Just before Thanksgiving our family got the best Christmas gift ever!! My niece was born. The first little girl in the family in quite a while so we are all very excited!!!! My little brother, Anthony, had a baby girl. Well, actually he didn’t do much. My sister in law, Nina, had a baby girl and Anthony supported her in her breathing and pushing. Baby Daisy came into the world as perfect as she could be and I flew out to Chicago to do her newborn photos at about the 8 day mark. Here are some of the photos from the session.
What’s more fun than a litter of kittens? Knowing that they will all have good homes. I recently shot this litter for the good folks at FOCHP (Friends of Orange County’s Homeless Pets. They are all looking for homes so if you find yourself feeling a little lonely or in need of about 17+ years of fun, you might want to bring one of these babies home.
My good friend Hercules, the pit bull, has about 2-10 weeks to live. Cancer is getting the best of him and his time with us running out. Many of you know him, have met him at events or know him through the portraits of him that I have taken in the last few years. He has marched in several Luv-a-Bully marches, first with 4 legs and then with 3 legs and served as an “ambassadog” at many rescue events around Orange County.
I met Hercules in 2009 at a Luv-a-Bully march in Brea. The march was a gathering of about 200+ pit bulls and their owners to dispel the public opinions that pit bulls were mean fighting dogs and protest BSL (Breed Specific Legislation). Dr. Paula Terifaj (now the owner of DogSpa) asked me to photograph the event and that is how I met Hercules and his family, Kylie (now 5) and mom Leslie. I snapped some photos of Herc and Kylie at the event and a few months later Leslie contacted me, in a panic, to do portraits of Kylie with Hercules because Hercules had cancer and she did not know how long he would live. Kylie was two then and Leslie was afraid that without photos Kylie would not be able to remember Hercules when she grew up. Since that time, the bond that Hercules shares with his girl Kylie has become a personal photographic project for me. The images of Kylie and Hercules together have touched many people and helped to change the negative perception some people have of the pit bull breed. The portrait work has served as a medium to communicate the true nature of pit bulls as protectors and kid-loving, furry balls of love.
I know a lot of pit bulls!!! Of all of them, Hercules is the most loving, the most patient, and the best ambassador for the breed I’ve ever met. His work here on earth is just about done. I’ve captured some memories with the photography we’ve done, but it’s still so difficult for Kylie and Leslie to deal with the loss they will grieve someday very soon. I have been trying to think of something to do to help them and then today it hit me . . . I know we are all busy people, but I would like to make a simple but heartfelt request . . . send Hercules and/or his girl Kylie (who is now 5) a card or a note before he goes. Wish Hercules the best, send hugs, send notes of gratitude for allowing us to see what dedication and love is all about. Tell Hercules how brave he is to have fought cancer for 5 years. Tell Kylie and Leslie how you admire that they have cared for him so well these five years while Hercules had numerous treatments to keep his cancer at bay.
I have tried to remember all of the people that Hercules has touched in his life, but I’m sure there are so many more. Feel free to share this message with anyone you know, that might know Hercules or be interested in his story. Tell everyone about him and spread his story far and wide. He’s a good dog and good pit bull and he’s leaving a big ‘ole pawprint on my heart and the hearts of many.
I have also posted this on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lspetportraits
Please send cards and love to:
Hercules c/o FOCHP
26423 Scott Rd.
Menifee CA 92584
Thank you so very much for caring about the breed we love.
