Photographer Profile

My name is Melissa Howell and I specialize in custom portrait design for your home. You can visit my official photography website at to view more of my work and to contact me to set up a consultation.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Second Memo to Me {Centennial Family Photographer}

Apparently, I forgot about the first memo to me. The one about 5:00 photo shoots and mosquitoes. Now I'm going to have to add snakes to the memo, because the same one that made an appearance at the wedding reception I did showed up again! Luckily, none of the kids saw it, or we would have had a much bigger problem than mosquitoes! (I'm assured that it is a harmless snake. Still, snakes are creepy and give me the heebie jeebies).

Other than the mosquitoes and the snake, everything was perfect :) And there was no thunderstorm! Here are some of my favorites from the shoot.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July is Ice Cream Month!

Recently, we bought this marvelous invention at Costco.
It does not use ice or salt, and it is amazing! This is the first ice cream we made with it, and it was a hit! I got this recipe out of Chocolate Never Faileth. I was worried the bananas might brown in the ice cream, but they didn't at all! I also used skim milk, which I would not recommend. I still thought it tasted divine, but when the ice cream freezes, it makes it very hard and very difficult to scoop. Other ice creams I've made with whole milk have stayed much creamier and easier to scoop after freezing. So go buy this ice cream maker (also makes sorbet and slushies). It was only $29 at Costco, and so worth it!

Chunky Monkey Ice Cream (this is called Crazy Monkey Ice Cream in the book. I have altered this recipe slightly, and also changed the amount of ingredients so it will not overflow in this ice cream maker. Or at least so it's less-likely to overflow.)

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup coconut, grated or shredded
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. oil (optional)

Melt the white chocolate chips. Add a little oil if needed to make the chips liquid. In large pan, combine the milk, cream, vanilla and sugar. Heat on low. When the mixture is warm (not hot) and the sugar has been dissolved, add the melted white chocolate chips. Remove from heat. Put in refrigerator to cool. When mixture has cooled, add the mashed bananas and coconut. Pour the mixture into the freezing canister and make the ice cream according the manufacturer's directions. (For this ice cream maker, you just turn it on and pour the mixture into the bowl. Let it run for about 25-30 minutes until it is of soft-serve consistency. It will get harder once frozen). Take the ice cream out of the canister and transfer it into an air-tight container. Stir in the nuts. Melt the chocolate chips and pour slowly into the ice cream while stirring it. The chocolate will freeze and make chocolate ribbons in the ice cream. Put the lid on the container and freeze for several hours.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lindsay and Bryan, Centennial, CO Wedding Reception

"Marry a man who likes tools." This is good advice for any woman. It's GREAT advice if you are a high school theater teacher who needs a lot of sets built. Bryan has lots of tools and loves to use them. Lindsay is a drama teacher. It's a match made in heaven :)

The weather report said it wasn't supposed to rain. The one day of the week that wouldn't be plagued with thunderstorms and lightning. But the dark clouds rolled in anyway. They didn't care what the weather report said. The bride was convinced it was going to rain. The groom began singing Alanis Morissette. "It's like rai-ai-ain, on your wedding day...." An umbrella was put over the cake. Cool drops began tumbling from the sky--but just for a minute, and then they were gone. It's a good thing, too, since the father of the bride told me he had cancelled the tent they reserved in case of rain.

It turned out to be a perfect reception. The weather became cool and comfortable, washing away the heat from earlier in the day. The food was exotic and beautiful. And they had my favorite--little brownie bites, topped with whipped cream and fresh raspberries. Mine ended up in the grass, though, after an uninvited snake made a surprise appearance and frightened me out of my seat with my plate of food in my hand.

Congratulations, Lindsay and Bryan! May you and your tools live happily ever after :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Memo to Me {Parker Family Photographer}

Five-o-clock may be a wonderful time for the light, but it is also a wonderful time for mosquitoes and thunderstorms in Denver. It was raining as we drove to the trail head for the photoshoot. Behind me was one of my best friends from college along with his wife and five children. They were visiting from Minnesota, and this was the only time we had for the shoot. But I wasn't worried. Denver weather is schizophrenic, so I knew it would stop raining. But I also knew we only had about 45 minutes until the next thunderstorm hit.

Just as we pulled up, the rain was slowing down. My friend and his family took shelter under a pavilion while I scoped out a good place for the family shot. A large tree surrounded by tall, flowing grass presented itself as the obvious choice. I yelled for everyone to come over, and they set out for the tree with no thought for what they might be kicking up in the grass. I arranged everyone and headed back to my camera. With five kids, you'd expect a lot of fidgeting, but it soon became apparent that something else was going on. Hundreds of mosquitoes had been alerted to our presence and were descending on our position. Again and again, they thrust their dagger-like probosces into our tasty flesh. I swatted them off my arms and blew them off my camera. This was hardly a fitting thank-you for the man who probably kept me alive my last year of college. I was out of money, but he was never out of generosity, always feeding me store-bought chicken patties on a bun, or taking me to get a $1.00 burrito at Taco Bell. I hadn't seen him since he got married, 13 years ago, and now I had brought him and his family to a smorgasbord where they were the main dish.

I shot quickly and with purpose, but when we left, we each had tons of red bumps welling up on our bodies. The itching began in earnest, and I made a mental note: Next time, wear bug spray!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Andrea and Dallin

It was a bad beginning. She wouldn't give him the time of day, and he didn't want to waste time on her. He was getting ready to go on a mission for two years, and figured she wouldn't be there when he got back. But he was wrong, and three years after meeting in a freshman geology class, they got engaged. I kind of like bad beginnings, because they often lead to happy endings. Congratulations Andrea and Dallin!