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twins | fort worth maternity photo session

People ask me what’s my favorite thing to shoot. Golden hour love on film is hard to beat.

They asked for one. God gave them two.

I enjoyed collaborating with this couple. She had an organic vision including a wildflower bouquet and gnomes. (A few years ago, she asked for a gnome for her birthday; he threw her a surprise party and asked everyone to bring a gnome…now they have them all over their home). And, I joke that my job would be much easier if the City of Fort Worth would stop mowing all the fields. I was grateful to find the perfect unmowed field and tree, tucked only a few minutes away.

I can’t wait to meet their stardust babies.
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Fort Worth Meditation in response to Charlottesville

Tonight I led a meditation at the Kimbell Art Museum. I thought around 30 people would come. I mean, I decided to do this last night after watching CNN all day. Therefore, I didn’t get a permit. When I arrived (45 minutes early,) at least that many people were already there. Though I never counted, I believe around 200 people came. From Fort Worth and Arlington, Grand Prairie, and Dallas. Adults and children.

(photos courtesy of Rene Gomez)
After sitting for around 30 minutes, my awareness shifted from the birds and the water to a man shouting in the back. I motioned to Dana to check it out. With all of the people on the lawn and in chairs, I couldn’t tell what was going on. A few minutes later, it was clear that the conversation was not coming to an end.
I have this memory of Bernie Sanders having the opportunity to engage with Black Lives Matter protestors; he shirked the opportunity and continued with his speech. This is my opinion, of course. I recall feeling as if he missed an opportunity to engage in a necessary dialogue. I’ve marched with Black Lives Matter. And each time I do, I think, Whoa, they are soooooo angry. That memory came to me tonight. Two things I have learned about privilege: 1. When people of color speak, we must shut our mouths and listen. 2. We cannot expect nor ask people to be calm. Of course, they’re angry. We have historically not listened to them. We have silenced them.
I, on the other hand, have a platform that enables me to organize hundreds of people on a moment’s notice. I am a lesbian; however, I can pass as straight. Mostly, I ooze with privilege that I rarely think about. No police arrived to the event I organized tonight. Had a person of color organized, I wonder if that would have been the case.
A few weeks ago, I was teaching meditation at Alliance for Children, whose mission is to end child abuse. And, the woman I taught explained that where she lives, she never feels safe. How can one find a safe place to dwell in her body if she never feels safe? The fact that I’ve not felt this way too often is a testimony to my privilege. I don’t have the answers. I rely on the people I teach to educate me. And, I read widely about systemic racism and study how to merge yoga with activism. I always feel as if I’m leading from one step behind, which I learned in my studies to be a counselor.
So, in hearing this man, I asked the crowd to notice the sounds and what they were sensing in their bodies. And, I invited the man up. He had a white woman with him whose sign read, “Punch more Nazis.” I turned off my mic. I introduced myself. I asked him where he was from. He was angry that I – a white woman of privilege – was leading a meditation. He felt a dialogue where the most vulnerable voices are heard was necessary. I explained I thought that was important, too. I asked if he’d be willing to wait 10 minutes to speak at 8:15 pm when I finished my meditation. He denied my request. I asked if he’d be willing to move his conversation to one side of the lawn. He agreed.
I don’t believe we can meditate racism, domestic terrorism, religious extremism away any more than I can pray the gay away. I see meditation as the first step to clearing the path toward right speech and action.
I turned the mic on and introduced him to the group. I explained that he had some valid ideas to share and that they were welcome to join him. Around 40 people joined him. And the remainder finished the meditation. When it was over, I walked over to hear what he had to say because I am interested in how I can be part of the solution. I heard him criticizing me again. How could a white woman have the audacity to lead a meditation and ask a person of color to wait until the end to speak?! I took my awareness to my feet, and I lengthened my back. I breathed a little more consciously and felt my defensiveness dissipate. When he finished, I thanked him for honoring my request to allow me to finish my meditation. And, he offered me some feedback about how I can invite more people of color to join me in meditation and at my events, which I would love to do.
Except, I haven’t found many teachers of color around here in Fort Worth. I haven’t found many students of color around here in Fort Worth – other than the ones I taught this morning at Mental Health America and the ones I’ll teach tomorrow at True Worth Place, and the ones that another (white) teacher (of privilege) will teach at Safe Haven on Thursday. And, on Friday, we (white) yoga teachers will meet at Righteous Foods to discuss ways we can spread yoga and meditation to people who don’t have access. I offer a scholarship for my Soul.Full School of Yoga training, and I’d love to offer it to a person of color. I’ll just put that out there.
So, until then, “I’m a white woman with a ton of privilege” as I told the crowd, and I’m just trying to start where I am and do what I can. And, what I can do is share my gifts of uniting people and writing and my skills of Nonviolent Communication, Somatic Experiencing, and meditation. Granted, I don’t share them perfectly. I never will. I cannot allow the fear of making mistakes to paralyze me. I feel that no action is too small when it comes to creating change. This experience has helped me to look at the ways that I am, perhaps with the purest of intention, contributing to the problem, without even knowing it.
Because I’ll never transcend my humanity, criticism still stings, which is why I typically do not read nor respond to comments (even the kind ones.) The way I remember who I am is not to allow others’ opinions (with few exceptions) to hold too much water. Yet, the only way I’ve learned to be strong enough in my body to stay woke enough to pay attention to the vile stuff that is happening in our world is through yoga and meditation.These practices have taught me to be more sensitive and aware to what’s happening around me. These practices have taught me to stand (or sit) inside myself when I’m uncomfortable, even when someone else appears to be losing it. These practices have taught me to connect to my highest wisdom, to practice compassion and empathy when anger and blame arise more readily. These practices have taught me how to deactivate my own nervous system and to help others do the same.
These practices have taught me to hold space.
And tonight, that meant doing my best to hold the space for him to be heard and holding space for people to meditate. The two, I feel, don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
The central message in my teaching is always the same: never will there be another soul exactly like you. At once, we are similar and unique.Be confident, as Glennon Melton says, because you are a child of God; be humble because everyone else is, too.
Our world needs your God-given talents and hard earned skills. May our spiritual practices move us to open our eyes to injustice, to listen more receptively, to speak less violently, and to act together to create the community and world we’d like to see.

