The 2017 Holiday Card from Chanterelle Photography: “Holiday Wonderland”

If you’ve been residing beneath a solid mineral (aka living under a rock), you might not know that my Christmas cards have kind of become a “thing” over the years.  The theme is carefully planned and changes every year.  The photographs are taken, then the cards are made and delivered with the understanding that the recipients will keep the theme secret until New Year’s Day, when the Chanterelle Photography holiday card is revealed to all.  So without further adieu, I give you the 2017 edition, “Holiday Wonderland”!

A few behind the scenes tidbits:

  • The theme is based on the 1951 Disney animated version of Alice in Wonderland, but my original plan was to have a tea party with me as Alice, and Watson as the Mad Hatter.  Then the idea of us falling down the rabbit hole popped into my head, and I liked it so much that I switched gears and made Watson the White Rabbit instead.
  • In the Disney movie, the White Rabbit is wearing a different outfit than the one Watson is wearing when Alice follows and falls down the rabbit hole.  The jacket, vest, and bow tie weren’t the easiest to find in the colors we would need, plus I was hesitant to put Watson in an outfit that was so similar to what he wore in the last two years’ cards.  So I made the executive decision to put him in the White Rabbit’s “herald” costume instead, since it’s still a recognizable outfit for the character.
  • With the exception of the tree picture (which was shot at Blount Cultural Park), the pictures were shot in my garage. 😮  All the falling objects were actually there for the shoot, but the lamp wasn’t plugged in (I faked the light in Photoshop later).  If you look closely, the book is open to chapter 17, which was a little nod to this being the 2017 card.
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Commercial: Taylor Crossing Animal Hospital’s Pet Pictures with Santa – Montgomery, Alabama

I got an unexpected call from Taylor Crossing Animal Hospital (my dog’s vet) the other day.  Normally that would be alarming, but I was at home and Watson was with me, so I knew he was fine.  They said the photographer who had originally volunteered to shoot their “Pet Pictures with Santa” event called to cancel at the last minute, and they asked if there was any way I could get there ASAP and fill in.  I knew they had been planning this event for a while, that it was a fundraiser for the Troy Animal Rescue Project, and that it was supposed to happen THAT DAY.  I looked at the nearest clock, it said 1:30pm.  I asked when the event was supposed to start: 2:00pm.  😮 I thought to myself, “Do I even have what I need to pull this off???”  So I asked if they had some kind of set for the pictures, they said yes, and that Santa and Mrs. Claus were still planning on coming.  Phew!  Then I asked how many pets they were expecting, and they replied, “Right now we have 51.”  Holy crap, that’s a lot of dogs.

There was a flurry of not-so-graceful activity after that, as I ran around throwing whatever gear I thought I might need into two bags, packed a tripod, got myself looking halfway decent (not dressed up by any means, but at least I didn’t look like I was just bringing stuff down from my attic), put Watson in the car, and headed to the clinic.  With the help of Taylor Crossing’s crew (including helper elf Whitney), and Santa and Mrs. Claus, I photographed 104 pets in about 3.5 hours.  That’s not a typo – there were ONE HUNDRED AND THREE dogs and one brave cat, and included everything from puppies to Great Danes.  It was a crazy day, but Troy Animal Rescue Project got a bunch of donations and came away with a nice check.  Take a peek below at a few of my favorite pics!

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Portrait: The Buchanan Family – Private Residence – Lake Martin, Alabama

When I shot Lindsey’s engagement session and wedding 8 years ago, I fell in love with her smile because she smiles with her whole face.  Turns out it’s hereditary and contagious because her entire family, including the ones who are married in or are adopted, are the same way (okay, maybe not Mini the dog, but she’s a champ at giving you some side eye)!  So when I held a contest in honor of Chanterelle Photography’s 10th birthday and Lindsey won, I knew I’d have some great smiles to photograph, because she decided to include her parents, her brothers, their wives, and all their kids (and Mini, of course).  I met them at her older brother’s house at Lake Martin, and we headed out to the dock, where there was a lot of laughing, a little swinging around, and a lot of love.

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Senior Portrait: Zack – Blount Cultural Park – Montgomery, Alabama

Zack is one of those people that makes me feel like I blinked and suddenly he was grown. When I first met him, we were shooting his family’s portraits, and he wasn’t old enough to drive yet. Then not too long after that (or so it seemed), I saw him driving out of our neighborhood and thought, “Wait, what the h*ll did I just see???” Soon after, I shot his sister’s wedding, where he was the loyal younger brother and dance floor slayer.

Fast forward a little more and here he was, a senior in high school, getting ready to graduate from Park Crossing High School. Not only that, he was heading to college on academic AND baseball scholarships, and driving a truck so big that I’d need a catapult to get into it. I have no doubt he’ll work hard, play hard, break some hearts, and continue to achieve total 70’s hair perfection. 😀

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Newborn Portrait & Multimedia Film: Ella – Montgomery, Alabama

Ella is a very special baby.  Special because I’ve known her mom, dad, grandparents, and uncles for so long that they’re practically adopted family.  So when Ella came into the world, I knew we couldn’t just take your typical newborn pictures.  We needed to do something MORE.  If you’ve ever known anyone with a newborn, you know how quickly they change.  The “baby-ness” leaves quickly, and is replaced by fast moving “little boy” or “little girl”.

So I hatched a plan to create a short multimedia film to celebrate Ella’s arrival and the birth of a family.  We’d combine her pictures with just enough video and sound to tell a little story.  Once she was older, she’d be able to see how her parents felt when she was just days old; their feelings about her AND about each other.  We could tell her later how she didn’t want to cooperate at first, but then she slept like a champ the next time around.  She could see how the family dog Sensei acted as if Ella had always been there.  She could hear how her dad’s laugh became delirious from sleep deprivation. Scroll down to see some of the pictures from her session, then take a peek at the multimedia mini film at the bottom of this post!

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