Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Homes

About a week ago when it was really nice out one night, I went out and set up a tripod and did some Holiday Home shooting. I really liked my subjects, they were very cooperative and even though they blinked a few times, I was able to come away with some nice images. (Note the humor in this referencing people portraiture!)
The newspaper I work for, ran several of the images in today's edition. They looked nice, but I just feel like the sparkle of them lacks a little, so I've picked two of my favorites and am sharing them here with you.
Enjoy, Merry Christmas and many blessings this weekend. Don't forget to go drive around your town or city to take in the brilliance of the holiday lights. It's a lot of work and for one, I appreciate the efforts of all those who do that. It reminds me of my childhood when my mom and sister would take me to some of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the Bay Area in California.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Owl T

Today we created a special seasonal T, with a unique owl on it. This is the first "girlie" T I've ever designed. I did the Sandra Lee way of simplifying it. Though it isn't food, it's the same principle. Being Mya's Meme, I look for shortcuts whenever possible. So I bought the T, then grabbed a couple 97cent pieces of precut fabric, then decided to think out of the box for embellishments. I couldn't find the right buttons for eyes and wanted to really make this more than just some fabric and felt. The little ribbon flowers were perfect. Mya loved the colors, "Yes, zebra wings!" Out came the iron and scissors and soon we had our Owl.
Then of course, we had to go do a quick fashion photo shoot to show off the finished top.
When you're a grandma "meme" and you work, even if it's vacation, you make the most of the time with your little one! Best part of all this, she helped!

Friday, November 25, 2011

What's a Thanksgiving without drama, right?

We decided to have our Thanksgiving dinner the day after, today...Friday. Yes. But of course, it couldn't go off without a bit of drama. Well, make that a LOT OF, flames, smoke, 911, firefighters, police...But as you can see, the bird survived.

Before you start reading, just know this small important thing-- if you call the fire department to your house and the fire is out, you better be outside to tell them so, otherwise they will be coming in with extinguishers, axes and water hoses.

I chose a new way to cook the bird. I was reading the Norman Magazine online and there was an article about the 'fat and sassy mama' a popular foodie blogger. In it she talked about just using foil and never taking it off while cooking. I've always used the way my mom did, a homemade thick pie crust cover, lots of basting. Never a problem, always moist and perfect.

Well only one problem with fat and sassy's method, I had a 25 pound bird in my standard oven and when we took the foil off finally so it could brown, there was so much of its own juice it was literally overflowing. As my husband went to put the bird back into the oven oh so carefully, some of the juice poured out onto the foil on the oven. We watched it and it seemed fine. Remember now, that juice is bird grease.

Meanwhile, I went about getting the last few things ready for the table, and about 15 minutes later the kitchen got VERY smoky...and I turned around and FREAKED out.
No other way to describe it, my oven was flaming!

I started screaming Fire, I was running out of my kitchen, Rex comes running in and we collide and I'm not sure how we switched places, but all I could think of was call son goes hauling into the kitchen and I'm screaming at my d-i-l to get Mya (our 4 year old granddaughter) out of the house.

By this time I get this dread feeling the whole kitchen is in flames as I looked back and saw lots of orange going on. I go running outside trying to tell the dispatcher our address when my husband yells it's out and cancel the call. No, sorry, I want those firefighters here NOW!

I tell her though the fire is out, no need to send the army (I did use those words, haha). Just one truck though please. I'm standing outside barefoot and shaking mostly from adrenaline rush and finally the trucks come rolling, and the first one kept going???? Right past our house.

Second truck rolls up, meanwhile I'm like "you idiots, right here!" Then I look over and see the neighbors looking at me like what in the world?!
Then my husband comes walking outside and of course, up rolls a DPD cruiser..meanwhile they all have sirens ablazing.

Lo and behold, this is where it gets really fun. Of course, one of the first firefighters I see is friend Jeff Bruehl, wife of good friend Pam Bruehl, owner of Prairie Rose Boutique on Main Street Duncan mind you, for those who don't know Duncan, yes, we have a large enough population base that you don't necessarily know your neighbors.
On the other hand, if you are a celebrity like myself, then you know most of those that you NEED to know!
And of course, the first firefighter off the truck was grabbing an axe or hose or something. I was like NO, I could just see my bird being completely destroyed at that point.

In we all head, what, five or six firefighters? My husband knew the Officer on duty and so they stood outside and laughed and chatted a few.

Now, if you are wondering why I would make the fire department come out, here's why. First, it's a gas stove and I guess I just read too many crazy things being a journalist and all, but I was worried the fire could have done something to my gas lines. Second, there was a HOUSE filled with smoke. I knew these guys could blow this house out in seconds! That's very important when you are choking and don't want the house to smell like smoke. (It worked).

