A bit of news

I know I’ve been rather quiet on here lately. The holiday season was a pretty busy one for me this year, and things did not slow down after the new year. Instead, I’ve spent this past month working on a very big project… a whole new website!

While I love the community here on wordpress.com and am so thankful for all the support my subscribers have provided, I made the difficult decision to move to a different platform. That said, the new site offers a variety of features that I just couldn’t provide with my blog here, such as client galleries, online ordering, et cetera. It’s really a tremendous leap forward for Nicole McDaniel Photography, LLC and what I can offer my clients, and I couldn’t be more excited about what it means for the future.

I do hope you will head on over and check it out. While this blog will remain up, all new posts will be through the new site, so be sure to subscribe to that blog’s feed.

Thank you for your loyal readership, for all the posts you’ve liked, for your kind comments and encouragement over the past year. I truly appreciate it, and I hope you’ll join me on this new leg of my journey.

Sincerely,

Nicole

Vasquez Family Session

 

 

 

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Full Moon Rising

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Among the Grasses

 

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Flowers

 

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

Family Photo II, Preview

 

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Family Photo Preview

I’m working through a couple of family portrait sessions from two weekends ago, and when I ran across this shot I just had to share it.

I know I’ve been really, really quiet on here lately. Life has been really, really crazy… but, I promise that I’ll make a more-regular appearance on here. Pinkie swear.

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

Senior Session, Black and Whites

I took some of my favorite shots from the session and converted them to black and white… and I almost like them better than the color versions!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Senior Session, part two

This particular senior loves art (she is taking AP Studio Art and is in the art club, I believe), so after the previous post’s location, we decided to go somewhere a little more fun and colorful.

I had to throw in this last shot… it was the last of the night, and her cheeks hurt a bit from smiling so much!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Senior Session, part one

These next few posts will be shots from the senior session I did a couple of weeks ago.

 

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Senior Session Sneak Peek

I just started going through these photographs from last night, and I’m so excited at how they’re turning out… so I couldn’t wait to share one!

More to come soon! And now… I must get back to work!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Mini-Session Cuteness

Back a few weeks ago, when it was just shy of a million degrees outside, I did a little mini-session with this cutie (and her mother). Due to the heat, we kept the session as short as possible (they just needed a few shots). Here are some of my favorites from that night:

 

So, which is your favorite?

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

Country Blooms

This shed (barn?) is across the road from the one I shared last week. The guards were sad to lose my attention, but I couldn’t resist grabbing some shots.

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Guards!

When I pulled up to photograph the barn in the previous post, these little guards ran out to greet me. I must admit, they’re the cutest little guards I’ve ever seen!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

An Old, Red Barn

If we take a scenic route from our home to my in-laws’ house, we can pass this old, red barn. If we have the time to do so, we do so. I just love this barn… that it looks as if the slightest breath of wind will knock it over, that the red paint is so worn and faded in areas that the barn barely passes as red, and that the “guards” came running out to greet me when I stopped for some pictures. (More on them in the next post, I promise.)

My least favorite thing about the barn? The makeshift parking lot that’s slightly visible on the right side of the top photograph.

 

My favorite thing? That, despite blizzards, tornadoes, earthquakes, record-setting hot summers and cold winters, ice storms and the like, it still stands here. Precariously, perhaps, but standing nonetheless.

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Tree and Sky

Give me trees,
and give me sky.
Deny me both,
and I might die. 

Okay, maybe not (unless you get into the trees=oxygen argument)… but I do have a soft spot for them both.

 

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Split Screens

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Because the Internet Needs Yet Another Cute Kitten Picture

The man selling him said his name was William (although it seems something a little edgier would fit him better). The names of the two female felines in the cage with him? If you guessed Kate and Pippa, you’d be correct. I couldn’t buy him (for a multitude of reasons), but did spend a few minutes scratching behind his ears. Hopefully, he (came from and) found a good home.

