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

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Why I’ve Been Missing

I’ve been dreading writing this post, as I knew that there was no efficient way to summarize everything that’s been going on in the last couple months. As you may have already noticed, I have kind of disappeared for  while. It’s not because I wasn’t doing any new work, but rather because I have been overwhelmingly busy. I’ll try to summarize the best I can, as I’m sure many of you don’t want to read an anthology of my life.

To start, I “graduated” from the University of Central Missouri. I have that in quotes, as I don’t officially graduate until August, but I only have one credit hour to fulfill this summer. As a result, I was able to participate in the commencement ceremony this past Saturday. I graduated Magna Cum Laude (and still have a chance to graduate Summa Cum Laude, as they haven’t calculated my grades from this last semester into my final GPA.) Since I didn’t get my photography talent from my mother, here is a photo a friend, Andrew Mather, took of me becoming an official alumna.

Photo by Andrew Mather

Photo by Andrew Mather

The next big piece of news is that I accepted a photography internship at McGraw-Hill in Columbus, Ohio. I’ll be assisting in their photography department, shooting and cataloging images to be used in text books. It’s a 10-12 week program (depending on workload,) and it’s 40 hours a week. My first day is May 21st.

Everything is quite overwhelming. Today is my last day in Missouri, and it hasn’t really hit me yet that this may be one of the last times I will ever be here and see these people. I don’t really feel like a college graduate yet–I keep thinking I’ll just be back in August. It’s very surreal and bittersweet; It’s strange to be leaving this place, yet exciting to move forward and start the next stage of my life. I guess I get to be an adult now and learn scary words like: “mortgage,” and “401k”. I leave Missouri tomorrow, head to Iowa to see my family one last time, and then leave for Ohio on Friday 5/18.

In order to commemorate this place that I’ve called “home” for the last three years, I did a small photo excursion through the country, snapping a couple sunset pictures, getting into a patch of stinging nettles, and picking up some ticks along the way.

Sunset © Holly Hildreth 2012

 

Sunset © Holly Hildreth 2012

 

Sunset © Holly Hildreth 2012

 

Like I said, I’m trying to keep this short and sweet, so I’ll leave out all of the “oh my gosh, what am I doing,” panic out of here. I’ll try to keep you all updated on what I’m doing in Ohio, but I may not be able to post photos and what I’m working on in the internship, as McGraw-Hill retains rights to the images I create while at my internship. I’ll be able to put them in my portfolio, but they don’t want the images getting out before the textbook’s official publishing date.

So, until next time.

Quick November Update

It doesn’t seem possible, but there’s only a month left to this semester. As every college kid knows, the last week before Thanksgiving break is one of the most stressful. Every teacher has an extremely “important” group project, paper, or hefty assignment that they have due before you leave.

For my nature and scenic class, our professor is having us turn in a portfolio of mounted prints. He offered us 12 categories and we are to fulfill at least eight different ones. Since many students aren’t able to meet those requirements yet, today’s class involved us going to Knob Noster and hiking in the state park in attempts to beef up our portfolios. The biggest issue with this is that everything is dead and brown at the moment. I didn’t get anything too spectacular as a result.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

After class, I was out and about with my camera and decided that it was about time for another Stoli mini-shoot. We played in the yard and he hammed it up for me.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Stoli decided to dig a hole

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2011

The Sun Actually Rises Before Noon!

This week for nature & scenic class, our assignment was to shoot sunrises/sunsets and the stars. Lucky for me, my parents were one vacation at the Lake of the Ozarks, so I had a great place to go shoot.

Every year my mom’s side of the family has their annual “McBain Family Vacation”. My parents plus my aunts and uncles on my mother’s side (plus my one uncle on my dad’s side,) get together for a week of what I can only assume is mayhem. They usually try to pick a different spot every year, but this is the third year they have vacationed in the Ozarks. The couple they rent their vacation property from are very nice and always excited to have them. Normally they have their vacation in September, but my cousin had a baby this year, so the vacation got pushed back a little bit.

I met up with my parents on Saturday, spent the night doing a little shooting and playing card games with them. Unfortuantely, it was cloudy, so I didn’t get any sunset pictures, and my night time images didn’t really have any stars. My mom got me up for the sunrise, which shockingly happens before noon—a fact that most college kids are unaware of. I got a few images on the lake that I am happy with.

I drove back to Warrensburg on Sunday and did a little night shooting with another photo friend that evening when the stars were actually out.

