The tulips are ready to bloom!

April 22, 2009


One of the best parts about living in this part of the country is the amazing scenery just outside  my backyard.  Skagit Valley in the springtime is a photographer’s dream! And now that spring is  finally here in the valley, I take more outdoor trips with my camera just to explore and “feed” the artist within.

On the way to the tulip fields last night, I stopped by the side of the road to watch this glorious sunset. As I pulled out my camera to take a photo, this creature walked up to me to say “hello”. He stopped, stared at me for a few minutes and probably wondered what that black thing on my face was. Then he smiled. I had to capture his smile. Take a look at his expression. He has such personality!

I drove a few more minutes up the road and found this amazing daffodil field. Daffodils bloom before the tulips do so now that the tulips are almost in bloom, the gorgeous daffodils are now ready to die. But I managed to take a few photos.


Here’s some photos I took of my daughter in the daffodil fields last year.
And one of the three kids from last year.


And finally I spotted a tulip field with thousands and thousands of red, yellow and pink tulips just about ready to bloom.



If you live close to Skagit Valley, plan a trip to see these gorgeous fields. They are only in bloom for a few short weeks during the year and once they’re gone, they’re gone. I promise that you will come away amazed.


A Blue winter sunset shoot and my frozen fingers.

December 21, 2008

Everything seems to have come to a beautiful standstill this week. So I took Ellya, the camera and my strobe out for a quick 10 minute sunset shoot in front of our lake covered in snow.

We only had a few minutes before the sun disappeared for the day so I had to hurry and get our sunset shot set up using a Joe McNally “The Moment it Clicks” technique I learned this past year. I’ve been waiting for the right time to get a shot like this and again, I’ve learned that it’s all about catching the right light at the right time.

With halfway frozen fingers and a shivering model eager to pack things up and go back to the warm house, I quickly pressed the shutter and captured one of my most favorite shots of 2008.

After shooting a few frames, we quickly ran back up to the house and placed our hands under warm water to thaw out. Ouch! Never take pictures without a good pair of gloves on.

But then again, the pain of having halfway frozen fingers may be worth it after seeing these images below. These images may qualify as one of my favorites from 2008.






Waking up to 17″ inches of snow…

December 18, 2008

Waking up to 17″ inches of snow is an exciting event in my world. First off, I have NEVER experienced this much snow in a long time. Other than the requisite, “let’s-go-drive-out-to-the-mountains-and-see-snow” trips, snow is virtually a foreign matter to me. Having spent half my life growing up in a tropical country and then living in Southern California and Las Vegas had turned me into a warm blooded creature. But I think thats changed as of this week.

I went out with my son John Andrew this morning to watch him work on (in his own words) “the biggest snow horse that have ever existed”. Of course, he was going to do all the work since it was supposedly a BIG surprise for me. And so, with camera in my big bulky gloved hands, I set about on a journey to document the beautiful winter morning.

The eagle was too quick for me today and just didn’t want his photo taken but I found some cute little winged critters flying around from branch to branch out in the raspberry fields.

Here’s a sweet little snowbird who managed to stay still long enough for me to capture him. The beauty of God’s little creatures never ceases to amaze me.


Holiday Cards & Boutique Packaging now available!

November 26, 2008

Holiday cards and boutique packaging has arrived at Tonic Design Studio! There is still time to place your greeting card order and select from a variety of custom designed greeting card templates. This is a fabulous way to showcase your engagement, wedding, or family portraits. Contact us to place an order before it’s too late to send your holiday cards out!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Joe & Toni


The Blue Wall: Downtown Mt. Vernon

September 26, 2008

What happens when you decide to test your new lenses, enlist your kids as models, then find a great location and a great background only to have your model “quit” even before the photo shoot starts?

Well…this is what happens.

“Mom, let’s go, I don’t wanna be here anymore.”

“But Kailyn, I just NEED to get this shot, this is such a cool blue wall”.

“No Mom, I want to go”.

“Okay”, I said, grumbling under my breath…Click.

And again, this turned out to be one of my most favorite shots of the day.

Why I still want to be a photographer when I grow up.

September 24, 2008

We all had grandiose dreams growing up. I had my fair share. I dreamt one day I would be a ballerina, an astronomer, a business owner, a lawyer. Later on I wanted to be a fashion designer then a make-up artist then finally, I had dreams of being an artist and a photographer.

This last dream never really died. Throughout my lifetime I’ve pursued many things, but one thing I keep coming back to is my faith and answering the call to documenting life.

I came across this quote from Joe McNally’s blog and it really spoke to me. That man can write. Not to mention take pictures. If you haven’t read his book ” The Moment it Clicks” yet, run and buy it.

Here’s a quote from his blog:

“It ain’t the way it used to be, but what is? There’s never been any guarantees, or forgiveness, or for the last 10 or more years, fairness, in this industry. But here’s the thing.

We are out there, in the air, in the world. We don’t go to a cubicle farm everyday and stair at dismaying numbers on a screen. We make pictures. At the end of the day, we create something potentially significant that did not exist at the beginning of the day. We go forward, despite the uncertainty. Because this is an act of love and passion, which defies reason and prudence.

And we make that occasional good frame, the one that sings, the one that lifts our hearts and the hearts of everyone who sees it. That well and truly is as good as it gets.” Joe McNally

Perfectly said.

The image above is one I took of my son while we were out on the farm one cold easter afternoon. I took a few steps back to quietly observe him. He cried out to me..”Mom, look it’s the eagle. he’s back”, referring to the bald eagle that lives on a small island where we live. He then silently observes this majestic creature as it flies through the cold crisp spring sky. I brought the camera to my eye and captured a few frames. Click. This image still sings to me.

Eye to Eye.

September 16, 2008

Writers write and photographers show images. What better way to start this day than with showing you a photo of something that caught my eye while out planting a garden with my kids last summer.

While out trying to plant a garden last summer, my kids found this adorable baby frog. Immediately, I “saw” this picture in my mind, “a baby frog on top of a flower right up close to Kailyn’s face”. I quickly ran to the house, grabbed my camera and convinced Kailyn to “look” into Mr. Baby Frog’s eye. She glared at me but I somehow managed to convince her to “pose” for me (something she hates to do). I asked Ellya to hold the flower for me long enough so I can click.

Click. That’s all I needed. Right after that click, Kailyn started screaming and the cute little froggie leapt off the flower and almost straight onto her face. He didn’t get her but whew, that was close. Photo shoot over.

I got my shot and the moment is forever locked in a time capsule. One day they will all look at this shot and remember the summer we all went out to plant our first family garden.

Perhaps all that paid off, the photo managed to capture the attention of the judges at and they awarded it “Photo-of-the Day-Contest-Winner”.

Sometimes the best photos are just right under your nose, staring you right in the eye.

Can you share some of your best most unexpected photo moments? I would love to hear from you!

Be sure to check back tomorrow as we announce our FABULOUS contest to kick off our new blog.