Dec 27, 2011

Oh So Posh Actions Giveaway!

Hi Everyone!  It's Cindy here!  Just wanted to let you all know about this fabulous giveaway from Oh So Posh Actions This is my despearate attempt at getting in on her lovely giveaway, and I wanted to let you all know about it as well!  Please follow her link to get all the juicy details! 
Good luck and may the best man...or woman win!  ;) 


Dec 1, 2011

December Cover 2011


Session Share

by Mary Lynn Photography

I've sat here wondering exactly how to go about explaining my passion for photography. I wish I could write a story that would describe just how much this world means to me and how much I enjoy every moment I get to capture. A friend told me that I don't need to write anything, I am already capturing a story when I shoot a photo.

I love this concept; I love writing stories with my images. Even though you are getting a glimpse of a beautiful little girl with green eyes, her story may tell that she is a spitfire with a soft spot for her mama. Or perhaps by chance, you may come across a photo of a family that is snuggled close, hanging in there despite the chill, their love is captured for decades to come.

I don't believe I could ever write a novel with words in the same way that I could with a series of photos. I hope to share as many stories in this lifetime as I am able to provide.


Get the Look

by Becka Robinson -Studio 222 Photography

"We’re so excited to announce a new Friday column over at Studio 222 Photography. It’s called 'GET THE LOOK' and in it we’ll be taking inspiring interior design photographs from the pages of today’s most influential design magazines and catalogs and breaking them down into simple, easy to replicate guides to help you get the look in your own homes for less! You know, in case you need a weekend project. ;) There is no bigger photographic tragedy than to get your images back and then never do anything with them. Especially when it is so very easy to create modern, eye-catching displays in your home for less than buying a painting.We hope you leave inspired! Let’s get started with our first installment shall we?
This look comes direct from the pages of Southern Living Magazine and is so easy that you’re not going to believe it. Southern Living created a modern gallery wall grid display using borderless clip style frames hung perfectly spaced in a large rectangle. You can easily tweak this design to make it a square if you are a symmetry addict. Here’s the breakdown:
Studio 222 Photography   getthelook southernliving studio222 Get the Look | Modern Grid from Southern Living Magazine

Shopping List Breakdown: 
We hunted down 4×6 borderless clip frames and were thrilled to see that our beloved superstore Ikea sells them in packs of 4 for the low low price of $0.99/pack. Can you believe it? How much do you love us right now? You’ll need to pick up 8 packs and you’ll end up with 2 extra frames but with a grand total rolling in at $8 we think you’ll still be jumping for joy.
Next you’ll need to pick out 30 of your favorite images from your online proofing gallery. We suggest using all color or all black & white for a cohesive look to your display. Head on over to our proofing site to pick your favorites and place your order. We also suggest ordering your 4×6 prints in a bundle to save money. We offer sets of 50 and 100 at a BIG FAT discounted bulk price of over 50% off. (And since these images are going to be a huge focal point in your home, you deserve to invest in professionally printed pieces that look absolutely gorgeous.) While you’re waiting for your prints to arrive in the mail, go hunt down a tape measure, level, and pencil so you can start to map out a grid on your wall for your prints.

Measure how far from the top of your wall and the bottom you will make your grid and then use your pencil to mark on the wall where each nail should go. Use your level to make sure that your tape measure is straight so that you don’t end up with crooked lines of prints. This is the hardest part but if you take the time to map it out precisely it will be a breeze to hang up all your images perfectly without wasting a lot of time (or leaving a lot of nail holes in your walls).
When your images arrive, clear some space on the floor or on a table and lay them out in a grid. Move the photos around until you find an arrangement you like. Then one by one put them in their frames and add their frames to the wall. When you’re done snap a photo and send it to us! We can’t wait to see how you turn your photos into art in your home!"

