Monday, January 28, 2008

Story - Hello Kitty

I have had some rather odd things happen to me in my life, and as this was assuredly right up there at the top of the list, I thought I would share it with you.

It was my last night in LA. I was sleeping on an air mattress in my friend's living room, which put me about 10 inches off the ground. All was well , until around 3 AM when I started to hear someone very close to me say "Hello" in a high pitched voice. Very clear, very articulate and about 6 times.

Well, you know how it is when you are sleeping and you need to be sleeping - you sort of fight the invasion of the conscious world, attempting to incorporate whatever it is (in my case its usually the alarm clock) into your dream. I happen to be rather good at this. One time I managed to get a full half hour of extra sleep in by managing to turn my beeping alarm clock into some odd song that a bunch of beautiful Japanese women were singing. Kind of an odd overlay into my dream about slaying dragons on a golf course - but, hey! Dreams are weird anyway, so who cares?

So, I attempted to take the Hello Voice and implement it into the business of making a sand castle in front of the Vatican, but it didn't work. Reluctantly, I opened my eyes.

About 12 inches in front of my face, directly at eye-level, was a huge black cat. OK, I was dreaming.


Oh my. I was dreaming and apparently I have just awakened in the middle of a Disney film.

"Hello?" Again with this. This goes on for some time as I try to fathom the reality of this moment. Mind you, this isn't "Me-ow" that sorta sounds like "hello", no this is a clear-cut, articulate "hello", complete with change of verbal emphasis. Then he reaches out and pats my face. Apparently this is more than a mere greeting, this requires action.

Admittedly I have never met a cat that speaks English before, but I do speak Cat rather fluently being the owner of a rather psychotic Siamese, and I know what the face smacking business is about. So I get up and proceed down the hall to a strange kitchen where I attempt to locate the demanded kitty breakfast. The entire time I am being followed around with "Hello" and "Mew" casted about on an alternate basis. After I fed him, I went back down the hall, pausing briefly to listen, sure that the theme to the Twilight Zone would be forthcoming out of nowhere. All was silent, and I returned to bed, this time covering my head with the pillow lest the dog come out and ask me to lunch.

The next morning I reviewed this experience, still trying to place it in a dream, but it wasn't working. So with a great deal of embarrassed hesitation, I asked my host and hostess if this actually happens or if someone had put drugs in my toothpaste.

"Oh yeah, he does that every morning". Apparently this is a normal routine in their house. I see. I left for Northern California shortly after that, still rather unclear on which was stranger: A cat that says "Hello" or the people who consider this perfectly normal.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


This exquisite young lady is Isabelle. We had a really good time braving the raging waters at the creek the other day. She's a trooper - that rock she is sitting on is wet, btw, and its winter, but I never heard about a cold fanny one time. LOL. Thank you Isa and Francie - you have a slide show up - its and your photos can be seen in total at Fair warning - I put music on your slide show, so it will load kinda slow the first time you get in there.


Here is Vicki. And check out the mustard field. This was amazing - there must have been 20 acres of this stuff, it was incredible. Life in the wine country! Vicki - the photos are at, just look for your name on the right! Call me on my cell when you get to them. I had a great time with you!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cows and Chickens

As a photographer, particularly when one does weddings as part of that, you inevitably become an on-the-drive-home"wedding planner". Its an occupational hazard I guess. Having done this for a zillion years, I'm rather over it, but every young employee I've ever had spends our entire drive home planning his/her own wedding based on what they just saw.

My boyfriend is in real estate and I'm learning quick that my occupational hazard has a parallel in that field. I guess looking at homes and land all day long tends to get you going on what you want. And, like ice sculptures and chapel-length veils, this seems to change quite frequently. A month ago, for example, he only wanted two rooms in a 3000 sq. ft home - one being the bedroom and the other being a kitchen that rivals Kitchen Stadium (he's also a chef). Yesterday, however, he was all Home On the Range.

We were driving all over Northern California running errands which was giving us lots of car time to chat, and apparently for him to reflect on the plan du' jour.

"I've decided I need a lot of space," He says to me. Quite the opening line after several minutes of contemplative silence.

"Now? Listen, if you need space, fine. I can live with that. But if you need space now, and you think I am walking home from here, you have another think coming, Sparkie."

"No! Not that kind of space. I mean land. I need lots of land. 20 acres. With a nice little ranchette, that kind of thing." So we spend the next bit of time eye-balling open land and discussing the value of trees vs sun. This leads to the discussion of the vegetable garden, which I firmly believe should not be under a half acre in size. This then side tracks us onto the cooking thing for awhile, and then we return to the "practicalities" of the "new plan".

"That's too big, too much work," He announces, sizing me up in terms of my potential rototiller-operational-skills.

"I can do it. My grandfather was a farmer. I love to garden." All true. He seems to be somewhat OK with this idea and then launches into how the proper equipment would be needed. Apparently the idea of running amok with a little tractor with a rototiller attachment is outweighing any concerns he may have about my inability to turn a single shovel of dirt, nevermind an entire half acre of dirt.

