Do you love to watch the clouds?

clouds in motion, Lake Takepo, New Zealand, Brian Tausend and Me Ra Koh

If yes, we want to make sure you didn’t miss this!  Babble had web issues when we posted this, so if you didn’t see the post there, watch 1080 photos in 45 seconds of clouds in motion.  Make sure your volume is on!  Triple Scoop Music helped us match the PERFECT song for this video!


The time lapse is a combination of three different locations we explored in our campervan during our three weeks of filming in New Zealand.  The locations are Lake Tekapo, River Valley Ranch in Taihape, and Milford Sound.  The credit goes solely to Brian, a true lover of clouds in motion, because he gets up at 3am to beat the sunrise for some these time lapse videos!  I love clouds too, but I tend to like sleep more.  Yet, I LOVE time lapses!  (We make a great time, don’t you think?!  :))

Time Lapse Photo Tip: asdas

Camera Body: SONY a99 Full-Frame DSLR

Lenses: SONY 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye, 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss, 70-400 mm f/4-5.6 G

See Time Lapse of the Sunrise in Egypt shot with SONY Action Cam

We are The Adventure Family! We’ve put our sweet home on the market, our belongings in storage, and left the familiar behind to build a dream: a family travel show that takes you abroad and off the beaten path! Follow our journey!

(posts in chronological order)

Dream Linking: Time Share Our Next Chapter of Adventure

My Family’s Dream is Finally Coming True, But I’m Still Grieving for Our Old Life

One Way Tickets to New Zealand: Determined to Move Mountains!

The SHORTEST Kickstarter Campaign that Helped Us Launch Our Dream (with video)

17 Reasons to Campervan New Zealand with the Family

15 Must Do Family Activities in New Zealand

When a Boy Turns Ten: Birthday Photo Essay to Blaze

Overcoming Your Greatest Challenge in Dream Building

When Following Your Dreams Means Letting Go of Your Back-Up Plans

Favorite Family Portrait with Important Photo Tip

See Extra Sneak Peaks on Instagram! Click @merakoh and see #AdventureFamily!

 

 

This has to be one of my all time favorite family portraits!  The Adventure Family riding a bamboo raft into the deep jungles of Thailand!  LOVE IT!

favorite family portrait

Photo Tip: For an engaging, favorite family portrait you want to not only stagger each family member so we can see everyone, but you also want to have each person do something different with their hands.   If the family isn’t going to look at the camera and be purposefully facing another direction, this is especially important for story telling.  Hands communicate so much and can accentuate your story even more!  Notice how Blaze is pointing, I’m blocking the sun from my eyes, Pascaline is simple in her stance, and dad is holding a stick and hand on hip.  Even though Pascaline is doing a simple stance it works because the rest of us are doing something different with our hands.  I’d love to say this photo naturally happened, but nope!  I set it up!  If I didn’t set it up, Blaze would have been slouching, Pascaline may have been biting her nails, and I’m not even going to say what Brian would have been doing! :)

Camera Settings:  ISO 250, Aperture was f/9 (You want a higher f-stop if you want family members in the background in focus too.  If we used a low f-stop like f/2.8 or f/3.5, we would have risked Blaze and I being to blurred versus all of us in tact.)  Shutter Speed was 1/160th of a sec.

Camera Body: SONY a7R   The a7R is one of SONY’s new, innovative camera bodies, and I’m loving how rich the photos are!  Look at the sky.  See all the detail in cloud texture and colors?  It’s easy to blow the sky out when it’s noon and the sun is overpowering.  But instead of anything being blown out, there is depth.  More photo examples to come!

Lens: SONY 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss My all time favorite, work-horse lens!

Do you have a family portrait you’d like to share with me?  If so, I’d love to see!  Post it on my Facebook page today, and I’ll comment on them when I wake (since you and I are on different time zones :))

xo,

m

We are The Adventure Family! We’ve put our sweet home on the market, our belongings in storage, and left the familiar behind to build a dream: a family travel show that takes you abroad and off the beaten path! Follow our journey!

(posts in chronological order)

Dream Linking: Time Share Our Next Chapter of Adventure

My Family’s Dream is Finally Coming True, But I’m Still Grieving for Our Old Life

One Way Tickets to New Zealand: Determined to Move Mountains!

The SHORTEST Kickstarter Campaign that Helped Us Launch Our Dream (with video)

17 Reasons to Campervan New Zealand with the Family

15 Must Do Family Activities in New Zealand

When a Boy Turns Ten: Birthday Photo Essay to Blaze

Overcoming Your Greatest Challenge in Dream Building

When Following Your Dreams Means Letting Go of Your Back-Up Plans

See Extra Sneak Peaks on Instagram! Click @merakoh and see #AdventureFamily!

Overcoming your greatest challenge is essential to dream building.  But what is the greatest challenge?  To build your vision is to engage in a process of many steps.  Are there steps that are harder than others?  Absolutely.  It’s a long one today but can you expect less after spending two weeks in the deep jungle of Thailand?

dream building Family Travel Show, Thailand, Me Ra Koh

Dream building can feel ominous like an approaching storm.  (shot with SONY a7r)

Dream building is a process filled with unending challenges.  At times, it can feel ominous like an approaching storm.

The process begins like new life in a mother’s womb and once the baby is born a whole new season of challenges begin.  There is great reward weaved throughout the whole experience, but most new parents look at you with sheer exhaustion in their eyes and freely admit to having never been so overwhelmed. With dream building (or dream birthing), Brian and I have come face to face with possibly the greatest challenge so far.

