Autumn’s Arrival

It’s been about a month since my last post, so I thought it was time to bring you some brand-new eye-candy. I have kept very busy with my job, and I now live in a new area of Columbus, so I haven’t done a lot of exploring/photo adventures lately. I do, however live about a mile from one of Columbus’s Metro Parks, and I have stopped by a few times on nice nights with Stoli in tow for a couple quick on-the-go photo shoots. I haven’t been able to shoot as much at work, so I need to do some shooting on my own to satisfy my inner photographer. The leaves are just changing now, so I hope to get out and take many more Fall pictures before the beautiful color is all gone.

Sharon Woods Metro Park © Holly Hildreth 2012

High Banks Metro Park
© Holly Hildreth 2012

Sharon Woods Metro Park © Holly Hildreth 2012

Sharon Woods Metro Park
© Holly Hildreth 2012

Sharon Woods Metro Park © Holly Hildreth 2012

Sharon Woods Metro Park
© Holly Hildreth 2012

Inniswood Metro Gardens

Inniswood Metro Gardens
© Holly Hildreth 2012

Fall foliage can make for some interesting black and whites
© Holly Hildreth 2012

Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville, Ohio © Holly Hildreth 2012

Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville, Ohio
© Holly Hildreth 2012

Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville, Ohio

Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville, Ohio
© Holly Hildreth 2012

Sunset at Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville, Ohio

Sunset at Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville, Ohio
© Holly Hildreth 2012

…And what blog post would be complete without a few Stoi pictures. Since moving into my own place in Columbus, Stoli hasn’t had another dog to keep him company. He’s not a fan of having no partner in crime while I am gone during the day, but he finds ways to entertain himself, like sitting on top of the laundry basket, looking out the window, and half-barking at the people (and other dogs) who walk by.

And other times he just gets lazy

And other times he just gets lazy
© Holly Hildreth 2012

Since I really don’t know anyone yet, I don’t think I’ll really be celebrating Halloween like I did in Missouri, but while at the pet store, I saw a costume that I just had to get Stoli. Charlene Champion, who is one of my good friends from college, is obsessed with gnomes, so I couldn’t pass up this gnome costume, complete with an attached beard.

gnome corgi

© Holly Hildreth 2012

gnome corgi

© Holly Hildreth 2012

gnome corgi

© Holly Hildreth 2012

But of course if the gnome idea doesn’t work out, there’s always the classic ghost costume…

ghost costume, corgi

© Holly Hildreth 2012

All Images are © Holly Hildreth 2012. Do NOT use without direct written consent | http://www.hhildrethphoto.com

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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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Democrats, Dogs, and 9 more Days

I’ve got nine days remaining on my internship, and it has been 2 weeks since my last post, so I thought I was due for another installment. Time has been blurring by–I have no idea where the month of July has gone. It seems like just a couple weeks ago I was saying a tearful goodbye to everyone in Missouri, and now I’m getting ready to say goodbye to Ohio. I’m bummed to have to leave as I have loved my experience, but it will be nice to see some familiar faces again.

I’ve covered a variety of subjects in the last two weeks–some of them you may just recognize!

Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden

First Lady Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama

Atticus the cat

A Pulley and weight on a grandfather clock

Oscar the Poodle

A man shears a sheep at the Ohio State Fair

some things are just better in black and white

A double-dapple dachshund

A Doberman does the weave poles during an agility competition

Bokeh the Frisbee Dog

A mother sheep and her newborn lamb

I’m headed out almost every day this week with a lot of new shoots lined up. Stay tuned for new photos.

Photos © Holly Hildreth/McGraw-Hill Companies 2012

T-Minus 4 Weeks and counting

As the title suggests, I am drawing frighteningly near the end of my internship with McGraw-Hill Companies. I honestly cannot believe it’s already been two months, and now there’s only less than four weeks remaining. What direction my life will take after those four weeks are up, I have no idea, (which is absolutely terrifying to put it mildly).

