Color Factory – San Francisco, California

Do you dream in color or in black and white? I can’t tell when I dream but I wished my dreams were like what I saw last night! I’m visiting my friend Stephanie in San Francisco, California and she insisted I grab Color Factory tickets, which sold out in about 5 minutes online. I panicked and accidentally bought tickets for a week later than planned, so I’m glad we could make it work still!

Whoa, what a whirlwind!!

Each room was an entirely different color. Well, except for our favorite room. It had tiny pieces of tissue paper … everywhere … millions of them. We had the most fun and are still finding bits of paper at home and in our shoes! Thank you Method soap for that experience!!

Remember Lite Brite? They had a giant one.

The purple room concept was neat! They had a computer printing out images from Instagram that had #selfie. All those pieces of paper have a photo of someone on them.

And after the giant yellow ball pit (which made me want to shower immediately afterwards) was a corner of all things yellow! You’ll see me on the phone pretending to call someone! To end the whole thing, they gave out mini yellow ice cream cones. How. Adorable.

Hopefully you can get a bit of what this must see San Francisco experience was like looking through the photos!

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Ella’s Deli, I’ll miss you.

I’m not sure how to describe how I’m feeling. How do you describe 30 years of memories at Ella’s Deli in Madison, Wisconsin? When I saw the line wrapping around the carousel Thursday night, I burst into tears as it finally hit me that Ella’s was closing after 42 years. I called my mom barely able to speak, and she told me to “pull it together” and text Judy to see if I could go help them. Judy and Kenny are long time friends of my parents. My mom took me there with my brother and sister all the time growing up. We would pick up my Godmother who worked at Oscar Meyer at the time and head to Ella’s Deli for lunch. My mom and Judy Balkin became close through mutual friends. I’m not sure how many fried pickles and garden salads with a side of croutons I’ve had there.

Everyone has a story about Ella’s Deli. It’s truly incredible how many lives they touched. Weeks ago I laid in bed reading some of the comments on their Facebook page when they first announced that they’d be closing. Over 2,000 shares and hundreds of comments were written and my eyes filled with tears. So much hard work and love has gone into Ella’s Deli. I’m sad to see it go, but I’m so happy that they reached an enormous amount of people near and far.

The Wisconsin State Journal published a great article in today’s paper. One of my favorite quotes is this:

‘Include Ashley Hebl, 36, among those who are hopeful someone will keep Ella’s alive. She flew in from the U.S. Virgin Islands at 3 a.m. Sunday and was in line at Ella’s by 10:10 a.m. She’ll leave Tuesday. “This was an Ella’s Deli closing trip,” she said.

She follows Ella’s online and saw the Jan. 3 Facebook post announcing the restaurant would close Jan. 21. She was unable to leave home earlier because of hurricanes that damaged her home island of St. John.

When her father, Tom Hebl, a municipal judge in Sun Prairie and former state legislator, married her stepmother, Patty Conrad Hebl, and blended their two families, all the children met for the first time at Ella’s.

“They walked in the door and said, ‘Table for seven,’ and looked at each other and had to laugh because that was the new reality — table for seven,” Hebl said.

Hebl enjoyed one last meal at the restaurant Sunday with her father and stepmother and, like many others, stood in Ella’s parking lot taking photos and videos. Hebl, who has been coming to Ella’s for 30 years, said since she moved away it’s always been the first stop off the plane when she comes to Madison and the last stop before she leaves.’

^ My last meal there wasn’t a salad, but it was the veggie reuben with a side of “award winning” croutons of course.

^ My good friends, Jill and Ryan had one of their first dates at Ella’s Deli in college.

^ Portrait of me. Thank you Judy and Kenny!!!!! XO.

^ Me in 1990 riding the carousel.

Youngblood Brass Band – European Tour

Wow. What an incredible experience to not only spend time with friends exploring Amsterdam and Paris, but we saw my brother’s band, Youngblood Brass Band, play in both cities. My favorite part was not just watching the band, but seeing how excited the fans were to be there. In Amsterdam, I asked a few people if they had seen the band play before. One guy said him and his friend have been listening to their music for 10 years but this was the first time they’ve seen them. Another guy in the front row with his friends told me they started a brass band and love Youngblood. They even play a few of their songs.

They played at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris which sold out to over 800 people. While everyone was waiting for Youngblood to come on stage, people started chanting one of their most well known songs, “Brooklyn”. What a sight to be there to see it all.

They are touring all over Europe until the first week of November. Check out their schedule if you’re over there!

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The G Family – Lifestyle Family Photography

I’ve met some amazing people in Madison because of my profession. That’s one of my favorite parts of the photography world. Madison is such a great town for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Sometimes people ask if they should or shouldn’t venture off on their own. The advice I give them is to “go for it!” If you have enough passion and drive for what you do, you’ll do well.

This little girl was celebrating her fourth birthday later that afternoon and the bounce house just happen to come a little early about when I arrived. Um, yes! I couldn’t pass up this opportunity! When she ran out to jump in the inflated tiny red castle, I was right behind her. Not only was she jumping around, but her mom and dad took turns as well. I don’t think I stopped laughing for the whole time we were in there bouncing around like popcorn kernels.

Oh, and bikes! If you know me, I’m always game to photograph people and their love for riding. This little girl is a rockstar!


Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps – Oregon, Wisconsin

“This will be my 25th Oregon home show. The first one was when I was 13 years old coming out of 8th grade and 4’11” on the snare line. The reason I’ve been with the program for so long is because it’s my family. The growth that I see from you makes it so there’s no way I would want to be anywhere else in the world. Shadow is my home. Shadow is my family and will be my family forever.” David Henzie-Skogen, Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps Artistic Director/Percussion Coordinator


2017 Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps – Atreyu

I’ve been photographing Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps for ten years now and it’s still one of my favorite things to shoot. I’m not sure it will ever get old! There’s actually only two more weeks of the season, so I’ll be around a lot! I’ll be photographing them at their shows in Oregon, Illinois and in Oregon, Wisconsin this week and then traveling with them to DCI finals in Indianapolis next week. Here are a few photos from Middleton, Fort Atkinson and Thank You Show. More images can be seen and purchased on my website.


University of Wisconsin Madison – 2017 Graduates

My mom has been a sorority advisor at the University of Wisconsin since I was born…so for 32 years : ) She’s met so many amazing young women over the years and keeps in touch with a lot of them! Every year a few groups of ladies who are graduating ask me to photograph their group around campus. It’s always so much fun hanging out with these young women! Congrats to you and have tons of fun in whatever is to next for you!


RAGBRAI 2016: An Epic Ride Across Iowa

There aren’t many things in life that you can do with 10,000-20,000 people who share a common interest. In this case it is bikes! It was surreal seeing Iowa country roads flooded for an entire week with people of different age and size. I even saw kids doing it either on their own or on a tandem with their parents. The oldest woman I saw doing it was was 90 years old! The ride was 420 miles total with 18,488 feet of incline.

RAGBRAI has been on my bucket list for the last few years, but when I got my first road bike a year ago, I bumped up that goal pretty fast. I do Airbnb in Madison and rent out one of the rooms in my house. Back in the fall, a woman reserved my room for two weeks and who would have thought this is where our friendship would take us?! Angie and I did a few longer rides together when she’d come visit Madison to see her daughter and for work. She signed up for RAGBRAI right away when registration opened … it took me until February to commit to one of the most epic things I’ve ever done. I am glad I jumped right in not even thinking twice.

I’m the kind of person who lives in the moment. I don’t dwell on the past and I don’t think too hard about the future. Riding 50-75 miles a day was a dream. I thought about what was in front of me, the people around me and communicating like cyclists do to make sure riders knew where I was and if there were cars around us. I love how independent this sport is yet it’s about caring for each other and making sure the people were safe around me. It made me happy.

I couldn’t leave Wisconsin until later Saturday night since I photograph for Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps every year. I left Madison at 9pm and arrived in Glenwood around 4am. Not ideal, but I’m glad I got there safe and in time to start riding on Sunday.

I shared a tent with Angie, which was really fun! We got up around 5:30am each day (even though people were packing up and heading around around 4:30 each morning). We’d get ready, take down the tent, put our bags on the semi truck and head out for a full day of riding. I loved riding in the morning. It was cool and the light was so pretty. I stopped here and there to take pictures, but I really tried to enjoy the week without photographing too much : )

The most memorable day was Monday because it was h a r d. The sun was out all day, it was 90 degrees and we road up and down hills for most all of the 75 miles. It was definitely the longest and hardest days of the week. I stopped at a farm house 5 miles from the end town for pie and free wifi. I sat there in the shade for an hour before hopping back on my bike. After Monday, the rest of the week seemed like it’d be a piece of cake for the most part.

I left at 6am on Thursday to get to Ottumwa to see my parents. They are beyond amazing. They drove from Madison to Glenwood to pick up my car to drop it off in Muscatine so I could drive straight home after the week. THIS WAS A DREAM and something I never would have asked them to do. I was able to see them in Ottumwa before they left at 11am. I knew if I left at 6am I could ride 50 miles in about 3-4 hours. I got there at 10:30! Definitely my most impressive day of riding : ) When I finally found them in town, my mom was taking pictures of me non-stop. They were so proud of me.

There were a few small world moments along the way. Of course! I love those.

As we were going up a hill, I started talking to a woman who looked like seasoned cyclist. Turns out she was my friend from college’s high school cross country coach!

I was sitting in the watermark pool in Ottumwa talking to this guy named Jim. Of course in most of my conversations it would come up that I went to Iowa and worked for The Daily Iowan. His son’s best friend growing up happens to be another college friend of mine who worked as a photographer with me at the paper.

Waiting in line for a porta potty (aka kybo) I started talking with this couple wearing University of Hawkeye jersey’s. Their son also worked at The Daily Iowan during the same time I did. I recognized his name but since I didn’t take many sports assignments were didn’t work together very much. However, his dad immediately pulled out his camera, to take a picture of me I thought. He started taking a video and asked me to say hi to his son! haha! Little awkward but I loved it : )

The week flew by and I’m back in Madison. I love being home seeing family, friends, my dog Geoffrey and getting back to work. But there was something so freeing just thinking about the road and what was right in front of me. I met a lot of people who were doing RAGBRAI for the first time just like myself, but I met many who had also done it for 30 some years. I just blocked off this week in my calendar for next year. I can’t wait.

Thanks for reading! Now for a few photos!