This is a story about a Moose. The moose is dead, but the story lives on.
The man in the picture above is my husband and you see, he has a problem with having an addiction to online auction sites. Things could be worse.
So as I sit in my home in Maine typing this, I can see 8 things in this room alone, that have been purchased on auction sites. Most of these things I love, so I benefit from his addiction.
However, recently he came to me and said, "I just want to tell you that I bought a moose head."
To which I replied, "What the hell? Why do we need a moose head?"
His casual reply was, "It was really cheap, you don't see them that cheap. I always see them for way more money!"
Wait, my mind was in disbelief, he actually knows what moose heads sell for? Who knows that? I thought that only people who hunt moose have them as trophies on their walls. And.... people actually sell moose heads? Really? Isn't that just not right if you didn't shoot it, you just bought it?
I then ask, "What are you going to do with this moose head?"
To which he again casually replied, "It's for my barn in Maine, and I bought a bear head, too!
This is what the barn looks like and will look like for a long time. Construction had to go on hold because my daughter is getting married and we need to pay for a wedding. Apparently, you can't wait to buy the decor for the barn because you will never see it at such a bargain price again.
The story gets better, the moose head is too large to ship, so we are off to a little overnight vacation to Pennsylvania to pick up , "Rudolph", the moose. (now named).
Here we are picking him up in Pennsylvania. Note, the moose has a ripped nose and a hole in the fur on his head. Perhaps that is why he was such a bargain.
Of course, Rudolph does not fit in the back of the vehicle fully, and we have to travel all the way back home with back of the Explorer roped down with a part of a moose sticking out..............
...and this guy in the back seat.
So now Rudolph stays in our basement, for the time being.
John and Johnny can spend time admiring him there.
As it turns out, our son-in-law's German Shepard's fur was just the right color match. John was able to use little bit of it to repair Rudolph's issues. This is the first time Jager's excess fur has been viewed in a positive light.
As for the other purchased decoration, I think we can bear with him for a little while longer.
I know I say I love everything, but I really do love so many things. So here is another thing I love, going to new parent's homes and having a photo session with them and their newborn .
Meet beautiful little Kaelyn and her mom, Jackie.
Newborn feet are so cute. Jackie's mom made this blanket for Kaelyn.
She peacefully slept through most of the session, except.........
........when she was disturbed for an outfit change.
It didn't take long before she was back to sleep.
One of the advantages of in home newborn sessions, is being able to photograph their surroundings. This is a gorgeous nursery Kaelyn's parents have put together for her.
It was great spending a morning in the sun drenched home of these beautiful ladies.
It was such a pleasure to photograph this young lady. When I was her third grade teacher 4 years ago, I knew she was special. I remember the day she got her first guitar and brought it in to show the class. She demonstrated how to play one chord, that was all she knew at the time, but she was determined to play. I also heard her singing as she walked out to recess one day, and her voice stopped me in my tracks. It was beautiful!
This was Ashley back then.
Fast forward to this year. I left teaching to pursue a career in photography and Ashley has been developing into quite a musician and actress. She is an 8th grader at Sharon Middle school and will be playing Sandy in the Middle School Musical. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to photograph her, recording this very special time in her life.
I had been wanting to have a client who wanted portraits with some type of instrument or object that was important to them. Ashley fit the bill.
She was so easy to work with, just like when she was in 3rd grade. She was totally comfortable with me and I really enjoyed our time together. I should mention that I also taught her older brother, who is also very talented and is in the High School's theater productions. I would love to get him in someday to take his portraits.
This is a behind the scenes picture Ashley's mom took of us.
Here are a few more from our session.
Perhaps you are a past student of mine with a talent. I started teaching in 1983, so there are a lot of you I would love to see again. Maybe you have a son or daughter that does something very special that could be frozen in time by coming in for a portrait session. I would love to do this for you. You don't need to wait until senior portrait time. Ashley is not even in high school, but she and her family will have these images to preserve this important time in her life.
Feel free to contact me. I love the challenge of planning out a session just for you.
The year 2018 was a great year for me. I did a lot of learning In order to grow my business. In January, my husband and I attended Imaging USA in Nashville. This is the big conference for Professional Photographers of America, of which I am a member. It is held in a different city every year. We have gone for the last 3 years.
