Monthly Archives: May 2011


where my heart is

05 24 11

Taylor graduated from college and we made the drive south with Aaron’s family to hear her name called.

We had a lot of fun. We stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado and this. is. the hotel of my dreams.

Sometimes I find myself wishing I had a wedding to photograph when I’m at the Del.

And then I have to smack myself to remind me that the opportunity to photograph these people, my family, is the greatest blessing I could ever ask for.

My family will be the first ones to tell you that sometimes it is a PAIN to have a photographer in the family.

We can’t just take a photo. I’m moving them into the good light, double checking the photo after some hapless passerby volunteers to take it and inevitably I’m asking them to do just one more.

Just ask Aaron. His eyes start to roll when I ask if he’ll take a photo of me because he knows that I’m going to make him take a million before I am fully satisfied with the outcome. And I’m always yelling if I spy him messing with the settings after I’ve handed him the camera.

But deep down they love it. I know they do.

On the other hand, I couldn’t stop myself even if I wanted to.

I don’t just take photos to make a living. I take photos because I am literally compelled.

Compelled by the love of the story, of capturing the things I want to remember, of needing proof that the love is there, that the moments were real.

I am so deeply thankful for my family. I want to take photos of them all the time just to remind myself that they are real. That I have their love.

They are the reason I love what I do.

And I won’t stop taking their pictures.


emily scott gem photo

vintage white sundress and floppy hat

crazy me

I’m a Southern California girl and sometimes I miss it dearly.

But home is truly where my family is.



the craft : color + light

05 13 11

A lot of professional photographers seem to be picking up film cameras again.

I think it’s because photographers like Jose Villa and Elizabeth Messina use film in such a beautiful way (I am a huge fan of both of them) and also because the idea of not spending all our work day behind the computer screen sounds infinitely appealing to a lot of us.

Both Jose + Elizabeth seem to have this way of capturing the light and the color in such a delicate and soft way. It’s easy to see from their work how beautiful film can be.

I do love film. I have stacks of 35mm prints that my mom took with her Pentax SP 1000 and they have this nostalgic and amazing feeling about them. They are imperfect and wonderful and alive – they were simply shot in that moment and that’s how they ended. Real.

I’ve been practicing lately – not with any film camera – but with my digital equipment, trying to get my photos to look exactly how I want them to look, right when I take them. Essentially, develop them right there. Not try to work them into something else later on the computer. We can all spot photoshop these days. I want my photography to reflect the moment as it happened.

I am practicing this by setting everything on my camera manually – choosing the exact white balance so that the colors look just like they do to my eye, choosing the right exposure, and cropping just how I want it. No do overs. Shot in JPEG so that the image is set like that and not making those RAW adjustments later to compensate.

It’s been something that is helping me improve the craft of color and light in my photographs.

Things that bring warm, joy and love out of an image. Things that make my heart sing.

The following are photos straight out of my camera – absolutely no editing of color or exposure.

All of the work done right in the moment.

It’s digital with a film heart.

lavender gem photo

ISO 200     f/2     1/1250 shutter speed     50mm     Canon 5D Mark II

white balance 6000 K for cloudy


ISO 200      f/1.4      1/3200 shutter speed     50mm     Canon 5D Mark II

white balance 5200 K for daylight through the window

ISO 200      f/1.2      1/5000 shutter speed      50mm     Canon 5D Mark II

white balance set to 6000 K for cloudy

ISO 200   .   f/2   .   1/2000 shutter speed   .   35mm   .  Canon 5D Mark II

white balance set to daylight 5200 K

pink rose gem photo

ISO 200   .   f/1.2   .   1/200 shutter speed   .   50mm   .  Canon 5D Mark II

white balance set to shade 7000K because the sun was setting

ISO 200   .   f/1.2   .   1/2000 shutter speed   .   50mm   .  Canon 5D Mark II

white balance set to daylight 5200 K

ISO 200      f/2      1/800 shutter speed      50mm     Canon 5D Mark II

white balance set to 5200 K for daylight

ISO 200      f/2      1/800 shutter speed      50mm     Canon 5D Mark II

white balance set to 5200 K for daylight

peach roses


I’d love to hear any questions you have, whether you are a professional or a point-and-shoot moment documenter.

I probably glossed over some photo terms to simplify things but if you need any clarification I’d love to work it out for you.

What do you love about film? Digital? What makes an image for you?



UPDATE 1/14/13 

I wanted to post an update to this since I still regularly get people finding this post online via google 2 years after I wrote it.

What I have found, since writing this post, was that nothing I could do in camera could really compare to the look of film.

You can get close, but nothing can really replace the look of Fuji 400H shot on medium format film. So now, I’m shooting film for real.

I still think you can use these tips I was doing 2 years ago, but I wanted to tell you about 2 things that you should also be thinking about:

Every camera + every lens captures COLOR differently. I still shoot digital from time to time and now I use the 5d mark 3 – and the color is a lot less magenta than the 5d mark 2. So I would suggest trying different cameras + different lenses to see how the color varies.

And maybe you should pick up a film camera. You might just like it even more than digital.


mother’s day

05 09 11

my mom.

This is my mom.

Mary Margaret Frangie.

We lost her when I was just 2 years old. She was hit by a drunk driver on her way to work. She was studying to become a nurse.

Sometimes, Mother’s day is hard.

Mom, I wish you were here today.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop thinking of what it would have been like to really know you.

I think that we would have laughed a lot together.

I think we would have drove each other crazy.

I think you must have been as stubborn as I am.

And full of fight.

But in the pain of losing you, there was an opportunity for love. Love overwhelming.

Know that in losing you, God chose to show me how he could take care of me.

He provided abundantly. Know that.

On this Mother’s day, I am reminded that I owe so much to the other “mother’s” in my life who have shaped me into the woman I am now.

The women that God knew I needed at every step of the way, and graciously provided.

A gift I cherish today.

The women who taught me how to be strong.

The women who showed me when it’s okay to be weak.

The women who modeled their faith for me.

The women who loved me.

The women who have accepted me.

Beautiful women:

You know who you are.

This Mother’s day… I am grateful for you.