In the Blink of an Eye

We all have seen the images of Hurricane Harvey and the devastation it has created in the Houston Texas area.  The massive flooding, the ruined homes and lives.  We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t want to try and help as we watched the graphic images of families being rescued, a toddler hanging on to her deceased mother and the boat loads of family pets.  The problem with Harvey is he stayed well past his welcome if there is such a thing as a hurricane being welcomed.  But as Harvey was churning away in the Gulf and over Texas, a lady was chasing close behind him full of fury;  Hurricane Irma is now the largest hurricane to ever hit the United States.  Barreling down as a category 5 Irma hit the Caribbean Islands with a force never seen before in a storm and once she was done with her deluge of violence in the Islands she set her sights upon the Florida Keys, with complete devastation.

Reaching a span of over 400 miles in diameter, and packing winds at one point of over 180mph with gusts of 200mph Irma continued  her drive to South Florida.  Hitting  The 10,000 Islands in full force.  One of the islands hit was a little fishing village called Everglades City.  I know about this town, because I used to live and work in this place.  It’s full of lovely people who are hard working and generous.

These are some of the images taken during the storm, during the 8 plus foot storm surge. I didn’t take these images, they were provided by a friend. The little church is one I and my children had attended when we lived there, the homes belong to friends; Heartbreaking.

Photo Credit: Brenda Johnson who stayed during the storm in a safe house and took the city flooding images.

Photo Credit: Pastor Lynette Morris who stayed and took the Image of her church after Hurricane Irma passed through.

Ladies, these are incredible.

Where was I during this?  Well first of all I live in a mobile home and I had to evacuate to a friends house 40 miles north.  Once my kitty and I arrived and got settled she received notification that once again we would have to evacuate.  We packed up her two dogs and once again my cat and drove to Columbus Georgia.  After two days we headed back with a crowded interstate and gas running low everywhere, we finally made it home at 1am on Tuesday morning.  After a partial nights sleep I packed up my kitty once more and headed home, grateful for friends and for a place to be safe.

What many didn’t realize is how afraid I truly was.  You see I put on a good face, but deep inside I was afraid that I may not have a home to return to.  I know I had friends praying for me, and this helped me to process the fear and not allow it to manifest.  As this storm was churning and affecting the entire state of Florida the troops were already being assembled.  National Guard was deployed, thousands of power company trucks, including some from Texas and all across North America were heading into Florida even before the storm hit.

Once I arrived home after finding out my place didn’t have any damage, in fact you can’t even tell it went through a devastating storm, I did a walk around and found that my lovely little park suffered so much damage and a few homes were destroyed beyond repair.

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Four homes down from me.

I was one of the really fortunate ones…..my electric was on within an hour of returning home, and I returned to work on Wednesday to help with cleanup.  I waited for family and friends to check in to keep me abreast of how they were doing and that they were safe.  It’s been an emotional two weeks, I am not sure I will ever be the same; I hope I am more compassionate and less impatient, that I have a lot more gratitude and thankful for what I have, yet understand it’s all temporary.  I hope I see that God was the guide in my life who protected me and reminded me if I rely on him, I don’t need to fear.

I pray for my friends in the Everglades who lost everything, yet they are standing strong and helping each other and I know they will rebuild and become stronger than ever.  I pray for those who have damage to their homes and still don’t have any electricity and have young children.  I pray for those who are struggling just to get by.

Hurricane Irma – Everglades City

If you are so inclined:

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Artistry Vs. Controversy

I recently photographed Ted Nugent.  I know, I know his name rings controversy with many who don’t like his politics or his passion for hunting and guns and those who think he leans too far to the right for their taste.   This is not for me to decide, we each have our own beliefs which might be just as biased in the opposite direction, he’s entitled to his beliefs just like every other American.  Regardless, he’s a self-taught artist who has has a successful career in music and continues to literally rock the stage and has done so for many years.  I’m not interested in anyone’s opinion on his politics or beliefs, my job is to capture the artist and his artistry, it’s what I do.

Not many artists begin their set with the Star Spangled Banner….Ted did and the room stood in respect, it was a great Patriotic entrance.

