LAUREN DAHLHAUSER PHOTOGRAPHY

NATURAL LIGHT PORTRAIT & WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Perspective is Everything

Lauren DahlhauserComment
I took this during my recent visit back home over Thanksgiving Break.  This dock overlooks the lake in front of my house in Kokomo. 

I took this during my recent visit back home over Thanksgiving Break. This dock overlooks the lake in front of my house in Kokomo. 

So I'm a thinker. A deep thinker. A person who thinks too much.

I mean seriously, here I am thinking about the fact that I think! 

I find myself looking back and comparing back-then to now, and I do a lot of self-reflection as a result. But maybe this isn't such a bad thing?

I've noticed that when I go home for breaks and step out of the college life that has become such a huge part of my daily routine, I really begin to realize how much things have changed over time. When longer periods of time pass between visits back home, change is more noticeable. Certain places and scents and people become more sentimental because they bring back memories from the past that have been tucked away for a while.

When I'm at school, I am so busy with homework and having so much fun with my friends that I'm distracted from the reality of time passing. 

To put things into perspective, I'm sitting here in my little Muncie home I've lived in for two years now realizing that it has been nearly FOUR YEARS since I've graduated. My best friend from high school graduated last year (a year early), is married, and is taking care of her five-month-old child. Going into my freshman year I had NO idea I'd be graduating with degree in photojournalism. I've gone from going home frequently at the start of my college career, easily homesick, to hardly ever visiting my hometown because I'm so involved and so in love with college life and the people I've bonded with. Shy, insecure, uncertain freshman Lauren has nearly completely faded away.It's amazing to think that the college experience was the key to my transformation.

I wouldn't consider myself the most secure and fearless person on the planet, but I'm definitely more sure of myself and the person I want to be. I've overcome a lot of fear and a lot of obstacles which have opened doors for more areas of growth in my life. 

If I could make it happen, I'd make sure every teenager had the resources to live out the college experience. I am beyond thankful for the good times I've had and the amazing people that have walked into my life. It hasn't always been an easy ride, but it's been a fun and eventful ride that has shaped me into the person I am now.

I'm sad I only have one more semester, but it is going to be great. And I can't wait to let my post-college experiences, whatever they may be, mold me into an even better version of who I am today.

Ode to Autumn

Lauren DahlhauserComment

It's so easy to fall into the routine of life where in the end, it seems you're just going through the motions. I've been feeling this way lately. I wake up to my alarm, I go to class, I work, I eat, I sleep. Problems arise, I worry, I fix them, I move on (or at least I try). I make lists of things that need to get done that never seem to get done. The list grows. I reminisce about the past. I worry about the future. 

Then on random, seemingly infrequent occasion, I find the time to sit down and evaluate where I've come from and where I'm headed. I get inspired to create and take leaps forward. I deviate from routine. I remind myself how young I am and how much time I have to check things off my endless to do list. I feel blessed.

I wish I felt this way ALL of the time. You know, inspired, uplifted, blessed. I always should. Life is so beautiful and I'm surrounded by so many loving people. 

It's so normal to feel overwhelmed by life. When I enter into those states of heightened awareness and optimism though, usually triggered by a spontaneous act of kindness or a simple walk through nature, I feel alive. I'm reminded that, like leaves, we will fall, but we will always grow back again.

How do you describe the beauty of a leaf? I've never been able to. Not to the extent I feel leaves are deemed worthy. They are indescribable. Like us.

Sunday Ponderings

Lauren DahlhauserComment

What a lovely weekend it has been so far. It's my last weekend in Brooklyn and I cannot believe it, but I couldn't be happier with how my time has been spent over the course of the last couple days. To sit here at this mom and pop coffee shop, realizing how amazingly blessed I am to have had such a wonderful summer experience in New York, makes my heart smile.

At the start of this past week I made a list of a few things I really wanted to knock out on the weekend before my flight. I was surprised to see that none of the things on my list were particularly extravagant. But it made me realize something about myself: I truly find joy in the little things.