To stick with the parent/child analogy, the greatest challenge is not what you would think.  It’s not becoming pregnant with a dream.  It isn’t the hard work of bringing that dream into the world.  It’s the moment a parent listens to the dark voice that says someone else is more qualified to raise their child.  At first glance, you may read that sentence and think you’ve never thought something so horrible.  But I encourage you to take some time to reflect on this because it will make ALL the difference in your own dream building.

Here are some of the ways that dark voice creeps in.  How many times have you watched another mother on a playground interact magically with their kids and then put yourself down because y0u don’t have her same kind of energy or charisma with your own child?  How many times have you compared the home, car, or vacations of your family with a family that seems to have so much more?  Have you ever felt like their children were better off than yours?  How many hours have you spent on Pinterest looking at bedroom designs, kitchen remodels, beautiful meals to cook, and walked away feeling like you were less significant, less organized, less talented than all the people who created those beautiful worlds?  How many nights have you spent surfing the web, looking at dozens of photography websites, only to go to bed with a sinking feeling that your photography dream is better executed by someone more qualified.

Do any of those scenarios ring a bell with your spirit?

You may not have realized that you were coming face to face with the overcoming your greatest challenge in dream building.  It is the single moment that the dream parent believes that someone else is more qualified to raise their dream child, and thus, they abandon their dream.  They may not abandon it physically, but emotionally or spiritually they have left.

Abandoning your dream is the greatest challenge for a number of reasons.  We can do it in such a way that makes ourselves look good to others (i.e. by being a distorted martyr who confesses that our own desires and vision for the dream must die for the dream to live).  We can also abandon our dream without anyone really noticing?  (i.e. Our friend says “Are you still doing photography?”  You answer “No, it was just a fun hobby that I was playing with.”  When inside you carried ocean sized visions of what you dreamed could happen with your passion for photography.  But since you never proclaimed it, chose to risk, kept at it, no one thinks twice about you abandoning it.)  Or we carry the dream all the way through the pregnancy season, even birth it, but then feel as if we are being childish or selfish to not hand it off to someone with more years of experience and qualifications (because if we really cared for the dream wouldn’t we find more qualified hands to shape it?)

Is any of this resonating with anyone?

We were filming in the Thailand jungle, and Brian was feeling a growing sense of angst.  On the outside, everything with our filming was going smooth.  But his spirit didn’t feel right.  He kept it to himself for as long as he could, and then one day he had to let it all out.  With his permission, I want share what he went through because we both feel like it will show you that you are not alone.

Brian felt like our dream was a ship that had set sail, but for some reason he was left standing at the pier. He was beginning to feel insignificant to the process.  And he felt super vulnerable for even expressing that much because he wasn’t looking to be stroked or built up, he just knew his dream was slipping away from him.

We talked about how our creative process had evolved since we started building Adventure Family.  While still in the America, Brian had spent almost a year overseeing pre production for us to leave.  He worked endlessly on film permits, visas, filming schedules, and budgets while I continued to pitch the show’s concept.  Brian loves the background work, but he is also one of the most creative people I know.  He sees the world in a light that makes my spirit exhale.

Me Ra Koh Family Photography in Thailand

Captured by the clouds ahead, Brian inspires Pascaline to get her NEX6 out too!

Brian Tausend Landscape Photoraphy, Thailand

This is what he saw.  Doesn’t it make you want to exhale?  Shot with SONY a99 DSLR and 16-35mm lens.

What makes his spirit come alive most is filming and directing.  But when we left for New Zealand, we had two cameraman with us, and our family was super overwhelmed with having left everything familiar.  We needed Brian, as husband and dad, more than anything else.  The filming was covered by the two cameraman, and when I was hosting someone had to keep an eye on the kids.  Without us knowing it, we created a rhythm of Brian being in the background with the kids, while mom talked on camera.

When we got to Thailand, we went down to one cameraman.  But we also had key friends come alongside us to help with the kids and logistics.  There was room for Brian to do more directing and filming, but from the outside it looked as if it wasn’t needed.  He wasn’t sure if his desire to do more filming and directing was disruptive to our existing flow, even selfish.  This was the decisive moment where he had to believe he was worth listening too and worth disrupting the flow.  This is overcoming your greatest challenge.

I took what Brian shared and sat on it for the rest of the night.  One of my pain places can be a fear that I’m not doing a good enough job.  I had to sort through all those voices because Brian wasn’t criticizing the job I was doing.  It actually had nothing to do with me.  It had everything to do with the one who had birthed the dream.

The next morning I got up and started writing.  Brian has been the visionary for Adventure Family from day one.  For almost twenty years, I have often been the one who had a vision, and then Brian helped me birth it.  But Adventure Family, this was and is all Brian.  Adventure Family is much bolder than anything I have allowed myself to dream.  But two years ago, I could feel God beginning to gently and slowly cut my securities with the familiar so I could step into the unknown with Brian in a way we had never done.  As I wrote, I realized that if anyone knows what this dream needs, it’s Brian.  He “gets it” on an unintuitive level that a parent knows what their child needs.  If something is off in his spirit, we need to pause.  Otherwise what is the dream building unto?  If the dream finds success but the family doesn’t feel in sync, is there really success in the end?

