just dandy

It's just dandy to try to capture the magic of the Taraxacum seed heads. We even explored the seeds under the microscope. They are so beautiful when they fly as the sun sinks low on the horizon.

Rolleiflex 2.8f | Ilford hp5 @1600 | D-76

the forsythia tradition

Every year, I watch across the field in anticipation for the first and one of the most voluminous blooms of Spring - the Forsythia. At first, I was inspired by a glorious cover for Maine Magazine by Cig Harvey. Our neighbors across the street are always so generous to let us trespass for some photography. This has become quite a tradition for me, beginning three years ago. Winters in Maine are so long, that the arrival of the wispy yellow blooms heralds the new season here, though not a few days later after taking the forsythia portraits this year, it snowed - one last time. (P.S. I didn't even plan it that my son wore the same shirt two years in a row. I do like the continuity it lends.) note: The images below are a combination of film + digital. 






for the love of his bear

Bear is his favorite softie. He is aptly named, and well-worn, Bear has a special place in my younger son's heart. He cheers him up when he is sad. 

"In a world where everyone seems to be larger and louder than yourself, it is very comforting to have a small, quiet companion." 
-Peter Gray

Rolleiflex 2.8F | Fuji Neopan Acros | Dektol | Negative Scans

why i love photography

Here is a story about why I love photography. It is for the connections. This weekend, I had the honor of taking this portrait. It came about in the most unexpected way. She is my niece. She has a firm mind, and won't just do something because you ask her to, even if you ask nicely. She has to make up her mind, in her own time. Even a lollipop wouldn't persuade her, but then a while later, we were both sitting by the window in her room. I had my camera in my hands, and she was playing with her Elmo and a rescue helicopter. And then she looked up at me like she was giving me a special gift. She is only three, and yet she knew that she was doing something amazing for me. She then when running off to tell her mom that she had done a good job. This moment. When she looked at me, It filled my heart. I felt our souls connect. Truly! It was a magical moment. She is going to be one amazing woman. Well done beautiful B!

Here are a few more from spending time with her over the weekend. 

cloudy day at the beach

Following a 12-hour stretch of wind and rain, and fog, the sun broke through bringing the temperature up to above 60 degrees F. This felt wonderful after a cold start to fall here in Maine. Normally, my oldest has swim practice on Thursdays after school, but this seemed like the perfect afternoon for an adventure. I packed a few cameras, including one for my son, snacks, and surprised them with the news that we were going to the beach instead of practice. We have had so little time all together since the start of school with soccer. Now, wouldn't you know, as soon as I leave to pick them up, the clouds come back. It looked like it might pour, but we drove on, over the bridge to Bailey Island for a jaunt anyways, rolling the dice. We were rewarded with dramatic clouds, and sun peaking through as the tide moved out revealing sea glass here and there. I can't wait to get the film back from this time, but for now, the digitals will have to do.  

a boy and his bear

Most of the time, the stuffies in our house don't see the light of day, as they remain tucked away under the blankets while the kids are at school. But every so often, I will suggest that we bring one outside, for a little walk, before bed. This is Mama Bear. She has been in the favorites ever since my older son was a toddler. I am so glad that they had some special time together outside now that he is nine, and still willing to snuggle a softie in front of the camera. I feel like there are so many feelings in this one little boy, and I just know that this Mama bears every single one like the back of her hand. He is beginning to imagine his future a bit more, with middle school less than two years away. This little bear did so well on this photo shoot, that we just might have to do another, next time, on film, don't you think? Before it's too late!

shooting film at the camp

Every year, for two luscious weeks, we rent a camp on Long Pond on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Each year that I go, I bring my camera with great anticipation for capturing some of my best photographs of the year. And each year the stakes seem to rise. It's not that I feel like I need to outdo myself. It's that I want to be sure that I am growing. Each year, I try to see things differently. It's hard not to take the same snapshots over and over again. I do find myself doing that a bit because it is interesting to compare the growth in my children. 

This year, I was even more excited because I had an underwater housing for my 5D Mark III, but I also had bags full of vintage medium format film cameras and film. Lots and lots of film, safely stored in a small cooler bag. I even tugged along a large format film camera. I believe I brought 11 cameras in all, if you count them. Talk about pressure! 

Without further ado, here are my favorite film images from our time by the lake. 

50 Favorites

A new friend, Amanda of Wild Orchard Studios,  asked me to second shoot at a wedding she was asked to photograph in North Hampton, New Hampshire this September. I knew we would hit it off grandly, and it would be amazing, so I said YES! I do love a wedding. Jared and Jill have so much love for each other and charisma, that it was a walk in the park to help capture their day. Here are my 50 favorites of the 1012 images I took, not counting a few experimentals on film. The night was unforgettable. I raise a glass to you both! Cheers to your new union. xo

the story of the yellow ring

One evening while on vacation, my younger son and I went out to see the sunset to find a bright yellow float ring on the dock. Was it a gift from the lake? I quickly snapped an image with my iPhone from my pocket. 

The timing was significant, as this is the first year that my youngest was really much more comfortable in the water. See this, you're looking at one happy duck!


This is also the first year that I have had an underwater housing for my camera! An Outex.

My older son had so many creative ideas to play in his mind, like throwing it off the dock and diving into it, head first!

Or running over the water, like it was his own little plane.

I just never knew what he was about to do! It was like the lake was his blank canvas!

It was as if we could do anything!

Even jump in for the first time on his own!

It turns out, it was a gift from a couple on the other side of the lake to the right of the camp we rented. They saw the kids swimming, and thought that they would enjoy having it. If only I could share all of these images with them as a thank you!

By the end of the two weeks, it had a hole. It was a very loved ring. We were sad to say goodbye.

camille on the coast

Before my friend Camille, who was visiting for some photography mentoring, left for the airport, we took a roll of Illford xp2 400 with a Canon FTb on the coast near my house. It was my first time shooting with this camera, and I am thrilled with it's dreamy bokeh and ability to capture light and textures. And my beautiful friend! I used a film rating of 200 and an aperture of 1.8. Here are my favorites!

Then I passed the camera over to her, and she took a few of me. At this point, the clouds had increased, and it was starting to rain lightly. 

winds of change | film is my new muse

Oh I made a new friend - a real philanthropist for my photography! She is lending me all these beautiful film cameras, including a Hasselblad SWC. A camera that I call the SUPERBAD. It is postively mysterious to load and wind. It doesn't even have a viewfinder through the lens. It is a rare bird. I finally learned how to use it, finally got a chance to see what this magical camera can do with my sweet photography friend Camille, visiting Maine for the first time. The clouds were deep purple with hail and sleet. We braved the cold, and we were rewarded. 

Hasselblad SWC | Portra 160 rated at 100

muse memoirs Project | passion

Your passion for soccer reminds me of myself when I was little. When I was home on weekends, I was quite often down in the basement listening to music and choreographing dances or roller skating performances  to show my parents at the end of the day.  Every moment you can - morning, afternoon and evening, you run out the door to play soccer. The snow has finally melted, the grass is beginning to grow, and now you are so happy to be playing again outside after a long winter of just weekly practices in the soccer dome. Even when the snow wasn't completely melted, you spend time practicing footwork in the driveway. Even a few shots at the goal with patches of snow around. Now the field is yours, ready for all the soccer your heart desires. Mom, did you see that??!!! Yes, Tucker, that was a great shot!. I passed the ball to you about 48 times while you practiced heading for a goal. In exchange, I could spend a few minutes taking your picture. I like how we give and take to support each other in our passions. And, I love that we both get so passionate about what makes our hearts full. 

