Tracey Buyce Photography Charity Mini Sessions - 2015!

100% of the mini session proceeds benefit CANDi International and Trevor’s Story (to raise funds for a therapy dog for Trevor).

What: mini photo sessions by Tracey Buyce Photography
When: Sunday, October 18, 2015  (rain or shine)
Time: 9am-5:45pm
Where:  Charlton, NY rustic barn (exact location to be provided once booked)
Why: Because giving back feels awesome and you receive great photos of your family, it’s a win-win!

 

Your mini session choices:  

  • $200. 15 minute mini-portrait session – Includes 10 hi-resolution images (free digital download) 
  • $400. 30 minute mini-portrait session – Includes 20 or more hi-resolution images (free digital download) 

 

How:     Register and schedule your session here
It’s easy to register for your photo session at CANDi International!  The first screen is the welcome page (if you do not have an account, you can click continue without logging in). Next, fill in your name, address, email and telephone number. Click continue to choose the time(s) you would like to schedule your session for.  The next screen will be a confirmation of your time(s). Click Complete Registration, enter your credit card information, click submit and you are done!

 

To get the most from your session, please:

  • Arrive at least 15 minutes before your photo session
  • We will have some Fall and Holiday props
  • Feel free to bring your own props to personalize your shoot, ie, banner from Etsy to hang on barn with your family’s name, tricycle, wagon, etc.
  • If you are bringing your dog(s), please exercise your dog before the session so he or she is tired and bring his favorite treats and toys!
  • Clothing tip: lay your family’s clothing out together on the bed and see if they blend well. (For example, you don’t want to wear red and your hubby in green. YIKES!)
  • Most importantly, be prepared to have fun!

 

Questions:  please email Tracey at: tracey@traceybuyce.com

The Winners of the Spring Edition of, Married 40 Years or More are...

 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate all of these wonderful couples.  It was so difficult to chose and I  loved reading the love stories!

Please email me to schedule your photo session: tracey@traceybuyce.com

 

Congratulations to:

William and Effie, nominated by their daughter Margaret:

“I would like to nominate my parents, William and Effie Butz who have been married 75 years this June 15. They live in Colonie area. They are 95 years old and very alert. They met in 1916 and were married in 1920. My Dad served in WWII Battle of the Bulge and left behind one child and another on the way. Through their lives they have weathered every storm, always together. They are an inspiration to all who know them. They know the secrets to happiness. They truly love each other and show it every day.”

 

Ray and Gladys, nominated by Andrea:

“I nominate Ray and Gladys Welsh. They’ve been married 65 years.He is 99 and she’s 94. He still drives and golfs.They are both still like they’re in their 60’s.They laugh all the time and live like they have another 100 years ahead. I have always admired their marriage.I am a friend of one of their daughters and we grew up together in Schenectady. They are some of the kindest, most positive people I know.They would be great for your article and fun to do it with!”

 

Jim and Ruth, nominated by their daughter, Jill:

“My parents, Jim and Ruth Roemer have been married for 72 years. They were married on August 21, 1942, while my father was on leave from the army. They lived in Albany almost all of their lives. My father worked in the family business, Roemer and Zeller that my grandfather, William Roemer started. He worked all his life in the business along with two of his brothers, Bill and Walt. My mom stayed at home and raised three children Jim, Guy, and Jill. They have 8 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren (1 more in August). The family also summered at Warners Lake, East Berne, at the camp that my mother’s aunt and uncle built in the 1920’s. My parents have
lived full time at the lake since 1975. It is fitting that they are living here at the lake because it is where they met through a friend, Ruthie Filkins. My parents have a wonderful, loving relationship that continues to this day. They are considerate of each other, looking out for the other’s welfare and comfort. It is a privilege to be part of the wonderful family Ruth and Jim have created.”

Tracey Buyce Photography Imagery Featured in National Geographic Book!

 

Many of you know that as a photographer, my main focus is to capture those extraordinary moments that mean everything to both my subjects and myself.  Documenting those moments that truly come around once in a lifetime and could never be recreated, is not only an honor, but a gift. I strive to produce and provide you with photographs that encapsulate every feeling, every emotion, being felt at that exact moment.

 

At this point in my career, I am humbled to announce that have achieved a personal goal and a lifelong dream! Two of my images have been selected to be featured in National Geographic’s book“Getting Your Shot” that will be released May 5th.

 

“Getting Your Shot” is an inspirational how-to photography book put together by the team behind National Geographic. It includes tips, advice, and insights alongside more than 200 photos. The photos chosen for this publication are pulled from National Geographic’s thriving online photography community “Your Shot”, which provides inspiration for photographers of all skill levels.

 

I was so thrilled that the two photographs chosen by National Geographic depicted two very different moments, but each taken with the same singular vision in mind, to capture special and emotion-provoking moments.

 

The first photo chosen was a rather expressive and raw photo that I took of a bride, Nikki and her father, Bud. An image that depicts the intense love a father has for his daughter. It’s well known that my primary love is working with couples to fully document their special day. I am so fortunate to connect with couples that completely put their trust in me on their wedding days, allowing me to capture rare moments like this image.