Anyway, on to less depressing stuff. I have been BUSY! Since my last update, I have been working hard on a large variety of photo shoots. Like I mentioned in my last installment, I am able to post a couple images from my shoots as a part of my portfolio. McGraw-Hill Companies own the rights to these images though. I can’t post all my photos, and there are some shoots I can’t show you at all, so here’s just a little sampling of what I’ve been up to since my last update.

My parents and uncle came out to visit me during the first week of July. It was really nice to see them again, and fun to actually have someone I know here to talk to. I had to work during their visit, but we were able to combine some of my work trips with family time, which was nice. On the 2nd day they were here, we met my sister and brother-in-law (who were visiting my brother-in-law’s family in the Cleveland area). We met at Mansfield, Ohio, which is half-way for both of us. My mom and sister took my nephew shopping while my dad, uncle, brother-in-law and I toured the Ohio State Reformatory, better known as the prison where Shawshank Redemption was filmed. I actually own the rights to these images as I didn’t shoot them for work.

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Looking down the row of empty cells

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

An actual escape attempt by inmates. They tried tunneling out of the chapel.

 

Of Course I had to snap a picture of my nephew!

 

I had to spend some time in the office, but I was then able to go with my parents to the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. Work was happy, as I was able to photograph things for them while spending time with my family. It was a win-win. Museums are pretty difficult to photograph, though. You have a problem with people standing in the way of your shot and you can’t arrange the objects the way you want to. Always a source of pain for photographers!

Naval Medal of Honor

 

 

The next morning my parents, uncle, and I took off for Niagara Falls. None of us had been there before, so we were all pretty excited to see the area. I decided that a photographer could easily spend a week there and still not get all the shots they wanted. When we got there the first night, we did a little exploring and my parents and I went into Canada. I was entirely too excited about that. It was the first time I had left the country. I got a passport  5 years ago and never used it until now. Hindsight, I feel un-American for going to Canada on the 4th of July.

Me and the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls in the background. This is on the Canada side looking towards the US

 

My parents on Rainbow Bridge, which is the pedestrian bridge that connects the US and Canada.

I spent about 90% of the vacation taking pictures. I wasn’t brave enough to take my camera on the tours with us, as you got soaking wet, and I didnt’ want to risk it, so I took a few images on my mom’s cheap point-and-shoot. I REALLY wish I had brought my good camera though, because the views were absolutely incredible. Next time I’ll know better.

Downtown Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, at dusk. The Skylon Tower is on the right side of the frame.

 

Fireworks over Horseshoe Falls

 

The edge of Horseshoe Falls at sunset

 

Looking down through the mist at the Hurricane Deck at the base of the Falls

 

Niagara Falls and the Maid of the Mist Observation Tower at sunset

 

 

After Niagara Falls, my parents headed home and it was back to work for me. I have been shooting a ton of different things, so instead of listing out everything that I’ve been working on, I’m just going to throw down a few images for your viewing pleasure.

Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot

 

Flagship Detroit at the Vectren Dayton Air show

 

Skywriting at the Vectren Dayton Air Show

 

Madison County Fair

 

 

A cowboy prays before riding a bull

 

Bull-riding in Ohio–who would have thought?!

 

Anyway, there are images I WISH I could post, but unfortunately can’t. Stay tuned, as I will hopefully have more shoots to share with you soon.

Life as a so-called, “Adult”

I started my third week of my internship with McGraw-Hill today, and I have to admit, it doesn’t seem like I’ve been here that long already. I’ve been moved out of Missouri going on 4 weeks now. The time has been flying by. During my first week of my internship, I was sent out to photograph an Asian Festival and Dragon Boat races. I can’t post the photos here as they are property of McGraw-Hill. I got SUPER sunburnt while out shooting, but it was really a unique experience. I am glad my job requires me to get out and explore Columbus, as I have seen a lot of neat places I wouldn’t have otherwise stumbled upon on my own. After the dragon boat races, I came back and photographed the park on my own time. (Since I wasn’t on the clock for McGraw-Hill, I am able to post these images here as I own the rights to them).

