Erika Ray Photography » blog

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  • Carol Sinski - Your photos speak to me. I am partial to the black and white photos, but I always have been. I love the back shot of two women in the pink hats. Could that be done in black and white but the hats in their pink glory. It would be so powerful and warm at the same time. You are truly an insightful and talented artist. Thanks for sharing.January 21, 2017 – 10:09 pmReplyCancel

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You’ve been in this tricky position.  I know it.  You’re warming up some soup in the microwave.  The bowl is supposed to be microwave safe, but you know it’s a lie…  But still!  Still?!  You reach to grab your soup and immediately burn your fingers.  Now a Smart Adult would leave the bowl and wait.  But you’re smarter than the average adult.  You’ve got this…

You start the dangerous maneuver of trying to get the scorching hot bowl out of the microwave.  You grab the very top 1/4 inch of the bowl and quickly move to the counter saying, “Hot. Hot.  Hot.  Hot.  Hot.”  You plop it down, fingers on fire, and a smug smile that you didn’t drop it.  But then you realize that you’re an adult and you shouldn’t do that again.

I’ll fix that for you…  I’ll help you become an full-fledged mature adult with fingers intact.  The Microwave Bowl Holder.  Place your bowl of soup in this cozy contraption and begin to warm up your soup.

Could it get any better?!  YES!!

All proceeds will go to a Us Together, Inc.  They work to support and resettle refugees and immigrants.

Save your fingers.  Help some people.  It’s really that easy.

If you’re local,  it’s only $8.  But if I need to ship your order, each will cost $10.

Paypal to erika.ray1@gmail.com  Please send it as a gift and we’ll be able to give more to US Together, Inc.  Include how many and your shipping address.

We’re getting pretty close to the holidays, so while I’d like to guarantee shipping before Christmas…  I’m not sure if that’s possible.  So let’s say I’ll try really hard.

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A friend’s birth is a special thing, but it is different.  There are some pros and cons…

Here are the cons: I’m very aware of my role at a birth.  It’s to be quiet and photograph the story.  With clients, it’s easy.  They don’t ask about my boys’ school year.  But a friend knows my kids started new schools.  So I try to be very quiet, but if they ask questions,  I can’t NOT talk back.  That’s rude to a woman in labor.  You should always be polite to a woman in labor.  But every time I talk, it feels intrusive.  In a client’s birth, I’m not worried about where I stand. Even though I realize my friend is not worried about what I see, I still like to give her some privacy.  I always remind myself, “She asked me to be here.”  But I still worry that she’s worried about what I’ll see or experience.  My worry is only for about 4 seconds because truly Ladies, I can’t stress this enough: this is my job.  Everything is 100% normal and comfortable to me.  I won’t see you at a BBQ and think of your placenta.  When I’m at a BBQ, I hope my birth photography gave you memories for life and a tangible vision of your love and strength.  So at the BBQ, I think about the Pros of shooting a friends’ birth…

I got to see you at your greatest and most beautiful.  Prior to your birth, I thought, “Those are some nice Folks.”  After the birth, I think, “I knew they were nice, but WOAH they’re amazing!”  I witness the sweetness and love usually reserved for private moments.  I get to hang out with their family and see exactly where that sweetness and love comes from.  It’s taught, learned and genetic.  And I get to witness it from the source: their parents.  I also see my friends’ love for their first son.  And how important it was for them to include and remind him, he’s still their baby.  I’m able to hear that little boy exclaim, “You’re finally here!  I’ve waited so long for you.”  And I melt along with every other person in the room.

Watching a friend give birth is a true honor.  It amplifies what I already knew: their goodness, bravery, strength, humor, and love.  At the next BBQ and I see little Charlie, I’ll always remember his first loud cry, his Daddy’s smile at his first glance, and how his Momma’s heart swelled the second he was born.  I’ll remember his grandparents’ adoration and how his big brother couldn’t wait to meet him.

Kid, you are deeply loved and it was beautiful from the start.  I’ll never forget it because I was lucky to be there.
And at a future BBQ, if you want an extra cookie?

Ask me, Champ.

I’m a sucker for kids I’ve known from their first seconds on Earth.

