Remembering Grandma McBain

This is perhaps the hardest blog post I’ve ever had to write. For those of you who don’t know, my grandmother, Evelyn McBain, passed away on April 15th.

I don’t know what to write. How can you sum up a lifetime of memories and love in to one post? I know that whatever I put won’t even come close to scratching the surface.

Ever since I was born, Grandma lived a few blocks up the road from us. Every day after school, she’d be waiting for me in her red, ’92 Chevy Lumina with the bright yellow Hardee’s star antennae ball waving in the wind. She’d pick me up, ask about my day, and take me back to her house until my mom got off of work and could pick me up. She’d always feed me a snack (usually my favorite at the time, which alternated between ho-ho’s with milk or cheese balls,) and we’d gain our daily ineffable wisdom from Oprah together or play cards. Of course, there were plenty of days where I’d go out to her garden with a pair of scissors and come back in with a bouquet for her. She loved flowers and was always so happy when I brought her in some. She’d tell me the names of the plants I had gathered, and help me fuss over them until we got them perfectly arranged in a centerpiece bouquet for her kitchen table.
Other days we’d play Candyland, Aggravation, or hide and seek. I remember one time where I decided I was going to hide in the hardest place I could find. I ended up hiding in her laundry hamper. She couldn’t find me, and 20 minutes later was still frantically searching the house for me. After a while, she was about to call the police when I finally popped out. I remember us laughing about it, and from then on she always checked the hamper first whenever we played.
Grandma was always at every one of my terribly boring softball and volleyball games, cheering the way she loved to do for all sporting events. She was in the crowd for every concert/jazz/pep/honor band performance, full orchestra concerts, piano recitals, marching band halftime shows, and school plays, as well as national honor society events, handbell choir concerts, church functions and more. She always had time for you. As I got older and went away to college, she was always eager to see me and hear about the latest news in my life. Never once do I remember her turning me away because she was too busy, or she wasn’t interested. I can still perfectly picture the way her face would light up, even at the end, when you sat down to tell her a story, or talk about what’s new in the world. It was like seeing her as a school girl, giddy with excitement, ready for the latest piece of gossip.
One trait I always admired about her is her straightforwardness. She never sugar coated things.  If she didn’t like something, you knew. She wasn’t afraid of what others would think, and was her own woman. I remember once she got a picture of me with my prom date. She loved the photo and had it framed. Well a year later, my prom date and I broke up. Grandma was upset, told me what she really thought of him, and proceeded to cut him out of the prom pictures and then re-frame the cut up photos. I remember visiting her the year she moved to the nursing home. The last time I saw her at her house, she still had the mangled photo framed and prominently displayed on the shelf in her kitchen. If someone asked about the photo, she would announce, in a very matter-of-fact way, her distaste for the removed, and tell you that it’s a much better photo the way it is now.
Most importantly though, she was everything a grandma should be. She loved her children and grandchildren to the ends of the earth. She was always kind—even when we certainly did not deserve it. She enjoyed life. Even in her 80’s she was white water rafting, flying in helicopters, traveling to all 50 states, and taking hot air balloon rides. It was her love for life, her kind disposition, and generous soul that make this loss so hard.
There has been a hole in my heart since that Tuesday. I keep finding signs of her everywhere. One of her favorite things in all the world was the cardinal bird. Those that knew her would agree that she had cardinals all over her house. She often would wear sweaters with cardinals on them or would be sporing a lapel pin or purse with one of those bright red birds. Since she passed, there has been a cardinal that visits my porch window every day. Although it brings a pang to my heart, I like to think it’s her, checking in. Waiting for the day’s stories, eager to listen…the way that only the best grandmas do.
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One of Grandma’s rings she left me. I have been wearing it every day. The band is so thin and worn down from the years she had worn it.

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Grandma’s bible. Copyright year of 1907.

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Inside her bible she wrote “Evelyn Alleda Dodge. Terril Iowa. 1940” for her marriage.

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“Yea thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…”

 

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Grandma’s four children. From left to right: Leroy, Linda, Bob, and Larry

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Her two favorite rings: Her mother’s ring and birth stone ring.

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Grandma with her great-grandchild, Cade. April 6th, 2014.

Grandma and me, April 6th, 2014

Grandma and me, April 6th, 2014

God saw you getting tired
A cure was not to be,
So He put His arms around you, and whispered, “Come To Me.”
With tearful eyes we watched you and saw you fade away.
Although we loved you dearly, we could not make you stay.
Many times we thought of you, many times we’ve cried,
If love alone could save you, you never would have died.
A golden heart stopped beating,your tender hands at rest,
God took you home to prove to us He only takes the best.

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You will be dearly missed.
All photos © Holly Hildreth 2014.

Spotlight on Stoli

I promised in my previous post that I’d create an entry just about Stoli’s photo shoots in the last 6 months. Well, there are too many photos to post so I’m going to just add a few of my favorites.

Stoli continues to be my photographic go-to. Previous to moving into this new condo, I almost exclusively photographed him in the studio. I’ve been trying to push myself to do more mixed lighting of flash and sunlight as well as on-location lighting around the house. I also use him to test out new techniques, like high-speed photography.

I’ve got him so conditioned to recognize that photos mean treats that as soon as I snap the clasps to open up my camera bag, he literally comes running. It’s almost hard to photograph other things while he’s around as he thinks it’s his time to shine. I actually had a set-up of roses I was doing macro shots on, and he kept putting his head between me and the subjects as if to say, “hello, I’m here. Why are you photographing that? I’m the real star here!”

Anyway, here’s your serving Stoli.

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Catching a treat

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Stoli loves mistletoe

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Losing a snowball fight…

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Catching a treat

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Modeling our rings

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

Columbus, Ohio pet photography by Holly Hildreth

There will be more Stoli shots, but if need another strong fix between now and then, you can always stop by my flickr for more photos: hhildrethphoto flickr

All photos are © Holly Hildreth | http://www.hhildrethphoto.com

Fall Recap, Part 1

I’ve been terrible about keeping up with my blog this Fall! I apologize, but life has been pretty hectic. Now that my fiancé is out here and the wedding is getting closer, it’s become crunch time. But, despite all the craziness, I have still been able to get in some fun shoots.

I’m breaking my Fall recap into two posts. The 2nd post will be all Stoli photos, since I seem to have a million of those. This one will be certainly more eclectic!

Things have been so busy, I’m not sure where to start!

In September I photographed a wedding here in Columbus with the amazing Mrs. Anneka DeJong. It had been quite a while since my last wedding and I was a bit nervous, but the couple was great to work with and it ended up being a lot of fun! The ceremony and reception were at the Grand Valley Dale Ballroom. These are just a couple of my shots from the day. Its hard to pick just a few to show!

Columbus Ohio Wedding Photographer © Holly Hildreth

Father/Daughter Dance ©Holly Hildreth 2013

Columbus Ohio Wedding Photographer © Holly Hildreth

Father/Daughter Dance © Holly Hildreth 2013

Columbus Ohio Wedding Photographer © Holly Hildreth

Cake Cutting © Holly Hildreth 2013

Columbus Ohio Wedding Photographer © Holly Hildreth

The First Dance © Holly Hildreth 2013

Columbus Ohio Wedding Photographer © Holly Hildreth

The First kiss © Holly Hildreth 2013

Columbus Ohio Wedding Photographer © Holly Hildreth

The beautiful bride © Holly Hildreth 2013

I also had the opportunity to photograph a former coworker’s daughter, Peyton, for her 3rd birthday. We headed to Westerville’s Inniswood Metro Park and got some nice shots with the fall foliage.

Columbus Ohio Photographer © Holly Hildreth 2013

©Holly Hildreth 2013

Columbus Ohio Photographer © Holly Hildreth 2013

©Holly Hildreth 2013

Columbus Ohio Photographer © Holly Hildreth 2013

©Holly Hildreth 2013

Of course I kept busy photographing basically anything and everything that caught my eye this Fall. I have entirely too many photos to choose from for this post, so this is just a little taste of what I was up to.

Carolina Mantis

Female Carolina Praying Mantis I found on my window © Holly Hildreth 2013

Carolina Mantis

©Holly Hildreth 2013

Westerville Ohio Photography

Inniswood Metro Park ©Holly Hildreth 2013

Also now that Andy is out here with me, I have someone to accompany me on adventures. There were lots of things I wanted to try out here, but never got around to, because they were not as fun to do alone. One thing I had been really wanting to see was Hocking Hills. Hocking Hills is a state Park that is Southeast of Columbus, in an area of Ohio that is considered to be a part of the Appalachians. It’s not mountainous, but definitely hilly country with tons of photo opportunities.

Hocking Hills photography

Devil’s Bathtub, Hocking Hills, Ohio ©Holly Hildreth 2013

Hocking Hills

©Holly Hildreth 2013

©Holly Hildreth 2013

My hiking buddies! © Holly Hildreth 2013

Hocking Hills

© Holly Hildreth 2013

©Holly Hildreth 2013

© Holly Hildreth 2013

The seasons change came way too fast for me. I hardly got in any Fall photos because I was so busy with everything else, but I made sure to get out there a few times anyway. Every year my mom asks for a  calendar of my photography for Christmas. Keeping that in mind throughout the year is always helpful in getting me out to take some scenic shots–that way come December I’m not scouring my hard drives, looking for something that could work.

©Holly Hildreth 2013

Outside our Condo © Holly Hildreth 2013

Sharon Woods Metro Park

Sharon Woods Metro Park © Holly Hildreth 2013

©Holly Hildreth 2013

Westerville Bike trail © Holly Hildreth 2013

Westerville Ohio Photographer

Everal Barn, Westerville, Ohio © Holly Hildreth 2013

Westerville Ohio Photography

Westerville © Holly Hildreth 2013

©Holly Hildreth 2013

©Holly Hildreth 2013

One last piece of good news: My SIXTH Hallmark card is on sale online currently. It can be purchase HERE

Here’s a sneak peak!

Holly Hildreth Hallmark Card

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon! It’s bound to be chock-full-o’-cuteness and Stoli photos!

All photos and content are © Holly Hildreth 2013. According to the DMCA, it is unlawful to use any copyrighted content without direct written consent. 

Cars, Condos, Corgis and other Canines

I’m finally all settled in to my new condo. After weeks of individually moving box by box up three flights of stairs on my own, my parents came out to help me move the big things. Although I love my new place, I HATE the steps! My parents got here around midnight on Thursday, and we moved my things all day Friday. I think it took us all a week to recover, but on the bright side, we’re all stair masters with buns-o-steel.

After moving on Friday, we spent Saturday car shopping. I had only ever had 2nd hand cars my whole life. My first car was a 1989 Oldsmobile Aurora that my sisters previously drove. It was louder than a jackhammer and about as pretty as one too. Then we got my 97′ Oldsmobile Aurora. (At the time it was only 10 years old and had lots of goodies). I loved that car. It had more steel in it than a tank and was pretty loaded for a car from the 90’s.

Anyway, in the last year it was burning through engine coolant at a concerning rate. Since December it was running through a full tank of coolant about ever 2-3 weeks. We took it to a mechanic and they suspected the head gasket was going to go. It would cost double what the car was worth to fix it. We decided to be proactive rather than reactive and get a new car before it became a serious issue.

So, we headed to the dealerships. The two most important life lessons I learned that day were: I am too nice to be aggressive with a sales person, and I think buying a car involves more paperwork that executing your Will. Anyway, long story short: I ended up buying a new 2013 Hyundai Elantra LTD, fully loaded. It wasn’t what I thought I’d get, but the dealership was able to get me a great deal on the car and gave me double what the Aurora was worth in trade-in. I was sad to see the Aurora (fondly dubbed the HMS Hildreth, as it was longer than a yacht and got worse gas mileage than one) go, but I am absolutely loving the new car!

Goodnight Sweet Prince

Goodnight Sweet Prince

 

Hello 38 mpg!

Hello 38 mpg!

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On that Sunday we went to the Ohio State Fair. State Fairs are my parents’ jam, and they are forever in search of a State Fair great enough to rival the Iowa State Fair (Spoiler alert: It’s impossible. There are none.) The Ohio State fair was pretty good, and we could not have asked for better weather. It was sunny and 75 with a light breeze. This is unheard of for the Iowa Sate Far, where if you don’t at least toe the line of heat exhaustion and cardiac arrest, then you’re clearly not doing it right.

We always have to get some fair food, because it is the highlight of any state fair. This year I got the “Roast beef Sundae” because it would be straight-up un-american not to.  I was not disappointed.

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My parents had to leave early on Monday morning, so we didn’t have any time to do much else. It was great to see them again and I was so thankful for their help.

For the last month I have been working to organize a corgi meet-up. I still don’t really know anyone outside of work and thought “what better way to meet awesome people than by hosting a corgi gathering?” I made a couple flyers and posted them to facebook, imgur, tumblr, and a handful of corgi blogs and websites. The night before the event I had 12 people who has RSVP’d that they’d come. It rained all morning the day of, so I figured not many would come. I showed up 30 minutes early incase we had anyone roll in before the event started. I was the only one there. 15 minutes after the event started, I was still the only one there. At this point I chalked it up to no one was coming, and I was just going to spend the day at the beach with Stoli.

The minute that first corgi entered the park, I got so excited. I was totally not prepared for how good of a turn-out we ended up having! We had between 50 and 60 corgis at the park at one time during the peak of the day. Everyone was so excited for the event, and I have been getting tons of emails requesting more gatherings. I was tickled that it was such a success. There are very few things in life I’d rather do than sit on the beach surrounded by corgis.

Stoli immediately got muddy so none of the other corgi owners would want to pet him.

Stoli immediately got muddy so none of the other corgi owners would want to pet him.

 

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My little chunk

Beautiful Cardigan Corgi (Separate breed from the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, which is what Stoli is).

Beautiful Cardigan Welsh Corgi (Separate breed from the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, which is what Stoli is).

 

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Even got Stoli, the dog who’s so scared of water he won’t walk through a puddle, to “swim”. He wouldn’t go any deeper than his chest, but still that’s impressive.

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Another cute Cardigan Welsh Corgi

 

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Cuteness mixed with chaos

Cuteness mixed with chaos

 

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Stoli leading the pack

Stoli leading the pack

 

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Last week I was contacted by one of the volunteer coordinators for the humane society I take photos for. She wanted photos of Jace, her blind lab/beagle mix. We had to reschedule the first time because the weather hasn’t been too cooperative this week, but we were able to get some photos in on Tuesday night. Jace is such a happy-go-lucky little guy who’s just full of love. He plays fetch like a champ and doesn’t let his lack of vision slow him down.

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Perhaps the best news is that my fiance will be moving out here in EIGHT days! I’m so thoroughly excited. We’ve been living in different time zones for over a year and a half, so It will be amazing to have him here with me again. I can not wait! He’ll get here on Friday and start college at OSU on Monday. He’s very nervous with OSU being an absolute behemoth of a college, but I know he’ll be fine. It’ll be quite exciting to start the next chapter together!

 

All photos and content are ©Holly Hildreth 2013 | http://www.hhildrethphoto.com

 

 

Summer Shooting

Lots of new and exciting things have been happening! If you’re just here for the photos make sure you read the bit at the end of the post.

At the end of May I flew back to Iowa to see my family and get some wedding things straightened out. I have THE worst luck flying. We ran into storms on the way to Iowa, and on the way home, we had a ground stop and we sat on the plane on the runway for 4.5 hours, I missed my connection, got on board another plane, had a turbulent flight, and then landed in Columbus to another ground stop, which made us sit on the runway for another hour before they’d let us off. I’m beginning to like driving more and more!

It stormed heavily every day while I was in Iowa. I didn’t get to take many pictures at all as it was constant tornado warnings followed by flash floods. I took a few pictures despite the conditions anyway.

© Holly Hildreth 2013

© Holly Hildreth 2013

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Super Cell off of I-35 north of Des Moines.
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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Severe Thunderstorm warnings don’t stop me from going out and shooting.
© Holly Hildreth 2013

I of course had to visit my little nephew, who is growing up way too fast. He can walk and talk now and is a lot of fun! While I was in Des Moines my fiance came up for a day. It was amazing to see him again, even if only for a short amount of time. It had been almost 5 months since we last saw each other.

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Out for a walk between thunderstorms.
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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Cade acts like Jen’s his favorite aunt, but really, she’s his 2nd favorite 😉
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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Cade with his Grandma Linda.
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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“Fishing” at the farmer’s market.
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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My nephew, Cade, with my sister (his aunt) at the Cedar Rapids Farmer’s Market. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of the duck.
© Holly Hildreth 2013

My nephew. © Holly Hildreth 2013

My nephew.
© Holly Hildreth 2013

I didn’t get as much done as I thought I would–we found out right before I came that my grandma’s cancer had spread and she needed to have surgery immediately, so we did spend a fair amount of time down in Iowa City with her for her operation. I was glad I was able to be there for her. But all-in-all it was good to see everyone again. It stinks I won’t be back until Christmas, but I guess that’s the price you pay for living in another time zone.

In Columbus I have been keeping busy and I also volunteering at the humane society. I have helped with a handful of fundraisers and I take photos of the adoptable animals for their promotions and websites. I love that it gives me my fix of two of my favorite things–animals and photography.

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Volunteer Dog Wash in Dublin, OH
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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Dog wash fund raiser in Dublin, OH
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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Adoptable kitten at the Humane Society of Delaware County
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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Super sweet Beagle mix for adoption at the Humane Society of Delaware County
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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Mix breed dog available for adoption at the Humane Society of Delaware County
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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I wanted so badly to take this little fluff ball home! He’s looking for a forever home at the Humane Society of Delaware County.
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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Available through the Humane Society of Delaware County
© Holly Hildreth 2013

 

And of course I still find time to take other photos too.

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© Holly Hildreth 2013

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And when all else fails and Stoli’s not being a good photo sport, I find other things to shoot, like my ring
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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© Holly Hildreth 2013

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Near-Infrared photo at Inniswood Metro Gardens in Westerville, OH
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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© Holly Hildreth 2013

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Stoli turned THREE in May. Doesn’t seem like he should be that old already. As you can see he was still pretty excited.
© Holly Hildreth 2013

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One of my new favorite Stoli photos. It took forever to get this shot. I was holding his cheeks and running the camera.
© Holly Hildreth 2013

We also signed on a condo earlier this month. I start moving my things at the end of July, and my fiancé moves out here at the end of August. I can not wait, and I am literally counting down the days! I fell in love with the condo during the showing. At first we thought we weren’t going to get it as another couple had already started the paperwork, but we had a twist of fate in our favor. It’s going to be a nice upgrade from what I have now.  The only downside is it’s on the 3rd floor, and I am not looking forward to moving my furniture up 3 flights of stairs.

Outside of our new building. Ours is on the back side and overlooks Alum Creek and a wooded area. © Holly Hildreth 2013

Outside of our new building. Ours is on the back side and overlooks Alum Creek and a wooded area.
© Holly Hildreth 2013

A quick panorama of the deck, living room, and part of the kitchen in the new place. © Holly Hildreth 2013

A quick panorama of the deck, living room, and part of the kitchen in the new place.
© Holly Hildreth 2013

And perhaps the most exciting part: I have TWO new Hallmark cards coming out!! The first is a birthday card for a man, which is available online now, and the 2nd is a baby card for a baby boy. The 2nd card goes for sale online in October. If they go to stores, they’ll both be out in July of next year.

This is the photo for the Man's birthday card.

This is the photo for the Man’s birthday card.

This is the drawing that will be on the baby boy card. This is actually the first drawing I did on the computer. I don't consider myself to be an illustrator by any means, so I was pleasantly surprised Hallmark wanted this one!

This is the drawing that will be on the baby boy card. This is actually the first drawing I did on the computer. I don’t consider myself to be an illustrator by any means, so I was pleasantly surprised Hallmark wanted this one!

Like I said, the Man’s b-day card is online now at: Hallmark, and then the Baby card will be online in October, and I will post a link then. If Hallmark moves these to stores it won’t be until July of next year, but trust me, I’ll let you know! I was also pleased to see Hallmark is bringing back my Stoli Birthday card in stores. I saw them stocking shelves as my local Kroger earlier this week with his card.

I’m sure I’ll post once we move into our new place, but I’ll be quite busy until then!!

All images in this post are © Holly Hildreth 2013 | http://www.hhildretphotography.com

Spring has Sprung

I named this blog post “Spring has Sprung,” as I feel like I have been really busy photographing all the seasonal flora around lately, but perhaps a more accurate title should have been, “Hey, I’ve totally been slacking with this blog, so here’s 4 months’ worth of Stoli photos”.

I’ve been extremely busy with work and wedding planning these last couple of months. With the wedding, I am actually really far ahead of schedule. That’s one good thing about being 1,000 miles away from everyone you know–you have all the time in the world to plan with no distractions. I have the wedding and reception venues as well as a photographer booked (Photographer was obviously the most important part, haha), I hand made all the table decorations, and most recently bought my wedding dress!!

My parents came out to visit me earlier this spring. It was great to see them again, and I didn’t realize how much I missed my mom’s cooking! They were only in town for four days, so we didn’t get a ton of time to hang out, but it was still nice to be together again. They loved the Ohio weather (it was cold–50-60 degrees everyday, but they left snow to come out here, so they were sweating while I was in my winter coat still!) I took them to Inniswood Metro Park one nice evening and they walked around with me while I took some spring foliage photos.

Tulips © Holly Hildreth 2013

Tulips © Holly Hildreth 2013

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Besides photographing the spring flowers, I have been trying to shoot other subjects to widen my portfolio. I still don’t really know anyone out here, so Stoli is usually my go-to model. I recently discovered a dog park about a 1/2 mile from my house, so I started taking Stoli (and my camera) there after work a few nights a week. I always get the weirdest looks from people there, but it’s fun and challenging to try and photograph new dogs.

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German Shepherd © Holly Hildreth 2013

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I’ve also started volunteering to photograph homeless animals at the local shelter. It can be quite challenging as some of the animals are feral or came from abusive situations. I am happy to do what I can though, to help them get adopted. Plus, it makes me really thankful to have such a patient model waiting for me at home!

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And of COURSE I have been photographing Stoli, and he’s been taking it like a champ. I’m sure there’s a large amount of people who think I’m the “crazy dog lady” because of all the photos I take of Stoli. The thing is Stoli loves it (he thinks it’s his job,) and it’s a huge stress reliever for me, so I’ll keep on doing it!

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Our Mock "Save-the-Date" cards. My Fiance wasn't too impressed, but the Stoli was just too cute, so I had to share

Our Mock “Save-the-Date” cards. My Fiance wasn’t too impressed to see a giant picture of Stoli rather than us, but I thought was just too cute, so I had to share

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Stoli’s faster than a speeding corn dog.

One other piece of good news: I have another Hallmark Card! I don’t know for sure when it’s coming out, so I will pass the details on to you later, but I know for sure it’ll be available to buy online this Summer. As far as an in-store date, I am unsure. They haven’t told me whether it’ll be distributed in stores yet, so I’ll keep you posted.

All Content is © Holly Hildreth 2013 | http://www.hhildrethphoto.com

No Content may be taken from this page without direct written consent. 

and I said, “Yes”.

I apologize in advance for the length of this post. If you’re here for just photos, scroll to the bottom 😉

A little over three years ago one of my good friends, Charlene Champion, took it upon herself to become my matchmaker. We had just met a few months prior in a college class. At the time I was dating someone else, but when that ended, Char didn’t skip a beat and started suggesting I go on a date with one of her friends. I however, wasn’t so eager to get back in the saddle. She would suggest meeting her friend, and I’d blow it off with, “yea, maybe”. December 2009 rolled around and Char brought it up again, saying she had a friend who she told about me, and he wanted to meet me. I finally cracked and agreed to meet him. If it didn’t work out, at least she’d stop bringing it up.

I was strangely nervous for the “date”. We were meeting at Char’s house to play some games and hang out in a low-pressure situation. She assured me it’d be fun and casual, but as the clock ticked on, I started 2nd guessing myself. Maybe I could tell them I wasn’t feeling well or that something came up.  I summoned my courage and decided to go anyway. Char introduced me to Andrew. We were both pretty shy and awkward, but he was cute and quirky and we ended up having a good night.

The next day I dove back to Iowa for my Christmas break. While home, we talked a little on facebook, but I wasn’t sure if he wanted to hang out again. I headed back to Missouri in January and one night while sitting in my dorm, I had 30 seconds of insane courage and decided to ask him if he wanted to see a movie. I was talking to my friends at the time and was trying to convince them, and myself that it wasn’t a date—it was just two people seeing a movie and hanging out. After asking him to a movie, I immediately had a massive “what the heck am I doing, this is so unlike me, he probably doesn’t even like me,” panic. He picked me up and we decided to see the movie, Legion, which is perhaps one of the worst movies of all time. As this terrible cinematic excuse for a movie progressed, I kept getting the urge to hold his hand. But, he didn’t make a move, so I let it go. I didn’t want to be that creepy girl who initiates everything, thus making the situation awkward. We left the theatre afterwards, joking about how awful the movie was and started talking about other scary movies. We decided to go to his place and watch Paranormal Activity.

Andy lived with a couple other military guys in what can only be described as a 1950’s Jeffery Dahmer house. These kinds of houses are abundant in Missouri and in college towns. They’re old homes that have definitely seen their better days. They have many creaks and cracks and unfinished, serial killer basements. We popped in the movie and sat on the couch. I figured he’d hold my hand, yet nothing—he must not be into me, I thought. We were at the scariest part of the movie when suddenly all the power to the house goes out, and he grabs my hand. I immediately start giving him crap, thinking he pulled some lame dude trick to get me to hold his hand. He swore up and down that he didn’t do anything. (And to this day he still denies it). We ventured to the basement to see he’d blown a fuse. We flipped some switches and went back upstairs to finish our movie; Andy holding my hand the whole time. I don’t know what happened that day, but we joke that it literally took an act of God to bring us together.

After a few more dates, we made it “official”. We’ve been through a lot of different things in the last three years—way more than I can write in one blog post. We got a puppy, went on a few trips, survived a 5-car pile-up, had our share of ups and downs, and said not “goodbye,” but “I’ll see ya’ later” as I moved across the country.

I’ve been living in Columbus, Ohio while he’s stuck in Missouri now for 9 months. I moved out here to take a paid internship, which turned into a full-time job. It’s been so incredibly hard being apart, but Andy knows how to make me smile everyday, even if he is doing it from another time zone. We’ve been flying out to see each other every 3-4 months, which brings us to the engagement story.

I flew in to Kansas City last weekend to see Andy. He picked me up from the airport and we grabbed lunch. We headed back to Warrensburg and stopped at Walmart to run some errands. (I always love going to Walmart in Missouri as there is no better place to people watch. You always feel better about yourself when leaving, because you still have all your teeth and aren’t buying corn dogs and gallon-sized jars of Mayo in too-tight pajamas). We got back to his house and he gave me my belated birthday present—a book by my all-time favorite photographer. I started opening it and asked him to come look at it with me. He said ,“no” and I got ready to tell him he was being a butthead, when he grabbed my hands and sat next to me on the bed. My heart skipped a beat, as I instantly knew what was about to happen.

Over the last three years I have drawn him a lot of pictures. Most are comics and inside jokes, but he’s always hung them on his walls. The first photo I drew him was of an internet meme involving a cat. He had a big hole in the wall at his old house, so I drew him a picture to cover it up on one of our first dates. He started talking about the photo, saying how when he got it, he knew I was special as I was the only one he’d ever met that thought it was as funny as he did. He started going through the pictures on his wall, telling him what they all meant to him. He started getting choked up, which made me start crying. He told me he’s never met someone that made him feel so special and loved, and that I always make him a better person. Ahh! I’m getting teary-eyed just typing this!

Anyway, he grabbed the ring and put it on my finger, asking the question, “will you marry me?” Of course I said “yes,” as there’s no one else I’d rather have by my side on all the rest of life’s adventures.

Now here’s the part you’ve been waiting for. Photos!

Like any good photographer, I couldn’t just take a picture of the ring on my finger and be satisfied…

© Holly Hildreth 2013

© Holly Hildreth 2013

© Holly Hildreth 2013

© Holly Hildreth 2013

© Holly Hildreth 2013

© Holly Hildreth 2013

We also got some photos taken by my friend from college, Anneka DeJong. She did a great job. These are two of my favorites:

Photo Anneka DeJong

Photo Anneka DeJong

Photo Anneka DeJong

Photo Anneka DeJong

All Images are © Holly Hildreth 2013 unless otherwise noted | http://www.hhildrethphoto.com

It’s December?

I’ll be honest. It’s been two months since my last post, and I have no great excuse as to why I’ve been off the radar. I have been dreading writing this update as so much and yet so little has happened in the last two months that I’m not sure what to say. I know 99% of the people who come here do so only for Stoli photos, so I didn’t want to bore everyone with a long and drawn-out rehashing of my existence for the last six weeks. So, I’ll be brief.

In early October, my work sent me on a business trip to do some shooting around the state of Texas. I can’t post the photos, which is killing me. I also can’t say too terribly much, but it was an amazing experience. Here are some low-quality pictures I snapped on my cell phone:

I got to spend a day on the beach in Galveston

I got to spend a day on the beach in Galveston

I held and fed this little guy, which pretty much completed my whole life.

I held and fed this little guy, which pretty much completed my whole life.

Oh, and I got to drive NASA's brand new, $4 million Lunar Rover. All in a day's work...

Oh, and I got to drive NASA’s brand new, $4 million Lunar Rover. All in a day’s work…

All-in-all the trip was a blast and I’d do it again in a heart beat. Besides getting paid to have what seemed like a vacation filled with shooting, I learned a valuable life lesson: flying makes me hurl. This was only my 2nd time ever flying (yes, I know: Gasp! Shock! Remember people, I lived under a giant rock named, “Iowa,” for 18 years and then was too broke to travel once I got out). Anyway, I discovered the wonders of Dramamine but was still quite an unhappy camper whenever I neared an airport. (I am dreading flying home for Christmas. If anyone has any good nausea-reduction flying tips, let me know!)

Since getting back from Texas, I have been trying to keep busy shooting for myself outside of work. I still have no models and don’t know anyone who doesn’t work in the same building as me, so mostly my shots are of Stoli. Which, I suppose that’s ok–it keeps his “fan club” happy. He’s becoming more of a celebrity. I made an international sale of one of my dog photos to a firm in the UK a few weeks back and then was contacted by an advertising agency wanting to use Stoli’s photo for an advertising campaign for Mentos. Additionally I just had a woman in Germany contact me about turning Stoli’s photos into puzzles for a Christmas present. This kind of stuff isn’t “the big leagues” per say, but I still think that it is really cool to see where Stoli is ending up.

Over Thanksgiving my parents drove out here to spend some time with me. It was great to see them again, and amazing to have people I actually know here. I was actually able to go out and do normal social activities! (It’s far less awkward going out to eat or to the movies when you’re not alone.) For Thanksgiving, my mom prepared an awesome meal. I was so psyched to have home-cooked food again. My dad carved the turkey, and of course Stoli “helped”.

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My parents stayed for a week, and then my boyfriend flew out for two days. It was so good to see him again, even if it was just for a short while. We did some shopping, went on an adventure to Cincinnati/Kentucky, and took in a movie. I also got him hooked on the show Breaking Bad, which is perhaps the single most addicting show of all time.

Cincinnati Skyline as seen from the Kentucky side

Cincinnati Skyline as seen from the Kentucky side. © Holly Hildreth 2012

We visited the Newport (KY) Aquarium. I was entirely too excited to see a real octopus. It was very dark, so this is the only photo I got of him

We visited the Newport (KY) Aquarium. I was entirely too excited to see a real octopus. It was very dark, so this is the only photo I got of him. © Holly Hildreth 2012

Andy and I with the Christmas decorations on the riverwalk in Newport, KY

Andy and I with the Christmas decorations on the riverwalk in Newport, KY

That pretty much brings us up to date. December will be a super busy month. It’s my 23rd birthday on Friday (which I am dreading. Birthday’s aren’t fun when you have no family or friends around to help you celebrate). Then I will be flying home to Iowa for about a week to spend Christmas with my family. I’ll try to be better at blog-keeping and plan on having a post later in December.

And now the part you’ve really come here to see: STOLI PICTURES!

Ok, this isn't a Stoli picture, but I just wanted to share the view from my apartment parking lot in October.

Ok, this isn’t a Stoli picture, but I just wanted to share the view from my apartment parking lot in October.
© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

The shooting of the previous shot. I got a background stand and seamless paper for my b-day/Xmas. I don’t have enough room in my apartment so I had to use my kitchen countertop as a table.

…And now to get you into the Christmas spirit…

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

All Photos are © Holly Hildreth 2012. Do NOT use for any reason without direct written consent | http://www.hhildrethphoto.com

Movin’ on Up

Well, lots of things have happened since my last post, and instead writing of some nice introduction, I’m going to just jump right in.

