sunny days are here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

i CRAVE it.
C-R-A-V-E I-T.
like i crave chocolate cake, sleep, alone time, foot rubs, babies. . .
(ok.  too far.  as always.)
but it's at the top of that list.
and this time of year, spring time,
it's awesome.
that sunshine where it's just perfect.
just enough to warm you up if you stand in its rays,
but not so hot where you find yourself getting uncomfortable in its heat, running for the 'conditioned' air.
it's this time of year, where i'm drawn to it, make my way towards it, every chance i get,
(and because the outdoors becomes our home, from april-october,)
standing in it.  hands resting on my lower back, doing a mini-back bend,
looking straight up in to it (my eyes closed, of course, so i don't burn my retina's,)
but drinking it in for as long as i can stand there.
(which is usually about 30 seconds, because there's always a child that needs wrangling, supervising, help with a bike or roller skates or a push on the swing.)
but i'll take those little baths in sunshine, as much as possible.
knowing that the summer heat dial will be cranked up before we know it, 
that that same sun, won't feel as perfect, but rather, stifling.
but then again in fall, to me, the most BEAUTIFUL sun.
where again, i find myself standing in odd places in the yard, 
doing my best to soak up its last bits, 
before winter closes in.
but winter schwinter.  that's dead and gone for now.
back to the present, 
this time of year, 
if grace and charlie will nap (which they rarely do, boo-hoo,)
i'll steal away on to our deck, which in the prime-time of afternoon, gets ALL kinds of sun.
pull up a patio chair that's recently been buried under mounds of snow,
cushion-less and uncomfortable, but somewhere to plant myself, for a few minutes,
and just sit.  soaking.  in my sweet sweatpants and all.
and as the days of spring slowly turn to summer,
the sweatpants are of course, ditched and replaced with shorts and tank tops.
but the kind where i can tuck the straps in, so i'm spared tan lines.
(tan lines are a pet peeve of mine.  i think they're tacky.)
and of course, if i'm brave, some days lounging in whatever sort of lycra one-piece i can shoe-horn myself in to,
to get a REALLY good all-over tan.

i live for it.
and on the days i can do this,
i reminisce about the days of 16.
when i would lay out for HOURS on end.  on our small, brick patio, on a measly beach towel,
brick edges digging in to my back.  but i didn't care.
this wasn't about comfort.  it was about getting the best tan.
i obsessed over it.  
i think i would occasionally lay on a black sheet or put tin foil under my head, 
to attract as MUCH sun as possible.  so insane.
and wow, did i have a nice tan.  always.
oiling myself up from head to toe, 
straight-up oil.  i scoffed at sunscreen wearers.
set up with my can of pop, 
snapping gum, boombox running on batteries and cranked to the latest hits,
using the cue of a new song to flip (had to get an even tan.)
ah, to be young and naive.
and as i sit on our deck this day in age,
baby monitor within reach, in case charlie gets up (yes, i still use one for my 2-year-old. . .another story for another day,)
no music because then i won't hear the baby monitor,
cell phone timer set so i don't stay outside too long,
LOTS of sunscreen!
and dear Lord, if i lay out here for more than 30 minutes i might have a heat stroke.
how much things have changed.
but the beauty of the sun hasn't.
and thankfully, our old, house, despite it's cracking, creaking, settling,
is perfect in other ways.
it sits in the perfect position at the top of our hill.
the front facing the east, where we get AWESOME sunlight peaking through the trees as it rises, 
waking our front room for the day,
(note picture above.) 
or shows its face for a few moments,
on what has been predicted to be a dismal, rainy day.
but we get that little peak, through gracies' bedroom window.
AWESOME sunlight as it reaches its peak at noon and drowns out our dining room from the south, when we need it most, when stress levels are creeping and motivation is low,
and laundry is piling.
but there's that sunlight to fold it all in.
relaxing my mind and motivating my hands to keep on movin'. 
and AWESOME in the evening, as the sun lays down, flooding our kitchen while we eat,
watching it set through the trees as baths are given, teeth are brushed and little bodies are dried and snuggled in to pajamas.
it couldn't be more perfect in that way.
not only do i crave it in my day now, 
in my play,
but in my work.
most of my favorite photos from past sessions,
incorporate the sun somehow.
the way morning light through a window, radiates a little face,
spins soft wisps of hair into gold,
and although small sometimes, maybe only seen through the crux of an elbow,
can add just a little more to a photo,
brightening the leaves and adding light to trees,
and if i'm lucky, like i was in this shot,
actually catching some of its rays, reflecting off my lens.
lighting up little fingertips,
spit-shining apples with its glow,
i used to shy away from the sun when i first got in to photography,
fearing the light, it's sometimes harshness and ability to blow things out, overexpose,
but now, 
i look for it.  search for it.  even through chubby baby legs.
or lighting up a normally dark alley,
to catch a little one and his shadow,
i plan shoots around it, knowing where it will be at what time of day,
behind what building and through what trees, in what city. . .
i know.
catching it,
like silver sequins dancing on a cocktail dress,
only instead, across a fountain where two of my favorite brothers play. 
capturing it across the back of the most beautiful bride,
lighting up this once-in-a lifetime moment, before she leaves the house she grew up in,
and heads down the aisle
to meet her groom, her new life.

my favorite time of day to shoot is between 4-6:30pm in the summer and fall.
when the sun is setting.
'the golden hour.'
where everything is truly. . .golden.
and when it comes to my own family, well, 
it's everywhere.
one of my most treasured pics my sis took of me in 2 of my most treasured places,
(pregnancy and ely, mn,)
pregnant with charlie and loving it.
but that's not why i love this picture.
it's the sunlight on the grass.  
how it made it look, heavenly.  
a soft bed of green feathers you could fall in to and sleep for days, under the sun.
the subtle but beautiful peaking-through-the-trees sun is my fave.
where it promises warmth and blue skies for the next day of your vacation.
or rest in its coolness as it goes down.
{a sunset in marco island, FL, where brian & i said 'suck it' to cancer, but also fried ourselves so badly, because we were just so excited to be in THAT sun, spending the rest of our vacay in the hotel room in agony.  read here if you missed that story.}
the priceless moments, where it makes an appearance,
but isn't the main attraction.
but just enough skimming across the water, 
to light up two of your favorite things in life.
like adding a natural glow to my baby girl, another favorite of my life.
welcoming my baby boy in to the first day of his sixth year.
or an old one of charlie, asleep in his bouncy seat, where he spent most of his first four months,
napping in the afternoon sunlight,
next to the running dryer, lulling him to sleep.
even in the most random of places.  when you're not looking for it.
or maybe hadn't even noticed it,
but are pleasantly surprised by it,
on the way to dance class,
or find it tousled up in a handful of old roots and thorny branches.
some photographers would probably cringe at these photos,
the white, the blown-out faces, golden hues, shadows cast, big flecks of green and rainbows and circles of light that impede on the subjects of the photos.
not me.
i need it and request it, if i can.  not only in my life, but my work.
it completely changes the mood, illuminates a home, a heart, a family,
seems to bring out true nature and real-ness and more joy.
and so when i'm lucky to catch these images,
i try not to edit them but let them be, using them straight from the camera.
{only one of the above were edited.  i like my pics real, even if not perfect.}
on this cool, cloudy and dismal mornings,
i'll pop my D3 vitamins to make up for what i'm missing, 
but always look forward to the next sunny day.
{and i think those chompers make this pic as much as the tee shirt does.  her signature, those sandra bernhard chicklets.}


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