Friday, December 17, 2010

The Real Meaning of Christmas

Children's Christmas programs are always a delight. Their bright
eyes and joyful spirits are like Christmas packages, all wrapped
up in their very best, with a surprise waiting inside.

More from this series here:
The Real Meaning of Christmas

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Southern Food Tour

The southern states are known for their hospitality and great food.  I was in Texas and Alabama this last week and spent almost as much time in restaurants, as I did walking around seeing the sights
and celebrating the newest Doctor in our family - Thomas Turner Payne, DPT

Celebrations in Dallas was the first stop on the "food tour".
Broccoli , kale with walnuts and dried cranberries, baked sweet potato, smashed potatoes with the skin, fried okra.  The next day it was dinner at  in Montgomery, Alabama.

Unfortunately,  I fell off the wagon and started a real binge.  Fried Green Tomatoes with some kind of yummy sauce, Gumbo, Fried Catfish, Fried Hush Puppies and Sweet Tea 

I almost forgot to mention the Pecan Cobbler topped with TWO scoops of vanilla ice cream...   Yowza.

I did not order the Pecan Cobbler - but I did have a taste - well a couple of spoons-full. 

More food at a celebratory lunch the next day. It's not everyday you get to say congratulations to two people who have received a Doctor's Degree in their field.  Congratulations Dr. Thomas Payne and Dr. Cora Huitt : Doctors of Physical Therapy.  

I fly back to Texas the next day where it's on to the next food stop Luby's  in Dallas for a late lunch and I top it off with dinner the last day I'm in Texas at Pappadeaux.  If you've never been - you have got to go.

I end my orgy with Mississippi Catfish Opelousas - Blackened Catfish with Shrimp, Oysters and Crab meat in a Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce and a side of dirty rice.  Another glass of Sweet Tea.  That's it, the end of the line - it's back to California and "skinny food" for a while.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Visit with Nonnie and Grandpa

Grandparents are similar to a piece of string - handy to 
have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of 
their grandchildren."
Author: Author Unknown

View the Animoto video featuring the youngest of our crew.

A Visit with Nonnie and Grandpa

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mussels for Dinner

Is there anything better than good friends, good food and a little music to start off the holiday season?

Mussels for Dinner

Thursday, October 21, 2010


It is always fun to work with children when you play with  them they
 forget they are in front of the camera. No camera smiles here - there 
is nothing better than the real deal.

I purchased a set of great templates from Ariana Falerni []  She has furnished virtual rooms that allow a photographer to show a client how wall groupings will look in their home. (She calls them Wall Display Guides)

You can place canvas or framed groupings in different arrangements - great for those of us who do not want to invest in frame displays, or carry them around in the trunk of our car.  She get's my vote - Thanks Ariana - a great idea. (The images in this dining room are from the Canvas Grouping Set - 16x20 - you can see more examples on her site.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Mini Disaster

Nice France - Saturday, May 22nd

From the airport in Nice we take a taxi to our hotel. 40 €. = about $50 AND 
we give him a tip… But the Hotel Ellington is nice. On a beautiful tree 
lined street a bit away from the active tourist area but close enough to walk 
where ever we want to go. The room is neat and pretty spacious for a 
European hotel. There is free wi-fi in the bar area and scads of black and 
white prints of jazz artists on the walls.  

We drop our bags on the bed and I scurry to change the lens on my camera 
to hit the streets.  "Oh no." I discover my card reader is not in the camera 
bag :~( .  This makes my need to get out and into a store  urgent – No card 
reader –is a disaster in the making.  We get directions to a nearby FNAC  
(a Best Buy type of store) and are on our way. At FNAC they only have 
CF card readers that use a USB connection – bad news for me – it will take 
forever to download images from the 5D Mark II…. I buy it anyway, but 
get directions to a professional camera store - just in case.  

With no time to waste, most stores will close soon and since tomorrow is 
Sunday, and Monday is a National holiday – there will be no chance to 
purchase a card reader if I don’t get it today. So it is off on a trot…. We 
make it to Rue Massena and a gaggle of tourists but luckily, Arta-Photo
store is still open, and they do have a card reader that connects by Firewire.  
Whew…. disaster averted.