You can see all of my photo adventures from the weekend on my flickr page: Here.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

The stars over a cow pasture in Warrensburg

© Holly Hildreth 2011

All Content © Holly Hildreth 2011

Repeat Offender

Hallmark has officially announced the winners of their “Mother’s Day Unleashed” contest. I have been selected as a winner for the 2nd time! I have known for a month and a half, and it’s been tough keeping it semi-under wraps, but I can actually publicly announce it now! The card is currently for sale online. You can check it out by visiting their store: HERE. Also, I now have a “Repeat Card Star” page about me on the Hallmark home page, which you can check out: Here. (It’s not much, but it’s kind of cool having a link to all your cards on their page.)

Good News, Everyone!

Hallmark has finally publicly announced it, so I can now pass it on to you guys:

One of my photographs won the International Hallmark Cards, “Love is a Funny Thing” contest.

So what does this mean? Well, I’m glad you asked! My winning card is for sale online now through their website. I got a nice check in the mail for being selected, which is awesome, because I’m hoping to buy a new lens in the now so painfully distant future. The card is meant for Valentine’s Day, and it will be on sale online from now until January. If it does well in the online store, then it will be printed and distributed to stores worldwide. So, that’s pretty sweet (not to mention if it goes on sale in stores, I get another check from Hallmark!)

Here’s a VERY small thumbnail preview of the card:

Holly Hildreth winning Hallmark Card Entry

All the cards will also feature a picture of Stoli and me on the back as well as a short bio about me, which you can preview with the card online now at the link below.

So, if you feel like helping out, like comedy, or know someone in your life that will need a Valentine’s Day card, check out my winning entry at: Hallmark’s Official Website

 

 

 

 

 

The City Lights

One of the biggest problems photography students have is not shooting during their Summer breaks. I am just as guilty as the next. Last summer I took a portrait photography class. It was 3 hours a day, Monday-Friday. After doing that, I didn’t feel like doing any personal work. Once the class ended, the only reason I picked up my camera was when there was money involved. This Summer, I vowed to not be lazy and to keep myself sharp by doing random photo shoots over my break.

When there’s nothing interesting to photograph, I always use Stoli as my fallback plan. He’s always willing to be my subject, and he’s a bit of a ham.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

I promise we don't give our dog drugs! © Holly Hildreth 2011

I promise we don't give our dog drugs!

 

The Kansas City area has seen a few storms move in recently. Weather photography is something I find to be really interesting and fun. I think my sister rubbed off on me as a kid, because she was getting her meteorology degree and interning when I first started getting in to photography. Here are a few pictures from a recent storm. I wasn’t able to get any fantastic storm pictures as you need cloud-to-ground lightning, and not cloud-to-cloud lightning like you will see in these photos.

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

On Sunday, Curry and I took a trip to the Plaza in Kansas City. Curry had been working 16 hour days for a week straight, so we hadn’t seen eachother or hung out since we took the trip to Wisconsin. We wanted to do something fun, especially considering I was leaving the next day to go to Iowa and Atlanta for 2 weeks. After I got off work, we went to the Cheesecake Factory for a nice dinner, and then we walked around the plaza and I took some pictures. Kansas City is known as the City of Fountains, as it has the most fountains and public statues of any city in the world. I have been wanting to get up there and do a fountain shoot for over a year, but the timing was never right. Anyway, it was a great way to spend our evening, and I think I got a few good shots. What I love about extended exposure photography of the city and these fountains is how soft and colorful the photos become. Also, the images posted to my blog have been downsized to prevent people from stealing my work. As a result, the pictures here may look a little grainy, or the color of the sky might seem blotchy. The original photos don’t look that way, but that’s something that happens when you drop the resolution on the image to prevent theft.

 

Curry and I on the Plaza © Holly Hildreth 2011

 

We tried so many times to take this picture, but finally gave up and settled for a blurry image. The exposure was 5 seconds, and as you can see, we both apparently can't sit totally still for that long!

We tried so many times to take this picture, but we finally gave up and settled for a blurry image. The exposure was 5 seconds, and as you can see, we both apparently can't sit totally still for that long!

 

Poseidon © Holly Hildreth 2011

 

Kansas City Lights © Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

The Cheesecake Factory Tower © Holly Hildreth 2011

The Cheesecake Factory Tower

 

One of my recent posts was a photo tour of my new apartment. Since moving in, I’ve had a handful of “interesting” experiences. To summarize, sometimes I start thinking I live in a trailer park, and not the University apartment complex. Anyway, my newest neighbor is a raccoon that lives in my patio. Here’s a photo of him in the dumpster next to my car. Any name suggestions?

