It seems like forever and a day since I last shared photos of the Monarch caterpillars. So thank you for your patience! I am really excited to share these macro photos of the Monarch butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. That week of my life was crazy — we spent hours watching for signs that the butterflies would be emerging soon (also called “eclosing”). I learned that the top part of the chrysalis gets very bumpy and “slinky like” — rather than being smooth. Yes, indeed it does. But that’s still not really an accurate measure of how long you have, because the whole process takes time.
I was blessed to be able to witness four of the Monarch butterflies as they eclosed. We “missed” another one, and the last one was a sneaky little guy. Fortunately I’d turned on the video camera before putting my attention elsewhere, so it was caught on film. All together, I photographed three different butterflies eclosing. The others I watched. And let me tell you, this miracle didn’t get old or become more mundane. It’s amazing how the butterfly climbs out, and interesting how small its wings are, and how swollen its abdomen is. The wings took a lot longer to dry and “grow” to full size than I expected. And the butterflies didn’t fly away immediately. We put them outside within hours, but they stayed nearby for hours or even days longer.
My boys are set on doing this again next year. I think the self-started milkweed plants in my garden bed may have to stay. We’ll see what spring brings, of course.
Make sure you don’t miss the end of this post, where you can watch a time lapse video of one of the Monarch butterflies emerging from its chrysalis!
Now, you may recall me saying that I borrowed a video camera from my dad in order to film one of the butterflies eclosing. That’s true. I managed to film two butterflies eclosing from their chrysalises. Here’s the video I created. Portions of the film are time lapsed so that you can experience the entire transformation:
I love going on location for senior portrait sessions! And, I love when my clients have a specific location in mind! T and his mom started his session at my studio (so we could get the yearbook photo), but the bulk of his amazing senior portraits were created on location in Dexter. Mill Creek Park is just one of those versatile places, I love how it never looks the same twice.
If you need to plan your senior portrait session, please contact the studio today so that we can fit you in before your yearbook deadline! We typically get booked up with last minute appointments as high school senior yearbook deadlines approach. So, a little advance planning will ensure you get your senior portrait planned — at a time that is convenient for your schedule!
If you’re thinking about skipping the whole senior portrait thing. Please reconsider. My guess is that you just want something simple and painless — well, look no further! We can make your senior portrait session short, relaxing, and maybe even fun! With studio senior portraits, there is nothing to distract you from the person. Everything, all your attention, is drawn to the high school senior — you really get a sense for their personality. You get to look into their eyes and see their smile. Years down the road, you will look at that senior portrait and fondly remember that time in your life.
A few years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a picture book illustrated by one of my favorites, Tomie DePaola. The author is Nancy Willard, and the book is called “Simple Pictures are Best” (#afflink). The brief synopsis? A man and his wife hire a photographer, but add so many props and “things” into their portrait that they end up with ….well, let’s just say the photo doesn’t turn out as planned. Anyways, I digress. Let’s take a peek at these simple senior portraits that we did in my studio that meet most high school yearbook requirements in the Ann Arbor area.
There’s something to be said for the classic portrait. Whether it’s the more traditional suit and tie, or a somewhat relaxed studio portrait — these senior photos really will never go out of style. As I said before – if you’re on the fence about hiring a professional for your senior portraits, please give me a call at 734-424-0472 or visit our contact page.
I’d be happy to talk with you personally about what you want for your senior portrait session and help you make that happen. Your senior year of high school is already crazy enough, so let me help you make at least one thing go smoothly!
Sometimes my clients contact me looking for something simple and in studio. Maybe it’s because the yearbook requirements dictate a formal studio setting for the portraits, or maybe it’s just because simple can be easier. Whatever the reason, I’m always happy to create timeless portraits like the ones we created for this senior boy’s portrait session. So, without further ado, enjoy these portraits I created for this class of 2018 senior.
I’m excited to see which portraits G. and his mom will like best. It’s always interesting to see which of my clients’ favorites end up being my favorites too!
If you’re needing to plan your senior portrait session still, know that it’s never too late. Even if your yearbook deadline has come and gone, we can still create a series of senior portraits that you enjoy and want to display in your home. If your yearbook deadline is coming quickly, make sure to get in touch, as we may be able to fit you in before the deadline. Contact the studio today at 734-424-0472 or use the contact page on our website to get in touch!
The next big step for any Monarch caterpillar is to pupate! That’s when it turns from a caterpillar into a chrysalis. I was blessed to be around when one of the caterpillars pupated, but he was sneaky so I only managed to capture a before and after rather than a “during” …maybe next time. (if you missed my earlier posts, you can see the caterpillars when they were tiny, and the caterpillars when they’d grown bigger).
