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what a fall day in the mountains looks like....

Summer Murdock Utah Family Photographer
Summer Murdock Utah Family Photographer
Summer Murdock Utah Family Photographer
Summer Murdock Utah Family Photographer

Last month we headed up into the mountains before every leaf fell off the trees. My kids complained about going but one we got there they had a great time. Why do kids do that? Why can't they shout hooray every time I want to go somewhere? :) I tell you with four kids it's really hard to make everyone happy at once. In fact my oldest opted out of this adventure and regretted it later.

I am honored to be posting today with some photographers that I admire a lot in a blog circle called "what _____ looks like". Each month we fill in the blank and with something and link to one another. Be sure to head over Wendy VanSosen and to see what her month looks like....

what "her first time out in the big california surf" looks like

We went to Southern California last week for fall break. Needless to say, it didn't feel much like fall there.  We go to the beach often considering how far it from us. I love the ocean so much. I lived right here for the first 5 years or so of my life. The beach was literally my front yard. I spent a lot of time in the ocean every summer of my life as a kid. Even after we moved away, my mom made sure we spent some time there every summer. I would spend hours just bobbing in the waves and diving under them. This past trip was a big one for my oldest girl. She got the courage to go out in the big waves past her knees. She got to experience that freeing yet humbling feeling that comes from being out in the huge and vast ocean. She was giddy and kept telling me how fun it was and wondered why she had been so scared before. It was a full circle moment for me to be able to be out there and experience this with her...and I love that I was able to have my camera with me. This month I give you "what her first time out in the big California surf looks like".

Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Family Photographer Underwater Photography
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Family Photographer Underwater Photography
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Family Photographer Underwater Photography
ummer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Family Photographer Underwater Photography

And true to form, the powerful ocean flexed it's muscles for her. A big wave tumbled her to the bottom and she got a battle scar on her cheek to prove it. She was a bit self conscious of it but I kept telling her how cool it was to have proof she did something brave (and that it would go away).

Now head on over to see what El Hogan's adventurous world looks like this month....

The mountains, a family, and a moose

Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer

This family came here all the way from my home state of Texas on vacation. I am always honored when people spend their precious vacation time having me photograph them. We had a wonderful time in this amazing setting and at the end of the night I planned for a special guest to visit these Texans....A MOOSE! Yeah, we got photobombed by a giant moose. It was a super cool way to wrap up our evening...and now this family has a portrait with a moose. I'm sure not many people can claim that. :)

"what a road trip to socal looks like"

So last month, I threw my four kids in the car and drove 10 hours to southern California to go visit one of my dearest friends from college. She's living in an amazing  house on Santa Monica Beach. We've been friends with this girl for almost 20 years (yikes I'm old) We have been on countless adventures together. Back in the day, she was my friend who would hop in the car and go anywhere on a moments notice. We have slept in countless parking lots, flown to NYC with people we hardly knew at the time. We have hiked the subway in Zions with no ropes, map or permits (stupid), kayaked the entire 17 mile napali coast. We jumped in the car and drove 400 miles to see L L Cool J just because we thought it would be funny, drove around Colorado City, windows down, rap music blaring (if you don't know what Colorado City is google it and you will get the humor in that experience). We have hiked countless miles together and belly laughed together regularly. Every time we get together it's like we we never apart. This trip was no exception.  This was the longest road trip I have gone on with just me and my four kids. I was pretty nervous about driving this far with my four kids and no other adults but it was actually no big deal. It felt good to step outside my comfort zone and do it despite my apprehension. I'm a big believer in pushing past fears and doing it anyways...and every time I do that, the payoff is huge. This trip was no exception. We were sad to leave the husband behind but he was too busy at work There's always next time right? The perks of not having your husband go along is that you can do whatever you feel like without worrying about torturing him with too much photography talk. So on this trip I got to hang out with Ashley Jennett of  The Stork and the Beanstalk (who is joining our group this month) and Leah Zawadzki. It's always awesome when you meet friends you have made online and they are every bit as cool (even cooler) than you'd imagined. Here are some scattered bits and pieces from my trip. I do have to say that sometimes I go on trips and feel very inspired to take all kinds of pictures and sometimes I don't. This trip fell more into the "not feeling it category" so the images are a bit all over the place, but I give you my scattered "what social looks like"....

Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer Underwater Photography
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer Underwater Photography
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer Underwater Photography
    and the one image I took when I was with  Ashley ...

 

and the one image I took when I was with Ashley...

and my evening with Leah...

Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer

Then we decided to stay one more night and we went to Leah's amazing house and hung at her pool.

Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer

Now go see what Stephanie Moore is up  to this month....and then be sure to follow through the circle...

5 minutes on the swing...

It's time for another installment of the 5 minute project. Sometimes I have spiderman powers and climb up on top of the swing to get a different perspective. And sometimes I get bored and want to play around with slow shutters. Panning is hard...just sayin.

Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer

 Ok, maybe I don't have spiderman powers....just a swing set with a playhouse on stilts right next to the swing. The panning? It really is hard. :) Be sure to head over to the 5 minute project blog to catch up on all the amazing posts there. And while you are at it find it on FB here.

What Little Sahara looks like...

Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer Desert Sand Dunes
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer Desert Sand Dunes
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer Desert Sand Dunes
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer Desert Sand Dunes

There is nothing quite like being in wide open spaces. We headed to go see some sand dunes that I have been hearing about for years. It's amazing what you can find if you are willing to venture out and explore a little bit. It's not always easy. My kids usually complain that they don't want to go with me BUT they are always (well usually) happy once we get there. This amazing place is only an hour and a half drive from my house. We actually went twice in one week. This was the second trip. My daughter really wanted to go back with her friend. So I made arrangements for my other kids and off we went. We didn't see one single soul the whole time we were there. Talk about quiet? Almost surreal and unsettling at times but oh so good for me. This month I give you "what Little Sahara looks like".

If you saw the summer issuer of Dreamer Journal, you might recognize some of these images. :)  Now be sure to go check out what this month looks like to El Hogan who is currently living my dream.  Her post will blow you away...no joke. She even attaches her camera to some crazy remote control camera to make an amazing video??? I'm so blown away by it...you must check it out.

5 minutes at the pool…

I'm excited to join a group of photographers that I admire in something called "the 5 minute project" that was started by Dana Pugh. "The spirit of this project is keep it unplanned, unstaged, just 5 ordinary minutes. Of course, 5 minutes can be extraordinary." It's brilliant. I have contributed once before to this project a while back but now I will be a regular contributor and I'm very excited. I tend to shoot my own kids in increments of five minutes anyways. You have to keep it short and sweet or they get sick of you real fast. :)

Today I give you what five minutes at the pool looked like at our most recent family vacation.

Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer Underwater Photography
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer Underwater Photography

I probably won't always share my "5 minutes" here on my own blog so be sure and go follow this project here on Facebook and on the 5 Minute Project blog to follow along!

All images shot with my Mark III and SPL underwater housing.

my boy and the sea…

A couple weeks ago we spent a few days at the beach in southern California. This beach was literally my front yard for several years of my life as a kid. I think when you spend so much time there as a child, it becomes part of you in a different way than just vacationing there. I love the ocean. When I was younger, I could spend hours out there in this cold ocean and it never seemed to bother me. Maybe I'm just forgetting. Maybe I'm getting old, but man this water is COLD! The waves are pretty big here for my younger kids to venture out very far but my oldest, me,  and my camera spent some time out there together. It was exhilarating for me…FREEZING but amazing. This was the first time my camera has come with me in rougher surf (and by California standards these waves were small). I wish I lived by the ocean as I could get used to being out there with my camera (as long as I had a wetsuit). I give you "what my boy in the sea looks like"..

Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer

 Now go see what beauty Amy Grace of A Beautiful Life Photo'smonth brings…her post's always make me stop, breathe a bit deeper, and look a bit longer….

family love…

Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer
Summer Murdock Photography Salt Lake City Photographer

See? I told you. This was my first session of the season and it felt so good to photograph someone other than my kids. Loved this family. As I was driving to the session it was so overcast. I get bummed out when there is no sun for me to work with. The photo gods much have known because the sun peeked through for a short time just for us and I was very grateful.:)

"what ____ looks like" february edition

It's been a few months since "what ____ looks like" has posted. I am glad we are back and with a couple new girls this time around. If I am honest, I am pretty sick of winter but that is all we have around here these days. I almost posted some unblogged summer time images because I need a little sunshine in my life but in the end went with what is right outside my door. This month I give you "what a snowy walk looks like". It was just the two of us on this particular morning. I've really been enjoying my one on one time with her while everyone else is at school…

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

Now be sure to go see what El Hogan has in store this month…she is new to our awesome little group this year and I couldn't adore her work more than I do. You must go look I tell you!