 

The second image chosen was one of my personal favorites from my trip to La Senda Verde.  I was volunteering at La Senda Verde for two weeks, for Photographers Without Borders. This photograph of two captivating howler monkeys, Canelo and Mya, represents my secondary love, volunteer photography and animals. It brings me so much joy to spread the word about great non-profit organizations that are changing the world. 

 

It’s a very rewarding feeling knowing that my photography is found impactful and  is coming to fruition with this incredible honor of being published in a National Geographic book. While I love to capture moments that matter, it’s nice to step back and experience those moments that are so incredibly meaningful first hand. Finally, I am so grateful to all of you for your loving support,  as I continue the this fantastic journey.

Horse Prints to Benefit Saratoga War Hose - Saratoga Springs, NY

 

“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.”
~Sharon Ralls Lemon

There is just something about horses.  Something about their mysterious souls that stirs something inside us all, we are awed by their beauty, their majestic poise, and their spectacular physical presence..  I have always loved horses.  I fulfilled my little girl dream of having my own horse 2 years ago, when Moose, a 16 hand Morgan gelding came into my life.  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love this horse and Rolling Oaks Morgans.  I found the missing part of my soul in Moose.

Horses are the heart of Saratoga.  Horse lovers from all over the world flock to the Saratoga Race Track each Summer.  But Saratoga has many more important horse stories to tell.  Stories about people making a difference, horses making a difference, stories about Saratoga WarHorse.

I had the opportunity this February to volunteer for  Saratoga WarHorse, it was  not only an honor, but a life changing experience. 

For those of you who have yet to hear about this powerful and inspiring non-for-profit organization, Saratoga WarHorse works to pair veterans with retired thoroughbreds, many of which once raced at Saratoga Race Course. They offer veterans a 3-day experience proven effective and invaluable for those struggling to adjust to life after military service at absolutely no cost to the veteran. The experience veterans have with these noble horses is unparalleled. The raw emotions and meaningful connections that are made through this program cannot be portrayed through words.

“By utilizing the silent language of the horse, a mutual trust and profound bond is established that goes beyond verbal communication.”
~Saratoga WarHorse

I know what you’re thinking, what an incredible program- how can I help?

I have put together a gallery of prints of some of my favorites horse images I have created from the Saratoga area, including  Saratoga Race Track and Rollings Oaks. There’s even a very powerful image from Saratoga WarHorse  (a majority of the images remain exclusive to Saratoga WarHorse to ensure the sanctity of the program and the veteran’s privacy)

You can click here to purchase one of these poignant prints- 100% of the proceeds will go to Saratoga WarHorse- expires April 30 2015

 It’s these moments as a photographer that make what I do the most meaningful. Please support the cause, and purchase a print today!

Married 40 Years or More Contest Just in Time for Spring! - Saratoga Springs, NY

 

Each relationship has its own unique beginnings and from that unfolds decades of shared lives.  Marriage is complex, full of ups and downs and joys and sorrows.  Marriage is your own little universe, that just the two of your create.  

I want to help your loved ones celebrate the gift of marriage through photography.

I will choose 3 couples to photograph; each couple will receive a portrait session, prints, and a flash drive of images, valued at $1000.

Pay it forward and nominate an inspiring that you know!  It will make your heart happy, I promise!

 Here’s how it works:

Leave a comment below as to why this couples marriage is so special

Comments must be left by Wednesday,  April 15, 2015

The couple must be married 40 years or longer
The couple must reside in The Capital Region

The portrait shoot is for the couple only and must take place in 2015

The 3 winning couples will be announced right here on this post, Friday, April 17, 2015

Eileen & Walter, Married 61 Years & Still Smitten! Saratoga NY Photographer

 

“My grandparents, Walter & Eileen Johnson just celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary in October 2014. Not many couples choose Halloween for their wedding date but my grandparents aren’t like most people! They are amazing, loving, a little kooky and probably a little crazy-but aren’t we all!?!


I am sure their marriage was not easy and still isn’t, but they have great kids, and of course amazing grandchildren, great grandchildren, and many stories to tell.  They bicker every now and then but, they laugh so much and love each other so hard!  They are the perfect example of true love!”

-In the loving words of their granddaughter,  Rebekah

And the Winners of "Married 40 Years or More" are... Saratoga Springs, NY

 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate all of these wonderful couples.  I loved reading your stories!

It was very hard to choose only 3, so I chose 4 couples!

Please email me to schedule your photo session: tracey@traceybuyce.com

 Congratulations to:

Peg & Don, married 60 years, nominated by their daughter Kelli:

I’d like to nominate my grandparents Peg and Don Ormsby. They’ve been married for over 60 years and have 6 kids,14 grandkids, and 12 great grandkids. They’ve been through so much in their lives including their house burning down and loosing everything but they’ve still come out strong. My grandfather has been showing early signs of dementia for the past year and they are starting to get worse. Not many people knew about it because my grandmother wasn’t ready to tell anyone. However recently my grandfather was hospitalized. He had had a small stroke and was also showing extreme signs of dementia. So they may not have much time left. At least not that much time until he forgets the love they have for each other. If they win this it would not only be an amazing gift for them, but also a way that their love and memories can live on forever even after he forgets and they are both gone.