For purposes of disclosure, I should mention that I rehung most of the chrysalises… they were either on tin foil that I secured to the twig, or tied up there with dental floss. I did a bit of research beforehand so as to avoid damaging the creatures, don’t worry. But I wanted to let you know because these photos have been photoshopped — to remove the unsightly dental floss, tin foil, etc. I did my best to give an accurate rendering and not depart from reality. Maybe next time I’ll be brave enough to try the super glue method!
Anyways, enjoy these macro photographs of the Monarch caterpillar and Monarch chrysalises. They are really amazing to look at close up… and I just today learned that you can tell whether a butterfly is male or female while it’s in its chrysalis. There is a little seam at near those black dots at the top of the chrysalis. Very interesting! Maybe next time around I’ll know to photograph… 🙂 …hindsight is 20/20, huh?
With this recent cold spell, fall really seems to be upon us. But it wasn’t that long ago that we had warm sunny days like for Haylee’s senior portrait session. We planned Haylee’s portrait session to take place at Mill Creek Park in Dexter. As you might have guessed from some past blog posts, it’s a popular destination for portraits. But even so, it’s not hard to make your portraits look unique and personalized to you. Haylee was a great sport and smiled beautifully for the camera throughout her entire session…. and we ended up with a fantastic set of senior photos for her and her parents to enjoy.
Make sure to scroll all the way through this series of senior portraits, because I saved some of my favorites for the end. We did do a few portraits standing in the water, which I have to say, was cold but felt refreshing given the heat.
If you’ve been putting off planning your senior portrait session because it seems like a lot of work, just get in touch! We help you through the entire process, whether it’s choosing your location, giving advice on attire and outfits, or selecting the best portraits to hang on the walls of your family room. Your senior portrait experience can be relaxing and maybe …even fun! 🙂
Anyways, enjoy these photos. I did include the same dime in one of the photos so you could get a sense of scale. Because when you take such close up pictures… it’s hard to get a big or small a monarch caterpillar is. And they’re definitely fatter, I will add — just like in “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
I know some of you like videos. so here’s a video slideshow of the photos from both photoshoots.
I hope you enjoyed these photos. I will try to keep an eye on them so that you can see photos of them once they’ve made chrysalises. My dad, a longtime amateur entomologist, has always dreamed of getting a time lapse video of a monarch caterpillar emerging from its chrysalis. Wouldn’t that be cool? We’ll see if I can pull something like that off.
Anyways, I’ll leave you with one final fun fact, courtesy of my son’s monarch caterpillar book. Did you know that monarch caterpillars born late in the season will fly directly south, instead of mating? The ones born earlier in the summer are the ones that do the mating. Interesting. Over and out.
It’s always fun to do senior photos someplace local, someplace meaningful. Or, in the very least, someplace that is amazingly gorgeous! And that’s what Mill Creek Park is — gorgeous. You might know it as the Library Park, because the Dexter District Library overlooks the park. Or maybe you know the park as Warrior Creek Park….which it was formerly named in years past. Whatever you call it, the park is gorgeous.
Let’s just say, if you’re thinking about doing senior photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter, you won’t be disappointed. I love the boat launch steps, the walking path under the bridge, the grassy natural areas, and even the playground. Mill Creek Park offers a nice variety of settings for most types of portrait photography sessions — and, most importantly, there are some nice shady spots to keep you out of the heat of the midday sun!
Here’s a sibling portrait session I did at Mill Creek Park this summer. N. is a senior at Dexter High School, while C. is a junior this year. It was nice to get photos of both of them during this senior and not-quite-yet-senior photo shoot!
Since you might want to see what some other parts of Mill Creek Park look like, here’s another senior photo session that we did there. Well, at least partly. Madison’s senior portrait session took place in downtown Dexter, and included some senior photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter too. I love the one of her with her black lab. So adorable!
I’ve done various other senior portrait sessions at Mill Creek Park over the years.. the water is almost always nice to wade in, and feels great during hot summer Michigan days. On rare occasion the water is too high, and the current too fast, but usually my older (i.e. teen or adult) clients are able to comfortably wade into the shallows of the water. Here’s a few photos from a teen photo session at Mill Creek Park….
And for those of you who remember what Mill Creek Park was like before the boardwalk and other improvements went in, I haven’t forgotten either. Here are a few senior photos at Mill Creek Park when it was still known as Warrior Creek Park. Amazing how quickly we grow accustomed to new improvements, huh?
