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

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

8702641509_4d201b0c03_z

8658514889_5f53a98087_z

8652871643_2931d827e5_z

8653972792_33b54fd89b_z

8652871735_b2a8914634_z

8653972886_07afbc328b_z

8564155974_e2cc0a8ab6_z

8563052345_a40b3202fe_z

8256803490_dba9c5408f_z

8564156432_cc819b76de_z

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.

8708316883_9c26cf9126_z

8708316895_a187f49152_z

8674158902_5be81328ab_z

8661174831_6ff99c2ce6_z

8661175037_443732e022_z

German Shepherd © Holly Hildreth 2013

8658514763_90fa11bc1d_z

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!

8403370633_74250a1724_z

8377825839_484990788d_z

8403371249_5267d490f2_z

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!

8715161483_cdc0ca403b_z

8369543004_2a1e167e75_z

8369544278_77f7834d20_z

8399997161_495cd165d4_z

8412197917_dc3a8bee9a_z

8504968023_9682cc03bb_z

8504967725_9abef28cb9_z

8506076396_7f1ecba03b_z

8506075806_e88ed8e644_z

8632304921_64f5262070_z

8647380182_2dfb4b665c_z

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

8658514921_0112e5d64a_z

8696513303_479d0a1fda_z

8715161273_c85e91e26f_z

8729596099_f45a56a895_z

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

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