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Archive for 'Personal'

March 20, 2015

Some of you may know that my husband and I recently traveled to Oregon for spring break. Actually, a LOT of you may know because we could not stop sharing photos on social media. You know why? Because we were having the time of our lives. Seriously. Most fun trip ever. Some city, some beach, some rain-forrest, some sea lions. Sigh…..Oregon was a bubble of delight. And we didn’t even get to see all of it!  You know what we should all be doing? We should be documenting in detail our best trips and then swapping itineraries with each other! I’ve got ours so if anyone else wants to trade, I’m game!

All that to say – why stop the over-sharing now?  Here are a few of my favorite photos from the second-half of our trip.

 

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

The forests are magical. Like from a movie. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

 

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

One of the yurts we stayed in. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

 

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

So alive! ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

 

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

 

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

Bridge no more. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

 

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

Banana slug. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

 

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

More magic forrest, just a little further north. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

 

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

My absolute most favorite person in the world, who let me take a photo of him in a wetsuit when he was all wet and salty from surfing. Such a good sport. And so handsome too! ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

 

 

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

 

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

Not exactly like a Florida beach. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

 

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

The famous Peter Iredale Shipwreck. Pretty cool. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

 

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

Our last stop – beautiful Astoria. Washington state is right across the bridge. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

 

©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

Our Astoria hotel and again, the bridge. Both were impressive. ©KaraJohnsonPhotography2015

 

 

January 6, 2015

©Kara Johnson Photography 2015 ©Kara Johnson Photography 2015

Dearest DJ,

(Sigh). You’re the cutest.  I am biased of course, being your aunt and all, but I have it on good authority from all of the people that I insist look at photos and videos of you regularly, that you are WAAAAY up there on the cute scale. Maybe they’re just being nice, but how could anyone not get sucked in by those eyes and that grin and those luscious baby-fat rolls?

I like thinking about how much fun we’ll have when you’re a little older and we can do things together like go to the zoo and the park and make big huge messes with paint and mud-pies! I know that after that, there will come a time when no matter how hard I try, I won’t be someone you want to hang out with anymore because you’ll realize that I’m…old. To you anyway. Because you’ll be a teenager. During this period of our lives, when I am the least-cool (second only to your parents) and you cannot possibly voluntarily be seen with me in public; I’ll try to remember my own teenage years. Instead of foolishly attempting to pick out cool music, clothes or educational games for you – I will give you cash and gift cards at birthdays and holidays. This I do solemnly swear. But for now, I’m going to give you the most ridiculous outfits I can and take as many pictures as I can and eat up all of your cuteness and continue to force coworkers, strangers and friends to agree that you are an above-average baby. This I do solemnly swear.

I love you dearest DJ!

– Aunt Kara

©Kara Johnson Photography 2015 ©Kara Johnson Photography 2015

November 30, 2014

A couple of years ago at this time of year, I was not feeling thankful.  I was feeling the deep, intense grief of someone who has lost someone or something. I was feeling alone. I was feeling like no one anywhere could possibly understand my pain and suffering. I was feeling like I would never, ever be able to climb out of the hole of depression that I had fallen into.

I’d like to mention also, that during this time I was surrounded by friends and family who were wonderful. They tried to say all of the right things, they even excused me from having to bring a dish to Thanksgiving. But sometimes – most times – every time, actually – the griever must just let the grief run it’s course. The thing that is the hardest, is that we don’t know how long that course will be. Sometimes it is a sprint, sometimes it is a never-ending marathon. We long for control over our emotions, we want to dominate the pain that is ruining everything; but the more we push against it, the longer our journey to healing will be. It is the worst.

My journey has been a long one and I have wounds that haven’t quite healed. What I appreciate most are the friends and family who are ever-patient with me. Ones who refrain from saying “Why can’t you just get over this already? Isn’t it time to move on now?” even when they don’t fully understand why I can’t do that. I am grateful for friends and family who have matched my rage and sorrow with empathy and love.

I realize that this year some of my dearest friends had hard Thanksgivings and are likely dreading Christmas in a way that I’m familiar with. I’m also willing to bet that I have friends and acquaintances who are having a hard time that I know nothing about. If you are one of those persons, I want you to know that you’re not alone. There are a whole bunch of friends and strangers alike that love you – that are praying for you – that have felt a pain as deep and treacherous as yours and who have survived. You will too. And in years to come, it will hurt a little less. But for now, I’m so, so sorry for your suffering.

Every Thanksgiving social media is bursting with images of what and who people are thankful for. I have hesitated to share some of those images myself for fear that I’m not being totally honest that this time of year is a little hard for me. So here is the full picture – I’m sad, I’m thankful, I’m hopeful and I’m thinking about all of you with love and thanks and hope as well.

