September 30, 2010

You Capture - Togetherness

The photo theme this week at You Capture is "togetherness," which is just perfect because it goes along with a shoot I just edited this week.  Meet my youngest sister, Nicki, and the horse she leased this summer, Captain.  Nicki began riding when she was just 6 years old.  Becoming an equestrian has truly transformed Nicki from a shy young girl into a confident young woman.  I still cannot believe she is 20! 

Together with a horse, Nicki can accomplish some amazing things.  Her style of riding is English, and she enjoys jumping and cross country trials.  I cannot count how many ribbons she has earned.  Every time I see her ride, she impresses me with new things she has learned and can get her horse to do.   Her self-confidence has skyrocketed from when she was little, and I believe her dedication to riding horses did the most to encourage that.  I am so very proud of her!

Here is Nicki at age 6 and at age 20.  My how the time has flown...

To see more images from this session, click HERE.


September 28, 2010

Nicki & Captain

Is it really the end of September?!  Wow...  I've been very busy and time is just flying by!  I finally finished editing a few important client shoots, and now I'm am making the time to play a little catch up.  First up is a shoot I did with my youngest sister, Nicki, and her summer horse, Captain.  Captain's owner was in Germany over the summer break, and Captain was very happy to spend the whole summer with Nicki.  He is a very talented horse and the two of them competed in a few shows with wonderful results.

I don't often toot my own horn, but I am in love with these images.  Isn't my sister beautiful?  And how's about the smiling horse image?  Priceless! 


September 27, 2010

The Big Day - Gonzalez / Schott Wedding

I've finally finished editing roughly 450 final images of Jeffery and Jose's big day in Grayslake, Illinois, and I am very pleased with the results. 

Everything about this wedding was perfect...and I'm not just saying that.  From a photographer's standpoint, this wedding was a dream.  The weather, although a little windy, offered puffy white clouds speckled across the most brilliantly blue sky.  The venue - the Byron Colby Barn - and surrounding grounds served as the location for both the ceremony and reception.  The venue offered much charm.  Adding to the charm was the live bluegrass band that played before the ceremony and during the reception and a western-style theme with sunflowers, horseshoes, and guests arriving in cowboy boots.  (I even dressed up for the reception in a new pair of cowboy boots and a sweet little sundress!) 

From an attendee's standpoint, this wedding was the best I have attended.  The aura of love everyone exuded for this couple was quite powerful and genuine.  The vows were heartfelt and personal.  And we all had FUN!  At the end of the night, my face hurt from smiling all day.  What a special day it was, and I was absolutely honored to have been such an important part of it.

As with all my clients, I respect their privacy in terms of keeping their online photo galleries password protected...but that doesn't mean I can't give you a sneak peek into this amazing day.  Enjoy!

In the courtyard outside the Byron Colby Barn

Live bluegrass music!

The cutest ring bearer ever!

Ready to say their vows

Jeffery and brothers

One proud momma

The Bryon Colby Barn at sunset

Inside the barn for the reception

If you are interested in booking my photographic talents for your special day, please contact me at

September 20, 2010

Purple Cowboy - Gonzalez/Schott Wedding

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing the Gonzalez-Schott wedding in Grayslake, Illinois, 40 minutes north of Chicago.  This wedding was, by far, the best wedding I have ever attended.  Part of what made it so fun was the western theme.  Jeffery planned much of the wedding himself and went extra lengths to put a little bit of western into many of the details of the day, and my favorite was the bottles of Purple Cowboy wine.  As soon as I laid eyes on a bottle during the set-up of the reception hall, I grabbed it and began photographing it from every angle and with multiple backgrounds.  (When I like something, you can tell by how many pictures I take of it.  Case in point - see my blog entry about the sunflowers from this wedding.)

I'll spare you the dozen images I have of this bottle, but I thought sharing a few wouldn't hurt.

Oh, and by the way, the wine is good, too.


September 16, 2010

In A Yellow House - Art

My entry for Art...this week's photo challenge theme at In A Yellow House.  I adore this image of a Parisian street vendor's box full of art, clippings and trinkets.  To further the theme, I got creative and added some texture and played with the colors.

Please click on the photo to enlarge and get the full effect.  Love it!

(Betcha can't guess where I snapped this photo!)