yoga retreat in Iceland

I’ve always wanted to see Aurora Borealis, or what’s commonly called “The Northern Lights.” When The Travel Yogi asked me where I’d like to host a yoga retreat, there was no question: Iceland. I’ve had this trip in the works for a while now. It’s about half full. People often ask how many people travel with me on retreats. I feel as if 12 is a magical number. This enables me to offer everyone enough attention in the group classes. Beyond that number, I see bodies. With 12 people, I see souls.

As the trip nears, I’m planning what to wear (naturally). Suggestions for clothing from my friends above the Mason Dixon line is welcome. And, I’m becoming more and more and more excited about the classes I have planned and the sights we will see.

What I love about hosting a retreat through The Travel Yogi is that they create impeccable itineraries. When I host retreats on my own to places I’ve never visited, when it’s over, I often think, “Next time, I would’ve done this instead…” Because they have been to Iceland numerous times, they’ve fleshed out all the details for me. So, I can teach. Teaching is my favorite. This is the reason I don’t own a yoga studio or manage someone else’s. I long for one thing: to teach. This is my path, my dharma.

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(photos: guidetoiceland.is)

I am excited to walk along tectonic plates. This scientific phenomenon has always fascinated me. In Iceland, you can have one foot in North America and the other in Eurasia.
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(photos: Antti Pietikianen)

I’ve been researching and contemplating how to best photograph these lights. With my packing, how many cameras can I carry? Decisions, decisions…
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(photos: bluelagoon.com)

The Blue Lagoon – um, I cannot believe this is going to be my life for a week. If you want one of the 5 remaining rooms, find all of the details here:

ICELAND

I’m about to book my flight. I’m hopeful to go to NYC for a day and then to Iceland. On the way home, I’d like to go through London (never been). I’ve gotta talk this over with the people in my life who matter most, of course 😉

Atlanta and Seattle are also great places to fly from. You’d be surprised how reasonable airfare to Iceland is. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate. Send me a note: amber@ambershumake.com.

Photography at The Modern of Fort Worth | Film Photography

The Modern Museum of Fort Worth is one of my favorite muses in this city. When I find a free hour, which is rare, I like to pop in. And, on Sunday, the matinee movie is the best. When I shoot there, I like to shoot in a way where the location is unrecognizable. Isabella wanted a high fashion inspired look for this shoot. It’s been a joy to photograph her on her journey to musical stardom.

