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.

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Two Kinds of Stoli

First off, I want to apologize for not posting in a month. Things have been absolutely hectic around here, and as a result, my blog got put on the back burner. (I’ll go into all the fine details in the next post. This post is mainly about showing some old work that got hidden in all the hustle ad bustle of this semester.)

In one of my last posts I promised you more Stoli pictures. Well, now I’m giving you two types of Stoli. The first type of Stoli is a last minute photo shoot in the studio. I had a model booked, but she didn’t show up, so I used my studio time to do one last Stoli shoot just for fun. Stoli has a love/hate relationship with the studio. On the one hand, he knows he gets a car ride, gets to see people who fawn over him in the equipment check out area and print lab, and if there’s anyone else in the studio while I’m shooting, they usually give him some belly rubs as well. Stoli also knows that the studio means he gets a ridiculous amount of treats and peanut butter straight from the jar. Now on the other hand, however, Stoli knows he’s got to be a good boy in the studio and listen to me while I take forever getting “the shot”. He is also subjected to being dressed up, and he is definitely not a fan of that. All things considered, he usually likes getting his photo taken. Our dog is a bit of a diva. So without further ado, here is our little ham.

Stoli's unhappy birthday © Holly Hildreth 2012

Stoli’s not excited for his impending 2nd birthday on May 31st.

We have the world's most patient dog © Holly Hildreth 2012

We have the world’s most patient dog…

Happy Birthday, Butthead.  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Happy Birthday, Butthead.

My favorite shot of the session   © Holly Hildreth 2012

My favorite shot from the session.

Surprise!! © Holly Hildreth 2012

Surprise!!

Stoli belongs in Grease © Holly Hildreth 2012

Stoli belongs in Grease. Also, despite looking angry, he’s actually just licking peanut butter off the roof of his mouth.

Cool Kid Stoli © Holly Hildreth 2012

Now onto the other type of Stoli. For one of the last assignments in my advertising class, we had to shoot something and make a billboard advertisement out of it. I wanted to do a product since my portfolio has a lot of animals and people but is thin in the still life part, (not because I don’t enjoy shooting product! It’s because my style of photography is so clean and often minimalist and many times advertisements require a well-designed and hand-built set, which I struggle with on occasion.) Since I am a dreadful cook, I decided to just buy something to shoot instead. I also wanted to try something a bit different. I found flashing LED light sitting around at my boyfriend’s house and decided to use it. It was originally a part of his roommate’s beer glass that lit up and flashed, but I just took the bottom part and played around with it. Here are some of the results:

Before the party light  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Before the party light

After playing with the party light  © Holly Hildreth 2012

After playing with the party light.

Favorite shot of the session.  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Favorite shot from the session. © Holly Hildreth 2012

For the ad we needed to design a piece that was 12’x48′. This is such an odd ratio that it was really difficult to design something that looked half-way decent. Also, we were limited to ten words or less of text, as when you’re driving down the interstate, you only have 8 seconds to read something. We had to design absolutely everything on the billboard from the image to the slogan and beyond. Here’s my submission:

Stoli ad  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Stay tuned for a big update on what’s going on in my life and more photos!

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

Fatz Meow

Going through my portfolio photography class this semester, I have come to the conclusion that I need to expand my shooting away from just dogs. I decided to ask a photo friend to help me out. Tara was a graduate student at UCM in the photography department. She graduated this December, but is still in Warrensburg, so I asked her to bring in her cat, Bonnie. Bonnie (aka “Fatz Meow,) is a 16-year old Maine Coon/calico mix.

I grew up with cats my whole life, so I was nervous about bringing one into the studio. Whenever we’d take our cats anywhere, they’d run away and hide. Not Bonnie. Tara walked into the studio carrying her, and she seemed chilled and relaxed like it was no big deal. I set up a table top with black plexiglass, and Bonnie immediately flopped down and made herself at home on it.

I soon learned that photographing cats is much harder than dogs. Dogs are constantly on the go, bursting with energy, which makes it easy to capture dynamic and humorous images. Cats, however, do what they want, when they want. Bonnie was displeased whenever we made her be upright for more than 30 seconds. She just wanted to laze around on the table. I think it’s much easier to create serious, dramatic portraits with cats, but it’s not so easy to get images that make the viewer laugh.

I also had to revamp my approach to photographing cats. With dogs, if you make an odd, high-pitched noise, they instantly grant you their attention. Cats, however, could care less that you’re making a fool of yourself by squealing at them. Also, dogs will do ANYTHING for peanut butter. Tara brought in tuna for Bonnie, which she liked, but she still wouldn’t really do anything other than sit still, looking pretty for it. It’s a different world with cats, but I still really enjoyed the photo shoot. I always like to challenge myself by trying new things. You never know what you could end up with.