Some of the things that made it on the list were:

• Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. (I've already done it, but can this be done back in Indiana? Nope.)
• Take the subway to Prospect Park and spend an afternoon reading and/or listening to music in the grass. (Why had I not done this once before this point?)
• Go back to Williamsburg and walk around aimlessly, taking in the beauty and art that line the streets. (I've only been to Williamsburg once since I've lived in New York, but it was too hipster-tastic and artsy not to go back. I was overwhelmed on my walk through the town last weekend. Plus, the Brooklyn Art Library is there. It's a library with shelves lined with thousands of sketchbooks created by ordinary people around the world. I wasn't leaving Brooklyn without spending some time in such a neat little place. Talk about inspiration.)
• As much as possible, avoid homesick thoughts and the strong desire to be back with my family and friends. (It's not that I don't love them, but sometimes my longings to be with my family and friends back home takes away from the appreciation of being in NEW YORK. I fall into reminiscent moods way too frequently. They're great on occasion, but not to the point they distract you from enjoying the present.)

This was the list I made before the weekend began. So far, I'd say I've done a pretty good job at accomplishing it.

I haven't walked the Brooklyn Bridge again yet, but I might save this for the night before my flight. It's within walking distance of where I live. I can't think of a better way to spend my last night in the city.

I spent yesterday afternoon in Williamsburg taking photos for a friend's fashion blog. We walked around and stopped whenever a little shop or picture-perfect area caught our eye. It was so relaxing and adventurous and great. 

I stayed in Williamsburg after the shoot and met up with another friend to try out some local bars. We talked and laughed and ate fancy food. It was relaxing and fantastic (and expensive, but we won't consider that part ;D).

And now it's Sunday. It's only mid afternoon and so far, I've enjoyed a gorgeous walk through Park Slope to church, soaked up a beautiful, thought-provoking sermon at Grace Trinity, and enjoyed some time at a cute little mom and pop coffee shop editing photos and sipping down a refreshing iced latte.

I feel refreshed and thankful. 

I'm excited to be back in Indiana. Excited beyond what words could express. But I have one more week as an intern in New York City and I'm going to make the most of it. See you soon, Indiana. :)

 

Thank you, New York

Lauren DahlhauserComment

Sitting here in the lobby of what I've called home for over two months now, I'm left wondering, where did the summer go? I walked through here a couple months ago thinking, "Wow, August is so far in the future. It's going to be along summer away from the Midwest."

I remember leaving for New York, anxious and excited for a new life experience I knew would be unlike any other I'd had before, but also wondering if I'd make it through the summer in a place so different from where I usually call home with people I had never met before. Would I end up loving the city? Would I get lonely? Would I become overwhelmed by all the new? Would I adapt well to a forty hour work week? Would I find my place and "fit in"? 

Well, to sum up how I feel now, considering the fact that I only have the rest of this week and the next before I'm Indiana-bound: I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. 

New York has opened my eyes in so many ways. I grew as a person and as a professional. My confidence, self-esteem, and knowledge base grew to new heights. I met a significant amount of interesting people from around the country and around the world, and was blessed with a number of opportunities to visit so many interesting and beautiful places in New York City. I was even able to venture up to the Appalachian Trail! I truly felt immersed in a culture and lifestyle so different from my own to a point where I can say I got a true taste of what it feels like to roam the streets of a big city and feel like a local. I mean, I was even asked for directions multiple times toward the end of the summer (and I was usually able to give people accurate directions, despite my directional-challengedness). I'd be lying if I said I wasn't proud.

My time in New York has been incredible on so many levels. I am now a master of subway transportation. I've officially been to Times Square. I've seen the sun set behind the Manhattan skyline. I've walked the Brooklyn Bridge. The list goes on and on. Now I'm even bold enough to shove people out of the way when I'm trying to get to where I need to go in a crowd! (HA. Just kidding about that last one. I still say sorry when other people bump into me, who am I kidding.)  

But serious tangent. I can now understand why adult life can be so exhausting. I don't even have kids I'm raising or a 6:00 a.m. wake up call, but at the end of a forty hour work week, I'm beat tired!  Hard labor isn't even a part of my job and I still feel utterly exhausted at the end of the week. All of you working parents out there, mad respect for you. Mom, Dad, I'm sorry I ever gave you trouble as a child.

Thank goodness I have one more year of college left. It will be cherished.

