Allow me to preface this post by saying "I am not a wedding photographer." Yet. I have yet to accept a wedding client because I do not shoot with flash, need to practice using flash, need to buy an off camera flash, the list goes on and on, but I cannot claim to make amazing images inside dark churches, period. With that said, my husband and I attended a wedding on Saturday and while I packed up my camera, following my father-in-law's advice and never leaving home without my camera, I had this feeling that said "clean your lens, pack your spare battery, you will be photographing this wedding." We battled pouring rain and ominous thunder clouds to get to the sweetest little chapel in Georgetown, TX, just in time to see the bride waiting under an umbrella with her father. When we entered the chapel I tried to locate the photographer, so I wouldn't stand in his or her way as I attempted to build my wedding portfolio. Alas, I could not find him or her. I quickly made my way to the groom, one of my husband's soldiers, and inquired about the photographer, and found that there was no official photographer other than a budding and talented family member with camera in hand. A big apology to everyone for the pushy New Yorker that took over moments later ;) I just couldn't bare the thought that this lovely young couple was about to commit their love to one another and there would be no professional pictures to look back on! Maybe it was my sympathetic Army Wife side who could think ahead to the long deployments, the obnoxious temporary duty stations, the untimely separations when wedding anniversaries go uncelebrated and babies are born before Daddy can make it home. This bride would need an image, a memory from a most special occasion, to remind her of the good times, to remind her of the love she shares with her soldier. I may not have captured the wedding party in it's entirety, my chapel images are dark, the roses in the garden outside were heavy with rain. But I can certainly take a little credit for capturing a few moments that will hopefully carry a lifetime of happiness; the decorations may have been soaked, the dance floor towel dried, but this intimate military wedding could not have been more charming! Congratulations to the happy couple, and should I get any more of these edited before we move to Arizona I will certainly post them right here. Enjoy your sneak peek!

This week is something totally different at I ♥ Faces, and a genuine challenge for yours truly. All week long I was trying to capture a silhouette worthy of this weeks theme, and all week long I failed. I finally figured out that my failed attempts were unsuccessful because I wasn't allowing myself enough time with the new concept and the subject. All week long I was shooting moments that were happening too fast and unscripted, like the surprise wedding proposal in the hot air balloon, and then the wedding we attended last night that turned out to not have a photographer present. (Of course I had my camera and the hopeless romantic in me shot the whole event!) I really needed a chance to play with this new challenge for I had never before intentionally shot a silhouette. I needed willing subjects, no time limit, and M&M's... So after dinner tonight we loaded all the cowboy gear we could pony-up, drove out to a hillside, and wrestled with the wee lads, who only wanted to fight over the broom horsey. I couldn't be more excited with my final image and I am sure that silhouettes will quickly become part of my style, what with all of those amazing Arizona sunsets in my near future! Just three weeks left until the big move...


Technical notes: These are my two boys. The older is riding one of those bouncy horses on a frame, which was cloned out using a variety of layers and masks in CS3. I use a Canon 40D, had my 35-170mm lens, shot at ISO 100, f/16, 1/125 of a second. I was shooting directly into the bright Texas sunshine at 7pm, with the kids between me and the sun.

Go get inspired and join the fun at I ♥ Faces through the link below!

Correct me if I am wrong Mom, but I think you planted the seed in the mid 1980's... I have always carried with me a dream of floating through the air in a hot air balloon. It started years ago when my parents took us up to a hot air balloon festival in Glens Falls, NY, camping overnight, waking before dawn, and rushing to get to the field in time to watch the glowing orbs take off into the night sky. It was breathtaking to watch and NOW I can confirm that it is breathtaking to experience! My bosom buddy and fellow photographer, Julie Rivera, approached me with the idea of flight a month ago. In celebration of her mother's birthday they were surprising her with a hot air balloon ride and there was room for me in the basket, if I wanted to go. Ahem, "YES!" The morning was perfection, clear skies, a soft breeze, great fellowship, a wedding proposal even! (No, sadly, Julie and I are not getting married. But a charming young Austin couple is!) The flight was as I had dreamed it would be: slow, smooth, calming, quiet, and addicting, it ended MUCH too soon! A huge THANK YOU to Austin Aeronauts, to David Smuck, our extremely talented pilot who practically parallel parked our vessel in a new subdivision, right between a porta-potty and a family of deer, and to Chuck, our chasecar-man, for arriving on the scene a mere .5 seconds after landing! Thank you for the safety of your experience and expertise and an incredible introduction to my new obsession, ballooning!

Ballooning starts before sunrise as the crew assembles the basket and our aerostat, "Willie Nilly".

While a large fan fills the balloon with a stream of air, the colors begin to twist and turn, and I, forward photographer of the day, sneak over to the "groom" and say "are you planning on proposing to this gal today?" I was met with a sheepish grin; every woman on the field knew his plan, except the one that mattered...