You can see in his face, he truly loves his craft.  Please enjoy the photos

 

 

Moving Forward…

 

I feel as if I’ve been MIA for way too long.  I have not written much since the end of April, because life took me for a loop for a while.  I’ve been stressed and really haven’t felt much like writing, always had good intentions then as soon as I would get home, my brain kicked off and I shut down.  I’m not sure what I am going through, but it’s definitely a funk of some sort.  I have been trying to figure out the reasons for it and have come up with several plausible excuses.  Moving; this was a big one, moving for me, being alone is extremely stressful.  I did have some wonderful help from friends and my youngest son on the big move day, but still I did a lot of loads by myself.  I think in the beginning of the move I really didn’t have a place to live, and had a lot going on in the photography part of my life and it sent me over the edge of being confused and stressed.  The next element to lead up to this funk is that I’ve not had enough down time, and I don’t mean just weekends at home, I mean true down time with being out of doors camping and spending time with my son.  My schedule this past season was so busy I didn’t have time to really release myself to the outdoors.  I miss it, I miss spending time with family, and I think that has a huge play in my current feelings.  And third, I just have no motivation, my creativity has decreased and I think it all relates back to reason one & two.  I am tired……really tired, the kind of tired that all you want to do is to stay in bed and sleep kind of tired, but I make myself get up, get dressed and go out.  Last night was the first time in quite some time I did photography for me, for my own pleasure and although I totally enjoy going out with my shutterbug friends, I felt as if I was detached and not really into what I was doing; this needs to change.  I took some beautiful shots which I will include as a slideshow at the end of this writing.

I need to get myself back to being excited and wanting to go out and shoot beyond my concerts, which I still find so enjoyable and exciting! I have the possibility of four of them in the next couple of weeks with one of them getting me away and in a hotel for a night….this will be good, because I can then take myself to visit someplace new the morning after.  I will not only be photographing three of my top bands, I will also be attending the concert as fan.

My energy definitely goes up when it comes to concerts; I love the excitement of being in the pit and challenging myself to get those near perfect shots, I also need to get out into nature and stop coming up with excuses on why I can’t or won’t.  I need to be behind the lens……..

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Finding My Way Back

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted something substantial.  My last post was 23 days ago and that was to explain how unmotivated I’ve been.

It’s been a rough and stressful couple of months, I had to pack and prepare for a complete move to a new place by mid May.  Not only was I stressed, but my poor cat Harpo had totally stressed out and hid for about three full days before I saw him again. He’s now at his usual place,sleeping at me feet as I write this.                                                   I finally finished unpacking last week and simply wore myself out.  I rarely left the house during the Memorial Day weekend, but this week I feel like I’m back to normal with a busy shooting schedule and my normal work week.

I’m going to try and catch you up on what’s been happening in my world.

April was an incredibly busy month with packing, portraits, events and a two-day festival, Fort Rock.

It began with me being hired to shoot Stars on Ice at Germain Arena, and I was thrilled to meet a few of the Olympic Champions.  My day began at 10am and ended around 11pm; but what an opportunity! It started with me up on a twelve foot ladder on the ice to take the promotional tour shots……this is one of my images from that adventure. I have a fear of heights and being on a ladder just totally freaks me out, let alone being on one where there is slippery ice involved.  However, I did it and I really didn’t even think much about it as I was working my camera. Amazing what you can do when you are concentrating on your craft.

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I also photographed the dress rehearsal, warmups, the merchandise area and the entire show later in the evening.  What a wonderful day spent with incredible people.

Next, I had two mini-sessions with two beautiful ladies.  These ladies are such a pleasure to work with and they both enjoyed their “modeling” session.

Lastly at the end of April I was once again at the annual Fort Rock Festival with radio station 93xfm where I was fortunate enough to once again photograph their meet & greets and work with one of my favorite photographers Ron Dukeshire. Ron is my right and left hand partner at Fort Rock he handles the bands as I am busy in the tent with the station crew and the fans for the meet & greets.  When time allowed, I also photographed a few of the bands including  Sunday night’s headliner Soundgarden with the late Chris Cornell; RIPSound Garden-16

May is Prom season and this year was no different for me.  I worked with a cute couple I had met at Fort Rock and truly enjoyed the time I spent with them.

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I also photographed Disney on Ice for Germain, but due to copyright restrictions I am unable to post any of them.

The last day of the month found me at Germain Arena for Brit Floyd, an incredible Pink Floyd Tribute band with an amazing light/laser show.Brit Floyd-21

All of this was accomplished while, packing my home up, moving to a new place, unpacking and editing the work to meet my dead-lines, however I have found my way back.

 

 

Getting Out of My Own Way

It seems like ages since I’ve posted anything.  I have so many excuses, not enough time, too tired,  nothing to write about, and the latest one is my home is a wreck and I can’t work in chaos. The list goes on; yet none of these excuses are truly valid. I do have time most evenings, and yes, I’m tired, but I seem to find the energy to do ‘other’ things, and I have plenty to write about as my life is always an adventure.  I will say the past couple of weeks have been a bit hectic, I have to move from my tiny apartment and packing is never any fun.  I thought I had to be out by this weekend and the stress of it all was getting to be way too much for even me to handle, as if that wasn’t enough my boys dad had a heart attack which thankfully he has pretty much fully recovered from, add to that the 2 day concert festival.

The moving aspect has had my life in turmoil for well over a month now.  I do have a place to live, and I’m looking forward to the new adventure in a new place, in a new part of town (for me).  But, it’s not changed the fact that it’s very stressful and I’m not sure how mentally I am getting through it.  This is the time of life that being alone is not favorable, I don’t have someone to lean on in this time, but I will get through it. Not to mention I work full-time and photograph almost full-time in the evenings and on the weekends.  I need moving fairies to help me!

Photographically I have steady, but not over the top busy, I did a couple of portrait sessions for a couple of beautiful ladies.  I also had a huge opportunity to work with Stars on Ice and produced their 2017 promotional shot.  I have a large Metal concert coming up this weekend; Fort Rock, two days of incredibleness, and a lovely prom portrait session with two beautiful young people.  So, I really can’t use the excuse of not having anything to write about.

I just need to get out of my own way and write; once I’m settled, I know my words will once again flow.  For now…..just get me through the weekend!

Winter Weddings in Florida

On February 26, 2017 my son Tommy and I once again were hired to photograph another lovely couple at the Edison Country Club.  This historic club is a public course with an added restaurant and a lovely banquet room.  The wedding was performed indoors and it was interesting to see how the room was transformed from reception hall to ceremony space and back again.

The décor was beautiful glass with blue & silver accents and a white runner aisle for the bride to walk down.

As her father walked her down the aisle, you could see his emotion welling up within him.  He was giving away his baby girl.  It’s always beautiful to see the sweet relationship between the bride and her father. You could see how proud he was of her.

As dad passed off his daughter to the eager awaiting groom the ceremony commenced and soon they were pronounced husband and wife.

After signing the license, the couple took to the outdoors so we could get the iconic Edison in the background of their portrait shots.

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We didn’t have the usual Florida sunset on this particular evening, however we had some beautiful gold light, and the wedding party still had a great time.

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Treasures of Time

This past weekend I briefly took a step back in time.  I attended a reunion of friends from my youth.  As a young girl I attended a Baptist Church and became very active within the youth group.  We had a Pastor who loved the youth as well as his entire congregation and we had a youth leadership team who led us, and encouraged us to grow and to seek Jesus, we had a bond that was unshakable.  Yes, we would argue and fuss at each other, but we truly loved each other and knew how to say those two little words “I’m sorry”    Still today some of my greatest loves have come from this group; my life long best friends, respect for leadership who treated us like their own kids, and a love of the Lord that has grown stronger through time.

I was asked to document the weekend through photographs, which I did with portraits and candid moments, a book will be created from this collection and I look forward to working on that project.

The weekend began on Friday night with an informal gathering, skits, fun, and fellowship, reminiscent from days past. And of course it would not be a Baptist get-together without food, LOTS of food, an entire row of tables full of homemade fare.

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We told stories and shared memories and hugged each other, laughed and ate (did I mention we had lots of food?). One of the event organizers created a beautiful slideshow of those who were once a part of us, but have now graduated to heaven.  I never made it past the second slide before the tears started, even writing about it gets me choked up.

On Saturday evening, we met at a local restaurant in a private room.  Again with stories, laughter, hugs and lots of great food!  We gathered with some who could not attend on Friday and caught up with their life.  The evening ended with a group photograph and singing.  I’m sure the restaurant has never experienced anything like us before.

Sunday we gathered for worship as a group, and were surprised to see our very own Pastor Hammond in attendance.  I cannot say enough about this man. He is gracious and loves the Lord.   We could not wait to see him and talk to him, many of us  ran to greet him before he even sat down.  I was one of those, and he greeted me fondly by the nickname he had bestowed upon me years ago………’Trouble’,  yes, I cried just hearing him call me that. There is a story behind the nickname, someday I will share that story.

As I sat in the service, I really can’t recall what the current minister was speaking on.  My thoughts were encountering past memories, treasures of the mind; and for a time, we were teenagers, Pastor Hammond was up in the pulpit Randy Willett was sitting next to him, Tim Davis was at the Piano and Steve Wright was directing us youth in choir, and for a moment, time briefly stood still.  My heart is still full, and my eyes are still leaking with the thoughts of those I love.  We all experienced this weekend, those treasures in time.

Until we meet again……continue to let your light shine.  “You are the light of the world, like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14

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