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!

9446311943_da437735f4_z

9446311789_057a2dba42_z

9449096082_bebf98b315_z

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.

fairfood

 

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.

 

9441160846_f73b7e9271_z

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).

 

9441162554_e5fd34f345_z

 

9336650305_908f0e0f28_z

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.

9441178612_11970ec0cf_z

Another cute Cardigan Welsh Corgi

 

9438393525_bcd368000a_z

 

9441177968_eb42d4f6f3_z

 

Cuteness mixed with chaos

Cuteness mixed with chaos

 

9438385239_e6e91299f5_z

 

Stoli leading the pack

Stoli leading the pack

 

9438383973_2b9c910d52_z

 

9438383579_d463010c51_z

 

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.

9460586419_8d39f319fc_z

 

9460589511_1a3e05aba0_z

 

9463367616_b19abf5024_z

 

9460588729_b6af7f7e9c_z

 

9463365226_f7f534fe34_z

 

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

 

 

Advertisements

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”.

IMG_9146small

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

My Love/Hate Relationship with Photoshop

Photoshop is probably the greatest asset and one of the biggest downfalls of photography. On the positive side, it allows you to fix anything and everything that might be wrong with a photo. Dust on your sensor, no problem–Spot Healing Brush to the rescue! Unwanted items in your shot? Never fear, that’s what the clone stamp was made for! But on the flip side, any amateur can take a mediocre photo and jazz it up in photoshop. The only thing that deters some amateurs from using Photoshop is its mass complexity. They’re much more comfortable messing around on sites like Piknik.com, where you don’t need any photography training to edit your photo. Photoshops absurd price is another deterrent, but only to those who either don’t know how to or are too honest to pirate.

As a photographer, you’re taught to get everything right in-camera. The phrase that gets slung at you in the photo department is, “You’re only making money when you’re behind the camera. When you’re wasting time editing in Photoshop, you’re losing money”. It makes sense, as when you charge a client to do a shoot for them, you charge for the images, not the countless hours you spend in a darkened room, hunched over a computer screen.

So why all this rambling about wonderful, horrible Photoshop? Well, because I’m an addict. My favorite thing to do is take pictures, but my 2nd favorite is to spend hours editing them. Sometimes I get more excited for the editing than I did for the shoot. As a result, I signed up for advanced digital imaging at UCM this semester. Mostly we’ve been focusing on the artistic side of Photoshop. At first I was upset, as I thought it’d be more important to learn the intricacies of photo editing not covered in any of my other Photoshop courses, but now toward the end of the semester, I am beginning to have fun with the assignments.

Today we were assigned to do a “Levitation Portrait”. I have had some people ask me how I pulled these photos off, so here’s the short explanation. We had to take a photo of someone in an odd position, balancing on a chair. After we took that shot, where we were to remove the person and chair and take a photo of the scene empty. Through the magic of photoshop and a lot of squinting at the screen while masking the two photos together, we were able to make images look like someone was levitating in a scene. Normally you’re supposed to use a small stool, but I didn’t have one, so I had to use a folding chair, which proved to be much more work for me to do in Photoshop. I actually really enjoyed putting these together, and  I think this may be an idea that I continue to explore. Here are a couple of my self-portraits.  (If you’re interested in the more technical version of how to create these images, let me know.)

Levitation © Holly Hildreth 2012

Levitation © Holly Hildreth 2012

Another Photoshop Leviathan I tackled today was my ad campaign series for my advertising class. An ad campaign is a series of similar-looking images that are all trying to pitch the same thing. Each ad is different, but as a whole, they are cohesive and resemble one another. For my ad campaign, I did a series for Petfinder.com. For those of you not familiar with the site, Petfinder is a website animal shelters and rescue groups use to post pets looking for homes. I tried to make my series lighthearted and fun and went with the idea of “personal ads”. Here are my 3 ads.

Campaign series © Holly Hildreth 2012

TEXT READS:
Name: Macy
Likes: Long walks on the beach, cuddling on the couch, rolling in roadkill.
Dislikes: Thunder, the mailman, cats.
Could YOU be my soulmate?

TEXT READS:
Name: Stoli
Likes: Table food, commandeering dirty socks, and the poodle down the street
Dislikes: Being called fat, the strange man who brings the pizza, and the vacuum
Could YOU be my soulmate?

Campaign series © Holly Hildreth 2012

TEXT READS:
Name: Harley
Likes: Car rides with the windows down, peanut butter, and playing catch
Dislikes: Squirrels, high-pitched noises, and bath time.
Could YOU be my Soulmate?

If you couldn’t tell, I spent all night on Photoshop, but I consider it time well spent! It’s not work if you enjoy doing it.

Oh, and if you didn’t notice, my URL has changed! I bought a domain, so there is no more .wordpress! It’s just plain old http://www.hhildrethphoto.com . (If you type the old URL : http://www.hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com, it’ll still route you here, don’t worry!)

