Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Alexa. She loved to dress up (the fancier, the better) and pretend she was a princess. Almost two years ago, Alexa died of cancer. She was four years old.    

I've been wanting to volunteer some time as a photographer for a good cause, and the Princess Alexa Foundation came highly recommended by a good friend of mine.  You see, Alexa's mother founded this organization to help other seriously ill children through dress-up and play.  Alexa must be orchestrating the whole thing from up above, or at least I like to imagine it that way.

This past Sunday, the Foundation held a benefit called "My Fancy Fairytale Party."  I shot candids for about two hours, and you've never seen so many pretty little princesses in your life!  I was also very impressed with the grown-ups, who really cleaned up quite nicely. There were arts and crafts, cake, balloons, and face painting. Here are a few photos.  Although I have some gorgeous ones of the children, I'm not one to post them on a blog without permission, hence the shots taken from the back.  Anyway, you get the drift.  It was cool, it was fun, and I feel honored to have participated.

If you'd like more information about the Foundation, you can go to

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Where I Come From

I spent five days last month visiting my family in Alabama, and in looking through some of my photographs from the trip, I wanted to share these with you.  My favorite is this one of my father.  It was taken on his 83rd birthday.  He's always been an outdoorman, and age hasn't changed things one bit.  When my sisters and I asked him what he wanted to do on his birthday, he said he wanted to show us a tree with a hole in its trunk.  Poor Dad; he'd always boys but got three girls instead! We proceeded to drive out in the middle of the country, park off the road, and traipse downhill through river rocks and meadows (where this was taken) until we got to his tree.

The main reason we'd all planned the trip to Alabama was my Aunt Mary Belle's 90th birthday party. You'd never know she's ninety; she's young at heart and keeps active with church activities, quilting, and enjoying her family.  The party was hosted by her daughters, Diana and Kathy.  They did a great job, and I'm guessing there were at least 120 guests.
My Mom lives nearby.  Here's a photograph of her.  She looks great for someone who's almost 79!  We were able to spend time with her, as well, mostly shopping, lunching out, and doing girl things!
I never drove to Alabama before I moved to Dallas, as Phoenix was much too far away.  So the first time I drove in the spring, I wondered what all the red stuff was all over the sides of the freeway.  My Dad quickly set me straight, saying it was the Crimson Clover (as opposed to crimson clover) in the CRIMSON Tide.  Thanks, know I'm not much of a sports fan!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Willamette Valley

Part of my time in Portland included a day trip to the Willamette Valley, which is considered the heart of Oregon's wine country. It's a beautifully lush area, which starts about 45 minutes south of Portland, and it's like something out of a fairytale. The color green takes on a multitude of shades and shadows, and neatly planted grape vines traverse the gently rolling hills.

My friend, Tim, was nice enough to drive me around, stopping wherever I asked, so that I could jump out and take a picture or two (or three!).  It was good to catch up with him, and even though it was a cloudy day, we still enjoyed the scenery.  It was fun to drive without a map, yet only occasionally ending up on a road that had dead-ended!  It seemed as though no matter where we went, there was always a good photo opportunity.  I'd love to go back to the Dundee Hills area, and spend a weekend, as I think one could really enjoy early mornings and late evenings there.

Eventually it was time for lunch, and we drove back toward Carlton and the Horse Radish, where I'd eaten before several years ago.  The Horse Radish is a cheese and wine bar, and it serves a great lunch.  The woman at the counter proudly told me that her daughter is its new owner.  Another daughter showed me out back, where she'd been working on the landscaping.  The food was great:  we had a cheese and charcuterie plate, as well as a grilled cheese and proscuitto sandwich.  The wine tasting was equally good!  If you're in the neighborhood, I highly recommend this place.  It's on Main Street, and easy to find.

After a quick stop in nearby Lafayette to visit Lafayette Schoolhouse Antiques (where, as you can see, the sun came out), we made a final stop at Argyle Winery, for a champagne tasting...a great way to end the day!

Monday, May 10, 2010


I recently visited my daughter, Krista, who lives in Portland. After a prolonged rainy spell, I luckily arrived right in the middle of a bright and sunny day. After being picked up at the airport, we immediately drove straight to Nostrana, which is our tradition. Nostrana never lets us down! We always share a salad and a pizza with proscuitto and fresh basil, and we each have a glass of wine. After that, we did a bit of shopping (of course) before heading to Krista's new apartment, which is roomy, nice, and within easy walking distance of shops, restaurants, and almost anything you'd want or need.
On Saturday morning, my friend, Glenn, and I drove to the farmers market. I'd not been before, and, once again, the weather was perfect for it. Since it was Mother's Day weekend, there were a lot of people milling around, buying fresh vegetables, armloads of flowers, and just enjoying the sunshine. Covered booths are set up like this, with each merchant selling their speciality.
Here's an example of some Mother's Day flowers.

We had a great time with our cameras, as there were all kinds of subjects available. One of my favorite captures was this empty bucket. It had previously held lilacs, but all that was left were a few petals and some greenery, floating on the top.

There was live music, a balloon man, and all sorts of entertainment. Kids danced around on the grass, and many sported their balloon art.

Iris seemed to be one of the popular flowers of the day.

As it got later in the morning, the market got much more crowded. We eventually ended up at Papa Haydn for a lunch that was spectacular. Their desserts are amazing...

It was a successful Saturday...just right for walking around, looking, photographing, and enjoying the day.

Monday, May 3, 2010


I did a photo shoot last week for my cousin, Kelle, while I was in Alabama visiting the family. I've photographed Kelle's daughter, Ava, ever since she was a baby. She'll be two years old in August, and is rapidly growing up into quite a young lady.

For this shoot, we went to Kelle's in-laws' farm, where there was no shortage of props: hay bales, old logs, weathered barns, and an old Chevy truck overrun with flowering blackberry bushes.

It takes a lot of patience to photograph children, and patience is not a particularly good trait of mine! For the first half hour, Ava cried (her grandmother came along, and Ava wanted to be held by her). After sequestering grandma on a porch away from the area where we were shooting, Ava cried even louder. I thought, "the perfect setting, great weather, and now I'm not going to get the photographs that I'd anticipated." But, Ava surprised me; she calmed down, posed beautifully, and made me realize that occasionally it just takes a little time for everything to fall into place.

I hope you'll agree that these photographs were worth waiting for.

See you next time, Ava!