Studio 222 Photography   blogsignature Get the Look | Modern Grid from Southern Living Magazine

My Big Decision!~ Saying Goodbye

By Lisa Hensley

Every so often, a series of events seem to occur & force me to stop what I am doing & really think about my intentions.  I am having one of those moments.  It started last week while I was laying in the grass of someone’s home that I truly wished I owned.  It was a Victorian Cottage that looked just like a dollhouse, I once wanted as a small child.  The thoughts continued to rush thru my mind as I watched children playing with their parents in a Park later that afternoon.  I came to the realization that almost 22 years ago my first child was born and then 2 years later another one, and then 2.5 years later one more.  For those first 6 years of being a parent, I think all I thought about was how excited I would be when Bre could crawl or when Raygen could hold her own bottle on her own.  Then when Brittney was born all I could think about was how nice it was that Bre would be starting Pre-school that year and I would only have two of them at home with me.  I remember thinking how happy I was I got the three of them to bed at night and how that was the best part of the whole day.  Please don’t get me wrong I loved my babies, I loved everything about being a mom.  I was fulfilling a life long dream, however I think I spent more time thinking about “when they were going to be capable of this or that” then I did enjoying each moment of their precious lives.

I went on to have 3 more beautiful daughters who are now 13, 11 and 9.  Samantha will be graduating from 8th Grade this year and Gracen will be starting Jr.  High.  I never got to be at home with the younger 3 girls.  I have been working for the better part of the last 12 years at a Real Estate Office.  I never got to attend very many class parties, never attended any PTO meetings or sold cupcakes at their Bake Sales.  I come home after work and cooked dinner and helped with homework.  On the weekends it is all about cleaning and running errands (but only if I didn't have a Photo Shoot) that I couldn’t do during the week because I am working.  I feel as though I am just a part time parent silently going thru the motions.

My oldest daughter is now living on her own and my 2nd oldest not too far behind her.  Brittney will be leaving for College next year after she graduates from High School.  That only leaves a few years left with Samantha until she graduates from High School in 4 years and Gracen & Jayden are just about ready to enter the phase where they hate mom.

Wow, how did 22 years of parenting just fly by like that?  I spent so much time wishing away their childhood and now it is gone and I want it back! I want to play in the park again with BreAnna and listen to her beautiful laughter.  I want to spend more time at the Zoo with Raygen and watch her eyes light up when she sees all of the animals.  I want to sit on the floor and read with Brittney and watch her little expressions as she tries to figure out the story line.

All of these thoughts are weaving thru my brain and forcing me to think about things differently than I have before.  Because I only have a few years left with my 3 little girls before they leave my arms and venture out into the world on their own.

I have been trying hard to work 3 jobs, to stay on top of all of my obligations and in doing so I have neglected the most important role I have, the role of Motherhood!

Over the last few days I have clarified exactly what it all means to me.  My family must come first and I have made some pretty conscious decisions lately to let some opportunities go, because I am afraid that my family would pay the price.  As for my photography business I have decided to shut it down. It turned into something that I just loved to do as a hobby, into something that stole time from my family.  I need to find a way for it to be my little place of happiness again, something I can do to express my appreciation for the world that God created for us.  Photography is such a passion for me, I see the beauty in everything around me.  It makes it so much sweeter when I can actually capture it in an image and make that moment mine forever.  I have found that I am starting to resent that little black camera in the corner of my bedroom and I never want to feel that way again.  Hopefully some time apart from each other will be good for us.

So to everyone that has supported me up until this point I want to say thank you! Thank you for your love, thank you for building me up, thank you for making me feel as if I was an important part in your life, for that small amount of time we spent together.

If I could share just one piece of advice to all of my fans, please remember that each moment we have with our families and friends is a precious gift.  Children leave our lives to quickly, moments pass without a care in the world, and relationships change in a moment’s time.

Enjoy life!  Enjoy every moment and give every second you are given “your full attention!”

~Lisa Hensley

Photographing your Holiday Feast

by Cindy Larkin
For all you foodies out there, I thought it would be fun to post a few tips I've discovered on my journey to learning more about food photography.  Keep in mind that I'm still learning this craft, and I am in no way an expert.  I love it none the less.  Enjoy!

[Copyright © Cindy Larkin]

1.  Always use natural light if possible.  I have found that shooting during the day, and near an open door or window is the best place to shoot.  If you really need to shoot during the evening, don't use a flash directly on the food as it can be too stark.  Bounce the flash off the ceiling or wall, or use a diffuser. 