Meanwhile, Jeff kept saying, 'hey, you done good, you done good!' Not sure what he was meaning, but I think it was because the bird look BEAUTIFUL! They all walked around, did their thing, Jeff checked under the stove just to ease my mind..(that's when I noticed I needed to clean under it). He insists it was good compared to most they see.
I asked Jeff if yesterday was eventful, he said no. See, I told him, you needed this! They were all hoping to really have a fire! Hahhaha!
Jeff said they had just sat down to eat at the Quality Inn when the call came in (oops, sorry guys!) I offered them dinner, there was plenty, but I think they thought I was joking.

That's Jeff on the left.
Then it's time for one of the guys to write my name and phone number down for their report. That's when Jeff said, "what, you don't know who this is?!" And told the one guy, she's the one always snapping your photo at all the scenes. My husband thought that was extremely funny.
The firefighter's reply? "Oh, you owe me a lot of ice cream!" And of course, everyone was laughing and talking about how this should be page 1 news.
And somehow I got blamed for starting the fire. My husband finds that very funny!
Yes, the bird was moist.
Right before we sat down to eat, I made a comment like, now all we need is a good earthquake.
And the poor firefighters? For the next 20 minutes or so I kept hearing plenty of sirens. I may have to cook them a meal one of these days.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Published in American Cowboy/Oklahoma western photographer

Photos below.

There I am shopping in our local neighborhood grocery store Friday and see the newest American Cowboy on the shelf. Immediately I saw the words Chisholm Trail and grabbed up a copy and started flipping through it. I squealed when I saw a small image of mine on page 37, of my cowboy morning ride silhouette. I have a tendency to go from back to front with magazines.
A couple more pages and my excitement tripled. There was the cover of my book, Riding the Chisholm Trail, filling half of page 32!

I can remember seeing the first copy of American Cowboy years ago and though I'm more of a city girl than country (also never been on a horse) I've got quite a collection of cowboy, rodeo and horse images. I also have always wanted to have my images in that magazine. Here's the story of how it happened.

A few weeks ago, a friend, Cova Williams with the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, called me to tell me about Bob Welch writing an article for American Cowboy. He needed some photos to go with his article which was about life on the trail and she thought of my cattle drive photos from 2007, that was the year of Oklahoma's centennial and there was a month long cattle drive from the Red River to the Kansas border.

I only had a day to shoot, as they came through Stephens County and Duncan. A couple years later I decided I needed to do something with the photos and then it dawned on me. I'm a writer, just call these cowboys and get their stories. Then I went into editing mode and eventually the book was ready.

Chisholm Trail article by Bob Welch with my photos to highlight it

My book cover in American Cowboy

Sunset ride also in American Cowboy

The cover and the silhouette were the images I sent her, providing a one-time usage to American Cowboy. I had forgotten all about it until I saw them in the magazine. Pretty awesome! I've had my images in magazines before but this has to be one of my finer moments. I had another photo from this same event make it into Cowboys & Indians 2009 Photographing the West annual contest.
Next? To get an entire layout in American Cowboy!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Cool dish on a hot day - Oklahoma foodie photographer

Blue crab, avocado and campari tomato tower

blue crab, avocado, campari tower 2

I picked up a copy of Southern Lady today and at the same time, grabbed the ingredients for a recipe in it, but I always deviate from the original. So well worth it. Some people claim they can't afford to eat healthy or that it takes too much time. I disagree.
I hate sitting in a drive-thru for fast food, especially in 110 degree weather. Actually when I got into my car today, it said 116! Just trying to do chores was a bit much for this girl who hails from the city by the Bay and spent most of her life living in areas like Colorado or the Pacific Northwest.
Someone said yesterday this could just stay hot like this through September.
But back to the food since I know you are wanting to know how to make it.
I didn't have a ring mold, and thanks to a great foodie who has the most delectable business on Main Street (Distinctive Decor - check it out online and facebook - They ship everywhere!) he suggested I use a tuna can. Perfect.
The quick version is chop up an avocado, sprinkle some lemon juice, salt and pepper on it, put it into your fancy ring mold. In a bowl, mix up blue crab, a Tablespoon of fresh chopped dill, 2 T. mayo, salt, pepper, some lemon zest. That goes in next, then your tomato on top. Yummy.
I added two secret ingredients, but this is the recipe in the book. Oh yes, they had parsley. This was perfect, easy to make and not too much for a hot day.
I also made a tropical sangria, courtesy of the recipe in the magazine. More yummy for a hot day.
Five stars.
"About the dish" - I've had this really neat dish for a long time. It's been packed away, pulled out, considered for etsy, stuck back in the cupboard. I kept thinking one day I will have a great little meal to put on it and get some cool shots. Well, as you see, it finally found its meal.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Anti-Extreme Couponing Test

