23 years ago on this day, I headed to the hospital after peeing on a stick in my dad’s office revealed that I had ketones in my urine. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what that means, ketones in the urine is a sign of extreme high blood sugar. Ketones are produced when one’s body burns fat instead of glucose for energy, and, if untreated, can cause diabetic coma and death.

Thankfully, my medically-trained parents knew that something was brewing and took me to the hospital, where I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. From that day forward, I was to monitor my bloodsugar with a strict diet, multiple daily fingersticks and several shots of insulin. I don’t remember much about that trip to the hospital except a few stories my mom has told me over the years. One was about my brother, Mark’s, name game with my endocrinologist, Dr. Mark Kipnes, and another revolves around my wanting to get home so I could share some Hershey Kisses with my older sister. Clearly I had no idea what was in store for me when I actually did get home.

Since 1988, the care and treatment for my diabetes has changed in many ways. Back then, I was on a strict diet, I learned to take insulin via multiple daily injections, and I eventually started to self-administer the shots. Now, I use an insulin pump to deliver insulin to my body so I can eat whatever I want (as long as I bolus to cover it). Then, I relied on fingersticks to reveal what my bloodsugar was that hour. Now, though I still check my bloodsugar via fingersticks, I also sometimes wear a continuous glucose monitor, which allows me to see what my bloodsugar is doing at all hours of the day (instead of just when I test).

Me (on the left) at a JDF luncheon. I won that Pink Panther!

However, there are many things about my diabetes that haven’t changed. Mainly, it still exists. When I was diagnosed, my mom was told that “a cure is right around the corner!” with an estimated arrival time of sometime before the turn of the 21st century. Well, we’re still waiting on that cure. I still sometimes drop so low that I can’t think straight and have to take a 20 minute (or more) break to allow my bloodsugar to rise. I still have high’s that cause that awful thirst and racing heart. I still like to act like these things don’t bother me and don’t interfere with my daily life.

The truth is simple: diabetes sucks. Yes, I can live with it, but I sure as hell wouldn’t choose it. It’s a pain in the ass (sometimes literally!) and I wish it would go away.

“The Anaheim Hangover,” a.k.a. “the time diabetes tried to ruin our family trip to Disneyland.”

Luckily, there are some really smart people out there who are working on finding a cure! My mom was heavily involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation‘s South Central Chapter when I was younger. We’d raise money and walk at the Walk for the Cure on an annual basis. Sometime between high school and college, I stopped participating. I have been wanting to participate for the past several years, but just never made the effort. This year, I’m changing all that and I’m going to be participating in the Walk for the Cure in San Diego on November 12! I have a handful of friends who are joining me and I’d love it if you’d consider sponsoring our efforts.

I’d love it if some of you would please honor the 23 years I’ve been dealing with diabetes by donating $1 per year for a total of $23. Your $23 will make a huge difference in my world, though any amount is greatly appreciated!

To make a donation, head over to my personal page at http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Walk-CA/Chapter-SanDiego4053?px=1516210&pg=personal&fr_id=1553 or you may mail me a check, made out to JDRF.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!


Kristen and Adam – Ocean Beach San Diego Wedding

Oh. My! I’m really excited to show you these images from a recent wedding I photographed at Ocean View Villas!

Kristen met Adam shortly after she moved to San Diego from New York. On the first night they met, she tricked Adam into giving her his phone number by losing her phone and asking Adam to call it for her. Of course she committed his number to her phone’s memory, and, well, that’s when their story began. They have been inseparable since then and you could really see the love between them when they were joined as husband and wife!

We started off the afternoon with a first look before heading into the nearby neighborhood for some portrait time.

I loved that instead of bouquets, the bridesmaids carried these cheery, yellow parasols! We had a lot of fun playing around with them. :)

Kristen and Adam did something really fun for their vows! Instead of writing their own vows, Kristen wrote the vows for Adam to read to her, and Adam wrote Kristen’s vows! It ended up being very emotional with some hilarity thrown in there!

This little guy was following me around with his camera all afternoon! I didn’t mind, though–he was cute as a button!

