Wonder dog

This is Gus. He was Ryan's wedding present. I got a wedding, and Ryan got a dog. HA! I kid, I kid... Kinda.

Gus, the wonder dog. No paticular reason for adding "the wonder dog," other than it sounds neat. Although, he does appear to have a super-hero pose in this photo.

We named him after Robert Duvall's character in Lonesome Dove. Doesn't really make sense to name a dog after an old cowboy who likes to 'cut the cards.' But we were obsessed with the movie when we got him.
Gus loves the water. Particularly when we throw a dummy in the water for him to fetch. There's a horrible water scene in Lonesome Dove. The crew has to cross a river. The cattle stir up water moccasins. A poor red-headed Irish boy dies. It's far more dramatic than that. You should just go watch the movie.
I'd cry if Gus ever got bitten by water moccasins. Let's not think about that.
He's a great dog. We have a lot of time together now that I'm home. I'd probably be out on the patio with him now (thank you wireless router!) if it weren't so cold outside. I'm really glad we get to hang out so much now. I didn't make time for him before. And I wish I had. He's pretty cool.


Happy Friday

I jumped in my car and sped out of town hoping to catch the whole rainbow in a frame. This rainbow was big! I think I would have had to drive half way across the county to get it all in one photo. Happy Friday.


FAQ: Canon

Hands down the question I get asked the most is, why Canon? As if my decision were due to some grandiose Canon specific function.

Honestly, it was an accident. Fate, maybe.

The newspaper I worked at hired an intern every summer. I was the intern the summer before I was hired full-time. Highly enjoyed my editor assigning me a story to go bar hopping, but that's another post. The summer of 2004 (I think) we hired a photography intern. An intern toting two DSLRs. I asked a lot of questions.

Up until that point, the last camera I'd owned was a cheap $20 35mm that came to its demise by way of an open bottle of shampoo. It wasn't pretty. But that summer I started looking into buying a digital. And screw top shampoo bottles.

As luck would have it, our photography intern decided to upgrade. He wanted to sell his old camera to fund the purchase of his new one. It was a Canon. Truth be told I probably would have bought it if it had been a Nikon. Brand didn't matter me. I trusted Kevin. And after five years, I'd say it paid off.

Now I'm hooked. I love my Canon. But truth be told, I've only held a Nikon once. Not exactly a fair comparison. In my mind, you're getting a great camera no matter which brand you choose. Like most, it comes down to personal preference.

And I'm a creature of habit - or is it happenstance?


The Fair

No where else can you eat a corn dog, chocolate chip cookies in a cup, a bacon cheeseburger, a strawberry smoothie, mini doughnuts, and salt water taffy.

I'm telling myself I burned it all off walking a gazillion miles around the fair grounds. ;-)

First on our trip - the Hall of Law and Flame, devoted to the police officers and fire fighters of Iowa. There we saw a map of the Parkersburg tornado. Those who have been following my blog forever may remember it from these posts.

Couldn't resist a photo of the in-house ShamWOW guy. Heee hee!

And the DNR building of course. Stop looking at me swan! (name that movie)

Antique tractors were everywhere.

These folks are good friends of my parents. They own draft Belgian draft horses. I didn't get a chance to visit with them because they were getting ready for a show. I did run into a guy I graduated high school with who, coincidentally, also shows Belgians at the fair.

There was judging going on in the Agricultural Building. People get passionate about their vegetables!

These guys were new to the fair this year. The big brown one had a little brown friend. We missed the bear's show, but saw them hanging out afterward.

Just 365 more days until it's time to go again! I can't wait.


Hollie Sue: Just for fun Moments

My friend Hollie Sue. She's smart. And funny. Compassionate and passionate. She laughs from the heart. And she's just plain goregous.

She went along with me when I suggested a random alley downtown Ames. Dared to sit on a private windy stair case. Narrowly escaped death on a seriously crazy fire escape. And even braved bugs - all because I asked.

Here's what happens when you live on the edge Hollie Sue!

A lotta sun flare on a lovely Monday evening.

Mmmm... this might take "favorite" of the session!

I asked her to bring America's Next Top Model, and it was broughten!

Hmmm... this one might be my favorite. Looks like she's solving the world's problems.

Oooh, this one is def a fav too!

Many, many thanks for braving a couple of hours with me, Hollie Sue. I'm glad it wasn't too horrible. ;-)


Poker Face

Last night we played poker with our friends. I'm not a poker player. For a lot of reasons. I don't like parting with money. Even if it's just pretend and especially if I'm not guaranteed anything in return. Plus, I don't understand poker. Flops and flips, blinds and anties. Eh, it's all lost on me. Not to mention the different suits. I can't ever remember which is a spade vs a club, and I can't call them shovels and clovers in front of just anyone.

