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let's be really real

Summer Murdock Photography 5/365

This post may ruffle a few feathers but it is something that has really been eating at me lately so I am going to just say it. I'm not one to air all my grievances and complaints online. I just don't. Does it mean life is perfect? NO WAY!  Do I ever complain? YES. I just complain to my friends and my family (I am in NO WAY knocking anyone who does air their stuff..to each their own). Am I fake because of this? Well ask anyone who knows me and they will  tell you that I am NOT fake at all…not a phony bone in my body. What is real? Is there such a thing as a "real" image? You hear this term used as a description of lots of photographers and their images. I think that is a matter of opinion. Yes, some images feel more "real" to me than others but what is real to me may not ring true to you. I have a pretty good life. I don't have a lot to complain about. Hard things have happened in my life. I have had to work hard at many things in my life. I have struggles and frustrations on a daily basis. but I also have SO much good in my life. I am  happy. I always choose to focus on the good vs the negative. I don't like to concentrate on my struggles. Is this fake? Am I living a life that is glazed over? Not in the least. That's just me. That is how I have always been. I like being happy. I truly believe that your life is what you make of it. You can't control other people and the circumstances that you were born into but you can choose what you do with what you were given. Does this mean I walk around all giddy and laughing all the time? NO! I can be quite impatient. I feel grumpy on a daily basis but I don't like drama and contention. I would rather feel peace and joy so I do things in my life that help me to feel that way.

Sometimes I  show happy images. Kids are generally pretty happy beings when they are loved and cared for. Of course I am not denying the moody tantrums, drama, and meltdowns that come with kids…or teenagers and adults for that matter but happiness and joy aren't phony or glazed over emotions. I feel like there is a trend lately that in order to be "real", "raw", and "artistic" you can't show happiness or fun. I think there is space for all kinds of images…the happy ones, the sad ones, the raw ones, the beautiful ones, the gritty ones, and any other kind you can think of. There are a lot of photographers out there and a lot of different viewpoints. I hate when I see people put others into certain classifications. Can't we all be friends or at least respectful? Aren't we all adults? Do we really need to relive the junior high or high school years where you deicide what kind of person someone is by the clothes they wear or the music they listen to? Can't we appreciate images that are different from what we produce without thinking they are less than someone else's? You can actually learn a lot from things and people who are different from you. Who am I to judge if someone's images are "real" when we all have different realities? And let's just be REALLY honest from one photographer to another. We all manipulate something to make an image. Some of us may manipulate light, some may manipulate our subjects, but pictures will never be real life. They are creations of the photographer. I would venture to say that the very most hardcore documentary style photographer manipulates something to create a photograph. Now that is the most real thing I have said yet.

I'm just sort of sick of the "cool kid club" mentality…and the mocking. It repulsed me in high school and it still does. I know it's part of life…it's just a part of life I hate.  Even though I don't want to hang out with everyone I meet, I have learned that even someone who totally annoys me has good qualities.  I could probably learn something from almost every person walking this earth. I'm not saying this from a bitter place. I have always had friends from all different walks of life. I don't feel like it has been a struggle for people to accept me…but I have usually been pretty accepting, I'm sure someone out there could tell a story about me where I was less than kind. I am human and I know I have hurt people in the past so I'm not saying I'm perfect. I am not saying I have never mocked. I just wish people would be kinder and more understanding of different voices. There is no time for ego.We all have something to say.

I have decided to take the Facebook app off my phone, at least for now. I think as an industry and culture we are all a bit too obsessed with it all. I love Facebook and social media don't get me wrong. I am so so grateful for it and for the connections I have made and the opportunities that have come from it.  I will still be checking it daily and posting like I always do…just no longer from the carpool lane or in the parking lot while I am waiting for my son to come out of basketball practice, or my daughter out of dance.I  think we all need to stop worrying about who is collaborating with who and who's images are phony and glazed over. Yeah, I don't fall in love every image I see but I don't look at images I don't get and think "well that sucks" or "I am way better than that". We should all get off social media more often, stop comparing ourselves to anyone else, and go out and shoot something cool. Something that is personally meaningful and that ignites that creative flutter inside yourself. That's where the magic happens….enough said.

Now this is a photography blog right? So of course I have to show some more glazed over, happy images..

