Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Super Hero

After working 10 hours, Brad hopped into the Jeep and drove to Burlington to pick me up. Our flight was an hour late, which then allowed Brad to come to the airport to get me instead of going to Kevin and Ann's. After waiting for Kevin to land and figuring out why the Jeep lights would not turn on we finally got on the road to head home. Just outside of Vergennes I saw on the side of the road a young lady working on her car tire. I told Brad and he automatically turned around. Sure enough we found a young lady with a flat tire. It was -1 degrees and she had stitches in her right hand and was having a hard time. Her boyfriend didn't have a car to come help her. So my super hero got out with no gloves and changed her tire. We were back on the road at 11:30 PM. Half an hour detour but I sure hope if someone saw me in that situation they would help. Of course I told the Young lady, Ali that she needs to get AAA or a new boyfriend!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Video from AZ

This is what really happens at PPA, Donna sent this video from her cell phone of the boys from AZ

Saturday, January 10, 2009

PPA here we come!!

We Made it!!! After three days of many laughs, early mornings and late nights we were ready for our mission of PPA. This team took advantage of every lecture possible, all the hours of the trade show and any free food they could find. Below is the slide show of all the New England friends that joined us. If you would like to read more about the PPA convention go to

Goodbye Sedona, Hello Flagstaff and Tucson

We were sad to see Sedona in our rear view mirror, but knew excitement was ahead of us in Flagstaff. I wasn't so sure this was the direction we should be headed but Wayne and Don were pretty determined this is what they wanted to do. Well within 35 minutes we were in SNOW, yes SNOW and not just a little. We are talking FEET of snow!

This is the point in the trip where we became tourist!! You will have to ask Don and Wayne about this stop. You see there was some native Americans set up selling jewelery and such. An hour later and I have no idea how much these two guys spent, but we were now tourist and not professional photographers. I had to return to the car because I had flip flops on and the two feet of snow wasn't pleasing to me. We finally got back on the road to drive through Flagstaff to determine we didn't want to stay there. With a little help from our travel consultant (Brad back home online!!) we headed to Tucson.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 3 - ......

Its day three, the trio was off to another adventure. Lola and I spent the morning typically. Coffee and the paper for me, breakfast for her. We started some laundry and made plans to work on the studio. I then kind of lazily got my ass around and ready for work. Funny how much you start to miss someone when they are not around ......... Again at work I received many texts with photos and calls telling me about what was going on. Again I searched the web for requests made of where to go, what to see and how to get there. A 12 hour shift on a friday in the city is a busy one, and today was no exception, thefts, assaults, accidents it was busy. The only thing wrong was it went by quick, the day was done and I had to head home, Lola was waiting but it was not quite the same. Believe me Lola was very excited to have me home again she also was not used to being home alone all the time. I fell into bed but sleep which usually comes so easily to me, just ask Donna, I am asleep literally seconds after hitting the pillow, but tonight sleep would come only after tossing and turning for a while. Sweet dreams in AZ!

All that in a DAY!!

Wayne taught us what real "Drive By Shooting" is....

I look forward to seeing some of his drive by shots look like!

We ended our 16 hour day of shooting at this amazing little cafe. Being that we really didn't stop to eat, boy did this hit the spot!!

Don, thank you for an AWESOME dinner and a day I don't think any of us will forget!!

The sweet light!!

As you can see it didn't matter what direction we turned there was something to photograph. I think the first day each of us took over 600 images. Not only did I take all these wonderful scenic images, I was on a mission to do background images too. I even got Wayne and Don looking for them.

As the day went on and the sun started to set. This was the reason we were out there. These are some of my favorites from the trip...

The day continues...

As the day continued we all were just in awe with every turn in the road. We had left our room at 5:30 AM to make sure we were out and about for the sweet light. What we leaned was that the light we have all grown to love at such an early time, isn't the best in the desert. We started to feel that late in the afternoon was going to be the light we were looking for.

We headed back to the suite for showers, food and a plan. We knew by asking locals some questions that we would be pointed in the right direction. Sure enough at our hotel the concessionaire set us up for the next 24 hours. I would say we spent about an hour regrouping and off we went.

During the mid day we played tourist, but as the day continued and the sun started to set, the mission statement was clear. Competition prints were on our mind. Funny was that none of us have ever entered a landscape and all of us admitting it wasn't something we enjoy doing.

