A place I have had on my radar since I was a little girl. I was always invited by my best friend to go to Mardi Gras with her family, her mother a born-and-raised lady of the south and for some reason, it took me a good twenty eight years to finally visit the land without rules. I can not wait to go back with her and eat our way through the French Quarter, the po’boys of Uptown and the tall hurricane drinks at whatever hour of the day or night you please.
This trip to New Orleans was for a wedding. We had our good fill of southern food, making me nostalgic for collard greens, shrimp and sweet corn and beignets. When not indulging in wedding drinks, food and cheer, we spent our time wandering the streets, getting lost amid the crowds with cold beers in their hands parading through the streets to keep the Louisiana body temperatures cooler than the humid air. I found the architecture beautiful, where wrought iron porches gave entrance to late afternoon sun, to set the most beautiful shadows on building walls and reflections from a wild yet beautiful city to shimmer peacefully in the windows.
While on a walk yesterday afternoon I noticed a man pull out a piece of sidewalk chalk and start drawing a portrait of his dog. I approached him and asked if I could take a photo of what he was doing, which he happily said ok to.
His actions made my day: doing a pet portrait and leaving it for others to enjoy until it fades. It brought me back to my senior year in high school when I would leave made up poems and drawings of my friend Courtneys and my dream of living in the mountains, called Tomorrows Dream all over the school campus. We enjoyed it and left it for others to enjoy and think about. Just like the dog artist ;)
I was on the road last week with camera in hand and enjoyed seeing hearts all around. Its a Hallmark holiday, but why not tell those you love how you feel? Although, I believe this should be done every day.
With the arrival of my nephew in November, I have had the chance to do more newborn portraits than I ever had and I can tell you this: I won’t be stopping. I have fallen in love with photographing newborns; their small gestures with larger than life expressions to the simple form of holding a parents hand.
I enjoy watching the interaction between the parents and the child and absolutely love the intimate moments which I capture on camera.
It has been wonderful jumping into this niche of photography and each newborn I have the chance to photograph and capture such intimate moments, makes me so happy to be doing what I do.
The past two weeks have been spent understanding my small knowledge of html while combining two websites into a cleaner, more simplified website to host Emma Simmons Photography. This also allowed me to go back through my photographs I took while in India (2008) and I came across one that I had never really paid attention to.
I always enjoy seeing how others travel (what gets pushed into the dala dala’s in Tanzania, or how many people can fit onto one single moped). It makes me feel like we live so cautiously, while in other places, there are no limits….
Every Christmas we have our fingers crossed for a white Christmas. Being that we are in Maine (the North Pole?) in December, snow covered grounds just seem right. But, like most places this winter, except Alaska, where they are getting dumped with feet of snow at a time, Maine was without a lick of snow in our parts.
I woke up on Christmas morning and our yard was still dry and there weren’t many signs of winter, until mid morning, in between opening gifts and having some bubbly… Santa must have saved our town for last.
In an earlier post I did an Ode to Trees and I couldn’t help but do another post about the dance of the tress.
When I was home last week for Thanksgiving, I wanted to get some shots of our street, because I think it is one of the most beautiful tree lined streets. The branches lend themselves as dancing arms and legs and during certain times of the day, rays of sun break through the dance and make it one of the most breath taking views.
What would happen if each of us decided to donate $10 knowing that our $10 went to building a secondary school for children in Tanzania?
Epic Change, a non-profit in the US, helped raise funds to build Shepherds Junior School and out of gratitude and an outpouring of love from across the world, more than 500 kids were given the incredible access to an education every child deserves. The challenge was what happened once the kids graduated from primary school? Where would these kids, who ranked at the top of national exams in the Arusha district, go on to attend a secondary school? This is our mission!
As Thanksgiving approaches this week, I like to reflect on the people and things I am grateful in this amazing world and be a part of Epic Thanks again this year.
I am forever grateful for my family, for the love, friendship and support I receive from them every.single.day. Last week my oldest sister gave birth to her first child, a precious little boy who I fell in love with the moment I saw him in the email announcing his arrival to this world and our world. I fell in love with him all over again the moment I met him and each time I see him it is the same grateful and warm feeling of love. A true joy to our family!
I am grateful for my loving boyfriend, who I continue to share many laughs, delicious meals, deep conversations and a close bond with. Almost 8 weeks ago, I had a tumor removed off of my ankle, keeping me off my feet and living with crutches in our third floor walk-up apartment. His support, patience, and nurturing care has been absolutely incredible. After spending day after day in discomfort and keeping myself entertained while being constrained to the couch, it was his (and other friends and family members of course!) encouragement and company that kept a smile on my face.
