Vulcan Park with my kids – TWICE in one day!

Most of the time I blog about client sessions; but sometimes, I blog about personal shooting adventures — shooting purely for the love of the lens. This is one of those posts.

Today the UPS man delivered my brand new super wide angle lens. It was burning a hole in my bag and I just had to “take it out for a spin”. So, this afternoon after school, the kids and I headed to Vulcan Park. It was an extremely short walk through the museum since it wasn’t a guided tour; and I couldn’t keep my 9 year old and 6 year old interested in the history of Birmingham and Vulcan when they were so ready to go up in the tower! They had fun seeing the city from way up there and pointing out the new Children’s Hospital where their daddy works. When we bought our tickets, the lady at the counter told us that we could come back the same night at no additional cost. We left the park and went home to do sidewalk chalk in the driveway and eat dinner.

After dinner, it started to get dark and the kids said “Hey! Let’s go back up to Vulcan!” I happily agreed, and with camera in hand, we hopped in the car to get there before the sun completely set. We are so ready for summer and these longer days and perfect temperatures just make us want to stay outside.

When we got there the kids ran…and leaped…and rolled around the grassy areas before we went up into the tower and ruined every couples’ romantic date night! Who knew Vulcan was such the perfect date?! I kept thinking there might be a proposal while we were there, but then again…my kids talking about “Vulcan’s booty facing Hoover side” kinda ruins the mood!

I’ll share with you some of the images I took while on the two visits with my kids today…with an intermission of chalk art in between.

Oh! And when I’m not with my kids…it is an iconic Birmingham location for engagement shoots and weddings! I second shot a wedding on the Fox 6 rooftop and Vulcan Park last August with my good friend Emily Kicklighter Photography. You can see a post from that wedding here. It’s a beautiful venue with an amazing view of our city!

::AFTERNOON VISIT::

:: INTERMISSION ::

::EVENING VISIT::

aTeam Ministries 2012 Heart to HeART Gala

I had a great time photographing the aTeam Ministries Gala this evening at the really cool Ted’s Garage. I want to shout out a great big thank you to Emily Kicklighter Photography and Tina Folsom-Photography for coming along to help cover every angle of the night. Neillie Kirk Butler of Mariee Ami did a fabulous job planning the event along with Granger Thagard as the auctioneers and Danny Brewer of Feel The Beat for music and sound. Money raised from this event will help families affected by pediatric cancer. What a great night! More photos to come; but for now, here’s one of us shooters at the end of the night.

From left: Tina Folsom, me & Emily Kicklighter

The definition of a Champion

I’ve been going to The University of Alabama football games since I was a little girl. Both of my parents were graduates. My brother is a graduate. My husband and I are graduates. We’re an Alabama family, so of course I was excited when we won the National Championship!

The members The University of Alabama football team are champions. Trent Richardson is a champion. AJ McCarron is a champion. And of course, Nick Saban is definitely a champion.

When I looked up the word champion in an online dictionary, this is what I found:

(chăm’pē-ən)
n.

  1. One that wins first place or first prize in a competition.
  2. One that is clearly superior or has the attributes of a winner
  3. An ardent defender or supporter of a cause or another person
  4. One who fights; a warrior.

I’d like to add to the definition…no, I’m not Merriam-Webster, but I do have my own thoughts about what a champion really is — on and off the field — and I think it’s more than just awards and accolades. In fact, #3 of the definition is my favorite.

My grandfather is a champion. Oh, he hasn’t won any awards playing football or won a pulitzer prize, and in fact he didn’t even finish school; but he is a champion — of character and of fatherhood.

Galatians 5:22-23 in the Bible, it says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” To me, a real champion is one whose life is exemplary of the fruit of the Spirit each and every day and is devoted to family. Some would disagree, but I dare say it’s a harder challenge to be a character champion than to be a sports champion. I pray for each of these traits in my own life and talk to my kids about pursuing the Lord for these qualities, yet I fail in front of them daily. It’s a constant, daily pursuit and renewal of the mind. But, my Grandad exemplifies the fruit of the Spirit every day, and has done so my whole life. Even though he had a tough childhood, was in World War II, has been through a very bad car accident and probably has lots of reasons why he could be bitter and cranky, he’s not. He’s kind, loving, gentle and selfless. And talk about faithful…he and my grandmother have been married over 60 years! He’s definitely #3 of the definition of a champion I listed above, “An ardent defender or supporter of a cause or another person”. He’s as loyal as a black lab and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him utter an unkind word about another person. Seriously! I can also say that he was at every recital, program, and big event in my life, supporting me without question. I could count on he and my grandmother to be a proud smile from the audience or bleachers — every. single. time. always. He has always loved me not only with his heart, but also with his time.

Last week my Grandad turned 90 years old. He’s been an Alabama football fan his whole life, and that’s a really long time to be a fan y’all! So, I decided to take him to Tuscaloosa for a tour of Bryant Denny Stadium, the Athletic Complex and the Bryant Museum. My grandmother and my parents also went along for the fun. Even though I was a student there, I had never toured any of these facilities; so it was exciting to get a better glimpse inside Alabama football with one of their biggest fans and a champion himself — my Grandad!

I’m making him a little brag book to show his buddies at church prayer breakfast, so I though I would also share with you what I saw through my lens to include in his book. A big thanks to our college friend Thad Turnipseed for helping to make the day even more special by getting us onto the field!

Love the Coke bottle and Golden Flake bag someone had left on Bear Bryant’s statue after winning the BCS!
A gift of Little Debbie cakes for Saban.
Checking out the field from The Zone

It takes $500,000 to be put on a 10 year waiting list for a skybox.

Eli Gold’s seat

There were murals and collages on most of the walls in the recruiting rooms. Pretty amazing!

Another recruiting room wall – such incredible sports photography!

View of campus from The Zone

The locker room. I expected it to be dirty and smelly, but it wasn’t – at all! No one is allowed to walk on this circle except Coach Saban. We were specifically told that before entering the room. When you get near it and stand in the very center of the circle your voice echoes. So, this is where Coach Saban stands to talk to the team at half time. The only time players set foot in this circle is when they win. They jump in, sing the fight song and jump right back out.

This locker was set up just for show

As the players head out from the locker room into the tunnel, they reach up and tap this sign that says “WIN”.

Tunnel where the players go out onto the field

A champion in the tunnel

Another champion in the tunnel – my dad

strength and wisdom

We all had to get our photo with Trent! This image was in a corridor off the main team tunnel. It was painted with murals of Trent’s records, awards and achievements as a nod to his Heisman nomination.

Grandad doing the Bear Bryant pose 🙂 He’s pretty cute, isn’t he!

After our tour of Bryant Denny, we decided it was time to grab some lunch.

We ate at 15h Street Diner, but it didn’t hold a candle to my grandmother’s good southern cooking! I even used to come home from Tuscaloosa for Sunday lunch and Nannie and Grandad’s table. It tasted especially good since back then I was living on late night cereals and bagels!

After lunch we were ready for more Roll Tide indoctrination so we headed over to the Athletic Complex to the Hall of Champions.

Highlight of the day for me was seeing the actual Heisman.

Looked with my eyes and not my hands – just like I tell my kids to do! 🙂

Checking out the teams from when he was born

Our last stop on the Bama Birthday tour was The Bear Bryant Museum.

A Waterford crystal replica of Bear Bryant’s hat

2009 Coaches Trophy

Small replica of the large bronze statue that now sits in front of the stadium by The Walk of Champions

I was so excited when I saw this because I remember drinking these as a kid! Then my mom reminded me it is now in a museum! 😦 Total buzzkill.

It was a great day. One I will always remember.