That Extra Special Visit

Have I told you about my Mom? Former beauty queen, best preschool teacher in all of Oklahoma (in the 1980’s), former dog breeder of champion bloodhounds, super fun and carefree (although very strict on politeness and respect). We had many fantastic trips and outings growing up. In fact, I am absolutely positive my love of adventure comes from her. And the only thing about Mom that wasn’t quite right is her struggle with alcohol. A silent killer which tried to take her life one too many times.

But she always prevailed in her battle of the bottle (with much help from her sons).

With great joy, she is with us today and although not on her own anymore, she has found a new meaning to life being the youngest, and hippest at her assisted living home in Ada.

Because of her short-term memory loss from alcoholism, I normally don’t call her to let her know we are visiting her (she doesn’t remember even if I do). It is actually very fun to surprise her and as long as you make it to the home before lunch, she adores a lunch out to her favorite restaurant (or ours).

This past weekend was no exception. I didn’t call, but I planned a visit. I wanted to bring Averey to see her while she is still a small nine-month-old. I wanted her to have that last visit before she turned one and hit the mobile stage.

We took off Saturday morning and just made it prior to lunch. This is a big accomplishment coming from Texas and a good three hours away. What I love most about visiting her with the baby is her pure joy at seeing her first great-granddaughter. It is as if they have never met before and today is the happiest day of her life (she has met Averey two times before this visit).

Upholding the tradition of meeting Averey for the first time, Mom squeals with delight and snatches her up. She takes her around to every table, and every resident proclaiming to them about how it is her first time to meet her great-granddaughter. They oooh and aaah and congratulate her. It is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

Of course, I never have my camera, just my phone. But I did try to capture the moment.

Then, we go to lunch. Mom gets to sit by the baby. She laughs. She hugs. She can’t stop talking about how CUTE her great grand baby is. And we spend the afternoon watching her have the best day ever.

I know what it is like being Averey’s Grandmother. I can only imagine how delightful it is as her Great Grandma. The the love is undeniable and I am so glad we can gift her these moments.

Mom cuddled and rocked the afternoon away. Averey was not near as animated as usual. I could tell she wasn’t her crazy-baby self. And although, she didn’t have her normal energy. It didn’t bother Mom at all. She was able to hold her and get a big dose of cuddles.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

And I was able to get some extra special photos of an extra, extra special visit.

It is as grandmothers that our mothers come into the fullness of their grace.
Author: Christopher Morley

A Summer in the Arts

\© Angelia's Photography 2014

One of my favorite hang-outs The Arlington Museum of Art hosted their very first photography contest. Aptly named, the “Image as Art Photo Contest: The Landscape”. The contest allowed entries for a fee during the early winter months. Anonymous judges screened art-worthy photographs to display in the final part of the contest. Over 200 entries came in and only sixty reaped a place on the museum walls. These finalists display in the downstairs part of the museum just in time for the Ansel Adams opening – May 3rd, 2014.

Of course, I entered. I mean, why not? We encouraged everyone in our Chics Who Click photography group to do so. Go beyond snapping the shutter and FRAME it. Be proud. Let others see. Let others judge. It takes a lot of work to go from camera to wall. Be fearless.

And the girls did not disappoint.

© Angelia's Photography 2014

Many of the Chics featured an image to display as a finalist in the competition. Too many to even count or keep track of. But if I had to guess, I believe the number of finalists (just chic who click finalists) were around fourteen. About fourteen of us get to show with other artists in the museum. All we had to do is take our digital image selected by the judge and have it printed, framed, and delivered ready for the wall.

And I just made it…

I mean like heart-hammering, overnight shipping on the framing, and dropping the image off as they are hanging the others.

Thisssss close…Phew!

I could kick my procrastinating self, and maybe I will do that tomorrow. Heh.

A reception at the end of the display week is held to decide the winners – by one judge – for first, second, third, and fourth place, along with eleven honorable mentions. ALL winners, places and mentions, will display ALL summer with Ansel Adams.

This is quite the honor. I mean….Ansel Adams? And one of us? Or maybe not one of us, but to already be hanging in the same museum at the same time as his works of art?

How incredible is that?

Let me tell you, more than you can imagine, and you know what? I already won. I don’t care what the judge says, or who he picks. I have WON.

My image is on the wall of a museum, and not because I bought space, but because someone PICKED me as a favorite.

But it gets better, it is not just the prestige, but monetary prizes too.


© Angelia's Photography 2014

So, do you want to know what happened?

Well, I got super sweaty. Nerves. Excitement. That darn glass of red I should NOT have had, because red wine makes me an inferno from the inside out. I love it, but I need to just accept our relationship must end. It’s just too hot for me.

So while, I am dabbing the sweat off my brow, and holding my daughter’s cold coke on my neck. I hear it…my name…they said…MY NAME. I hear lots of hooting and hollering. Then, my photographer teacher is next to me and escorting me on stage to accept my win as an honorable mention. Me? A winner? But, I already won. I am here and that’s enough.

But nooooo, I win. Officially, as in all summer, with my buddy Ansel. I take home prize money and have a chance to sell my image.


All this for something I love to do. I took this photo at a local park after a client session. Of course, I couldn’t just leave, I had to explore and take photos. I found a lovely bunch of sunflowers.

© Angelia's Photography 2014

Seven us from my photography group took home prizes and places. Seven of us will show all summer.

© Shantel Rich Photography

I don’t know who was more thrilled, the seven of us on stage holding our certificates, or the photography teacher who got so fired up, he dropped his camera (and broke it!).

Now, that is some kind of show.

I hope you enjoy my exciting work of art, if you would like to see more, please visit this week’s WordPress Daily Post- Weekly Photo Challenge – Work of Art for more fabulous works.

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

WordPress has challenged us yet again. The theme this week is “On the Move” .

Movement is life (I think I am quoting World War Z?). But truly, movement is exciting and thrilling.

I am super jazzed to give you photos from my last trip to San Francisco. A city that never fails to amaze me in the way it moves and speaks. It is diverse and dynamic. And besides, who can resist the sweeping beautiful bay?

Most of these images are from or around Fisherman’s Wharf.

© Angelia's Photography 2014

So you can see, a city so full of motion, it is hard to capture it all. And that is why I keep going back.

© Angelia's Photography 2014

If you would like to see more blogs on the move, please check out the The Daily Post – Weekly Photo Challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

We didn’t expect to have any time between the Coastal Redwoods and the airport drive.

We didn’t expect to see the coastline, not when the sign read Beach Closed.

We didn’t expect this winter season to give us any kind of color, especially when the gray fog dipped low over the hilltops all around us.

We didn’t expect to turn towards the arrow that read beach overlook and find any sort of view or path. We had no idea if it was even open in this quiet off-season.

No, we didn’t expect this last nugget of pure shining beauty, in the form of an empty overlook, at the top of Muir Beach.

We did not expect our last stop to be the best. Not after being over-the-top joyed at so many places in the San Francisco Bay Area – Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Par, Chinatown, Napa Valley, and the Coastal Redwood forest.

No, we did not expect this at all.

And it took our breath away.

**Click on any photo to enlarge and view as a slideshow**.

In the depth a light will grow,
A silver shine no shadows know,
Like wings unfolding in the sky,
That circle ’round a gleaming eye,
Turning darkness all away,
Even depths will know their day,
For every shadow has its end,
In light!
Life will return again!

― Robert Fanney

See other unexpected entries at The Daily Post at