Although this internship didn't end up solidifying where I want to go in the future like I hoped it would, it at least helped me realize certain paths I don't want to walk down, and I'm thankful for that. I worked for the incredibly talented Sarah Kehoe (www.sarahkehoephoto.com). Although I appreciate it, I've decided that the pursuing the fashion industry as a lifelong career is not for me. It was so neat to work for someone who was so willing to share her knowledge with me, though. Experiencing what it is like to be on set behind the scenes of day-long fashion photoshoots was amazing, too. This experience was a blessing.

Thank you for an unforgettable summer, New York. Until next time.

ps. Before I leave for home, I'll be sure to post a picture-intensive blog post of all of my summer highlights (since I was unable to keep a weekly log of my explorations throughout the last couple of months.) This will probably be more interesting to those of you who don't want to read my ramblings all the time. Once I start typing, I keep typing. *Insert "talking" and the statement is still accurate.* :)


 

Saturday Evening in Brooklyn

Lauren DahlhauserComment

There's so much I want to say because there is so much on my mind right now. (How could there not be when I'm going on week three in New York?!) But this past Saturday doesn't require much - not because it wasn't special, but because it was just a lovely time with lovely people. It was great to share and spend a relaxing evening with two great friends walking down the boardwalk lining Brooklyn Heights and laughing along the way. I needed this after two weeks of craziness and mad adaption to so much change. 

Hayli and Aubrey live in Manhattan, but they are just a subway ride away. I am excited to see what future weekend adventures bring! Until then, I couldn't help but capture these two natural beauties as we sat on the boardwalk overlooking the blazing sunset sinking beneath the city skyline. What a sight to behold.

Turning the Page • A new chapter of life

Lauren DahlhauserComment

Well, one week of living in the big city has come and gone and all I can say is: I SURVIVED. 

The NYC skyline from Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The NYC skyline from Brooklyn Bridge Park.

I say it like that because I'm not a city girl, nor have I ever taken this big of a leap in life on my own.

Before I settled down out here in Brooklyn, New York, I wondered how I’d manage in such a big place. To be honest, I have never seen myself as one with the confidence (or comfort due to lack of experience) to strut city streets with the fearless, bold attitude needed to avoid getting walked on in New York (or so the movies make it seem). There’s no denying that the fast-paced hustle bustle of city life is FAR from the slower-paced more open area I’m accustomed to. Plus, I simply can’t live too long without vast landscapes to complement breathtaking midwest sunsets. It’s kind of hard to find open areas like that in New York. (Yes, this place has caused me to realize the fact that I take Indiana’s cornfields for granted. Did I just say I miss cornfields? I did.) 

However, trees are not nonexistent here believe it or not. In my head before truly experiencing New York, I’d somehow convinced myself that this place was nothing but an obnoxious amount of buildings, people, and pollution. Well, my ignorant assumption was wrong. New York is much more than that.

I haven’t experienced openness to the extent of life out in the country, but there are plenty of beautiful parks surrounding my residence in Brooklyn… not to mention the abundance of cute, cozy coffee shops that also make me feel a little more at home. I still have yet to make my way up to Central Park and Time Square, which I’ve heard are amazing. And there are a number of other beautiful attractions nearby, but despite the fact that I’m settled in an 11-story building surrounded by countless other tall structures, Brooklyn Heights is beautiful. Now that I’ve had a week to adapt (slowly but surely) to such a different place, I can see why many people love it here. It’s still a lot for me to take in and I’m not going to sit here and say I’ll ever perfectly fit the New Yorker profile, but who knows what the next 3 months have in store for me. Maybe I’ll change my mind. In the least, at the end of the summer I will be more experienced and more cultured. These are two things I am passionate about. It is why I want to travel the world. 

New York may not be a different country, but a different lifestyle? Without a doubt. I miss home sometimes because that is where I’m comfortable and surrounded by people I know and love, but I’m excited to grow this sense of home in more places. I don’t think it’s wise to keep yourself rooted in one place. We have all this time to grow so why not branch out to see new places and meet new people? Our roots will always be where we grew up; they aren’t going anywhere. Why go through life as a small plant when we can blossom and grow into strong, beautiful, magnificent trees?

