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, February 29, 2008


Carrie tagged me. It is my fourth time being tagged, the first one I participated in, the following two I blatantly ignored (sorry Darci!), so this one I will do, with a twist. I'll list the seven random things, but I'm not going to tag seven new people, I'm going to tag one, with a whole new game.

My Seven Random Facts:

1. I once met Tom Arnold on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills while I was wearing a (oh, so stylish) cowboy hat and he was wearing a painted-on referee shirt. My friend Britany was with me, and we were on the opening credits of "The Best Damn Sports Show" for a year or two thanks to the encounter.

2. Today is Leap Day and also our niece's birthday (I don't do birthday posts for the under 18 set), officially she is 4 years old today, but in reality she is 16. When she was born her dad said she couldn't date till she was legally 16 - which would make her dating age 64. Ha! Happy 4th Birthday Chelsey!

3. Hubby and I had a spontaneous honeymoon - we picked a location about four days before our wedding (though I think if left entirely up to us, we would have chosen at the airport), hopped on the plane, landed, rented a car and chose a hotel as we drove towards a general area. It turned out great and was a fun adventure.

4. If you look in M Magazine this month - you'll see Mthree Studio credited for some charity event pictures.

5. I have a pair of indoor soccer shoes in my closet that I have owned since the sixth grade. That makes them about 18 years old or so - and they are still the most comfortable pair of shoes, though they look terrible.

6. I spent part of my childhood in Roanoke, Virginia. When it would snow there we would be stuck on the mountain we lived on for days b/c they didn't have the means to deal with snow. I can remember walking up the mountain to my friend's house with sled in tow - right in the middle of the street - no cars were out, it was too dangerous.

7. Despite my terrible, terrible math skills I was in advanced/gifted math in Elementary School. Things got hairy with algebra.

So, the New Bridal Ideas tagging game:
-List your top three favorite new wedding ideas.
-Link back to the post of the person who tagged you - this will create a continuous stream of posts that readers can follow.
-Tag a new person and share the rules.

I'll start:

1. Fortune Bouquet Toss - a bundle of smaller bouquets with a "wish" or "fortune" attached to each one (i.e."You will marry a world traveler") No one knows there are several bouquets until you toss, and they split apart. Bonus - the guy who catches the garter gets to dance with several women!

2. Station Dinners - several entrees served on a smaller scale. Guests get up and mingle, sampling and resampling food from the different stations as much as they like. It takes a savvy caterer - but is so worth it!

3. Ceremonies that have family members or friends contributing - ask your parents to say a few words about your relationship or about marriage (straight from their hearts) or, my favorite - select four or five people to do this, standing in a circle around you and your fiance.

It is so hard to pick, but I know everyone will get their chance. So, Darci - it is your turn and pass it on!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Picture for the Day - Stock Photography

I've been trying to use some of this off-season wedding time to dabble in the world of Stock Photography. For those of you who don't know what that is - Stock Photography is photography shot on general subjects, pencils, apples, painting, etc for use by designers, advertisers, etc.

As a designer myself I will often look to the stock sites to search for an image I need - a christmas ornament for a corporate christmas card for example. In the world of micro-stock these needs cost you a few bucks to use the picture and then bada-boom, bada-bing, you are on your way to a completed project. With micro-stock others can also download and use the same picture, so the photographer gets paid for each download, and as a designer you could see that image elsewhere. With other forms of stock photography you can pay for exclusive rights to images. There is also "stock illustration" out there, so if you needed something, let's say like a fleur de lis design for your wedding invitations, you could search for one, choose one you like, purchase and download it - assuming you have the right graphic software to work with it (i.e. Illustrator or InDesign).

So, the image above is one of my stock photography images. I did a bunch back in November then got busy and haven't really touched it since, though I have several sessions waiting to be edited and submitted. (Not everything you create as a stock photographer gets accepted, there are rules and guidelines about lighting, editing, composition, etc. And you have to get approved to be a stock photographer first.) This particular image here was downloaded by someone yesterday - my first download! I was pretty excited, even though it only meant $1.25 for me. Many successfull stock photographers have tens or hundreds of thousands of downloads and so I'll let you see how the math on that can be great for your bottom line. There are several wedding photographers who do this "on the side" in their downtime and easily pay the rent with their earnings. My paltry buck and change won't be doing that, but hopefully one day it will add up. And it makes fun photo field-trips a little more profitable.