 

Ruth & Bob, married 65 years, nominated by friend,  Kellie:

I would like to nominate a great couple who have been married 65 years! Bob and Ruth are a quiet couple who just want to be in the shadows but deserve to be recognized for their years on LOVE! They walk the halls holding hands and still have the twinkle in their eye. It would be a wonderful surprise to tell them they have won a photo shoot. ;)

 

Marcia & Bud, married 67 years, nominated by Suzanne:

My parents, Marcia and Bud Perlee, will be married 67 years in October. They have 6 kids, 17 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren! They recently moved in with my family, and I only wish we did this sooner! I just posted a picture of them on my Facebook eating dinner in their new dining room…With the caption..”They are so cute. Married almost 67 years and every night, my mom cooks dinner, they sit and eat together, and then my dad cleans up after dinner.” I am so thankful my three children have witnessed this love that their grandparents share. They try are the best!

 

Eileen & Walter, married 61 years, nominated by Rebekah:

My grandparents, Walter & Eileen Johnson just celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary in October 2014. Not many couples choose Halloween for their wedding date but my grandparents aren’t like most people! They are amazing, loving, a little kooky and probably a little crazy-but aren’t we all!?!
I am sure their marriage was not easy and still isn’t, but they have great kids, and of course Amazing grandchildren and great grandchildren and many stories to tell. They bicker every now and then but they laugh so much and love each either so hard!
They are the perfect example of true love!

 

The Married 40 Years or More Contest is Back and Just in Time for Valentine's Day! Saratoga Springs, NY

 

Each relationship has its own unique beginnings and from that unfolds decades of shared lives.  Marriage is complex, full of ups and downs and joys and sorrows.  Marriage is your own little universe, that just the two of your create.  

I want to help your family celebrate the gift of marriage through photography.

I will choose 3 couples to photograph; each couple will receive a portrait session and a flash drive of images.

Here’s how it works:

Leave a comment below as to why this couples marriage is so special

Comments must be left by Sunday, February 15, 2015

The couple must be married 40 years or longer
The couple must reside in The Capital Region

The portrait shoot is for the couple only and must take place in 2015

The 3 winning couples will be announced right here on this post, Monday, February 16, 2015

Mini Photo Sessions to Benefit Candi International & Homeward Bound Dog Rescue: Saratoga Springs, NY

 

Be a part of the solution

 

What: Mini Photo Sessions by Tracey Buyce Photography

When: Sunday September 21, 2014 from 9-6:30pm

Where: The Saratoga State Park (exact location to be provided once booked)

Why: This is a fun way for your very fortunate family to help very unfortunate dogs that desperately need help.  

 

100% of the proceeds benefit CANDi International and Homeward Bound Dog Rescue.

 

Your mini session choices:  Keep in mind 100% of the proceeds goes to charity!

$200. 15 minute mini-portrait session – Includes 8-10 hi-resolution images (free digital download) 

$400. 30 minute mini-portrait session – Includes 30 or more hi-resolution images (free digital download) 

 

How:

– Register for  your photo session at  CANDi International: Click here to register      (CHOOSE ONLY 1 ATTENDEE WHEN REGISTERING ON THE CANDI SITE)

 

Once you have registered, please email your receipt of payment to CANDi and top two preferred time slot choices to: (tracey@traceybuyce.com)

 

To get the most from your session, please:
Arrive at least 15 minutes before your session

Exercise your dog before the session so he or she is tired and bring his favorite treats and toys!

Clothing tip: lay your family’s clothing out together on the bed and see if they blend well. (For example, you don’t want to wear red and your hubby in green. YIKES!)

Most importantly, be prepared to have fun!

 

Times are available  in 15 or 30 minutes increments: 9am-6:30pm- please email me at: tracey@traceybuyce.com

 

CANDI INTERNATIONAL: CANDI INTERNATIONAL

GRAPHIC DESIGN DONATED BY: FRESHRR

HOMEWARD BOUND DOG RESCUE: HOMEWARD BOUND DOG RESCUE

Volunteering at La Senda Verde Animal Refuge in Bolivia on Behalf of Photographers without Borders - Part 3 - Yungas, Bolivia

 

 “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
– Anatole France

La Senda Verde, Yungas Bolivia- March 17-April 1st

She approaches me slowly and my heart skips a beat.  She climbs up my legs and slowly wraps her long arms and legs around me.  I feel her strong tail  wrap gently around me waist.  She lies her head on my shoulder and nuzzles my neck, as she settles in for a nap.  Pimienta, a black spider monkey, has just chosen me as her new friend.  It’s only day 2 at Senda Verde,  many more adventures await…

La Senda Verde is a wildlife refuge that started 10 years ago and has been taking in animals rescued from trafficking, the black market, or abusive owners. It is nestled along the bank of a river in Yungas, which is a beautiful region where the Amazon meets the Andes, known as The Cloud Forest.  La Senda Verde means, “The Green Path.”  It is the salvation for these forgotten animals; it’s their second chance.

