Montreal – NH Photographer – Family Travel

Montreal is a beautiful city, even (maybe especially) in the winter. The snow-capped buildings and streets with holiday lights were truly a sight to see. Everywhere we looked, there was something beautiful to look at.

I’ll admit, we got a few odd looks when we told people we were planning a December trip to Montreal. The reason behind it was to celebrate my son’s birthday in a special way, and the city was within driving distance from New Hamppshire. He had always talked about going to Canada, so the dates were set and off we went! We only spent a few days there, but each day was filled with fun- even when a snow storm had us change some plans.

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Walking the streets of Montreal was a special experience on its own. The architecture of the buildings were intricate and beautiful, and the people we passed were kind. We went in and out of a few shops, and found multiple places to eat- which was *huge* for our vegan family.

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The Montreal Science Centre was really fun for our son. He loved walking around and engaging with the different exhibits. It was nice to see how hands-on the entire museum was!

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On his actual birthday, we got hit with some heavy snow. I was a little nervous about driving across the city, so we settled on some snow play at the park. He had a blast throwing the snow around, especially when it was aimed at his father.

The rest of the day was spent snuggled up, watching movies and playing on kindle. Luckily, we were able to find some fantastic take-out nearby for dinner, too!

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It was a lovely trip, and I’d definitely come back to the city in the future!

-Sarah Chase


PS: To book me for a 2018 photo session in New Hampshire, or somewhere else in the world, be sure to CONTACT me today! Sessions are already hitting the schedule for 2018.

Winter Photo Sessions – NH Photographper

Availability for January-March

You might be thinking- Sarah, it’s cold out. What kind of session can we have the first part of the year here in New Hampshire? Well, there are a few options!

*First, if you have young children, imagine this story unfolding in photographs, and you glance through the album when they’re older: Your yard is filled with snow. Sometimes, you see this as a horrid thing, as you’ll need to shovel it or worry about driving. But, on this day, we see the snow through the child’s eyes. Parents watch with warm mugs of coffee in hand as the kids build a snowman and have a snowball fight, before joining in on the fun. Once everyone is a little too soaked and cold, the scene moves into the house and changes clothes, then meets in the living room to snuggle up in blankets and sip hot chocolate. Sound like a dream session? Click HERE to view 2018 prices, and CONTACT ME to book!

*Second, if you’re expecting a baby the first quarter of the year, you’ve probably been thinking about a session to capture that tiny bundle of love. They’re only that little once, and having photographs to look back on is so important! You know, for when they’re finally sleeping (and you’re finally sleeping) and you’re a bit more aware of your surroundings. First time mom? Even more special. Anyway- back to telling you how it would go: Instead of traveling with your new baby outside of the home, I come to you. We’ll capture the special bond between the parents and the baby, right from the comfort of your home. Curl up on the couch, lay down, even nurse or feed during the session. These in-home sessions really capture that special time well. Plan to have this session about a week or two after your due date. Don’t worry if things need to be rescheduled, the retainer takes care of that! We all know that babies come when they come. Expecting, and want to learn more? Click HERE to view 2018 prices, and CONTACT ME to book!

*Third, if you don’t yet have children but want beautiful images with your spouse: Picture the romantic scene of your home. Now, if you’re looking around and don’t see it, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Think about where you snuggle in your home. Is it the couch? Do you sit on their lap on the big recliner? Imagine the two of you there with a warm blanket wrapped around you. You touch foreheads and clink your mugs together while embracing each other. Lean in for a kiss, then giggle at something that’s said. Imagine having photographs of your love for one another to look back on when you’re older. Sound like a great date? Click HERE to view 2018 prices, and CONTACT ME to book!

*”Just” you? That’s just as amazing! If you’re reading through these like “I’m single, and I don’t have kids” – don’t worry, we can capture some winter magic, too. We can go indoors or out and capture some gorgeous portraits of you doing things that you love. If you enjoy snow shoeing or painting, we’ll do that during your session. This is a great option for women who want to feel empowered and beautiful, women who need branding for their business, or women who want photographs of them just because! Boudoir is always an option, too. Want to learn more? Click HERE to view 2018 prices, and CONTACT ME to book!

Now, on to the availability! The following dates are currently open.

January: 6th, 27th

February: 10th, 17th, 24th

March: 10th, 24th, 31st

 


I look forward to working with you!

xo Sarah Chase

Holiday Horses and their Human

Sophia is a sweet, fun person. We worked together a few months ago for another type of session, and she was fantastic. When she inquired about another photoshoot, this time with her horses and her dog, I was over the moon excited! These photographs, she explained, would be used for her holiday cards this year. Fantastic!

Here are a few favorites from my time at her home, with her beautiful horses and friendly pooch!