Now the fun part is watching for my image to show up randomly in a magazine or ad somewhere....

If you are looking for more info, shoot me an email and I'll hook you up!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Paul!

(Image by Heather Cook Elliott)

Today is our very good friend Paul's birthday. He has been one of hubby's best friends for longer than I can remember, likely longer than even hubby can remember. There aren't many memories of mine or hubby's that don't have Paul in them. One of the hands-down nicest people you will ever meet in your life. The kind of guy that your parents love, and so do all of your friends. If you looked up "friend" in the dictionary - Paul's picture should be there as Exhibit A. Paul is a great catch - and one day some lucky girl will find that out. In the meantime, all of us in this group of friends love having him to ourselves.

So tonight we are going out to celebrate his (gasp) 28th year - I hope you have a great day to day Paulie.

The picture above is from mine and hubby's wedding day, when Paul was kind enough to help me down the fire escape when hubby left me there - high heels on a grated staircase and wedding dress in hand. Hubby isn't as bad as that makes him sound - but that is a great example of Paul, because before I could even realize that I was going to have trouble getting down the stairs, he was there helping me out.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Miscellaneous Monday

Yesterday I got together with several local photographers as part of the Photography Guild. Truly an awesome group of people and I got to meet some professionals that I've been admiring for a long time. We did brunch at Coast (I can't even tell you how yummy that was - so amazing) and then toured the Foto exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Here are all of us in front of the art museum, as taken by Norenna Patrick. Top row from left to right is: David Jackson, Carol , Janet McMillian, Linda, Nancy, and Mia. Bottom Row from left to right: Me, Charlie, Lisa and Scott. I can't wait for the next one!


I made hubby watch the Oscars last night. I love the Oscars - it takes me back to my filmmaking days. The dresses were beautiful, the set was amazing. It was the 80th Oscars this year and that reminded me that I was at the 75th Oscars. I was still in grad school and for a set design class we actually got backstage passes and a tour from the production and lighting designers on the day before. It is an amazingly beautiful theater, though not as big as it looks on tv (nothing ever is) and the set designs are so complex. There is a different look for each segment of the show - everytime someone new walks out, it changes. And the lighting designer doesn't just have to light the stage (which is challenge enough) but also the audience. Oh yes, and Jack is ALWAYS in the front row - I remember them specifically telling us that.


I haven't looked it up to confirm, but I'm pretty sure every major acting award last night went to non-americans. Hubby was getting upset because it seemed that the british were taking over. Except for the Coen Brothers who took home three.


As always on Oscar night, Hubby tries to figure out how he can win an Oscar (seeing as how I failed to do so with my film)- we have decided his best shot is Documentary Short Subject or Original Screenplay.


Why did Miley Cyrus present last night? What in the world does she have to do with the Oscars? Can someone explain this one to me?


Why does every host on CNBC yell into the camera for their whole show? Is it supposed to inspire me?


The new website is about half done - I'm hoping to finish it this week. Hallelujah! I hope it will be worth the wait.


I ate this amazing pastry yesterday called a pop-over. I will be learning how to make these, and well. Stop laughing. Kim Bedarski assured me they are easy.


It is officially the dead of winter because despite the fact that it is 30 degrees out today I thought "Oh, It's so nice out! Maybe I won't wear a jacket!" Oh, and the potholes are bigger than craters. Seriously.


Have a great Monday and stay warm!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Master Your Craft Seminar

Yesterday (as previously stated on the blog) I spent the day at the Master Your Craft seminar put on by Mike Colon and Bob Davis. The seminar more than ROCKED. It was so much better than I ever expected it to be and is quite possibly the best $200 I have ever spent. I know I have a few photographers who read my blog - and I have to encourage all of you to seek out this kind of learning - the whole day was so inspiring and motivating. I think there are a few stops left on the tour - buy a cheap plane ticket and go! Yesterday's session was attended by 125 photographers from all over the area - including one that flew in from Omaha!