If this is your first time visiting my blog or if you missed previous editions of "what ____ looks like" go herehere herehereherehere, and here!

10 on 10…november edition

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

I have to admit that I usually spend the fall season mourning the passing of summer. Summer is by FAR my favorite season. Every year when good ol' fall arrives my heart feels a bit heavy BUT looking at these images sure makes me appreciate it a little more. It is quite pretty…even if it is the precursor to the dreaded winter hibernation. Every season has it's benefits and I am going to try to appreciate and be thankful for each one and stop being so single minded when it comes to summertime. So with that I give you my "10 on 10 falling for fall" edition….really it's 14 on 10 but who's  counting? Now head on over to my very, very talented friend Ginger Unzueta and see what she has in store…promise you won't be disappointed by her beautiful images…she really never disappoints!

wild poppies….

The poppies have bloomed in one of my favorite spots. Seriously for the week that these flowers are up, this might be one of the most gorgeous places EVER! My girls wanted NOTHING to do with me and the camera while we were here so I just stood back and watched them. Love their relationship. So here is my "11 0n 11" get in the frame post for June. My selfie is a stretch this month...

Summer Murdock Photography

See I told ya the selfie was a stretch. I forgot my tripod and back button focusing is tough for a 7 year old! She took some really pretty good shots but all blurry. :) I am really happy to have this image though. Seriously, my two year old gives the best hugs. I never want to forget how it feels to have this little girl squeeze my neck tight like this. I kinda love it!

Now you must go visit Leah Robinson to see what she has captured this month. Leah is crazy talented and is an Aussie. I may just show up at her house one day unannounced to visit her and her lovely country whether I am invited or not! HA!

"10 on 10"...june edition

Summer Murdock Photography

I'm trying to turn over a new leaf with my personal work. I have perfectionist tendencies. If I don't feel everyone in the frame looks perfect, I often overlook images. I'm determined to get over this. I have four kids all of which have the camera put in their faces on a regular basis. They get sick of it and could care less about when I ask them to do something for the camera. My tricks are getting old.  It is WAY easier to photograph other peoples kids I tell ya. I NEED more images with EVERYONE in the frame. It's hard to get four kids and one husband all in the frame in a perfect yet not cheesy posed way. SO I'm going to let go....if I don't I will look back one day and regret not having many images of everyone together. It's my new challenge for myself....and in that spirit I give you my "10 on 10" for the month...in a cool little spot I found on a walk the other morning! Love discovering new hidden gems...

Now go visit Nicole Dyk of Nicole Dina Photography to see what her "10 on 10" is all about!

sun drenched hills....

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

Man this family was fun! We had such a great time. These two little girls were SO full of life. Brother made me work for it a little bit but all worked out in the end. Mom and Dad are pretty cool people as well....and the whole family is easy on the eyes to say the least. Lucky me to get to document all this life!

xo,

Summer

"letters to our children" march edition

Oh my sweet girl.. Where do I begin? You have changed SO much in the last year or two. I feel like I am beginning to see glimpses of who you will be as a teenager and woman. Just last year, you were my little kindergartner and now...my almost second grader. WHAT? How did that happen? It makes me sad but it makes me excited too..and a little nervous for all the struggles that will soon come to you as they come to us all.