I always enjoy the speakers. Here are two of my favorites, Lindsay Adler, and Peter Hurley.
In February, the learning continued. I attended, Evolve, the convention for Professional Photographers of Massachusetts. It was held in Plymouth. Another great photography educator, Joe Edelman, presented here. I was very inspired to try some new things after hearing his talk.
My friend and fellow photographer, Diane Brophy, an I, got together and did some experimenting with using color gels inspired by the presentation by Joe and another presentation we attended later on in the year by Lindsay Adler, also sponsored by PPMA. This was one of the resulting images of beautiful Emily Pemberton, a client I met my first year in business.
Photographer, Ben Shirk was also at Evolve. I never even thought about trying compositing, which he is a master at, until I heard his talk. I was only going to stay for a little bit of his presentation, but I was mesmerized. I experimented with the technique. Here are a few of my attempts.
I still need a lot of practice, but I enjoy trying.
The variety of work I had this year was wonderful. I did some theater photography,
quite a few weddings and
lots of headshots.
This one I particularly liked because the client needed it to try out for a role as an extra on a movie. He had to look like a tough guy. I loved the challenge. He got a call back based on the image.
Real estate photography is another type of photography I love. Above are examples of two different homes I did this year.
Senior portraits are always so much fun. It was great spending time with many seniors this year.
Families and children were a big part of my sessions this year.
I photographed Veronika and Greg's wedding, their first child's infant images and now the addition of their new daughter. I love their family.
This is another image from a different family that I have been photographing for several years now. I love this image. It is so him. He hates having his picture taken , so I just run around with him and get what I get. No posing.
Here is his sister. She is the complete opposite. She loved the camera and the camera loved her.
Event photography is my chance to go into Boston and meet lots people. I have regularly photographed the Harvard School of Dentistry events. This year I photographed an event for both the Harvard Dental School and The Medical School.
I was lucky enough to do many other events in Boston this year. One of which lead me to be hired to work for Dunkin Brands. I wrote about this in my previous blog.
At another event, I ended up meeting speaker and author David Horsager.
Which lead to me taking his new headshot.
........and then a conversation I had with him lead to him to inviting my husband and I out to his conference in Minnesota. I photographed the event and my husband attended. We both loved it. That was in November.
The year ended with another exciting opportunity. I spent a morning in December photographing Patriots wide receiver, Chris Hogan and his family. I also wrote another blog about this.
I remember sitting at my computer in January being discouraged about my lack of bookings. I never thought that the year would go as well as it did. God had other plans for me. Sitting around being discouraged was not one of them. I thank him for all the opportunities he brings me. I can't wait to see what else this year will bring.
My personal life was filled with blessings, too. My mom and dad moved back to Maine from Florida. We now see each other more often.
My daughter, Maddie and son-in-law, Chris, blessed us with our first grandchild, Johnny.
Our oldest daughter, Emily, got engaged to her wonderful boyfriend, Corey.
Our youngest daughter, Sarah, is still crushing it as youth pastor in Hawaii. We are very proud of how she has embraced the culture there.
My awesome husband was Promoted to Chief of Police in Sharon. I am so proud of his accomplishments.
In December, my son-in-law graduated from The Randolph Police Academy and is a member of the Sharon Police Force.
If any of you know my family, you know we truly "Run on Dunkin." I'm sure we aren't the only ones, but we are pretty obsessed. We frequent or favorite location in Walpole, MA so much that we have become friends with several of the employees. We even exchange Christmas gifts .
This is Andrea, she is so nice, we just love her.
My Brother and sister in-law's dog is named Dunkin. He gets to go to Dunkin every day to get his Munchkin.
We have a favorite "Dunks" in Manteo, NC. , where we like to Vacation.
I created this image for an assignment at New England School of Photography. The assignment was to select an iconic image and put your own twist on it. I did Breakfast at Tiffany's Iconic Audrey Hepburn image, giving it a Dunkin twist.
Here is another image I created for my NESOP class. I love when my family gets in on my silly ideas.
There are so many more Dunkin images I could share that would illustrate my obsession with Dunkin Donuts, or Dunkin as it is now called, but let's get to the real reason for the Blog. I want to share the unbelievable opportunity that I had this last summer.