And don't get me started on the difference between a flush, straight, full house, ect - let alone which one out ranks the other. Apparently, I'm not the only one who can't keep it straight!

But ultimately, it comes down to hanging out with friends. So I brought my camera to occupy my time. I did play one hand for Ryan. Got three of a kind (nines) right off the bat and won.

I'd certainly play poker if that happened every time!



I had a couple visitors this morning. The first was this little guy.

I shouldn't say little I guess. He took up half the length of our siding, so I'd say he was maybe 3-4 inches long. And I guess "he" could very easily be a "she" as I don't know the difference between a male and female dragonfly.

He hung out (hee hee... literally) most of the day.

My other visitors today included my grandma and uncle. I was so excited! We don't get visitors very often - at least, not from my family anyway. They're a little far away to be making frequent trips. So I probably get more excited than I should. I meant to take a photo, but got so wrapped up in conversation I forgot.
Happy Thursday!


Around the country

So I've mentioned a few times... okay, a lot... that I like finding out where all of you are from. And as I've also said before, it makes me feel like I'm talking to more than just cyber-nothingness. You become real when you're tied to places like New York City, NY; Pekin, IL; Portland, OR; and Lac la Biche, Canada.

I love it when a new state pops up on my Google Analytics map. Or a new country for that matter. Until now, I've been posting occasionally when a few new states hit my blog.

The last time I gave a run down it got me thinking. Why not make it my goal to hit all 50 states? And enlist your help to make it happen! You guys are awesome. So take a gander at the little list below, and if you happen to know anyone from those states... forward them a little link to my blog. Fifty states... here we come!


New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Dakota

Rhode Island
South Dakota
West Virgina

I'll update you on our progress once a week. Let's say Tuesdays? Dare I say every Tuesday... um, we'll see how it goes.

P.S. Thanks for the help - in advance!


Catching up

I was in a hurry that day. The morning of the last post, I mean. Rushing around to get myself ready before we wisked out the door. I knew it was going to set the pace for the rest of my day. When you start your day behind you spend the rest of it trying to catch up.

As we sped out of my driveway, I glanced back and saw this....

And it made me smile. That brief interruption was just enough to kick me out of my rut of rushing through the day in an attempt to catch up. I have no idea what I would have been trying to catch up with anyway!

Happy Tuesday.

P.S. If anyone could tell me what kind of flower this is, I'll be ever so grateful! We inherited it with the house, and I have no idea how to take care of it. Please and thank you.


The Governor

Miss Wheelchair Iowa is starting to become a staple of this little blog. I tagged along as Angie went to an autism event and spent a couple days with her a few months ago.

When Angie was invited to attend a morning coffee with Iowa's Governor Chet Culver, she asked if I could come along. Of course I said yes.

Angie has been working with those at the state capital to help them accommodate people with disabilities as they renovate existing buildings and start new construction. She was invited to attend a morning chat with Governor Culver, along with a handful of other individuals and organizations.

They chatted about Angie's reign as Ms. Wheelchair Iowa, and her upcoming trip to Rapid City, SD for the national competition.

An hour later, after Governor Culver had made his way around the entire room, he was off to a press conference.

Side note - the event was held at the Cub Club at Principal Park (home of the I-Cubs). I was just telling a friend (who knows someone that works for the LA Dodgers) that I would love to shoot in an empty baseball stadium!



Call it love. Call it blessed. Call it good fortune. I've felt it all this past week. And I'm completely blown away. My blog reached 300 hits. I have 100 Facebook fans. A couple of my photography idols are now following me on Twitter. It's humbling.

Just when I think my high can't get any higher, I get an email from my last bride that gives me warm and fuzzies.

"Just so you know, we had so many people comment on how great the pictures were. My friend said she just got lost in all of your great entries on the blog. :) I agreed. You are so talented. Good luck as you continue your career and your art. Thank you, Julie"


I can't help it. I love what I do. I guess it shows.


What a difference a tin can make

It started with Mary and Jeff. I was trying to come up with a unique way to package the CDs my brides and grooms purchase. The idea came to me after a visit to my favorite scrapbooking store. So just for fun, and just because I think they're sooo cute, here is Julie and Scott's.

Mary and Jeff's tin had a cool design already. I would have felt bad covering it up. So I called up the gals at Memory Bound and had them order me some plain CD tins. I was so excited to pick them up today.
I plan on scrapping each tin in the colors and theme the brides and grooms had at their wedding. Light blue paisley and brown = Julie and Scott. A little extra love from me.

Some might say I'm sacrificing a terrific opportunity for my own branding/marketing. But it isn't about me. This is - hopefully - going to sit around for years. I want it to be a reflection of them.

And because I think it's fun, I'll share my scrappy packaging for each wedding.