2.  Shoot from varied angles. Move around and really take a look at the food from all directions.  It's okay to take too many shots, especially when you're practicing.  This is my favorite way to discover what works and what doesn't.     

3.  Styling your food can make it stand out in a nice way, but keep it simple.  You want it to look good, but not too good to be true.  Use a clean and clear background, removing any unwanted clutter.  Add only necessary props.

[Copyright © Cindy Larkin]

4.  Use a macro lens if you have one, or simply zoom up close, filling the frame of your camera so the viewer can almost smell the food.  Details are awesome!

5.  Take pictures during the process.  Preparing and cooking the food can be just as fun to shoot as the finished product.

6.  Capture the food at its freshest, when it's hot and steamy or when it's still glistening.  From experience, waiting too long can have a disappointing effect.

7.  Lastly, don't forget to photograph the people surrounding the food.  After all, they are the main reason the food was made in the first place!  Cooking together is such a rewarding tradition, but having the pictures to look back on, makes it even sweeter!


RECIPE SHARE- 2 Crust Fruit Pie 


4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 cups cold butter
1 1/4 cups ice water

*  Sift flour and salt together in a medium bowl. 
*  Add cold butter after cutting it into 1/4 inch slices. 

[Copyright © Cindy Larkin]

* Add ice water and mix with a fork until the butter is mixed thoroughly, but not over mixed.

[Copyright © Cindy Larkin]

* Divide the dough in half, then roll the dough out flat on a piece of wax paper, and place it in your pie pan.    

[Copyright © Cindy Larkin]

* Add pie filling, and then the top crust.  You can either do a lattice top (pictured) or you can do a simple casing that covers completely.

[Copyright © Cindy Larkin]

* Bake at 450 degrees for 35 minutes, and then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake another 15-20 minutes.

[Making pies in Grandma's kitchen with Aunt Cindy]


Nov 24, 2011

Flickr Photo Share

look to the sky
Eleanor Leonne Bennett
Join our Flickr Group to get featured.

Nov 16, 2011

Brag Button for Cover Contest Finalists

Finalists: Grab a brag button for your website! Just copy and paste the code below.

Las Vegas Photographer Finalist

Nov 1, 2011

November Cover 2011


Social Media Tips for Photographers

Question & Answer with Kelsey Anderson

You're a photographer. You want to know how to grow a fan base, market yourself and make real connections with potential clients using social media.  How do you start?  Ask someone who's been successful at it! Check out how Kelsey Anderson has grown her fan base to nearly 7000 'likers'.

What are the best tactics you've used to increase your fan base?

Be me. I think that people really feel a connection with me or feel they have a good idea of who I am as a person and photographer because I don't try to business myself up all the time on my page and only post photography and business related topics. My fans read about my daily life as a Mom, Wife and Photographer. Most of my fans know that I am in love with Edward Cullen and have an addiction to reality tv. I believe this is a huge benefit for my business as well because my clients get a good sense of who I am and feel more comfortable in front of my camera because I am not a total stranger :)

How do you measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts?
I don't know if I have ever really sat back and looked at it honestly. I guess if maybe I didn't receive the response I typically do from my posts then I would reevaluate my approach.

For new business pages, where should they start? 
Suggest away to all your friends! Ask them to share with their friends and make sure you are tagging your clients in the images you post as well!

How do you focus your efforts on your target audience? My target audience is quiet large :) I am promoting myself to portraits and wedding clients as well as photographers. So I try to post about topics that all of the above would find interesting. I don't always just try to promote myself. If I come across a product or vendor that I think my clients might find cool I will post as well. I don't want my page to be one dimensional. I want my page to be a resource and a place for people to come and chat about stuff that might have nothing to do with my photography business at all.

How do you convert your social media efforts into tangible results? 