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This wraps up 2017 for sessions for me! I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday season! Keep an eye out for Montreal travel photos in December, and CONTACT me to book your 2018 session. xo SC

Faces of Mental Illness 1 : My struggle with Anxiety

Everyone has their own perspective. We all see the world just a little bit differently than the person next to us. It is because of this that we all form opinions, one way or another, about other people. This isn’t inherently good or bad; It just is.

When I was approached for this project, I felt a deep creative spark. Rebecca, the woman behind the idea, and I spent hours talking and sketching out different ways to accomplish our goal. We wanted to show the difference between what people see on the outside, and what happens inside the person’s mind. Our goal is to interview and photograph people with different internal struggles to help show their daily life, inside and out. The first photograph will be of the person, as they are seen by the outside world. The second will be a composite, fine art picture showing what it feels like inside of them.

I wanted to start with myself for a few reasons. First, this allowed us to play with different ideas and start us off on the right path before interviewing others. Second, I wanted to show my own struggles before asking other people to share theirs. I chose Anxiety for myself, as it is the most prevalent mental illness in my life. I have dealt with other tendencies throughout my journey, but Anxiety has stuck around the longest. What I’m sharing today is deeply personal, as the future posts will be about others. I’m getting ahead of myself, though.

Let’s start with the exterior. What do you see?

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My name is Sarah Chase. I am a photographer, an artist, a mother, a wife. My son is homeschooled, and I spend a lot of time guiding him through learning and driving him to play dates, co-op, and field trips. I work with photography clients to capture family connection, couples in love, and even boudoir to show women how beautiful they are. As a family, we love to travel. It was a dream of ours for years, and we are finally making it happen one trip at a time. When we’re home for long periods of time, we love to get out in nature and hike, or go to Boston for a field trip.

I have heard many opinions from other people about me. Some are kind, while others are not. In the past year’s examples I’ve been called cute, stylish, and talented. I paused, though, when someone told me my life was perfect. Okay, it was more of a burst of laughter than a pause, but you get my point. It’s not that my life is awful. We all live through things and can grow because of them. My life is great when I look around, though. I have a loving partner, a healthy child, and many adventures. I have a roof over my head and food in my stomach. That is all beautiful, and I’m grateful for it.

I’ve also had fellow mothers pick on me for “dressing up,” and various negative mentions of style, lifestyle, and even dietary choices. The one that has stuck with me though was being told that it “must be nice” to be able to do the things that I do. At first I was struck with guilt, but then I focused on my inner dialogue and thought, “It is nice.”

It is nice that despite my anxiety I am able to still do all that I want to. Despite my panic on airplanes, I am still able to get on one. Despite the three panic attacks while driving last year, I am still able to drive. Despite years of bullying I am still able to put time into how I look and feel, and learn how to love myself. Despite every fear of failure, I am able to have my own business. Despite my anxiety, I am still able to live my life. That, is nice.

What people can’t see are the struggles my marriage has survived in order to be as wonderful as it is now. They can’t see how much of a miracle our son is, after we were told we probably wouldn’t conceive naturally. They can see the pain, though, when they ask when we plan on having another, to which I answer “after 5 years of trying, we probably won’t.” They can’t see how even when things are great, I have 100 tabs of anxious thoughts open in my mind.

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My name is Sarah Chase, and I cope with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

I am not fragile. Though I feel like I could shatter at any moment I am not made of glass. From the moment I wake in the morning the thoughts pour in. My to-do list fills my mind all at once and I wonder if I will have the energy to complete it. While this is happening, my son sends his own requests. I am bombarded with more and more between the two of us until I feel like I’m going to break down, and the day has only been a few minutes long. I try my best to smile and reply as I make my way to the kitchen for coffee. I’m told that caffeine can make things worse, but without it I would be a puddle on the couch, stuck and unable to move. The coffee helps, but I rarely feel truly awake.

I close my eyes and breathe. Nothing is wrong in the present, but my brain takes me to the future that probably won’t happen. I worry about my list, I worry about my son, I’m anxious to get through the day but wanting to stay in each moment longer. Each passing minute is a push and pull between needing to move on to the next thing and not wanting to move at all. I go over all of the possible things that could go wrong at any time, even catastrophically so. I worry that I’ll panic in situations I panicked in before, then remind myself that the cycle of panic starts with the fear of it. I tell myself, again, how stupid this all is.

That’s the difference between anxiety and fear. Fear has it’s useful place in our survival. Fear happens in present, real situations and triggers a fight or flight response. Anxiety, however, lives in a false future and makes me worry about things that aren’t real, but still creates some very real symptoms. Chest pain and tightness, shortness of breath- the list goes on and on and is different for everyone.

