Posts Tagged ‘door county photography’

Personal Post: “pictures of the summer to prove that it really existed”

Fingers crossed and saying my prayers for safe transit, I packed up the film I shot all summer long and shipped it out to be developed. When the package arrived, Ben and I sat in bed together and flipped through the prints, my heart exploding with every photo. This summer wasn’t just any summer, it was Juniper’s first summer, something I anticipated since that second pink line appeared 18+ months ago.

Part of the joy of parenthood is sharing the things you love with this new little person. It may be your 200th visit to the beach, but it’s the first time she’s felt sand in her toes, and it may be your annual camping trip at the usual spot, but it’s the first time she has woken up to the sunny pattern leaves make on the tent walls in the morning.

This summer was full of “Juniper’s firsts”, and part of that was sharing places with her that meant a lot to us growing up. We visited The Farm where she held a kitten and giggled when she touched a baby goat. We went camping at Peninsula State Park where she rode in a canoe and took naps in a cargo wagon. She ate fruit straight from the orchard, visited beaches, parks, and pools, and soaked up the summer sun right in our own backyard.

Every outing required more planning and packing than any previous summer (babies come with SO much stuff), but as anyone who has ever loved anyone knows, the joy of wonderful things is multiplied when you see someone you love experience that joy. And we are closing out the summer with a heart full of memories and a head full of stories to tell as she grows up.

It’s amazing how children can change how we experience our world. Everything is new again — just like magic.
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Photos above from 35 mm film scans July-September.
Blog title taken from song “People Take Pictures of Each Other” by The Kinks.
If you like this blog, check out The Family of Over-Celebrators and Summertime on Film.

Seniors: clara, jackson harbor, washington island, door county

This past winter I shared with Ben the fact that I longed to shoot a session on Washington Island. In spring we started chatting about how to make that happen, then out of nowhere, I received an email from Clara. Clara’s family has enjoyed the island for generations and for her it’s a home-away-from-home, the place to get away and reconnect with nature, family, and herself. With both of her parents as teachers, Clara and her sister are able to spend the majority of each summer at their cottage on Jackson Harbor.

For those who don’t know, my family has an old farmhouse on orchard land in Baileys Harbor that I connect to the same way Clara connects to her cottage, so when we started messaging I knew her session would be a perfect fit for us to photograph. After FaceTiming to plan her session, we set a date and packed our gear to board the Washington Island Ferry. The ferry departed from Gills Rock and took us across Death’s Door to the island. It was a beautiful, breezy ride. When we arrived, Clara’s family was there to greet us and share the island and all the spots they’ve enjoyed there over the years. It’s amazing to me all the memories that a place can hold, and how those memories can become the legacy of a family. Clara’s senior portraits were meant to be on Washington Island; anywhere else wouldn’t quite have been the same. Enjoy your senior year, Clara!

Engagements: stephanie & cory, southern door barn and countryside

Cory and Stephanie are dream chasers. They are ambitious and kind-hearted, the sort of people who find out what needs to be done and make it happen. Knowing they would make a good match, their mutual friends spent a long time trying to set them up. Luckily they acquiesced and just over two years later, here we are.

As we started planning their engagement session, Cory and Stephanie brought up the idea of photographing at the site of their future home in Brussels, Wisconsin. Cory grew up there, and the land is gorgeous – fields, trees, water, and the most incredible view of the sun going down over farm fields. The location was not only beautiful, but also full of meaning: fond memories of the past, and hopeful dreams of their wide open future. Can’t wait to celebrate with these two in just a few short weeks!

Engagements: brittany & tim, door county state park

For Brittany and Tim, Door County is their getaway place, so as we planned their engagement session, we knew we would be heading north. Potawatomi State Park is one of our favorite locations to photograph because of the diversity – woods, water, beach – it’s got it all. Their day was beautiful and warm with overcast skies and and tree-filtered light.

