Jennifer Oakland »

This family exudes warmth and love.  I had a blast capturing their moments.

It has been almost a year since I posted. I failed (miserably) at my 52-week project.  I am not one for excuses (and this isn’t one), but I guess I just found it challenging to keep up with posting. Taking photos was the easy part. But with one breast usually connected to a human, updating this blog just wasn’t happening.

So, here I am. Almost a year after my failed attempt.  Life has been good. Really good, actually. I have been knee-deep in being a mom to the n’th degree and have been taking the slow approach to continually improving my photography skills. I’ve learned that patience (which I have never had much of), is the best approach for me in honing a style and skill that will persevere this new art of mine.  Mostly, I’ve been directing my on-hand models to shift in different angles- look here, do this-do that… and I feel like a paparazzi.  To my husband and daughter, I’ve wondered lately if I’m becoming bossy, predictable, boring, or all of those.  (“Lately?” my husband asks…)

To re-invigorate myself and give myself a renewed sense of direction with this passion, I recently attended Kristianne Koch Riddle’s In the Loupe Workshop in San Clemente, CA.  Kristianne’s graceful and effortless style and her depth of emotion in her work has inspired me unconditionally since I met her at the Wallflowers Retreat almost two years ago (when I was 8 months pregnant with wicked swollen kankles).  When she announced that she would be putting together a workshop, I jumped at the opportunity.  With over 20 years of photography experience (including extensive film work), Kristianne is knowledgeable and passionate about her craft and she delivers an artwork that speaks and moves.  Needless to say, I emerged from In The Loupe feeling re-connected, re-inspired, re-intrigued, rejuvenated, and re-interested.  I also made new friends who I am so excited to network with in the future.

I now find myself on a quest to photograph others with a natural approach which seems to be becoming my natural “style.”  I yearn to record others in their authentic moments without dictation, without pose.  Okay, with some direction, but that’s different than dictation, right?

Here are some images from the workshop.  It was nothing short of amazing.  I can’t wait to capture more moments like these, in Montana. Stay tuned…

We’re finally starting to see the signs of spring and maybe even <insert drumroll>, summer!  I am doing my battle once again with the dandelions in our yard- shovel-style, of course.  I let Finley sit out in the grass and enjoy her surroundings while I took a few shots of her.  She is growing, herself, like a little weed!

Finley is hitting some major developmental milestones lately. Each milestone she achieves, I am immensely happy, proud, and amazing. But another part of me- my heart, I suppose- aches a little bit, knowing that with each new milestone, another one has passed by. Don’t get me wrong, I want Finley to develop and hit each mark that she should- and she has, and will continue to do so. But part of me mourns how fast she is growing and changing. Each week! So, she is now able to eat solid foods, sit up unassisted (most of the time), lay on her tummy while propping herself up with her arms (yoga-style), she smiles all the time (ALL THE TIME), she looks towards a person who is talking, and she coos and talks to herself. We just call her child genius, gifted, and advanced! She is predictable in her schedule- wakes around 7am and nurses, naps around 9, wakes and eats some solids, nurses then naps again around noon (long nap), wakes + nurses, plays, naps around 4pm, then dinner (solids), then nursing and solid food dinner and then bedtime. She is amazing, wonderful, and a complete joy to be around.

My first Mother’s Day as a mother was magical.  Not only did the weekend include “my” day as a mother, but also “my” day as my birthday!  Martin booked an amazing cabin for us at Chico Hot Springs Resort- one of my favorite places in all of Montana.  We left on Friday and stopped in Belgrade on the way so Martin could sell some of his antlers that he has accumulated over the years.  His hours upon hours of hiking proved fruitful (if making 5-cents per hour is fruitful)… but it’s obviously not about making money for him, it’s about the search in the most beautiful of backdrops.  Anywho, we offloaded the antlers, went into Bozeman for a quick bite to eat, then drive on to Livingston and then south to Chico. When we arrived, we had a wonderful meal at the Chico restaurant. I mean delectable, divine, mouth-watering… then we soaked in the hot springs, which was equally as divine, but this time in a body-melting sort of way. And then off to a deep sleep with Finley between us. And then up on Saturday morning for a day of fishing on the acclaimed DePuy Spring Creek, a private fishing spring creek south of Livingston. It was a perfect day of fishing: overcast skies with moments of sun. Trumpeter swans and Canadian Geese greeted us, as well as gorgeous vistas.  The fishing wasn’t easy, but it was so worth it. I caught a very nice brown trout on a dry fly and Martin caught an equally plump rainbow. After the long day of fishing, we drove into Livingston for dinner at a neighborhood pub. It happened to be prom and graduation weekend, so we were able to get a glimpse of many high school prom-goers, which was a highlight of the evening for sure. Then Sunday- Mother’s Day. After a nice soak in the hot spring pool, we had an unforgettable brunch. There was everything offered from stuffed crepes, to waffles, to a prime rib, oysters on the half shell and of course my favorite- mimosas!  I was SO FULL… and then I was off to my massage (really). Martin definitely won husband of the year for all of that… An afternoon exploration of the area capped off the day.  We love that area and exploring over the weekend gave us a newfound respect for the Paradise Valley. The views and the scenery are incredible and each time we visit, we feel like we could stay a while longer. So, with that… here are some captures from a most memorable weekend… and thank you Martin for making it happen.

I’ve been delinquent once again in keeping up on my posts… this week was a big one for Finley, as she had her first solid foods.  After almost six months of exclusively breast feeding (from the breast, no bottles here), we decided that it was now time.  She also has been extremely interested in watching us eat.  Her first baby “meal” was Earth’s Best stage 1 Pears with Rice Cereal + breast milk. Loved it. Then apples. Also loved them. Bananas? Liked them, too.  I think it’s safe to say that she is a pretty un-picky eater (like her mom, possibly?). Every time it’s meal time, she gets so excited and tries to grab the spoon to feed herself. She’s so independent!  It’s great that Martin can now be a part of the feeding process.  And it’s so stinkin’ cute to see her sweet little face covered with baby puree.

first solids