Monday, October 5, 2009

Drumroll please....

So my guest panel and I couldn't just choose one winner for the Senior Portrait giveaway!  I finally have spoken with both girls and can now introduce you to them!  They both just sound like absolute dolls and I can't wait for their sessions!! 

First Prize Winner, nominated by HollyAnn Petree - Julie B.

Julie is a senior at MCA..and sounds like a busy little bee with a servant heart!  She helps teach a class of 7th graders, sings on various praise teams, is an AWANA leader, involved in her youth group at Midland Bible Church and has been on mission trips to Uganda.  She loves spending time with her family, friends and taking road trips!

 2nd place (nominated by Kaylea Killam) - Alyssa H.

Alyssa is a senior at Midland Christian who is fascinated with photography and enjoys being on the yearbook staff because she said it's taught her that she's a lot more creative than she thought she was!  She is adopted and tries to make at least one person smile or laugh every day.  Alyssa loves her family and loves helping others!

Hurry up February!   I can't wait to spend time with these inspiring girls!

Here's some favorites from recent shoots since I blogged last :)  (I really wish I could share with you pics from a sweet session I was honored to do with a Senior living at High Sky Children's Ranch.. since I can't b/c of protective reasons, here's one of my precious friend Sarah, who is one of the honorable people who work there, who sweetly chased Sawyer around that day so we could ensure that the girl got some Senior pics before she had to move the next day!)

Need a real estate agent?  Then go see one of these lovely ladies!  Deborah Pierce (check out those shoes! FUN!  Just like her!) at Real Estate One...  And special thanks to Michael Buble for providing background music for our shoot :)

 Or Amanda Siruta at Legacy!  Aren't her eyes captivating?!  I'm looking forward to shooting more of her and her family in December!

So who knew trying out a shoot with a fan blowing could be so fun!?!  These gorgeous ladies provided an entertaining and laughter inducing day!  Here's Jenna, Kayley & Bailey... all three ridiculously beautiful young ladies who are listed in my "cool chicks" list and can work the "modely-mojo" quite well!  Bailey was kind enough to open her house as a test site for "Project Fan".  She amazingly puts up with my requests to barge into her home ...and invite people to come barge along with me.  :) 

A little bit of rain didn't stop the wonderful Vines family from a fun shoot!  Doesn't she just have the best smile?!  And their boys were precious!  Now let me just tell you.. Jimmy (the dad) should charge to give tours of his shop in the back.  He could make quite a lucrative income I believe with this Man Haven of his.  Men needing to feel more manly could come from miles around to be in the presence of all those tools and.. manly stuff.  He built his own boat for Pete's Sake!  Did you read that?  HE BUILT A BOAT.  Like with metal and stuff and a welder thing. And he builds cars.  Or something like that.   (I'm not sure what it is exaclty, but I didn't realize people could do that??  Isn't that supposed to happen in factories with robots? )   And then of course dirt bikes and every other testosterone related trinket/ tool/ i'm not sure what they were were... all in this building.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around it all.  :) 

This was from a few weeks back, but am throwing it in here anyhow!  You've heard me talk about my friends the Blackketters.. well Hilary wanted to have a shoot with her brother, Jonathan, before he left for the Air Force... such a caring relationship they all have have!
This was most definitely a fun night!  The snail in the last pic was a childhood favorite of Hilary's.  Jonathan, not so much.

Look at this little cherub!... Golly, it's girls like her that make me want another baby! And the mom was equally as angelic!  I ended up staying and eating dinner with them after the shoot!  (Don't worry Bailey, I didn't barge in and invite myself to dinner, and I didn't ask strangers to join in on the fun!)  Man, I love my job! 

