Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Just Like Family

The Riley's are friends of ours who are like family to us. While they were visiting over the weekend they asked us to get a few shots of their newest little Riley along with the rest of the family. We always have a great time with them and the photo session was no different. Lots of laughs and lots of fun. Thanks Bob, Shannon, Bobby, Brandon, Mikayla, and little Brody!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I recently got to spend an afternoon with my oldest daughter, Dani, and as usual we had so much fun! We don't get near as much time together these days, so each time we do, it is something to treasure. I wanted to go into Oakland to take photos of the Washington Spring and check out the Mountain Fresh Farmer's Market that takes place in the town parking lot every Wednesdays and Saturdays and Dani happened to be home for the day so we made it a mother/daughter adventure.

On the path to the Washington Spring we stopped to explore what's left of the "Gas Cave" of the old Oakland Hotel. It was a grand old hotel that was built by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad back in 1875. The hotel was torn down in 1909 and all that remains, structure-wise, is the gas cave where artificial gas was generated to power the hotel's lights and stoves. As I was taking this picture, though, I realized how prophetic the image is for my oldest daughter. She is a college senior majoring in Psychology and the image above reflects that point at which we all have been and have to go....heading out into that unknown life. But she is so ready, willing and well-equipped!
The Washington Spring was the next stop on the path and, once again, it hit me how it reflected her place in life. Ready to nourish herself and to re-group before traveling on her journey. (By the way, this spring is known for refreshing Gen. George Washington and some of his traveling companions while on an excursion in the year 1784.)
Crossing the bridge (hmmm.....more metaphorical images) back into town, we noticed a little shop and stopped in to explore.

"Hometown Memories" was such a wonderful surprise! We had fun checking out the nooks and crannies of this place! The last place we stopped was the Oakland Train station. We checked out the place where, in many years past, folks would disembark from the trains that brought them to vacation in the mountains of Garrett County. While technology and the changing times have eliminated the passenger trains to the Oakland train station, there is an undoubted atmosphere that tells of the rich history of this and the surrounding area.

Dani and I always have fun when we hang out and usually indulge in a bit of orneriness and this day was no exception.

And we always share lots of laughs.......
Her path is her own to choose, but I think she knows that she never has to travel it alone. She always has her family beside her, in one way or another.
I am so proud of her and all that she has (and will in future) accomplish! And I know that no matter where she goes or what she does, she will do it Dani-style! I love you, Dani-Gurl!

Friday, June 12, 2009

These boots were made for walkin'.....

....and that's just what they'll do. They walked right through graduation last Sunday and right out into Chelsie's life! Oh my, can it be true that my baby has graduated high school, is enrolled in college and will be joining her brother and sister in the world of higher education? Where did time go? It seems like just yesterday that she was poking her little head into Double G customers car windows saying, "Hi! My name's Chelsie. What's your name? Do you have any kids? My dog's name is Harley!" Those of you who know her, know exactly what I'm talking about.

You might not be able to see it, but there is some silly string flying around amongst all the caps.....that's Chelsie and some of her friends!
A:nd what better way to leave high school than in the arms of your best friend and "Nacho" man. ("Nacho" average boyfriend, that is! ;-)
Congratulations baby girl!! Life is a big pair of wide open arms waiting for you! Love you much!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Discovering the Horse Out of Harness