Bob and Mike were so friendly and open. For a wedding photographer these two are kind of like celebrities. I follow their blogs regularly and admire their work - not just in photography, but in business. Just to give you non-photogs a little background; Bob Davis is well known as the celebrity photographer who did Eva Longoria and Tony Parker's wedding and also shoots regularly for Oprah. Mike is just as amazing and is one of the most well known wedding photographers and often graces the pages of Grace Ormonde's Wedding Style with complete fabulousness. But more than all their listable achievements, these two are inspiring for the way they exemplify giving back to their industry and colleagues.

I learned so much yesterday - I can't wait to start applying it to my work and to Mthree. The seminar was sponsored by Apple and Graphi Studio, so as part of the training, Martin from Apple gave a 45 minute presentation on the just released Aperture 2.0. I have been a Lightroom fan since about August and have loved it except for the crappy file management. What I saw yesterday was amazing. Aperture 2.0 is lighting fast, fully integrated into the Apple system and such an amazing tool. Apple took a group of world reknowned photographers (Mike and Bob included) and really listened to what pro photogs need in a piece of post-production software - and they gave it to us, in spades. One item in particular is a retouching brush (for those simple, quick fixes) that has edge detection. As I said under my breath when he showed this yesterday - "Dude." That one feature got a round of applause all on its own. By the end of the presentation I was a total convert and then they announced they would be giving one copy away. They collected everyone's business cards and I handed my brand new picture-adorned one over with a small wish and lo and behold I won! I am so stoked!

The fabulous Kenny Kim was along for the tour helping Mike and Bob out and taking pictures all day. Below is one of the collages he posted today about the experience - if you look closely you'll see me with Mike, Martin and Bob after I won my prize, one down on the left side.

Thanks to Kenny, Mike, Bob and everyone for a wonderful experience!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Photography Superstars

No, your eyes are not deceiving you - I'm posting at eight in the morning. I more than hate getting up early and today I was up at 5:30. I can't even remember the last time I set my alarm for such an unholy hour. So why am I willing to get up so early and put up with traffic to be in Chicago at 8 am and blogging? Photography Superstars Mike Colon and Bob Davis are giving a seminar here today. I am more than thrilled to spend the day learning from these two amazing photographers. I'll have a full report later this weekend and I'll try to steal some shots with the iPhone. Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I'm Loving right now...

I'm loving right now this shot from the White Box launch photo shoot I did a week and a half ago. There are lots of great shots coming out of the editing, but at the moment I'm completely enamored with this one. I just find it completely entrancing that the veil is in focus and all else is warmly out of focus. It looked almost just like this straight out of the camera, which I'm super excited about. The colors, the light, the texture - I'm totally in love. So much so that I ordered new business cards with this image on the back.

Monica and I haven't worked out yet who is going to blog about what from that day. So until we do, this is about as much of a sneak peak as I can offer.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Voting Tuesday

(from google images)

So, my offhanded comment yesterday about not knowing who to vote for actually caused several of my readers to email me and share their views on who the best candidate is. It is so sweet of all of them to share their knowledge and opinions, and I was surprised so many were so helpful.

While cruising the net briefly this morning for some way to compare the candidates in a basic way I came across Glassbooth which is this super cool site that uses a brief quiz to help you see which candidate most shares your beliefs. (After I found it, I did see it on a number of other blogs too).

For me at least, it proved what I already knew - that I'm mostly in the middle. The site says I'm 68% in line with Obama, but I'm also just a few points less in line with just about every other candidate - and so I'm in the middle. The cool thing is that the site tells you how different you are on the key issues and why, with links to more information. So now I have to decide which issues I feel most strongly about and choose the candidate most in line with those. The choice for president is important, but I feel that whomever it is, they are only as powerful as the senate and house lets them be really.

So, I hope you all took the time to get out today and vote. And if you are as bewildered as me, check out Glassbooth and get some insight. Some of the things the quiz asks about I didn't even know were issues in this race.

I promise a non-political post tomorrow!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Miscellaneous Monday

Safari has tabs! I think it has for a very long time - but I just realized it and it has changed my life. I haven't been won over by Firefox yet, but I did always like the tabs option, and so when I stumbled upon this feature last week I was delighted.


Monica has a really interesting discussion going on over at The White Box about fear of wedding planners that involves several other bloggers. Check it out!


