Archive: ‘Gymnastics’

Put Your Photos To Work For You!

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread. ~ Mother Teresa

Everyone knows that appreciation and recognition is so important – – and photos are the perfect way to make someone feel appreciated! We all love to see photos of our life! Admit it  – – photos make you feel loved and special! So be sure to put your photos to work for you in the areas of your life where you can use them to recognize your loved ones and their friends and their accomplishments!

Here are a series of posters that I have put together for our gym girls. I used StoryBook Creator software to make my job easy! These are printed 20 x 30 and we hang them at the gym after each meet, they provide tons of recognition for the girls – -and you can  bet they feel appreciated!

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Who can you appreciate with your photos today?


Be sure to print and enjoy  your photos. My favorite software is StoryBook Creator for these projects and many other digital books and projects that I do. Please contact your Creative Memories Consultant or me for more additional info!

have Some Fun!

Monday, February 6th, 2012

So what do you do with your photos?

These are posters that I made for the gym. I used StoryBook Creator software and it was so easy. I printed them  20 x 30 and they are being enjoyed!

I had to make up a few before I could decide on the one I liked best….

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Be sure to print out your favorite photos and enjoy them – -you work so hard to get them.  Photo books and prints are good but every now and then do something a little different with them.

Have a great week! And go take some pictures of your family!

What is worth Keeping?

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Happy New Year Everyone!!

I have tons of Holiday photos from the last few weeks to share – – but we just returned from  a  gym meet so I will share those first.

With this new year giving us a fresh slate to work with and a fresh beginning to make changes and refocus, I will offer some fresh ideas on what I believe makes a good photo…at least good enough for my family books. In my effort to share with you what I think makes an image worth keeping I will share some images from this weekend.

What makes a photo worth keeping?

1. The good ones are composed (put together) well.

The low number on the f-stop blurs the background in this shot making it easier to see the subject; so if you don’t like the background…just blur it out when you can. Filling the frame with the subject also helps make this one a keeper.


This photo below may not be the perfect exposure but it is an example of using the uncluttered background to make it a better photo. The blue background is outlining her body in this action shot. I have quite a few tips for sports photography and ‘finding an uncluttered background’ is at the top of that list. The light was so bright that I lost the detail in her hands but I think I’ll l keep it.


2. The photo you want to keep contains an idea and provokes a reaction or emotion from the viewer.  The idea here is skill and hard work! These photos ‘show’ what hard work looks like!




3. The photo offers different layers of emotion.


This ‘look’ at her coach describes a relationship. The photos you will want to keep will describe emotions and tell ‘relationship’ stories.

4. The ‘keeper’ photos allow the viewer use their imagination and feel the action. Action photos stir you to ‘feel’ (my back hurts after looking at these!). Learn to shoot a lot when you see action … you are bound to get something worth keeping. Remember to watch the action through your viewfinder…that is the only way you will catch it.




5.  Less can be more: It is not necessary to have the whole picture to tell the whole story.



6. A good photo takes advantage of awesome light – – it is rare so grab it when you see it.


7. A ‘keeper’ tells the behind the scene stories.


As Melissa grows up, I seem to love the simple shots more and more. Her hands say so much about her personality; they tell the story of how she works through her sport and reminds all of us that hard work takes time and that it pays off. Remember to photograph the important character details of your kid’s  life.

Have fun going through your photos and keeping the ones that you love. Make a resolution this new year to get them organized and enjoy your photos in a digital family album! Go to my CM site (Digital/Storybooks) to get started on your books!

Camera Mom tips:

Most of these shots were taken using my 70-200 2.8 lens. This gym had very good light so my job was almost too easy if that is possible! 

Color Everywhere This Weekend!

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011


We have been in New Orleans the past few days for our daughter’s Regional Gymnastics Meet and it was hard to keep my camera in the bag!

The hotel stays are so fun especially when there is a new pool to investigate. This one was especially pretty at is it was on the 9th floor with a beautiful view! The sunset over the pool was awesome!


These next two shots are good examples of how to look for the light and get it in the right place.  This shot ‘looked’ fine from where I was standing but obviously the camera didn’t see it exactly the way I saw it and their faces were too dark:


The simple solution was to have them turn so I could see the light on their faces and in their eyes… keeping the camera settings the same, just a simple change of position gave me a better exposure:


Sometime you have to ‘stop in the name of love’ for the TPA (Teen Photo Attempt)!


Then other times they are happy to have you get the shot!


The meet was great with Melissa placing once again in the top 10.  All her events went well.


But the most exciting was her beam…her last event that secured her place.


This shot below tells a huge story of my very serious gymnast as she was a bit excited about the outcome of her routine:


Her coach was just as excited as she was:


We headed out to celebrate..


….and like I said … there was color everywhere!!




How about a little cactus with your salad?


