Tag Archives: photo

a semi-exotic breakfast that i only partially ruined

I was recently given something I have always wanted to try.  Mostly because they are semi-exotic, partially because they are so cute, fully because I love to try everything once.  In light of a particular writing style when the author announces the ending in the very beginning, I am happy to report they did not disappoint even though I almost ruined them.

Enough of the intrigue and mystery in pronouns – on to the specifics.

Quail Eggs.

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More specifically, quail eggs that were in the identical pattern of my counter tops.

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Chaos ensued from the moment I started prepping for breakfast.  Firstly, I had to do a lot of cleaning for this photo session to happen.  Second – upon pulling the quail eggs out of the refrigerator, I naturally knocked two of my farmers market chicken eggs out and on to the ground.  My dogs got a little extra treat this morning and I feel a twinge of guilt for wasting two precious, and expensive, farmer’s treats.

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There is nothing better than melting butter.

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As the pan heated, my excitement and my nervousness resulting from cooking something rare and lovely heightened.  My excitement turned to frustration when I soon realized I should have googled “how to successfully crack open and empty a quail egg shell” instead of “how to cook quail eggs”.  These little buggers, despite how adorable they are, have extreme defenses against being consumed.  The shell is the thickest I’ve ever attempted to break into, once the shell cracked, it shattered making it even more fun to manipulate the continued process of getting the edible part of the egg extracted from the outer protective layers.  Next, the outer and inner membranes, or the transparent sack that hold and protect the egg – (I just learned that, don’t feel bad) – is 1. not transparent and 2. is about 10 times more difficult to tear than a normal chicken egg.  In fact most of the time one doesn’t even notice that membrane in a normal egg.  I was attempting to handle these little loves with a gentle touch, when in fact I needed to match them in their strength.  I know for next time.

The pan was definitely warm by the time I wrangled these soldiers into secession.  Maybe a little too hot, because I may have over cooked them a tad.  The yolk didn’t run like my 4-year-old self still squeals for joy upon viewing.

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However!  They were still the prettiest addition to my breakfast plate – which is quite the honor with how I feel about avocado.  They were still as adorable out of the shell as inside.  And they were still delicious.  Though small, they were mighty from beginning to end.  From the dense shell and membrane, to the two bites each I had the pleasure of enjoying.  The yolk was thick and rich and the whites were soft and fluffy.

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I would not say no another experience with these delightful little delicacies.

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bali comes to end, devistatingly

this last post from bali has been a long time coming, but delayed and procrastinated heavily because of the absolute sadness of leaving bali yet again.  but all absolutely fantastic, soul-enriching adventures must come to an end at least once, and sometimes twice.  so without further ado I give you our last days beginning with a tour of the chillhouse…

There were lots of statues, offerings to the statues, flowers, plants, color, prettiness, critters and animals, safe-places, and comforts.  The food was always amazing and the staff was delightful.  It rained just about every day, which never swept away the humidity but always made the colors much more rich and photo worthy.

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this just happened to be the most perfect place i’ve ever practiced yoga,

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critters and animals were everywhere, though i never saw the one that gave me the nasty bug bite below.  a frog was living in our shower walls, there was a gecko living in our bedroom walls, cats and puppies everywhere (and only liked one when fed), among others… sadly I don’t have any photos of the biggest spider i’ve ever seen that crawled into our room (i didn’t sleep much that night), or any of the snake that came within inches of falling on my head from a full grown tree.

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we took a last trip to see the waves…

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and finally a barely-there maternity shoot

 

and then we were done, we fought to get a cab back to the resort just in time to clean up, finish packing, and checkout.  we didn’t get our last lunch out in town but we checked out in time to avoid a late fee and one last smoothie from the kitchen that i would pay a pretty penny to have right now.

 

bye bye for now bali, see you again some time in the near/far future.

 

if you missed the previous bali posts see them here:welcome to a silent baliday after Nyepithey scootered and surfed into the sunsetthe one with all the monkeys, a birthday, and lots of photos

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thanks for traveling with me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the one with all the monkeys, a birthday, and lots of photos

The day of my birthday we hired a driver for 10 hours, for less than $50 USD by the way, to take us to Ubud which is about an hour north of where we were staying in Canggu.  The drive was pretty, we got to see a lot of the country side and how the citizens outside of tourists villages live and work.  Our driver was very nice, he talked… a lot – but was very informative of Bali life in his conversation.