Brian and I sat down with our cameraman and told him that we were going to try shifting things.  This creative process was an experiment.  He would film in partnership with Brian, and they would take advantage of their different filming strengths.  We were nervous to bring this up because our cameraman had been doing incredible work.  But to our relief, he was welcome to sharing the load and soon became inspired by the content Brian was capturing.

We also shared our process with the kids.  To our surprise again, they spoke up in wanting to play more of an active role in hosting.  I distinctly remember Pascaline saying “When did we decide only mom would host?  Isn’t this Adventure FAMILY?”  (big smile)  Brian and I had just assumed not to put pressure on the kids to talk into the camera.  Little did we know they were wanting to try it and had a lot to say!  That is why this photo means so much to me.  It took a lot of courage for Brian to risk disrupting our family’s rhythm with filming, but his risk opened up voice for the kids!

Filming floating bamboo huts in Thailand, Me Ra Koh

This gave way for Brian saying that he wanted to get better at being in front of the camera.  He and our cameraman went to work on creative ways to show him as dad filming but then jumping into the action too.

dream building, Filming Family Travel Show in Thailand, Me Ra Koh

No one brings out our energy for the camera like dad!  Brian in his element!  To capture rich tones around us, there are times he purposely films with SONY a7r for Adventure Family!

Instead of everyone feeling disheartened, we ALL felt invigorated!  We had renewed creativity!  We started collaborating with our cameraman and the kids like never before.  Without being conscious of it, we could see how it had been easy to default to me being on camera and everyone else in b-roll.  That is what we had always done before.  And yet, that wasn’t Brian’s vision for Adventure Family.  What is easiest or makes the most sense isn’t always the healthiest diet for building a strong dream.

The day Brian came to me with all his angst was over two weeks ago.  Since then we have created, collaborated, and produced content as a family that is more magical than I could have ever imagined.  The New Zealand footage is still awesome and fun, but as a family, we are growing with every risk we take.  Overcoming your greatest challenge has a lot to do with you believing you are worth the dreams you carry.  You are worthy of those dreams.  And you are worthy of not only birthing but parenting them.  The key is often speaking up when something feels off.

We may not even have words for it, but if we don’t speak up for our dream, push the pause button, reassess what doesn’t feel right, who will?

If we don’t champion our dream, how can we expect others too?

If we abandon our dream, how can we expect others to see it’s value?

xo,

m

p.s. This post is in the Amazing Mom category on the home page, because it’s the closest thing to the category it deserves “Amazing Dad”.

We are The Adventure Family! We’ve put our sweet home on the market, our belongings in storage, and left the familiar behind to build a dream: a family travel show that takes you abroad and off the beaten path! Follow our journey!

(posts in chronological order)

Dream Linking: Time Share Our Next Chapter of Adventure

My Family’s Dream is Finally Coming True, But I’m Still Grieving for Our Old Life

One Way Tickets to New Zealand: Determined to Move Mountains!

The SHORTEST Kickstarter Campaign that Helped Us Launch Our Dream (with video)

17 Reasons to Campervan New Zealand with the Family

15 Must Do Family Activities in New Zealand

When a Boy Turns Ten: Birthday Photo Essay to Blaze

See Extra Sneak Peaks on Instagram! Click @merakoh and see #AdventureFamily!

Neyssa here sharing the secrets for photographing toddlers at the playground. With summer approaching and nicer days ahead, the playground is regular adventure for the kids and I. It’s the perfect escape from the house and it wears down the kids so they go to bed at a regular time. What I truly love about adventures at the playground is that they are just that for my kids – adventures. I see the little human beings they are becoming as they venture out into the “world.” You can see them interact (or not) with the other kids, trying something new, pretending to be pirates or race car drivers,. But mostly, you see them just being kids.

1. Look for Shapes and Textures.

The playground is full of great shapes and textures to help toddlers explore and learn. However, I see the shapes and textures as helping me take better photos! You can use the textures to add interest to your photo, or use the shapes to frame your image, like I’ve done here. Milo was climbing the ladder and I loved how I could get above him and use the octagon to pull focus even more on him. Notice the bars acting as leading lines too?!  (Bonus Tip: Be sure to enlist a helper.  Having another adult spot your toddler is a must if they are as active as mine!)

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground

2. Photograph when the Sun is Low (BEFORE & AFTER). My favorite time to go to the park is after dinner. My family eats early so that when we go to the park most people are eating dinner which means we have the playground to ourselves. Most importantly, however, is that the sun is lower in the sky. I think this is the most important of all of the secrets. When the sun is high, you get harsh shadows and awful color casts on your kids. Notice the first photo below. Although Sawyer is obviously adorable as she is about to go down the slide, the lighting is poor. Her skin looks red from the sunlight bouncing off of the slide, and she has unflattering shadows. Now notice the light in the next photo. The sun is low and only skims the tops of their heads. The faces are more evenly lit and the harsh color casts are gone. By photographing when the sun is low, I am able to capture moments without worrying about harsh shadows or awful color casts!

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground   8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground

3. Resist Deleting as You Go. Let’s be honest, not every image you take is going to be a keeper. I know that I miss shots as my toddlers are quick and unpredictable. However, I don’t delete in camera. The tiny screen on the back of your camera does not give you the full picture. You may be surprised by how much you love an image you were going to delete. When I saw this image on the back of my camera I was disappointed on the “miss.” I knew the image was out of focus. But when I loaded it I squealed with delight! I love this image!! Sure, Sawyer isn’t in sharp focus, but this is who she is to me – a busy, slightly blurry, always moving toddler. Keep in mind that if an image isn’t as good as you would’ve liked, you can also use it to become a better photographer. What is it about the photo that you don’t like? Take note of your settings and make adjustments next time.