Thank you, Kristen and Adam, for allowing me to be a part of your special day! Congratulations!


My Hero is Home!

Finally! My hubby is back from Afghanistan! Yesterday was a very emotional day and I am so happy that he’s back in my arms, safe and sound.

A few months ago, I started coordinating with our family and friends to send out fabric squares for them to sign and return to my amazing big sister, Kay, to make this quilt! I didn’t see any of the squares until I received the finished quilt in the mail, and I was SO ecstatic with how it turned out! I had the idea to make the quilt to hang on the garage door, but Kay had the idea to have everyone send in their sentiments. I was blown away. I hung it up in the afternoon so I could take some photos to send to everyone who contributed!

Then I spent the next several hours putting some finishing touches on the house, baking a pecan pie (which took twice as long as it should have–guess that happens when you forget to turn the oven on!), and working on some photo edits before my in-laws met up at our house to drive to the parade deck. We arrived at the parade deck in the San Mateo area of Camp Pendleton at about 10:30pm. The Marines and Sailors flew into March Air Force Base then rode buses to Camp Pendleton, arriving at San Mateo at about 11:30pm. At that point, they took about an hour to return their weapons to the armory before they marched over to the parade deck and were released!

At this point, my friend Stephanie of stephanieZphotography ordered me to drop my camera so I could give my hubby a big fat hug when they were released. I obliged!

It was SUCH a great night!

Huge thanks to my big sister, Kay, for the amazing quilt, and to all of our family and friends for supporting us over the past several months! And to Stephanie for capturing our reunion! Check out her facebook page if you want to see some of what she captured!


Tarza – Old Poway Park

Tarza and I emailed for a couple of months before we were able to find a time to meet up to get some images for her modeling portfolio. Finally, we spent some time at Old Poway Park one afternoon and got some amazing shots! It was a really fun afternoon!

Tarza brought a traditional Kurdish outfit to use for a handful of shots. It was beautiful!

Thank you, Tarza, for allowing me to photograph you!


San Diego Shooting Group 06 – Del Mar

If you haven’t heard, I have taken over the reigns as the organizer for the Facebook-based San Diego Shooting Group. We’re a group of photographers that get together every other month to learn a little about photography, photograph a model or two, and have a lot of fun! I somehow convinced Shari of Shari Barnes Photography to join me as co-organizer of the group, and I’m so glad she’s on board!

For our last get-together, we met up at Powerhouse Park in Del Mar. I spoke about using one speedlight to enhance portrait work while Shari demonstrated the use of one studio strobe. We split up for most of the shoot, then came together at the end. Since I was helping others take photographs, I typically don’t really use my camera at all. However, this evening, I took advantage of the modeling light on Shari’s B-800 while some of the group members were photographing Lena. These were taken after the sun went down, and it was DARK out there! I mean really dark! I couldn’t even see my own hands! (Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration! But just a little bit!) To combat the darkness, I bumped up my ISO and captured the following.

Pretty neat, huh? :)

Ok, time out! Skip ahead if you don’t want to nerd out about high ISO settings! All three of these shots were taken using my 50mm f/1.8 lens. The first two were taken at f/1.8 and 1/60sec. That last one was taken at 1/250sec and f/2.0! How, you ask? Well, for the first two, I was shooting at ISO 1600. For the last one, I bumped it up even higher. Anyone want to guess what ISO I had my camera set to? I’ll give you a couple of days to think about it, then reveal the answer here!

The San Diego Shooting Group is having its next event on Sunday, October 16 at a winery in Temecula! If you are interested in joining us, please find us on Facebook here! And, if you’d like a ticket to our next event, they will be going on sale this Thursday (10/6) promptly at 7:00 pm Pacific time at http://sdsg07.eventbrite.com/. I hope to see you there!


p.s. Don’t forget to leave your ISO guess in the comments below! :)


*UPDATE – October 9, 2011*

Robby’s math wins this round! He’s correct: I shot the third shot at ISO 6400. This was my first opportunity to see how far I could bump the ISO, and I was interested to see how it would turn out. :) Great job, Robby!