LifeSpring Photography

Wedding Photography in Chicagoland and Beyond!

My Photo
Name: Leann
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Camera Settings

It's no secret that my children are my most frequent models. It's also no big secret that I love to shoot in camera RAW format.

However, I've recently been challenged to try getting outside of my comfort zone and try living on the edge by shooting in .jpg instead.

So today I set my beloved Canon 20D to .jpg mode and tweaked out the parameters so that the output in .jpg format would match what I generally achieve with Adobe camera RAW and Bridge.

With much trepidation, I shot off a few frames on the way back into the house after lunch out with my kids and friend Leslie.

Frankly, I was amazed. Just a few tweaks to the camera made all the difference in saturation and sharpness!

So I guess I'll be shooting .jpg more often.

I'm definately going to use RAW when the occasion demands it, but now I feel like I can rely on the output from my camera in jpg as well.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Leann's Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream one egg, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, and 1 cup Crisco together.

Add a teaspoon of vanilla (the real stuff)

Add 1 cup of oil, and 1/4 cup of milk with 1tsp lemonjuice added to sour it, as well as one tsp baking powder, 1tsp baking soda, and 1tbsp salt.

Crush enough Wheaties to make one cup of crushed cereal, and add it to batter.

Now add flour one cup at a time until you've added 3 1/2 cups of flour to the batter.

Mix until it's light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.

Add 1 cup of chocolate chips (semi-sweet)

Lick the extra batter off the mixer. This is important, as you need to know if the batter tastes right. If it doesn't, you can still adjust things at this point.

After mixing in the chocolate chips, use two spoons to form cookies on one pan.

Bake the cookies at 365 for about 9 or 10 minutes until they look nice -- golden brown. While the first batch bakes, load cookies onto the second pan.

Remove from oven and cool for 3 minutes until they'll slide off the pan.

Keep baking and loading -- this makes about four dozen cookies!

After they're all done, sit back and enojoy a few of the best chocolate chip cookies anywhere.

Gas City Petting Zoo

Living in a small community has it's ups and downs. We don't have the wide variety of attractions that many of the larger cities do, but on the other hand you *can* drive to the next town within 10 minutes and visit real live goats, llamas, peacocks and emu.

Here are some of the residents of the Gas City Petting Zoo, trying to avoid the summer heat:

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Child's Play

This afternoon, John and I were out for a walk with the kids near our home. One of the neighbor kids had left her bike out on the sidewalk, so I knelt down and grabbed a quick shot.

The owner of the bike was in the house, or had moved on to some other activity leaving the bike behind her but her grandmother waved at us from the front porch in a friendly way.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Grant County Fair -- Grant County Indiana

Last night after the storm clouds cleared, John and I took the kids to see the cows and horsies at the Grant County Fair!

Here's a short slideshow of the fair: Grant County Fair 2006

I was amazed that all the rides and concession stands were up and running after the major storm that blew through yesterday afternoon, but there they all were, going about their business as usual. The only major difference was that the horse events were held in a ring full of mud, and the car/truck parking areas were soggy! The Show Must Go On!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Summer = Storm Time

Well, those of you from the Midwest know that right now is the prime season for severe storms.

So today during my main work time (nap time for the kids) all of a sudden the sky got dark, the hair stood up on my arms and it felt like *something* was sucking the air out of my house! I looked out the front window and debris was flying horizontally in front of my house... including siding from the neighbor's house.

I couldn't acutually get any decent pictures during the storm due to the fact that the wind was blowing up too much dust into my face, but I did go out after things had died down to shoot some of the damage.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Some pedestrians almost got hit by these transformers as they fell to the ground.

That big metal thing laying in a crumpled heap? It used to be the courthouse roof.

Luckily, the carnival workers had taken the decorative bits down from their Elephant Ear stands, or they'd likely have lost those to the wind.

Such Fun!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Tom Bartholomew Show!

Well, after seeing pictures of street musicians and acrobats, you are probably wondering what else I might have seen in Holland Michigan last Thursday evening.

So now I introduce you to the Tom Bartholomew Show -- juggling and comedy!

Visit Tom Bartholomew's website at for more information about him and his act.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Re-Branding, and Name Change

Assuming you read the blog from the blog page itself (and not a RSS feed) and that you've visited the webpage lately, you've probably noticed a few changes in general "look" and "feel" of the website and the blog.

Well, today I'm proud to announce that "Wrightsman Photography" has become "LifeSpring Photography".

It's still the same person behind the camera, I simply felt that this was the right time to move forward with a new name in order to advertise more effectively, and create a more unique "brand" identity for myself.

So everyone let's have a round of applause for...

Steve & Jon -- Street Musicians

And now the next in my series of Street Musicians from Holland MI, it's Steve "Jupiter" Jenkins and Jon Fegel.

You can hear Jupiter Jenkins' music at

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Jordan VanHemert Trio

The amazing thing about my visit to my parents house in Holland Michigan was the Downtown Street Performers Series. I didn't expect such a treat -- it was like walking on a beach and suddenly finding hidden treasure.

One of the groups performing was the Jordan VanHemert Jazz trio, shown here:

Ok, now for the really amazing bit -- Jordan can play two saxophones at the same time!!

If you'd like to contact Jordan and his trio about booking a gig or hearing his music, you can do so at

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Aerial Angels -- Performing Live in Holland, Michigan.

This week Thursday, I was downtown in Holland Michigan where I saw a fantastic street performance group called the Aerial Angels.

