Category Archives: Photography

Something Neat Happened

The title of this post says it all: Something kinda neat happened.

As most of you know, in addition to my every day 9-to-5 job (more like 7:30-4:30), I run a small side business with Aparna Photography. While my main focus is on portrait sessions of families, children and weddings, I do dabble a bit in commercial taking photos for local businesses and most recently (and the “kinda neat thing”) authors who are publishing books!

One of REB’s in-laws, Lolita Cummings Carson, recently wrote a book titled  A Cow Needs A Tail For More Than One Summer which is a compilation of essays/short stories she has written as a tribute to her mother. …And guess who she asked to take the photos of her? You got it – yours truly!

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Growing up, her mother had a lot of sayings (the title of the book being one) and she ended up writing little stories about growing up hearing those sayings and the mother-daughter relationship they shared and still share as a result of it.

You guys, this book is hilarious! I’m not just saying that either. It’s not very long, less than 100 pages, and it’s about 8-10 stories and they had me literally laughing out loud. Granted I do know Lolita, but hearing about her childhood and the hi-jinx she got into gave me an insight into her upbringing I never knew. And it made adore her even more. I know for a fact that many mothers and daughters share this type of relationship and probably still do even into adulthood!

The very humbling and rewarding part was seeing the photos I took in this book, though! They were some of the most fun photos I ever took, and even more so knowing they had a personal meaning to both the author and family.

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So, here’s to Lolita and congrats on the book. I hope she writes a sequel and I hope I can help contribute to the fun again! And if you need a fun, easy and quick read, definitely pick this one up!

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Happy Friday, friends!

Over the weekend

What a busy weekend I had! Here I thought March would end up being a busy-weekend month for me, but April is proving to be exactly the same.

I welcome it though! A lot happened over the weekend including being able to cross yet another thing on my list.

I ran my first 5K! Finally! A year in the training (and making!) and it’s finally done. I did the Rear Saver 5K on Belle Isle in Detroit – a race to prevent colon cancer. I’m not really big on the cause and whatever, so I mostly just ran it “just because.”. It was a really flat course and on the track of the old race track on Belle Isle. So it was a good first race for me!

My friend Kat and I got there bright and early to pick up our bibs and race packets.

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Then it was time to stretch, warm up and line up for the race! My friend Kat is amazing. Throughout my “training” or weekly runs up until Saturday, I had been doing a 5 minute warm up brisk walk, then running and sometimes stopping to walk, until I reached the 3 mile mark. Yeah, Kat wasn’t letting me off the hook that easily. She said we’re running the whole thing, I couldn’t look at my Garmin at all, and she kept encouraging me, telling me I was kicking ass and doing awesome which kept me going strong!

She was my rock and I couldn’t have had the confidence to run the entire thing without her! She’s training for the half marathon in Pittsburgh in May, so I think she liked having this 5K as a simple run for her to get in over the weekend before her long distance running during the week in training. Either way, Thanks KAT!!

I ended up finishing the race in 38 minutes. Not the best, but I’ll take it. I had told myself that I wanted to finish it in 45 minutes, so seeing that number as I crossed the finish line only boosted my confidence! I had been averaging 40-42 minutes during my weekly runs, and that included the 5 minute warm up walk and cool down walk.

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Maybe it was adrenaline, excitement, or the fact I never gave myself credit, but I was determined to run that entire damn thing and I’m so glad I did! I can’t wait to do another race. I officially have the running bug and want to just continue to improve! I have a goal to increase my distance to 3.25 miles this week and gradually work on increasing speed as well. I’ve set a new goal for myself to try to hit the 5 mile mark by mid-summer. I hope to do this before that, but I know me. I want to give myself time!

So after the race, we made the trek back to Ann Arbor and had a much deserved brunch at Cafe Zola. The rest of the day was spent chillaxing and taking a long nap (I hate getting up early on the weekend!) which got me all revved up for the evening of fun! My brother-in-law’s (REB’s brother) birthday was March 31 and we didn’t get to see him for it then. So we had planned to do a group dinner Saturday night so we could celebrate it.

Saturday night outfit

Saturday night outfit

We met up at an Indian place called Mirchi, which some of my coworkers had been to when they were under different management. It wasn’t bad food! The service is another story, but overall, the food wasn’t horrible. We all ordered Thali plates. Thali is basically a large platter that has small dishes on it with all different kinds of things: curries, yogurt, a dessert, rice, a lentil dish, a soup-ish dish, etc.. It’s really the best way to try a bunch of Indian food and curries (both south and north Indian) when there isn’t a buffet!

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I barely made a dent int it. So much so that we still have leftovers. It was seriously more food than I ever needed, plus I had eaten the righteous Turkish Brunch at Zola’s earlier in the day. But in my book, having leftover Indian food is a total pile of win.

