• studio3z photography {the blog}

    If you have landed here...bless your soul.  Welcome to our little tiny corner of the cyber world, based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Below you will see favorites from our sessions we do professionally, and also loads of personal nonsense that we hope at least will entertain you.  If nothing less, you can keep up on our adorable children.  Really, they are worth the trip back here time and time again in and of itself.

    My name is Jess.  My hubby is Brett.  We are crazy about each other, our 4 babies, and our art.  Welcome to our world.

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Category Archives: {through my eyes}

Traveling trio in Maine

We had been looking forward to our trip to Maine all year. Brett and I had never been and always wanted to go, and Brett’s brother Jason was the same; never been, always wanting. We all went to celebrate an AMAZING wedding in which, Jason was the DJ and a groomsman, and we photographed- of course.

We rented an adorable little rustic place in the small fishing town of Stonington, ME and spent the days wandering around the harbor, exploring back country roads, and eating fantastically fresh seafood.

Stepping off the plane, the first thing we had to do was find the best place for Lobster. Of course. I had been dreaming of lobster for weeks now. We were led to “Red’s Eats” for what was the “World’s Best Lobster Roll.” Verdict: It did not disappoint.

Afterwards we headed on our journey up from Portland, ME to our tiny island. We passed a couple beautiful bridges along the way.

We arrived after dark, so the next morning we were eager to head out to take our first peek at the quaint little harbor town. I read before the trip that Stonington was a very small town, seemingly untouched since the 1950′s. I would say that statement is just about right on. The town was very quiet, and on the days when the fog would roll in and cover everything, it felt near silent at times….almost eery, like a movie scene. There was no cell phone coverage there, so it really felt very “off the grid,” which was mainly awesome…..just not when we wanted to check on the kids!

Our sweet lil’ house, built on top of a granite quarry, with enough blueberries and blackberries in it’s surroundings to eat for days.

We rented bikes and traveled to Bar Harbor where we rode around a gorgeous (and big) lake. It was incredibly beautiful, but man was I a major wimp. I’ve never despised the great outdoors more than when I was dying trying to ride up those hills. BLAH.

My precious man shot some major filmage. Those coming soon, and they flipping ROCK. I just shot him shooting filmage, instead.;)

A meal to remember one evening after we had been lost, cold, hungry, and Jason schmoozed our way into getting us into this restaurant where they were booked solid for the night. Win for us, thanks Jason!

Wonderful parting dinner and sunset the evening before we left….hosted by our newly-married friends.:)

And that’s it for part one. I plan to share Brett’s film he shot, along with the rehearsal dinner, and one of our favorite weddings we’ve ever photographed. Seriously, it was gorgeous and filled with so much love.

Coming soon…

September 19, 2011 - 3:49 pm

Keaton - Love these!! I hope you guys enjoyed yourselves!

September 19, 2011 - 5:22 pm

Kyle - Love the images! Any chance you could share the rental info with me!? My wife and I have been looking at a Maine vacation and the house looks sweet! Thanks, love your work – Kyle

September 19, 2011 - 7:29 pm

Gail - AHHHHH…this looks SO lovely. A breathe of fresh air!!!! I want a lobster roll now. AND I WANT TO SEE THIS WEDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 20, 2011 - 9:51 am

Betsy - Oh my land, this looks like a fairy tale trip!!!! Oh what I would have given for me and John to have been in your back pockets!!!!! Just wonderful. Love seeing the world through your eyes.

YOu are beautiful, btw!

September 20, 2011 - 9:51 am

Caitlin Sullivan - My heart just smiles when you post personal photos. These are so happy! Can’t get over that sunset! So amazing.

September 20, 2011 - 10:37 am

Daniel Lanning {The Beautiful Mess} - This reminds me how much I want to take Candice and Stevie to Maine! Looks like you guys had a great time and got to see some great spots! Great photos!

September 20, 2011 - 10:39 am

Daniel Lanning {The Beautiful Mess} - This reminds me how much I want to take Candice and Stevie to Maine! Looks like you guys had a great time and got to see some great spots! Great photos!

September 20, 2011 - 12:43 pm

amanda reynolds - LOVE these!!! Looks like you guys had a pretty amazing time. Maine is on my list for sure. I love that you are still able to travel and have a family too. Can’t wait to see this wedding!

September 20, 2011 - 2:21 pm

Lisa Scherer - Your personal photos are some of my absolute favorites….I can get lost in them forever. And how about all your adorable outfits!! Love! I am with Kyle, would you mind sharing your rental information…my 15th year anniversary is coming up…looks like the perfect place for an anniversary trip.

awake my soul.

It’s hard for me to put into words how refreshing it is to be out in nature and set the world aside. I find it’s like a cleansing. I make the choice to release my day-to-day stress, and really get in touch with who I am, and the Lord who made me.

I find it awakens my soul every time.

