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

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The Sun Actually Rises Before Noon!

This week for nature & scenic class, our assignment was to shoot sunrises/sunsets and the stars. Lucky for me, my parents were one vacation at the Lake of the Ozarks, so I had a great place to go shoot.

Every year my mom’s side of the family has their annual “McBain Family Vacation”. My parents plus my aunts and uncles on my mother’s side (plus my one uncle on my dad’s side,) get together for a week of what I can only assume is mayhem. They usually try to pick a different spot every year, but this is the third year they have vacationed in the Ozarks. The couple they rent their vacation property from are very nice and always excited to have them. Normally they have their vacation in September, but my cousin had a baby this year, so the vacation got pushed back a little bit.

I met up with my parents on Saturday, spent the night doing a little shooting and playing card games with them. Unfortuantely, it was cloudy, so I didn’t get any sunset pictures, and my night time images didn’t really have any stars. My mom got me up for the sunrise, which shockingly happens before noon—a fact that most college kids are unaware of. I got a few images on the lake that I am happy with.

I drove back to Warrensburg on Sunday and did a little night shooting with another photo friend that evening when the stars were actually out.

You can see all of my photo adventures from the weekend on my flickr page: 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

The stars over a cow pasture in Warrensburg

© Holly Hildreth 2011

All Content © 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.)

New look for Fall 2011

It’s that time of year again to go back to school and work on developing an ulcer. School started on Tuesday and hasn’t been too terrible for the most part, other than finding out I’m probably not going to graduate on time, but that’s a whole different blog all together.

Recently I have been driven nuts by my hair. It’s been SOOO ungodly hot in Missouri this whole summer, and having mid-back length hair adds to the heat. I started getting tired of spending so much time blow-drying and styling it. I decided it was time for a change.

I got impulsive and cut off 10.5 inches to donate to Locks of Love today. This is my 2nd time donating (last time I donated 15.5 inches.) I’m not sold on my new look, but it’s hair and it grows back. So, here’s my new soccer-mom haircut.

Before Image

Before

After

After

Side/back

Me with my donation. I decided that hair is instantly gross once it's no longer attached.

Good News, Everyone!

Hallmark has finally publicly announced it, so I can now pass it on to you guys:

One of my photographs won the International Hallmark Cards, “Love is a Funny Thing” contest.

So what does this mean? Well, I’m glad you asked! My winning card is for sale online now through their website. I got a nice check in the mail for being selected, which is awesome, because I’m hoping to buy a new lens in the now so painfully distant future. The card is meant for Valentine’s Day, and it will be on sale online from now until January. If it does well in the online store, then it will be printed and distributed to stores worldwide. So, that’s pretty sweet (not to mention if it goes on sale in stores, I get another check from Hallmark!)

Here’s a VERY small thumbnail preview of the card:

Holly Hildreth winning Hallmark Card Entry

All the cards will also feature a picture of Stoli and me on the back as well as a short bio about me, which you can preview with the card online now at the link below.

So, if you feel like helping out, like comedy, or know someone in your life that will need a Valentine’s Day card, check out my winning entry at: Hallmark’s Official Website

 

 

 

 

 

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

Spring Break 2011

Most people don’t think of Waverly, IA as a Spring Break destination. In fact, as most of my classmates talked about their exotic vacation plans, I kept my trek to the homeland under wraps, because everyone knows that only cool kids go to Iowa for Spring Break. So I left Missouri’s 75+ degree weather and traded it in for a 6 1/2 hour drive north to snow piles and highs in the low 30’s. I brought Stoli with me. Normally he cries and paces on long drives, but a quick stop to the vet for anti-motion sickness medicine relaxed him and he was great. (A little out of it too..He brought me a mouth full of rocks and then flopped on his side just staring at me.) Stoli loved the family and I have a feeling they liked him more than they will admit. Stoli’s favorite part of the trip, however, was chasing my sister’s cat, cooper. (Cooper was not pleased.)

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

After the trip home, I returned to Missouri a few days early to take a sever storm spotter training class. We’re required to attend a safety class outside of the normal university meeting time for one of my gen ed classes. Storm Spotter Training in Missouri is…well…intersting. These hillbillies lose it. It’s like Christmas for them, so not only was it educational, but a great time to people watch. (But that’s a whole different story.)

My boyfriend, Andrew and I have been trying to celebrate our one-year anniversary for quite a while. The plan was to go to St. Louis as a mini-vacation. I have only been to St. Louis once, but it was night time and I was young enough to not remember. Our Anniversary was January 23rd, and we just got there this weekend, over 2 months later. It wasn’t for a lack of trying on our part. The first time Andrew scheduled his leave and the trip as a surprise, but it was right in the middle of my finals week, so we had to cancel. The next time we made reservations, the Air Force screwed us over and put travel restrictions on us due to “impending blizzards,” so we had to cancel yet again. (It never snowed a single flake, by the way.) The last time we scheduled our trip, Stoli got sick with an advanced bladder infection and upper respiratory infection, which set us back $225 in vet bills. Fourth Time’s a charm, I guess.

