Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sideways Truck Trailers

I am writing this as we are heading back from New York from the funeral for Lee’s Dad. (I will probably post this tomorrow morning/afternoon.)

Lee and I left arrived in Syracuse at 3am Thursday morning, in time for the afternoon calling hours. The funeral was Friday. Overall, I don’t think it was really that tough of a funeral. We had already been through the hardest part: saying goodbye last Sunday, three hours before he would pass.

But the funeral none the less was emotionally draining. I was in no way shape or form ready for what was ready to come my way...

As I was driving with Pam, my sister-in-law, from the cemetery to the wake, a semi-truck coming toward us lost control of the rear of the truck. We were going down a two-lane country road, and the truck was going WAY too fast. The massive steel trailer started to slide toward us at 60 mph sideways, covering both lanes.

There was a small gravel shoulder on the country road. I somehow got the wits about me to gun it, and swerve on to the shoulder to avoid the mass of steel screaming toward us. To stay on the road would have been fatal. I braced as the rear end of the trailer came near us. I knew that if I could speed up, the trailer might miss the front door, but I fully expected the trailer to hit the rear of the car and send us spinning. I was able to regain control of my car after going off the road, and avoided the accident completely. I don’t know how we lived. Really I don’t. There is no way Pam and I should be alive right now.

The woman behind me would be the first thing the truck would hit. When we finally turned around the car, we saw a mangled mess of steel and our hearts sank. About one third of the car had been smashed in, and I remember my sister-in-law, Pam, saying what I was thinking… “oh please God, no more dead bodies today.”

This is what we saw. The driver's side of the car is gone.

We arrived to the car to find a miracle. The woman, although covered in blood, would live. I stayed with her and calmed her down while Pam called 911. Here I am, in my funeral clothing, standing in the rain, with my hands covered in blood after we just buried Lee’s dad. I remember thinking. “Wake up, Beth, wake up. This cannot be happening...”

We waited until the paramedics got there, and then I just stepped away while they prepared to cut her out of the vehicle and take her to the hospital. I fell to the ground and I just sobbed. It was just too much.

Here is the video of what we saw from the local news. The overall story is a good one: everyone survived the accident.

Laura managed the schedule to allow me to have the weekend off. Lee and I have decided that we are going to nothing tomorrow. And it will be wonderful. After all, it is football day! ;)

Drive safe everyone...!


Monday, September 22, 2008

A Picture of a Picture - (Update)

So, my scanner is very much broken. (Grrrrrr...) So, what does a photographer do in a time like this? Take a picture of a picture.

I wanted to show you all Jake (Lee's Dad). The picture came out terrible, but given the circumstances, maybe it is a little bit fitting....?

First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support. I have been baffled by the number of letters and calls I have received. Moreover, my clients have been so incredibly accomodating given the major interruption in schedules. I appreciate that more than you will ever know. (Linda McGuire, you are the best.... thank you so much for your support.)

I am back from Syracuse for a bit. It is really good to be back... as expected, it was a tough week. Lee and I did the midnight shift to try and relieve the family who lives in Syrcause and have been staying with him for the two days before we got there. We literally lived at the hospital from Tuesday through Sunday. I personally got to spend a lot of time alone with him. On Tuesday night he could still talk, but by Sunday, communication avenues had changed. He would communicate with his eyebrows and his toes. Believe it or not, he could still crack jokes on Saturday - just not with words. He would lift his eyebrows in response to conversations in the room. He knew exactly what was going on. It was funny.

As a family, we met our goals: There was never a minute where Lee's dad was alone and someone was not there to comfort him. He was able to see his entire family - from four states. And most importantly, he went peacefully. ...Yesterday afternoon, at 4:34pm, Jake Merritt stopped breathing.

The family is doing well. Lee is doing well. Jake was in a lot of pain in the end, and I think everyone was content to see it end.

Now I should let my readers know that I am a Christian. Not everyone is - and I totally respect that - but that's what I choose to believe. And in my pursuit of increasing my faith, I stumbled upon a favorite passage by Max Lucado...

