Monday, March 22, 2010

WPPI Rocks!

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We had a most excellent time.

We decided in the summer of last year that we were going to go to WPPI 2010 in Las Vegas. WPPI is Wedding and Portrait Photographers International. So we joined this awesome organization and started planning.

Now, a quick trip to Vegas from Utah seems like no big deal, but to me, it was! I have 5 kids at home, ages 10 to just-turned-two. I never leave them for very long. A shoot is about the length of time I leave them, and usually it is with my ever-patient husband, Darwin. I even brought two of my kids (McKay, who was then 6 and autistic and Garrett, who was then 2) to the hospital to stay the night when my youngest daughter was born. So leaving for 5 days...big deal.

Still, we got the tickets in December. We booked a hotel. Crystal and I also called two other photographer friends, Leah and Eve, and before we knew it, the day had arrived and it was time to go. I was a little nervous, I admit. But before long, we were giggling and reading photography magazines in the car and counting the miles to Vegas. We were riding in Crystal's brand new Eddie Bauer Ford Expedition, enjoying the comfort of the space and the peace of no "road trip bickering" that every parent knows too-well. But we still called home every few hours. :)

Things were going pretty smoothly. And then suddenly...bam!

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A loose bit of gravel cracked the windshield. Eek. Crystal's brand new car. Crystal broke the news to her husband, and he took it pretty well. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful.

We went to check into our hotel, tired and hungry. We stayed at the Stratosphere, since it was a lot cheaper than the MGM and we had a car and parking is free. (Hey, we're a new photography studio...we're frugal!)

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The next morning, we got up and headed down to the MGM to register and attend some classes. It was still early in the conference, so there were not many classes and not everyone had really arrived. We saw a presentation on album design and then we got to hear the amazing children's photographer, Audrey Woulard, speak. She was fun and funny, open and honest, and completely charming. It was worth it, arriving early to hear her speak. We were also so grateful we were able to get in, as it was a full class.

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The next day, we got up to get to classes at 5:30 AM! The classes started at 8 am and we wanted good seats. What can we say? We are THAT dedicated. We saw greats like Kirk Voclain (LOVED his presentation on photographing seniors, and can't wait to incorporate some of his stuff. WISH we could do the underwater photography that he does. One day), Doug Gordon (crazy guy, great posing and lighting ideas), Marcus Bell (W.O.W.) and JB and DeEtte Sallee (genius wedding photographers and business people.) I even caught a free t-shirt in the Sallee's class that says "I Shoot People." Anyone who knows me and my tendency to say non-sequiters like "I just shot a newborn today!!" thought it was the perfect shirt for me.

But the speaker we were HOPING and waiting to see was Jasmine Star. was close. We almost missed out. The line was HUGE and thousands were turned away. But we got in. She was amazing. SO inspirational and so funny. So real and so giving. No wonder she is one of the top photographers in the industry. Her spirit and personality are larger-than-life to say the least. She held the packed room's attention for the full two hours. Amazing.

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We also went to the tradeshow and were tempted beyond what any mortal photographer should be expected to withstand, but most of us came away financially-unscathed. (One of us...that might be debatable.)

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One of the super cool things about the tradeshow was that there were tons of nifty speakers there. So we got the hear from Doug Gordon again, Baby as Art (Crystal was in heaven) and I was amazed and inspired by Louis Pang. He's a wedding photographer from Malaysia who is one of the best and most sought-after in the world. His lighting is first class. I soaked up his presentation and was humbled and inspired. I have lots of plans now for adding more lights to our OCF set ups. Woo! So, the tradeshow was also very very educational. (Not just shopping!)

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Overall, we spent over 26 hours in classes, presentations, etc. at WPPI this year. We have so many plans and ideas and we feel recharged and ready to go. We are absolutely heading back next year.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Wait--isn't she already two?


Two years old today.

