North Carolina Bound

I have not taken a vacation, a real vacation in more than a dozen years.  I carry a pretty heavy schedule majority of the time due to working a full time job and photographing events and concerts thought out the year.  But this year I decided I needed a break, a long two week break in the mountains of North Carolina.  My best friend of almost fifty years lives in a little town called Concord.  So on October 15 I boarded flight 818 and headed north. IMG_1422

It was a very short flight; less than an hour and a half and was uneventful.  We landed on and I made my way across the tarmac to my waiting friend.  I should mention that she too is a Debbie.  When I got off the plane the temperature was cooler, but still warm, however I was in for a surprise.

On Tuesday we took off on a road trip up through the Pisgah National Forest and up through the mountains searching for some color and some waterfalls.  The color was missing from this scenario as North Carolina had longer than normal summer temperatures which was keeping the leaves from changing.  Not to mention two hurricane’s had passed through the area.

Our first stop was a little diner where I enjoyed a nice plate of NC style BBQ, one word; Yum!  Our adventure continued as we drove through the mountains of the Pisgah National Forest and the weather took a turn and it started to rain.  This did not stop our trekking the beaten path to find a waterfall; not only did I find one, but a covered bridge too!  Giant score for me photographically speaking.  The rain was coming down pretty steady but my excitement built as I heard the sound of rushing water and once we arrived the sound became deafening, but in such a wonderful restorative way.IMG_1373North Carolina-3

This next week we stayed close to home and I was able to photograph some local birds and experience a change in temperature.  Then on Saturday our other best friend flew in so we made another road trip into Charlotte to pick her up. Did I mention she too is a Debbie? (North Carolina will never be the same).

 

That weekend we invited a few friends who live in the area over for a gathering, it was great to see them and to meet their families.  So much love in one place……incredible.

On Monday October 22 we three Debbie’s took off on a road trip once again.  We drove up through the Blue Ridge Parkway and I was able to find more color, the temperature had dropped from the upper 70’s to the mid 30’s and settled around 45 degrees.  For this Florida girl it was cold, but the crisp air, sharing time with my best friends and just enjoying the ride and the color seeping through the trees was something I can’t explain in words, only heart can.  We drove up to about 5000 feet, found a lovely little restaunt to have lunch  and then off to find Linville Falls.  We didn’t hike to the top, but I was happy with what we found.  Continuing our drive we found icicles popping out of the side of a mountain.  So we pulled in to a parking area and I hiked back to the area where water was seeping out of the rocks.  My lungs were screaming with the thinner and colder 37 degree air, but it was so beautiful.

I needed this time away, I needed to do some life reflection and to be with my girls who know me so well.  I have not laughed or loved like this in a very long time.  They are amazing; we are amazing to have had this friendship of 50 years that is so deep and unshakeable. The T-shirts Debbie brought us says it all the back has the three D’s and it says “True Friendship Grows Forever”.

I love these girls so much and I was sad to depart.  I will be back…..again.

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Another Year……Memories

Most of the time I enjoy looking back on my year.  However, this year I slacked, a lot, and I have to make some changes.  I just didn’t get out as much as I normally do.  Even during camping season it seemed it was always interrupted with something I “had” to do.  I wasn’t as intentional as I had been the past few years.  I didn’t create good content for my Facebook page and actually neglected it.  I had something happen that set me off into the “not good enough” thought process, which in turn caused me to  purge a lot of unneeded stress in my social media life. But I would go out and take photos and think, “these are not good, what am I doing trying to create good photos when I can’t do it?”  I really had to shake that mindset; I am my own worst critic.

Life was  disrupted with a move in the middle part of the year and it was during a very stressful time.  I’m still trying to adjust. Then, in September we were hit by one of the largest hurricane’s in recent history. Irma totally upset my world, but I came out a whole lot better than many of my friends did and I can tell you I am most grateful for that blessing.  Yet, the stress was still there and even guilt that so many lost so much and I didn’t.  I can’t explain why it was that way, but it was; again I am so grateful to not have had any damage.

Sometimes life gives you those old lemons and it’s not always easy to make the lemonade.  In fact, I have thrown a lot of lemons away because I just could not bring myself to make them work.  Ever feel like that?

I’m looking forward to a clean start with 2018, I won’t make promises I can’t keep, but I will put a lot more effort into making it an incredible year personally and professionally.

Here’s a look back on what I did accomplish photographically:

 

 

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.

 

 

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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Another Day at Naples Zoo

What a fabulous place the Naples Zoological Park is. Such a treasure near the downtown area of Naples. This is my second time since the purchased of my year pass. I really didn’t take a lot of photos this time, because I wanted to enjoy the zoo.
It was such a lovely day and I enjoy being out in the sun and feel the warmth on my face. The primates were really active and so much fun to watch and quite vocal.
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I think my favorite area is the giraffes. What unusual animals they are, straight out of the strange and unusual.

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I also love the big cats!
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I would encourage you to get to your favorite zoo, not only do you support the effort of breeding for endangered species, but you also give support to wonderful research and study of some of our planets great animals. For many people the only place they will see some of these species is at a zoo. Take your camera and visit your local zoo today. I know I will be back. Thank you Naples Zoo for a wonderful day.