It all started when I met Tony Weisman, the CMO for Dunkin when I was photographing a conference he was speaking at in Boston. We got talking about my obsession with Dunkin and my love for the company. We chatted for a bit, great guy, by the way. He told me about an idea he had to recreate an old photo of the original Dunkin Donuts in Quincy, but he needed a photographer. He asked if would I be interested in working on the project? WHAT????? Would I be interested? I had to remain professional. Was I really hearing this? It has been a dream of mine to work for Dunkin Donuts since I started my photography Business.
He didn't have to show me the picture, I knew it well.
The project was underway. I contacted my neighbor, Jimmy Keating, who owns several old cars and has lots of friends who also have cool old cars. I knew he would be able to help me identify the cars in the original picture and who might own similar ones that we could use for the shoot. I was right, he was a huge help. He put me in touch with Billy, who brought this car to my house to let me look at it. He also gave me leads to where I might find the other cars. For the next few months I visited car shows and scanned the internet for possible cars. The cars we settled on were not exact matches, but were in the same era.
After several postponements due to bad weather, the day of the shoot finally arrived. It was over 90 degrees, but the sky was clear. I thought I was early, but when I arrived at the first location we were shooting, but the guys with the cars were already there. I think they were as excited as I was.
I was warmly greeted by bothers, Victor and Octavio Carvalho, the franchise owners of the two stores we were photographing. They own both the the Next Generation Dunkin in Quincy, and the original Dunkin Donuts, also in Quincy. Their father owned the original shop before them. They also own many other Dunkin Donuts franchises in the area.
These guys were awesome!
So this is one of the original images.
Here is the edited version.
We moved about a mile away to the original Dunkin location. This store was more challenging. As you can see, the pavement was uneven, the mid-day light was harsh, there wasn't much room to get the right perspective, unless I was to stand in the middle of the busy Southern Artery. There were wires, cars, and other building to contend with. The old cars in front of the old Dunkin Donuts, caused people to gather. Cars on the road started slowing down and people were taking pictures. At one point, I had to politely ask people to step back and wait until I had captured my images. It was all very exciting to see the commotion we caused.
Here are some more images from the shoot.
I will leave you with the final image of the original location. Thanks you everyone from Dunkin Brands. You were all a pleasure to work with! Thanks to all of you who stopped by to read my blog.
In my job I get to meet and spend time with so many wonderful people. This past Saturday morning I had the pleasure of photographing Patriots wide receiver, Chris Hogan , his wife Ashley and their twins. They are just a beautiful family.
This is Chase, a handsome little guy.
And this is Parker a beautiful, independent little girl.
The weather was perfect to meander around at Wards Barry Farm in Sharon.
The twins really LOVED the animals! It was fun to see the joy they experienced by being so close to them.
Thanks Ashley and Chris for letting me record your family outing at the farm. I hope some special memories were made for this holiday season. Enjoy a few more images from the day.
Meet Anna. We met when I was the photographer at the "Back To The Prom" event sponsored by the Sharon Education Foundation. I took this image of her that night. We connected. I knew we had to work together. I had been dying to get someone to work with me to experiment with different lighting styles and different ideas I had ruminating in my head. I knew she was the perfect person to team up with.
Fast forward to January 2018. We planned a time to get together. I couldn't have asked for a better subject. We had such a great time.
For this first image, I wanted harsh light and shadows. I also wanted a serious mood, with some sadness. What do you think? Did we achieve it?
Here, I was trying to get harsh shadows for a cool 2 person effect.
I'm sure glad Anna was having fun, because I was loving the session. I had been dying to experiment.
A very mysterious look here.
There is a whole different feel when you take away the harsh shadows and add some color. I love the elegant lines created by her arm and hand.
Totally different look here just by changing the pose.
The mischievous look juxtaposed with the more formal attire is fun to look at.
Okay, so hats just bring out the fun in some people.
This image brings Vermeer's "Girl With The Pearl Earring" to mind. I think it is the blue of the hat with the black background. I LOVE that painting.
I can't get enough of this one! Her body disappeared into the black background below the top of her dress so the image is center focused with energy. The expression is priceless. I love how comfortable she is with me.
Try not to smile when you look at this one.
It's all fun and games until someone looses a feather!