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

A Throwback Shot… Almost

So much of this looks like an older photograph… that is, until you notice the other (newer) cars and the man (and his wardrobe) walking in the background. Even the street sign gives me away. Oh well, it’s still dreamy.

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Glimpses of a Urban District

^ I love the typography and design on this business’ products. Of course, credit for it goes to the ever-fabulous Foundry Collective.

 

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Urban Flora

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Iron Bridge, Take One

I’ve long admired this iron bridge and wanted to photograph it. For a long time, the road under it was under construction, and all access to the bridge was blocked (trust me, I tried). I had hoped to photograph it one recent evening while in that part of town, but I kept getting cars in the shot (see below). I’ll have to go back another time… maybe sunrise, someday?

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Access Not Granted Beyond This Point

 

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Trees + Grass + Flowers + Golden Light

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Out by the Lake

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Sample Shot

Image

A coworker had questions about my camera (model, lenses, how aperture works, et cetera), so I pulled it out, aimed for the first thing I saw (my keys on the desk) and snapped off a couple of shots to answer her question. I deleted the others, but I liked this one. Hopefully you do too!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

Introducing… my Hubs!

Neither my husband nor I particularly care to be in front of the camera (which is why so many of my photographs are of things and not people), but pictures of my loved ones are what really matter… so I get them in when I can.

Once in a blue moon my hubs will let me take some actual portraits of him. I try to time my requests for these sessions well (this time, he was dressed up for a nice dinner out, but we had a tiny bit of time to kill) and get them done quickly (before he loses interest/patience).

This last one just kills me, with that slightly-raised eyebrow of his. It might be my all-time favorite photograph of him. It’s the kind I wish my wedding photographer had gotten on our wedding day (but that’s another story).

Since I don’t want to be one of those photographers that is never in family pictures, I’m learning to pass the camera to others (and slowly training them on taking good portraits). My favorite thing about the below picture? My earrings, from my grandma. I know you can’t see them super well, but they are stunning.

 

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Stay-cation – OKC MoA

There was more to see at the OKC MoA that weekend than the Chihuly exhibit (although I could’ve spend hours admiring just that portion). Take a look for yourself:

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Stay-cation: Chihuly at the OKC MoA

On our stay-cation, we went by the OKC Museum of Art (which we’ve done several times before and love to do) to see the Dale Chihuly exhibit. The museum has a 3-story installation on permanent display in the entry, as seen in these first few shots.

These are from the actual exhibit, which includes a hallway with the glass along the ceiling… absolutely breathtaking.

If you have the chance to go see the exhibit, GO! If not, look him up online. I’m hoping these pictures do his work justice.

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Stay-cation – One Shot, Two Ways

While on our stay-cation, we took the boat ride through Bricktown’s canal (a first for us both). (Tip: go early in the morning, then again at dusk… the adult pass should be good all day.) It was fun, and nice to see things from a different angle. One of those things was the old I40, which is in the process of being torn down. As we headed back toward Bricktown, I grabbed the below shot, which I later edited into two different versions.

I really want to do a photo shoot here, before the highway is gone. Anyone need their pictures done? Which version do you prefer?

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Stay-cation – Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial, part II

So, after stopping by the memorial at sunset (with only my phone for a camera), we went back by the next morning.

If you’re in OKC and have time, you should go check out the memorial and museum. If not, stop by their website for more information.

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Stay-cation – Around OKC

Below are more photos taken from our stay-cation last month, when my husband and I explored OKC (mainly by foot) for a day or two.

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I have two or three more posts from this “trip” (but with dedicated subjects), then I’ll move on to shots of my mother-in-law’s garden. Then… who knows?!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Stay-cation – Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial

Over the weekend, my husband and I took a little trip… to the city we live in. We have an anniversary coming up, and we had two free nights at a swanky hotel, so we decided to take a getaway to our city and explore it like tourists would. We went to a fancy restaurant, walked around downtown and around Bricktown, went to local midtown eateries, saw the art museum’s exhibits, and so on. It was kinda fun… and kinda strange. After all, we live here and have been to (most of) these places before.

