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.



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







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


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 |

The City Lights

One of the biggest problems photography students have is not shooting during their Summer breaks. I am just as guilty as the next. Last summer I took a portrait photography class. It was 3 hours a day, Monday-Friday. After doing that, I didn’t feel like doing any personal work. Once the class ended, the only reason I picked up my camera was when there was money involved. This Summer, I vowed to not be lazy and to keep myself sharp by doing random photo shoots over my break.

When there’s nothing interesting to photograph, I always use Stoli as my fallback plan. He’s always willing to be my subject, and he’s a bit of a ham.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

I promise we don't give our dog drugs! © Holly Hildreth 2011

I promise we don't give our dog drugs!


The Kansas City area has seen a few storms move in recently. Weather photography is something I find to be really interesting and fun. I think my sister rubbed off on me as a kid, because she was getting her meteorology degree and interning when I first started getting in to photography. Here are a few pictures from a recent storm. I wasn’t able to get any fantastic storm pictures as you need cloud-to-ground lightning, and not cloud-to-cloud lightning like you will see in these photos.


© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011


On Sunday, Curry and I took a trip to the Plaza in Kansas City. Curry had been working 16 hour days for a week straight, so we hadn’t seen eachother or hung out since we took the trip to Wisconsin. We wanted to do something fun, especially considering I was leaving the next day to go to Iowa and Atlanta for 2 weeks. After I got off work, we went to the Cheesecake Factory for a nice dinner, and then we walked around the plaza and I took some pictures. Kansas City is known as the City of Fountains, as it has the most fountains and public statues of any city in the world. I have been wanting to get up there and do a fountain shoot for over a year, but the timing was never right. Anyway, it was a great way to spend our evening, and I think I got a few good shots. What I love about extended exposure photography of the city and these fountains is how soft and colorful the photos become. Also, the images posted to my blog have been downsized to prevent people from stealing my work. As a result, the pictures here may look a little grainy, or the color of the sky might seem blotchy. The original photos don’t look that way, but that’s something that happens when you drop the resolution on the image to prevent theft.


Curry and I on the Plaza © Holly Hildreth 2011


We tried so many times to take this picture, but finally gave up and settled for a blurry image. The exposure was 5 seconds, and as you can see, we both apparently can't sit totally still for that long!

We tried so many times to take this picture, but we finally gave up and settled for a blurry image. The exposure was 5 seconds, and as you can see, we both apparently can't sit totally still for that long!


Poseidon © Holly Hildreth 2011


Kansas City Lights © Holly Hildreth 2011


© Holly Hildreth 2011


© Holly Hildreth 2011


© Holly Hildreth 2011


© Holly Hildreth 2011


The Cheesecake Factory Tower © Holly Hildreth 2011

The Cheesecake Factory Tower


One of my recent posts was a photo tour of my new apartment. Since moving in, I’ve had a handful of “interesting” experiences. To summarize, sometimes I start thinking I live in a trailer park, and not the University apartment complex. Anyway, my newest neighbor is a raccoon that lives in my patio. Here’s a photo of him in the dumpster next to my car. Any name suggestions?




My family and I will be traveling to Atlanta at the end of the week for a family vacation. This is our first REAL family vacation, so I’m excited. I’ve never spent any time in Atlanta, so any suggestions of fun things to see and do would be appreciated! Stay tuned for more photos of my adventures.

Stoli and the Birthday Hat

For my color imaging class we’re required to do a “color match” project. The point of the project is to photograph a subject that you’ve been dealing with for your portfolio and include something red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, and yellow. The next time you go shopping, see how many items you can find with ALL of those colors (just a head’s up, it’s next to impossible!!) Once you do the shooting, then you head to the lab and make 40 trees’ worth of prints trying to get the print to match the color of the objects EXACTLY. It sounds easy, but its incredibly time consuming. Previously we had to photograph a card with 25 different colors on it and try to match the colors. After 8 hours solid of printing and adjusting, i was still only able to match 12 out of the 25.

Anyway, for this shoot I found a party hat at Hobby Lobby and decided that Stoli would be my subject. I haven’t photographed him since January, and after shooting a ton of rowdy dogs in the studio, I thought it would be nice to get back to my roots. Stoli was SO good by comparison. It’s a lot easier to photograph a dog when it knows its basic commands like: sit, stay, down.

These photos are more fun than a serious body of work. I am extremely stressed (to put it lightly) right now over mid-program assessment next week, so I wanted to get something fun without getting a raging ulcer in the process.

Stoli is turning one on May 31st, so I suppose this is his early birthday!


© Holly Hildreth 2011

"You're serious? you got me a STICK for my birthday?!"

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Purebred, Champion Bloodlines. Can you tell?

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Stoli's a Mamma's Boy

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!)

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.