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground

 4. Increase Your Shutter Speed. Toddlers are fast. It always amazes me how adding a playground makes them even faster! If you want to freeze their action, increase your shutter speed! When choosing my settings I always make sure that I’m allowing my shutter speed to be 300 or higher. Any slower and I risk motion blur or missing the action all together!

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground 

5. Play with the Sunlight.  My favorite part about photographing in the evening is the ability to play with the amount of sunlight I allow into my lens. Try filling the frame while still capturing a moment. You’ll be surprised by how the extra light adds drama and impact to your image. 

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground

6. Capture the Funny Things They Do (even if they are not supposed to be doing it).  I love how a playground is so much more than a ladder and slide to kids. It becomes a place of their own, a place where they make the rules. Honestly, I’m okay with giving them a little leeway here. (Pick your battles, right?!). When other kids are around, the rule is that you go down the slide and up the stairs. Yet there is something about that slide that every kid wants to climb up the slide. Sawyer is no exception. Even though I told her that we go down the slide, she vigorously shook her head no and started climbing up the slide (notice she is trying to walk straight up it without holding on). I decided to go with the flow, let it slide – pardon the pun – and capture her defiance.

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground 

7. Capture the Conflict. The playground is a place of obstacles, especially for toddlers. There is always something a little too big for my kids, yet they want to try it. By capturing the conflict, you’re capturing the struggle and the determination as they try to tackle something new.  Again, it helps to have enlisted a helper so someone is there for support and safety. Often times, capturing conflict can lead to capturing triumphs. Milo wanted to try going down this pole. He was so excited, yet hesitant. Though not this time, there will be a time when Milo can go down the fireman’s pole on his own. And I can show him how far he’s come.

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground

As on any adventure, knowing how to use my camera is the most important tip I can recommend. With the speed of toddlers, there isn’t time to be messing with settings. And shooting by shooting on auto you’re leaving fate of your image in your camera’s hands. Join me at my May 31st Growing CONFIDENCE Workshop (its the last one until next fall!), and learn how to use your camera and capture your own family adventures.

Cheers to Toddler Craziness!

Neyssa

Bio_Photo_MRK_Neyssa_Lee_Photography-1 Neyssa Lee is a family and infant photographer based in Washington State, passionate about capturing the details of each child’s life to tell their story. She is known for the way she works with children and families to capture their true personalities. She also loves empowering moms with their cameras as a certified Me Ra Koh CONFIDENCE Teacher.

Knowing how to use your camera will make capturing everyday moments and adventures with your family that much easier. Instead of thinking about the settings of your camera, you can focus on what is unfolding in front of you. Follow Neyssa’s blog for more fun photo tips and be the first to hear of her next workshop in Snoqualmie, WA!

 

Did Mother’s Day sneak up on you?  Not to late!  Here are 5 Last Minute Gifts for Photo Loving Moms!

photos of moms all over the world, Me Ra Koh

(sneak peak image from a photo shoot of one of the most beautiful moms in all of Thailand)

After all, is there anything comparable to a mama’s love?

(fyi, they 5 gifts appear in order of urgency, depending on how “last minute” you are when you read this!  We’ve got you covered!)

1. Refuse to Say Cheese and Beyond the Green Box, download TODAY!

Instructional Photography DVD series, Me Ra Koh

If you are reading this the morning of Mother’s Day, and you know you are in deep trouble, you can still win!  Purchase our downloadable, award winning DVDs, Refuse to Say Cheese and Beyond the Green Box.  Or save money when you purchase the complete set!  She’ll be inspired before nightfall, and you will remain her hero!

2. Gift of Confidence, Photography Workshop for Women (see below for a list of all our May/June workshops!)

Cathy Mores Photography workshops for womenIf you want to BLOW HER SOCKS OFF, sign her up for a CONFIDENCE Workshop!  Our teachers are not only amazing photographers but trained, passionate teachers.  Their photo tips and beautiful photography has been published in magazines, appeared on TV and more!  See why 200 women have come through our teachers’ workshops in only the first 18 months!

This great, behind-the-scenes photo was taken by Cathy Mores, our KS teacher.  See below for a list of all our teachers and upcoming May/June Workshops!

3.  Your Baby in Pictures

Your Baby in Pictures by Me Ra Koh

If you know a mom who is in the throws of her baby’s first year, check out my first book in the series, Your Baby in Pictures.  See why 80 readers have given it a 5 star review on Amazon!  And if you have Amazon Prime, your book will be to you within a couple days!

 

 

 

 

4. Your Child in Pictures

Your child in pictures by Me Ra Koh

If you know a mom who has a child between one and ten years old, Your Child in Pictures, is just for her!  This is my latest book in the series, and it already has forty star reviews!  Get her the set of both books, and who knows how many points you’ll earn with her!
5. Breakthrough Photo Critique Session with Me Ra

Photo Critiques with Me Ra Koh

Do you know a mom who loves taking photos but is incredibly critical of what she shoots?  She is her worst critic, picking apart every photo.  If yes, give her the gift of a Breakthrough Photo Critique Session with me!  I take three critiques a month, and I would love the honor of helping her find breakthrough in her creativity, in defeating the self critic, and more!  We can start her photo critique when I’m back from the jungle and able to get online again!  Plan on me contacting her around May 20th!  Keep reading for all the details;

Each month, Me Ra gives a limited number of photo critique sessions.  These are private, one-on-one sessions that empower you to breakthrough the creative and technical barriers your photography can’t seem to get past.

