2020 was challenging for everyone but thankfully, we got through it.  I am grateful for all of my wonderful clients and proud of them for getting through such a challenging time. Allthough things were different, there was still just as much joy and happiness! It was such an honor to be a part of it! For us personally, I’m glad that we had made the decision in October of 2019 to bring home our Portuguese Water Dog puppy, the way things turned out the timing ended up being perfect.  This breed is very high maintenance, and the puppy phase is the most challenging (and important), so I was really able to focus a lot of my time and energy on raising a really, really good dog.  He is now one year old and working on his Canine Good Citizen title!  We were also able to spend more time with family, and working on projects around our home and our hobby farm as well.  Some of our weddings did postpone, but some of them did not.  We had a variety of weddings through the pandemic, some were able to go ahead with about 200 guests as planned, and some scaled way down to more intimate celebrations. I am really impressed with my clients and how well they all got through it.  I was really happy to be able to be source of support for them as they navigated through it all with things changing week to week and sometimes day to day. They each had to make decisions based on what made the most sense for them and their situation.  Some of the most amazing and innovative things came of it, it will definitely be a year we will never forget!

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Here’s just a few images from some of our 2020 Weddings:

Just a few of my favorites from McKenna & Adam’s wedding:
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Mackenzie & Zach’s wedding:
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Kacie & Jeff’s wedding:
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Julie & Brian’s Wedding:
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Chelsie & D’s wedding:
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Amy & Brendan’s wedding:
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Me with my best boy Auggie:
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*Please note some of my clients prefer to keep their images private so not all of my weddings are posted online, including this blog post.

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What does raising chickens have to do with photography?  Absolutely nothing, but when there’s a pandemic shut down that all but closes down your business, you’ve always wanted chickens, you build a chicken coop,  and raise some chickens…a year later you have learned a thing or two about raising chickens!:)  I’m not one to blather on and on so I’ll get right to my “list”, but if you have any questions feel free to reach out, I am always happy to share information!

  1. The number one thing I wish I would have known:  You have two choices when you live in a cold climate:  Provide heat for your chickens or no heat, but the thing no one tells you is that if you decide to go with no heat, those water heater things that are designed to keep the water from freezing don’t work during a blizzard or when the wind chill temp. drops below 10 degrees, which turns out is pretty frequent where we live (just outside the Twin Cities metro area).  So what do people do who do not use heat?  What did people do before electricity?  Well, they bring out fresh water every couple of hours to their chickens (because they require a continuous source of water to survive).  We  for someone who has a job outside of the home, or someone who wants to be able to leave the house for more than a few hours, this just does not work, so for me, I am so glad that I installed a heat safe light fixture “just in case” because just in case ended up being a whole week that if I did not have the heat lamp on inside the (well ventilated) coop, the water froze, even with the water heater.  After much research in my chicken forums, it turns out this struggle is real with a lot of chicken keepers.  I can’t tell you how glad I am that I at least built a 100% predator proof coop and run system…because if I had to deal with some of the other problems in addition to the heat issue, I think I would decide to not have chickens anymore.
  2. Build your coop to hold at least 12 inches of litter, if not more.  I feel like my coop and run design are pretty much perfect, the only thing that I could have improved on (which thankfully I was able to modify) was to accommodate deeper litter.  It turns out the deep litter method is really the way to go, makes life sooo much easier and is also way better for the chickens in the winter.
  3. Build your nesting boxes deeper than 4 inches.  My nesting boxes are 4 inches deep.   That seemed like a good depth, and I went with the 12×12 inch size box for each one, which is just perfect for all of my hens from my small bantams up to my big fatty Wyandottes.  Yes, I have a variety of breeds, which is very fun.  However, it turns out my chickens are competitive…once and a while (maybe 2 or three times) they have pushed eggs out of the nesting box into the main coop area!  That is something I never even dreamed would happen.  It’s not the end of the world of course, I just grab my rake and fish them out of the coop. Just a small thing I wish I would have known.
  4. My awning (which is over the entire coop and run) hangs over about 2 feet which protects the entire area from a build up of snow. It also prevents snow from blowing in through the (hardware cloth screened) windows in the coop (that are always open for proper ventilation) I have yet to have to shovel around the door. Also, the door opens IN to the run, not out.  The roof is made of a polycarbonate clear roofing material to allow lots of sunlight into the run and keep everything dry and safe from predators.  I am sooo glad I made these choices in the design of our coop/run setup.  I can’t tell you haw many times I have read in chicken forums that people are having all kinds of issues that could have easily been prevented by designing a better coop/run setup.
  5. You can handle your rooster multiple times a day as a baby, but once they are fully mature, they still need daily attention from you or they will turn into a jerk.  If it has been a few days since I have been in the run with my chickens, my rooster will charge at me if I don’t have a rake in my hand. (he respects the rake for no good reason-honestly, I have never given him a reason to be afraid of it!) It makes me feel like I have a safe barrier to protect my shins, so after being charged at the first time I started holding it in from of my legs when I enter.  Why do I have a rooster?  Honestly, only because I purchased a random mix of chicks and ended up with one.  We don’t live “in town” so there was no reason not to.  Moving forward though, I think any future birds we purchase will be very carefully selected from breeders.  For our next chickens, I would really like to get Light Sussex hens, they are so pretty!  Or maybe some chocolate egg layers…
  6. Chickens personalities change dramatically as they age. One of our hens that was absolutely the most feisty ended up being the nicest one out of all of our birds, so weird…