I don't really have to do anything. By doing as I mentioned above clients find me and book. Either they are local clients or people traveling into Vegas. This is another reason why I believe photographers only focusing on clients that live in their area could be a huge disservice to their growing business. Don't limit yourself. Reach out to other photographers and people outside your area. You never know if they have friends and family in your area or might be traveling to your area in the future and want portraits while in town. Living in a tourist area this is huge for me. I get referrals from other photographers outside of my area and clients that found me on Facebook because one of their friends liked my page.

What are your favorite social media tools or strategies? 

Facebook without a doubt. I do have my page linked up to Twitter but Facebook is truly where it is at in my opinion. It is free and really who doesn't have a Facebook account.... well besides my husband :)

Check out Kelsey's photography here -
Stop by Kelsey Anderson Photography on Facebook

Ashentide | Band Photography by Yasmin Tajik

by Yasmin Tajik

The shoot took place in December 2010 at a beach north of Malibu. I flew down to LA for the weekend to shoot the band Ashentide. My sister-in-law is the fiery red-head who plays the keyboards. It's a symphonic metal band so they wanted an edgy look without doing the typical grungy alleyway shoot, and since their name incorporates "tide" they thought something along the water would be appropriate.

I shot with a Canon 5d Mark II, with the 24-105mm lens for the group shot, and used the 85mm for the individual shots. There were no off-camera lights used, only ambient light, shot about 2 hours before sunset. The entire shoot lasted about 2 hours after extensive hair and makeup by Sarah Wong prior to the start of the shoot. Sarah assisted and did touch-ups throughout the shooting time, and my brother assisted during the shoot as well (his wife is Anastasia). Post production was done by myself and a graphic designer.

Photography by Yasmin Tajik |

Band Information:
Ashentide |
Lenore Young - Vocals
Andrew Faust - Guitars, Vocals
Anastasia Devana - Keyboards
Overlord Tom - Drums
J. Rivers - Guitars

Ashentide is a female-fronted symphonic metal band from Los Angeles, California, USA.
Ashentide's debut self-titled EP is was released in July 2011, and is now available at, as well as all major online digital music retailers.


LVP 1st Annual Cover Contest FINALISTS

First, thank you to everyone who entered our 1st Annual Cover Contest! We were so impressed with the quality and talent of those who entered. It was truly difficult to decide this group of finalists.

Each photo was judged on creativity, originality and technical skill. We also took into consideration the practical ability of the photo to be converted into a cover.  If you entered and didn't make the cut, please know that it's not because you're not a good photographer. Some photos covered subjects we've used often for covers. Some photos were not cropped in a way that would work for a cover. So don't be too hard on yourself!

So without further ado, here are your 14 finalists, in no particular order. Each photo includes the photographer's notes on the photo, and a few notes from the judges.
Entry #30 :: Emily Ku - Emily Ku Photography 
Entry #30 - Emily Ku
"I took this engagement photo in Cambridge, MA inside the Harvard Square T (subway) stop. The couple had their first date at Harvard Square and wanted pictures to remember their time together in Boston (they are now living in Hong Kong)." ~ Emily
 Why we chose it:
Cindy - Location, motion blur, color, composition
Amy - Beautiful exposure, great interaction and connection.

Entry #41 :: Lisa Deering - Lisa J Photography
Entry #41 - Lisa Deering

"This image was taken at a little green area near my home. These are first time parents with their new baby girl. We used lovely morning light." ~ Lisa
Why we chose it:
          Cindy - So endearing, lighting
Amy - Beautiful moment captured, lovely composition and interaction.

Entry #3 :: Yasmin Tajik - Shalimar Studios
Entry #3 - Shalimar Studios

"The subject in this image is Ria, a young, Indian lady I first met when I was photographing a charity pageant. This pageant, Glitterati, is designed specifically for girls of South Asian descent (Indian, Pakistani, etc.) to compete and raise funds to benefit the Akshay Patra Foundation. Akshay Patra is a powerful organization funding the production of meals for over 1.2 million children a day living in poverty conditions in India. Due to their dire conditions, they often don't attend school, and by giving them a meal incentive, it increases their chances and motivation to get an education. The Glitterati pageant provides a wonderful opportunity for local young South Asian girls to participate and bring in funds, donations and awareness to a critical issue in their homeland. Ria was one of 15 girls participating in the 2010 pageant and won Miss Photogenic which included a portrait session with Shalimar Studios. This image is one representation from that recent portrait session, and beautifully shows how stunning Ria is inside and out.

