Monday, August 22, 2011

Trying to find a way to say thank you

I came across an image a few days ago on Facebook, shared by my friend Jacquie. It was a screenshot from a CBS news story on the funeral of Jon Tumilson, a US Navy Seal who was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. The image shows Tumilson's casket, draped in an American flag. And on the floor lay his loyal companion Hawkeye, who was guarding his best friend one final time.

I cannot get this image out of my head. And each time I think about it, tears roll down my face. My heart breaks for Hawkeye, for Tumilson, for his family and friends. And I want to do something to make it all better... give Hawkeye a treat, or throw him a ball. Or just give him his friend back.

The logical side of my brain began searching for ways to help the dominant, highly emotional side of my brain. And it produced an idea. It won't help Hawkeye or Tumilson's family, but it may help other soldiers who love their pets as Tumilson loved Hawkeye. I tried to tell my husband about it, and all that came out between the tears and sobs was "soldier... pet... photos...". Gary's reaction was "Nope. Too sad". Which made me think that my idea is not sad at all. In fact, it is a very happy idea.

My idea is to have a mini portrait session for US Armed Forces members and their pets. I don't know the Where or the How or the Who... but the When will be on Veteran's Day, which is Friday, November 11th. The cost will be a donation to a favorite charity (for example, a bag of dog food to the local shelter) and in return, you will receive an 8x10 print. I am trying to find a way to say thank you to those men and women in uniform who risk their lives so that we may have freedom. And I am trying to find a way to say thank you to the faithful companions of these soldiers, who await their friend's safe return.

Since I have never done anything like this before, I am going to need lots of help. And ideas. Like where to hold this event, how to get the word out, etc... If you would like to help me say thank you to our soldiers and their furry friends, please send me an email at or send me a message on my Facebook page.

You can read the story about Hawkeye here. Warning: grab a case of tissues.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Little Photographers

I am often asked if I want my girls to be vets when they grow up. It is a valid question, as both of their parents, as well as their grandfather, are veterinarians. I usually answer that question with an "I hope not!". Because I don't want them to feel that they are obligated to follow in our footsteps. And because the road to becoming a veterinarian is a long, hard and expensive one. And the hours just get longer and longer once you actually become a veterinarian (just ask Gary, who left at 3 this morning and probably won't get home until 6 or 7 tonight). If my girls are passionate about veterinary medicine and decide that is what they want to do, then we will support them all the way. We will support them no matter what they choose to do in life, with the following caveats: 1) it has to be legal and 2) they have to be able to support themselves.

Last week, Chloe asked if she could take pictures with my camera. I thought it was cute, so I handed her my old D80, put it on auto mode and gave her a few instructions. Before she got busy, she asked me to help wash her Sleeping Beauty doll's hair... Chloe wanted her to look beautiful for her photo shoot. I found myself spending the next hour washing, drying and styling the doll's hair. I can't even style my own hair, let alone the synthetic mop sitting atop Sleeping Beauty. But I gave it my best and handed her over to Chloe. Who ran off and closed the door to her bedroom. She emerged a few minutes later and showed me the photos she had taken. This is straight out of the camera (I didn't think it would be fair to Photoshop her work):

Now I realize that I am totally biased, but I just love this photo! I love her composition (she utilized the rule of thirds!) and her perspective. I love that I can see the toe of her pink cowgirl boot in the edge of the shot. I love that Chloe picked up the camera and produced an image that she is proud of. And most importantly, I love that she had a blast doing it:

Little Miss Macro

Little sister had to get in on the fun, too. Although I think she is not quite ready for the D80 yet:

Who knows where this will all go... for all I know, they will grow out of this new phase as they do everything else. But just in case it does go somewhere, I have a portrait all ready for Chloe's first magazine article, spotlighting the hottest new photographer in the business: