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Bridget and Samantha

August 22nd, 2015

Bridget and Samantha were married today!

Samantha grew up sailing, and chose a beautiful little island in Lake Minnetonka for the wedding venue.  However, good ole Minnesota decided to change those plans with threats of severe thunderstorms.  Sam and Bridget along with all their fabulous vendors took the weather in stride and moved the location to Pique Travel‘s event space in Excelsior.  The team of Event Lab and the owners of The 110 North Loop Loft made this new venue look like it was always meant to be the location!  As the pastor put it, “we couldn’t get you all to the yacht club, so we brought the yacht club to you!”  And it looked amazing, draped with nautical bunting and styled in navy blue and crisp white.

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I absolutely love when couples get ready together, there is something so sweet and tender about those moments.

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Samantha knows the weather well, having a sailor’s intuition.  She told us we had only a little while before the rain came, and we took her seriously!  We also took advantage of the rustic outbuildings near Pique.  Our job was easy for us since the brides were just glowing!

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The wedding party looked pretty fancy, let me tell you.  They handled this serious pose like a boss.

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and there is nothing cuter than catching the flower girl twirling away!

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The thunder got louder and Sam said we had only a few minutes more before the sky opened up, so we headed back to the venue and the brides raced the rain back inside…they JUST made it!

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Guests gathered, got their champagne, and settled into the cozy space for the touching ceremony.  It was emotional, sweet, and very personal.  The brides’ vows were beautiful, and one of their readings was “I Like You” one of our favorites.

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During the cocktail hour and reception, guests hopped outside for games in between bouts of rain and enjoyed amazing food by Lunds and Byerlys.  Nautical flags were used as a seating chart and guests signed a life preserver as the guest book.  Model sailboats showed the table numbers, and luxurious navy blue linens gussied up the tables.

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After dinner, the ladies had their first dance, and then Instant Request started the party right…playing Whitney’s Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”.  Which, in this photographer’s humble opinion, is how EVERY dance should start.  The dance floor was jumping, and it was tough for John and I to keep up with all the antics.  Though I think the world stood still when Sam’s cousin channeled her inner Tina Turner and danced “Rollin’ on the River” to perfection.

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Bridget and Samantha, it was an honor to be a part of your wedding day!  I hope you love your sneak peek!

Posted in: Weddings
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Driving the Alcan

August 19th, 2015

Our family loves road trips, and decided to do the road trip to end all road trips, the Alcan Highway!

So this trip is Minnesota to Anchorage, Alaska.  3223 miles.  Four CDs of music from the 60s to today from showtunes to bluegrass to pop.  Three kids.  One van.  Camping half of the time to save money.  Trying very hard to not watch any movies or have screen time of any kind.  Trying very hard to make history come alive and let our kids see the world with an empathetic eye towards the first nations peoples as well as the pioneer spirit.  Showing them first hand how our earth is changing and how we have to take care of it.  Being a family, enjoying each other, spending 24/7 together, giving ourselves time to do nothing but just BE. 

We couldn’t take off too many weekends during wedding season, and didn’t want to spend our whole time just driving, so we opted to give all our time to the trip up, then sold our van (which was still in good shape but getting older) and flew home.  And just because it was pretty tough for me to organize this trip in doable drive times evenly paced each day…I’m listing our drives for future families that may want to do the same thing.

Day 1 – Minneapolis to Glendive, MT (our longest drive was first to get it out of the way)
Day 2 – Glendive, MT to Medicine Hat, Alberta
Day 3 – Medicine Hat to Banff (I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Banff, so this was where we stayed a few days)
Day 4 through Day 6 – Explore Banff, Lake Louise, John got to assist a wedding with Two Mann Studios, lots of camping and adventure
Day 7 – Banff to Grande Prairie
Day 8 – Grande Prairie to Fort Nelson, British Columbia
Day 9 – Fort Nelson to Watson Lake, Yukon
Day 10 – Watson Lake to Whitehorse
Day 11 – Whitehorse to Tok, Alaska
Day 12 – Tok to Anchorage
Day 13 through Day 17 – Kat shot a wedding and a family session, lots of cousin adventures, hiking a trip to Homer, and soaking in Alaska’s gorgeousness

Yep, a lot of driving, a very busy trip, but so much fun.  With 7 or 6 hour drives a day it was manageable for sure, but it does wear on you after a while.  If we were to do this again, I think we’d find one or two times in Canada where we would have stayed a couple days just to have time not in a car.  But overall, we had a blast.

