Friday, March 11, 2011

Sarah Ventures Into Senior Portraits

Sarah is a very bright, intelligent, and lovely high school senior. She bakes delicious cookies, celebrates her Danish heritage with folk dancing, and she's a crack shot with a rifle. With so many interests and talents, Sarah wondered what to do for her senior portraits. I suggested that we might so several mini sessions and focus on several of her interests.

Our first session was last Saturday at the Civil War reenactment in Vista, California. Sarah is a member of The Frontier Army of the West, 2nd United States Cavalry. As a Union Soldier, she dresses as a boy and is one of the best shots in the Unit. Last December at the annual Christmas Party and Awards Sarah won the award for the cleanest gun in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry. It just made sense to make our first session about her participation in the Unit.

Just before the dance on Saturday night, I met Sarah in a grassy area where we had fun posing her in her beautiful Civil War hoop dress. And just to make Sarah happy, we invited her boyfriend, Tim, to join us for a couple of portraits.

I've posted her first session portraits, and according to Sarah they are "awesome!" Thank you Sarah and I look forward to our next mini session at Old Poway Park. You can see all of Sarah's portraits on my website Elizabeth Heath Photography. Here's the link to Sarah's gallery.

Now go forth and celebrate something you're good at!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

History Worth a Second Look

The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town, San Diego, was rededicated July 10th 2010. I documented the event for the Frontier Army of the West, but other groups participated: The Buffalo Soldiers, The Apline Outlaws, and The Marine Color Guard. Old Town holds a significant place in San Diego history as the original site of the city. The hotel has been completely renovated and is now open to the public to enjoy along with the old historic adobe structure that sits adjacent to it. If you've never spent an afternoon wandering around Old Town or it's been awhile since you've gone, it is well worth a visit. You will learn a lot about the history of the city where I enjoy living. I love living in San Diego. All the photos from the event are on my website. Here is a link to the gallery. Now go forth and embrace your city!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Universe Aligns for a Morning

Have you ever had one of those days when the universe seemed to align itself and everything just fell into place so beautifully it almost made you want to cry? Well, I had one of those days last Wednesday. I'm on spring break from my teaching job, so I decided to get up early and head out to Point Loma Lighthouse. I know that if I get there when the gate opens there are usually not so many people around and the light is great for photography.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw only a few cars. Good! All the more for me. I grabbed my camera and headed up the hill to the lighthouse. From the parking lot it looked fantastic! When I reached the lighthouse, it was perfectly quiet. I looked but saw no one, except a worker repairing the roof of the oil shed next to the lighthouse. "Good morning," I said. He smiled and said, "You picked the best day of the year so far to be here. There's no wind today which is very unusual." He was absolutely right. The wind has always been a problem when I've shot at the lighthouse in the past. There's only a short time that the flowers are in bloom and with the wind it makes it difficult to shoot. But today it seemed that all the little blooms were smiling at me saying, "Oh, please take my picture!" I happily obliged.

I walked all around the lighthouse finding all my favorite angles to shoot. Inside I climbed the narrow circular stairs and up the metal rungs to get a shot of the lens. I've never been able to do that in the past, because there are always so many people crowded up there trying to get a look at it. Then I set my focus downward on the stairs. I had to adjust my ISO with the dim light, but I was able to get a couple of nice shots. What bliss to be able to take my time instead of being crushed by so many tourists and waiting, waiting, waiting until I might have a clear view.

At the bottom of the stairs, I backed myself right into the center of the stair well in order to get a shot out the front door looking at the ocean. I could hear click, click, click, click, click above me and I thought to myself that some other lucky photographer had also picked the right day to come to the lighthouse. We talked for a few minutes and exchanged websites. Photographers are so willing to share and be helpful. I enjoy meeting them when I'm out. There is never an attitude of competition or not enough to go around. There is an ethic among photographers like I have never seen in any other field in which I've worked. A couple of days later the photographer sent me a photo of me that I had no idea he had taken. It's pretty cool. Thanks Marcos for sharing. I love the photo.

Ah, yes, the universe aligned for me last Wednesday and I had a fabulous time. I have some great shots on my website. You can check them out at Now go forth and do something fabulous that you love whether the universe is aligned for you or not!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Pinas and Padres in the Park!