The whole set can be viewed on 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

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | 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

 

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

Buddy and Maddie

Today, one of my photo friends,Anneka Clock, brought me her grandma’s Sheltie dogs to photograph. Buddy, the male, was very excited and happy to be in the studio. Maddie, the blue merle female, was a retired show-dog. She was very skittish and frightened of the studio. This made photographing a bit challenging, as most of the dogs that come in are bouncing off the walls and love to be fawned over and given treats. Luckily, another friend, Charlene Champion, joined us for the shoot and helped wrangle the dogs.

I was excited to photograph the Shelties. I had never shot a similar dog breed, and I figured it would bear some unique photos to beef up my portfolio.

(PS: If you are in the Kansas City area and have a dog or know someone who does, get in contact with me and we’ll try and set up a shoot. I am always looking for new models!)

Here are  few images from today’s session. You can check out all the proofs: HERE.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Buddy

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Maddie

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

All Images are © Holly Hildreth 2011

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

Summer Happenings

Hello all!

Lots of things have been happening since my last post. School is now out for the Summer, but I’m taking a Summer class so (hopefully,) I won’t have to take anymore Gen Eds as a senior.

I took a trip the 2nd week in May back to Iowa to see my best friend, who had just gotten back from her study-abroad in Asia. I brought Stoli with me, and of course he had a good time. His favorite part of the trip was chasing a giant kickball around the yard. He attempts to look vicious, but he’s still a marshmallow.

Attack Stoli © Holly Hildreth 2011Stoli celebrated his first birthday on May 31st. For his big day, we got him 2 new toys, played with him in the yard, and took him to the park with our friends’ miniature schnauzer puppy. He was a happy pup. Here’s a look back to him as a puppy. The photo is what the breeder sent us, so it’s not exactly high-quality, but you get the idea of how small he used to be!

 

At the end of May, I finally moved out of my apartment on the corner of Overpriced and Bad Landlord. I have now got a small one-bedroom apartment owned by the University. It’s about a mile from campus, but it’s not too bad (if you don’t mind being stampeded by kidlets every time you open your door).

The Kitchen and door to the back patio

The Kitchen and door to the back patio

 

living room

living room

 

Stoli looking like the King of the Castle

Stoli looking like the King of the Castle

 

Stoli spends a ridiculous amount of time barking at his reflection in the window at night. For being the 10th smartest dog breed, Stoli has his moments of doubt.

Stoli spends a ridiculous amount of time barking at his reflection in the window at night. For being the 10th smartest dog breed, Stoli has his moments of doubt.

 

Door to the front patio

Door to the front patio

 

Front Patio

Front Patio

 

Bathroom

Bathroom

 

Bathroom

Bathroom

 

My small bedroom (and a look at my new prints!)

My small bedroom (and a look at my new prints!)

Panoramic of my small bedroom

Panoramic of my small bedroom

Living room and breakfast bar

Living room and breakfast bar

 

Kitchen, breakfast bar, and livingroom

Kitchen, breakfast bar, and livingroom

 

I'm like a troll living under the stairs...

I'm like a troll living under the stairs...

 

I have neighbors above me and to the side of me. They have hoards of children and the walls are paper-thin. There's nothing like waking up to the sound of your neighbors screaming at their kids, threatening to beat them with a belt.

I have neighbors above me and to the side of me. They have hoards of children and the walls are paper-thin. There's nothing like waking up to the sound of your neighbors screaming at their kids, threatening to beat them with a belt.

 

Last Friday, a group of Curry’s work friends and I went to Kansas City for a Royals game. We were headed into the City during rush-hour, and unfortunately, stupid Missouri drivers were out and about. There was a 5-car pile up, and we were the last car. We were really lucky, and things could have been much worse. We’re still waiting on Geico to give us estimates on Curry’s car. In the meantime, he’s been driving my car to work, and I think it’s totally killing him to drive American. 😉

Front bumper damage

Front bumper damage

 

Broken Mirror. It's a good thing his mirrors fold back, otherwise it would have been toast.

Broken Mirror. It's a good thing his mirrors fold back, otherwise it would have been toast.

 

Scratch and dent on the driver's door. The door doesn't open properly, which makes it difficult to get in, unless you do it NASCAR style.

Scratch and dent on the driver's door. The door doesn't open properly, which makes it difficult to get in, unless you do it NASCAR style.

 

Dented front panel, scratched bumper, and minor hood denting.

Dented front panel, scratched bumper, and minor hood denting.

 

Well, I think that about covers life from the last month. I haven’t really done anything too earth shattering as I have been a slave to PictureME! Portrait Studios. We’re taking a trip to Wisconsin at the end of this week and then my family is heading to Atlanta for a vacation at the end of June. More photos to come.

 

 

 

 

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.