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  • jodiK - You sure made that look easy, Mama! Gorgeous family and photos.November 8, 2016 – 2:36 pmReplyCancel

For years, I spent November blogging/photographing once a day about Gratitude.  Some days it was easy to rattle off a number of gratitudes.  Some days it was all I had to be grateful that the day was almost over.  I’ve skipped it for the past two years.  Part of me was thrilled and the other part missed the practice.

A few weeks ago, I thought “Maybe I’ll bring it back in 2016.”
A few hours later, I thought “I can’t do it.”

And then a couple of days later, my lovely and very talented friend, Xanthe Berkeley, announced that she was going to make and share her films every day in November.  I love this idea.  As a photographer, there’s something so beautiful about watching a film I’ve created.  My kids move and talk for once in my art!

A few minutes after reading her post I thought, “I can do THIS project!”

A few seconds later, I thought “Nope.  That’s a lot of editing and posting and that’s NOT happening these days…”

But I miss the Gratitude project.  I miss pushing my vulnerability limits.  I’m not real smooshy with my People.  I miss what even the shitty posts gave me: a chance to be happy even during boring/dark/meh days.

Picking up my big camera still isn’t a priority, but I need to complete a Gratitude project this year.

What’s a Lazy Gal to do?!

Think, Erika.  Think…

<light bulb moment>
I’m bringing back my One Second a Day project for November!
One Second of Gratitude!

I can handle that!  Just find one moment of happiness/gratitude and film it for the whole month.

Easy!!

Want to search out your own gratitude?  Want to play along?!

You do?!

Perfect.  Here’s an FAQ on how to make a One Second video.

Round One
Round Two

The air is filling with the scent of Fall.  Crisp mornings greet me for the walk to the bus.  Pumpkins are popping up on porches and Christmas decorations are lining store aisles.  Let’s take a trip back to warmer days.

Jennifer and her family lives outside of the CHOICE loop, but she really wanted to have her fourth baby with these midwives.  CHOICE was able to find a kind woman who was happy to let Jennifer fill up a birth tub and have her baby in her front room. Early one August morning, I got the text that she and her family were driving down.

Her husband worked on warming some water and her girls helped fill the tub.  Jennifer patiently worked through contractions.  Once she got in the tub, you knew it wasn’t long.  She was about to become a boy Mom.

She was determined and passionate about meeting her son.

She was calm and strong during contractions.

She filled the room with raw beauty.

And during those morning hours, she radiated as she became a mother again.

It’s this intense and stunning beauty that draws me to Birth photography: the story of a birth, the strength of the woman, the support of a partner and the compassion of the midwives.  I’m allowed to document those powerful emotions.  I create a reminder for many years to come.  During Wynn’s 4th birthday, I hope they’ll pull out the photos and remember the love that permeated a stranger’s home one August morning.

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Disclaimer: This post was written by a very lazy middle age woman.  One who hates to work-out.  What does she hate more than that?  Really hot temperatures and humidity.  But what does she hate the most?  When those three things slam into each and make her sweat an obscene amount.  Please take all that into consideration when you read the following post.  Middle age, lazy, and copious amounts of hate…

I started yoga in January.  I’ll keep the Why short.  How about this?  I figured I needed some changes and a former birth client just opened a studio.  Her midwife had asked me to go about a dozen times and I kept blowing her off (read above), but the perfect storm of Need for Change, Opportunity, Sanity Saving was brewing.  So I went.  Surprisingly, I kept going.

Here’s what I’ve learned in the past nine months.

