How Long Does it Take to Fall in Love?

Well, it's been a little over a year, actually 54 weeks to be exact, since I met Elliott.  Elliott is a cute, little terrier mix that I fostered from a rescue - well, 54 weeks ago.  There was an urgent call for fosters on a Facebook Page of a rescue that I like - Life is Better - and since I had fostered before, I thought "why not save a life?".  I wasn't looking for a dog quite yet (yeah, right) since I lost my buddy Quinn in June of 2012. I sent the email and was told to pick up my foster dog directly from the Denver Animal Shelter.  "Oh, geez", I thought.  I avoid that place like no one's business.  Just the thought of what goes on there makes my heart break!  "Okay", I thought.  Here we go.  We are just going there to pick up a doggie and we will be out of there.  So, off I went not really knowing anything about the dog I was about to meet - just that it was a small dog.   I met the Rescue Coordinator there and she brought out Elliott.  He was a cute, little scruffy terrier that couldn't have weighed more than 12 pounds.  He hung his head down low and just went where the leash pulled him.  His tail was between his legs, he was terrified.  This really broke my heart.  I cleared my calendar the day before so I could spend some time with Elliott and get him settled in and used to his new (and temporary - ha) surroundings.  I was really glad that I had done that, this dog really needed some love and compassion.  We loaded a crate into my car with some dog food and a plastic leash and off we went.  Elliott was very scared and kept squealing and crying all the way to my house.  Once I got him in the house and settled, he paced from window to window, looking for what, I'm not sure.  He did this for hours, poor guy.  I took him outside, hoping he'd really like the feel of the grass and the generous 1/3 acre that I live on.  Nope, he took timid steps and would not relieve himself no matter how many times we went outside.

He still would not come near me after the first 3 hours.  He was terrified of being touched and certainly would not even entertain the thought of being held or cuddled.  He looked at me with the expression of worry, fear and distrust.  After 5 hours, I managed to coax him close enough to grab his collar and put him on his back on my lap and just started to lightly tap his chest.  He fell asleep.  Finally, a small step for us in the trust department.  I sat there silently wondering what had been done to this adorable dog.  Later that night, Elliott liked to be near me, but not near enough to touch or anything.  I went to bed and he paced and paced and paced.  I have hardwood floors, so within a few minutes, I knew I would not be sleeping unless this dog was on the bed.  So, I got up, and he let me approach him and I picked him up!  He actually snuggled into my side and we fell asleep.  I guess the rest is history!

I later found out that he was an owner surrender.  I also came to my own conclusions about Elliott.  He was severely abused.  I believe someone kicked him and hit him.  For months he ducked at my feet when he would get tangled in the leash.  He did not know how to walk on a leash and he was scared of everything and everyone we would come across.  Bicycles terrified him.  People coming up behind us terrified him.  He did not really know what to think of other dogs.  I thought often of what I would do or say to the person who had him before.

A few people were interested in adopting Elliott and something kept tugging at my heart about him.  He did drive me crazy at times with his very VERY special needs, but I knew what he needed most was love and patience.  We received over a foot of snow on the day that I was to take him to his adoption event.  It was divine intervention.  After that, I could not let this dog go.  He challenged me and yet he looked at me with pure love.  It was not an option to let him go, though I did contact the rescue a few times when I was at my wits end.  Each time I told Elliott that he was on his last legs, he shaped up.  Now, we've hit the most amazing groove.  He has blossomed into a well adjusted yet quirky dog.  He loves the dog park, hiking, running and especially car rides!  I take him everywhere I go unless it's too hot.

Some things that I've learned about Elly:  He chases squirrels obsessively, loves tortilla chips, hates water or being wet, can easily sleep for 14 hours, loves wearing his bandanas, loves peanut butter, hates carrots and loves snuggling.

Thanks for reading about my little guy, Elliott (some of his other nicknames are Elly, Smellyiott, MiElly, Smells, EL).  I know he would like to meet you one day!

