Monday, August 30, 2010

Glennhawk vineyard

All right, that last post was pretty serious...or at least thoughtful...anyways, moving on.  Here are the promised vineyard photos!

Such a beautiful place.  Especially at sunset.

The colors blew me away.  Check out this rich purply-blue.

I love all the different colors in each bunch of grapes...

Such a beautiful fresh green.

You know me, I can't shoot anything without doing some sun flare shots!

- Kelsey Schweickert

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Saturday, August 28, 2010


I know I said I was going to post more vineyard photos next...but that's going to be the next post instead! I've been thinking about some things lately, after some rough times this week, and this morning I wrote a Facebook note about it. So I think it's going to go here too, for those blog readers who aren't on Facebook. :) Here you are...

There's something that happens to me at some point every morning. I bet just about anything that it happens to you too. My body tells me, "Hey, I'm hungry. I need something to run on, so feed me!" So I do. And then off I go to tackle the day's activities.

Well, several hours later, it happens again. I get hungry again...and often weak and shaky...whaddaya know, I need to eat again. What? Didn't I just do that, not long ago?

It would be nice if I could just do it once a week or so. Ever think about that? What if we could just eat a whole bunch of food on Monday, and then we'd have enough energy to go for a couple weeks before needing to eat again?

Nope...God designed us to need food every single day, and generally more than once a day. Hey, don't get me wrong, I really enjoy good food. But sometimes it annoys me that I need it so much. I can't get away without it for too long, especially if I'm working hard. I'm stuck. I have to eat.

So yesterday I was thinking about this. God made us like this on purpose. He set up our bodies this way so we'd be reminded every few hours of our need...not just for food, but for HIM. This quote from John and Stasi Eldredge says it perfectly:

      "This is the nature of our condition. All of us are leaky vessels. Sandy soil. When it comes to happiness, our soul is like a colander, a tire with a nail in it, our grandfather's memory. ...
      "Let's face it -- we are insatiable. We have in each of us a famished craving. An aching void. A returning hunger. If we are not aware of this, and if we don't know how to handle it, our insatiability will do a lot of damage.
      "The human heart has an infinite capacity for happiness and an unending need for love, because it is created for an infinite God who is unending love."

I need him so badly. I can't do anything without him. My heart is designed to need him. I was created to be best friends with him, and -- this really blows my mind -- he wants that from me too.

"My heart has heard you say, 'Come and talk with me.' And my heart responds, 'Lord, I am coming.'" (Ps. 27, NLT)

I've often tried to fill that void with other stuff...friends, food, work, movies, vacations, sports. You probably have your own list too. Don't get me wrong, those are all good things. God gave them to us! "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father..." (James 1). I love my work as a photographer. I love to ski. I love my friends. I love flowers.

But as good as these things are, I can't put them in his place. I can't expect the happiness from them that only God can give. Whenever I do, it always turns out disastrously. God will never make me fat like frozen yogurt. ;) He doesn't make my shoulders sore like when I get over-zealous and do too much butterfly at the pool. He's never impatient with me when I'm struggling, like friends or family sometimes are. He never misunderstands me.

You might think these things make you happy, but if you're expecting them to satisfy in ways that only God can, they will always come back and bite you! They're not perfect like Jesus is. This week has had some horrible moments because of some friends and activities that I put in God's place. I've felt abandoned, misunderstood, and just stupid. But if I take a step back and look at this for what it is -- it's that "insatiability" the Eldredges spoke of. It's my heart's "infinite capacity for happiness and unending need for love." Only he has the capacity to make me really, really happy, and all the people and things that seem to fill that void are just expressions of himself.

Enjoying that beautiful sunset? He made that. He IS beauty. Like the taste of that chocolate cookie? He made the cacao bean and gave mankind the inventiveness to come up with yummy ways to use it. Love the feeling of speed as you rush down the mountain on skis? He made the hill and the laws of gravity that make it so much fun! Enjoying a friendship? He gave you the capacity to love and enjoy companionship because he is the most perfect friend you'll ever have.

So, while I can't exactly say I've enjoyed the struggles of the last few days, I'm grateful he used them to remind me how much I need his companionship. He is so gently persistent, and so unendingly patient. People fail us but he won't ever, ever, ever fail me.

