16 Jul

NYIP Tutorial on Spot Metering

Posted by Jenna, Under Photography

My photography tutorial on spot metering is up at NYIP. Click here to read it, or on the photo below.

Spot meter for better portraits

All of my photography tutorials can be found on my Photography page.

14 Jul

Womanhood Beyond Motherhood

Posted by Jenna, Under Photography

Six months ago I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. T1 was in the throes of his thrust to childhood independence, T2 was moving out of her “multiple-naps-a-day immobile lump of baby goodness” stage, and TH was staffed on a new case that had him working every single day. I was trying to do all the things, per my usual modus operandi, and I needed more help as I swam through the long days of solo parenting. I went to therapy, got rid of obligations I was holding myself to that didn’t matter as much as I thought they did, and found a family to watch T2 for three days a week so I could work without one ear to the nursery room door waiting for the baby to start crying.

There are many reasons why this period of time was so difficult for me. One of them was that I was feeling entirely consumed by the act of mothering. It not only took up the majority of my mental energy and time spent at home, but when I went out with other adults we seemed to spend all of our time talking about my kids or theirs. Even if the kids weren’t around! It’s wonderful to brag, necessary to collaborate, crucial to have an outlet, but I couldn’t stop thinking “We are so much more than our kids.” I’ve often heard of people talking about older women who have Empty Nest Syndrome, but I can’t think of a time that label has ever been applied exclusively to a man (maybe to the parents as a unit, but never the man on his own.)

Womanhood Beyond Motherhood - mothers representing what fulfills them.

I wanted to explore this idea more, and so I decided to launch a portrait project called Womanhood Beyond Motherhood. I photograph mothers in the setting of their choice, aiming to capture who they are at this stage in their lives. Afterward I send them a list of questions asking things like why the location of their photo is meaningful to them, what fulfills them, and few other prompts to better get at who they are. The site has 17 portraits so far, including a selfie that I took in my office where I am sitting and typing this post.

My favorite image so far is of my grandmother, my mother’s mother. She’s 74 years old and hauled herself up on that fence like someone 40 years her junior. Last week we were in Washington for a family reunion and I watched my grandmother make breakfast for 40 people, clean it all up, and then head out back to use a chain to pull a calf out of a laboring cow. Magnificent! I am in awe of her strength and determination. Read more →

12 Jul

Bring Samantha Kelly Photography to the Bay Area

Posted by Jenna, Under Uncategorized

Are you in the Bay Area? Looking for an all-film photographer who does colorful and bright lifestyle sessions with a natural feel to them? Maybe you don’t want to hire Jenna Cole because I don’t do all-film yet  :) (I did my first paid film/digital blend session and loved it! I’ll put my favorites up on the Jenna Cole blog after my site gets a makeover.)

If you’ve been searching for an all-film lifestyle photographer in the Bay Area but haven’t found the perfect fit, maybe you’d like to join me in bringing Samantha Kelly out here? She’s offering travel sessions for $750, which includes time spent shooting and all edited image files. That’s a fantastic price for a session done entirely on film with a photographer with her skill set, and I think it’s a one-time-deal because odds are high that her client base is going to explode and she isn’t going to be in portfolio-building mode anymore.


I met Samantha Kelly at Yan Fam Way and adored her instantly. I’m really hoping someone who sees this post will want to hire her as well so she will come to the Bay Area to do some sessions for us! When I contacted her she said she would need at least one session in addition to the one with my family in order to make the trip. Any takers?


11 Jul

Meet Me at BlogHer 2014

Posted by Jenna, Under Uncategorized


BlogHer 2014 is fifteen minutes from my house, and I’m keeping my eye on the Ticket Swap page for a great deal on conference passes. I really enjoyed my experience at BlogHerPro and I feel like my “blogging as a career” plans are picking up steam. I’m about to announce/launch a few different projects (details soon, I promise!) and I’m going to use the BlogHer experience to try to develop some partnerships with sponsors and network with other bloggers who are trying to do the same thing I am.

I’ve never been to a big conference like this and I’m trying to prepare myself. I’m such a newb that I didn’t even bring business cards to BlogHerPro. I haven’t lined up babysitting yet, so I’m not quite sure how much of the conference and festivities I’ll be able to attend. I want to meet up with people who are going! Where will you be and what are you looking forward to most?

20 Jun

Wodna Wieza

Posted by Jenna, Under reviews, Travel

I think this post represents two firsts for me – the first time I’ve written a recap within 24 hours, and the first time I’ve done so with photos taken and edited on my iphone. All edits were done with VSCOcam and the side-by-side shots are done with TwinCollage.

Everyone else in my family is sleeping in today (we are still in Poland), and since I was up at 5am I’ve had plenty of time to process photos and put this post together. I’m hoping I can keep this early morning momentum going because I love feeling like I’ve accomplished so much before 8am.

I wanted to write up a post about our dinner last night for a few reasons. I’ve been doing lots of Europe trip planning lately and the English-language blog posts I find about things I’m researching are really handy. TH and I also fell in love with Wodna Wieza and when we like a restaurant that much we start to worry it might go out of business. This happened to our favorite Dallas restaurant, Aurora. I know odds are slim that any of my readers will be heading to Krakow anytime soon, but if you ever do visit the southwestern area of Poland I think it would be worth a trip.


 Wodna Wieza calls itself a Steampunk Cafe, though I think the use of the term cafe makes it sound a lot simpler than it actually is. It’s nouvelle cusine with a touch of molecular gastronomy in a setting that has attention to detail unmatched by any restaurant I’ve ever been to.

Is there a Steampunk Restaurant Supply catalog somewhere? My iphone couldn’t do this place justice.


The wine cellar.


It wasn’t just the decor that wowed us, with each course of our 5 course tasting menu they brought us unique silverware unlike anything any of us had ever seen before.


The restaurant is on the top floor of an old water tower, so the views are stunning as well!


Our dining group for the evening.


The first course was a grouping of individual mushrooms, in a very unique serving dish, made 10x cooler when the server “watered” the largest mushroom and revealed the presence of dry ice nested underneath. Throughout the meal I was really impressed by how far they were able to take things without it feeling cheesy or trite. We ooohed and aaaahed with each new thing brought to the table. Even the bread and butter! (Honey and lemon infused butter, delicious.)

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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