The Y and A Families

Wow, it’s been a huge Labor Day weekend for me. I have had the opportunity to see a ton of wonderful clients and capture some of their beach memories that they will have forever with their images. What can I say, my first family of the weekend has come to me for more years than I can count. It has been great watching Saylor and Chandler grow up these last few years. They are really sweet and fun kids to photograph!! It is always a treat to see the Y. family come to have their beach photos taken here in Destin. Both of the kids are at such a great age where they are developing from the toddler and little kid stage to that of a young lady and 0-90 in 2 seconds little boy. And the beautiful thing is they will still hug each other and have fun together. That is great to see in siblings 🙂 And let’s talk about mom and dad…woo hoo!! They got to make some “hot couple” photos. I do so love romance!!

Then we have the A. family. This was my first time photographing them. Their two daughters were so precious!! Bethany was the typical toddler, running and exploring. Isn’t it so neat we can view our wonderful area through the eyes of a child each family we shoot! It does keep the excitement of living at the beach exciting and fun for me at least! And Abby, she is the adorable big sister. You can tell she is a caring and loving young lady by the way she plays with and protects her sister.  The beach had some great tidal pools, perfect for reflecting the sunset as little feet created ripples on the still water. And let’s just chat a moment about that bright yellow full moon. Oh yah, perfect for that romantic south Pacific looking shot with mom and dad. Mmmm…mmmm….I do love it!

LJ0T7456 copyThere will be more blogs throughout the week along with some exciting news!!!!!! Keep tuned in to find out!_MG_8936LJ0T7286LJ0T7098 copyLJ0T7619LJ0T6876LJ0T7347 copyLJ0T6910LJ0T6982 copy
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Abby and Kyle’s Sneak Peek

As promised…here’s a super small sneak peek of Abby and Kyle’s wedding. It was so intimate and loving…their families love them so much! I  was honored to have been chosen as the person to document their day! Since Kyle proposed to sweet Abby in the middle of a highway, it was fun to do a type of recreation of that on their wedding night. And of course…it’s not a fun picture until everyone jumps 🙂
Standby with baited breath!! There will be more blogs to follow this week!!

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Seagulls, Flying babies and True love

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As a photographer who gets to spend many evenings a week viewing our magnificent beaches here on the Emerald Coast, I am just as guilty as the next resident of taking our wonderful area for granted. But I guess it’s like most  things, if you live there the novelty soon wears away or perhaps we just don’t stop to enjoy it anymore.

As I was laying out on the beach (for only the second time this year) last weekend, I watched a large family begin the process of a beach portrait. It was then I began to realize that although the topography of the beach is always evolving, the sea oats sprout, bloom and die, the shores extend and erode, and the sky is always full of surprising clouds and colors. But there are three consistent factors that will extend beyond our lifetimes. Wow, you say. What is that? Well, let me tell you….seagulls, true love and of course flying babies! How much more beach does it get? The joy of my job is to creatively weave like an artist the variables and constants to form a canvas of life.

The M. and B. families offered me a chance to combine it all this week. It was so much fun!!_MG_8855LJ0T6138 copy

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Angela - September 1, 2009 - 5:52 pm

LOVE that flying baby, Mari! Toooooooo stinking cute!!!! Awesome job, as always 🙂

Hurricane Katrina four year anniversary

I can’t believe that four years have gone by since Hurricane Katrina devastated much of South Louisiana and Mississippi. We knew it was going to be a bad storm, but the reality was much worse than predicted.

My call came late Friday night to go to Louisiana or Mississippi the next day, the storm was in the Gulf of Mexico and headed towards New Orleans as a category 5. Early Saturday morning I got up and drove the scenic route through Biloxi along the Gulf. Many folks had already headed out, some were boarding up to ride out the storm. There was an eerie feeling in the air.

The rest of the day I spend in Slidell, La photographing the preparations for the storm. I found a couple who lived in a fishing camp on Lake Pontchartrain. They were thinking of staying. Thankfully, they heeded my warning and left. A few days later I was where the camp once stood and there was nothing left. I spent that night at my father-in-law’s home not knowing that the sprawling five acre homestead would never look the same after that day.

As the weather rapidly I photographed some more preparations and then met my  friend and fellow photographer for the Baton Rouge Advocate Mark Saltz  at a fire station in Lacombe, La, five miles away from the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. We were lucky, the station had food and a generator. We were able to transmit images until the next morning when the storm made landfall. Then we knew the wrath of Katrina. As we were outside the station attempting to make images, we watched homes literally get blown away. At one point I heard what I thought was a fighter jet, realizing that it was a tornado we made cover. It struck two blocks away destroying everything in it’s path. The damage was mostly wind we thought, until the eye of the storm passed over us and the backside came. With it came the lake as well. People who had stayed in homes by bayous and the lake came swimming into the station. And the water continued to rise. There was no way out. Large trees blocked the road on one side and a bayou had overflown on the other. As some of the  firemen were discussing taking the ladder truck to the last remaining home in the area and putting everyone on the roof, others were at the new lakeshore trying to rescue victims swimming in from flooded homes. It was a hectic mess.