After taking my seat right in front of their stage area, I was treated to a wonderful fun performance full of fire breathing, death defying acrobatics and amazing flexibility.

A slideshow of the performance is viewable here: but if you don't have time to watch the show, here are a few previews!

For more information about the Aerial Angels, visit their website at

Friday, June 16, 2006

Holland Michigan

I've just been up to visit with my parents for a few days in Michigan, and I took some time out to visit my old stomping grounds.

Ottawa Beach is still just as fantastic as I remember it being when I was a teenager, the only difference is that now I have a better camera!

The water was so lovely and nearly wave free as you can see from this picture:


After visiting the beach, I spent some time downtown where I discovered street performers -- musicians, jugglers, acrobats and fire eaters! I'll have pictures of them up tomorrow so keep your eyes on this blog!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Kids to Kids

Emily and Ian are 2 and a half years old now, and it seems like every time I turn around they've outgrown some outfit that I was saving for a good occasion. Even their current playclothes are quickly becoming too short in the legs and arms.

My kids aren't the only ones who grow out of stuff though, which is fortunate because I've found this cute little place called "Kids to Kids" where I can bring all their stuff that I waited too long to have them wear, and they've gone and outgrown. Better yet, I can buy really good stuff that other kids have outgrown!

It's so true that kids are only little just for a short while. I'm taking loads of pictures of them all the time because I know they'll grow all to quickly.

Yes, it helps that I'm a photographer, but anyone can do the same. Capture the memories while you can!

Oh, and if you live in Marion, the Kids to Kids store is behind the South side Subway -- on South Washington.

The Thomas Family -- Fun in the Park!

I met Michelle Thomas through the Pure Fashion event in Fort Wayne Indiana -- she is the graphic designer responsible for the artwork used all over the event, and has been for several years.

After seeing my coverage of the Pure Fashion event, Michelle contacted me about having a portrait session for her and her family at Matter Park here in Marion.

Michelle and I hit it off right away, and it was more than a pleasure to spend time with her, her husband, and three wonderful children (one on the way too!)

The love between Michelle and her husband is so evident. It was absolutely wonderful to see the commitment and joy between them!

Here is one of the pictures we made together:

You'll also enjoy the slideshow of all the images from their sesson here:

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Self Portrait

This afternoon, I was messing around with my lighting equipment and decided to take a quick picture of myself -- for once, without the camera in front of my face.

So for those of you who have not met me, and for my clients who usually see me with the camera blocking my face, here's me!

Thanks everyone for not laughing too hard!


I've been shooting the nightly performances of iDance... a Class Act for the past two nights, and all I can really say is "Wow" those kids really know their stuff!

Some of them have been dancing for 15 or more years -- and are just graduating high school, so you know they've been dancing practically since they could walk. It's just thrilling to me to be a part of their performances even just to capture brief moments of them from the wings.

Here is a slideshow -- I'm still shooting the show tonight, but I just can't wait to get this out there for everyone to enjoy!

If you happen to live in Indiana, be sure to try and participate in any way possible with the Community School of the Arts -- it's such an incredible thing.

Friday, June 09, 2006


This week, the Marion Community School of the Arts is presenting a fabulous dance show, and I got to shoot the dress rehearsal last night.

Here are just a few of the incredible shots I was able to capture:

Tonight, I'll be joining the cast and crew backstage for a closer look at the show.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 --- MMMM Sweet!

Yesterday I drove down to Robert's Camera store in downtown Indianapolis to get myself a new lens, and boyyyyy it is sweet!

I couldn't really grab any willing subjects for photos so quickly, but I did manage to at least get out and shoot some last night.

I absolutely love this lens! The photographer who recommended it to me deserves an award or something, because this is the best thing since... well, since getting my 20D itself.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cristi and Mike's Wedding SlideShow

And now, after much anticipation, please enjoy the wedding of Mike and Cristi!

I was the second shooter with KC Ferrill for Cristi and Mike's wedding, but he was kind enough to allow me to photograph the complete wedding rather than just assigning me small parts.

I want to thank KC and his wonderful wife Linda for allowing me along to this wedding celebration!

Monday, June 05, 2006

On a clear day in Indiana, you can see... a lot of corn!

I was on the road to Kokomo yesterday, and these fluffy cotton candy clouds were just stretching on for miles and miles and miles so I grabbed the camera off the seat next to me and stuck it out the window for a few quick snaps.


The green "stuff" in the field is corn -- just a few months from now you'll hardly be able to see out over it, so grab pictures while you can!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Christi and Mike's Wedding 6-3-06

Today I got to join KC Ferrill in shooting the wedding of Christi and Mike.

It was a wonderful experience, as well as being a lot of fun!

Here's just a little sneak peek at the happy couple:

I should have the slide show ready within a few days, so keep your eyes on this blog!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

And now, not quite live from Zionsville Indiana, It's OSP Indy 2006!

Tuesday and Wednesday this week, I had the incredible pleasure of going to Zionsville to take part in the Open Source Photo workshop led by Kevin Swan and KC Ferrill.

On Tuesday, we trashed a bridal gown (pictures to follow later) and Wednesday we shot a model in the studio.

Here are some of the shots I took in the studio on Wednesday:




And this is what happens when you just turn on the camera and try to shoot without metering the scene:


If I'd been in control of the lighting fully, I really would be more happy with the results... I shot these in between phone conversations with Matt from Picture Infinity Studios