Welcome and thanks for visiting the DOK Photo blog! I'm a natural light photographer serving Moab, Utah, and specializing in newborn and child photography. This is where I post sneak peeks of recent sessions, my attempts at memory-keeping, and sources of inspiration.
Please feel free to contact me via the link below with any questions you may have!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Favorite of 2014: Photos

I’ve been participating in Suzanne Conway’s December Reflections photo challenge. One prompt was Favorite Photo of 2014, which reminded me of this post from last year.

web 2014 DOK First Day of School

Confession: Above is the last photo I took on my DSLR…in August. It’s been a much needed break, courtesy of my iPhone and our big move.

I’m going to limit myself to 4 in each category below.

Four of my favorite client photos of 2014:

web 2014 06 28_Relph_0101_edited-1

2013 11 13_Heffron_010BW_1200

Cael laughing with his mama

2014 05 17_Heather_124_edited-1

That little hand on his mama’s neck just kills me.

Four of my favorite iPhone photos from 2014 (first two are iPad):



drumm4 golden


Four of my favorite “SLR” personal photos:

web2014 03 27_fiery_furnance_1431_edited-1

2014 04 20_3075_edited-1

web 2014 03 campfire

web brothers heading to school on the first day

Finally, four of my favorite photos that someone else took of us in 2014:

vanphoto of ma angie and doki

Photo by Paige Green

I love how it captures all that has changed and all that has remained the same from this photo taken 20 years earlier:

us at Coronado_edited-1

From that same weekend, our sweet friend James took this photo of our family on the way to Mary Alice’s wedding:

ourfamily in Inverness

And some kind strangers took this one for us:


Last night, our neighbor Mercedes took this photo of our littles on Santa’s lap. Sean is at that difficult age when you want to be little and want to be grown up all at the same time.


I’m grateful to have a decent camera on my phone, which is almost always with me. I’m even more grateful that I finally want to pick up my Canon 5D again. I haven’t decided whether DOK Photography will re-launch in the Golden area, but looking at 2013’s post, I realize I really miss those newborns.

Here’s to all that 2015 will bring!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Favorite Gift Ideas

Hi, it’s been a while. We moved into our new home in November and this site is undergoing a lot of changes behind the scenes as well. But for now, I’ve learned sometimes it’s best to just jump back in with a list.

I usually struggle when I get a call or email asking for gift ideas for my boys. It’s so nice for anyone to think of them, and to ask, but it still ain’t easy. Do I give away the few ideas I have? And how do you know if someone actually uses that idea? Can I still give it out when someone else asks or use it myself? Gift recommendations should have a “ping back” feature so you know if it’s been used.

So here is my No Ping Necessary list of gift ideas because they are all things we already have and appreciate. Random goodies from my list of favorite things.

1. Stadium Chairs

Mine is orange, but you can get one in your team’s colors. If you have boys who play baseball, these chairs will save your back in those stands! A gift from Brian a few years ago that I still love.


PhotoBox Frames | PBteen

2. Photobox Frames 

Here’s my favorite thing about online wish lists on Pinterest or Amazon: you can see if you consistently keep pinning the same thing, year after year. I’d been wanting one of these for years, and splurged on one this summer. I honestly haven’t hung it up yet in our house. But I know exactly where it is going (hallway to our kitchen), and I plan to fill it with the boys’ artwork. I LOVE that it is easy to open and update. If you are anything like me, if a frame requires you to take it off the wall to update, whatever goes in there stays in there forever!

3. An inspirational book.

I think Christmas is the perfect time to give a book that has meant a lot to you and that you think others might enjoy. I’ll be sharing my favorites from 2014 next week. Spoiler: Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden was my favorite and would be a great gift, as would Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes and The Nester’s The Nesting Place: It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful. Basically an inspirational book with a long title!

The best gifts are those that show reflection, and I love when a book makes you think of a specific person and how much he or she would enjoy this book.

Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints is written by a Jesuit priest and would be a great gift for your devout Catholic cousin as well as your atheist friend who likes to discuss the essential things.

4. An Amazon Gift Card

I love receiving a special book with a personal inscription inside. But I also have fond memories of receiving gift cards for Bloomsbury Books and Back of Beyond. Talk about a kid in a candy store! I received a big Amazon gift card one year and spent months debating how I would use it (I ended up buying a lot of gifts with it, but not until I also got this book for myself). Pretty much my go-to teacher gift every year.

5. Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker, Black

Yes, this is another pricey one. They are usually just under $100. And you really have to consider which will be the best for you. Above is the one I got, because I wanted to see numbers on demand (and didn’t have a smart phone at the time). Now I kinda wish I had gotten the bracelet kind, because I’ve had some close calls on losing this or tossing it in the wash. So far, so good. And I like the privacy of wearing this without announcing it. So it is a toss up.

I’m leaving this on the list, but it really is more of a wish list recommendation---because you should only buy this for yourself or someone who specifically has it on her or his wish list. You don’t wanna be that gifter.

6. Norpro Triple Blade Herb Scissors

A gift from my mother-in-law last year that I have used all year in my kitchen. Mince or chop herbs right over the pot. And under $10 as well!

7. Washi Tape

Gift-giving can be tricky. Home d├ęcor is a such a personal thing---unless you know the recipient loves that artist or has that item on her wish list, you are taking a big risk.