Though we’re photographers, we don’t take a ton of pictures when we are on vacation since that is family time.  But we did take some images that you’ll find below!  Enjoy!

The Dakotas get are given a hard time for being flat and boring, but northern Montana and the plains of Canada are FLAT.  Like, see for miles while not seeing another person at all flat.  There is a beauty in that starkness, but I was also glad we could drive 80mph to get through it.  We definitely got our fill of wide open spaces!

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We take a lot of pictures of clouds.  We love weather!  And our drive had a lot of it, sometimes we knew we were driving through the mountains but just couldn’t see them.

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I love black and white landscapes, especially when the subjects have a lot of tonal variety.  This image is of dead trees at Sulphur Lake.

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The Canadian Rockies are gorgeous, just go there someday, totally worth it!

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Cooper directed this image of him, he was so proud he got up on the building!  This was at an abandoned coal mine near Banff.  In Canada, their parks and historic sites are very kid friendly, they leave artifacts right in the ground and it is fine to climb all over them.  Very different from our American experiences.

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I love this one of Lyra.

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Since I’m not a morning person, John took an early morning to himself and hiked around Lake Louise, he got some lovely images.

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And then there is Lake Louise, my mecca.  It is MAGICAL.  Seriously.  Go there.  Do it.  Visit.  It is the most lovely place and pictures do not do it justice.

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Maxfield Parrish is one of my favorite painters.  His work is how I first fell in love with Banff and Lake Louise, so we had to recreate his painting “Daybreak” with the girls.  We got there nice and early so the waters were still, and they were such troopers doing this!  John shot for just about 5 minutes, that is all it took.  Not bad!  Especially considering we had slept in the van the night before as the temps dropped really low and we were freezing!  Promises of hot chocolate helped.  I love Ainsley’s pointed toe, and the reflection on the water is just perfect!

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So now I’ll divert a bit to the travel blog side of this post…this is what a lot of the Alcan looks like…

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…quite a bit of this…

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…but you also get to see some fantastic animals, close up!  We saw ground squirrels, pikas, mountain sheep, wood bison, moose, black bears, eagles, ravens, and we think a porcupine.  Wildlife is everywhere!

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We really loved the Yukon.  The Goldrush is a fascinating part of our history, as is the Alcan itself.  Where America built a highway in another country without their permission, then said “my bad, here you go!” and gave it to Canada.  Canada actually got quite a bargain in that deal, especially with all the tourism that now happens in the summer.  Below is an image of the Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake.  It started out small, but now people from all over the world (including us!) nail their city signs or license plate or basically anything on these posts, wandering through here was so interesting!

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This image is from the Sourdough Campground in Tok.  The owners are awesome and every evening they have a pancake toss.  If you get a sourdough pancake into the bucket, you win a free breakfast!

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ALASKA!  YOU ARE GORGEOUS!  Every turn of the highway brings new stunning vistas!  And we know we barely scratched the surface in what there is to see.

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The kids were getting squirrely, so John had them run around in a field, they paused to check out the ocean and mountains, and I got this image.  I love it so much.  This was on the drive to Homer.  Homer quickly became my happy place.

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This is not photoshopped, these are the real colors from a Homer sunset at about 1030pm.

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We were at the beach for low tide and got to see jellyfish, shells, birds, and play in the Pacific Ocean!  John and I have now been in this ocean as far north as Alaska and as far south as Nicaragua!  The kids LOVED playing in the surprisingly not freezing water and had a good hour of just exploring.  There aren’t many pictures of Cooper because he was chest deep in the water most of the time and running around like a puppy.

