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!

Family Touch Points

18 03 2010
The Distifeno Family

The Distifeno Family

I had the privilege to photograph another family under the Operation: Love Reunited program: The Distifeno family.  Chris is about to be deployed to Afghanistan and I will be sending him his album shortly after he deploys.  They are a fun loving family and their love for each other shines.  It was a great pleasure for me to share in their afternoon.

It is obvious to anyone who knows or has worked with me that I love working with families.  Capturing these images, these slices of time in their lives, preserves the moment long after the memory of the event has faded. In fact, when the children grow older and they look at the photos on their… iPhones, iPads, iWhatever… they won’t remember who took it or even that there was a photographer present.  They will see their lives – their childhoods – as they remember them and almost from the viewpoint of an omnipresent story teller.   As they grow older, photos will become the anchor points to their life’s memories, feelings, sights and sounds.  It is being the anonymous ‘man behind the curtain,’ providing these photographic touch points, that motivates me.

I created a short slide show from the shoot.  You can view it here:

Thanks for reading!

— Jeff

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!

New Website Launch!

12 02 2009


Well, the new year has kicked off and is well underway.  There have been some exciting developments here, the first of which is the release of my newly redesigned website!  The old website was well worn and used… but sadly out of date!  The new website utilizes web Flash technology that allows me to present my images in an active and high quality fashion!  The downside to the Flash site is that it requires a high-speed Internet connection and is not viewable on many mobile devices.  Therefore, I have also made available a standard website that IS fully accessible on mobile devices and slower Internet connections.

One of the really nice features of this new website is the new Calendar.  On this calendar, you can check for a request session dates.  If you are planning a date for a wedding, an event or other photographic session, you can go to this page, look at the calendar, see if I have any sessions booked and request a date.  Just one note, though. Just because a date indicates I have a booked session, it may not be an all day session. I may only be an hour long session.  If you need an all day photographer – for a wedding, race, event, etc. You can see if that day is open.

One of the other features I’ve included in the site is the Testimonials page.  Since I’ve been involved with the Operation: Love Reunited program, I’ve received many nice emails and letters from service personnel and their families.  I now have a great location to share the page with others.

Go to my site and explore it.  I’ve had a great time pulling it together.  I plan on changing the content and photos about once a quarter.  One last thing regarding my new site I would like your feedback on.  I’ve included music on most of the pages.  It is royalty free music, which means you will not hear the latest Fall Out Boys, We The Kings, or Yellow Card song.   Licensing that music is just too expensive.  My question to you is do you like the music or do you find it distracting?  I will add a quick poll to this post. Let me know!

As always, I will be interested in any feedback you want to give me in order to improve the site.


— Jeff


Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival

14 09 2008

I joined a local Rotary Club a couple of years ago.  Rotary is an international service organization of folks working to help others around the world and locally.  One of Rotary’s greatest contributions has been leading the near eradication of polio.  With only a handful of polio cases in the world, Rotary International is starting to focus its resources on providing fresh, clean water to those communities and peoples who live miles from any source.

Locally, the Hawks Prairie Rotary Club of Lacey, Washington — the club I belong to — has focused its local service on providing assistance to the many needing military families.  Since it’s start in 2002, the Military Family Support March has raised and distributed over $200,000 to on-base organizations and families.  It has been this work that interested me in getting involved in Operation: Love Reunited, a nationwide group of professional photographers donating time and photographs to deploying or deployed military service personnel and their families.

OK… well… this year, Hawks Prairie Rotary lead by Greg Stevens, organized and held the first annual Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival.  It was a two day celebration of the editable fungus, held in Lacey and in conjunction with Ostrom’s Mushrooms.  Over the two days of the festival, I captured the fun in several hundred images. I wanted to provide the HPR something more than just a gallery of photos of the weekend and put some of those photos into a slideshow along with a song written and recorded for the festival by Greg Stevens.  

I’ve posted the result below.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did putting it together!

— Jeff