Welcome! I'm Shawna, an on-location natural light photographer from Kent, WA serving the greater Seattle and South Sound area. My passion is for birth photography! In birth or family sessions, I strive to capture details and the spontaneous moments that truly reflect the beauty in your life, and that you will treasure for ever. Sit back with a cup of coffee and enjoy my musings, or better yet - pop me an email and introduce yourself. I love meeting new people!

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On Sunday, my little one turns two.  I'm not stunned like I was when Bella turned two. Lia is chatty and headstrong and chubby and seems very two, to me.  When Bella was two, Two seemed like an unbelievably large, grown up number. I might as well send her to college next year.

Now thinking of Five takes the wind out of me, and two seems like a drop in the bucket of babyhood.  Plus it helps that when Bella was two, I was getting ready in my mind for her to be a big sister in a matter of weeks. When she was two, there was a little marshmallow of a baby hanging out with us, always making Bella's age seem like the new grown-up.


It's very strange having a two-year-old and no baby on the way to alter perspective. Two is still my squishy, snuggly, nursing baby.  Whether there will be another two year old in our family some day, I don't know.  It seems to make it easier enjoy today if we leave that possibility open. Then I don't panic at every little event, thinking, This is the last second birthday we get to celebrate! This is the last time someone in our family is two years, two months, and a day and a half old! There goes another minute of the Last of the Babyhood. MUST. ENJOY.  ENJOY HARDER. NOW!!

And still, there are the days when I hope I am paying close enough attention, getting in enough cuddles. No mom wants to regret passing on just one more cuddle while time relentlessly marches on.

Last year's birthday already seems so far away that I barely remember that chubby face. It won't be long before this new grown up face looks like a baby.  So snuggle, I do.

Happy birthday, little one.  I will get back in the habit of jotting down some of your favorite things and funny quirks, so that in a few years I can use them as bait to get you to sit and snuggle with me while we giggle over your baby days.  For now, I must end this and go stock up on the last of my one-year-old snuggles.  I love you!


And the winner is...

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Thank you to everyone who participated in our raffle this month, by donating or sharing with friends! Every little bit brings Cat closer to reaching her goal - a chance at a life saving surgery and getting to live her life more fully.

Please continue to follow her journey on Facebook. Share it with everyone so she can reach her goal, and stop by to offer some encouragement. She has been in the hospital for a month now, away from her daughter and friends, on a visit that was only supposed to last a few days. As a mother, I can only imagine the pain of being away from my baby a whole month. So let's send some love her way!

Now, on to the excitement!

We have three prizes up for grabs:

One grand prize: One Portrait Session including Complete Digital Collection - a $650 value! (Session must take place in the greater Seattle, Portland, or Corvallis areas.  Session must be completed by August 13th, 2012.)
Two secondary prizes: A collection of 5x7 greeting cards with original prints that may be framed after use.

Without further ado, our randomly chosen winners:

Grand prize: Keisha Reis

Secondary prizes:  Brie Chelton and Chrysoula Tsavelas

To everyone who participated, a heartfelt THANK YOU.  I was so nervous picking the numbers tonight and made my husband do it since I truly wish I could issue a prize to each and every person.  Congrats again to the winners - I'll be in touch!


a little glam

A bit of glam to share with you today.  I love doing individual portraits, and this was an especially fun session. I can't believe I'm just now blogging it!


 Meet my wonderful friend, Brie!  We took a bit of time out of her visit from Oregon to make some portraits that highlight every little bit of her beauty. 
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Personally, I think everyone deserves to see themselves in this way and I love capturing it for people.  I myself certainly need some photographic reminders after a long day (or week) in which I may or may not have made it out of jammies, let alone gotten to brush my hair. Sometimes we get lost in ourselves and forget that the beauty is there all the time, no matter what. :O)  Hey, well I did say that these are some of my favorite kinds of sessions! 

P.S.  If you haven't entered the raffle yet, make sure you do before the end of the week! It's for a great cause, and you, too, could enjoy a relaxing afternoon just feeling beautiful and have portraits to show for it. :O)



We had the most beautiful rainbow right at sunset tonight.  While I often complain about missing the heat and thunderstorms of the other places I have lived, I really love that in the spring in Seattle I get to see a rainbow usually every few weeks!  Tonight was the first time I have seen one during a sunset and it was beautiful!

