CJ Wilkes

About CJ Wilkes Photography

Capturing Your Dance In The Rain is such a thrill and joy to me. Being able to look back on those special times through beautiful artistic imagery makes it a worthwhile challenge.
Learning to Dance in the Rain has been very easy for me. I am drawn to Water & Life! The exciting part for me is to teach you to enjoy your moment in the dance as I capture it from behind my camera.
Looking forward to Capturing Your Dance In The Rain
CJ Wilkes

Tag: ‘photo shoot’



Wakeena Redsky DeLaCruz ~ Native American High School Graduate

Friday, January 25th, 2013

I have had the honor and privilege of photographing this beautiful young woman in her cultural regalia for her high school senior portraits. To tell you about her I have asked her mother Kamimi Ogemahgeshig-Estavillo to write in her words their heritage and about the clothing in this photo shoot. Here are her words about her daughter Wakeena and Wakeena’s heritage:

“Wakeena Redsky DeLaCruz is Quinault and Squaxin from the Northwest coastal nations and Anishinabe from the Eastern woodlands region. Wakeena has participated in canoe journeys since a young girl on the canoe Haynisisoos, which was named after her Uncle Phillip Martin Sr. She skippered this canoe (pictured) for the first time on the last canoe journey to Squaxin Island. Wakeena’s regalia is representative of her coastal and Anishinaabe ancestry. The cape design consists of a winged Eagle (zaagi) which is her Anishinaabe family clan (dodem). The buttons on the robe are representative of Anishinaabe fire signs, the buttons on the tail wing represent the council of three fires, the buttons along the body represent seventh generation and the four in the heart of the Eagle represent balance consistent with the four directions. Wakeena actively participates in her coastal nations traditions through drum and dance group, and is now in preparation to start jingle dance from Anishinaabe which will also be shown in her senior pictures. These photos taken are consistent with who Wakeena is and the traditional values she has carried and exemplified through her life. Participating in canoe journeys, drum and dance, potlatch, and jingle dance are very important aspects of her life and these photos represent who she is as a young Native American woman.”

This particular photoshoot is a series of three or four different shoots I will be bringing to you. As mentioned Wakeena is now in preparation to start jingle dance from Anishinaabe. Her grandmother is currently working on her jingle dress. We have some other shoots in the works to bring that to you and a few other very special images as well.
These photo sessions are dear to my heart and that of my family because of my husband and our children being Northwest Coastal Natives as well. The regalia with the button blanket is something that we are very familiar with ~ something we hold dear to our hearts. The art is a part of our home too which you will see represented on the canoe. There is symbolism and legends to the art you see on the blankets, canoes, totems, long houses. As you can see from Kamimi’s words, even the buttons have meaning.  My husband often includes the legend to the art that he draws (which can be found at WilkeronArt.com). Culture is a huge part of our life, so bringing this to you is more that just a thrill of a life time, it is a sacred honor. Thank you Wakeena and Kamimi. Thank you to all those that also helped in putting this shoot together.

I will start out with the unloading of the canoe and the owner Phil Martin Sr. with his wife Lynnell Martin.

There were others there helping. I wish I had more images with everyone in it so you all have your proper thanks. My gratitude is with all of you!

We were at the Point Grenville beach (which is currently in the process of being renamed to a native name that holds significance to the Quinault tribe). This next image pictures Point Grenville behind Wakeena.

The button blanket in the images above is Wakeena’s. The button blanket below in the next few images is that of her sister, Tashia Sky Delacruz.

Here you can see Wakeena wearing a traditional Northwest Coast hand woven hat. The next image was done so that you can see the design of the front of the canoe as well. I love the look of the canoes from all the different tribes. Often you will see a similar piece on many canoes. It sometimes goes along with the name of the canoe, or the crest of the clan, or just a legend that speaks to the canoe maker or family. I felt the angle here not only showed it while capturing Wakeena very flatteringly, but it also gave you a better view of the different paddles. Some useful and others for design as you can see with the artwork.

