Cara Crumbliss Photography: Blog https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Cara Crumbliss Photography [email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:19:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:19:00 GMT https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u100515266-o516036612-50.jpg Cara Crumbliss Photography: Blog https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog 86 120 Baby A's Baptism - Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2017/7/baby-as-baptism---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer What a beautiful thing to watch as parents, godparents, grandparents and family join together to promise their new baby a lifetime of love and commitment to their faith.  Baby A, dressed in a family heirloom, was surrounded by so many people that love her as she was baptized.  

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) cara crumbliss photography chicago photographer children's photographer family photography newborn photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2017/7/baby-as-baptism---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Wed, 12 Jul 2017 16:24:08 GMT
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2017/2/baby-a-at-3-months--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Sun, 05 Feb 2017 14:53:12 GMT
Kilimanjaro: 8 Days of hell on the Lemosho Route https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2017/1/kilimanjaro-8-days-of-hell-on-the-lemosho-route Kilimanjaro… oh you beautiful, horrible, amazing beast. 

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I have no idea how I came up with the idea to trek this mountain.  I’ve never hiked a mountain before in my life.  In fact, when I booked this trip, I’d never done any REAL hiking at all.  So why it became my goal is as big a mystery to me as to you.  But nevertheless, in true Cara style, I thought it sounded fun and booked it without much planning or thought.

And that’s how I ended up ringing in the 2017 New Year smelling exponentially worse than the homeless people under the Wilson viaduct and vomiting harder than that first time I tried Jack Daniels…. But I’m getting ahead of myself here….

I arrived into Tanzania after about 52 hours of travel:   Wichita (mutt drop off) – Chicago – Paris - <12 hour layover and city tour in Paris> - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.  The excitement temporarily beat out the exhaustion, and as we drove 45 minutes to the hotel, I took in the vast open red dirt plain speckled with tiny dung huts and concrete brick houses (generally 1 room, square buildings).  It was too cloudy to see the beast just yet.  We arrived to the Stella Maris Lodge for our pre-hike briefing & gear check where I finally got to meet the 11 strangers that soon became friends who would be hiking Kili together. 

The group was made up of:

  • A couple from Austin, TX on the most unromantic honeymoon ever
  • Two hiking buddies from Arizona with more experience in their left pinkies than I had in my whole body
  • Two lovely ladies from the DC area that grew up together & wanted to check Kili off their bucket lists
  • A 59-turning-60-year-old & his IRS lawyer nephew from the US Virgin Islands & DC respectively who were celebrating a birthday
  • A couple of friends living on opposite ends of the earth – Boulder, CO and Tokyo that were so quiet that I didn’t ever hear their reason for the trip
  • A young buck from the Netherlands who dreams of traveling the world and thought Kili was a good way to start out
  • Me with no hiking talent, less training, and a penchant for voicing complaints

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DAY 1:

The next morning, we packed our bags, checked the luggage we wouldn’t need on the mountain, and set off in a small, hot, smelly van.  Our porters and guides precariously strapped our luggage to the roof before joining us for the 3 hour ride to Londorossi Gate.  There, our guides spent about 1.5 hours filling out paperwork and paying our entrance fees in a truly archaic system while the porters had each bag weighed to ensure they didn’t exceed the 20 kg limit per porter.  This weigh-in was really something to watch.  The bag was placed on the scale and then miscellaneous food items would be tossed in or removed until it was exactly 20 kg.  It did my heart good to see the rules enforced that promote safety for porters!

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Another 45 minute drive to our starting point, and then we were off!  5 hours into Day 1 and we finally got to start hiking! For about 3 hours we trekked up and down very small inclines on a well maintained dirt path through a lush rain forest.  I remember thinking that they lied to us about Day 1 being mostly flat because it was far hillier than this Chicago girl is used to. (I later realized that by comparison, it IS flat)   Aside from a 30 minute light rain, the weather was lovely- maybe around 70 degrees and sunny, though we were shaded most of the route.  We made it to our first camp- Mti Mkubwa or Big Tree Camp feeling unwarrantedly tired.  The hike wasn’t hard, but I thought it was at the time.  And we hadn’t gone far, though I thought we had at the time.  Basically Day 1 is a great illustration of how unprepared I was.   

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I settled into camp that afternoon and made my first major hiking mistake by not removing my wet clothes or hat to allow my hair to dry.  The team met in the mess hall- as we would do 3 times a day for the next 7 days- for dinner, laughter, a bit of political talk, and a LOT of potty talk. It was in these mealtimes that our new friendships were made, and I’m not really a touchy-feely kind of person, but let me tell you those friendships are what made me survive that Godforsaken mountain.   We headed to bed around dusk for a mostly sleepless night.  It was colder than I counted on – probably just above freezing- and my wet hair kept me shivering through the night.  I rejoiced in the warmth of the light of dawn and started Day 2 with renewed energy.

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Big Tree Camp was my second favorite camp, entirely due to the gimpy monkey who made the camp his home.  He was tame enough that I could pet him with the right amount of bread for bribery.  Not sure the porters appreciated me using our food to feed wild animals.

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Day 1 summary:  Londorossi Gate (7,740 ft) to Big Tree Camp (9,500 ft), 4 miles

 

DAY 2

More rain forest and beautiful weather were the themes of Day 2.  The dirt path took us up and down steeper inclines than yesterday.  The day was highlighted by one particularly steep incline followed by a less steep but never ending one.  I took to asking our resident incline expert from Colorado to estimate the incline… Her response was almost always “More than 12%” because that’s the steepest she trains on a treadmill.  We arrived into camp for a late lunch in the mess hall followed by card games and tour of the kitchen.  The food on the mountain was surprisingly delicious!  They catered to a western diet – fresh fruits, various homemade soups, breads, spaghetti, wings, etc.  It’s all run together in my head now, but we gushed over how delicious the food was after every meal.  This is quite different than what I expected from all the blogs I had read in preparation that had me mentally prepared for bland, tasteless food.  On the contrary, we looked forward to meal times (right up until the altitude sickness hit, that is!)

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To top off the evening, we were treated to THE KILIMANJARO SONG!  Oh my gosh this made me laugh so hard.  Truly one of my most memorable moments of the trip! 

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Finally, the sun set and to bed we went for another shockingly cool night.  I snuggled into my 0 degree sleeping bag with too few clothes on and shivered through the night again. 

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The 4 liters of water we forcibly drank each day combined with the oh-so-pleasant side effects of Altitude Sickness Pills meant a bladder-alarm about every 2 hours.  And in the spirit of seeing the silver lining, I must say that it was in these peepee breaks (that fun, 5 times nightly opportunity to put all your clothes and shoes back on, unzip and rezip 10 zippers per trip, expose your bare behind in the freezing temperatures and lose any residual body heat keeping the inside of the tent tolerable) that I got to see one of the most breathtaking views of the trip- the starry sky.  It was like nothing I’d ever experienced before!  I live in the city with tons of light pollution, but I grew up in the country in Southern Kansas, so I’ve seen clear starry skies before…. But that was nothing like this!  I’m sad to have not gotten away with any photographic proof, but will cherish the memory forever.  It gave me a feeling of being so small in this universe but yet so connected.  Or maybe that was another side effect of the drugs….

Day 2 summary: Big Tree Camp (9,500 ft) to Shira 1 Camp (11,500 ft), 5 miles

 

DAY 3

After Day 3, I realized that every day we ratchet up the difficulty level and ratchet down the temperatures.  A mostly flat dirt path took us out of the rain forest. The luscious trees and hanging moss were replaced by waist high shrubbery.  The greens turned to browns.  And about halfway through the day, the sunshine turned to rain.  This would be the last of sunshine we would see until our descent.  Thank God I didn’t know that at the time, or I might have taken a left turn on the Medical Evacuation Access Road we crossed. The clouds we climbed through on Day 2 seemed to have caught us and then follow us the rest of our time on the mountain.  Occasionally, we got a small glimpse of a view and could see one or two neighboring peaks, but for the most part, it was fog and precipitation of some sort.

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In the final approach to the campsite, we had our first encounter of many to come of slippery, stupid rocks.  They weren’t my favorite.  Actually, I’m not sure that I complained about anything more verbally or hatefully. Everyone else in the group had no trouble, but I was sure they were going to send me toppling off the mountain to a certain uncomfortable death.  Every. Single. Step had to be calculated to keep me from slipping.  I absolutely realize this was just another one of my unfounded fears, but I took a tumble in the mountains of Vietnam last year and really have no interest in broken feet in 3rd world countries anymore. 

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This campsite was my favorite. We only shared the site with 1 or 2 other small groups which made it feel like we were miles and miles from civilization.  We arrived and rested in the afternoon in rain, fell asleep listening to the wind blow across the plateau, and awoke to a breathtaking view of Uhuru peak freshly covered in snow.  I finally deployed my winter-gear arsenal and slept warmly and soundly in my dry Canada Goose coat.  I also finally realized that if I finished my 4 liters of water before reaching camp and then didn’t drink the rest of the day that I would only have 1 nightly peepee alarm.  And was taught to put my wet clothes into my sleeping bag overnight to get them downgraded from a miserable “sopping wet” to a tolerable “cool and damp” by the next morning.  The things experience teaches you. 

All in all, today was a good day.

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Day 3 summary: Shira1 Camp (11,500 ft) to Moir Hut (13,800 ft), 7 miles

 

DAY  4

This day is all about feeling the altitude.  We set off from our cozy campsite to have a hot lunch at Lava Tower trudging up slippery stupid rocks in the rain, sleet, snow and fog.  It wasn’t the most pleasant thing I’ve done in my life.  But from a physical perspective, certainly not the most difficult either.  The terrain was steep but manageable. 

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Once at Lava Tower, there was a sense of accomplishment in the air.  Lots of people celebrated, high-fived, and took photos to commemorate new personal records for reaching 15K feet.  For me it was just like every other day since the everyday ended in a new personal record for altitude.  I think before Kili I hadn’t hiked about 6K or 7K feet.

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The warm lunch reenergized the team and we set off back down to sleep low and recover.  The whole hike back down were my favorite rocks.  I took one small tumble down those slippery suckers which won me the Biggest-Bruise award at the end of the trip.   As we descended into the zoo that was Barranco Camp, we were back below the tree line and enjoyed the view of these interesting trees. 

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Barranco Camp wasn’t my favorite in part because it was mobbed with thousands of people (literally!  3 routes combine to share this camp) and partly because we had all night to stare at the beast that is Barranco Wall and shrink in intimidation and fear of tomorrow’s hike. 

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Day 4 summary: Moir Hut (13,800 ft) to Lava Tower ( 15,190 ft) to Barranco Camp (13,050 ft), 6 miles

 

DAY 5

Anyone that tells you Barranco Wall isn’t that bad is a filthy liar and shouldn’t be trusted.   

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Also coined the “Breakfast Wall” because you tackle it first thing in the morning, the Barranco Wall is about 800 feet straight up.  You don’t walk.  You climb.  Now, admittedly I have no experience in real climbing, but I have walked a mile or two in my 34 years and never have I considered the scrambling and wall clinging and maneuvering that we had to do on that wall “walking.” 

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The Wall takes about 2 hours for most people.  I think I clocked in somewhere closer to 3 hours.  You know… Pole pole wins the race.  And even though it wasn’t what I was expecting, it was totally a manageable climb.  Other blogs I read in preparation described it as a stairstep.  Not sure I agree with that characterization, but it is a step-wise progression up the side of a cliff.  Up and over 3 feet rock ledges, sliding/ jumping down 5-6 feet drops, stepping over a 1-2 foot gap in the rock… that kind of thing for 2-3 hours until you look down and see the tents of Barranco Camp as teeny ant-sized speckles .  There were only a few moments that actually scared me but the guides were always there to make sure my every step was taken safely.  They assured us before we started that the Wall was safe and no one ever got injured.  After watching them carefully get me to the top, I’m inclined to believe that TOURISTS don’t get hurt.  Porters who take the Wall at a running pace must be another story altogether. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Area family, kids, wedding photography. Kilimanjaro Lemosho routeCara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Area family, kids, wedding photography. Kilimanjaro Lemosho route

The high of beating the Wall was quickly followed by the disheartening realization that we had long hike ahead still.  By the end of the day, we camped down with only a small elevation gain, but that’s only because we ascended and descended very steep slopes in nearly equal measure. 

The rain plagued us again and I trudged into camp sopping wet, tired, and feeling the most discouraged of the entire trek.  Altitude Sickness finally found me at Karanga Camp and stole my spaghetti dinner right out of my belly. Side note- it sucks to puke spaghetti.  I resolved to have a better day by writing “TOMORROW WILL BE BETTER” about 17 times in my travel journal that night and slept soundly through the night snug in my favorite red coat on top of all my wet clothes.

Day 5 summary: Barranco Camp (13,050 ft) up Barranco Wall (elevation gain of 800 ft) to Karanga Camp (13,100 ft), 3 miles

 

DAY 6

After a short and otherwise unremarkable hike to Base Camp through snow and sleet up stupid slippery rocks, we celebrated the accomplishment in the mess hall together, disregarding the mounting anxiety over the looming summit attempt.  Our tents were placed precariously on the side of the steep campsite.  Every step around camp felt like you were climbing stairs.  Altitude Sickness continued to haunt me, and try as I might, I couldn’t keep any food or water down.  We found our tents early for bed to try to get some sleep before the 11 pm wakeup call.

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Day 6 summary: Karanga Camp (13,100 ft) to Barafu Camp/ Base Camp (15,300 ft), 2 miles

 

DAY 7

At 11 pm, we were gently awoken by the servers.  It’s finally summit day.  And also the final few hours of 2016.  If all goes well, we summit at dawn of New Year’s Day 2017.   Spoiler alert- all didn’t go well. 

We set off as one large group in the dead of night through thick fog.  After about only 30 minutes, I was sweating and had to step aside to de-layer.  The group went on and a guide stayed back with me.  We continued on, every step becoming increasingly labored.  Without even the smallest of objections I gave up my day pack for my guide to carry.  The lighter load helped with moral if nothing else and we continued along in the darkness.   There was a steady buzz of excitement from all the hikers around me. For the first time of the trek, we finally had a few switchbacks so I could hear and see people ahead and behind me. The growing buzz suddenly turned into an outburst of yells and high-fives. For a short moment, I smiled widely thinking how awesome this hike would be if everyone was going to cheer like this all night!   The booms and claps of fireworks in the village below brought me back to my senses and I realized that I just rang in the New Year… Alone, in complete darkness, on the side of a mountain in Africa… There wasn’t another place in the world I could imagine being more exciting than right there in that moment.  As far as NYE celebrations go, I’ll take this Godforsaken mountain over a fancy dress and champagne toast any day. 

The snow that had looked so beautiful a few days ago had created a treacherous sheet of ice over the path.  Every time I lifted a foot to take a step forward my grounded foot slid backward a few inches.  We alternated between the ice and the fresh snow off the path, but it was equally treacherous with slipping scree under the snow.  If your foot didn’t plant just right, you’d end up sliding down to snow and scree up past your knees.  Up and up we went into the darkness following the stream of headlights with no other visible indications of where we were.  The Altitude Sickness wasn’t cutting me any slack… every 10-15 minutes I would have to stop to vomit.  After a while, there wasn’t anything left to puke, but I kept on trying.  

