Reen Fitz Photography

Lifestyle Photographer: Hudson Valley / Westchester County, New York

The Queen, Part 2: Playing with Fire

I’ve been playing around with the Queen a bit…this time, with fire!

Part 2 of this project involved experimenting with some smoke and fire effects, and I love how it really changes the mood and the story behind the image. Of course, we still have the strong Queen character, but this time in color, veiled and framed in delicate plumes of smoke, and with the added symbolism of fire. 

 

I’m pretty sure every songwriter, poet, or other creative  has a piece that in some way references fire or burning. It’s such a powerful force that is so often used as a descriptor for our most powerful emotions. It can symbolize empowerment, strength, enlightenment, passion, creativity, transformation, destruction, among many, many other things.

Especially in the photo on the bottom right, the fire could be compared to a forest fire, which, when occurring naturally, is how forests make way for new, healthy growth.

Digging deeper, if you take into account the cool color of her dress, it could also be interpreted as the Queen is the water, the answer to the fire. The fire has met its match. Her facial expression certainly seems calm and fearless.

While we’re talking about her dress, what color is it, again? The original dress was actually the blue that you see in the top left photo, above. But I did take some more creative liberties and experimented with changing the color of it. Not for any particular reason, just to see what would happen!

I’ve had fun not only editing these shots, but also offering possible ways to analyze the stories within them. I’m interested to know what stories you see in these images! Drop me a comment on here,  Facebook or Instagram and let me know your thoughts!

7 Books That Shaped My Adulthood (So Far)

Have you started your summer reading yet? If you’re looking for a good, thought-provoking read, here are 7 books that shaped my adulthood after college. I’ve recommended and gifted these so many times because they have positively impacted my life and perspective in some way that I feel everyone could benefit from. So here it is, my personal “required reading” list for Adulting: (No affiliate links here! Just sharing the love…)

Daring Greatly & Rising Strong by Brene Brown:
These are books that I reread every so often. Each time they seem to speak to me a bit differently, depending on where I am in my life at that time. But what doesn’t change is that every time I read them, I say “Everybody needs to read this!” about 600 times, and I come away from it with an improved, empowered frame on the world.

Note: Brene also wrote ‘Braving the Wilderness’, which is wonderful as well. I’ve only read it once, and it’s on deck for a re-read. I’ll write more about that one after one or two more reads!

We got to meet Jenny on her 2015 ‘Furiously Happy’ book tour, and show her the birthday card that Marc used to propose to me- which she had designed, with a photo of her taxidermied weasel “Juanita”! (She gave Marc a misty-eyed “Well done!” for that)

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened & Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson:
These books are hilarious. If you’ve ever felt like the outsider for any reason, you will definitely identify with Jenny on some level. She is honest in speaking about her struggles with mental illness, and fearlessly laughs at herself in a way that makes her readers feel just a little more…OK (I was going to say ‘normal’, but that’s not it. She makes sure you understand that “normal” is overrated). For more of her insanely hilarious writing, check out her blog, thebloggess.com

Quiet by Susan Cain – In this book, Susan Cain does a spectacular job of looking at introversion from several angles. She sheds light not only on what makes a person an “introvert” but how people can gain a better understanding of eachother through this knowledge- for instance, if you  are an extrovert and married to or raising an introvert, or vice-versa.

When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams – I read this one quite a while ago. It was a random library pick (I guess I gravitate towards birds), and there are lines from it that still stick with me today. It’s a really beautiful, special reflection of the author’s mission to make sense of her mother’s journals after her passing.

Hold Still by Sally Mann – I really enjoyed this one, and not just because I’m a photographer. I wrote a post a couple of years ago about 5 lessons I learned from this book. Check that out on my creative blog, reenfitz.wordpress.com

Currently Reading: ‘The Name of the Wind’ by Patrick Rothfuss

Want more? I’ll be posting more “Favorite Things” soon! Follow along here and on Instagram and Facebook!

Introducing…Miss Willa Mae!

Last November seems like SO long ago…but you may remember that way back in November 2017, I did a gorgeous autumn Rainbow Baby Announcement photo session with The Fitzgeralds.

…And then on Christmas, we found out “It’s a Girl!”

And here she is…Willa Mae Fitzgerald

Such an expressive little lovebug… 🙂

 

Let’s take a peek back to her big brother Cooper’s photoshoot! I love this little side-by-side comparison.

