I can't believe it is already November. I promised to write more, yet I've written less! It seems life just keeps coming.....I wish it would slow just a little. It's not like the stores are helping us out in slowing the holidays down....seriously do we need Christmas decorations up the day after Halloween? Does Starbucks really need to get out the holiday cups so early????? I know....I do bug my clients in August to start thinking about those family photos for holiday cards..........

it's beginning to smell.......................

A lot like fall. First it's the smell of fireplace fires in the crisp air. Then it's the fact that it is pitch black when I drive the kids to school and before we eat dinner. It's also the smell of grapes fermenting in the basement.

We purchased the cab grapes from Beckstoffer Vineyards in Rutherford this year and are doing primarily Cabernet, but are trying our hand at chardonnay, which I can't remember where we got those grapes from. We have 20 gallons of chard being fermented. We have almost 40 gallons of cab fermenting. Last night we pressed all of the amazing juice of the cab grapes and the color is just beautiful. The aromas wafting around our garage smelled heavenly. We plan to run the juice on both through a process called MLF (malo lactic fermentation). Without boring you, basically it is a secondary fermenting process that gives wine that buttery smell and smooth feeling on the mouth. We are very excited about this season and can't wait to see how the wine develops. It is such a learning process.

iPhone Pictures

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I know...............

I know..............I'm not getting much better at connecting. I'm trying. Really. This weekend I walked almost 40 miles in the Avon Two Day walk for breast cancer. It is an amazing event and it was an awesome experience. The weekend before that I met up with my aunt and my cousin and surprised my mom in Utah for her birthday. The hug I got when she saw me made it all worthwhile.

Life is really speeding up. I am working on custom cards, holiday photo shoots and fueling my creativity. This weekend I am photographing families who otherwise would not have the money for a family portrait. I think it is a highlight of my year to be able to do this, though it comes at an extremely busy time.

beautiful rain drops

It has been so dry around here....the grass is dying, my plants are dying....but yesterday the rains came....and it was glorious to wake this morning to the dew dripping off the fennel in the herb garden. The fog was just beginning to lift as I snapped this shot of our home in the reflection of the drop.

abstract thoughts

Learning to see with your eyes wide open......beauty is all around, if you can just take the time to look. The other morning I found myself out in our garden and I have walked by these flowers for two years.......on this morning, I took some time to look with eyes open.

The "L" family!

Love, love, LOVE this family. The girls are so helpful and really have blossomed since I photographed them at their home in the dead of the FREEZING winter for their holiday cards last year. Little "J" is too much fun-he loves tootsie pops I found out. And Miss "P"-she really warmed up this year. It just shows what time, a beautiful location, and a slow, relaxing morning can do for photos.

Wine Time!!!

We ordered our wine grapes!!!! Chardonnay this year and my white wine friends will be so happy-at least I HOPE they will. We have been testing our Cabs from Napa and Paso and they are coming along nicely. We ordered enough to do 30 gallons of Napa Cab this year!!! October is shaping up to be busy indeed. Wine grapes, Avon Walk in NYC-again (my poor tootsies), holiday photo sessions and cards.......................LOVE IT! the energy is so, well, ENERGETIC! I LOVE this time of year.


Is it really almost October? Did the first day of Autumn come and go??? Have I posted no pictures, shared no tidbits, laughed with you????? I know. I am a bad, bad BAD blogger. I don't know where the time has gone. I have taken pictures, I have done fun things, I have WANTED to share................but yet, I have not. I am sorry. I think I have struggled a little to find the voice again that wanted to playfully share the adventures of me while raising a family, chasing my dreams, and figuring life out. I don't want this blog to be something that you read and think how perfect my life is (it's not) or how much fun I have (some) or how wonderful my family is (they are). It is just me sharing. Sharing the trials and tribulations I experience as I go down the path of life I've chosen. And if I make you laugh a little.....or cry a little....or just FEEL a little.......then I have accomplished the goal I set for myself when I attempted to write this blog. So please, accept my sincerest apologies for avoiding you. I lost my way a little but I think I am back.
Love, love, love this image. He's trying not to smile as big bro is standing nearby and he needs to look cool.....

mid point of summer

Looking through my calendar, I realized it is really the midpoint to summer. We finally got some rain and it has given me a chance to get caught up around the studio. Baseball has been the number one priority around here with my oldest son taking the District championship and advancing to state sectionals. My younger son is busy with many games of summer baseball......all good! What else would I be doing with my summer anyway??? The heat had been unbearable, and now even though it is extremely muggy out there, I am relieved the plants in the garden have received a much-needed watering. Believe it or not, I am already thinking about the holidays and looking to what products can be offered in connection with my photography and design studios. Be on the lookout for samples of products as well as any offerings-they will be posted in the blog. The holidays book up, so if you are considering a shoot, please contact me to schedule a session!

more photos

Another one from my "girls" session. I took three friends to some locations for shots in their dinner dance dresses from 8th grade. It was an experience to have three good friends "hang out" while I photographed them. Lots of energy and lots of fun. The giggles and laughter kept me going for the rest of the week!

This big guy was a lot of fun to photograph. Though it was nearly 100* in the sun, we managed to beat the heat and get some shots. We talked a lot about coffee ice cream, the Yankees, and the color blue......love just being in the moment!

end of year

The end of the year is winding down. Can't believe that after today there are just five days left. It seems like yesterday we were at staples buying all the items on the school supply list. We are looking forward to lazy days of summer! I have been busy with photo sessions and promise to do a blitz of posts after school ends...so please be patient.

I am excited to announce a new shop opening in the Cannondale area that will be carrying shawns things! It is Bella & CO, at 26 Cannon Rd. Her grand opening is this weekend. It is a gorgeous shop with lots of goodies by local artists. Be sure to stop by and mention you saw it on my blog!!

With all this gorgeous weather, it gets my creative juices flowing. I am excitedly working on some new ideas to incorporate my passion for photography and love of graphic design.

More to come!


I was out shooting again this weekend and it was STICKY hot!! These girls were great though, as long as I provided them with diet coke and H2O! I will post more from this session later this week. I still have a ton of images to process.

another great model

Meet Miss "L". You've seen her before, but now she's growing up. She just joined me in a "Modern Teen" shoot. She had a lot of fun. Kids this age are really fun to talk with and she is so interesting. Thank you "L" for a really great Saturday afternoon.

my man "N"

It was a gorgeous day and we took full advantage of some after school shooting time. My friend "N" was very excited to get some "MODERN" shots......we had a lot of fun.

another beautiful day

We prepared for the worst: thunderstorms, hail, wind....we got none of that. Just fun, fun, fun and a beautiful day. I so enjoyed spending time with Miss "K". What a treasure. A great way to cap off a pretty terriffic photography week!! A super special thank you to Lauren for the awesome make up!

modern teens

It was a beautiful day and the weather cooperated with us. I feel so privileged to be lucky enough to work with these two girls. They are so lovely inside and out. I LOVE this age. They are not afraid to try anything and really had a great time scouting out some really edgy spots! I can't wait to do more of the Modern Teen shots using some of the locations we found. This is a great age and makes for some really fun, interesting shots.

a great read

Possibly the best book..............................................ever! I absolutely loved this book and couldn't put it down. It's a quick read, but very interesting in it's approach. I LOVED it!!! Run out and get it. Great read for spring break! xo

new location

Recently I tried out some new locations for my modern teen shoot. Love the way the sunlight hits under the bridge. The railroad tracks were a little scary-need to make sure my schedule is correct before shooting again!



Here I am being a bit selfish lately, worrying about how my family forgot my birthday this year....wallowing really........only to find out that a friend of mine who thougtht she'd out smarted cancer...........hasn't.

Puts a few things in perspective.

And reminds me that no matter what "level" your friendship is with someone, a phone call can make all the difference in the world.

Remember to call those you love, hug those you care about, and tell someone you love them often. Life really is too short.

delicious waffles

Spring is finally in the air here in the Northeast. It was an epic weekend as far as weather goes, and also for the waffles we made.

Recently, I purchased some lavender honey. I have thought about making something with it for awhile, but was not sure what to do with the sweetly scented nectar so it just sat on the shelf. I came across a recipe marrying lavender and lemon and thought I could also include some raspberries, blueberries and strawberries as well. A recipe was building. Here's what I came up with:

Lemon Waffles with Mixed Berry Compote and Lavender Whipped Cream.

The flavors were so subtle, yet delicious and spring-like. Here are the details:

Use any home made waffle recipe. I use the one in the red and white checked Betty Crocker cookbook. It has you separate the egg yolks, whip up the egg whites and fold in for extra fluffy waffles. The only variation is I add a tsp of good vanilla, and 1 1/2 tsp of lemon extract.

For the lavender whipped cream I heated the honey because it had crystallized a bit. I let it cool , then whipped heavy cream in a cold bowl in high adding about 2 tbsp sugar and 1 or 2 tbsp of the lavender honey. You definitely should taste as you go. Keep in fridge until ready to use.

For the berry compote I added 1/2 cup each: blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries with 2 tbsp sugar and 1/4 cup water and simmered until berries were soft.

To serve: make waffle and plate, spoon compote, add berries and use some fresh maple syrup, slightly heated. Then add whipped cream and eat. DELICIOUS!

Serve with champagne topped with splash of ST. Germain liqueur.

chilean wine

Two weeks ago, we finally bottled our first wine. It is a blend of Chilean syrah and malbec. And it's pretty good......it's nice to see the work paying off. We really enjoy every aspect of wine-making. From the punching down of the grapes, to the pressing of the juice, to the testing of the wine (and of course tasting along the way!), it is an amazing journey that doesn't end when you bottle.....you are able to remember the journey each time we open a bottle and share it with those we care about.

new project

I am working on a new project: The Modern Teen. Todays teens are not really kids anymore, but not quite adults either. They have personality and their own idea of what is artful. Unfortunately all too often they are "stuck" with a portrait based on locations that are more suitable for young children and families.

For the Modern Teen, I use locations and settings that create an urban, modern feel and include things that your teen feels is important. By including what your teen is passionate about I am able to tell a story in my photographs. Is it the guitar? Is it skate boarding? Swimming? Horsback riding? Using these things, I compose a photograph that really speaks about the subject: them!

To get my portfolio started, I have reserved a small number of photo sessions exclusively for teens age 14-17, within the Fairfield County, CT area. If you have a son or daughter and you are interested in a free photo session please email me. The session will last approximately 1 1/2 hours. For your time, you will receive a $25 gift card to be used for prints, gallery wrapped canvases or the latest for high school seniors: the senior announcement card-this new trend is sweeping high schools throughout the country. You can see a sample below:

To see see samples of my work please go to my website.

spring is in the air

I know it's been awhile since I've posted. There's been a lot cooking here, but I can't say I have a ton to show for it. Last year, we promised the kids that we'd get their rooms organized, painted and freshened up....so I guess that's what I've been focusing on-and getting my photography business off the ground. I have the website up and running: www.shawnkahalphotography.com Stop by and take a look. I am booking already for spring and hope to be really busy snapping beautiful, smiling faces.

back up your data, BACK UP YOUR DATA!!!

The new year came and went, and I spent the majority of January organizing all my data. Feeling very smug with my new back up hard drive and portable drives-I thought I had it all figured out. Figured out that is, until the portable drive crashed. It was less than six months old!!!!! Fortunately, I was able to recover it because I had not deleted the files from my hard drive. Duplicity is also the key. Anyway, if you are at all like me, beginning the foray into digital photography around 2006, your computer might be getting a tad old. If you are also like me, you have tons of photos on the hard drive of that old computer........hard drives crash. And if yours does, you wanna have a back up. Now Costco carries a seagate back up drive that is 1.5TB (terabytes). MOZY is another online solution. Do not count your photos backed up at such sites as Kodak or Snapfish as they reduce your images in order to store them. In addition to backing up your hard drive, you should always keep a copy of your "digital negatives" in a separate file. This file is like your negatives from the old days. That way you always have a pristine copy of your images (and if you are backing up, two pristine copies).