There was shopping….shopping ….shopping….



But the jewelry store was the girls favorite place…why does that ‘jewelry thing’ start so early ?!


As night fell I tried to get the ‘dusk’ shots. Remember to get the ISO high and the F stop low so you can keep the shutter open a bit longer to get the ‘lights’ to show up..I was trying to get the lights on the bridge.


This shot was taken when it was dusk but my camera settings helped keep it light.


It was really dark (notice the grain) but I just had to get these beautiful horses as they quietly walked up behind me!


The magic man really fooled us all!


The food was wonderful but hands down, my favorite was the dessert!


It was a good thing that I had my camera as I would have never remembered all the things we saw and did without it. These weekends are exhausting but great fun and full of wonderful stories that I can’t wait to add to my family album.  My photos aren’t perfect and I still have a lot to learn, but I  can’t learn unless I practice a lot…you can’t either : )

Keep taking pictures of your family and their stories…  you will be so happy you have those storytelling shots to help you remember the good stuff that is in your life!

Camera Mom Tip: The day will end quicker than you realize  so be ready to adjust  your settings for the shots in the dark. Keep your ISO high and your shutter speed slow to get the shots without the harsh light of the flash. 

Little things that Make a Great Weekend Great

Monday, March 28th, 2011

We had a very full weekend; in fact, it just doesn’t get much better!  The perfect combination of sports, fun, family and ‘car candy’!

The challenge as a photo mom is to figure out a way to capture it well and enjoy it at the same time. The idea is to be confident enough with your camera that you aren’t stressing over the all important photos that will, by Monday morning along with the dirty laundry, be the only proof that the weekend happened. Your every day life is so important to celebrate and your photos will help you do just that!

We started with a fun ‘bonus’ visit from Aunt Donna! She only comes a few times a year but decided to squeeze in an extra visit to get to experience a triple header: the boys Opening Day/Game for baseball,  Melissa’s State Gymnastics meet and a college visit with Adam (which was near the meet).


The opening day was so fun! Even though we got rained out for the actual afternoon game, the morning festivities marked the official beginning of spring  ball…and we had our new uniforms!


(candid group shots with teams can be hard, try different things: sitting them all on the top bleacher helped keep them ‘still’ for the shot!)

The excitement was plenty ….


as were the hats…


but eventually so was the rain : (

So,  we gathered the crew a little ahead of schedule, packed up our very smallish-feeling van and headed 4 hours down the road to the meet.


(sign photos are good to help mark the event just in case you forgot where you went!)

Melissa has prepared hard all season for this State Meet. Gymnastics is a very complicated blend of skill, mental toughness, nerves and will.  For us moms, this has to be one of the hardest sports to watch as your kids are doing back flips on a 4 inch plank of wood way up in the air, catapulting off vaults, swinging off high bars and pretending that the ‘floor’ is a trampoline. Thank goodness baseball is played on the ground, that’s all I have to say about that! I am not sayin’ that it is the hardest sport out there but …well maybe I am.  Every meet that goes by seems to get harder on this mama!

So, what makes a good meet?

Is  it the  perfect coaching?


or the perfect skills?



or the perfect equipment?


or the perfect handstand?


Is it the perfect hair? Complete with bows and glitter?


(I keep meaning to ask…do moms get points for rolling 30 little foam rollers the night before in the hotel room with 2 little boys jumping on the bed yelling?)

Is it a perfect beam or floor routine ?


Is it a perfect score or  ‘place’ on the awards podium?


We all know that there is nothing perfect about it….

…that is what makes it ‘perfect.’

So what really makes  a great meet great in the eyes of a 13 year old girl?

It is the warm teary celebration hug when your teammate just accomplished a skill for her first time! At State!!


It is about knowing for real that your team ‘has your back’ (especially when you have an itch!)


It is the feeling in your heart that you know you did your best… you ‘fed your good wolf’ and made your beam series and nailed your best bars….2 goals you set for yourself.


And you had a blast doing it!


Plus you get a few new medals for your bedroom wall and they gave  you a cool new purple leo for the girls who are representing your state at Regionals… with ‘diamonds’ on it!


It feels good to ‘place’ at State there is no way around that,  but a great meet is also about loving relationships that get a chance to say ‘you are important to us’  and ‘we believe in you.’

It is about your little brothers supporting you for 6 hours and staying out of trouble.


It is about your aunt flying down from Chicago and about the fun celebration afterwards….. (and your mom trying to take the dreaded awful restaurant table photo.)


And being embarrassed when your mom makes you all stand together for another photo in the parking lot in front of someone else’s car while people are walking by watching…and it is cold….


and then realizing that (once she does a little crop) we are glad that we have a happy  reminder of the weekend of us all together…and you might just want to put this one in the empty frame that is on your dresser.


it is about standing next to your older brother who is in college and you miss  him but can’t really say…and smiling when your mom wants one more photo (even though the ‘gutter’  is growing out of your head! ….(oh well…. note to self…mom photo tip: always watch the backgrounds!!)