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I enjoyed shooting Portra 800 and some creamy Ilford 400 for this shoot. 2017-08-03_0009.jpg
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And, thanks to Christ Chapel for allowing us to utilize their recording studio for this shoot, too. It’s always thrilling to utilize dark spaces where I can control all of the lighting.

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If you’d like information about digital media for yourself or your business, find all of the details here: http://ambershumake.com/photos-for-digital-marketing/ or contact me.

Life Vessel Fort Worth at the Center for Healing Arts

I’ve been going to this magnificent place for around ten years – since I was trying to quit smoking if that gives you any indication. I’ve long loved acupuncture and all the healing modalities that Kim Perrone offers at the Center for Healing Arts. One year it was my new years resolution to receive acupuncture every 6 weeks. Sometimes the date would come and I would think, “I don’t need it,” but I’d go anyway and always feel better.

2017-07-28_0001.jpgFort Worth is now privileged to have the Life Vessel relaxation therapy here. I tried it – four times as is suggested – and fell in love. As a teenager, I loved tanning beds, and the life vessel kind of reminds me of a tanning bed in size (a bit larger) without the heat. You recline in comfortable clothing on a memoryfoamish mattress. Infrared lights shine above you. Sound waves vibrate beneath you. I had some interesting experiences in the vessel. I can’t really put words to many of them. You know how you feel after a good massage or gong bath or savasana? Well, it was much like all of those combined.

 

I like intensity, you know? And, when I find something good, I want everyone to know. On my fourth day, I asked if I could come back the next day, and the sweet lady in charge explained that this isn’t one of those “more is better” things. I was sad to give up my one hour of relaxation in the vessel. I’ll be first in line to return in three weeks for some maintenance.

Here are some of the benefits I’ve received:

  • central nervous system reset (i.e., I can rest well. I can digest my food efficiently.)
  • improved circulation (i.e., the tension in my forearms, wrists, and hands has disappeared)
  • less tension (i.e., I am not grinding my jaw at night).
  • better sleep (i.e., I wake just before dawn often without an alarm).
  • less obsession with sugar (i.e., I don’t know that this is related to the life vessel, but I know that when I sit down to eat, I no longer feel I’m in a competitive contest 😉

Read more about the life vessel here: lifevesselfw.com
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I think when I do it in a few weeks, I’ll hire a driver.
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Katour’s Salon of Fort Worth | Social Media + Digital Marketing

Few feelings rival helping other small business owners.  Katour’s Salon is located in the new Waterside shopping center with Whole Foods and REI. Another client referred the owner to me. Over the phone, we discussed her vision and some other sites and social media feeds she liked. Katour’s had some photos already which, while technically sound, didn’t meet their artistic vision. Since I earned my stripes photographing weddings in all sorts of ever changing lighting, I knew how to navigate the ambient light and shadows.

I always feel it’s important when someone says, “What’s your website?” for you to feel excited to share. Your photos and website are your 24/7 advertising. I know the return that I’ve seen as a result of investing in my own business. And, I love to help other small business owners thrive, too. If you’re looking to invest in yourself or your business, find more information here.

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Gaia Collective Moon Box | DFW Product Photographer

A few months ago, I wrote an intention in a notebook for some steady monthly photography work. I didn’t really know what this would look like. I just know that if I want to continue teaching yoga sustainably for the rest of my hopefully long life, I cannot teach as frequently as I do and have over the past six years. And, I have this new house…that I love. Every morning, I say to myself or any human or animal in earshot, “I love this house. This is the best house.” Yet, because I work at the pace of a greyhound on espresso, I spend only minimal time in my home.

Not long after I wrote that intention, my friend, Paula, came to take a yoga class at SoulSpace Yoga Community. I met her several years ago when I was young in my teaching journey and she was still in college. She moved away. And then, a few years ago, we reconnected at a training called Yoga and Psychology at Esalen. Three months prior, a colleague said, “If you ever have the chance to go to Esalen, you should go.” I had not heard of Esalen; when I read about it, I saw the training. That was in January. I went in April. Greyhounds on espresso don’t do waiting, sitting, staying too well – you know? By the way, if YOU ever get the chance to go to Esalen, you should go. It’s amazing.

At that time, around four years ago, Paula was starting a business called Gaia Creative which would send out a monthly moon box for the full moon. I thought the idea was brilliant. I remember at that time, I was managing Karmany Yoga and really sensing I wanted something new.

