hurricane irma from fort pierce, florida - a short film - treasure coast documentary photographer

Hurricane Irma was a force of Mother Nature like none other.  As I write this now, two weeks later in the comfort my air conditioning, I am so incredibly grateful for our only moderate inconveniences that resulted from the storm. Still, I cannot bring myself to really take in the joy of how our area was spared and my friends are all safe when this season has seen such catastrophe and so much sorrow. 

With my children held tight, the bathtubs full of water, and my camera battery charged, I documented our experience. We had no idea if we'd be under the eye or not as we watched her barrel through homes over islands and ocean. But we hoped and wished, twirled our arms at, huffed and puffed at, trained love bugs to flap their wings at the same time, threw coconut oil at.... everything we could do to somehow will Irma to pivot out to sea.

Whether or not to evacuate was a huge dilemma. With a breadth wider than the great state of Texas, the ENTIRE STATE OF FLORIDA was in the path of Irma. And if you did evacuate, where could you go when nearly seven million people were pouring out of Peninsula of Destruction? Add in that the cone of uncertainy during the best time to evacuate still covered Alabama to Georgia. You basically had to go to as far as Wisconsin to be safe.

And there were no flights, even though airlines graciously capped ticket prices. There was no gas. Not to mention bumper-to-bumper traffic that required consuming even more of that precious resource. It took a full day of driving to get sometimes 4 to 6 hours away. Children screaming. Dogs whining. Collisions, breakdowns, panic. Evacuating was a mental, financial, and logistical nightmare.

So we weighed our situation and joined the majority of our neighborhood by hunkering down. This was our experience leading up to, during, and following Hurricane Irma in a small neighborhood in Fort Pierce, Florida.


meanwhile on instagram...

LLL of the Treasure Coast 2018 Calendar - Treasure Coast Breastfeeding Photographer

This spring I did a thing. I took it upon myself to photograph a breastfeeding calendar. Why, oh, why would I donate 13 portrait sessions when I already had a full plate? I swear this was going to be the year of no freebies. BUT. I felt very strongly about this. I am passionate about documenting real nursing relationships. Diversity of families in shape, color, nursing history. I set out a model call and found breastfeeding mommas from all over the Treasure Coast. From Vero Beach to Hobe Sound. All different stories. Twin mom, tandem nursing, SNS mom, part time custody. And at each session I listened to stories about how La Leche lifted them up. Gave them support, encouragement, tips. In the darkest days for some. Without hope, without home. Let me tell you, photographing with tears in your eyes is not easy.

The images I documented serve to lift these women up. They can share them and say, "look how far we came," or, "this was only just the beginning," or even, "I am proud of who I am and I want the world to know that I breastfed my child."
 

So here we are, a few weeks away from World Breastfeeding Week. The calendar is now available to purchase and all proceeds go to the La Leche League of the Treasure Coast. Where will you hang your calendar? <3

LLL of the TC 2018 calendar - Treasure Coast Breastfeeding Photographer - Ebb and Flow Photography
LLL of the TC 2018 calendar - Treasure Coast Breastfeeding Photographer - Ebb and Flow Photography

water play - underwater family photography - fort pierce family photographer

THIS.

underwater family photography - wave photography - ebb and flow photography

This has been too long in the works. Too long put on the shelf. Too long have I dreamed of this.

And sat nervous on the sidelines. Scared of the what-ifs. Told myself it wasn't worth the risk.

But what is THIS?

underwater family photography - ebb and flow photography

It is the fusion of so many bits of my soul into one art form. Water, family, sunshine, salt, nature, PHOTOGRAPHY.

I can't tell you how nervous I was bringing a camera out into the water. Sure, I had a housing, but I felt as if I was taking a huge risk.

underwater family photography - ebb and flow photography
underwater family photography - ebb and flow photography
underwater family photography - ebb and flow photography

On one hand, I could be ruining a valuable camera. And lens. Forever gone, victims of a saltwater bath. New paperweights for my desk.

On the other, I could be embarking on something so beautiful and fulfilling I couldn't even dare to dream.

underwater family photography - ebb and flow photography

I must be dreaming. I really must be dreaming.

underwater family photography - ebb and flow photography

I did dream. The seal was perfect. And the results have me itching to go again.

Do you have a passion that calls to you but are still hesitant to try? Life is too short to wait.

underwater family photography - ebb and flow photography

Thanks to my husband for sneaking this in while he held the camera. THIS is love, in so many forms.

muddy puddles - storytelling photography

dirt - rain - mud - rainbow - and a frog

I get so wrapped up in telling other families' stories through photographs that I often forget to document my own. I used to scrapbook... a bit obsessively. Before grad school. Before kids. Things have changed, but my camera is still very much a part of who I am and how I preserve my family's memories. Not as much as I would like to though.

There is a phase both of my children have gone through - and it starts as soon as they can sit - that my camera becomes a coveted item that collects tiny fingerprints and causes tantrums. So my camera normally sits safely in it's cozy bag where it sleeps until I bring it out to capture more stories. Just usually not my own.