Over the weekend, I took a few pictures (mostly from the amazing exhibits at the museum) that I wanted to share on here. The shots in this post were taken with my phone (sadly, I’d left my DSLR at the hotel that night). We’d just finished dinner on Saturday and were driving around before going back to the hotel. As we pulled up to the light, I saw a stunning sunset… and a crowd. So I got out and had the hubby circle the block as I grabbed the shots I wanted.

For those of you who don’t know, this is the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. It’s a somber, stunning, touching tribute to those who lost their lives that day. If you come to our fair city, you should go see it (and the adjacent museum).

^ The glowing lights on the horizon on the left are the lit chair statues that represent the victims of the bombing.

^ I’ve been to the memorial several times, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many people here. They were silent as someone discussed the events of that not-so-long-ago day, the victims, and the memorial itself. For those who don’t know, the museum is in the building in the background of this picture. To learn more, please visit the memorial’s website.

I wish I’d had my DSLR with me that night, but these will have to do. Maybe someday I’ll go back, pay my respects again, and get some better shots.

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Hafer Park, Wrapped Up

These are the last few shots from that trip to Hafer. I’m sure there will be more in the future, but for now… this is it.

^ I loved how the mossy tones in the bark faintly echoed the blues and greens in the background.

^ This might be my favorite shot from that day. On second thought, scratch the “might”. It wins.

Not sure what’s coming up next. Might do another travel series… might do some recent shots. Any suggestions?

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Hafer Park’s Trees

^ Not sure about you, but I was waiting for Alice to chase a rabbit down the hole at the base of this tree. They didn’t show, though…

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Hafer Park’s Tulips

The fact that I took these a while ago (March?) and am just now posting them makes me feel like a slacker… but at least I’m posting them, right?

That last one is my favorite… or, it is, until I look at the others again. I’m not sure I can ever choose a favorite photograph. But… maybe you can. Which one is your favorite?

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Getting Together, part two

These shots were from the same session as the last post, but I had so many of Logan that I thought I would put her shots together on their own. Enjoy!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Getting Together

Since I committed to seriously pursuing photography as a hobby/side gig in 2010, I’ve learned what feels like a million things. And I know I have about a billion more things to learn.

Part of that learning comes from getting together with other photographers who know more/different things than I do, comparing notes, and playing with our cameras. Fortunately, there are several groups in the area like that, including one through my church. I love getting together with them because I learn a lot, and I can practice what I learn when I learn it. The following shots are from some of our meetings:

Thanks to the models, and to the leaders for putting this together!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Dallas!

On a recent, leisurely trip to Texas, I decided to do something that I’d never really done before: explore downtown Dallas. Now, knowing that I grew up in the area, you might be surprised that I hadn’t done this. In school we did the West End/6th Floor Museum field trip, and I’d been to Deep Ellum for a couple of concerts during/after my senior year of high school, but I’d never really taken the chance to walk around downtown Dallas. So, I did.

^ If I was a professional photographer living in Dallas, this little corner would be appearing in quite a few of my shots. Just sayin’!

^ This little portion of a building just… glowed. The front of the building was much more formal, but this nook thing reminded me of older cities, where people string clothes out to dry and yell across the alley at their neighbor. I loved it!

^ Not sure what made me think of taking this picture. Maybe it was the potential for superb leading lines. Whatever it was, I’m grateful.

That wraps up my Dallas tour. If you want to see more… head down to Texas!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Springtime in Oklahoma

I stopped in at a local bakery for a sweet treat one day, and as I left, I noticed the below scene. I couldn’t resist grabbing a shot!

I loved the blooms, the lines of the architecture, the dark gray metal and the warm cement tones, and the reflections on the windows. In fact, I loved this so much that it just might be the background image on my phone… for now, at least.

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Bluebonnets

So, everyone who grows up in Texas (which I can probably claim to have done, having lived there from the age of 8 until I went off to college) has–at one point or another–their springtime pictures taken in the blooming bluebonnet fields.

