Mireille|Seven Lakes High School|Senior Portraits

 Meet Mireille, Seven Lakes High School Class of 2017 — Soccer Player Extraordinaire and a girl  with a heart of gold and a penchant for Converse All Stars.

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Mireille’s style is natural and casual, so her entire session focused on a loose laid-back look — and of course her athleticism.

She plays for her school as well as  a competitive league team, so she spends most weekends on the road for tournaments.

A lot of things will change for her after graduation, but this athlete is not through with her game. She’s already signed on to play for University of Louisiana in Lafayette where she will attend classes in the fall.

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MY UNUSUAL TALENT: I can juggle a ball on my head.

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Known in the school halls for wearing her Converse All Stars nearly every day, and she’s got quite a collection of the funky retro-hi-top sneakers.  She brought several pairs with her to her session, and we had a great time working them into nearly every portrait setting — at least for one frame.

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Mireille’s also very involved in the school’s PALS program where she and her colleagues serve as mentors for younger students, helping them thrive in their studies but more importantly in a social setting.  You can bet she’s made a big difference for the kids she’s worked with. 2017-01-12_0006

I LOVED working with you, Mireille!  You are a quiet and gentle soul with a fierce spirit. Let no one extinguish your fire.

Senior Portraits for Jonathan – Katy Houston Photographer

Jonathan was my very last senior from the class of 2016, and I absolutely loved everything about his session.

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He’s already up and left town for Texas A&M, and I’m getting reports that he is absolutely in his element  training as a Freshman with the Corps of Cadets.  It’s hard work, military style, but he’s been preparing for this type of activity for a long long time. He is one young man who will do just fine  wherever he goes.  College life can be difficult, but Jonathan is an overcomer. He’s beaten obstacles that no one would want to face, and he’s come through like a champ.

The way Jonathan came to my studio is a fun  backstory.  I first met him back in 2013 when he was just a sophomore in high school. The all around fantastic athlete had been seriously injured playing football and had  to leave the sport behind. Still, he was able to return to baseball after extensive rehabilitation treatment with Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Institute.  His story  was worth retelling for other athletes who needed to be aware of concussion issuesand  who also needed to know that treatment and hope are available.  He was featured in an article published in VYPE Magazine.

I went to meet him at Cinco Ranch High School to photograph him for the headline banner.  The night we shot, I got to meet him, his parents, and his  adorable little sister. We all  had a great time visiting that evening on the baseball field and somehow I knew I would see them all again.

Here’s the article!

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Time passed and sure enough, we reconnected.

Senior portraits? You bet!   I’m your photographer!   Let’s DO THIS!

Jonathan is one of those guys who can truly be called an All American.  He’s an honor student with a great penchant for leadership.

The diving mask and flippers?   Oh, yeah… those are not just for decoration. He knows how to use ‘em, and he will very likely one day save lives as a Navy Seal.

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Although his earlier injuries kept him off the football field throughout his high school career, there was no keeping away from baseball.

He was also active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and  One of his prized  possessions is a custom baseball bat, hand-crafted by one of his friends and mentors.

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He has dreamed since he was a little boy about becoming an astronaut  … and he probably will.

But for now, he’s going to buckle down and study — and do all the other things that Aggie Corps members do.

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Best of luck to you, Jonathan.  Enjoy your time at college and get ready to make your mark on this universe. You’ve definitely  got “The Right Stuff.”

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It hurts my feelings just a little bit to say it, but I will. — Just for you.

“Gig ‘Em.”

Senior Portraits for Ashton – Katy Houston Photographer

Where in the world do I begin today?  I don’t EVEN  know where to start — so I’m just uploading Ashton’s senior portraits to this blog machine, and we will see how they land…

Be sure you linger here a little while today and get to know this brilliant beauty.  You’ll be amazed. 2016-06-13_0024

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Ashton is a 2016 graduate of Cinco Ranch High School here in Katy.  She’s been active in track and field — and she’s got the ribbons and medals to show for it.

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But there’s definitely a “pretty” side to her as well.  We loved playing around with her track shoes and her heels to show these different facets of her style and personality.