And you'll be hearing much more about these next pics in the future, as there's some pretty exciting things on the horizon in store concerning this shoot.  God has been so good and I am bursting at the seams with anticipation/ joy!  But for now, I'll just let the images speak for themselves : )

Okay.. that's it for now.. I think we're all caught up.  Oh!  But while I still have you here.. here's two of my favorites from an old shoot of the Blackketters earlier in the year.. And I promise this will be it!  The first one is one of my favoritey faves of all time.. given that Ben and Hilary's dating relationship revolved a lot around having to communicate via computer for a few years, I thought this was quite fitting for them!  Get it.. U and I?  :) 

Congratulations on completing the longest blog entry ever!  May you receive a fantabulous Monday in return for your perseverance and dedication :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

April, Oliver & Zoe :)

Look at this adorable family I ran into at Harvest Cafe that I just couldn't resist snapping some pics of! Special thanks to mom, Patti, for lettting me take a few minutes out of their day! Turns out their dad used to be a photographer... which must be the reason why Zoe, the baby, smiled instantly when I pulled out the camera! They've since booked a family shoot and I can't WAIT to see how adorable they'll look considering they looked this precious just to eat LUNCH! Have a great one everyone! And check the previous post  for info about my Christmas Card Photo Special below!  Also, it's not too late to nominate your favorite high school senior for my Senior Give Away!  And there's an added bonus in there for the person who nominates them!  What are you waiting for?!  Get typing!! :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Good Day

Today was a good day. I once again was at Harvest Cafe, this time meeting with a quite nifty Mrs. Worthan who is wanting to turn her hobby of photography into a business. She's going to go far I can tell! We laughed, we cried. It was a lovely time! I was quite honored that she wanted to sit down and chat and pick my brain...and even more honored to bump into this fine man... Meet Mr. Jim W. Adams:

Mr. Adams is a Korean War veteran that proudly served in the Air Force from 1951-1953. I spotted him sitting by himself in a comfy chair, sipping on coffee focusing his thoughts on a Suduko puzzle. He was wearing an Commemorative Air Force khaki jumpsuit with numerous patches filling the sleeves. Given that I had a lost photo opportunity at Harvest Cafe just 3 days ago (see previous post), I decided to jump at the opportunity and invited my fellow photographer to grab her camera and come along.  My request to sit and chat with him and take his picture were greeted with a warm smile and a, "To what do I owe this ego boost'?!

We didn't have that long to talk to him, as he was on his way to a parade honoring local police, firemen and veterans on the anniversary of Sept. 11th. But I did however, manage to find out this about him in our brief encounter:
  • During his service, he worked in Photo Intelligence. (I was so intrigued by this!)  He shot using military speed graphic cameras which used 4x5 inch negatives.  During the time he served, they were making the transition from black & and white film to color.                           
...I'm never going to complain about toting my camera around again.  Check out this bad boy:

  • A few of the duties performed were aerial bomb assessions and of radar installations to detect enemies. 
  • Mr. Adams was at one time passionate about taking pictures of steam locomotives (and still has every one he ever took!).  Now that passion has shifted to taking pictures of his 5 children and 13 grandkids. :)
  • He met Ansel Adams while working one summer in Yosemite Valley and is a fan of his work.
During our chat, an elegant lady approached and put her hand on Mr. Adams shoulder.  He looked up, smiled and said, "Well hello there, Beautiful!"  A friendly Mrs. Adams reported it was time for them get going, as the parade would soon be starting.  
Oh, how I would have loved to have sat and chatted with him more and heard more about his experiences!  Who knows... I have his email and perhaps one day I will!  
Thank you Mr. Adams for your service to this country and allowing the aspiring photographer a glimpse into your life.

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    Recent Ramblings and a Missed Shot

    What a crazy past 24 hours! It's funny how little things like your email crashing can completely throw one into a frenzy. (Okay, really it was a big thing. I cried when customer service told me yesterday there wasn't much they could do and how sorry they were!) Not to mention, these speed bumps can really make one evaluate the need to become more organized and thorough when dealing with client/ business info! Good news is that thanks to Jeremy, the friendly tech guy at Suddenlink, my emails, client folders and contacts have all been recovered. Jeremy is now my new BFF and I'm sending Suddenlink my highest accolades and a Best Buy gift card. Poor fella spent hours over here fiddling with my computer/ email settings and finally figured it was code issue and he recoded it (I think?). I still don't understand, but am just thankful for smart people in this world. And thankfully, I had an incredibly sharp friend give me pointers on how to cover my tail in case something similar was to ever happen again!

