Monday, September 27, 2010

In Memory of Brian...

A few weeks ago, a terrible tragedy occurred in our community. Deputy Brian Harris was killed in the line of duty. Still, almost a month later, I don't have the words to express my feelings about what a great loss this is for all of us, and especially for his family. I was privileged to get to photograph his funeral and graveside service and wanted to share just a few of those photos.

First, there was the candlelight vigil the Sunday night after he was killed. We went to express our love to the family and to be united in our support for them and in our feelings of loss.

I don't know how many came to the viewing - both the night before the funeral and the morning of, but it was an incredible amount of people. We stood in line about an hour and a half. There were tables all along the line with pictures of Brian and his family and pages for people to write on. There was also a slide show playing in several places along the way.

I never get rid of any photos that I take for people and this is why: This family portrait is one I took of the Harris family last year.

(That little pillow in front of the photo is also one I made and sold at a school fundraiser a few years ago - kind of surprised to see it again.)

I also took the photo of Brian and his parents and brothers and sister here in the left of the frame - I was so glad that I had these.

Officers came from every police agency in the state and there were many from all around the country.

The wives of the sheriff's department made this amazing quilt:

The slide show had several of my photos included in it - of the whole family and some of Brian with his girls at the daddy/daughter dances from the last two years.

I tried to take photos of the different patches from the arms of the officers who were there. I didn't get nearly as many as I would have liked, but here are a few:

I had a chance to visit with two members of the Honor Guard from Ada County, Idaho. I was impressed by how impeccably turned out they were in their dress uniforms and I asked if I could take their photo. They had traveled a long way and I felt very appreciative to them - and all the visiting law enforcement - for coming to honor Brian.

The funeral was held in our new high school gym to accommodate everyone. It was also piped in to several different locations where people could attend through live broadcast.

The roads around the school were closed off and there was a line of motorcycles parked from the school almost clear to the highway.

After the funeral, Brian's brothers took him from the building, down a corridor of saluting officers to the waiting hearse and the procession headed to Glendale to the graveside service.

The motorcycle portion of the procession:

Very impressive.

I love our community - all along the procession route, there were folks holding flags and signs:

I was able to ride to the cemetery with some family members and I was very touched the by the outpouring of support along the way.

This huge flag was hung from cranes across the road leading to the Glendale Cemetery

And above the school, some local boys had placed a flag on "the V", our local Valley landmark, standing for Valley High School where Brian had graduated in 1987.

At the graveside, it took a while for all the officers to get there and to form a double line from the cemetery entrance to the gravesite.

Brian was taken from the hearse and placed in his own County Sheriff's truck for the last leg of his journey.

After the dedication of the grave, the color guard folded the flags and presented them to the family.

It was a very sober and touching ceremony, one I won't soon forget.

There was also an honor guard which gave a 21 gun salute and played the bugle.

The pallbearers - Brian's brothers, brother-in-law, and nephews, placed their boutonnieres on the casket, and Brian's second family - the member's of the sheriff's department - each added a rose.

Brian was the first officer to ever be killed in the line of duty in Kane County. He was an indispensable member of the Sheriff's Department and will be greatly missed by his brothers there.

There was also a fly-over:

...and a last call by dispatch. I'm sure there wasn't a dry eye in attendance when we heard them calling for Brian over the radio.

He loved his job and did it well. And even more than that, he loved his family.

I took a lot of pictures of the family, but didn't feel like I should include them here. They are so personal and I feel like they are for the family alone.

I stood there with his grieving family and felt my heart breaking for them. There is something, though, that makes this family more fortunate than most - they have each other. Brian's parents and 5 brothers and their wives all live right here. And as I watched his oldest brother holding Brian's youngest daughter on his lap and comforting her and whispering in her ear, I knew that though Kristina's lost her dad, she has 5 uncles who are never going to let her down.

What a privilege it was to be there. Our prayers will continue to be with Brian's family - we love them and hope to be of some help and support to them.

Brian, we'll sure miss you!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Candids in the Window

Because I do so many 'portrait's' for people, I kind of get stuck in portrait mode. Even with my own kids sometimes - too much posing and not enough spontaneity.

I was organizing some of my family photos this morning and came across this little bunch of three - and they were so refreshing to me. Unstaged, unposed, and unaware that I was even taking them. They were taken from my office chair. I'd just swiveled around, saw my kids playing together in the window light, grabbed my camera off my desk and snapped these three shots.

And seeing these photos reminded me of three things:

  1. That I need to take more candid photos of my kids and family - and more candid moments in my portrait photography, even.
  2. That I so appreciate how cute my kids are together and how well they get along almost all of the time. I LOVE that they're such good buddies!
  3. How much I love window light. These photos are completely uncropped, unedited and untouched, but they are beautiful with that light from my kitchen window coming in on their little faces (and I don't even mind that the first one is a little blurry.)

And in the spirit of candidness, here's one from the bridal shoot I did last night. And even though we got lots of beautiful posed shots, this is my favorite.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Random Cuteness

The queen of blogging, my beloved Pioneer Woman, says that you should post on your blog everyday. I'm not sure how in the world - while homeschooling 4 kids and living on a working cattle ranch - she has time to do this, but if she has time, I need to try a little harder. I do love blogging, after all.

Today, I worked all day out in the sun, and while it was a mere 94 degrees this afternoon in the rest of the countryside, it was at least 104 degrees inside of my arena. (Good thing I LOVE my job.) I then came back home and played with two of my own horses until after dark and fed all the animals - equine, canine, feline and human. I went to the grocery store, doctored Brynn's cut finger, followed up on homework, checked my email, said prayers, got the kids to bed - FINALLY - and am now doing my bloggin' duty.

I wanted to put up a big, important blog post tonight, but I'm absolutely exhausted. I was up too late last night editing and I really need more than a few hours sleep tonight. So I'm just posting a video of my baby that I took a couple of months ago and never got around to blogging.

This little "skit" is something my mom used to do when we were kids - don't know where it came from. Mom used to do it with a napkin or folded up piece of paper shaped like a bow-tie. Luke chose to do it with his grilled cheese sandwich.

And he couldn't remember the last line, so I wrote it down for him on a prompt card - which is why he pauses and his eyes keep shifting to the side of the screen. But he's toooo cute! With his fuzzy haircut and his crazy growing in teeth, his greasy skin from putting a sandwich on it.

MAN, I love this child!

So here it is, "Pay the Rent".....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'm OUTTA here!

I'm headed off to Colorado tomorrow for four days to a Parelli Performance Summit - doesn't that sound exciting?!

What is a Parelli Performance Summit, you might ask? It's going to be a little bit like this:

Only on a smaller scale, geared toward Parelli's more advanced students, and at their place in Pagosa Springs, CO, which is gorgeous in September.

It's a place to be instructed, inspired and motivated in my horsemanship journey - they're going to be teaching and demonstrating some advanced stuff and there's sure to be fabulous horse/human teams galore. I CAN'T WAIT!

And not only am I going to be learning how to up my horsemanship ante, but I'm going with two good friends who are not only great traveling companions, but a barrel of laughs, and as passionate as I am about natural horsemanship.

Can you say, ROAD TRIP?!

The 7 hours of travel each way (and eating out) is half the fun when I'm goin' with my girls.

So expect some mediocre photos (I'm not taking my good camera) and video and a blog post upon my return.

And enjoy this little clip of an extremely extroverted little punk with his Parelli Play Ball. This is a Parelli horse through and through!

Don't you hate it when you get bucked off of a big green ball? The nerve!