Wisconsin's primary election is tomorrow. I have no idea who to vote for. I know it isn't the real election, but I'm still feeling the pangs of civic duty. As a business owner I should be voting Republican, but the options there are dismal - I don't really like John McCain, and I'm having trouble taking someone named Huckabee seriously (though I know that is silly). On the other side, I don't agree with Hillary on pulling out of Iraq in six months and the universal health care thing, and Obama I fear is empty promises. Ugh. Who are you voting for?


I finished Pillars of the Earth last week. Fantastic book! So multi-layered and rich. I had trouble putting it down. I admit, I wouldn't have known about it had it not been for Oprah - but it is still very good. By the end you actually end up cheering for characters you hoped would fail at the beginning of the book. And it is written from the perspective of several of the characters, seamlessly switching between them to keep you intrigued. My head is still swimming in their stories.


Oh Happy Blog has a nice post today on famed photographer Susan Stripling - what strikes me most about it isn't necessarily the amazing examples of Susan's work (and they are amazing) but what Oh Happy says about brides wanting photojournalism vs. editorial photojournalism. Very well put actually.


Happy Monday - enjoy the snow!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Siblings : Anytime

The uber-wonderful Danica booked me to shoot her and her siblings as a Christmas Gift for their mom. (Great idea, by the way!) My siblings and I did a similar gift for our parent's 35th Wedding Anniversary and I can tell you, this is a GOOD gift for your parents. Chances are the last nice pictures they have of you and your siblings are from your high school years.

Our original plans to be outdoors the whole time were thwarted by a potential snowstorm, so we decided at the last minute to start at the Intercontinental just to give us some options. Super, super cool location. The lighting for photography purposes is not so great though. Danica, Ryan and Stephanie explored the hotel with me and then hit the bar for a little mid-afternoon pick-me-up. (because, that's their thing - going to bars together, not necessarily in the afternoon) Things definately got better after a few drinks - so much so, I might start all my sessions that way.

I have to admit, Ryan was quite skeptical throughout the whole shoot - but he did give us some great funny faces. The series above is topped by my favorite shot of all three of them. We did venture into Lake Park after the bar, and played around in the snow briefly. A few speed walkers even asked the trio if they were models! And the results from the outdoor location just furthers my belief in the universal flattering qualities of an overcast winter day.

Anyway, enjoy the slideshow:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I was trying to think of a good v-day appropriate post and coming up short. Then hubby rang the doorbell and delivered a bouquet with a singing Valentine's day -gram he wrote and performed himself (he is always making up little songs for me). It was cute and silly - but so, so sweet. I'm lucky, I know.

So, I did find this fun tongue-in-cheek Valentines Day email you can send to your sweetie from the Bureau of Communications. It is like a mad-lib with a secret agent style twist. Have a good one!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What You Can Do (Part 4)

This is another entry in my continuing series on what you can do to help make your photography spectacular. All of these posts are merely suggestions and not requirements. You'll have beautiful and wonderful photography from me regardless. But take some of these things into account and your investment will have much larger dividends. I'm not a magician and some of these suggestions can make a huge difference in how stunning your photographs can be.

(this is a shot from the shoot I did for The White Box {a hidden sneak peak!} - to me it is the epitomy of the relaxed bride who is really enjoying her day - a good illustration for today's post)

What You Can Do - Be an Organized Bride

I'm not asking for a fire-breathing, micro-managing Bridezilla, please don't misunderstand. (please don't.) But being organized before your big day can go a long way in making things run smoothly on your day, and this will help your photography go smoother. For one, you'll be more relaxed, and that will translate to your photos. Some photography-specific organization tips:

-Know who you want formal shots with. I talk to all of my couples about a month before the wedding and we make a punch list of the groupings they want formals of (i.e. bride with parents, bride with both sets of parents, etc). Having this done ahead of time means we aren't standing there on the big day trying to figure out who we haven't taken pictures of yet, who might be missing, etc. My assistant has the list, we make our way down it quickly and swiftly, and formal shots are painless. No one likes taking formals, not even me, so we do what we can to make this part of the day short. I myself made the mistake of not having this list done for my wedding day, and the only formal shots we have are of the two of us with our parents - nothing with our immediate families, our siblings, nada. We were so caught up in the day (and running a little behind schedule) that it totally slipped our minds.

-Inform the necessary family members and the wedding party of the photography plans. If you plan to get the formals done right after the ceremony, please tell everyone involved. Tell them where they should gather and when. Hunting down people is the quickest way to make formal shots painful and lengthy. In particular, be sure your grandparents, and anyone who might be assigned to them that day are aware of their need to be in pictures. Make sure the wedding party has a clear outline of what their duties are for photographs. I have seen many a groomsman or bridesmaid disapear with their significant others or own families precisely when we need them for photography because the didn't know what was expected of them.

-Provide transportation to your wedding party between the ceremony and reception. This is most important when you are planning to go to alternate locations for pictures between the two events. The ability of possibly 10 or more people to get to another location and park, in separate vehicles, is highly limited, especially in all of the excitement of the wedding day. If you are waiting for people to arrive, trying to direct them by cell phone, etc - we are loosing photography time.

-Have an overall itinerary for our day and make sure everyone knows it. Not to say you should make a schedule and become a nazi about following it, but knowing a general outline for the order of events is helpful to every wedding professional, and the integral personal participants of your day. This kind of thing gets fully discussed with each of my couples at that 30 day point, but make sure everyone else knows the schedule too. I can't tell you how many times the caterer has approached me asking when the couple is planning to cut the cake. I know, but they shouldn't have to ask. Having a general outline for your day allows me to plan appropriately for memory cards, lighting and other equipment issues. And, if everyone has a reasonable idea of the plans, you'll answer less questions and the day will run smoother.

-Send me a copy of your invitations, ceremony programs, menu cards, etc ahead of time. If you want fun detail shots of these types of items, send me one ahead of time. Not to say I won't be able to get these shots on the spot the day of, but if I have a Ceremony Program in my bag and have an idea for a cool shot of it in the middle of your ceremony, I don't have to steal one from a guest (because there are rarely extras). The invitations though are the big thing to send me. It is so nice to have a few shots of these available for your album, and I won't be able to scrounge one of these up at your wedding. PLUS, and this is a big plus - having your ceremony program lets me know the exact order of your ceremony and allows me to plan for when I can run up to the balcony or to some other vantage point without missing something.

-Give me a point person. Assign a bridesmaid, sister, cousin, someone to me. Make it somebody with a good overall knowledge of the day and the guests. I can go to this person then when you have requested a shot with your Aunt Sally and they can retrieve her, because they know who she is. It is not a big job, and they don't have to shadow me all day - but if they are willing to fetch people for me, then I know I can bug them when I need to, and not you.

I am a super organized person, or I at least try to be. And many of you know I'm also what I affectionately refer to as a "recovering bride". So, I am always happy to talk over the schedule of your day with you and help you fit in everything you want photographically with everything you want to experience in your day. It is never my goal to spend more time capturing your day than you do experiencing it. What would be the point of that?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Miscellaneous Monday

Hubby and I watched the Grammys last night (well half of it) - how disappointing. Incoherent babbling presenters, watered down performances, ill-fitting suits, a ugly set, I could go on and on. Oh, and someone please help Amy Winehouse.


The writers strike is over - Hallelujah! We can now return to our regularly scheduled programming. Well, in a month or two.


Call of Duty 4 is the new thorn in my side. Hubby is beyond addicted to this game. I thought nothing could trump his obsession with Madden, but I was wrong. So wrong. My only saving grace is that he has decided that it is easier to play in his office on the smaller tv - so I don't have to listen to the constant barrage of bullets.


More snow today - I think I might have to go outside with a yardstick and document this accumulation myself. Except that it is like 2 degrees out...


I saw a mayoral candidate's posters (for a suburb) on my way to a client meeting yesterday. They were bright pink, and they were for a female candidate. Interesting choice. Most female candidates don't care to draw attention to the gender issue, instead they combat it. I don't know anything about this candidate except for the posters and lawn signs I saw - they got my attention, but somehow the fact that she used bright pink took away some credibility for me. Hmmmm....


I found another abandoned/wrecked house yesterday. I've driven past this place at least a hundred times, and never noticed it. I love finding stuff like this, and as soon as the temperature gets above 30 degrees I'm going on a photo fieldtrip.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Winter Engagement Shoots

I was browsing through some fellow photographer's blogs today and I'm loving all the winter shots. The light at this time of year is just so beautiful and clear. It is universally flattering - like being lit by a giant softbox. The images are just positively yummy. Remember Sarah & Jim's snowstorm shoot? - point made.

