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March 1, 2011

Hey there! So, if you’ve been paying attention to my past few blog posts, they usually start off with some sort of comment about how it’s been a while since my last post, I’ve been busy, blah blah blah.

And while that’s all good and true, it’s not the whole truth.

Here on the interwebs, there are a few different type of people I’ve noticed, most specifically the “Everything is perfect in my life and business” type and the “Here’s the real deal on whats going down, my highs and lows and in betweens” type.

I’ve thought that I was fairly sharing on here(although, I’m naturally very reserved, so it hasn’t been easy) but I’ve realized I’ve been putting up the “Everything is perfect in my life and business” facade.

So here’s why I haven’t been so great at keeping up my blog:

Reason numero Uno: Who the hell am I that anyone would really give a crap to read what I have to say, there are SO many more interesting people out there!

Reason numero Dos: Do I even have any readers? Really? Is anyone actually out there?

Those are the internal thoughts that go through my head and keep me from regularly posting. So that’s that. There’s a little deeper part of moi, and now that I’ve finally got that out there, I really do mean this time I’m going to try to keep up with posting. Because whether or not anyone really cares or follows along, there may be that one person who is interested, so, yeah. No more letting my own issues get in the way of keeping me from sharing what I enjoy and like.





February 8, 2011

Hey hey! So, yeah, once again, I have not been keeping up on this blog very well. My apologies!!! I AM trying to get better about it, and I have some posts lined up I’m excited to share.

In the meantime, however, you may, or may not, have heard about the awesome blizzard we got in these here parts last week. Now, I’m entirely over this whole winter thing, I want warm weather, sun up until 8 or 9pm and windows open, but I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this snow storm we got.

It takes a lot for things to shut down up here, as we’re used to the snow and frigid temps, but this storm was finally something that shut the area down! I knew before it hit that it was going to actually happen, so I made sure I had enough food for the 2 days we’d be inside and got ready.

The storm certainly did not disappoint! The wind was crazy, and the amount of snow was just insane. It was fun tracking it’s build up through the night into the morning. Here’s a photo from the night of the blizzard:

I had thought the snow was high that night, but when I woke up in the morning, it had really outdone itself! Due to the location of our place, we were the lucky recipients of an awesome snow drift.

What we saw when we opened our front door:


The blizzard as it raged on that morning:



Our front porch, looking out our window:



Our front door, from outside:



Here’s a few other photos from the snowstorm aftermath:




Haiti: A Print Sale

January 9, 2011

Ok, so, I’m not really sure where to start with this post. This is new for me, but I know it’s going to be a long post, so please, stay with me here!

As we all know, the 1 year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti is this week. After the earthquake I wanted to do what I could to help, but beyond donating to the Red Cross, I had no clue where to even look. Throughout the year I’ve seen other photographers who have gone to Haiti to document, I’ve seen some turn this into charitable work, which was inspiring. Again though, I merely followed along and watched their journeys. This past fall I started becoming more and more aware of something I had felt tugging at me. Over time, I learned it was this feeling that I wanted to do something to make a difference in the world, to get out of my own skin, life and problems, and help others.

Then 2 weeks ago, I came upon an amazing photographer, Richelle Dante. She was going to be heading to Haiti in one month to work with two organizations in Haiti. I instantly needed to find out more, I felt in my gut that I needed to do this. We emailed back and forth, and as I learned more about her trip and the organizations she was going to be working with, the more I was inspired to go and help out.

You can read all about Richelle’s path to Haiti on her blog here. In a nutshell, she had visited the Dominican Republic after the earthquake to volunteer at an orphanage that was helping Haitian refugees, and she also was able to go to Port-au-Prince for a day.

Here is an image from her time in the DR, they had taken photos of the kids, and printed them out. A few days later this boy came up to her holding his picture that had been taken a few days previously:

The universe has decided that this point in time is not the time for me to go with to Haiti, unfortunately, but I was so moved by the organizations she has paired up with, that I want to tell you a bit about them, and what I would like to do to help them.

The first is Heartline Ministries. John and Beth McHoul are the founders of Heartline, and have been in Haiti for 20 years. They have created some amazing programs to help the women and children of Haiti learn many life skills, such as reading and writing, parenting skills and sewing skills to in turn be able to sell their products. They have a Student Sponsorship Program where they have committed to sponsoring 51 students for the 2010-2011 school year providing their tuition, books and other material, backpack, 2 meals a day at school, 2 uniforms as well as group activities and home visits. You can find out more information by visiting their website. What resonated for me with Heartline, is that they aren’t just focused on the immediate relief, but long-term, helping the women who come through their programs learn skills they can use to be more successful themselves, as well as skills that they will pass on to their children. You can tell how much John, Beth and their volunteers care about what they’re doing, the people they’re helping, and the pride and hope they have for the Haitian people.

The other organization is Child Hope International. Bill and Susette Manassero founded Child Hope International in 2001. They provide many services through various programs, and what reached out to me the most was the children in the orphanage(Maison de Lumiere). Their stories are heartbreaking, however I feel a sense of hope in the fact that Child Hope is there for them, giving them a loving home.

