Thursday, May 31, 2012

Long Weekends

Aren't long weekends the best?!

Saturday evening we grilled steaks after swimming at the lake.

Sunday after church, we headed to Croft State Park
and went for a hike on their mile and a half nature trail.

Just some cool growth in the woods. So many different things in one tiny little open spot.

A cool lizard. Immediately after seeing this lizard we saw a black snake heading toward this little guy.
I was afraid to see what was going to happen once that snake saw him in this tree trunk.
Can you say "dinner time"?

A pretty purple flower.

After the hike we followed a little trail, walking about 10 minutes out to the river
 where we found a ton of other families scattered across the rocks,
wading in a cool stream. 

A pool of tadpoles. There were hundreds of them... So cool!

On Monday we did nothing.
 We stayed in the house and relaxed.
 It was just what we needed.
Later that evening, we took the kids to park while the hubster and I went for run.
I was amazed that I was able to go as far as I did.
It was a great start to new week.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Backstage Pass

My daughter, Hannah, had her last ballet performance
 of the year this past Tuesday evening.
Spring Performance 2012.

In some form or fashion, I always end up being backstage help.
I really LOVE being back there.
It's terribly exciting!
From watching the girls faces as they await their fleeting moment of fame,
to getting first glance of all the fabulous costumes of each performer...
I breathe it all in and love every moment.

There are a number of reasons why being "stage help" is fun for me.
I have the chance to grab photos that most of the parents don't have the opportunity to see,
 much less capture in photograph.

So whenever I hear that the Company needs volunteers,
I'm the first one to sign the sheet.
As long as my girls are a part of this incredible ballet school,
 the frantic search for one more volunteer is over!

Shot this in almost pitch black circumstances. We were in the balcony, waiting for the opening show!

Hannah on the left.
Backstage...Dancers and Mr. K owner of Greenville School Of Ballet on the right.

Watching and waiting....

Last minute touches...

The girls ballet instructor sweetly reminds the girls to "shhhhh...."...

You can see how these girls love her!

Clowning around!
Playing hand games... Waiting again!

Fun group of gals...Not a bit shy!


The whole gang... except for a few lost somewhere in the spots and stripes of it all.

This was so much fun and I am looking forward to seeing
many more of these performances in the future.

Check out the best Ballet Company and Newest Jazz and Hip Hop studio in Greenville!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

He & She

If you are looking to improve your photography,
practicing is seriously one of the BEST things you can do.

Photography is like anything else,
 practice WILL make you better,
and along with that, your muscle memory will improve
 and shooting will become a habit.
Your reactions, while shooting, will become natural and more fluid.

Always in the learning mode...
Here is a shot that I grabbed of Ben taking a picture of an awesome tree trunk!

This is the image that Ben was capturing as I was shooting the image above.

 Ben has been shooting for maybe a couple of months...
 It took me a year to shoot like he is shooting now.
He is a very fast learner, and I hope this means I am a good teacher.
I was completely self taught. No one was there to show me how to do anything.
It was a long tough journey for me,
but it was worth the time I spent studying the manual,
 and learning on my own.
I had the desire. I wanted to be better. To improve my skills.
So I did what I had to, and still have SO much more to learn!

Here is an image of me that Ben was capturing while I was capturing a moment of the girls.

This is one of the shots I captured while Ben was shooting me in the previous image.
A little coaching goes a long way...

I love my clients and my friends!
It has been an amazing journey so far,
and I LOVE that Ben and I have another common interest and love.
We are having so much FUN,
and we are looking forward to helping others along the way.

Tip of the week: Practice, Practice, and Practice some more!

Monday, May 21, 2012

First Family Hike ~ 2012

On Sunday, we experienced our first 2012 family hiking trip.
We woke early, got ready for church,
 sliding through the side doors just in the nick of time (as always),
then out to lunch, back home to grab a change of clothes
and to fill a cooler full of cold water and snacks.

Honestly, I was thinking more about lying down in my big, king sized, comfy, 
pillow drenched bed and napping... but I'm glad I chose otherwise.

This was a very special hiking adventure for us.
We had hiked this same trail about two years prior to this time
with all three of the girls.

As we walked, Ben and I were reminded of our first time there.
Our youngest daughter was barely two years old.
 We carried her much of the way up the mountain,
taking turns upon which shoulders she would ride.

On this trip, she would walk the entire trail without being carried.
She was very inclined to do it on her own, as were all the girls.
They are all so independent already.

They were told as a reward for finishing the hike without any whining
that we would allow them to play in the water at the end of our journey.

There was not a single complaint from the children.
They eagerly walked up that mountain and we never heard, not one excuse or murmur.

And they  joyfully GOT their reward!

I'm sure if you asked them, they would say it was worth it!

Sister love!

I love this girl!

Some daddy help!

Oh my... definitely the favorite location of the day for these girls!

 Along the trail.

We had Hannah read the signs and lead the way.
She will be a great leader some day.

A millipede we saw along the way... Amazing little red legs.

The above photo is a Ring necked Snake or Ring Snake.
Can you see him? He was pretty tiny.
 These are nonvenomous and usually stay small, rarely growing larger than a foot in length.
 These little snakes eat insects, earthworms, red back salamanders and sometimes fish.
They are usually dark in color with a yellow, green, or gold ring around the neck.
We saw this one just at the start of the trail, right beside the falls.
Maybe he was looking for some dinner...

Along the trail...

Something must have been interesting... I think it was dirt.
We took our time and allowed them to discover...

A rare shot of me with the girls. They were getting tired as we neared the end of the trail.

Someone left little messages scattered everywhere.
On the rocks and the trees,...
this one was my favorite.