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Project Joy- Jaxsen’s Family- A Cancer Journey Part One

Over the next year I will be following Jaxsen and his family as they go through this crazy journey… Stay tuned for stories that will warm your heart and bring tears to your eyes. More importantly watch this little boy as his strength helps him beat Cancer!

This past January, Jaxsen’s Mom and Dad took him for a routine check-up at his doctor’s office. The doctor noticed he was a little paler then usual so they sent Jaxsen over to get some blood work done. A few days later they got news that no parents ever wants to get for their child. Their happy energetic Jaxsen was diagnosed with Leukemia. He started Chemo treatments right away and will continue treatment for 3 years.

When you meet Jaxsen all you see is a normal 3-year-old boy. Like all 3 year old’s he loves the playground and feeding ducks! He’s got so much energy that even I had a hard time keeping up with him.

I met up with Jaxsen at the beginning of April. He is the most recent recipient of our Project Joy photoshoots. I was lucky enough to get to spend his 3rd Birthday weekend with him. He had told him mom that he really wanted to have a birthday party at a park. After playing on the playground and feeding the ducks it was time to blow out the candles… only the wind was so strong we had to pretend to blow out the candles. That was ok because his mom brought along party horns. If that was the only thing Jaxsen got for his birthday I think he would have been ecstatic. There is nothing more powerful then a little kid’s laughter and that day was surrounded by it.

Jaxsen and his family have a rough road in front of them but they have a brave little boy who isn’t going to let anything bring him down…(Except maybe his pants…inside joke… belts are just not made for 3 year olds ☺ )

To read more about Jaxsen’s Story you can go to their website.

If you know a family that is living with cancer please contact me. We donate one family session with the images per month to a family with cancer. All it takes is a quick email to make a difference for a family with cancer.

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Maryland Wedding Photography- Kent Manor Wedding- Kami & Jayson the hunt is over

“Because all of me…loves all of you…” A beautiful ballad by John Legend plays out as the last song of the night. It was the perfect wedding day for Kami and Jayson. They got married on March 15th at Kent Manor Inn. This winter had been filled with cold, snow, and rain… Kami & Jayson’s wedding day was beautiful. The sky was a perfect blue with white clouds and the air was warm.

Kami & Jayson chose to do a first look because Kami wanted to make sure that if she cried she got all the tears out before walking down the aisle. Kami walked down the steps to where Jayson stood blindfolded. She whispered a few teasing remarks in his ear which I’ve learned during my time working with them was a big part of what makes their relationship so strong. Then he removed the blindfold and literally lost his breath. Kami stood there in a stunning dress that truly made her look like a princess. I think that was also the quietest I have ever seen Jayson. They looked into each others eyes, He held her hands in his and pulled her in for a kiss. I thought to myself this is what real love looks like.

The ceremony was beautiful, Jayson and Kami’s daughters walked down the aisle carrying signs for their parents. One of Kami’s best friends resided over the ceremony making sure to give it that personal touch. Towards the end they brought the girls up to officially unite their family during the sand ceremony.

I see a lot of people in love but Kami & Jayson have something… In the time I have spent with them there is not a moment that Jayson has not had Kami laughing or smiling and the passion for their relationship.

The flowers were some of the most stunning pieces I have ever seen. Elaborate and yet simple, unique and personal. Sharon and her daughter Dottie from E Events and Wedding Floral Studio did an amazing job.

Kami & Jayson the Hunt is truly over you have found your one true love!

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

In Honor of Earth Day- An African Story of Survival- Kathleen Hertel Photography- Maryland Wildlife Photographer

We knelt behind our bush guide in a straight line. He told us not to make any sudden movements. Using his ears to sense our presence, Clyde moved a little closer, huffing and shuffling his feet. We could feel his warm breath on our skin. Bonnie, Clyde’s partner came in a little closer to help defend her loved one. I couldn’t move I just stared in silence into this beautiful animals eye admiring the beauty of the moment. Standing two feet in front of us was a pair of the most endangered species in the world… The White Rhino.

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography


Kathleen Hertel Photography

In honor of Earth Day I wanted to take a minute to talk about conservation of the Black and White Rhino. The Black and White Rhino are two of the most endangered species in the world. The Black Rhino has been poached to the point where there are only 5000 left in the entire world. In 2011, almost 500 rhinos were poached, if the poaching continues at that rate rhinos will be gone by 2020… That’s 6 years away!!!

The Asian Market has fueled poaching these beautiful creatures. Although there is no scientific proof of its medical value…they grind the horns down into a fine powder to use as a treatment for a variety of illnesses such as nosebleeds, strokes, convulsions, and fevers. In Vietnam they are convinced that the horn helps cure Cancer and Hangovers…These countries will pay upwards to $300,000 for a rhino horn.

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

It was the biggest party of the year at a South African Reserve. Music was blasting and delicious foods and wines were being served.

For months a group of men had visited the reserve on multiple occasions scouting it out. They wanted to know the best ways in, the best ways out… When would the owners be the most distracted so they could make their move. Everything was meticulously planned. One of the poachers had snuck into the reserve and hid in the bush, one was planted in the party watching the owners to make sure they didn’t leave the party, and the others were on standby with a helicopter. When they received notice the poachers flew into the reserve on the helicopter. One of the men jumped from the plane and landed on the sleeping Rhinos back. He quickly dosed the rhino with a tranquilizer. As the animal became calm the man took out a chainsaw and hacked off the Rhinos Horn. They did this to the other rhino on property too. Horns in hand they took off in the helicopter with the owners none the wiser. Without the antidote to the tranquilizer being administered to the Rhinos in the proper time both of the rhinos died. The owners found the two-butchered Rhinos the next morning. Blood surrounding where the horns once were.

Kathleen Hertel Photography


Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Poaching acts like this happen all over Africa and most the Rhinos die. In rare cases like that of Bonnie and Clyde the owners of the reserve catch the poachers in time and can save the Rhino with the tranquilizers antidote. Bonnie & Clyde who are the only two White Rhino at the Scotia Reserve in South Africa were poached in the same way. Fortunately, the owners of the reserve caught wind of what was happening and made it out to save their lives. Sadly, their faces were mutilated as the horns were removed. Bonnie who was pregnant with her second attempt at a calf lost her baby.

Here’s the thing… Rhino horns actually grow back every four years. Right now throughout Africa reserve owners are trying to pass a law that will allow them to harvest the horns. This way the horns can be removed safely and the animals can live. The profit of the horn would go to the reserve to help with the conservation of the animals on their property.

So what difference can you make? How can you help the Rhino’s? First of all speak up and speak out. Share what knowledge you have about the species and their survival with anyone who will listen. Stay away from products made of Ivory and Rhino Horns. Share what you know on Social Media. Take your kids to nationally accredited zoos and educate your children on the importance of saving these beautiful animals.

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Here’s a few links about Rhino Conservation for you to keep up to date with what is going on in Africa.

Africa Wildlife Foundation

Save The Rhino

Stop Rhino Poaching

 

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Kathleen Hertel Photography

Maryland Wedding Photography- Kathleen Hertel Photography 2013 Highlights

I know I’m a little late to this game but with 2014 getting into full swing this weekend I thought I would take a moment to reflect back on some of the best moments from the 2013 wedding season. Here is a very small sample of all the fun we had! Weddings in Maryland to Jamaica… Wonderful Family shoots, a fundraiser for Dogs XL, and some of the coolest High School seniors. What a year 2013 was!
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Little Noah… Daddy is Home- Military Homecoming- Kathleen Hertel Photography

“I have butterflies in my stomach. I’m so nervous and excited for Carlos to meet his son.” Stephanie and Carlos were married 3 years ago. This was his first deployment since they had been together. Carlos was deployed for 9 months (269 days to be exact). While he was deployed Stephanie gave birth to their little boy Noah. Today, Carlos met his 5 month old son for the first time.

Stephanie and Noah stood at the tarmac holding a sign that said “I have waited my whole life to meet my daddy”. They had met on skype and Carlos was in the room on speakerphone while Noah was being born but today he would see Noah. He would be able to hold his son in his arms. Kiss his head and whisper daddy loves you in his ear.

Carlos’s plane landed… He walked down the steps and towards the crowd, a rose held tightly in his hand for his beautiful wife Stephanie. His face showed excitement and nerves. Stephanie started walking slowly toward Carlos the smile on his face grew the closer she got. Then when she was within 5 feet from him she ran and jumped into his arms. They held each other in a long embrace while tears fell from Stephanie’s eyes. The love of her life, the father to her son was home.

