Tag Archives: Photo Work

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!

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!!**

A Day To Remember

It’s had to believe that REB and I have been married for almost two months, but we have and it’s been absolutely wonderful. We just got back from our honeymoon (still in the process of editing those photos so stay tuned!) and getting back into the daily groove of things, but August 20 is a day I won’t ever forget. I married my best friend and love of my life and it was one of the best days of my life.

Our amazing photographer Nena Metcalf was there to shoot the entire thing. You might remember her. She’s the lovely lady who did our engagement photos back in April. She flew back up from Texas and photographed our wedding and once again she exceeded my expectations.

Enjoy, friends! <3

Getting ready...

 

With my mom <3 and my cousin :)

 

Right before "I do".. ;)

 

My girls and me :)

 

Sisters <3

 

Ceremony highlights...

 

Shoes. The girls didn't end up stealing the grooms' shoes, but it was a valiant effort!

 

Our wonderful wedding party AKA our best friends <3

 

My love and me :)

 

Speeches, cupcakes and a toast!

 

Stars Go Blue <3

 

This picture from his parents wedding day is one of our favorite pictures. We always joked that we wanted to re-enact this picture on our wedding day one day, so we did. I'm so glad we did too :)

She got moments of REB and me that I absolutely love. Thank you Nena for once again proving your talent and capturing a beautiful, memorable day for us!

**All photos by Nena Metcalf Photography. Re-production and re-use of any kind if strictly prohibited!**

Feels Like Spring

After autumn, spring is probably my favorite season. The summer months are great and all, but it can get really hot here in Michigan. But the great thing about Michigan is we have four distinct seasons. They aren’t equal in terms of how long each season lasts (face it, winter seems like it goes on forever each year), but we do have four seasons. Spring is finally here. At least it feels like it. Although this past holiday weekend brought ridiculously hot and humid weather (90-to-95 degrees and just hot), the past few mornings have been cool and comfortable. And when the sun starts to set and we take Gryff on his second or third walk of the day, that cool and comfortable weather feels even more beautiful.

I’m trying to enjoy it as much as possible because I know soon enough that hot, sticky summer will be here.

The return of Mr. Bunn

 

Make a wish!

Golden :)

 

Engagement Photos

A few weeks ago we had our engagement session with our wedding photographer Nena Metcalf. A lot of people looked at me weird when I said we were doing this now, and four months before our wedding no less. I guess REB and I aren’t that conventional when doing these types of things. Most people would have these photos done shortly after they get engaged so they can send them out with their Save the Dates (if they do those). Ideally we should have done this but it was kind of hard with our photographer being out of state. I realized the only real reason I wanted to have photos done was because REB and I don’t have any photos of us together that look really nice. We have the ones we’ve taken of us together from vacations, but nothing professional that captures us as we are.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love photography and how picky I can be. I’m not a professional, but I have pretty high standards when it comes to wedding photography. My sister can vouch for this. Her and I are both ridiculous perfectionists about certain things (she’s more of a perfectionist than I am on a lot of things, though ;)). After REB and I got engaged and started planning our wedding, it was decided that I would pick our photographer.

I looked through so many websites that offered links to local photographers in Michigan. There are so many talented people in this profession, but they weren’t grabbing my attention the way I wanted. Then I remembered a friend of mine who is a professional photographer and I went to her site and was blown away. The only problem? She lives in Texas.

I took my chances and emailed her anyway and told her how much I loved her work and was interested in her being our wedding photographer. I was happy when Nena obliged. If you haven’t been over to her site, take a peek! It’s wonderful.

I’ve known Nena since high school. Her and I were band nerds and although we weren’t the closest of friends, we had a lot of mutual friends. I knew she was one of the sweetest girls ever and was involved in a lot of school activities. She moved to Texas after getting married and has settled there raising her three beautiful children. She made a name for herself down there as one of the top wedding photographers in the area and her work shows it.