    Now that I can breathe a sigh of relief, I can focus on some upcoming events I'm looking forward to! Entries for the High School Senior Give Away  are still continuing to trail in and I can't wait to meet the winner! I've managed to cry reading every entry! If you haven't nominated a senior yet, you SHOULD! I'm going to Indianapolis later this month to be the second shooter at my niece's wedding. I'll be focusing on capturing the candid moments (my favorite!) and... it looks like I'll be jet setting to NEW YORK CITY with the ever so talented (and FUNNY!) singer/songwriter Karen Fisher  for a shoot! Logistics haven't all been worked out completely, but it looks like January! WOOT WOOT! I've always wanted to see that city! And Ooh la la! I'm currently tossing around ideas for a special for Valentine's Day Boudoir Package in mid January for those wives looking to give their husbands a little something special this Valentine's Day. Details to come!

    And now, for some rambling rambles... I've been thoroughly enjoying meeting every week with my photographer friend/ teacher Benjamin Blackketter at Harvest Cafe for a "creative pow wow" to encourage each other and bounce ideas around regarding photography and our businesses. This week our videographer/ producer friend Josh Brown of JBrown Productions joined us and it was equally entertaining as it was productive! As we were wrapping up, my eyes were drawn to an elderly man standing patiently in line wearing a well worn, black fedora hat. I told the guys, "I want to take his picture ...and sit down and drink coffee with him!". Unfortunately, it was an odd day for me and I was without my camera which is normally glued to my side or at least in my car. (Funny thing is, I backed out of the driveway and realized I didn't have it. I stopped in the middle of the road and looked at the clock debating whether or not to make the effort to go grab it. In fact, probably enough time that I could have gotten it! A neighbor pulled up behind me, so I opted to skip it this once.) As we were leaving, I noticed him sitting by the window eating some soup and peering over his bifocals at the newspaper. Oh, how I wanted to capture this man! I raced home, grabbed my camera, and sped back up to Harvest Cafe to find this:

    Sigh. I even went inside to see if perhaps he was just away from the table.  One of the chipper baristas I've friended saw me enter and asked if I'd forgetten something. I explained to her why I came back and how bummed I was. She said, "OH! You mean Jack!" and then gave me a little run down about him. From her description, this regular sounds like a character! I gave her my number, and she promised to let me know the next time he returns.  I'm hoping I can soon be posting giving you the full introduction to Jack!   In the mean time, I'm going to let this shot be a personal reminder to take the extra 60 seconds to grab my camera! I'm becoming more and more aware that beauty is all around us in the strangest, most mundane places. I just have to be expectant (and prepared!) to capture it.
    Enjoy your Wednesday.

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    The Lonely Tap Shoe

    I'll be the first to admit it.  I'm a hoarder.  I love "stuff".  It honestly pains me to think about getting rid of things.  Especially sentimental things I'm emotionally attached to.  Or things I paid too much money for.  Or on the flip side, things that I got a steal on.  Or things that would make a great gift.  Or... things that *may* just come in handy one day.  But... I've been inspired by my friends Benjamin and Hilary.  They purged 90% of their belongings.  Seriously.   Crazy you might say, but their house is like an oasis... so calm, serene, orderly and tidy but yet still has a kick of personality and charm.  Their relatively quaint house seems enormous without all the "stuff".  Oh what I wouldn't give for that!  And so.. my voluntary purging has started.

    I've been asking myself all morning as I was digging through piles of stuff in the garage, "Do I really need that?   Really?".  I mean come on... am I really going to ever wear my high school letter jacket ever again?  I opted to take a picture of it, which will hopefully suffice in case I get a burning desire to reminisce.  And am I really going to need the extra sets of ping pong paddles that were given one year as a gift "just in case" the others wear out??  (Keep in mind the ping pong table hasn't been used in over 3 years... I could probably chunk that too.)   However for some reason I can't seem to get rid of this:

    That's right people.  One, and only one, lonely tap shoe.   But it's a well loved and worn shoe. I can't even count the times I had to have the taps replaced. But... it's pointless to have, right?? It hovered over the "give away" pile... and then I realized that would be flat silly.  Not too much need for one legged people to be tapping I reckon.  Not to mention, the odds are slim someone else is in the same predicament with a left, size 8 tap shoe.  I opted to put it in the "toss" pile.  I quickly snagged it back and breathed a sigh of relief.  I just can't get rid of it.  Why, I'm not so sure... chances are the mate is long gone from this house.  (But.. as you fellow hoarders know.. it may come back one day!)  But even still... for Pete's sake, it doesn't even fit any more!  My once size 8 feet have somehow morphed into size 9 over the past few years thanks in part to my fair share of pregnancy).  The last time I actually tapped in them, I gave myself blisters and had to wear flip flops for the better part of December.  ...speaking of which, do I really need 3 pairs of black Old Navy flip flops?

    But alas, still it sits.  All by itself.  Right next to my stash of Christmas garland I got 75% off 4 years ago just in case I ever decided to get industrious and decorate my front door.   I've pondered the excruciating decision of tossing that shoe all day and I finally think I may know why I can't let go.  You see, many moons ago I had a crazy, outlandish dream of being a professional dancer.  Owning my own studio, little girls in leotards fluttering about, you get the idea.  Or being a part of a traveling dance team.  I SOOO wanted to be a 'Fly Girl' from In Living Color.  Remember them?!  Paula Abdul was my idol.  Especially b/c she made tapping "cool" with her Opposites Attract video.  You know, the one where she danced with the cartoon cat??  ...But it didn't seem feasible.   Or a practical way of making a living.   And trying to convince my dad to let me go off to college to be a dancer??  Ha!  ...but still a part of me wonders "What if??" and I sadly regret not pursuing that.  And I know that at the age of 32 and having a family...well.. a career as a tapper is long lost.  I look at Rhett Price, a talented young musician I know that just busted his tail to make his way to Berklee to pursue a music career.  I believe with all my heart he'll make it.  He's got the talent for sure, but more importantly the drive and determination.  That's something I wish I would have had more of at age of 18.

    So I've opted to keep my one lonely shoe as a sweet reminder and place it somewhere that I can see it everyday.  See... I have a lot of crazy, outlandish dreams for where I want my photography career to go. Some surely don't seem practical.  Some of them, others don't see the reason why I would want to do them. Some ideas I have for sure won't be creating a fat bank account.  Some seem impossible.  But by golly, I'm going to give them all a whirl and not lose hope.  Not to mention, dreams of who I hope to be one day...characteristics I want to lose and those I want to gain... and dreams of who I hope my little men become.  May it be a reminder to myself to not be discouraging to their own dreams and ambitions, but help instill in them a "can do" attitude.  May it remind to me to provide the encouragement and affirmation to support their wild and crazy dreams.  To let them know they'll be loved regardless of what they pursue.

    I wish I could somehow give everyone of you a mismatched tap shoe to serve as encouragement to follow your crazy dreams... however outlandish they may seem.  Press on!  In the mean time, feel free to save the pictures to your desktop if you wish :)

    Happy Wednesday everyone.

    Monday, August 31, 2009

    A Bunch of 'News'

    Lots of "new" has been going on around here this week!   I've added a new pricing format and a spiffy new song to my site, as well as a facebook fan site ...Now how well I'm going to do at keeping up with that AND a blog, I'm not sure! And thanks to the precious McCright family making me realize just how much I do, in fact, actually enjoy family shoots ...I've opted to take on a limited amount of family shoots/ children each month. I had a friend tell me she didn't think I would be able to last long with my decision to quit doing children's photography and she was right!  Now for the other "news"!

    New school year: Zane, my kindergartner keeps thanking me profusely for "signing him up for school" and is still asking if I'm going to let him return the following day! ... To which of course my reply is: "Only if you keep behaving at school." :). And Cole is very proud of his mature 4th grade status!

    New Baby: Isn't she just a DOLL?!

    New Baby Bump:
    Pics including a newly acquired tattoo, and a new experience for encounter with a rattlesnake while on a shoot!:

    New One Year Old Nephew :)
    Have a spectacular Monday everyone!