A Little Princess (Part I)

Honestly, I can't believe we're halfway into this year. Is it really July?! I sat down with my friend, Allison Lee, this morning just before 10am at Kalapawai Cafe near Kailua Beach, and we chatted about motherhood, life, and how fast time goes by. It was just three months ago in April that I photographed her daughter's one year milestone portraits. And now she's 15 months, walking like a pro in the tiniest fluorescent Nike shoes I think I've ever seen! My daughter, Jules, just turned 9 months a couple days ago.  When we first met Alli and Charlotte, Jules was 6 months and learning to roll around. Now, she's crawling and pulling herself up to stand. I told Alli that my baby does this 'wounded warrior army crawl, where she just pulls herself around using one knee while dragging the other knee behind.' She replied, "One day soon, maybe tomorrow, she'll lift her belly up and start crawling on her knees. That's what Charlotte did, out of nowhere. And there's no turning back from there!" The day isn't even over, and I'm happy to include in this journal entry that Jules started crawling on her knees this afternoon. She figured it out. Now, where can I buy a cage? (Just kidding.)

Alli and I talked over coffee while our daughter's moved around us... climbing, sitting, and squirming. I'm finding out that I can multi-task better than I thought; I've managed to keep my baby from swiping my iced latte off the table like a cat, all while focusing on the conversation with my friend. The little successes in a day should be well celebrated! 

It rained on us a little this morning, and apparently we'll have showers all week according to the weather forecast. "I can never trust Guy Hagi," Alli said as she looked up at clouds and pockets of blue sky. Have truer words ever been spoken?! Despite the rain cooling us down today, the summer heat and humidity in Hawai'i has been draining. I can't even count how many times in a day that I've complained on how much I feel like I'm melting. Luckily, Me & Danny (my husband), have a pool in our backyard, which we use obsessively on unbearably hot days. So grateful.

Charlotte climbed down from the picnic table to walk around, while Jules sat on my lap. Alli chased right after her as she darted for the parking lot. Jules did her stoke face with her eyes following Charlotte; she yelled after her, almost as if saying, "WAIT! WAIT FOR ME!" There is no slowing down... there is no turning back. This is becoming my life, and I am loving it.

It's beautiful to watch our daughters grow up and learn new things, but it happens so so fast. As a new mother, I now fully understand why parents talk about missing the days when their kids were babies. Those days go by at the blink of an eye. Almost feels as if time actually speeds up. I read an article by another mother ("We only have 18 summers together with our kids" by Karrell Roxas) and since then, I've been more aware of the fact that this is our first summer with Jules. Really, we should be getting out of the house more, going to the beach, or taking her around the island every chance we get. AND, taking more photos and videos. You can never taken enough of those.

 

Charlotte's One Year Milestone Portraits

Photos taken April 9th, 2018

 
 

// P H O T O   N O T E S //

For Charlotte's shoot, my husband assisted me with lighting by holding our large reflector (one of my favorite accessories!) Photo sessions with babies or younger children are always exciting and fun - mainly because it's unpredictable. Classic poses are usually out of the question because it's nearly impossible to keep a child focused for more than 5 seconds. You really have to move fast around mini subjects, and shoot quickly before any temper tantrums occur.

Alli was arms length away, picking her daughter up and placing her back to where I needed her to be in frame. It turned into a workout for her, chasing Charlotte who was distracted by all the things nature provided... mud (it had rained that morning), dirt, fallen leaves, and rocks to name a few! Sometimes it can take a few minutes to get 'the shot', and other times, it can take 20 minutes of constant shooting (documentary style) to get even ONE good portrait. That usually consists of everyone present on set jumping around in back of my camera, talking in high squeaky voices to get a baby's attention (funniest, most exhausting, but most necessary thing!) We happened to capture these timeless shots for Alli (all images are retouched.) You can't tell by these shots, but this was a very muddy day on the trails. We reverted to shooting on the sidewalk for her first look, which actually worked out perfectly...

(I'll post her second look in a "Part II" entry.)

 

She reminds me of a pink daisy...

These tiny fingers and toes!!!

Charlotte's First Birthday
A week after we shot Charlotte's 'One Year Milestone' portraits, we celebrated her 1st Birthday on April 15th! Thank you for having us, Allison!

Photo: Danny Casler

Oh, Alison...

It's not possible to not sing or even think of the song "Alison" by Elvis Costello, when your friends name is Alison.
I tried not to think of it, but it really isn't possible.