Last year my Dad and I began a tradition. The two of us went down to Stearns, Kentucky where my 94 years-young grandmother lives. My Dad ran through those woods and hills to his heart’s content as a young boy. Since as long as I can remember, I run around in the same woods, each time trying to envision what things looked like, felt like….trying to view it through his eyes. Appreciation of nature is like breathing to most my family. Perhaps it’s the bit of Native American blood running in our veins….I like to think so.

We call our Spring trip, “Trout and Trillium.” Our goal is to hunt for rare wildflowers and perhaps fish in some of the Midwest’s most beautiful streams. This year my Dad’s brother, and my baby sister came with us. We found the water too murky and high due to massive rains, and after a day or so of wildflower hunting we realized (to our dismay) that we were about a week off. They had returned to the ground to rest for another year.

I didn’t mind. There was still so much beauty to see. As is the case in any given situation, you just have to make the choice to open your eyes.

I told Ashley this is where I would like to renew my vows with Brett.  It’s the PERFECT wedding isle, don’t you think?;)

Below is a stream-side graveyard covered in wildflowers, where some of my ancestors are buried.

The entrance to Yahoo Falls was shut down due to damage from falling trees during the storms. We politely ignored the warning.

Since fishing was out due to high water we decided to shoot. Guns, and cameras. I tell ya, this was all out tomboy weekend for me and Ash. But being raised country girls, we were right at home.

Ignore our greasy, no make-up, “we really need a shower” faces….instead check out our beautiful little Grandma. She is red hot spunky and precious as could be. I’m so thankful for her.

Daddy, Uncle Bear and Ash…..it was a great time, even with the minor disappointments. Can’t wait to do it again next year, and the year after.

P.S. I must give credit to my sister for some shots on here. I brought her a camera and gave her no option but to shoot. And she’s good.;)

June 3, 2011 - 11:17 am

Barb - Absolutely beautiful! Love!

June 3, 2011 - 11:21 am

Yo mama - I love family traditions…..
I love my family.
And I love the pics!

June 3, 2011 - 11:33 am

Jen Hauer - I just love the Wallace/Zwolinski families and especially that red hot spunky grandma of yours! Great pics and great writing, as always :)

June 3, 2011 - 11:53 am

William R. Wallace - It is always a happy holiday to be with my baby girls. In spite of the bad conditions, we had a great time, got some great pictures, and learned a little more about ourselves and who we really are deep inside. By next year, we’ll have this thing perfected. I’m already planning—be ready.

June 3, 2011 - 11:55 am

Gail - Oooh..thanks for this Jess. A nice little “get-away” at my desk on this Friday afternoon. I’m right there with ya on bein’ raised a country girl. I love days where you get to slip into your past like this. And getting to fire a gun? EVEN BETTER!

PS – Adore that shot of you and your baby sis

PPS – You KNOW we love your g-ma!!! Cherish every minute you still have with her!

June 3, 2011 - 11:55 am

Amber - I love this post!! What pretty sisters!

June 3, 2011 - 2:08 pm

Stephanie Lyell - I love this post! I’ve lived in Kentucky for the past two years, and I love this time of year here. What a wonderful tradition :)

June 4, 2011 - 1:02 pm

nelly - great post – beautiful pictures.

June 4, 2011 - 1:57 pm

Lindsey - I am on the verge of obsession with your site. I check back often and I am never dissapointed by what I see. I admire the way you see the world. You capture the beauty of this place and the people in it magically. This last post is no exception. These images are so beautiful. Thanks so much, you brought a moment of peace to my crazy day.

June 4, 2011 - 7:43 pm

Shannon Selim - It’s so good to see your sis’s face!

There’s a little of beautiful things in here God made! :)

June 5, 2011 - 8:16 am

george pahountis - beautiful places! It has been a long time since I was there!

June 5, 2011 - 10:17 am

Rachel B. - Oh! I love the mountain laurel, graveyard, wooded trail and waterfall photos! But especially the one in the graveyard! The saturation of the colors is so beautiful. And y’all are just gorgeous even without taking a shower! Your grandmother is so cute. I can see her personality showing. I’m glad y’all had such a wonderful trip and will be doing it again.

June 6, 2011 - 9:46 pm

lucy - i love this post, jess! what a precious time with your dad and sissy.

June 7, 2011 - 2:32 pm

meredith - This is becoming my favorite blog post of the entire year.

June 7, 2011 - 8:38 pm

Brock - What a soul cleansing post! I wish more people could experience the outdoors and all of Gods beautiful glory! Thanks for sharing!
PS-Any post with Girls & Guns I’m in:) HOT!

June 8, 2011 - 11:59 am

Kelly - Beautiful pictures (as usual). So glad you got time to relax :)

the old dead grasses {film}

This spring we were cutting down the old dead grasses from last year and the boys were working on it with me.  I suggested they make a fort in the back woods with the grasses.  They asked me to help them out and I gladly accepted.  Our boys help us remember what it is like to be young, carefree spirits.  Deep inside of us all there is the little child we once were that has somehow been overshadowed by the man/woman we have become.  Having these children to cherish, hold, and watch grow up helps us remember what it was like to be young and to stay young in spirit ourselves.  It helps us to realize how fragile and dependent upon one another we all are.  We need to get inside their little world from time to time and learn from them.  We can learn to have a more humble and contrite spirit and lean on each other for support as they do.  Never lose touch with your inner child.  ~brett {baba}

May 26, 2011 - 9:40 am

Cassie - This looks straight out of Where the Wild Things Are. Love it.