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Some of the most wild and beautiful places on earth.  We were so fortunate to be able to give this experience to our kids!  Cooper is already talking about working for a summer in Homer when he is a teenager and the girls want to work at the horse ranch in Banff when they graduate high school.  We love all the things we saw, the time we took to spend together, and the people we met and visited.  It wasn’t all perfection, and living through the crazy experiences were part of the beauty of the trip as well.  Road trips are amazing!  I hope you enjoyed our images!

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Little K’s Tipi

August 17th, 2015

Since I was up in Alaska working on a wedding with Erin, owner of Blomma Designs, we thought we might as well throw a family session in there too!  Nevermind that Erin had a wedding the day before, and the day before THAT, and had flown to Minnesota and back that week as well…you know, just the average work week for a busy wedding planner!

When I arrived that evening for portraits, we threw anything that coordinated into her vehicle and headed for one of the Verlander family’s favorite spots along Turnagain Arm just south of Anchorage.  The sun was still pretty high, so we found a cliff where we could backlight and get plenty of sun flare.  Erin put this look together in minutes, it was amazing!  It was like we planned a styled shoot for weeks.  And her darling daughter K just loved having some play time while we took portraits!

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Naturally, K had to explore the lantern we handed her!

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Sweet sun drenched time with Dad!

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One of the MANY things I love about Alaska is the abundance of natural beauty.  Want a waterfall?  Sure, lets take a little walk over here!  A cliff?  Just turn around!  A moose?  Well, I wasn’t THAT lucky, but we did have a beautiful stream and woodland clearing to take some family portraits.

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Erin and Matt, it was such a joy getting to see you again and meeting K!  She is amazing and so are you both!  Enjoy your sneak peek!!!

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Senior Portraits in Alaska

August 11th, 2015

John had the opportunity to photograph his niece Emily while we were up in Alaska, and I love how these images turned out!  Since Emily loves photography as well, she and John had a great time experimenting with photography techniques and chasing the midnight sun.  Here is a sneak peek of what they did!

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Light and dark.

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Emily has such a great smile!

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Using convex and concave lenses to a cool effect.

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Emily, I hope you enjoy your sneak peek!

Posted in: Senior Portraits
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Newborn G

August 10th, 2015

Sweet Baby G’s birth has long been anticipated!  He is the most precious little guy, and the fourth of his name, which I find just so cool!

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Though he was sleeping most of the time, George gave us a little bit of awake time and the most perfect Gerber Baby face.

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George is surrounded by his Winnie the Pooh friends, what a sweet heart!

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It was such a pleasure getting to meet this sweet little man!  Enjoy your sneak peek!

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Ryan and Courtney

August 8th, 2015

Ryan and Courtney were married today!

I have to include so many pictures because SO much happened today!  Courtney loves Fitzgerald and also loves to have a great time, so it made perfect sense that she chose a Great Gatsby themed wedding.  And it made even more sense to have the wedding at the nearby White Bear Yacht Club where Fitzgerald wrote a century ago.  The wedding details were simply gorgeous, a nod to the nautical history of the venue as well as bright pops of pink to modern things up.  Crisp and clean and lovely went perfectly alongside glitzy glam party.  The dancefloor was even turned into a speakeasy!

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We hit the ground running the moment we arrived.  The lovely Ashley Hanson was busy doing the hair of all the bridesmaids while a friend applied the makeup.  The house was a whirl of activity and excitement and I think there is something so special about a bride getting ready in her childhood bedroom.

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The guys get some serious work done on their hair…

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…and the ladies show us all how to vamp like no one’s business.  Courtney rocked her gown from The Wedding Shoppe and I LOVED the ladies’ dresses from Nordstroms!

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This was such a fun group of friends full of dynamic personalities!

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The ceremony site was just stunning!  We took formal pictures and had some prep time before the wedding began.  The day was hot but turned pleasant with the most gorgeous golden light right when the ceremony started.  It was perfect.

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After the ceremony we HAD to take advantage of the gorgeous light and lovely property and take some romantic images and well as group shots.  We just had a blast.  This couple wanted us to be creative and we took full advantage of that!