Click on photos to see full size.......

Rue Massena  - only pedestrians are allowed.  
Restaurants and shops line the street.

The street vendors waiting patiently for the all the stores to pull down their shutters.

Once the regular stores are closed for the evening, 
the street vendors display their wares.

Friday, June 4, 2010

On Our Way

My daughter, Charlotte won a fabulous, all expenses paid trip, and decided to take her mother on a wonderful vacation. Round trip to France and then a Mediterranean Cruise on the Legend - a small boutique ship of the Seabourn Yachts line.  She was tickled pink and I was tickled pink too.

I planned to Twitter, Facebook and Blog my thoughts every night - but realized I forgot to order an International Data Plan when I looked at the "free" AT&T message on my phone - each MB of data will cost me a whopping $19.95 - so long "Tweets" it's good old pencil and paper and the computer keyboard from this day forward...

We arrive at the Paris airport sleepy and sore from an eleven hour non stop over the polar cap (and Iceland - boy were we lucky the Eyjafjalla Glacier volcano decided to settle down ).  

After sitting on our bottoms so long our feet are swollen.  I knew better than to take my shoes off - but Char forgot...

The Paris airport, is pretty much like any other airport - there are people sleeping or using their "devices", eating food or reading, anything to take the edge off the boredom -  but in contrast, it is also very different from our good old LAX -  gigantic and dare I say it - beautiful.....  glass and steel and modern seating everywhere you look.  

Can you believe it - all the announcements are in French :)  It made it just a bit difficult for us to find our way to our connecting flight- but we made it, and were soon on our way to the French Riviera and Nice.  

Good bye Paris - we explore your neighborhoods when we return next week...

Looking down I see a harbor filled with yachts and later learn it is St Tropez.

We land in Nice and the Cote d' Azur

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dana Point St. Regis Hotel

Volunteered to photograph a group of women participating in the
Destiny Makeover program.  The photo shoot was held at the
St. Regis Hotel in Dana Point - what an environment.  I only
had a few minutes to catch a couple of snapshots - after all my
primary purpose for being there was to capture images of the

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Poppy Preserve

Robert drove me up to  Antelope Valley to the Poppy Preserve this afternoon.  As we got closer to the preserve I could see that the poppies had their faces shuttered.  I thought perhaps the sun was too low in the sky, but when we parked I quickly learned why.   The strong winds had stripped them of their pretty crinoline skirts and left only the center petals wrapped tightly around their bodies, it was the end of the season.  I was sad, but decided to shoot anyway - I'll remember to go a little earlier next year.

I have a few more images from the day posted on my Flickr Photostream

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mini Models

These little models were at the LA Shoot This event last Sunday.  
So many photographers - so few children but some adorable shots anyway.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

NILMDTS is a non profit organization of professional photographers who come to the aid of families who want a photograph of their little one who has been "called home"much earlier than expected.  The photographer captures beautiful images of their child and gives these images to the parents free of charge.  Some parents frame these images and keep them as a document to their child's short life, other keep the images in a safe where they can go to honor and cherish these simple memories.

In the training, directed by Madonna and David Nicholson, posing and lighting was a major part of the afternoon session.  Madonna suggested we carry a couple of black pieces of cloth to serve as a backdrop and to wrap around the mother.  Lighting was one light with an umbrella.  A reflector was used when more fill light was needed.  The light stand they used was a  a stand that collapsed when picked up and legs snapped back when the stand was placed in position. They used a bracket that held the Pocket Wizard and the Speedlight.

Practice, practice, practice, thinking about a monolight instead of my Speedlight- so I can see the light BEFORE I press the shutter.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Women of Service

The Orange County Chapter of The Links, Inc.  Presented four extraordinary women with awards this past Saturday. Ruth Graham May Siegrist Ph.D, Thelma Edwards, Gloria Kappe and Sylvia Turner.  The Links are committed to recognizing women in the Orange County Community who exemplify the goals of our four facets: Service to Youth, National Trends, International Trends and The Arts.

My good friend Julietta Williams accepted the award for Gloria Knappe - who could not attend the luncheon.