This image was captured in a deserted, industrial area near Blue Diamond and Rainbow. We just happened to find this location as we were driving to another location." ~Yasmin

Why we chose it:
Cindy - composition, love the post edit, pleasing to the eye
Amy - Technical skill, connection and composition. Great post processing.
 Entry #4 ::  Mary Lynn - Mary Lynn Photography
Entry #4 -Mary Lynn Photography

"This is a shot of my daughter from last Christmas. We were getting ready to go visit Santa. We live in Northwest Las Vegas, she was four years old and my favorite subject." ~Mary Lynn
Why we chose it:
Cindy - composition, perfectly exposed, rich color
Amy - Great exposure and connection with the photographer. Post processing is just right.
 Entry #23 :: Randi Gardner, r.gardner photographs
Entry #23 - Randi Gardner
"This is Ashlee, she is in her senior year of high school. I was lucky enough to photograph her - as she is so natural in front of the camera. This particular photo is my favorite from the shoot because of her genuine smile. She is looking at her mom. This was taken at the Jacob Hamblin home in Saint George, Utah - right as the sun was coming up." ~Randi
Why we chose it:
Cindy - It's lovely and soft, great lighting, love the bokeh, and composition.
Amy - I love her natural expression. Perfect exposure, soft and feminine feel to the image.
 Entry #6 :: Nick Pelletier, Nick Pelletier Photography
Entry #6 - Nick Pelletier
"This shot was taken from the top of the northern parking garage of the Las Vegas Premium Outlets North. It was taken in February of this year, and I re-touched the photo using Photomatix and Lightroom.

My family and I spent the day capturing some city photos from the stratosphere and other areas, finishing the evening with a colorful sunset! I think this photo captures a bit of why people come to vegas... The Lights, Shopping, Entertainment, and Gambling." ~ Nick

Why we chose it:
Cindy - colors, clarity, and location!
Amy - I love the beautiful color and feel to this image. It's just so VEGAS. It's not easy to get night photography just right, and this is just fantastic.
Entry #7 ::  Lacey Buchorn
Entry #7 -Lacey Buchorn
"Paris, France - Our family took one last hurrah trip to Paris before moving back to the US from the UK. Paris is my absolute favorite city in the world and I would live there in a heartbeat." ~Lacey

Why we chose it:
Cindy - Great angle, eye-catching!
Amy - Incredible composition - the conversion to black and white gives enhances the dramatic angle.
Entry #11 :: Deena Wilder - DW Photography
Entry #11- Deena Wilder
"I decided to play around in the background with my camera and my favorite subjects (my daughters). I put both of my daughters in sun dresses, and had them play around while I took some shots. I found this wonderful photo of my eldest daughter that I took between her twirling and dancing." ~ Deena
 Why we chose it:
Cindy - Great composition, expression
Amy - This photo really grew on me. The expression and composition are lovely, but I think what I love most is how the photographer took the processing right to the edge without going over.
Entry #14 :: Katie Hulett - K Hulett Photography 
Entry #14 - Katie Hulett
"This photo was taken with a Canonj 5D Mark II in the streets of Paris, France. The man in the middle is an Australian groom who was married a few hours later, happily walking off his nerves with his father and best friend. His best friend found a stray puppy and stooped to say hello while this shot was taken." ~ Katie
 Why we chose it:
Cindy - This one interests me and makes me want to know more about the story behind it
Amy - It's "street photography" style is very endearing and captivating. The composition a.nd technical skill are there, and it makes the viewer want to know and see more.
 Entry #18 :: Alex Mo - Alex Mo Photography
Entry #18 - Alex Mo
"This was from a last-minute wedding request that I was delighted to photograph. I just LOVE when kids run and play. It makes for some of the best candids because of their youth and innocence. This particular photo was of the groom's daughter just having a blast without a care in the world. I experimented with some odd/interesting composition and angles throughout the morning and found this gem." ~ Alex
 Why we chose it:
Cindy - I like the whimsey and composition of this shot.
Amy - I adore the playful journalistic feel to this image. Great movement and composition.
Entry 45 :: William Swaney - V3 Arts
Entry #45 - William Swaney
"This photo was taken on a romantic trip with my wife to Los Angeles. This was our stop at the Santa Monica Pier, it paired a beautiful blue sky with fluffy white clouds to a colorful and surely joyous ferris wheel." ~William
 Why we chose it:
Cindy - Love the colors, clouds, and the perspective.
Amy - Interesting composition. Great color and exposure.
Entry #15 - Leaha Bourgeois - POPography

