Archive for March, 2011

It was the crack of dawn early on my day off. I was trying to get into the right frame of mind, but I have to admit I was a bit hostile. Why did CPR training have to be so damn early? And why did it have to be scheduled on my day off? There was no way out of it, trust me, I tired, but being CPR certified is part of my job, so like it or not, for the next couple of hours, I would be saving the lives of weird torso only dummy’s and infants made of tough grey’ish plastic. Having gone through the drills and techniques of listening for breaths, checking heart rates, sweeping air passages and administering chest compressions, I took my test, passed with flying colors, collected my certificate and went about the rest of my Friday, never for one second thinking I would ever have to use my newly acquired skills. Never, until yesterday.

Yesterday while munching on his dinner, Manson started to make weird heaving noises. I figured he was just clearing his throat but I stood watching, just in case it was something more. He continued to heave and was desperately trying to breath through his nose. I’m getting a very bad feeling, so I kneel down next to him, listening to see if he’s still breathing. He heaves a couple more times and then nothing. Silence. He starts to shake, his abdomen swells and there is no air coming in our out. Immediately I grab him and place him between my knees. Something is caught in his throat. At this stage I know he needs the Heimlich, and fast, but how in the world do I administer this to a dog? My mind is racing and I hear myself yelling out his name in complete panic. Instantly I decide that Heimliching a dog or a person is no different, so I made a fist with my right hand, located his rib cage and placed my fist between the ribs. I wrapped my left hand around the fist and prepare to pull upwards, hard. One thing the CPR instructor told us about administering the Heimlich, pull with huge force. There is a chance you might break a rib or 2, but do what you have to do to dislodge the blockage. So I pulled upwards on little Manson, hard, then waited a second. Nothing. I centered my fist again and gave another huge pull upwards and this time a big glob of food shot out of Manson’s mouth. Never in my life have I been so happy to see a big glob of slimy, partially digested food. Never. Trying to take stock of what just went down, I sit on the floor and give myself a second to think. Manson waddles back to his food bowl and continues eating, like nothing ever happened and I take deep breaths, reach for the Skinny Girl Margarita and pour myself a much needed cocktail.

Alive and well, little Manosn poises proudly next to my CPR credentials.

I should be knee deep in watching “Dancing with The Stars” right now. Me, a chocolate elcair and cup of hot tea should be curled up on the couch willing Sugar Ray Leonard not to cry due to his inability to master the pasodoble. I should be, but instead The Husband has hijack the TV and is fully absorbed in a documentary about a guy who survived for 76 days on a raft out on the Atlantic Ocean. Which to be honest, is a lot less superficial than a bunch Hollywood celebrities jiving and cha-cha-cha’ing across a sparkly dancefloor, but a lot more boring thats for sure. And in my current state of boredom, I decided to break with tradition and opt not to watch paint dry, cos that would first of all require me to paint something, sidenote: not going to happen, so¬†instead I decided to take stock of my fridge magnets. Now I know it may sound like I’m being intentionally boring, but I assure you, I’m not. In my current state of “nothing better to do” they grabbed my attention and as a result, all you lucky lucky blog readers out there get to participate in the mind numbing festivities via a snapshot of my fridge. Misery loves company y’all. Misery loves company.

As you can see, I make a point of picking up a magnet from every new country or state I travel. I’ve been doing it since I was 16. My dad hates it. When I moved to the US from Ireland, I left my parents fridge looking like the windshield of a car, full of dead and splattered bugs, but instead of a windshield it was a fridge, and instead of bugs it was magnets, get it? Ok enough. I’m just rambling now, so its time to shut the self down.

The Small Things

March 26, 2011

Sometimes in life, its the small things that make all the difference, like The Husband coming home with a notebook simply cos it reminded him of me and how much I love all things paper. Or when he travels and always manages to steal the hotel room pens on my behalf. Don’t ask me why, but I appear to be a complete kleptomaniac when it comes to pens, especially hotel room pens. If its not nailed down, guaranteed I will steal it. So hotels everywhere be-warned, if you see my name on a reservations, lock up your pens or you can kiss em all goodbye.

