as young and carefree as his kids, exemplifying the art of playfulness at all stages of life.  There is the adventurous father who is only satisfied exposing his family to the wonders of the world, instilling a life long fascination of exploration. There is the handy daddy who can fix anything he sets his mind to, especially the treasured toys of his children.

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A father can be each of these and more at one point or another. As the seasons of life pass from one to the other, and the challenges of each season wear heavily upon his shoulders, a father never ceases in his labor of love for his family. He will move from the season of “daddy” to the season “dad”, just as spring all to quickly turns into summer. The summer years will fade to the brisk fall evenings, as pre-teens begin to push against authority. Then suddenly a father must weather the blizzards and winter storms of the teenage years with the hope that the spring of adulthood is just around the corner- when once again he will be a wanted voice of wisdom and encouragement.

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Through it all, a father’s heart carries the burdens of his family with pride. He takes great care in providing shelter and food for his little tribe. Yet his provision goes so much deeper. His encouraging words and cheering smiles provide the very confidence that will propel his children into world in search of success and prosperity. A father’s love fills his children’s souls and prepares them for the day they will encounter the enormous love of their Father in Heaven. A love they are able to receive and believe in easily, for they have been loved unconditionally all their lives.

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A father instills within his son what is means to be a good man; devoted and loving. He helps define the man of his daughter’s dreams, as she will seek a man who embodies the positive characteristics of her daddy. 

John Luke

Fathers instruct their children, raising them up with honorable character and setting ever-widening boundaries that prepare for adulthood. Father’s are caretakers, providers and lovers. They are hard workers who make investments not just financially, but emotionally and spiritually. No, fatherhood is not easily defined for it encompasses all aspects of life and is displayed as uniquely as the beers displayed at a store.  Fatherhood is determined by the man’s personality and season in which he resides; his flavor and color is unique- but a refreshing cold beer nonetheless. 

Cheers to you dads!

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IACW - Jen bio picAlong with being Katie’s little sister, Jenny is a Christian author, a home school mama of three, and Marine wife. In between parenting and teaching, she uses her limited free time to write inspirational devotions and children’s literature. Her first published essay was chosen for the I HEART MOM anthology of motherhood.

This is Jenny’s first guest blog post on IACW and we look forward to her sharing her heart and inspiration with us in the future!

 

Portraits & Trust

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We are indeed our own worst critics. I know I am guilty of it as well. Compound that with a few incidents of people speaking ugliness into your life and you start to believe those lies about yourself. It makes me so sad when friends and clients tell me they are not photogenic. My response is always the same: let me try.

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Ok, I know not everyone is a super model, but hear me on this. If you tell yourself the photo will be awful before it’s even snapped then your inner thoughts will be all over your face. Half of the equation for a good portrait, selfie or otherwise, is being hopeful that your inner super model will shine.

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The other half is the photographer. Let’s face it, there are bad portrait photographers. Not every professional photographer should work in portraiture. We all have our strengths. I for one, am not a landscape photographer – I want to put people in that field! So, what makes a good portrait photographer? Skills, obviously, but beyond that it is the ability to capture that inner beauty we all have. Seriously, no matter what you have been told or think of yourself, you are beautiful, or handsome as the case maybe.

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It is our job as photographers to make our subjects feel comfortable and trust us. It is on us to ask questions and listen to the answers as we get to know them, and then hone in on what makes them light up.

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Lindy-Ann and I are blessed with the ability to be self-depreciating and goofy for the sake of our clients. There is no silly song, word, face, or conversation we won’t try to engage our subject from behind the lens. I’m talking about our grown up subjects too, not just children!

There is a triangular relationship between the subject, the photographer, and the camera. It is normal for my boys to talk to me through the camera, but that is not everyone’s reality. Therefore photographers have to help their subjects see and hear them between snaps, poses, and faces, and build that trust.

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Here are a couple of our tips for capturing a portrait that says more than just a face.

  1. Pre-Session chat – We recommend meeting, emailing, and/or calling your clients beforehand if you don’t know them. {This is even easier if you have an existing relationship, yay for coffee dates!} Ask them questions that will help you to get a sense of who they are and what they are about.
  2. Night before prep – Go back over those prep notes and communications. A person’s name is important to them, so if you are like me and are horrible with names, then the night before is the best to double check that list of the family member’s names. It also gives you a chance to make sure you pack any props or other items you discussed with them. This will go along way for them to trust you have their best interest at heart.
  3. Names – We are going to hammer this in: USE THEIR NAMES! Saying,  “You, with the blue shirt, move over to the right” will cause them to withdraw from you. Engage them by using their names and those things you learned about them. Now, we must have a little grace with ourselves, because in the midst of shooting even I still get a little confused and call people the wrong names, but I make up for by saying, “I’m so sorry I know your name (INSERT CORRECT NAME HERE).” Again, they will trust you are focused (literally and figuratively) on them.
  4. One-on-One – at some point each session you will be focusing on one member of the group and it is those moments you have to up your trust game. Remember the things they like and ask how they are doing. Talk and help them relax.
  5. Art Direction – This maybe one of the toughest and most intuitive parts of photography. Art direction is taking in scene and eliminating and adding to the scene as well as directing the subjects poses and body placement, all to make the photograph. Thanks to mirrors and selfies, most people have practiced their  “best looks” so allow them to be a part of the art direction. To be clear, a part of the art direction, not the director. You must remain in charge, which also lends to the client trusting you know what you are doing.
  6. Pause – There are a few stages in a session that we recommend you pause. When you start out, instead of ducking behind the camera right away (Guilty!), pause and engage them in conversation. Another moment to take pause is just before snapping, to see them, really see them, through your view finder. Pause on their face and appreciate, as an artist, their unique characteristics. SEE THEM. I’m reminded of that scene in Hook when the littlest lost boy smushes Robin Williams face around and then says, “Oh, there you are Peter.” He saw him.
  7. Be goofy – Be ridiculous, laugh, make fun of the awkwardness – all of this will help them let you in and let down their defenses. Instead of the stiff fake smiles you will capture the genuine joy and laughter.

Next time someone you care about says they are not photogenic, we challenge you to try and capture what you see in them. We guarantee that if you are thoughtful about it, the photo you take will make them smile.

Keep snappin’-

kdg