Your critique session will include feedback in four different categories:

1. Counsel on Technical Skills, Camera Settings and Specific Troubleshooting
2. Direction for Improvement on Capturing Magical Lighting
3. Feedback on Creative Composition
4. Action Steps for Stronger Story Telling

All you have to do is submit 3-5 photos to Me Ra Koh. Include any comments or questions with your photos. Me Ra will then give you a full critique that is either written or audio/video, covering the four categories above.

Private critique sessions with Me Ra are $300.
To learn more about the critique sessions her teachers offer at $150-$250, click here.  Each teacher offering critiques has completed forty hours of specified Critique Training with Me Ra.

What Me Ra’s Critique Students say:

I never knew how people got pictures like this but I have always loved the drama. I was excited to give this picture a try and saw an opportunity in my daughter’s room when she was sneaking a peek at the neighbor boys when she was supposed to be napping. I am really loving this class! Can you tell?!  Sorry I submitted 5 photos but they are all using things that I have learned, and I was excited to share!   -Emily

Wow! Thank you so much for all the wonderful information. I am blown away! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now I just need to read it 100 more times!! These are exactly the things I think I had in my head but no idea how to get them out. -Kerri

This has been amazing and refreshingly positive!   Jennelle

My vision for this picture was the unbreakable bond the sisters have and how the older is always protecting her younger sister. The shadows really added so much depth to the story. Thank you for opening my eyes to using shadows!   -Colleen

UPCOMING MAY/JUNE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS FOR WOMEN!

GROWING CONFIDENCE (Full Day Workshop)

May 10th with Nicole in Bismark, North Dakota

May 17th with Jill Ann in Dallas, Texas

May 17th with Allison in Leesburg, Virginia

May 17th with Nikki in Seattle, WA

May 24th with Janna in Dallas, Texas

May 31st with Laura in Christiansburg, Virginia

May 31st with Amy in Las Vegas, Nevada

May 31st with Neyssa on Eastside of Seattle, Washington

May 31st with Janna in Dallas, Texas

June 14th with Cathy in Topeka, Kansas

June 21st with Tina in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

June 21st with Summie in Edmond, Oklahoma

BUDDING CONFIDENCE (Half Day Workshop)

June 1st with Neyssa on Eastside of Seattle, Washington

June 21st with Cathy in Topeka, Kansas

Confidence with Your Camera Gives a Lifetime of Reward!

xo,

m

Adventure Family is packed up and headed deep into Thailand jungle to film over a dozen unforgettable episodes!    We’ve been warming the kids back up to the camera with some fun filming. I love these two shots of Blaze and our camera man coordinating their jump for filming.

Headed Deep into Thailand Jungle Headed Deep into Thailand Jungle

But today we put our heads down to film for ten straight days.  It starts with a three hour drive to the north, a trek through a mangrove forest, and then a long tail boat to a remote fishing village.  From there we go to a national park where you sleep on floating bamboo huts because wild herds of elephants and panthers come down to the lake to drink at night.  (Safer to be on water when all that is going down at night.)

We will be dark for the next ten days.  No internet access for how deep we are going.  But we would LOVE your good thoughts and prayers while we are filming.  There are so many stars that need to align to film a solid episode.  Staying in good health, not getting bit by any creepy crawlers, and filming in the intense heat is all on my prayer list.

Half of the places we are going to are destinations that we’ve trekked to before.  They are places we’ve always dreamed of sharing with you.  WE ARE CRAZY EXCITED THAT WE FINALLY GET TO BRING YOU ALONG!  IT WILL BE EPIC!

Thank you for your constant love, prayers and support!

We will see you on the other side!

xo,

mama

More Posts on The Adventure Family…Follow our journey!

(posts in chronological order)

Dream Linking: Time Share Our Next Chapter of Adventure

My Family’s Dream is Finally Coming True, But I’m Still Grieving for Our Old Life

One Way Tickets to New Zealand: Determined to Move Mountains!

The SHORTEST Kickstarter Campaign that Helped Us Launch Our Dream (with video)

17 Reasons to Campervan New Zealand as a Family!

For the Mamas!

Before and After Photo Results to Inspire!

 

Neyssa here with another post on Adventures with Toddlers.  This week it’s all about tea party photo tips!

As I was brainstorming more ideas for adventures with toddlers, I got to thinking. Getting out of the house is a BIG adventure, but we have lots of adventures around home too. Let’s face it, getting two kids fed and dressed in the morning is an adventure all in itself! With the relentless rain, getting outside was not an option. So I set up a tea party for the kids.

Typically, their tea set is downstairs by their play kitchen. However, there isn’t the best lighting by the play kitchen, nor is there a table for them to set up at.

Be Intentional with Your Set Up.

I cleared off their table upstairs that is usually used for crafts and reading. I made sure the table was by a nice window to provide me with ample natural light for our little tea party. Once I was set up, I got my camera settings ready and then called the kids over. By moving the tea set to another location, I not only have set myself up for photo success, I have helped spark their interest in a toy they’ve had for a while.

tea party photo tips, photographing adventures with toddlers

Once the kids were interested in what I had set up, I watched them as they played and started capturing moments. I did keep in mind my tips from my previous post on photographing adventures with toddlers, especially pretending I was shooting a roll of film. I didn’t want to end up with 200 tea party photos! However, once I started shooting, I realized I needed to remove distractions within my photo.