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Oh, and did we tell you she’s smart.  Like . . . ummm. . . very smart.  She graduated with Distinguished Honors and is heading to Howard University in Washington, D.C. where she will study Biology/Pre-Med.

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Senior Portraits for Chloe – Katy Houston Photographer

 

I don’t know where to begin when I talk about Chloe.  Maybe this is one of those times where a picture really is worth a thousand words.

For a little background,  I’ve known Chloe’s family for quite some time, and was honored beyond belief when I got to accompany them to the airport with my camera several years ago to pick up her dad after he finished his final overseas military deployment.  Those old images still bring tears to my eyes when I go back through them!

And then a year ago, I got to create Chloe’s sister’s senior portraits.

So, you probably can imagine how much I was looking forward to this photoshoot.

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 Chloe’s a natural beauty in that fresh-scrubbed girl next door sort of style, so even when she arrived bare-faced after school, she looked gorgeous.

Then, but after a little time in the chair here at the studio with hair and makeup artist,  Cintya, she absolutely GLOWED!

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We built a lovely portrait album from her session, and Chloe chose some scriptures that are special to her for several of the pages. 2015-07-22_0017

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Won’t she have fun looking at these and sharing them with her children and her nieces and nephews one day?

Oh, the leaf-drop!  We threw leaves in the air over and over again until we could get a frame where the leaves were in the air but not blocking her face, and her eyes were open.

Of course it took us even longer because we were both laughing so hard!

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 In addition to being a very bright student, Chloe also runs cross country.

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Chloe is a young woman who sees God’s love everywhere she looks — and she reflects that  love and joy back to others thousand-fold. She’s spent her summer serving as a youth-group intern for her church, working with kids here in town and on mission trips.

Before long she will be on her way to East Texas Baptist University in Marshall where she will continue to grow in grace as she continues her education.

Cheers For The End of NOT Football Season

Last week we officially marked the END of  “NOT Football Season.”

With the beginning of the school  year, schedules become jam-packed and action-filled but the best thing is that it is finally time for football. As much as I have learned to enjoy the game, it’s the overall experience that really revs my engines.      As a certified “Band Geek,” for years I felt like the only reason for a football game was to provide an opening and closing act for halftime.

Then I realized what I had been missing for so long.

NOW  . . .  I love it all:  Pickup trucks with antenna flags.  Drum cadences and marching music. Shimmery pompoms and pretty girls jumping up and down.  Waving at old friends in the stands. Inflatable helmets. Cool breezes, although we don’t usually feel them in this part of the country until several weeks into the season. The sound of football pads and helmets crashing into each other.  Hummingbird-sized moths and crickets dive-bombing the fans.  Teenage boys who have just discovered face paint.  Band kids who have written their own cheers for different instrument sections.  “Too BAH  . . . Tooo BAH!” . . .   Scrumptious sunsets.  The smell of sweaty kids intermingled with  freshly popped corn.

And one of the best feelings of all . . . TOUCHDOWN!  MUSTANGS SCORE!

One of my favorite images from 2009. I sure hope to capture more of these this season.

One of my favorite parts of football, naturally,  is photographing the games.  I feel incredibly privileged to be allowed on the sidelines at our local  high school games, and I truly believe that each  of the kids on the field should have access to quality photos of themselves in their shining moments.  This means that in addition to the athletes, I need to capture images of the student trainers, the band, the cheerleaders and mascots, the drill team, the fans in the stands.   Hopefully they will be sharing these images with their own kids 15 to 30 years from now.

Not too long ago, the Athletic Booster club at our high school asked me to help with the program that they sell each week at the football games.  Now, these programs are not your standard stadium leaflets with just the names, numbers and positions of each player.  Our boosters sell ads — LOTS of ads –  to local businesses and to parents who buy half and full page spaces honoring their kids.  The printed programs are spiral bound and bigger than most high-fashion magazines that you find on he newsstands today.