May 27, 2011 - 2:53 pm

Patty Mabry your cousin - That last picture of your little boy; what is it? Both my boys sucked those fingers! I love your comment about playing. We forget that we should let go and remember the “child” inside us sometimes. Thanks for the reminder.

May 27, 2011 - 4:07 pm

Katie - It’s so wonderful getting to know your beautiful family through jess’s point of view on this blog. Seeing the same sense of love and wonder coming through in your voice is so sweet. Thanks for posting Brett. It’s so easy to fall in love with the Z family :) (oh yeah, and your film work is gorgeous!!)

May 30, 2011 - 8:30 pm

Gabe - great images and wonderful words. thanks for sharing this Brett.

June 7, 2011 - 8:40 pm

Rachel B. - Oh, wow! How did I miss these? These are so pure and beautiful. Makes me almost long for fall since these have a very autumnal feel to them.

film {experiment in light}

This is Brett, the other half of studio3z, writing my first, hopefully not last, blog entry.  Hello all!

So, we’ve decided to start shooting film again and I took my first roll of medium format film a couple of weeks ago.  I’m calling this my first “film experiment in light.”  There is something about film that draws us in to the images…something I can’t amply describe, but I like to call it “The Van Gogh Effect” because film grain and blur reminds me of his amazing textures and I love how it seems so much more pure, raw, and organic than digital.  And, I am an organic purist at heart.  There is  something deeply emotional about film in that it requires more time, effort, and patience.  Film also requires us to have a deeper connection with the subject that is elsewise absent.  This is what I love.

Well, I decided a few months back that I wanted to get back full circle to where this all began, but was dragging my heels on it.  When Jessica and I first started shooting together, I shot a lot of film.  Some of those photographs are still some of my favorites to date, but I could never get past the ease and convenience of digital.  This all met with a crescendo upon attending the WPPI conference this year.  This is where I became friends with a kindred spirit, Gabe McClintock, the incredibly talented man behind the camera of Perspectiveye Photography. Gabe was instrumental in my decision to start shooting film again and he was very helpful and graciously in lending me his ear on this venture.  If you haven’t checked out his work before, then indulge your senses and visit his blog here.  He shoots a lot of film these days and was one of my biggest inspirations for this endeavor…thank you Gabe!  I was also privileged to hear a couple of excellent and inspiring film artists speak at WPPI this year, Elizabeth Messina of Kiss The Groom Photography and Jose Villa.

Looking back, here is one of my 35mm film shots from the first wedding Jessica and I ever photographed:

Now, coming full circle, I’m shooting with my new (old) Contax 645 medium format camera.  This frame below is one of my favorites from the first roll I ever shot a couple weeks ago:

The water and light were so wondrous that I couldn’t stop shooting, so here are a few others…

That same day, the kids and I hung out with Grandma “Nanny” Beth, my mom, at Waffle House.  The vintage Waffle House feel and the beautiful light pouring through the windows all added up to what I felt was “film ready”…well, I’m actually getting addicted to it and now everything is seeming “film ready” these days:

We look forward to sharing more of our film experiments in light with you in the upcoming weeks.

brett & jess

April 27, 2011 - 7:46 am

Gail - GORGEOUS!!! You’re great with the film camera Brett! I look forward to seeing what else you capture in the months to come!

April 27, 2011 - 8:05 am

Bobbi - Loooooove!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 27, 2011 - 8:38 am

Mama - Aaaaahh…YES.. Spending time with family – there is NOTHING like it on this planet! Your children and grandchildren grow up way to fast… capture/cherish/inhale every moment you can… it is fleeting!

April 27, 2011 - 8:46 am

Stephanie Lyell - Beautiful. Film does have such a wonderful aura around it. I look forward to seeing more!

April 27, 2011 - 1:30 pm

Gabe - Brett these are incredible. The depth the film adds to your images is beautiful. I can’t wait to watch you and Jess’s journey with this medium…I know it’s going to be amazing!!

April 27, 2011 - 4:43 pm

Sarah - I’m taking a film class in school and am discouraged because it seems useless yet awesome. I’m glad to see that there are others out there who can make it worth something still, thanks for the inspiration!

April 27, 2011 - 5:30 pm

Jess W. - Those shots of Gabe are incredible, especially *love* that first one. Very much looking forward to seeing more! Oh, and who is that dapper couple in the first photo? ;)

May 4, 2011 - 11:21 am

amanda reynolds - Love these!!! Yay for shooting film again, isn’t it amazing?!?! Just sent 5 rolls off yesterday, the suspense alone makes it all worthwhile! ENJOY :)