Brittany and Tim met through mutual friends nearly two years ago. On their first date they started the day with mini golf at Bay Beach, but a day date turned into lunch, and then into a movie until they had spent the entire day together. It was only a short time before they knew that each of them had met their match.

On a spring day, Tim woke up and knew he wanted to propose to Brittany that morning. He had planned to wait, but something about that day told him it was the right moment. He asked her to go for a walk at Green Bay Botanical Gardens and he tucked the ring into his jacket. Partway through their walk, she was cold and asked for his coat; as he helped her into it, he crossed his fingers that she wouldn’t tuck her hands into the pockets. At the top of the overlook, he wrapped his arms around her and snuck the box from his coat; moments later he asked and she said yes!

This couple is so sweet together. They know that life isn’t all celebration; they have seen the harder sides of things. But they face everything together, leaning on one other for strength and greeting each day with optimism and thankfulness for each other. Congratulations, Brittany and Tim!

Portraits: limited edition orchard blossom session, egg harbor, door county

This spring we hosted our first limited edition orchard blossom sessions. We paired up with a Door County orchard to offer special sessions for the short week when the cherry trees hit their peak bloom.

We have been photographing the {P} Family since before little brother, Everett, was born and it was so fun to see how much they changed in the last year. In between family photos, the boys ran, played, and even danced through the orchard. Everett was loving the freedom, David was loving the games of catch we were playing, and we were loving those natural smiles. It’s tough to beat Door County in the spring!

Personal Post: making maple syrup

March is the dullest month of the year. We rush into March with dreams of spring and (as yesterday’s massive snowstorm proves) we are rewarded with another month of winter parading itself as a new season. Stuck somewhere between “winter wonderland” and “budding spring” I usually use these weeks to update our website, clean out the junk drawers, and make plans for warmer days. But last year we started a new March tradition with our family: making homemade maple syrup.

Learning to make maple syrup had been on our bucket list for awhile, and in the summer of 2015 we casually mentioned it to my grandpa at the farmhouse in Door County. Turns out, years ago, when the land was still an orchard, grandpa’s family used to tap the sugar maples every year. Some rummaging through the picker’s cabins drummed up pails and beautiful, old spiles. It was with a complete lack of knowledge and an impetuous spirit that we tackled our new project last spring.

On a Monday afternoon we cancelled our previously scheduled plans and drove up to Baileys Harbor on a whim. Using a hand-drill and hammer we knocked the spiles into the sugar maples around the farthest reaches of the property with no plans of how or when to retrieve them. By midweek the jugs were overflowing and mom and uncle Keven were scrambling to replace them in time. Maple tapping had begun.

Between small cookstove batches, there was a sap boiling weekend where all of us were there together. Gallon after gallon of sap simmered down over the wood fire while we gathered more jugs and spent the long lulls in camp chairs eating hot dogs and drinking coffee. The end result was 30+ jars of sweet syrup and one of my favorite rolls of film to date.

This year we’re making a few changes with some new tools, five gallon pails, and a little more forethought. We will be changing our boiling time to make the syrup thicker and sweeter than last year’s batch. March might not be good for much, but it’s definitely good for maple syrup.


Film scans above from March 2016, Nikon FG 35mm Kodak Portra 400

Portraits: winter family session at door county tree farm

door-county-tree-farm-photography-family-photos-pictures-one-year-sturgeon-bay-green-bay-photographer-christmas-lifestyle-winter-pictures-1 door-county-tree-farm-photography-family-photos-pictures-one-year-sturgeon-bay-green-bay-photographer-christmas-lifestyle-winter-pictures-2As I type this blog with my coffee in hand, it’s 12 degrees outside my office. Wisconsin winters can be cold and long, but they also allow for some pretty spectacular photographs for those brave enough to handle these chilly days. We loved Vicent’s one year session and family photos at this Door County tree farm in late November. Tiffany and Carlos brought along a plaid wool blanket, and a little wagon for Vicent. We packed up some cocoa to help keep the chill out. That baby was bundled and wrapped and snuggled to keep warm. All of it set us up to capture real moments of parents caring for their little one, and loving one another. Such a magical reminder of what matters as we go into this holiday season. Happy First Birthday, Vicent!

