COVID Killed the County Fair – Modifying traditions for 2020

Finding new traditions during the coronavirus pandemic - Crystal Freemon Photogrpahy

We ALWAYS go to the Williamson County Fair on my birthday (or at least within a day or two). I love taking photos of all the beautiful lights and the atmosphere. It’s been a special tradition since Megan was a baby. Last year I still made them go through the little farming exhibit for photos.

As you can imagine, there is no county fair this year. I miss it but also decided that the absolute BEST thing about our trips to the fair is that no one complains. They let me take all the photos I want because it’s my birthday.

I often say that my toughest family portrait session all year is when I take family photos of my own family.

It’s probably best that they canceled the fair because you know, we are in a Pandemic. But also, what if they brought back that weird double Ferris wheel? 2020 does not need that Ferris Wheel.

I think the best thing we can do to get through all of this crazy year is to modify traditions and make the best of what we can. For example, my family has chosen not to eat inside restaurants. But last weekend, my husband and I went on a date where we picked up food from Costa Vida and took it to a picnic shelter at Evans park to have a quiet meal together. Honestly, it was better than eating in a crowded restaurant.

So even though the fair was canceled, I didn’t let that opportunity pass me by to take advantage of my birthday to get family photos I wanted. They cooperated better than they usually do and I’m pleased with the results.

What kind of traditions have you altered for 2020?

Now that I’ve managed to get some family photos of my own family, I’m ready to book Fall family portrait sessions for everyone else!

You can book a session directly from my online booking calendar or contact me if you have any questions. Don’t wait to book because I can only fit in so many portrait sessions in the Fall. I always hate turning people away.

Embracing change & a weird double ferris wheel.

Williamson County Fair

My birthday was so lovely, and my friends and family are amazing. I took lots of photos at the fair, and saw so many amazing people there. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to say happy birthday. As always, I celebrated at the Williamson County Fair. I love the Fair and enjoy it every year, including this year.

Things that Aren’t Supposed to Change:

We had a good thing going year after year.  I took my tiny, adorable children to the Williamson County Fair. They put on their little aprons and walked through the Little Farmer’s exhibit and got a photo of them picking a fake apple off of a fake apple tree.  

Then we pet the real animals, look at the baby pigs, & head out to the midway to ride little kid rides, like the caterpillar and the bumble bee. 

After that, since their daddy is a chicken, just us three girls would take a ride on the Ferris Wheel together.  Then we’d get a funnel cake and go home. 

Preferably the sky would be beautiful and the light would be coming through into the animal barn in just the right way.  But I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t control light, or the sky.  So that’s fine. #thingsicantcontrol

Things that changed at the Williamson county fair 2019:

First of all, who chopped down my tiny cardboard apple trees? Full disclosure…maybe my 13 and 11 year old daughters were not upset to have one less pretend farming exhibit to walk through. But I’m not ready to give up on the apple tree photo yet. I guess I should be thankful that the exhibit has remained so consistent for so many years, but the apple tree was my favorite because they caught the interest of one-year old toddler Megan and was one of my first lovely memories of the fair.  Now it’s gone.  

And let’s talk about that ugly double Ferris Wheel. All week long, people were messaging me and asking “Have you seen the Ferris Wheel?…. I don’t think you’re gonna like it.” 
Hats off to my people for looking out for me.

I’m trying to accept it.  There are probably lots of people who disagree with me and think it’s cool.  Honestly, it’s probably more efficient. Usually, I’d be all about something being more efficient.  But not this time.  At the fair, I’m all about the nostalgia. I want it to be the same, big, round, classic Ferris Wheel that it’s always been. Not this new fandangled thing.  (Yes, I do sound twice my age.) 

Side note: Open up your emoticons.  Do you see a double ferris wheel??  I think not.  🎡

I was *almost* ready to forgive the Ferris Wheel for being different, when we got in line to ride it.  Then I realized that the stupid thing only holds two people.  What?????? But, the three of us ride together every single year.  #fail  

The one benefit to not being able to ride with them was I was able to get photos from a different angle.  So there is the bright side.  ☀️

Change can be good.

Admittedly, I might be a control freak. I want the fair to stay the way it’s always been, and for my kids to stay little.  I’m trying to come to terms that I have no control over either of those things. 

