Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On the Road...

We left Houston on the tour bus last night and headed to Austin... I always fall asleep in the car so falling asleep last night was cake. We awoke in Austin and our driver parked us near a lake which made for a beautiful locale for my morning quiet time. While everyone was still asleep I snuck out and sat by the lake to It was perfect.

Anyway, I just thought I'd give you a little glimpse into our life thus far....

J*.This is who I wake up to each morning across from my bunk. :)

and this would be what SHE wakes up to. haha

to get clothes out, we have to go open the bottom bay since there is no room on board.

Just a lil' subliminal message.

The Bat signal.

This would be my fav lil' Pauly... he got hit by a bus today and in true photojournalistic fashion I captured every moment without ANY direction ;)

[A special hug sent to my new Austin-BFF [AP] for my awesome Texas T-shirt and crazy town adventures.]

Sunday, July 27, 2008


In the crazy life of Shyla I have held many titles, but over the next 6 weeks I will add another fun experience to my repertoire... Roadie.

(n:) The road crew (or roadies) are the assistants who travel with a band photographers on tour, usually in sleeper buses, and handle every part of the concert tour productions except actually performing speaking with the musicians photographers.

Ive been invited to join the Free to Succeed Tour with David Jay and Jasmine Star to help manage logistics, hotels and the occasional psycho photographer fan. (oh, yeah and perhaps most importantly is that I will also be cooking meals for the crew*) Technically it's more like a road manager but roadie sounds way more fun.
DJ's *REAL* assistant Crystal will be having emergency surgery and despite the countless hours she put into planning this tour, she will not be able to attend. So, DJ called me up on Thursday and I had three days to put my life in order to leave for 6 weeks. CRAZY. But then again, that's the story of my life.... one CRAZY adventure after another.

I am immesnly looking forward to meeting all the amazing photographers in each city and connecting with friends new and old. It's basically going to be awesome. Oh, and guess what? My planned weddings for the month just HAPPEN to be in the cities we are stopped in on the tour. Seriously....could it be MORE perfect?

Plus, I am equally excited to finally take that cross country road trip that failed miserably the first time.

so yeah, this will be my home for the next month... (those decals are actually REAL btw)

and here is the route...

I'll keep ya'all posted, and if you are near a city we stop in, make sure to come say "hi".

[* note: be prepared boys, I will not be cooking junk food so get it out of your system now. ;)]

Friday, July 25, 2008

Amy + Mel | cohasset, ma

I am a little behind on blogging but I thought I would share a few images from Amy and Mel's Wedding from a few weeks ago :)

and a BIG special thanks to my "other" photographer... Skerik. (He makes a great 'Let me test the light' subject 'eh?)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Roots: The Saga of an American Photographer

Where do I even begin?

Last week I attended the Roots workshop on beautiful Cape Cod. I have been to my share of workshops in my two years of biz but this was unique in both it's mission and purpose. While I appreciate past workshops that were offered up by successful photographers sharing their craft in a group setting, this workshop was unique in that it focused on the Photographer developing their own craft. No packaging, marketing, sales etc. While that most certainly all has it's place, it was not the focus of the last week.
Strictly photojournalism and developing that specific art.

Attendance for me was based on my quest to become a better photographer and ultimately a better storyteller. Who would have known it would change in me in ways that extended beyond the specified mission?

14 students and 5 mentors (hailing from prestigious platforms) made for an intimate setting of information osmosis. I would liken the experience to taking a class in improvisation. There are comedians with scripted performances and then there is Improv....entirely different. Perhaps they are simply the same foundational skill set except one is on steroids? Anyway, I liken my tendency towards fashiony photos to a scripted and controlled performance while Photojournalism is akin to improvisational styling. Since we are only as strong as our weakest link, I needed to be challenged in this area.

Day 1 was a welcome BBQ and group discussion of our strengths and weaknesses as a photographer. The mentors then chose our assignment based on our weaknesses. Since I explained that I love to interact with people and have a hard time sitting and observing, they gave me the toughest feat of all (for me anyway).... shooting a golf course. Seriously? a Golf Course? How the heck am I supposed to interact with my subjects on a GOLF COURSE?

exactly the point.

Once the assignments were divvied up, our job was to go find a story.
[inner monologue: "a golf course? seriously? what kind of story will I find at a GOLF COURSE"]
Needless to say I was not too inspired. That seemed to be the theme running through the camp though. Assignments ranged from a Lobster Boat, to ice cream shop, a transgendered night club and even a nudist colony. (that story you definitely want to check out here) each designed to challenge our weaknesses and balance out our strengths.
So I go to the course... and had no direction in mind... found no real story... and I was finding myself to feel a little defeated..

Then through my interactions with course staff, I heard about little Jalen Griffen. Jalen is a 12 year old linksman who golfs every single day for the past 4 years, and is said to be the next Tiger Woods. This kid often beats the adults he is paired with.
That was it... I found my story!
Following him around for 3 days [in near silence, mind you] taught me so much. I found the praise to be in the process, not the finished product. Just like in life, they say it's about the journey, not the destination... the same rings true for anything we study/practice diligently. The prize is in the daily discipline as Jalen was showing me (in non verbal ways).
To delve too deeply into all I learned would take too long, but like myself, I believe each and every one of the attendees learned more than photographical prowesses... proving that we are more than occupational artists. Who we are is our m├ętier and everything we create shapes that.

