Process | What's in My Bag

Process is one of the things I find most interesting and motivating about creative work. 

Whether it's shooting, editing, designing... anything, it seems like every creative individual has a hundred different ways to do the same thing and a hundred different tools to achieve similar aesthetics. I can't tell you how many times I've adopted a new favorite keyboard-shortcut or lens option from observing a friend. 

This is why I invite you to peek over my shoulder for one of the most simple parts of my own process. What's in my bag.

Over the past six years of shooting professionally, I've acquired the equipment that works best for me (...that I can afford). I think it's important to gear-up based on what you shoot regularly, selecting cameras and lenses that work best for faces vs. spaces, studio vs. sunshine, etc.

My bag, a Speed Freak V20 by Think Tank, sits at my hip and is filled with the following:
• Canon 5D Mark II
I am so grateful that I invested in this body. The full-frame sensor has never let me down and pairs wonderfully with my lenses.
• Canon 50mm f 1.4
This was the first prime (fixed focus) lens I ever used and I've been sold ever since. This focal length in particular is great for portraits! 
• Canon 85mm f 1.8
LOVE LOVE LOVE this lens. So fast and so sharp. 
• Canon 17-40mm f 4
This one is fun for spaces. It's unlike anything else I own but great to have on hand when I need to mix things up or simply get the best shot in a tight corner.
• Canon Speedlite 430EX II
I prefer natural light when I'm shooting outside of the studio, but this is a fast, easy life-saver to have on hand when a location is just too dark.
• X- Rite Color Checker
Mixed light temperatures? Using that handy speedlite? Man, does this save some time doing color-correction later...
• ThinkTank Pixel Pocket Rocket (I love the names they have for their products!) 
This CF-card holder RULES. It's has more compartments than I have cards and offers protection from the elements.

These are what I have found to be my essentials, but that doesn't mean I'm not saving up for more...
I rent frequently and have my eyes on the treasure listed below:
• Canon 35mm f 1.4
I used this lens CONSTANTLY at my previous workplace... but sadly no longer have access to that gear closet. I like to think of it as the closest focal length to our own eyes. 
• A tilt-shift (any length will do!) 
As a photo-school grad, I'm a sucker for plumb architectural lines --  but also for breaking the rules with whacking one side completely out of focus. 
•  A comfortable substitute to a regular camera strap, something leather would be lovely! 

Thanks to Amber Wyatt for inspiring me to share this bit of behind-the-scenes. I loved reading about your "secret sauce." 

Questions? Suggestions for any other gear I should keep in mind? Please comment below!

Photography Adventures | San Francisco, California

Some nights just don't go as planned...

Upon receiving an invitation to a Pilgramers Creative Connect, I grabbed some fellow photography lovers and booked it to San Francisco on a Friday night in hopes of mingling with other right-brainers. 

Needless to say, there was stand-still traffic crossing the bridge into the city and parking was limited... more limited than anticipated. After circling the block of the Castro based meet-up space four or five times, we finally ventured off and stumbled upon a park painted in golden light.

At this point, my car-full decided to say yes to spontaneity and started making our cameras useful in the inescapable beauty we discovered. As we began to ascend the heights of this appropriately named Buena Vista park, the architectural icons of the city came into epic view...

... hours later, Jenna, Victoria and I finally caught up with the folks from Pilgramers and made our ill-timed introductions. Better late than never, right? Then, we headed back to the East Bay via the Golden Gate and snapped a few fun long exposures along the way.

It's a challenge documenting your own life in moments you don't want to miss right in front of you. However, I'm so grateful I finally brought my "real camera" into the city so I could live this sweet memory again and again.

Unplanned is often unmatchable.

Event Photography | Opening Service at CrossWinds Church

About a year and a half ago, my husband and I moved to California to further pursue making an impact through ministry. We were led to an incredible place, CrossWinds Church in Pleasanton, California, where we both work and serve.

CrossWinds recently celebrated moving into a space that they have been preparing for through prayer, fundraising and construction for over 15 years! The new location is like no other - a property previously owned by dairy farmers surrounded by creeks and fields. Reclaimed barn wood covers the walls and old Freisman Dairy bottle caps adorn the words RESTORE displayed at the Children's Ministry classrooms. It's an amazing place with an even more amazing story.

The first Sunday services took place on May 3rd and I had the opportunity to document the day. See the joy-filled images below!

Self Portrait

No matter what kind of artist you are, it seems like self portraits are never easy. In one image, you are challenged to illustrate who you think you are, somehow conveying parts of your personality within your external appearance. 

Last week, I took on this challenge....mainly as an excuse to play with some new lighting equipment, but also to shamelessly update my various social profiles. :) 

Here's a look at my favorite selection from the shoot. If any of you have feedback on how you go about illustrating yourself across any artistic formats, please comment below. I would love to hear what you have to say!