We made a plan to see the Monkey Forest, Rice Terraces, Luwak Coffee Plantation, and shopping.  I also wanted to go to the famous Yoga Barn and the popular temple up there – but they weren’t available/we didn’t have enough time but we got to see a lot and it was an overall wonderful day.

Our driver recommended we stop at a “traditional balinese housing complex” on our way to see the monkeys.  Walking through it was fascinating, the complex is for one family, and the traditional western home that we all know and feel comforted by was broken apart into segmented rooms.  Each room is separate: of course the temple, but also the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc etc etc.

Here is the entrance into the complex:

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And then the kitchen, where the lady of the home was cooking you can see the clay pots she was using over the legit fire and stone stove:

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An actual water well…

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This is where/how they kept their chickens.  These are for eating eventually…

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Look how skinny, poor things.  To get myself past it, I had to keep reminding myself that its more sad that how fat and overstuffed our chickens are.

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And these are for fighting… which was quintuply times more sad.  Everyone is open about their cockfighting and breeding.  My heart breaks even in the most magical of places.

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You’ll recognize the hat, I know that is probably not what it is called, but they were wearing them all over the place there.  Also, this hat, as I so disrespectfully keep calling it, was sitting in one of the open aired bedrooms.

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We weren’t given a full tour, so I can’t tell you what these next couple of rooms were for, but aren’t they so colorful?

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This is the family’s temple… every family has one.

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How cute is this mini Ogoh Ogoh?  Two boys were running around playing with it acting like they were carrying it in a parade.  Unfortunately, those photos were too whitewashed to edit.  If you missed the conversation about the Ogoh Ogohs, see post one.

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Poor pup, it was hot.  He did have a water dish, I don’t know if was full or when it was last changed.  He was chained to this tree, at least he had shade.  As you can tell – I have a definite super soft spot for the babies.

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Another colorful, mysterious room.

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So this was extremely fascinating to see.  But then I started wondering if this traditional family complex may have actually been a tourist spot.  Not that that is a negative point, but not only did we donate 20,000 IDR to the elderly gentleman of the home, but then an entire bus load of tourists started coming through.  That and the fact that our driver recommended it, combined with the point that we were in the middle of a village where I didn’t see too many other homes… I just felt like perhaps this tradition wasn’t as well kept as the driver made it seem.  It was beautiful none the less.

Enter Monkeys in the Monkey Forest:

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First, a few rules.

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And then we feed them…

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I definitely got monkey butt in my face, thankfully I didn’t contract any diseases… that I know of, and look at the other monkeys just sitting around, munching their bananas, watching the show.

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And then we walk through the forest, 2.5 hours of getting the absolute pleasure of being with these beauties.  It was so amazing.  There were mommy monkeys, baby monkeys, daddy monkeys just all playing, jumping, eating, grooming, fighting, snuggling, swinging etc etc etc just being monkeys.

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This was the closest we got into a Temple the whole time, and it was closed, and it was in the Monkey Forest.

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So the baby here had found a little snack, and he was getting ruthlessly picked on by the older monkeys.  (Note the gigantic daddy laying and just watching.)  It got to the point they wouldn’t leave the baby alone, so the daddy got up, RAN right in front of me making a bunch of noise, broke up the fight, grabbed the baby, gave him back his snack, and carried him to safety.  It was intense.  I would not be one to cross that daddy at all.

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This guy was HUGE, the photo does him absolutely no justice.

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He was cute, by himself, hanging out, and let me take lots of photos of him.

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I don’t know if he was making fun of me or not – but I had no idea he was eating.

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This is one of the forest employees.  He was messing with him quite a while.  They were playing, I am pretty sure this wasn’t a violent exchange.  At least I don’t think so…

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… because then they parted ways with just a smile and a treat…

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…and he was happy with that.

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We walked all the way down to the bottom of the forest at the same time all of the monkeys were headed that way too.  Looked like it was feeding time or some kind of ritual taking place, because one after one they just walked the railing all headed the same way.

