I took my little girl, Jules, to Ko’olau Farmers on this rainy afternoon… one of my favorite places to visit and walk through. We picked out a few new plants to liven up our home for the fall season. Jules expressed pure joy and wonder at the different plants and flowers, often reaching out to touch their leaves and feel their texture. We walked in and out of the greenhouse and through the aisles of flowers, even while the rain sprinkled down on us…
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!!!
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
I sit here in my living room, enjoying our rainy weather while sipping on a hot cup of earl grey tea. My daughter, Julyiana, is jumping in her baby jumper, losing her mind over a little stuffed easter bunny that she received from her grandpa Casler. She can't help but yell at it, smile at it, and bite it (she's finally teething). I'm listening to HAIM's single, "Little of Your Love" which feels a lot like Wilson Phillips' "Hold On", and I can't help but love it.
- Julyiana's spa-like botanical heaven. -
First, let me note here that this was challenging to do on my own. Something like this is best done with an assistant. Trust me. Now, moving on! In real life, Jules' milk bath lasted less than 10 minutes (as most of my photo shoots with her.) These photos are her "official Easter portraits" to look back on, something different from the usual Easter photos that consists of bunnies, colorful bright eggs, and baskets. I almost decided not to shoot this series after seeing that she didn't quite fit in the makeshift tub I created. Before choosing to abandon the set, I captured as many shots as I could to make it worth our while (and because I bought these flowers specifically for this.) This was my second attempt at a milk bath photoshoot. I can't wait till my husband is around to help me with another session! He's actually enjoying his last day in Indonesia as I type this.
+ Scroll down to see my "before" photos which show you what a little image compositing can do when your original photos don't turn out the way you envisioned. +
Jules was enthralled by the sky and all the trees surrounding her (I should have taken a photo of her view!) while being in this little tub. She looked everywhere except in my lens. If anything, this personal series has inspired me to create more photos like this. I'll be on the look out for a small vintage bathtub perfect for outdoor milk baths!
The photos above were image composites created in photoshop. Jules first milk bath was photographed in our bathtub (indoors), which barely had any natural sunlight to light the set. So instead, I created an outdoor bath using a plastic storage tub to shoot in all natural sunlight. After I set up the tub with milk*, I arranged the flowers and earthy textures, and took several images to use as composites for Jules' portraits.
* Use breastmilk mixed in clean warm water to prevent any allergic reactions.
Turns out, my little baby is not so little anymore...