You are one creative little girl. I am amazed at what you can do with a piece of paper or a box of Kleenex. I'm talking 3D paper sculptures, purses, refrigerators that open and have paper food inside that you can take out and eat, 3D paper flower and vases, crayon holders, baby blankets, doll clothes, and the list goes on. Whenever there is a birthday in the family, we all know we will get a big 3D paper birthday cake topped with candles that is colored beautifully. All of these things are made with computer printer paper, crayons or watercolors, tape, and scissors. It's really pretty amazing to watch. You're creativity doesn't stop there. You can always think of something to do...you are NEVER bored. Not sure I have ever heard those words come out of your mouth. Should we talk about your "house"/messy messy pit in the playroom? Man, I must love you to let you leave that up for so long. You have spent hours building it. To most people it looks like a circle of castles, chairs covered in blankets, stacks of papers and books, and shopping carts with dolls, blankets, toys, and junk in the middle. To you it's your playhouse.  It's your sanctuary. It's the first place you go when you wake up in the morning. You are so proud to show your friends around in there. It's really pretty amazing when you describe to me every function every little pile has...the couch, the bed, the doll bed, the table. The "dressers and closets" are filled with every paper creation you have ever made....it's beginning to look a little like an episode of "Hoarders". It's been like that for almost a month and I don't have the heart to make you take it down. You get teary at the mention of it. What am I going to do with you?

You are outgoing yet shy at the same time. You have no problem making friends and you have quite a few of them. You are a natural leader (bordering on bossy at times)  I've watched you play dolls and house with your friends and tell them exactly what to say. The conversation goes a little like this:" "oh look, Sarah got at new outfit" Now you say "It's so cute"."

You DO NOT like to be the center of attention. In fact you really dislike it. This year I have watched you as you have had to go to several Reflections awards assemblies to be recognized and you DREAD it. In fact the principal at school wanted you to bring one of your awards to school to be recognized on "Falcon TV" (the elementary school channel) and you seriously did not want to go to school that day. It took a lot of pushing from me. Once you get in front of a crowd, you are fine but you insist that you are never entering Reflections again. It makes me smile. I love that you don't have to be or even want to be the center of attention...yet you have so many qualities that make you exactly that..the center of attention. (at least in my mommy goggle covered eyes)

You are FUNNY! The things that come out of your mouth sometimes make me laugh like no other. At bedtime when we make up bedtime stories, yours are always the wittiest and the most random. I love it.  You also have quite the stubborn streak. (you may or may not get that from me) I am often amazed and exasperated by how strong willed you can be. Again, I kind of love it. You know what you like...and that it that! :)

You have a tender, thoughtful heart but you are sometimes reluctant to show it. This has always intrigued me about you because you have been like this from day one. I wonder where this comes from. We are a pretty openly affectionate family who expresses how we feel about each other regularly but this doesn't come easy to you. You will write your feelings in a letter to me but it is harder to say it. You REALLY have a hard time saying sorry. Your brothers and sister will say it at the drop of a hat but you...well it's really hard for you. You are really such an interesting person. You have everything in the world going for you. You are beautiful, smart (OH SO SMART), witty, creative, independent...I mean what else is there?

You are a girly girl in some respects. You like purses, lip gloss, shoes, dresses, and earrings yet you are willing to get dirty and play rough. I love that about you!

I love our "girl time" together. When it's just you and I (and sometimes little sister),  you open up and talk to me about all kinds of things. I love how much you love to spend that time with me. Wish we had more of that. That time together gives me glimpses of what our time together will be when you are grown up.

What a sacred job I have being your Mom! I feel so very blessed to have you in my life!

love you love you love you,

Mom

Summer Murdock Photography

Be sure to go visit Marla Cyree of Simply Splendid Images has to say in her letter this month! Be sure to follow the whole circle for some serious inspirational letters and images...

"letters to our children" february edition

It's time for the second "Letters to our Children" post! I am SO grateful for this project. It forces me to write down all the little things about my children that I love and that I know i will soon forget. Pictures this month are from warmer days (last summer) that I have been meaning to blog for MONTHS (imagine that). This project is also helping to become a better blogger. YAY! Be sure to follow the circle (link at the end of this post)! Oh my little Wy-man,

How are you already 5? It seems like just yesterday I was toting you home from the hospital wondering  how I was going to do it all. But you made it easy. You have always been my tender-heart. Even at one year I old recognized what a sweet soul you are. There is just always been something about your amazing spirit that radiates kindness and joy and innocence. When I'm sad or not feeling well you are the first one to notice and the first one to tell me you love me and give me a hug. It melts my heart. And it's not just my mommy goggles that see this. I have had numerous people comment about how you "just have a kind look about you" and you do. It's other worldly almost and it's my very favorite thing about you. BUT there are SO many other amazing things about you . You are funny. When someone says your name I picture you laughing with the biggest most genuine smile. You especially think potty humor is hilarious and nothing makes you laugh harder than streaking across the house with nothing but your birthday suit.