As you can see, I still found a way to find people to do portraits of. This man Charlie worked for one of the parks/dwellings that we went to visit. He was certainly one of my highlights of the trip.

Don photographing Wayne Photographing

Wayne photographing Don photographing

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 2 - Brad

As you can see by the images below the great time Donna, Don and Wayne were having. I on the other hand as you saw below woke to 4 inches of snow covered by 2 inches of ice and then another 5 inches of snow. After yesterdays loooooonnnngggg driving and the knowledge that the snowblower would not, or could not handle that kind of snow/ice building up and the fact that I was due at work at noon( it was 10 am when i got out of bed ) I called one of my officers that has a plowing company to come and clear the drive. I headed to work after moving my car out to the street so the drive was clear of any vehicles. Now as shown below the traveling trio were gallivanting across the Arizona desert in Sedona with periodic texts and calls from Donna. It was funny to here her describe where they were headed to and I would describe the area or the road they were on as I had found several live webcams in the area and could see close to what they saw. When Donna said the were on Airport Rd, I said "yeah the road that looks down over Sedona?" and she was dumbfounded or confused as how I knew that. It was then I revealed the secret of the webcams. Anyone having visions of Orwell's '1984'. As the day progressed I became the trios on call concierge. I answered questions as to where all the cell towers in Tucson were as they had great service but could not see the towers. ( there are 2 west, 1 east and 5 at the airport). Places to visit next, directions and so forth. What else did I have to do between taking 911 calls and saving lives....hahaha!!!!

Full day of Shooting

As you saw in the last post that Brad did from an image that I sent on my cell phone that we woke up to two different views this morning. One thing that you don't see is that my image may SEEM warmer then Brad's and I am sure it may have been a LITTLE warmer but back to the fact that I left my coat in Vermont. Trust me on these early morning shoots I could have used my coat, hat and gloves. As you can see Wayne here!!

This is FROST on the trees and grass....

I think half the day was spent in show and tell. We would get to the location, bounce out of the car and off we would go into three different directions. We would then work our way back to the car to share where our adventurous had taken us. I can't tell you how many times we would then have to go to see for ourselves where the images were taken!

Donna - Phoenix

This is what Donna woke to

Brad - Vermont

This what I woke up to.......

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

We are HERE!

So I bet many of you might not have WINGED it like we did on this trip. The plan was to go with the wind. For the first three nights we had no reservations for cars or places to stay. We had no maps in our pockets, not even a mission statement to follow. Our plan only included to have fun and capture images. I am not sure if Wayne knew what he was in for. Wayne only had one wish, that was NOT to go to Mexico. Don and I had talked about this before we left and it seemed to make many, including my mother nervous. As we set out on our journey we promised Wayne no Mexico!

So we got off the plane, found the car rental place. Don and Wayne split up to get quotes and I went on a mission to find maps and a direction.

Soon after the wind blew us to Sedona. I found a brochure that had suites that would accommodate three beds we needed. It didn't take any of us long to take advantage of the internet and stretching out.