I may be a wee sprout right now, but I know that I will grow and blossom through this experience. That’s what I hope all of my future travels will do. God has so graciously opened this door for me to complete an internship in Brooklyn where He wants me to do great things and make my home for three months. That's just what I plan to do. I’m still getting used to such a big change, but I’m ready to grow from it. I really am I’m blessed to have this opportunity. 

Here’s to a life changing experience in New York!  (And a Canon selfie to accompany my first New York blog post.) ...THREE MONTHS. I can do this. Let the adventures begin.

Tanner • A Man of Class

Lauren Dahlhauser1 Comment

Meet Tanner. Tanner is a genuine, light-hearted soon-to-graduate Ball State senior with an incredible life ahead of him. He is a man of big dreams and, obviously, class. Working with him was so much fun because of how carefree and happy he is. It's hard to go wrong with a positive, well-dressed individual on a sunny evening mid-Spring. Needless to say, I love what I do and I enjoy capturing the smiles of people going places.

Spring Break • The Big Windy City

Lauren Dahlhauser1 Comment

Life has a way of keeping you busy sometimes. So busy, that blogging gets placed on the back burner. I have been wanting to update my blog with my days spent in Chicago for a while now (and I'm finally doing it), but these last couple of weeks have been absolutely crazy! My to-do list kept building to a more and more unfathomable length with school and family related things that I had to focus on knocking some things off of it before I went crazy. We've all been there right? Well, the hectic whirlwind of chaotic running around has finally calmed down to a point where I can blog and relax somewhat, so now it's time to share my Chicago adventures. I took more pictures than I've shared below (of course), but I did my best to narrow them down to the highlights of my trip. 

So I spent all of my time roaming the streets of Chicago with these two amazing people. Nicole and Dante are great friends from college with a passion for traveling and adventure like me. Needless to say, this shared passion made the trip that much more enjoyable. Here we are standing in the heart of downtown after a good while spent at the infamous Chicago Bean. Despite how chilly it was, we were there for so long staring at our reflections and goofing around to get silly pictures. Unlike Dante and I, Nicole had never been to Chicago, so she was experiencing the bean for the very first time! 

Walking around the bean was just one of the many things we did during our stay in Chicago. Our trip wasn't complete until we took a stroll down Michigan Avenue, walked by Crown Fountain, and experienced the Sky Deck of Willis Tower! 

And can we please take a moment to admire the beauty that is the top floor of the Chicago Public Library? I felt like I was in a magical palace. This place really does exist.

It was so great to explore the city with another photographer. When you are walking around and stopping every five seconds to capture everything that catches your eye, it's nice to be with someone who has the patience and understanding to wait for you. 

Thanks for the adventures Chicago. Until next time!

A road trip begins • Chicago-bound

Lauren DahlhauserComment

There really is something about being able to de-stress and realign the mind on long car rides. My good friend, Nicole, and I departed from Muncie this afternoon on a much anticipated road trip to Chicago! So it's not exactly the beach, and it's certainly not much warmer than central Indiana (which would be an absolute delight for a change), but it's CHICAGO. And it's semi-close compared to the beach. And a good friend is letting us stay with him while we are there. AND Nicole has never been.

There. Four perfectly solid reasons that justify us not being on a beach for our Spring Break. Plus, I'm a firm believer that fun can sincerely be had anywhere as long as you're truly up for a good time, exploring with an adventurous spirit, and accompanied by a good friend or two. It's all about the people and the experiences, not the place. (Although let's be real. The place can, without a doubt, be an enhancing factor.)

So we took our good ol' time getting ready to leave today. We've made it a point to go on this trip with a very go-with-the-flow mindset. We have a few things on our we-absolutely-must-do-these-things-while-we-are-in-Chicago list, but we will be in the city until Tuesday or Wednesday. We have time. There is no rush. Plus, things never go exactly as planned anyways. So we are making this a very laid-back, adventurous trip.

On our way up to Chicago, Nicole and I stopped just 30 minutes outside of our destination in Crown Point, Indiana. The exit off the highway lead us into this gorgeous downtown area where this breathtaking courthouse stood. It was surrounded by cute little shops and a surprising amount of antique stores. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to capture some of the highlights.

IMG_9571-7.jpg
blog1.jpg

Even though it was freezing outside (and I'd forgotten my gloves in the car) I could NOT stop taking pictures and standing in awe of the courthouse! So maybe I'm easily amused, but beauty like this should be admired every once in a while.  