Raccoon

Raccoon

 

My family and I will be traveling to Atlanta at the end of the week for a family vacation. This is our first REAL family vacation, so I’m excited. I’ve never spent any time in Atlanta, so any suggestions of fun things to see and do would be appreciated! Stay tuned for more photos of my adventures.

Spring Break 2011

Most people don’t think of Waverly, IA as a Spring Break destination. In fact, as most of my classmates talked about their exotic vacation plans, I kept my trek to the homeland under wraps, because everyone knows that only cool kids go to Iowa for Spring Break. So I left Missouri’s 75+ degree weather and traded it in for a 6 1/2 hour drive north to snow piles and highs in the low 30’s. I brought Stoli with me. Normally he cries and paces on long drives, but a quick stop to the vet for anti-motion sickness medicine relaxed him and he was great. (A little out of it too..He brought me a mouth full of rocks and then flopped on his side just staring at me.) Stoli loved the family and I have a feeling they liked him more than they will admit. Stoli’s favorite part of the trip, however, was chasing my sister’s cat, cooper. (Cooper was not pleased.)

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

After the trip home, I returned to Missouri a few days early to take a sever storm spotter training class. We’re required to attend a safety class outside of the normal university meeting time for one of my gen ed classes. Storm Spotter Training in Missouri is…well…intersting. These hillbillies lose it. It’s like Christmas for them, so not only was it educational, but a great time to people watch. (But that’s a whole different story.)

My boyfriend, Andrew and I have been trying to celebrate our one-year anniversary for quite a while. The plan was to go to St. Louis as a mini-vacation. I have only been to St. Louis once, but it was night time and I was young enough to not remember. Our Anniversary was January 23rd, and we just got there this weekend, over 2 months later. It wasn’t for a lack of trying on our part. The first time Andrew scheduled his leave and the trip as a surprise, but it was right in the middle of my finals week, so we had to cancel. The next time we made reservations, the Air Force screwed us over and put travel restrictions on us due to “impending blizzards,” so we had to cancel yet again. (It never snowed a single flake, by the way.) The last time we scheduled our trip, Stoli got sick with an advanced bladder infection and upper respiratory infection, which set us back $225 in vet bills. Fourth Time’s a charm, I guess.

The trip was not all a walk in the park. I think someone was trying to keep us from getting to St. Louis (we apparently didn’t catch on after getting turned away 3 times!) When we left Warrensburg the forecast called for light snow with little to no accumulation. Things were fine until we switched drivers about 2/3 of the way there. I started driving the last part of the journey as as soon as I did, all Hell broke loose. It got mega snowy and icy in a heartbeat. There we lots of cars and semis in the ditch. I was driving 40 in a 70 mph zone and passing cars like they were standing still.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

View from our balcony of the snow

We made it to our hotel safely, but they didn’t get our room right. Although the room wasn’t what we had reserved, it was still really very nice. The hotel was full–there was a plastic surgeon convention staying there and they must have gotten everything mixed up room-wise.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

We didn’t bring swimming suits or anything to do in the hotel as we didn’t figure we’d be there a whole lot other than to sleep, but with the blizzard-o-death outside, we were sort of stuck on ideas of what to do. We explored the hotel from the pool to the cigar lounge. I wanted to take pictures, but andrew wouldn’t let me. Something about already being totally out of place…( I would have liked to have seen all the old rich American Royalty getting their mustaches in a bunch over it.)

The snow calmed down a bit once the sun went down and we decided to hit the city. Andrew’s dad had suggested a nice restaurant downtown by the arch called Mike Shannon’s. We dressed up and decided to give it a try

(I didn't take this photo, but I wanted to show what the restaurant looked like.)

I had filet mignon and Andrew had the prime rib. It was amazing! After supper we explored the city a bit, but it was still nasty out, so we headed back to the hotel and watched some TV. We called it in early as we were both really tired.

