dream fulfilled.

Before I launched my website, before I printed business cards, or purchased my domain name, I dragged an old friend and her little cousin out to the Jantzen Beach carousel and took a ton of photos. I’m sure I thought they were good at the time, and hopefully my friend’s aunt  enjoyed them, but I’m also sure I would cringe if I had to look at them again today. Anyway, fast forward six or seven years and I am living a reality that was once just a wild dream: I have a thriving family photography business right here in my beloved home town of Portland, Oregon; I photograph amazing people in various fun and interesting locations every week, and yet, somehow I’ve managed to avoid shooting a family in one of my most favorite places. Over the years I have fantasized about such a photo session, but for whatever reason, I never mustered the energy needed to make it happen. Until this week, just a few days before they shut the thing down, possibly for good
As I approached the carousel, I choked up a bit; I truly felt like I was about to say goodbye to an old friend. Silly, I know, but dang we’ve really loved this place, and I just freaking hate to see it go. Of course I pulled myself together and hopped out of the car with more excitement than sadness. I was meeting  up with some of my favorite, beautiful, fun, SPIRITED, peeps, at one of my most treasured,  colorful, JOYOUS, locations. There was simply no time for melancholy.
I had pictured this session a thousand-and-one times. Okay, so maybe not the part where I have my legs wrapped around a jiggly golden pole while I hang off a fast-moving carousel trying to frame, focus and shoot while not getting injured. And… maybe not the part where I’m lying underneath and between two carousel horses as they go up and down alternatively, each “kicking” me in the head on their way down. Those reasons combined with the challenging light, food court ambiance, and shooting around other riders, had scared me away for long enough.
Sure the session had its challenges, but mostly it was rip-roaring F-U-N! So many laughs, lots and lots of silly faces, and these people who I just adore, being truly themselves, as they are spun round and round. The last four years of very frequent visits to the carousel had given me plenty of time to dream up how the final imagesfrom a session like this would look, and it wasn’t like these. These are better. The Gray Gang truly delivered, and I was thrilled to be along for the ride (sorry, I just couldn’t help myself there!).
And to the carousel we say: So long old friend, we will miss you dearly and hope against hope to see you again soon (in Portland!).
PQ and Franny too.

our happy place

We are there on birthdays and half birthdays, rainy days, play dates, not-sure-what-to-do afternoons; we use it as both a reward, and as a consolation prize. My girl has LOVED this carousel whole heartily for as long as she can remember, with a special place in her heart for Amy. Franny goes to Amy first, and almost-exclusively rides her, and I know she's not the only girl who feels this way (read more about Amy's history here). On April 22nd of this year, that's in just three short weeks (gasp!) the carousel will be packed up as part of the remodel of Jantzen Beach; the carousel will be restored, though its future home is unknown at this time. We went last Thursday for a quick visit to see Amy, and as we were leaving Franny said: That's so sad that the carousel is going away, Amy is really going to miss me. Sigh. I just know I'm going to cry on our last ride!
To see many more beautiful photos of the carousel, check out my friend (and fellow photog) Kati's blog; she was there just hours before us on Thursday, and her lucky kiddos got to ride 10 times! so she could capture these stunning images
I don't think I need to tell you to haul ahem booty out to Jantzen Beach and ride ride ride before it's too late!