Haiti has many, many needs, far beyond what I could ever comprehend. All it takes though is one person, helping another, to make a difference. It may be small in comparison to the world, but for the one person it helps, it can be a life changer.

So today I am asking for your help. Richelle will be heading down February 1-9. Both organizations have many needs, and if you’re interested in donating items, please head to her blog for a list of high priority items, and to contact Richelle.

I am also raising money for both Heartline Ministries as well as Child Hope International. During the month of January, I am holding a print sale. The proceeds from all the sales of these prints will be divided in two and donated to each organization. Click here to view the images for sale, and place your order. Photographs are available in either 8X12 or 11X14, and the square images are available in either 8X8 or 12X12. If you have any questions, please email me at barknutimages @ hotmail [dot] com.

Here are a few of the prints for sale:




Thank You Thank You Thank You for taking the time to read this far. Please pass this on to friends and family that may be interested, if only to spread the word of wonderful organizations helping a people in need.

Welcome to 2011!

January 7, 2011

Happy New Year! I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season with your friends and family. Obviously at this time of year, there is a lot of talk about New Years Resolutions. I however am not one to make resolutions. To me, resolutions are something to be broken. You make them for the sake of making them, because everyone else is, and in a bit of time, you break them.

I am more interested in growing over time, and consistently changing, adapting and growing, so I’m looking forward to see where I will be one year from now, not because I’m making any clear cut resolutions, but because the only thing you can count on in life is change, and it’s crazy to look at how much your life can change in one year.

So here’s to another wonderful year of becoming your best self!

Here’s one of my favorite images from this past fall, an afternoon spent out at the Chain O’Lakes State Park with my Coconutter and Oscar:



Bella Bella Bella

December 12, 2010

Bella is one of the most stunning dogs I have ever seen. Ever. She’s a bit of a shy girl, but she warmed up to me pretty quickly, which was great. I’m sure after seeing her photos, you’ll agree with me that she is a one of a kind! She’s one of 4 Great Danes(yes, 4!!) and a Xoloitzcuintle who will make their blog debut in the near future.









Lake Eola, Orlando, FL

December 9, 2010

Here in McHenry, IL it is the time of year when 20 degrees actually feels warm. When you stand there stomping your feet to get warm, cursing, while the dog takes her sweet time sniffing around at every little snowflake and footprint she can find before finally taking care of her business. It’s the time of year when the sun is gone by 4, and the cold evenings seem to drrraaaagggg on.

This is also the time of year when I miss Orlando, FL the most. One of my most favorite things to do in Orlando, among many, was to go for walks at night around Lake Eola with Oscar. I worked at the “happiest place on earth” so coming to Lake Eola at night was an awesome dose of reality, away from the craziness that is the perpetual vacation zone.

I loved walking past the lake, down the little side streets(which I will never know the name of, but can get there in a sec). There was one intersection I loved in particular because it has this old stone fountain right in the center.

Whenever we go back to Orlando, we always make an effort to make it to the lake at least one night when we are in town, for a little stroll. And no matter how many times it happened, I will always jump and make a stupid girly scream as the black form of a huge palmetto bug scurries inches from my feet across the sidewalk.

Here’s an image from one of my favorite stops on the walk around. I love to walk from each block to the other, and even though the water is usually no more than a few inches deep, it still freaks me out the thought of losing my balance and falling in(I have a slight, um, lets say issue, not fear, of water).


Ah, be still my beating heart when I look at this image and think of my time in Orlando.

Happy Holidays!!

December 6, 2010

Happy Holidays y’all! It’s such a busy, but wonderful time of year. We’ve had our first snowfall now, so it really has started to feel like the season. I’ve busted out the Christmas music now, and am loving it. I know too well it will pass quickly.

This time of year is when everyone is scrambling around to get ready for the holidays. Just a reminder that we do offer Gift Certificates in many denomonations, just contact me for more information at barknutimages @ hotmail [dot] com for more information or to order.

My fiance and I had decided a few years ago that we weren’t really going to decorate for the holidays until we live in a house. Right now we’re in a small condo, and the thought of putting up a Christmas Tree in the space we have just doesn’t seem right, the animals will make a mess of it in seconds, and if there’s no tree, I don’t really want to half-ass the decorating, it’s all or nothing. So when I decided to try and get a holiday portrait taken of my “children” I didn’t really have anything to work with.

Then we went to Michaels today, and I found 2 simple little pieces of decoration I could use for Coconut and Kitty. Well, once Oscar knew what my thoughts were, he was absolutely against it. I had a few other ideas, but they were on a grander scale, and there was no way I was going to get Oscar agree to help me out, so I settled with 2 little pieces.

Then came the trick of getting the 2 of them together in the same shot. Cat loved the ribbon until it came time to take the photo, then all she wanted to do was the exact opposite of anything we had in mind. And Coco, well, she would have been great on her own, but seeing the Cat get away with not cooperating, she took her cue, and started the same.

Nonetheless……I did get one quick image of the 2 of them. Not my finest work, but it’s my first time using props, so, here’s to learning, and to me, laughing at my girls.

Again, Happy Holidays! Enjoy, stay warm, be safe and drink in lots of wonderful company!