When I grip the steering wheel of my car, I have to distract myself with music and mints. Panic has happened more than once here, the first time being the worst. My chest tightened and my hands went numb, which brought a very real fear of getting into a car accident. I give myself extra time to get to my destination, just in case it happens again and I need to pull over and rest. I don’t like being late, and I worry what people will think if I am. When I feel the anxiety bubbling up, I have to breathe deeply, eat a mint, and remind myself that there is no real danger.

When I get onto an airplane I start to shake. Before my son was born I went to Ireland with my husband and drank enough red wine to sing the song and pass out. As a parent, though, I need to be awake and aware. I started taking a medication to get me through it, so I could enjoy our travels on the other side. I don’t really like the way it makes me feel, but it’s still better than shaking or throwing up or feeling like I was falling, during the flight. It’s the only time I take anything for it, not for lack of trying. Another type of anxiety medication had me feeling suicidal after 4 short days of taking it. As someone who lost a friend to suicide, I figured it was best to cope naturally as often as possible.

Even with this post, I’ve been anxious. I could feel myself putting off the first step of our project out of anxious thoughts telling me I wasn’t ready. My words weren’t enough. The pictures weren’t enough. I had to improve, I had to wait. That is, until a good friend of mine sat me down and said “You need to just do it, instead of waiting for perfect.” She was right, and so here we are.

This is a small sampling of what my experience with anxiety has been like. It is in no way the only experience, as we all have our own perspectives. If you’ve made it all the way to the end, thank you. There are a couple more things I’d like to ask of you. First, if you could please share this post. Maybe there’s someone out there going through something similar, or someone who would like to be part of this passion project. Second, if you are someone who would like to join us, please CONTACT me and we can start the interview process. Not all applicants will be photographed, but we would like to make this project as diverse as possible.

Thank you, and I wish you much love.

-Sarah Chase

Dear Wild One

Dear Wild One,

I wanted to let you know that I see you. I see the frustration you feel when you’ve been inside too long. I see the way you cringe when your life feels micro managed, and I can see how blissful you are when you decide for yourself. I am learning, little wild one, to let go and allow you to be, as often as I can, while still keeping you safe. When the confinements of daily life are left behind you become free. I watch you transform before my very eyes as the stress floats away with the breeze.

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I watch as you remove your shoes and socks and touch the earth with your bare feet. The moment your toes wiggle in the dirt, I can see the ease flow over you. You relax, only for a moment, before walking those bare feet to a nearby tree.

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Your smile widens as you tell us the woods are enchanted. You invite us into your wild world, and we are happy to join you.

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I see you, wild one, so comfortable in nature. You sit at the base of the tree and exhale before curling into a ball. Your smile widens again as you tell us this is your new bed, and how you wish you could live here in this place. I can’t help but smile, too.

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When your skin touches the chilling stream, I think for sure you’ll want to bundle back up. I imagine you recoiling and shivering, but to my surprise you do not. Instead, the water beacons you to explore and play even more.

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I see you, wild one, bravely climbing the rocks we face. When you’re offered an easier route you decline. I can see the determination so clearly in your expression. With adults surrounding you, prepared to catch you if need be, you ever so carefully place each foot and hand before shifting your weight and climbing higher. I watch, in awe of you, as I follow you to the top.

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Dear Wild One,

I know that sometimes life can feel busy. We’re here and there, doing this and that. I feel it, too. On days like this, though, we can forget about the business and just be. I love watching you in your element. Thank you, my wild one, for reminding me to let go, slow down, and enjoy the nature that’s all around us.

I see you. I’m proud of you. I love you.

-Mom
(Sarah Chase)

Photographs taken during our family day at the Basin, New Hampshire. 

 

 

5 Holiday Gifts That Aren’t Plastic Toys

Okay, I know, It’s not even Halloween yet and I’m already mentioning the major Holiday season! But, my son has a December birthday, so between the two we start our planning early. Many parents love this time of year, but I’ve heard more and more that parents want to move away from the plastic overload and focus on something…. else…. but what?

I understand the worry completely. I’m looking around my home now at the abundance of toys that he’s received as gifts from various people, that he barely plays with. Of course he loves his legos and Minecraft figures, but he’s also the type to forgo the beach toys and play with sand and seaweed instead. He’ll pick up a stick in the woods and make it part of his pretend play, more than he’ll pick up most of the toys in his room.

So what do you get a child as a present, when you want to avoid the commercialized plastic toys that inevitably turn into clutter? Here are 5 alternatives that just might do the trick.

