Florida bound!

It's been two years in the making, but finally a dream of mine is coming true! My husband, our furry kids and I are moving to Florida!!! While I am so excited to be living life in the sunshine state, I've had a lot of trepidation about leaving Happy Valley, my home of over 40 years. But so many things have fallen into place in the last few weeks, it felt as though this is what the universe has planned for us. I'm going to miss the four seasons, Penn State football games, my family and all my pet sitting clients whom I've come to know over the years in quite possibly the best job on earth. 

It's been a year full of much sadness as my husband and I have said goodbye to some dear friends and family in recent months. It's made me aware of just how precious life is and how there are no guarantees. I have so many things I want to see, explore and experience in this world and I'm afraid that if I wait, it will be too late.  

The beach is my happy place. It's where I find peace, connection and inspiration as an artist. I'm looking forward to putting my toes in the sand, feeling the ocean breeze in my hair and ending my days watching the sunset over the gulf coast. We've chosen to rent a house that's just a short bike ride away from the west coast of Florida and a mere 20 minute drive from some of the best beaches in the United States! This will be a huge change for me, but a chapter I am so ready to begin!

I'll be taking a break from my photography as we get ready for the big move. If you'd like to follow our adventures, I'll be sharing updates on Instagram. Click HERE to follow me if you aren't already. I'll be taking on new clients in September once we have settled in, serving the Sarasota, Osprey, Venice, Boca Grande and Englewood areas. 

Don't worry Happy Valley! This isn't goodbye as I will definitely be back in the area from time to time and will be scheduling sessions while I'm in town.

I appreciate all the encouragement and support I've received these last few years as I've chased my dream of becoming a professional pet photographer. As we embark on this journey, I will be expanding my photography and look forward to sharing southwest Florida as seen through my lens. 

Australian shepherd puppy on Venice beach

 

 

Delaware Shore beach sessions!

I couldn't get enough of the sun, surf and sand of Florida beaches this winter. So I'm super excited to announce that I am booking beach sessions at the Delaware Shore this summer! Perfect for families, children and seniors, a limited number of sessions are available from July 10 - 14, 2017. Contact me to get more information and to book your session. See you at the beach!

Florida Recap - Week 2

Ok, so it’s been a little more than 7 days since my last Florida recap post, but it was a busy week! Last weekend I met a friend in Naples to photograph her adorable dog Abby. Abby’s family also happens to live in State College, and they’ve been very helpful with giving us advice about the southwest FL area.  If you missed my post about Abby’s session, you can see it HERE.

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On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I took the CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) prep class with Al Audelman and the Bay PPA (Professional Photographers of America). It was a great class – I can’t say enough nice things about Al. He’s an excellent teacher, mixing jokes in between some dreaded mathematical lessons, but always making sure everyone in the class understood each and every concept before moving on. I wasn’t sure I knew enough to think about taking the test and passing, but was surprised to learn that I knew more than I realized. I’m still reviewing all the notes I took and reading the study guide. The group is trying to set up an exam date soon and I’ll join them if I can. It’s pretty likely I’ll be back in PA by then, so my goal is to declare my candidacy in Feb and take the exam in March. That’s fast tracking as my original goal had been to do this later in 2017.

On Thursday, I ran a facebook ad for a Southwest Florida dog model call. I’ve got a lot of ideas that I’d like to photograph and I need to get out and get to know the area better. I figured why not jump in both feet first! So far, I’ve had a great response. I’m looking forward to meeting the pooches of FL!

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And yes, I'm still enjoying my nightly sunsets!

There's nothing like a Florida sunset!

We’re here! I made it to Florida and I’m really excited about these next several weeks! I’ve got a list of places to photograph, events I’ll be participating, business owners to meet, photography group meetings to attend and of course, dogs to photograph! It was actually pretty warm in the northeast today, but there’s just something about the sun. As soon as we crossed the state line into the sunshine state, my mood became a little happier, my attitude a little perkier and in spite of being tired from driving, my body a little more energized!

I've longed to sit on the beach and watch the sun kiss the horizon in the last few moments of daylight. Such a wonderful way to end a day!

Best of 2016

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop. ~ Ansel Adams

With every new year comes new goals and ambitions. As an artist one of them is to grow and perfect one's skills. In the ever changing world of technology, it can be hard to keep up - new editing programs, better cameras, new skills learned, etc. But it is also important to remember the basics which never change no matter how much the world has. It's so easy to compare myself to other talented photographers, but in the end, the only comparison that really matters is the one to myself - 12 months ago.

I took a look back at the images I created this year and picked 5 of my favorites. Some I have have never shared publicly before. All of them are images I am proud of. Some involved using new techniques I set out to learn in 2016. Others were created perfecting skills I had learned but wanted to improve. In my mind, there's no doubt my work as a photographer has grown a lot these last 12 months. In many ways, I have far exceeded goals I set for myself. My journey to defining my style has really started to take shape this year. It's been a fun ride and I'm really looking forward to what 2017 has in store for me! 

This is probably my all time favorite photo of Izzy! Which is saying something because I swear every time I take a new photo of her, that image is my new favorite! I love everything about this - from her expression, to how life like she is, the background and the beautiful blue sky. Creating this image was a big defining moment for me this year. It set the path I've been down regarding my artistic style and where I plan to take my creative vision in the future.

Of all the images I captured this year, this shot of Kita is the one I am most proud of. I've had this vision for over a year and for one reason or another was never able to make it happen. Then one night I saw the sunset I had been longing for, grabbed my camera and said it's now or never. With a long to do list of things that needed to get done, creating this shot was the most important thing to me that summer night. I emphasize the word create as this is more than just being at the right place at the right time. It took careful planning to make it happen. You'll see more images like this from me next year especially on some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. 

One of the things I wanted to do more of this year was capture the relationship between the pets and the people who love them. Posed shots are great, but it's the moments when something special happens right before my lens, the interaction that isn't coaxed, planned or forced like this one that I want to photograph more of. I love this special moment between Harley and her mom, don't you?

Although this is similar to the image of Izzy above, I included it because of a challenge I gave myself and met while creating this photo. I loved working with 5 month old Asher. Not only is he handsome, but he really worked the camera like a professional model! This day I proved to myself that I can use my lighting to create beautiful images at a location I had never seen until that very moment. All within 10 minutes of arriving to my session. This is harder than you might think. Especially when working with a very active and easily bored puppy!

There's something so special about this image of Nixon and Snoopy. From the fall colors, to the magical light, to the way they sit side by side - best buddies and "brothers" - my heart just melts every time I look at it. Maybe because while I got to know these two, I truly came to love them. Maybe because I know the bad rap that pitties get and I wish people could meet dogs like these two. I don't know, but honestly, it is one of my favorite photos captured this year. Seeing it printed on a canvas wrap for a Christmas present was even more awesome. 

While I've come a long way since last year, I still have so much growing to do. I can't wait to see where my journey takes me in 2017!