Moments after take off, the sun begins to shine through the horizon. Nearing 2400 feet above the ground and I hadn't a single nervous bone in my body, it was calm, cool, quiet, and I found myself thinking about "heaven".

A little later in the flight the "groom" gives me the signal and the surprise was perfect! The ring momentarily blinded me, but I recovered, as did she, and everyone suffered perma-grin from that point on.

By this point in the flight I have already decided that we will balloon in every country we visit and live in, because what better way to experience the landscape than floating smoothly past the hills, streams, neighborhoods, with children running through the backyards screaming "hello up there!" at the top of their lungs.

My favorite, the water reflection, and I'm thinking Grand Tetons in autumn with clear still waters and full balloon reflections, and yes, my children might have to pay their own way through college 'cause Mama's buying a balloon!

We do manage to have a southerly wind, which is apparently NOT the norm for this area, and we fly over I-35 at rush hour for only the 2nd time in five years of David flying the area. It was incredible to be over farm land one minute, seeing our reflection the next, counting pools and picking out our favorite expensive house, and then crossing a major spider web of freeways!

The morning concluded with croissants and champagne and a little ceremonial poetry:

The winds have welcomed you with softness, the sun has blessed you with his warm hands, you have flown so high and so well that God has joined you in laughter and set you gently back into the loving arms of Mother Earth.

And I continue to recite those words to myself, the most eloquent summary of my morning!

A HUGE week over at I ♥ Faces, a chance to be published with other "I ♥ Faces" fans in an all "I ♥ Faces" book! I will be competing in the Professional Category with the following capture of a sweet little ceremony goer from my last Change of Command Ceremony here at Fort Hood, TX. Angelina Jolie has nothing on this little darling's pout! Though I had oodles of my own boys I wanted to enter this week, her eyes, her pout, the color and light in this image all won me over in the end. Head over to I ♥ Faces to join the contest yourself! All participants get a discount on the purchase of the book when it is published and there are probably other amazing deals in store over at Blurb.

I am submitting this photo into the Blurb book photo contest. If chosen, I grant I ♥ Faces permission to use my photo in a printed version of a book for commercial use and possibly advertising of a photo book on both the Blurb and I ♥ Faces web sites.

Are you hoping for senior portraits that are above and beyond "normal"? Are you used to being offered 5 or 6 poses that don't suit your style? Do you want to see what my clients are getting to share with family and friends?! Visit my website to see a sample of what your senior portrait session could reveal! I'm currently booking portrait sessions for the Class of 2010, beginning in August, in Sierra Vista, Bisbee, Tucson, and the surrounding areas. Spaces are limited, please email me for more information:

Please visit, click on "client proofing" and enter the password "seniors".

UPDATE: To See My Most Recent Hilarious Outtakes Post, CLICK HERE!LAUGHTER! Who can live without it?! I certainly can't, and in my line of work, motherhood, it's plentiful and always welcome. Two funnies got me giggling today: The Boy, sitting in his car seat on the way home from church, is studying his arm and announces "Mommy, I have some GLUE on my FUR!" Hmmm, well, that confirms my suspicion that I am raising wild animals... And the second, my senior moment, we were at my in-laws this evening enjoying a delicious Japanese meal prepared by my amazing, talented, mother-in-law, and a neighbor stopped over, sweet little 11 year old girl. She announced that she would be having a sleepover party and being a child of the 80's I asked her if they would play "MASH" (the game where you make a list of boys you want to marry, what sort of job you'll have and whether you will live in a Mansion, Apartment, on the Street, or House). She hadn't a clue so I sat the preteen down for a demo. We were in the middle of her fortune telling when she announced that she wanted to marry Joe, from The Good Charlotte Band, and I confessed that I had never heard of them, to which my DH says "oh I know them!" and I say "I guess I'm not up on my music", to which my little teeny-bopper chuckles and says "It's a young thing..."

Need a chuckle of your own? Check out these sweet family pics from my archive and then head on over to I Heart Faces to see who has the last laugh!


NOTE: That is the same baby, sitting on Pop Pop's knee screaming, and one year later, almost to the date, cackling with laughter. It's amazing how much relationships can grow and change! It was such an enormous gift as a mother to witness the bonding between my sons and their Grandfather during the 15 months that my husband was deployed; it was so important that in their father's absence, they were still able to feel a "father's" love.

