Friday, December 5, 2008


Carlos is a very big dog in small dog's body.... Don't mess with him! Do have lots of treats ready. Watch the fingers!  I kid - Carlos only took one of my fingers and I think it was a mistake. I think. I can still take photographs, so I'm good. We had a great time making these images - a natural dresser upper, Carlos accepted his task with excitement and vigor - the cheese helped too. When I pick up the camera now, he runs and gets a costume. Did I say he really likes cheese and will do anything for it? I think we'll be seeing more of Carlos in the future...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I walked on Fire!

I swore I would never do it. I told all my friends I didn't need to walk on fire to prove anything. I've been burned before. Ovens, fireplaces, backyard bar-b-ques, exes, stoves, motorcycle mufflers, indian burns too...and then there was the time I was young and slightly intoxicated and fell asleep with my feet really close to the bonfire and my shoes melted....true story! well, it actually happened to my friend Erny  - we puled him away from the fire before he was really hurt, but we had lots of laughs at his expense before that moment when his soles were beginning to liquefy...but I digress...

Fire is really hot. So are the coals. So, when Tony Robbins has a seminar that offers a walk across hot coals as a metaphor for being able to do anything in this life, you should run as fast as you can in the other direction. Right?  (I know those of you in the fire curious category just want to watch, eh?)  Everybody loves an accident, as long as it isn't happening to them, so you think to yourself, "I really want to see all of the complete idiots who are gong to walk across hot coals and be scarred (physically and mentally) for life." 

So naturally, I went to Tony's seminar called "Unleash the Power Within" to witness lemming-like people being led across beds of hot coals - I imagined the sea of human suffering I would witness, and most definitely would never allow myself to participate in this most certain human disaster in the making.  I was wondering how long the lines would be at the nearest emergency room - people with charred feet, moaning and pulling themselves across the pavement because they couldn't walk, their swaddled feet oozing all kinds of grossness, the smell of charred (dare I say bar-b-qued) feet...It is amazing how many VIVID images of fire related injuries the mind can conjure... 

So there I am, in a room with 3500 other people, yelling and screaming like those possessed, caught up in the energy of people who believe "I CAN!" Saying "YES" to possibility, to positive change and growth, to life and to bettering the world we live in... being inspired to believe we can do anything we set our minds to, even walk across hot coals....

Wait.  Did he say 1200 to 2000 degree coals?... Is everybody in this room insane? My palms get sweaty thinking about doing this. Are all of these people nuts? My toaster oven commands my complete respect, and it only gets 450 degrees. This is 3-5 times as hot? How can my skin possibly handle this heat? My rational brain was beginning to work properly again. For a minute, I lost my bearings and was beginning to think I was actually going to do this thing, but my mind is coming back now. Nobody is stupid enough to walk across hot coals and not expect their feet to be ruined, right?

And so went the mental gymnastics in my head. Freaking mental olympics I should say, and I was going for the gold medal....I can do anything, but do I really need to walk on hot coals? I believe in myself, but isn't this going to hurt?...Ok, I've made my point way too many times here... I was scared. 

So there I am, learning to listen to my fears instead of running from them. Learning to get past fear by embracing it and dancing with it - the fire is just a metaphor for the things that hold you back and the things you are afraid of in this life -  if you walk across 12oo degree coals, then you can do anything, and the promise of that  - the idea that I can symbolically (and quite literally)  confront my fears and conquer them  - when that becomes a possibility - a sea change in my thinking occurred - Once you cross the fire, you get to do the victory dance...

You know the dance - the one football players do in the end zone - the one that "The Price is Right" contestants do when they are chosen to play the game - the dance you do when you win whatever game you are playing - the jumping up and down with your hands high in the air screaming like a maniac with happiness and joy dance - Maybe you haven't done this dance in a while, but I bet if you try it right now - that's right - right now - get up off your butt and jump up and down yelling "I did it!" No, really... Do it!   Do it with verve, with excitement, with passion and joy. Your friends are staring at you wondering WTF? So what! Do it anyway!  It feels really great. TRY IT! 

Ok. Be honest. Did you really get up and jump up and down? Yes?  You freaking rock!  No? Are you the type who is waiting 'til the end of the story before thinking about whether you maybe want to possibly get up (and possibly be embarrassed) and do this silly thing? I understand. I used to be that person. No judgement here - I think you will be amazed at how good it feels to jump up and down for joy. This small act should be on everyone's  list of healthy things to do - you'll feel great and love how simple it is to make yourself feel better almost instantly. 

