Avodah Images: Blog https://www.avodahimages.com/blog en-us (C) Avodah Images (Avodah Images) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:34:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:34:00 GMT https://www.avodahimages.com/img/s/v-12/u1055862896-o998665224-50.jpg Avodah Images: Blog https://www.avodahimages.com/blog 80 120 Long Time, No See! https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2013/9/long-time-no-see Valley of Fire State Park, NevadaValley of Fire State Park, Nevada

If you're checking in and wondering where we've been, hop on over to Dareyou2move.com and check out our latest adventure.  We are touring the USA for a full year and sharing our stories and photos on our blog there.  We still post our favorite shots here as we travel, but the stories make the photos better, so please join us on our other site.


(Avodah Images) travel https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2013/9/long-time-no-see Sat, 14 Sep 2013 23:37:09 GMT
No words... https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/7/no-words We've just returned from a missions trip to Jamaica.  I thought I would have some great, touching words for a blog post but like last year, I sit here looking at the photos and I cannot come up with a single adequate word for all we saw and felt.  So no words, just photos and a video.  But I would like to take a moment to encourage you to go on a trip abroad.  Yes, there is a whole world of need and hurt and poverty here and yes, the USA is a mission field too.  But we've found that going outside our country, finding a different context and being far removed from our comfort zone put us in a place that God was able to use to show us the rest of the world through HIS eyes in a way we've yet to experience when we serve the needy right here.  I encourage you to be open to that possibility.  

(Avodah Images) https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/7/no-words Mon, 23 Jul 2012 16:26:53 GMT
It All Happens Around the Table https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/7/it-all-happens-around-the-table I just had the BEST weekend.  I traveled to California with my friend, Kelli, for a creative retreat.  It was a small gathering:  four writers and two photographers (check out the links to their sites to see what kind of talent I was surrounded by for four days).  I was the only one who was neither there last year nor had a prior connection to anyone else, so I felt like something of a party crasher.  I shouldn't have worried.  From the beginning I realized that this was a group in which I could be myself and that would not only be fine but celebrated.  

Wendy was our hostess and welcomed us with open arms and FABULOUS food at her lake house.  I really would have been pretty content with Pop-Tarts, a map and three free days to wander around shooting, but Wendy made sure we had so much more than that.  

Wendy connected Tammy and I to a local videographer who also happens to have been a White House correspondent for 35 years.  Bill Groody took us to Ceago Vinegardens to shoot stills and video (stay tuned for my newbie attempt at a video documentary), but I kept stopping to just inhale the heady scent of lavender and listen to the bees.  As great as the camera is, sometimes you have to step away from the viewfinder and really experience the view.  










It didn't stop there.  The following day Wendy had arranged for Tammy and I to meet up with a local photographic artist, Carolyn Marchetti, at her amazing home overlooking the Kelseyville area.  To say my expectations were exceeded is like saying Category 5 hurricanes are windy.  Again, it would have been lovely enough to sit and chat with Carolyn over a glass of local wine for an hour.  But we were welcomed to an outdoor table dressed with a terrific lunch, a tour of the home and Carolyn's studio and freedom to wander about and take pictures to our heart's content.  We stayed for 6 hours.  









Carolyn's husband, Tony, joined us and at length the conversation drifted from photography and art to life and what we choose to make of it.  We tried to absorb it all.  Tammy took notes but I'm not sure she could write fast enough.  I really can't describe our afternoon except to say that I KNOW I was in the presence of God.  At one point Tony said, "It all happens around the table," and I almost jumped out of my chair.  
















He could not have known how right he was, that he had just summed up the entire weekend so beautifully.  That I felt surrounded by God's love and presence every single time I sat down to a meal.   I thought instantly of what awaits us in heaven for all eternity:  the wedding feast of the Lamb.  Where all pretense goes away and we get to be nothing more than who He made us to be.  Where we will enjoy the company of others unrestrained by our sin and a broken world.  










And how we will celebrate. 


Tony and Carolyn chose to be available to a pair of strangers.  They opened their home and best of all their hearts.  They were real and joyful and edifying.  They could have been merely cordial and open for an hour and again, I would have been content with such a gift of their time.  They shared their dreams, their history, their love story.