Fog! Thick soupy fog. There it sits like a bowl of marshmallow cream in the valley below me, and I'm wondering if I'll be able to see the family I'm about to meet at Big Rock Park. The weather man has said it will be warm today maybe even in the low 70's, but right now it looks cold and unwelcoming. I pray and hope for the best while I drive down Mission Gorge Road toward my destination. Eric, my assistant is due to meet me in a few minutes to help get my equipment ready. I made sure my battery pack was charged up, so I don't have a dead battery in forty-five minutes like I did at my last photo session. Lesson learned on that one!

If I were at the park just to enjoy the early morning quiet and a walk, the ambiance created by the slowly lifting fog would be delightful. But I'm not and I'm hoping that in another twenty minutes it will lift enough to get some great images of Gabriel, Jasmine, and their children, Dana, Joelle, and the little guy also named Gabriel. The Pina's are a neat family that I got to know last spring, so I really want to give them some nice images to choose from. Gabriel has told me that it's been six and a half years since their last formal portrait was taken. Gee, little Gabe wasn't even born then! It's definitely time.

Eric arrives and we are ready to go when the Pina family drives up all dressed in their Padres shirts. How cute! They love the Padres, so why not. Thankfully, the fog is lifting just enough to suit me and off we go. The kids want photos on the big rocks, dad wants photos on the swings, and I want photos near the creek where all the gorgeous, huge, and colorful leaves carpet the ground.

After each set of photos, I say, "Do you want to see?" The kids all respond gleefully, "Yes!" Little Joelle says, "Wow!" with lots of feeling when she sees each one. I tell her that I'm going to make her my official ambassador for my photography. She just smiles and seems pleased. Mom and dad are happy with the images they see and I think they may have a difficult time choosing just one.

Our session comes to an end, and while I say good-bye to mom and dad the kids run off to play for a few minutes. I've enjoyed the Pina's so much, and my session with them just reiterates for me why I enjoy my photography so much. The people I get the chance to work with are fun and full of life. I have the best job in the world. Thanks Pina family for a really great morning at the park. Enjoy your images!

You can see all the images from the Pina's photo session on my website,

Now, go forth and do something you love to do!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Big Rocks and Beautiful Girls!

It was a crisp chilly morning as I headed out to Big Rock Park Christmas Eve morning. The sky was blue and the colorful trees had managed to hang on to most of their leaves during the blustery windy day we'd had the day before. My assistant, Ashley, arrived and we were gathering all my equipment for the photo shoot when Laura and her daughters, Alex and Jordan, pulled up.

All bundled in sweaters and cute boots the girls looked darling. Laura looked amazing in her very fashionable boots! The girls were excited about having their photos taken. The last time they had had photos taken they were just little things, so it was definitely time! We headed into the park with the girls chattering about all the places they thought would be good spots for photos. Alex wanted photos down by the creek among the trees. Good idea. I had that thought also. Jordan wanted photos on the slide in the play area. Absolutely, but maybe at the end of the shoot. Only one idea was nixed and that was Jordan's idea to have them all lined up with their backs to the chain link fence! Kids are funny, aren't they? Jordan was okay with it, because I promised her we would take photos on the slide.

All was going very well until my off-camera flash died on me. I'm sure I recharged it. Was it last night or the night before? Oh well, next time I'd better make sure it's the night before my shoot! Out came the reflectors and the on-camera flash. Back to basics as Laura said. We managed to finish up the shoot with some lovely photos of Laura and her girls. You can see all their photos on my website.

Now, go forth and do something that will take you back to the basics!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Blaze of Color and "I Do!"

It's a crisp chilly day as I head out to take photos for James and Chelsea's wedding. As I drive over the bridge I can see the blaze of fall color in the trees at Santee Lakes below where the wedding will take place. The gazebo is being "dressed" to welcome the couple who will say their marriage vows in front of their guests. The tables are being decorated with Chelsea's colors, red and black. Excitement fills the air!

The cloud cover provides beautiful translucent light for taking photos, and I wonder if it will last or if perhaps the sun will pop out to say hello. I busy myself checking the locations I have envisioned for the formal portraits. Ah, the perfect spot! A huge gnarled tree bursting with color. I can see the happy couple on the little pier with the colorful canopy framing them in all their wedded glory. Yes, it is the perfect location.