Sometime around 4:00 am I decided I’d had enough.  Up until that very moment, pride had told me that I had to make it to the summit.  Each night in the tent, I had thought how embarrassing it would be to have to tell people I didn’t summit.  Even leading up to the trip, I joked that I would photoshop myself onto the peak if I had to.  But at 4 am on January 1, 2017 at a bit over 17,000 feet, the weight of my pride was no longer there.  I didn’t even give it a thought.  There was no internal debate about getting tough versus listening to my body.  I simply wanted to go back to camp. So I stopped mid-step and rather meekly uttered “I’m ready to go down.”  My guide seemed a little shocked when I immediately turned around and started my descent.  About 5 minutes later, he stopped me and asked if I wanted time to think it through but I didn’t.  There was nothing to think about.  I finally realized that the last 7 days had been the adventure I was chasing.  A foggy view from a vomit and poop covered summit wasn’t the goal of the trip after all.  

So in the darkness, feeling notably lighter in the absence of pride, we descended carefully back to Base Camp.  I thought my only Altitude symptom was the incessant vomiting but I must have been not quite steady on my feet too.  The guide seemed overly worried I was going to careen off the edge and insisted on holding my hand at all times.  Finally as the sun’s light tried peeking through the dense fog, we arrived to camp.  I looked into the fog in the direction of Uhuru peak and wondered if my new friends were up there yet.  (They weren’t yet… but 9 of them soon would be!)

After a quick nap, I set off with my guide and a fellow non-summitter (I made that word up!) to further descend to our final campsite of the trip.  For 3 or 4 hours we trudged down, down, down on a reasonably graded slope through rain, sleet and hail to get to Millenium Camp.  It would still be a few hours until the others arrived, so I enjoyed a second nap and some much needed food that finally didn’t escape digestion.  We welcomed in the successful summitters in waves and had one last mess hall dinner together as a group.  A final singing of the Kilimanjaro Song took us to bedtime.

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Day 7 summary:  Base Camp (15,300 ft) to Uhuru Peak (19,341 ft)  to Cara’s turnaround (just over 17,000 ft) to Millenium Camp (12,500 ft), 8 miles

 

DAY 8

No one had to wake me up this day… I was only one hike away from solid ground!  The weather FINALLY turned back to clear, sunny skies for one heck of a hike out.  (Just our luck!)  We enjoyed the scenery turning from brown shrubs back to lush green trees.  We abandoned our “pole pole” motto and it was a race to the bottom. 

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Day 8 summary:  Millenium Camp (12,500 ft) to Mweka Gate (5,400 ft), 8 miles

 

The Kilimanjaro Team

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See the rest of this 3 week trip to Tanzania:  BLOG COMING SOON!

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) 8 day route cara crumbliss photography chicago photographer children's photographer family photography kilimanjaro lemosho lemosho route newborn photography tanzania ultimate kilimanjaro https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2017/1/kilimanjaro-8-days-of-hell-on-the-lemosho-route Thu, 26 Jan 2017 19:35:25 GMT
Fox Family Adoption Event - Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/11/fox-family-adoption-event---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer I can’t put into words how full my heart is to have spent a day with all these beautiful people to support the Fox Family’s mission to get their baby girl. 

Andi and Jake are picture perfect… Beautiful people with even more beautiful souls and a deep-rooted faith that’s a true inspiration. 

Tragedy struck the Fox family with the untimely loss of Andi’s sister, and after a prayerful year, they have decided that their 3 boys need a baby sister, in part to honor her sister’s heart for orphans. 

Their baby girl is waiting for them to come and get her in an orphanage in Lithuania. She’s an extra special baby with an extra chromosome.  And I have to say… after watching Andi interact with another sweet boy with Down Syndrome, it is utterly apparent that she was created to be this baby girl’s mama!  Her gentle, reverent, loving spirit is contagious as reflected in how the boy lit up at her presence.  I cannot wait to see that in her little girl’s face too!

I want to thank all the families for their patronage and support to make the event a huge success!  Together, we got them $1373 closer to their baby girl! AND Because they have recently been approved for a matching grant through Lifesong for Orphans and Colonial Heights Church, that number will be doubled!  If you would like to further support the Fox Family, donation information is at the bottom of this post or here!

Now… for the sneak peeks of the lovely people who made this happen….

Farrar Family Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family, kids, wedding photographer. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family, kids, wedding photographer. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family, kids, wedding photographer.

Primos Family Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family, kids, wedding photographer. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family, kids, wedding photographer.

Pentecost Family Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family, kids, wedding photographer. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family, kids, wedding photographer.

Booker Family Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family, kids, wedding photographer. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family, kids, wedding photographer.

Lesley Family Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family, kids, wedding photographer. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family, kids, wedding photographer.

Miller Family

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Fox Family Adoption Donation Information: Lifesong for Orphans and Colonial Heights Church

There are two different ways you can contribute: by mailing a check or making an online donation.

1. Mail a Check*: Make checks payable to “Lifesong for Orphans” and in the memo note, (Fox, #6572). This will assure the money goes into the correct account. You can mail the check to Lifesong for Orphans P.O. Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744

2.Make a Gift Online*: To make a gift online, go to:www.lifesongfororphans.org/give/donate                                                                        Once you are there select “Give to an Adoptive Family”. Next, complete the online form and fill in the blank titled “Family Account Number” with “6572” and for “Family Name” type “Fox”.

*NOTE: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
*per their donation policy, donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling more than $250 per year will receive a tax-deductible receipt.  Receipts for Donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/11/fox-family-adoption-event---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Tue, 08 Nov 2016 22:47:49 GMT
Luka the Landscaper - Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/11/luka-the-landscaper---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Luka's love for landscaping meant his Mama had to get creative with this 4th birthday party!  Everything from the cake to the craft styled had something to do with landscaping!  It was the cutest party ever!

Party craft done by Make to Celebrate!

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/11/luka-the-landscaper---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Tue, 01 Nov 2016 20:35:01 GMT
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/9/ella---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Mon, 10 Oct 2016 19:30:00 GMT
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/9/gunner---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Fri, 07 Oct 2016 19:15:00 GMT
Satullo Falsone Family - Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/10/satullo-falsone-family---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family photography Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family photography Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family photography Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family photography Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family photography Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family photography Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago area family photography

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/10/satullo-falsone-family---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Wed, 05 Oct 2016 18:45:00 GMT
Cady - Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/9/cady---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family photographer

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/9/cady---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Mon, 03 Oct 2016 18:45:00 GMT
Moritz Family- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/9/moritz-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Who doesn't love the beach!?   Gillson Park Family session.

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/9/moritz-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Wed, 28 Sep 2016 19:40:00 GMT
Partnering with /den/ for Custom Styled Photo Sessions! - Cara Crumbliss Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/9/partnering-with-/den/-for-custom-styled-photo-sessions---cara-crumbliss-photography-a I'm so excited to announce a new partnership for styled sessions!  

Den Design Company of Lakeview specializes in visualizing and creating interior spaces, branding, and graphic design.  Inspired by her 1 year old son, owner Jackie Alvarez has expanded her creative base to join forces with Cara Crumbliss Photography in creating custom styled photo sessions.  

Jackie brings a fresh vision and a bubbly personality to make your session uniquely and perfectly you!  She will walk you through the design process to turn your child's imagination into a reality.   

Two options for Styled Sessions:  

* Custom Styling - Starting out with a consultation to get to know you and your ideas, Jackie will then conceptualize and design a custom set for your styled session.  

* Standard Styling - Choose from a selection of /den/ styled sets

Pricing:  

Custom Styling Package- $1000  

Standard Styling Package- $750

Both packages include:

  • Styled set, as described above
  • 1-2 hour photo session with Cara Crumbliss Photography
  • 40 high resolution digital images with Print Rights
  • Personal Client Viewing site
  • $250 print credit (Print prices can be found here)

For more information on styled shoots, please contact us.

To see more of Den Design Company, visit their website here.

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Den Designs Family Photography Newborn Photography Styled photo session https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/9/partnering-with-/den/-for-custom-styled-photo-sessions---cara-crumbliss-photography-a Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:31:00 GMT
G Family- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/9/g-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Montrose Harbor Family Session

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/9/g-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:27:04 GMT
Becky Boo Boo- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/9/becky-boo-boo--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Beckett can not be this big! After a few weeks of packing his backpack and lunch bag just to walk the big kids to the school bus, he finally got to start his own school!  Preschool has already expanded his curiosity- he recently asked his mama a SERIOUS question, "Mama, do sharks have butts?"   (Apparently the answer is no.  And they don't poop either). 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/9/becky-boo-boo--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Wed, 14 Sep 2016 18:45:34 GMT
Many, Many Thanks!- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/7/my-friends---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Friends, you have amazed me.

You opened your hearts, closets, and pocketbooks, and you lovingly gave the gifts of dignity, safety, comfort, love.  I’m no crier… In fact, I’ve been accused of being “heartless,” but many times in the last few weeks, you’ve brought tears to my eyes.  Partly because you’ve been generous beyond my wildest dreams, and partly because I’m ashamed that I lacked faith in you, my friends, to answer my plea.

My Somali family arrives Monday and will be greeted with a full pantry and stocked home. Aside from their names, ages, English proficiency level, clan and religion, I know nothing about them.   You, my friends, know even less than I do. But still, you gave.  

You never asked me if they shared your religious beliefs. Or skin color.  Or political views.  You didn’t need to know if they’re from a corner of our world that scares you.  You simply heard a plea and answered it, recognizing that some of God’s people are in need of help.  Friends, you remembered that even in our current global political hot mess, that we are all created in God’s image and all deserving of the simplest of gifts- dignity, humanity and love among them. Healing our lost and broken world starts with something so simple as loving each other, and you helped me do just that.  Regardless of all else, as these refugees build their new lives, you helped me to show them that the Americans, the Christians, the strangers who sometimes fear them are also the people who came together with the love and compassion of Christ and helped them start a new life. 

I hope to be able to tell you more about my new friends.  For now, I want to honor their privacy and hold off on publicly sharing any further personal details about them until I know they’re comfortable with it.  But know that even in my silence, even in their wish for privacy, you have changed their lives and mine with your generosity. 

Thank you.  Really, from the depths of my heart, thank you. 

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Christening Photos Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/7/my-friends---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Sat, 09 Jul 2016 18:16:29 GMT
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Baptism photos Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Christening Photos Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/7/keanes-christening---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Fri, 08 Jul 2016 13:07:29 GMT
Vance turns 1!- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/7/vance-turns-1---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer A cake smash to celebrate Vance's first birthday!

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/7/vance-turns-1---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Fri, 01 Jul 2016 18:46:43 GMT
Farewell O Family!- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/7/farewell-o-family---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer They left before I even had their images edited!  The Oberdzinski family will be missed in Chicago!  So glad they were able to fit in one more session, at Montrose Harbor!

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/7/farewell-o-family---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Fri, 01 Jul 2016 18:27:30 GMT
Baby Jack!- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/7/baby-jack---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Sweet baby Jack and his Mama and Daddy joined me for a fun session at home and then Montrose Harbor.  We had to do this as a two part session since the talent fell asleep during the shoot!  :)  Thanks for sharing your boy with me! 

Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography Cara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photographyCara Cumbliss Photography. Chicago family, kids, baby, and wedding photography

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/7/baby-jack---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Fri, 01 Jul 2016 18:21:02 GMT
Melissa & Earl - Cara Crumbliss Photography - Chicago Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/6/melissa-earl---cara-crumbliss-photography---chicago-wedding-photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago wedding photography

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Family Photography Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/6/melissa-earl---cara-crumbliss-photography---chicago-wedding-photographer Tue, 28 Jun 2016 19:30:13 GMT
North Vietnam - HaNoi and Ha Long Bay https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/5/north-vietnam---hanoi-and-ha-long-bay HaNoi Night Market
Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016

Ho Chi Minh's memorial, where his body lays on display Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016

French colonial building, painted yellow from it's original white when the Vietnamese won their independence. Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016

The house where Uncle Ho lived out his days Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016

The Temple of Literature, holding Vietnam's oldest university, Imperial Academy.  Built in 1070. Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016

A lovely gentleman writing in ancient Vietnamese script.  I had 2 scrolls made for my nieces, saying "happiness"

Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016

Rice fields outside of HaNoi Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016


Ha Long Bay Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016

Sunset in Ha Long Bay Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago based wedding, family, newborn photography. North Vietnam 2016

 

Other posts from this trip: 

SaPa, Vietnam

South & Central Vietnam- Mekong Delta and HoiAn

Cambodia- Siem Reap and Angkor Wat (coming soon!)

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Ha Long Bay Hanoi Vietnam travel photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/5/north-vietnam---hanoi-and-ha-long-bay Wed, 25 May 2016 17:25:28 GMT
South & Central Vietnam - Mekong Delta and HoiAn https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/5/south-central-vietnam---mekong-delta-and-hoian Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016

The mighty Mekong Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016

Fisherman on the Mekong Delta Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016

Coconuts are everywhere! I must have seen 50 barges like this!  The husks are used as fuel for the kiln where bricks are made. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016

Making sleeping mats Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016

School kids in the Mekong Delta Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016

Our tuk tuk in the Mekong Delta Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016

This is a newer "road" in the Mekong Delta.  The tuk tuk driver turned down a few of these until I was completely turned around in the jungle of palm trees.  Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016

 

Moving north to Hoi An in Central Vietnam...

Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016 Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago Based family, wedding, newborn photography. Vietnam 2016

 

More photos from this trip:

SaPa Vietnam

North Vietnam- Hanoi and Ha Long Bay

Cambodia- Siem Reap and Angkor Wat (coming soon!)

 

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Vietnam travel photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/5/south-central-vietnam---mekong-delta-and-hoian Wed, 25 May 2016 17:09:56 GMT
The Grand Canyon- Cara Crumbliss Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/5/the-grand-canyon--cara-crumbliss-photography Gunner and I conquered the Grand Canyon.  

We started out with a rim hike- The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon

Early the next morning, we were off!  The South Kaibab Trail took us from the rim all the way down on a steep path with lots and lots of switchbacks. The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon

Ahh! The Colorado River!  We made it down! The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon

Our cabin at Phantom Ranch- home for the next 2 nights. The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon

The mule deer were everywhere and didn't seem to care how close we got.  The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon

Early the next morning, we watched the mules bring in the day's food and supplies for the canteen.  Our cabin was perfectly situated to give us front row seats to watch. The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon

Some fishing in Bright Angel Creek. The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon

Success! The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon

We set out before dawn to beat the heat on our ascent hike up the Bright Angel Trail.   The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon

We made it!   The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon The Grand CanyonCara Crumbliss Photography. The Grand Canyon

The full gallery of photos can be seen here.

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Arizona Bright Angel Creek Bright Angel Trail Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Grand Canyon Phantom Ranch South Kaibab Trail https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/5/the-grand-canyon--cara-crumbliss-photography Tue, 17 May 2016 18:36:35 GMT
Sa Pa, Vietnam https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/4/sa-pa-vietnam Sa Pa is a quiet mountain town located in the far northwest of Vietnam, only a few kilometers from the Chinese border.  It’s most famous for the terraced farming and the ethnic minority people who make up the bulk of the population.  For my wintertime journey, I enlisted the services of Say, a local Black Hmong tour guide, to take me on a 2 day trek through the Sa Pa highlands.  In addition to the Hmong tribes, Sa Pa is home to the Dao (Yao)GiáyPho Lu, and Tay tribes. 

Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam

The people live in traditional single-room homes, often shared among the extended family, with outdoor cooking  and no bathroom facilities. They wear traditional garb specific to their tribe, occasionally mixed in with a couple pieces of modern clothing.  The children mostly attend state-funded schools, however there is the occasional child beggar on the streets whose parents don’t value education. Some villages had electricity installed about 6 years ago.  Many of the women have old flip phones and almost all of them speak English very well.  With tourism booming from about 4000 to over 140,000 visitors per year over an 8 year period, knowing English is a way of making money.

Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam. Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam. Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam. Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam. Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam. Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam. Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam. Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam. Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam. Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam.

The tribal women trek into town each morning to sell their crafts or to follow the tourist trekkers into the wonders of the terraces.  In both places they forcefully sell their crafts.  As they walk around, they’re rubbing hemp into thread.  And asking you “Where you from?” with the sweetest smile.  They probably don’t understand the answer, but do want to be polite and become your friend.

The hemp thread is woven into 8 or 10 inch strips of fabric and dyed using natural dyes from their hyacinth and indigo plants. There are 2 typical designs for the fabric:  Either beeswax is applied in a design on the fabric prior to dying so that it stays undyed where the wax touches. Or there is a hand stitched design similar to cross stitch done after dying.

Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam

 

The decorated fabrics are sold as scarves, table runners, pillows, or several are sewn together to make blankets.  I ended up with at least one of each because I have a hard time telling the pushy tribal saleswomen no. J

Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam

 

I find such magnificent beauty in the will of the minority people to maintain a life so intrinsically simple. The complexities and superfluous nature of modern culture is absent, not by ignorance or a lack of resource, but instead by a cognitive, intentional choice.  A choice to value simplicity and history and culture.  A choice to stand strong against the pressures to assimilate.  A choice to live out their values of family and happiness. 

 

Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam
 

Most of the time when I gulp down a heavy dose of perspective on a vacation like this, the discernment comes from a distinct difference in resources—I’ll reflect on (and usually feel guilty for) living arrogantly in excess when there are those who live in need. But this time, it’s different.  It’s not a comparison of Excess vs. Need- these beautiful people just NEED LESS. 

While much of the rest of Vietnam views the ethnic minority people as the poorest of the country, it’s hard for me to think of them as living in poverty.  By definition, that implies that there is deprivation of money or possessions to a level below the standard.  But there just isn’t with these people.  While they might lack the “requirements” for my standard of living, by theirs, they are all wealthy. 

They’ve carved the mountains into fields for food and learned to use the bountiful natural resources to provide housing and to manufacture clothes. There’s never a lack of available workers to share in the manual labor. They truly have everything they need—and have it all in excess.

So this is my challenge to myself…  reflect on and adjust my definitions for what I need.

 Need. Less.

Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam

If you can’t tell… I kind of loved Sa Pa. 

Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam Cara Crumbliss Photography. SaPa Vietnam

Other posts from this trip:

South & Central Vietnam- Mekong Delta and HoiAn

North Vietnam- HaNoi and Ha Long Bay

Cambodia- Siem Reap and Angkor Wat (coming soon!)

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Black Hmong Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Sa Pa SaPa Vietnam trekking https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/4/sa-pa-vietnam Wed, 20 Apr 2016 19:44:28 GMT
Antelope Canyon- Cara Crumbliss Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/1/antelope-canyon--cara-crumbliss-photography Upper Antelope Canyon, Page, AZ

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Antelope Canyon Arizona Canyoning Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Page, AZ Upper Antelope Canyon https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/1/antelope-canyon--cara-crumbliss-photography Wed, 13 Jan 2016 02:38:16 GMT
The Wave- Cara Crumbliss Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/1/the-wave--cara-crumbliss-photography I can't handle this place.  Such an amazing hike!  The Wave- Coyote Buttes North, Arizona
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Arizona Canyoning Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Coyote Buttes North Family Photography The Wave Utah https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2016/1/the-wave--cara-crumbliss-photography Wed, 13 Jan 2016 01:54:06 GMT
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Newborn Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/12/baby-d--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Thu, 10 Dec 2015 19:54:26 GMT
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Kids Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/11/bucher-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Mon, 30 Nov 2015 20:00:33 GMT
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Kids Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/11/parker-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Thu, 05 Nov 2015 19:57:42 GMT
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Kids Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/10/anna-at-one--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Thu, 05 Nov 2015 17:45:00 GMT
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Kids Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/11/soos-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Wed, 04 Nov 2015 19:26:59 GMT
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Kids Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/11/fletcher--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Wed, 04 Nov 2015 19:10:44 GMT
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Kids Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/11/moritz-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Mon, 02 Nov 2015 19:56:02 GMT
Charles- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/10/charles--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer This sweet baby will call me Wawa someday, but already he has my whole heart!  

Congratulations to my brother and sister-in-law! He's absolutely perfect!  

Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based family, kids, and wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based family, kids, and wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based family, kids, and wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based family, kids, and wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based family, kids, and wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based family, kids, and wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based family, kids, and wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based family, kids, and wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based family, kids, and wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based family, kids, and wedding photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based family, kids, and wedding photography

And the big "brother" who still hasn't figured out what species this little ball of hair is...

XOXO Sweet boy.  I love you!  -Wawa

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Kids Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/10/cady--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Tue, 27 Oct 2015 16:45:00 GMT
Engaged- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/10/engaged--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family, kids, newborn, and wedding photography. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family, kids, newborn, and wedding photography. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family, kids, newborn, and wedding photography. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family, kids, newborn, and wedding photography. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family, kids, newborn, and wedding photography. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family, kids, newborn, and wedding photography. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family, kids, newborn, and wedding photography. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family, kids, newborn, and wedding photography. Cara Crumbliss Photography. Chicago based family, kids, newborn, and wedding photography.

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Engagement Photos Family Photography Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/10/engaged--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographer Mon, 26 Oct 2015 01:23:01 GMT
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Kids Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/10/anna--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Thu, 15 Oct 2015 16:30:00 GMT
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Keane- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/10/keane--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer  

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Roundhouse Two Brothers Wedding Wedding Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/9/steve-liz-married--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographer Thu, 17 Sep 2015 18:39:45 GMT
Meg & Ryan- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/6/meg-ryan--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographer Happily ever after began with a day of love and laughter at Camp Kupugani.  A wedding day as unique as they are! 

Congratulations to Meg & Ryan!   First Look

 

 





 

 

The many talents that made this day happen:

 

Venue: Camp Kupugani,  http://www.campkupugani.com

 

Planner: Sarah Thies, https://www.pinterest.com/campweddings/

Caterer : Feast & Imbibe, Heather Bublick, http://www.feastandimbibe.com​

Flowers : Amy Lukas, amy.lukas@gmail.com

Hair & Makeup : Fab Faces by Kelli, Kelli Hurley, http://www.fabfacesbykelli.com​

DJ : Gold Noise DJs, Jena Nixon http://goldnoisedjs.com​

 

Thank you so much to Meg & Ryan for allowing me to capture their day! XO

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Camp Kupugani Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Fab Faces Family Photography Feast and Imbibe Gold Noise DJs Kelli" Sara Thies Wedding Photographer by https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/6/meg-ryan--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographer Wed, 24 Jun 2015 02:23:59 GMT
Charleston & Savannah - Cara Crumbliss Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/6/charleston-savannah---cara-crumbliss-photography Ahhh... the South!  I've been looking forward to this trip since, well... since I got home from my last one.  Although i nearly melted in the heat (in May!  I can't even imagine August!), both Charleston and Savannah were even more picturesque than I imagined. 

Charleston- My camera stayed packed away in my purse for most of my exploration of Charleston (because most of the exploration was of rooftop bars... I found one with a SWIMMING POOL!  Roof + beer + swimming pool = heaven!).  I did snap this looking out onto the Charleston Harbor.  

There's something about salty air that invigorates the soul.  

Did I really just say that?! With a straight face?

Shem Creek- As is now tradition on Cara Vacations, I found a kayak trip with dolphins.  Coastal Expeditions Shem Creek Kayak Tour took us up the creek to the Charleston Harbor, around Crab Bank Island- a seabird sanctuary with thousands of birds and hatching baby seagulls (I think!), and back.  Along the way, we saw a huge Loggerhead Sea Turtle poke his cute/ugly head out of the water, and the trip wouldn't have been complete without 4 or 5 dolphins playing and breaching around the kayak.  I was certain they were out to tip me over!  After a long kayak, we enjoyed drinks and dinner nearby at the waterfront restaurants.

Savannah was much as I expected... Sleepy, quaint, oh-so-southern, and HOT.  The Spanish Moss is so amazingly beautiful to a Kansas/ Chicago girl!  I've got to figure out how to get that to survive a Chicago winter!  There were historic buildings, fences, stairs, etc. everywhere I turned.  And about every 100 feet, there's a square where they do a lot of their sitting.  These southern folks do soooo muuucccchhh sitting.  They must really think a lot because what else would you do sitting in squares or on the front porch or at the beach for days on end?!

Historic stairs to the riverfront-

As luck would have it, we were in Savannah during some huge pub crawl... this pup was my favorite thing about the unusual crowds!

I found it interesting that their concrete had shells in it instead of gravel/ rocks....

And, no trip to the South would be complete without a honey butter biscuit.  This is what dreams are made of.

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Steve & Liz Engaged- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/5/steve-liz-engaged--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago are Engagement and Wedding Photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago are Engagement and Wedding Photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago are Engagement and Wedding Photography

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Engagement Photos Lincoln Park Wedding Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/5/steve-liz-engaged--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographer Mon, 04 May 2015 23:07:43 GMT
Meg & Ryan Engaged- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/4/meg-ryan-engaged--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographer Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago Based Photographer, at Fulton Market Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago Based Photographer, at Fulton Market Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago Based Photographer, at Fulton Market Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago Based Photographer, at Fulton Market Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago Based Photographer, at Fulton Market Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago Based Photographer, at Fulton Market Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago Based Photographer, at Fulton Market Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago Based Photographer, at Fulton Market Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago Based Photographer, at Pratt Beach Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago Based Photographer, at Pratt Beach Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago Based Photographer, at Pratt Beach Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago Based Photographer

Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago Based Photographer

Fulton Market and Pratt Beach were the backdrops for these lovely photos!  

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Engagement Photos Family Photography Fulton Market Pratt Beach Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/4/meg-ryan-engaged--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographer Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:30:18 GMT
Starved Rock State Park, Ottawa, IL - Cara Crumbliss Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/4/starved-rock-state-park-ottawa-il---cara-crumbliss-photography A lovely springtime hike through Starved Rock State Park with my lovely friend Dena.  I was truly amazed that this could be just a short drive from Chicago!  

Starved Rock State Park, Ottawa, IL Cara Crumbliss Photography Starved Rock State Park, Ottawa, IL Cara Crumbliss Photography Starved Rock State Park, Ottawa, IL Cara Crumbliss Photography Starved Rock State Park, Ottawa, IL Cara Crumbliss Photography Starved Rock State Park, Ottawa, IL Cara Crumbliss Photography Starved Rock State Park, Ottawa, IL Cara Crumbliss Photography Starved Rock State Park, Ottawa, IL Cara Crumbliss Photography

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Hiking Illinois Hiking Starved Rock Starved Rock State Park https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/4/starved-rock-state-park-ottawa-il---cara-crumbliss-photography Tue, 07 Apr 2015 01:00:12 GMT
New Zealand, Week 2 - Cara Crumbliss Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/3/new-zealand-week-2---cara-crumbliss-photography Kia Ora!  

The adventures continue through the South Island…  

(To see the beginning, check this out!)

Christchurch to Greymouth, South IslandChristchurch to Greymouth, South IslandTranzAlpine Scenic train through the Southern Alps, Arthur's Pass, and finishing in Greymouth

Stop 4- Franz Josef Glacier -  After a day of scenic travel on the TranzAlpine Train and subsequent bus, I was itching to get out and go for a hike.  It's a common activity all over New Zealand where trails abound, but here the Kiwis seemed even more keen on it.  I was even provided my own print out of all the paths when I checked in to my hotel.  The hotel here in Franz Josef is notable because until now, I had been conserving money on the accommodations, but here I splurged.  And man am I glad I did!  A private patio in the rain forest, fire place, and jacuzzi tub.  Ahh!  Luxury compared to the squalor where I had been staying. 

Franz Josef Glacier is a VERY fast moving glacier located in the middle of a rain forest.  It moves up to 7 meters per day compared to average glaciers' movement of 1 meter per day.  That makes for a very unstable terminal face, which is unsuitable/ unsafe for hiking and means the only way onto the ice is by helicopter. On the morning of my scheduled helihike, I woke to low clouds- the norm in the rain forest, and sadly prohibiting flight.  The helihike cancellation put $400 bucks back in my pocket and opened up the opportunity to hike through the rain forest to the safety line some 250 meters away from the glacier face.  A fine back-up plan in my opinion!  It was about 5 hours in all for the round trip hike, 2 of which were pouring rain.  I gladly warmed up next to my fire with a bottle of NZ bubbly when I was back to town!

Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South Island4 km hike from town through rain forest to glacier face. Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South Island4 km hike from town through rain forest to glacier face. Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South Island4 km hike from town through rain forest to glacier face. Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South Island4 km hike from town through rain forest to glacier face. Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South Island4 km hike from town through rain forest to glacier face. Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South Island4 km hike from town through rain forest to glacier face. Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South Island4 km hike from town through rain forest to glacier face. Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South Island4 km hike from town through rain forest to glacier face. Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South Island4 km hike from town through rain forest to glacier face. Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South IslandHike from glacier car park to glacier face. 1:45 return hike- in the rain! Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South IslandHike from glacier car park to glacier face. 1:45 return hike- in the rain!

Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South IslandHike from glacier car park to glacier face. 1:45 return hike- in the rain! Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South IslandHike from glacier car park to glacier face. 1:45 return hike- in the rain! Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South IslandHike from glacier car park to glacier face. 1:45 return hike- in the rain! Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South IslandHike from glacier car park to glacier face. 1:45 return hike- in the rain! Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South IslandHike from glacier car park to glacier face. 1:45 return hike- in the rain!

This photo is particularly cool to me because next to where I was standing was a sign showing the exact location from 2008. The glacier, which has receded completely behind the mountain on the left, was still hugely visible, covering all the visible rock in this photo.

Franz Josef Glacier, South IslandFranz Josef Glacier, South IslandJust 8 years ago, the glacier was visible at this pond. Franz Josef GlacierFranz Josef GlacierRecovering after a long, wet hike

Stop 5- Queenstown- The Adventure Capital of the World lived up to it's name!  This is the birthplace of bungy jumping. And fine by me if it dies there too.... You won't catch me jumping off a ledge anytime soon.  Extreme adventure is around every corner.  I think New Zealand's public healthcare helps promote the adventurism.  With no one to sue for an injury, why not just one-up the adventure activity next door?! Wait a minute- there's that American in me coming out again!  I chose Quad Biking (on the side of a mountain!), Riversurfing, and Canyoning to fill 2 days in Queenstown.  Unfortunately, there's not a ton of photographic proof since I was busy not killing myself.  

Quad biking was the least dangerous, but somehow I came closest to injury.  Quad Bike is just what Kiwis call 4-Wheelers.  I threw myself off the bike after hitting a rock on the way down the mountain.  Fortunately, the bike didn't careen off the edge of the cliff.  Nor did I.  The guide didn't witness it, so no harm, no foul... and I continued on! 

Queenstown, South IslandQueenstown, South IslandQuad Biking.
DCIM\100GOPRO

Riversurfing scared the bejesus outta me!  Picture boogie boarding down grade 4 rapids and catching the waves by turning upstream.  My poor guide didn't love how needy I was, or how much he had to help me get through the rapids.  Really, it's his own fault for telling me that if I missed taking the left fork in the river after coming out of one of the rapids, I would die on the rocks in the right fork.  Probably he was just trying to scare me, but it worked.  

 

Canyoning starts out with a rather grueling hike up a mountain in a double layered wet suit, followed by cliff jumps, abseiling (that's Kiwi for rappelling), ziplining, rock climbing, swimming, and otherwise maneuvering going back down the mountain essentially following the path of a stream with many, many waterfalls. 

Queenstown, South IslandQueenstown, South IslandCanyoning

Beyond the adventure, Queenstown is stunning.  Beautiful, clean, friendly.  It's a wonderful city.  I treated myself to the Gondola ride up the mountain to take in the scenery.  They told me I could save the $30 ticket fare if I wanted to hike it.  Uhhh... no thanks. 

Queenstown GondolaQueenstown GondolaScenic views of Queenstown from the gondola ride Queenstown GondolaQueenstown GondolaScenic views of Queenstown from the gondola ride

Stop 6- Milford Sound - Milford Sound is actually a fiord not a sound... or is it? I don't know, there was lots of technical discussion about this.  This was carved from a glacier, which makes it a fiord, but by technical standards, it may be too big to be considered that.  Whatever they want to classify it, I'll just call it amazing.  

First, we had to get there from Queenstown... I'll admit, I didn't love this bus ride.  Steep terrain, a one lane tunnel through a mountain, and no cell or internet service for about 7 hours.  But look at all those waterfalls!

Queenstown to Milford Sound Day TripQueenstown to Milford Sound Day Trip Queenstown to Milford Sound Day TripQueenstown to Milford Sound Day TripOne lane tunnel Queenstown to Milford Sound Day TripQueenstown to Milford Sound Day Trip

Finally- on the 2 hour boat cruise through Milford Sound and out to the Tasman Sea... only 2000 km to Australia from there!   With the cliffs being so steep, the boat could bow-up to the waterfalls to fill a plate of cups! The water was safe to drink, but the yellow color comes from all the tannins natural in the rocks.  It tasted a bit acidic, so I dumped most of mine out.  You'll notice the water in this sea is much browner than all of the other ocean/ lake/ river photos I've posted.  Same reason.

 With photographic equipment safe inside the boat, I also braved the outside deck at another waterfall encounter, which was to exhibit the sheer power of the water falling 150+ meters.  The wind blew so hard I had to hold the rail to not be pushed back! The poncho was well worth the fashion faux pas after that! We also enjoyed watching the seals lazily go about their day. Milford Sound, South IslandMilford Sound, South Island Milford Sound, South IslandMilford Sound, South Island Milford Sound, South IslandMilford Sound, South Island Milford Sound, South IslandMilford Sound, South Island Milford Sound, South IslandMilford Sound, South IslandWith such steep mountains coming out of the sea, the boat is able to nose up to the waterfalls to fill glasses for drinking. The yellow color is from the tannin in the soil- safe to drink, but tastes acidic. Milford Sound, South IslandMilford Sound, South IslandWith such steep mountains coming out of the sea, the boat is able to nose up to the waterfalls to fill glasses for drinking. The yellow color is from the tannin in the soil- safe to drink, but tastes acidic. Milford Sound, South IslandMilford Sound, South Island Milford Sound, South IslandMilford Sound, South IslandSeals! Milford Sound, South IslandMilford Sound, South IslandPhotos from another tourist

15 days,   17,000 frequent flyer miles,  and a whole lot of fun... and this is all I had to show for it coming home! (Don't worry, souvenirs for ALL of my nieces and nephews fit! I couldn't lose my title of Best Wawa Ever while on vacation.)

And in case you have any desire to check out the other 300 photos I posted for my family, check out the full gallery here.

Cheers!

15 days comes to an end!15 days comes to an end!

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Canyoning Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Franz Josef Glacier Milford Sound New Zealand Queenstown Riversurfing South Island https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/3/new-zealand-week-2---cara-crumbliss-photography Tue, 17 Mar 2015 23:32:53 GMT
New Zealand, Week 1 - Cara Crumbliss Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/3/new-zealand-week-1---cara-crumbliss-photography Kia Ora!

I spent 6 months planning a 15 day solo trip through paradise.  That's 6 months of over-thinking, over-planning, and over-sharing about this vacation.  All along, I thought how wonderful it would be to do a blog post when I return to document it.  

Then I went.  And was in awe every single day.

Since my photos don't do this country's natural beauty justice- and that's my strong suit- I know my words will fail it.  So, here's the Cliff's Notes version of my adventures.  For the few of you who expressed interest in my notes/ itinerary, I'll gladly share the full story privately! 

Arrival!  24 hours of travel and an 18 hour time difference, and here's the security line for my first New Zealand domestic flight- a little different than ORD!

Auckland, North IslandAuckland, North IslandAirport Security flying from Auckland to Kerikeri (Airport for Paihia).

Stop 1- Paihia, Bay of Islands, North Island - A quiet town perfect to relax after a long day (Plus!) of travel.  Beautiful quiet beaches, scenic walks, and most importantly to me, Scuba diving!

Paihia, North IslandPaihia, North Island Paihia, North IslandPaihia, North Island Paihia, North IslandPaihia, North IslandScuba Diving Paihia, North IslandPaihia, North IslandScuba Diving with Paihia Dive
DCIM\100GOPRO

Stop 2- Auckland, North Island

Auckland is the "big city" (in quotes because I live in a city that overwhelmingly beats out the population of this entire country!) of New Zealand.  And while it does offer the typical city fun, I was more interested in the 40 minute ferry ride to Waiheke Island.  A breathtaking island with picturesque beaches, a quaint teeny main street with local art shops, and a ton of wineries.  I chose to do a morning on the beach and then an afternoon walking trail of 3 wineries.  My other two days in Auckland were spent exploring the city, getting a massage, and taking in all those beautiful sailboats.

Auckland- The City of Sails!  

Auckland/ Waiheke IslandAuckland/ Waiheke Island40 minute ferry from Auckland to Waiheke Island AucklandAucklandThe City of Sails AucklandAucklandThe City of Sails

Waiheke Island including the ferry ride from Auckland and hike into town

Auckland/ Waiheke IslandAuckland/ Waiheke Island40 minute ferry from Auckland to Waiheke Island Auckland/ Waiheke IslandAuckland/ Waiheke Island40 minute ferry from Auckland to Waiheke Island Waiheke IslandWaiheke IslandWalk from Waiheke Island Ferry to Oneroa village Waiheke IslandWaiheke IslandOneroa Beach Waiheke IslandWaiheke IslandOneroa Beach Waiheke IslandWaiheke IslandOneroa Beach Waiheke IslandWaiheke IslandOneroa Beach Waiheke IslandWaiheke IslandOneroa Beach Waiheke IslandWaiheke IslandWalking Wine Tour Waiheke IslandWaiheke IslandWalking Wine Tour

Stop 3- Christchurch & Akaroa, South Island - Moving on to the South Island, I again enjoyed the luxury of NO AIRPORT SECURITY on NZ domestic flights!  A good thing too, since the night prior to my 6:30 AM flight, I was out dancing until way too late with the future Mr. Cara Crumbliss.  If anyone knows "James" from Perth, who lives in Sydney, and went to Auckland for the Cricket World Cup, please share my contact information so we can proceed with my marriage plans.   I digress.

Christchurch was devastated by a couple different earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.  Seeing the devastation was beyond words. I'm glad I went to experience the "donut city" -- so called because the recovery efforts are around the outside of town and the city center hasn't yet recovered- notable from the bus stop photo below.  However, it was only a quick stop en route to Akaroa for Sea Kayaking on a marine reserve.

After surviving driving on the "wrong" side of the street (that really gets non-Americans going about how arrogant we are...) and being rewarded with views that were truly breathtaking,  I was greeted at the base in Akaroa by black sheep and then accompanied on my kayak by Hector's Dolphins (super teeny with a rounded fin) and seals.  Lastly, I was privileged to witness the release of a Yellow Eyed Penguin, which is the successful product of Pohatu Penguins' breeding program for this endangered species.  

Christchurch, South IslandChristchurch, South IslandBus Route post earthquake

Christchurch/ Akaroa, South IslandChristchurch/ Akaroa, South IslandDrive from Christchurch to Akaroa- beautiful views on the wrong side of the road! Akaroa, South IslandAkaroa, South IslandPohatu Penguin Sea Kayaking with Hectors Dolphins, Seals, Yellow Eyed Penguin release, and Black Sheep Akaroa, South IslandAkaroa, South IslandPohatu Penguin Sea Kayaking with Hectors Dolphins, Seals, Yellow Eyed Penguin release, and Black Sheep Akaroa, South IslandAkaroa, South IslandPohatu Penguin Sea Kayaking with Hectors Dolphins, Seals, Yellow Eyed Penguin release, and Black Sheep Akaroa, South IslandAkaroa, South IslandPohatu Penguin Sea Kayaking with Hectors Dolphins, Seals, Yellow Eyed Penguin release, and Black Sheep Akaroa, South IslandAkaroa, South IslandPohatu Penguin Sea Kayaking with Hectors Dolphins, Seals, Yellow Eyed Penguin release, and Black Sheep Akaroa, South IslandAkaroa, South IslandPohatu Penguin Sea Kayaking with Hectors Dolphins, Seals, Yellow Eyed Penguin release, and Black Sheep

TranzAlpine Scenic Train, South Island- A destination in itself, this scenic train ride took me from Christchurch to the west across Arthur's Pass through the Southern Alps.  On one side of the mountain range is dry/ arid land, and on the other side, it's rich almost rain forest.  While I did LOVE this train ride, it was notable that I was one of very few people without grey hair.  I later found out that this is on the "luxury" end of the scale for travel in New Zealand, so the younger folks, who are typically backpackers, just don't spring for it.  I'm glad I did... it made me feel young.

Christchurch to Greymouth, South IslandChristchurch to Greymouth, South IslandTranzAlpine Scenic train through the Southern Alps, Arthur's Pass, and finishing in Greymouth Christchurch to Greymouth, South IslandChristchurch to Greymouth, South IslandTranzAlpine Scenic train through the Southern Alps, Arthur's Pass, and finishing in Greymouth Christchurch to Greymouth, South IslandChristchurch to Greymouth, South IslandTranzAlpine Scenic train through the Southern Alps, Arthur's Pass, and finishing in Greymouth Christchurch to Greymouth, South IslandChristchurch to Greymouth, South IslandTranzAlpine Scenic train through the Southern Alps, Arthur's Pass, and finishing in Greymouth Christchurch to Greymouth, South IslandChristchurch to Greymouth, South IslandTranzAlpine Scenic train through the Southern Alps, Arthur's Pass, and finishing in Greymouth Christchurch to Greymouth, South IslandChristchurch to Greymouth, South IslandTranzAlpine Scenic train through the Southern Alps, Arthur's Pass, and finishing in Greymouth Christchurch to Greymouth, South IslandChristchurch to Greymouth, South IslandTranzAlpine Scenic train through the Southern Alps, Arthur's Pass, and finishing in Greymouth Christchurch to Greymouth, South IslandChristchurch to Greymouth, South IslandTranzAlpine Scenic train through the Southern Alps, Arthur's Pass, and finishing in Greymouth Christchurch to Greymouth, South IslandChristchurch to Greymouth, South IslandTranzAlpine Scenic train through the Southern Alps, Arthur's Pass, and finishing in Greymouth

Next Up- Week 2!

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Auckland Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography New Zealand Paihia Dive Pohatu Penguins https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2015/3/new-zealand-week-1---cara-crumbliss-photography Tue, 17 Mar 2015 19:28:00 GMT
Natalie & Tyler- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/12/natalie-tyler--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographer

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Family Photography Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/12/natalie-tyler--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographer Wed, 24 Dec 2014 12:27:33 GMT
Baby Anna 3 mo- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/12/baby-anna-3-mo--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer  

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/12/baby-anna-3-mo--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Tue, 09 Dec 2014 01:36:23 GMT
Chicago Family- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/chicago-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer

 

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/chicago-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Tue, 04 Nov 2014 01:52:02 GMT
Moritz Family- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/moritz-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer  

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/moritz-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Tue, 04 Nov 2014 00:35:21 GMT
Fox Family- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/fox-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer  

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/fox-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Tue, 04 Nov 2014 00:34:21 GMT
Gilmore Family- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/gilmore-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer

 

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/gilmore-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Tue, 04 Nov 2014 00:33:18 GMT
Natalie & Tyler- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/natalie-tyler--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer  

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/natalie-tyler--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Tue, 04 Nov 2014 00:32:06 GMT
Anna- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/anna--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer  

 

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Carter Family- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/carter-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer  

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/carter-family--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Tue, 04 Nov 2014 00:28:43 GMT
Will- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/will--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer

 

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/11/will--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Tue, 04 Nov 2014 00:25:49 GMT
Paul & Patricia- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/9/paul-patricia--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographer  

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Family Photography Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/9/paul-patricia--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographer Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:15:42 GMT
Pockets & Lace Fall Preview- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/9/pockets-lace--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Frannie of Pockets & Lace Boutique brought her new fall arrivals for me to sneak a peek while she came for a visit to the Windy City.  In between cocktails and boat rides, we found time for a photoshoot featuring the new stuff.  

Pockets & Lace Boutique is an online women's clothing and accessories store featuring the latest trends in fashion- with just a bit of southern flare.  Besides the cute clothes, the $5 flat rate shipping (and FREE for orders over $75!) makes me smile- as does the super fast turnaround on orders!  The last dress I ordered (found here...) was ordered on a Tuesday and delivered two days later!  

http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/

Coming soon- Frannie has designed her own line of bracelets.  They'll be available soon, but here's a sneak peek.  I rocked these in Chicago while she was visiting and got lots of compliments! Here's just a few of my favorite designs.

http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/ http://www.pocketsandlace.com/

Like Pockets & Lace on Facebook to stay up to date on all the new trends in women's clothing and accessories.

 

 

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Pocket & Lace https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/9/pockets-lace--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Thu, 04 Sep 2014 14:26:06 GMT
Miriam turns 1!- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/9/miriam-turns-1---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Friends and family celebrated Miriam's birthday together with mimosas and cupcakes in the park.  Happy birthday, sweet girl!

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/9/miriam-turns-1---cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Wed, 03 Sep 2014 02:21:44 GMT
Waiting on Baby Swanson- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/7/waiting-on-baby-swanson--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography Maternity Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/7/waiting-on-baby-swanson--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer Tue, 22 Jul 2014 00:18:06 GMT
Mr. & Mrs. Hagerman- Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/7/mr-mrs-hagerman--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographe  

Ahhh… so stinking beautiful!  The new Mr. & Mrs. Hagerman said "I do" at the Whistle Bear Golf Course in Cambridge, Ontario. 

As was overheard several times throughout the night, this was Helen's (and Geordie's too, I suppose) fairy tale wedding!  And it really was fairy tale-worthy!  The flowers, the dress the venue, the weather… it was all perfect!  Congratulations to you two- and here's to a lifetime of fairy tales! 

