Erika Ray Photography » blog

Summer is the only season that moves too quickly.  It’s also the only season that usually provides me with a healthy dose of guilt.  We’re never outside as much as I’d like.  We’ve missed festivals.  We aren’t spending enough time with friends.  Where are the mini-road trips?  What happen to the mandatory Reading Time?

A quick glance at the calendar and I realize it’s half over…

The first half of summer was filled with a birth, a week of family, and a few traditional summer events.  Second Half?  You’ve been warned, we’re about to jam you full of events.




A couple weeks ago, I could start to feel it bubble up: a 365 was going to have to happen.  I know that I need to take pictures.  But I won’t without a reason and my camera simply gathers dust.

I must force myself to take pictures.

“What about the joy of life, Erika?  What about for simple sheer beauty of life?  How about do it when you feel like doing it?  Just pick up your camera, Numbnuts.”

All of that doesn’t move me to use my camera.  Sure, I love the sheer beauty of life.  Sometimes I skip past the simple beauty and the messy shit blinds me.  And the past couple months, the messy shit has piled up.  It’s made me sad and then pushed me to lazy.  The sadness is all gone, but laziness lingers.

But I’m truly sick of being lazy about my photography.  I found myself ignoring my camera for long periods.  And I found myself ignoring the good bits of life around me.  Here’s the simple truth: my camera tethers me to my life.  And when I cut that cord, I sort of fumble around bored by the everyday.

For me, there’s one way to stop the tumble.  Photograph life every single day.

I’m putting some rules/goals on Round 4.

  1. Do my absolute best to finish the project.
  2. If I end mid-way/two months from now/on Day 362, not give a fuck.  I know I will have done my best.
  3. Focus on people more than the details.
  4. Get some camping photos.
  5. Buy my kids non-logo shirts for stock photography purposes.
  6. Photograph a vacation.
  7. Throw in some portraits.
  8. Add at least six birth shoots to the 365.
  9. Get a really good birthday shot.
  10. Snap something new to a 365.
  11. If I break all the rules, not sweat it.

summer lanterns
youngs goats

This isn’t so specific to boys, but more specific to same sex siblings.

I’m awful at combing through their drawers.  The first dusting of snow hits the sidewalk and one of them is walking to school in shorts.  A couple of weeks ago, I asked Coop to wear a non-logo shirt so I could use the photos for stock.  He comes down and donning a belly shirt.  If I ever send the kids to my parents during a season change, they always come home with new long or short socks/sleeveless t-shirts (I loathe these)/proper fitting undershirts/seasonal pj’s.  I’m just bad at staying on top of swapping and tossing clothes.

But one set of drawers is always full (albeit with a mix of seasons’ clothing): Becks.  He’s the second.  The King of Hand-Me-Downs.  He’s “blessed” with options.  Coop?  Sorry, kid.  I’ll start shopping soon.

boys shirts



  • Bethany Petrik - Lorelei, being a second child, should have a great abundance of hand me downs. But since she refuses to wear shorts or pants, it dwindles. She ends up wearing dress up clothes 95% of the time anyway. Girls.
    July 11, 2014 – 2:41 pmReplyCancel

You’ve seen the Reno’s before.  Becky and Clint were the first birth I photographed.

They also happen to be very good friends of our family.

I told Becky prior to Baby #3, “I might have a hard time keeping it together at your birth.”  She asked why.  When I photographed her second birth (my first), I had no idea what was going to happen.  Yes, I know where babies come from…  But I didn’t know Birth.  After shooting a handful, I kind of get it now. I know what’s coming and I was a little worried about my reaction during this birth.  I like to be as quiet as possible and NOT part of the action.  I was really afraid I’d break those rules because we are good friends.