Except me.

I’d seen them, for years. I’ve seen friends’ pictures. But I’ve never had my photograph taken in them, nor had I taken photographs of them… until now.

When I spent several days in Texas in March, I had a little time to kill (maybe 30 minutes) in the middle of the day, and the bluebonnets were in bloom. So I grabbed my camera and stole a few shots. Enjoy!

P.S. – If you think I snuck into the middle of some glorious field to get these shots, you’re wrong. This was a wide shoulder on the side of a 3 lane (each way) highway. It’s all about the angles!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Of Loss and Memories

This post is unrelated to photography, but it partially explains my recent neglect of this blog. Feel free to read, or not read, as you see fit.

I’ve been writing this post for a while now (in my head, at least) since I knew it was coming sooner or later.

Last June, while on vacation in California for my sister’s college graduation, my family found out that my grandma, my dad’s mom, had stage four Neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer. Unbeknownst to me, my grandma had been in pain but had put off going to the doctor. When she finally went, the doctors found tumors: her spine, her head (wrapping around the optic nerve and destroying her vision in one eye), all over her body. Without treatment, the doctors estimated that she had weeks to live. With treatment, maybe 9 months.

As a family, we discussed the options. Treatment for her aggressive, rare cancer would be costly, difficult (both physically and perhaps logistically) and only possibly prolong her life by a few months. The route of “no treatment” would mean more pain and a faster passing. Some argued for aggressive, innovative treatments, hoping that a miracle would happen. Others accepted the overwhelmingly-likely outcome and proposed standard treatment, close to home. (Don’t take this to think we don’t believe in miracles and the power of prayer and God, because we totally do. That said, we know that we all meet our end at some point.) Ultimately, the choice was up to her and my grandpa. They decided to pursue radiation for the tumor in her brain, followed by chemotherapy for the rest of the cancer, with local doctors.

With treatment, the tumor in her brain shrank, and, after adjusting to the blows of chemotherapy, she resumed walking, talking, cracking jokes (some of which were an unintentional result of the chemo meds). Throughout the summer, far-away family came in to visit, spending as much time as they could. She was still in pain, yes… but she had carried pain with her for most of her life (from a childhood injury that never healed well). She knew how to bear pain, how to live with it. Life bore a mask similar to normal. But it was only a mask.

When I went to visit at Christmas, things had changed. She easily and often lost track of her thoughts and actions, struggling to finish a sentence, follow a conversation, or feed herself a meal. She fixated on the most unusual things (things that, in the past, never would have interested her). Her strength and energy were shot, a mere fraction of what they had been. Her appearance had changed, too, but that was mainly from the medications. We were concerned about this sudden shift, but when she stabilized at this new level we all adjusted to it.

In March, my grandma suddenly exhibited some pretty severe symptoms, resulting in a hospital visit. The visit and its examination revealed a brain hemorrhage. She was admitted, and–as I had not started my new job yet–I traveled down to Texas for a few days. When her condition stabilized and the hemorrhage didn’t worsen, it was determined that it was likely old (possibly accounting for her decline in December). At this point, the question became how we should proceed. My grandpa was doing everything he could to take care of her, but it wasn’t enough and it was affecting his health at this point, even with part-time in-home help. My grandma refused to consider live-in healthcare assistance. The cancer medicine had, for the most part, kept new tumors from growing… but hadn’t reduced the size of existing tumors. Her pain and discomfort were at an all-time high, as was the level of care she would need. The family consensus was to shift to hospice, to focus on making her life as comfortable as possible, for however long she had left.

When she was told of the plan, she was mad and hurt, I suppose. She never said so, not in words. Instead, she complained about the nurses or avoided conversation with those she felt were responsible. With visitors, she was a little bit better, a little kinder. With me, she was still her normal self. With my grandpa, she vacillated between irritation that he wouldn’t give in and loving dependency. At one point, I watched as she nearly begged to be taken back to her house, unaware that her condition didn’t make that feasible. All she wanted to do was go home.