If any of my clients out there that have yet to schedule their engagement sessions (and that is most of you!) are even remotely considering a winter shoot - I say Go For It! It will be fun, beautiful, and like no one else's. The requirements are only that it be above 30 degrees and not raining, and that you be game for being a little cold and dealing with the snow. Having snow would be preferable, but we seem to have no shortage of that now (seeing as how it is snowing, again, as I type this). Let me know if you want to give it a go - you won't be sorry.

And so as not to post without some eye candy - I give you one particularly inspiring shot - by the incomparable David Jackson:

Friday, February 8, 2008

Another Save the Date

As promised, I bring you a Save the Date that left the studio last week. The bride has assured me they are in the mail, so it is safe to blog about them.

These are for another somewhat destination wedding in Madison - seriously, this is the most far-reaching guest list I have ever seen with guests in England, Kenya and India if memory serves, plus all over the U.S.. Regardless, they will hopefully all convene for a wonderful soiree on a lake in Madison. The feel of this wedding is laid back but also classy - and so we went for a slightly vintage elegance on an earthy theme.

Personally, I think I love the envelopes more than the Save the Date itself. Just something so wonderfully vintage about them.
As always, black lines obscure the personal info:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

More Snow Stories

I don't know why, but this conversation that Hubby and I had this morning just cracks me up. It was had with me in my office (the dining room) at my desk, and hubby standing by the door as he is leaving for work.

Hubby: "Here comes my arch nemesis"

Me: "He always wins babe, just let it go"

Hubby: "No. I'm gonna watch him. He'll see me. And if he piles all that snow up in front of the fire hydrant again I'm going out

Me: "Honey, I don't think the city of Franklin plow would purposely plow in the fire hydrant"

Hubby: "He did yesterday - you know I'm going to call the city and let them know that I don't mind keeping it clear, but it can't be a several times a day job"

Me: "mmm hmmm."

there is a pause. (I'll take this moment to point out that though I can't see him, hubby is standing in our entry way, watching the plow thru the side windows of our door, intently.)

Hubby: "Now he's pushing all the snow on our lawn back. No! Really, it can stay in the middle of the cul-de-sac. You don't need to pile it... Ohhhh...."

another pause

Hubby: "Well, we have a protective wall of snow being built in front of our house"

Me: "In the driveway?"

Hubby: "No,... he knows I'm watching him"

At this point I get up to come and see what he is so fascinated by.
There is a giant orange plow truck carefully plowing out the circle into our yard.

Hubby: "Now there are two of us watching him. He knows."

me: "You think he'll behave then?"

Hubby: "He has to."

me: "Do you think there is training for plowing snow?"

Hubby: "Yes. It is a very serious job" (I would like to point out that Hubby takes his snowblowing Very, Very seriously. There are wrong and right ways to do it, there is a whole school of philosophy on it written by his father, and trust me, he only does it the right way.)

Me: "Oh no! He's going to plow in the mailbox!"

Hubby: "No, I snowblew that out yesterday" (we have yet to decide if the proper conjugation here is "snowblew" or "snowblowed")

We watch for awhile -why, I don't know. Oh yeah, that's right - to make the plow behave.

Hubby: "Now I know why some circles have that little piece of land in the middle (ours does not) it so there is somewhere for the snow to go."

Me: "He's turning, looks like he's headed for the fire hydrant" (frustratingly there is no window that allows us to see the fire hydrant area of our yard, though we try.)

I leave and return to my office, the obvious excitement and entertainment over. Hubby remains.

Hubby "You know, I've noticed they haven't been salting our circle."

Me: "Maybe a different truck has the salt"

Hubby: "No, he has salt. I can see it. He's just not giving us any. Some places are running out of it - so I guess they figured, 'hey, screw the four people that live on this circle!' I paid my salt taxes just like everyone else."

The plow drives away, and Hubby dejectedly puts on his coat to leave.