  • If a recipe says, “toss in a handful of herbs” I want to scream.  I like when it says, “3 T. of finely chopped cilantro.”  My first class I took at Blue Spot was a Hot 60.  Even given my entire disclaimer (and wow does the heat smack you in the face when you step into the studio), it appealed to my core immediately.  It’s a very specific set of 26 postures with a very specific set of instructions.
  • I was worried people would notice my lack of proper form.  Yoga is a good reminder that You care more about yourself than other people do.  No one is looking or judging you.  If anything, I see a beautiful Bird of Paradise and think, “One day…”  And then I work to get my shoulders straight.
  • Yoga isn’t only for the flexible skinny women with asses built for yoga pants.  Yoga is for everyone.  Everyone.
  • Kayne produces tracks meant for flow classes.  I’m not sure he’s aware of that fact.  Hell, who am I kidding?  He’s aware his music is suitable for absolutely everything.  As it should be…
  • My shoulders look pretty fucking good when they’re sweaty.
  • If someone farts, I will giggle.  For a while.
  • Someone women do sweat pretty.  I AM NOT one of them.  Except for my shoulders…
  • I love to practice near a door.  Sometimes the teacher will open it for 3 seconds.  And when she does…  Oh sweet Lord.  I can only imagine it’s what the breeze off a Unicorn Beyonce feels like as she swoops down and says, “Get your ass up here.  Let’s ride.”
  • I used to look forward to Labor Day when I’d ignore my razor for months.  Now it gets regular use.  There’s nothing more distracting than watching sweat beads Plinko down my leg hair while in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee.  Regular shaving is one yoga Con.  Oh and no more tiny zits on the side of my nose.  I miss those.  I’m a popper.
  • I’m stronger than I ever imagined I could be.
  • I’ve gotten quieter than I ever imagined I could be.  And it’s a good thing.  Family and friends might not 100% agree.  Maybe it’s the constant chatter in my head.  Who knows, but I stand by this nugget.
  • I hate chair pose.
  • I hate triangle pose.
  • At some point I hate every pose.  But then I tell myself, “You showed up.  So just fucking try your best.”
  • I enjoy feeling new muscles.
  • I secretly enjoy the sound of my sweaty top hitting the floor.  One because I worked my ass off.  Two because the gross ick is off me.  Some yoga clothes are a pain in the ass to get out of especially when drenched in sweat.  Flopping around while stuck in a yoga top or sports bra is humiliating.
  • During an irritating Life moment, I’m usually two deep breaths in before I realize what I’m doing.  I’m not reacting.  I’m breathing.
  • Yoga pants have ruined anything with a waistband.
  • For 60-90 minutes, I don’t have to worry about my phone, food prep, homework, schedules, etc.
  • “Heart forward” is a good cue on the mat.  It’s also one I’m trying to take off the mat.  Heart forward, Erika.  Heart forward.

 

Reread the disclaimer.  And I promise, I’m not exaggerating my hatred.  Ask my Ma.

If I can do it, so can you.  You just have to show up and stay in the room.

And just maybe you’ll shock yourself too.

StaciMcCool2016.jpgTotally not me.  But no one likes a photo-free blog post plus it’s kind of hard to photograph yourself in poses.  And I enjoy when she “models” for me.

If you’re local or visiting the Columbus area, come visit Blue Spot.

And if I’m there and you fart, I’m sorry that I laughed…

My mind has been a little preoccupied.  Between epic births, Orlando Bloom’s dick pic (yeah I went there), the Final Five, Lochte’s appalling behavior, new Howard Stern, and finally toss in Back to School jitters I haven’t paying attention to the big things.  The important things…

It’s time to give again.  Time to help out our “neighbors” in Louisiana.

  • I tend to quilt because I get an itch:
    “Maybe someone will have a girl?”  They never do…
  • “I love this fabric!”  I always do…
  • “I should probably sew through my stash.” And I do with no plan.

So I’ve got a tiny quilt surplus which should benefit someone.  How about you?  Need a gift?  Want a pretty quilt to let your kids picnic on?  Need a prop for your photography?  Wanna to do some good?!

I knew you did.  You’re good Folks.

This lovely number measures 38 x 38.  Perfect for all of the above.  I don’t usually find quilts snuggly.  Babies usually adore fleece.  I get it, Kids Fleece over homemade…  But this one is backed with flannel, so it helps add some coziness.

Let’s hold another auction!  You could get this beauty for dirt cheap and you will absolutely help out families affected by the floods.  All proceeds will go to Red Cross.

Send a bid to my email (erika@erikarayphotography.com) or a message via Erika Ray Photography on Facebook.  As often as I can, I’ll update the current highest bid on FB (so if you haven’t Liked and/or Following the page, get on it!).
Highest bid on Tuesday (8/23) at noon EST will win all this patchwork goodness!

I’ll accept Paypal.  But if you have another suggestion, I won’t turn away money for the Red Cross.

Alright Ladies and Gents… 
Can I get $5?

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