As an aside, there’s another nice park in Dexter that’s similar, but a little different — Hudson Mills Metropark. I’ve done senior portraits there too. If you want to take a peek, you can view Luke’s senior portrait at Hudson Mills Metropark. Here’s a teaser of his senior portrait blog post:
If you want to explore Mill Creek Park a little more, you might check out this blog post of mine about Mill Creek Park in Dexter. I have a few more recent sessions on the schedule to share with you at Mill Creek Park, so if you’re dying to see more senior photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter, definitely sign up for my email updates so you won’t miss those posts.
If you want to learn more about planning your senior portrait session at Mill Creek Park (or elsewhere), please contact the studio today. We definitely are in a busy season right now, but should be able to fit you in before your yearbook deadline.
I photographed the A. Family when this cute little girl was just a newborn. And now here we are, doing a family portrait already… she’s grown so much! There is nothing more exciting than getting to watch my clients’ children grow up into their own little selves. Oh, I guess there’s one thing almost as good… and that’s when my clients bring their pets to the portrait session. I love including animals in family photos (or any type of portrait photo, for that matter!).
I’d love to talk with you about planning a fun family portrait session — whether or not you have pets to include! Call the studio today at 734-424-0472 to start planning for your next family photo.
Luke’s senior portrait session started at the studio, but most of his photos were created on location at Hudson Mills Metropark. When photographing clients at two locations, I always love to start in the studio because those portraits are a little more formal. By the time we get to the second location, everyone is relaxed and comfortable — perfect for more casual location portraits!
So, without further ado, enjoy these senior portraits taken at Hudson Mills Metropark!
Luke was a great sport during his entire senior portrait session. We managed to create all these senior portraits — and more — during his hour long session.
I’m always happy to work with clients who know exactly what they want… and with clients who want me to direct them completely. We will make your senior portraits uniquely you. If you’re interested in planning a laid-back senior portrait session and need someone who knows what they’re doing, call us at 734-424-0472 today!
My kids love nature (woohoo! Excited parenting moment, right?)… and they are always asking if we can keep bugs or insects to “watch them” for a while. Usually, we send the little critters back out into the wild after a brief observation period, of course. But when it comes to Monarch caterpillars, I’m willing to make an exception.
You see, we have a friend who’s been raising Monarch caterpillars for years, so I was excited when we finally found some! Where? In my front garden bed, surprisingly. The first round of caterpillars took a field trip to my son’s classroom for the entire class to enjoy watching. Those five (no, maybe six?) caterpillars were pretty big, almost ready to make their chrysalises.
I made a mental note to check the milkweed plants a couple times later in the week, just in case we missed any. Why? Because my preschooler was sad about not getting to see the caterpillars. Anyways, I happened to find six teeny tiny Monarch caterpillars. These guys would’ve been hidden really well if I didn’t know exactly which plants to search.
So, enjoy these photos. I’ll try to take some more once they’ve grown bigger so you can get an idea of how much they grow in the caterpillar stage!
For the past couple years, we have sponsored the Manchester Pistol Prodigies. Now, since the season is over, I can tell you… the Manchester Pistol Prodigies did really well in the realm of competitive shooting this past year. The team made it all the way to the 2017 National Championships! Congratulations everyone! The Manchester Mirror posted an article about the Pistol Prodigies heading to Nationals this summer — it’s a good read if you’re interested.
What a fantastic group of kids. And of course, they are headed up by a set of awesome coaches too. There’s nothing more important than good leadership when you are teaching youths about responsible gun handling. And every time I’ve been around the Pistol Prodigies, I can tell that they have been taught to be safe and responsible when handling firearms, and it carries over to other aspects of life too. I can tell you from personal experience that these kids are top notch. Nowhere else do I get so many “thank you for taking our photos” and polite comments from clients who are still youths.
SASP is designed to instill in young people a set of personal values and character traits for fair play, compassionate understanding, individual responsibility, sportsmanship, self-discipline, and personal commitment. As the sport itself, these qualities will stay with them throughout their lifetimes, helping each young athlete reach his or her full potential.
One of the best parts of my job is getting to see repeat customers. I love it when my littlest clients come back to the studio, because it’s always so amazing how much they’ve grown! And, let me tell you — if you’re worried about planning a portrait session for your child because he or she just doesn’t behave in front of the camera — don’t worry.
That’s my job — leave the magic to me. I feel a little silly telling you this, but I’ve been called a baby whisperer by clients who were sure the photo session would be a bust. So don’t stress out. After all, that’s why you’re trusting me with your memories, with creating portraits of your loved ones. Relax, and let me do my thing.