The End.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Snow and more Snow

If you are reading my blog from anywhere outside of Southern Wisconsin, you are the only one not sick of hearing about or seeing the fluffy white stuff. We are in the middle of a heinous snow storm, that has already dumped about 14 inches on us and looks to do at least 3 more (mind you, we already had about 6 inches or so on the ground). And then there is the wind - gusting and blowing everything all over the place and making visibility zero. The airport is closed even. Plows are working hard, but it doesn't matter because more snow just gets blown on top of what they just cleared, and you can't see anyway. Hubby is out helping some friends whose snowblower broke, and I'm hunkered down in my office, watching the spectacle out the window. I took some shots from inside my warm house for you - if you think I'm going outside, even for the sake of a good picture, you are nuts. The second picture above though is of a tree in our front yard - a tree that is usually compact and tall, but is so overladen with wet heavy snow that it has taken on the appearance of an octopus.

On a slightly unrelated note, I just heard there were tornados in Nashville and 52 people died - I've been calling my good friend Britany to see if she is okay, but no response yet. So despite the fact that everyone I know here in Wisconsin is safe and snug in their homes, I don't know about her yet. Of course the tv news here is only briefly mentioning this since the snow is story #1-10. One news report I found on the internet said the tornadoes lifted and skipped Nashville before touching down again - for her and her hubby's sake, I hope that is true. I'll be waiting >somewhat< patiently by the phone until she calls.

**Udpate: Britany and Scott are fine. The tornados did skip over Nashville. But she could see a gas main explosion from their house. And her hubby said "It was pretty exciting!" Britany did not agree.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Difference - Part 2

This post is part of an ongoing series of explanations on what exactly I think might set me apart from the general photography din out there. Other people may offer some of the same, and still others have completely different offerings. These posts are not meant to say any one choice is good or bad - we all serve the market in our own way. And each business makes its own choices as to its offerings. These are mine. To see previous posts on this topic, go to the post organizer at the right and click on "The Difference".

I have a non-shooting assistant.

Doesn't seem like it should be anything to crow about really, does it? But having this invaluable member of my team along on your wedding day means that I can focus on taking beautiful pictures, not lugging gear, locating Aunt Sally for a family formal or even fluffing your dress. They help me take better pictures, and often they help your day run smoother as well. They are a catch-all gopher that gets paid in small monetary ways and (hopefully) free cake.

Who is this mystery assistant you ask? I have a small group of them, all former brides themselves, so they understand the drama of a wedding day and how to deal with it. They are all super nice and have been known to hold flowers, fix boutineres, fluff dresses, fetch you some water, and just about anything else that comes up - all in the name of fantastic pictures. They are also in charge of the infamous clipboard containing the list of groupings you need for family formals - making that part of your day as painless as possible. They each have a particular skill set that is unique to them as well - some are super organized and on-point, some are my partners in crime, some have a gift to befriend anyone, and some are such fantastic photographic subjects themselves they tend to infect the bride and groom with their posing and camera-seducing abilities. I try to choose the one most appropriate for the needs of your day and we have a winning combination.

And the best part - I don't charge you anything extra for this little added bonus. It is just something I need to do a great job, so I consider it part of my costs. I appreciate them far more than I could ever pay them, and I know they make a difference in the quality of my work.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Miscellaneous Monday

Tom Petty is coming to Summerfest. Not a big surprise, he comes almost every year - but this year he is coming on a date we can actually go - the 5th! Usually he plays on the 3rd or the 4th, and when your hubby works in Fireworks, that makes it impossible to go. But hubby says no matter how tired he is, we are going this year! Woot! Woot!


Tom Petty's halftime concert (yep, I like him enough to mention him twice in one post) was pretty good. A predictable set - safe and classic, but still awesome. I wish they would have done a better job filming it though. And kind of funny to see Petty after a fresh session with a stylist - clearly they used a flatiron on him.


I did a photo shoot with the wonderful Danica and her siblings this weekend at The Intercontinental (formerly The Wyndam). If you haven't seen this hotel since it has been overhauled - you are missing out. It is so awesome. The walls are covered in this yummy chocolate suede, so you can draw all over them with your fingers. The decor is just beautiful, and their ballrooms could host the swankiest of weddings. And rumor has it they have a chocolate bar every Friday and Saturday night - a chocolate bar. I will definately be checking that out.


I also did a photo shoot for the fabulous Monica and the upcoming The White Box. It was like having a little bit of New York Fashion week right here in Milwaukee - what a blast!