This workshop my friends is well worth the investment...and I do not just speak of monetary investment but rather the investment in yourself and your craft.


The last night we all shared our visual stories. Some were moved to tears and emotions ran high but in lieu of recreating that setting, allow me to share what I saw... three days in near silence and 12 year old Jalen.

Jalen Griffen... Highland Links Golf Course

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

Cape Cod.....*sigh*
In the 5 months I have lived on the East Coast, I had yet to visit the infamous Cape. I spent the last week there attending the Roots Workshop (more to come on that soon) and enjoyed every minute of it.

Here is a not-so-quick 'little' overview...

The compound we stayed at... right across from the beach

My lil' friend Angelina Ballerina

Eric's impromptu jump into the water...then showing off his skills that almost took him to the Olympics or something like that. A group of us did this at like 2am the next morning. The water was sooo warm and the moon's illumination was amazing!

Um, yeah... I'm not quite sure.

Meet some of my new friends... Here is Linda.


Evan & Stephen


The pretty lil' lighthouse

This was a week of firsts for me... Cape Cod, New England Clam Chowdah, Steamers, and a real Lobster. I'm not quite sure how he does it, but Eric manages to capture my most hilarious expressions.
I do have issues with my hands getting dirty when I eat... I dont know why exactly but that is why you wont see me eating ribs. Anyway, I was a mess trying to eat that sucker.

I wasnt the only one though.... LOOK!

our fearless leader... Emilie

The whole gang...

Last week was amazing and I cant wait to share the rest of the story.... stay tuned :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Smile, You're on Blu.

Just the other day, I got an email that put a HUGE smile on my face...
My lovely friends in the photography community have apparently voted me as a nominee for Blu Girl of the year.

What is the criteria for Blu Girl 'o' the year??
** passionate, lots of energy, and talent.
** you must smile most of your life.

I am so honored to be nominated by my peers as an example of the above. THANKS GUYS :)

So, do you wanna know what we win? OTTER POPS. yes, those amazing plastic tubes full of liquid sugar that illicit nostalgic childhood memories. I think there are a few other prizes too, (like being featured on Blu site for a whole year) but I stopped reading at the word 'Otter Pops.' MmmMMm.

If you have a moment and want to help a gal contribute to the rotting of her teeth.... Vote Here :)


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Life is good.

very good.

despite a tumultuous few days, it is a wonderful blessed life and I still enjoy every minute of it.
I always find solace in nature so when life started to throw a few curve balls, I decided to take a few hours and just regroup. Sooo, I drug myself out of bed at 5:45 this morning, and headed up to the Webhannet River in Maine to go kayaking.

There is nothing like the serenity of floating on the water as the sun ushers in a new day. Such a perfect place to just 'be'. no conversation, no worries, just nature and the sound of your paddle gliding in and out of the water.
I was done by 10 am and still managed to get a full day of work in. YAY.

I think my next place needs to be on the river so I can start my day this way every morning.

anyway... a few images from my little adventure.

see, still smiling. After this morning, life went from good to GREAT. :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tiffany + Alex | palm desert, ca

*sigh*... This wedding has a special meaning to me.

First you need to know that I did not meet Tiffany until her wedding day.
When she was shopping for wedding photographers, she found my site and made her decision. THEN she showed her father and from what I hear, he was surprised to see that he KNEW me.
You see, back in college I was an RA and as a part of the position, we were encouraged to take advantage of the counseling program so to better serve the students who would often grace our rooms know... 'heart to hearts'. Tiffany's dad, Greg, was my counselor. Through our many hours of conversation in the counseling office, the sidewalks of campus, and the tables of the dining halls, Greg and I formed a wonderful relationship. He saw the depths of my heart, my passions and desires... he saw me cry, laugh, and lament.... and through it all, HE is the one who encouraged me to pursue photography. He gave me the courage to not care what others thought when I told them I didnt want to do what I went to school for, and he taught me to accept being a wildflower instead of a potted plant.
After college we lost touch and he had no idea I had taken his advice and followed my heart to THIS place, so you can imagine his surprise to find his daughter had sought me out to shoot her own wedding. small world 'eh?

so yes. shooting this wedding was special to me.

A snapshot of Tiffany and Alex's day...

two of my favorite moments from the day. 1. The flower girl went back down the isle to meet the bride. & 2. The father daughter dance.

I just loved this shot.

Off to pick wildflowers... ;)

Love is... | july

"Love can be heard by all..."

Here we are again!
This month's Love is... highlights a ministry focused on the deaf community in rural villages and developing nations.

Signs of Love.
Enrobed with a missional purpose, this Christian-based organization extends beyond any religion or faith and truly attempts to impact the deaf community in a positive way. The goal is to work with deaf and hearing nationals to equip them to become self-sufficient in training, teaching, and providing practical support to their deaf population.
I've been dabbling in sign-language since my Jr.high Sunday School teacher decided I needed to learn this beautiful language of communication, and honestly I am so thankful. Although now, I could probably sign most any 'church' song you throw in my lap or even the alphabet but that's about it.
Anyway, a new friend of mine went to Honduras for one month to teach for Signs of Love and the organization truly captured my heart, so... when I asked to feature his endeavors for this month's charity, he kindly obliged. So I sent him down with 5 memory cards and told him to shoot shoot shoot and bring me back some photos!
Here's a shot from the trip. Thanks John for your kindness, sweet spirit and willing heart.

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