The night ended with Scary Movie Night at my friend Amber’s house (becoming a tradition) where I got introduced to the amazing Bruce Campbell and Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. Truly a work a masterful art, lemme tell ya. Groovy, baby.

On Sunday before Sunday Funday and Game of Thrones night, Amber stopped over with one of her dogs and she and I took a long walk through our neighborhood with her dog and Gryff. Then we let them play in our backyard for a little bit.

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I also uploaded a few sneak peek wedding photos on my photo FB page! Here are a few, but the rest you can find here!

All in all, it was a perfect weekend with beautiful sunny weather and fun! I have ended up with a cold, but it was well worth it. I already look forward to the fun this weekend will bring!

What did you do over the weekend?

Birthday Weekend Part One

 

Hello friends!

I hope everyone has been doing well. I feel like I don’t give enough love to the bloggy, but things are just so busy! [broken record]

Regardless, I think October is officially the busiest month we ever have because there are so many birthdays to celebrate!! So for two weeks out of the month, every year, we celebrate birthdays of those near and dear to us.

Last weekend was my dad’s birthday and REB’s birthday and mine is coming up this weekend!

On Saturday October 6 (my dad’s birthday), my parents came down so we could treat my dad to some delicious Ethiopian food at Blue Nile in downtown Ann Arbor.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram or Twitter, I’m sure you’ve seen the food I take pictures of there. We always get the Vegetarian Feast, which is unlimited portioned out veggie curries, plus all you can eat of the delicious Injera bread. My parents really enjoyed it and I think they also had a fun time at the restaurant trying Ethiopian food for the first time! The great thing is that it’s so similar to Indian food since they share a lot of the same spices and cooking methods. My mom, being some what of a picky eater, found this to be very much to her liking. Another great part to the weekend was being able to see my aunt, who was visiting my parents for a few weeks! The last time I saw her was at my wedding a year ago.

The night ended with looking at photos of their adventures showing my aunt around the mitten! I’m so glad she had a nice visit and was able to see just how beautiful parts of Michigan are.

So on Sunday I took a break from birthday celebrations so I could play photographer to my friends Amber and Richard. They are quite the gorgeous couple and it was so much fun finding new locations for photos and also letting them be celebrities for a day! They have really become two of REB and my closest, nicest friends here in A2 and we’re grateful to have friends like this close to home.

No lie, I am really proud of these photos! Some of you may know that I’m trying to start up a photography business on the side of the every day 9-to-5. My web site, Aparna Photography, is still a work in progress, but I seriously can’t wait to showcase these photos and the senior photos I did for a friend’s niece last month, on the site! It’s also really nice having friends who are open to your ideas for photos, and having them be creative and coming up with their own! Thanks Amber and Richard! I’ll gladly photograph you two any time you want :)

Oh and if you want to see all the photos, check them out here on my photo Facebook page!

When I was done playing photographer, I went home, started editing, but took a break to prepare REB’s birthday breakfast! His birthday is October 8, and my office was closed for Columbus Day. He also took the day off because we wanted to spend the day together but also do my birthday present to me that he got me (more on that in a second..).

I made baked French toast for his birthday breakfast and prepped everything the night before so the batter could sit overnight with the bread.

I followed the basic recipe on Annie Eats web site, but only changed two things: I used half a loaf of Challah instead of a French baguette, and I used skim milk instead of half-and-half. I don’t know if these changes made a big difference, because it tasted pretty good to us! :)

So once we were done with breakfast and cleaned the kitchen, we headed out for my birthday present. My birthday isn’t until this weekend, October 13 (dyscalculia Halloween!), but apparently what he had in store for me could only be done on week days.

Best surprise ever!! I’ve been wanting to go horseback riding for the longest time and even though about putting it on my 31 before 30 list, but decided not to. I should have, because then I could have crossed it off. Either way, this was a really fun day at a privately owned stable and horse training area about 40 min from our house.

The ladies who teach lessons and take care of the horses were so nice! We got a one hour private lesson where we learned how to brush a horse (there are four three different kinds of brushes!), how to properly get hold of a horses leg so you can clean out the hooves (they are HEAVY) and also how to properly bridle and saddle a horse before getting on. They also taught us how to steer on the horse, give commands, and how to achieve trust between you and horse. The hour flew by! The horses were two of the sweetest creatures I’ve ever been around. They’re a little intimidating since they’re so big, but they were so gentle and kept wanting peppermints. REB actually took lessons when he was a kid. Although he hasn’t ridden in like 18 years, it all came back to him when got up there.

So there we have it! Our birthday weekend part one. Stay tuned for part two where we celebrate my birthday this coming weekend. REB and I are five days apart and celebrating birthdays are always a fun time. This weekend I’ll be seeing some family, and then seeing friends at night for a fun dinner out on the town!

What are some of your favorite birthday celebrations?

