Spring has Sprung

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

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

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

Tulips © Holly Hildreth 2013

Tulips © Holly Hildreth 2013

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

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German Shepherd © Holly Hildreth 2013

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

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

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

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

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Stoli’s faster than a speeding corn dog.

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

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

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

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Spring Break, Part IV: Powell Gardens

We arrived back in Warrensburg around supper time on Saturday.  We were sad to be done with vacation, but happy to be back in our own beds. I also had the terrifying realization that this was the last trip I’ll be able to take as a student. From now on, whatever job I take will only offer 2 weeks of vacation a year. When we got back in town, I noticed that the flowers were starting their downward slide past their prime. I hadn’t taken any Spring photos yet this year, so I decided to go to Powell Gardens the next day.

I had only been to Powell Gardens once before. We took a field trip there for my nature and scenic class. Unfortunately when we did so, it was 105 degrees and in August, so everything was brown. I figured I would check out what they had to offer in Spring. Normally when photographing nature, the best hours to shoot are sunrise and sunset, since the light is a soft, golden quality. Powell Gardens, however, is only open from 10am-5pm, so I didn’t get very good lighting, as it was a hot, cloudless day. All-in-all, I got a few good images and a sunburn.

orchids © Holly Hildreth 2012

Orchids in the indoor welcome center. Orchids are one of my favorite flowers, but I have never tried growing them, as I have always heard they are a bit difficult to care for...(and seeing as I killed cacti 4 times before, I didn't ever attempt more delicate plants).

orchids © Holly Hildreth 2012

Tulips © Holly Hildreth 2012

Flowering Tree © Holly Hildreth 2012

Daffodils Flowering © Holly Hildreth 2012

Tulips © Holly Hildreth 2012

Flowers © Holly Hildreth 2012

Panoramic of Flowers © Holly Hildreth 2012

Panoramic of Flowers and bench

I’m back in school now, and the semester’s rapidly winding down. I’m trying to do as much shooting as I can before I graduate and no longer have access to a studio, lights, and lenses. I “graduate” in one month. (I don’t technically graduate until I finish a Summer class, but there is no Summer graduation, so I get to take part in the Spring commencement ceremony).

More photos of recent work coming soon, and don’t worry, I’ve got a set of Stoli photos headed your way.

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

Spring Break, Part II: NE Iowa

After leaving Des Moines on Saturday, we headed up to my hometown of Waverly, Iowa. Waverly is about 6 1/2 hours northeast of Kansas City, so I was glad that we broke up the drive by staying at my sister’s house in Des Moines the night before, (so we only had 2 1/2 hours to drive in the morning). Iowa, like everywhere else in the country, has been seeing unseasonably warm temperatures. When I went home on Spring Break last year, I still had to wear boots and my winter coat. Last year Andrew and I went to St. Louis for part of break to celebrate our one-year anniversary and we got stuck in a snowstorm. It’s quite amazing how different it has been this year. Iowa had unseasonably nice weather, and I even wore shorts one day–something absolutely unheard of for the beginning of March.
The first night in Waverly, we went to the Pizza Ranch. I worked at the Pizza Ranch for two years during high school, and my parents loved it, because I brought home free food every night. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of visiting this awesome establishment, Pizza Ranch is a pizza+fried chicken buffet. So, basically it’s your midwestern American dream. Ever since I met Andrew, I told him about Pizza Ranch, and he always made fun of me for it, insinuating it was a place for hillbillies to gather and swap stories about corn, cattle, and cousins over greasy food. So, of COURSE we made him go.
After supper Andrew and I went to a Celtic music concert in Cedar Falls for St. Patrick’s Day. My high school English teacher, Doug Nichols, and his wife are in a Celtic band, Banish Misfortune. Mr. Nichols has sort of adopted me, and he’s become Uncle Doug. I always try to stop by and see him, his wife, and their corgi whenever I’m in town.

On Sunday we decided it would be a nice day to go to Decorah and picnic. Decorah is a small, Norwegian town in extreme northeastern Iowa, about 15 miles from Minnesota and around 40 miles from Wisconsin. Decorah has been a fun day-trip spot for my family since I was a little kid. The Iowa Trout Fish Hatchery, Ice Caves, Twin Springs (artesian wells,) and Dunning Springs waterfall area all located there. (To see pictures of the aforementioned in season, click here: My Trip to Decorah in Summer 2011). We went to the fish hatchery to begin. Across the street from the fish hatchery is a nest of eagles. (You can read more about it in the above link). We looked at all the trout, which ranged in size from an inch to 24″. It’s always fun to walk up on a still pond, throw some fish food in, and watch the water churn with the swarms of fish. There’s a waterfall emanating from a limestone bluff that fuels the trout hatchery with cold, natural spring water.