The Queen, Part One: Monochrome Monarch

Hold. The. Phone.

Have you seen these pictures yet???

Needless to say, I am overjoyed with the results from my first styled, “fantasy-inspired” photoshoot! My model, Emma, is (quite obviously) no stranger to modeling, however this was her first outdoor photoshoot- so this was an exciting new project for both of us!

This shoot had gotten postponed once due to April being a Northeastern snowpocolypse. Glad that’s over! And I’m so glad our snow-date worked out! It was an overcast day, but it worked out beautifully for us.

I cannot thank Emma enough for not only doing all of her own styling- oufits, makeup, hair- but also for making that gorgeous flowers & spikes halo crown. She totally brought her A-game.

The inspiration for this shoot came from wanting to capture a strong female presence, somewhere along the lines of a warrior and a Queen.

This is the beginning of a new creative project that I am extremely excited about. It will be an ongoing process, as I fiddle with different editing techniques, just for the fun of it! I’m starting out with just a few monochrome images, but there will absolutely be more to come! My creativity is overwhelmed in the best way!

You will not want to miss the updates on this project! Follow along on Instagram and Like on Facebook to stay in the loop!

Let’s Dance!

Well I certainly kicked off Spring 2018 right! I got to photograph 2 events all about dancing!- Backstage at the Rivertown Dance Academy Festival, and at the Rockin’ Rave at Westchester Children’s Museum!

First, let’s take a look Backstage at the Rivertown Dance Academy Festival!

At this shoot, I arrived well before showtime to capture the final preparations that go into putting on a great show. From warm-ups, to hair and make-up, and even a group hug and pep talk moments before the curtains open (pictured left of center, above). And when the curtain finally opened and the show began, I was able to captured a backstage view of some of the performances!

A bit about RDA, from their website:

Rivertown Dance Academy was founded on the belief that everyone, regardless of ability to pay, should have the opportunity to pursue high-quality and comprehensive dance education. Rivertown Dance Academy is accessible in location, literature, and in ability to provide need-based financial aid. 

If you are interested in learning more about RDA or taking a class, check out RivertownDanceAcademy.org

A few weeks later, I had the absolute pleasure of photographing the light and sound dance party known as the “Rockin Rave” at the Westchester Children’s Museum in Rye!

This party was geared toward the older kids, and featured colorful lights, dancing, prizes, and lots of yummy food options (including the donut wall, pictured in the center)! The music had kids and parents dancing the night away!

Located right on the boardwalk at Rye Beach, WCM is a place for hands-on learning, offering children opportunities to build, climb, and experience STEAM education in action. I can’t think of a better place for parents to bring their kids this summer- beautiful beach views, an exciting learning experience, and great parties? Seriously, where was this when I was a kid???

To learn more about WCM (and plan your visit!) check out DiscoverWCM.org

These were both extremely fun, new experiences in event photography for me. I love trying new things like this! It challenges me, keeps me on my toes, and expands my comfort zone, which is a wonderful feeling.

Take a peek at some more from these events on my Flickr!

Out of Hibernation!

Oh hey there! Excuse me while I emerge from my hibernation, save up all the daylight, and embrace the first signs of Spring! Isn’t it such a magical time of year? All of nature is just a big glittering message: “The cold is over! We made it! Let’s play!”

 

Although the weather has been playing some tricks on us this year…if you can recall a time not long before the last 3 BIG snow/wind/rain storms (not even counting the intermittent flurries), we had a real, honest-to-goodness 70 degree day! Where did that go?

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to the last few weeks…

Celebrating another new Mrs. Fitzgerald! It was fun capturing the moments at this bridal shower, and the wedding is going to be a BLAST! (but I won’t be photographing…I’ll be taking that night off, thank you very much!)

 

And taking relaxing photo walks, adjusting my eyes to the bright and beautiful sunlight.

I have been spending a lot of time reading, painting, and doing some creative writing. Exploring my other favorite creative outlets helps keep me inspired to dream up new experimental shoots for the Spring and Summer. Unfortunately, I’ve already had to postpone one of these due to the un-spring-like snow on the ground. But I am so sure that these shoots will be well worth the wait! I get so excited about trying new techniques and creating something entirely new and different. Learning and growing are wonderful, wonderful things.