So, if you're still standing, you can sit down. 

Where was I? Oh yes. 

After several hours of mental preparation, (much of it involving my vivid imagination of what fire does to your skin) me and 3500 other seminar attendees walk outdoors toward the firewalker site. There are drums beating - It sounds like a tribal drum circle - you can smell the smoke. A large fire burns in the night, somewhere nearby. It is dark. Very dark . It's late. There's no moon. We are chanting "yes I can" as we walk toward 20 or so ten foot long firepits, where volunteers are emptying buckets of fresh hot coals. We line up and the drums get louder - the walk begins - There is a guide right there by the firepit who helps you prepare to walk - You change your mental state, look forward and up, think "cool moss, cool moss", and walk - deliberately and with purpose across the coals - just like that. 

 And then you get to do the dance!

Scream at the top of your lungs - jump up and down like a monkey - pretend you just won the lottery or a medal at the the olympics - it feels that great. And it takes a while to realize just how big a deal this is - it sinks in over a period of days, even weeks  - I walked on fire. I can do anything I put my mind to. How cool is that?

Cool moss....


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mike and Cayce's Wedding

July 12th, 2008 - Mike and Cayce  - What a great couple! Mike is a super Gator fan - Apparently he hasn't missed a football game in the four years he's been at UF! Before the ceremony, the entire bridal party piled into a limousine and showed up at the stadium for some group shots -  Now, in the middle of July, in the middle of the afternoon, in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, it can be sweltering to say the least - Guys in suits and girls in dresses and makeup -this could have been a fashion disaster if the 100 degree heat and 100% humidity held up  - but! - We were blessed with a rain shower about an hour before we got to the stadium, and the temperature was actually really nice - we got some great shots of the group and Mike and Cayce too - We did a first viewing by century tower which was also lots of fun. The bride had forgotten her shoes, and had to run get them while the rest of the group drove around in the limo - normal wedding day stuff... Everything worked out fine, and we were able to make it to the ceremony with time to spare. The wedding was at First United Methodist Church, and the reception was at the Sweetwater Branch Inn.

The staff there always does a great job! The entire event was a great time. Best wishes to Mike and Cayce!

View a slideshow of this wedding here !

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

St. Simon's Lighthouse

When in know the saying.... when on St. Simon's Island, you have to visit the Lighthouse  - I arrived on the island early for Chris and Lauren's wedding, (posted below)  so I cruised the island a bit - Lots of history and beautiful places to see - the lighthouse was open for visitors, but I didn't have time for the tour - Maybe next time, as I want to take some photos from the top!  Here's my shot of the lighthouse:

Chris and Lauren St. Simons Island 7/26/08

On July 26th, Chris and Lauren tied  the knot at the King and Prince Resort on St. Simons Island. The ceremony was held on the lawn overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. An approaching storm and the quickly fading light after the ceremony made for some beautiful images of Chris and Lauren.
As always, you can view the slideshow here: Chris and Lauren   Here's a few images from the day...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Folkerts / Backer Wedding

Jennifer and Derek - what a cute couple!  Their wedding was held on the lawn at the Jekyll Island Club on June 14th - I love photographing weddings at Jekyll Island! - The grounds are gorgeous, and the staff there always does a  fantastic job.   Clear skies and a nice breeze set the tone for this lovely event - Dustin the videographer did a great job, and Joel Rabe of Lethal Rhythms  really got the crowd going at the reception. Check the slideshow from the event here :  Jennifer and Derek

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hutchinson / Bowen Wedding

Lauren and Chap were married on June 7th at the Crane Cottage, located on the grounds of the historic Jekyll Island Club. Jekyll Island can be warm in June, but we were blessed with lovely weather and gorgeous skies. A great crowd of people were there to celebrate the wedding  -  a few highlights (in addition to the wedding!) were the '55 chevy Chap's uncle brought for the bride and groom to leave the reception in, and the band Kingsized ( who rocked the reception along with the Dames Aflame Dancers - yikes! hot stuff.... Here's a slideshow of some of my faves from the day...        

And a few images if you don't have time for the slideshow...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ol' 55

Gotta love a fully restored, completely reworked, pristine as the day it rolled off the showroom floor 1955 chevy convertible - At the Hutchinson / Bowen Wedding  this last weekend (see next post) Chap's uncle brought this SWEET ride to escort the newlyweds away from the reception - It was just sitting there looking soooo cool, I had to work the subject a little....

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Alberto's an Acupuncturist now!