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography day 22/365
Summer Murdock Photography

I kid. I kid….please don't take this post too seriously. It feels good to get this off my chest and I just felt like being "real", open, and honest about my thoughts. My intention is not to cause contention or bad feelings…just  to slow down and think about how we treat the people around us…and believe me this post is preaching to myself as much as the next guy!

xoxo,

Summer

the blizzard and the streetlight

It's been cold here…really really cold. So cold that we can hardly stand to be outside for more than 10 minutes. I have been missing shooting outside. So on Saturday when we pulled into our garage and the snow was coming down in huge flakes, I had to take advantage of the available light….which was a streetlight. Turns out snow looks really cool all lit up by a streetlight. Also turns out you have to shoot quick when the snow is coming down this hard or your gear gets wet and your fingers fall off from frostbite. She gave me only about 3 minutes and I got one of my favorite images I have shot in a while. Glad we took a couple minutes to do this. Sometimes it's hard to stop what you are doing and seize opportunities like this. This almost makes me rethink doing a 365….I really am considering a 182.5, The question is…what does a .5 image look like? Summer Murdock Photography

Thankful…days 16 to 30

I can't believe I made it through the whole month. I had been contemplating a 365 project but after this whole month of posting daily, I'm not sure I'm ready to commit. I shoot pretty regularly anyways. Not sure I want to put that pressure on myself but gives me a new respect for some of my fellow photogs who complete 365 projects. That's a HUGE accomplishment! To see the first 15 days go here.

Day 16/30…all four of them together..healthy and full of life…thankful.

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

Day 17/30…SNOW…thankful it came for the first time this year on a Saturday so you could go enjoy it. You were so excited you ran out in your pjs...

Summer Murdock Photography

Day 18/30…thankful for her and all the energy & life she brings to our house..and since it's her birthday, this one deserves it's own blog post. More of these on my blog if you care to look here.

Summer Murdock Photography

Day 19/30…a bonus of daylight savings and getting dark earlier is that my kids go to bed earlier and that's pretty nice somedays. Let the streetlights be the bad guy signaling bedtime instead of me…thankful.

Summer Murdock Photography

Day 20/30…laziness and lounging…yes I am thankful for it some days.

Summer Murdock Photography

Day 21/30..shot a few pieces for My Little Jules (an awesome children's clothing website) recently…I am pretty much obsessed with this outfit….the shoes, the pants with the zipper at the ankle and this shirt…thankful for clothes? (yeah it may be superficial but I really do like them), thankful that I am able to do what I do. and thankful for my little ham who is always putting on a show…everywhere we go. More of these coming to the blog soon..

Summer Murdock Photography

Day 22/30..mid-day naps…even when I'm not the one napping!

Summer Murdock Photography

Day 23/30…Thankful for 8 year old birthday parties, impromptu dance flash mobs in front of the car on the way to take the party guests home, and lots and lots of laughter

Summer Murdock Photography

Day 24/30….She's still and quiet for a second.

Summer Murdock Photography

Day 25/30…snowmen

Summer Murdock Photography

Day 26/30…thankful for chats on my bed and for shooting from the hip so that I can capture expressions that I wouldn't otherwise as she tells me all about her day at school.

Summer Murdock Photography

Day 27/30…Thankful for Tuesdays because that is the day she goes to dance…love how excited she is to be there every time.

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

Day 28/30…snowflake makers who sit at my feet while I prepare Thanksgiving dinner!

Day 29/30…working it out on their own…thankful when that happens (too bad it's not a more frequent occurrence)

Summer Murdock Photography

Day 30/30…Thankful for Christmas traditions and the memories they create for our family…first up every year is letting each kid pick out their own brand new ornament for the tree. I love how much they enjoy this and the excitement of getting out the ornaments every year is SO much more because of it. It's awesome to look back over the years and see how they have changed simply by seeing what ornament they pick. May sound silly but my kids love our Christmas tree is a different way because of this tradition. We look forward to it every year! —

Summer Murdock Photography

I have a lot of things to be grateful for! I'm not going to lie…I am grateful I don't HAVE to post and shoot everyday if I don't want to! HA! Thanks for looking!

the little show off...