My internship with McGraw-Hill Companies School Education Group ended August 10th. BUT, I signed a contract as an image specialist with them, so I am full-time now! During my internship I was subleasing a place in the Short North area of Columbus. My sublease ended September 1st, so I needed to find a new place. As just a heads-up, if you ever plan to move to the Columbus area, DO NOT do so when Ohio State is moving back. I checked out over 30 apartments, and all but 2 had waiting lists to get in backed up until the end of October. As a result I didn’t have a lot of choices for apartments. I ended up finding one–it’s more than I wanted to pay, but like I said, it was slim picking! I am now 10 miles closer to work which is nice, but it takes me twice as long to get to the office, which is not so nice.

Since I was subleasing, when I came out to Ohio in May, everything I brought fit in the trunk of my car. I only brought Stoli (plus his things,) my clothes, and a rubbermaid drawer for toilertries. This meant that moving into a new place, I needed to get all of my belongings out here to Ohio. The problem was that 1/2 of my stuff went home with my parents to Iowa when I graduated, and the other half stayed spread out between my boyfriend’s house and my friend’s garage. So, in order to recover my things, I took my very first plane ride (shocking, I know. I lived under a rock for 20-some years though,) back to Kansas City.

© Holly Hildreth 2012

The view on my connecting flight from Philadelphia to Kansas City. We wre flying above a rain storm.
© Holly Hildreth 2012

My first time flying was only mildly traumatic, but that’s another story. It was great to be back in Kansas City. Even though I had only been gone for four months, I missed it (well, mostly I missed the people.) My boyfriend worked every day save for two and was on the opposite sleep schedule from me, but it was so good to see him again! We were able to go to our favorite restaurant, Fogo de Chão on the Plaza in Kansas City. While we were there, I took a few pictures to remember KC by.

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Union Station, Kansas City, MO
© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Union Station at sunset
© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Liberty (WWI) Memorial
© Holly Hildreth 2012

The rest of the week was spent packing boxes and trying to see friends while I could, as I have no idea when I’ll be able to make it back to the area. One of my good friends adopted an English Mastiff named Baby-Girl. Although she’s gigantic, she’s a giant teddy bear, so of course I had to take a few photos.

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Baby-Girl
© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

At the end of the week, my dad and uncle came down to Kansas City from Iowa with a trailer and we loaded up most of my stuff. The drive from Kansas City to Columbus is about 12 hours. With help, I was unable to move and unpack almost everything.

180 degree view of the kitchen and living room at my new place

The bathroom.

My new bedroom

I got crafty. I know it’s hard to see, but on the left I cut out the shape of the state of Ohio from a Columbus map. On the right we have the state of Missouri I cut out of a Warrensburg map, and the middle it says, “Home is where the heart is”.

Living room

Kitchen and breakfast bar

My door is on the left-hand side. I live under the stairs like a troll

My building. The bottom right is my little patio

One of the entrances to my apartment complex and the tennis courts

No Apartment is complete without a pool

Things are still a whirlwind. I have been super busy at work–I photographed Mitt Romney and President Obama before going to Missouri. I am trying to shoot outside of work so I have new photos to post. I’ll keep you updated.

All Photos and Content are © Holly Hildreth 2012 | hhildrethphoto.com

At the End of Things

Well folks, I have four days remaining of my internship. I can not believe the time has flown this fast. I have been busy shooting recently. This past week I photographed a bakery, a farm, and everyone’s favorite dog. Each came with its own set of challenges.

With the bakery, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t in anyone’s way, (after all, they were kind enough to let me come take some photos, I didn’t want to be a pain!) I am most definitely NOT a food photographer, so it was challenging trying to make still life images interesting. I am used to working with much more dynamic subjects. In the end, though, I feel like I at least got a couple good, useable images from the shoot.

My mouth was perpetually watering the whole time I was shooting

 

 

Cake decorating is the only part of the baking process which I think I might not be absolutely horrid at, but I still think I will leave it to the professionals.

 

 

 

Next we had a request for some farm animal pictures. I was able to find a farm-education center near Columbus that was happy to have us. Now, growing up in a small town in Northeast Iowa, everyone figures I know a thing or two about farms. This photoshoot, however, proved that that most certainly isn’t the case. One of the first things I photographed was a chicken coop. I was inside the coop with about 50 chickens when suddenly they all started pecking me. I was semi freaked out by this so I started running, and the demon chickens followed after me. I had no idea that I had a fear of chickens until that day. Regardless, I did get a couple nice images of the farm.

Cats drinking fresh goat’s milk

 

 

Has anyone else noticed how scary goats’ eyes are?

 

Ram in B/W

 

They look all innocent frolicking about in meadows, but we all know the truth…

 

 

After these fun shoots, I decided it was time to get Stoli into the studio. Stoli wasn’t as cooperative as normal. It has been almost four months since his last studio debut, and I think he is quite out of practice. I kept the shoot short since he wasn’t too keen on being in front of the camera this time.

HAHA! SCIENCE!

 

Mahatma Stoli

 

Like I said, my internship is drawing to a close, and I have no idea what will be next for me. I will let you know whatever/wherever I head next.

Images © Holly Hildreth / McGraw-Hill Companies 2012