"We don't like to say goodbye to those whom we love. Whether it be at a school or a cemetery, separation is tough. It is right for us to weep, but there is no need for us to despair. They had pain here. They have no pain there. They struggled here. They have no struggles there. You and I might wonder why God took them home. But they don't... They are, at this very moment, at peace in the presence of God."

For those of you dealing with similar situations, I hope you find peace in this passage. I know I do. Thanks again for all of your support and understanding. You guys are the best....



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Hopkins Family

Hey guys! It's Tristan and as you know Beth is in New York visiting family. So I'm filling in for her on the blog.

Last week we had a shoot with the Hopkins family and they chose to do it on-location at their house. Everyone was great and their son was great in front of the camera. Their house ended up being a great place to shoot at also, they even got their garden put in Better Homes & Gardens magazine for the September issue. The pictures turned out great, here are some of my favorites. Enjoy!

Monday, September 15, 2008

An update... "Circle of Life"

We just found out that my family member, (Lee's father)... is now in the hospital, and may not make it much longer. They thought he had pneumonia, but now they don't think so. It might be that the cancer has just spread that far. He is dying.

I am going to call the hospital tomorrow. If the nurses say "You need to come", I am going to listen to their advice. I will know more tomorrow.

I wish everyone could have known this man. He is so gentle and fun-loving, and I love him very much. He is one of my favorite people on this earth. It's so hard to see him go - especially like this.

For my sake, and for my husband's sake, I may need to cancel my shoots this weekend. I need to make sure I say good-bye before it's too late. I apologize for any inconvenience, but I just wanted to send out a warning to all my clients. Laura will call when we know more.

Thanks for your understanding and prayers...


9/16 Update (7:45am): We are waiting for confirmation, but we have been informed that his body is failing and he has only a couple days left with us. We will need to leave for Syracuse as soon as possible. Laura will be in contact with clients affected. I apologize for the huge inconvenience.

9/16 Update (noon): I was told that all is well and that he would probably be okay for a couple of weeks. I believe the nurse said "a month or less". So, we still decided to go this weekend, but not until Thursday am.

9/16 Update (5pm): He almost died about an hour ago. His lungs keep filling up. (How do you go from "a month or less" to "better come now... drive quick" in five hours?? I know they are doing the best they can, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating.) Needless to say, we are making a beeline for Syracuse asap. Laura and Tristan will still be here to help while I am gone, and will be able to contact me if needed.

(Ohhhh, this is going to be awful...)

NEW PHONE NUMBER: 248-250-6085

Okay, so we have grown substantially this year, and we are experiencing growing pains. (While it's a good problem to have, it's still a problem!) We have been learning the hard way that my attempt to schedule appointments via e-mail and answer calls on a cellphone is just not working.... at all! For that reason, we have had a dedicated phone line installed.

Most of you have had the pleasure of speaking with our Office Manager, Laura, on the telephone, and she is helping out a lot. She will be available from 9am-2pm during weekdays at 248-250-6085. Call her... she's nice, I promise!

No seriously, she is well versed on my schedule, how the sessions work, and of course, the most popular question: "How much?" ;)

Have a good night!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mary & Josh are married!

Okay, was it me or was yesterday pretty much the wettest day on record??? Yikes!

Yesterday was also the day that Mary and Josh decided to have an outdoor wedding. (Mother Nature decided differently.) Fortuntately, Mary and Josh and both really easy going and we were able to move the wedding indoors without any issues.

Well, due to the rain, we were unable to go outdoors. Not even for one shot. Between the dark conditions and the yellow ambient light, we had our work cut out for us. In fact, from a photographer's standpoint, this was the most technically challenging event I have ever shot. Photography 101: Flashes are blue and ambient indoor light is yellow. So, when you backlight a person in ambient light, and use a flash to add fill light, you are left with a bluish yellowish picture. Thank God for RAW files!!!! (For those of you photography fans out there: I shoot RAW, except for in-studio when the lighting is very controlled. It gives me lots more control than shooting jpeg.)

Well, Josh and Mary were awesome despite the weather... and their wedding wound up being absolutely beautiful.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day...