Maybe I’m a little bit crazy for what I did, but since the team had to print a new cover each week any way, I suggested that they change it up a bit with new action photos on the front  rather than the same basic design week after week.  They LOVED the idea and while I bit off a pretty hefty project, it pushed me to develop my graphic art layout skills.    Remember . . . I am a PHOTOGRAPHER, and not a graphic artist.  Still, I know what works.

We started creating a new cover for every game and also stepped up the print quality.  In the center of every program a couple of other very talented photographers and I provide bold and shiny color-plate pages with action photos from the previous week’s game. I usually provide two pages of football action and two more pages featuring the band, cheerleaders, drill team and fans. Quite a few parents have told me how much they love these programs, and because they never know if their students will appear inside, they have a little added incentive to purchase a new book at each game.  This raises a nice tidy sum of money for the Athletic Booster Club.   Once a year we dedicate a program cover to the band as well, acknowledging the grit and determination of approximately 300 more students who take to the field as if going to battle.   I was in MY high school band (Go Midland Lee Rebels) and my sons were all in band too.  I KNOW how hard these kids work. Thankfully our football coach and the board of our athletic boosters know how hard they work  as well.  They have been totally supportive of the band issue, which I think is REALLY cool.

In 2008, the first year I was involved,  our program chair entered  one of our books into a competition for the  National High School Sports Publication Awards and we won the Gold Medal for schools over a particular size with parent involvement.  We chose not to enter in 2009, opting instead to let another school somewhere else enjoy the prestige and excitement that we enjoyed so much.   I’m proud to have contributed to that award but the real thrill I get every week is looking up into the stands and seeing parents and students studying the new programs, looking for photos, and showing them off to each other throughout the evening.

Here’s the program cover for our pre-district season opener this year . . . followed by the inside “action” pages.

Imagine my surprise this year when a couple of photographers from other parts of the country contacted me, asking for tips on creating collages and layouts for their own local schools.  WOW! I still feel like a bit of a newcomer in this area,.  Still, because I spent so many hours in the School of Hard Knocks working on these projects, I believe I have an obligation to help others with their work . . . to the extent of my capabilities. The color pages on the inside are always a little different each week, but here are the ones that we included in the first program of the season in 2010.

Each week as new programs come out, our new covers and action pages will appear in the Sports section of my web site.  It’s kind of fun to look back at programs from the last couple of years and wonder what path we’ll take in the days ahead.

Okay . . . I’m having issues making my links work on the blog page, but if you’ll go to THIS LINK:  Cut and paste it if you have to . . .

http://www.spccreative.com/Sports/Program-Covers-Collages

You should be able to see all published covers and action pages from the last two years as well as new pages as they are released.

Happy Football Season Everyone.  Enjoy FALL!

Stamina Stamina

Athletes are truly amazing.  Maybe they’re even a little bit crazy, but I stand in awe of anyone who will even ATTEMPT to swim more than a mile in open waters before hopping onto a bike for a 53 mile ride and then run a half marathon.

That’s what they were doing at the Iron Man 70.3 in Galveston recently.  And I got to do what I do best, photograph the event.   Once again I was thankful to be in  my flat black quasi-athletic sketchers shoes, working at my own respectable pace while, allowing the other folks to enjoy the wind in their hair thanks to their  featherweight bikes, super fancy running shoes, and years of arduous training.

There was a time in my life that I could swim pretty dern  far, albeit  one slow stroke at a time.  A bicycle was my primary mode of transportation, and I could rack up the miles with the best of ‘em.   But running — well, that just never happened.  I went through a phase where I thought it would be cool to run — or jog — or whatever they called it for fun and fitness, but never could even get up to a mile before the stitch in my side put me back in the slow plodders lane.

I love to live vicariously through the events I photograph, and I hope that my work can provide memories for participants years down the road.  Once I processed the Ironman pictures and delivered them to my client, I didn’t really think about them again — until this week when I got the nicest message from her.  She loved the pictures, and I’ll never get tired of hearing that.

The call sent me back into my files to relive the Ironman Triathlon all over again.  And I’m not even out of breath.    Click here to see the event as it unfolded.   I’ve decided I love triathlons.  I could definitely do this again.

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