The trip was not all a walk in the park. I think someone was trying to keep us from getting to St. Louis (we apparently didn’t catch on after getting turned away 3 times!) When we left Warrensburg the forecast called for light snow with little to no accumulation. Things were fine until we switched drivers about 2/3 of the way there. I started driving the last part of the journey as as soon as I did, all Hell broke loose. It got mega snowy and icy in a heartbeat. There we lots of cars and semis in the ditch. I was driving 40 in a 70 mph zone and passing cars like they were standing still.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

View from our balcony of the snow

We made it to our hotel safely, but they didn’t get our room right. Although the room wasn’t what we had reserved, it was still really very nice. The hotel was full–there was a plastic surgeon convention staying there and they must have gotten everything mixed up room-wise.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

We didn’t bring swimming suits or anything to do in the hotel as we didn’t figure we’d be there a whole lot other than to sleep, but with the blizzard-o-death outside, we were sort of stuck on ideas of what to do. We explored the hotel from the pool to the cigar lounge. I wanted to take pictures, but andrew wouldn’t let me. Something about already being totally out of place…( I would have liked to have seen all the old rich American Royalty getting their mustaches in a bunch over it.)

The snow calmed down a bit once the sun went down and we decided to hit the city. Andrew’s dad had suggested a nice restaurant downtown by the arch called Mike Shannon’s. We dressed up and decided to give it a try

(I didn't take this photo, but I wanted to show what the restaurant looked like.)

I had filet mignon and Andrew had the prime rib. It was amazing! After supper we explored the city a bit, but it was still nasty out, so we headed back to the hotel and watched some TV. We called it in early as we were both really tired.

The next morning we got up and headed out for lunch. We originally stopped at a BBQ place, but the line was ridiculous as it had been featured on the travel channel and voted best BBQ in St. Louis. We settled for a T.G.I. Friday’s near where we had eaten supper the previous night. After that we headed over to the arch.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011We got to the arch at around 12:30. They were ALREADY SOLD OUT OF TICKETS FOR THE REST OF THE DAY! We weren’t able to do anything other than look around on the main level. Andrew and I milled around the museum and walked the campus outside the arch and then headed out. The original plan was to go to the zoo, but it was only in the low 40’s and was very windy, so we decide against that. Instead, we went to the St. Louis Art Museum. I had been to the Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City a fair few times and decided that I’d like to see what St. Louis had to offer. I was surprised that Andrew wanted to go too. Normally getting him to go to anything cultural is like pulling teeth (for lack of a better idiom.) When we got their, we found out to my dismay, they had gotten rid of ALL their photography! I like looking at paintings and sculptures, but photography is pretty much the whole reason I go to art museums. We spent about an hour looking around. I love taking andrew to the modern abstract art. Rothko and Jackson Pollak make him want to beat up hippies.

We decided to head home after the art museum. It was nice to be back in Warrensburg and to see Stoli again. All in all we had a really good trip, despite all the hiccups. I’d like to go back and visit St. Louis again as there were many things we didn’t get to see and do. We both really enjoyed our very belated anniversary. It was great to get out of warrensburg and see the world (even if it is still in Missouri!)

The Hair of the Dog

I tried my hand at photographing a puppy solo today. Normally I have the owner or a friend assist me during the shoot. This is pretty essential as it’s EXTREMELY difficult to keep a puppy from running off set, move the lighting, take the photos, make strange noises to get the dog’s attention, etc, all at the same time. Today, however, I decided that 21 years-old is as good of age as any to have an aneurism.

I have been working with puppies recently, and I seem to keep forgetting the fundamental fact that their attention span can be measured in milliseconds. I spend so much time with Stoli that I make the rudimentary mistake of assuming all puppies younger than him automatically know all the basic commands and won’t be totally freaked out by coming to a new environment to photograph. It makes me realize how much I take Stoli’s obedience for granted. He knows come, sit, stay, lay down, up, jump, shake, outside, inside, car, fetch, etc. So when I am faced with an 18-week old puppy, I feel out of my element again as I am back to square one of pure, raw puppy energy. Surprisingly, I have much more patience for animals than I do with people, so I am able to keep a level head while problem-solving a way to get the shot. The puppy I worked with today is our friend’s 5 month tri-colored corgi puppy, Rajah. I’ve come to decide that all corgis seem to have that fun-loving, goofy, class clown personality.

Anyway, it was quite the experience. I think that I’ll stick with having an assistant from now on. I’m glad I tried to, so I can now fully justify needing someone around to help manage the chaos.

As always, you can see ALL of the proofs from this session by visiting my Flickr Page. It takes vastly longer to load each photo into the blog, that’s why I usually only put my personal favorites in my posts. (That’s not to say that only the good ones make it here.) There are many that don’t make it to the blog just because of time and space restrictions. That being said, mosey on over and check out the slideshow! Click Here for the link to 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

© 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

Stoli and the Cat, Part II

I think Curry’s house seems to draw stray animals from around the neighborhood. ( I have noticed that Missouri people aren’t exactly the most, er, “protective” (for lack of better word) of pet owners. They have no problem letting their animals roam free through the streets and neighborhoods.) Anyway, the cat came back today. We’re pretty sure it belongs to the neighbors, because it’s always around. Stoli tried making friends again. He always gets so excited. He really reminds me of a little kid. He tries to see how close he can get to the cat before he gets a swat from her. Anyway, I hadn’t shot since Saturday, so I figured it was time to get the camera out and make some images. I know they’re not super amazing photos, but I’m just trying to remain active with my shooting. Again, I’m sorry for so posting so many pictures of Stoli!

 

Wedding and Location: Clauser and Pollak

For our Q-Flash assignment, I photographed my friends Jared Clauser, Haley Pollak, and their dog, Ellen. It was an interesting shoot–their dog did NOT want to sit still in a park filled with geese. Here are a few of the results. You can see all of the proofs by visiting my flickr website:

Flickr Slideshow