IMG_9560-3.jpg
IMG_9566-5.jpg

Nicole and I spent a good portion of our evening walking around Crown Point until the sun set. We found a Starbucks down the road where we relaxed for a bit, chatting and passing time, until we were on our way again toward Crete, Illinois. Tomorrow we'll head into the big Windy City, where the real adventure will begin!  

Refocus.

Lauren Dahlhauser2 Comments

Sitting here, realizing I couldn't concentrate on studying because I have too many other thoughts buzzing around in my mind, I felt suddenly inspired to write a blog post. With midterms coming up, I really need to focus, but how can I when the thought of time flying by is always in the back of my head? It's like there's never enough time in a day to get done all that needs to get done, let alone what I'd just love to get around to if time allowed.

IMG_4620-3.jpg

Time. Why do we feel so constrained by time? Is there a reason to be? It seems we focus more on planning out our days to make sure we get done a certain amount of things in a certain order in a certain amount of time than we do just DOING.

So I'm guilty of this; there's no hiding the fact. In turn, I spend my time beating myself up for not checking off certain to-do's on my checklist and worrying myself about all that needs to get done in the near (and far) future. Rationally, what good does this do? Why is it so hard to stay focused within the present without any distractions of the past and future butting in and stealing focus from what is going on in the now?

When I take the time to think about the pointlessness of feeling like I could have accomplished more or needing to get an unreasonable amount of things done by a certain day and time, I reevaluate where I'm placing my focus in life. Sure it's good to learn from the past and plan out our futures to a certain extent, but the present is what is happening now. We need to accept that we can only do our best. We are only capable of so much. It's good to dedicate a portion of our busy lives to evaluating where we are placing our focus. Take a walk. Have a cup of coffee by the fireplace. Swing for a while at the park. Relax. Evaluate. Refocus.

Water Art

Lauren DahlhauserComment

Water photography is an area I have little experience with, but really enjoy trying out when I'm feeling inspired. This was my second attempt freezing water in time. Although I see room for improvement, I really like the way they came out! It really is incredible what a camera is able to capture compared to the naked eye. 

There are a variety of ways water can be captured, but getting images like these does not have to require overly fancy equipment or set-up. If I told you a frying pan, a tissue box, earbuds, a Ziploc bag, a razor, and a mouse pad contributed to the final images shown below, would you believe me? 

Combine these common household items with a DSLR, external flash, tripod, and patience, and images like these are possible!  

The Flying Cupcake • Carmel, Ind.

Lauren DahlhauserComment

Any gourmet cupcake lovers out there? Well this little cupcake shop will surely not disappoint. 

I took a special trip to Carmel for the sole purpose of experiencing this cute little shop. I'd heard so many good things about it. I had to see (and taste) it for myself.

The Flying Cupcake has four shops in and around the Indianapolis area. If you click the grey tab above it will take you to their website. There, you can find exact locations, store hours, their menu, and more! 

The cupcake flavors are seemingly endless. They look so good you'll want to try them all.

IMG_8944-15.jpg
Untitled-1.jpg

The atmosphere is bright and cheery! It's exactly where you want to be when you're enjoying a beautifully prepared gourmet cupcake with a friend or two. Walking through the doors it's like you've entered a deliciously sweet-scented world of cupcake heaven! I wanted to stay forever.

IMG_8789..jpg
IMG_8842-1.jpg

Always Adapting

Lauren DahlhauserComment

Late night thoughts: Have you ever noticed how frequently your surroundings change as you live your life day-to-day? The world is in a constant state of spinning, never once stopping for us to grasp a solid, still moment in time. This constant change forces us to live lives of frequent adaptation. Life keeps going. Time cannot be stopped. You'd think if we grew up learning how to adapt we would all be experts at it by now.

Why is it so hard to embrace change?

A journey awaits as a wooden bridge leads an explorer deeper into a forest at Brown County State Park in Nashville, Ind.

A journey awaits as a wooden bridge leads an explorer deeper into a forest at Brown County State Park in Nashville, Ind.

How can something so new and unexpected be so expected, exciting, and thrilling at the same time?