Wendy could have provided a bed, sandwiches and some ideas for places to shoot and that would have made for a great weekend for this photographer, but she chose to give more than that.

Tammy, Bethany, Kelli, and Angie, all loved me from the start. They chose to offer hospitality that went above and beyond, and I have no words to describe where it left me.  I'm still reeling.  


(Avodah Images) https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/7/it-all-happens-around-the-table Wed, 04 Jul 2012 19:29:49 GMT
When it all comes together... https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/4/when-it-all-comes-together     I've been extraordinarily blessed in that I've never had a portrait session go truly wrong.  But we don't live in a perfect world so I can pretty much count on any session having at least one minor issue.  A flash unit misfires, skies turn cloudy and ruin the light, random people wander through your backgrounds (thank you, Lord, for Photoshop).  But Saturday evening I got to live the portrait photographer's dream.  Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, went absolutely right.  The weather was perfect.  The sunset was so beautiful I was afraid people were going to think I faked it.  Well, some shirtless fishermen did show up in the background (thank you, Lord, for Photoshop).  I always love my job, but I was high as a kite after this one.  Check out the results...

My family has had the awesome blessing of getting to know the Stuarts this past year and capturing their closeness and love for each other was a true privilege.  

Kelli will be leaving this Friday for Tanzania to blog about the work that Compassion International is doing there to release children from poverty in the name of Jesus.  Follow her and prepare to laugh, cry and fall in love with a child who needs a sponsor.  

Thank you, Lee and Kelli, for allowing me to photograph your beautiful family.  Thank you, God, for the gift of beauty and the calling to capture it.  



(Avodah Images) Compassion Tanzania https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/4/when-it-all-comes-together Mon, 30 Apr 2012 15:38:12 GMT
Got party? https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/4/got-party I used to want to be Martha Stewart, at least where party planning was concerned.  Then I met Elle and I decided it is much more fun to just go to her parties.  Seriously, Martha.  I'm pretty sure Elle could take you.  Even better than just going to the party is being asked to document all the fun in photos.  Last year I met Elle when I photographed her son, Isaac's first birthday party.  It was so cool I doubted she could top it.  Boy, was I wrong.  This year's shindig was crazy cool!  She chose a "milk and cookies" theme and the photos describe it better than words can.  


Yes, that's Cookie Crisp cereal.  I got all nostalgic for my childhood.  And homemade Oreos - OH MY!

Cookie mix in a jar for favors...

Guests signed a Holstein cow spot with birthday wishes then attached it to the felt "cow hide" on the wall.

Elle found these milk bottles online from a farmer in the Midwest.



What kid would not LOVE this???

Okay, maybe the one without teeth...

Elle is a pretty amazing photographer herself, so she really only needs me so she can enjoy the party.  This is an album of shots she took of Isaac enjoying milk and cookies before the big day.

Thank you, Elle, for the honor of documenting yet another fantastic party and a beautiful family.  It's always a blast!



(Avodah Images) and cookies got milk milk? party https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/4/got-party Sun, 15 Apr 2012 19:03:19 GMT
Bird Brain https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/3/bird-brain "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"  - Matthew 6:26, 27 NIV 



A few weeks ago a pair of bluebirds began building a nest in the special bluebird boxes we made for them (9 years ago).  They've been coming a few times a day to work on it, or perhaps feed their babies.  It's hard to tell for sure since I don't want to get close enough to investigate - I don't want them to abandon their project, whatever it might be.  But Saturday afternoon, for some reason they developed a keen interest in our window.

 At first they were just hanging out, looking in at us.  

Then they started the pecking.  

On Sunday afternoon they were fairly vocal in their many visits, and were not even deterred by Harley.  

This morning they seemed to have launched a full-scale offensive on the transom window above our front door, but they mostly divide their time between the windows and their nest.