  

There are over 400 rescued animals, which range from Capuchin monkeys, to spider monkeys, to turtles, to bears, to a crocodile and more, come from abusive circumstances and are living a very happy and free life at the refuge. Some, being kept as pets, have been beaten and abused, some even have eyes missing. Some animals were used to pickpocket tourists.  Therefore, are so used to human contact that it is next to impossible to reintegrate most of them into the wild for a number of reasons. Bolivian law also prohibits reintegration of rescued animals. One of the main reasons for this is that these animals contract unique pathogens, bacteria and immunity from their regular contact with humans and other animals–when they go back to the wild they risk infecting the wild population, who would not have immunity and can easily become susceptible to anything the. Also, while animals certainly have natural instincts, the animals at La Senda are not used to being in a wild environment–they risk being killed easily or re-captured by humans since they will seek human contact. They may also be killed by their own kind if perceived as weak. The refuge provides a safe, natural environment for the animals to live and thrive in. Vicki Ossio, one of the two owners believes that “every animal, like humans deserves a second chance,” and that is what they are giving to these animals. Many of these animals, such as the Spider monkeys are endangered. The organization does their best to have the animals play and interact with each other and less with humans, teaching them monkey behaviors. The volunteers practice “enrichment” with their animals, creating unique ways for them to keep their brains learning. For example, they will wrap nuts in a mass of vines for the monkeys to find, or they will put honey in a bottle and teach the monkey how to dip a stick in to drink. They have an onsite vet. They face many challenges, especially with taking care of a variety of species in one refuge, however they have created a unique environment to carry out their work with a volunteer and tourism-based funding design. I found that their volunteers were incredibly caring, knowledgeable, and sincere people who are dedicated to making the everyday lives of the animals exciting and enriching. 

About Photographers Without Borders (PWB)

PWB was founded in 2009 by Danielle Da Silva, Chantal Da Silva, and Lachlan McVie.  This team understands the power that photography has to tell stories, and that this power could be put to a really great cause, impacting everyone involved. Over the years they have worked for and been exposed to a great many different organizations and world institutions and in doing so, they realized the value of the work small, grassroots organizations provide, which is often overlooked. Many of these organizations have the dedication, passion, local trust and knowledge that larger more detached organizations lack. There exists a disparity in funding and visibility, however, where the organizations that are really making sustainable progress have a hard time getting access to funding and marketing materials are out of reach. PWB goal is to increase visibility of as many of these organizations as possible. PWB wants to highlight their wonderful work, and the people and places they affect through photography and mini-documentaries. Hopefully in the process PWB can shed light on the fact that the world may have problems, but it is also full of action, communities helping communities, and people coming together to help each other and the planet.

 

This kind of work is important because it sheds light on the everyday heroes of the world. We are exposed to so many “bestselling stories” about the world and we want to provide a fresh lens for people who are seeking more than what meets the eye. For photographers, I think many of us are looking for opportunities to do something positive with our art and to have an impact with our creativity. Many of us get caught up in making enough money to live that we forget about why we got into the trade in the first place. The experiences PWB creates are unique–unlike those your average tourist would be exposed to. PWB photographers are left inspired, and so they are able to evoke inspiration in the viewer as well.

Volunteering at La Senda Verde Animal Refuge in Bolivia on Behalf of Photographers without Borders - Part 2 - Yungas, Bolivia

 

 “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
– Anatole France

La Senda Verde, Yungas Bolivia- March 17-April 1st

She approaches me slowly and my heart skips a beat.  She climbs up my legs and slowly wraps her long arms and legs around me.  I feel her strong tail  wrap gently around me waist.  She lies her head on my shoulder and nuzzles my neck, as she settles in for a nap.  Pimienta, a black spider monkey, has just chosen me as her new friend.  It’s only day 2 at Senda Verde,  many more adventures await…

La Senda Verde is a wildlife refuge that started 10 years ago and has been taking in animals rescued from trafficking, the black market, or abusive owners. It is nestled along the bank of a river in Yungas, which is a beautiful region where the Amazon meets the Andes, known as The Cloud Forest.  La Senda Verde means, “The Green Path.”  It is the salvation for these forgotten animals; it’s their second chance.

