Livin’ The Dream: A Hike With Destiny

When someone hires me to do a lifestyle session, I literally do a happy dance. When Destiny suggested that her lifestyle session be at the beach followed by a hike to the Lanikai Pillboxes, my excitement went through the roof. An afternoon starting at the beach and ending at sunset overlooking the Pacific, and I get to call it my job?

I am SURELY livin’ the dream.

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Destiny is a fit and fierce woman who can take on anything.

I urged her to hike the hardest portions of the hike for “that shot”…

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…and she certainly took that challenge head on.

Enjoy the little video below of our adventure to the second Lanikai Pillbox at sunset.

Enjoy your ALO][A Friday and thank you for stopping by! Be sure to “share” and comment if you like what you see!

Email me at Chelsea@Lifesongdesigns.com for your Lifestyle session!

A Contest To Remember!

412,379 Photos.

115,097 Voters.

127 Different Countries.

These are the details of the recent photography competition I entered into.

It was my first competition and I had no idea how I’d come out. I am astonished with how well Lifesong Photography & Designs compared with the AMAZING talent from around the globe! 

In this particular competition, you have no idea who’s images are who’s.  In addition to it all, you have no idea if your own images are still in the race to the top of the heap unless you or someone you know well sees your work! However, it is fun when you recognize fellow ‘togs work and let them know their image was still in the competition! I even found an INCREDIBLE photographer from my hometown who is AMAZING and reached the top 100 of ALL entered images!! These are the moments I KNOW God is at work in my life. These feelings of purpose and inspiration drive me to do more and be more for my family. 

The images I entered are in this video (made for all contestants by ViVi)!

 

Well, as for the results of Lifesong Photography & Designs… here they are!

One FINALIST image

Two images in the top 10%

Two images in the top 20%

TEN images in the top 30%

Four images in the top 40%

That is 15 images in the top 30% and it makes for a total of 26 images in the top 50% of the competition out of the total 50 images I entered!! Let’s not forget, if it were not for YOU, I would be nowhere. THANK YOU, my dear clients and friends!!

I am humbled to see where I have landed this year and am so excited to see how I can grow in this industry. The images which made the most impact on the competition (the top 40% or better) are below but EACH of the 50 images I entered I am PROUD to claim as mine. 

A competition such as this allows me to grow, be inspired AND seek out other photographers to chat with. Thank you to the Shoot & Share competition team for making these successes possible.

THE FINALIST IMAGE

THE TOP 10%

THE TOP 20%

THE TOP 30%

THE TOP 40%

(This one, my Alaskan moon hit the 30.1 percentile: SO close to the top 30%!!)

The Stanchfield Homecoming: A Show Of Strength

While looking over this past year of homecomings and military sessions, one stands out to me. Partly because of the story of how often this particular sailor is away from his family but also because of the family strength which is shown by his wife, Sarah. Sarah is one of the strongest mamas I know. Watching her story as a Navy wife unfold into mama of two was incredible. I knew I was blessed to capture her story because of the way she handles anything thrown at her.

She is someone who rarely takes a breath for herself, but rather puts all her energy into making sure those around her, even strangers, get to be a part of the things that matter in life. From a leader in a women’s prayer group, to super mom, to a runner (now marathoner) and beyond, Sarah considers everyone she comes across “Ohana” and treats them as such. Handling a hectic schedule can be rough on some, for this woman, it is just the tip of the iceberg.

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Rain was in the forecast. An anxious toddler was asking a multitude of questions. The 72-day old baby needed to be fed and fed again. Then add in just walking to the pier; there was a stroller to be pushed, signs to be carried, the cake for the homecoming party also in hand. Cherry on top? Inclement weather rolled in. Homecoming day was here.

It had been 180 days without her sailor at home and the amount of time this mama was required to stand in the rain, with a toddler and a newborn, awaiting his departure from the vessel would be considered overwhelming… for some. Sarah put her excitement in the drivers seat and let the rest of the noise fade away. Her calm and cool character allowed me to capture the best of moments, even in a downpour, with her babies in her loving arms.

No duty went undone or poorly carried out. With a smile on her face and every detail done, Keegan, baby Ryleigh and Sarah were able to watch Ryan step off the ship with great pride.

Thank you for your service, Stanchfield Family! You all are a blessing to this country and also to the men and women who stand with you. May your 2018 bring many blessings.

 
https://lifesongphotographyanddesigns.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/its-a-beautiful-day-jamie-grace-with-lyrics.mp3

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JaCorey + Maria: The Calhoun Couple

This couple’s session was one of those sessions which made photographing Hawaii special. They were up for the adventure of a new location, so I chose the stunning Spitting Caves on Oahu.

CalhounCouple_WEB-4382The beauty in the depth of the ocean can rarely be overshadowed. With this couple, the depth of their love shown for one another stole the show.

The stunning views continued to trail on forever, but my eye was consistently caught by the foreground with their seemingly perfect interactions.

Best of all? I was able to tell them to chat about anything and everything because the sound of the crashing waves below drowned out their chat. They were able to interact freely and have a private moment, even with my lens focusing on them.

This is a session I will always remember. Thank you again, Calhoun couple. You are a blessing! Best of wishes as you choose to journey around this wonderful world, hand in hand.