Entry #15 - Leaha Bourgeois
Why we chose it:
Great color and expression. Lovely shot.

Entry #43 :: Lilli Schwindt -Lilly Photography
Entry #39 - Lilli Schwindt
 "I´m a photgrapher from germany and this was a 50´s journey shooting at a old train station." ~ Lilli

 Why we chose it:
Cindy - Composition, post edit, and clarity
Amy - There's just something about this photo. Great sharpness and post processing.
Entry #40 :: Lindy Frye - Frye Fotos Photography

Entry #40 - Lindy Frye

"The woman featured is Mary M. She is an inspirational lady who has been through many rough patches in life and gotten past each one. She has not let herself become a victim and has moved on to become a motivational speaker and successful author of Rocket Risks (" ~ Lindy
 Why we chose it:
Amy - Beautiful, well done portrait. Love the catchlights and pose.

Voting begins now! To vote, tell your friends and family to 'like' our page and vote for your photo (each finalist has a number). The photo with the most votes wins the December 2011 Cover! Voting ends November 15th.

Oct 1, 2011

Sep 30, 2011

Humbled In Haiti

by Todd Ellis

A while back my girlfriend Amie challenged me to “get out of my comfort zone.” I am a person who likes to operate with the same routine every day. Maybe Amie saw something in me that needed being jolted. Her suggestion on how to step out of my comfortable realm was far from anything I had ever thought about doing. 

I am Todd Ellis. During the day, I help execute the day to day logistics of a trucking company based out of St. George, Utah. After that, I am a professional freelance photographer. Photography is my passion and is one of the most fulfilling activities in my life.

Normally I photograph athletic events, people, and nature. Southern Utah provides me with a multitude of sources for my photographing desire. Between the beautiful southwestern landscapes, and the quality people who reside here, there is a treasure trove of subjects for my camera to capture.

Amie invited me to go to Haiti with her and her family as a volunteer for their foundation (FFCIN).  Besides learning more about my girlfriend and witnessing her in humanitarian mode, I would gain the humbling experience of seeing third world condition up-close. In addition, Haiti would be something far different from any subject I have photographed. This trip to Haiti would make me grow as a person, and hopefully, I would grow as a photographer. I cannot deny that I had apprehension in my heart and mind. I didn’t know much about Haiti and really did not know what to expect.

Looking out of the window of the 747 at the largest Haitian city, Port-au-Prince, as we were approaching the airport, struck me with a heightened sense of reality. Up to this point, Haiti had just been a novel thought.

I saw the slum areas; made up of the makeshift structures that so many of the over three million in populace uses for shelters. I saw trash filled waterways, right next to housing. I saw mass activity in narrow streets with rising smoke from people burning garbage.  After the plane touched down, I walked down the ramp and entered into this third world’s tragic conditions: for seven days.

The smell of trash and stagnate water, the sound of unfamiliar language, and the realization that I was a man of minority status, made me question my decision to step outside of my comfort zone.  I don’t speak a lick of the language so I didn’t understand any of what is being said at Customs. They searched all of our bags, which mostly contained supplies from donations. We made our way through, and outside the airport was a small truck waiting for us to load up our supplies for the drive to the foundation.