Andrew © Holly Hildreth 2012

Andrew with the natural spring. He was like a little kid, and I had to keep telling him not to climb on things and to be careful, haha!

Parents  © Holly Hildreth 2012

My parents in front of the waterfall. My dad is in a sling, because he just had surgery on his shoulder. He was driving to work on the highway this past December when a car failed to stop at an intersecting road and t-boned his work van. He had a torn rotor cuff among other muscle injuries and it chipped off a piece of his shoulder.

Us  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Andrew and I at the fish hatchery. It was windy and hot--80-some degrees. A record for Iowa!

After the fish hatchery we went to the Ice Cave. As kids, we explored the Ice Caves caverns, but I hadn’t been in probably 15 years. The Ice Cave is named such as it has ice on the walls year-round. To our disappointment, it seems parts of the Ice Cave have collapsed. We weren’t able to go much past the initial opening of the cave. I know Andrew was disappointed, because we were talking it up and his outdoorsy Eagle-Scout instincts took over and he was ready to do some spelunking.

Next we went to Dunning’s Spring, which is my favorite part of Decorah. However, the once raging waterfall had been reduced to a trickle and most of the area was brown. We couldn’t believe our eyes. In the 22 years I had been coming to Decorah, I had never seen the waterfall this dry. I didn’t take any pictures, as I was so disappointed. I also felt bad, as we were raving this up to Andrew as well. By this time, I’m pretty sure he was thinking that we Iowans are easily amused and think the littlest things are great. Here’s a picture of Dunning’s Spring in its prime when we visited this summer:

Dunnings spring  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Finally we stopped at Twin Springs Park to see the artesian wells. These too had dried up. There was only a little bit of a stream flowing. We had a picnic in the park and relaxed. I of course had to take pictures, even though the springs were definitely not in their prime.

Twin Springs Part © Holly Hildreth 2012

Twin Springs Part © Holly Hildreth 2012

Twin Springs Park © Holly Hildreth 2012

Twin Springs Park © Holly Hildreth 2012

Twin Springs Park © Holly Hildreth 2012

Twin Springs Park © Holly Hildreth 2012

My mom took a photo of Andrew and I in front of the stream, and I was VERY proud of her for not cutting our heads off.

On Monday, we went to Cedar Rapids to visit my oldest sister, who just moved there recently to accept a new full-time meteorologist position at CBS affiliate station. It was Jen’s birthday, so we went out to eat and hung out at her apartment for a while.

Tuesday was a relaxing day. We futzed around the house, I got a haircut and ran errands, and we both packed and prepared for our voyage to Chicago on Wednesday morning.

I apologize for the length of this blog. Normally I like to keep it short and sweet and bombard you with photos. The next blog post will follow that pattern. Stay tuned for Part III: Chicago.

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

Stoli’s First Spring

It’s that time of year again, the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing starting at 4 a.m, and the college students are cramming for finals. Spring is undoubtedly my favorite season. Mild temperatures, longer daylight hours, and great scenery are wonderful incentives to get off the computer or get out of the photo lab and head outdoors to enjoy the season.

Stoli was born May 31st, 2010. By the time he was old enough to go outside, it was already the end of June and we were into the 100-degree Missouri heat, so he didn’t really get to experience Spring firsthand. This year I made sure to take him out and let him see what all the fuss was about. Stoli loves being outside when the temperatures are in the middle 70’s. He sits by the door waiting to be clipped to his lead so he can stay outside as long as he wants.

Perhaps Stoli’s favorite Spring activity is eating all the flowers. He’ll zoom around the year eating the fluffy, white tops off the dandelions. It’s nearly impossible to get a good picture of him next to any type of pretty foliage, because he instantly devours it before you can get the shot in.

As a stress-reliever for finals week, I found myself taking Stoli out for more walks to new places. We explored the woods at Cave Hollow Park, where he played in the stream and learned how to make me mad by frolicking through the mud. He’s on his second bath in 5 days and we’re still counting (and ironically, he HATES water).

Anyway, here are a few pictures of Stoli’s adventures this Spring. You can view the whole collection on my Flickr page 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

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011