Photoshoot | Johnson Family

Right before our long fall ended and winter began, we had one glorious day of 60 degree weather and sunshine, clear blue skies and only the slightest breeze. The Johnson family and I went out to Falling Rock along Hwy. 44 west of Rapid City to get family pictures. What a beautiful spot! Junipers and pine, expansive views, rock outcroppings, and golden sunlight.IMG_9126eThe Johnsons are a special family to me, for a number of reasons. We all go to the same church and share sweet fellowship with our fellow brothers and sisters there on a weekly basis. Dave is my boss, and what a joy it has been to work for a brother in Christ. His wife Teresa is a dear friend of mine and I look up to her very much as my sister in Christ. They have raised a wonderful family, and all six of them have such a love for their Savior.IMG_8812eI love taking portraits of couples who have been married for more than 20 years. What a testimony a strong marriage is to our good God! I have shot a few weddings and young couples, but I really think I enjoy the longer-married couples the best, even if it is just a handful of pictures in the middle of a family photoshoot. There is a unity and belonging there, a beautiful blending of two souls, a true sense of companionship born of time and hardship and joy. IMG_8837eIMG_8989eIMG_8950e2IMG_8932eIMG_8910eIMG_9040eSiblings. Another one of God’s greatest gifts. They are the first friends we ever have and hopefully are always the friends we hold the closest and keep the longest! Homeschoolers really do have it the best, in this regard. Day in and day out, we share life with our siblings. It isn’t optional, when your siblings are your classmates, your roommates, your playdates, your partners in crime….etc. IMG_8689eGod has gifted the Johnson family in so many ways, individually as well as familially. Not only are they good natured and personable and pleasant, but they have been gifted with skills and talents which they share generously with others. They enjoy and share their musical abilities, their creative talents, their hospitality, their medical skills and training, and literally share their home and and their lives. They’re also quite the handsome family. And wow, the Johnson women have gorgeous eyes. But all of that – their talents, their skills, their hospitality and personalities and giving – really would be nothing, except for the beauty of Christ in them, individually as well as as a family.

Laura Elizabeth

Photoshoot | The Parents

Mom and Dad have been asking me to do portraits for them for awhile now, and today was the perfect afternoon! What fun to spend some time making portraits of them as a couple. Dad and Mom seem pretty level headed and laid back in public, but they really can be hilarious and…kind of like newlyweds.  I mean, they sort of bust the traditional monochromatic stereotype of the homeschool mom and the pastor dad. Pretty sure I deleted 2/3 of the pictures I got because they were in the throes of laughter. I have no idea what they were laughing about.
IMG_6668IMG_6588IMG_6691IMG_6700IMG_6606Particularly in this present culture, their marriage does one’s heart good! Their marriage is characterized by a love and delight in one another, mutual respect, Biblical headship, mutual submission to God’s wonderful plans and intentions for marriage. They truly have a beautiful, dynamic relationship, centered on the only Rock and Truth, Jesus Christ. They’ve done their share of failing, as has anyone who has ever worked hard to succeed at something, and they would be the first to acknowledge that their successes haven’t been through their own strength, but through the strength of their Savior. That is a success that lasts! They are building a beautiful legacy.

I’m so glad to have their example in my lives!

Laura Elizabeth

Photoshoot | Prior Family

Another weekend family photoshoot in the books! The weather was perfect, and even though the autumn gold has mostly faded by now, there is something strangely festive and nostalgic about the simplicity of the colors of October. Tan and rich brown, cream, sage, and the almost-gold of dying grasses.
IMG_6277IMG_6115IMG_6120IMG_6208The Priors own Dakota Greens, the greenhouse where my sister Sarah has worked for the last year and a half. It was fun to get to know them a little bit this afternoon. We took pictures at Stockade Lake, and then drove a few miles into the park and pulled off to the side of the road. Beautiful rock outcroppings, waist-high grasses, and shoulder-high cattails are the textures of autumn. Fall is a wonderful time of year.

Laura Elizabeth

Photoshoot | Anna

Yep, Anna again. It really is great to have such a cooperative subject on Sunday afternoons after church when the light is gorgeous and the fall weather is irresistible! Over by Stockade Lake, the aspens were lit up golden, and I just happened to have my camera with me.
IMG_5429IMG_5408IMG_5366IMG_5473Anna’s a sport.

Laura Elizabeth

Photoshoot | Moore Family

We have enjoyed some beautiful fall weather the past few days, and I got to enjoy some of it out on a photoshoot with the Moore family. The light was extremely cooperative, and the whole afternoon was delightful. We go to church together and their littlest is in my Sunday school class, but it was fun to get to spend time with all the Moores together.
IMG_4605IMG_4354IMG_4772IMG_4673IMG_4578IMG_5208IMG_4434Seeing the various ways a family expresses affection is extremely heartwarming. The Moores are a very warm and loving family, and it can easily be seen in their affection for one another. What a beautiful family, inside and out!

 

Laura Elizabeth

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Mine Explorations

The brightest gems of the Black Hills are the little-known ones, the ones that are tucked back off the beaten trail, that take a little more work to get to. After church on Sunday, I and two friends, Hannah and Jacob, along with three dogs, Angie, Cleo, and Trixie, explored an abandoned mine and its many shafts scattered across the hillside above the towering and rusty old mill.
IMG_0463The hike to the mill itself was one long gentle slope up – About 30 minutes from the trailhead. It was hot out, and the shade around the mill was welcome. The old mill still stands tall and erect against the side of a taller hill. The sheet metal siding has come off in places, or swings loose in the wind. Rickety flights of stairs still span floor to floor.
IMG_0479The hike to the mines was another climb, boasting beautiful views of Harney Peak in the distance, over a rolling sea of pine trees. Such wonderful country – I still have to pinch myself.
IMG_0417We could smell the mines before we could see the tunnels. The musty, earthy damp mixed with the warm, resiny perfume of the pines, and we could feel the seep of cool mine air as we approached the entrances to the mine, which loomed black in the steep, rough walls of rock. The sheer size of some of the digs was astounding, from the towering walls of open cuts and gaping mouths of air shafts, to the vaulting and cavernous ceilings inside the mine, to places where the ceiling had caved in years ago, leaving just enough space to crouch and scramble through.IMG_0517IMG_0409IMG_0425The meager glow of our flashlights and lanterns seemed swallowed up in the dark of the tunnels, glistening on damp walls, sparkling dully in pools and trickles of water, occasionally revealing old pieces of machinery from the bygone mining days. Cart track still spanned some of the tunnels, and rotted support beams tottered in the openings.
IMG_0434IMG_0560Little ferns grew at the mouths of a couple of the mine tunnels, transparent green against the bright sunlight outside. Pigeons nested in the sheltering cliffs above one of the open cuts.IMG_0507Sarah and William and I went back yesterday, and picnicked in the shade of the cliffs. Trixie came along again – She is becoming quite the hiking buddy! When we stopped for lunch, she begged pieces of our lunch and bites of apple, then fell sound asleep while we sat and talked and poked around in the piles of mica.
IMG_0587 The Hills conceal a treasure trove of history, history that is as tangible and real as the damp of stone beneath my fingers, or the rough, rotting wood of an ancient structure. The remnants of bygone days are scattered liberally throughout the Black Hills – If you know where to look.

Laura Elizabeth