Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I was filmed by a Nat Geo film crew.... (That's National Geographic, by the way.)

For the last 10+ years, I've worked at the Best Friends Animals Sanctuary. We are the nation's largest no-kill animal sanctuary and we specialize in special needs animals. The National Geographic Channel has been filming a TV show at the Sanctuary called Dogtown, which features, of course, our dog department and the great work they do.

One of the managers of the dog department, and one of the stars of Dogtown, is my friend, Michelle Besmehn. (see photo below). Michelle has also been one of my riding students for the past 8 months or so. She is a beginner with horses, but is a really fun student and has been learning a lot. The Nat Geo guys decided that it might make a fun crossover piece to come down to the horse department and film Michelle working with a horse for a change.

So, last week they came and spent 2 hours filming Michelle working with our cute little pony, Sira, while I gave her a lesson. They also did a close up interview with me - you know, the kind of shot where your face is filling the camera frame - and I don't mind admitting that it was a little unnerving. I don't know if they'll use the footage, I'm pretty sure I'd rather they NOT use it, but it seemed like a blogworthy event, anyway.

If anyone is interested in a little clip about the show, (starring Michelle, she's too cute!) here's the link:


Saturday, January 24, 2009

More fun photos of pretty girls

Today I went to take pictures for a family in Glendale. This young couple has been trying to have a baby for years and have gone through invitro (sp?) and all the other fertility craziness with no success. They are now applying to adopt through LDS family services and need pictures of themselves and both sides of the family for their application. I was happy to be involved in such a worthy cause. I was impressed that every single member of both sides of the family had traveled from far and near (mostly near) to support them in this endeavor. It's so hard to get such a big group together, but everyone knew how important this was for them. Such a great, supportive family. In fact, it was kind of touching because several members of the family approached me privately and wanted to pay for the session as a gift for the couple. So nice. I hope they are happy with the pictures, big groups are always kinda tough.

After we were all done with the family photos, their cute little 13 or 14 year old niece pulled me aside and told me that she absolutely hated her school picture this year and wondered if I would take one of her. So we went out in front of the church and got some really nice shots (in my humble opinion :). She is such a sweetheart, and it shows. This was one of my favorites.

And this one, looking way too sophisticated! I was SO not cute at that age.

Then, tonight when I was working on other people's photos, Brynn decided that I hadn't taken her picture in way too long. So we stepped to the back door and quickly took a few of her. It was almost dusk, but I used my new reflector and got some nice catch lights in her big brown eyes. She looks like a redhead in this photo, but it was just the evening light. Kinda pretty, I think.

So I guess if we have 2 girls who are happy with their pictures, it's a day well spent.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My little "guilty pleasure" pick-me-up

It's not like I ever get down or blue. On my bad days, I just get grumpy and irritable and probably take it out on my family a little bit. And those days aren't very often, but every once in a while I need a little pick me up, if you know what I mean.

I was on Youtube one night looking at videos from Dancing with the Stars and found this one completely by accident. I don't keep up with the latest news very well, so I had never heard of this guy and the video caught me completely by surprise. His name is Paul Potts and he auditioned for Britain's Got Talent last year or the year before that. The video gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes, and every time I need a little bit of a lift, I watch it again.

So if anyone is needing a lift today, here's the link. Guaranteed to warm your heart.


Bonus Baby "B"

So this is the second baby I've taken pictures of this week, and it's kind of a cool story. These are some friends of mine who live near Sacramento. They've adopted several animals from Best Friends, and have been volunteering there for years and years, which is how I know them. A few years ago, they bought some property in Johnson Canyon and built a neat little vacation home out there. They are in their 40s and had never planned on having kids, but surprise! This baby had other ideas. So a month ago, they had little Mr. B. and he is a doll!

She works for the CA legislature and has lots of maternity and other leave saved up, so they brought their little guy out to Utah for the week and I got to go over today and take his picture. They are such lovely people, and I know they'll make good parents.

And Dad is super involved and tends the baby all the time while Mom goes on hikes with the dogs and volunteers at the Sanctuary for the day. Yea, Dad!

And Mom has already been a great "Mom" to lots of special needs animals that we've sent her way. They seem like natural parents to me, and are really enjoying their little bonus baby.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My first bride (and her new baby brother)

My best friend from high school (or was she really my siamese twin? - some folks wondered) just had her 5th baby in November. I got to go stay with her up in Ogden for a few days right after she brought him home and took lots of fun pictures. She still looks great, even though she's even older than I am!

Isn't she beautiful?! Baby's pretty cute too.

But here's the kicker. Her oldest daughter is turning 21 and just got married at Christmas time, which makes me feel old, old enough to be a grandma! But I got to take her bridal pictures in St. George, where she's going to school, and that was a really special experience for me. I also went and stayed with her mom when she was a little baby - and she looked an awful lot like that new little brother does.

And I'm amazed at how much she's looking like her mom these days - she NEVER did growing up. She has Dad's freckles, though. She hardly had a stitch of makeup on and looked gorgeous anyway.

She got married in St. Paul, Minnesota where her husbands family is from. So even though she found her dress in sunny St. George, she also was able to find this very cool cloak and muff to go with it.

Don't you just love that cloak thing? I can't get over how pretty that is.

I accidentally discovered this desaturated look while messing around in photoshop, and I totally fell in love with it. And these de-sat photos were her mom's favorites, too.

I also discovered how to do these black vignette's by accident on Youtube. Had a fun time playing with it anyway.

So, Shay, I'm glad you were my very first bride session. You've grown up into such a beauty and I'm so proud of the choices you've made in your life. H is a lucky man.

Sweet baby "J"

It seems like babies always come in clumps. I'll go a long time between baby shoots and then have several in a week. Well, this week there are two - both friends of mine who are first time moms. It's so fun to watch the moms adjust, their lives will never be the same. I always say, "It's so much harder than you think it's gonna be, but you love 'em so more than you imagine that you could."

The mom and baby shots are always my favorite.

This little girl is so pretty, her perfect skin just blew me away, along with her big blue eyes, especially for a 3 week old. Her mom is one of my horsiest friends, and isn't much of a girlie girl. She had her little darling in "camo", for the photo shoot, which I thought was too cute. So I took her picture on pink furry fleece and made her a pink baby book to balance things out.

And we had to get a couple with big brother Bogie.....

Sunday, January 11, 2009

the "Humdinger"

Well, we finally did it. We finally took the plunge and bought a 3/4 ton Dodge with a Cummins diesel engine. We have worried that diesels are a little more expensive to maintain, but with our old truck getting so much less dependable lately, we decided it was time. And we really can justify a diesel since we live in a bowl and have to pull the horses up some wicked hills to get anywhere. We've also been having to go further afield to find hay this last year, but can never bring home as much as we'd like, because our old half ton truck can only haul so much at a time.

(In it's old home with Gerald and Janece in Las Vegas) So, after our good ol' GMC (with 400,000 miles on it) spent a couple of weeks in the driveway, dead again, we started looking on Craigs list, KSL.com, the pioneer shopper, and finally finally found this one on ebay in Las Vegas. Because of the white replacement bed, the guy was having a hard time selling it and we got a really, REALLY good deal. The guy had sold his own trucks on ebay before and had gotten rave feedback, so we felt pretty good about it. He ended up meeting us in Mesquite yesterday and we were pretty impressed with how well it ran and with all the upgrades he'd made to it. It also had hummer tires and rims (with an extra set of both thrown in) which made it look pretty tough.

The kids actually really liked the white bed. While we were test driving it, they told us we ought to paint big red stars all over it so it would be the American colors. Too funny. We told them, sorry, but we were going to get the bed painted blue, right away.

I had a pretty good time driving it home. It's like the Tim Taylor more power truck. It growls and howls and rumbles and roars - in a good way, of course - what a beast. Our neighbors heard us coming home with it last night and accosted Marty at church this morning with, "You bought a 12 valve!"

Marty and I watched a hilarious episode of Red Green one time where he duck taped two pintos together to make his own hummer- he called it a humdinger. We thought it was so funny, and after finding this truck with the hummer wheels and the festive paint job, we thought humdinger was a good name for it, as well. We're going to check into vanity plates.

So I'll have to find an excuse to pull the horses somewhere with it sometime very soon. Uuuugh, uuuugh, more power!