It's time to get busy. My assistant, Jerome, arrives and is ready to help with anything I need. How wonderful to have help. Weddings are so much fun, but I need extra hands to accomplish all I need to do for James and Chelsea.

And then Chelsea appears on mom and dad's arms a vision of loveliness. The camera loves Chelsea. Her blue eyes sparkle. She has her hair done up and wears a pearl necklace. She is perfect, and I know James will think so, too, when he sees her.

Snap, snap, snap! Weaving in and out of the guests. Skirting around the back of the gazebo. Oh, don't miss that shot. Got it! Oh, I wish the sky wasn't so bright behind Chelsea. Nothing I can do about it now. Snap, snap, snap! Get the kiss. Chelsea loves the "he's just about to kiss her" look. Ah, yes! That's it. Going in five different directions at once. The vows have been said and now it's on to the reception. Keep moving!

It's a small, simple, but very sweet wedding reception. . . so intimate with just close friends and family. Group shots. Get them in front of that big tree with the colorful leaves. No! Look THIS way please. You can take photos when I'm finished. Thank you! Quick, quick, quick. I'm sweating. Peeling off the layers even though it's chilly out. Working hard and loving the shots I'm getting. Stealing the couple for some intimate shots at the fabulous location I've chosen. Oh, no, people along the pier. Thank you for moving. We really appreciate it!

Yes, yes, yes! They are gorgeous and so intimate. Chelsea and James will love them. I know I do. Chelsea and James are fading fast. Oh, dear. They're both sick and feeling awful, but what troopers. We got the photos and I know they will be so happy with them.

Don't relax yet. One more photo. Jerome suggests a photo of the bouquet on the gazebo railing. I like it, so I shoot it. He thinks it will make a nice cover shot and I agree. Almost finished and then I can relax. I've been sick for two days myself and I will be happy to be at home soon. I just know I'll be at my computer processing the photos as soon as I get home. I'm so excited and I can't wait to show them to James and Chelsea.

Monday they are posted. Chelsea contacts me and tells me that she and James absolutely LOVE the photos. YES! I'm thrilled because I do too.

Got a minute? Check out James and Chelsea's wedding photos on my website Elizabeth Heath Photography. They're worth a look.

Now go forth and do something that makes you sweat, but is very rewarding and share it with someone who will appreciate your work!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Aaron Gets HIs Blues On!

He was a cute young fresh faced kid carrying the flag in the Civil War reenactment group at Old Poway Park when I met Aaron a few months ago. I had been asked to take some photos of him, because he would soon be deploying to Afghanistan. I was more than happy to do so and you can see those photos of Aaron on my website Elizabeth Heath Photography.

As I got to know Aaron, I learned a few things about this young man that I admire so much. He was born in Burlington, Wisconsin nineteen years ago and he grew up on a dairy farm with 600 cows. He loves the smell of cows! I can't blame him. It feels or I should say smells like home for him. Aaron joined the military for a couple of reasons. For one thing it's a family tradition. Every male in his family has served in the military, and although his mom would have preferred that he join the Air Force, he decided that the Marines were for him. The second reason is that Aaron wants to be a teacher, so joining the military will help him achieve that goal. I taught school for many years and I still substitute teach, so Aaron's story really touched me. He'll make a great teacher.

In talking to Aaron I learned that he had been sick the day he was supposed to have his formal dress blues portrait taken, so he missed out. I just couldn't sit back and not do something about that, so I offered to do his dress blues photo for him. We chose Old Poway Park, since we had been there before and liked it so much. Little did we know it would be so crowded with people when we returned to do the portrait. We did manage to find an area with good light that wasn't too crowded. We enjoyed stopping each time the train came around to wave at the children. It was a fun time. Aaron was terrific. He took direction so well that it made my job that much easier. I also have to say thank you to Jerome who is part of the Civil War reenactment group and a photographer in his own right. He was a great assistant, and I could not have provided Aaron with such great portraits without his help.

I'm proud of Aaron and his willingness to put his life on the line for my freedom. As we walked back to our cars, people would stop Aaron to shake his hand and thank him for his service to our country. He will be deployed soon and my prayers will go with him for his safe return. He has my thanks and gratitude for all he is doing for his country and for me. You may see all of Aaron's dress blues portraits on my website Elizabeth Heath Photography.

Now go forth and do something for someone in the military to thank him or her for their service to our country.