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Richelle & Ashley – Sisters!

Richelle and her sister, Ashley, took advantage of my daylight savings time special to have photos taken for their mom for Mother’s Day!  Their mom doesn’t know about my blog or website, so we’re pretty sure I’m safe to post these here…  I’ll just have to wait until Mother’s Day to share them on Facebook!

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Richelle has two adorable kids, Leland and Alanna.  They were…  shall we say a bit less than cooperative for the picture-taking process.  LOL!  There was lots of bribery going on but we didn’t have anything to give them immediately.  Other than letting them look at the camera after a picture.  Or…  well, I used a stick.  They actually fought over who was going to get the small stick that I picked up off the ground.  I need to figure out something small I can keep in my camera bag to bribe kids with that will actually work.  Something better than a stick.  Not candy because I know some parents don’t like candy. Any ideas?
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Richelle is such a beautiful, happy mama!  I loved watching her interact with her kids.
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We also did some just for Ashley and her husband.  They were so adorable together!  They didn’t take much posing, and they seemed so natural in front of the camera.
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And I always try to do individual shots at my sessions.  I had a really hard time picking which of these to share because Richelle and Ashley both have such stunning eyes that I wanted to share all of the images with you.  But since it’s WAY past my bedtime at this point here are only TWO!
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Thank you, Richelle, Ashley and FAMILY!

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Washington Capitals vs Boston Bruins

Monday evening I went to the Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins NHL game with David, Bob, and Tanya.  Probably three or four years ago I declared myself a fan of the Caps.  Prior to that I had no allegiance to any team and would root for the same team as David if I was in a good mood or the opposite team if I was in a feisty mood.  But I’ve been to three Caps games now and I can tell you the captain’s name and jersey number.  So they’re my team!

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I understand that the Caps have been doing well this season and are going to the playoffs!  Congrats, guys! If you ever make it onto a channel we get down in Florida, I’ll definitely be tuning in to cheer you on.

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We made our way to our seats in the Verizon Center just as the teams were warming up.  Bob and some of his friends have great season tickets and we were just behind one of the goals.  I made my way down to the glass with all the other fans who had their cameras out and started snapping away.  I even got a direct look from Ovechkin as he was stretching!  I swear he was looking at ME and not the 100 other people with cameras hanging out against the plexiglass.

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If you care to know who any of the players in a particular picture are, just click on the picture and you’ll be taken to flickr, where I have each of the photos labeled and tagged.  There are also lots MORE pictures on flickr in this set because I’m not going to post them all here.  There are just too many!

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And if any of the players happen to read this…  I would love to get one of my photos autographed.  Come on, I know you google yourself on occasion.  Everyone does it!  So if you come upon this blog post and you’re still reading and you’d like to make a silly photographer from Florida a very happy girl, just let me know where to send a picture to be autographed.  😀 Would it help if I promised to also send cookies?

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And on that note I’m going to stop babbling.  It was a great game, and I’m so glad “we” won.  In overtime.  After the refs stopped to question a couple of obviously good goals on our part.  Good game, guys!  Keep up the good work and let’s go get that Stanley Cup!

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Helen - April 9, 2010 - 10:52 am

Jessica,
Great photos. You are very talented. I am glad Bob converted you to a Caps fan.
It was nice to see you and David, albeit briefly. Have a safe trip home.
Cheers,
Helen
GO CAPS!!

2009 – In Review

I’m a couple of days late with this but I figure it’s better late than never.  Truth is 2009 was a pretty big year for me, and I’ve been trying to put it into perspective before I blog the review.  Which parts stand out in my memory, and which parts do I need the pictures to jog my memory?  How much has my photography changed over the last year?  After all, I upgraded cameras twice in 2009…  from my S5IS to my Rebel XS to my 40D! I started a website, started this blog, and discovered twitter!

So how did I start 2009?  With some of my favorite people, of course!
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Then on January 6th the city of Milton changed forever, and thanks to a call from a friend I was there to capture the events as they unfolded.  My pictures of the fire got a lot of attention in the community, which I have to admit was pretty cool!  Then I entered this image in the fair a few months later and won a blue ribbon in the photojournalism category.
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Later in the month we took a road trip up north during record cold temperatures where I saw REAL SNOW for the first time.  Not the teeny tiny Florida flurries we’ve gotten here every ten years or so, but serious snow.  And I drove in snow.  Snow and ice.  Up over a really steep, icy mountain in the dark.  With no GPS and barely any cell phone battery thanks to the cigarette lighter in the Scion dying on us about two hours into the long trip (made longer by the interstate detour and our going the long way through most of West Virginia).  But I made a snow angel and froze my tooshie off and I forgot all about how stressful the drive had been.  (I should also mention that I got new glasses last year.  Eew!)
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While we were on our trip I started my 100 Strangers project on the DC Metro.  I saw Arlington National Cemetery for the first time.  I say first time because there were thousands of tourists there the day before the inauguration of President Barack Obama.  I’ll have to go back some time when there are fewer people.  And yes, we were there when history was made.  Amid the 1.8 million idiots who stood out in the BELOW FREEZING COLD for a few hours!  And I don’t do crowds.  But I would do it again even though my skin still hurts when I think back on that day and how cold it was.
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David had his tonsils removed in late February, which was quite an experience.  No pictures from that, but it was memorable.  Especially when the pain medication began causing him to have hallucinations.  The night he woke up thinking there were people in the room with us and mad at me because I didn’t wake up and so he started kicking me…  yeah, that was the night that we decided he’d had enough liquid lortab.  It was liquid Tylonol from then on!

