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

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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

Update

Just a heads up, I got a new website for my portfolio: www.hhildrethphotography.com

There’s a longer post to come, but I’m scrambling to pack and prepare for my vacation,  (I’ve got a nice 4am wake-up call tomorrow).

Also, here’s a gratuitous Stoli photo to complete this post:

© Holly Hildreth 2012

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | 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

A Midsummer’s Night Update

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything, so I figured it was high time I put up some new work and let you all know I’m still alive. So much has been happening that it’s really hard to find time to sit down and crank out a blog post. It’s also tough, because I have adapted to a “grown up” sleep schedule, which means I get up at 6am and go to bed by 10pm. A frighteningly strange concept for a 22-year old.

Things have been clipping by pretty quickly at my internship. I can’t believe I am over half-way done already. It really doesn’t seem possible. I guess time flies when you’re having fun, and I really truly do enjoy what I am doing at work. It make such a difference when you like your job. Instead of dreading work in the morning, I wake up and am actually excited to get to the office. I have been doing such a wide and diverse amount of shooting, I don’t even know where to begin with my project recap. I have shot rose gardens, microchips, parrots, an aquarium, food, wildlife, festivals, a rodeo; insects; sports–you name it, I have probably shot it within the last 2 months. The good news is that I can put a couple of my favorite images up in my blog and on my portfolio website. I obviously can’t post everything and some images I can’t post at all because they’re currently being used in books that are coming out soon. Anyway, here are a couple of my favorites.

Proof that I am a real adult at a real job

Proof that I am a real adult at a real job. This is a snapshot of my boss and I discussing some images I shot in our informal meeting room. (Trust me, not all of our meeting rooms are neon green with a random mishmash of objects strewn about, haha!)

One of the first big location shoots I did was at the Whetstone Park of Roses in Columbus.  This park is (as the name suggests,) chock-full-o-roses. One of the signs said they had something like 100,000 rose plants there. It was a little overwhelming. I arrived around 6:30am to get some great early-morning light images. Like I said, I am only able to post a couple, but trust me, I got some great results. Again, I should let it be known that technically all these images are © McGraw-Hill Companies.

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

Another fun shoot I had was at Inniswood Metro Gardens. There were so many pictures to be had, it is hard for me to narrow down the posting to just a couple of my favorites! It is definitely a place I will have to visit again for more shooting.

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

When I’m not on location or at the office, I usually try and find things around the house and local things in Columbus to take pictures of. It’s so nice having more lenses and flash units at my disposal again!
© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

Perhaps one of my favorite photo shoots was my trip to Cleveland this past weekend. I had never been to Cleveland, so for me, this was like a paid vacation. I mostly traveled around to the top sites and shot. I visited the aquarium, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Browns Stadium, a marina, Lake Erie, and a few other locations. I had a blast, and it’s things like this that make my job so sweet.

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies

I wish I could share ALL of the images I have shot in the last two months with you, but unfortunately I can’t. I am very grateful that my boss is letting me post these images in order to beef up my portfolio and online presence. Hopefully I will be able to continue to post for you guys.

I am very excited as my parents and uncle are coming to visit me this weekend and celebrate the 4th of July with me. I will be shooting the fireworks for work, but then we are headed to Niagara Falls. I can’t tell you how excited I am for that, as I know there will be a ton of photographic opportunities to be had.

Anyway, sorry the update was so short, but it’s past my old-people bed time! I’ll try to do a better job of keeping on top of posts in the future!

© Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies 2012

Two Kinds of Stoli

First off, I want to apologize for not posting in a month. Things have been absolutely hectic around here, and as a result, my blog got put on the back burner. (I’ll go into all the fine details in the next post. This post is mainly about showing some old work that got hidden in all the hustle ad bustle of this semester.)

In one of my last posts I promised you more Stoli pictures. Well, now I’m giving you two types of Stoli. The first type of Stoli is a last minute photo shoot in the studio. I had a model booked, but she didn’t show up, so I used my studio time to do one last Stoli shoot just for fun. Stoli has a love/hate relationship with the studio. On the one hand, he knows he gets a car ride, gets to see people who fawn over him in the equipment check out area and print lab, and if there’s anyone else in the studio while I’m shooting, they usually give him some belly rubs as well. Stoli also knows that the studio means he gets a ridiculous amount of treats and peanut butter straight from the jar. Now on the other hand, however, Stoli knows he’s got to be a good boy in the studio and listen to me while I take forever getting “the shot”. He is also subjected to being dressed up, and he is definitely not a fan of that. All things considered, he usually likes getting his photo taken. Our dog is a bit of a diva. So without further ado, here is our little ham.

Stoli's unhappy birthday © Holly Hildreth 2012

Stoli’s not excited for his impending 2nd birthday on May 31st.

We have the world's most patient dog © Holly Hildreth 2012

We have the world’s most patient dog…

Happy Birthday, Butthead.  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Happy Birthday, Butthead.

My favorite shot of the session   © Holly Hildreth 2012

My favorite shot from the session.

Surprise!! © Holly Hildreth 2012

Surprise!!

Stoli belongs in Grease © Holly Hildreth 2012

Stoli belongs in Grease. Also, despite looking angry, he’s actually just licking peanut butter off the roof of his mouth.

Cool Kid Stoli © Holly Hildreth 2012

Now onto the other type of Stoli. For one of the last assignments in my advertising class, we had to shoot something and make a billboard advertisement out of it. I wanted to do a product since my portfolio has a lot of animals and people but is thin in the still life part, (not because I don’t enjoy shooting product! It’s because my style of photography is so clean and often minimalist and many times advertisements require a well-designed and hand-built set, which I struggle with on occasion.) Since I am a dreadful cook, I decided to just buy something to shoot instead. I also wanted to try something a bit different. I found flashing LED light sitting around at my boyfriend’s house and decided to use it. It was originally a part of his roommate’s beer glass that lit up and flashed, but I just took the bottom part and played around with it. Here are some of the results:

Before the party light  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Before the party light

After playing with the party light  © Holly Hildreth 2012

After playing with the party light.

Favorite shot of the session.  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Favorite shot from the session. © Holly Hildreth 2012

For the ad we needed to design a piece that was 12’x48′. This is such an odd ratio that it was really difficult to design something that looked half-way decent. Also, we were limited to ten words or less of text, as when you’re driving down the interstate, you only have 8 seconds to read something. We had to design absolutely everything on the billboard from the image to the slogan and beyond. Here’s my submission:

Stoli ad  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Stay tuned for a big update on what’s going on in my life and more photos!

All Images  © Holly Hildreth 2012 | http://www.hhildrethphoto.com

Macy

I was recently contacted by a fellow photography student about photographing her roommate’s dog. I agreed, as I am always looking for new models. I had no idea what kind of dog I would be shooting this week, so I wasn’t sure what all to bring and how to prepare. Luckily, Macy, the dog in question, was a natural.

Macy is a (shepherd?) mix adopted from Wayside Waifs. She is 16 months old and loves people. Macy has a lot of energy and was easy to photograph. Dogs with a lot of personality usually yield better results than ones who tend to just lay still and fall asleep. I’ve seen all types of dogs in the studio and one question I always get from owners is, “was my dog bad?” I  find it funny when puppy parents think their dog was bad, when in reality, they are just being a dog, and I got awesome shots. Sometimes it takes a rowdy dog to get a dynamic image. I work with all types and know the tricks to getting them comfortable around the camera. I’ve photographed 8 week old puppies to 15 year old senior dogs, so there really are no surprises left. Macy had typical adolescent/puppy behavior, but she was very sweet and was eager to please, so of course she wasn’t “bad”!

Here are a few of my favorite images from the shoot. Like always, check my flickr for the full set: HERE

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | http://www.hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

Spring Break, Part III: Chicago

We started our full-on tour of Chicago on Thursday morning. I had been to Chicago a few times before, but the last time I was there was for Lollapalooza back in the summer of 2009, (but we were just there for the music–not the sight seeing). Previous to that, the last time I actually took in the sights of Chicago was on a band trip in 2007. So needless to say, it’d been quite a while since I actually did touristy things in Chi-Town

We started by meeting up with Andrew’s friend, Ryan, who lives and works in Chicago. Ryan knew all the best places to eat, and he took us to an authentic German restaurant, The Brahaus. Despite growing up in a mainly German town in northeast Iowa, I had never had German food before. (And those of you that know me, know I’m am usually skeptical when it comes to trying foods that I cannot pronounce.) The restaurant was quite authentic–the waitstaff was all from “the old country” and spoke in thick German accents, and the only drink choices were either beer or water. I ordered the hüner schnitzel (basically boneless, breaded, fried chicken, German style) and it came with leberknödel suppe, which is a bowl of liver and dumpling soup. At first I stared wide-eyed at the grey mass in the soup bowl before me, but after trying a few bites, I discovered that I actually liked it.

Next we were off to the Shedd Aquarium. We were surprised to have to stand in line to get in at 1:30pm on a Thursday. The place was very busy, which made photographing quite difficult. I snapped a few pictures while waiting in line.

Chicago Skyline © Holly Hildreth 2012

Chicago Skyline, with a storm building up in the background

I had been to the Shedd before, but it had been probably 9 years or so. They had done a lot of remodeling and adding on, which was a nice surprise. I didn’t get as many photos as I would have liked to, because you had to wait your turn to see the animals on display at some of the exhibits, and the bigger animals (dolphins, belugas, sea otters,) were off display as they were doing training, so we didn’t get to see them at all.

 © Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Scuba Diver © Holly Hildreth 2012

Scuba Diver feeding the fish and cleaning the tank

When we got our tickets, we opted to pay the extra $3 to see the jellyfish exhibit, and I am so glad we did, as it was my favorite part of the day. Jellyfish are very tricky to photograph as they’re constantly moving and mostly kept in low-light tanks, but I am happy with the images I got.

Jellyfish © Holly Hildreth 2012

Jellyfish © Holly Hildreth 2012

Jellyfish © Holly Hildreth 2012

While we were touring the aquarium, it decided to come up and rain. Luckily it was starting to clear up as we were leaving. Our next destination was the Sears (Willis) Tower. We had paid a parking meter $10 to park for 4 hours at the aquarium, and we still had 2 hours left on our time, so we (foolishly) decided to walk to the Sears Tower and back.

Us © Holly Hildreth 2012

Andy and I outside the Shedd Aquarium after the storm passed

Lake Michigan © Holly Hildreth 2012

Lake Michigan and part of the Chicago Skyline

Lake Michigan © Holly Hildreth 2012

Gratuitous flower photo

So we walked to the Sears Tower. Poor choices all around. It was vastly farther than any of us figured. Ryan’s phone told us it was 1.2 miles. After getting home and looking on Google, we discovered it was a 4+ mile round-trip. We got our tour of the city, and I got my fill of the “wild life”.  The last part of the walk was difficult as it was rush hour and we were fighting a crowd, going the opposite direction against the flow. We finally got to the Sears Tower (I still can’t bring myself to call it “The Willis Tower”.) Luckily, we came at the right time and there was no line to get in. We were able to grab our tickets and go right up without any wait. Due to the rain, we weren’t able to see as far as you could on a clear day, but it was still a sight.

Sears Willis Tower © Holly Hildreth 2012

South Chicago and the Chicago River

Sears Willis Tower © Holly Hildreth 2012

Panoramic of the South side of Chicago and Lake Michigan

Sears Willis Tower © Holly Hildreth 2012

Northeast side of Chicago (Hancock Observatory is the tall black building in the middle/slightly right side of the photo).

Sears Willis Tower © Holly Hildreth 2012

Looking down. We later found out that the building in the bottom left corner with the grass on the roof is where Andrew's sister works. We stayed with her while we were in Chicago.

Sears Willis Tower © Holly Hildreth 2012

Andy in the new glass overhangs. These were new since the last time I'd been there. If you look down, you definitely get vertigo. Still really neat.