I just happened to have one of those rare days when I woke up at 6 a.m. and was ready to enjoy my day. With predictions of 100 degree weather I also decided to go shopping early and get it out of the way. I grabbed my newspaper out of my driveway and quickly went through it to find the coupons. Today, they were in it. The last few Sundays we haven't had any and I just don't normally buy the city paper for $2. I prefer local news reading being I'm on a budget and all, right?!
Anyway, there's only a handful of coupons I would clip and use. I'm not one of those to buy things just because there's a coupon or because it's on sale. Either it has to be something we will use or a really really good bargain.
But it still has to be something I'd use.
In today's coupons, I found the usual toothpaste, V8 tomato juice and splashers, which I would buy. Our family is a liquid type bunch.
And then I saw the ULTIMATE coupon! $2 off a four pack of Seattle's Best Coffees. I love those things. I quit drinking Starbucks Frappuccinos a few weeks ago and then discovered SBC had made it to Oklahoma - finally! There was also a coupon for Excedrin, any kind, 20 count or more, .75 cents off, and I thought this was a good day.
So I went to Wal-Mart first for a couple things I needed from there which I knew Homeland and Walgreens don't have.
And I still didn't get my SBC. Guess I'll have to make my own today!
But, at 7 a.m. Wal-Mart is working against couponers of all kinds. They literally had pulled ALL the Excedrin, except for back and body and migraine. Well I got the migraine 24 count.
Then I went to get SBC, I knew they would have it. They always have it. Nope. It was all pulled off the shelf too. How convenient for them.
I finished my shopping there, headed to checkout and had a total of, are you ready for this? $3.50 in coupons. Whoa, hold the lines. Bring the film crew, right.
So the guy starts scanning, then the Excedrin coupon won't go through. Says item not found. Well he knew he just rang it up. He starts looking at that coupon, dissecting it, looking at the fine print, etc.. I'm like, just read it...pretty obvious it's for any kind, picture or not.
He says Walmart won't allow override of coupons now. Meanwhile, he's still trying to find something to say about not taking the coupon. Ugg. Then he goes out to the other clerk (I'm in the garden section). She says override it. Of course, meanwhile, I'm making comical comments like, wow, I'm some extreme couponer,huh -- it's not like I have 10 bottles and coupons here. Let's not save .75 cents. I seriously was ready to put the item back (even though it is something I'd normally buy).
Plus I had about $50 in groceries and other items.
I also went to Homeland, they don't have any SBC either. But they at least honored the $1 coupon on A1 steak and DOUBLED it, making that buy a .99 cent item. Whoohoo.
As I was walking out of that store, an older woman was in the store with a couple coupons, paid for some items, went outside and got her BOX, yes, a huge file cabinet type box to return to do her Extreme Coupon shopping. I was half tempted to go follow her just to see what success she would have.
But, the point of this blog post was to give you a heads up. Walmart is doing its best to shut down couponers on any items which might prove popular. I thought so the last few times I went shopping when I didn't find the items on the shelf. Now I know. Because I am sure no couponer in Duncan, America, would have been able to wipe out shelves and shelves of Excedrin. Why else would they 'eliminate' that coupon at the register? Think about it.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

She Believed - Oklahoma artist photographer

She believed she could so she did
I've long wanted to do something with balloons and phrasing. This is a 5x5, 8x8 or 10x10 for my etsy shop. I plan to make several and decorate my granddaughter's bedroom with them. The idea is to surround her with positive ideas.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Popsicles and Purple Nails - Oklahoma children's photographer

It was a day to paint nails and eat popsicles Saturday. 90 degree weather here in southern Oklahoma in April seems odd, but we enjoyed the chance to play summer early!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Butterfly freedom - Oklahoma photographer

Art Prints
This is available from greeting card to large canvas and photographic sizes.
This image is a perfect example of just waiting for the right moment. Not all photographs happen in an instant, but you have to be ready for that instant or you'll miss it.

Limited Promotion! Sherbert Swirls

Only 4 days left to get this piece at this price!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Portrait of a Horse

Sell Art Online

This is one of several I shot in 2006 at a private Arabian horse seller's ranch. I'm finally putting them online and also will be having some available at some upcoming shows I'll be in as a vendor this year.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

They are who they are. - Trail Dance Film Festival review

It's Trail Dance Film Festival weekend here in Duncan, Oklahoma, which is always fun. While some people love seeing the odd, quirky or 'horror' flicks, I like to watch the local, Oklahoma productions and documentaries.
Friday night the festival kicked off with the premiere of "Moving On" which was filmed right here in Duncan. Fantastic show. I'll add links at the bottom for the Q&A I filmed afterward (from my great seat in the audience!).