  

There are over 400 rescued animals, which range from Capuchin monkeys, to spider monkeys, to turtles, to bears, to a crocodile and more, come from abusive circumstances and are living a very happy and free life at the refuge. Some, being kept as pets, have been beaten and abused, some even have eyes missing. Some animals were used to pickpocket tourists.  Therefore, are so used to human contact that it is next to impossible to reintegrate most of them into the wild for a number of reasons. Bolivian law also prohibits reintegration of rescued animals. One of the main reasons for this is that these animals contract unique pathogens, bacteria and immunity from their regular contact with humans and other animals–when they go back to the wild they risk infecting the wild population, who would not have immunity and can easily become susceptible to anything the. Also, while animals certainly have natural instincts, the animals at La Senda are not used to being in a wild environment–they risk being killed easily or re-captured by humans since they will seek human contact. They may also be killed by their own kind if perceived as weak. The refuge provides a safe, natural environment for the animals to live and thrive in. Vicki Ossio, one of the two owners believes that “every animal, like humans deserves a second chance,” and that is what they are giving to these animals. Many of these animals, such as the Spider monkeys are endangered. The organization does their best to have the animals play and interact with each other and less with humans, teaching them monkey behaviors. The volunteers practice “enrichment” with their animals, creating unique ways for them to keep their brains learning. For example, they will wrap nuts in a mass of vines for the monkeys to find, or they will put honey in a bottle and teach the monkey how to dip a stick in to drink. They have an onsite vet. They face many challenges, especially with taking care of a variety of species in one refuge, however they have created a unique environment to carry out their work with a volunteer and tourism-based funding design. I found that their volunteers were incredibly caring, knowledgeable, and sincere people who are dedicated to making the everyday lives of the animals exciting and enriching. 

About Photographers Without Borders (PWB)

PWB was founded in 2009 by Danielle Da Silva, Chantal Da Silva, and Lachlan McVie.  This team understands the power that photography has to tell stories, and that this power could be put to a really great cause, impacting everyone involved. Over the years they have worked for and been exposed to a great many different organizations and world institutions and in doing so, they realized the value of the work small, grassroots organizations provide, which is often overlooked. Many of these organizations have the dedication, passion, local trust and knowledge that larger more detached organizations lack. There exists a disparity in funding and visibility, however, where the organizations that are really making sustainable progress have a hard time getting access to funding and marketing materials are out of reach. PWB goal is to increase visibility of as many of these organizations as possible. PWB wants to highlight their wonderful work, and the people and places they affect through photography and mini-documentaries. Hopefully in the process PWB can shed light on the fact that the world may have problems, but it is also full of action, communities helping communities, and people coming together to help each other and the planet.

 

This kind of work is important because it sheds light on the everyday heroes of the world. We are exposed to so many “bestselling stories” about the world and we want to provide a fresh lens for people who are seeking more than what meets the eye. For photographers, I think many of us are looking for opportunities to do something positive with our art and to have an impact with our creativity. Many of us get caught up in making enough money to live that we forget about why we got into the trade in the first place. The experiences PWB creates are unique–unlike those your average tourist would be exposed to. PWB photographers are left inspired, and so they are able to evoke inspiration in the viewer as well.

 

The two images of me with monkeys were photographed by the other photographer on this assignment: Kristi Odom

Nobert & Mary: Enjoying Romantic Dinners in their Backyard for Over 70 Years - Schenectady, NY

 

“Do you want us to get naked Tracey?  Are these photos going in Playboy?” said Norbert with a smile.

Can you see why I have been waiting for this shoot for months and I thought I would burst from excitement when this past Tuesday finally arrived?  You see, Norbert and Mary Woods have been married for 70 years and their story is one of true, everlasting love. The met in the service and four short months later they were married and haven’t looked backed.  They have 13 children and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.  But what impresses me most, inspires me most, is they still truly love being together and  enjoy each other’s company, and that is beautiful.  Norb and Mary love to travel, read, garden, watch Jeopardy, and love sharing fond memories and stories.

I asked Kaitlin what they love to do together and she said they have dinner every night in their garden-an idea was born.

A big thanks to Kaitlin, Greg, Greg’s mom Cathy and Uncle Mark for assisting me with this shoot, ladder, lights,candles and all the rest!

Norb & Mary are one of the winners of the “Married 40 Years or More” contest I held this past Winter.  They were nominated by their very thoughtful, granddaughter to be, Kaitlin.  I am the honor of photographing Kaitlin & Greg’s wedding next month.  To be able to photograph young love and love that has withstood the test of time in one family; is a gift and I am very thankful for the opportunity.

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” 
― Khalil GibranThe Prophet

Volunteering at La Senda Verde Animal Refuge in Bolivia on Behalf of Photographers without Borders - Part 1 - Yungas, Bolivia

 

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

― Nelson Mandela

La Senda Verde, Yungas Bolivia- March 17-April 1st

She approaches me slowly and my heart skips a beat.  She climbs up my legs and slowly wraps her long arms and legs around me.  I feel her strong tail  wrap gently around me waist.  She lies her head on my shoulder and nuzzles my neck, as she settles in for a nap.  Pimienta, a black spider monkey, has just chosen me as her new friend.  It’s only day 2 at Senda Verde,  many more adventures await…

La Senda Verde is a wildlife refuge that started 10 years ago and has been taking in animals rescued from trafficking, the black market, or abusive owners. It is nestled along the bank of a river in Yungas, which is a beautiful region where the Amazon meets the Andes, known as The Cloud Forest.  La Senda Verde means, “The Green Path.”  It is the salvation for these forgotten animals; it’s their second chance.