Rocky Start - Brad's view

I will concur with Donna ref a rocky start. We did leave early, 03:55 to be exact just 5 minutes before we would have received the call from the airline ref the flight being cancelled. We were headed northbound on Rt 7 with the roads in typical Vermont winter fashion... snow and ice covered. The storm that was predicted had made its way to us. The call came from Wayne ref the cancellation and about the same time Donna realized she had forgotten her passport. The passport was to be left and we continued on. Donna got the airline on the phone and made alternative reservations for next flight out. Of course all the while I am slogging our way north bound on the unkempt roads, full-time 4wd baby!! Funny thing happened next Wayne called again advising he just checked on the web and saw that they had been rescheduled on the next flight, of course that had come courtesy of Donna and he was just unknowingly getting the update. We finally made it to Burlington and met up with Don. We sat and had breakfast. The time had come for me to head south as I was supposed to be driving to Logan in Boston to pick up skiers from England going to Killington. I said my goodbyes and wished I was going to Phoenix also, but the home fires needed someone to stay and keep them stoked and I was volunteered. The drive south proved an almost greater difficulty than the earlier trip. Now every fool that thought they needed to be somewhere and didn't was on the road. I made it back to Rutland. In the time I left Donna I received a cll from Don asking what it would be like if Donna did not have her phone with her for the week. WHAT??ARE YOU KIDDING ME, DON !! Don told me how Donna had left her cell phone in the Macy's car in her winter coat. Don, I said either get it back or buy a spare right now it is her lifeline and I am not kidding. Of course as you have read it all worked out. I was a little scared for Don and Wayne if she had not gotten it back. Anyways in short order was headed south to Logan International in a 10 passenger van to pick up the overseas skiers. ( I drive part time for local limousine company and they do pickups for an international ski vacation company located at Killington Mtn.) The weather from VT to NH was wet heavy snow .... which turned into sleet and freezing rain all through NH and finally turned to rain just outside of Boston. As luck would have it the flight was delayed some and at 7:30 pm I was loaded and we were headed north. The van was packed full, 7 Brits, 1 guide, myself, and all the luggage and ski bags we could stuff anywhere. We almost did not need seat belts, we were that packed in!. We left Boston in the rain and no sooner had we crossed into NH the freezing rain started again. I had to have the heat on defrost all the way up which made it terribly hot with all of us in there, i did crack the window several times to cool us. The ice just kept building and my viewing out the windshield kept getting smaller. The interstate is a very hard place to just pull over and scrape and clean wipers. I made it to our usual halfway mark, Warner NH exit on I89. I fueled up and the guests went inside for munchies. The van had 1/4 to 1/2 inch of ice coating the entire length. I cleared the windshield and we headed north once again. The sleet had turned over to snow, I still got some icing on the windshield until we were within rock throwing distance from VT. Then we hit snow again. Of course in Vermont's attempt to save money we travelled in wheel tracks of the vehicle ahead of us all the way to Killington. Dropped off all my passengers and made my way down into Rutland City dropped off the van and made it home around 02:00 am. Now remember I left home almost 24 hours ago, I did get a little snooze. It was a long stressful day. Sleep came somewhat fitful although we were missing a bed partner.

Rocky Start

So convention season has started and we hit the ground running with the PPA convention in Phoenix AZ. Don, Wayne and I decided that we would head out early for some image making time. A rocky start to the trip is an understatement. First Brad and I left Rutland at 4AM to make it to Burlington in not so great weather. About 4:30 am I received a call from Wayne saying the flight was delayed. We decided to continue and would meet Don for breakfast. After this Brad sent me on my marry way and Don and I were off to Kevin's house to wait for the flight and meet up with Wayne. Interesting enough Kevin was on the same flight, going a few days early to meet up with his parents in AZ. As Ann dropped all of us off at the airport I took off my winter coat THINKING I wouldn't need it. For many reason I was mistaken, the first being my cell phone was in the pocket. Don seemed to think.... "no big deal, you will be fine". What he didn't know is that HE would be MISERABLE if I didn't have my phone. During the next hour, to my horror and Mr Whipple telling me NO BIG DEAL, I would say he used his phone 15 times. How did he think I would survive 7 days???? Above is Don happy as could be, WITH HIS PHONE!

Ok, so if you know me I think quick on my feet and have an ability to solve problems. I asked Don to call his office and see if they could get hold of the hair salon where Ann was headed. Amy did her magic, got in touch with them, they got the word to Ann and see returned with my phone. Ann, I know you missed your appointment and I can not thank you enough. I would have been miserable. You saved me week!!

After that, I was happy as could be. Our flights were HORRIBLE but at least I had my phone. Don on the other hand wasn't going to go home under the same conditions we flew to get there. That story later!

Monday, January 5, 2009

January PPANE board meeting

How did it become January already?? Who ever set the PPANE 1st meeting of the year 4 days into the year should have thought it out better. I guess at the time it didn't seem like a big deal, but to get all the reports and information for the newsletter ready in the MIDDLE of our busy time of year it was a nightmare!!

Needless to say WE did it and we did it better then it has been done before. I can not thank the Vermonters enough! Here is Bob and Gillian. Both of them have the option to be has-beens being that they are past presidents, but they have stepped up to the plate and are serving on many committees that I have asked them to help with.

And then there is Charlie. He has more going on right now then most and I am sure the last thing he wants to do is drive 2 1/2 hours to serve as my parliamentarian. His commitment to me, I will never be able to thank him enough. Having Charlie sit next to me at head table is a calming factor that is priceless for me. I know that I can count on an well thought out and educated advice from him 100 % of the time. He doesn't always tell me what I want to hear, but he always tells me what I NEED to hear.