I wasn't feeling really good this morning, so I slept in and missed On Sacred Ground, but I believe I can buy the DVD anytime. Moving On is also available on DVD.

This afternoon though, I was glad to be one of many, many people to stand in line for Loving Lampposts, the story of Sam, an autistic child, told from his father's perspective and also a great documentary that Todd Drezner (Sam's dad) shot over a 2 1/2 year time span. I went away from the movie feeling much better about autism.
I learned so much and wished I had taken some notes of quotes, but this is what I got from it that I want to share:
They are who they are.
Autism children and people do things for a reason. Whether it's the sounds or actions they do, it is for a reason. If we're not as smart to understand why, the least we can do is TRY to understand why they are doing whatever they do.
It's important to establish a relationship with your autistic child. That's the first step in helping them.
While language seems to be a barrier for autistic children, it's not always permanent. Many autistic children grow up to have functioning, capable lives. And carry on normal conversations. And obtain degrees.
It's not the fault of one parent. In fact, it's not a fault, unless you believe the vaccine connection, which I believe hasn't been completely ruled out. The explanations are difficult for the basis of autism.
Make your autistic child's life as clean as can be. "Heal the body" before the brain is completely damaged. I loved that part! There are so many TOXINS out there that are literally causing the health demise of our population.
The most frightening thing out of the movie was the alarming growth in autism diagnoses. Something like 1 out of 100 today, compared to 1 out of 2,500 just a few years ago. Something is so wrong with that increasing number. I liked that there are actually huge conventions that focus just on Autism and how to make life better and easier for those diagnosed with it.

One person in the movie said there is probably a guarantee that you or I know someone with an autistic relative, or that you have an autistic relative or loved one.
Yes, I do. My grandson, Roman. And we hope that his little brother, my sweet grandbaby Brian isn't going to have it. Their mom, my daughter-in-law, has her hands full, since she and my son are not together now. That's one thing that also was addressed. Autism takes it's toll on families and many do fall apart.
I can remember watching Roman go from a happy interactive little baby, to a little boy who didn't necessarily connect. I loved that after a bit of work, he'd respond to me when he realized I was taking his picture.
When I sat down to watch Loving Lampposts, I'll admit, I was wiping away tears. It was hard for me to just cement myself to that seat when Sam came onto the screen. But I'm so glad that I did. I left without tears and feeling a much better understanding of autism.
They are who they are.
And all you can do is love them. And learn.

I also realized that autism is something that has many people struggling to understand. Even right here in Duncan, Oklahoma. The filled audience was evidence of that.
If you want to see Loving Lampposts, visit (I tried to insert the link, but it wouldn't show up as such).

Sunday, I plan to see the documentary, Blood Into Wine, which is much more lighthearted,
Visit the official film festival site where at the bottom of the page is links for Sunday's full schedule. The day ends with the Golden Drovers awards, a true red carpet event!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Portrait of a Firefighter - Oklahoma photographer

Tim Helton is a retired firefighter and the husband of a friend of mine. He volunteered to be the model for Live Model Night this month at the Chisholm Trail Arts Council Community Fine Arts Center & Gallery. He did a fantastic job. It was a small turnout with three of us, including Tim's wife, Shirley, who were photographers. The others who came were artists and did sketch studies. It was fun and I stayed an hour longer than I planned.
I wasn't going to show or post this, as I wanted to wait and print it for display in the gallery, but economics being what they are these days, that may not happen for a few months.
I love being able to photograph and then getting creative with my work later.

Now a word of caution. I'm going on my soapbox.
Just remember, if you are a relatively new photographer, shoot plenty of things and experiment with your own work, not another photographer's work, if you are learning digital paint programs or textures.

I know that the majority of photographers I know, whether online or in person, don't like it when someone else 'Plays' with their work, especially a finished published piece. Just because it's on the Internet doesn't mean it's up for grabs and if someone shares an image with you they took, that also doesn't give you the right to rework their image to your own liking.
All I'm saying is respect the 'artist's work.'
I don't know how often this needs to be said, because you can see this same type of rant on many a photographer's blog, facebook, forums or other places. Yet, so many people continue to violate copyrights and disrespect artists.
OK, stepping down now!
Get out there, photograph, draw, paint...whatever it is that inspires you. Share it with the world or keep it private. Just find the inner artist in you!