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Mountain Cabin Getaway {My Life}

It's no secret - since the very beginning of 2010, I have been a working fool.  While working a full-time job at the college, I decided to start my own photography business, intern at a local publishing company as a photographer/photo editor, continue to volunteer most Saturdays with Glynn County Animal Services as a volunteer dog photographer, and now I am also rehearsing to perform the role of Gladys in a local musical production of The Pajama Game.  Add in there the passing of someone very close to me and my middle sister's beautiful wedding, and it's been a very full year.  While I am not complaining by any means - I am super blessed to have had much continued success in all avenues and many wonderful opportunities - I have definitely been running myself hard.

So when Jason and I booked our upcoming vacation, it was the breath of sanity I had been needing to keep me on course!

Coming up in a few months, we are packing up the dogs in the truck and driving to a beautiful cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where we will sleep in, lounge around, take some leisurely strolls on the mountain trails, build fires in the wood-burning fireplaces on the deck and in the living room, sip some wine, and completely relax.  Ahh...just typing all of that has got me in a comfortable state.  I cannot wait - this is just the thing I / we have been needing!

Our cabin is rented out by Blue Sky Cabin Rentals.  They are highly recommended and have excellent customer service. Their cabins are pet-friendly, they do not charge extra for four-legged family members, and pet beds and food dishes are supplied, also at no additional cost.  And...the cabins are INCREDIBLE!  Check them out for yourself. 

So as I face a few more very hectic next months, I feel much better knowing that just on the horizon is the vacation of my dreams.  Check back for images from our retreat!

(Photo: Blue Sky)

(Photo: Bev Edukabo)

September 11, 2010

Here Comes the Flood

I was a few weeks into my second semester at Youngstown State University on September 11, 2001.  9 years later, aspects of that day are still very vivid in my mind - entering the YSU costume shop to find professors and fellow students huddled around a small black and white television and to learn of the tragedy unfolding in New York City...walking down the street with students to pray in a nearby Catholic church, staring blankly forward in shock during the packed service...staying glued to the TV in my apartment until the wee hours of the morning, hoping the rescuers would find more survivors...the feeling of not wanting to go to bed, as if my staring at the TV would somehow help anyone in anyway in NYC...

In the summer of 2002, I decided to choreograph a piece inspired by 9/11 for the 2003 Dance Ensemble Concert the following Spring.  My piece was about finding hope after despair and was called "Within and Beyond."  I was having trouble choosing a song for my piece that would translate in words the emotions my dancers and I would be expressing through our bodies.  Then by chance one day, on TV, a soap opera I never watch was on as background noise when a Peter Gabriel song began to play.  The first notes stopped me in my tracks - it was the perfect song for my piece.  I went online and tried to figure out what the name of the song was.  I ended up emailing the soap opera directly and they responded...the song was Here Comes the Flood.  See it performed live on YouTube.

When the night shows
The signals grow on radios
All the strange things
They come and go, as early warnings
Stranded starfish have no place to hide
Still waiting for the swollen Easter tide
There's no point in direction we cannot
Even choose a side.

I took the old track
The hollow shoulder, across the waters
On the tall cliffs
They were getting older, sons and daughters
The jaded underworld was riding high
Waves of steel hurled metal at the sky
And as the nail sunk in the cloud, the rain
Was warm and soaked the crowd.

Lord, here comes the flood
We'll say goodbye to flesh and blood
If again the seas are silent
In any still alive
It'll be those who gave their island to survive
Drink up, dreamers, you're running dry.

When the flood calls
You have no home, you have no walls
In the thunder crash
You're a thousand minds, within a flash
Don't be afraid to cry at what you see
The actors gone, there's only you and me
And if we break before the dawn, they'll
Use up what we used to be.

Lord, here comes the flood
We'll say goodbye to flesh and blood
If again the seas are silent
In any still alive
It'll be those who gave their island to survive
Drink up, dreamers, you're running dry.

It is the most incredible song, and, for me, it will always be about 9/11.  
Here is an image from the end of "Within and Beyond," where my character finally begins to rise out of her despair towards hope.  With the lighting effect paired with my movement, some people said it looked like I began to floated upwards right before the lights faded to black.
It's 9 years later after 9/11...and it still feels like yesterday...

September 8, 2010

Sunflowers - Gonzalez / Schott Wedding

The sunflower - a symbol of loyalty, adoration and longevity - made its appearance throughout Jeffery and Jose's wedding in a variety of different ways.  Sadly, before Saturday, I had sort of dismissed the sunflower as an actual flower, but I found myself obsessing over photographing them from every possible angle and ended up being quite smitten with them.  Here are a few of my favorite shots...