One of the books I read this winter was ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. Here are some words of wisdom from it that you can take with you:

“It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster’s shell that makes the pearl, not pearl-making seminars with other oysters.”

YES.

See you next time!
-Reen

Lovely, Dark, and Deep

First of all, anybody else get their kites out for the blizzard?

The cold has not kept us inside for long.

There’s a lot of fun projects in the works that I can’t wait to share! While those are cooking up, here are some photos from a snowy hike we took recently at Teatown Lake Reservation:

 

Whose woods these are, I think I know.

His house is in the village, though;

He will not see me stopping here,

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

Those words are, of course, from Robert Frost’s ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’, one of my favorite poems. I don’t think I can hike in the snow without reciting that one in my head.

…The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.

But I’ve got promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

 

 

2017: The Highlight Reel

Every year has it’s ups and downs, and looking back on the best parts is a fun way to end the year.

As this year comes to a close, I’m seeing a lot of people posting their “Best 9 of 2017”. I always enjoy seeing these and making my own. It’s really incredible how much can happen in just 12 months.

However, I’m not big on judging the best moments of the year on what got the most likes. So instead of entering my IG handle into a best 9 website for calculations, I combed through my year in pictures- lots and lots of pictures- and selected 9 of my favorite shoots from the year. Here they are, in no particular order…

This glimpse back really warms my heart. It was quite a year of celebrations and adventures! I’ve certainly learned a lot and tried a lot of new things.

As a bonus, I’ve also compiled 6 of my favorite personal moments of 2017…

In 2017, I finally checked ‘nose piercing’ off the bucket list (Thank you, Keri at Addicted to Ink!), practiced falconry for the first time in almost a decade (and found it to be like riding a bike for me!), welcomed 2 birds, Ukey and Fiddler, and a pup, Tuukka, into the family, met the incredible Jen Blackwood (and got lots of her artwork,  which we adore!), and we had the experience of viewing and sharing the solar eclipse!

Whew. Well, that was fun.

Here’s to even more creation, growth, and new experiences in 2018!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monochrome: A Winter Ritual

“You get the same thrill with any negative; with art, as someone once said, most of what you have to do is show up. The hardest part is setting the camera on the tripod, or making the decision to bring the camera out of the car, or just raising the camera to your face, believing, by those actions, that whatever you find before you, whatever you find there, is going to be good.” –Sally Mann, Hold Still


I know I’m not alone when I say that winter can take a toll on my motivation. There’s so little of that gorgeous golden sunlight we photographers love so much, and I just want to make a never-ending pot of tea and hibernate under mounds of blankets.

But I am getting better at winter! Little by little, I’m finding ways to embrace and enjoy the season more. This often includes taking part in special winter photo challenges and creating my own photography projects.

A few winters ago, I was inspired by Sally Mann’s memoir ‘Hold Still’, to switch my camera to monochrome and explore familiar spaces. Without color, the photos became focused on the light and the way it bounced off of things and created contrast. Everything had new life. Faucets, doorknobs, and kitchen utensils now had “moods”.

It’s a small project I can do to flex my creative muscles, even when I don’t want to go outside, or if I’m feeling under the weather. It’s purely for myself and my own enjoyment, and it reminds me that the light is still there. It may not be glowing, warm and golden, but it is there. Right alongside the shadows.

I’ve also found that my cat is a great subject for black and white photography. He has long, shaggy light tan fur and naps in interesting positions, often on our black couch, which makes for great contrast. Here’s one of my favorite black and white shots of my big sleepy cat:

 

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas,

and may you find light wherever there are shadows.

 

Over the Rainbow & Over the Moon

We just have so much to celebrate these days! I recently posted about my nephew’s first birthday, and here we are again, celebrating yet another new member of the Fitz family!

Last week I posted a couple of outtakes/behind-the-scenes photos from the gorgeous autumnal family photoshoot I did with my brother Dan’s family. I’ve gotten to document so much of their story, and I was so happy to be a part of their very special announcement too.

And here it is…(with behind-the-scenes footage of our session!)…

Oh my, becoming an Aunt never gets old…not even the ninth time! 😉

Autumn is the perfect time for family portraits! Everything’s so sun-kissed and beautifully colored, and holiday cards will be going out so soon! (If you haven’t booked your Fall session yet, there’s still time!)

A little creative editing to celebrate Dan and Lex’s rainbow baby!

See more in the Flickr album!

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