Every once in a while I do bring it out. I collect a few memories. And then they sit, unedited, as RAW files on my computer.

So when Marie's Save a Story Initiative came up in my email one day, I knew I had to participate.

The objective was to collect a memory. It could be just one photograph or a story through photographs. It didn't have to be epic, but it had to be real. This speaks to my heart since it is how I feel when I document for my clients. I seek the connections and moments that, when I deliver those images to my clients, they know they have a REAL memory that they connect with. Documented and made into art. Something they can look at, hold, and reflect upon.

I was in. Sooooooo in.

After amping up the participants with worksheets, tips, and excitement our goal was to shoot on Sunday (Father's Day). I had planned on capturing BBQ time, which has become a treasure for all of us. We spend more time outdoors since we got it. And everyone is happier on BBQ nights.

But we didn't get to BBQ due to rain. It had been raining off and on for two weeks straight so we weren't put off by it. We still had a lot of outdoor fun, despite the weather.

muddy puddles - save a story initiative - ebb and flow photography

The kids like to "play construction" in the sadly unplanted dirt patch in our front yard. We've been here for 2.5 years and I just haven't invested even in the thought of planting.  We are renting while we look for a house to buy. And when I buy plants I go all out, so I feel like I'm saving money for my real garden, if that makes any sense. But the kids love the dirt patch and nobody else seems to mind.

I wanted to capture their "construction site garden" because I know, like all things, they won't be into it forever but it is the highlight of their days right now.

I hardly snapped off a few photos when that grey cloud we were watching decided to open up on us.

muddy puddles - save a story initiative - ebb and flow photography
muddy puddles - save a story initiative - ebb and flow photography

Normally I'd be like, time to get inside! But they were already dirty so what harm would a little rain do? They played in the rain - a real treat since we often have thunderstorms and have to stay under cover -  and they sloshed in the mud. My 3.5 yo in boxers and my 18 mo in her diaper, in the front yard where everyone could see. Are we the talk of our predominantly elderly community now? Maybe, but I'd like to think it is because my children bring them joy when they are out playing in the front yard. They can come play in our muddy puddle too, if they want. :)

muddy puddles - save a story initiative - ebb and flow photography

The "construction site" quickly filled with water from the cleverly directed downspout off our roof.

muddy puddles - save a story initiative - ebb and flow photography

And the puddles quickly became a lake.

T had just watched a show that talked about the properties of mud and was playing with the consistency. Wet, sticky, mushy... he was enthralled.

Em is really into taking our seltzers from us right now so she was carrying one around while she played.

muddy puddles - save a story initiative - ebb and flow photography
muddy puddles - save a story initiative - ebb and flow photography

Mist in her hair, splashes and rings in the water. These are images I don't normally get to capture. My camera stayed safe, carefully covered under the patio awning.

muddy puddles - save a story initiative - ebb and flow photography

Em is trying to collect rain in her little bucket. It's her favorite thing to do at bathtime; collect water in toys while the tub fills. She doesn't know she'd have to wait there all day to fill it, but that doesn't bother her.

The entire time this is happening a male british voice is narrating the phrase, "Peppa and George like to play in muddy puddles" over and over again.

muddy puddles - save a story initiative - ebb and flow photography

Now, a sunshower.

muddy puddles - save a story initiative - ebb and flow photography

And like that, the rain turned to drizzle, and fizzled into mist.

But not without a show.

muddy puddles - save a story initiative - ebb and flow photography

The sun had peeked out from behind the grey cloud and so I turned my back to it, as I always do in these circumstances, to see if a rainbow had formed. I would seriously love to make a job out of being a rainbow hunter. Is that a thing?

muddy puddles - save a story initiative - ebb and flow photography

Happy, wet toddlers. Sloshing, splashing, scooping, pouring. PLAYING OUTSIDE.

I am really looking forward to the backyard of our new home when we find it. They will get to do stuff like this all the time. When they are frustrated or bouncing off the walls I'll be able to open the back door and say, go! Get dirty! Have fun! This is what I want for my children.

For now, we have our little patch of dirt. And frogs. And we find rainbows in the storms. These are the happy memories they will hold with them.

muddy puddles - save a story initiative - ebb and flow photography

My next step is to print my story... more to come on that later!

introduction to birth photography workshop - treasure coast birth photographer

I am reeeeeeeallllly excited to announce that registration opens Monday for our Introduction to Birth Photography Workshop!

Guest speakers and I will cover topics such as: understanding birth better to document it through photography, handling on-call life, etiquette, ethics, birth photography business tips, and what to pack in your camera bag and how to use it. Bring your gear! The workshop will wrap up with a mock homebirth portfolio-building session.

Sounds awesome? Check back here Monday morning (June 26th) for more details and how to register.

introduction to birth photography workshop - ebb and flow photography

ebb and flow photography and the oxytocin emporium