It is about forgetting toothbrushes again (and getting new ones at the hotel) and packing pillows and blankets and getting ‘car candy’ with your allowance when we stop for gas…. 


and making a fort with your blanket in the back  seat with your little brothers and loving their 6 year old silly faces and charm….


and agreeing with their movie choices… because you are the big sister.


At the end of the day, it is about the ‘life glitter’: the extra little fun stuff that fills in the gaps and makes everything sparkle. …   It is also about your girlfriends and coaches and family-fans; the people you love …. and the family trip – – that is what makes a great meet great when you are 13. 

We love to celebrate Melissa and her accomplishments and her placing in the top ten in the state. But of course, more than that, we are so thankful that she has the amazing opportunity at the age of 13 to learn so many things that this sport teaches her … and us…… about life: the discipline, the pay off, the goals, the humility, the love and the friendships…..we are so blessed.

I really don’t want to forget this meaningful stuff  that is sprinkled on the top of our daily life.  The simple things make it all worth it. That is why I pack my camera, because on Monday mornings I need to remember the richness of the blessings. I can’t afford for those memories to fade with my laundry.

These blessings in our life simply must be documented and remembered and enjoyed.  My photos help me do that.  Your photos will help you do that too.

Use your photos to love your family… just a little bit more.

photo mom tip: even though I know that you want to enjoy the special moments and events in your kids lives, remember to take the photos. You are the family photo journalist. You must get the photos as they are important for your stories; they fill in the emotional details of your life where words fall short.  You will be so glad you asked for the group shots by the cars : ) Learn to ‘tell the story’ with  your camera and don’t be shy.


most of the indoor gym shots were shot with a very high iso, a very low F-Stop and I tried to keep the shutter speed over 1/200…. unedited… because I have a car to unpack!

A Big Step For Melissa

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Melissa took a big step this competition weekend…


and a big jump …


and a big flip …



and a big handstand …


And along with all those big skills came a big score for her and her team.

Her personal best.


There were lots of big hugs


and the boys copied them!


The boys also got a big treat.



and we had a wonderful time visiting Savannah…

A wonderful ending to our visit as we took in some of the sites.


We are anxious to go back; maybe next time just the girls.

This sport is one of the most humbling sports out there. The split second timing and the confidence needed can make or break your success at  your one shot. You can hit your skills one day and not the next and this weekend Melissa hit everything!

Similar to taking good pictures. You must have confidence and you must have good timing and they both take tons of practice!! Of course, Melissa ‘s job is much more difficult than my camera mom job for sure…..


As we headed home, I thought again about how thankful I am for all of our blessings and our fun trips away in the middle of our crazy busy big lives. There is something so rewarding and lasting about being able to take the photos to document not just the journey of our lives but the moments of celebration that make the journey unique to our family.

Have fun on your journey this week and don’t forget your camera!

photo tip: when shooting events like this be sure to get the extra storytelling shots of the things going on around the main thing. They fill in the story.  The before or after shots, the hugs and the boys all fill in the flavor of this weekend. Just like the icing on the cake and the bows on the presents, it is very important to look for the finishing touches in your photo stories…many times they become your favorites!

I Love Melissa’s Gymnastics Season

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

I love it, I really do. I didn’t grow up in a family with athletes and I never quite understood the traveling world of kids sports and how families kept up with it all …until we started traveling with Melissa each season for her gym meets.

I love that in the middle of our routine life of homework and housework, endless laundry and dishes and looking for that lost sneaker….

we get to pause.

We pause from all the daily chores that we think are so important to pack up the car, stay in a hotel,  eat out on someone else’s dishes and forget about the lost sneakers.  We enjoy an invaluable slice of life and we learn what is really important.  We get a glimpse into Melissa’s gym world….which is always a magical thing.


We learn what real determination is


and we learn about achieving new skills



and what ‘head over heals’ really looks like in person.


We learn that hard work pays off.


We make new friends and we get to know her friends


and the boys get to use ‘the force’ to support their sister on those high bars and beams.


And I always learn a lot about my photography:

how the background is so important in sports photography

and how to adjust my  ISO and white balance in very poor light.

I am so excited to share more with you about sports and kids and cameras soon.

But for today, I am so thankful for these family times and weekends away during our busy life where we get to define and celebrate….together.


Even though we must eventually return to the world of dirty dishes and lost sneakers ….  for a few days we get to be a part of  Melissa’s dreams and experience a gift that is really quite unbelievable…the gift of the perfect pause.

What gifts can you ‘open’ with your camera? They are right in front of you. Look for and love the opportunities to use your camera to celebrate and capture the fun meaningful magical stuff in your life.



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