For the friends who I have had in my life since day one, to the new friends I am lucky to meet each day. I am grateful for the relationship we have and the memories we continue to make and share. Thank you!!
And for the little things in life: a butterfly that appears at the moments most needed, a flying dandelion seed, a smile from a stranger and random acts of kindness…they go a long way!
Thankful, I am, to be a part ofEpic Thanks to share our gratitude and stories and help Epic Change raise the funds to help build Mama Lucy a secondary school out of our gratitude. Just a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet in person the founders of Epic Change, Stacey Monk and Sanjay Patel. I have been SO inspired and thankful for the hard work they put in to help children across the globe, in Tanzania, to access an education these children deserve. I also got to meet Mama Lucy, who used the income from her chicken business to rent land next to her home to educate the children of her village. Classrooms and a library has been built out of gratitude from the past and this year during Epic Thanks we will help build the secondary classroom. On their first trip to the U.S., two students from the Shepherds Junior School accompanied Mama Lucy: Leah Albert and Gideon Gidori and meeting both of them was incredible. They spoke so passionately about their school and to hear their dreams of being an astronaut and first woman President of Tanzania was so touching. It makes me VERY excited to help with their next step, to have a secondary school where they can continue to accomplish their dreams.
Yesterday on twitter, I received a message from @Leah_Albert with a photograph thanking me for being a part of EPIC THANKS.
So, join me in posting a photograph or note showing what you are thankful for and lets join together to help build Mama Lucy’s Secondary School out of gratitude.
$10, you’ll add a brick to Mama Lucy’s secondary school. 1,000 bricks=1 classroom.
$100, you’ll be able to add your own personal dedication of gratitude to the walls of the new school.
$250, you’ll make room for one student in a classroom at the school built from your gratitude.
$10,000, you’ll build an entire classroom.
How amazing would that be, to know that your donation, however big or small, helped build a child’s future?! To make a donation, you can use the donation tool at the bottom of this post or go to www.epicthanks.org and make your contribution there.
I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving week and hope you too, will be able to reflect on the people you are grateful for.
I am going on week 4 of being off my feet, after getting a Giant Cell Tumor removed from my leg last month. I can’t help but scroll through my phone, as I sit restless and craving movement, to look at photos I have taken on the go, while on walks or hikes or random adventures. Losing the ability to walk temporarily makes you thankful for what you have and for being healthy for the most part.
One of my favorite photos I took a few months ago was from a hike I love to do just across the Golden Gate Bridge here in San Francisco. I pass this tree each time I do this hike and each time it reminds me of a hike I did with my mom in Tecate, Mexico during a sunrise spiritual walk we chose to do. The tree on this hike stands by itself and is somewhat small in stature, but after walking by it each time I do this hike, I stopped to photograph what I found was so beautiful: the branches reaching out into the sky. The design reminds me of lightning and I can’t help but stop to pause and admire it.
I’m always drawn to trees and their different forms. The street I grew up in Houston has some of the most beautiful oak trees I have ever seen. I found a picture of my street from the blog La Dolce Vita. The boughs (branches) are large and at times intertwined, allowing the most beautiful light to break through. The natural form, non-manicured and wild is what draws me in and I find it all so peaceful.
“Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.” Chinese proverb
Last Thursday I went on a wonderful hike with my Mom and younger sister, Winnie, in Tennessee Valley, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. I was having a *benign* tumor removed from my ankle the following morning and the thought of being off my feet for a few weeks was frightening. Our hike was cold, foggy and drizzling rain and was in my mind, perfection. When we reached Tennessee Valley Beach the waves were crashing against the cliffs and we walked around looking at the small rocks that were wet from the dew and picked up the best heart shaped rock we could find; a tradition in our family. I came across this beautiful wet feather and wanted to take a photograph of it, to be able to look it while I recover from surgery and know that being still is needed every once in a while.
A few times a year Epic Change hosts some really incredible social media fundraisers, but with a great catch in the process; TweetsGiving was started to Tweet your Thanks to help raise money for the Shepards Junior School outside of Arusha, Tanzania, which has not only built a school to educate 400+ students but has also started to build a boarding house for a secondary school for these children. The school, which I was able to visit last summer, is outstanding and a classroom was built from TweetsGiving. To Mama With Love, was started over Mother’s Day last year to honor mothers from around the world with online e-cards, which raises funds to help remarkable women around the world.