Family Portrait Session - Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin

It is such a strange, blessed fall we're having. Last week, we sat comfortably on a pier, watching the sun go down on Lake Mendota, wearing only t-shirts. Something seems wrong about that, but I'm not complaining. I just feel lucky, and slightly worried that we'll have to pay for this mild weather, sooner or later.

Last year, it was pretty tough to get either of these kiddos to look my way, let alone smile or act naturally. But this year was completely different, which made this shoot incredibly fun and easy. This family feels so comfortable with themselves and I think that really comes through in the images. It smells like good parenting, but I'm no expert.

Winter Family Portraits in Muscoda, Wisconsin

Went out to Muscoda again this year to photograph this crew, less all the relatives and plus a new little brother. They have this perfect little getaway cabin, tucked up in the hills, full of splendid winter sunshine and warmth. And if you can manage to break away from the coziness, there is a beautiful forest with big oaks and lots of trail to stomp around in. And you get to do it all with Darwin the dog, who I simply adore. Lucky guy, I am.

Headshots on Lake Mendota with Madison Author Melissa Falcon Field

I have been lucky over the last few years to work with some really fantastic Madison writers, including Susan Gloss (Vintage), Michelle Wildgen (Bread and Butter), Chloe Benjamin (Anatomy of Dreams), Judith Mitchell (A Reunion of Ghosts), and Jesse Gant and Nick Hoffman (Wheel Fever). I recently got together with Melissa Falcon Field, another fine local author, to shoot headshots for her upcoming book. A Connecticut native, Melissa Falcon Field relocated to Madison a few years ago and has been working on publishing her first novel (What Burns Away, January 2015) while doing freelance writing and teaching with the Madison Writers' Studio. If you get a chance to see her read around Madison (or elsewhere), do so; her personality is a dichotomous balance of East Coast boldness and Maine coast humility. We shot on the lakefront in Shorewood Hills and I think we created some great work for her to represent herself with. Looking forward to reading her words in the new year.

Thanksgiving in Muscoda

Headed west on Saturday for a family portrait session on Saturday. Jeremy said his family built their cabin near Muscoda because they felt it was "kinda off the radar." Yeah, I'll say. I had only been through Muscoda once before, and though I was enamored with it, I did not think I'd ever be back there for a portrait shoot. But opportunity struck and I was psyched to follow State Route 60 (aka The River Road) down the Wisconsin to the 40-acres retreat these folks use to escape the city.

A few notes: 
• A "cabin" does not always denote a humble log cabin affair in the woods. Sometimes a "cabin" is really something more.
• It's pronounced Musk-a-day, not Mus-co-da. I'm not sure how anyone would figure that out on their own.
• There's are numerous hidden sandstone parapets and buttresses in the driftless terrain west of Lone Rock. These guys had two really neat formations hidden in the trees, up on the ridge. Wondering if there could be a secret climbing crag somewhere in the territory?

Frosty Times, Downtown Madison

I might be in the minority, but I think the best holiday cards look seasonal. The holiday season is cold, but we can't let that stop us, especially when we all have layers and layers of wool, leather, and down in our closets. It's usually in the 10's or 20's here in December, so when I see families looking bundled up and cozy together, having a great time despite the minor inconvenience of 7-degree windchill factor... those cards gets to be on top of the fridge. Solidarity!

On the other hand... those conditions are tough to shoot in, and I never wish for that kind of weather. But that's what we got last week, and this family pulled through in high style. I compliment their spirit and love the shots we walked away with. Thanks for setting the record for my coldest portrait shoot ever!