Remove Distractions

Typically, I remove distractions before I start shooting by picking up the area I’m going to photograph. However, upon capturing this adorable image of Milo sipping tea, I realized his shirt was a distraction! The words SODOR took away from the moment. So I paused and turned his shirt backwards (since he loves this shirt and wasn’t about to let me remove it all together).  Bonus Tip: If you’re going through images and find a shirt or something in the background to be too distracting, often changing the image black and white will tone down the distraction. Yet, I find it is always better to remove distractions ahead of time!

tea party photo tips, photographing adventures with toddlers

Sawyer had other ideas of what a tea party should look like. Instead of properly pouring the tea and sipping from her cup, she decided to pour things into the tea pitcher. The perfectionist in me wanted to get her to do it right. Instead I decided to embrace the fact that she’s a toddler going to do it her way.

Embrace Your Child’s Stage

Someday, Sawyer will likely pour the tea and sip from her teacup just like her big brother. However, right now she wants to pour the sugar into the tea pitcher. By embracing her stage and photographing it, I’m capturing the stage she is in right now – an independent toddler who wants to do things her way.

tea party photo tips, photographing adventures with toddlers

Milo worked so hard at mixing his tea, adding in the sugar, pouring the water, and mixing again, all before drinking it. I think he has watched me make tea several times a day this winter, so I can’t blame him for his persistence in creating the perfect cup of tea. The look on his face as he worked so hard was so priceless.

Capture the Conflict

Conflict doesn’t mean to capture the moments your kids are fighting over who gets to pour the tea first. Instead, the conflict here is Milo’s determination to make the perfect cup of tea. I want him to see when he’s older how he’s always been detail oriented and how he was so dedicated to little things, even making a pretend cup of tea.

tea party photo tips, photographing adventures with toddlers

Part way through our tea party, Sawyer thought it would be more fun to sit on the tea party then at the table. So, embracing her stage (as we must do daily…), I laid on the floor to shoot up at her.

Try Different Angles

By trying a different angle, I was able to capture the craziness of her sitting on the table, with Milo looking a little perturbed in the background. The impact of the bright window light behind her, while shooting up at her adds to the drama of the image, as opposed to shooting at her level.

tea party photo tips, photographing adventures with toddlers

While Milo was pouring his second cup of tea, I noticed how he had the spoon and tea bag laid out and how he held onto his cup, just so, ensuring he didn’t spill.

Focus on Their Hands

To capture the details of the tea set and how Milo laid everything out as he poured his water, I got in close and focused on his hands. I don’t need Milo’s face to be in the image for me to know it was him. The story of this image is his little hands and how he poured his tea!

tea party photo tips, photographing adventures with toddlers

I don’t know who taught him this, but Milo thought that you need a cupcake to end your tea party. I wasn’t going to turn down a cupcake, and we happened to have one in the fridge, so we finished our tea party with a cupcake. However, Sawyer though our tea party was missing guests.

Invite Friends. Even Stuffed Ones!

Sawyer grabbed her Minnie and Milo’s Eeyore and they had tea too! I love that these friends were able to join our tea party as they are both important to the kids. Once Milo licked the frosting off his cupcake he offered the rest to Eeyore, who woefully declined.

tea party photo tips, photographing adventures with toddlers

Photographing indoor adventures with toddlers can be just as much fun as bigger adventures out of the home. They help tell the story of your toddlers, who they are right now. I’m sure many more tea parties are in my future, but I have photographed what a tea party looks like for my kids at this stage in their life. For this mom, that’s priceless.

Now it’s your turn. Give these tips a try and share it on my Facebook page! I would love to see how you put these tea party photo tips into action!

I’ve got only TWO SPOTS left in my upcoming Growing Confidence Workshop!  If you want to learn how to capture beautiful window light when you are stuck indoors, come join me on May 31st!

Cheers to Toddler Craziness!

Neyssa

Bio_Photo_MRK_Neyssa_Lee_Photography-1Neyssa Lee is a family and infant photographer based in Washington State, passionate about capturing the details of each child’s life to tell their story. She is known for the way she works with children and families to capture their true personalities. She also loves empowering moms with their cameras as a certified Me Ra Koh CONFIDENCE Teacher.

Knowing how to use your camera will make capturing everyday moments and adventures with your family that much easier. Instead of thinking about the settings of your camera, you can focus on what is unfolding in front of you. Join Neyssa in May for the Budding Confidence Workshop or the Growing Confidence Workshop in Snoqualmie, WA.

 

When a boy turns ten, his whole world transforms.

For starters, his physical body seems to change overnight.  His chubby arms, legs, and squeezable cheeks all slimmed down when I wasn’t looking.  And now I see a boy with a vision to become a man, lanky in shape, and growing so fast I can hardly keep him in clothes that fit!

When a boy turns ten, Me Ra Koh Photography, SONY Artisan of Imagery

But when he turns and looks at me…he still has that golden smile that melts my heart.

When a boy turns ten, Me Ra Koh Photography, Sony Artisan of Imagery

Pull ups and push ups are on the agenda every morning.  “No more sleeping in,” he says.  “It’s time to build some muscles.  Time to look fierce and show people I mean business!”

When a boy turns ten, Me Ra Koh Photography, SONY Artisan of Imagery

He really is doing the push ups and pull ups, but his reasoning is more about making my mom laugh.  He makes me laugh everyday.