Personal Post: i am thankful, pain for pain, joy for joy

Hazel-Door-County-Film-Photographer-Northwoods-Summer-1 Hazel-Door-County-Film-Photographer-Northwoods-Summer-2The day my film scans arrive back is like magic. When we wait for weeks or months, the memories of long weekends and summer nights begins to fade, but in handling the prints, I have those feelings back in tangible way – the good, the bad, and the bittersweet. Every moment is replayed in emulsion with the soft texture of film and I remember vividly how I felt when I made each image.

I have been absent from the personal blog for a few months. When I write these posts I write from the heart, and sometimes it can be difficult to touch upon what I feel and what I want to say about it. Even now, with so many photos I want to share, the clarity of phrasing isn’t quite clear, other than to say I am thankful. I am thankful for my beautiful home, my capable body, and most of all, my family. When things are good, family celebrates in our joys, and when things are bad, they are the people who check in every. damn. day. Not out of obligation, not because they’re sad we’re sad or happy we’re happy, but because they feel it 100% – pain for pain, joy for joy.

I have people like this in my life – family I am related to, and people whose lives have become intertwined with mine in the unlikeliest of circumstances. I am grateful for both. Life is built experiencing the feelings of others in whatever way we can. I am showing up for that – pain for pain, joy for joy.

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Film scans above ^^ from summer events with friends and family around Fourth of July.

Personal Post: adventures with mom

Door-County-Midwest-Ice-Fishing-Hiking-Snowshoeing-Snow-Fish-Winter-Sturgeon-Bay-Green-Bay-Wildlife-SanctuaryAfter a little over a week in California, I came home to my favorite kind of mail: film scans. There were a few family events and travels from over the last year on the various rolls, but my favorite was from just a few weeks ago. It was a day planned by my mom inspired by matching enamel camp mugs I bought for us at Christmas. The day was warm (by Wisconsin winter standards) and my mom, brother, and I spent the morning hiking the Ice Age Trail in Potawatomi Park, Door County. After a few hours we stopped in the shelter house, gathered wood, and built a fire. The flames warmed the space as mom carved toasting forks and Josh fed the fire. We made pudgy pies and hot cocoa on the open flame, and, as is true anytime you work for your food, it tasted like the best lunch ever.

My mom is a Girl Scout. I mean this beyond the simple fact that she was a Girl Scout as a child and led my troop as an adult. It is a fact exceeding membership in a club, and is more like an embodiment of the ideals of what a Girl Scout is and should be. She is courageous, empathetic, and welcoming of new ideas. She is determined when it comes to tasks and skilled at nearly everything that involves the outdoors. Each summer we pitch our little tent, develop elaborate camp menus (with at least three “fuel methods” in classic Girl Scout style), and spend a few days in a state park hiking or biking or kayaking, or playing cards as the rain pours down outside. And even when it rains, even when the canopy tent gathers gallons of water that we have to empty in torrents and the entire weekend is spent in humid ponchos and muddy shoes, it is the best. Mom is the person literally laughing in the rainstorm – eternally optimistic and ready for every kind of adventure (even the ones that don’t go as planned). And this rubs off on others, calling out the it-has-to-go-as-planned-ers (like me), opening us up to a little more exploration and a little more grace.

After our shelter house lunch was cleaned up and the fire was put out, we met Ben and dad out on the bay where they had spent the morning ice fishing. We brought along a thermos of cider, a propane stove, and all the fixings to fry up their catch right on the ice. The horizon grew hazy in that pre-sunset foggy glow as we headed back with another adventure in the books, inspired, as always, by mom.

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