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I sat and watched the clouds meander on by til the sun set and the rainbow faded from view. What a great show!

A wonderful way to end a Monday - and if you are feeling particularly lucky (perhaps someone found the pot of gold?) do take a moment to enter the raffle I'm currently holding! Check it out here!


A raffle like no other!

**A big post today! Please take the time to read it through, because at the end there is a great opportunity for everyone!**

For most moms, life with a baby is busy, exhausting, and full of little gripes like, 'Augh! Another tantrum leaving the park today!' Or, 'Oh man, going on a walk with a toddler is torturously slow.' Few of us take the time to really consider what a treat it is to have the ability to experience all the ups and downs of keeping up with a child.

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I'd like like to introduce you to my dear friend, Catherine. She is an amazing mom and wishes only to have the chance to enjoy the wondrous bits of life that most moms cherish without a second thought. But with Sickle Cell Anemia and Pulmonary Hypertension, the cards are stacked against her. She has been on constant oxygen since the birth of her daughter, Ava, 17 months ago, and has made it through many difficult trials including coma, lung collapse, and extended hospital stays far from home. All the while she meets life with enthusiasm, and stays strong to be there for her daughter as she grows.

If you have never had watch your child learn to walk and wish you could hold her finger while she explores her new found talents, consider yourself lucky. If you've never had to wish you could twirl your child through the air or explain to her why you can't pick her up, consider yourself lucky. If you can make it through an entire book and groan about how many times you have to read it again, consider yourself lucky. If you have never sat in a hospital bed and hoped your baby would remember you when you come home, consider yourself lucky. If you have never had to pray that your child will have you by her side at her birthday this year and next, then you are truly lucky.

All you amazingly lucky people, this is where you come in! Catherine is blessed with wonderful family, friends, and doctors and has a chance at a life-changing surgery this summer, but she needs help getting there. A fundraiser has been set up to gather the funds to get her across the country where doctors are waiting to evaluate her candidacy.

I will be raffling off one complete portrait session, a $650 value!

Don't worry, if you aren't in the Pacific Northwest, since there will be secondary prizes that can be shipped anywhere. Each entry is $10, and you may enter as many times as you'd like.  Be sure to pass the word on, since the more entries I receive, the more prizes I will add to the pot!   It's a win-win situation, all around!

How to enter:  Please use the button on the top of this blog to purchase tickets. They are $10 a piece and you may enter as many times as you'd like. Each one brings you closer to winning, and brings Catherine closer to realizing her cross country trip and freedom from oxygen tanks! It's win-win. :0). 
As more raffle tickets are purchased, I will add more secondary prizes, so keep sharing with your friends all over the country!

I am very excited to have this raffle to offer my clients, fans and friends, so please share as much as you can! The more the merrier! (You will find more details below.)

You can get to know Catherine better and follow along on her journey here on her San Diego or Bust! page. Words of encouragement are always welcome!

And Cat, I plan for this to be you and Ava next summer- one more dream come true:

               (Portrait by Alta Dawne Photography)

Grand prize: One Portrait Session including Complete Digital Collection - a $650 value! Session must take place in the greater Seattle, Portland, or Corvallis areas.  Session must be completed by August 13th, 2012.

Secondary prize: A collection of 5x7 greeting cards with original prints that may be framed after use.

The raffle begins today and will last through June 1st at 9pm Seattle time. All proceeds will benefit San Diego or Bust. Portrait session may be redeemed in the greater Seattle, Portland, and Corvallis areas. Secondary prizes will be shipped worldwide. Prizes may not be redeemed for cash. If winner cannot redeem grand prize, winner may choose from the secondary prizes and a new grand prize winner will be chosen.



When I received the call for this birth last week, I thanked my lucky stars it was the middle of the night and rushed right over!  The beautiful mama called me just after her water broke, and not two hours later, baby was in her arms.  I consider myself extremely lucky to have made it, since I live a full hour away. :O)

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I don't think I would have missed it for the world! What an absolutely beautiful birth.  Jenna's husband was steadfast, supporting her every moment and concentrating on nothing else.

Just as the baby was about to be born, daddy switched places, caught his darling daughter and handed her over to mama. Such a precious moment, and a wonderful memory for them all.