I hope you enjoyed seeing these first year portraits of P. (sigh, I can’t call him a baby anymore, he is getting so big!). If you want to learn more about planing your own portrait session with Betsy’s Photography, please call the studio at 734-424-0472 today. If you have a little one, or are expecting, make sure to inquire about our baby’s first year plan!
Rachel’s mom contacted me this summer about doing her senior portraits in a field of sunflowers. Cool idea, right? And we were in luck, because the weather was great on the day of Rachel’s session. A bit hot for anyone’s liking,…but, hey, it’s Michigan. We have to work with what we’re given. You’d never know it from these photos, because Rachel looks absolutely gorgeous, but it was drippingly hot. Seriously.
Enjoy this slideshow of our favorite images from Rachel’s senior portraits in the sunflower field.
And in case you’re a sucker for web photos instead of video slideshows, here they are! Rachel was a great sport. She put up with the hot sun, some windy gusts, and of course, my goofy requests that she pretend to laugh at her mom. All in all, Rachel’s senior portrait session went very smoothly though. We got some great portraits that I am sure her family will enjoy for years to come. And once I’ve designed the memories panel that her mom ordered for their home, I will share that with you too!
If you’re looking at doing senior pictures while the weather’s warm, get in touch with me ASAP to plan your session! Or, we can plan something for the fall… your call. Call the studio at 734-424-0472 to learn more about having your senior portraits done by award-winning master photographer Betsy Finn today!
Life has been pretty busy around here. But, I’ve finally taken studio portraits of my dog. Yes, we have a new pup! As an aside, if you’re looking for a lab, I highly recommend Northern Lites Labs in Grayling, Michigan. We made the drive from Dexter to Grayling to pick him up, and it was totally worth it. This pup is one of the calmest labs I’ve ever met. Except for his mom. Apollo has got a soft mouth already, and is very tolerant of everything our crazy household has thrown his way. Plus, he came to us practically housetrained — and he slept through the night in his crate without any issues right from the get-go. Seriously. Northern Lites Labs is a fantastic breeder.
Now, onto the portraits! Apollo is a chocolate lab, and he’s not quite 5 months yet. What a handsome guy. We are so lucky to have found him! Our dog photo session was cut short because one of my little assistants left the treat container on the floor. Yes, open. So, Apollo naturally got into them… and we had to postpone the rest of the photos for another day. No need for a sick puppy! Regardless, our mini session was very fruitful. I think we spent under 15 minutes getting all these studio portraits of my dog. That’s excluding the two minutes of crazy kid photos you’ll see at the end of this post (my assistants like to pose for the camera).
I have to admit, even though I already think my dog is a good looking pup, when I saw the results of his portrait session I was wowed. Seriously adorable. Okay, I’m sure you’re tired of all the gushing about how cute this puppy is!
Before we wrap this post up, here’s the “test shot” or two of my kids. Yes, my photo assistants wanted to do some silly photos to make sure my camera was working correctly. So, per my usual, I made Toby and Zack smile first.
Although adorable, remember, they are a textbook example of what NOT to wear to your photo session! LOL
If you are looking to have studio portraits of your dog (or human family), please contact Betsy via the web or call 734-424-0472. Let’s get you set up with some fantastic photos of your own!
While I love photographing seniors, or any of my clients, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for animals. So, when Madison’s mom asked me if I ever do senior photos with pets, I enthusiastically said, “yes!!”
A lot of my clients are concerned that their dog might be too rambunctious or energetic to sit still for photos. But, as I reassured this client of mine, I am happy to include dogs for a portion of any session! My secret? Well, besides just liking dogs and being patient with them, it’s a simple matter of getting your dog mostly tired out before the photos happen. Whether that means a trip to the dog park, or a long walk, or numerous games of tug… it’s usually a pretty good bet that when your pup is pooped, he will be amenable to having his photo taken.
I have to admit, I think this is my favorite photo of the whole senior session. We had Madison stand in the water to coax the pup towards her. Even thought he generally doesn’t like water….it worked! Yes, he was back out of the water within a minute… But, I was able to capture this priceless moment. I initially wasn’t even sure we had captured him looking at the camera! Now, you might notice this photo looks more like a painting. I used my traditional artistic training and recent training in painting digitally to create this digitally masterpiece. Don’t you love how it turned out???
Now, let’s get on to the photos of Madison. It was such an honor to photograph Madison, she is a great person and I love her cheerfulness! While I love all of my clients, it’s always fantastic when a session goes smooth as silk. And Madison’s senior portraits just flowed so nicely. Despite the heat, we managed to stay out of the direct sun. …and we created some gorgeous senior portraits in the shady spots of downtown Dexter. Side note — when doing senior photos with pets, make sure to also bring a water bowl and enough water. On a hot day, it’s really essential. (I’m so glad Madison and her mom planned ahead!).
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of Madison’s senior portraits. As I mentioned earlier, these were taken in downtown Dexter. What I didn’t mention is that her entire session took about an hour. Yes, including a quick stop at my studio for the obligatory studio senior portrait. Easy peasy!
As the senior portrait season ramps up, we’ll be sharing more sneak peeks. I hope you will find these senior photos inspirational as you plan your next portrait session. If you’re interested in learning more about how the portrait planning process works, just contact Betsy via internet or call 734-424-0472.
This week my husband and I attended a happy hour event for One More Moment, a local Ann Arbor charity that helps create “one more moment” for late stage cancer warriors.
(We’ve gone to several events in the past, and all of them have been fabulous)
Maybe you’re wondering:
What is One More Moment?
It’s a nonprofit charity based in Ann Arbor that works with local donors and supporters to give late stage cancer warriors their “one more moment” together:
One More Moment …[was]… created to help give local late stage cancer warriors and their families … one more special moment together. … They needn’t be extreme or “typical”. The key is for something special and unique for every individual & family; simply “their” moment to enjoy.
So, back to the Happy Hour event. It was nice relaxing end to a busy day for us. There were a lot of people there (One More Moment sold tickets in advance, and ended up announcing that tickets were sold out earlier in the week!).
Everyone left with a goody bag, but there were a number of winners that took home raffle items too! Like my grandmother, I have a knack for winning things. So, we left with a really cool Shock-Top logo-ed patio/beach umbrella, and a wooden crate full of other Shock-Top swag. I think the wooden crate may make an appearance in future kid photo sessions, as it is just the right size for babies and toddlers to sit in! Thank you!
If you were there, we hope you had as much fun as we did. My kids “helped” me dig through the bags today, and I was reminded how MANY wonderful local Ann Arbor businesses have contributed goodies to help these One More Moment fundraisers fabulous. So, when you look through your swag, please consider supporting all the local businesses who made the even possible!
Here are some photos that I took of the event. Feel free to share them with friends and family, upload to Facebook or whatever social media. I just ask that you leave the discrete watermark intact.
Learning is fun, but when you combine learning with snacktime, that’s even better! This week, we’re talking about the Rule of Thirds (another stop on our trip through the alphabet with our Photography ABCs series). What is the rule of thirds? It’s a photography concept for creating visually interesting images — we’ll get into that shortly.
Read on to see how we’ll be using crackers to recreate the rule of thirds!
The Rule of Thirds
First, let’s talk about the rule of thirds. Here’s a definition I found at Cambridge in Colour:
The rule of thirds states than an image is most pleasing when its subjects or regions are composed along imaginary lines which divide the image into thirds — both vertically and horizontally.
Basically, you take an image, and divide it into thirds, both ways. Where the lines cross, those are the places that you should try to have visual interest. So, if you took a picture of your dog running at the park, you would want to make sure that it was at one of those spots when you look through the camera.
It’s a little bit easier to see than to explain. Take a peek at this picture below (used with permission from Pixabay.com). The image is deliberately composed so that both the bird and the wire are following the rule of thirds. I’ve included a second image which illustrates this, as the blue lines divide the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically.
The wire is running horizontally across the image, placed at the lower third of the image. You might notice that the bird is slightly to the right of the vertical blue line — but look at its eye. That eye has been placed at the spot where two blue lines intersect. Those intersections are points of visual interest.
Okay, now onto the fun snack activity! This will help your kids visualize the concept of the Rule of Thirds. You probably have everything you need in your snack cabinet.
Supplies You’ll Need:
9 square crackers
9 rectangular crackers
4+ smaller snack items
snack tray or cookie sheet
We used saltines, graham crackers (broken into the smaller sections), and goldfish crackers. But you could use any snack items that are square and rectangular. The goldfish could be replaced by any similarly sized snack item: raisins, nuts, or bite-sized candies. And, of course, you’ll need some sort of flat work surface. My kids love using cookie sheets, but if you have a small serving tray, that could work well too. It just has to be big enough for all the crackers to be spread out flat.
Rule of Thirds Activity Extension (for older kids)
Isn’t that cool? You can also extend this activity by having older kids draw lines through photos in magazines, creating the rule of thirds grid. Discuss whether the images adhere to the rule of thirds, if the most visually interesting things are found along either the grid lines or the intersections!
Join Betsy as she works through the alphabet in this educational series for kids… The ABCs of Photography! We’ll cover topics from A to Z, with activity ideas for both younger and older kids
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