 

 

Congratulations to Geordie and Helen!  

 

A couple shout-outs:

**I had the honor of shooting with Nicole of Nicole DeJoseph Photography at this wedding.  She's local to the Cambridge area and truly amazing!  Thank you, Nicole for being such an awesome second shooter, for dealing with my hectic travel schedule, and for capturing some truly beautiful images!

**Truly defining "just-in-time" planning, the newly renovated venue was putting final touches on the reception hall when I arrived to do some photo scouting.  Definitely a testament to the commitment of the Whistle Bear crew!  And, the images speak for the breathtaking venue! 

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Family Photography Wedding Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/7/mr-mrs-hagerman--cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-wedding-photographe Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:55:07 GMT
Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer- Where I Went Wed: Ballet Recital https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/6/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--where-i-went-wed-altus-america Ella's spring ballet recital. 

 

Photography

As so often happens, the start of the dance recital was an announcement for no flash photography.  No surprise to me- though I did watch my brother and a few others scramble to figure out how to use their cameras in auto mode without a flash.  Not only are the flashes distracting to the wee little dancers, they are absolutely UNNECESSARY!  The stage is lit with plenty of light to properly expose a photo.  A flash will actually mess up your composition by providing light in the foreground- ie the audience sitting in front of you- where you don't want there to be any light.  (And, chances are, your flash on your camera isn't powerful enough to illuminate all the way to the dancers anyway.)  Notice in my images above, the distraction of the audience members in front of me is minimal.  They are blacked out in the foreground, so your eye naturally falls on the well-lit dancers.  If this same shot was taken with a flash, the audience would be much more of a distraction. Using the darkness is just as important in composing your photo as the light!

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/6/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--where-i-went-wed-altus-america Wed, 18 Jun 2014 18:05:24 GMT
Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer- Cady https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/6/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-newborn-photographer--cady

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/6/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-newborn-photographer--cady Fri, 13 Jun 2014 01:51:21 GMT
Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer- Gunner https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/6/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--gunner

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Children's Photographer Family Photography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/6/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--gunner Sun, 08 Jun 2014 16:01:34 GMT
Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer- Where I Went Wed: Rattlesnakes! https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/6/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--where-i-went-wed-rattlesnakes

Let me warn you up front that some of these images may not be suitable for all audiences!  

A few months back, my niece Cady invited me to visit her in Oklahoma for the Rattle Snake Roundup.  Generally speaking, I have a real hard time saying no to her, and this was no exception.  So I booked a flight and awaited the adventure. 

Nothing- NOTHING- could have prepared me for the Rattle Snake Roundup.  Billions of snakes- alive, dead, being butchered, being displayed.  Rattlesnakes EVERYWHERE!  This is the stuff that makes up my nightmares.  

I had the great pleasure of watching the Butcher Show.   This is where they take one lucky rattlesnake, butcher it by chopping off its head, and then proceed to skin it and harvest the gall bladder and heart.  Headless snakes are no less scary that living snakes.  They continue to squirm and even strike for hours.  Most distressing- the heart continues to beat, on display for the lucky audience, for the entire show.  

 

Now, as part of the show, the heart is offered up to the audience for some sucker to eat.  Raw.  Bloody.  Beating.  
Having been to the show several times before, my 8 year old nephew knew it was coming.  In the weeks leading up, he setup a bet with his Papa-  $100 bucks to eat the heart.  Knowing her son, my sister added in another $100 bucks, being certain he would back out at the last minute. 
When the time came in the show for a volunteer to eat the heart, Gunner jumped up excitedly, ran down, and without a thought, took that beating heart down whole!
That'll be $200!  Pay up, Mama and Papa!  
 
Photography
All the above photos were taken indoors in very low light.  Flashes weren't allowed inside- maybe they scare the snakes?  Either way, to be able to shoot, I did the 3 things I talk about over and over… adjusted ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed to the optimal low light settings.  I bumped my ISO up to 1600.  While there is a teeny bit of grain associated with this high ISO, it allows for low light shooting, and can be smoothed out in post-processing.  I opened the aperture to f/2.8, which allows in more light.  With those two settings, I was able to get the shutter speed to 1/100, which is fast enough to stop action and prevent motion blur.  
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/6/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--where-i-went-wed-rattlesnakes Thu, 05 Jun 2014 01:36:42 GMT
A hippie love-fest vs. A perfect body https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/5/a-hippie-love-fest-vs-a-perfect-body OK- so this blog is VERY far outside my usual posts- AND comfort zone.  Other than the extreme love I have for my family, there’s not much personal or thoughtful insight posted on www.caracrumblissphotography.com .  And that’s for good reason.  I’m a photographer.  I’m reasonably private.  And, I think that opinions and feelings should be kept to yourself (or texted to your sister), not blasted on the internet to annoy the masses. 

But today, in my (annoying) Facebook newsfeed, I saw two posts side by side… One touting on how women need to love their bodies the way they are, excusing and maybe even condoning cellulite, stretch marks, and fat.  The other was giving advice on how to get the perfect body, shaming those same three things.   The dichotomy, and the irony, got me thinking…

I’m the donut-eating, beer-drinking, couch-loving person in a family of health nuts. 

I’m also the marathon-running, calorie-counting, body-loathing person in a work family of non-health nuts. 

I am the living, breathing embodiment of the exact dichotomy that made me laugh.  So it shouldn’t have surprised me that both articles garnered an eye roll as I thumbed through the newsfeed.  How can I subscribe to both mindsets, and yet hate them both at the same time? 

Let’s start with the first… Love your body- all the curves, lumps, imperfections, and all.  That’s great on the surface.  YES!  Love yourself, and accept yourself, and teach your children to do the same.  But how far do we extend this hippie love-fest?   Should I love those extra 10 pounds that I try in vain to fit into my skinny jeans?  Doing so seems to excuse the poor decisions I made in attaining said 10 pounds.  It even feels like maybe loving them somehow loves the gluttony that was the sure cause. 

On the flip side… Hate your body and try to fix every curve, lump, and imperfection seems equally misguided.  (Admittedly, the hate part is implied…)  Though this body of mine carries some unwanted lumps, cellulite, and pounds, it has gladly obliged when I asked it to carry me across countless  marathon/ half-marathon/ 10K/5K finish lines.  Further, I have great confidence that someday these wide hips I curse so often will bless me with a couple of kids to love.  And that these saggy boobs I love to hate will gracefully and beautifully provide sustenance for those babies.   How can I hate and shame and FIX a body that can do these wondrous things? 

Both ideas seem so profoundly wrong. 

I think we confuse loving and accepting ourselves with excusing poor decisions.  And we confuse a health-conscious life with a demand of physical perfection. (I’ll spare you my pontification on who exactly is defining “perfection.”  Suffice it to say, Hollywood-fueled media is a filthy wh*re).   This conversation on loving versus shaming your body has spiraled out of control into a bi-polar mess of extreme opinions devoid of common sense. 
Love your body.  Accept it.  Every dimple, muscle, curve.  In every form.  All the time.  Six pack or keg, horseshoe triceps or flabby arm fat,  four-boob or no-boob.   

Love yourself enough to acknowledge that your self-worth isn’t tied to your pant size.  But extend that love far enough to care that you could be a better, stronger, fitter you.  Love yourself enough to hold yourself accountable when you make decisions that are in opposition of your goals.  Then love yourself some more to forgive and try harder tomorrow when things don’t quite work out.   Whatever your goal may be, love yourself enough to hold yourself to it… but not so far as to shame yourself for failure. 

Basically, what I’m saying here is find some middle ground.  It is the rare occasion that extremism wins, so find the middle ground in simultaneously loving and demanding more out of your body.

… Enough… I’ll put this soap box away for a while and get the camera back out.

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/5/a-hippie-love-fest-vs-a-perfect-body Thu, 15 May 2014 19:13:12 GMT
Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Newborn Photographer- Baby Will has arrived! https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/4/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-newborn-photographer--baby-will-has-arrived Sweet baby Will was such a good boy for his photo shoot!  At 3 weeks old, he fought to stay awake as long as he could, but eventually gave up and let me pose him like a doll. 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Newborn Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/4/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-newborn-photographer--baby-will-has-arrived Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:26:22 GMT
Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer- Where I Went Wed: St Louis https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/4/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--where-i-went-wed-st-louis A brand new baby, a frisky puppy, and great friends lured the mutts and me down to St. Louis for the long holiday weekend.  Besides a few photo sessions, there wasn’t much on the docket, other than spending time with old friends.  And yes, they’re all old compared to me. 

Since this is my old stomping grounds, the tourist attractions aren’t my thing- But, if you can map out your trip to avoid certain crime infested areas, the Lou is a fantastic family vacation spot!  The zoo is awesome, and FREE, which increases its awesome factor exponentially.   You don’t even have to lower your standards to drink the beer to make the free Budweiser tour a must-do activity!  My niece and nephew always loved going to see the horsies and the doggies.  Pro tip- there’s a short version of the tour only including the Clydesdales and Dalmatians to make it family friendly.   Cardinals, Blues, Forrest Park, the Arch, City Museum… the list of attractions is quite impressive for such a small city. 

So those are the things YOU should do in STL… but as a seasoned vet, I spent my time eating and drinking good wine with even better friends.  The newest member of my St Louis family is Sir Remington Spire-Johnson of Chesterfield.  Just kidding.  His name is Remington—Remy for short—but it’s such a regal name that it needs more syllables. 

All in all, it was a fun weekend catching up on the Dirty Dirty gossip, teaching Mollie how to drink red wine, and closet shopping at Beth’s. 

Photography

On a beautifully sunny afternoon, the sun can sometimes present a challenge.  When the sun is overhead, the shadows produced are harsh and straight down, which just looks crappy.  The contrast in shade to light is harsh and unpleasing.  If at all possible, look for shade to eliminate this effect.  Doing so means you will eliminate most of the directional light as well, creating a flat image, so it’s important to look for natural light reflectors to angle the sun into the shade.   Images above shot on D7000 using 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at ISO 100, Aperture set between f/2.8-3.2, Shutter Speed between 1/250-1/400.

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/4/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--where-i-went-wed-st-louis Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:56:25 GMT
Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer- Where I Went Wed: Go Cubs! https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/4/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--where-i-went-wed-go-cubs FINALLY!  It's baseball season!  And I'm pretty sure that THIS is going to be our year, Cubs fans!

A day I've been excitedly anticipating through the long harsh winter in Chi-beria... Cubs home opener was last Friday, and I was more than happy to allot one of my coveted vacation days to be in attendance. 

Those filthy south-siders opened on Monday with much better weather, but even with the howling wind, threat of rain, and frigid temps, Wrigleyville was hopping.   

No one likes the score on that board, but it's a welcomed sight to see baseball either way. 

 

Oh how delicious to have 312 beer from the aisle vendors!

After hypothermia started setting in on my fingers, we moved inside to the Stadium Club to warm up...

 

In recognizing that the Cubs are way cooler than the Cards, my best friend flew in from St Louis for the game.  She was happy to don Cubs gear, drink Miller Light instead of Bud, and even posed with the (unofficial and uncondoned) Cubbie Bear mascot later in the day. 

Photography

I carefully lugged my Nikon D7000 to the game to capture the day and even endured the longer "bag check" line to have my camera bag inspected.  I didn't really want to deal with a huge lens all day, so I selected the 55 mm f/1.8 prime lens which is compact and pretty universal.   Overcast days like this one are usually pretty easy to shoot.  You usually have enough available light to allow for full aperture range.  As you can see from the differences in the depth of field in the different photos, I used both ends of my aperture.  Remember- depth of field is the amount of blur to the part of the photo not in focus.When shooting the field, I wanted as much as possible to be in focus, so I set the aperture quite high (meaning smaller hole).  In contrast, when photographing people, I wanted the people to be the focus with the background more blurred, so I dialed down the aperture (opened the hole wider).  With every change in the diameter of the aperture, you need to accommodate for the different amount of light let in by equally adjusting your shutter speed. 

A quick note on composition to round this out-  Check out the difference in the last two photos. The photo subjects are standing in the exact same spot in both photos, as is the photographer.  The camera has the exact same settings too.  So what's the difference in these two photos?  The composition!  I composed the photo of just Mollie with the slightest of an angle up to get the marquee in the background.  I was careful to not shoot at such an angle that it would be unflattering (this angle is typically VERY bad for women!).  This gave an appearance that the photo was being taken at eye level, but still had a pleasing background.  For the second photo that I'm in, I handed the camera off to a non-photographer, who happens to be about 8 inches taller than the two of us.  While this downward angle is usually more forgiving for the subjects, you can see the composition is less pleasing.  Our heads are in line with the crown, instead of in the marquee.  Certainly not something you can complain about to a kind person who offers to man your camera-  just something worth noting! 

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Aperture Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Composition ISO Shutter Speed Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/4/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--where-i-went-wed-go-cubs Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:54:52 GMT
Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer- Where I Went Wed: Shuffling https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/4/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--where-i-went-wed-shuffling Last Sunday, I did what I do, and got my hungover butt out of bed for a nice little jog with 40,000 of my best friends.  Shamrock Shuffle 8K, baby! For my American readership, that's 4.97 miles, which somehow measured 5.21 miles on my Runkeeper, through the streets of the most amazing city in the world. 

I guess I laced up my shoes right that morning, because somehow I pulled off an 8:50 average clip.  That's super fast for me! Guess those intervals are paying off.

My sister-in-law joined me for the race... Here are our requisite pre and post race selfies:

 

Photography

Not much substance in the way of photography here.  I refuse to give any pointers on selfies because, well, they are an abomination to the art of photography.  But, occasionally, a necessary evil. 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/4/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--where-i-went-wed-shuffling Thu, 03 Apr 2014 14:15:23 GMT
Cara Crumbliss Photography- Chicago Family Photographer- Where I Went Wed: Mani Pedis https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/3/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--where-i-went-wed-mani-pedis I had such great plans for this week's Wednesday post to be a chronicle of my very first Bulls game at the United Center.  It would have been so cute with some artsy photos of the tickets, a couple actions shots of the game, and perhaps a few detail shots of the venue to round it out.  It was going to be a fun post. 

Of course, that didn't happen.  Instead, I sat crying on my couch Thursday night after being stood up for the big game. 

HAHAHAHA.  Ok, there's at least SOME truth in there.  I WAS suppose to go to a game and I DID get cancelled on at the very last minute. But there were no tears, only the sigh of relief from the "ladies" for not having to go to boob jail on a weeknight.  Lesson learned that men who wear Lululemon sweatpants and Uggs really aren't looking to take GIRLS on dates.... 

Cara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photographyCara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photographyCara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photography Instead, today I bring you a lovely outing with my sister in law and niece!  It's almost SPRING, so we had to get our gnarly nails ready to be seen. 

Ever the optimist, I told Ella that it's spring now.  She corrected me, "Wawa.  No. It. Is. Not.  Do you see any flowers or leaves on the trees?  Gah!"  Haha.  She might come by that Crumbliss attitude honestly!

Cara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photographyCara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photographyCara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photography

 

Cara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photographyCara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photographyCara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photography

Cara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photographyCara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photographyCara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photography

Digits Nail Salon on Montrose has a Tuesday/ Wednesday special for $33 mani/ pedis.  A pretty great deal- and the absolute best mani/ pedi in the city!  I can get their manis to last a full week without chipping.  And pedis usually don't chip at all!