Photos taken in April 2015.

It's the first weekend of Coachella, which made me think about THIS Coachella-styled and inspired photoshoot I did three years ago with California girls, Alison McCloskeyColbie Wilson (of Salon Thairapy & Blushed and Beautiful), and Mya Wilson, near the lake at Huntington Beach Central Park!

It's been nearly 9 months since I've moved out of Huntington Beach. There are things that I don't miss (like, the traffic) and things I do miss, such as, brunch and creative brainstorming with Ali (SeaLegs being our go-to place), collaborations with such beautiful talented women, and Trader Joe's (irrelevant, but so relevant.) I felt like I never really gave myself a chance to fully blossom in the creative circles there, mainly because I always spent 6 months of the year back in Hawaii. My mind was all over the place, and I had my hands in little things that somehow consumed my every minute of every day. When I was in Cali, I was daydreaming about Hawaii. And when I was in Hawaii, I was daydreaming about Cali. It was a bittersweet time of my life - feeling pushed in one direction and pulled in the other; experiencing good moments in-between moments of struggle as a freelance photographer.

Meeting Alison (through our mutual friend, Kevin Ashford, owner of HB Cult magazine) was probably one of the highlights of my life while living there (DC and I lived off of Springdale and Talbert!) I wanted to dive quickly into the 'scene' and industry without having high expectations, and Danny (who was just my boyfriend at the time) had introduced me to Kevin.  We met up, I showed him my portfolio, we decided to do a test shoot with Ali for an international bikini line, and we set a date to shoot. It happened fast - and I will eventually dig up those photos for another journal entry!  He gave me a little back story of Ali, that she was so-and-so years old, a mother, super intelligent, does so many things for charity, is physically fit, and that she's not only gorgeous, but has a undeniably beautiful spirit. When I met her, I learned what she did for a living as well as her passions and interests; she's a neurodiagnostic technologist, a yogi, music enthusiast, an event planner, raises funds for causes she's passionate for - such as the homeless, and is an advocate for health and patient care in the autism community. I thought, "Well, now. Here's an angel on earth. And after this shoot, I'm going to go home and figure out my life."  Literally. There's not a bad bone in Alison McCloskey, and anyone who knows her will tell you she is an inspiring and positive human being.

After our first shoot together, Ali wanted to take me under her wing and create a small creative business that essentially revolved around my photography. With nothing to lose, we talked in text messages, met up for creative dates, and tried to put something together. We called it 4loveandlife, and we set up a couple photoshoots with beauty/artistry professionals to create our own original content to be used on our website and instagram. I had been traveling so much at the time, that 4loveandlife ended up being put on hold despite our big vision of working together. We were like a band that put out an EP, got everyone excited, and then never got around to producing a full-length album or scheduling a world tour (*insert happy face / crying emoji's*). We invested a lot of time in creating photos, and shared our ideas for potential projects, but it didn't quite gain the momentum we were both hoping for. Although, if you ask me if I would ever work with her again on any project, my answer is, "Yes... in a heartbeat."

For me, this (my work) is more than just about photography. I've met some amazing long-lasting friends through photoshoots... and Ali is one of them. Now that I'm a mother, I GET IT. I get why Ali does everything she does. I get why she's always busy and feeling so rushed. I get why she is who she is. Because simply, she is a mother. A very nurturing, protective, beautiful mother who thinks about everyone's well being. She puts everyone else first. And I'm learning fast, that's just what mothers do.

HAPPY (BELATED) BIRTHDAY, ALI! YOU ARE STUNNING.
(Her birthday was on April 11th, two days before mine! #ARIES)


Makeup & Hair | Behind The Scenes

If I recall, this photo session was 30 minutes (maybe even less!) These women all had to be somewhere else at a specific time, so we raced to get these shots. Mya held my reflector for this first look (thank you lady!) The light glares were all intentional, and I created them by shooting through two different crystals (one clear and one auburn colored) to give off a natural warm feel to the images so that very little post-work would be required. Colbie and Mya (sisters) did a wonderful job on her makeup and hair, as well as styling this "coachella-inspired" look. Love love love...

More photos (of Ali in different looks) will be posted in separate entries! Check back for more!

MODELING by ALISON MCCLOSKEY / @aligirllovesu
PHOTOS by JAYMI BRITTEN / @brittenphoto
MAKEUP by COLBIE WILSON / @colbiewilson @salonthairapy
HAIR by MYA WILSON / @xoxomy