Signs of Spring

24 03 2010

Signs of Spring

We moved to the Pacific Northwest in April 5, 2004, from Colorado.  It was quite the caravan:  One car with a dying transmission, 1 flatulent dog, one constipated and very unhappy cat, a very chatty African Grey Parrot,  5 hermit crabs, 3 curious Arabian horses in a trailer, being pulled by a F350.  It took three days and two nights.  There were no problems, although the car did not last the first week in our new state before it was traded in.  Anyways…

When we first we moved here, we rented a house with 7 acres and a barn (that’s why I started with the caravan story…)  It wasn’t long afterward, that we noticed that the barn and sky were full of these little acrobats joyfully flying through the morning and evening skies.  The Violet-Green Swallow makes its summer home here and other parts of the West.  They are so much fun to see zip through the sky catching and eating flies, mosquitoes, and other small insects.  The spring after we moved into our current home, we nailed a swallow nest to the back of the house and it was quickly adopted by a pair of these wonderful little creatures.  For the past 4 years that nesting box has been used and each of those years, a clutch of swallows leave the box, spend a few weeks around the neighborhood while the juveniles gain strength and endurance.  During this time, I always have a camera in hand or at least close by. You will see their photos at different locations on my site.  (Yep!  One of them are on the splash page.)  Before the end of August, the newly enlarged families start disappearing and start their flights south.

It is getting close… they’re getting close, returning from their winter vacations in Mexico.  There are plenty of bugs flying now and I’ve cleaned last year’s litter out of the nesting box, ready for clutch number 5.  Everything is ready.  I cannot wait, because the return of these little acrobats is my sign that spring has arrived!!

Thanks for reading!





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





Port Angeles, WA

1 03 2010

A couple of weekends ago, I drove with Sherry to Port Angeles, WA.  She had a day and a half of Rotary meetings which,  left me free to run wild photograph the town and the surrounding area.  That part of the state is now known for the Twilight series of books and movies.  Fortunately, because there was no full moon, werewolves were not on the prowl, so I only had to worry about the vampires, or those looking for vampires while driving, and texting and talking to the person sitting next to them!

Port Angeles is also where the entrance to Olympic National Park is located.  The Park is beautiful at all times of the year.  On one side of the mountains is a true rainforest.  The other side (the Port Angeles side) is in the ‘rain shadow’.  According to the owner of the B&B we stayed at, (the house at the beginning of the sideshow) told me they only receive 27 inches of rain a year.  Heck, in Olympia, we may get that in a weekend!  Twenty seven is still more than we got in our last year in Berthoud, CO, but more appealing to me.  Anyways, the point of this story is that Port Angeles has more to offer than vampires and rain.  It is a beautiful area to hike, bike, eat and… oh, yeh… photograph!

Since early on, I’ve always enjoyed the power of music and visuals to capture emotions and to tell stories… correct that… not to tell stories rather, set up the scene and let the listener/viewer create their own storyline.  Sometimes that storyline is straight forward, such as a wedding. But other times, much more can be left to the imagination, such as in the slideshow I’ve put together below of Port Angeles.

Enjoy!





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!