Friday, July 29, 2011

Awkward & Awesome Thursday {A fun little group posting}

I've really been enjoying this new little weekly blog theme; a big thanks again to my friend Heather for getting a group of us together to start doing this! I really hope you've been able to get a few giggles on our behalf...we've definitely all had some pretty awkward "awkwards"  to share! Thankfully, we've also had some pretty incredible "awesomes" to share as well...

Without further ado, here are some of the moments from my week that have left me both smacking myself in the head with embarrassment, and smiling big...


  • Feelin' all pumped and ready for an awesome workout in some schnazzy new cross-trainers....and then looking down while you're a few miles in only to realize you never took the huge tag/info pamphlet off the shoes. Now everyone at the gym is aware that you have a 15-day test run of the shoes. nice.
  • Why is it that every plant I bought for my garden out back has withered away, but the weeds are all growing lush and plentiful? I will win this battle....someday....
  • I know that I'm going to be 32 and that everyone on the planet has to go to the Drs and should really just get over it already, but seriously...all the questions you have to fill out or answer when you're seeing a new Doctor? I really wish the "ice breaker" questions when meeting a Dr for the first time could be more like "Did you see Hangover 2? Wasn't that hilarious?" rather than "and when was the first day of your last period?" 
  • 23 days 'till the Iron Girl Triathlon. WHAT?!!! 


  • New running shoes....I love the extra little "bounce" they add to your step!
  • Skype! I know we're behind the eight ball a little bit, but two months in to this deployment my hubby and I FINALLY had the chance to see each other. Pure awesomeness to see his smile.
  • Noticing that all the squats and lunges and hours spent at the gym may finally be paying off....I do believe my booty is a little bit perkier! (or maybe it's just the extra bounce from my new shoes....either way, I like it hehe)
  • Friends that convince you to do things you'd never do sign up for a triathlon. Seriously Ali...I love ya....I hate ya, but I love ya....
OK...I have a TON of blogging to catch up on over the next few days, so stay tuned. But don't forget to hop on over to Heather and Erica's blogs to share in their Awkward & Awesome's as well. Love those gals!  

{Above Image: Kristen, one of Awesome instructors at Omni Fitness. She kicks my butt twice a week...and was one of the Featured Members I photographed last weekend for the gym's monthly Spotlight.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Wait is Over {OpLove Homecoming}

Photography, to me, is always all about the moment - the emotion, the spirit, the feeling, the person. The lighting and setting is something I usually control. But sometimes the moment is bigger than you, and you don't have a say in setting or lighting...and while the images you capture may not be the most technically perfect, what you are capturing is beyond that...

At 1:45 AM today I had the luxury and honor of being able to experience one of those perfectly imperfect portrait moments. A poorly lit field and a quite crazy hour of the morning...hardly a photographer's dream situation. But this was definitely one of those "bigger than me" moments - a soldier's homecoming after a year in Afghanistan. It doesn't get much bigger than that...

Those first glimpses of each other; the first hugs; the first kisses; the tears; the joy; the moment a family becomes whole again. All is right once again in their world. Nope, it certainly doesn't get much bigger than this. And the smiles say it all...

Welcome Home! It was truly an honor to capture this moment for you...Thank you XOXO

{disclaimer} "The photos and other content of this publication do not constitute or imply any endorsement or recommendation by the Department of Defense."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Awkward & Awesome Thursday

{insert photo of me & Paulie here}

Wow! To say that the past seven days has been a blur would be a HUGE understatement. But what an awesome, humbling, {exhausting} and emotional blur it was. I am so grateful for the
experience I had getting to photograph the behind-the-scenes action of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build. I will never forget this...and I have the 1,200+ photographs to prove it. yikes!

So for this week's "Awkward & Awesome" images I have a very cute shot of myself with EMHE Designer Paulie. I've been so excited to post it here...but for some reason my blogger is being temperamental today and I keep getting the dreaded "box with the red X." Boo! But that's OK, 'cause it is "Awkward and Awesome Thursday" and to have a post on a photography blog that doesn't include a photograph definitely fits the awkward category. 

Without further is this week's "Awkward & Awesome"

The Awkward:
  • Talking to a group of people you had just taken a photograph of and asking them what brought them to Fayetteville from Nashville, a country music concert... in the VIP tent...{whoops! in my defense they had changed their shirts since they stepped off stage! sorry, guys!}
  • Nearly face-planting at the construction site in front of a whole slew of people. {How was I supposed to see the hot pink wire tied to the stakes that was outlining where a wall was going to go?  Certainly the man bent over hammering in one of the stakes to stretch that wire wasn't a dead giveaway that something was there....and certainly I wasn't really that silly to not be watching where I was running to on a construction site! }

The Awesome:

  • This entire week! Seeing a community pull together to build a home for a wonderful family and the Women Veterans who they so lovingly help was just beyond words. 

Extreme Makeover Home Edition {The Concert}

Hmmm.....This should have posted a few days ago, but didn't....thankfully it was saved as a draft. Better late than never, right? Here's my posting from the 18th:

Yesterday was a blast! This is going to be a quick update - I was photographing until 9 last night and got a little carried away with shots of Josh Thompson performing, so when I got home...well, let's just say I was up 'till the wee hours looking at them all while narrowing down to the 25 shots of the day to submit. I'm a little fuzzy brained from lack of sleep, and still sorta feeling the speakers pounding from the concert...and I didn't get the complete set of images burned to CD yet like I normally do....and it's already 9:15 and I was hoping to be back on the scene by 8....where's the coffee when you need it? hehe's a few quick snaps from the concert last night. This first one is after the concert ended, with Josh Thompson's Drummer and Guitarist. Super nice guys! I got to meet Josh as well before the concert, and snagged an autograph for my hubby. {There was this teenage boy there that the drummer was giving a drumstick to...he was so cute with how excited and nervous he was - he was obviously a big fan of the band and thrilled at the experience. I handed him my camera to snag our pic, and the poor kid was shaking so much that even after a few attempts this was the least shaky he could get. too funny}

Ok, this is where my lack of sleep comes into play....I can't remember this guitarist name! The Drummer was Brian (I'm pretty sure...). But this guy had awesome stage presence...he was fun to watch in action. I'll save some more stories for this week's "Awkard & Awesome" post, 'cause leave it to me to have some awkward happen this week for sure!

{I didn't really know who Josh was before the concert, but I am definitely now a fan. What a nice guy, great performer, and huge supporter of the military. Check out his fan club The Chrome Bullet Crew...he always wears a bullet around his neck from his father's 21 Gun Salute, so hence the name}

I had a blast getting to be backstage....never had that experience before, and now I'll never be able to go to a concert again unless it's with this kind of seat!

Jaime Tate was the opening act....she was super nice as well, and her band is so easy to talk to...well, especially when you don't realize you're hanging out talking to the I said, more to follow on my "awkward" Thursdays ....

This is Josh at the beginning of his set. Yup, now my newest member of my celebrity crush list....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Extreme Makeover Home Edition {Day 4 on set}

Yesterday was Day Four of the build, and it's definitely getting to crunch time! I've started popping in and out rather than staying all day like previously because I feel bad getting in the way of all the workers by walking around and through them to get images. But it's so much fun, and everyone's so fantastic that I have trouble making myself leave the area!

Cool compositions are all around on build sites...I was loving these people working on the stone; the straight line with varying heights - yeah! Of course you have to just "let go" and realize that you can really say "everyone stop! Hold it so I can get that shot!"  when you're on a time crunch like these folks are, so you snap while you see it and hope not to many people step in front of you at that exact moment. {I'm still amazed that this one only had one "head" appear! This place is bumper-to-bumper people!}

This gentleman and his friend had the best spot in the house last night....right by a huge fan! Smart guys...very smart...{I should add that they were working hard, and only paused for a brief second. They joked that I had to take a pic that made 'em look like they weren't doing their in case you're reading this, guys, see- I vouched for ya!}

 I just thought this was cute....hustle and bustle all about below and I look up to see a pair of feet handing down through the rafters. Nice work shoes, too!

These are some of the guys who were working feverishly on the gorgeous decking. When I took this shot they'd been here for about 14 hours or something...but not one complaint and all still smiling and laughing...

Finally got to be there for some of the night action last night. This was at about 9:30 PM...they have it all lit up like a football field for the workers....

I saw this guy taking a breather and had to grab the shot really quick...just a bit lit from the bigs lights, I liked the "mood" of it. I actually bumped into him this morning and told him I liked the shot I got of him, and he told me he'd been on the site for 38 hours by that point! Yowzas! {He'd gone home and snuck in 6 hours of sleep and was back for more today. Love the dedication!}

Lots and lots of paint is needed for an 8,000 sq. foot home! I've been able to walk around inside and see some of the colors going up....very cool! I can't wait to see it all done when the show airs!

Well, I'm actually off to grab some more shots. If everything's on schedule then this afternoon the home gets turned over to the designers for them to work on the inside decor. Tonight I get to dust off and get dressed up to enjoy the VIP Fundraising dinner at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens. I'm so excited!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Extreme Makeover Home Edition {Day Three on Set}

Whew! Man...for this one week I really wish humans could function well without any sleep; I would just love to be able to stay on site 24/7 to see the whole process! I'm itching to get back to the site this AM...when I left yeterday the basement walls had just been completed and the concrete was about to be poured; overnight they started on the actual home! By the time I get there it's going to be mindblowing to see how much they were able to accomplish in the few hours I was away....
The two photos abover are Chip & Greg from Blue Ridge Log Cabins celebrating with the men from Superior Walls and the crowd as the last section of the basement gets placed. Woo-hoo for progress!
Below are some volunteers hard at work..I actually know Annmarie {painting the smiley face}; I was able to snag some pics of her and her friend working while Paulie was filming a scene in front of them. So fun to watch!

I think I over did it on taking photos yesterday....whoops...but there was just so much going on! I look forward to being able to share more....the building process and then more of the filming obviously make for some great photo ops!  

Today I somehow need to find a magical cape to get me everywhere I want to be all at once. At Noon I'm actually going to be back at Omni Fitness shooting this month's Member Spotlight headshots, then I'll be bouncing back and forth between the construction site and Festival Park where tonight's concert is being held. {That'll be going on until from 12-9 downtown} I'm also dying to finally get back to the site for some night time it's going to be a late one today! Most likely it'll be tomorrow night before I'm able to write again, but stay tuned!

You can also check out some more of my shots on Blue Ridge Log Cabin's Facebook Page. They're uploading more throughout the week, and also have a link to a live video stream of the build!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Extreme Makeover Home Edition {Day Two on Set}

Day two on the set of Extreme Makeover Home Edition was so fun! {I think I'll be saying that about every day, just to warn you...} Nothing like tearing down a house to create some excitement. One of my favorite parts of any EMHE episode is seeing what creative ways they come up with for the demolition. Today was no dissapointment, and again it's just so crazy to watch how it all gets filmed versus how it plays out on TV. Certainly can't wait for this episode to air! I'm sure most people in Fayetteville know what happens from reading all the Tweets and FB updates, but in the spirit of good fun here on my blog I'm going to make you wait for the episode to actually air. {October-ish is the date...and yes, "ish" was the term used. I'll certainly let you know when I know the date...and after the show airs I'll write some "behind the scenes" notes - sort of like those "pop up videos" that VH1 used to do, only Missie Blog Style}

I will tell you that it was a fantastic group of Women who made the magic happen, all of whom are Veterans or currently serving in the Armed Forces. {a lot of awesome comraderie out there today!}
It was neat to see some of them snag autographs on their shirts...and so fun to watch Ty in action.

{Red shirts are Veterans, Green shirts Army (Hooah!), Blue were Navy & Airforce} I have a lot of great shots of the action today, including some shots of each of the designers autographing a very cool item that's going to be auctioned off, but any images I have of the designers/VIPs/Building Process, etc, I have to submit for approval before I can post. It's so cool to experience something like this as a photographer who normally focuses on family/child photography...I'm spending an entire day on set capturing hundreds of images, and then I come home and immediately upload them and have to narrow down to 25 to shoot off for submission. I then still have to go through all of them, do any little "clean ups," and then get everthing I shot on to CD to hand over in the AM when it all starts again. {let's just say my tendency to do a lot of clicking away is quickly being minimized! The art of "shooting for a purpose" is something that truly comes in handy for this!} I figured in advance I wouldn't be able to share any Celebrity/VIP images I capture until the approval process happens, but I was surprised to hear about them needing to look over EVERY image...but the answer made perfect sense: Some images won't be shared until after the show ends so as not to give away the entire episode; some will be used in promotional pieces just before the show airs; all need to be looked at to make sure everything is OK for legal, now I know!

Here's my favorite group of gals on set again today...rockin' those blue shirts for sure. My personal goal is to get a group pic of them every that the house is down, tomorrow that means these gals will be working hard...can't wait to catch 'em in action!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Extreme Makeover Home Edition {Day 1 on set}

This week is such an exciting one for me; I will be photographing all the behind-the-scenes excitement of the Extreme Makeover Home Edition build here in Fayetteville! I linked up with the builders from Blue Ridge Log Cabins this morning...we got a little "pre-game" pep talk from the producers, and then it was off we went to surprise the family! {the caravan over was a whole journey in itself ... I'll save that for next week's "awkward!" hehe}

Before knocking on the door, Soldiers from Ft. Bragg, volunteers from the area, and the builders joined together to welcome the Designers...and got to enjoy the U.S. Army's Golden Knights parachute in! Then it was time to march over to the home! {this was my favorite part because you got to learn a lot about how shows are filmed. Everyone marched in complete silence and pantomimed the cheers and excitement...the sound will be added in later. It was funny to watch everyone smiling and throwing their arms in the arm in dead silence as we walked up the street and around the corner. The onlookers may not have realized they were told to be silent...must have been weird for them to see}

These awesome ladies have a special tie to the family being surprised. They were all so cute and so fun to meet...I hope to see a lot of them this week! 

Above:  Producers and the film crew give the crowd directions before silently marching to the home;
Greg, Chip, and the rest of the Blue Ridge Log Cabin builders and volunteers get filmed on the go; answering questions at a brief Press Conference in front of the home. Below: Golden Knights drop in.

Below: Barbara and members of the household talk to the press after being surprised.

Awkward & Awesome Thursday

I have a lot of blogging to catch up on for the past two weeks, so stay tuned for a little "life in reverse" as I put together posts about the Chicks Who Click Convetion, a review of my new Kelly Moore Bag, share some images from the 4th of July beach wedding I second-shot, and fill you in on some exciting changes that I'll be making to my studio! I'll get it all in...PLUS I'll be blogging about these next few days that I'll be spending  experiencing "Extreme Makeover:Home Edition" in a very cool way!

This week's "Awesome & Awkward" will be a quickie....but I hope you'll be checking back for my upcoming posts. Don't forget to check out Heather & Erica's blogs today as well!


  • These crazy butterflies I have in my tummy right now! I am SO excited, nervous, amped, pumped, psyched, ecstatic, thrilled, jittery, emotional, and downright THRILLED at the opportunity I have this week to photograph all the goings-on of the Extreme Makeover build that will be going on in Fayetteville.
  • This is an Awkward in Advance....I'm sure I will drool, trip, or say something completly stupid when I get in the presence of Ty Pennington. {oh please don't let me drool...anything but that!}
  • Getting a call in response to submitting my name to Extreme Makeover Home Edition's website asking if I had been contacted yet about photographing the week, and if I was still interested and available. Um........DREAM.COME.TRUE!!!!
Have a fabulous day...and if you're volunteering on the build this week, I'll see you there!! Have fun!

Monday, July 11, 2011

For Daddy {OpLove Photography}

This past Friday morning I met up with this lovely Mom and her adorable little man for an OpLove session. Sweet little "A" has by far the cutest little furrowed brow and serious little pout; he completly won my heart from the first little sniffle and bottom lip quiver. I'm glad he can't talk yet- with his little looks I would have handed over anything he asked for... not to have him growing up too quickly on Mom & Dad, but oh heavens when he's 4 I hope I get to photograph him! I can just imagine how many little faces he'll make and the funny things he'll be saying. I really enjoyed getting to know Mom and coo over little "A." I certainly can't wait to get an album downrange to Daddy so he can enjoy his beautiful family...

{disclaimer} "The photos and other content of this publication do not constitute or imply any endorsement or recommendation by the Department of Defense."

Thanks SO much for the opportunity to capture these moments for your family. I can't wait for "A's" First Birthday session, and my fingers and toes are crossed that Daddy will be home safe to you by then!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Whitehead Family {All together}

 Last evening I had a really sweet opportunity ... getting to photograph a family that was not only all together (we all know how hard that is to pull off nowadays), but also celebrating welcoming two very sweet little ones into their lives! Larissa is just 2 weeks old, and little Bruce is 4 fun it will be for the cousins growing up so close in age!

This was a last-minute session that I'm so glad was able to work out...and we pulled it off just in the nick of time, too; it started to downpour just as I pulled out of their driveway. Bruce and his parents are already on their way back to Texas, so re-scheduling would have been a bit hard. {this is me breathing a sigh of relief!}

I loved getting to capture everyone together, but especially loved getting to capture Great Grandpa holding each of his sweet little great grandchildren...