One of the absolute best things about her besides the obvious, was how patient and professional she was. She gave us her little schpeel of how she shoots photos, but then we were on our way. We had talked about Gryff being in our photos, so I had a friend of mine help out for the session holding Gryff when Nena wanted photos of just REB and me, holding treats up so Gryff would look at the camera, making him excited, etc. Nena’s wonderful hubby was there too and was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He willingly carried around our bag ‘o’ stuff (change of clothes, touch up makeup, extra shoes, etc.) without complaint. When you factor in all the help from that afternoon, it made the entire thing completely stress-free.

Working with Nena only solidified my reason for her being our photographer. Her style of photography is the kind I love. She and I talked prior to our session about what I wanted to do, what I didn’t want to do, and she knew about my love and slight knowledge of photography and worked with me. We didn’t do a lot of super pose-y pictures, because she knows that isn’t my thing.  She basically followed REB and me around downtown Ann Arbor for two hours clicking away. She let us be ourselves and was there to capture the cute moments, the funny moments, the raw moments that I would otherwise be embarrassed by but she somehow made it looks cute, charming and beautiful. I won’t lie, I felt like a celebrity.

I can’t wait until my wedding day. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that she will do an amazing job. An Indian wedding is all about color, detail and ceremonies, and I know she will capture all of it beautifully. Thank you for such an amazing afternoon Nena! I can’t wait to see you again in August!

**All photos are property and copyright of Nena Metcalf Photography. Reuse and reproduction of any kind is strictly prohibited**

Rural South

Traveling for work is something I never thought I would do as frequently as I do. The down side is obviously being away from home, away from REB, the dog, the bird, my bed (oh how I love my bed) and enjoying weekends there. But a real perk to our job is being able to explore surrounding areas or cities where ever we are. I’ve been fortunate enough to see some amazing places because of this job (The Yukon Territory, Grand Canyon, Eastern Seaboard, etc.). Exploring is a ton of fun and yesterday was incredibly tiring, but we saw some cool places here in the rural south.

We started our day with some breakfast at the local IHOP. Coffee, egg-beaters veggie omelet, and fresh fruit. The perfect start to our busy day!

Then we headed 10 minutes north into Illinois to visit Metropolis. Now, if you haven’t been to Metropolis, it’s a trip! If you haven’t already figured it out, it’s where they have this huge statue of Superman – ha! It’s pretty hilarious. They also have a museum, but we didn’t go through that. We took a bunch of pictures in front of Superman and then visited the statue commemorating Noel Neill, who played Lois Lane. Definitely make a stop in Metropolis if you’re ever in southern Illionis. It’s weird, and kitchy, but that’s what you’ll find in the rural south!

Both my coworker and I love railroads and trains, and we found a track nearby so we decided to go explore that area too….

After we explored Metropolis, we decided to drive an hour west to Cairo, IL. The interesting thing about Cairo, from what my coworker told me, is that it used to be this up and coming town back in the day where very wealthy people lived. However, when African Americans came to the town, they wanted nothing to do with them, so they all packed up and left. The town just sort of deteriorated and literally has become a phantom town.

By the time we were done being super emo hipsters taking pictures of rural decay, we worked up an appetite. As it turns out, we were near some town in Missouri called Sikeston. Another 30 minutes west and we were in Missouri at the famed Lambert’s Cafe – home of the throwed rolls. Down-home, southern comfort food doens’t get much better than this. We waited about 1 1/2 hours (expect to wait that long or longer!) but it was so worth it. To have rolls thrown at you (literally!), all the sides you want (fried okra, black eyed peas, macaroni and tomatoes, pulled pork [none for me though!]…goes on and on!), the most GIANT cups of sweet tea (or unsweetened if you’re my coworker), this place is so much fun. We left completely stuffed. My coworker literally got a skillet of ribs. Unbelievable.

At the end of this excursion, we were so tired. It was well worth it though. The one tip I can give people when traveling: check out all the little treasures nearby! You never know what you’ll find!

6 down, 6 to go

Six months ago I decided to take part in the Flickr craze called “Project 365″. OK, I don’t know if it’s a Flickr craze, but I saw it there first. I decided I’d give it a shot and take and upload 1 photo every day for 1 year.

Although I haven’t been able to take a photo every day on some days, I did keep the number up to date (sometimes taking 2 photos a day to make up for the one I missed). It’s definitely been fun. I initially started the project as a way to learn my new digital camera, an entry-level Canon Rebel XSi. I love that thing. But some of the photos were taken with my phone or with my point and shoot. Both are very reliable alternates if I don’t feel like using the big fancy one.

I’m not going to lie. I’m really proud of myself. When I look back at how I started this hobby, and how I take photos now…it’s a definite transition.

My first digital camera was a Polaroid a500#, which…wasn’t the best camera.


Washed out, kind of blue-tint, not great resolution and horrible lighting. My mind was in the right spot: ah, a moving photo of a mom and her son watching the boy’s father surfing. The outcome just wasn’t there. After that, I learned how that camera worked and when I’d put it on higher resolution, my batteries died almost instantly. The camera just couldn’t handle what I wanted it to do.

The next camera I bought was the Canon Powershot A590. I remember the exact day I bought it. It was before my trip to Arizona for work. I knew I was going to the Grand Canyon over the weekend and couldn’t bear to think of taking photos with that Polaroid, so I saved my pennies and bought this better point and shoot.

This was one of the first photos I ever took with it:

Not a bad photo, but when I first got this camera I didn’t ever use Manual setting. I always, always used the a preset or Auto and was done with it. Then my sister showed me how to properly use the camera and that’s when photo walks were born.


As you can see, she taught me well. From then on, my camera was always set to Manual and nothing else. But I wanted to do more with photography. I had wanted a DSLR for many years, but could never justify the cost. My uncle even told me to get a better point and shoot as a step up, but I knew I wanted to go the full way and graduate myself to a DSLR. I wanted to have different lenses to be able to do more and expand my photographic horizon (as cheesy as that sounds).

I’m so happy I finally did get one. It has made me appreciate photography and brought it to a whole new level. I keep learning new things and know I will continue to learn new things. I still travel for work and now my coworkers and I have started photo scavenger hunts, which motivates me to take more photos each day. The project has done that for me, too. The Flickr community has motivated me to keep clicking and I learn a lot of new things from fellow amateur photographers.

And today, six months later after I started the project, I’ve reached another level in my hobby.  It’s a wonderful thing and I love it!

Pumpkin Cat


I don’t know his real name, but we call him Pumpkin Cat. I don’t even know if it’s a boy or girl, but I assume it’s a boy.

He lives across the street. Well, he hangs out across the street.

Pumpkin Cat is actually a stray kitty and the woman across the street started taking care of him. That is, she leaves food, water, a blanket and has a covered litter box set up outside so it can have a place to hang out if it rains or snows, or gets cold. Pretty nice if you ask me.

He’s also really nice and didn’t mind while I stood just 2 feet from him, snapping away at his cute little frame.


…or maybe he wanted to eat me….


The Pumpkin Cat stance and stare.


The Pumpkin Cat does not approve of your photo.


I said….the Pumpkin Cat does not approve of your photo.


I love how poised these creatures are. Despite having some crazy lady making a clicking noise through that black thing attached to her eye, they maintain their concentration on more important things. …Like the chickadees chirping happily in the tree nearby.


Oh! I’ve been spotted…


This is what I love. The way kitties sit so poised and have their tails wrapped around their feeties. So freaking cute!!


Pumpkin Cat also has a smooshed in face. I’m not usually a fan of these types of cat. OK, I’m not really a fan of them at all. But when you have a nice cat like Pumpkin Cat, it’s kind of tolerable.


And like all kitties, Pumpkin Cat is meticulous about cleaning.


Such precision and technique…! I can’t even clean my house that way. Ugh.

Then I asked Pumpkin Cat if his cleaning escapade was good.


And that’s what he said to me. Apparently it made him tired.

Yeah, Pumpkin Cat is one of a kind and a very interesting creature.

Just remember one thing:


The Pumpkin Cat is always watching.

The Next Andy Warhol

All my friends are different from each other, which is why I love them.

All my friends are artistic in their own way and they all inspire me.

Again, why I love them.

