A little over a year ago I worked for a gentleman who is incredible with editing video. I asked him if he would want to barter with me; I would photograph him and he would create a video for me.
Our schedules didn’t always jive, so finally the first of the year I had my photographer/videographer son Tommy Owen take some footage of me working. I am happy to announce that it’s complete and it’s wonderful! A huge thank you to Mike Holiday for his beautiful work and to my son Tom for his great video, without either this would not have happened.
This year started out wonderfully! I camped over the holiday and it was perfect weather for it too. I had a photo shoot which my son Tommy Owen assisted me; a repeat family I had taken portraits for a couple of years ago. Getting to work with my son is the best!
It was a great time of renewing and refreshing from the busy holiday season, and I got out and photographed some nature. Being out in the Big Cypress and the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk this gives my mind a break and my eyes as they seem to always either be on my phone or my computer when at home. I tried to disconnect as much as possible, just to free myself. Please enjoy the slideshow.
I really have been negligent with my blog. I can only attribute it to pure laziness. I must get out of that mindset and really buckle down. I tell myself it’s because I don’t have any content, which really isn’t true, I have the content, I’m just lazy.
So here goes a new post, and hopefully this will spurn me into doing more writing and shooting.
This past weekend I took a much needed break and went camping. I got to hang out with my youngest son Tommy and we tried some night photography work, but the clouds wouldn’t cooperate so I really didn’t get much. We hung out with a giant snake and I took photos of Tom and he of me.
I also scheduled a portrait photo shoot with one of my favorite little girls. I really don’t take portraits of children often, because they wear me out, mentally & physically, but this little lady is so very special. I have had the privilege of taking photographs of her since she was about six months old and have every 6 months to a year since. She is on the cusp of turning four (December) and honestly you would think as a toddler, she would be all over the place, however around the age of two, I had her complete attention. I alway allow her to dictate when our session is finished (and she has), but she has always given me one hundred percent. I have asked her to pose a certain way and have shown her and she does it…..without question. This weekend was different. I still showed her what I was wanting, but I took it a step further and asked her how she wanted to pose; what I got was just incredible. This child micro-moves like a model. She also uses her eyes, and I just love that about her. Here are a few of her photographs showing her sass and Superhero self!
A cute Super Hero
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Over the Thanksgiving holiday I took some much needed time off. After a full summer and a busy start to our concert season along with weddings, portraits and other work, I was ready to unplug and get back to nature.
My go to place as I’ve posted in the past is in the Everglades. I love to camp and I took four full days to step out of the digital world and relax. I did do some posting to Facebook, but instead of worrying about my status, I took camera in hand and stepped out into the swamp.
Because of the cooler temperatures (great for camping), the alligators were in abundance along the road of Jane’s Scenic Drive in the Fakahatchee Strand, and on the trails my son and I walked, (check out his website: Phloridaphoto.us He even decided to get a bit more up close and personal with a gator lying on the path we were walking.
I stopped and photographed him, photographing the alligator. I just could not bring myself to be that close to something that large with huge teeth. As my son walked past him, Mr. Gator lifted his head and rumbled that deep throaty sound as a warning to let him know he may be a bit too close. I had the same experience as I hung out the car door to get a rather large alligator hanging out on the road we were driving.
We also went out two nights in a row to capture the Milky Way, however during the hours we were there, the sky have cloud cover in the general vicinity. We did capture the sky at night and this photograph shows Miami glowing in the distance as the International Space Station does a fly over (I have an app on my phone called Sky Guide that allows me to track this).
Overall it was a wonderful relaxing long weekend, with friends, family and my camera.
Where I live in Florida we don’t have four distinct seasons, we have two; Snowbird season beginning in mid October and the season when they go back north which is normally after Easter. During this time in South West Florida the events and concerts pick up and my camera sees a lot of action. The weather is a lot more pleasant for outdoor events and weddings. My season started on October 15 with a wedding held at one of the most historic country clubs in Fort Myers; The Edison. I am fortunate enough to be able to work with my youngest son. He is an incredible photographer and one I trust explicitly. The long view of the couple facing The Edison was taken by him. Please visit his website at phloridaphoto
Between the special events I also schedule portrait sessions and was able to photograph an interesting fellow whom I believe is one of the many spirits which lurk in Historic Downtown Fort Myers, complete with orb and gargoyle (look closely).
I was also at Fright Nite where The Sick Puppies and Devour the Day headlined, there were also a few interesting characters out that night as well. You can see more of the photos from this frightful night by clicking on the photo below.
Again this year I went camping down in the Big Cypress. I have needed a really good stint away from all that’s electronic, my phone, computer etc. and totally disconnect for a few days. I have been really busy the last few months and just felt my body calling me to get away and to refresh and relax, and that I did. My youngest son lives/works in the Big Cypress and I went to Trail Lakes Campground/Everglades Adventure Tours to spend Thanksgiving with him and friends. I brought a dish to share at his request; candied yams & marshmallows. I was able to go to sleep early and wake up just as early pretty well rested and ready to simply do nothing or to take my camera and capture whatever caught my fancy.
I left late Wednesday afternoon and got there with plenty of time to set up camp which takes less than a half hour; simple is best for me. I went to sleep fairly early and woke up Thursday morning ready to head to Turner River Road to check out their boardwalk. Took a few photos, but later that evening was what I was waiting on. You see Thanksgiving evening was a full moon and I was excited to capture it in a really dark place.
