A few years ago Leif Barsness and I were fellow teachers and travelers in the halls of the mighty Apollo High School, roaming around looking for the hidden, illegal coffee makers that were rumored to be somewhere on campus.  I retired, leaving Leif to search on his own, while I lived in the comfort of knowing where the coffee was at all times.

A couple of years pass and I have the good fortune of running into Leif and his lovely wife, Anne, at a wedding that I was photographing.  Leif gets to see me in my full reincarnation of Tim the Photographer as I worked at Jason and Katie’s wedding.   That was the springboard for us getting together and doing the Barsness family session.

Of course the main goal of the family session is to capture that one great group shot that gets hung on the wall and put in the classroom.  With little kids that can be a bit tricky because as soon as the tableau is set, something will catch a little one’s eye and I take a great shot of three faces and the back of one head. But i know if I take enough shots I will get at least one image that will make for good wall art.

Personally I think the better images come from the candid shots and the shots of one parent and one child together.  Candid shots of any subject always capture the true emotionality of the moment.  The smiles are not the typical “say cheese” smiles.  The candid expressions are the true expressions, the expressions of the soul.  As for the one parent and child, I believe those great results come from the intimacy of the situation.  The comfort of the child knowing that they are with their mom or with their dad makes for a more natural, candid image.  These are the images I really enjoy taking at all my sessions.

I am happy to share today some of my favorite images from the Barsness session. During that time I got to catch up with Leif’s life at Apollo.  I believe he is now running an underground shadow government at Apollo and is controlling everything behind the scenes.  I also got to talk to Anne and get to know her much better.  Anne is one more example of how all of my friends have married someone above their pay grade.  She is a delightful young lady and mother.  Of course kids are kids and always fun to interact with.  Langston and Avery were great.

The hardest part about this shoot is this blog post.  Leif is an English teacher.  I sincerely hope there aren’t too many red check marks on this post.

Some of my favorites from the Barsness session.


Of course I must start a family session with the family portrait.  Love that Avery is looking at Langston.


Getting ready.

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We did have someone try to “goose” their way into out session.  Fun times at the park!

Thanks to Leif and Anne for allowing me share an hour with their  family, capture these images, and share some fun times with Langston and Avery.



fly away…high away…bye bye.” As I was editing my photographs these lyrics from Elton John’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” kept running through my head. These photographs were taken last week when I went on a little photo safari with a photo buddy of mine, Vonn, (see more about Vonn here)  to the Butterfly Wonderland located in Scottsdale. Two of her clients highly recommended the place to her. So (cueing up the safari music here) Vonn and I met up at the headwaters of the Amazon Rainforest located right here in Scottsdale, AZ, off the 101 freeway.
2013-08-14_0002.jpgI tried out my inexpensive screw on macro lenses for the above two shots.  The first shot is with a +4, the second one is with all three lenses screwed on for a +7 magnification.

Throughout the Butterfly Room there are several of these yellow posts which were covered with butterflies. Vonn suggested that they are drawn to the yellow. When she said that I remembered my football coaching days during the hot, humid nights in August. Those of us that wore yellow coaching shorts were swarmed by mosquitoes. The next day we all wore navy blue.
“When a small child, I thought that success spelled happiness. I was wrong, happiness is like a butterfly which appears and delights us for one brief moment, but soon flits away.”  Anna Pavlova
2013-08-14_0007.jpg“I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.” Zhuanga

The butterflies are definitely not shy about landing on anyone.  In fact, as you leave, you go through an airlock to make sure none of the butterflies are catching a free ride with you out of the room.

At the moment I walked into the room, 2 or 3 of them landed on me. A little bit later, just as I was ready to push the shutter button to take a picture, one butterfly landed right on my trigger finger and lingered a bit. I am going to say right here and right now for all to know…that was way too cool!

I will be returning again to this marvelous place again, to spend a bit more time with the butterflies of the Rainforest. And this time, I will be the guy in all yellow.

And not to limit myself to just Elton, this song as well swirled its’ way in and out of my mind.  Sort of like, dueling butterflies.

“So butterfly, here is a song and it’s sealed with a kiss and a thank you miss.”

Lyrics from “Butterfly Lady” by Crazy Town.

The two quotations used in this post were found at Brainy Quote