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The art of “Goodbye”…

Just a month ago I was a mental mess. I was tired. I was unsure. I was completely overwhelmed by the loved ones I was leaving and the unknown I was headed into.

This is the military life.

Arizona was our first base as a married couple and it was the most emotional departure I have ever had. The people, the place. It was where I became a wife and graduated college. It is where I became the adult I am today. Mississippi was only our “home” for about 10 months. Just enough to graze the surface of the deep South and left us wanting more. South Carolina we made “home” quickly. We made fast friends and traveled a lot. Each move has had it’s hurdles but Hawaii was its own beast. The obvious beauty, the culture but most of all, Hawaii is where I proved to myself I could do it — be the best mom to my child.

I have spent my entire adult life thus far attempting to perfect this imaginary art of “goodbye”. Everything from the preparation of the move to the hug and then dealing with some emptiness after leaving that area. I have come to the conclusion there is no perfection in such a situation. It is a messy, exhausting and anxious time. However, there is a solution to help you through it all. Choose to focus on the “hello”.

As we packed up and flew to the mainland from Hawaii, the worst part for me was the thought of saying “goodbye” to Lifesong. Lifesong has been more than a job. It has been something I have built with all of my interests and best attributes in mind. It is something which challenges me, forces me to manage my time and gives me a sense of pride. It has been something which proved that my degree in business was not just a degree, but something I could run with. Little did I know I was in that unfortunate mindset — focused on the “goodbye” and not what was on the horizon. I was acting as if it was the end of an era and there was nothing I could do about it. Wrong. That needed to change. There was so much I was able to experience in North Carolina!

Arriving in North Carolina a new feeling of excitement arose, it was time to say “hello”! One week into our time in North Carolina and bookings began, friendships from previous bases flourished and time was spent in a new (and very cold) climate getting to know the area.

Thanks to a good photographer friend, Raymie, I was asked out to a downtown Fayetteville sunrise shoot. Twice a year the sun rises perfectly between the arches in the old Market House. Talk about a time to be excited about the new opportunities and a new area.

I am now able to look back at this short time here and smile with tears. I smile knowing I have so much to explore and learn about this new area. I tear up because (as my daughter has taught me) sometimes you just need to cry and miss something because you have to. No logic, just emotion to cope. Those combined seem to do the trick.

Most people have heard the expression, “When one door closes, another one opens.” This could not be more true IF you are willing to help yourself to the next handle and turn it. With each of the moves I have given myself something to look forward to, but never forgetting the amazing experiences I have had in the past. Often this is in the form of a bucket list. I challenge you to find the “hello” you can hang onto when your next “goodbye” situation presents itself.

Thank you to the hundreds of you who have been my “goodbye” and my “hello”. Each of you have impacted me and changed me for the better. Cheers to new adventures and new opportunities.

Chels

 

 

 

 

 

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(A little behind the scenes from Raymie of Raymie Day Photography, thanks girl!)

 

 

Anthony + Esme: The Perfection of Pregnancy

This couple could not have brought the heat any more than they did.

 

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The love in their eyes for one another, their body chemistry, that sunset over the ancient lava rock, the sound of the waves crashing against the walls and that STUNNING baby belly all worked together like a puzzle of perfection. The perfection of pregnancy.

 

Rose Family: Party of Four

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I always ensure that sessions are unique. The way each one is styled, the location and the couple makes a session their very own. Adding in the element of excitement which comes from a gender reveal session makes those sessions stand apart from the rest. The best part of it all? I can’t control the emotions, just capture them.

The Rose family gender reveal was no exception.

They handed me two colors of leis; two blue and two pink. Silently, I read which gender the doctor had written on a note and ensured their eyes were closed. I then handed them the blue leis. They each had fun placing the leis on one another. Making them do this with their eyes closed made it a little more interesting but also allowed me to capture the best of smiles. The excitement which followed gave the camera a show.

This couple already has made a wonderful family of three, I can only imagine the happiness which will come from the Rose family, party of four.

I wish this family all the best in the last weeks before they meet little brother.

Robert + Stephanie: Taking The Leap Of Faith

This couple provided me with a session idea that was like no other. Although I had photographed jumps into the Pacific before, none had the symbolism and energy like this one.

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Robert & Stephanie are set to be wed in 2018. They moved to Oahu due to military orders and wanted to do something out of the ordinary and “off the wall”, one might say, for their “Save The Dates”. Thus, a “Leap of Faith” session was born.

 

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To pull off this amazing shoot idea as best as I could, I suggested that we enjoy two of Oahu’s most notorious cliff jumping spots in Hawaii Kai. Hawaii Kai has some of the most relaxed sunset locations and also the best Pacific cliffs at Sunset.  We chose to snap some images free of the abundance of people at Spitting Caves of Portlock. That location also provided some foliage, coverage from the afternoon sun and areas to walk without fear of hitting slick rock. Then, we drove over to China Walls to enjoy the jump. Each were only moments from one another and had a similar stunning view.

 

 

Embarking on their new adventure hand-in-hand, Robert & Stephanie leaped in-sync toes first into the Pacific with nothing but pure faith.

Best wishes to you both as you continue creating your Lifesong together. Mahalo for the opportunity to be your #Storyteller.