Sears Willis Tower © Holly Hildreth 2012

After our sight-seeing at the Tower, we made our walk back. My feet were ground down to bloody pulps by the time we reached the car and completed out 4+ mile urban trek. We were absolutely exhausted. We dropped Ryan off at his house and then made our way to Andy’s sisters’ for the night. His sister, Mary, took us out for Greek food. (I had also never had Greek food. Go ahead, gasp. I came from a small town in Iowa. We don’t exactly have anything but corn and beef at our dinner tables.) We walked (oh the agony) to The Athenian Room. I decided to try the Kalamata Chicken. The 1/2 chicken is served on a bed of fries with sauce. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was actually really good. It had a lemon+vinegar taste. After supper, we walked back to Mary’s (my feet were worn ground down past the ankle by this time,) and we were so exhausted that we basically passed out as soon as we got in the door.

The next morning we met for lunch with Ryan at an Italian restaurant where he works in Harlington Heights. We planned to tour the Field Museum next as it was pouring rain outside. After lunch, we headed toward downtown, but got stuck in stand-still traffic. After an hour and a half, we had only gone 4 of the 8 miles to our destination. By the time we hit our exit for the Museum, we realized we’d only have an hour to look around and decided that for the price of admission, we wouldn’t get our money’s worth by only being there for such a short time. So, we decided to keep driving. We met Andy’s parents in Bloomington, IL, for supper. We ate at Jim’s Steakhouse, which is absolutely amazing every time. After supper, we drove to Mt. Pulaski, IL, to Andy’s parents and stayed the night. The next morning we were headed home.

Part IV, coming soon.

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | http://www.hhildretphoto.wordpress.com

Cade Micah Kapusinski

I found out last Wednesday that my pregnant sister, Kristin, was being induce into labor on Monday (2/27/12). Kristin’s blood pressure was high, and the baby’s stomach was measuring small. To make sure everything was all right, they decided induced labor was the best option. I traveled up to Des Moines Sunday night and spent the night at their house. Kristin and Greg were to be at the hospital at 7:30 am on Monday morning. I wanted to do a documentary approach to the whole thing, so I came to the hospital around 9:00 am to ensure that I got a few “detail shots” before Kristin went in to full-on labor. The rest of our family arrived around 10:45 am, and things seemed to be going slowly. Kristin was gradually having more regular and powerful contractions, but after 4 hours, she was only dilated 1/2 way to what she needed to be. I asked the nurse about progress, and she said that she’s be “extremely surprised if she delivered any time soon”. So, we had lunch and walked around, running errands, and we didn’t think she was going to progress as quickly as she did.
The next thing I know, I’m running into her room, grabbing my camera as they’re pulling the baby out all the way. I immediately went to work, snapping my first picture as they placed the baby on her chest. I’m not even sure what followed after that. I must have been in the zone . I documented everything from the baby’s first breaths to cleaning him off and weighing him, to both Greg and Kristin’s family holding the newborn. I’m so grateful that they left me to do my thing.

Cade Micah Kapusinski was born at 1:47 pm on Monday, 2/27/12. He weighs 6lbs, 2.5oz and is 20.5 inches tall

I know these aren’t my usual dog pictures, but these images mean more to me than I could have imaged before going into this. I don’t think I have ever taken such powerful photos, and I am very proud of this set. I am so glad to have been a part of this experience. It’s definitely something I will never forget.

After getting back to Missouri, I put together a little slideshow for the proud parents. As soon as I watched the finished product for the first time, I admit I cried. (I guess it’s good if your own images can move you to shed a tear or two!) Here is the video:
Cade Video

Here are some stills that I used in the video:

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

First photo of Cade. They are placing him on Kristin's chest. He is less than 10 seconds old here.

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Weighing in at 6lbs, 2.5oz

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Cade opens his eyes for the first time

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Greg hold his son for the very first time

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

The First Kiss

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Calling our Grandma McBain to tell her the news

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Cade holding his grandma Nancy's hand

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Dad's on diaper duty. Grandma Linda is there to help.

© Holly Hildreth 2012

All images are © Holly Hildreth 2012 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com