 

 

Photography

It's not often that you have a reason to photograph a pedicure.  So, let's step back from the event itself and look at the shooting conditions. You can't always predict lighting/ shooting conditions when you take snapshots to put in a scrap book, so it's critical to learn how to read the light and make it work for you!

The nail salon was well lit- with nasty fluorescent bulbs- but bright enough that I wasn't hurting for light.   In this case, the amount of light is no longer a concern, but the COLOR of the light is.  Fluorescent lighting gives off a really gross blue tint that makes the photo cool.  I prefer the warmer (orange/ red) tones of natural sunlight or even incandescent bulbs.  DSLRs are super smart, though and can accommodate for the excess blue tones in fluorescent lighting. 

This is achieved through adjusting your White Balance to Fluorescent.  Alternatively, there is an Auto setting for White Balance which (for most camera bodies) does a pretty good job of reading the color of light. 

Cara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photographyCara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photographyCara Crumbliss Photographer, Chicago based family photography

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/3/cara-crumbliss-photography--chicago-family-photographer--where-i-went-wed-mani-pedis Wed, 19 Mar 2014 17:58:54 GMT
Where I Went Wednesday: Baltimore https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/3/where-i-went-wednesday-baltimore Global Chem conference for my "day" job brought me to Baltimore last week.  I've never seen so many pocket protectors and socially awkward people in one room at the same time in my life.  500 or 600 representatives from chemical companies, law firms, legislators, and government agency representatives… it was every bit as exciting as you're picturing.  

But, to spice the trip up a little, I convinced a friend to drive the 2-ish hours from my old stompin' grounds in PA to join me for a girls night over the weekend.  We are basically super lame, so our GNO turned into a burger at an Irish Pub, then a (delicious) Bethlehem Brewworks growler of beer in our jammies back at the hotel.  An early night meant we had plenty of energy to get out and explore the sights the next morning.  

I'll be honest, when I think of Baltimore, I'm usually picturing slums and crime… but the Inner Harbor is pretty cool.  Food, drinks, good shopping, and tourist stuff all within walking distance.  Topping my list of Inner Harbor attractions were the old ships!  I just finished a WWII book, so the timing of my visit was spot on.  I did some iPhone-tography here- mostly because I didn't realize when we set out on our walk that there would be quite so many photo ops!  Stupid me!  

And a selfie with one of my best girlfriends to finish it off!  

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/3/where-i-went-wednesday-baltimore Wed, 12 Mar 2014 23:18:37 GMT
Where I Went Wednesday: Mexico Vacation https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/3/where-i-went-wednesday-mexico-vacation

AAaaannddd I'm back!  As much as I wanted to stay in paradise, my liver could take no more.   Somehow in a resort with 600 rooms, I ended up with the rowdiest, most offensive group... Which of course I loved!  

Sunshine and relaxation. My sister, great friends, and unlimited booze.  Nothing could have made it more perfect! 

In perhaps one of my stupidest moments, I agreed to go deep sea fishing.  My deep rooted fear of open water apparently slipped my mind somewhere around the 5th or 6th drink that day.  I tried psyching myself up to mentally prepare for the voyage- and it started out great.  For the first 30 minutes, we enjoyed the 12 pack of beer supplied, and the two 10 inch fish my sister and I reeled in.... then, disaster struck.  

Yeah that's me puking over the back of the boat.  Some sort of anxiety attack combined with sea sickness... I've never been more certain of an impending death.  As I was heaving over the back, my wonderful friend was sweet enough to snap these photos with my camera.  Until I looked through the vacation pictures, I never knew it was the Mexican fisherman rubbing my back.  I thought it was my friend, but no-- they were all too busy laughing at me. 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/3/where-i-went-wednesday-mexico-vacation Sun, 09 Mar 2014 01:15:45 GMT
Goodbye Grandma! https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/3/goodbye-grandma Last Saturday, heaven’s gates opened wide to welcome home my Grandma Avis.    I’m sure Grandpa stood waiting to greet her with arms wide open- a huge kiss and likely a pinch on the bottom to greet her into God’s Kingdom.  He always found the line of what’s acceptable- and then promptly pushed right past.  He’s been waiting 8 long years to have Grandma by his side again, and finally, the Good Lord called her home.
The funny thing about losing Grandma is that it’s awfully hard to mourn the loss of a life well lived.  It was a long life blessed with children, grandchildren, great- grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren—and all the love and joy that accompanies.
At the funeral, my 5 year old niece saw Grandma’s body, not understanding why she was stiff in a wooden box if she had gone to heaven.  I don’t have kids and am not often thrown into these “OH EFF!” situations where the answers are just too difficult to come up with…. But somehow, I opened my mouth and out came “Well, Jesus loaned us Grandma’s sweet soul for a while and this is the body where it lived.  But when He’s ready and our bodies are tired,  our souls get to go back to Jesus.  Bodies go in the ground; souls go to be with Jesus. Bodies get tired and can sometimes hurt, but with Jesus, our souls are happy…  This is a good thing.  You can be sad if you want… but you don’t have to be.  Wawa is smiling today since I know Grandma’s tired body got to rest and her soul got to go be with Jesus.”  Whether it meant anything or not, the explanation satisfied her curiosity.  I walked away from the casket, carrying Cady, smiling… because until that moment, I had felt guilty for my lack of sadness.  Before then, I felt that I was heartless for handling my dear Grandma’s death without a single tear.    But as those words effortlessly spewed out, I realized how true they were.  
She lived a beautiful life.  One that I envy.  One that I will spend the rest of my own days trying to emulate.   With the kindest heart I’ve ever encountered, she loved deeply- without judgment, without reservation, without stipulations.   She offered support and encouragement in equal doses whether I got a promotion at work or I taught my dog a new trick.  To me, different levels of achievement, but to her, any reason to delight in my happiness was joyous.   In my life, I’ve made countless poor decisions, but somehow, she never stopped smiling at me.  Never once did she show even the slightest inkling of disappointment.  Always, my character flaws and decision failures were met with a giggle and “Oh dear! Well, you’ll do better next time.” 
I’ll try, Grandma… I’ll try!
Her last days were hard to take with the grips of dementia digging in deep.  Grandma was lost in a sea of memories from 90 years of living.  She was mostly living real memories, but jumbling up the decades into a memory stew.  It was hard to see.  But, also provided the occasional comedic relief.  On my dad’s last visit with his mom, he said goodbye with “Mom, I love you.  You’ve been an amazing mother, and you’ve lived a life we are all so proud of.”   Her response… “Well, that’s good to hear.  You oughta go tell the cops that because they need to know!”  So, please- to all you readers, go tell every cop you know that Avis Crumbliss was a phenomenal wife, mother, grandmother, and follower of God.  They need to know.  
 
Goodbye Grandma!  I can't wait to see you again! 
 
 
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/3/goodbye-grandma Fri, 07 Mar 2014 23:13:49 GMT
Where I Went Wednesday: Shedd Aquarium https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/2/where-i-went-wednesday-shedd-aquarium

I love me some Shedd Aquarium!  A Sunday playing Wawa plus free entry for corporate members- perfect combination for a day with my niece and nephew looking at fishies. 

One of the perks of my “real” job-  they are corporate members at Shedd.  That gets me free entry anytime, and certain months I can bring 3 guests for free too.  In the short time I’ve lived here in Chicago, I’ve certainly taken advantage of this with 3 trips to Shedd! At $38 a person, that’s a sweet deal.  Only downside to Corporate Members days… long lines!At least it warmed up to a balmy 25 F for these folks.  

A tip from a Shedd pro:  Valet park your car!  It’s only 6 bucks more than the lots available- but you get to go to the VIP line, skipping this nonsense!

 

 


 

My favorite part is always the One World show.  Dolphins, beluga whales, penguins, and even a rescue pup make appearances. 

The Jelly Fish exhibit is also a crowd pleaser. 

 

Photography

Shedd Aquarium's house rules call for no flash.  These house rules are there for a reason- it's harmful and distracting to the animals and trainers to have flashes going off.  It's not particularly bright inside; in fact, is quite dark...  So you need to do all you can to avoid the flash in the low light.  There are 3 ways to go about this:

1.  Jack up the ISO setting.  Most of the photos above were shot at 1600 or 3200 ISO.  You will have some resultant grain in the images, but I just did a little post processing to smooth that out.  These images aren't getting blown up to poster size, so the grain doesn't bother me.  Here is a Snap!torial on ISO

2.  Open up the aperture.  Remember the wider the aperture, the more light you let in.  The lower the f stop, the wider the hole.  The above photos are mostly shot at f/2.8.  For the 2 images with my niece and nephew together, I couldn't open the aperture completely up or they wouldn't both be in focus.  For those, I went with f/3.2.  Here is a Snap!torial on Aperture

3.  Slow down the shutter speed.  When photographing moving objects with the camera in my jittery hands (they don't allow booze in there so you know... the shakes...), you can only slow the shutter speed down so much before you see blur.  I set the shutter speed around 1/100 or 1/80, which is my go-to minimum.  Here is a Snap!torial on Shutter Speed

Further, I was always aware of where the light was.  Each exhibit had some sort of light on it- so I had to position myself to use that light.  For the photos of the kids, I waited until they were up close to the exhibit, then positioned myself so that I could see the light on their face. 

 

Happy Shooting!

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Aperture Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer ISO Low Light Shutter Speed Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/2/where-i-went-wednesday-shedd-aquarium Wed, 19 Feb 2014 21:12:14 GMT
Snap!torial: ISO https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/2/snap-torial-iso ISO is the measure of sensitivity of your light sensor to capture light during an exposure.  More simply, in application, this is the indication of how smooth or grainy your image will be.  This is a really simple concept that impacts your photography a ton. 

When you take a photo, you release the shutter, allowing light to pass through the aperture, where the image sensor (or just “sensor”) reads the light and turns it into the image.  The sensor has a varying degree of sensitivity to the light, the ISO.  Higher sensitivity to light means an increased ability to correctly expose an image with less available light.   But on the flip side, the increased sensitivity is associated with a decrease in image quality (an addition of grain or noise).

ISO is notated starting at 100, and then doubles- both in naming convention and in sensitivity- with each increment up: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400.  Each time the sensitivity doubles, the required light halves.  This means that all other settings exactly the same, an image shot at ISO 1600 will show more light than if shot at ISO 100.  It will also show grain, where the ISO 100 image would not.  So, you are paying for a lower light requirement with a lower quality, ie grainy, image.  You have control over ISO when shooting in all non-automatic modes on a DSLR.  Consult your user manual for how to do this with your specific camera model.

These photos are all taken at f/2.8 with a shutter speed of 1/80 but with different ISO settings.  There's no post-processing done to any photo, and they are intentionally not the ideal exposure to illustrate ISO.

As the ISO in increased, the camera's sensitivity to light also increased- meaning, the camera captured more light in in the same 1/80th of a second exposure with aperture at f/2.8.    But remember, you are paying for the ability to shoot in low light with a decrease in quality.  The photos below show blown up portions of the above images.  Again, I realize the exposures aren't ideal-  but look at the "noise" that you see in the ISO 3200.

The lowest possible ISO for your camera (typically 100 or 200 depending on your model) is the highest possible quality image it can produce.  It follows then that you should always shoot in the lowest possible ISO for your specific light situation.  When there isn’t enough light available, increase the ISO to lower your light requirement.  Do so sparingly!  Remember that increasing ISO means decreasing quality.

Putting this theory into practice, what ISOs are used in what situation?  I’m a portrait photographer, so these are my guidelines:

100/ 200 – Outside in broad daylight

400/ 800- Outside in shade or overcast day

1600- Inside with or without a flash

3200/ 6400- Night, very low light venues

These are just a starting point.  I’ll always set the camera up in these ranges, and then take some test shots with the appropriate aperture/ shutter speed to see the lowest possible ISO I can use. 

Since I’m a portrait photographer who photographs moving subjects, I always need to be aware of my minimum shutter speeds to stop motion (check out the Shutter Speed Snap!torial here).  For other types of photography when there aren’t moving subjects, you can decrease your shutter speed, which would negate your need to increase the ISO.  Nighttime cityscape images are typically taken with a low ISO (opposite of my guidelines above) because they are more interested in the quality of the image than in taking it in 1/100th of a second.  When playing with long exposures, keep the ISO low!

Happy shooting!

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer ISO Snap!torial https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/2/snap-torial-iso Tue, 18 Feb 2014 18:39:00 GMT
Where I Went Wednesday: Mon Ami Gabi for Restaurant Week https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/2/where-i-went-wednesday-mon-ami-gabi-for-restaurant-week Fatty likes to eat. 

A lot.

So, I’m beyond excited to be reporting on Chicago’s Restaurant Week, which incidentally is 2 weeks long.   The celebration of all things delicious comes at a particularly inopportune time for this fatty since I’m 17 days out from a Mexico vacation.  But come on.  I’m not passing up 3 courses for 33 bucks at a restaurant that draws “oooh!”  and “yummm!”  from everyone when I mention my Restaurant Week plans.    I’ll just apologize in advance to those who have to see me jiggle in a swimsuit.  And promise to wear a cover up. 

Though I am a lover of food, I’m no foodie.  To be honest, I’m probably more excited about a bowl of Grape Nuts in sweats in front of the TV for dinner than a night out at a fancy restaurant, fighting the bitter cold, dressed in real clothes, wearing a bra.  (And it’s a wonder I’m still single!)  But, a night out with 3 lovely friends and the promise of steak were enough to lure the ladies into boob jail.

Mon Ami Gabi is a delightful French bistro located across from Lincoln Park on Lincoln Park West and Belden Ave.    Normally, this would be a beautiful view, but this God forsaken winter has dumped 62 inches of snow.  Along Lincoln Park West, I see the tops of 2 cars poking out of the snow, the rest of the cars encompassed by massive snow drifts.   For a brief moment, I suspected an annoyed snow plow driver’s malicious intentions for the cars blocking his path, but it’s quite clear this road hasn’t been plowed since 2010.  Once warm inside, we were quickly seated and I moved on to more important thoughts.  Wine by the glass or the bottle? 

The Restaurant Week menu featured 3 courses. For me, it was cream of cauliflower soup to start, steak frites for the main dish, and a trio of dessert tasters to finish it off.  Double bonus- the steak was giant, enough for dinner the next night too!  MMMmmmm.  The food was, as expected, phenomenal (as well as phenomenally fattening).  A cheat that was undeserved but well worth it.  I'm pretty sure that the calories don't count when they're French. 

Photography

Sorry folks, but there are some places where it just isn’t appropriate to take photos.  The dinner table is one of them.  In the dim lit restaurant, I would have disturbed all the guests with a flash, and taking a photo in that light without a flash would have been useless.  Sometimes, it’s manners before photos! 

So in this disappointing photography blog without a single picture, let’s review the general rules of photography etiquette:

  • Be aware of your surroundings- make sure you’re photo op isn’t inconveniencing or disturbing other people.  This goes for flash, group poses that take up the sidewalk, and anything else where you mistakenly think you're the center of the universe.  Just be polite and aware of the people around you
  • Be respectful of house rules-  Some venues have rules about IF and HOW you are allowed to take photos.  These rules are there for a reason.  You’re not cool for breaking them.  You’re a jerk. 
  • Don’t obstruct someone else’s view to get your shot
  • Always, always, always, always be safe!  There’s no photo worth your safety, or the safety of your subject.  Remember this in the posing of your subjects and in the positions you put yourself in to find that cool angle! 

Happy Shooting!

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Photography Etiquette Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/2/where-i-went-wednesday-mon-ami-gabi-for-restaurant-week Wed, 12 Feb 2014 20:33:34 GMT
Where I Went Wednesday: Lakefront Runs https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/2/where-i-went-wednesday-lakefront-runs One of my best ideas ever came to me back when I moved from St. Louis to Pennsylvania.  Side note- weird, but I ALWAYS refer to them that way- one a city, the other a state.  Kind of reminds me of when I was a kid and didn’t understand the difference between Dallas and Texas.  I digress.  After the excitement of moving to PA died down, I got a bit lonely not knowing anyone.  So, I put the two things I love most together and started the LV BeerRun Club.  It was genius.  We did about a 5K run (yep, measuring in K not miles, much to the annoyance of my friend) and then drank beer and played trivia at the local brew pub every Wednesday night.  I met some of my lifelong best friends there.  It was amazing.  

I tell you all this unnecessarily, since it has little to do with what I did this week.   My excitement of the week was a long run along the lake path- by far my favorite place in our great city.  As I ran along loving the crisp air, beautifully frozen lake, and many (a**hole) joggers that passed me by, I laughed to myself remembering the LV BeerRun Club’s All-Weather Running Rules.  Basically, I had put on the website that we were an all-weather running club and would be out there rain or shine.  However, it had to be above freezing- a rule I thought to be inherently known by my fellow running buddies.    After all, what crazy person runs outside below freezing?  

 Fast forward 6 months into my Chicago chapter, and I’ll give you one guess.   The short days and long commuting hours have cut back on my weekday outdoor runs, but you can safely bet on finding me running the lake path on the weekends.  Polar Vortex be damned. 

The view of the city and fresh air off the lake are invigorating.  The path is always clear of snow and mostly clear of ice.  And there are other crazies out there making you think it’s normal to run at 5F with a wind chill below 0.  This week, I even had a random pup run with me for about a mile- he was happily chasing his cross-country skiing mama.   Oh- and bonus winter perk- parking is free till May if I don’t feel like navigating the 10 blocks of snowy sidewalks to the lake!

I miss my PA girls and the LV BeerRun Club… but man I love this city! 

 

Photography

I'm not a landscape photographer, so this is definitely not a post where I can claim any expertise!   I brought my camera with me for a couple quick photos before taking off on my run and then stowed it safely in my car.  With limited time- and limited subject matter since there's not too much of the lake path that you can park near- I found a beautiful view of the city.  The day was overcast which typically is my favorite daytime light to shoot in (other than golden hour, of course!), but the snow makes everything tricky.  I tried metering (that's how the camera reads the light to tell you if your exposure is ok) off the city line.  Once taken, I reviewed the shot in camera, and it looked over-exposed, even though the metering told me otherwise.  That's what snow will do- blow everything out to be the color of my legs during the winter.  To accommodate, I sped up the shutter speed a few clicks, taking a shot at each  new exposure setting.  To allow in less light, I had to speed up the shutter.  Not knowing exactly what was the correct exposure setting, I tried several, and figured I would find the best one back at the computer.  That's how I cheat when the light is hard for me to read-  start with the correct metered exposure, review, and make adjustments to "out smart" your camera as needed.  In this cityscape, I also wanted a huge depth of field so that the city in the background and tree in foreground would both be in focus.  To get that, I dialed the aperture up to f/11.  Check out Snap!torials on Aperture and Shutter Speed for more information.

In the top photo, I was lucky to find a nice puddle to reflect the overhead trees, which I thought was just a cool shot. I composed it to draw your eye to the reflected puddle, blurring out the city line behind using a low aperture. 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Aperture Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Landscape Photography Shutter Speed Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/2/where-i-went-wednesday-lakefront-runs Wed, 05 Feb 2014 15:41:50 GMT
Snap!torial: Shutter Speed https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/2/snap-torial-shutter-speed *Disclaimer- I've been sitting on this post for a couple weeks but keep forgetting to go out and take the photos as examples.  I'll update when I do that, but wanted to get the post up! Sorry I'm a giant loser. 

Shutter speed is a measurement of how long your shutter is open when taking a picture. This is the amount of time that the photo is being exposed.  Or, more simply- the amount of time that light is allowed to pass through the opening (the aperture!  Check out this Snap!torial to explore aperture).   Logistically, this is a simple concept.  So why does it matter?  Your shutter speed creates – or stops- motion in a photograph.  Effectively, the shutter speed controls how you capture movement.   

You can control the shutter speed on your camera when shooting in S (Shutter Speed priority) or M (Manual) modes on a DSLR by toggling to the desired aperture.  Consult your user manual for how to do this with your specific camera model.  The shutter speed is a function of your camera BODY, so the capabilities don’t change with fancy lenses.    Shutter speed is notated in seconds, typically 1/n, where n is a number… ie 1/100 means 1/100th of a second.  If you see whole numbers for the shutter speed, those are whole seconds.  BULB (or B) means that the shutter will stay open as long as you are pushing the button.

Most of the time for portrait photographers like me, you don’t want to show any motion.  Not to say you don’t want your subject to be in motion … I mean come on, have you ever tried to get an 18 month old to sit still for a photo session?  What I mean when I say that I want to eliminate motion is that I want the shutter to fire fast enough that there is no detectable movement/ blur in the moving parts of the photo.     

To stop motion, there’s a few general rules to live by for the MINIMUM shutter speed (the slowest).  If you go below the minimum, you’ll see blur in your photo, no matter how sharp the focus.  The blur isn’t from the focus, it’s from the movement.  Note that these are minimums. 

  • Minimum to stop general motion- 1/80 or 1/100.  This is my own rule and other photographers may not agree, but I never ever ever ever get little kids to sit still enough to go any slower than this.  Add in that when chasing around a kid, I’m also introducing motion myself with my movements.  So, unless I’m photographing a static object using something to steady my hands, I try to stay at or above 1/80 or 1/100. 
  • Handheld rule-  To eliminate the blur from the shake in your hand when you’re holding the camera, the slowest shutter speed should be 1/the focal length of your lens.  Example-  if you have a 55mm lens, minimum shutter speed should be close to 1/55, which would be 1/60.  This rule doesn’t matter much for short (no zoom) lenses, since the earlier rule will trump it, but for zoom lenses, it really does matter!  If you zoom in to use a 200 mm lens, you need to do a minimum of 1/200 shutter speed to eliminate handheld blur. 
  • Sports- For sports, the action is fast, so you need to up your minimum shutter speed.  Depending if you’re at a little league game or professional, the speed may differ.   When photographing my nephew’s football, I try to stay above 1/500 to stop the motion.  For a college game, I'd probably bump that up to 1/1000.  Play around and check photos to make sure you’re stopping the action,  adjusting as needed!

 

Other types of photography want to show motion, not stop it-  for instance, those cool pictures of a car or motorcycle speeding by when the car is sharp focused, but the land it passed by during the exposure is blurred.  Or the many many cityscape photos with the long blurred red lines showing the movement of traveling cars.  In these photos, the desired effect is achieved with a slower shutter speed.  Allowing the shutter to stay open longer means that the motion during that time will be captured in the photograph.   In the examples I described, you are capturing the motion in 2 different ways.  In the first example where you see a moving object sharp and the background is blurred from the motion, the camera actually moves with the moving object. You physically move/ rotate the camera at the same speed that the moving object passes by.  For the second example, you're showing the movement of the car by keeping the camera still, on a tripod, but keeping the shutter open for a few seconds.  Slower shutter speeds will introduce handheld blur, so you should use a tripod or some other object to steady the camera.  

In later Snap!torials, we’ll explore the effect of flash on these long exposure photographs-  adding in a flash either at the beginning of the exposure or at the end will essentially stop the action for the fraction of a second that the flash fires, but then the rest of the motion will show as a blur.  Back in school, this was a fun concept to play with, so I’m looking forward to writing THAT Snap!torial! 

The next Snap!torial will put the concepts of Aperture and Shutter Speed together to get the correct exposure with the desired effects. 

Happy Shooting!

Cara

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Shutter Speed Snap!torial https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/2/snap-torial-shutter-speed Tue, 04 Feb 2014 18:32:16 GMT
Where I Went Wednesday: Polar Vortex 2.0 https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/where-i-went-wednesday-polar-vortex-2-0 Deep in the throes of Polar Vortex 2.0 in Chi-beria, I realize it’s time to write a Where I Went Wednesday post.  Sadly, this week it’s nothing more than an account of the couch/ bed/ gym/ work rotation I’ve been keeping.  Frankly, it’s just been too chilly to get out and about.  But even in this extreme weather, I won’t complain about the cold temperatures- so cold that my house key snapped in half.  I won’t whine a bit about the icicles that form on my eyelashes on my walk to the train.  Won’t even mention that my mutts can’t pee outside, or that my car won’t start half the time, or that the trains even quit when it drops below – 15F.   No, I  will embrace everything that hooker mother nature wants to throw at me this winter with open arms and sweat pants.  Because this is just the cost of living in the greatest city on Earth.

My polar votex companions:

Photography

A few photos of my best pals on a cold Sunday morning. Pet photography isn't that much different than kid photography-  get the subject in the general vicinity of where you want to take their picture, then bribe them with words like "treat" or "You wanna go bye-bye?" to get smiles.  Since I prefer the look of natural light, I did all that I could to avoid getting out a flash. 

Lighting/ Reflected Light:  I opened the blinds halfway- there is harsh light coming in from the open window, but I strategically placed the mutts to be in the softer light that comes through the window shade.  I opened it just as far as I could to allow in the most light, while still keeping a shaded, softer light big enough to pose in.  In non-photog words, there's bright sunshine streaming in from half the window, but they are posed in the light from the half of the window where there's a curtain.  Opening the curtains like this provided more ambient light, and the light-colored floors reflected it beautifully to get light on the shaded side of the mutt.  This is a critical technique to learn in natural light photography-  look around for light reflectors.  Reflected light adds definition to a photograph.   Often times on a photoshoot, I look for the natural reflectors of light brick walls, a water puddle, sand, etc.  The concept is that you use the main source of light (in the mutt photos, the light from the window) to illuminate the main focus of the photo- but usually at an angle.  Then the reflected light adds in detail to the shaded parts of the photograph.   Above, the main light is coming from the left of Sue, and left behind of Reagan.  You can see the directionality of the light in the shading.  Then, there is light reflecting off of my light-colored walls from the right and off the light-colored wood floor from the bottom.  There's depth in the photo from this technique.

ISO Settings:  Even in the day with blinds open, my condo isn't the brightest.  So, to keep the flash away, I dialed my ISO up to 1600.  ISO settings are a measure of the sensitivity of the film/ digital sensor.  To you, that means that it's a measure of how grainy the photo will be.  Low ISO results in no grain, high ISO is high grain.  In full sunlight, you can set your ISO at 100, shade may require ISO 400 or 800.  Evening I jack it up to 1600 or 3200.  Same goes for using a flash.  So- relating back to my low- light situation, higher ISO also requires less light to get a correct exposure, and that's why I chose to dial it up.  The small bit of grain that resulted was later fixed in Lightroom (my post-processing software). 

Aperture Settings:  For the mutt portraits, I wanted a low aperture for 2 reasons-  first, to give less depth of field (ie greater blurred background effect).  Second, lower aperture allows in more light.   Read more on  aperture in this Snap!torial.

Whew, I'm pretty impressed with my ability to write this much about a couple quick photos of the mutts.  :)

Happy Shooting!
Cara

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Aperture Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Depth of Field ISO Settings Lighting Natural Light Reflectors Pet Photography Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/where-i-went-wednesday-polar-vortex-2-0 Wed, 29 Jan 2014 16:15:11 GMT
Deployment by the Numbers https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/303-days-of-waiting Garrett’s HOME! 

303 days of deployment… ~10 months… 7,873 miles between…     That adds up to 10 new teeth, 3 lost teeth,  12 haircuts, 48 baseball games, 16 clogging classes, 10 football games, 2 basketball games, ~1100 workouts (seriously!), 95 rides to and from school, 293 lonely nights,  1 ER trip, 5468 requests for Daddy to return,  746 reminders that Daddy is the favorite, 180 spankings, 3 birthdays, 4 holidays, 3 vacations, 90% of the baby’s life...

Day 1

Our military is more than the men and women in uniform.  Their spouses and children fight a different frontline, but it’s a lonely, long, ugly one just the same.  Today, I’m thankful that the Gilmore Family gets to close the deployment chapter.  There are two blondies and a baby that have missed their daddy long enough!

Day 303

My wish for them in the coming days…  7589 kisses, 8298 hugs, 1290876 smiles, 8726383 laughs, 0 lonely nights, and never more than a few miles apart.  Looks like they're already getting started on that! 

 

And for you readers,  go out and hug a vet today… and maybe his wife or kid who selflessly and unvoluntarily took on the homefrontline!   We all owe them a debt we could never ever payback.

Welcome home Garrett!  

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/303-days-of-waiting Thu, 23 Jan 2014 20:16:33 GMT
Where I Went Wednesday: Big Jack turns 60! https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/where-i-went-wednesday-big-jack-turns-60

Last Saturday, I left my beloved city to go "home" to Kansas.  Big Jack turned 60 so we rounded the family up and had almost the entire family together to celebrate.  Garrett's deployment ruined our 100% attendance, but between Gunner, Beckett, and Papa Jerry, there were enough people running around looking like him to fill the gap. I also drank beers excessively, beer-pressured the slow drinkers, teased my friends, and wore a vest shirtless to make it feel like Garrett was present. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our family, you only know you're a grown man once you've lost all your hair. 

 

And the coolest gift of the night....

Duck Dynasty Keystone Lights! 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography

When photographing an event like a party, your goal is to chronicle the day as it happens.  This is a basic principle of photojournalism, and the trend-du-jour in wedding photography.   I started out my photography journey as a photojournalist for a college newspaper- where I was taught that if someone remembers you being there, you failed as a photojournalist.  We were to capture the event, not become a part of it.    While that may be true when working for a newspaper or documenting a wedding, at your kid’s birthday party, you’re likely not trying to hide from the action.  Instead, you want to be a part of it and the photography thing is more an afterthought.  So, how do you effectively capture an event that you are a part of?   First, make a plan for the things you don’t want to miss- special details you pinterested your ass off creating, Great Grandma holding the baby, a group shot of all the visiting relatives…. Whatever it is that is important to you.   Execute on this list early so you don’t forget or become too busy elsewhere.  Don’t forget the detail shots (cake, decorations, venue)- and try to take these before guests arrive.  After I have captured the don’t-miss list, I do a few laps around the party to take snapshots of the guests interacting.  Inevitably, people get self-conscious when they see a camera pointed at their face, so I put on a tighter lens (one that has a bit of zoom) and take photos of people who can’t really see me, standing further away.  You will find that you get more genuine smiles and end up with a more organic representation of the party.  After that, I strap the camera across my body and go about enjoying the party.  It’s always there hanging if a photo op presents itself, but is no longer my primary task.  