This is my favorite image of the session. It inspired me to create a different version of the image, a composite created by combining other images I have taken. The building is in Borderland, the one used in the movie, Shutter Island. Add a snake from the zoo and some texture and smoke..............
and this is the result.
Photography has brought me many new friends, Anna is a very special one. She has allowed me to grow more as a photographer. We met this morning for tea and she graciously gave me permission to share these images. I would love your feedback
Today I have a blog that features a piece my husband wrote. When I reread this story that he wrote back in 2008, I knew I wanted to share it. It made me cry for many reasons. First, I really miss his dad, who is a big part of the story. Even though I only knew him for a six short years, he had a big impact on me. His calm and fun loving nature, made him someone you just wanted to be around.
Another reason I felt compelled to share this, is because there has been so much bad press about cops in the last few years. I think it's good for people to know that there is another side to tell. People don't know what cops have to do and see while they are on the job. They not only sacrifice by being physically put in harm's way, their minds have to carry what they have experienced. They have to cope with it beyond the timing of the given incident. That is clear in the story.
My husband John, pictured above, is not a saint, but he and the members of his staff, do so many things that do not make it into the press. Things that go above and beyond regular policing.
Just last week, my husband brought coffee and breakfast to an Eversource worker who was watching a downed power line, and was stuck there overnight. He has brought people to our house when there was a power outage in the other part of town, to make sure they had a warm place to stay. He stops in and visits with some of the residents of Hixson Farm and brings me along to chat with them. He buys Christmas presents for shut ins and financially helps families in need. I could go on for pages, but he probably wouldn't like that. He won't like that I've even included what I have included. He does not seek recognition.
So without further ado, here is :
(Photo taken off of Pinterest, no credit was given)
It’s curious how your mind works when you find yourself in the midst of a catastrophic event. I suppose it may be some ancient biological coping mechanism that has been imprinted within us since the beginning of mankind.
Since becoming a police officer, I have had my fair share of disturbing calls; assaults, fatal accidents, suicides, and so forth. I can clearly recall each incident with vivid detail as well as the flood of seemingly random thoughts that accompanied those tragedies. They are permanently etched in my memory. These sometimes absurd thought associations during critical incidents have intrigued me for years. I suspect it’s the brain’s way of helping us cope. The following account recalls a few of those incidents.
While still on my very first week as a Sharon Police Officer, my field training officer and I were dispatched to a call from a frantic wife claiming that her husband was suicidal. Upon arrival, the distraught woman relayed to us that her husband has been suffering from severe depression. Frantically, she also shared that he was in the basement and that he may have a loaded rifle. I could see that the basement light was on through the side window. I ran to the window and peered in. There he was, sitting on a stool at the end of a table holding a string. My eyes quickly followed the white line, I saw that the line was attached to the trigger mechanism of a rifle through a series of pulleys. The rifle was clamped to the work table with the barrel of the gun pointing directly at his chest. It appeared as though he was going to discharge the weapon at any given moment. I screamed to the arriving sergeant that I was going to break the window. In the second or two that followed, some bizarre thoughts raced through my brain. The first thought being that my wife was cooking hamburgers for supper, and that I was most likely going to be late. I also thought about my father having hamburger for supper on the night he died. “Hamburger was a fitting last meal for a blue collar worker,” I thought. I also pondered that if I broke the window by kicking it in, my brand new “Rocky” high-top boots were most likely going to get cut up. I broke the window and startled the man enough that he looked up. I began shouting to him to come to the window. I explained, that this was my first week on the job, and I would probably quit if he took his life. This short distraction gave the other officers adequate time to enter the house and in turn the basement, where they safely subdued him. My boots were fine, and I was only a few minutes late for supper.
Years later, I was dispatched to the M.B.T.A. train tracks on the Sharon/Foxboro line for a possible pedestrian struck by a commuter train. I arrived on scene and ran down the tracks in the dark. I could see some Foxboro Police Officers with flashlights about one-tenth of a mile down the tracks. While focusing on them, I nearly fell over the torso of what turned out to be a sixteen year old juvenile, who had left his house after having an argument with his mother. High on marijuana, he either did not hear the impending train or voluntarily walked into it. Stunned, I looked down at what remained of him; a torso - no legs, no arms, no head. He was wearing leopard print boxer shorts, but I couldn’t tell if it was the front or back of him. Then began the random thoughts…. Curiously, although I can understand the slight connection with the leopard print shorts, I started to think about the 1967 movie, Born Free. My mind began processing the question of whether or not the woman who played the lead female role was named Elsa, or was that the name of the lioness that she had befriended? I actually began to hum the theme song….Born free, as free as the wind blows… Elsa, as I would later confirm, was the name of the lioness.
