Winter Family Portraits in Shorewood Hills

The early freeze-down this year has had me a little bummed, as I always feel like I can count on November for being perfect: highs 40 - 50 degrees, beautiful monotone landscapes of 100s of shades of browns, crunchy leaves, crisp air, empty parks, etc. November is often a month filled with personal climbing trips and lots of pre-holiday family portrait shoots, but the cold has slowed things down on both fronts. Despite some crushed hopes, I really enjoy the variety Wisconsin weather brings; adversity always raises new opportunities and keeps the adventure alive in what otherwise might grow routine.

While I would rather shoot outside any day of the week, when it is raining down freezing drizzle and the steps to my clients' home is a skating rink... then we work inside. A good time to have some fast, wide lenses, which is why I decided this shoot would be the perfect excuse to buy the 35mm lens I have been thinking about for a while. So this session ended up being almost entirely shot with that new lens, and I loved the opportunities the glass opened up for us.


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!