For the rest of the afternoon I hung out at the store and talked with the people as they came in to check out this little piece of nostalgia. I also took some photos of my son’s butterfly garden which was quite active.
We had dinner around 4pm and there was so much food, most made by campground residents and probably the best turkey I have ever eaten. It was so good, and lots of tasty sides to accompany the main bird, all the traditional things, plus some really good repeats from last year. I was definitely in a food coma and really wanted to sleep, but I waited for the moon to rise…..and rise it did simply stunning.
The next day I wanted to go to where my oldest son works as an alligator wrestler/handler and check out he and his best friend’s show. I got some great video and photos of the two of them working.
My son Jimmy on the left and his best friend Dylan
Saturday I went to the Fakahatchee boardwalk and took a few photos there, it was late in the day so not much was out and about except this mama and one of her little ones.
Later in the evening my youngest son (the adventure guide) took me out on one of his tours and I was able to take some breathtakingly beautiful photographs. I also took photos of his clients and I will be sending those photos to them. I also met a nice woman and her son who was out at the same time. Really nice people. When we returned Tommy’s girlfriend had dinner ready for us when we got back to the campground and it was so good! Nothing beats dinner prepared on an outdoor fire. Later Tommy was trying his hand at candle making, and was quite successful, looking forward to some future creations from him.
Tommy our guide and my son
Sunset on the River
Sunday came too soon… it’s always sad to leave when I know I will be back at the grind for another month and a half without much of a break. I will be heading back down in January. I love going down there, I learn a lot of history from Jack who was born there and he is a wealth of local knowledge of the area. I come away always with something new learned.
On my way home I drove part of Jane’s Scenic Drive and captured a few good photos of the drive and prairie.
Jane’s Scenic Drive
Fakahatchee with MoWen Dome
What a fabulous few days, I am so blessed and thankful for the time off and that I got to spend time with my two favorite people; my handsome sons who I love and am so proud of the young men they have become.
For all of you who follow me and live in the United Stated, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and for all of you who are from outside the US here is to a blessed and beautiful holiday season.
I really had not planned on writing tonight, but I’m home instead of being out celebrating and I didn’t know I would be as emotional about this whole New Year thing, but here I am at the computer typing my thoughts for the world to read. So here goes….
This time last year on December 31, 2013 I was also alone, but I went out and enjoyed an evening at a local establishment (which sadly is no longer open), listened to a band who was losing their lead singer to cancer, it was to be his final performance, he passed a month later. When I first arrived at my table, I was a bit upset, they didn’t seat me with anyone……I was in a huge outdoor seating area, sitting alone at a table for four and I felt really awkward and thought maybe I shouldn’t be there. You see I had just ended a four-year relationship and was determined that my life was going to be better alone than what I was enduring the last couple of years in that relationship. As I sat at my table being served a wonderful surf & turf dinner by the best waitress ever, I kept thinking “2014 will be my year”. It was quite chilly and I wasn’t really dressed for the coolness, but I endured to midnight, had a glass of champagne and toasted what was to come. A young girl came over to me and gave me a huge hug and invited me to her table, I declined, You see I was holding back tears, because I wanted her to know I was fine and really wasn’t staying much longer. I finished my glass, and took the rest of the bottle to their larger table and wished them all a Happy New Year and left. Driving home I was almost smiling at the thought that I got through the evening and I was going to be just fine.
Life simply got better, I was surrounded by friends who rallied around me and kept me encouraged in the midst of those sad few trying to discredit me and my work. I threw myself into my photography and began to pick up more and more work. I realized I was much more successful on my own and was regaining my self-confidence and finding my lost identity once again. I have talent and my photography is good and even though the gossip mongers were trying to tear me down I was surpassing my own expectations! I also picked up a new partner in my photography; my son Tommy who is incredible and he knows how to use his camera, he’s so amazingly talented and creative. We are my father’s prodigies, he would be proud of us.
Tommy allowed me to photograph him and in return I succumbed to the front of his lens as well, not an easy task for a photographer. It felt awkward and unnatural, but after a few minutes I began to enjoy the experience and really loved the images he produced of me.
As the year progressed I was able to add an incredible amount of images to my portfolio and actually had the privilege of photographing my all time favorite former Beatle Ringo Starr (bucket list).
I have had a set back or two, but I never allowed them to get the best of me, because I know I’m right where I need to be. God is in control of my life and what I am doing. My faith is unwavering. The end of the year has been trying with finding out a close friend was diagnosed with cancer, thankfully she is a fighter and it didn’t win, she did! I’ve added friends to my very small circle and I love each one of them. I also just sent a text my to my son and his response brought on the emotions. I have two incredible boys and my youngest is a lot like me in more ways than with a camera.
So here I am ending my year in a puddle of tears, yet I know 2015 is going to be even better than 2014. I will find love again this year because I’m ready and I know God is preparing someone for me, and I will be one step closer to realizing my dream of being a full-time working photographer. I am beginning the new year documenting the journey back to health of a woman in the fight for her life and hope to highlight her here in the very near future. So to all of my followers, stay tuned, it’s only going to get better. God Bless each of you, treat each moment as if it could be your last….Love, laugh, dance and sing…… 2015 is going to ROCK! Happy New Year!