Of coarse ~ I love to play with different lenses. My fisheye gives such a fun view on life and worked wonders here. The first image here is awesome because it has some of my equipment and Wakeena’s mother with 2 sisters. I see this and just love that we caught this moment. (I am weird that way – where I love the back behind the scenes shots hahaha.)

In this next image Tashia (Wakeena’s sister) if straitening the heirloom necklace for the following shot. At that moment her mother Kamimi told me that the necklace there is close to 150 years old or older and had been in their family this entire time.

The colors of the sky and the beach are ever changing. Wakeena out on the beach near sunset was no less than breathtakingly stunning. She was such a trooper and it has all paid off beautifully.

I am looking forward to the next few sets from our series to be brought to all of you! Please feel free to leave love on the blog.

Thank you again to all involved. This is not just one moment in time. This is historical. Looking forward to the years events that are coming up and am grateful that all of you have touched my life.

It started with my kiddos…

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

Photography became serious because of my kiddos. I love and always have loved photography, but my kids are what helped me take it to the next level. I wanted great work of them on my walls and in books. So when I take time out to spotlight them, I don’t feel bad at all. My children are the reason I am able to do this all for you too. They are super sports willing to do anything for the perfect shoot.  ***I do not put my kids in danger, nor any of my clients. Everyone’s safety is my first priority*** Basically, the kids are willing to take their coats off and face the wind and chill to get the “look or shot”.
We live near a jetty that just adds a certain element to the beach shoots. I kept thinking – what a fantastic spot! I have to take my kiddos there. Christmas came and the kids received some awesome clothes – it was set! I had to take them there for pictures :)

Just before sharing the images I want to talk about clothes. People always ask me what to wear in a photo shoot. My suggestion is this… Matchy Matchy does not always work, but sometimes it does.  Sometimes I dress my girls alike and then my boys, but I mix it up slightly by having them in different colors than the other. So they don’t all have RED or all WHITE or all GREY. In the images below you will see that my boys all have 1/4 zip sweaters and the girls are in sweater dresses.  It worked out beautifully in my opinion.  I love that the sweater theme was the same, but the colors are mixed. I chose some colors that work really well with each other. Red, White, Black, Gray.  The boys all chose to wear the pants that they wanted. I think my oldest even chose to wear khaki’s LOL.  Usually I would say 3 or 5 main colors but a touch of white or cream  or black does not really count as a color all of the time.
In images words don’t always look great. Patterns are fine if you try to match it with a solid. If you don’t want anyone really matching like my kids do here – then choose Sunday dress, dress/casual, casual, PJ’s and then choose a set of colors…  Blue, Pink, Cream or Mustard, Gray, Black, with a touch of red or maroon.  Make sure that the colors are in the same family. You don’t want a Navy and a teal and an aqua blue.  Each blue is a different blue. Finding a color in the same tone is important. If you have to take a shirt with  you or a color swatch.

I am going to be posting some color ideas in the short future. I think  you will love the ideas. :)  Now some amazing picks of my babies.  Yes, I have mommy goggles. I know it and don’t care. You will see that each child has their own personality. Oh… and know that even my children (children of a photographer) are not easy to shoot. These kiddos made me WORK for these shots. LOL It is all part of being a kid and I love it!

You have to see this too. This was a highlight to our photo shoot. Look behind the kids in the water. There is a seal. Actually, there were 3 that kept bopping in and out of the water. The kids got a kick out of that.

I love to take pics of my kids looking at the camera of coarse because I love to see their faces… but the pics that thrill me are the ones that show their personalities or what I see on a daily basis. My one daughter is always in her own little world. She does not scream for the lime light ~ in fact, she is a quiet little soul most of the time. She is very difficult to photograph because I can rarely get eye contact from her. I don’t mind though because that is her. This next shot with her and her siblings happens to be a very favorite of mine.

When there are young kids I don’t like to mix the poses up very much. They are already out of their comfort zone with someone taking their pictures. Getting the shot is a big deal for these little guys. I do change things up though when I break into smaller groups or individual shots. It really all depends on the children and what they are telling me with how they respond to it all.  Actually, I find it is harder on the parents than the children LOL. Parents, even if your babies cry… it is ok. Your kids will never offend me. Crying is ok. Your caring for  your babies is ok. Never a need to apologize. In fact… those crying babies make for some cute pics too :) I have some arguing sisters in these next few pics that we totally get a kick out of here at home!