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2013 - A Year in Review, Sort Of - Denver, Colorado Photographer

2013 was an incredible year in many ways.  We are fortunate to have been in business since 2001 and continue to love what we do!  I could list the many weddings and events that we've done this year, but I also feel it's important to share personal work as well.  In the off season, I continue my education and dedication to being the best that I can be and I feel it's also important to take the time to recharge my creative batteries!   Going to new places and seeing new things help to recharge my creative batteries, which leads me to travel photography. Travel photography is quite challenging.  You don't really know what you will be capturing.  Sure, you can document surroundings but will the people you encounter want their photo taken?  Am I being respectful of where I am in this moment?  By having my camera, will I take myself out of the experience to photograph what is happening?  Those are some questions I ask myself when I'm out and about.  Not only do I recharge myself by seeing new and different things, but I also feel that my photography skill only improves with these experiences.

I will continue to blog the many heartfelt weddings and family sessions that we have done this past year, but for now I'd like to share with you some images from my travels from early last year.  There were no solid plans that were followed, everything you see here (with the exception of a couple of photos of myself), was every day life unfolding.  The sights, smells, colors, people and experiences will stay with me for a long time.  The countries represented in this photo montage are:  Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.

I could go on and on about my business achievements for the year, but for this one post, in the early "new" year, I'd like to share with you these images that are responsible for recharging my batteries, making me a more authentic and aware photographer!

Best Wishes for another amazing and creative year - Happy 2014!

Enjoy!

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Southeast Asia Travel Photos - Denver Photographer

  I think this photo perfectly sums up Southeast Asia!  There is so much activity everywhere you go.  At first, I wasn't happy with this capture and thought I wouldn't keep it.  However, the more I look at it, the more I love it!

Enjoy!

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Never Stop Wandering - Denver Photographer

  I'm slowly going through some of my images from my trip to Southeast Asia and found this gem.  Enjoy!

 

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Personal Work - Denver Photographer

  One of the things that I find hugely important in my life as a "creative" is to do personal work.  The blog post before this one featured my friend and fellow photographer, Laura.   She knew that I'm trying to build my yoga portfolio so she happily offered to do a bit of yoga "posing" for me and this is what came out of it.  I'm very happy with what we created!

Enjoy!

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Friends - Denver Wedding Photographer

  “A good friend is a connection to life - a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.”  ― Lois Wyse

 

Meet Laura - I'm sure some of you know of Laura.  We are both photographers.  We met many years ago and, way back in the day, helped and inspired each other to grow our wedding photography businesses.  There were no on-line forums or photography groups that you could learn from like there are today - we just had each other and another dear friend - Jamee.  We were the 3 musketeers.  We would meet and talk about our businesses - our ups, downs and the challenges we had.  Jamee was the first to get married and both Laura and I photographed her wedding.  Laura was the second to get married and Jamee photographed her wedding (I was unfortunately working that day).  We were close and we still are.

I was pleasantly surprised when Laura told me she was expecting her third child!  Wow!  How life ebbs and flows!  I was fortunate to have photographed her two other pregnancies, so I insisted on this one as well!  It's amazing that no matter where the 3 of us are in our lives, we can just pick up right where we left off and not miss a beat.

To my lovely, lovely girlfriends - You are in my hearts, forever.  I love you both so dearly, words could never express how much you mean to me!

With Lots of Love!

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Personal Project - Heart Rocks from All Over the World

  I really like to collect things when I travel, especially natural objects!  Things that I collect are sand (yes, you read that correctly!), sea shells, beach glass and heart rocks.  I was given my very first heart rock by my step-daughter which started my collection.  Of course, that particular one is the most precious one to me!  I've now collected quite a few rocks and my "rock shelf" was overflowing, so I decided to try and display them in a little more organized fashion (I gave in to my Type A!).   I love thrifting, so I found these 2 shelves at my favorite thrift store, painted them and borrowed a glue gun and I love how they came out!  Finding a heart rock is just like finding Love (it could be right in front of your eyes if you just look for it).

Enjoy!

 

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Meet Elliott - Foster Pup - Denver Photographer

This is Elliott!  I say that very enthusiastically because he is so stinking adorable!  After I lost my Quinn last year, I've wanted to ease back in (if at all) to pet ownership.  I missed having a dog and so fostering has been fun.  It feels really good to just provide a loving and stable environment for dogs that have been mistreated!

He is as of now before I change my mind available for adoption.

Enjoy!