Summer Murdock Photography  |  Utah Family Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography  |  Utah Family Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography  |  Utah Family Photographer

I recently shot a few pieces for a great online little girls clothing website called My Little Jules. (find them on FB here).  You should check them out. They have a great variety of adorable clothes and super awesome customer service (can you tell I am a fan?)  I pretty much adore this particular outfit and so does she! Seriously, this girl is such a ham and so full of it. She is constantly making me and the rest of our family laugh...

stormy mountain session...

It's about time I blog this awesome family's session. You know I love sunshine so normally I try to reschedule sessions when it's shining but this family was from out of town so that just wasn't  possible. I do have to say that the second best thing to the sun is dark and stormy clouds. They look pretty cool right? I bet you wouldn't be surprised to hear that this session ended in a torrential downpour that left us all SPRINTING for our cars….

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

I have to say that I LOVE this family sooooooooo much!

Mozi Magazine…"The Lighting Issue"

Summer Murdock Photography

Today is the day that the Lighting Issue of Mozi Magazine is being released. I was beyond honored when they asked me to write a piece for them. It's a super cool publication. When I found out my image was chosen for the cover? Well, let's just say I was excited (giddy, happy, on cloud nine, thrilled, ecstatic, elated, overjoyed, thrilled, etc). I'll stop because I 'm sure you get the point. You should defineltly head over there and pick up a copy. There are SO many amazing artists in this issue. I am so honored and humbled to be featured alongside them. Mozi has been kind enough to give me a copy to give away to one of you. I'll announce the winner Friday morning. 

Summer Murdock Photography

a Rafflecopter giveaway

That's it…all you have to do to enter is like me and Mozi on Facebook and follow me on Instagram. GOOD LUCK!

15 days of thanks...

So I committed to posting an image a day on Facebook for the whole month of November of something I am thankful for. This post is a wrap-up of the first 15 days…well fourteen I guess because I didn't start until the 2nd day of November. I shoot regularly (4 days a week on average) but not daily so this has been a challenge for me. So here is my first half of  giving thanks though pictures...  

2/30...Today I am thankful for the unseasonable warmth outside…and for the sun. Two of my favorite things!

6L3A2418 copy
6L3A2418 copy

 3/30….thankful i have a full fridge and that I don't know what it means to be truly hungry (even though my picky kids would disagree). Trying to teach them to be thankful as well!

20131025_0815 copy
20131025_0815 copy

4/30…a rare glimpse of this man. I don't share many images of him here and he probably won't be thrilled that I am doing so now BUT he is such a big part of our lives and one of the people that I am most thankful for on this earth. He is a constant source of laughter at our house (yeah he's pretty funny), an amazing Dad (our kids adore him), husband, and provider. He works SO hard for us! He would do anything for me and our kids. He is fiercely loyal and oh so TRUSTWORTHY. I can always count on him…that is HUGE! I am very blessed and thankful!

Summer Murdock Photography SLC Area Family Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography SLC Area Family Photographer

 5/30…I'm very thankful that we have such an awesome school within walking distance from my house. The teachers there are amazing and the community is so supportive.

Summer Murdock Photography SLC Area Family Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography SLC Area Family Photographer

 6/30…thankful for her hugs. She gives the best hugs,,,the kind of hugs that melt you. Today I was trying to take some head shots of myself (pure torture) then she jumped in the frame and I'm thankful she did. I need more pictures with me and my kiddos.

Summer Murdock Photography SLC Area Family Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography SLC Area Family Photographer

y 7/30…sometimes I'm just thankful that the day is almost over and I can lay down…life isn't always rosy and cheery. Parenting can be hard, exhausting, and rewarding all at the same time. Saying I'm grateful for things doesn't mean my life is perfect…it just means I am choosing to focus on the positive. I do have A LOT of positives in my life. And YES somedays i am grateful for the TV which quiets my kids for a bit.

20131025_0687 copy
20131025_0687 copy

 8/30…thankful for my EXTREMELY camera shy oldest. Thankful I got to kidnap him from school today and take him to his favorite spot for lunch on his 11th birthday. Thankful it was just him and I. He is a pretty cool kid…and is growing WAY too fast.

Summer Murdock Photography SLC Area Family Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography SLC Area Family Photographer

9/30…thankful for lazy lunch at the park days.