Reportedly, the writers strike has reached a tentative agreement - it is predicted that it could be solidified by the end of the week. I know I speak for all of us suffering in the banals of reality television when I say Hallelujah!


If you haven't voted on the poll to the right yet - please do. I want to be sure the new website services clients well.


Enjoy your Monday.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Love Poem...

Oh, Anthropologie, How I love thee,
Let me count the many ways:

One is this dress that would be perfect for the weddings I'll be attending (not shooting) this summer, if it doesn't go onsale it will be a real bummer:

Two is a strikingly charming armchair upholstered with a pattern of parrots floating in air:

Three is for the trio of wallpaper strips I could never afford, but would keep my kitchen wall from being bored:

(I would hang them just like this as if they were art, floating of the wall, suspended from two well placed tacks)

Four is the many ways you allow me to indulge my obsession with the initials in my name no two ever the same:

Five is the couch I will never be brave enough to buy, but that for my studio or a photo shoot would be so fly:

Six is a pretty barette, but for thirty dollars, I will not get:

Seven is what could be a gorgeous collection of hand-blown voluminous vases, for my sister's wedding you would light up faces:

And Eight is for a necklace of pearls and gold (on sale!), that hopefully on Valentines day I will hold (hint, hint):

In all seriousness, this was one of my favorite stores from my California days, a place I often could loose myself in for hours admiring all the pretty things. I have never been rich enough to be a regular purchaser, but I have always been an admirer of their unique offerings. As a former visual merchandiser I have great appreciation for their displays - always so beautiful and out-of-the-box. I am so thrilled it is in Milwaukee now and it was a true bright spot of my afternoon browsing around, taking in all the beautiful and quirky displays. I took my own pictures of these items with my iphone - but can't seem to get them onto blogger, so all of these are from the Anthropologie website. If you haven't been to the new store yet, you should go, you won't be sorry!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Vote for the new website...

I put a little poll over to the right here (just under the link to my webpage) - I'm looking for some feedback from all who read the blog. For my new website I can organize my gallery of pictures a number of different ways. I know how I liked to see them when I was a bride - but I'm only one person. So weigh in people! You can comment here on this post too if you want to give me some more insight on how you like to navigate a site.

Pssst! I have a Secret...

Well, it isn't really a secret, but as far as the blog is concerned, it has been little discussed that I have a bit of a double life professionally. Photography truly is the bulk of my work day, except when the snow is flying here in Wisconsin. Weddings come to a slow crawl and I fall back on what has always paid the bills for me - Graphic Design. Yep, I'm also a designer. I've been working in Graphic Design since my first year of college, and it has always been a reliable way to bring in a paycheck - the proverbial "skill" that I could fall back on. So when I started Mthree Studio, I was sure to include Design in the offerings, to help round things out and give me a break from photography now and then.

If you've explored my website, you'll see some examples of design I have done for weddings and also more commercial clients. The great bulk of my commercial work remains in seclusion - as I'm bound by confidentiality agreements to not say really anything, much less post pictures. But the wedding work I can share - after the items have been sent out to their original recipients. So I'm backtracking today and showing you some work that has come out of Mthree Studio in the past few months, but apparently I neglected to blog about. There is a new set of Save the Dates that went in the mail yesterday - but those will have to wait till the bride and groom get a chance to send them out. Last names or identifying details have been blacked out in the pictures.

This one is for Nick and Sara. We did a custom photo strip with the two of them holding a sign in each frame reading Save. The. Date. 7-XX-08. (the advantages to being a photographer and a designer). The strip was then attached to a card made of sparkly black paper, printed with serigraphy. Everything was enclosed in a bright red envelope to contrast.

A destination wedding in Madison? Well it is when all of your guests are from out of town. I made a Save the Date for Kate and Bobak that features the capitol building and a modern elegance with a bit of a wink to the wording. I just love the swirly-ness of this one so much, I had to show you a detail shot as well.

Here is a thank you note I did for one couple, to use for showers and engagement gifts. (Darci, you are going to love this one) It also features a custom monogram developed for them.

For a couple who really loves their Harley - a playful Save the Date with a custom illustration.

I'm going to try to blog more about design as it comes up - I have a full plate this wedding season with wedding suites so that should prove fruitful for the blog.