This week at the Justin & Mary workshop, I saw first hand how the smallest of things can have such an impact on the way you capture an image, but its the seeing of these small things that becomes the real challenge. The solution is not always obvious, it takes practice, it takes patients and more often than not, it takes having a set of balls and the willingness to take a risk. So in the comfort of a staged wedding situation, I was able to play, test and push myself and my camera to try new things. It was tough, I’m not gonna lie and as I went through my images at the end of the day, I found a bunch that were somewhat questionable, but then there were the ones where everything just clicked and what I managed to capture made me want to dance and sing out loud while demanding the rest of the photographers join me on top of a table for a collective fist-pump. Exciting times. I’ve shared some of my photos here and just so you know, in each of these images I was working hard practicing something new, and sometimes it work out exactly as I intended and other times, not so much, but live and learn, right?

The bridal shoes.

A stunning vintage wedding dress and some bridal accessories.

Our bride for the day was Leslie and she was adorable and completely stunning. I love love love her birdcage veil too.

A little mood shot.

The theme for the wedding was “American Honey” and there were a ton of fabulous honey related wedding details.

A little behind the scenes gossip, these cupcakes got tore up at the end of the shoot and can I just say, they tasted every bit as yummy as they look.

Matt & Leslie workin it for the camera’s.


Some fierceness from Matt.

Mmmmm, cupcakes.

Some center-piece details.

Write Outloud

March 24, 2011

I wish I was better at keeping a journal. I have attempted it on numerous occasions but never with any consistency. Mostly cos I struggle to write fast enough to keep up with my own thoughts and rants and these rants, just like my conversations, can be very long winded and result in sore fingers and cramping wrists. And because my thoughts flow hard and fast, my handwriting ends up looking more like a combination of Japanese, Russian and hieroglyphics that got beaten together in a bowl and thrown against a wall. Yep, its so messy even I can’t read it. On top of that, what if my journal fell into the wrong hands and all of the deep and twisted thoughts living in the pokey corners of my brain were revealed? What would I do then? Send it to MTV or Bravo and demand my own reality show?

But there are definitely occasions when I wish I’d had the discipline and nerve to keep an uncensored and uncut, written documentation on this, my journey through my life. But in the absence of that, I do have my blog, my own little corner of cyber world where I share most of what goes on in my day to day life through words and photos and where I also get to share a small portion of the lives of the people I am privileged to photograph. I also get to see how with every new camera skill I learn or each photography workshop I take, the subtle and not so subtle shifts in my photos that are helping me define my photography style. This week I added a lot more knowledge and a few more skills to my camera-bag of tricks when I attended the workshop of (words are not enough to describe how amazing this couple is) Justin and Mary Marantz. This workshop was hardcore, demanding and packed full of overwhelming information, I loved every second of it, but I have to admit, my brain is somewhat kicked from the experience. So kicked I only have it in me to post one image from the day right now, but I will definitely work on posting a few more once my tired and worn out little brain cells recover.

For almost 9 hours straight, the adorable Leslie and Matt, our model bride and groom, posed and smiled to the demands 20 + photographers. They were complete superheroes and should both be given capes.

In true 21st century style, Facebook was how Donya and Terry “met”. She was on a mission to rid her list of “friends” of those people she really was not friends with or even knew. On the potential chopping block was Terry, but something made Donya pause, he was too cute to delete so she decided to send him a message and find out how they knew each other. One message lead to many chats and phone conversations and soon both Donya and Terry decided they should meet face to face. As a member of the US Army, Terry was based out of Virgina and had limited free time, however one Tuesday evening he flew to Atlanta to take Donya to dinner and 2 short hours later, flew back to his base.

There was no doubt something special was happening for both Donya and Terry. Not even long months of deployment to Iraq could come between these two. They stayed connected through phone calls, e-mail and of course Facebook. With ever message their relationship strengthened and soon Terry realized that this was the women he could not live without. Luckily, Donya felt the same and this May they will make it official and start a new chapter of their lives together as husband and wife.

I’m couldn’t be more excited for this couple. They are such a breath of fresh air. Full of unpredictable energy with a huge appetite for life. Donya is completely unfiltered and funny to the core. I love her. Terry shares a similar sense of humor and is completely head over heels for Donya. I cannot wait for their wedding to roll around.

This couple really knew how to enjoy a photo shoot. They laughed from start to finish.

Workin the fierceness.

Did I mention Donya’s appetite for all things footwear? A girl after my own heart.

Terry, you rock the cool and handsome look.

Such a fabulous couple.

Donya, those legs are no joke.

Still laughing.

Terry is a motorcycle fanatic and loves nothing more than to take his women out on long rides and Donya knows how to work the motorcycle chick look.

Boots, fierce.

Let there be no doubt who this women belongs to.

The day of Donya and Terry’s engagement session was hot, so we decided to end things with a little dip in the water.