Instead, she was taken from the hospital to a facility about two miles from her house, where she received a double room for just her. My grandpa went home at night but still spent almost all of his waking time up there with her, trying to cheer her up or get her to eat. Three weeks ago, I went to visit again. During the nearly 6 hours that I spent with her, she didn’t open her eyes, speak a word, or eat more than five bites of food. She did respond to some of my grandpa’s questions, but only by nodding or shaking her head. Mostly, she was just there. Because she wouldn’t, or couldn’t, talk to us, we didn’t know what she was thinking or feeling, if she was in pain or was comfortable, if she knew where she was and who was with her or if she was somewhere else altogether.

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My grandma died last night. On Mother’s Day.

I am not sad that she will never again feel pain or heartache. Nor am I sad that she finally got to go home, to meet her Maker and her loved ones that have gone before her. Lastly, I am not sad that my grandpa no longer has to sit through the daily heartache of watching her slowly die. My only sadness comes from knowing that I will never make new memories with her.

But I have 26 years of memories to cherish. I remember her working in the nursery at our church, giving toddler-me graham crackers as a treat. I remember being at their home when I was young and walking in to the kitchen to hear my grandma and grandpa singing hymns. I remember when she would bring home scrap paper (long stacks of it with faint two-tone green stripes, perforated into sheets with hole-punched strips down the side that tore off) from work for me to color on. I remember getting in trouble for playing with a small quartz rock from the yard on their glass-topped coffee table. I remember how much she loved for me to comb her hair. I remember her giving me stacks of Nancy Drew books, old worn copies, which I read in the tiny backseat of their car as we drove from California to Texas. I remember her love of books. I remember the stories she told us of her family, as we went through her parents’ heirlooms after her mother died. I remember her complaining about how dark her house was but never opening up the blinds on the window. I remember her bickering with my grandpa, because he didn’t hear what she said and then do what she asked… but then being sweet with him, too. I remember her bringing me gluten-free food that she found at Costco (she loved Costco… and I mean loved) when I came home from college for the weekend. I remember her calling me “sunshine” well into… well, this year, unaware of how much it made some others cringe. I remember her goofiness last Christmas, and the way she savored the molasses cookie I had made using her mother’s recipe. I remember how childlike and innocent she appeared in the hospital in March. I remember how much she enjoyed the apple fritter my mom and I brought her, and how gleefully she “broke the rules” by eating non-hospital food. I remember that, in her semi-conscious haze, she would pull on her hair until I went over, lowered her hands, gently brushed her hair off her face and stroked her hair for a while.

I am incredibly blessed to have lived this long without losing a close relative or friend. This is my first loss of this kind, and it is deeply felt. I won’t say she was perfect, won’t gloss over her flaws. However, she loved her family, loved her husband, and loved her Lord. I am blessed to have had her as a grandmother and blessed to have told her I love her and say goodbye.

Fooling around… with my camera

I’m caught up on editing pictures for clients/jobs, but I’m about a month (or two!) behind on my own pictures. I was going through them tonight, trying to make a dent in the backlog… and I think I did. There are still many left to do, but they’ll have to wait for another day.

I stumbled across this photo tonight. I’m not sure what I was trying to do; there’s a good chance that I was just playing or feeding my shutterbug habit. Regardless of the reason, I like the result, even if it’s not a technically solid photograph. It makes me happy, and in this case, that’s all that matters.

In case you’re wondering, it’s a shot of the parking lot downstairs, taken through the opened (but not raised) blinds and the screen. The focus is non-existent, likely landing some point between the blinds in the foreground and the parking lot in the background. But, the light was lovely that evening, the colors are gorgeous, and I like the effect the blinds and screen had. And, to be honest, it’s prettier out of focus than an in-focus shot of cars or the screen would have been. Trust me, I’ve taken those before too/

What do you think — should I keep this happy accident, or toss it?