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The younger set of the wedding party shows us how its done.  Very dapper.

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Then there were the groomsmen…

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The sky was so gorgeous we had to do a silhouette shot!

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This is our first time shooting at the White Bear Yacht Club and I hope do work here again soon.  It is simply lovely and the food was AMAZING!  The guests had a great time enjoying cocktail hour outside by the pool.

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Inside the venue, the reception was in full Gatsby glory!  A typewriter for leaving advice, a speakeasy password to gain access to the dancefloor, a couple casino tables for the high rollers, all kinds of 1920s accessories for The Traveling Photo Booth, an art deco cake by Nadia Cakes, and music by Pop Luxe.  We’ll just leave the rest of the storytelling to the images.  Suffice it to say, the party was fun and full of vigor, a party Daisy Buchanan would absolutely approve of.

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Ryan and Courtney enjoy your sneak peek!  We had such a fabulous time, and are so honored you chose us to tell the story of your day!

Posted in: Weddings
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Tony and Julie

August 8th, 2015

Tony and Julie were married on Sunday!

We just got back from our crazy family trip driving up the Alcan Highway and ending up in Alaska.  In the middle of that trip, I got to photograph Julie and Tony’s wedding!  They have been together for 11 years and thought it was high time they tied the knot.  So they teamed up with the amazing Erin of Blomma Designs and got to planning!

I was so excited to get to photograph an Alaska destination wedding.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the heat…no one was.  Apparently Anchorage was in the middle of a heat wave (mid 70s to be exact) which is tough in a land of no air conditioning!  The sun was bright and so were the personalities, I just loved getting to know this group of people!

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I loved how the dresses framed the living room, and the moments that naturally happened there.

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Such a sweet first sight, Julie definitely got the giggles.

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The ceremony took place outside at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.  Blomma Designs and Bloomsbury Blooms had the place decked out with a gorgeous eucalyptus garland, and bright bold wildflowers…even some raspberry vines.  Everything was fresh and vibrant.

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We made sure to utilize the historic log cabin for some portraits.

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The reception was so lovely.  The birch bark cake by Midnight Sun Cakery was exactly what Julie wanted, and the amazing dinner by Masters Catering had people grabbing seconds and thirds.  And I LOVED the moose theme throughout the day!  They had a moose antler as their guestbook, little moose cake toppers, and moose ring pillows.

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Seriously, the SALMON.

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A sweet moment between Julie and her mama.

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Because the sun is so harsh here, we waited for it to mellow out a bit and then journeyed out for a few more pictures and to utilize the many beautiful backdrops at the Heritage Center.

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Julie and Tony, thank you so much for trusting me with your wedding day!  I am still smiling from all the antics!!!  Enjoy your sneak peek!

Posted in: Weddings
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Family on the Farm

July 20th, 2015

The Gustafsons had their family session this evening!  The sun made the prairie grass turn golden and the family was in high spirits, we had a great time!

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Fun with Grandpa!

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Since it was their first anniversary today, some kissy pictures were in order!

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I had a wonderful time, enjoy your sneak peek!!!

Posted in: Family Sessions
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Little Pepin

July 17th, 2015

Pepin had her portrait taken today!  This darling girl has the proudest of parents, and it was a joy to get to see them as a family!

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Dad writes about his little girl quite a bit, so I felt like I knew her already.  And she definitely showed every facet of her personality in her session.  She even pulled out a glamour pose for a portrait!

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We are calling this “The Many Faces of Pepin”.

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It was such a wonderful day and I’m so blessed to watch your family grow!  Enjoy your sneak peek!

 

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Down by the Bay

July 12th, 2015

Yesterday morning was the perfect time for a family portrait session on Lake Minnetonka.  With two rambunctious kiddos, we were all kept on our toes trying to keep up and capture their awesome smiles!

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Mom and Dad totally deserved some snuggle time after all that toddler wrangling!

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And naturally one of the best images happens at the very end…with the kids sitting in the parking lot…it is how things work with children’s portraits!

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Enjoy the sneak peek!  I had a great time!!!

Posted in: Family Sessions