I'm mthree. Those are my initials. Always have been, and thanks to a hubby with a "M" last name; always will be.

I've been a designer for over ten years, I was an animator and a filmmaker once, I was a bride before I was a photographer, I'm a new business owner, but I've always been an artist.

You can get a glimpse of where I've been, a better look at where I am and a peek at where I'm going right here.

You gotta S -T-R-E-T-C-H your browser window to see the BIG pictures...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Life's Little Surprises...

Don't you just love it when something completely unexpected and nice happens to you on a random normal day?

Today I got back from a mid-day trip to the bank (blech!) to see a wonderful gift waiting on our doorstep. Turns out it is a belated wedding gift from former colleagues of mine, the Murphys! There was a great little card tucked in that was addressed to "Molly & Ken - the happy couple". What a wonderful surprise! The Murphy's live in Mequon, so this means that one of them (I'm guessing Leslie) drove all the way down here to Franklin (a good 45 minute trip one way) to hand-deliver it. So, so sweet! I'm only sorry I wasn't home to receive it - it would have been nice to catch up!

So, THANK YOU to the Murphys for a wonderful little bleary winter day pick-me-up. The fabulous beverage tub and party accessories are just what we need for our annual New Year's Eve Party. (For all you emily posts' out there - I will be sending a real thank you note.)

Have a Happy Friday and enjoy the coming snow!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Little Advertising...

So a lot of the top photographers in the country are proud to say that they have never advertised in any traditional sense. They claim to have built their businesses on word of mouth and their websites/blogs. Well, no offense to any of them, but most of them live in Southern California, where life exists much more on the internet, and there is such an influx of people that one client can have so many referrals it can make your head spin. (I lived there for a few years, so I can say this with some certainty). This however, is Wisconsin where weddings have a season and while there are plenty of us here, there aren't 8 million in one city.
And, while a good portion of my clients do come to me from referrals, a little boost couldn't hurt. So, hubby and I decided to advertise in Wedding Planner and Guide this year. I know I used this little local planning book frequently when I was a bride. Anyway, the new copies came out yesterday (it is published once a year) and it was really fun to see my name and company right there with so many local photog's ads whom I admire. If you see one in a bridal shop, Barnes and Noble or where-ever (they are all over, and they are usually free), please turn to pages 88 and 161 for my ads (invitation design and photography, respectively). And as an added bonus (Harmony, are you sitting down?) turn to pages 64 and 65 for a spread of one of my favorite shots of all time from Harmony and Darin's wedding being used to illustrate an article. Past couples Jeff & Jackie, Jamie & Craig, Jamie & Micah and Harmony & Darin have pictures featured in the photography ad for Mthree as well.

Let the calls and emails roll in....

Oh yeah, and Harm - I'll save a copy for you!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Maya & Michaell

The last engagement shoot of fall that got any beautiful color was Maya and Michaell's. We spent a surprisingly temperate November afternoon chasing the light around the third ward and the lakefront. The sunset did not disapoint - we hit the sweetspot at the riverfront - bundles of beautiful golden rays. Since these two are artists and met at MIAD, we started there and then did some real exploring. We even checked out Design within Reach. Overall, it was a fantastic good time with an uber fun couple. Their wedding is going to rock big time next May in Middleton.

Maya talks a lot, and I do mean a lot. But Michaell is clearly more of a listener, so it works out well. We took A LOT of pictures, which is part of why it took me so long to get this shoot posted. They were game for so many fun situations and loved the textures of the Third Ward as much as I do. I had a great time guys - I hope you enjoy the pictures!

I've been wanting to get a shot like this for awhile now - so glad that this was the right couple for it:

The slideshow is looking a little goofy on my computer (quality-wise). I'll do what I can to figure that out...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

New Website!

I've been talking about putting together a newer, fresher, redesigned website for awhile now. Finally, FINALLY, it is done!
I've added a whole section on Kid's Photography, and revamped my galleries and added some links to the Links page. I also added F.A.Q. pages and a "Words" page that showcases a litte of the love my wonderful clients have expressed.

I've got some advertising coming out in the next month and this new redesign is much more in keeping with the look of all of that (more on that later).

iWeb instists on letting a few color and line-up bugs thru it seems, but I think it I have it mostly sorted out.

Please go check it out (that little link at the top right hand side of the blog that says "Take me to Mthree" will do it.)

And Please share it with all your friends and family!

Enjoy, and leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pecan Praline Pumpkin Pie

(Thanks to hubby for the above pic)

On Wedesday night, my good friend Jamie and I decided that while our men were playing X-box we would make pies to take to our many thanksgiving celebrations. This is the first year we will be attending as "wives" so we thought this would be a good contribution. This idea was based on the theory that if we did it together and in mass, it would be easier. It was definately more fun, but I don't know about easier.

