Small Swims Big Time

I like learning what my senior portrait clients are doing at school and in their lives afterwards.  It’s what makes my work as a photographer even more fun. Take Andy Small for instance.

Andy had just come from a day’s work lifeguarding at Bayside Pool in Bellingham when he met me last summer for his senior portrait session.  We had talked earlier about what he might like to do during his session and, particularly, where he wanted to go.

Given that he was  on Sehome High School’s swim team and also working as a lifeguard, it seemed only natural that a waterside location might appeal to him. And it did.  He also liked the idea of finding a place that was quintessential ‘Bellingham.’  I suggested a spot down in Marine Park in Fairhaven and he liked it.

Andy showed up after a lifeguarding job with a bright yellow shirt and a big confident smile to match. We 'warmed up' on the shore before moving down to the water for his senior portrait session.
Andy showed up after a lifeguarding job with a bright yellow shirt and a big confident smile to match. We ‘warmed up’ on the shore before moving down to the water for his senior portrait session.

We did what I call a few ‘warm up’ shots on the shore to start with before moving closer to the water.  The evening couldn’t have been more ideal. He ended up with many great images which we put into a beautiful, customized ‘memory book’  for him.  One  was chosen for a wall-size canvas print for his family’s home which his mother, Elaine, says changes its look with the light in the home.

As we worked,Andy and I  became better acquainted.  I learned that he was looking forward to his last swim season in the winter with the Sehome team.  Being a swimmer myself, we had a lot  to talk about.

This last Saturday, Andy’s high school swimming career came to a close as the Sehome Mariner’s competed in Federal Way for the state Class 2A title. Sehome’s team has long dominated the sport in its class.  For the past four years, it brought home the first place trophy.  But this year  the title was taken from them, but just by a mere 30 points, to Seattle’s Archbishop Murphy’s squad.

I love this image of Andy and so does his mother who says: "This portrait is absolutely beautiful and depending on how far you turn the dial for the spotlight (that shines on it), it can range from something that looks like a sunset, to a scintillating sunrise to full daytime."
I love this image of Andy and so does his mother who says: “This portrait is absolutely beautiful and depending on how far you turn the dial for the spotlight (that shines on it), it can range from something that looks like a sunset, to a scintillating sunrise to full daytime.”

Andy, however, secured a first place spot of his own with his Sehome teammates Patrick Gregory, Isaiah Grambo and Isaac Day in the 200 medley relay.  He also clocked in faster on the final day of the meet in the 100 backstroke to take fourth place at 56.77 seconds.   There’s a great shot of his launch in the race \on the Bellingham Herald’s website.  (I’d share it with you here but, for copyright reasons, I can’t.)  And he, along with teammates Grambo, Larson, and Curran Wilbour came in fourth in the 400 meter freestyle relay.  Altogether the Sehome swimmers garnered 237 total points, just 30 short of Archbishop Murphy and well ahead of most of the other teams.

So while the team didn’t bring home the title this year, they didn’t fall far.  And for Andy, it was a good finish to a senior year.  At the team’s banquet this week, he received the coveted Coaches Award. Congratulations, Andy!

Here’s the link to the Herald’s article and photos:  http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/02/17/2883420/sehome-swims-to-second-place-at.html#storylink=cpy

HEADS UP:  If you a current or past senior portrait client of mine,  let me know what you’re doing.  Not only would I love to hear but I’d like to share it with everyone on my blog!

Chuffed to Be Here!

On more than one occasion, a friend has become a client or a client a friend.  Take, for instance, my friend Nancy Moore.

I don’t remember exactly when Nancy Moore and I first met.  Most likely it was through a school function as her daughter and my sons attended the same middle and high schools.  We had many mutual friends but rarely socialized.  I don’t know why.

When her daughter became a senior in high school,  Nancy asked me to photograph Kristen’s senior portrait.   I was thrilled because Kristen then had a strong interest in writing and I felt we connected during her initial photo consultation.

Kristen was a senior at Sehome High School when I made this portrait of her and MacKenzie.

We chose a location for her portrait session and I encouraged her to bring along her writing notebook, as well as the family dog,  MacKenzie.

Not long after,  Nancy and I got to know one another better because we both took classes at the same Pilates studio.  She is very athletic and fit and while I manage to keep in shape,  she was far more active, often riding her bike to class and squeezing in a round of golf either before or after her class.

Just as we became friends, she went off to England with her husband, Craig, who had been relocated there by his company, and MacKenzie.  But when she departed, she invited me, among others, to come visit.  I don’t know whether or not she was serious but I took her up on her offer a year ago in June.   She was be the first stop on a trip that took me and my husband to Provence for the first time.

I was excited because though I have traveled a good deal in Europe and Scandinavia, I never spent any time in England.  Besides, Nancy lived in Wimbledon, just minutes away from the famous tennis club where the tournament takes place annually.   We timed the visit accordingly and arrived just after the tournament play had started.  Although I was tired from the flight over,  I summoned the energy to go with her to the courts to watch what we could.

It was a dream come true for me, a long-time tennis player and fan.  Although we only got to see a few games, due to a rain-out, she seemed equally as thrilled.

Nancy was an incredible “tour guide” during my visit to London. Together we went to Hampton Court, one of Henry VIII’s many palaces.

She acted as our personal ‘tour guide’ for several of the days that we were there and on the days that she didn’t go along, she gave us detailed directions as to where we might go and want we might like to see. In the few short months that she had lived there, she had become an amazing resource on local sights and history.

Now, I’m happy to say, she’s started her own blog:  “Chuffed to Be Here” to share with everyone else as well as her friends and followers,  her adventures both in England and elsewhere.  The great thing about her blog is that it’s not the usual “travel” blog or website.  She has an eye for the unusual in what might otherwise be regarded as the ordinary.  And that’s one of the things that makes her blog so fun to visit.  You can visit it too at : http://bit.ly/RAGdWh.

During my visit to England, we planned a family portrait for the time that Nancy and Craig would be back in Bellingham for a visit. Everyone, but the dog, MacKenzie, was there. Knowing that we were going to do the portrait, I photographed MacKenzie separately while still in England and later digitally added her to complete the family.