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | 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

Little Nickey

Last week a fellow photo student, Laura Phillips, approached me and asked if I’d like to photograph a shih tzu. Of course I said, “yes”! Her family had just adopted Nickey from a local animal shelter. Laura is the owner of Buzz and Pickles, the St. Bernard + chihuahua pair that I photographed last year. (HERE’S a refresher) Laura went on to explain that Nickey was in desperate need of a haircut, but she wanted to wait until after the shoot to give him one. As soon as she showed me pictures of him, I knew he was going to be a fun subject. Laura wanted to shoot Nickey on the gold background I photographed Buzz and Pickles on. She had made some large prints to hang in her girls’ rooms and wanted something matching for Nickey. Photographing on yellow/orange/red is always difficult with light colored dogs. The background  color will inevitably reflect into the dogs fur, making them match (which is a headache in Photoshop to correct.) We did some shots on the gold paper and then switched out for a more neutral pastel blue for the remainder of the shoot.

Being back in the studio with new dogs is always exciting. You never know the dog’s personality until you’re laying on the floor, with one hand on the camera and the hand other waving treats around.  I was used to Stoli’s relaxed demeanor–he is getting bored with the studio. Nickey was very excited about this new experience, and he still had his puppy energy (the vet guessed him to be about a year old). Keeping up with what seemed to be a bouncing mop was  challenging, yet fun. Maybe in the future I will do a shoot with him with his haircut. He won’t even look like the same dog!

As always, the whole set of photos can be viewed on my FLICKR

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

 

Stoli’s January Debut, Part II

Every Thursday this semester is a free day for me. It’s the one day a week where I don’t have any classes, and so far, I have made it one of the most productive days of the week. Today I decided to have Stoli in the studio again. I am trying to beef up my portfolio and make more potential winning Hallmark card images.
Last week during his shoot, I discovered Stoli will not move if there’s something secured to his head. I used this newly found wisdom to my advantage.

I came away with a LOT of cute and funny images, but I am only going to post a few here. In order to see them all (which I highly recommend,) you’ll have to visit my flickr page HERE.

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

Stoli January Debut

The semester started back up on 1/9/12, and as a result, the photo lab and studios finally opened up this week. Since it’s only the 2nd week of classes, not many people are signed up to use the studios. I don’t have any classes on Thursdays, so I took advantage of the situation and decided to go into the studio for a fun shoot with Stoli. I didn’t have anything particular in mind when I went in. Mostly, I just wanted to get back into the swing of things and get myself used to shooting in the studio again.
During the shoot, I felt like nothing was going right. I tried a new lighting setup and used higher powered strobes, and Stoli was not having it. I’m not sure if he was scared of the new lights or if they were too bright for him, but he would not cooperate. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when I came home and started reviewing images to find that there were a lot of ones that turned out rather well. I have around 50 good proofs of him from this shoot, and it’s incredibly hard for me to narrow it down to just a few to post to my blog, so if you get a chance, visit the whole set on my flickr page  HERE.

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

He does NOT look happy!

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Stoli is the World's most interesting corgi

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

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

Jill, Cory, and Peanut

During Thanksgiving break, a couple contacted me about getting family pictures taken. They had found me through a Google search and liked the work I did with dogs. They had a chihuahua, named Peanut, that they wanted to include in their family photos and thought they’d give me a try. It had been a while since I had done formal portraits outside of my part-time job, so I was excited to try some new things out. Jill, Cory, and Peanut were great to work with, so the session went fairly smoothly. It was nice to have creative freedom again. At work you have to follow a rigid set of rules and you don’t get much room to be creative or have fun with a shoot. So, this was a nice change of pace. Here are a few photos from the shoot. (To see all the proofs, visit my 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

All Images are © Holly Hildreth 2011 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

Back by Popular Demand

I was sitting in my advanced studio class today when my professor asked me if I was going to be photographing Stoli soon. I hadn’t planned on it, since we did a shoot back in August and I hadn’t come up with any new ideas for him. I thought about it for a little bit and then decided to sign up for a studio time after the class. A couple of friends, family members, and classmates had been asking to see more of Stoli as well. I didn’t have any other earth-shattering plans for the evening besides doing laundry, so I figured a little session wouldn’t hurt.

I didn’t have a solid idea of what I wanted with this photo shoot going into it. I knew I wanted to try out a couple of different lighting set-ups, because I normally stick to the same thing for all my shoots. I chose the black background for Stoli, since UCM has only 5 color choices to pick from: black, white, blue, yellow, and orange. I photograph most of my dogs on blue because the orange and yellow are so neon that they reflect that color back into the fur of the dogs. I’m getting sick of shooting on blue, so PLEASE UCM, I implore you, buy different colors!! ( A little red, green, purple, brown never hurt anybody!)

This was my first time photographing Stoli without Curry there to help me wrangle him. It was much more difficult than I figured it would be, partially because there were other people in the studio coming and going, and Stoli felt like it was his duty to say “hi” to every one of them.

I ended up using a LOT of peanut butter, so his tongue is out of control in many of the photos. I think they’re kind of quirky and funny. It’s almost as if you could put a caption for many of them. I don’t think any of the images are mind-blowing, but it was a nice way to kill a little time tonight.

As always, the full set of proofs can be seen on my Flickr by clicking: 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

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.)