P.S. If you haven’t already read it, Roni Raczkowski wrote a wonderful article about Hercules and it was published on the Best Friends site and went viral a couple of years ago. http://bestfriends.org/News-And-Features/News/Are-You-There,-God–It-s-Me,-Hercules/
P.S.S. For those of you who do not know, a portrait from 2012 of Kylie and Hercules are featured as the month of July in the Unexpected Pit Bull calendar http://theunexpectedpitbull.com/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=50
I just realized that I did not post my newest pet portrait video!!! How remiss of me. Enjoy the furry cuteness
A few weeks ago I got a call from another photographer Cliff Lester. We met about 15 years ago, although neither one of us can be sure of the exact year. (yet, another reason I regret not keeping a better journal) I had just moved to California and was continuing my quest to learn how to take a decent photo. I had enrolled in a Class called Commercial Photography and Cliff was the instructor. Cliff was such a great teacher I followed him around a bit, like a bug following the light, taking a class here and a pro workshop there. So back to present day . . . Cliff asked me to present to his class of college students at Cypress College. The class is called “Careers in Photography”. I was charged with the duty of giving the class an idea of how I got to where I am and what made it possible. I admit part of the process was daunting, filling two hours of time, figuring out what to say, picking an outfit that doesn’t make me look short, determining what to show them, . . . but in the end the whole experience was really fun and fulfilling. I had to think about what has helped me to be successful in this crazy business and what has not. I had to think about how I do things enough to be able to explain it to people who don’t do it every day. After the whir of the projector stopped and I pulled my samples in my rolling bag out of the classroom , I found that I have one more thing to thank Cliff for (the list is getting pretty long). The process of evaluating where you are and how you got there is good. The path is good too and the road ahead seems a bit easier than the one I just trod upon.
Here is what was left of the class after I bored them to tears for 2 hours. I am the shortest one on the left. I should have worn higher heels or stood on a box. The students were really good sports and they all had great questions for me during the Q&A period. I so enjoyed meeting them and I could feel their passion for photography.
Here is the class with one of the best and most dedicated photo teachers I’ve ever met, Cliff Lester, on the far left. Thanks to Cypress College and all the schools that are still able to provide places where we can go and study the arts. Cypress has a really great photography program. I took classes there in Photojournalism, Wedding and Digital Photography.
So lately I’ve been tinkering with a new style for my portraits. I’m not sure what to call it but they somehow seem to tap into the connection we have each other , whether it be people with their families or people with their pets. This connection is something that has always interested me. As far back as I can remember (even before I was interested in photography) I have been in love with love. In love with the way people connect with other hearts and how you can see the connections. Here are some portraits I did recently where the connection is so strong you can feel it. This is Minnie and her person. They’ve been together for a long time and soon Minnie will be leaving this world because she has cancer. (you can see there is some fur missing from her right leg) Hopefully she will be able to stick around a little longer because I know her mom will miss her so.
While at WPPI (a.k.a. playground for photographers) I purchased some new software that will allow me to design better and more amazing albums and I also bought a blog board builder. Now I expect that I’m going to be spending quite a few nights jacked up on caffeine while learning all the cool stuff that my software can do. Here is my very first blog board with my new toy Blog Collage by Fundy Let me know what you think!
Family portraits. Here are some images from a recent maternity session. The whole family was involved and we did a really beautiful album with them. Baby Edric was born about a month after the session.
Here is what happens when you come to the studio for portraits. This is pretty typical. Doggies have fun, people have fun and of course we get some really nice images . . .
When I was about 23 I gathered my brothers and went to a pro photographer to get a portrait done of the three of us. I can’t tell you how much she loved it. She cried (the ultimate test of a good “mom” present). Now I’m a bit older (uh-hem, friends and fam, no need to give away how much older) and one of these portraits hangs in my home today. It was a perfect gift for mom but more than that it is now a gift for the whole family. I treasure it. I only regret that I didn’t do it more often. So this might seem like a no-brainer “gift idea” but we all need reminding. Whether mom’s kids (or your kids are tiny little babies or pretty much all grown up, she loves photos of them. So whether you book a session with me for Mother’s Day or any day, do it. You will always be glad you did. And Moms reading this, we do offer gift cards and we are used to dealing with husbands/dads who are clueless as to what to get you for Mother’s Day. Just send them our way and we will handle the rest.
Here are some images of “kid” portraits for mom . . . forever.