Friday, January 27, 2012

Redding Soldiers Homecoming & the News

A local Army wife arranged a few Welcome Home surprises for her husband the other day. The first one began at the Airport, upon his arrival, it was filled of family, friends, flag holders, bike riders, 1st graders with their families, supporters of all kinds & even the local news. It was a great turn out, he was definitely not expecting it.
The 2nd surprise was the next morning with a quilt dedication at his daughters 1st grade classroom & I was asked to photograph these surprises (by Nancy, the teacher of their 1st grade daughter). Saying that I cried when I read the text with the request, is an understatement. Jon has learned I cry quicker than a pregnant woman & he just simply laughs at me now & asks 'if I'm getting dehydrated, do I need more water?' (ha ha, funny guy!). But seriously, put yourself in this 1st graders shoes & tell me you wouldn't be just as excited about your daddy coming home. I rest my case!! ;)
The photo below is the first time holding his new baby boy, pretty hard to soak in everything he must have been feeling!
This next one, is his 2 year old holding his flag out just for me, I didn't even have to ask, LOVE THAT! I think I'm more of a photojournalist, I love being in the moment.
Yep, that's one happy little girl & it's wonderful to think that her daddy got to tuck her in his first night back, touches my heart just thinking about it, I bet she made every excuse to Not go to sleep. Did I mention they got filmed & interviewed by KRCR TV (Channel 7), even the baby. What a C-U-T-E baby!!!
Good to be back home & in those arms. Oh what I would have done for better lighting.
Remember, the hugs, smiles & happiness doesn't stop here. His daughters 1st grade class also prepared a surprise for him. When he brought his daughter to school the next morning, arranged by mom (of course, mom was sneak-ay), he opened the door to find a classroom, again full of family, friends, parents, other students, soldier supporters, Channel 7 News, a Record Searchlight photographer & little ole me, were awaiting him when he opened the door! The students made banners for his arrival & announced a welcome when he walked in, how cute. A grandmother of another student made him a quilt with pictures drawn by the children, enjoying their freedom & dedicated it to him, it was hanging in the front corner of the room as he walked in....
The students & Spc Williams had been pen pals during his time away from his family, so they kinda got a little personally involved with this soldier & wanted to show how much they appreciated their freedom. For 1st graders, they really "got it". The teacher thought (and I agreed with her), that it was due to this classmates father being away, seeing how much she missed him & how happy she was that he was finally coming home for a visit, that made the difference.
Another students mom sang a few patriotic songs. then each child walked up to the soldier & thanked him for their freedom while shaking his hand. They also said why they were thankful, which was also on their own square of the quilt. I didn't have to hear what was being said to feel the moment, the teacher already told me what they were going to say & yes,...I still cried. The soldier held it in a lot better than I did (of course) & while smiling the whole time, he listened to each child patiently. I chose the photo of his daughter during the hand shaking, cause she got the perk of hugging her hero after saying the grown-up words she'd practiced.
He was more than appreciative to his daughters teacher, Nancy. What a wonderful, caring person she is. I'm not alone in that feeling, I found that out during these incredible events I witnessed, she is very loved.
The quilt maker & the quilt, click on the photo to see it larger, it's an amazing quilt. This woman made an impact on me, I know what goes into making these & I wasn't even the recipient of the quilt, I could image how the family feels. She was dedicated & driven to get this personal project to this particular soldier, she helped each child draw on every square. There's several stories about how the quilting machine broke down, how the soldier was sent to a location where he couldn't receive packages & more circumstances to lead up to him receiving the quilt on this day, a day I got to capture. Makes me cry. I wouldn't have missed it for anything & so glad I didn't (there's a story behind that too, I almost missed it). Lots of stories, in honor of one special man. I want to take a photo of the family all wrapped up in it (showing how warm, safe & happy their family is to be wrapped in all that love). Then put it back in protective plastic, lol!
This last photo is one of my favorites, it's the hands of the quilt maker, taking a photo of the family in front of the quilt, she made for them. I haven't even started their slide show & I can't stop crying just listening to the song I chose & viewing their photos. What an incredible thing to be a part of. Thank you to the family for allowing me to capture these special memories & to Nancy for the invitation. Their story was on the local KRCR news, on the front page of the Record Searchlight & it's going national this weekend on Fox News. Amazing!!!!
PERSONAL NOTE: It's hard to select only a few photos. I didn't do a whole lot of editing to most of these, I wanted to get them up quickly for the other friends & family to see what they may have missed. Sometimes you can't have everything happen in the best lighting so you have to get a little photojounalistic & do your best. Because in reality, in these cases, most people simply care about the moments you capture, not if the lighting is "perfect", so I hope everybody understands & (most importantly) agrees. What's important to me in these cases, is that the image tells a story & I'm searching for the emotion in that story, ...simply put, that's what I love doing the most. What a way to finish off the first month of a great year. I have a few exciting events going on in the month of February & I can't wait to capture them! I can't show everything I photograph but it sure doesn't change how I feel about each incredible memory I get to witness! Especially one's like these. Welcome Home Spc Williams!!! I hope you have a great visit. Take care & God Bless!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's a Love/Hate thing...