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I'm A Traveling Fool

  “Art flourishes where there is a sense of adventure.” ~ Alfred North Whitehead

I recently returned from a 6 week trip to Southeast Asia.  I shot over 7700 digital images and 50 rolls of film.  To try and describe the amazing wonders, sights, smells, experiences and people that I had met along the way would do a great disservice to them.  To try and describe how such a trip has affected me, as a person and an artist, would be a great disservice to myself.  All I can say, for right now, is that what an adventure it was!  There is only one thing that I am certain of - there will be more trips and adventuring in my very near future!  I have been bitten and smitten by the travel bug!

Enjoy!  More images to come!

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Seeing What is Right in Front of You - Found Images - Denver Photographer

When I'm not on high alert photographing weddings, I like to stop, take a deep breath and look around for interesting objects.  Recently I photographed three Steamboat Springs weddings in a row - that is a lot of driving!  As we journeyed through Colorado, I noticed an area I really wanted to explore and made a mental note of it.  The following weekend when we drove through, we allotted time to pull off for just 30 minutes so that I could do just that - explore - of course with a camera in my hand!  The water was low and there were so many beautiful things to photograph!  Of course, I mixed in a few random photos from Steamboat as well (who can resist horses along a fence in the countryside?).

Doing a bit of personal work really is rejuvenating, even though they are random snapshots!

Enjoy!

 

Yoga Yoga Yoga - One of my Favorite Things - Denver Photographer

  Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. - George Bernard Shaw

Yoga has taught me to believe in this quote wholeheartedly.

I'm posting a few yoga portraits that I've taken of my fabulous friend and yoga mentor, Lauren Duker.  A few years ago I went through a major transformation in my life and I feel that Lauren was one of those instrumental persons in my life who helped me through it.  Yoga has a special meaning to me - it helped me face fears, grow, become stronger both mentally and physically and I can't help but feel that my life has been enriched (and prolonged) by doing yoga.

Now go get your Downward Dog on - Enjoy!

Denver Yoga Portraits, Creative Yoga Portraits Denver, Denver Yoga Portrait Photographer

Denver Yoga Portraits, Creative Yoga Portraits Denver, Denver Yoga Portrait Photographer

I'll Have a Double - Steamboat Springs, Colorado

A double rainbow, that is!

While in Steamboat Springs for a wedding, my second photographer and I decided to hit Strawberry Hot Springs for a leisurely soak.  What luck to be soaking in such a beautiful setting when a stunning rainbow appeared - and then, to our amazement - it became a double!   Nature is truly astonishing!

Enjoy!

My FurBaby Quinn

This is Quinn - he was my baby.  Of course, I didn't actually give birth to him (haha) but he was my kid for almost 16 years.  It's been a difficult few weeks and while I would love to post about travel and weddings and happy things, my heart is aching - alas, this is real life - it's not all happy all the time - it's just REAL.

Quinn was named after the song "Quinn the Eskimo" by Bob Dylan - he was an American Eskimo after all - so how appropriate was the name?  He loved the snow and, strangely enough for the breed - loved water!  He was high strung and drove me crazy for the first years of his life - a book that I bought specifically about American Eskimos said they wouldn't "mellow out" until after turning 3.  Well, with Quinn - add another 3 or 4 more years to that.  He could run and swim for hours and take a 15 minute nap, and then run another few miles, all while barking his head off.

He had many nicknames - Quinn E Bear, my brother and sister called him "The Devil Dog" (too much energy and barking) and my ex-husband named him Poopstick.  I can't recall the naming process on that last one, but it stuck to him.  And, Quinn stuck to me - just like glue.  He had been there with me through relationships, a marriage, moving out-of-state and a very scary family health situation.  He was there and happily so.  I loved that dog!

Ah, this is so hard to write.  Deep breaths.....

Last month, my best friend left.  It was one of the hardest choices I had to make and, yeah - I did it for him though I didn't want to.  It was his time - I sure as hell wasn't ready but when are we ever ready to say goodbye?

I photographed him so much - I shot film and video and everything you can imagine.  I still have the film, undeveloped in my fridge.  It's so priceless now and still too painful.

I usually close with a happy "Enjoy" - but not this time.