Funny thing is that we always tell them that one moment they are enemies and the next they are best friends. This was just one very small moment and we have it recorded for time. Hahaha. For the most part they are so good to each other. I like getting them in their element talking to each other or looking at the seals or watching their brothers. These are my daughters. They can look pretty at the camera… but it is all the other looks that as a mom mean something to me. As a photographer the different crops and angles are fun too.

My boys seriously crack me up! They each have such different personalities and are little goofballs. Samuel loves to cheese it up BIG time! LOL Edmond is a ham who loves to pose or be the center of  attention. The little man is definitely a youngest child. Jared is a young man. So responsible – but he does love attention too. He is not one for taking his picture so he does not always cooperate, but then he will let his personality shine. He is so awesome. Love that boy!

What is a photo shoot if each individual can’t shine for themselves? There is no way I could let these cuties dressed in their best get away without letting them each have their own moment. I usually ask where the child would like their pics or let them do their own thing while I go all paparazzi on them. This time Jared went and found a stick and was roaming around. Of coarse Samuel and Edmond had to pick up sticks too. Instead they were playing king of the mound LOL.  My girls were dancing, jumping, twirling in the wind. Nathanya is like a little dear bouncing and walking on air. Miriam loves to leap and just do her thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang.

Anyone who knows Jared knows that this is him! I am glad I spend time with each child waiting for the real them to pop out. This is the one I look on and think… now that is my boy! The boy who thrives on the smiles, laughs, and attention. The other images are cool, fun, and something to be proud of but this one is the one that touches my heart strings!

Samuel disguises himself as serious then changes in a split of a second. He just makes me laugh as I literally watch his brain in motion in each shot.

Sir Edmond! He begs me to get the camera out and go take pictures of him. He cracks me up!

Nathanya was not in the mood for a photo shoot today which is not unusual. She was not angry. She was not cooperative either. She kept her hands right inside her sleeves to keep them warm. In an image it is not ideal to have the hands not showing, but this is the way she likes to walk around every day. She has no body fat so any extra warmth she will take. The images are not being added to a contest… these are for me and our family.  I love that she is being her.  When we look back on it we can say – remember how  you always…. We still got some very fun shots from her playing on her own.

This is how she travels normally. She almost walks on air.

Ok mom – I think this is old news now! LOL

And last but not least ~ although in birth order she is first, is our Miriam.  All I have to do is ask her to go do her thing… and she does.

There you have it… My kids in our little world.

Jessica Lemmons ~ Trash the Dress

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

One of my all time favorite types of photography is the Trash the Dress shoots!  For me as the photographer it lets me be ultra creative.  The thing that makes it even more fun is other fellow photographers on board with the fun.  I had the pleasure of having my fellow photographer and friend, Jessica Lemmons of  Jessica Lemmons Photography,  have the desire to do a trash the dress session since she is going through a divorce.  We have come to find that Trash the Dress sessions are very therapeutic for those going through such a stressful time, such as divorce, in their lives.  What topped it all off was that I was not shooting this alone!  My dear friend Stacey Hamilton of  Time’s 3 Photography in Racine, Wisconsin was here with me too.  Keep checking her blog out for the images she captured from our amazing day!!!

I can not tell you of the FUN we had!  We had crowds stopping and asking questions right there in downtown Seattle as we worked our camera’s.  We had one man stop and say he wanted to be in the movies and that we should take shots of him because he had blue and green eyes!  :)  We had others just stop in the middle of the road to have a chance to speak with Jessica – our amazingly gorgeous model!  Then we went into an interesting alley way to get a new feel.  After those adventures we took it to the beach – docks – and yes! You all know me – we were in the WATER!!!!  Here it is for you all to enjoy:

That is a Wrap!  Well, at least as far as you know ;).  We are definitely going to have to have future updates or shoots.  If you are interested in a fun Trash the dress session just email any of us ~ And do not forget to visit both Jessica and Stacey’s blogs.

 

 

 

 

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