And then I decided to try my hand at taking “people pictures.”  To get practice I started doing free sessions for friends and family.  And boy did I learn a lot during and after those first few sessions!  I’m so grateful to have had people who were kind enough to let me practice on them.  I hope I didn’t traumatize them too terribly as I fumbled wtith my settings, blinded them with sunsets and flashes, tried desperately to make children smile and laugh, and figured out what my style was.
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I went to the beach more this year than I have in my almost twenty-eight years living on the gulf coast!  The beach is a great place for pictures even if one doesn’t particularly enjoy the salt water or sand.  (It just gets in places that it shouldn’t!)
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Landon (the nephew) turned three and gave me a much better picture than the one I started the year out with!
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I took my first long exposure night shots and discovered that I like doing so and would like more practice with this!
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And I shot my first wedding! Oh my goodness, what an experience!  I think I took two thousand pictures that day.  And since this was before I started blogging, I wish to thank Kenny and Stephanie for giving me my first opportunity in wedding photography, which I love despite the stress.

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David and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary with a trip to Destin where we visited the Gulfarium and took a sunset dolphin cruise.
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I reconnected with a wonderful friend from high school whom I had regretfully drifted away from over the years.
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I shot my second wedding!  Again, this was before I had the blog, so I want to thank Janna and Marshall for giving me a chance with so little experience under my belt.
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And while it doesn’t come with a memorable story or lesson learned, this is one of my favorite pictures of the year:
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Somewhere in here I switched from using Canon’s RAW utility and picnik to edit my pictures and started processing in Lightroom.  What a difference it makes in my workflow!  And now I actually enjoy the editing portion of things as much as I enjoy taking the pictures!

And “the logo” was born.  I sat down several times to attempt to design a logo that I was happy with and finally settled on this, which I then turned into a brush in Photoshop and began placing on most of my pictures that I post.
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I shot a couple more weddings, now with the assistance of Samantha as second shooter!  And I decided I needed a camera that gets less noise, so I bought a used 40D for future weddings.

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I played with and was bitten by a tiger.  I held a baby kangaroo.  I held lemurs.  It was awesome.  It sort of makes other zoos pale in comparison…
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Tyler (the other nephew) turned one.
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Bailey the Wonder Dog graduated both intermediate and advanced obedience classes this year, and then she got sick.  Really sick.  Twice.  And we became very familiar with the emergency vet clinic in town.  By some miracle, she’s still with us, for which I am thankful on a daily basis.
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We adopted another cat.  That makes five.  That makes no more!  But he’s a sweetheart with so much personality, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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I took my favorite picture ever of Tyler at Thanksgiving.  And I decided that I love soft black and white images.  And ordering prints on metallic paper from my gallery.  They’re so…  I don’t know, they just POP!
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We went to Bellingrath Gardens and Home for the Christmas light display, and it was mesmerizing.  Even with this little punk playing around.  😉
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We went on vacation where we ate some amazing foods and I ventured off to take pictures while David was in classes for work.  I saw the Atlantic Ocean for the second time in my life…  truly a magnificent, powerful sight.  And I braved the woods (and the SNAKES… and some scary looking sticks) alone on a mile-long trail.  And I survived.
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It was a great way to end the year.  Or it would have been if David hadn’t gotten sick during the trip, causing us to come home a day early.  I followed him a day or two after we got home and we both ended up on antibiotics for sinus infections.  But we were better by Christmas, and we were able to spend the whole entire day with my family.  That was a first since he has been working at the Sheriff’s Office.  Usually he has to work at least part of the day or the night before or after, which means he has to sleep at some point.  But this year I had him all day long, which made me very happy.  It was a beautiful day, full of fun and family and great food.

2009 is going to be hard to top. But I think we just might be able to do it!  What sort of wild animal can I go play with that’s bigger than a tiger?  😉

Tanya & Luke

Just before Christmas I got the chance to photograph my sister-in-law, Tanya, and her boyfriend, Luke. I’ve known Tanya since David and I started dating way back in early 2001, and I can honestly and emphatically say I’ve never seen her happier.

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Luke’s mom wanted pictures for Christmas, so we made plans to meet when Tanya came into town for her Christmas break.  She’s currently working on her Master’s Degree in Sociology at George Washington University, but Luke lives here in Milton.  They started dating about half way through her program, and she graduates this spring.  I’m hopeful she’ll move back “home” and we’ll get to see more of her!

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We started at the Palafox Pier in downtown Pensacola in the “dressy” clothes.  It was a little too bright out by the water, but I loved this brick building!

Now I usually have to tell my clients to look at one another for photos.  I like seeing the connection between people.  In fact, the current signature on my email is a quote that I found on PhotoDino that says, in part, “Great portraits are a side effect of a strong human connection.”  When I first started taking people pictures I learned quickly that my favorite images were sort of candids where the subjects were looking at one another.  But in this case I actually had to tell Luke on more than one occasion to stop looking at Tanya and look at the camera.  Because being able to see your subjects’ eyes is also important sometimes.  Guys, he really couldn’t take his eyes off her!  And it melted my heart!  It was so amazing to see their connection.

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Then we had a change of clothes (for a less formal look), a soda break (Thanks for the Diet Coke, Luke!), and headed to Ferdinand Plaza, just a few blocks away.

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And then there came a point where they could be serious no longer!  Their session went from one extreme to another: romantic snuggling kisses to goofy falling down fun.

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And I managed to catch it all!  We had an audience, too!  Ferdinand Park is sort of a popular place for some of Pensacola’s homeless population, and we gave them quite a show.  They cheered Tanya on as she hoisted Luke onto her back and even managed to take a few steps!

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Dara - January 1, 2010 - 3:13 pm

Love the larger pictures, and this set!

Hilary Mercer - January 3, 2010 - 4:24 am

Awesome, I saw these photos and thought, “WTH! Tanya is engaged!” Then.. i didnt see a ring and went back to doing what I was doing. Great job!