Memorial Day 2011

31 05 2011

I had the pleasure to photograph a Rucksack Run that left from the Military Family sculpture on Memorial Day.  The run left the sculpture on the SE corner of Marvin Rd and Quinault Dr. to the “kite sculpture” on Sleater Kinney Road just south of I-5.  All in all it was about a 10 mile run.  There were nearly 50 JBLM soldiers who ran or walked the route in honor of Memorial Day and the Wounded Warrior project. Not only did the soldiers participate, but so did some family members (even those four footed family members!)

It is always something special for me to be asked to photograph an event held for the military and their families.  They provide so much. They sacrifice so much.

Of special note, the run was organized by SSG Juan C Lugo and his wife, Toni.  Toni said that organizing this event was important to her and her husband – even so that she was expecting at any moment and still saw that the run took place.  Good thing she did not put off the event any longer, as her water broke shortly after the run started.  Being the strong and capable Army wife that she is, Toni stayed at the Military Family sculpture until Juan returned from the run.  They left immediately for the hospital!  I haven’t heard when their baby boy was delivered, but I expect all is fine in the Lugo household.

May we all be blessed with the strength of these families.

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2010 Military Family Support Day

15 11 2010

It has been a busy summer.  It is slowing down now with the fall so it is my intent to get somethings posted that have long been delayed.  First and quickly, I want to post the slideshow from this year’s Military Family Support Day.  The MFSD was established 8 years ago by the Hawks Prairie Rotary Club to recognize the sacrifice of the families left behind when a soldier deploys.  Money raised in the community for the event are directly back into programs to assist military families in the Lacey and Olympia, Washington, area.  It all goes back.  It is a wonderful program and one that I help sponsor through my donation of photographs the event for the Hawks Prairie Rotary Club.

You can view the slideshow on YourTube here: 

Stay tune for more updates in the coming days.  I have photos from sessions this past summer and fall I will be posting!





Faces of Patriotism

4 07 2010

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I’ve had the pleasure and honor to meet and photograph many of the military families over the past couple of years as a photographer participating in the Operation: Love Reunited program.  Capturing these moments of the families together in 1/250 of a second slices for the deployed soldiers is something I truly enjoy.

Last year, I photographed over 40 families.  I doubt I will do that again this year as they are all starting to return, but I have photographed some.

First up were Chris and Tricia.  Chris was home on R&R from Afghanistan.  It was a bit chilly in March, but the warmth and love was abundant.

Tricia, William, Emma & Chris

I created a small video of their session. You can see it in an earlier post on the blog.  Patriotism there, for sure.

Next up!

Ryan and Sybil

I see a lot when I look through the viewfinder of the camera.  The Ryan and Sybil were proud and excited by their baby’s first photo session.  The pending deployment was not on their minds… at the moment.  Here are three faces of patriotism.

Next up this year were Barby and Violet.  They came down from north of Seattle to Olympia for their session to send to Aaron, based in Afghanistan.

Barby & Violet

I haven’t heard that Aaron has received his album yet, but I am certain he is otherwise occupied.  Barby and Violet – two more faces of patriotism.

Nicola called me. Her husband, Brad,  just deployed in March – also to Afghanistan.  She asked and of course, I was happy to photograph her and Eden.

Eden & Nicola

Eden hated the grass touching her legs. It was fun!

Michelle and her children, Tylor, Parker and Anya wanted photos for their husband/Dad stationed in Iraq.

Michelle, Tylor, Parker and Anya

Hey Greg!  Your family is behind the tree!

The latest family to date Tara and Eddie.

Tara & Eddie

I don’t want to leave anyone with the impression that these deployments are easy.  They aren’t.  It is tough duty for those who are overseas and for those who are left at home.  Eddie was leaving that night.  I asked for a serious look and it came quickly.  Too quickly and I realized that behind the laughter of moments earlier, pain and sadness was only held back for my benefit.  Bravery when you don’t feel it – that is patriotism.

I love these men and women for what they give and sacrifice on our behalf.

These are the real faces of patriotism.

Happy July 4th.





First OpLove Session: 2010

5 03 2010

Sybil, Ryan and Little Enoch

I had the pleasure of shooting my first OpLove photo session of 2010 yesterday.  Ryan, who is currently stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, was able to come home for his son’s birth.  Enoch was only 4 days old when we took yesterday’s photos.  (Yes, so today he is 5 days old…  I thought I would state that cause I know SOMEONE, Amanda, was going to test my addition skills…).