Other tips for parties:

  • For Mom-tographers,  don’t forget that YOUR presence should be recorded in the photo books too!  Hand that camera off a couple times and be part of a few pictures too!  I usually set the camera up exactly how I want it to be shot, taking a test shot of the area I’m going to be posing for the photo to verify the exposure is correct.  Since not everyone is a photographer versed in composition, I usually set the lens very wide so I can crop into the desired composition later.
  • Do group photos FIRST THING!  No one ever really wants to pose for a group photo.  And it’s hard to herd the cattle together, especially if the alcohol is flowing.  Get these done as soon as you can!
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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Event Photography How to photograph an event Mom-tographer Photojournalism Where I Went Wednesday https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/where-i-went-wednesday-big-jack-turns-60 Wed, 22 Jan 2014 17:29:35 GMT
Cara's Kitchen: Lazy Wine Lover's Paradise https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/caras-kitchen-lazy-wine-lover-s-paradise As the inaugural Cara’s Kitchen post, I thought it fitting to feature the 2 most used gadgets in my kitchen:  Sharper Image Bottle Chiller & Waring Bottle Opener.   Two of the most significant inventions of modern times, right up there with iPhones and Nutella.  A side note- I hate when people say sliced bread is such a fantastic invention.  Really?  Slicing a loaf of belly-fattening carbohydrates beats out seat belts or chap stick or internet? 

Back on topic.

The Sharper Image Bottle Chiller is ah-maz-ing.  Small enough to inconspicuously store on the counter, this gadget is the perfect addition to kitchens of all underprivileged wine lovers (you know… those of us without a wine cellar or wine fridge).  How it works-  You just put in a bottle (corked or not, no matter), reaffix the lid, and select the type of wine on the screen.  You can choose either a specific grape or broader category, and this nifty thing is smart enough to know the proper serving temperature for your wine.  After you make the selection, wait about 15 minutes and it dings to let you know your wine is at the perfect temperature! 

The Waring Bottle Opener has literally saved my life on multiple occasions.  (Don’t you love when people use “literally” to mean “figuratively”???) Before getting this device, all too often, I had to pour wine through a coffee filter to catch all the cork I broke off in trying to open it with a regular old corkscrew.  But alas, this is no longer a problem! How it works-  Use the handy dandy foil cutter to remove the foil, then simply stick the opener over your bottle and push the down arrow until the cork is out, perfectly in one piece.  Then, push the up arrow until the opener releases the cork for your next Pinterest project or decorative bowl of used stinky wine corks.  Don’t worry, I have one too. 

Recipe

This is my world famous recipe for Happy Cara … Super fast and easy, this is the perfect weeknight dinner option for the single ladies out there.   I would strongly recommend getting in your evening run before dinner for this one.  It can sit a little heavy in your belly sometimes.

Ingredients:  1.5 bottles Red Wine

Chill bottles to 64◦F by placing in Sharper Image Bottle Chiller.  Select “Red Wine” setting and wait approximately 15 minutes.  When beeper goes off, open perfectly-chilled bottles using the electronic bottle opener.  Save cork for later Pinterest project.  Serve glass half full.  No one likes a pessimist. 

Serves:  1

Photography

Still Life Photography is typically categorized as an art in lighting techniques and creating photos rather than taking them, meaning you are able to set the photo up, add props, manipulate light, and control many factors that other types of photography don't allow.  But, with that control, you then must create the art and tell a story with your depiction of the inanimate objects.  It's a great opportunity to practice your composition.  The Rule of Thirds is the most elementary of composition techniques and will be investigated in a coming Snap!torial.

Happy Shooting !

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Cara's Kitchen Chicago Photographer Photography Composition Still Life Photography Wine Lover https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/caras-kitchen-lazy-wine-lover-s-paradise Sat, 18 Jan 2014 23:25:29 GMT
Where I Went Wednesday: Josh Abbott Band at Joe's https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/where-i-went-wednesday-josh-abbott-band-at-joes

Watch out.  It’s above freezing, there’s a country band playing, and I’ve got cabin fever somethin’ fierce.  It’s time to get out the Dan Posts and belt buckles.  Wawa’s going out.

It’s Saturday night at Joe’s on Weed, and I’m here ready to rock out some good ‘ol Red Dirt country music with the Josh Abbott Band.   Live music is always fun, but this venue is small enough that you feel like you’re part of the show…. And that is quite literally true when the opening band, Mockingbird Sun, comes out to the crowd and serenades us from atop the bar.  Even from 3 feet away,  I can’t hear anything they are singing, since they’ve left their microphones on stage.  However, I’m pretty sure that he’s talking about me when he says that the “prettiest girls in the bar are standing back by the bar.”  No problems with self esteem over here.   

Josh Abbott Band does not disappoint.  These Texas frat boys turned musicians put on a great show- who doesn’t love a little live banjo and fiddle action?  Captain Morgan , doing what he does, has convinced me that I’m a rockstar too…. So I belt out my favorite songs- the lyrics partially correct, partially made up,  partially jibberish mumbles . 

All in all, a great Chicago Saturday night… But really, would you expect me to say anything else, considering  my love affair with this great city!?

Photography

I drink far too much to lug around any legit gear on this outing, so I have to resort to iPhone-tography.  Also, I’m still trying to make friends in this city, and I don’t really want to be the weirdo blogging a concert.  Oh wait…  Anyways.   Concerts are a rough go for iPhone-tographers.  The low light is a known challenge for the iPhone.   Even as Apple adds in bajillions of pixels with newer models, it still sucks at low light.  To shoot in low light, you need a camera with an aperture that can open up really wide, allowing in more light.  Not possible here.   (Check out this Snap!torial on aperture, in case that’s a new or confusing concept)

The distance from the stage also presents challenges.  Especially factoring in the low light.  You use that zoom and immediately, it’s a pixelated, grainy POS photo that’s not Facebook-suitable (and let’s be honest… largely the reason you need to photograph a concert is to show your FB friends how cool you are!). 

Additionally, the flash on the iPhone isn’t going to be sufficient in this size of venue.  It will actually ruin the photo by adding in light to the foreground (the people standing in front of me), and distort the exposure on the desired subject (the band on stage).    In large venues, turn that flash off. 

Some other tips to help improve your iPhone-tography:

  • Hold the camera/ phone with 2 hands.   Especially in low light, you might experience a slower shutter speed than ideal, so steady the photo with 2 hands.  As my middle school band teacher used to say- nothing with feeling ever comes from just using one hand.  Not real sure how that was applicable to band.
  • Using zoom will increase shakiness, blur, and in low light situations, pixelation.  Try composing your photo wide angle, without zoom

Happy Shooting!

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Aperture Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Where I Went Wednesday iPhone-tography https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/where-i-went-wednesday-josh-abbott-band-at-joes Wed, 15 Jan 2014 13:59:50 GMT
Snap!torial: Aperture https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/snap-torial-aperture Aperture  refers to the hole the light travels through when the shutter releases, specifically the size of the hole.   Logistically, when you snap a photo, the instant you push the shutter button, the shutter fires, momentarily allowing light to travel through the aperture to expose the photo.  You need the perfect amount of light allowed in to correctly expose a photo.  We’ll look into Shutter Speed and how the combination of shutter speed + aperture creates the perfect exposure in later Snap!torials. 

For now, let’s concentrate on Aperture.  When the hole is bigger, you’re allowing in more light in the instant the shutter fires.  When it’s smaller, less light.  Why does this matter?  Well, the size of the hole (ie the aperture) effects the depth of field (ie the blurriness or sharpness of the things in a photo that aren’t in focus… you know the super blurred background effect…) and the plane of focus. 

In portrait photography, the trend-du-jour is creating super blurred backgrounds.  I’m loving this trend and I hope it stays forever and ever and ever…. For one reason, the stark contrast between blurred background and sharp subject is incredibly pleasing to the eye.  Without too much effort, you draw the eye to the subject.  This goes a long way in forgiving a less-than-perfect composition.  Also, I find that “soft” images (where you have the focus off just a smidge) can sometimes be salvaged.  Your eye won’t notice that the subject isn’t perfectly sharp, since by comparison to the background, it’s super sharp.  To clarify, in no way am I saying this is an excuse for poor photography.   Just that it’s nice for a current trend to be somewhat forgiving.  

Aperture is notated as an F Stop, “f/”.  The naming convention for  F stops is a bit counter-intuitive in that the smaller your F stop number, the wider the hole… and the wider the hole, the more blurry the background is.  In this image comparison, notice the difference in the background blur in each picture- it's easy to see if you compare "argoflex" on the camera on the far right.  Note also that for each change in f stop, I had to make an equal and opposite change to the shutter speed.  Makes sense if you think about it...  when you make the hole smaller, you need to keep the shutter open longer to get the correct exposure.  

You have control over Aperture when shooting in A (Aperture priority) or M (Manual) modes on a DSLR by toggling to the desired aperture.  Consult your user manual for how to do this with your specific camera model.  The aperture is a function of your LENS, not your BODY, even though you control it via the camera body.   You will notice around the edge of your lens a notation starting with f/, example “f/1.8” means this lens goes down to 1.8 aperture.  The high end of a range isn’t notated.  For lenses that zoom, you might see “f/3.2-4.8.” That means that at one end of the zoom, your lowest aperture is 3.2, but while zoomed in, your lowest aperture is 4.8.  Unfortunately, the typical way things go is the lower the aperture, the more expensive the lens.  

To create the blurred background look, toggle your aperture down to the lower end the lens allows, being aware that if you’re in Manual mode, you’ll need to adjust the shutter speed to accommodate this change.  Also, create distance between your subject and their background.  The more distance between the plane of focus and the background behind them, the greater your blur effect will be.  It helps when posing people with a wall/fence/fireplace/etc. as the background to have them step away from the background.  I usually try to get them as far away as possible to still keep the composition of the image pleasing.  Be careful in going too low with your aperture.  It’s fun to play with and it’s easy to get in the mindset that if a little is good, then a lot is better, and then just dial that baby down to the lowest aperture your lens allows.  Well, the problem with that is that the lower your aperture, the skinnier the plane of focus…  So, you might end up with a nose in focus and the eyes blurry because you’ve gone too low with your aperture creating too little depth of field.  Especially when there are multiple subjects in your photo, it’s hard to get them all in focus at super low apertures. 

In contrast, for landscape photography, you want EVERYTHING to be in focus.  To achieve this, dial up the aperture.  This isn’t my strong suit, so I don’t want to give bad advice here.  Play around with it to see how high you want to go.   This is also how you would achieve those silly photos where people are pushing the Leaning Tower of Pisa or Washington Monument over.  With a high aperture, everything is in focus, and you can’t distinguish any distance between the subject and the background. 

To sum it all up:

Low F/stop = wide hole = lots of light = low depth of field = blurry background

High F/Stop = small hole = little light = high depth of field = sharp/ focused background

Aperture + Shutter Speed = Exposure

Happy shooting!

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Aperture Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Depth of field Snap!torial f stop https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/snap-torial-aperture Tue, 14 Jan 2014 03:02:17 GMT
Hello Chicago! Introductory Offer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/hello-chicago-introductory-offer

Book by April 1, 2014 to get $100 off a standard session as a welcome gift to this new city we are happy to now call home!

Details on Investment page.  Email to book a session!

 

 

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer Hello Chicago! Introductory Offer https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/hello-chicago-introductory-offer Fri, 10 Jan 2014 21:15:00 GMT
New website. New blog. Followed by utter neglect. https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/new-website-new-blog-followed-by-utter-neglect After settling into my new digs in Chicago and getting the swing of life as a commuter, I spent some considerable time restructuring my website and blog.  So much time that by the time it went live, I was all out of energy for any sort of fanfare… So the old came down and the new went up without a peep. 

What was I thinking!?  There are some majorly sweet new features on this baby!  Some are to streamline work for me- but most of them benefit you directly!  Here are a few highlights of added features, and how I think you will love it:

  • Image DownloadAlmost universally, I offer digital images with my packages, which are delivered on CD/ DVD.  That won’t change, so you’ll still get that disc in the mail, but now- you can download high resolution images directly from your client gallery!  Why you’ll love it:  Instant gratification is my fave.  And I’m guessing yours too.
  • Non-expiring Client Galleries- Say what! These don’t expire after 30 days anymore, so in 6 months or a year when you want to show someone your gallery… just send the link because it’s still live!  I will add the disclaimer that this won’t be included in the contract- meaning if ever I change the structure again in the future, they may come down.  So, you’ll still need to keep track of your disc and back up your images too.  Why you’ll love it:  Sharing is caring and that shouldn’t be limited to a 30 day window.  Plus, add this together with image downloading and WOAH!  Now you can download 6 month old images directly from my site. 
  • Favorites folder-  In your private gallery, you will now be able to create your own login and make a favorites folder.  Why you’ll love it:  Particularly for weddings, you don’t always want to share full galleries.  Make yourself a Favorites folder and you can share only those photos with the favorites link!
  • Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest Sharing-  Easily share photos to your social media by clicking on the buttons!  Why you’ll love it:  Everybody who’s anybody shares on Facebook.
  • New Blog-  This is less for you and more for me.  I am not the biggest fan of blogging, and my old setup was tedious.  This new one is NOT.  Ergo, I’ll use it more.  What you have to look forward to—lots of fun new blog series are in the works!  Here’s a sneak peek at what’s coming:
    • Snap-torial:  A series of how-to guides for the budding photographer.  These will be aimed at newbies to get acquainted with your camera and learn the basics of how to take beautiful photos
    • Where I Went Wednesday:  Every Wednesday will feature a post on somewhere I have explored in this amazing city of ours!  This is an evolving idea, but I see wine tastings  and beerruns fitting in here somewhere
    • Cara’s Kitchen:  The journey of the challenged cook to actually use a kitchen without burning it down.  Let’s be clear-  I’m AWFUL in the kitchen.  Well, perhaps that’s not true- we don’t know for sure since I’ve never used one in my 31 years.  It remains to be seen if this turns into a humor category. 
    • Perfectly Pinterest:  I spend an embarrassing portion of my commute pinteresting.  So, why not share the horror or success stories?
    • Trash-ures.  Your trash.  My treasure:  I love repurposing and refinishing “trash” into functional stuff.  I’ll admit it- I’ve been accused of being a hipster based on the volume of old suitcases, cameras, and even a lovely typewriter which decorate my home.

Much more-  basically, I’m promising now that I’ll actually blog more than just sneak peeks.  I’ve promised this before, so hopefully this time I mean itWhy you’ll love it:  Because I’m funny when I drink.  And most of the above promised posts will be written under the influence.

In case you want to see old blogs, the old one is still up here!

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) Cara Crumbliss Photography Chicago Photographer New features Photography Blog https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2014/1/new-website-new-blog-followed-by-utter-neglect Thu, 09 Jan 2014 20:59:55 GMT
Rutkowski Boys https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2013/12/rutkowski-boys The Rutkowski boys are all ready for Santa to visit!  :)  

Cara Crumbliss Photography Cara Crumbliss Photography Cara Crumbliss Photography Cara Crumbliss Photography

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2013/12/rutkowski-boys Sat, 07 Dec 2013 23:04:06 GMT
Hello New Blog https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2013/12/hello-new-blog Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based Family PhotographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based Family Photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based Family PhotographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based Family Photography Cara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based Family PhotographyCara Crumbliss Photography, Chicago based Family Photography

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[email protected] (Cara Crumbliss Photography) https://www.caracrumblissphotography.com/blog/2013/12/hello-new-blog Tue, 03 Dec 2013 18:32:19 GMT