Proof that I really DID get sunburnt

Scioto River © Holly Hildreth 2012

Panoramic of Genoa Park, which is where the dragon boat races were held. The river you see is the Scioto River which runs through downtown Columbus.

Scioto River © Holly Hildreth 2012

Fountains at Genoa Park. Taken from the south side of the river, looking towards downtown.

The second week of my internship was busy with taking photos in the studio, shooting video on location, and doing a whole lot of editing and metadata entry. On May 31st, Stoli celebrated his 2nd birthday. When I got off work we walked downtown to Three Dog Bakery, which is a sweet shop making treats just for dogs. I got Stoli two cupcakes to celebrate.

Stoli's cupcake © Holly Hildreth 2012

Although they look good enough to eat, these treats are made specifically for dogs with pet-safe ingredients

Stoli's cupcake © Holly Hildreth 2012

At first Stoli wanted nothing to do with these treats. He turned his nose up at them…

Stoli's cupcake © Holly Hildreth 2012

Once he tasted the frosting, he changed his mind. He devoured the first cupcake and began licking the pavement for crumbs, so I decided to give him the 2nd then as well.

Stoli and cupcake © Holly Hildreth 2012

He was devastated when he “spilled” his cupcake. I flipped it back over and he was a happy camper. He inhaled the 2nd cupcake, and I’m not sure if he chewed or not. All-in-all, I think he was a happy birthday boy.

This past weekend I got to experience my first “Gallery Hop. I live in the Short North district of Columbus. The Short North is a very hip, artsy community. There are tons of shops, cafes, and art galleries everywhere. On the first Saturday of each month, all the shops and galleries open their doors and people explore the area. There is live entertainment, street art, musicians, food, etc. It goes from 4-10 (sometimes later,) but I walked around starting at 5pm, and I think I missed all the crowds. I heard later that it, “doesn’t get good until sundown”.

Short North © Holly Hildreth 2012

View form the Short North looking south

Shops in the Short North © Holly Hildreth 2012

I was glad I went, as I got to explore little shops I would have otherwise never stopped by.

Shops in the Short North © Holly Hildreth 2012

A small gardening store

Shops in the Short North © Holly Hildreth 2012

A gourmet chocolate store was too enticing. I had to leave quickly, otherwise I would have walked out of there dramatically heavier with a wallet that was much lighter.

The next day I decided to explore more of downtown Columbus. I was driving around and spotted an impressive building. As it turns out, it was the state capitol. I had fun checking it out and snapping a few shots.

Ohio Statehouse © Holly Hildreth 2012

Front of the Ohio Statehouse

Ohio Statehouse © Holly Hildreth 2012

Ohio Statehouse © Holly Hildreth 2012

Ohio Statehouse © Holly Hildreth 2012

Ohio Statehouse © Holly Hildreth 2012

A monument at The Capitol. It was a wall full of letters from Ohio soldiers that had been killed in action.

Ohio Statehouse © Holly Hildreth 2012

Looking northeast from the capitol

Bicentennial Park © Holly Hildreth 2012

Across the street from the statehouse is the Bicentennial Park, which is a nice multi-purpose green space.

Bicentennial Park © Holly Hildreth 2012

Panoramic of Bicentennial Park at dusk. Click the photo to see a larger version.

I know this post has been all over the place, but so much is happening so quickly that it’s hard to keep track of everything and then blog about it! That being said, to summarize: I’m really liking my job, Columbus is great–there’s so much to see! Things are going well here. I’ll try to keep everyone posted with what I am up to as often as I can.

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 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

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

Editorial Photography – Travel/Transportation

For our editorial class, we had to do a shoot with a basic assigned theme. My pick for this project was “Transportation”. I have always been interested in night photography, light painting, extended exposures playing with motion, etc. So I decided to apply these concepts to my shoot. Here are the results: