I admit that I am not the praying type, spiritual yes – religious no.  However I’ve been talking to God as of late and trying to make sense of human suffering.  One of my “invisible friends” (as another invisible friend calls her friends on the internet) is very very sick and has been through so much – one person should not be asked to bear so many burdens.

I met Melinda about 10 years ago, we had mutual sorrows at the time.  Myself, Melinda and a couple of other strong women came together to create a group for recovery of post partum hemorrhage and hysterectomy survivors.  Before we found each other we each felt very isolated, alone.  It was through our group that we found meaning, we sorted out the why and what.  We gathered more members – some of which are these amazingly powerful women that I am blessed to know (and in a way grateful for my own not-so-pleasant journey because I would have never brought them into my life otherwise).

As our group grew, our wounds healed, our emotional states began the long road of recovery.  We found solace and comfort in the knowledge that we were muddling through recovery together.  In the early days of our group we each struggled, held up each other, gave each other a shoulder to cry on.  We vented, we cursed, we laughed, we healed.  It’s been awhile since I had anything significant to contribute to this still-growing group of amazing ladies but they will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Since I’ve known her Melinda has been through an amazing journey and unfortunately not all of it is good.  She suffered through and recovered from breast cancer and about 18 months ago was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  As I write this my young, beautiful, sweet friend – a mother of two beautiful girls, a wife, a daughter, a teacher is very very ill.   She is currently hospitalized and is very sick.  Melinda’s blog outlines her journey HERE. Reading her blog I cannot help but be humbled by her struggles, I still am in recovery mode for the events that brought us together and she has had so many earth shattering things happen in the course of those years, a weaker person would not be able to get out of bed daily let alone care for two young children and everything else in her life.

I ask that you lift her up in your thoughts, wishes of peace, light and love must surround her and her family as they try to make sense of all of this.  I’m hoping that I will get an opportunity to meet all of them very soon as our group is trying to get a hold of someone in her family to see if I can get down there to photograph her and her family so that they have images of their mom & wife to cherish forever.  Please hold them in your thoughts.  I hope that I can make the journey down south to visit them very soon.  I simply ask that you keep her and her beautiful family in your thoughts.


p.s. if you or someone you know is a survivor of post partum hemorrhage & hysterectomy (life saving hysterectomies are performed soon after childbirth for countless women who experience massive life threatening blood loss) please request membership to our NING support group by emailing me at mare.drenthe@gmail.com.

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  • Pieces of Sunshine - February 5, 2012 - 3:37 am

    Sad to read of Melinda’s passing. Trust you continue to heal and find peace. Life is a gift, we need to embrace it dailies much as we are able. Seems like Melinda did this.

Wow, it’s been a couple of months since I participated in the Pros blog carousel.  This month I am particularly excited because our theme is ALTERNATIVE CAMERAS.  I had super high hopes for the execution of this month’s theme but ended up getting super sick for most of this past week and ended up unable to come up with something awesome while laying on the sofa all day.  🙂

Not to worry, I had a really cool AHA! moment earlier today – use of my FAVORITE alternative camera (my iPhone 4!) but with a twist.  Normally I use a few iPhone apps to create amazing works of phone camera art like the one below:


While the apps on my phone help me express my creativity within the confines of my phone – I thought it would be kind of cheating using just THAT as an alternative camera method.  To me alternative cameras include homemade pinhole cameras, Holgas, my old Polaroid cameras…you get the gist.  Manual, non-digital, more film-y things come to mind when you utter the term “alternative camera”.

While brainstorming I had a total AHA moment and started digging through my piles of never used items.  YES!  I found an old sunset filter (from my old Cokin system) and a homemade (on plexiglass) filter I made in 2010 at a creative photography workshop I attended.  Tons of snow here in the Chicago area would’ve made for some sort of stark images, I loved the idea of warming them up with the Cokin filter.  I used my iPhone – yes my handy iPhone – for pics with this filter combo.

The homemade filter is just a piece of plexiglass, cut to a rectangularish shape, beat up with sand paper, nails, black paint smeared by hand.  I made it sort of to have a built in vignette.  Lastly I am including a photo taken with that filter (and a quick BW conversion, nothing else) with just that filter and my Canon camera I use for all my shoots – just to showcase how incredibly awesome a small, relatively inexpensive homemade filter can create kind of cool art.


My Nigra Magnolia bush, cold & barren


The sweet gum tree is ready to shed these devilish balls come spring (sigh)

Here’s the two filters I used for the above 3 images in combo with my iPhone camera (no apps!)


Finally here is the photo I mentioned above, taken with that homemade filter + my Canon body and a simple black & white conversion:


I encourage you to round through the carousel and there is a lot of talent in this circle and some amazing ideas for this project, the next stop is my friend Dawn Sela – NY Baby, Child and Family Photographer

Previous blog carousel entries can be found here if you’re interested in what we’ve done before.  More of my iPhone blog entries are located here.

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  • Corey - January 22, 2012 - 8:33 pm

    Beautiful, Mare! Love your homemade filters – too cool!

  • alpana - January 22, 2012 - 9:13 pm

    What a great idea to use the filters – will have to steal it! Love your interpretation.

  • christine plamann - January 22, 2012 - 10:53 pm

    beautiful as always and i love that you have a homemade filter 🙂

  • Anna-Karin - January 22, 2012 - 11:25 pm

    Ooooh you are so creative! Love the idea of home made filter. I am inspired to try one my self now. Great captures with your choice for alternative camera!

  • dena robles - January 23, 2012 - 7:18 am

    Okay, um WOW! You have me hooked. Expect some questions coming your way or me knocking on your door someday soon.

  • June - January 23, 2012 - 7:26 am

    I was expecting something super creative from you, and of course you did not disappoint! Gorgeous and inspirational!

  • Samara - January 23, 2012 - 7:58 am

    Ok SERIOUSLY?! You must write up a little tutorial on how you made those filters because that is AWESOME! love love love!

  • jules - January 23, 2012 - 9:32 am

    love the landscape! seriously so gorgeous! thanks for sharing the textures, too! beautiful work as always!!

  • teri mason - January 23, 2012 - 10:10 am

    Wow, this brings back memories!! My dad used to make filters when I was a girl, and also did some of my own, gosh so long ago! Your images are great, love the ethereal quality of the woman. So dreamy!

  • Julie - January 23, 2012 - 10:23 am

    These are so great – I have not played around with making homemade filters in YEARS – not since I was a non-professional and was actually taking time to try EVERYTHING. This post has inspired me to get creative again with filters – how fun!

  • Mary Beth - January 23, 2012 - 1:49 pm

    Mare, I absolutely adore your creative take on this! Stunning photos and reading how you created them makes them even that much more special. I may just have to play with making some filters. I know I have some scrap plexi around here somewhere…

  • Danna - January 24, 2012 - 4:12 pm

    LOVE these Mare!! Now you have me thinking I need to go dig out all my old filters and start playing! lol

On location session fees for our BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE sessions are only $75 for the months of January and February 2012 (normally $295).  Regular print & digital purchases apply.  Call soon – we are only taking a limited number of sessions during this time and time flies when you’re having (cold weather) fun!

Contact us at 815-603-8450

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As the 2011 Holidays come to fruition today on Christmas Eve I am reminded of the great gifts I have been given, not just this past year but for the past MANY years.  I am thankful for the dawn of yet another Christmas Eve and the time that I am given here to spend with those that matter most to me.

I am so thankful that I finally got my Holiday cards out & sent!  This year I was handed a more hectic (than the usually hectic!) December, the cards were the least of my worries hence the truly waiting for the 11th hour on those.   Thankfully (again!) my clients and friends should expect their card in the mail.   My online greeting for you today as we celebrate Christmas Eve:


And I thought I’d share a heart warming YouTube clip, I saw it on my friend Simone’s photography blog and thought “what a perfect share for this time of year!”  Those that work with children know what a crazy undertaking this must’ve been but beautifully executed:

Hart those sweet accents.

Happy Holidays to you & yours,

Whatever the reason for celebrating this season-

Many wishes for a beautiful 2012.

Love, Mare (& family)

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Once again I am taking part in the ELEVATE Fine Art Photography Blog Circle with a group of very talented women photographers that I am lucky to be friends with.  I am so very excited about making art an active part of my life again with slow season starting (right about the time my last holiday delivery goes out the door in the next week or so).  This time of year is my time to take a more active part in personal projects and ELEVATE fits into this goal.

This month I am pulling an old client image to show off – on location indoors – very suitable for this winter season in Chicagoland – indoors is where it’s at!  🙂  I am also including some work I had done for Professional Photographer Magazine, for which I  do the occasional photography equipment/software review for.    That second image happens to be one of my many faves from a Lensbaby Composer Pro trial that I did earlier this year for PPMag.  I am excited to include it here for ELEVATE.


Little E in one of my all-time favorite shots of her – l-o-v-e


To continue following the ELEVATE blog circle, please visit my wonderful & talented friend Nichole Van | Utah Portrait and Wedding Photographer – I cannot wait to see what amazingness she has in store for us this month!!

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  • terri - December 12, 2011 - 8:13 am

    The portrait of the little girl is just beautiful! Congrats, Mare!

  • Jennifer N - December 12, 2011 - 3:17 pm

    The last image is very cool. Congrats on PPM, you deserve it.

  • jules - December 12, 2011 - 9:33 pm

    would love to know what she’s thinking. beautiful portrait!

  • wendy - December 26, 2011 - 9:57 pm

    They are both so timeless! I love the movement in the second one. Beautiful.

  • Jacqueline - January 20, 2012 - 3:50 pm

    beautiful photos! Love the “Little E” one. 🙂