My husband is an exceptional guy; a compassionate husband and father, a dedicated Soldier in the US Army, he is creative, energetic. The best word I can think of is "doting", but even that is an enormous understatement. He makes me feel like the Queen of our castle every single day. Today was a really really REALLY SPECIAL DAY! Let's back up though. A couple weeks ago he stopped coming to bed at night. He was working feverishly on a video for a Military Spouses Appreciation Contest here at Fort Hood. He was moping around the house grumbling about "the software" and "the technology" and "his lack of ideas" and then his "too many ideas".... I offered to help, I even suggested that we make a collaborative video, but in the end I let him work through the night and I went to bed, alone. Submission day came and went without much fanfare. In the midst of caring for our two sons and the slew of tasks we have to get ready for our move, I didn't even see the finished video. We drove down to Austin last night for some bedroom furniture shopping. On the way home we got a call on my cell phone, it was 10pm, and it was Sgt "X" calling to see if I would be attending the Military Spouses Event the following morning. "As it turned out your husband entered a video in your honor and it has been chosen as one of the top five videos." This is so typical My Army Life, finding out about events the night before or hours before, having no childcare, having no RSVP and therefore doing the "walk of shame" into the event: "oh hi, my name is Karyn, I have no RSVP but I'd love to eat your food and collect fabulous free goodies and by the way, can someone watch my kids so they don't ruin everything for the other 150 Mothers and Spouses in attendance today?" So this morning I wake up thinking that I will take the kids and pop over to the event to see what other people entered and snag some yummy chocolate and strawberries. I should have seen the red flag go up when they were able to get my children into the childcare room even though it was full, a huge apology to anyone who RSVP'd and had to BEG to get their child a spot in the facility! The folks at the Fort Hood MWR really went above and beyond to create a LOVELY event for all who attended. There was delicious food and coffee and a fountain of chocolate, yum! and handmade photo bracelets and other gifts and door prizes for everyone. Just to attend was a prize in itself, as is any two hour block where I get to sit and chat with adults and someone else watches my kiddos ;)
So, the big moment arrived, they were going to announce the winner of the "Exotic Dream Vacation"- and it was a little confusing because the microphone was not working well and I was sitting in the back of the room and they were supposed to show us the finalists videos, and the website wasn't working so they could not and they announced "The Winner IS:" and then it was someone else's name. People started talking and clapping for her and then I could hear the woman stumbling over my last name as a "second winner". So I'm wondering if I should stand and nod my head, "gee, thanks for second place, cool" or if I have to go up front. And then this second big check, like those Sweepstakes checks, appears, for a SECOND VACATION!! I quickly realized that I had won a trip to MEXICO! Amazing, I am still out of breath and shaking a little, I mean, holy smokes, this is a fantastic way to kick off your weekend! I am sure that with Mexico as my motivation, this next move is going to be a breeze! (To my Mother and Father: Swine Flu won't last forever, the trip is good for the next year, um, would you be so gracious as to fly out to Arizona to love upon my children for 4 days and 3 nights while I jet off to an all inclusive adult resort with my amazingly gifted and loving husband?!)

The Prize is a 4day/3night stay at Tucancun Beach, Mexico. CLICK HERE to see the resort!
To See The Video my husband submitted, click HERE:

To See His Competition, click HERE:

On Monday, May 4th, 4th Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, looked on as LTC Kenneth Royar, Commander for 44 months, relinquished his command to LTC Dale Watson. The remarks were many, for which I was grateful, as it gave me the opportunity to circumnavigate the hangar containing the ceremony, capturing every angle I could imagine. From the presentation of the roses to climbing aboard an Apache helicopter, this special day was brimming with pride and admiration. I just love to watch an officer's wife glow when their husband stands at the front of a formation. Maybe it's me, but to know how many missed suppers and lonely nights are in your near future, because your Soldier is working and caring for his unit, and to still be bursting with pride as you watch him "take command", to actually be excited?! Now, that is GRACE. I can fully relate to these moments, I have witnessed first hand the importance of tradition, and it is with great joy that I accept the challenge of preserving this most special milestone for the families who will face the challenges ahead. Thank you for sharing your day, enjoy your sneak peek!

I'm back to I ♥ Faces, the website for photography that I love so much, for inspiration, for improving my skills and learning new tricks. Go check it out and enter their weekly contest with your favorite "hat portrait". I missed last week because, I am happy to say, I was working hard editing my portraits. And, I confess, my entries tonight are oldies, but goodies. We are gearing up for a big move out to Fort Huachuca, in Arizona, which means all my client work has to be complete and loose ends tied before June. My child entry is of course, The Boy, and this series of him, which I use in my header, just makes me smile. He is playing with a cowboy hat that we actually have photos of Daddy wearing as a four year old, priceless! And my adult photo is really just for fun, a photo of a photo actually. My husband gets credit for this one, taken at my college graduation! Yes, VINTAGE Karyn everybody! It didn't seem right to graduate from the College Of Fine Arts wearing a plain old cap and gown, so I wore a furry handmade number with a pair of DENTURES!!! (the artist, and dear friend, who made the hat is posing with me). Yes, those are honor cords too, proof that you can be smart AND "artsy fartsy".