My bud Alberto Galvan recently finished Acupuncture school and needed a headshot for his business materials... he came over to the studio this morning and we made this nice portrait. 

Go Alberto!

Alta Systems

June already?

June 4th to be exact... it always takes me a few days to flip the calendar page on my desktop...

How did the year get to be almost half over? I'm not asking you so much as reminding myself just how quickly the seasons and years pass.. but I digress....

Alta Systems Inc. recently acquired a new 6 color press, and asked several artists  (including me!) to submit an image for a promotional piece titled "The Printed Journey".  I created the following image with the help of art director Buster O'Connor and model Julia Holbrook.  Also, thanks to Sarah for hair and makeup! What a team!

And another outtake I really like...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Silver River Run

A former student of mine and I finally made good on our long standing "let's go take photos sometime" conversation ender. Sandy has a groovy little vintage Boston Whaler and he took me to the Silver River Run near Ocala, the river created by world famous Silver Springs - the river runs fast and deep, and is about as pristine as a place can be - the water is clear and cool, and home to lots of birds, fish, cypress trees and snakes  - "How do I know about the snakes" you ask? Well, I'm glad you mentioned that...Ever the nature photographer, I jumped into the water in an area where the bottom wasn't so deep, and edged up to a huge cypress tree, as I was interested in the textures and shapes of the root system. I had a super wide angle lens on my camera, and the best way to get crazy perspective shots is to get right up next to your subject - so I'm in water waist deep, slogging along the mixed sand/mud bottom - I can't move very fast because of the tricky footing and brisk current,  and I'm carrying a camera that isn't rated for water use(that means it's ruined if I fall in..).  I'm in the "get the shot" mode, paying no attention to my surroundings other than where to put my feet and camera for the best shot... so right when I'm getting up close to the roots, composing what I thought was a really cool shot, I see motion out of the corner of my eye, and a very large snake is about a foot from my head! Very luck for me that it wasn't a water moccasin, or I'd be writing this post posthumously, or at least from the hospital...The VLS (very large snake for all you non-texters) was as afraid of me as I was of it, and I was fortunate that it wasn't too upset that I had interrupted it's sunbathing time... I live to tell another story...The rest of the trip was gorgeous. (and I stayed in the boat too)...It was sooo cool to be in a place that looks pretty much the same as it did many thousands of years ago. I was reminded of Native Americans and how connected they were to the rivers, lakes, and swamps of North Florida. This large expanse of undeveloped wilderness is truly worth the visit. Go sometime!


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bobby and Karin Engagement Session

Bobby and Karin are getting married! They live in Orange Park, and have chosen to have their wedding at Steinhatchee Landing this fall.  I had an open Sunday a few weeks ago, so they came to Gainesville to meet me and get acquainted with my services and style - We met at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens and had a great time getting to know one another - I always feel blessed when I am able to put camera shy people at ease and get great photographs of them. The bride and groom to be were glad to find a photographer that they felt relaxed with, and the images speak for themselves...

Monday, May 26, 2008


So... if you're one of those "in touch with the seasons" types, you know that every month and every season has its own special wonders. The first of May brings the Coreopsis bloom to North Florida - Ordinarily average looking fields and roadsides explode with yellow flowers atop a sea of green stems...My friends the Whites (the ones from the Melrose/Hawthorne/Campville area) have been telling me about this field of flowers and that I HAVE to see when it blooms...turns out they were right! I arrived late afternoon, right as the light was going off...and saw this...

and this...

and when the clouds overhead turned orange in the final light of the day, the colors went crazy...

and the wind was blowing a sweet breeze...sometimes it feels like you are part of an impressionist painting...

and you keep on pressing the shutter as you smile...

Hey, did you know that Coreopsis is Florida's State Wildflower? Now you do!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Victor and Ashley

Victor and Ashley were married on the 18th of May at the lovely Palencia Club in St. Augustine,  Florida. One of my favorite images is of the bride getting ready - she had been straightening her gown front, and then just looked up at me with such confidence and grace - Click.  How lucky I am to be present in people's lives on their wedding day!

And the flower girl...

Dig that dress!

and the lovely couple...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Journey of a thousand miles begin with one step. Talk doesn't make rice. Yes, I'm talking about you. You know who you are. Enlightened. Aware. Sweating the small stuff, because it's all small stuff. Wait. Or something like that. It's time to throw all blog caution to the wind. Have a look see into the life and times of Dana. Well, at least some of my life and times... Some work, some play, and some things that just get my attention.