But I also see shifts taking place in his heart.

Blaze is unlike anyone else in our family of four.  Brian, Pascaline and I love a BIG adventure.  The more extreme, the better.  Blaze is our homebody.  He loves consistency.  He loves predictability.  He loves being in his own bed, surrounded by all his stuffies, reading a good book.  He loves spending the night at Grammie and Papa’s house.  He loves to help me get the home ready for every holiday and longs for the next time the whole family will come over for a big dinner.  Giving our home up to be the Adventure Family is probably the most challenging on Blaze.  And yet, Blaze is allowing himself to be stretched.  Even though he misses home, he is also looking ahead.

When a boy turns ten, Me Ra Koh Photography, SONY Artisan of Imagery

His willingness to push through what doesn’t come natural…it blows my mind.

When a boy turns ten, he also realizes he is an individual.  He starts to see himself separate from the family and this is both exciting and scary.  Blaze LOVES people.  He loves to feel connected.  Blaze is the guy who suggests we have a group hug when things are stressful.  And if that doesn’t paint the picture, let me just say that Blaze is the only one in our family who still wants to snuggle in 104 degree humidity in Thailand!  Feeling together is one of his core values.  But when a boy turns ten, he can feel more separated than ever.

Blaze_MeRaKoh-6

Traveling as a family, working as a team to build a dream, couldn’t have come at a better time.

Even though I see his heart facing new challenges, I also see his confidence rising.  He not only jumps off boats, he JUMPS OFF BOATS!

When a boy turns ten, Me Ra Koh Photography, SONY Artisan of Imagery

And his sense of humor…WAIT TILL YOU SEE HIM IN THE SHOW!!! Blaze is always the one that makes us all laugh.  I’m excited for him to bring laughter to your homes too!

Who knew that there was so many dynamics involved when a boy turns ten.  I remember being in Thailand when Pascaline turned ten.  I remember the letter I wrote to her.  It was a pivotal turning of the tide for her as well.

But at the end of the day, outside of all the emotional stuff mom is processing, Blaze is would like me to relay that most of all, he is happy to finally be “Double Digits!”  One more muscle shot for the BIRTHDAY BOY!!

When a boy turns ten, Me Ra Koh Photography, SONY Artisan of Imagery

I love you sweet Blaze.  Happy Birthday to the most wonderful son a mama could ever hope for.  You bring joy to my life every day.

xo,

mama

We are The Adventure Family! We’ve put our sweet home on the market, our belongings in storage, and left the familiar behind to build a dream: a family travel show that takes you abroad and off the beaten path! Follow our journey!

(posts in chronological order)

Dream Linking: Time Share Our Next Chapter of Adventure

My Family’s Dream is Finally Coming True, But I’m Still Grieving for Our Old Life

One Way Tickets to New Zealand: Determined to Move Mountains!

The SHORTEST Kickstarter Campaign that Helped Us Launch Our Dream (with video)

17 Reasons to Campervan New Zealand with the Family

15 Must Do Family Activities in New Zealand

For Extra Sneak Peaks Follow @merakoh and #AdventureFamily on Instagram!

For the Mamas!

Before and After Photo Results to Inspire!

Greetings to all my friends with toddlers!  It’s Neyssa, Seattle’s Eastside Confidence Workshop teacher, here with another toddler adventure post.  This time we are photographing toddlers in the library – because that’s obviously the first place you think to go with two rowdy tots!

On a recent trip with the kids, I was reminded of how much I love photographing in the library. Around here, the libraries have these great big windows, perfect for letting in tons of light. Not to mention all the books a kid could ever want for. As busy as the kids are, I just love photographing toddlers in the library.

We arrived a little early and had to wait outside before they opened. The cold didn’t stop the kids as they burned off energy running up and down the sidewalk. I figured my adventure didn’t start once we were in the library, this is a moment to capture and remember for years to come. In order to make the most of my image I couldn’t just shoot down on them.

Get Down to Their Level

On a big sidewalk, my kids can get lost. By getting down to their level and letting them run towards me I’m better able to capture the sheer joy on my son’s face. To add interest to the photo, I used the sidewalk as a leading line right to them!

Camera Settings: ISO 250, Aperture f/2.0, Shutter Speed 1/400

Photographing toddlers in the library

Once inside the library, Milo found the toy bins right away. He had everything out, it was too cute.

Increase Your ISO When Shooting Indoors

Now that we were inside, I increased my ISO to allow .  I wanted to capture him playing with several toys so I shot from more above him rather then straight on. I love how his hands are on the puzzle and his car, as if he can’t decide which toy to play with first.

Camera Settings: ISO 1000 Aperture f/1.8, Shutter Speed 1/160

Photographing toddlers in the library

After 5 whole minutes of playing with cars, it was on to the books for Milo. My husband found a book on construction, which was just perfect for Milo. He loved how the construction vehicles were all different colors. He spent a long time pointing out the “blue roller, and green scoop tractor.”

Use Continuous Shooting Mode

To capture Milo’s mouth moving as he told me the names of the vehicles, I used continuous shooting mode. This allowed me to take several quick shots at once to get the perfect one of his mouth in action (which these days is non-stop)!

Camera Settings: ISO 640, Aperture f/1.8, Shutter Speed 1/200

Photographing toddlers in the library

Sawyer thought it was more fun to play peek-a-boo with her book. She was so cute covering her face and then tearing the book down and squealing with delight as she revealed herself. So much for being quiet in the library. Oh well, at least I got an priceless photo of her front and center without the background taking over.