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This is my favorite moment from the time spent with them.  She’s just a momma feeding her baby.

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And this is my second favorite moment – this guy seemed so young, and he was all by himself, and just sitting there.

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There are little shops inside the forest for snacks, drinks, and souvenirs.  Apparently there are monkeys who will go snag the merchandise.  But also – some monkeys who just visit for some social interaction.  This was so sweet.  The man was just sitting there playing with him… the moment was not short lived, making me think it was not the first this interaction had taken place.  It was like they knew each other.

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Before anyone gets offended that they turned a forest into a tourist attraction – these monkeys were in no way being kept for entertainment.  They were able to leave the forest, and often did in the mornings when they would nag the local village markets for breakfast or try to snag their merchandise.  They keep the forest super clean, they are all supervised by the employees for the reason of the tourists to prevent abuse, they all seemed to enjoy their life and they were all comfortable being around us.  Everyone respected their space (all but one guy, who definitely got what was coming to him as the daddy monkey tried to snag his camera, swat it out of his face, and yelled at him).  The entry fee was not much, but went towards the upkeep.  AND they monitored them, they knew exactly how many monkeys they had, how many families there were, where those families lived, and the breakdown of adults, teenagers, and babies.

Anyway….

Moving on, sadly.

We had Forest Cat Poop Coffee at the Luwak Coffee Plantation.  It is the most expensive coffee in the world.  It was okay, strong black coffee, not worth $50 USD per pound.  I didn’t buy any and actually preferred their flavored, non poop, coffee.  But, we did see the process – Forest cats do eat the coffee beans, poop them out, and they are roasted, ground, and brewed.  It was an experience and it came with a nice view of the rice fields.

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Rice Fields.  I was under impressed… other photos I’ve seen were much more impressive and got me wondering where the “better” view was they were hiding from me.  I think it was just the quick stop view.  Still pretty, and we saw a tourist tempt fate, walk too close to the edge, and fall down one level.  That was not cool.  She screamed, her family screamed… She was okay in case anyone is wondering.  Just a couple of knee scratches.  But she won’t be walking the edge of anything any time soon.

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This photo is iconic because is memorializes a moment when a little boy followed me all the way back to the car from the rice terrace view.  He was begging me to buy post cards from him.  Post cards I already bought from another little boy to help their school funding.  He insisted they were different post cards and that I needed ten more post cards in my life.  I must have told him “no thank you,” 50 times in that 5 minute walk back to the car.  The heat and humidity building, and my blood sugar continuing to fall (it had been over five hours since I’d eaten) and I began to get somewhat agitated.  So I looked at him, “how do you say ‘no’ in balinese?”

Bali boy: “yes.”

Me: “no, how do you say the word “no” in your language.”

Bali boy: “yes, you say it like ‘yes.”   He continued to beg.

Granted he got me to laugh and like him a little more and be a little less agitated.  He was persistent, and would one day make a very aggravating salesman.  The driver told me, once we got back to the car, the funds were definitely not going to school funding.

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This was a poster we saw while eating lunch.  We hunted down the store that sold the shirts for Ariel.  It is pretty awesome.

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We got fish pedicures.  It felt like sticking your feet in really aggressive carbonated water.  It tickled.  Majorly.  And was super awesome.

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Then we shopped, we haggled, we bartered in the market and made it back to Canggu just in time for dinner and a birthday surprise from the hubby and The Chillhouse staff.

 

Catch up if you’ve missed any of these bali posts: post one, post two, post three.  Catch up before we wrap things up with a couple more posts: a tour of The Chillhouse, last trip to the beach, and an ongoing maternity shoot.

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they scootered and surfed into the sunset

The day we scootered, surfed, and found the Balinese sunset.

Today was the day, the day Ariel woke up and said she would take on the waves; today was also the day I did not one but two things that scared me for personal growth, a humbling effect, and challenging experiences that should last a life time.

The more immediate concern was how to get to the ocean side.  Two miles to travel in the extreme humid heat, peddle bikes were newly out of the question, and taxi’s are an utter nuisance (mostly because one of my pet peeves is paying unreasonable prices for transportation and never being able to count on being able to find transportation back).

Let’s rent a moped.