"I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along." (Ps 40)

Enjoy the gifts. But remember the Giver. He made us we'd keep coming back to him. Because our hearts were "created for an infinite God who is unending love."

- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...

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Friday, August 27, 2010

A vineyard shoot

Just before I left for Mexico for Steven and Grace's wedding last week, I did a late-afternoon shoot for the owner of a small vineyard.  Glenn and his wife Linda grow three kinds of wine grapes at their gorgeous hilltop home in Danville.  (Talk about classy!)  Glenn takes meticulous care of everything and it's just beautiful.

I loved working with the colors...the bright green vines winding their way across the hillside, the warm brown of the shredded-bark ground cover, and the dusty-purple, pale green, and rose-colored grape clusters.  It's a lovely place to shoot, to start with, and the light was lovely too...I had a ball!  :)

I'm working thru the editing, so I'll be adding to this post tonight or tomorrow.  Stay tuned for more from the Glennhawk vineyard.  :)

- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

An engaged school teacher...

So, at long last, I just finished editing Julie and Dan's engagement session.  What a bunch of fun photos!  They're such a fun-loving couple -- definitely the thing I like most about them.  :)  It makes them so much fun to photograph!

Julie is a school teacher, so when we were doing their engagement session in Old Sacramento, we did a couple photos at the old schoolhouse there.



Haha! Love the personality here! :)

One of our last few pics from the afternoon...and one of my favs.


To see all the photos from Dan and Julie's session, click here.  :)

- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Steven and Grace in Mexico!

Yesterday Steven married Grace in a lovely garden wedding in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico!  It's rainy season here, and it's been pouring every day, but God gave them lovely blue sky during the ceremony.  Talk about answered prayer!

I'm heading home early tomorrow (not today as planned because Mexicana cancelled my today involves a long bus ride to a different airport).  But I wanted to share a few photos with you.  Many more coming, of course!  You can check in the next few weeks to see all the photos.

- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dan and Julie

Here are a few more of the images from Dan and Julie's engagement session in Sacramento.  It was the middle of the day, typically the hardest time for photographers to get sweet light, but we found some!

Check out the light in Julie's pretty.


Yes, they love each other... :) 

They both have such fun, easygoing personalities.  I can't wait to photograph the wedding next month!  There are lots more photos...I'll post more as I have them ready.  :)

On another note...I'm leaving in a few hours for Steven and Grace's wedding in Mexico!  Looking forward to photographing this wonderful couple and their family and friends.  They've picked out some beautiful photo locations and it's going to be just loverly.  :)  I'm not sure how much internet access I'll have, but I'll try to update here if at all possible!

Till next time...

- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

A celebration of sharp focus!

My faithful old 24-70mm f/2.8L lens had to go to Canon for repair last month.  It wasn't focusing consistently, which can be a disaster when you are trying to capture brides walking down aisles and emotions flickering through a mother's face and cute flower girls with twirly skirts and...well, you know, all those kinds of things.  Things that make me excited to do what I do!

So, it went to Canon for professional repair, and meanwhile I shot a wedding and an engagement shoot and portraits and events and backpacking...with four or five other lenses.  It was good to have my technique and creativity stretched a little, and not have my "old standby" lens to fall back on.  But it's awesome to have it back!

I took it out yesterday for a quick garden tour to check out the focus...and it's sharp as a tack!  Check out this sunflower bud:

Of course, then the sunflower next to this asked to be photographed:

And there was a Flowering Maple nearby...

And a gorgeously intricate Passion Flower climbing up the arch...

And a gloriously ostentatious, dinnerplate-sized Oriental Lily, the glory of an August flower garden...

...and a very busy bee, working busily on harvesting all the nectar from this Pincushion Flower.

I'm working on engagement photos this evening...more of Dan and Julie soon!

- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...

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Monday, August 9, 2010

The Nieuwsma girls

Here's some more portraits of the "harp girls"...Victoria, Alexandra, Sophia, and Anastasia. They were playing for a fundraiser I photographed, and afterwards we did some portraits.  We had great fun together -- I love impromptu portrait sessions!

All four of the girls play the harp beautifully!





To see the full collection of photos, click here.
- Kelsey Schweickert

Discovering beauty...

Visit my website  |  Contact me  |  Follow me on Twitter  |  Like my photography on Facebook