You’d think after 13 years she’d be better at it.

Exhibits change.  Apparently, Ferris Wheels get weird and have smaller seats. 
Kids get older and want to hang out with friends at the fair.  They stop fitting into the tiny farm aprons and lose interest in milking a fake cow. I am so very thankful they love me enough to wear the apron and milk the cow anyway just for me.   Maybe in a year or two they will want to bring dates to the fair.  These things are inevitable. 

But that’s OK, because the new can be good too.  It’s exciting to see the young women my girls are growing into. It’s fun to watch them have fun with their friends, and explore the things they are interested in. It’s fun to make new traditions.  

I’m learning to accept all these things. 

But I’m still not sure about that Ferris Wheel.  🤨🎡

If you haven’t been to the Williamson County Fair this year, there is still a little time left. Check here for the hours for this weekend! Really, despite all my teasing, they do a fantastic job of organizing such a huge event. I 💙🎡

MorePhotos from the Williamson County Fair 2019:

Of all the families I photograph, mine is the hardest

I wish that I could say that this was a lovely, easy experience, but that would be a lie.

Last weekend, I was quite surprised when my husband suggested that we do a family photo session of our own. It seems like every year I forget to Schedule time for our photos and end up scrambling to get them done. But he is usually the last one who wants his picture talken, so I was pleasantly surprised when he reminded me. So I set off to find outfits for everyone that two tweenage girls wouldn’t whine about.

I was lucky and found things that everyone was happy with, except my husband who complained that it was still too hot for long sleeves. Oh well … you can’t please everyone.

So I was all set, and then it rained.

And rained.

And rained some more.

And finally, yesterday, the sun came out. So we all got dressed and drove out to the new park that I had never been to but wanted the check out. And as soon as we got there, my oldest started complaining that her head hurt. Because I knew that meant she’d never cooperate, we went home. Of course as soon as we got home, she felt better.

But that is how it goes. So no problem, because guess what??? There are TWO magic hours inthe day! So we got up bright and early this morning and headed out.

The bad part was that it was super wet from the dew and the kids didnt want to walk too far in it to explore the farm. And I got soaked from kneeling in it. And we got there later than I I wanted and the sun was brighter than I would have liked causing horid grass colors.

But the dew in the grass and all the spider webs were absolutely stunning. And it wasn’t hot at all. We also finished in time to go to a pancake breakfast for a friend’s gymnastics team, so score!

Top 100 Personal Images in 2017 | Crystal Freemon Photography

Last year, I did a blog post of my top 100 personal images of 2016.   I really enjoyed looking back through the year to make that post, and I also made a coffee table book for our family out of the images, so I decided to do it again for 2017.  

I cannot even explain how much it means to me to look back over these images.  Like last year, I chose based purely on personal meaning, and not necessarily technical expertise, and they include photos shot with my “big girl camera’ (a Nikon D750 for those of you so inclined to ask what I shoot with), my Olympus Tg-4 point and shoot, and even some phone selfies.  For our family, the images include birthdays (9 and 11!!), holidays, Fifth grade promotion, Megan’s second hockey season, Kayla’s star role in the school play, and the birth of my beautiful baby niece, Laurel.  There is a beach vacation and everyday moments in the backyard, the best freaking Nashville Predators season ever and even a total eclipse of the sun! 

One thing that has always inspired me about photography, is the way it forces me to step beyond myself and identify the beauty in even the simplest moments.  I truly believe that the key to happiness is recognizing this every day beauty.  It is so easy to get caught up in the everyday treadmill of life, and to overlook all the amazing things we have in our lives. In our world in general, 2017 was pretty rough.  I don’t think many would deny that.  But even still….there is SOOOOO much good.  Looking back at these photos helps me see that more clearly than I would without them.  I am thankful that I am able to view the world through this lens. 

What about you? What good did you experience in 2017?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments.  How do you plan to recognize those moments in 2018?

Laurel’s Lifestyle Newborn Session

Gah, I don’t want to leave this baby.  Can she just come home and live with me?  (Her mommy says no.) 