Then he decides he needs a goat. OK, I see we are switching gears again. I can play Old McDonald with the best of them.

"Goats are good. I want a cow."

"Cows would be OK. I wouldn't mind someone running some cattle on the back acreage." (Please insert the twang of an old guitar and the clunk of a canteen here)

"No, honey. Not cattle. A cow. Cow singular. You know, the one named Bessie that meets you in the front yard every morning and says 'hello'." Honestly. Cattle, indeed, and running cattle at that. Men.

He looks at me incredulously, "What in the world do you want a cow for?"

"Milk!" I give him my best 'duh' look, but the truth be known, I didn't dare say I really wanted it for a pet.

He ponders this for a minute or two, while I entertain visions of carrying my pail out into the dewy morning grass, strewn with wild flowers to milk Bessie.

"Well, the meat would be good..." He says by way of concession.

The dew dries up, the wild flowers wilt, I drop my pail and look at him in horror. "MEAT???! You aren't going to kill Bessie! Bessie is a pet, a family member!..."

"Well, what else are we going to do with her offspring? You didn't want a herd of cattle running, remember?"

"What offspring? Since when is Bessie pregnant? Bulls are mean."

"Since Bessie gives milk. Bessie has to be pregnant or nursing to give milk, Sharon. Just like with you." He's quite amused at the incredulous look on my face.

This had never occurred to me. Go figure. Who knew it worked the same way with cows? I was quite concerned about the bull aspect, but he then assured me that you can rent a bull. Rent-a-Bull. Now there's a business to be in!

Having resolved the issue of the cow and the goat, I moved on to chickens. I love chickens. Especially the one's that look like they are wearing bloomers. However, I was soon to learn that to some people the chicken is akin to the Spawn of Satan.

"Absolutely not. Chickens are messy and smelly and a royal pain in the ass." This led to a heated debate where I desperately pleaded the Case of the Chicken to no avail. Apparently my Animal Wish List was over with the cow. He promised to buy me eggs, but I wasn't done. Then a horrible thing happened - I was banished from the kingdom.

"If you want chickens, you can have chickens on your own piece of property." He didn't say it, but I could see the next line in his evil eyes: and take your little cow with you! Banished! Thrown off the farm in my little checkered pinafore. Fine. Be that way. I pouted for some time, seriously concerned about how I was going to manage to rent-a-bull on my own and then a vision hit me and I started giggling. If my dog and my cat are any indication, this wouldn't work out for him very well. Both of my animals are by my side constantly. They follow me everywhere I go, room to room even. I seriously doubt Bessie and the girls would be any different and I suddenly had this vision of going over to his house to visit being followed by a cow and 6 chickens. The picture of him opening the front door to that was hilarious.

"No chickens." Fine. We moved out of playing Old McDonald then and moved on to lunch where he ordered chicken!

It wasn't until the next day that the reality of my own existence hit me. I've pitched a huge campaign for a milk cow and I'm lactose intolerant! I haven't been able to drink milk for over 20 years! OH NO! What a moron I am! I was horrified - I spent all my feminine whiles working on some stupid cow that makes milk I can't drink and meat I eat maybe three times a year! A whole cow would provide me with meat for the rest of my life, for chrissakes. Who am I kidding? I don't know how to milk a stupid cow! And besides, if memory serves, that procedure needs to happen at day break. Day break?! I don't DO day break. I do noon! What good is a cow?

I dial the phone. "Honey, I've made a tremendous error in judgement." I explain this horrific dilemma to him.

"Yeah, but I eat lots of meat." I point out that this isn't fair. He then remembers something about methane gasses that come off of cows and it being bad for you. I didn't even ask. Sounded suspiciously like Blow Dryer Cancer to me, but I could see Bessie packing her bags. I made one more attempt at Save the Chicken.

"Do you promise, promise, to clean up after them?" I promised. "Okay, then. But only two."

Good deal. I was no longer banished and I had my chickens. So when Ed McMahon shows up with our million dollar sweepstakes check, we are all set to go.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My LA kids

OK, looks like I'm going to be back in Hollywood this month and I get to see this guy - Theo. This is a shot of Theo drowning in his massive collection of stuffed animals (seriously, Theo is the Emelda Marcos of stuffed animals!) We shot this because he had decided to give most of them away to other kids who might appreciate a stuffed animal, which I thought was very cool of him, so this is his "memory" shot.

Here's a couple long time little friends of mine (well, long time when you consider I've known them their entire lives), Austin and Abigail. The top shot is Austin taking on the entire Pacific Ocean, which if you know Austin, is a very accurate photo. Austin does nothing by halves - be it swinging a baseball bat or eating his birthday cake - he puts his entire heart and body into the project.

Miss Abigail is an out and out riot. How a child can actually have and portray a sense of humor at the ripe age of 6 months old is beyond me, but she managed it. I'm really looking forward to seeing this little lady, I'm sure she's grown so much!

