Category Archives: my life

Location Scouting

It's nice to have a willing model on a location check.

I’m always on the lookout for great places to take portraits.  And I’m blessed to live in a beautiful part of the country, and in a city with plenty of amazing backdrops.

This weekend, I was scouting out a location for a large group shoot.  So, off the National Hispanic Cultural Center we went.  It’s a gorgeous facility, with great architecture, and the most interesting walls around.  This shot is of Kristin, in the purple wall outside the Disney theater.  There are gorgeous, New Mexico brown adobe walls.  Maroon and red walls.  Purple (two different shades). Brick floors as far as the eye can see.  And it’s all outside, bouncing that gorgeous New Mexico light around.

Shooting portraits without a studio, relying only on the beauty around, has given me the opportunity to re-examine the community I’ve lived in for almost 20 years.  To find the beauty, to appreciate the color and vibrancy.  To see my world with new eyes.

Some of my favorite places?  The botanic garden, the foothills, and the painted fence downtown.

What are your favorite places to shoot portraits?  Where do you get the best light?


I really do love taking pictures

2010 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

I have my camera with me, everywhere I go.  Usually.

The other morning, we were getting ready to load up in the car for school.  Kristin said, “Mommy, you forgot your camera bag.”  Apparently, I’m not the only one who notices that I bring it everywhere.

Truth be told, I miss it when I don’t have it with me.  I love stopping on the side of the road to catch some wildflowers or some light, or a fence.  And, if I’m being really honest, I love going places where I know that there will be amazing shots. (so, on Monday?  I loaded up the girls and drove up to Santa Fe because I knew the leaves would be changing.  Did I think it would make for an amazing day with my children, hiking through the aspen, making memories and having fun?  Absolutely!  Did I also think it was a fantastic photo op?  Of course!)

I am so lucky to live in Albuquerque, where every year, for 9 days straight, they launch hot air balloons into the air so that I can bring my family to watch, and I can shoot the whole thing (yes, all for me… =]).  Every year, I drag my family out of bed in the dark (and friends too, if they happen to be willing/in town), so that I can watch the beauty, and watch the awe in their faces.  And more than once (this year, 4 times). (the breakfast burritos are really good, too.)

A friend asked me the other day, don’t I get bored?  Every year, same thing, same traffic, same crowds?  But I don’t.  Honestly, I don’t.  It’s new every year, the light, the crowds, the colors, the back story.  I love watching the world through my lenses, and finding new ways to see what I thought I had seen before.  And it’s gorgeously breathtakingly awesome.  I guarantee, I will be back next year.  Because I really do love taking pictures.


(c) Nancy Newell

I told Allison we’d get her ears pierced before she started kindergarten.   Last week seemed as good a time as any.  We talked about how she’d have to take care of them, and what was involved in getting them done.  She said she was ready.  So off to the mall we went.

She picked out sparkley flower shaped earrings, with a pink crystal in the middle.  She sat on the stool, and preened around – very excited and feeling very big-girl.  The woman drew dots on her ears, and conferred with me for approval.  The gun was loaded (Allison expected all of this, no big deal.).  And then the first pierce was made, followed VERY quickly by the second.

Allison said they had stopped hurting about an hour later, and now she says she can’t even feel them.  We clean them with peroxide twice a day, and turn them (the technology really hasn’t changed very much in the last 35 years).  She looks like a big girl.

She says that she’s the first of her friends at school to get her ears pierced.  I’m ok with that – I don’t think this is “growing up too fast”.  Other things? Well, other kids can go first.