Add together 1 cup of Love, a dash of Playfulness, and sprinkle it with good weather and you end up with great engagement portraits. Heather and Doug - thank you for being so much fun to photograph and being willing to be up for anything. If this is a sample of your wedding day - I cannot wait! Thank you for choosing Redwood Studios to be part of such an important time in your lives.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Emma in her dad's baptism hat. I love it when customers bring personal items such as this to their sessions. It makes it so meaningful for them and me.
|Fun in the Sun with Emma! Emma and her mom were game to trudge out to this beautiful field. It was worth it - Emma looks so beautiful with the sun shining down on her adorable little head. Great day!|
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Dallas Edward Siler lost his life while serving his county in Korea on January 26, 1977. He was tragically killed by another US Soldier over a disagreement about a weekend pass. He was finishing his time in Korea and was due to come home in just a few short weeks. In honor of Memorial Day, I wrote him this letter.
Thank you to all those who have served our country.
Using the name “Dad” is strange to me. Much like trying to pronounce a foreign word, my tongue feels tense and my throat tightens when I say it in reference to you. My father-in-law calls himself Dad when he talks to me and I can’t bring myself to return the love he is expressing to me by sharing this three letter word, D-A-D, and calling him Dad. I love him dearly, but it is my last and only hold I have with you and I cannot let that go. It is all I have left.
I did not get much time to get to know you, my memories of you are faint. Occasionally a song or a place or an old picture brings on an intense and sudden memory of you. I remember our home in Colorado, I remember the snow. We had so much snow and you shoved a tall garbage can in the snow and playfully put me inside. My little head could barely peek out the top. I remember jumping on a bed while you danced and sang to Elvis Presley playing in the background. With your blue eyes and dark hair cut and styled much like The King himself, I believed you were him! To this day I am a huge Elvis fan. I remember you visiting me in Michigan while home on leave from Korea. You brought me the Battleship game and we played it for what seems like hours. I remember your military funeral, in particular the 21 gun salute, the flag presentation, and getting a bible in a wooden case from one of the soldiers.
I do not have a lot of memories of you that I can say I experienced directly. I know the memories are there and just need to be brought to life by a family story or a picture. While at a conference in Denver, my husband, Bill, and I drove to the Fort Carson area where we had once lived. I found our old house without having the address or street. I called my mom and said, “I’m standing in front of our house in Colorado!” How is that possible? A few years ago, we were driving through Indiana and I saw a cemetery on the left side of the road. I excitedly told Bill to stop and go into the cemetery because I had a feeling it was where you were put to rest. I navigated our car right to the Siler plots. It was the first time I had been there since I was a child over 25 years earlier. I’m sure all these memories are in there and we as humans have not yet figured out how to retrieve the oldest of memories. I also believe you are there guiding and helping me find those places, pulling out memories when I needed to and was ready to do so.
Most of the memories I have are those shared with me by my mom or your brothers and sisters. When I was 20 years old, I went to see everyone in Indiana. It had been a long time since I had been there. It was comforting and a little scary to hear how much I look like you, move my hands like you, laugh like you. A few people who came to visit who were your friends would just stop and stare at me finally saying, “Wow, you remind me so much of Dallas.”
There are so many times in a girl’s life when she needs her dad. Those feelings are most intense at life’s milestones: high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, turning 20, 30, 40, babies, holidays to name a few.
I have watched my own daughter, now older then I was when you died, need her daddy. She is a daddy’s girl and I am so happy that she has that relationship. My kids will sometimes out of the blue ask about you. It always comes with a jolt when my kids ask about you and call you Grampa Siler. They too want to know what they can about you and who you were as a man, a husband, a brother, a father.
The painful ache of losing a parent never goes away nor would I want it to. Like your name, D-A-D, the ache has a deep meaning to me and your memory. Losing you has had a profound affect on my life. I have struggled with maintaining friendships and relationships. I do not let people, including family, get too close. It is too painful when those relationships don’t work out and seems easier to just keep people at a distant. This is something I struggle with daily and try really hard to let people in. I do know, from losing you, that life goes on, and we have such little time here, we have treat that time respectfully and joyfully. I try to be present and soak in all those moments that are then gone in a flash.
I believe your death has made me a stronger person. A determined person. A sensitive person. I have given my adult life to helping others through my work in nonprofits, mostly disability and children issues. I am always trying to help the “underdog.”
I have always been fascinated with photography – and snapping away at family events. I have now taken that passion to a new level with my portrait studio. I know all too well how important it is to slow down and capture those moments and milestones that go by so quickly. Every image I have of you, and there are not many, are cherished. Now, my children cherish them – their glimpse into their Grampa Siler’s life. There are times when I’m in the studio getting ready for a portrait session and it is quiet and dark. I feel something or someone there with me. It is just a light, airy feeling next to me –maybe it’s just my imagination, but I choose to believe you are there beside me.
Your life was cut short by the actions of another who chose violence as an escape from his anger and his fear. I understand he is now out of prison. I hope he has thought of those he left behind in his moments of rage. If he has children, I hope he thought about your children and has regret and remorse for the pain he caused others. I also hope his “second chance” at life makes him a better man.
Dad – I love you. I hope wherever you are, you have been able to watch my family grow.
your daughter, Yvonne
Friday, February 4, 2011
Do you ever meet someone who just makes you feel better? I was prepping the camera room for the session when the family arrived. Meggan, the mom, walked into the studio with her two kids, two (maybe three) bags, her purse, and enthusiasm. I knew right away that this was someone that was going to be a lot of fun to spend time with and she proved me right. Meggan clearly is someone who lights up any room she enters and her love for her children is contagious. Meggan and her husband, Ryan, adopted their children from Ethiopia. As a result, they have spent a great deal of time in Ethiopia and have reached out to help as many children there as they can by sending supplies from the US and teaching others about the overwhelming needs children have there. My heart breaks for those children. Photographing Ezra and Riley and seeing the bond between them and their mother was inspiring. I hope the portraits we created that day show some of the wonderment and love these children have. Their futures are now secure, safe. They are loved. Go hug your kid today and tell them they are loved. Pray for those looking for a family to call their own. Yvonne
Thursday, December 2, 2010
We had so much fun photographing these twins. They were so in tune with one another which made the session both way cool and challenging! When one started crying, the other would join in with "empathy crying" :). Their parents were both very patient and helpful in getting these shots. The coolest thing was how often they would hold grab each others hands and hold hands. Interesting don't you think? This kind of touch, understanding, and relationship at such a young age. Maybe there is hope for humanity yet! We all just need to let our guards down and reach out to each other!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
This blog has been a longtime coming. It is finally here and I'm excited to be able to share fun stories and moments of our photo sessions and customers. I have had the privilege of meeting such interesting people as customers, many of whom are now family friends. I hope you enjoy viewing the images and my musings as much as I will enjoy writing them!