But Becky was a good friend even during her labor and delivery.  She had the baby prior to my birthday weekend (no on-call for this Gal).  She didn’t bother having contractions all day and prematurely warning me about a baby coming.  “Oooops.  False alarm.  Sorry.”   When her water broke, she texted right away.  She didn’t drag out the labor (water breaking to baby: hour and 20 minutes).  There was never a long stretch of her being in pain (I really hate when Moms are in pain for a long time).  She didn’t utter once, “I can’t do this” (At births, I desperately want to scream “Yes YOU can!”.  I’ve caught myself whispering it at other births, but I was afraid I’d yell it at her birth).  And finally, she had the most adorable baby I have ever seen.  Yes, she was good to me. *

Dearest little one,  shortly after your birth, your Momma texted that she felt like a badass because she’s has three boys.  It’s true.  She is and always has been.  That attitude brought you into the world extremely healthy and faster than anyone imagined.  Your Poppa was so supportive and loving the entire time even as she dug into his arm (they laughed at this when he reminded her after you were born).  They will continue to bring these characteristics to your life : fearlessness, confidence, support, humor and love.  They will parent you with copious amounts of these qualities and will gently guide you towards your best life.  You will be surrounded by the most creative, supportive, and loving friends and family.  All of this will shape you into a pretty swell kid.  I’m not a psychic or simply spewing flowery words.  Nope.  It’s a proven fact. Look at your brothers.  See how great they are?  That’s your future, Kiddo.  And I’m honored, grateful, and so thrilled that I was able to be there from the very beginning.















* This is all a joke.  I’m not that big of a narcissist.  I understand she didn’t take my feelings into account at all during this birth.  She had him in at night and then turned off all the lights.  I think I was being kind by not flipping all the lights back on.  You’re welcome, Ms. Reno.


Midwives:  Choice :: Facebook

Clinton Reno  :: Facebook

  • Lori - You are so talented Erika and thermos you capture so gently are spectacular. Your being able to follow these up with charming and witty ways are the best! I such a fan. Not to add these warrior ms who are so fearless and beautiful to share these times are amazing! Love it!! Bring in the babies!!!!July 3, 2014 – 10:19 amReplyCancel

It takes one study for me to find a particular behavior acceptable.  I read once that wrestling for boys wasn’t a bad thing.

“It’s how boys show love.” some fancy schmancy PhD.

I kind of needed a study.  I didn’t get the wrestling.  See, girls don’t really wrestle with their sisters.  Not for fun anyways.  And please don’t blow up my comments with : I always wrestled with my sister.  My daughter loves to wrestle with her Daddy.  etc…  This isn’t a Girls CAN’T wrestle argument.  But for the most part, we don’t.  We do if we’re angry or pissed.  But for fun and on a regular basis?  Not really.  Sure.  Some might.  But for the most part it’s a gender thing.

So when the boys first started wrestling, it was so foreign to me.  “What if they get hurt?”  “OH MY that looks awful!”  “STOP IT!” ran through my head and occasionally screaming out of my mouth.  My husband is one of three boys and this was clearly his area of expertise.  “Let ‘em go, Erika.  This is how boys play.  See?  No one is crying.  No one is hurt.  It’s what brothers do.”  He also initiates tons of wrestling with the boys, our pictures frame are always on the verge of falling over…

His words of Boy-dom and a couple of paragraphs from a book about boys is all it took for me to step aside.

If I’m being real honest, I didn’t really need the study.  It was evident in the ways they moved.  Coop always controlled at half strength.  Becks was always smiling.  It was almost an excuse to hug each other.  Yes, one day they will wrestle when it isn’t for fun.  I get it.  But I don’t think Play wrestling is the gateway wrestling for Angry Wrestling.    Right now they just love and need to wrestle.  And I don’t give a shit any longer.

Go at it boys.



I’m easily swayed.

That’s not really true. I’m easily obsessed.  So pair that with being bored (yes Ma, I said I’m BORED.  Sorry…) and you’ve got a potential slew of nonsense spouting from my mouth.

Sometimes I look in my FB or Twitter feed and notice the entire world is on to something.  I start to think that I’m clearly missing something huge.  So I click some links.  Ponder the better points.   And then maybe, just maybe I am hooked.

No, I’m not running.  I can’t bring myself to swish oil for 20 minutes.  I should be able to use this new job for fun things like watching USA on Thursday, right?!  And the last one?  Oh I’ll jump on that bandwagon with both feet smoking.

Plus it gives me another week to accept and approve of the boredom.


And psst…  I’m also incredibly lazy.