Summer Murdock Photograpy
Summer Murdock Photograpy

 10/30…thankful for fall (or trying to be). Read more about it here

Summer Murdock Photography SLC Area Family Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography SLC Area Family Photographer

 11/30….Chaos….utter chaos at our house sometimes and most of the time I am thankful for it. Thankful for the many times each day it makes me laugh. Just don't ask me how I feel about the chaos at the end of the day when I'm tired.

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

 12/30…thankful for the tooth fairy.

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

13/30…reading and books are a good thing for the imagination.

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

 14/30…thankful for the creative spirit (even when it's messy).

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

 15/30…when you have four kids, there can be a lot of  fighting, bickering, and/or complaining so when I see moments like this I am very, very thankful.

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

Phew, I can't believe I did it and that once I committed I didn't miss a day. Let's see if I can do it until the 30th...

 

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Kids Were Here …november edition

Life has been crazy lately. I have been struggling to balance everything and these “kids were here” messes haven’t been anything but a bit annoying to my busy self lately. I’m ready to slow down and see these messes for what they are again…an integral part of childhood. A part of life that is very fleeting. Soon I won’t have to clean up melted ice cream sandwiches or step on legos everywhere I walk. I’m a much happier person when I frame the messes this way…and so are my kids. Motherhood….it'a roller coaster in many ways right? My post is short and sweet this time (slackerish might be a better description)…when  you are annoyed by the messes you don't grab the camera before you clean them up..:) Summer Murdock Photography

Summer Murdock Photograph

Summer Murdock Photography

 Be sure to check out Kids Were Here blog to see all my talented friend images together all in one place!

"look Mom, I'm a unicorn"

Summer Murdock Photography

So as some of you may have heard I was reported several time by someone for posting "inappropriate" images of babies and toddlers in diapers on my business Facebook page. Facebook disabled my personal account for 24 hours. I was still able to access my business page because I had another administrator (ALL PHOTOGRAPHERS SHOULD MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A SECOND ADMINISTRATOR ON YOUR PAGE). I was given a warning that if I was reported again I would be shut down permanently! I have been so angry and wonder about the intentions of the person who reports pictures of babies as "inappropriate". I start to wonder if this person is deliberately trying to shut down my page. When my page was reinstated tonight, I answered by posting this picture on my business page. It's my rebellious side. My way of saying "you can't tell me what to do". I know, it's a character flaw. After a few comments and likes, I decided to remove it an post it here. Getting my page banned is not what I want. I am very sad that I feel that I cannot post pictures without fear of being reported. What is this world coming to? How is a 2 year old without a shirt considered inappropriate? Makes me sad that it has come to this. But I refuse to let it get to me any more...

underwater fun...

Summer Murdock Photography

I'm just a little obsessed with my newfound ability to submerge my camera. Last summer I played around TONS with a little underwater point and shoot...now I get to submerge my "real" camera! I'm over the moon excited. Get ready for total and complete overkill on the underwater sharing! I'm in love!

part of the "chorus"..

My friend talented  Amy Grace of A Beautiful Life Photo asked me to be part of a very special project she has begun called "The Chorus":

"this is a project that has been burning a hole in my heart. we all sing our pure and shaky and earnest songs, to ourselves, our kids, our pasts. we sing because we need to hear our voices out loud, because it gets lonely sometimes, because it hurts, because the joy cannot fit in our bodies. mothers are always and never alone. i want to focus on the never part. i want to hear the voices together. i want to start a chorus."

- AMY GRACE

Amy is a true artist...and an amazing photographer and out of this world writer. The combination of her words and her soulful images leave me speechless. Really...

I'm so so honored she has asked me to be a part of this project this week...a member of the "chorus" so to speak...a group of mothers who are photographers sharing their thoughts about wonder this week. Here are mine:

Summer Murdock Photography

Funny how the things I associate with the word wonder have changed over the span of my life. As an adult I wonder about things…wonder if I’m doing OK as a mother…wonder about the future…wonder if I will ever feel caught up. The kind of wondering I do spans from silliness to more important things. When I think about the wonder I felt as a child, there was something different. I distinctly remember my first airplane ride. I looked out the small little window at those clouds and wondered if I could run and jump in them. Imagined how soft it would be and fully believed it was possible. Anything was possible. I noticed the beauty of things around me more consistently than I do know. I remember seeing dust bunnies in the light in my room and being totally and completely fascinated by them. So much that I ran to get my mother and asked her what it was. She replied “That’s just dust”. To me is was magic. My two year old reminded me of this last week when she noticed the dust in the light of her room. The animation and excitement as she pointed it out to me helped me to recall this long buried memory of my own childhood. How often do I reply to my kids discoveries with “That’s just dust”? More often than I should. I strive to see the beauty and wonder in things always but as an adult is sometimes a struggle to let go of all of my “to do’s” and be present in the moment and aware of all the wondrous things around me.