The ceremony (pulled indoors)...

Their first dance...

The dress (so pretty!)

Josh and one of the little groomsmen!

Mary and Josh Mary... so pretty! (I love this shot!)
I just happended to see this from the hallway. The flower girl was playing with a stuffed animal on the bed. I love this image...!
The bridesmaids...
Mary's accessories... She borrowed a necklace that her Grandmother wore on her wedding day.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Oops! I forgot a post!

On Friday, I met up with Ciera who needed her Senior pictures taken. She was one of the clients I dream about working with. "So Ciera, what do you want to do today??", A: "Something crazy".

And the stars aligned, and the angels started singing, and I just got a huge smile across my face. YEAH!!!!

I was very happy with how her pictures turned out... here are my favorites!


Yes, yes, we were in the middle of the street again... ;)

Kelly, Thurman, and Wide right...

Okay, so the big day is here!!!

Folks, I am a huge Buffalo Bills fan, and today is the start of the 2008 NFL season. Woooo-hooo!!! Here one of my favorite places on earth. (Red, white, and blue with 72,000 screaming fans all standing outside for about five hours in sub-freezing weather. ...Yes, I realize that's just stupid, but I do it every year, and it is awesome.)

Growing up, our cats were named Kelly and Thurman... and we have been tormented by "wide right" Norwood comments for years. (But at least we've made it there... jab, jab!)


My brother, who lives about a mile away, just came over to get our extra television that he will keep at his house for the rest of the year. You ask why? Well, because he is nuts. Downstairs, he has a wall of (at least) four TVs hooked up to Direct TV, all showing a separate game. It's great, as long as you're a football fan. We haven't quite talked his wife into making the transition from Hollywood movies to Football mania.
So, Sunday is the day I spend with my entire family screaming at the television - or should I say televisions. That's why I take Sundays off with very few exceptions. Anyway, I just wanted to say "Happy NFL Day".

Gotta' scoot... kickoff is in 76 minutes!


The Crum Children

Well, the last shoot of the day was great too. The two Crum families came to me to get a bigger extended family photograph, as well as individual shots.

I was nice to them: I let some folks off the hook and didn’t make them get in the pictures. As most of you guys know, even if you show up in your pj’s… any family member there is fair game! However, we were kept plenty busy with outfit changes and all the different family members.
Unfortunately, I can’t post the other family’s photos… mom is easily recognizable, and for that reason she’s asked me to keep them private.

But here are some of the photos that I can show you… Enjoy!



Chiropractic Baby Shoot!

At 12:15 yesterday I was visited by another one of my very good friends. (I guess yesterday friend shoot day at Beth Merritt Photography???)

Dad is a chiropractor in Grosse Pointe. He needed some artwork for his office, and asked me to help him out. I was obviously happy to oblige. So, yesterday we shot unconventional photographs with certain slogans in mind. His boys are so accommodating, and really made the shoot work well for us.

We also had some baptism, and pictures, and 3-month pictures for their newest little boy.

Here are my favorites from the session…



Plan B!

Yesterday was a long day!

New venue for photos. I've discovered a new venue for photos - we happened to stumble across it when we discovered that about 50,000 people were in the park that we were supposed to shoot at. (We came up with "Plan B" in a hurry!)

Fortunately, the family was one that I know well. Mom is one of my closest friends on this earth, and I love photographing their family. (Mom is the one that started me in this photography business.)

Of course, with the photographing their family (and knowing them well at the same time) come some privileges, namely asking for some semi-crazy photo ideas. At one point, Dad came by and asked why his daughter was half naked. The answer, of course, was that I wanted a certain photo. Dad is also a very good friend of mine, and so he just proceeded to roll his eyes and move on. ;)

Anyway, here are my favorites from the session…



This is the image that got me in trouble... :)


Nice "Plan B", huh??

The Penn Family

Earlier this week I was visited by a the Penn family. Mom was dressed beautifully, and dad and the boys were very handsome – and great to work with. This was actually supposed to be an outdoors session, but we had to pull it in at the last minute due to rain. (It happens!)

Here are my favorites from the shoot...