Charlane Killough Griffith - RIP Sweet Soul

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I am sitting here with a broken heart after hearing of the passing of my sweet friend Charlane. Charlane was not only loved by those who called her family & friend in "real life", but also by those in the online world of bloggers, FB & Flickr. Many hadn't met Char in person, but we knew her well - & she left her mark in may lives. Char had such a gift of weaving words into a beautiful story & added her photographs for a compelling view of life through her eyes. She loved life! She loved being an auntie, Nick Drake, ball jars & flowers... Char was such an inspiration in so many ways to so many people. She left a heartfelt legacy.

I was out of town when Char passed and then became busy with catching up & life - not checking in on FB or blogs. And just like that, she was gone. I had always wanted to buy one of her prints. So, today say "I love" you to those you love, -say it all day until the sun sets. Give hugs liberally. If someone has been an influence in your life or made a difference - make sure you tell them... & not just once. I read all the words/posts left on Char's FB page - so many sentiments of love - & realized we need to be saying those things & showing how we feel right now - today.... because we - or someone we love - might not have tomorrow.

Sorry for the rambling as I'm sitting here with tears. I have "known" Char for years & have enjoyed her friendship, support & inspiration. She will be missed.

I am including some of her photographs below in this post. And I found one of her last blog posts especially poignant.......


in my other life....

i would live in a house shaped like a triangle on the beach...somewhere warm and happy. where children laugh and adults giggle and the air smells like warm cinnamon cookies baking in the oven. 
 and you would come over for simple lunches. and we would chat for hours while watching the sea and the waves dancing. the salt would make our hair wild and wooly and we would laugh belly laughs that made our sides ache.

then after sunset, we would go to the carnival and ride the merry-go-round until we were dizzy.  we would sup on wonderful foods and eat with our fingers - never spilling a drop or worrying about being messy.  carnivals are know for that kind of thing you know.
after the carnival we take a walk on the beach. there we could stare at the stars, wish on shooting stars and solve the world's problems. there would be peace and understanding - and somehow we would figure out how to feed the starving children and make mosquitoes turn into butterflies. because the world definitely needs more butterflies.

then, when we are tired, we would slip into cotton sheets and sleep sweet dreams of happy places and wonderful things.

the life of simple joys, no worries, and plenty of love is for me - the rest is gravy on my potatoes.
~charlane killough griffith
And beautiful sweet soul - now you are there.
RIP Char. xxx
To see more of Char's photography, words and wonderful view on living & life, STOP BY HERE.


In the North Woods - Michigan and Ohio Environmental Portrait Photographer

Thursday, June 16, 2011

When I discovered I would be photographing the beautiful DK, I was delighted. When I found the session would be in the divine woods behind her north woods home, I was ecstatic! In addition to the challenges of shooting in 90 degree heat (with equally high humidity) and the extreme light/shadows of a 3PM sunny day, I knew it would provide some very unique & personal portraits. DK is the owner and artistic force in her interior design and decorating company. She is also a nature lover and very much at home in the woods and wilds. And of course there is her fur child who delights her to no end!

What I love about environmental portraiture (on location) is that it really says something about the person being photographed and it is a very relaxing setting for the person (as relaxing as it can be with a camera pointing at you!). I enjoy forging connections - really getting to know people, and photographing them in their personal landscape.

I felt DK looked like a gorgeous wood nymph in her dress, and tried to photograph and process the portraits with that feel in mind. These are some of my favorites from the session.

Strangers #10, #11 and #12 - Bass Lake, Sleeping Bear Dunes - Northwestern Michigan Portrait Photographer

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

 One of my favorite haunts in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is Bass Lake,  a beautiful tranquil little "no-wake" lake. This gorgeous, sunny day, I was there with a friend Vicki & my dog Maggie. It's Maggie's favorite place to enjoy doggie dock diving!

While there, I decided to do some stranger shots for my 31 Strangers project. Cat was at the lake to do some kayaking with her long haired daschund "Willie", & just enjoy the fabulous day. She was kind enough to stop for a quick shot! It was so cute that Willie & my Maggie were wearing doggie life jackets! Randy & Tom were also out that day in a paddle boat to do some fishing & spend time in the sun. They were eager to get out on the lake, so I just got a quick shot!

Patty & Bob - Strangers 8 & 9 /31 Strangers Project { Michigan Portrait Photographer }

Saturday, June 11, 2011

While in northern Michigan, the Strangers Project came with me! For 2 days, we had incredible dense fog along the Lake Michigan shore. It made for some spectacular shots while hiking, but it also was beautiful in Crystal Gardens in Frankfort, Michigan - one of my favorite places to wander & look for plants. While there, the fog rolled in even heavier & I thought I should take advantage of it for my stranger shots. Meet Patty - Stranger 8. She came to Crystal Gardens one day about 22 years ago looking for a job. She got the job & has loved it so much she never left! She said that what is even better than being in northern Michigan, is being there & having a job you love! I don't think I have ever met an unhappy person while on my trips Up North. I also ran into Bob (Stranger 9) wandering through the greenhouses. He said he is an amateur photographer who is inspired by the beauty of the area.

Strangers 6 & 7 - Marsha & Ruth Ann [ Michigan Family, Child & Fine Art Portrait Photographer ]

Thursday, June 9, 2011

As much as I like to think I color outside the lines and blaze my own trail instead of following the one already marked & mapped - I do sadly realize I am also a creature of habit.  And so, on my travels to my beloved northwestern Michigan to do an environmental portrait session & a commercial shoot of a cottage vacation rental - I found myself stopping (as usual) at the Clare Michigan Welcome Center. This is always my last rest stop on the journey north - only 2 hours from my final destination of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

It seemed only fitting that I capture some strangers for the 31 Strangers Project at the Welcome Center! Marsha & Ruth Ann were happy to oblige! Marsha (left) usually works at the Port Huron center, but was called to duty to the Clare Center. They obviously were very happy to be Michiganders (Wolverines?) and were delighted to impart some facts about their state.

Michigan has over 64,980 inland lakes.
Other than California, Michigan grows the widest variety of fruits and vegetables..... and Michigan doesn't have to irrigate.
The name Michigan is a French alteration of the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake".
A person in the state is never more than six miles from a natural water source or more than 85 miles from a Great Lakes shoreline.
Lake Huron rushes into the St. Claire River at the same force as Niagara Falls.
Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state.

... And just some of the reasons I'm always heading north!  Thank you Marsha & Ruth Ann for participating in the Strangers Project!

31 Strangers Project/ Spring Summer 2011 Edition! [Columbus Ohio Photographer]

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I loved doing the 31 Strangers Project so much that I decided to start it again. What is 31 Strangers? It is a project that expands not only your photographic comfort zone, but also your personal comfort zone! In 31 days, you walk up to 31 strangers and ask to photograph them. I tell them about the project, get their first name (so we are no longer strangers!) and get to know something about them. I am a bit behind in posting and photographing as I just returned from a photo shoot in Michigan, but the fun is in catching up!

Meet Judy, Elizabeth, Susan, Mary Alice and Elin. I saw them one Saturday morning at the riverfront in downtown Columbus, Ohio participating in the Dragon Boat races. It was the first Dragon Boat event in Columbus. Boats were brought in from Pittsburgh, Pa and these ladies were part of a team called the MOV'n Dragons. MOV in Mov'n is for Mid Ohio Valley and the group was from Marietta, Ohio. The team members were all either cancer survivors (or as Judy said - "thrivers") or were a support person/caregiver for someone with cancer. These gals inspired me to start the Strangers Project again! I hope to see them next year at the Dragon Boat races on our riverfront!