You seem to really like to push people's buttons. You find it funny. I have watched you pester kids at the playground that are 2 times your size but always with a smile on your face. It's like you can sense who the serious and tense people are. Then you make it your goal to loosen them up. Sometimes it works and other times they just find you completely annoying but you don't seem to care. And when you can tell they have had enough you happily skip away with a smile on your face. It makes me smile but I worry it will get  you into trouble one day.

You are my cuddler...you cannot get enough hugs. I think every night before Dad puts you to bed you must give me at least 5 separate hugs in between every bedtime step...put on your jammies and you come hug me "goodnight Mommy", brush your teeth and you come running "goodnight Mommy",  get a drink of water and you come running "goodnight Mommy" and hug me.  Then it never fails after you are all tucked in you come back upstairs for one more hug. Sometimes when I'm tired, it wears me out and i think you are just stalling bedtime but when I'm in the moment and present I know it's more than that. You have so much love in that tiny little heart.  I could learn a thing or two from all that love you have.

You are quite adventurous and fun loving and almost always up to try anything. Maybe it's because you are child number 3 and are trying to keep up with the older two but sometimes you fearlessness scares me. I can hardly watch you at the playground. You are a little monkey swinging from the bars, hanging upside down, flipping, shimmying up poles and jumping down. I always want to tell you to stop but I hold myself back because you love it so much and you are SO proud of yourself after you do a trick. I can't bear to crush your excitement. So I try to turn my head and only stop you if I feel like you are REALLY going to hurt yourself. When we go to Disneyland there isn't a ride you won't go on. In fact last time you were so sad that you couldn't go on California Screamin and do the "loop te lou". I can still picture you skipping/dancing through the park humming with with excitement as we ran from one ride to the next.

You are obsessed with cars...all type...the cars characters from the movie and matchbox cars...you usually have a couple in your hands or pockets at all times. You can make a road of anything...a wall, a blanket..a windowsill. I'm sure our furniture has all kinds of scratches from all of your car driving.

Since you were a baby old enough to crawl, you have sat on my lap everyday while I blow dry my hair. I think you like the warmth of the blow dryer. You are starting to get too big to do it without getting hit by my brush and blow-dryer but you still try. Usually you just put your head in my lap now.  You have even convinced your younger sister that sitting in my lap while I do my hair is the coolest spot to be. She is starting to take your place there (the two of you often fight over it) but I will always remember those years with me, you, my brush, and the blow-dryer. I may sound a little sappy (and I am) but the thought of you on my lap while I blow dry my hair makes me feel all kinds of love.

You are the kind of kid who makes friends everywhere you go but you have s shy side too. When you get really excited about something you do the funniest, cutest thing that I noticed for the first time back in September when school started. I took you on our annual Mommy and son date and took you to lunch and to buy new school clothes and shoes. We go into your favorite shoe store and you picked out some awesome shark Vans. When the gal who worked there  brought them out and you put them on you smiled SO big it overtook your face.  When that happens you get so embarrassed that bow your cute little face and head and tuck your chin into your chest to hide all that joy. You do it every time you are really excited...trying to hide that big huge smile...it's like you know it's more joy than the rest of us feel!

Everyday when you come home from preschool, I know you are going to walk in with a gummy bear stuck on the top of your nose and big giant smile...it never fails. You lick the gummy bear Ms Molly gives you and  stick it right on the bridge of  your nose. On the days I'm not driving you have enough will power to make it all the way home without eating the candy just so you can show me for the 100th time that you have a gummy bear on your nose. sigh...I love you kiddo. I'm one blessed momma to have you in my life.

xo,

Mom

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

Now go visit Elaine Melko and see what kind of awesomeness she has in store....

and in case you missed last month's circle you can start it here!