Stay tuned for the slideshow, which I will link as soon as I'm finished.  In the mean time, check out the rest of Norah's welcome page


Miss Elodie

Don't you think Elodie is just the sweetest name? It's a perfect fit for this little darling.

Elodie's portraits were nice and laid back (my favorite kind!) since her mama just happens to be a photographer.

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We missed out on her true newborn portraits since she surprised her mama a few weeks early. It made for a fun session, though, since she was the size of a newborn but interacted like a 4 week old. 

Jen, congratulations! You have certainly found yourself a keeper.

P.S. Be sure to pop over to Elodie's page to check out the rest of the images in her slideshow!


Sweet peek - Isla

So excited to share this sneak peek with you!  So excited, in fact that I just had to add in a few extra images because this new family is just so flippin cute.

If you have ever welcomed a new baby into your family, you'll remember this feeling so well.  Just staring down at that little one, enamored with every feature, wondering how it could be possible that just a few days earlier you had never even met.

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And this moment... newborns are so impossibly small and perfect.

Thank you, Jennifer and Jonathan! It was such a privilege to visit during these most precious newborn days, so that you can remember them forever.


The reward

They say that your second baby's labor is the reward for the first.  Let me just say how true that was for my dear friend, MJ.  Most of her labor was all about this little dude, right here. MJ refused to have the baby until he was asleep in bed. :O)



MJ was absolutely radiant in labor. You would not believe her baby was born just two hours after this!

This image is everything I love about home births - laboring in a quiet, comfortable, dark space in the company of those you love.

After her little man finally fell asleep, this mama wasted no time at all! Hopped in the tub, kicked into gear, set her mind to it, and pushed that baby right out.

I think no matter how many times you do it, the moment when you meet your child just never gets old.

Hello, baby!
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Enjoying the new view.

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Welcome, Silvia Elise! It was an honor to be there for your first few moments.

**Watch the full slideshow below, or click here for the full screen version!**


Tidbit #35

At the park today, Bella climbed higher than ever before, and took charge of all the kids on the merry-go-round. I really never imagined I'd see this day, and it caught me off guard. My timid little park-watcher is becoming daring.


Tidbit #34

Sunbeams, blue skies, warm air, and YES. Yes, let's turn around for your kite. Yes, you may push the stroller. Yes, let's detour our walk. Yes, let's sit out with blankets under the stars. I saw three moons around Jupiter tonight, and some day soon you will get to, too.


Tidbit #33

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Trapped in the house all day. Make my escape and burst out the door; breathe in the crisp night air and look up.  Clear, satin sky full of infinite old friends and I am grounded again.


Tidbits #30 thru 32

#30 - Mon: Friends. So grateful for amazing friends who scoop me up and let me decompress in just the way I need.

#31 - Tues: Lia sounds like she's on helium. Bella had a Shirley Temple voice, and Lia has a rough, squeaky voice. When she's super excited, she even breathes the words IN.

#32 - Weds:  Sitting at the computer. Lia is procrastinating bedtime, standing against me, putting her head in my lap and looking up at me.


The Ice Storm

I never saw a wild thing 
sorry for itself. 
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough 
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

David Herbert Lawrence.


The ice storm was beautiful and terrible. It crippled our trees and set our region at a stand still- cold, immobile, and in awe at the kind of natural acts we so rarely see here.

All night we listened helplessly to the crash of trees as the weight of the ice snapped them in half and ripped them apart, branch by branch.  The scene the next morning was unbelievable. Our hearts ached for the trees, in disbelief that nature would do this to her own. 

The roads still look like this, lined with destruction no one will ever finish clearing. I wonder how long it will be before we no longer notice it there, no longer notice the roads lined with scattered pieces of trees, and forget how the proudest once stood, whole and flourishing.

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The destruction is in every direction - undeniable and overwhelming.  And yet, it's not the way of nature to linger on it as we do. There's no pity in storms, no sorrow in the destruction they leave. Leaves will bud out this spring, proud and unaware of the winter's cruelty. Trees will not ache for their lost limbs or fallen neighbors. Those that do not make it become part of the earth again and nourish the saplings that will replace them.

The ones that survive will continue to stand strong, no matter the weather, and stretch their branches towards the sky.



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