 

There are over 400 rescued animals, which range from Capuchin monkeys, to spider monkeys, to turtles, to bears, to a crocodile and more, come from abusive circumstances and are living a very happy and free life at the refuge. Some, being kept as pets, have been beaten and abused, some even have eyes missing. Some animals were used to pickpocket tourists.  Therefore, are so used to human contact that it is next to impossible to reintegrate most of them into the wild for a number of reasons. Bolivian law also prohibits reintegration of rescued animals. One of the main reasons for this is that these animals contract unique pathogens, bacteria and immunity from their regular contact with humans and other animals–when they go back to the wild they risk infecting the wild population, who would not have immunity and can easily become susceptible to anything the. Also, while animals certainly have natural instincts, the animals at La Senda are not used to being in a wild environment–they risk being killed easily or re-captured by humans since they will seek human contact. They may also be killed by their own kind if perceived as weak. The refuge provides a safe, natural environment for the animals to live and thrive in. Vicki Ossio, one of the two owners believes that “every animal, like humans deserves a second chance,” and that is what they are giving to these animals. Many of these animals, such as the Spider monkeys are endangered. The organization does their best to have the animals play and interact with each other and less with humans, teaching them monkey behaviors. The volunteers practice “enrichment” with their animals, creating unique ways for them to keep their brains learning. For example, they will wrap nuts in a mass of vines for the monkeys to find, or they will put honey in a bottle and teach the monkey how to dip a stick in to drink. They have an onsite vet. They face many challenges, especially with taking care of a variety of species in one refuge, however they have created a unique environment to carry out their work with a volunteer and tourism-based funding design. I found that their volunteers were incredibly caring, knowledgeable, and sincere people who are dedicated to making the everyday lives of the animals exciting and enriching. 

About Photographers Without Borders (PWB)

PWB was founded in 2009 by Danielle Da Silva, Chantal Da Silva, and Lachlan McVie.  This team understands the power that photography has to tell stories, and that this power could be put to a really great cause, impacting everyone involved. Over the years they have worked for and been exposed to a great many different organizations and world institutions and in doing so, they realized the value of the work small, grassroots organizations provide, which is often overlooked. Many of these organizations have the dedication, passion, local trust and knowledge that larger more detached organizations lack. There exists a disparity in funding and visibility, however, where the organizations that are really making sustainable progress have a hard time getting access to funding and marketing materials are out of reach. PWB goal is to increase visibility of as many of these organizations as possible. PWB wants to highlight their wonderful work, and the people and places they affect through photography and mini-documentaries. Hopefully in the process PWB can shed light on the fact that the world may have problems, but it is also full of action, communities helping communities, and people coming together to help each other and the planet.

 

This kind of work is important because it sheds light on the everyday heroes of the world. We are exposed to so many “bestselling stories” about the world and we want to provide a fresh lens for people who are seeking more than what meets the eye. For photographers, I think many of us are looking for opportunities to do something positive with our art and to have an impact with our creativity. Many of us get caught up in making enough money to live that we forget about why we got into the trade in the first place. The experiences PWB creates are unique–unlike those your average tourist would be exposed to. PWB photographers are left inspired, and so they are able to evoke inspiration in the viewer as well.

 

The two images of me with monkeys were photographed by the other photographer on this assignment: Kristi Odom

 

 

Dancing, Love, and Apple Pie: Russ & Elinor, Married 62 Years - Troy, NY

 

“Russell and Elinor Laustrup, married 62 years. Their love story began 65 years ago when Russ (18) and Elinor (15) met ice-skating. Everybody told them they weren’t old enough to be in love but they didn’t see it and were married on June 24, 1951. It was the year of the famous Nat King Cole song “Too Young” which became their wedding song and favorite. Out of a lifetime of love, came six children, 16 grandchildren and six great grandchildren (so far). The rest of their “family” is comprised of friends, old and new. Memories their children share of growing up include: their parents dancing in the kitchen every morning, camping at Rogers Rock every summer and countless family gatherings. They don’t recall their parents ever fighting or saying a cross word to each other. Because they didn’t. To this day they hold hands like love struck teenagers and seek each other out when separated with “Where is my sweetheart” or “Have you seen my honey?” Their home is the place where everybody gathers for joy & laughter and during the hardest of times. One of those times was four years ago when they lost their son Bob to a malignant brain tumor. He moved in with them when he was sick and they cared for him until he took his last breath. The door was always open for visitors. Still devastated by this loss, it would seem completely unimaginable to have lightning strike twice. But that is exactly what happened. Just three months ago, they lost their son Mark to a brain tumor. He lived around the corner and was at their home almost every day. They say no parent should ever have to bury a child. But to lose two sons to such a horrible disease, is just incomprehensible. Two men bravely battled their illnesses without a single complaint. And two parents patiently cared for them, giving them the love, space and dignity they needed. Courage only possible because of the strength of family. Russ and Elinor exemplify the purity of love in its every form. I can’t think of a more deserving couple for this tribute.”