  My husband was watching them on one of their many trips back to their work when they suddenly took flight into the trees.  Seconds later a hawk swooped in and perched on the box.  Now, we love the hawk normally, but raptors are known to raid the nests of smaller birds.  Needless to say, this is not the sort of "National Geographic Moment" we cared to witness, so he frightened the hawk away and watched the bluebirds immediately return to ascertain the safety of their home.  And then he commented to me on how much we are like the birds in a way:  overly concerned and preoccupied with things that are not true threats (transom windows?) all the while nearly missing the very real threat that looms nearby.  

(Avodah Images) bluebirds nesting worry https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/3/bird-brain Mon, 12 Mar 2012 23:53:33 GMT
Color https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/2/color       Today is one of those gray, yawn-inducing days that I would normally describe as "cozy" or "serene."  I would grab a cup of my favorite Earl Grey tea and sit down to make a card or work with my watercolors and dream of Seattle.  But today I just needed some color.  I had to find it indoors, but it was a great opportunity to get friendly with my new speedlite.  So I shot my way through the visible spectrum...


                                             ...red tissue paper leftover from a Valentine craft



                             ...the dreamy orange of the beach wrap I got at Miss Dally's in Jamaica



                              ...the BEST use of yellow, save for God's glorious flowers of course



                      ...those of you who know me well know I didn't have to look far for green



                         ...the only thing cooler than a sea star is a blue sea star



                ...my Gramma's African violets.  They always bloom on her birthday.  Thank you, Father.  


Thank you for color.  







(Avodah Images) color https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/2/color Thu, 23 Feb 2012 16:41:28 GMT
The Journey of Discovery https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/2/the-journey-of-discovery      It has taken me awhile to get here.  Professional photography, that is.  And in all the years I dreamed about actually taking this plunge, I always imagined that once I did it I would feel like I had "arrived" somewhere.  But in the last few weeks I have come to the realization that opening for business is like a brief stop at a train station.  Bags have been checked, paperwork filed, some new equipment purchased, but I'm not getting off here.  I can't.  The minute I "end" the journey and settle in a destination is the point at which art comes to a halt.  

     You see, a photographer has to spend time observing the world, creating that mental catalog of how it all goes down.  You have to watch a lot of sunsets to know right when the colors are going to explode.  And if you spend enough time with a person you know right when that flicker of laughter will gleam in their eyes.  You just see it coming.   I've been doing it my whole life, way back before I ever picked up a camera.  It can be kind of awkward actually.  Like when my curiosity finds me staring into someone's living room window and wondering how their life is unfolding right at that moment then I realize I'm, ummm...well, looking in someone's window.  Or sometimes I'm gazing into the sky, enjoying how the clouds are morphing from abstract shapes to clear images and I walk into a tree (true story).  I've spent so much time observing God's natural world of bugs and sunsets and weather patterns that I assumed I would become one rocking nature photographer.  

     And then my BFF asked me to shoot her family reunion...

     and then my other BFF asked me to shoot her nephew's wedding...


     and then I got to shoot photograph their baby...

     and I took up yearbook photography...


     and went on my first mission trip...


     and I discovered I really, really like to capture people.  I discovered my avodah:  my art, my service, my worship, my work.   

     Me.  This raging introvert settled on event/people photography.  Go ahead and laugh because I still do.  This is where God shows up huge.  He did not give me the gift of being able to relate to people like an extrovert does.  Instead, he gave me a nice camera and some really sick glass (and a husband who loves to buy me that stuff).  The lens filters out all those things that can make me cringe and duck for cover and avoid real relationships.  And when I look through it I see something much closer to what He must see.  I see people whom I want to love and be near and offer something of myself to in the hopes that they may be blessed by seeing themselves as their Creator sees them.  

I know God loves and enjoys the beautiful world He has made.  And He gave me a huge passion for highlighting it to His glory.  I'll keep doing that.

But He loves His people much more, and we all need to discover how beautiful He made each one.


The day I stop observing and discovering will be the day I should sell my gear and take up gardening.  Gardening is great and maybe someday I will be forced to get off the train at that particular station.  But not today.  


I've got work to do.  





(Avodah Images) avodah discover event photography journey https://www.avodahimages.com/blog/2012/2/the-journey-of-discovery Sat, 18 Feb 2012 21:04:47 GMT