Let's start this little tale by pointing out that neither one of us had ever made a pie before. (Well, Jamie had apparently heated one up, which instantly made her the expert) In my lovely cold-induced couch surfing of the week before I had seen Martha Stewart make a Pecan Praline Pumpkin Pie. She oooed and ahhhed about the fancy crust and the yumminess. I don't even like pumpkin pie, but it looked good. So, I consulted with my Mom regarding the recipe (when I didn't know what 'cold leaf lard' was for the crust ingredients) and she helped ammend it a bit. Number one, my mom is a fantastic cook and baker. And yet, she says the only person she has ever known who can make a pie crust that isn't tough is her mother, who is no longer with us, and didn't pass this down, despite my mom's many efforts. The hidden message here was: "Molly, you don't stand a chance at nailing a pie crust." So, we went with the premade pie-crust that you just unroll and place in the tin, as per Mom's excellent advice.

So, steps 1-10 pretty much involved some Mike's hard lime (We start every recipe with some kind of drink, and we will swear up and down that it says to do so in them)and cutting out tiny teardropped shaped pieces of the pre-made dough to make our curly crust. We used a home-made cutter that I fashioned out of some black wrap. Next year we will buy the real cookie cutter needed, but it worked.

So, the crust itself had to be placed in the oven for 10 minutes and then taken out and let to cool, while the little curly cue things chilled out in the fridge.
Then we had to put the curly cues on the crust with egg wash. Quite an endeavour. Here is Jamie trying to explain the difference between placing them parallel with the crust, and perpindicular as the recipe directed.
I swear to you, she was doing this before I grabbed the camera. (Side note, it was really hard to remember to take pictures of the process and to focus on the cooking)
So we made the filling of the pie. Now, it should be noted that we skipped right over Martha's directions to steam an actual pumpkin (Mom says there are special baking kinds) and used the premade puree in a can. Such smarts we thought! A twenty minute debate insued however when the recipe called for a pound of puree per pie, but the can said that it's one pound of contents were enough for two pies. We even consulted the Men on this decision. Ultimately, as Jamie explained, Libby's (the company that makes the puree) has been making pies for 70 years, and Martha has been making them "fabulously" for only five. So, we went with the can's recommendation. As we stirred, Jamie gave a small lesson on her use of an adverb in that argument. It should be noted that Jamie is a sixth grade language arts teacher. Apparently, adverbs were the hot topic this week.

Believe it or not, we actually got the pies filled and in the oven. I took a picture to prove they were normal before this crucial step where things usually go wrong for me.

About halfway thru cooking, some of our curlycue crust started to fall off, so we had to repair it (I'll just leave that up to your imagination). We determined this happened because we didn't chill the completed crusts for an hour like Martha recommended. (We are impatient cooks)
While the pie cooked, we made the pecan praline for the top. This resulted in one failed attempt where our sugar syrup crystallized (Jamie theorized it was because we used a pan larger than Martha recommended), but our second attempt with a smaller pan was a success.

Jamie is a BIG rule follower. So the timer was very important:

In the end, after about 50 minutes of baking, we had success!

I didn't take any pictures of the pies the next morning when we put on the praline topping, but lets just suffice it to say that they looked JUST LIKE MARTHAS.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Woot! Woot!

It's Snowing! It's Snowing!

(I'm a bit excited about this)

We are supposed to get 2-4" tonight.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Vote for Timm!

If you have a spare minute today please vote for my good friend Timm. He and his friends made a commercial for 102.9 The Hog's (radio station) commercial contest. Timm does this stuff for a living and he is one of the best people you will ever meet.
The winners get 10k and their commercial will run on WISN 12. Sweeeet! If you remember the national Doritos commercial contest that happened for the SuperBowl - Timm was a finalist in that contest as well.

So, if you have a minute, please vote for him.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Trash the Dress - Preview #2

I've been busy with a lot of design work this week and several internal projects, which unfortunately has left me little to post about I guess. This morning I'm working on an ad for Milwaukee Magazine, and I had to edit this image to possibly use, so I thought I would share it. It is from the second Trash the Dress session I did, just last weekend. Judy and Jeremy were total rockstars. There will be full slideshows of the TTD shoots coming very soon.

Happy Thursday!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Trash the Dress - Preview!

So, awhile ago I sent out a request for volunteers for a Trash the Dress Shoot. Several people responded and after several rain delays I hit the cornfields with two brides one day in October and just this Saturday rocked several Third Ward locations with a bride and groom. If you've seen me in action, you know that I am often found laying on the ground or precariously perched on something in the name of a good shot. And with all of the potentially dangerous positions I put myself into - I managed to injure myself with something fairly tame yesterday. Kneeling in an alleyway, I got a pretty long thorn stuck in my knee. I pulled it out, but now, a little over 24 hours later, I'm in enough pain that walking is difficult and stairs are excrutiating. Leave it to me to get injured in a silly way. I mean, come on! A thorn?!? Anyway, I thought I could rest it up and get some editing done on the first of these shoots, and so I give you the preview above. This is only the first of what I think is a boatload of amazing shots. I'm hoping I'll finish the whole set soon, and then I'll share them all. This shoot rocked, and so did the one this weekend (which I won't get to for awhile proubably).