Reception let us know the last moped was out, but should probably be back within the hour.  Well, it wasn’t.  We waited for almost two before I approached the desk again.  The young man told us the moped was not back but he would lend us his.  Because he has two and wouldn’t need the second one within the next 24 hours.  I hesitantly thanked him for his amazingly generous offer and then in all of my honesty I felt the obligation to inform him of my inexperience with the vehicle, “that is super nice of you and definitely appreciated, but I really feel the need to let you know that I’ve never driven a moped before and I wouldn’t want to put your personal bike at risk.  Are you still okay with me renting it?”

The hesitation was now reciprocated on his face and a multitude of excuses came flooding out to cover every reason or excuse I may come up with.  The bike is a really big one.  You have to have a license for a moped.  You can get into a lot of trouble with the police if you don’t have a license for the moped…

Just when I was about to give up and order a cab, Ariel steps in with a slightly agitated and slightly more forceful string of comments, “do you expect me to believe that every foreigner here is licensed in mopeds?  I find that very hard to believe.  We haven’t seen a police officer since we’ve been here.  How do people get to the beach around here?  Those bikes are awful, it is hot, I am pregnant, and I want to surf, today.”

Dani jumped right up, “I will learn you the moped.  Come.  I will learn you.”

“Are you sure, I don’t want to get you in trouble or cause any issues,”  very like me to try to change someone’s mind once they’ve already given me the answer that I want to hear.  Also, I started to notice the accidental good cop/bad cop scenario we were playing on the nice balinese man at the reception desk and felt doubly guilty.

But he insisted saying because she was pregnant this would be the easiest and safest way to get us to the beach (and I kind of felt like he was a little scared of that pregnant lady he was trying to protect).  He jumped on his black and white moped and patted the seat in front of him, “come, I will learn you the scooter.”  So I hopped on and for an entire 1 minute and 30 second demonstration and hands on learning experience I learned the bare minimum basics of the motor bike.

Putting that 90 second lesson into real time action was terrifying.  We started off on the wrong side of the road.  Turns are really hard to make.  Other vehicles honked at me, a lot.  I hit a top speed of 7mph ( I think ).  Parking is really difficult.  People were laughing at me the entire time, I must wear my fear on my face.  And it took us about 20 minutes to go two miles to the beach.  Each time I got off of that machine that day I was relieved 1. we didn’t crash 2. I didn’t hurt anyone and 3. the police didn’t get involved.  And each time getting back on it I thought we were testing fate and pushing buttons, like we had already made it once, why risk another ride?

But, we made it to the waves.  We found boards and immediately headed into the water.  Ariel made it safely over the breaking waves at the shore… I not so much.  I got hit once, twice, and almost a third time before a local surfer took pity on me, coached me on when to leave the sand, and gave me a little push.  I was already exhausted.  A string of turtle rolls under a few handfuls of breaking waves and paddling out any further became impossible.   A failed attempt at a wave and I headed in… not after getting plummeted by a set of crashing waves right at the sand as the undertow pulled me out each time for me to surface under another crest.

I managed to stand on solid, sinking, saturated ground, hoping my bathing suit was still in tact but too afraid to look and instead scanned the beach occupants only to find pity and worry in the eyes of everyone on the shore watching me and giving me the impression that had not been a pretty sight as I drug my 9 foot, foam, disaster of a board out of the water, stomping my feet, cursing under my breath.

Only thirty minutes of having the board and I walked up to the board stand sand-bathed, fin scratched, exhausted, and highly irritated,”Is everything okay,” they asked me as I walked up – legitimate concern in their eyes, on their face, and in their voice.  “No, everything is not alright.  This board doesn’t surf.”  I dropped off the board and walked away with as much pride as I could muster.

But the beauty that saved the afternoon was Ariel was successful.

So we surfed and then we found a bench seat in the shade at the beach bar, soaked in the experience, and I simultaneously found the bravery needed to get back on to the scooter to make it back to The Chillhouse.

I breathed a sigh of relief as we pulled up and parked, everyone at reception clapped and smiled in response to my victory of making it back unscathed.

We took the rest of the afternoon to clean up, rest, and cool off.  Knowing we had the scooter until the next morning prompted a spontaneous trip back to the beach to watch the sunset.