Sincerely – Kara

With Thanksgiving

 

 

  • Kara, not only has God gifted you with photography and getting REAL pictures of people looking their natural, beautiful selves, but He has gifted you with a wisdom of people’s inside feelings that you also can relate through in your life. Now, just like your photos, you are sharing those thoughts and feelings in well written words. Many years ago, during the struggle with the short life and death of our first son, a very wise and compassionate Christian counselor shared a priceless gift of words with me. He simply said,” there is no right or wrong way to grieve, but you must do it in your own way.” He also taught me that grief is like waves on an ocean: you may think you will drown in the beginning, but as time goes on, you keep swimming along your way in life. The waves will still come, just as strong and powerfully and you think you will drown after all. Still, you keep swimming and as time passes and you learn to trust God and others in your life more, the waves come fewer and farther apart and it still hurts just the same, but you keep swimming…..
    My drowning moments were accompanied by great waves of guilt until one day I was able to left that guilt float completely away. Yes, I still grieve, but I celebrate the lives of my husband, children and our grand daughters. I have also found a way to let God help me celebrate my own life, as it is today. Love and Blessings to you as the Christmas Season nears. And keep taking those awesome pictures of Elizabeth! Warmly, Carol

    • kjohnsonphoto says:

      Thank you Carol, for your beautiful and inspiring words. So many have felt this struggle and not spoken of it – I think it helps us all to share with each other. Thank you for sharing and for your support and encouragement! – Kara

  • Emily says:

    “But sometimes – most times – every time, actually – the griever must just let the grief run it’s course.” Hear, hear! What a lovely post.

November 22, 2014

Dearest friend,

When I was at your apartment the other day, looking at all of your impossibly cute things, I noticed a photo on your refrigerator. It was a photograph of you, from many years ago – you were young and smiling and your eyes were shut. Everyone else was cropped out of the picture. “What is this?” I inquired. “Motivation.” you replied, explaining that you were several pounds lighter in the photograph and you kept it on your refrigerator as a deterrent from misguided snacking.

I thought about this for a long time – I thought about this for hours after I left your house. Dearest friend – you are so beautiful. And do you know from whence your beauty shines forth? Your eyes! You have such a joyful spirit and it comes through in your laughing, expressive eyes every day. Now, I get it; you want to shed a few pounds. Fine – I don’t like that, but fine. But let me be clear that not for one moment – not for one moment EVER has your beauty derived from your waistline. Your beauty comes straight out from inside of you – it pours out of you with every laugh, with every furrowed brow; and every time the light catches your eyes the world gets a glimpse of the light inside of you. And it is beautiful.

So, if you must keep a photograph on the refrigerator for motivation – and I strongly discourage you thinking that you are anything less than perfect the way you are – then I implore you to please, please choose one where your eyes are open! Be reminded that your beauty shines OUT from those gorgeous eyes. Be reminded that you are made up of many things that make you more than just attractive – but that make you a complete and amazing individual.

When I visit my grandmother, I love looking at old photographs of her. I see her – her beautiful smiling eyes the same in youth as they are today. She starts the criticism “Oh gosh! I can’t believe I wore that!” but before she knows it, she too is rapt -unable to tear away from the memories held in those photos. It happens all too soon that life moves on – we change, our families change. Photographs are one of the ways we remember the past – one of the ways that we remember each other. They’re important, because you are important. So I guess what I’m saying to everyone is take pictures! Be in pictures! Smile! Open your eyes! Save your pictures, print your pictures, share your pictures (hire me to take your pictures!), and be remembered for the beautiful, perfect soul that you already are.

 

- Photograph by Kara Johnson Photography - Quote by William Shakespeare

– Photograph by Kara Johnson Photography
– Quote by William Shakespeare

  • Kara, What a beautifully written commentary on what so many of us are guilty of, myself included. You gave me a brand new way to look at myself. I usually like to be the one taking the family pictures, that way I can not have a “bad” picture taken. We are all too often critical of our “image”, when in reality we need to remember that we are created in the image of God. Of course, I do not think that means our personal appearance but our humanity and spiritual presentation of ourselves to others. Thank you for reminding me of that. And thank you for the beautiful picture that you shared with these words. I know that I am not impartial, to say the least, but she does have beautiful eyes, doesn’t she? You capture so many beautiful moments and this is one of my favorite ones! Best wishes, Carol

    • kjohnsonphoto says:

      Carol, Thank you again for your kind words and insight. I’m honored every time I get to take photos of your sweet and beautiful family and look forward to it happening again soon!

  • Tricia Barrett says:

    That was beautiful! Although I’m not over weight, I’m very much one to hide from the camera. I’m not the “photogenic type” but I am reminded that life is short & time passes quickly and with the recent passing of my Dad, it was sad seeing the lack of photos that I was in when the video played his life story.

    Thank you for the reminder & I will be more cognizant of being “in the picture”

    Good photography work!

    • kjohnsonphoto says:

      Tricia, Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m guilty of hiding behind the camera myself sometimes too. We can both work on getting “in the picture” from now on!

  • Emily says:

    This is gorgeous, friend!

  • Jen Snider says:

    Right on, friend. Lovely writing, amazing photos.

  • Jen Snider says:

    Right on, friend. Lovely writing. Amazing photography.

  • Holly Goodnow says:

    Kara, this is so beautifully written