"horse out of harness"....this was a line from a book by Norman Brauer about the camping trips of Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, and John Burroughs. He said in the book that you can learn alot about a man by how they work and by how they play. When I read this line, it went right through me. It immediately had my attention because of the feelings it invoked in me.....the memory of seeing the horses break loose and run free and of their beauty when they were so completely in the moment of running. It resonated within me and I realized there is a longing there for the same thing...for my creative side to be able to break free, to run furiously for all I'm worth, without being harnessed or held back in any way. It has been that rumbling inside me that I couldn't put words to. It is that "something" in the pit of my stomach that keeps rearing up to try to get me to notice.
I haven't ridden horses in such a long time. I think the last ride I was on was during vacation at Hilton Head a few years back. We were there in March and it was so chilly. The girls and I went riding while the guys went golfing. Now, mind you, riding trail at a public stable is quite different from riding your own horse. But just getting back to something that gave me such enjoyment at one time was so overwhelming. I had forgotten how much I loved the rhythm of a horses gait, the smell of the leather and horse scent mixing together, how much riding put me exactly where I was at the moment. And I feel sad that I have let go of something so simple that just plain made me happy. But re-discovering something about yourself can be quite a powerful thing.
Had I not attended the San Francisco Discovery Workshop with my daughter, Chelsie, at the beginning of May, I might not have realized just how important this "horse out of harness" idea is to me. Rick Chapman gave us a homework assignment before the start of the workshop. The idea was to bring a self-portrait (not necessarily a picture of ourselves) of who we are or where we are, right now at this moment. I immediately knew that, creatively, I wanted to be that "horse out of harness" right now. So I incorporated that idea into my self-portrait. I am not quite there yet, but I am on the path and I am aware of every step and rhythm to the journey.
The friends I made, the connections to others who are finding their way too, the paths that we all tread in San Francisco, have made me feel that we are ALL about to break loose, throw off the bridles of fear and the saddles of others' opinions and most importantly find our stride right past those boundaries that have been holding us back.
Beyond teaching us a way to connect with our photo subjects as well as ourselves, Me Ra, Brian, Rick and Garrett taught us to throw off the things that are holding us back and to trust ourselves in our own direction. In short, they opened the gate, removed the harness and said "Go see where this leads you and run towards it for all your worth!"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chelsie and I spent a wonderful afternoon with one of her best friends, Whitney, and Whit's Mom, Renata the other day. We had taken some winter photos for Whitney and she wanted to round out her senior pics with some spring photos as well. She is SUCH an easy photo subject....very photogenic and so fun to hang out with. We made a couple of stops. First we went to her Aunt and Uncle's home and made good use of a porch swing that was made by her Great, Great Grandfather (I think I've got that right). Check out Chelsie's blog to see a picture of Whiteny in the swing. We also took some shots using the banister on this beautiful wrap around-style porch.

Next, on the way to Whit's Grandmother's home, we stopped by an old barn foundation that belonged to her late Grandfather. She had changed into a beautiful blue dress and we took several different styles of photos beside and around the old barn foundation. We ended the shoot at her Grandma Lucille's home.

We had a great afternoon and Whitney was really a trooper considering the cold temps and the constant heavy breeze that kept our teeth chattering. Thanks Whitney, for believing in us and giving us this wonderful opportunity to share your high school senior memories!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Oh, the lessons......

Even though she is graduating high school in 2 weeks, my youngest daughter, Chelsie, is learning more than ever. We are learning more than ever! And she, like my other two children, continue to teach me with every step of their own personal journeys. I know that it is our responsibility as parents to teach our children as they grow and mature. But I also believe in the importance of being the student...of letting our children teach us. And they will, if we give them the chance to find their own voice and to let that voice be heard. I am truly blessed to say I am Danielle, Gesse, and Chelsie's Mom. Thank you, my darlings, for all your love, laughter, respect, support, and, of course, the lessons! ;-) The trip to San Francisco also continues to "teach" me many things. And, as Sharon Sossaman said, Rick, Garrett, Me Ra, and Brian's voices are continuously "there" in the back of my mind, guiding and supporting the photographer and the artist who lives in me. More later on San Francisco, as well as some friends who are "Feasting" and cooking up a storm!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The first "petal".

Welcome, welcome to my first-ever personal blog. I am fairly new to all of this and I have much to experience. But I know it will be a journey well worth taking. I consider this a "petal" in my amazing sojourn through all the new things I am learning, and hope there are many more "petals" to open up, creating something beautiful in the end.

Chelsie, my youngest daughter, and I recently returned from a trip to San Francisco to take part in Me Ra Koh Photography's Self-Discovery Workshop. It was an amazing experience for not only the two of us, but the other 20 women who attended. We were so very lucky to learn from Me Ra, her husband Brian, Garrett Burdick, Rick Chapman & Lesley Ehrenfeld , and Matt & Laura Reoch. Such a phenomenal team of photographers and creative individuals!

We truly learned how to connect to the artist within, connect with our portrait subject and then blend these connections into our own unique photographs. It is a process that we should learn to trust and make time for, according to Rick Chapman. And he is so right! It is hard, going "blind" into a new and unfamiliar process. But with the help and guidance of all these individuals, we learned just how valuable that process is to our own creative survival as well as to our photographs. Learning how to photocoach our subjects so that we get those special shots and help our clients to relax was also such a valuable session with Me Ra and Brian.

If you ever get the opportunity to attend one of their workshops, I highly recommend it! You will not be disappointed and you will walk away with many new friends and a huge boost in your self-confidence as a photographer. Check out Me Ra's website, http://www.refusetosaycheese.com/ for more information on this and other workshops.

I'll post some of our photos later, but for now, thank you for checking out the new blog and many wishes for a happy, healthy day!