Friday, November 9, 2007

Heart & Soul

On Tuesday morning I woke up super early (anyone who knows me knows that I am so not a morning person) and photographed the "Heart & Soul Breakfast" for St. Joseph Hospital Foundation. The breakfast was one part fundraiser and one part thank you to the staff, donors and volunteers that make all of St. Joe's efforts possible. Charity events require a lot of posed group pictures, but I try to sneak in some more pj shots.

The event showcased several stories of St. Joe's. Amy Taylor (of 94.5 fame) was the Master of Ceremonies and also shared her own story of the birth of her triplets at St. Joe's. Cathy Bolton (local musician) performed live during a slideshow of images from the year. There was also the story of some Somali refugees who are being cared for by a St. Joe's physician who has lived in their region. A few of those families were there and the kids were so cute - they LOVED the camera and called out "again!" several times when I took their pictures and always asked to see themselves on the preview screen, marveling how they got in there. The event was at the Italian Community Center, which is much nicer than any of their pictures let on from their website.

Here are some of my favorites from the event:

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Enough is Enough

I know I have a lot of supporters when I say that 99.1 WMYX starting their non-stop Christmas music playlist on November 1 was nuts, crazy and downright wrong. And the fact that I saw Christmas stuff going up in Home Depot before Halloween really irked me. But last night I saw something that has convinced me that our obessession with Christmas has gone too far.

I stopped at Walgreens quickly, and here in little ol' Franklin, in front of the store was a Salvation Army Bell-ringer! On November 7th!
I find this absolutely ridiculous. I know the Christmas season has been getting longer and longer every year as it shows up sooner and sooner, but the bell-ringers are on that bandwagon now too?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Monica's Family

A couple of weeks ago I got to spend what was our last Beautiful Fall Day with Monica and her family for a photo shoot at the Boerner Botanical Gardens. What an amazingly beautiful day it was - yummy golden light, bursting fall color and a warm breeze - it was true food for the soul.

I was expecting to get lots of touching and poignant images of the family relationships in front of me - what we ended up with was bundles of laughter and a family that can't stop making each other laugh and smile - no matter how hard they try. I don't think Benno has a serious bone in his body. And Suzanne, the mom was so elegant to the core, she has a way of sitting and standing that displays for all her strength and character. Monica and her sister Resl (I hope I spelled that correctly) put this together as a birthday gift for their Mom, which is such a wonderful idea. Seeing this woman with her family - I don't know how to describe it, but you could feel how this was her world - these three people and the lives they have spun together. It was an honor to watch. Thanks for a fun day guys. Enjoy the pictures!

To schedule a photo shoot for you and your family give me a call! (There are plenty of great indoor locations to keep us shooting throughout the winter!)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Surprise! 35 Years!

Saturday night my siblings and I (and hubby too!) threw a surprise Anniversary party for my parents. Today (Sunday) is officially 35 years of marriage for them. Happy Anniversary!! As a 5.5 month newlywed, I can't truly appreciate the signifigance of that many years, but I am in awe. We managed to keep the surprise for about two months and my mom only began to suspect on the drive over to the house. The party was a big success, with lots of their friends and family here to celebrate and toast to another 35 years. The very best part was waking up on Sunday morning to a clean house - thanks to my rockin' siblings who made sure everything was cleaned up before we all left on Saturday. My mother in law took a bunch of pictures for us, which follow here.

My Dad with friends

My Mom with my Sister Stacy, Brother-in-law Jacob and his parents

My sister Katie and our cousin Steph

Cousin Craig, my brother Christian and hubby

Me with my cousins Jen and Janelle and our aunt Deb

My parents with all of their children (my sister in Atlanta and her family are missing)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sugar Crash

Well, I didn't win the pumpkin contest. No big surprise - I knew there were going to be a lot of entries (627 actually). If you are interested in seeing who won and some of the other favorite entries - go here. Some of the ideas they show I had, but I guess I took the contest too seriously. Oh well, it was fun regardless.

Anyway, there is frost on the ground this morning and the halloween candy bowl is getting empty - so today is appropriately a Sugar Crash. Here are some rotting pumpkins (I saw while shooting my entry) to help usher out fall and bring on winter...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Click on the picture to see it BIG.

Well, here is my entry in the before mentioned pumpkin contest. The challenge was to carve a "Anti Workshop" inspired pumpkin (The Anti-Workshop is kind of the rebel photography workshop and it will be in Vegas in March) and photograph it. Winning entry gets a scholarship to the workshop. I think it turned out pretty well. It ended up being very metaphorical, which I hadn't planned, and I also realized that my christmas light approach was kind of vegas-y.

So, total investment: One white pumpkin - about 5 bucks, eight strings of battery operated lights - about 12 bucks, 16 "c" batteries for lights - 20 bucks, grand total $37. That would be a cheap workshop.

While out in the pumpkin field I found some great rotting specimens - which of course I took pictures of. Hopefully I'll get a chance to post those later.

Thanks to the Swans' for letting me use their pumpkin field!