  1. An Experience. My parents get my son a membership to the Museum of Science in Boston for Christmas. This is the perfect gift for him, because we go several times a year for fun and for homeschool field trips. Your experience gift could be a museum, a trip, hiking, a day of paintball, a class – the list goes on. Basically, find something your child will love to do outside of the home. You can add to this idea with gifts that go along with the experience. Luggage and a new passport holder, a travel journal, a new paintball gun, a new apron for the cooking class. Really, the possibilities are endless!
  2. Art Supplies. If your child is an artist then you know how many times a year you need to restock supplies! For the holidays, think of things that are maybe more expensive, that would really make for a special treat. A brand new sketchbook, wrapped canvas for paintings, professional brushes, or Copic markers are just a few examples.
  3. Nature Exploration Supplies. This can tie back into experiences, but if there’s something your child will need for your outdoor adventures, this could make for a special gift as well! A well made compass, a nature journal, a container for observing and releasing bugs, and maybe even a tent! These gifts can be used again and again for camping, hikes, or even in your back yard.
  4. A Fort Building Kit. Remember the days of making blanket forts? I still do it! Of course, it’s now with my son. You can find pre-made fort making kits online, or you can put together your own with rope, sheets, twinkle lights, and other materials. Package it nicely, and presto!
  5. A Camera. Okay, so I’m a little biased on this one. But there’s something beautiful about seeing the world through your child’s eyes. There are cameras that are suited for any child from toddlerhood to adulthood.  Print the pictures they take and add them to an album or scrapbook, so they can look back on them for years to come. Their photographs can also make wonderful presents for grandparents! It’s a win-win all around.

I hope these tips helped in your holiday planning, and that you have a wonderful string of holidays.

-Sarah

PS: If you’d like to book a November session for holiday cards, please CONTACT me and book your day! I do not work in December, so the November dates are the last ones available for holiday cards and photo gifts. 

New Packaging – New Hampshire Photographer

Natural. Organic. Genuine. Emotive.

 

These are the words I use to describe the types of images I’d like to take. When I thought about the type of packaging I’d like to use for photo orders, I wanted it to reflect these same words, or at least most of them. I’ve been playing with and tweaking some ideas for a while now, and I’m incredibly happy with the final result.

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How adorable is that? Now your photo orders will be wrapped in the same beautiful setup.

-Sarah

Nature Play – NH Photographer

I learned something on our recent trip to Cape Cod. I noticed my son collecting nature items in the past, of course, but for some reason it really stayed with me on this trip. We were at the beach, and my son had said no to playing with plastic buckets and shovels. I shrugged and thought nothing of it, until I watched more closely. He picked up a piece of seaweed and played for a long time, seeing it blow in the wind and waving it around. He drew pictures in the sand and pretended he was a pirate leaving clues to a treasure. He had a fantastic time, and not a moment of it involved plastic toys.

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I was reminded of something I learned from Leah M, the creator of the curriculum we sometimes use in our homeschooling. Kids learn and grow creatively when they have open ended toys to use, and aren’t told how to use them. Loose parts in nature seem to be some of the best. A stick can be a cane, a bow, a sword, or a building tool. Rocks become beautiful treasures, and seaweed can easily become entertainment.

Our kids are connected to nature. We all are, really, but sometimes the daily grind of adulthood can make us forget. This beautiful reminder allowed me to let go of pressures and allow him, and myself, to just be and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. No plastic toys or electronics needed.

-Sarah

PS: Let’s have a photoshoot based on your child playing in and enjoying nature, from a documentary standpoint! For information and to book, please CONTACT me.

 

Nobody knows your child as you do – NH Photographer

Nobody knows your child as well as you do. You see them every day. You know their expressions, mannerisms, and quirks as well as your own. When we look back at their past with photographs, it’s usually the ones that showcase their personality well that become our favorites for nostalgic thoughts.

As an example, I’ll show you photographs of my son and explain why I see so much of who he is in each one. He’s the example, of course, because I know him best.

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Take this first image. Some may see a serious or a bored face.  However, I know that this is his thinking face. He’s deep in thought, contemplating something. I also see his wisps of hair floating away from his bun, and I smile knowing that his wild, long hair is such a big part of his identity.

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In the above image, some might assume that he was posed. After all, it would have been the perfect setup! But, This was purely a luck shot. I turned to see him swinging and moving the sword while looking around the mossy area, and happened to get a click before he ran off. One shot, of him pretending to be a viking. When he plays pretend, he’s very serious about each role, so it makes sense that his big imagination would show so clearly in an image, even in a lucky shot.

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Here he is laughing to himself, not long after he was scurrying around the beach with his hands in his pockets, pretending to be a piping plover. He cracks himself up, as well as others.

Those are just a few examples. To those who don’t know him, they’re pretty pictures. To me, each one represents a big part of who he is. When I work with children in a photography session, my focus is not on posing or creating the traditional family portrait. Instead, I offer a relaxed session that allows children to be themselves, so I can capture those traits you know so well as a parent. Sessions with me will give you images that you can look back on years from now, and remember those little things they used to do, or expressions they always made. These relaxed, documentary style sessions are about so much more than a photograph- they’re keepsakes of who they are now, as you know them.

-Sarah

If you’d like to book your session, please CONTACT me.