The next morning we got up and headed out for lunch. We originally stopped at a BBQ place, but the line was ridiculous as it had been featured on the travel channel and voted best BBQ in St. Louis. We settled for a T.G.I. Friday’s near where we had eaten supper the previous night. After that we headed over to the arch.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011We got to the arch at around 12:30. They were ALREADY SOLD OUT OF TICKETS FOR THE REST OF THE DAY! We weren’t able to do anything other than look around on the main level. Andrew and I milled around the museum and walked the campus outside the arch and then headed out. The original plan was to go to the zoo, but it was only in the low 40’s and was very windy, so we decide against that. Instead, we went to the St. Louis Art Museum. I had been to the Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City a fair few times and decided that I’d like to see what St. Louis had to offer. I was surprised that Andrew wanted to go too. Normally getting him to go to anything cultural is like pulling teeth (for lack of a better idiom.) When we got their, we found out to my dismay, they had gotten rid of ALL their photography! I like looking at paintings and sculptures, but photography is pretty much the whole reason I go to art museums. We spent about an hour looking around. I love taking andrew to the modern abstract art. Rothko and Jackson Pollak make him want to beat up hippies.

We decided to head home after the art museum. It was nice to be back in Warrensburg and to see Stoli again. All in all we had a really good trip, despite all the hiccups. I’d like to go back and visit St. Louis again as there were many things we didn’t get to see and do. We both really enjoyed our very belated anniversary. It was great to get out of warrensburg and see the world (even if it is still in Missouri!)

The Hair of the Dog

I tried my hand at photographing a puppy solo today. Normally I have the owner or a friend assist me during the shoot. This is pretty essential as it’s EXTREMELY difficult to keep a puppy from running off set, move the lighting, take the photos, make strange noises to get the dog’s attention, etc, all at the same time. Today, however, I decided that 21 years-old is as good of age as any to have an aneurism.

I have been working with puppies recently, and I seem to keep forgetting the fundamental fact that their attention span can be measured in milliseconds. I spend so much time with Stoli that I make the rudimentary mistake of assuming all puppies younger than him automatically know all the basic commands and won’t be totally freaked out by coming to a new environment to photograph. It makes me realize how much I take Stoli’s obedience for granted. He knows come, sit, stay, lay down, up, jump, shake, outside, inside, car, fetch, etc. So when I am faced with an 18-week old puppy, I feel out of my element again as I am back to square one of pure, raw puppy energy. Surprisingly, I have much more patience for animals than I do with people, so I am able to keep a level head while problem-solving a way to get the shot. The puppy I worked with today is our friend’s 5 month tri-colored corgi puppy, Rajah. I’ve come to decide that all corgis seem to have that fun-loving, goofy, class clown personality.

Anyway, it was quite the experience. I think that I’ll stick with having an assistant from now on. I’m glad I tried to, so I can now fully justify needing someone around to help manage the chaos.

As always, you can see ALL of the proofs from this session by visiting my Flickr Page. It takes vastly longer to load each photo into the blog, that’s why I usually only put my personal favorites in my posts. (That’s not to say that only the good ones make it here.) There are many that don’t make it to the blog just because of time and space restrictions. That being said, mosey on over and check out the slideshow! Click Here for the link to Flickr

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Let it Snow

We here in Missouri have been lucky so far this year. We have only had one snow, and most of it was gone by a day or two later. I had a VERY cold and snowy Christmas break in Iowa, and I was definitely looking forward to the warmer weather back down here. Afterall, I had friends bragging about it being in the upper 60’s while I was back home. Well that whole story changed when I got back to Missouri. On the first day of school (1-10-11,) all afternoon classes were cancelled because of a big snow storm moving into the KC Metro area. This morning all morning classes were cancelled, because people in Missouri really don’t know how to handle the snow. I think we ended up with around 6 inches according to the reports. I found it funny, because back when I was going to school in Iowa, 6 inches was a walk in the park. We still had school and carried on like it was no big deal. Not down here! As soon as a flake touches down people lose it. Granted the roads are slick (because they don’t properly remove snow,) and no one had shoveled yet, even though it’s been done snowing for 20 hours now

Anyway, this is the first real measurable snowfall we’ve gotten this year, so I was excited to see what Stoli would do. As you remember, from a previous post: (See:Stoli’s Winter Wonderland) Stoli had mixed reactions to the snow. At first he was terrified, but then he loved it. Well introducing Stoli to the snow this time was just as amusing. He went NUTS! he zoomed around the yard doing figure 8’s with his mouth open collecting snow. He would then find a place where the snow was deep and dig himself a hole to lay in, and then cover himself up with snow. He’d wait until I got close and then he’d pop out and run away. He was also a fan of trying to catch the snow my boots kicked up as I walked through the yard. We’ll probably have to buy a sweater or something for him because he likes to roll in the snow and is usually covered by the time he goes inside.

Here are a few shots of Stoli’s snow escapade this afternoon.