Select a Low F-Stop to Blur our the Books

Since I wanted Sawyer and her silliness to be the focus of my image, I selected a low f-stop to blur out the books in the background. Once again, I used continuous shooting mode to capture the perfect moment of her with the book over her face. I chose this image over one where she’s “peeked” and is smiling at me because this is so much more telling of her stage as a crazy, busy toddler with a book over her face!

Camera Settings: ISO 640, Aperture f/1.8, Shutter Speed 1/200

Photographing toddlers in the library

Done with reading, Sawyer discovered the bin of puppets. She treated them like her “babies” until daddy showed her what they really could do. A sweet moment I knew I had to photograph, but when they started playing with the puppets, I was at a bad angle.

Experiment with Angles

The lighting was poor and you couldn’t tell where we were. I moved so that I was between the window and Sawyer, experimenting with angles, allowing the light to shine on her. I also angled myself so that you could see the stacks of books behind her, showing us that we were in the library. A few simple shifts in your position can make all the difference in a great, storytelling photo of your adventures.

Photographing toddlers in the library

My favorite thing about photographing toddlers at the library is how books look blurred out in the background. I would love to do a portrait session at the library. How fun would that be?

Photographing toddlers in the library is so much fun. But capturing any adventure with toddlers would prove extra difficult if I was struggling with my camera settings. Take control of photographing the outings with your kids, and gain Confidence with me in my May Growing Confidence Workshop.

Until next time, take the time to capture the small moments that truly tell your family’s story.

Cheers to toddler craziness!

Neyssa

Bio_Photo_MRK_Neyssa_Lee_Photography-1Neyssa Lee is a family and infant photographer based in Washington State, passionate about capturing the details of each child’s life to tell their story. She is known for the way she works with children and families to capture their true personalities. She also loves empowering moms with their cameras as a certified Me Ra Koh CONFIDENCE Teacher.

 

Yes.  I’m a grammie.  And this grammie photographs little ballerinas when they come to my home dressed in tutus!  Wouldn’t you?!

After working as a delivery nurse for over thirty years, I retired and found myself picking up the camera.  I fell in love with the creative voice it gave me.  When I’m not photographing my grandkids, I’m empowering other moms with how to use their camera through my CONFIDENCE Workshops in VA, and I’m also documenting…you guessed it…birth photography!  I’m back in the delivery room with a new gift to give to those I work with. 

Looking for photo inspiration, I leisurely browsed through Me Ra’s new book, Your Child in Pictures.  As soon as I saw the photo recipe “I love dancing” (pg 78), I knew this was the idea to try with my granddaughters who are almost 3 years old and 5 years old.

Grammie Photographs Little Ballerinas, laura swift photography

Grammie Photographs Little Ballerinas, Laura Swift

Calling my daughter-in-law, I asked if the girls could come for a sleep over (because I needed lots of time to get just the right photos).  And then I asked if they could also bring their ballet skirts and sequin princess dresses!   Ha! Ha!  The idea alone made this grandma giddy! 

I recently moved into a new home, so I wasn’t sure which time of day would make the best lighting.  With extra time, I would be prepared for both morning and afternoon window light.

Grammie Photographs Little Ballerinas, laura swift photography

As they changed into their tutus (at 7am!) on a Saturday morning, I moved the coffee table to give them more room on the rug floor, but I forgot to vacuum first!  I couldn’t believe it!

After just a few minutes of twirling to music, the dust started to rise and show up in the sunlight coming from the large window!

Grammie Photographs Little Ballerinas, laura swift photography 

Our wood stove creates more dust than I am used to.  But how could I stop the girls and start vacuuming?  Dancing was in full swing!  I moved lamps and couch pillows and closed the closet doors to eliminate any visual distractions from my beautiful granddaughters.  And after taking a few photos, grandma joined in the dancing too!

To my surprise, my best shots were from lying on the ground!

Grammie Photographs Little Ballerinas, laura swift photography

For those of you who are inspired to this photo recipe, check out Your Child in Pictures.  Me Ra walks you through how to get these results, step-by-step.  

These were my DSLR settings.  My ISO was 1250 to keep their faces bright enough with the window as my back light. My aperture was f/3.2 to give me even more light and a blurry background.  And my shutter speed was  1/200 of a second to freeze the action with all their twirling and laughing.

My photography goal was to highlight their sheer ballet and princess dresses like Me Ra teaches in Your Child in Pictures.  I love the outcome and most important of all, we had the most fun together.

Are there any other grammies out there who love taking photos of their grandkids?  Who have fallen in love with photography unexpectedly?  If yes, I’d love to hear from you today!  What do you like photographing?  It’s both scary and exciting to start learning something new.  But to empower other young moms with capturing their stories, encourage them in motherhood, find my own creative voice…the reward has definitely been worth the risk!

~laura (grammie with a giggle)

Laura Swift Photography, bio headshotLaura Swift is a grammie with a giggle, a retired nurse and is living a second life as a professional birth photographer. She is a certified Me Ra Koh CONFIDENCE teacher holding beginner and intermediate photography workshops for women in Virginia.

On May 31st, you have the opportunity to learn from Laura in her all day, Growing CONFIDENCE Workshop.  Not only does she have a powerful passion for photography, but she is an inspiration to all the CONFIDENCE teachers by going after her dreams–even if you are a grammie!