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I remember when I was young my parents took a trip to see one of their friends, they visited the beach and wrote, “Hi Sam” in the sand and took a picture of it to give to me when they came back home.  I don’t remember what inspired the photo or the details of the trip – but it is one of my favorites from my childhood.  And.  Well.  Recreating photos is all the rage right now.

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The second trip on the scooter was a little easier and a little more enjoyable.  The sunset was fantastic.  We made it back and ended another night around a community dinner table with France, Germany, Holland, Sweden, England, and Australia recounting our day and being just the way the day made us.

It’s a pattern – a chatty entry and a then picturey entry.  So that means you know what is next…  Come back for a recount of a definite day of highlights with a ten hour trip to Ubud that includes monkeys… lots of them.

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day after Nyepi

As promised, less chatter this time and more photos.

The day after Neypi we left the front gates of The Chillhouse for the first time in over 24 hours.  Nothing had changed, except we felt well rested and the small streets were littered with the aftermath of the Ogoh Ogoh creation and then their ultimate destruction.  Well, if you are Hindu, you could possibly say the air was cleaner and safer as the evil spirits had been frightened away and hopefully would not find their way back until… actually – that part was never described to us, just that offerings were given to Gods daily in order to keep their personal space, home, and temples evil-spirit-free for when they do eventually find their way back to the island.

If I haven’t mentioned how undeniably hot and humid this island is, now is a good time to – and it will probably be mentioned again.  The air is THICK.  I’ve been to many carribean locations and even Fiji.  It is nothing like Indonesia.  Taking a deep breath is hard because you’re breathing in water/air mixture.  This fact is important this day for two reasons, 1. my sister is half way through her third pregnancy, a pregnancy that she will admit is not treating her very well physically and 2. we peddle biked nearly two miles (1.7miles to be exact, I google mapped it) one way in that heat and humidity on free bikes that had not been serviced their entire life, were on their last leg as far as breaks go, and had exactly one (count it, one) gear to work with.

But we made it, and when we did, it was mid day, and we finally saw exactly why surfers from all over the world come here to conquer the waves.  It wasn’t like any beach I’ve ever visited (causally walk across the sand, looking for shells, catch a small wave or two, and maybe body board or skim).  The waves were rough and tall and I knew my skills were no match for them, but Ariel couldn’t wait to get out there.  She missed out that day, she wasn’t feeling well – being with child and all – but she was excited for the first morning she could.

The waves were crowded with surf students from every surf school in the area.

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It was really high tide so we were witness to run away surf boards and gear on not one but two occasions.

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So instead of surfing, we did the best we could with just being in the water without a board, people watched, bought some bracelets from a couple of ladies peddling hand made jewelry, and scoped out the beach side scene which just included some snacks, drinks, toys, and of course board rentals.

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After about an hour, we made our way back, slowly but surely in the even hotter heat.  Half way back we stopped at a Mexican restaurant for a break, a cold drink, and shade.  Effects of which didn’t last long once we got back on our bikes and muscled the rest of the way back to The Chillhouse.  The rest of the day we discovered a long needed nap, swim in the pool, cold drinks, and a very strange sun burn that I had obtained on the outside of my knees and the lower half of my forearms and tops of my hands.  The struggle is real for us pale skinned freckle faced sun burners.

 

Don’t stay away too long, next post: a girl who hasn’t ever ridden a scooter, scooters all over town (remember the traffic videos from post one?), and an unexpected low tide sunrise.  Hopefully my pregnant sister will give us some good guest writing material too, because while I was focused on not killing us in Balinese traffic on a scooter – she was passenger to it all.

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What a real “Family Photoshoot” looks like

Lets be real for a few moments (and then we’ll get to the photos…)

This can be categorized as a “behind the scenes” type of entry.  Bear with me for a minute.  You can look at it as the outtakes of the movie; the shots you don’t ever get to see because your photographer weeds through and hands you a final product consisting of only the best of the best.  But with these photos you see the story, you get to know your clients, and you understand who they are just a little bit more.