So many people listen to the news and radio reports of the on-going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and never really meet those who are serving on our behalf.  Regardless of our political, social or moral views… we need to support these families.  Yes, the soldiers serve, but their families remain – listening to the same news; watching their Facebook groups for any word from loved ones.  I encourage you to get out and meet these families.  I also encourage you to join an organization that supports them.  In this area, the Hawks Prairie Rotary Club hosts an annual Military Appreciation Day where 100% of the proceeds go into support these families.

Enoch was born into a proud, strong family.  It was my honor to serve as his first official photographer and it is my honor to give just a little back to his mom and dad for all they sacrifice on our behalf.

Vaya con Dios, Sybil, Ryan and Enoch.





2009 – The Year of The Military Family

14 01 2010

I enjoy photography. I enjoy most people. But, when I combine photography and people, I really have fun!

I photographed 41 different Military Families in 2009.  41 great families all making the best of the impending separation of 12-15 months, with the Dad, husband or son heading to Afghanistan or Iraq.  Ft. Lewis opened the gates and flew 2/3 of its troops to the Middle East/Central Asia.  Ugh.  I really don’t know how they do it with a smile on their faces.  Everyone smiles for the camera when asked — most of the time…

Sensing underlying tension, I often asked  family individuals to look ‘serious’, or to not smile and look straight at the camera.  The resulting images caught me off guard… more than I thought they would.  The honesty of their emotions and their underlying sadness were closer than I thought.  The soldiers were good at quickly dropping into the ‘no smiling now’ pose, but the wives were not as practiced at masking their emotion.

Deployment is Hard On Everyone - Even the Brave.

Though emotion showed when asked, the vast majority of the time we had fun (after the families got used to me shadowing them like a paparazzi photographer!)  Those who know me may blame me for getting the kids into trouble Sometimes, though things could get out of hand…

Corrective Action

In all fairness to the Brevers, I saw the the love the children had for their Dad, and I knew they would have fun posing for this ‘Corrective Action’ photo.

Drop and Give Me Ten, SOLDIER!!

But this was NOT a posed photo!    OK… it was. (The Sanchez family really enjoyed their session!)

The military families I met and photographed gave me far more in return by sharing their love for each other than I could ever have have provided them in photos.  When you listen to the news reports, or read the paper, pray not only for the soldiers in the field, but also for their families listening and reading the same reports at home.  The USA truly is the home of the free because of the brave!

Until my next post…





A Promise for the New Year

8 01 2010

Happy New Year!

Just a quick note and update. I am ashamed to see that my last update was a year ago when I launched the new site.  In the past year, in addition to the new site, I got myself Facebooked, and Tweeted.  Both have taken a bit more time that I thought.  Not sure which of these social medias I will stick with.  I’ve used FB more and just have my FB updates automatically ‘Tweeted’.

For me, 2009 was the year of Operation: Love Reunited.  I provided 41 free sessions to deploying or returning military service personnel and their families.  This represents the following:

  • Over 980 printed photos, in –
  • 41 Albums, created by –
  • Over 230 hours in sessions, selecting, processing, ordering, mounting and shipping photos, resulting in –
  • Over $20,500 of donated products & services

That is a lot of work and all of my free time to get all those albums out.  The families were patient and gracious as it took me to the holidays to get these albums out to the guys stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I’ve created a slideshow to celebrate all the military families photographed this year.  You can view this by going to my website (www.jeffreyottphotography.com), and from the Flash site, choosing Slideshows and following that to the OpLove slideshow.

I am working to make this coming year better, with better photography, more customers and clients and a broader range of photographic experiences.  I am looking forward to blogging more, and even incorporating some video from the iPhone taken during different photo sessions.  It promises to be a good year!





Change of Command

23 11 2007

Solders at Attention

I have to admit that one of the fun things about being a photographer is getting to photograph events while moving around from perspectives unavailable to most people. I was recently asked to photograph a Change of Command and Change of Responsibility Ceremony for the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. The Brigade just got back from a tough 15 month deployment in Iraq and seemed to mature years from the solders I photographed during the Deployment Ceremony in June, 2006.

Whether one believes in our being in Iraq or protests it, we have to admire these solders strength, bravery, and mere presence. And while we’re at it, we must also recognize the sacrifice of their families. The wives, children and parents of these solders live through is something that many – if not most – of us cannot directly relate to.

The families of these solders are as tough as the solders themselves.

I salute you all!