Please click HERE to find the new blog layout. It includes all past posts and photos.
The Natural Images Photography blog has changed addresses.
Please click HERE to find the new blog layout. It includes all past posts and photos.
It was the perfect fall day to visit Grant's Farm last week. I decided to get a jump start on my goal for my 32nd year of life. Was this because I'm excited to be older? Well, not so much. The farm closes this coming weekend for the winter and I wanted to see it in all of it's fall-color glory.
Overall, I enjoyed the visit to the farm. I did feel a bit weird going here alone (not to mention a little creepy holding a giant camera) and looking around to see mostly young children with their parents or grandparents. I guess I'm trying to hold on to the last bit of child within me.
The Farm offers a mandatory tram ride through the greater part of the property and doesn't slow down or stop to let you enjoy the beauty. This saddened me a little because there were at least two moments when I wanted to jump out and capture the perfect light shining through the golden trees. Some of my best photos from that day are still in my mind. I'm hoping to get access to the gated-off part of the farm sometime. Maybe if I offer some of my photos.
After the tram ride, passengers are dropped off at the main attraction. This is where it becomes very little-kid-like. You can feed the goats, watch the elephant show, see some colorful birds, or just wander around and enjoy the weather. For the adult in me, there was samples of Anheuser-Busch's latest. And this is where I didn't get carded. I think my favorite part was seeing the world-famous Clydesdale horses.
All in all, it is a pretty neat place, especially for children, and they do a good job of appeasing the adults along with that. :) For those who are like me--both child and adult--I think you would enjoy! Number 5 - Check!
I'm approaching 32. In fact, it's coming tomorrow. Whether I like it or not, I keep getting older. I didn't get carded last week while having a beer. That was one of the only times. I like to refer to this as the 3rd anniversary of my 29th birthday. I even bought myself flowers. But, instead of being depressed, I just decided to set a new goal. I'm going to channel my inner Meredith Moeller and make a "things-I'd-like-to-do-slash-hope-to-accomplish-before-a-certain-time-list".
In anticipation of my upcoming birthday and because I recently moved to a different city, I decided to make a list of things I want to do/see/experience/photograph during my first year in the 'burbs of St. Louis. So, here it is...out there for you to see and for me to commit to. (I'm kind of anti-commitment, so this is a big deal for me.) Because I'm all about challenges and competition, (even between my personalities) I'm giving myself a one-year time frame. Here it is, 29 things to do before I turn 29 (+4).
1. The Gateway Arch - obviously this one is a no-brainer. It's a St. Louis staple...and now that it's open it will be a whole lot easier.
2. The St. Louis Zoo - It's free, has lots of animals, and supposed to be really good.
3. Forest Park - The zoo is inside the park. Should be able to get both in the same day!
4. Scott Joplin House - Does this one even need a reason?
5. Grant's Farm - I drive by this place every time I pick up the students from school. It looks very intriguing. (I have to admit that I got a jump on my list last week and will write a post about this one soon!)
6. Missouri Botanical Gardens - My love of photographing flowers is fickle. It really depends on my mood. I'll have to time this one just right.
7. Soulard Farmers' Market - It's the oldest market West of the Mississippi River. Who doesn't love a good farmers' market?
8. Wasabi - A Japanese restaurant that sounds amazing! As a lover of sushi, and especially wasabi, could there be a better restaurant for me to try. If anyone wants to visit and try it out with me, I'm game.
9. A Cardinal's game - They were pretty hot this season...until they biffed it in the World Series. I think I'll wait until next season...when ticket prices are reasonable again.
10. Hermanoff Winery - If the wine isn't enough to intrigue me, certainly the German/Bavarian style guest-houses and cellars should do it.
11. Lone Elk Park - I wonder why it's called the "Lone Elk Park". I'll do some research and fill you in. :)
12. Laumeier Sculpture Park - Has lots of contemporary outdoor sculptures. Should be entertaining.
13. Omnimax Theather and Planetarium - I always loved going to the planetarium when I was in grade school. This one has the omnimax theater with a variety of films shown.
14. Fox Theater - One of the largest Broadway houses in the country...it actually started out as a movie theater!
15. Sheldon Art Galleries - Known for mixed-media art. I'm especially intrigued by the photography combined with found objects.
16. Sheldon Concert Hall - My guidebook claims that it has perfect acoustics and inexpensive tickets...sounds like a winner.
17. St. Louis Science Center - The geek/child in me really wants to see this. :)
18. Cathedral Basilica - I'm looking forward to seeing the 83,000 square foot ceiling. Or the 41.5 million pieces of glass in the dome mosaic. Can't decide.
19. Powell Symphony Hall - It used to be a vaudeville hall and movie palace. Now, it's the home of the St. Louis Symphony.
