There is an art in pairing the photographer with the client in an aligned environment.
I couldn't feel more gratitude when this perfect alignment unfolds.
This last weekend I had the pleasure of capturing the Kraft family. They were introducing their newest family member, Aspen. As frequent outdoor adventurers and living in the mountains, the Krafts decided upon a remote location on Forest Service Land between Estes Park and Allan's Park. The location; a beautiful meadow outlined by aspens, pine trees, and nestled below the backdrop of Mount Meeker and Longs Peak. A treasure in paradise!
My weekend leading up to the session was busy with work tasks, co-parenting, and an indecisive mind. I questioned, do I drive up the day before to camp or drive up the morning of? With an adventuring partner who joined to assist me, we set off for the mountains the night prior to camp on location. By the time we left Loveland we were chasing the light. Through the winding canyon, passing a heard of Big Horn Sheep, up to Estes Park as we stopped at our favorite eatery "Peppers Fresh & Fast Mexican Grill" for fast take-out.
Driving underneath the towering Longs Peak we turned off on a rugged 4WD road that lead to the meadow. The road was unforgiving as our high clearance truck scraped and bounced over rocks and ruts. Winding through the beautiful fall colors, questioning if we should just stop at one of the many great campsites we passed, we pressed on to get to the meadow. The windows down, breathing in the nurturing mountain air, we finally made it to our destination.
As the sun set, we raced to get camp set-up, ate, and briefly captured the beauty that surrounded us. I would have loved another 30 minutes of light to photograph the beauty in my element, but the morning sun would soon greet us.
"How blessed I am to get to enjoy this beauty. This is my office for the weekend!"
The darkness of night soon enveloped us as the sounds from the night animals echoed in all directions. We took a walk through the meadow, stumbling over holes and bushes, as the illusions of our minds went back into child-like memories of what hides in the shadows, scanning our lights periodically to see if any distant eyes would reflect back at us. Walking off our full bellies under the star filled sky, slowly making our way back to our glowing tent, I noticed a bright red light peering through the dense pine trees. Soon I realized it was a brilliantly lit orangish-red moon. We scrambled back into the clearing of the meadow until it was perfectly framed by two towering pine trees. My instinct told me to grab my tripod and camera gear, my soul told me this was just for us. Standing arms in arms, we awed at the powerful full moon. Soon we were lying on the meadow floor staring up in wonder, resisting the cool, crisp night that soon encouraged us back to our tent and the comfort of our warm sleeping bags.
As I lay there before falling asleep I thought to myself, how blessed I am to get to enjoy this beauty. This is my office for the weekend!
Crawling out of the tent in the morning I was greeted with the sight of the sun kissing Longs Peak. Barefoot and in thermals, I grabbed my camera and started capturing the golden morning light, not even noticing the crisp mountain air.
With a cold numbness in my hands, I layered up and went for a morning walk before the Krafts would arrive. Wandering through the aspens I found a motorbike trail and followed it along, capturing the sun-lit yellow aspen leaves as they danced in the light. There is something very special about morning light that ignites something up within me. The stresses of the world disappear and all that exists is this moment in time - nature, light, crisp cool air, and my camera in-hand capturing that with which I'm so excited to see.
Returning back to camp I was greeted with a lovely lady brewing green tea and making heart shaped pancakes! Yes, I'm very blessed indeed!
Just as we finished up breakfast the Kraft family arrived and down the hill the girls ran, their beautiful dresses flowing in the wind. These free spirits were eager to be photographed and I was excited to capture them.
I've learned through the years of family photography that giving the little ones breaks is so important when taking family portraits. What an amazing playground these little girls had to run and explore in, while still getting photographed. When the time is right, the family photos come together. Too many times I have seen parents get frustrated at their kids, putting too much focus on them doing what they don't want to, and then the child has a breakdown and the tears flow, or the parent is the one who is talking or looking at the child and not smiling when the photo is snapped. Allowing kids to be kids, not having unrealistic expectations, and accepting what is, allows for the perfect family photos to flow. Capturing authentic personality is more important. What beautiful photos we captured with these little divas who made me laugh so hard I almost missed some shots.
Another important aspect of family photos, is capturing the love of couple that created the family. It is so easy to get caught up in the busy family life that we forget to treat ourselves and realize why this family started. Our time and focus easily gets lost in children and careers. Setting aside time for ourselves is crucial. Getting photos as a couple as part of your family portraits is one thing, and I also recommend getting your photos captured doing something you love. Treat and remind yourselves how amazing you are, like I did with Katie and Eric, when I captured them on a mountain biking adventure at Hall Ranch in Lyons.
Now we move onto the star of the show and why our photo session came to be. I am so grateful to be able to introduce the latest addition to the Kraft family, Aspen Kraft! It was a pleasure to photograph this little angel as well as the entire Kraft family in this environment that made us all come alive. Not only was it a pleasure to shoot, but it was also a joy to edit these images. Each edit bringing me right back into those moments, reliving those personalities, as I perfected all the details. When you are smiling and doing what you love, work has to take on a new definition.
I am feeling so much love as I get to share all these images and precious moments with all of you!