I’m heading down to Texas again this weekend, so no more posts until next week. Have a lovely weekend, dear readers!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Field of Gold

(Look, a mid-week post! There’s still hope that I’ll return to regular blogging while holding down a full-time job, with photo gigs and a social life on the side — huzzah!)

If you like this photo, thank my husband, for it was taken on the trip back from his hometown two weeks ago. As we drove up there, I spied these fields across the highway and literally said, “oohhhhhh… wow“. So, on the way back, he kindly pulled over on the side of the highway and let me take a few shots. I loved the subtle leading lines in the field (of canola?), the tiny horizon at the top of the frame, the vertical orientation of this landscape shot, and the colors.

I want to live near a field like this. Alas, I’ll have to settle for the picture instead.

P.S. — If you’re hungry, don’t read my last post. Unless you want to become hungrier. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

A short update, and some appetizing shots

Life has been a whirlwind lately. From late December until a month ago, I was unemployed and looking (somewhat desperately) for work. Fortunately, in early March I received a wonderful job offer, which I gladly accepted. I started two weeks ago and am loving it. It’s a wonderful company, and I get to be creative all day, every day. While it’s more designing than I’ve ever done, I love the challenge of it and know that I have nowhere to go but up. (The new job is part of the reason I’ve been quiet around here lately; I’m still getting used to the early mornings and trying to set up a rhythm. I promise I’ll get back to posting more often, once I settle into a routine.)

During that time where I had secured a job but hadn’t yet started, I spent several days in Texas visiting family (more on that later), helped create content for a site that recently launched, went on a few glorious bike rides, read a few books, and took some pictures. Some of those pictures were for EatAroundOKC, an organization that highlights dining establishments in and around Oklahoma City. The writers visit the restaurants (anonymously and a couple of times, to get a good feel for it), write up their reviews, and then send me out to photograph the dishes. Everyone working with EatAroundOKC does so because they love good food and these local businesses, and they want others to know about these places. The organization also partners with the Regional Food Bank, making regular donations from the sales of special offers. So, members of the community learn about great restaurants, local restaurants get more publicity, the Regional Food Bank gets donations, and the contributing authors/photographers get to share their talents and passions. It’s really a situation where everyone wins, and I love it.

I thought I’d take a minute to share some of the favorite photographs I’ve done for EatAroundOKC. You can click on the photograph to see the review for that restaurant.

You might not guess it by looking at the pictures, but most of these restaurants are rather dimly lit (excellent for ambiance, but not so good for photography), so I’ve really had to make sure my settings are right and my hand steady. I think photographing the single bite of food (such as the lasagna, as shown above) in such low light is one of the hardest things I’ve done, since I’m taking my second hand from steadying the camera to holding the fork. From these pictures, it’s apparent that I prefer shallow depth of field and vertical orientation on my food pictures.

So, that’s part of what I do with my free time, and part of how I challenge myself and hone my photography skills. Have you ever tried food photography?

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, in conjunction with EatAroundOKC, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

One on the Way

My friends are expecting a baby soon (in a little over a month!), so we headed out to take some maternity pictures. Here’s a small sampling of what we got:

Jesse and Rachel, you’ll get the rest when I see you on Saturday!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Cloudy Sunsets

One thing I love about where I live (specifically and Oklahoma in general) is the field out front and the wide-open skies. This photo is from an evening earlier this month. The clouds were blowing through, and the sunset was gorgeous that night. I couldn’t resist snapping a few shots.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Northwest Tour: Bush’s Pasture Park in Salem, Oregon

I’ve already shared one photo from the gardens at Bush’s Pasture Park, but I thought I’d include a few more.

That wraps up the Northwest Tour. I might throw some other random shots in in the future, but not for a while.

Now, what to share next? Hmm…. any ideas?

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Northwest Tour: Oregon Landscape

Again, same shot with three different edits.

If I can’t choose one, does it mean I don’t like any of them? What do you think?

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Northwest Tour: Scenic Oregon

This is the same shot, three different edits. Which do you prefer, and why?

Photographs © Nicole McDaniel and Nicole McDaniel Photography, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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