We usually are about to have another baby when our youngest reaches two years old. So, the fact she is still firmly in the "I'm-the-baby" category sort of makes her feel younger. She still gets toted around and cooed at by the older siblings and everyone calls her baby Ella.

But make no mistake. She is much more little girl than infant.

She will tell you exactly what she wants using a fairly complete phrase. She stays dry all night and all day. She dresses herself, even down to picking out shoes and socks. She is pretty darn fast once she hears the "Clean up" song. She can get her own carseat straps on and she waits patiently to be buckled up. (She also sings the "Buckle Up" song when she does this.) She LOVES nursery at church. She's just so big.

She's also pretty funny, because she is also not a girly-girl. Giving her a choice of birthday presents, the pack of Nerf balls--football, basketball, soccer ball--won out over dollies or dress-ups. She also can correctly name the different types of balls. When she picks out her clothes, she chooses Garrett's soccer ball shirt, or his Buzz Lightyear sweatshirt. It'll be interesting to see if these preferences stick, or if they are a passing thing.

Gosh, my littles are growing up.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A revision on an old classic

So, once upon a time there was an old lady who lived in a shoe--or rather, a house in Lehi. She had so many children she didn't know what to do. Actually, she didn't know what to do alone anymore. She was ok with what to do with the kids. ;)

She also taught primary and nursery for years. Lots of kids came over to the shoe to play, so it was always full of busy kids.

In fact, when this little old lady had her youngest baby, she even had a few of the shoe-dwelling children come sleep at the hospital with her.

But then, this little old shoe lady decided to do photography. And then she started a studio with an awesome photographer. And she started hanging out with some really fun photographers. And they decided to go to the decidedly non-shoe-like Las Vegas to a big conference. WPPI.

The old lady was very excited...but she also wondered how would she do without her shoe and all of the inhabitants? Would the shoe still be standing when she returned? Luckily the little old man who lived in the shoe would be working from the shoe for a few days while the old lady was attending classes, going to shoots, and networking. Such a nice little old man.

So the little old lady is off to the crazy city for a lot of fun...but it is going to be a bit of a stretch to leave the shoe.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Big Four-Year-Old


He's FOUR!

Three is still *kind of* a baby. But there is an inescapable fact staring me in the face now. Garrett is NOT a baby. He's a little boy.

Of course I knew this, because he doesn't act like a little baby, but gosh, time has gone by so fast. This birthday has made me want to cuddle him more often. Because he's getting so old, so quickly.

It's been a big year for Garrett. He started preschool. He is getting pretty good on his trike, the trampoline, riding the scooter, etc. He started Sunbeams. He rocks at the Wii. (He is a backseat Wii-er though.

Also, he and Ella are becoming the Dynamic Duo. They spend the mornings devising all sorts of games. They color, they play with the Little People and superheros in the dollhouse, Garrett plays the Wii and Ella flails the inactive remote about as she impersonates Garrett. It's hilarious and touching.

While a tiny part of me is nostalgic for baby Garrett, I am excited to see what this year brings. And I am lucky that he's such an eager cuddlebug.

Happy Birthday, bud.

More funny stuff--Overheard

I have to tag all the funny stuff that my kids say as Overheard, so that when I search for it, I can find them all quickly. Ya know, for when I write my book. ;)

First, Michael came DASHING downstairs in a bit of panic. "I have GUM DISEASE!" he informed me, urgently. I looked up, alarmed, trying to figure out what he meant. He continued in his frightened tone. "I swallowed some gum!!"

Then we took the family and a few friends to play in the McDonald's playland for Garrett's birthday. While there, McKay ran behind the counter and said, "May I help you?"

Oh and McKay (referring to his robe pulled over his head): It's a Jedi Master thing. Then McKay says, pretending to talk to C-3PO, "Oh hi there, 3PO, what is that you're wearing?" Then, pretending to be C-3PO he said, "Oh, it's nothing but a pile of junk."

And finally, not so comical, but extremely poignant, McKay said, "I forgive people. That's my job." Which, when you deal with autism and how people react to kind of is.