OK, this is Christina at 8 months old. Another one I'm really interested in seeing a year later. This little girl is an out and out trip. She is the most peaceful baby ever. And the look on her face when she sees her parents making googly faces at her was absolutely too much. She would get this fond little smile as if to say, "Oh, look at the parental units being so silly, aren't they just the cutest things?" Loved the kid.

They are all on the website, by the way, with their own little slideshows. and go to people!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Wrestling, yes, wrestling. Now, Basketball I know and I know well (because when my sons were younger they pinned a Michael Jordan poster up on my bedroom wall and told me that I couldn't take it down until I learned the rules and regs of basketball because if I insisted on being in the stands screaming at the refs when they played a game, it would be much better if I had an inkling of what I was screaming about - in other words, the "keys" in basketball have nothing to do with your car) But wrestling was a mystery to me. A friend of mine was shooting a tournament and wanted me to shoot it with him. OK.

Wow. i have to say I came out of this with a great respect for the sport. First of all, people's necks are not supposed to go in those directions and, quite frankly, I cannot believe that no one breaks their necks in almost every match. The other big thing that impressed me was the complete lack of anger in the opponents. There seems to be an amazing amount of respect and discipline - on many levels. So it was so fun for me - very different and very educational.

But, boy - howdy - if anyone COULD get my body in one of those positions, I swear it would take a full 8 weeks and likely the Jaws of Life to get me OUT of one of those positions.

Oh well.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Can you say "cold"?

This part of the shoot is testimony to just how hard modeling is. I've worked with quite a few models, and I'm here to tell you that even the best of them would have balked at this shoot. The light was perfect - just perfect, the very end of the day. I figured we had about 5 minutes, which meant no room for arguing. Mind you, it is December, it is about 40 degrees out and the water is, well, shall we say, "a wee bit on the chilly side"? He is in his swim trunks and stands at the waters edge and strikes a pose.
"No. You need to get in." I point.
"WHAT?! Have your lost your mind?"
"Don't argue with me. You can see as well as I can that we are loosing light. Just get in." He proceeds to take two steps in up to his ankles, eyes wide with fright as he is pretty sure this isn't going to be what I had in mind. "No, the other in - the one where you actually go out, get wet. Just go under a few times and splash water around. Don't be such a big baby!" I tell him.
"A big BABY? A big BABY? You have got to be kidding me!" It took a few more superior, authoritative Mommy Moments, but he complied. The shoot was hilarious. I did get some great shots, but I also got lots of leaping about, clinging to himself, arms askew, dancing-like-some-oversized-frog shots. We laughed like crazy when he thawed out and we could look at the photos.
"Good thing that a grimace looks like a smile without the audio, Mom, or you would be in trouble on this one."
Fair enough. Gotta hand it to the guy - he's a trooper.
Check out the rest of the shoot at or the whole site at

Here are a few more from our shoot - the slide show is at I haven't linked it in to the men's fashion page yet.

Photo Shoot on New Years Eve

This was lots of fun right here. My son wanted some shots taken in his flight gear (He is an aviation rescue swimmer for the Navy). So I was kind of thinking about where we should go. My first few ideas weren't met so well.
"So, how about we go to the Coast Guard Station and borrow a chopper?" His eyebrows shot straight up in alarm. I gather taking a Navy Swimmer's photo by a Coast Guard helicopter is some sort of no-no. Next plan.

"Well, we could go and borrow the helicopter from the Fire Department."

"Mom? You can't 'borrow' a helicopter. People don't exactly loan those out."

"Why not? They loaned me gear and the big truck that is full of water. No one had a problem with that." Only I would ask for this. It was a great shoot, by the way.

"OK, Mom, I grant you that - but letting you dress three little boys up in fireman gear and spray water out of the hose is not the same as letting you fly their helicopter, which, might I point out, you CAN'T FLY!"

"I know that. But you can fly it!"

"Yeessss, but who is going to fly it when I jump out of it?"

Hmmm. This was a point. He suggests some field somewhere. That seems absurd to me, you don't go cruising around and randomly find people in flight suits wandering through fields. I decide on an airport. A SMALL airport. I've tried to shoot at airports before and ever since 911 they have all of us photographers down as potential terrorists. I swear, try and take your camera out around an airplane and they are on you like you cannot believe and fast, too. I briefly wonder if I could pull it off if I put my camera in the ever-protective zip lock baggie, but I doubt it.

So we headed up to a small airport in our county. I saw the runway when we drove in and immediately wanted to use it. My plan was just to walk out there, take a shot, and suffer getting yelled at on the way out. I do this kind of thing alot. As long as I have the shot they can holler at me all they want. Collin, on the other hand, being as he was in his Navy stuff, thought we should ask first. But there wasn't a soul to be found. Nobody. So we just walked out onto the runway, fired a few photos off, accented by the timely departure of the Reach helicopter in the background and it was smooth sailing. I couldn't believe how easy it was. And I love the shots. Much better than the random field business.