Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Bald Eagle Sighting of the Fall...

Signs of fall in Northern Virginia include cooler evenings, the leaves starting to change, and American Bald Eagle activity.

I've lived in my house for two years now, but it wasn't until last fall that I noticed I had American Bald Eagles that liked to hang out in a tree behind my house.  I live along an inlet of the Potomac River and it is mostly marsh back there.  When I first saw the pair, I ran into my house, grabbed my camera, and took about 200 photos (no exaggeration).  I think it was partly because I thought this was a one time shot.  But I began keeping an eye out for them and was honored to see them often throughout the fall and the winter months (and of course had many photo ops in there too).

Last fall I saw the pair for the first time, and as the days shifted more towards the winter I usually would just see one.  After researching more about them, I learned that they lay their eggs in the Dec/Jan time frame ~ so it makes sense that once the eagles are nesting, one of the eagles will usually always be on the nest.  The thing I find most amazing about these magnificent birds is that American Bald Eagles mate for life with one partner.  How amazing is that?!?  In a society where divorce has become the norm, these beautiful birds stay with one another until one of them dies.  Here is a photo of the pair I took in November of 2011.

Pair of American Bald Eagles © Corrie M Avila

Nature photography is different than portrait photography.  Photographing in nature requires patience and precision.  Many times you have to anticipate where your subject will be.  Learn the patterns and habits of the creature you are photographing.  Another tip I've learned is that if you miss your chance the first time, be patient, because many times you will get additional opportunities to get that perfect shot.  Here are a few additional photos I've taken of the American Bald Eagles taken over the past year.

© Corrie M Avila

© Corrie M Avila

© Corrie M Avila

I had my first American Bald Eagle sighting of the season yesterday.  There was one soaring up high over the trees.  She was beautiful, carefree, and magnificent.  I can't wait for more fall photography, including these beautiful birds.

Happy Shooting <3


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Empire State Building Shooting

Yesterday morning around 10 AM, I received a phone call from my sister who lives and works in NYC.  She told us about the shooting that took place in front of the Empire State Building and just wanted to let us know she was okay.  This event particularly hit home to me because exactly one week ago from the shooting, I was standing in that exact spot on 5th Avenue taking photographs of the iconic building.  I know that the shooting was domestic in nature, but it was still a shooting, and people were killed and injured.

Empire State Building, NYC © Corrie M Avila

While I was taking photos in NYC last weekend, I was extra cautious and careful.  Making sure I was aware of my surroundings, keeping my camera bag across my body rather than just on my shoulder, and watching for suspicious (aka creepers) looking people.  But the reality is, you can be the queen (or king) of caution, but we truly are victims of circumstance.  We can take as much care and caution in our surroundings as we are able to, but there will always be things beyond our control.  

I believe in prayer, and it seems that in these days, that is the only things we have to hold on to.  I pray for the victims of the shooting yesterday, that they recover fully and are able to manage and deal with this trauma.  And I encourage you to not let tragedies such as this one stop you from going out and exploring.  Sadly these things can happen everywhere.  You do your best to be safe and cautious, and the rest you leave in God's hands.

Happy Shooting (and I do mean the photography kind)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fifth Avenue Saxophonist

I just got back from a trip to NYC to photograph an event on Governors Island, the Jazz Age Lawn Party.  I still have yet to finish editing those photos, but will blog about the event as soon as I do.  I filled the remainder of my 72 hour trip to NYC with all sorts of wonderful things.

While walking along 5th avenue I came across this gentleman playing the most beautiful saxophone music.  I dropped some money in his case and asked to take his photo, he nodded and continued playing.

5th Avenue Saxophonist

I said "God Bless" and started to walk away.  He stopped playing and asked where I was from.  I replied "Washington DC."  "Never heard of it" he said.  He then asked where it was close to.  I replied "Virginia."  He again replied "never heard of it."  I smiled and politely turned to continue on my way.

As I started walking away, he began playing again ~ the most beautiful music.  To him, his music was reality ~ nothing else seemed to exist or to matter.  He was relaxed and in the moment.  He reminded me a little of Jamie Foxx in the movie "The Soloist."  While the music was playing, all was calm, peaceful and perfect.  But when he stopped playing (his safe zone) he became agitated, confused, and disoriented.

I will never forget you Mr. Fifth Avenue Saxophone player <3

A side note ~ when taking photos of street performers, always make sure to have singles to drop in their basket.  They will appreciate it and will probably cooperate and give you a nice pose.  When I was in Historic Alexandria, VA for the day with family, there was a young lady who was playing the xylophone.  There was a gentleman who did not drop anything in her basket and proceeded to take a photo.  She became irritated and commented that people usually paid her for her photos.  It is an awkward position to be in and is good practice to always give something to a street performer before taking a photo.

Happy Shooting!!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Traveling Hearts Photography

There is no better way to start a blog than to tell you a little about myself and what I do...

Traveling has always been a large part of my life.  I was born in Staten Island, NY and grew up with the mishmash of cultures that makes up all of NYC.  My dad worked for the FDA and accepted a transfer to Florida when I was six.  In my lifetime (mind you I am 30) I have moved eleven times; covering the span of ten counties, four states, and three vastly different climates (from the tropics to the antarctic).

In that time period I have also traveled.... a lot.  My family always took vacations all up and down the Eastern Coastline of the United States.  When I graduated high school, I lived in Jerusalem, Israel for three months on a mission trip.  I also spent some time in Europe in college and explored Spain, France, and London.

It seems only right that I would marry someone in the military to continue this love of traveling and moving.  We are in our third military move and are getting ready for our fourth in the summer of 2013.  Right now we are living in the area just outside of Washington DC and we LOVE it here.  We have two boys ages 3&5 and they keep things especially interesting!  There is so much to see and do ~ I am NEVER bored!

here are the boys on a train in Manassas, VA

this is our family <3

I especially love the cultures... I mean REALLY love the cultures.  I like going into a place and just observing how people live and interact in their habitat.  I majored in Social Work and have both my BSW and MSW.  I always said if I didn't marry I would be in some remote area with the Peace Corps.  It only made sense to study this interaction of people and family systems in college.  I have worked in the social work field since graduating with my Master's Degree, but recently decided on a career change.

With all my travels I have always enjoyed photography and taking photos of the places and people that I visit.  Back in January of 2012 I decided to combine my two loves and create a business out of it, and Traveling Hearts Photography was born.  Since then, I have been organizing the business and trying to create and mold it into the vision that I have in my head.  It is taking MUCH LONGER than I anticipated to put the structure together, but it is finally starting to take shape.  One of the things I have wanted to do from the beginning was to create a blog ~ and I am finally getting to start it!  I am excited, can you tell??

My goal with this blog is to share photography and travel tips, experiences, and stories.  I am photographing events and trips and wanted somewhere to tell more of the details ~ the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Please be involved!  I want to hear from you and know your thoughts and opinions.

Check out my website here for my full gallery.  Also join me on Facebook at here.  I also have an ETSY store here that combines fine art photographs with upcycling.

happy shooting <3