Dreams, Memories & Reflections 2011

A little over a year ago, I received a gift that I believe would literally change my life. I asked Santa for my very first DSLR camera. My friend Nat had gotten into photography in 2010 and I stood back as she learned. She made me realize that normal people could take breath taking pictures. I wanted to learn too since I loved taking pictures my whole life. Right before we were headed to FL for Christmas last year, I got this. A Canon t2i. Actually, this wasn't the camera I got at Christmas because I had to upgrade due to a focusing issue this summer so this is my camera now- a Canon t3i.

From A Look at 2011

I thought it was a really cool camera but I had NO idea how to use it. I had no clue how to take a picture out of AUTO mode & definitely had NO clue on the basics of photography. So there was LOTS to learn and like I always do, I dove in!!! 2011 was a great year of tackling the photography learning curve (believe me, its a steep one).

Nat told me about a thing she did last year where you take a look back at the past year in what is called Dreams, Memories & Reflections. Nat's photographer friend, Ashley Sisk, asks her followers to take a look at the photos they have taken during the year and share them with others. It's fitting that I end 2011 doing something Nat suggested since she's the reason I got into this in the first place. Here's a look back of 2011 in 25 photos.

1. Me! I am most proud of being serious about learning photography. With 2 beginner classes at Wake Tech Community College, a group of photography friends and lots of tutorials, I learned how to really take a picture! And I look forward to learning more in 2012.
From A Look at 2011

2. I Love You- Who doesn't love this goofy guy??? We have had such a good year together and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with this jokester.
From A Look at 2011

3. Still Laughing- Speaking of jokester, who doesn't remember the entire story of the Allison Kraus concert & Husband of the Year. If you missed it- check it out here. Get ready to laugh. I still laugh about it today.
From A Look at 2011
From A Look at 2011

4. Winter Wonderland- We spent our 1st wedding anniversary skiing in the beautiful Park City, Utah. It was such a great trip! I hadn't been skiing since I left NY and Todd hadn't skied in longer than that. It was like riding a bike though and quickly came back. The skiing was incredible and fresh white powder everyday was a great way to end our 1st year as a married couple.
From A Look at 2011

5. Birthday- I took lots of pictures of my neighbor Tylan this year and this was his 1st birthday cake. This cake was so cute and was freakin delish!
From A Look at 2011

6. Friends- There were LOTS of celebrations this year with LOTS of weddings and time to get together with friends. This is a picture of my closest friends in Raleigh at Kaleena's bachelorette party. It was a great day spent with the Carolina Food Tour in Durham. I highly recommend going on a NC Food tour if you've never done it and I highly recommend getting you some friends like these!
From A Look at 2011

7. I was Inspired- This year we added two babies to the Craig crew. When my sister-in-law Lisa was about 6 months pregnant, she asked if I would take her son's newborn pictures. Like with any project I get myself into, I got obsessed with newborn photography, newborn blogs, newborn hats & props all thanks to this little thing we call Pinterest! I was definitely inspired and think I found a little passion of my own.
From A Look at 2011

8.Spring Fever- I absolutely love this flower that I shot at Duke Garden's this spring.
From A Look at 2011

9. Travel/Vacation- This was one of my favorite pictures from our trip in Park City. This was downtown Main Street where there were ton of cute shops.
From A Look at 2011

10. Summer Days- What says summer like bathing suits on little bottoms like these??? We went to upstate NY late this summer for Kaleena's wedding and we got to spend a few days with my friend Geraldean, her husband Greg and their twin girls Augusteen & Ida. I love these little girls- they are SO funny- even at 1.5 years old. Makes me sad I don't get to see G or the girls as often as I'd like.
From A Look at 2011

11. A Day In My Life- Seems like a day in my life is ERRANDS. I run errands EVERY SINGLE DAY after work. If there is a day where I don't have something to do, it feels weird. There were lots of parties that I planned this year and lots of travel, so the only way I got through it all is lots of STICKY NOTES!
From A Look at 2011