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eye are closed.” Albert Einstein

I don’t want my eyes to be closed. When I am open the wonders and beautiful things around me, I feel alive and present and connected. Once again my children are my teachers…teaching me to throw caution to the wind, outstretch my arms and soak in all the wonder around me.

PLEASE go visit "the chorus" and read some pretty inspiring thoughts along with some amazing images.

xo,

Summer

foggy frigid walk...

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

Well I'm only about 6 months past due blogging these images. One freezing cold January morning, we looked out the window and saw FOG! Fog is rare around here so we ran outside and shot a few frames. It was 8 degrees F if I remember correctly so we only lasted about 5 minutes before she was done and my fingers felt like they were frozen. Looking at theses images makes me grateful summer is about to begin!

city walk...

I'm determined to take my "real" camera out and about with me more often. I rely on my iphone and Instagram waaaay to much. It's making me lazy and I sometimes have moments where I think my IG photos rival my "real" camera work..and well that's not awkward at all! HA! I brought my camera with me to run errands yesterday and came home with these shots...totally worth hauling it around!

xo,

Summer

child's play...february edition

Last month I read a BEAUTIFUL post by Jude Wood (one of my FAVORITE photographers). In this post she talked about how she's always taking her kids to do all kinds of activities like swimming, sledding, going to the park etc. One of her children pointed out that she didn't spend time playing with them. She said "came as quite a shock to be honest. i was certain that i was doing a good job. to a child, to play is to imagine. none of those activities involved imagination" So one of her goals for 2013 is to play with her children for 15 minutes everyday. This post really hit home for me. I'm am TOTALLY guilty of this myself. Since reading that I have made an effort to play with my children 15 minutes a day!. Hasn't happened every day BUT it has happened ALOT more than it was before. The best thing about it is my kids LOVE it. Some days it is hard for me to drop everything and get lost in their world but some day's it is PURE fun. I can tell it is helping build stronger relationships with my kiddos! Imagination is a powerful thing and I want my kids to have TONS of it! So when Jude asked me to join her I jumped at the chance! It's avery important project called "Child's Play"...it's a project less about perfect pictures (because it's hard to play and photograph at the same time) and more about documenting us truly playing with our kids! One of this little gal's very favorite things to do is play "tichen". We dressed up in big sister's dance costume (or part of it), we washed our hands (a lot), made soup, washed dishes, made cupcakes, sang happy birthday, and blew out the candles!

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

Now go visit another SUPER talented lady and friend Ginger Unzueta who will show you her version of "child's play"!

"11 on 11" february cradle rock edition...

It's the 11th so that means "11 0n 11" time. In case you missed last month's explanation of what that even means...on the 11th of each month I post 11 pictures from my day and the 11th is supposed to be a selfie. I think I'm in SIX of the frames this month but whose counting? What you are about to see started out cute and calm...with only little sister in the crib! Then big sister jumped in. They were cute and played and hugged...then they got a little crazy and wild and goofy...then I (the big giant adult) jumped in! Yes I did and please don't act like you've never done it! We laughed and danced and laughed and danced to the music in our heads. Good thing the trusty crib that has slept all four of my babies didn't break. Sigh...looking at these images makes me happy. I really resist getting in the frame sometimes but I'm sure glad I did! I'm betting these will be treasures for years to come for both me and my girls!

And don't forget to follow the circle to see some serious eye-candy!

Summer Murdock Photography

What do you know? I actually had fun getting in the frame! Now go visit Tonya Teran aka superwoman who just had a baby 2 days ago and posted her "11 on 11" from the hospital! Yup...she did and I think that is pretty amazing. I'm betting you'll see lots of her new little guy who is fresh from heaven!

and in case you missed last months circle you can start it here!