Hasselblad 500 c/m | Portra 160 | Converted to BW

Muse Memoirs is an ongoing collection of images by a pretty rad group of women who speak to their children through their photography, kind of like an online memory book. Follow circle starting with Julienne Ratanasen.

going underwater

On a family trip to Naples, Florida I finally had an opportunity to explore underwater photography. It took a while for me to find the right solution to take my big girl camera underwater. The hard housings were way too spendy, and a simple EWA bag too lacking in form and function. But then a friend suggested I look into the Outex. It is funny looking for sure, but it allows for a decent amount of functionality and it was a good price point. I can adjust all my exposure settings, and use back button focusing. I was a bit sad to not be able to toggle focus points, but a girl can't have everything, right? And I saw quickly how a wider angle lens would be ideal. Of course, before I took the plunge, I confirmed with my insurance company that I was covered in the event that the housing failed. After confirming, the agent said, "Well, it sounds like it is time for you to get in the water!" I am in love, the patterns of light and the bubbles, and dreamy floating all combine so well.

Outex | Canon 5D Mark III | ISO 200 | 35mm | f2.8 | 1/1600


first roll of film, post digital

After spending so much time learning photography over the past few years on my digital camera, I decided that it was time to try film. I took lots of pictures on film growing up, but that was all a long time ago, and in auto. My hubs gave me a Canon Elan 7E for Christmas. It's a 35mm camera that works with all of my lenses. I had a sneaking hope I would get it, so I ordered a roll of film just in case. One roll of Kodak Portra 800. Then I went big and sent them off to the FIND lab for developing and scanning. Then, the wait, oh the wait, oh the wait. They just came in today, with some marvelous feedback. It was just like Christmas morning. I was positively giddy with excitement. I have more keepers than throwaways! I experimented with backlighting, open shade, inside, and a few through a window. I learned how strong backlight really changes the colors in film. The good, bad and a bit out of focus or eyes half open. I was thrilled with the exposures, and the skin. Oh that dreamy skin! Drum roll . . . here is the full set, along with their feedback at the end. EEEK!


Here is the feedback from the geniuses at theFINDlab 

Hi Cate,

Your exposures looked great throughout this roll….very consistent! When the heavy backlighting came into play, there was a lot of color shift and sun flare. We did try to neutralize the color as much as we could in-scanner and also in post processing, but you’ll still notice some strong color in many of the images. The sun-soaked images are actually pretty cool, in my opinion, however, if you are wanting cleaner color, I would highly recommend shooting with the sun positioned at 10 or 2. Film does not handle direct sun very well. 

The tones and colors on image 4 (is that Christina?) are SPOT ON. Love the way that turned out! Also loved 16-18. These were really, really cool shooting through that glass….and fantastic color. 

You’ll notice pretty heavy grain throughout the roll as well — this is just the nature of ISO 800 shot on 35mm. I really do love the feel of it, though. Overall, great work! 

Hope you enjoy your scans. Let me know if you have any questions at all — would love to be of help! You’re always welcome to e-mail me or give us a call here at the lab. Thanks for choosing the FIND lab and have a great day!

Heather (editor)

Donnie (scanner)

making art with a sprinkler

This began as just another cool off in the sprinkler, but then it evolved into a lesson in creativity. First with me trying to discover new perspectives in shooting one of summer's favorite past times, then with my younger son taking art direction to a whole new level. Making patterns and sprays like I have never seen before. 


Over the past couple of weeks, since camp and coming home, I have been inspired by the movement of the water when he swims. The ripples and splashes. A little experimenting and exploring.


30 minutes in the life

I was asked to guest blog with a group of very talented photographers showcasing 30 minutes in the life. One day this week, Finn beckoned me to come outside and show me some cool stuff. FIrst we had to to water the plants, then explore in the woods, and pick some lettuce on the way back inside.  Here are 15 from 30 minutes with Finn. Next, pop over to Karen Hunter's blog to catch a glimpse of her 30 minutes in Warrenton, Virginia. Link here.


bikes in the light

Freelensing is something that i just can't ignore, it's ethereal effect just calls to my heart, drawing me in so much that I am determined to learn and practice. I have come to love shooting into the light, through layers of elements, and creating dreamy bokeh. Freelensing to me is a new tool to continue exploring and developing my eyes. The unexpected point of focus, the light leaks, the smashing distortion. I caught a few the other evening, with my littles on their bikes in some sweet golden hour glow.