This is Shadow, the kitten Marissa brought home over a year ago. We kinda have a love/hate thing going on. Sometimes she can be a real turkey but I've grown to love her. It's also the way I feel about the rain, I know we need it, love to see it, (especially when you don't have to be driving in it) but hate how dreary it becomes on the 2nd day (& the 3rd, especially the 4th...). The morning after a rain is amazing though, so I guess I gotta love it,...sometimes.
The other day, I decided to take advantage of her holding still at the window. She usually jumps away at the sight of the camera but I got a few lucky shots before she flashed me the evil eye & jumped quickly off the couch.
Most of the time she's a completely 'normal', calm cat but she still has her little wicked side (don't we all), like when she sometimes hisses at us, for no reason. Lately, she's been climbing on Jon's lap for some lovin & warmth (I think she secretly likes him but still playing hard to get, lol). He's like a furnace that runs every season & she's recently decided it's the best place in the house to sit. She makes a break for the couch as soon as he sits down.
Doesn't she look like a little stinker?
Sugar really stepped up to the plate (when Shadow entered our already full family) & really earned her name. Not that I was planning on getting a 2nd cat (MARISSA!!!!) but everything happens for a reason. There isn't a better cat in the world better than Sugar & who knows, maybe she secretly wanted a little sister. We rescued Sugar from Haven Humane in Redding, CA, where we also adopted Missy (our border collie) a few years back & Lady (our golden retriever, we got at same time as Sugar, which was totally not the plan). I'm still missing my boy Shane & I'm so sad for my niece Amanda & Geoff, for losing one of their dookies recently. But how can you not continue to love how our 4-legged critters get us out of the sadness funk in no time at all & we're blessed more each day for receiving their unconditional love.
The photo of Sugar above was taken in May 2011, not a great photo of her but it shows her intense, loving eyes. I'm trying to embrace the rain & love it just the same. The plants & trees deserve a drink too & this gloomy time should be spent practicing with my flash & PocketWizards....that brings on a whole new subject of love/hate, lol. I just wish I had someone besides Lady to photograph. You can't ask her to turn her head or show me pouty, it's just not the same without an actual person. I'm going to start looking for people who will model for me & you can have some photos in return. I think it's a win-win situation. Any takers?....Shoot me a message, I'm totally serious.
PERSONAL NOTE: I found a new wedding photographer that I'm absolutely inspired by, especially his images he creates with light (he's amazing trust me). He even has a technique named after him called the "Brenizer Method" Check him out, he's an awesome artist & you won't be disappointed. I really can't believe how many photographers are out there but glad I found him. It's great to get inspired by positive creativity. I'm having a great start of the year!!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jeremiahs Senior Photos - Redding Photography

I was so happy to have taken Jeremiahs Senior portraits several weeks back at Sundial Bridge. I hope to be doing more soon, such a good looking young man. These 2 photos of him on the bridge are 2 of my favs, the 3rd fav is the last photo. Honored Jeremiah, I was truly honored, Thanks!!
I'm ready for more pics when you are Jeremiah. Can't wait, see you soon.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Looking forward to August

I know it's only January but I'm so looking forward to August for the wedding of my niece Mary & John. I'm going to Oregon to shoot it, can't wait to see her wonderful smile & my other niece Amanda (Marys sister) is going to help photograph it with me. I'm one happy Aunt right now. Here is one of my favorite photos of Mary & John together from a couple of years ago, I don't get to see them enough to get updated photos but I'm ok with that, it makes me value each visit that much more & during my visit for their wedding, she is letting me do whatever I want, she's game for all my ideas & as a photographer, I couldn't ask for more. Maybe except for making it to another nieces wedding in Sept. Yep, I love family weddings.

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