cookies and snow

HOORAY!!!! We finally got our snow day today. So far about 8 inches of fluffy white stuff has fallen with more on the way. I love that feeling when you open your eyes in the morning knowing, that while it is Wednesday, for all purposes it is a Saturday! We started our day off with fresh roasted coffee-yum! Then moved on to cap'n crunch french toast. From there we played rounds of wii resort and then the kids went outside to play in the snow. While outside, I decided to mix up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. They sounded soooo delicious. A little dough for me, a little cookies for the kiddos. Well, searching frantically in my pantry, I could not locate ANY brown sugar. After deciding not to make some OTHER cookie, I decided to google "substitutes for brown sugar". You gotta love google. Sure enough, the recipe to "make" brown sugar was revealed. It is approximately for dark brown sugar one cup of granulated white sugar mixed with just under a 1/4 cup molasses. It was delicious....and fresh....and made the most delicious choc chip cookies EVER!!!!!

fairfield county natural light photographer

I love the way the light brightens this sunny face. I had such a fun time photographing this family. The natural light at this "secret" spot in our town is spectacular! I hope I get more requests for this spot.

cucumber margaritas/tortilla press/photographer in Fairfield County CT

It all started with this tortilla press. Living in CT, it has been difficut to find good mexican food so when we received a Williams-Sonoma gift certificate, we decided to get a press. It arrived Friday so last night hubby and I decided to stay in and make a handcrafted mexican meal with fresh, white corn tortillas hand pressed, fresh salsas and guacomole, carne asada beef and cucumber margaritas. OMG-was this ever tasty!!!!! The carne asada recipe was perfect and the salsas were fantastic......some of the best mexican food we've had in a LOOOONG time. I will try to post the recipes, but meanwhile here is the important one:

Spicy Cucumber Margarita
serves 1

1/4 cucumber chopped coarsely
slice of jalapeno, seeds included
2 oz Don Julio reposado tequilla
1.5 oz Grand Mariner
juice of one lime +lime wedge for garnish
splash of simple syrup (recipe below)
cilantro sprig for garnish

In a shaker muddle the cuke and the jalapeno with splash of simple syrup using a muddler or the back of a spoon. Add tequilla, grand mariner, lime. Fill with ice and shake. Pour into a salted tumbler. Garnish with lime and cilantro. Enjoy!

Simple Syrup

1 Cup sugar
1 Cup water

In a sauce pan mix sugar and water together, heat until sugar disolves. Let cool before adding to beverage. Simple Syrup will keep in the fridge up to two weeks in an air tight container. Skinny Variation: Use splenda brand sweetner instead of sugar. Only the splenda with maltodextrin. NOT the splenda for baking. The blue and pink stuff does not taste nearly as good as the splenda brand sweetner.

fairfield county children's photographer/out in the snow

I'm back. I know it's been awhile. I've missed you too. And photography. While the business of the season is behind me.....I'm looking forward to having more time to be creative....and to just be. This was one of those rare times where I just took my camera and waited patiently for the image to come.

It looks cold, doesn't it? It was cold. And blustery. And I was so glad to have heated seats and a heated steering wheel. I wore gloves but my finger tips were numb as were my toes. All for my art. We haven't had as many snow days as I'd hoped. I think the superintendent is getting wise to the ways of winter. He has not been quick to make any snap decisions, only delaying once.......I don't know which I prefer, enjoying the snow days or the cold that usually accompanies it. Something to ponder I guess.

happy new year/fairfield county, CT photographer

Hello and happy new year! Where has the time gone? The holidays flew in and out and every person I spoke with felt it went all too quickly. I am happy with the slower pace that January always brings. This year I am committed to organzing my computer files, backing everything up (twice) and creating a photographic and design workflow that will make shawn's things work smoothly and easily. I am launching a new photography website linking my design studio (shawn's things) and am working on some designs created exclusively in house! This will give you the customer the ultimate control in what we design. Be sure to check back for the link to the new site!