I’m so glad I was able to spend Thanksgiving with her though.  We have so much to be thankful for this year.  My brother and his amazing wife are just wonderful parents to this sweet girl, and she has her big canine sister Barley looking out for her.  My girls are just head over heels for their new cousin, and I couldn’t help including a few pictures of them with her at the end of this post. 

I could take photos of her all day long. Also, I just love her nursery. Deb did such an awesome job decorating it.  

Laurel’s First Day – My New Niece

I may be a little biased, but Laurel Caroline Rogers is absolutely perfect. It was so hard to leave her in Ohio, but thankfully I will see her again before too long when we go to Ohio for Thanksgiving (so expect more photos of her).  

My girls just adore their “Uncle Boy”, which is what they have always called him, because I always called him “Boy” when we were growing up, and still do.  “Aunt Deborah” has been in my girls lives since they were born, and she has always been so good to them and spoiled them rotten.  Both girls were in their wedding when Megan was about three years old and Kayla was one and a half.   Kayla did a very poor job at her flower girl duties, but she was adorable anyway.  I’ll never forget that right before the wedding, Megan was asking about our hometown and when me and “Uncle Boy” were kids.  I was telling her stories, and at one point she said “But where was Aunt Deborah?”  It was foreign to her that Aunt Deborah had not always been part of our family.

So Megan & Kayla are now just over the moon about their new baby cousin, and I can’t wait to spoil her rotten, just like my girls have been spoiled rotten by their aunt and uncle (also there will be loud obnoxious toys…paybacks). 

The girls weren’t able to come with me to Ohio for Laurel’s birth, so their first meeting with their baby cousin comes compliments of a video call.  This was one time I was very thankful for modern technology because at least they were able to be part of the story in some way.

Speaking of being part of the story…I am so use to trying to be a fly on the wall while photographing birth stories, capturing another family’s special moments.  But it occurred to me as I was sitting in the waiting room at the hospital in the middle of the night waiting on Laurel’s birth, that this time, I was also part of the story.  So I have tried to include a few photos that showed that…several of my gear and of my feel waiting in the waiting room.  And at the bottom of this post you’ll see me and my sweet niece compliments of a good ole modern day phone selfie.  My brother did offer to take the camera from me and take some photos of me and Laurel at the hospital, but I ended up liking the phone picture better. 

So about three more weeks until I can see her again! I can’t wait!

Birth of Laurel Caroline Rogers

This definitely ranked as one of the most awesome nights of my life. My baby brother and his amazing wife asked me to photograph the birth of their daughter.  Every single birth I have witnessed is a gift, but this one was especially meaningful to me. To be able to capture my niece entering this world was truly beautiful. 

I am so proud of my brother, and so happy that he has found such an amazing wife.  She was a rockstar during delivery. 

Deborah planned to be induced on Saturday, but on Tuesday afternoon, I received a call from her.  She said that her blood pressure was up a little, and that the doctors had decided to admit her to the hospital and go ahead and induce labor.  So I threw some things in a bag and jumped in the car to make the six hour drive to Columbus, nervous the entire time that I might miss it. 

As I got closer to Columbus, I heard from Tim that they did not plan to put Deborah on Pitocin until about midnight, which thankfully meant I likely had plenty of time to make it to the hospital. When I arrived around 9 p.m., Deborah had begun to have really strong contractions that were progressing nicely.  She ended up not having to have Pitocin at all.  Around 2 a.m., the nurse said that she was ready and called for the doctor.  Deborah did an amazing job, and brought Laurel into the world at 2:37 a.m.  

They had chosen not to find out the baby’s sex before delivery, so up until that moment, I didn’t know if I would have a niece or nephew.  It was really awesome when the doctor held out the baby for Tim to see and then announce that it was a girl.   She weighed 6lbs 14oz and was 20” long, and is absolutely perfect.

I am so thrilled to be an aunt and cannot wait to spoil that little girl rotten.  I know that Tim & Deb are going to be amazing parents to that sweet girl and she is very blessed to have them as parents. 

Love these pictures?  I would love it if you would leave a comment below and consider sharing this post with friends!

Please take a minute follow me on Facebook InstagramGoogle+ or Pinterest and share with your friends who might be interested, or sign up for my monthly newsletter! Schedule your own session now from my online calendar.