12. All Smiles- I swear I'm surrounded by comedians which bothers me because I like to be the funny one. My mother has got to be one of the funniest, craziest people I have ever met. I swear this chick takes happy pills. It's rare to see her in a bad mood and being around her just makes me smile. I was so happy that she agreed to come up for the 2nd ever annual Brew-A-Que this 4th of July. Cause lets face it- a cornhole tournament without Mother Therese as the judge just isn't as fun.
From A Look at 2011

13. Autumn Harvest- I got my first non-friend gig this summer taking pictures at the Historic Oak View Park in downtown Raleigh. The park was looking for somebody to take pictures to update their brochure and our sweet friend Heather Tart recommended me. It was a great experience and the park is GORGEOUS and this is my favorite picture from that day.
From A Look at 2011

14. Family- This is a picture with 3 generations in it. Me, my mom & a picture of the ultrasound that we gave my mother as her Christmas gift. That is a true picture of family!
From A Look at 2011

15. Celebrate! We had lots of things to celebrate in 2011 with 5 weddings!!! This is a picture of our friend Sheri who got married in October. I absolutely love her dad's face while they were dancing. A true celebration indeed.
From A Look at 2011

16. Lets Do It Again- My friend Mel & I attended the NC Hot Air Balloon Festival this year in Statesville, NC. It had been on my bucket list for awhile and I was so happy to find someone who wanted to go. We spent the whole day taking pictures and watching the balloons. It was great day trip and great time spent with a friend. Definitely something I'd like to do again.
From A Look at 2011

17. I Miss You- Speaking of my friend Mel- she will be leaving me soon. Either to NY or Europe for a job. So her time in Raleigh is limited. Earlier this year I prayed for God to send me a photography friend that I could just hang out with and do photography. I had NO clue that when I signed up for my 2nd photography class at Wake Tech, that I'd be sitting next to one of my closest friends. Melanie has been such an answer to prayer and unexpected blessing from the Man upstairs! Even though her time in Raleigh is short, I know I met Mel for a reason. And she & I have built a foundational friendship that I know will surpass time & distance. She hasn't even left yet but I already miss her :-( Can't imagine 2012 without her here in Raleigh.
From A Look at 2011

18. Beautiful- This fall my friend Nicole asked if I would take pictures of her & her family. After several weeks of going back & forth about times (her schedule is crazier than mine is) we finally met up. I enjoyed taking pictures of the family of 4 but my camera was drawn to her 12 year old daughter Hayden. I just couldn't stop taking pictures of this beautiful young lady and you'll see why once you see the pic.
From A Look at 2011

19. Dress Up- Who loves to dress up more than my husband? Last year he let my Sunday School girls dress him up as a princess. This year he let them paint all over his face while he rocked his Rockstar outfit. This is one of the MANY reasons why I love Todd Craig. Who wouldn't want to have a children with this man? Can you imagine what kind of father he'll be?
From A Look at 2011

20. Macro- I went through a stage this year when I wanted/NEEDED a macro lens. I borrowed one from our friend Rusty and even rented one for Benton's newborn shoots. I love macro photography and would eventually love to own my own macro lens but I've realized that it isn't my passion. However, macro can make the most ordinary things like a tip of a leaf look cool.
From A Look at 2011

21. Holidays- This year we spent Thanksgiving in Destin, FL with my in-laws. I was awful sick from morning sickness and just didn't feel good. This isn't your typical holiday picture but it's a shot that I got while on the beach of my brother-in-law Marcus with his 3 month old son, Marcus Benton Craig. I just love the sun flares and the color of the setting sun. That's what holidays are all about- FAMILY.
From A Look at 2011

22. My Favorite- I don't know why but this is one of my favorite shots from 2011. This was taken this summer during the Food Tour in Durham and it's of my sister touching a mural. Maybe it's the colors, maybe it's the fact that it is actually in focus she was only there for half a second, maybe because it has my sister in it. Not sure why but I just love it.
From A Look at 2011