I’ve had this conversation three times in the past two weeks.  I feel like I have to explain my preferred style way more than I hear other photographers doing so.  But my explanation is justified and prepares my clients for what they will receive at the end of the editing process; because its not what the typical client expects, even though they may have seen it before.

Photography is for documentation of reality.  We want to remember the moments and capture them to tell the stories years down the road when anyone ends up opening our photo albums… (those still exist, yes?).  It’s a difficult concept to grasp when we are trying to “document” every moment of our lives already, yet the details always end up vague and disheveled.  Its a difficult concept to grasp when the times we pull out the actual camera we are in our best dress, best setting, and are forced to wear the best smiles; but where is the story, what is there to remember, and doesn’t that create moments of tension, exhaustion and resentment rather than happiness and fondness?  I get it, we just want at least ONE photo to hang on the hallway and put in the Christmas letter (that still happens, yes?)  And that one shot with everyone looking at the camera, eyes open, smiles bright, and intentions true can be so precious and miraculous at times that we are amazed and ever so thankful it happened.

The client expects a “good” photographer to capture the moment as they’ve been hired to do.  As the hired photographer, we know (and are sometimes terrified to even consider) the moment may never happen; and should it be the case, we pack up our equipment and start heading home knowing we’ve already let you down and we haven’t even culled yet.

It’s intensely important to understand that moment is only going to happen IF it is normal for your family to have it.  The chaos that may ensue in your every day life won’t allow for a moment on the couch, next to the fire place with everyone believing they are The Clever Family.  That moment in most families is going to look more like an interaction, an experience: parent reading a book, son playing with a toy, other parent smiling, daughter trying to interrupt to ask a question.  That is real.  That is what we want to remember.  That is the moment that describes, defines, and summarizes that family in that moment (and in many moments of that phase in their life).   And that may be the moment they are the most calm all day long – but it was captured, in real time, and in a real fashion.  When someone looks at that photo they will believe it, they will understand it, they will want to know more about it.

As a photographer I want to document the time I am with you.  Sometimes it’s super easy and some times its not so super easy.  Sometimes the family photos are too many to count, other times the family photos end up in bits and pieces.

As a client, remind yourself of two things before, during, and after the shoot and finally when you’re looking at the final product and handing prints out to all of your most beloved: 1. it’s real and 2. it shows the beauty in the chaos.  I search for the beauty in the light, the color, the setting, the intensity, the serenity, the love, the laughter, and the reality of who you are as a client and I document it.  That is my job.  That is what I hope you look forward to receiving.

This family’s story is beautiful.  It got me a little teary eyed just editing this few photos and remembering those couple hours we spent together; and I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through the rest without doing the same.  But I was there, with them, and I found the beauty to capture from the very start.  This is a real family and these are their bits and pieces that make them whole.

Sometimes this is how a family photoshoot looks… real and beautiful, (or really beautiful; beautifully real).

Normally comfortable pastimes create smiles like this: smiles that count…

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and proud moments such as this…

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Group interactions bring sincerity and contentment.

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And when at least two adults ask the kids to look and smile at the camera, sometimes they do as their told, but most of the time they won’t (and that’s okay)…

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But most of the time, the best moments are captured when they’re not looking…

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and maybe not even smiling…

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Sometimes, when you least expect it, there will be a shot (believe it or not) that doesn’t look half bad…

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And just when you think you can adjust and make the next shot a little better, most of the time something like this happens…

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And after a while, all hope is completely lost…

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until they just can’t take it anymore…

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And because, after all of that, the family pets just wouldn’t sit still or stop barking you have to add them into the mix individually and at their happiest…

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But the moments to document (and remember) continue, even when the shoot is over, it’s time to call it a wrap, and the camera is SUPPOSED to be turned off…

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Because there are always times like this, when mom is not-so-slyly tricked into giving a piggy back ride the rest of the walk home, because walking became impossible after an old scratch on the leg was noticed…

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And at the end of the real madness and the beautiful chaos, somehow your partner can still make you smile and make you remember that this beautiful insanity is real; real enough to be experienced and real enough to be captured.  Its so real, it deserves to be remembered forever and maybe even hung in a frame or sent in a Christmas letter.  Because after all this is your history, your legacy, and the footprint you leave for all who travel behind you to see, admire, learn from, and possibly to follow.

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