Just as suddenly as the lake had risen, it began to fall. It had gotten just a half block shy of the fire station. We made it to Baton Rouge that night to transmit images at around 11pm. No phone lines were up and we were unable to make contact with any loved ones. I had no idea how my father-in-law and husband had faired or even if they were uninjured. My brother who was working at the Cleveland Plain Dealer at the time stayed late at work hoping to see me transmit any images to know if I was okay. He said the first one came over at 1am. We finally got to leave Baton Rouge and head back to my in-laws home. We were unable to drive there, so we had to park the car and traverse through fallen lines, debris and trees the last mile with our computers and cameras in tow. Even in the darkness, it was immediately evident that one or more tornados had struck the home. My heart was in my throat as I knocked on a window hoping someone was there. My husband and his father were both there and fairly okay.

The next two weeks were a blur. People on houses, destruction for miles, water and thick mud and the smell of death. It is something that I will never forget. We worked hard and had to drive over an hour each night to transmit. Other journalists shared stories they had heard of both tragedy and triumph. It was a bonding of sorts, the need to reach out and tell the stories of the people who survived. We were documenting history. I think the Fix-a-Flat company had a bumper year due to the journalists in the storm. Every trip I made to Baton Rouge I had to pick up several cans to dole out to my fellow journalists in need.

In the meantime, my father-in-law suffered a hurricane induced heart attack. We lost him a little over a month later. He is now listed as one of the over 1,300 victims of Katrina.

On a bittersweet note, an image I created was part of the Pulitzer nominated package by the Associated Press and many of my images were on magazine covers and in books aboout the storm. It was an honor to be a part of the team, but I hope we never have another storm like that.

Here are a few of  my Katrina images.

This was the image that was part of the Associated Press Pulitzer package.

This was the image that was part of the Associated Press Pulitzer package.

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Nursing home evacuation.

Nursing home evacuation.

Contraflow on I-10

Contraflow on I-10

The couple who wasn

The couple who wasn't going to evacuate at their home.

The home after the storm.

The home after the storm.

New Orleans

New Orleans

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Wild hogs run across the yard as kids play in a tent.

Wild hogs run across the yard as kids play in a tent.

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This man clung to the top of a magnolia tree during the storm, his neighbor was not so lucky.

This man clung to the top of a magnolia tree during the storm, his neighbor was not so lucky.

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A flooded Slidell

A flooded Slidell

The Rigolets bridge

The Rigolets bridge

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pink ribbon symbol - September 17, 2010 - 7:07 pm

Hey very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…

Adam - August 31, 2010 - 8:53 am

oh my god! now comes another monster hurricane… I hope it will go away asap

admin - August 27, 2010 - 10:57 am

We rode the storm out at the Lacombe Fire Department by the Lake Road. Then we walked into Eden Isle. I swear…if I never have to do that again, it will be way to soon!

Eric Abney - August 27, 2010 - 10:52 am

How did you get into Eden Isle? Did you drive back into Slidell before I saw you? or did you ride part of the storm out there? It all starts to run together now. Still would like to see more of you pictures and still waiting on my copy.

Dutch Abs Guy - August 26, 2010 - 9:58 am

It feels like tropical storm Earl is going to gain more intensity and it seems like he will be arriving at Atlanta in the following week, i hope it will lose its effectiveness befor Earl smashes Atlanta

Elois Kokaly - August 21, 2010 - 6:16 pm

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Davida Reynard - June 16, 2010 - 3:45 pm

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Alissa Braggs - April 30, 2010 - 9:24 am

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Wahrsagen Online - February 19, 2010 - 5:00 pm

I highly enjoyed reading this post, keep up writing such interesting stuff!!

Karmen Landwehr - February 9, 2010 - 12:52 am

Hi,It really is an interesting post !

Featured Wedding Emerald Coast Brides Magazine

Mike and Asha made such a cute couple. They had been dating for over 10 years and loved each other more and more every day!

When I photographed their wedding last winter, I knew their images told a great and fun story of love!  The groomsman jumping randomly in the wedding portrait didn’t hurt anything either!

This featured wedding is in Emerald Coast Brides magazine which is on the shelves of most major vendors right now! Grab a copy and check out this great couple!

mikeandasha

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