23. Don't Ever Change- Sorry these pictures are husband heavy but he's my best friend and I take lots of pictures of him plus these titles just fit him. One thing I don't ever want to change about Todd is his willingness to help. He is a true partner to me. Whether it's dressing up like a Rockstar and playing Rockband til midnight with twelve 10 year olds or it's going to a nursing home and getting felt up by some 80 year old women or it's helping out with the chores on our TX farm so that it gives my 84 year old grandfather with cancer a break- Todd is always willing to help me and be apart of the things I love. That's why it was a no brainer to have a child with this man. I know he'll help and I know we'll do it together. Because whatever he does, he does with all his heart. And though I may argue with him that he really isn't a rancher just because he got himself 2 pair of cowboy boots, deep down I love that he thinks he's a rancher. Because no matter what he does, he does it with HEART and LOVE is his ultimate goal.
From A Look at 2011

24. Just Because...So There! This picture was an assignment in my 1st photography class. I think I've come a long way since then but I still love this image and it pretty much sums up 2011- lots of cherries on top!
From A Look at 2011

25. Hopes & Dreams- Last but not least, a picture of the hopes and dreams I have for 2012. There will be a BABY in 2012 and I cannot tell you have happy, excited & nervous I am. The whole reason I got into photography was to learn to take a picture so that way when I had kids of my own one day, I could capture every important moment. I can only imagine what this baby will look like and how it will change our lives. One thing is for certain, it better get use to a camera in it's face because mommy is gonna take lots of pictures of it!
From A Look at 2011

2011 was an exciting year and I look forward to all the NEW things 2012 will bring my way. Thank you for checking my blog every week and for leaving comments. But most of all, thank you for being apart of my life. I think all the 71 blog entries that I blogged in 2011 have been a great way to capture all that has happened in our lives this year & I hope to continue it for years to come.

Wishing you & your loved ones a Happy 2012 with lots of cherries on top!
Candice

Nichole Annette Howard  – (January 9, 2012 at 3:47 PM)  

Nice compilation, sister Candice-with my aversion to having a camera in my face (I've recently learned that I am NOT photogenic) it's an absolute wonder that I made your list. You truly captured a moment- it was just seconds that I was there at the wall. Plus I am thrilled to see your dedication to a passion. You have a great life filled with fun, love and community. Love you, chica!

Mel :) –   – (January 9, 2012 at 4:09 PM)  

Candice you always manage to take a good thing and make it GREAT! I loved this idea when you showed it to me, and I love it even more now that I see what you've come up with. Not only are your photos amazing, but your captions really capture your vibrant personality and zest for life. For sure 2012 has a lot of changes in store for BOTH of us, and I'm so happy to have you here to help me through it. LOVE YOU!

Kim  – (January 9, 2012 at 5:06 PM)  

This was great, but where is Kim Frazier??? ;-) Love ya!!!!

Kelsey  – (January 9, 2012 at 6:36 PM)  

So wonderful to read your blog again. Had lost the link and kept checking facebook for an update. When I saw the news article announcement, I seriously thought it was real. Hilarious!!
Your photos are beautiful! I must learn from you now.
And yes, you BOTH will be incredible parents and I am very excited for you both. Hope to come visit soon if you would have me around!! Let me know what could work. :)

Anonymous –   – (January 10, 2012 at 5:26 AM)  

Oh my goodness, I knew you were working on this assignment when you were at the house for Christmas, but had no idea how FABULOUS it would turn out! The pictures are great but you my dear have a gift for words and your words are beautiful. Thanks for blogging in 2011 and we shall see with a new baby how blogging goes for 2012...I do love the picture and words of your sister as well! I love you Big Big like the World, Momma T

Kelsey  – (January 17, 2012 at 7:18 PM)  

what a great summary of 2011:) you have a great new talent and your captions/words are fantastic, funny, and beautiful. love you and so happy for you.

Ashley Sisk  – (January 19, 2012 at 1:11 PM)  

Oh you should have linked up with me - I love this entire set and I'm so glad we've connected. We'll definitely have to meet up this year!

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