Later that night I shared with my wife that I was truly bothered by the fact that the gruesome scene that I had witnessed did not seem to affect me. However, a year from the date of this tragedy, I began having graphic nightmares of this young man’s death. I would later come to understand that these nightmares were a classic characteristic symptom of delayed post-traumatic stress syndrome. In turn, this entire incident became a valuable lesson that I would share with future incoming rookie officers.
The Sunday that my father died had been an uneventful day. Ann Marie and I had recently purchased a new home two blocks from my parent’s house in Sharon. Ann Marie, our four year old daughter, Emily, and myself temporarily moved in with my parents as I was renovating our one-hundred year old purchase. I had worked on the house all day and returned to my parent’s home late that evening. I recall briefly talking with my father and asking him if he had any old shingles. He seemed a bit annoyed. Perhaps now, as I look back, he may not have been feeling one hundred percent. I found out later that he had spent his last day of work lugging boxes of old police records from one building to another.
I took a shower and went to bed in the front bedroom. Ann Marie and Emily had already gone to bed in a separate bedroom at the rear of the house. Not having the energy to search for clean underwear, I decided to sleep without briefs. This is not my normal practice, nor is it information that I would routinely share. However, this fact will help you understand the following scene.
I have always had difficulty falling asleep, and so it was on that night. I had been lying there for about forty five minutes when I first heard my father get up and enter the bathroom. My mother had fallen asleep down stairs and did not follow my father to bed.. I strained to listen, as it sounded as though my father was sick. I was about to get up and check on him when I heard him return to the bedroom. After a few minutes, I then heard what sounded like a table being knocked over. I quickly got up, went to my father’s bedroom and turned on the lights. There, I viewed my dad fully convulsing. My next recollections are a bit foggy, but I think I ran to the bedroom where Ann Marie and Emily were sleeping and awoke them, yelling for Ann Marie to call 911.
I then returned to my father and jumped on top of his body while attempting to perform C.P.R. I administered breaths, then compressions, breaths, then compression. The breaths did not seem to work. It would later be explained to me that my dad had pulmonary edema and his lungs had totally filled with fluid. Essentially, he drowned to death.
Within seconds, my uncle, Eddie, a Sharon Firefighter, arrived on scene. I was handed a pair of shears and instructed to cut off my father’s tee shirt and to continue C.P.R. A few seconds later, Firefighter Dennis Mann and a few other firefighters, arrived on scene with the defibrillator. I looked up and made eye contact with Dennis as he entered the room. I was struck by the look of horror on Dennis’ face. I would only figure out weeks later that Dennis’ expression was most likely due to his witnessing me, butt-ass, naked, sitting on top of my father while performing C.P.R. I never spoke with Dennis about that night, but I do sometimes wonder what he was thinking at that very moment.
I can still see my father’s eyes, they were open and dilated. I would revisit that look many times in the future while responding to fatal scenes through my duties as a police officer. I sometimes wonder if my father could see me that night as his functions began to fail. Did his brain allow him one last glimpse at the world? Later I had a comforting thought that God had allowed me to “kiss” my father goodbye through the act of C.P.R.
After several failed attempts at reviving my dad, the firefighters strapped him to a backboard and maneuvered him from the second floor into the ambulance. My mother attempted to wipe the fluid draining from his mouth with a towel as he was awkwardly carried down the stairs. How bizarre, I would later think. As pointless as my mother’s actions seemed to be at the time, it was a fitting final gesture of love from a woman who had faithfully served her husband of some forty years.
As the firefighters passed by the bedroom where Emily had been sleeping, I glanced in to see her sitting up, wide-eyed, and frightened. In her large brown eyes I foresaw all the lost opportunities that she would miss with her grandfather. Lost times of playing “Beauty and The Beast”, a game Emily and my dad would play for hours at a time. He would don a blanket as his cape and she would chastise him for incorrectly playing the part. The lost birthday parties, I thought, as well as the lost holidays, family gatherings, and perhaps even a wedding someday. Then the thoughts became markedly more random. “No more trips to Jolly Cholly’s,” I thought. Certainly, this was not a rational thought, as Jolly Cholly’s had shut its doors some thirty years in the past.
Jolly Cholly’s was a small amusement park located off of Route One in North Attleboro. I fondly recall going there as a treat on many weekends. I can still smell the sweetness of summer air mixed with the confluence of cotton candy, machinery, fried dough, etc. I can still vividly see my father in his off duty “uniform” which consisted of green chino pants and white tee shirt. His U.S. Navy tattoo peeking out from the sleeve of his shirt. To a small boy of six or seven, that amusement park was the most exciting place in the entire world. It’s funny, but I don’t like amusement parks now, and as “seedy” as Jolly Cholly’s probably was, it will always surpass the wonders of Disney World or any other theme park, because it’s permanently imprinted in the mind of a seven year old. The night of my father’s death, I vividly recall thinking about Jolly Cholly’s neon entry sign. It displayed a huge clown with a disproportionately small head and enormous legs, that you would enter through to access the park. Were the legs emblazoned with white and blue neon strips, or were they green and red? I later confirmed, through an old photograph, that Jolly Cholly’s legs were in fact checkerboard. Did Jolly Cholly beckon you into the park with a waving neon arm or am I mistakenly mixing that recollection with the waving chicken arm of Fontaine’s Family Restaurant in Dedham? You can still make out the rusted remains of Jolly Cholly if you drive down Route One. The run down lot that once housed the park, is tiny and betrays my memories of it being much larger.
It’s curious what your brain thinks of when tragedy strikes. I now have three grown daughters. They will, in their lifetimes, experience tragedies, as tragedies are part of life itself. When those times come, perhaps as part of some coping mechanism, they may have some random recollections of some long past fun vacations with their family on the Outerbanks of North Carolina. I would certainly be OK with that.
I have an engagement session coming up, so I was reviewing some of my past engagement sessions for inspiration. They really put a smile on my face, so I thought I would share a few.
For this one, I waited in a snow storm to capture the actual surprise proposal.
The 1 above and the 2 below are from my first engagement session. This couple is one of the reason I got started in the business. They are friends, so I did their engagement pictures. They asked (begged) me to photograph their wedding. I told them that they didn't want me because I didn't know what I was doing. They didn't care. I caved, scared as hell, I did it. That was it, I loved it and I was hooked. The pictures were not perfect, but it motivated me to take some courses and improve my skills.
Not tack sharp, but good expression. I love natural expressions.
I did another surprise proposal last spring in Boston. These never get tired. She was totally shocked and her reactions were priceless.
It was freezing on this day on the beach, but I love the images we got. This one just felt black and white to me. Maybe the goosebumps don't show as much.
I love to take shots from behind the couples when we are walking. Just look at their pinkies intertwined.
I have always wanted to own a truck like this to use in photo shoots. Paul Spender in Sharon, was gracious enough to let me borrow it for my daughter and son-in-law's engagement pictures.
Dogs in engagement photos seem to be a thing for me. Can't say that I mind. I love dogs.
Just look at the dog's expression in this one!
Being a hopeless romantic, I love looking at these images. I will end with several more images that I really like. I hope you enjoy looking at them, too!
I was going through some pictures in my files and several of them made me smile or even laugh out loud. I began thinking about how much I enjoy every session and how happy my clients make me. I hope that they enjoy their sessions as much as I do.
If you will indulge me, I would like to share some images that reflect the fun I have when I am working. (Is this really a job?)
The last 4 were of the Sharon Education Foundation 80's Prom. It was a BLAST!
This little guy loved to dance.
Getting goofy on your wedding day.
I love when everyone is in on the fun.
Dogs always steal my heart!
This little dog on an engagement shoot, was hysterical.
It's not easy to get work done when your dog is in your office, but it is a lot more fun.
Dogs and kids, double the fun!
Kids being kids at weddings.
Wedding receptions are always fun.
People laughing always gets me laughing.
The remaining images are in a slide show. I hope they make you smile, too.
After 31 years of teaching, I have decided to retire and start a new chapter of my life as a photographer. It has been my passion for about 7 years now.