I cannot stress enough the importance of building a completely predator proof coop/run setup.  You can always choose to free range your birds, but when you are not home to supervise them, or at night when they are sleeping, the last thing you want is to come home to see all of your birds dead.  I can’t tell you how many times I have read about people having runs made of chain link fencing material, chicken wire, or a hole has been dug underneath and they come home to a dead flock.  Our coop and run were designed after much research on best design for our climate and our needs.  I wanted something that would require the least amount of work and or worry.  I designed a modified version of an inspiration of the Carolina Coop.  After experiencing each of the 4 seasons with my chickens, I could not be happier with the design and highly recommend it to anyone thinking of getting chickens.  Our design includes a foundation of predator proof hardware cloth and cinder blocks, so we never have to worry about animals getting to our birds, and a clear polycarbonate roof that allows lots of sun into the run area, but also protects from rain.  One of the most important things for chickens health is to keep them dry.  In the winter we have 3 sides (north, east & west sides) of the run area wrapped in plastic to protect from snow and wind.  The door is 8 feet tall to give you an idea of the size.  I just like tall doorways.:)

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With everything being shutdown, besides spending more time with our puppy, we’re learning to make sourdough starter from scratch with just flour, water and natural fermentation. The connection between food when it’s made from scratch is so different than just buying it from the store. Sourdough bread in particular is such an amazing art form! The starter takes on a life, you have a relationship with it, it’s a living thing you have to care for everyday. The first loaf we made was ok, but the second loaf was really awesome! I can’t wait for the third loaf…just a few tweaks and I think it will be so amazing! It’s so time consuming but also so rewarding…when else will we have time to do something like this and what a great skill to have! This is essentially what we’re doing in our kitchen: https://amyinthekitchen.com/how-to-make-sourdough-starter-recipe/IMG_1398Anyone interested in geeking out about sourdough bread? Feel free to send me an email or comment below! Take care friends <3

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The most important aspect of beautiful wedding and engagement photos is that you look natural and comfortable. Because let’s face it, even if the lighting and posing looks great, if you don’t like your expression then none of the other stuff really matters right?  This is why I spend a lot of time listening and making sure you feel comfortable, I guide you through and make it super fun, easy (and work quickly) with you and your whole wedding party. It takes years of experience to get good enough and fast enough that you know what you’re doing so the focus can be on taking care of your couples.   If you are stopping to think too long about camera adjustments or composition, you loose precious time that can be spent on a different scene or the wedding party going off to mingle during cocktail hour (which in itself can be a great photo opportunity right?  Wedding couples we work with (and wedding parties) frequently say they can tell we know what we’re doing and that we’ve obviously had a lot of experience or that we make it look so easy.  We make it look easy because it is easy for us, we’ve been doing this for a long time, our cameras are an extension of us.  Read what our couples say (link to live reviews) and learn more about us on my website. www.mhuberphotography.com I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people tell me they wished they had hired a more experienced professional like me to photograph their wedding.  It really saddens me to hear stories about people who waited months to get their wedding images back only to be disappointed in both the quality and quantity of their images.  Our couples understand and appreciate what goes into quality professional wedding photography.  I would be happy to explain all of the technical aspects and the behind the scenes of what goes into every wedding, but for now I just thought I would share one of the biggest differences our couples notice-how easy it is to work with us and how easy we make it for them to relax and feel natural for photos because this is the most important aspect of a photograph of yourself right?  After the engagement session our couples tell us “thank you so much for making that so easy and making us feel comfortable”  By that point I have shown them some images throughout the session so they know what to look forward to when they see the previews and feel good about what was captured.  This helps tremendously for the wedding day as well.  Our couples know we are going to make them look good and capture lots of great images of the wedding, they trust us and are able to just experience the day, be in the moment and just “take in” the whole thing without a single worry about the photography.IMG_7556-2IMG_7570-2IMG_7572IMG_7600-2IMG_7621-2IMG_7712IMG_7723IMG_7821

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