A lot of my friends are artists and have been so generous in giving me pieces of their work, or allowing me to pay for certain pieces of their work. It’s an incredible thing, really.

One of these artistic friends I’ve been friends with for over 12 years. Allan Innman is an amazing artist whose name is humming through the galleries of Oxford, MS and other parts of the south. For as long as I’ve known him, he’s been drawing, painting and sketching. But having a mother who is an amazing and well-known artist herself, it’s no surprise the artistic endeavor runs in the family. When I moved away, I was so happy to hear he was still doing art and is now sort of a big deal.

I truly believe he’s the next Andy Warhol. And, I know, every artist is an individual and shouldn’t be compared to other people, but when I look through his work on his website there are some pieces that just seem so mod and circa 1960s. …And Allan, I hope that doesn’t offend you!

His twin sister AI is one of my longest best friends and she was so cool and sent me a piece of his work a few years ago for my birthday.


This piece is called “Earthly Delights” and it’s the only one of its kind.

That is correct. I own the ONLY piece of this work by Allan Innman.

Hey, that might not see like a huge deal to you, but when he’s more famous than he already is, I’ll be the only one who has this. So it’s pretty cool.

I love everything about this piece, especially the burst of color. It just pops and has so much going on in it. But more importantly, it’s so unique. I’ve never seen something like this.


Allan did several pieces kind of like this. But this particular one is a collaged silkscreen on paper. I wanted to make sure to get a close-up of how natural this piece is. Aside from color, I love how textured it is. You can literally see the layers and layers he put into this piece and I’m sure it all tells a story.


“Earthly Delights” for a long time was the only piece I owned by him.

But that all changed when he started his “Back in the Day” movement. He hit a bit of nostalgia and has since been doing pieces of work based on old toys, heroes, TV shows he loved as a kid that remind him of his youth.

I think the idea is brilliant.

And once again, he let me buy one of his pieces and AI mailed it to me.

I am now a proud owner of another one-of-a-kind Allan Innman piece. And it’s of Montgomery Moose.

You might be asking, “Montgomery who?”


Remember Montgomery Moose from the Get-A-Long Gang? Boy, if you don’t, you don’t know what you’re missing!

I used to love this show and I still own this little figurine of Monty. He was my favorite!

Each year in Oxford, they have an art event called Double Decker. Allan, of course, was invited to show some of his work. Consider Double Decker to be the equivalent of the Ann Arbor Art Show (so again, kind of a big deal). I had never been to Double Decker, so I was pretty bummed I couldn’t go. That, and I live 600+ miles away, so I couldn’t see what other pieces of work were being displayed. But his wife graciously took pictures of some of his works and posted them online.

Then I saw what his new work was, and was blown away. I immediately asked him if I could purchase one his works, specifically the one of Monty, and he obliged.


Monty was painted on canvas and I absolutely love it.

You can see the detail and time he put into this piece of work.


He has done such an incredible job to encompass the magic of Montgomery Moose. You can clearly see that this figurine is made of plastic.

The shadows, the colors, the shine from the plastic…it’s so realistic.

Monty and “Earthly Delights” sit happily in my home now in my own little Allan Innman gallery.


The little piece on the right there is actually an invitation AI sent to me for Allan’s show since I couldn’t make it. He had a really important show in a gallery to showcase the Back in the Day pieces. That little invitation card is of an actual painting he did of Teddy Ruxbin. If you want to see the real piece, go here and you can see for yourself how incredibly life-like the painting truly is.


The mini Allan Innman gallery will travel with me every where and I continue to look through his site because I plan to buy another piece some time soon. There is one piece I absolutely LOVE and want to own (he knows which one I’m talking about), but I’ve been slowly but surely saving up the funds to afford it. That piece will be mine, Allan!

Please don’t think that he’s the only artistic friend whose work I love. I love all my artistic friends and can’t thank them enough for sharing their work with me and allowing me to showcase their creativity in my own home.

I’m so lucky to have the friends I have. They inspire me and impress each and every day.

Check out more of Allan’s work at his website! www.allaninnman.com – it’s fantastic!