Words submitted by family friend, Katherine

Hi-Land Farms, Wyoming, NY

 

I documented several dairy farms in New York this past year; telling the story of the modern American dairy farmer. I am wildly passionate about this project and love cows!
This is the last farm I photographed, The Chamberlain family’s farm, Hi-Land Farms. This is a Jersey farm, Jerseys are very inquisitive and love to play with their tongues,as you will see!
“In 2013 we are working to capture the essence, emotion and beauty of modern, American dairy farming.


Dairy farming possesses a culture and work ethic that is a distant memory for most. It also entails a passion – for both animals and land -that is handed down from generation to generation. But most importantly for this project, dairy farming is an industry that has evolved over the past 100 years and is often times past the comfort point of most consumers, yet it remains an important and critical business for thousands of families, for the economic viability of most Upstate New York rural communities, and for the millions of consumers who rely on and enjoy a fresh supply of wholesome milk.

Dairy farming has changed as a business, but the passion, emotion, responsibility and commitment exuded by farmers has remained steadfast.”
– Jessica Ziehm for NY Animal Agriculture

Meet Esmé and Get Ready to Fall in Love

 

“My daughter Esmé is three years old. She is beautiful and silly and clever. She has the kind of smile that just pulls you into her joy. Like most three year-olds, she loves music, playing, and generally being adored. Esmé is also one of only approximately 200 girls and women worldwide currently diagnosed with a rare genetic condition known as PCDH19 Female Limited Epilepsy (FLE). PCDH19 FLE causes drug-resistant epilepsy and a range of developmental delays in girls and women. Additionally Esmé is suspected of having at least one other disorder that explains the severity of her physical delays and other medical challenges. Esmé’s life has not been easy. She has struggled with her health since birth, and she has a series of medical complexities that require the care of around 20 doctors both locally and at Children’s Hospital in Boston.

These are important things to know about Esmé. But what is most important to know about Esmé has everything to do with her attitude and approach to life. She is the happiest and most determined person I have ever known. And her personality has been what has pulled her—and those that love her—through some very difficult times. As you look at her photos, I know that you will all see what an extraordinary person she is.

As her mother, I have taken my inspiration from her in sharing her story and trying to work toward making her life better. In May 2013 we started The Cute Syndrome Foundation as a means to raise awareness about and research funding for PCDH19 FLE. Since then we have raised over $63,500, and we will be granting our first medical research grant early in 2014. The Cute Syndrome, which is the loving way we refer to Esmé’s condition, was conceived to honor Esmé, and not to define her by her diagnosis. In addition to our fundraising efforts, we share details of our life with Esmé on The Cute Syndrome blog and facebook page. We want people who follow her to understand that while Esmé battles daily for her health and safety, she does so with such a tremendous spirit of joy and goodness that it is humbling to witness.”

        -Hillary (Esmé’s Mom)

For more information and to contribute to The Cute Syndrome, check out our website: www.thecutesyndrome.com and like our facebook page: www.facebook.com/thecutesyndrome

Married 40 Years or More Portrait Contest

 

It was the winter of 1960 and Kennedy had just been elected.  It was the decade optimism.

Jack was a tall man with rugged features and kind eyes.  He had just returned from serving 2 years in the Army in Italy and Switzerland. 
He was skiing Belleayre Mountain in the Catskills and training new female ski patrol recruits.  Sylvia, nickname, “Ski”, was a statuesque, vivacious redhead attending Suny Delhi.  She was also one of Jack’s recruits.

Their relationship began as instructor and student.  Sylvia passed with flying colors and became the first woman ski patrol on Belleayre Mountain that winter. On September 9, 1961, instructor and student became husband and wife.  

Jack and Sylvia had 5 children and 46 years of marriage.  I am the youngest of these five children.

Each relationship has its own unique beginnings and from that unfolds decades of shared lives.  Marriage is complex, full of ups and downs and joys and sorrows.  Marriage is your own little universe, that just the two of your create.  

I want to help your family celebrate the gift of marriage through photography.

I will choose 3 couples to photograph; each couple will receive a portrait session, flash drive of images, and a selection of prints.

 Here’s how it works:

Leave a comment below as to why this couples marriage is so special

Comments must be left by Monday, January 20, 2014

The couple must be married 40 years of longer
The couple must reside in The Capital Region

The portrait shoot is for the couple only and must take place winter or early spring of 2014

The 3 winning couples will be announced Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Modern American Dairy Farmer, Part 4: Adirondack Farms - Peru, NY

 

I have been documenting dairy farms in New York this year; telling the story of the modern American dairy farmer.  I am wildly passionate about this project and love cows!

This is Adirondack Farms.  A great farm in Upstate, NY with over 1,00 cows; now that’s a lot of dairy!

“In 2013 we are working to capture the essence, emotion and beauty of modern, American dairy farming.

Dairy farming possesses a culture and work ethic that is a distant memory for most.  It also entails a passion – for both animals and land -that is handed down from generation to generation.  But most importantly for this project, dairy farming is an industry that has evolved over the past 100 years and is often times past the comfort point of most consumers, yet it remains an important and critical business for thousands of families, for the economic viability of most Upstate New York rural communities, and for the millions of consumers who rely on and enjoy a fresh supply of wholesome milk.  

 

Dairy farming has changed as a business, but the passion, emotion, responsibility and commitment exuded by farmers has remained steadfast.”

– Jessica Ziehm for NY Animal Agriculture

Street Dogs - Cancun, Mexico

 

I am the official volunteer photographer and a board member of  CANDi International.    I travel to Mexico 3-4 times per year to  document CANDi’s spay/neuter clinics and the street dogs.  

I find it difficult to put this experience into words in a way that would truly say how I feel.  This has been a life changing experience.   The dogs of Cancun have deeply my heart and taught me about: the power of giving, suffering, compassion, cruelty, love, hard work, and taking action for a cause.

These images are from my July 2013 trip.  The plan was to document street dogs for the week.  However, those plans changed when I found a horse that deperately needed our help.  Click here to read Esparanza’s story and recovery: Esparanza’s Rescue

 

About CANDi International:

CANDi International is a non for profit organization.  CANDi believes the answer to reduce animal overpopulation is sterilization and education and promotes these solutions through the support of tourism industry corporations and pet loving travelers. “100% of all donations to CANDi go to the animals to end their suffering in this vacation paradise,” says Darci Galati, founder of CANDi. 

Our Mission: “To save the lives of stray cats and dogs in Mexico and the Caribbean through spay, neuter, adoption and educational programs, supported and funded by the tourism industry, travelers and pet lovers.”

 

Statistics:

One unsterilized female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in just six years and one unsterilized female cat and her offspring can produce as many as 425,000 kittens in seven years.

As the average wage of workers in Cancun is approximately $300 a month, allocating funding to the needs of stray animals is out of the question. Free sterilization clinics organized by CANDi and its partners are the only resources available to locals to control the stray animal population in their community. And unlike the U.S. and Canada, there are no animal protection laws or national animal protection organizations like the SPCA to promote animal welfare so the estimated millions of stray cats and dogs in Mexico are left to die starving in the streets or killed by inhumane methods such as electrocution, poisoning, and drowning.

 

About the clinic itself(representative from CANDi International):

We hold a free spay/nueter clinic in the poor community of Bonfil.  There are thousands of streets dogs and no humane treatment to control their population.  Bonfil is about 10 minutes from the Cancun airport.  Hundreds of animals weresafely sterilized during these five days, saving thousands of unborn puppies and kittens from lives of starvation, disease, and inhumane treatment. Thanks to monetary CANDi and its humane partners to date have spayed and neutered over 10,000 dogs an cats on the last 7 years.    “CANDi clinic’s are the most trusted by the people of Cancun.”   The local community support and the support of the local rescue groups is incredible and we could not have done this without their help.  We are currently in the process of  raising $15,000 for this clinic.”

 

To donate to this great cause, or to volunteer, please visit their website: CANDi International

Saving Esparanza in Cancun, Mexico

 

As part of my ongoing work to document street dogs in Mexico for CANDi International, I stumbled across a seriously injured horse this past July with the help fellow CANDi volunteer, Hector Navarro. I was photographing stray dogs when she came across a run-down recycling center in the poorer outskirts of Cancun, known to be a gathering place for abandoned dogs. The horse was inside the center, in a small stall, under extremely bad conditions. She had also suffered serious leg injuries, due to a vicious Rottweiler attack a month earlier. The wounds were left untreated and the horse,  whom I named “Esperanza” or “Hope” in Spanish, was at risk of losing the infected limb—and her  life.

“Esperanza,”  is a sweet-tempered 4 to 6 year-old mare. Both myself and Hector were shocked to find that her owner was unwilling to seek medical attention for her. In order to get Esperanza the immediate care and treatment she needed, they had to offer to buy the horse from the owner.

Esperanza’s owner was unwilling to relinquish ownership of the horse, but changed his mind for the price of $800 U.S. CANDi later discovered that the horse was given away to the owners of the recycling center for “disposal” by her original owner after she endured the violent attack, but the recycling center’s proprietors decided to keep her anyway. The veterinary costs to save her were estimated at $600 U.S., so we started a Facebook campaign to raise funds.   Generous donations poured in, and the horse was transported the following day to a veterinary center, where she had surgery on her infected leg. The operation was a success, and Esperanza’s leg—and life—were saved! 

Esperanza’s good luck did not end there. Hector’s friend, Karla Argote, was recovering from her own recent loss. By a twist of fate, Karla’s horse had passed away only the previous week. Karla was willing to open her heart and home to Esperanza, who is now at the beautiful ranch with 30 other new horse friends. Karla has started to rehabilitate Esperanza and use her as a therapy horse for children with disabilities.

With Esperanza in Karla’s care, she has found a forever home and the hope of a better life through CANDi International’s team of volunteers.

To donate or volunteer with me, go to:   CANDi International