A Hike and My Bucket List - A Trip to O'ahu, Hawai'i

  When I first heard about the Haiku Stairs (aka Stairway to Heaven), I knew I had to do it!  Somehow....Someday....

There were a few challenges to address:  1)  Injury or Death   2)  It was (and still is) illegal - possible trespassing ticket or - worst case scenario - arrest  3)  There is a guard posted at the beginning of the stairs to turn away hikers.  The actual stairs (3,922 steps) traverse over several private properties, and no one really wants to be liable for ...see #1.

My first attempt was in November - after getting lost at 5am in the morning in a thick (and VERY dark) bamboo forrest, we were turned away by the guard!  It's okay, I knew I would be back in May.

My second attempt - success!  We researched and planned ahead.  From our research, we knew the guard usually arrived at 3am - and to see the sunrise from such a vantage point, would have been great from a photography standpoint, but I did not want to attempt 3,922 steps in the dark.  So, we decided to attempt at 3:30pm - and made it!  Here are a few photos of the hike - it was truly amazing!  We didn't see a single other person on the stairs the entire time (about 3 hours).  At one point, the sun broke through the clouds, and it was a truly beautiful sight to see!  I'm not sure if I would classify this hike as death defying, but I would not recommend it to anyone who wasn't an avid hiker.  My calves hurt for a week!  The weather was perfect - this area is known for lots of rain - and the stairs can become slick since they are all metal.

Enjoy!

 

 

Home Sweet Home - A Trip to O'ahu, Hawai'i

  Here are just a few of my favorites from my trip back home in May.  We were there to photograph one of my closest friends' wedding and we built in a few extra days to hike and enjoy our surroundings - after all - it's Hawai'i and my HOME!

We did so much hiking that I think a vacation from this vacation was warranted - sometimes 2 hikes in 1 day!  Hawai'i is simply a beautiful place and my camera never left my hands - even when we were in the water!

Enjoy!

 

I Can't Get Enough of....

  Sea Turtles!  Or, in Hawaiian, they are known as Honu(s).  To me, they seem like butterflies underwater - they are so graceful!

These photos are from a recent trip to Hawaii for a friend's wedding.  I have a great underwater housing to go with my Canon G11.  We built in a few extra days after the wedding to take in our surroundings!   More scenic photos to come!

Enjoy!

Something More....

  I don't know how my love for photography started.  I was a nerdy kid.  I liked looking at pictures in National Geographic more than I liked playing.  I loved reading.  I guess I just liked knowing that there were exotic places, people and animals "out there".....somewhere.

The more that I photograph, the more I learn about how meaningful it is - to myself and to others.  Weddings are special - no two are alike, just like every one of us.  But the significance of having all of the people who love you together in the same place for just that one day, never knowing when everyone will be together again - well, that is pretty darn meaningful.  When my Grandfather passed away, I was so thankful for the photographs - all of them.  The cheesy ones, the ones of just his hands, old and wise with the ring he never took off, the ones of him with his family looking so proud, the ones of him with this great grand nephews sticking their tongues out.  All of them became instantly irreplaceable, like crown jewels.  Recently when I knew it was time to let go of my beloved doggie Quinn, everything I took of him became a memory that I could actually see right away and remember all the good times that we had together.  And, as my former clients send me notes or I read posts on Facebook about the passing of their parents or grandparents and read about how they love that photo that I took of them dancing with their Mom or the portrait I made or the candid snapshot I took without them knowing and how this person would treasure that photo forever, deeply touches me.  It lets me know I'm doing something meaningful.  It's just not wedding photography, it's something more.

Thank you for listening.

Below, my Grandpa's hands - I look at this photo fondly and remember how he used to put on my shoes (he owned a shoe store).

And below that, my beloved Quinn, asleep with his tongue out.

Instagram Junkie

My name is Paige Eden and I am an Instagram Junkie!

I was recently in Hawaii for a wedding and  spent a few extra days there - here is a good representation of what we did - lots of hiking, a catamaran ride, eating fresh Poke, photographing a personal project and attempting (and summiting) the Haiku Stairs (aka Stairway to Heaven).

It was a blast - enjoy!

PS...If you want to follow me on Instagram, my handle is @paigeedenphoto

 

Traveling to Costa Rica - A Yoga Adventure......continues

  This says it all!  Enjoy!