I love gifts that can be used up, rather than another thing to dust. Washi Tape has 100 uses and doesn’t require any dusting. A fun little gift that can also make a nice hostess gift. My favorite is pictured above, but is sold out, though the same site has this one. Really you can find it at any craft store or Target, though if you want something really specific that reflects your friend, go to Etsy!


Boys' Snowman Build Long Sleeve Tee|Life is good

8. LIFE IS GOOD t-shirt

Aidan’s godmother gave him the above shirt last year, and I have one Brian gave me years ago that remains a favorite. Super soft, cozy shirts, and they’re such a good company, you feel good buying any of their products.

9.Camelbak Eddy Insulated Water Bottle w/ Bite Valve & Straw - BPA FREE

These usually run around $15. I haven’t lost one yet this year (knock on wood), which is a very good thing because I get very grumpy when I can’t find my water bottle. I try to keep one in my car and one on my desk, but those things move on their own.

An easy way to fill your teen’s stocking—ha!

10. Canon PowerShot ELPH135 Digital Camera

This one is currently $79, but don’t you have one sitting in a cabinet somewhere? Seems like most of us use our phones, and if we really care, a big honking DSLR. So dust off your point and shoot and wrap it up in a box and give it to your 10 year old. Seeing the world through their eyes will be an even greater gift.

and one more…


Years ago my friend Mary Alice gave me a Trapp candle. I still have it, even though I rarely light it. I keep it in my closet and the whole room smells pretty. I have a heightened sense of smell, which is a blessing and a curse (especially as my sons get older). I haven’t been able to find Summer Flowers, which is the scent I have, but Bob's Flower Shoppe sounds like it. I think Orange/Vanilla sounds like a good holiday scent and these would also make a nice gift to a host this Christmas. No wrapping necessary as their box is delightful.

You can find an equally random list of my favorite things, as well as favorite baby gifts and books, in the side bar on my blog.  Happy Gifting!

*All Amazon links are affiliate links.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pattern 159: Light On Two Sides Of Every Room

our bedroom on Cottonwoodlane

First, an apology and a celebration. This is only my 10th post during the Write31Days challenge, and quite possibly my last post for the month of October. At the same time, wahoo, I posted 10 times during October! That’s more than twice as many posts compared to any other month this year.

I won’t bore you with details about my excuses---suffice to say we move into our house in ONE WEEK! We are painting non-stop and giving our new home as much TLC as we can before all our things, which have been in storage the past four months, arrive this Tuesday. We also sold and gave away a TON of stuff before we moved, so we’ve had to make lots of purchasing decisions this month. Any one of these decisions would be a fun opportunity on its own, but having to make them all at the same time is plain crazy-making.

I will continue exploring Christopher Alexander’s book, A Pattern Language, and linking those posts to the introductory page, even if it takes me a year to write 31 of them.

web our house is a very very fine house

All of the images in this post are from my favorite room in our home on Cottonwood Lane, the master bedroom. It’s fun to see clues as to when images were taken. That first image is one of the realtor’s photos in June of this year---I thought it funny that they closed all the shades for the shot. The second image is from 2008---I spy a different chair in the sitting area, the blue JC Penny glider that might not be pretty but that was perfect for nursing my babies. The black box/bag on the floor is a nursing pump.

I loved this room for many reasons. It was big enough to include a crib or bassinet or the kids’ bookcase after we moved the playroom downstairs. Yet it remained a bit of an adult oasis in our kid-dominated house. I loved the soothing blue (Benjamin Moore November Skies). We only hung art and photos on one wall, which kept the room extremely calm in its simplicity. Most of all, though, I loved its light.

According to A Pattern Language’s Pattern 159:

When they have a choice, people will always gravitate to those rooms which have light on two sides, and leave the rooms which are lit only from one side unused and empty.

And so Christopher Alexander recommends that you build so that each room has outdoor space along at least two walls, and that you then place windows so that light falls into every room from more than one direction.

Christopher Alexander pattern 159 Light From Two Directions

Wouldn’t it be nice if that were always feasible? It would be if we all built according to Pattern 109: Long Thin House. But in deep houses, it isn’t unusual to find rooms with only one source of natural light.

There are ways to compensate---you can use mirrors, or open up the floor plan so other rooms’ light contributes. Start paying attention though. Look at your home and notice which rooms have light coming from more than one direction. I think it’s a bit overstated---“unused and empty,” but I constantly notice this now, and feel the difference it makes.

Alexander spends a lot of time on light and windows (Pattern 107: Wings of Light; 128: Indoor Sunlight; 194: Interior Windows, 180: Window Place, and many more). As we looked at houses over the past six months (hundreds of houses!), light was second only to location on my priority list.

You can add windows but you can’t change location. But adding natural light is no small undertaking, and I believe the least appreciated aspect in first-time home buyers. “This pattern, perhaps more than any other single pattern, determines the success or failure of a room,” writes Alexander.


I was delighted to find this discussion of Pattern 159 on Houzz.com, though their work-around options clearly fall short compared to the images that contain Pattern 159.

31 Days button

This post is part of Myquillyn Smith’s Write 31 Days challenge. You can find all my posts on A Pattern Language linked here, and other blogs participating in the challenge (and writing on different topics) here.

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