The truck was an old, beat up, Nissan pickup truck. It had a diesel engine, and reeked of diesel fuel. We loaded into the back of this rickety, old, truck and took off towards our destination.  Traveling around Port-au-Prince seemed crazy at first. There were no traffic rules. There were no defined lanes.  Cars, busses and trucks just made their own way in and out of each other, on the narrow disintegrated roadways. It was mass confusion. I was glad to arrive at our guest home and have a feeling of some kind of safety.

One of the main reasons for going there was to help and volunteer in the orphanages. While visiting, we notice there were many children but only a few workers to tend to their needs.  Some of the children were very sick and malnourished. Amie’s mother who runs the Foundation told us in orientation that the most important thing was to make the orphans feel loved.

If nothing else, we were to make sure that the kids were held and that their basic need for human contact was met. A particular orphanage we visited, was a small three-room house with approximately 50-60 children living there.

As we entered through the gate, I saw a young girl doing laundry in a tub. She’s was just scrubbing away. She looked about six years old, maybe seven. She looked at us with curiosity but did not stop scrubbing the clothes.  There she was, a young little girl, carrying on as if she was a mother herself.  I thought, "I can’t even get my kids to put their clothes in the laundry basket".
We took bottles of “blow bubbles”, bags of suckers, and ribbons for the girl’s hair. We also brought mirrors, so that the girls could see themselves. This was a big hit and confirmed my suspicion about girls and mirrors!

We also assessed their needs, and returned the next day with rice and beans and even some milk. We bought and took anti-bacterial supplies to treat the kids who had open sores. We found some plastic tubs on a street corner that we purchased to use for cleaning the kids.  We devised an assembly line where we washed the babies in the first tub, rinsed them in anti-bacterial solution in a second tub, and then applied medicine to their sores.

These babies and older kids were suffering with open sores.  They were mal-nourished and their poor bellies were sticking out. They don't have anybody. Seeing this and taking part in this project affected me greatly.

I met a girl named Abigail who came up to me. She could actually make out a few words in english. She pointed to my eyes and said “eyes,” and pointed to my ears and said “ears,” as if she was trying to impress me. My guess is that she was about nine years old.

Every time I went to that orphanage, where Abigail lived, she was the first kid to meet me. She would practically throw herself in my arms, hang on my shoulders, she didn't want me to let go of her when it was time to leave.  At the end of our day, the members of the volunteer group had to make a plan about the exit. On cue we'd quietly meet at the front gate and hurry out the door, and leave as quickly as possible. That was a hard thing to do, each time.

On another day, I walked down an alley behind the orphanage where there was a small building. There were flies everywhere, and an awful smell. After I walked around a corner, I saw children standing in a line that led to a narrow doorway of a building.  The children looked at me in a curious manner and then it hit me. The children were standing in a line to use a bathroom. This little closet-sized space housed a non-plumbed latrine that about 60 kids use. It’s basically an outhouse.

These poor little children are lined up and waiting for their turn to use the only latrine available to them. Seeing this line of children and discovering what they were lined up for was another glimpse into the reality of the conditions that these children live in.  I took a few shots, turned around and headed back to the front of the orphanage. As I walked back, I could not help wrestling with feelings of guilt. These few stories certainly do not fully express my experience in Haiti. The many photos I captured would demand many pages of text in order to properly describe the scenes that affected me.

As I drove home from Las Vegas, after flying into McCarran International Airport around 2 AM, I noticed the reflectors on the interstate. Those hundreds of thousands of reflectors that helped light my path home, something I had totally taken for granted before, was now something of little importance.  I remember thinking, "Do I really need reflectors for hundreds of miles to keep me on the road?"

When I saw my sons the next day, I hugged them with a tighter grip.  When I ate my next meal, I thought about that little four-year old Haitian girl who spilled her plate of rice and beans on the floor. She was so upset! I watched as she scooped up every bit of food that she could get off the filthy floor.  My experience in Haiti definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. I would like to think that I view everything with more appreciation now.  When I take photos, I search deeper, trying to capture a more meaningful representation of the figure I am targeting my lens on.

I look forward to returning again to Haiti, to keep myself focused on the things in life that are really important and worrying less about things like reflectors in the road.

*The Foundation For Children In Need ( ) was Founded (in 2001) as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization to help the children of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.