Paula gave me a piece of citrine and told me to keep it in my left pocket until I knew. Citrine is the stone of abundance. And not long after that, SoulSpace Yoga Community was born.

Today, @gaiacollective has around 33k instagram followers now and sends thousands of moonboxes each month across the globe.

Wow.

When Paula took my class one Monday, she asked me if I’d be interested in doing the photography for Gaia Collective.

I knew it was exactly what I’d been seeking.

I get to play with rocks and crystals, loose leaf tea, essential oils, and handmade jewelry.

There’s so much soul in these pieces.

And, I get to photograph them all in the comfort of my own home. What a gift during the Texas summers!!! When we put our desires down on paper, we invite the Universe to collaborate with us. I’m grateful for this new partnership.

Each moonbox features products from other small business owners who are pouring their heart and soul into their work. What a beautiful offering. And there’s a box for every budget.

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It’s so much fun to receive these gifts in the mail. Check out these rings from Alva Parla in NYC.2017-07-22_0004.jpg
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And the tea from Fruits to the Roots.
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Learn more here: https://gaia-collective.myshopify.com/pages/subscribe

If you’re interested in personal branding or product photography, find more info here:http://ambershumake.com/photos-for-digital-marketing/

splish splash | fort worth film family photographer

I photograph just twice a week because that’s the rhythm that works for my life and creativity. It means I often say “I’m not the right photographer for you,” which at first felt scary for my people pleasing persona to say and now with practice, feels so empowering to my soul. And, it means the people I do photograph become like friends and chosen family to me. It means when I pop in to take some bath time photos, it feels as if I’m just visiting friends for some good, clean fun.

I am so grateful that this is my life.

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Laura Bacigalupo | Fort Worth Artist + Abstract Painter

I did a podcast today and one of the questions was something about what I want (other than coffee 😉 .) I want to help people live in connection to their deepest knowing…their highest wisdom…their truth. Stepping into our most authentic self encourages others. I know how it feels to live in a place of disconnect…how much energy the facades require. I know how it feels to exist in numbness.

And, I know how it feels to live authentically – how it feels to wake bright-eyed with enthusiasm about what the day holds, how it feels to use my unique talents to serve others.

When someone who’s walking this path calls me to take their photographs, I’m always so thrilled.

I photographed this talented painter, Laura Bacigalupo at her beautiful (swoon) studio space in the Riverside Arts District of Fort Worth. I felt vulnerable and fascinated watching her work. I watched as she painted white over parts she didn’t like, as she moved the canvas from the floor to the easel back to the floor, shaking and dripping and drinking my favorite beloved Topo Chico. (PSA: don’t drink >5 Topo Chicos in a single day #addict).

When I got home, I felt so inspired to paint. I paint a little. Occasionally, I write some words over the watercolors and leave it on an altar. Mostly, I crumple up what I paint and throw it in the recycling bin.

After this shoot, however, I knew exactly what I wanted to paint: my teacher training manual cover.

One of the things that was important to Lauren Wessinger and me was to make our yoga teacher training manual “a work of art.” The same week I photographed Laura, our manual went to print. When I saw the cover of our training manual, I just didn’t like it. It didn’t invite me to open it. I actually felt sick to my stomach when it caught my eye from the dining room table. So, I sat down and began painting a cover that felt inviting and aligned with our vision. I don’t know if I would’ve done that if the timing of the shoot and the training hadn’t been in such close succession. Had I not seen Laura paint white over layers she didn’t like, I might not have given myself permission to begin again. We influence each other – even when we don’t realize. My life canvas in its many layers and textures continues to evolve. I’m loving this iteration.

I can’t wait to see what she creates for my dining room. I know it’ll be amazing. To see more of her work and for info about commissions, contact her here:

https://www.instagram.com/laurabacigalupoart/ or laurabacigalupoart@gmail.com .

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a film journey through Joe T. Garcia’s | DFW film photographer

For every single celebration, my family meets at Joe T. Garcia’s, the famous restaurant on the northside of Fort Worth. I’m a plant lady, so I have always loved their vibe. Stepping into the gardens here is like stepping into another world. Every quarter or so, I have the pleasure of taking photos for their social media and web branding, and it’s always a joy. The rich history of the restaurant and its lush gardens beg for the classic tones of Kodak Portra (along with a few Ilford 3200 black and whites). Thank you to Richard Photo Lab for the beautiful, timely processing.
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