20. Montelle Winery - Again...do you really need a reason to visit a winery? This one boasts some great scenery, too! Might have to wait for the spring to get this one in.
21. Lemp Mansion - A 33-room mansion of a millionaire beer maker.
22. Anheuser-Busch Brewery - I went to the one in Denver and assume that this one will probably be very similar...except Denver didn't have the Clydesdale horses when we were there. I hope to also see the little dalmatian dog. Everyone forgets about him. Oh yeah, I'll probably drink some beer while I'm there...maybe they'll card me. :)
23. Contemporary Art Museum - Includes art from international artists and also local artists.
24. St. Louis Jazz and Heritage Festival - This comes only in the spring so I'll have to wait for my seats-on-th-lawn-free-refreshments-jazz-music-fix.
25. Tivoli Theater - The Tivoli Theater does foreign and independent films. This is a little out of my comfort zone, so this should be interesting.
26. Opera Theater - Although I'm not sure much can compare to the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China, it's always fun to see new theaters.
27. St. Louis Symphony Orchestra - I'll be able to tackle this one along with number 19. Maybe it's cheating to list it separately. Maybe not.
28. World Bird Sanctuary - This one is connected to the Lone Elk Park. Again, might be considered cheating... Click here to learn more.
29. Moolah Theater and Lounge - This one sounds so fun to me! It has a giant screen, leather couches, and a bar that serves movie themed beverages. I wonder how the "Lord Voldemort Mojito" is different from a regular mojito...
For each one I plan to document it with photos and share my experience with you. Hopefully this will be as entertaining for you as it will be enjoyable for me. Wish me luck. I have a lot of moments waiting to be captured.
Is it good know your clients well? Yes, definitely.
This past weekend I had the honor and privilege to photograph my best friend's wedding. She is lovely. Not only is she full of all sorts of outward beauty, she is one of the kindest, most loving people I have ever met. And her man is a solid rock with a servant's heart.
Each little detail of this wedding has a story attached to it and, for me, it makes it that much easier to capture the details if you know these stories. Like our trip to the pearl market to choose her necklace, and leaving after two hours with the first one she found. Or the hours and hours spent making origami flowers while watching chick flicks and eating cookies. Or the dress. THE dress. Gretl - you definitely went with the best one!
Paul and Gretl's story isn't without heartache, but I can tell you it is one of the most romantic stories there is. A story where Paul knew just how much of a jewel Gretl is and worked and worked to win her heart back. He knows it was worth it, and he's one of the luckiest men alive. A story that started on the campus of the Agricultural University in Beijing and continues with their mutual service in the church.
Their wedding verse is from Ecclesiastes and it could not be more fitting for this couple: "A chord of three strands is not quickly broken." May the God of Peace continue to bring you closer together as you walk with Him all the days of your life. I love you guys!
"The LORD bless you and keep you, The LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, The LORD look on you with favor and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26
Well, lugging around camera gear in pursuit of a good "wild"-life shot proved worth it. I decided to get there right as the park opened so that it wouldn't be too busy...not that it really got busy while I was there...
The unique thing about this park is that the animals and humans interact. Well, not all the animals. The dangerous ones they keep behind bars. My favorite part of the park was the ring-tail lemur section...and, not surprisingly, my best shot came from a little guy just before he jumped on my lens. They were super soft and friendly, like cats without the claws...or the attitudes. I also enjoyed listening to the cheetah 'purr'. :)
The sun was very bright so there were some nasty shadows. I still managed to snag a few good ones. Here are my best shots of the day.
It's my last "free" day before going to China and I thought I would head out to the Tanganyika Wildlife Park on the west end of Wichita. I know it's sort of like cheating to get photos of wildlife when they can't really go anywhere, but, oh well... This place is supposed to be better than a zoo because you can walk around with the animals. I'll let you know when I get back!
This couple is amazing! I have been friends with Gretl since my first year in China! She is a kind-hearted, genuine, Christian woman and Paul is her perfect match--strong faith, solid rock, amazing leader. It was fun to see their relationship unfold after a rocky start. I'm privileged and blessed to be able to capture their day in Beijing. Their venue is so close to the Old Summer Palace they decided to have a morning wedding and spend the afternoon wandering around and taking photos there. Can't wait!
Kayla and Diego had their wedding in the backyard of their home in Colorado. It was a beautifully sunny day and the service was simple and elegant. The worship service was bilingual with Kayla's son, Ben, doing the Bible readings in English. Kayla's daughter, Tiegan, accompanied the processional with beautiful violin.
I don't know if it is 'easier' to shoot weddings of loved ones. But it was definitely fun to be able to capture my sister's beautiful day. I'm so glad I was able to be a part of it. Love you, Kayla and Diego, and God's blessings on your life together!