Oliver One Year

 

A year ago Michigan experienced what we all called Snowmageddon. It was the worst storm we had all year and people were furiously scrambling to clean out grocery stores in case they would be stranded in their homes. A little extreme if you ask me. It was a bad storm, but we live in Michigan! Anyway during that ridiculous snow storm my friends had their son, Oliver Robert, and I took photos of him when he was a newborn. It was my very first newborn shoot and I remember I was incredibly nervous!

Hard to believe that it’s been a year and now Oliver is going to be one! His awesome parents asked me to do his one year pictures, which of course I agreed to do. This type of session was different than most, though. While I had all these props and ideas for poses, Oliver wanted nothing to do with it.

For the first time since starting this little photography venture, I got to do a photo shoot where I just took pictures of the family around their home. There were some posed pictures, but not many since Oliver wasn’t too thrilled with having to sit still ;) It was different, but it was also really fun!

Here’s a peek at some of the photos!

And just for fun:

I even managed to get a photo of mom and dad :)

Thanks to the K family for letting me take pictures of Ollie Bear! Can’t wait to help make more memories for your family!

Fun with Anna

I’m playing catch up with all these posts since everything has settled down a bit. Better late than never though! :)

So one of my sister’s closest friends asked me to take pictures of their one year old, Anna. I’ve known her and her husband since I was in high school. And really, she’s like my big sister. Always making jokes with me, listening to awesomely-bad Christmas music while we made drives down to my sister’s place for visits and having picnics with everyone in the summertime.

I was so happy to hear that they were going to have a kid and when Anna showed up, she was just as spunky as the two of them. And the best part? Anna loves monkeys!! I knew I’d love her already ;)

I met them at this great park in Grand Blanc near my parents house and it was probably one of the more pretty days we had in a few weeks. Sun was shining, there was plenty of shade and even a few trees already changing color.

Anna was a lot of fun to photograph. I learned quickly that her spunk translates to moving. She didn’t like to sit still the entire time, but regardless, we had a fun afternoon watching Anna run around and I managed to get a few snapshots here and there ;)

Frankenstein baby!!

They were just a blast to hang out with! I hope I can take more pictures of Anna soon! A big thanks to the P family for letting me have a fun day with them!


**All images property of yours truly. Re-use and re-production of any kind is strictly prohibited!!**

Heidi Anne Turns One

One of my best friends had a baby last year.  I took pictures of my friend when she was pregnant, some newborn snapshots here and there of her daughter and did some six month pictures of her during the spring. But when she asked me to do a full on, full day of taking pictures for Heidi’s one year, I was actually kind of nervous. It’s one thing to take pictures here and there, but when I take pictures of someone who is like family or someone I feel like I’ve known forever, there’s that whole “Crap, I don’t want to disappoint them!” feeling. But I quickly remember that because she’s like family, it’s all about having fun and making sure they have the most fun.

We took pictures of Heidi at one of our favorite places ever: The campus of Michigan State University! Walking around that campus during any season makes me fall in love with the place all over again and brings back all the fun memories I had there and made there.

And this little future Spartan and her parents are sure to create new memories!

Look at those cheeks!

 

Baby blues!

Yup, little miss Heidi is basically like my niece. I treat her that way and I hope the friendship her mom and I share never goes away <3

Thanks for letting me spend a fun afternoon with you!

*All images property of yours truly. Re-use and re-production of any kind is strictly prohibited!!**

An Afternoon with Baby Maxx

This past weekend I had the pleasure of taking photos of mutual friends’ newborn. A few months ago, a friend of mine, who has a daughter I’ve taken photos of before, asked me if I would be willing to take photos of her best friend’s baby when it was born. She basically gifted a newborn photo session with me, to her, at her baby shower. I thought it was a very sweet idea.

Maxx ended up being born a week early on August 15. I obviously couldn’t take pictures the weekend of the 20th since I was getting married, but we agreed on this past weekend. He was only 2 weeks old. I have never taken a picture of a teeny little thing before! The youngest I’ve done is probably a month or two, I think.

Baby Maxx was pretty sleepy the entire day, and when he was awake, he wasn’t feeling it. So we had to work quickly to get some shots that his mom and dad would be happy with.

Beautiful new family

 

The classic shot ;)

I realized that I still have a lot to learn when it comes to newborn portraiture. I am a firm believer that you don’t need the expensive glass to make a photo work. It’s the photographer’s eye that makes the photo. Natural light always helps me and having that new flash has been a lifesaver. Ideally, I’d love to have about 3-4 amazing lenses, but I make do with what I have. However, I recognized quite quickly the areas in which I need to improve. It all comes with practice though! It also helps having friends let me take photos of them or take photos of their kids to help me improve.

I had a blast with Maxx and his parents though. They are beautiful parents and it’s clear as day how much they love and care for him. Thanks for letting me spend some time with you guys! <3

*All images property of yours truly. Re-use and re-production of any kind is strictly prohibited!!**

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