KNOTS

Four or five years ago I reached out to the world of Facebook with the hopes of finding someone who could make a baby prop for a newborn photo shoot. I don’t remember what it was or who the photo shoot was for. What I do remember is someone recommending a girl named Megan. Thankfully she answered my email and produced the most magnificent blanket I’ve ever felt. I’ve been using her products ever since.

Back then was just the beginning of KNOTS. Today, I’d argue with anyone who said KNOTS wasn’t the very best place to get newborn, baby and toddler clothing and photo props. She’s a genius with knitting thingy’s and pretty good with a sewing machine as well. Lucky for me, she lives fairly close so I can call on her last minute and generally get a pretty amazing HUNK hat or softer-than-clouds blanket. And I do tend to ask her very last minute. She always delivers. Because she’s helped me out more times than I can count, anytime she wants to do a shoot I try my best to say yes. This time it just happened to involve her daughter and nieces – all wearing KNOTS headbands/bows.

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A Second Mother

There are few people in the world who can love another person’s child as much as a parent. Amy is one of those people and because of that we are lucky to have her in our lives. I’d assume we’ve all heaped praise on her over and over again. Both to her face and to everyone in the community. I know for a fact we’ve bragged about her to people as far away as Florida. She’s the best.

To show our love for her, this morning we surprised her with a photo shoot with all the kids she watches on a daily basis – Charly & Colson, Jax & Kendal, Harper and Blair.

Here’s how it went down:  Weeks ago all the parents picked the date and I took care of letting Amy know where to be, but I didn’t tell her what we were doing. All she knew was to be dressed up by 830a.m. And just last night I told her all the kids would meet her at the park at 830. Still, no idea what was going to happen. Megan bought flowers for all the kids to hand out…and the plan was for them to be hiding and all walk out at once and present her with flowers.

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Well, that didn’t work. One of the kids walked out early and then of course the rest followed. My camera wasn’t ready to captured the moment BUT I did see the emotion in her face….SURPRISE! And then, LOTS of hugs!

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Amy doesn’t just watch our children every day, she loves them every day. This is priceless. If we could pay her millions of dollars, it would be worth every penny.

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Then we did a quick photo shoot….

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There are countless daycare options in Fort Scott. Sure, we could choose anyone else. But why? Everyone wants the absolute best for their children and we have been beyond blessed to have the very top tier of child care. So, as all the kids yelled this morning….”WE LOVE AMY!”

Present

Sunsets. Smiles. Barns. Animals. Eyes. Wind-blown hair. These are a few of my favorite things. Moments that happen fairly regularly. Moments that happen only once. I photograph everything. Both important things and completely mundane things. It’s what I do and, in part, it’s who I am.

A year or so ago I had a moment that something clicked…why chase sunsets with the intent to JUST take a picture? To preserve…to remember…to show off? Yes. Yes. Sometimes yes. One day I remember thinking to myself “While you’re capturing it, are you missing it?” Emphatically yes. Now I just watch and soak it in.

Why photograph my daughter? To remember? To preserve? To show off her beautiful face to the rest of the world? YES. Tonight as I was driving to the lake to meet family for dinner, I thought how awesome it would be to get a cute photo of something – most likely of Blair – and share it with the world on Facebook or Instagram.

And so I locked my phone and camera in the car. And I watched her sit on the dock, toes in the water. And then when she asked to touch the water with her hand, I laid down beside her and touched it with her. Her eyes widened and her smile grew and grew. And then I looked her in the eyes and saw the life I was missing while I was trying to capture it all inside a tiny, black box.

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I love this image more than I can say in words. But my only memory of the moments leading up to this are from seeing this picture. I remember that she had fun. But I don’t remember how I felt. Nor do I remember how big her eyes were when she threw the petals up in the air. Or if she squealed with delight or was silent. I would rather have that than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, photographs mean the world to me. But sometimes I get carried away and treat my daughter like a professional model, which she is not. She’s my daughter. And she’s only going to play with red bud leaves for the first time, once.

Country Boys

When Courtney told me she wanted to do a BOHO-themed shoot with her 2 young boys, I was thrilled. I love photographing these boys (they are adorable and ornery) and adding in a theme made me even more excited than I normally get for their shoots. When she explained what she had in mind, I immediately thought of Huckleberry Finn playing near the river.

They showed up ready to go, dressed exactly how I’d seen in my mind and I knew it was going to be a great session. Courtney even dressed the part as well so we put her in quite a few shots.

We went to one of my favorite locations – a creek right in the middle of Fort Scott. The shoot was planned to coincide with the best light of the day and thankfully everything fell into place and we were able to get some of my favorite shots this year.

 

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Above you can see that Chayden is missing a few teeth. Every time I see him, he’s smiling. Such a joy to be around.

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Creedyn, the youngest of the two, didn’t just call me “Kenny”..he called me “Kenny Felt” every time he talked to me. Pretty cute.

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And then there’s Courtney. One of the most creative people I know. Anytime I need inspiration for a session I know without a doubt that she’ll come up with something amazing. Notice the cool sunflare?!

This was easily one of my favorite sessions of the past few years. But then again, I say that just about every time I photograph this family!