She told Carlos to wait where he was so she could bring Noah to him. Carlos was in a daze he just started walking to his son. His steps started more like a stumble, not quite sure whether to walk of stay. The closer he got the faster his steps became. His eyes locked in the direction of his little boy. He stepped forward to his son and looked into his eyes and pulled him and Stephanie close… he kissed Noah on his forehead and held his little fingers for the first time. “Noah it’s your Daddy.”

Noah looked at him with his big eyes not quite sure what to make of him. His daddy is usually the size of an iphone screen… how did he get this big. A little bit sleepy and probably overwhelmed from the day Noah started to cry. Carlos took him into his arms and rocked his son to sleep for the first time.

Carlos sat with his sleeping son on his lap. His fellow Naval pilots came over to say congratulations and welcome home. This proud papa greeted them all with a smile showing off his little boy in sleeping his lap.

Before getting ready to leave Carlos took his son over to see his plane. They looked into each others eyes and I can only imagine what visions were going through Carlos’s head. Visions of Noah growing up and coming with Daddy to work, sitting in the plane, and maybe following in his footsteps someday. Carlos put his son in the stroller and Noah just stared at his daddy with a big smile on his face.

Little Noah…. Your Daddy is home…

Welcom Home Carlos- Thank you for your service!
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Black Horse Inn Wedding- Karen & Nick’s Winter Wedding- Kathleen Hertel Photography

Karen & Nick got married on a non-snowy day in January. Even though it didn’t snow on their wedding it had snowed a few days earlier which gave us a nice bit of snow for their photographs but safe travels for all their guests. Nick is a military man who is currently serving overseas. He left just one month after their wedding. Karen spent her younger years riding horses. We got to meet her horse Rooster (Roo) who came to the wedding. He even checked in to make sure the girls were doing ok while we were getting ready! Karen & Nick fell in love over a shuffleboard game one night in a bar. Their wedding was beautiful. Elegant with a hint of equestrianism throughout.

Flowers (ceremony): Twinbrook Florist, Fairfax, VA
Bridal cape/muff: CapeAndCrown13 via Etsy
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Cake toppers (figurines): MagicBeanBuyer via Etsy
Cake toppers (words): AntoArts via Etsy

 

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Maryland Wedding Photography-Baltimore Museum of Industry Wedding- Beth & Joe’s get Married ! by Kathleen Hertel Photography

Beth and Joe got married on October 5th at the Baltimore Museum of Industry! For October it was HOT! I think it hit 90 degrees that day. Who would have thought just 3 months later we would be having the coldest winter on record! Either way Beth and Joe’s wedding was a blast! I watched Beth go for a nervous bride who almost passed out to a bride who had the biggest smile on her face once she saw Joe for the first time. Beth and Joe even showed off their dance moves with their band Hero who rocked the house (or Museum).

How They met? We were friends in high school, but it wasn’t until we ran into each other a decade later that we started dating.  We had both moved away from our hometown, and were both back visiting our families for the holidays.  It was the first time we had seen each other in years, and a few months later went on our first date.

How he proposed?Joe planned a very fun and romantic day date.  It ended with dinner at The Belvedere, when we walked into the beautiful historic building he pulled me into a side room and proposed.

vendors:
Hair & makeup: Studio 921
Dress: Jim Hjelm
Band: Hero
Photographer: Kathleen Hertel
Wedding planner: Kay Bernat
Florist: Kay Bernat
What inspired their wedding?
I’ve always loved art deco and wanted to play that up with a slight nod to the style and fashion of the 1920′s.

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Maryland Wedding Photography-Lindsay & Matt’s Baltimore Engagement Session

I had such a blast with Lindsay and Matt! Before setting up their engagement session we talked about a few ideas they had. I saw one of their photos on Pintrest and loved it. I knew we could do it better! The day of the engagement session we set up their living room to look like (let’s face it) a real brides living room. If you’ve been a bride or are currently a bride you know what what it’s like… Wedding stuff seems to quickly fill the house, from DIY projects, to magazines, to pintrest print outs… Everything wedding explodes in our homes. So we took that into account when we designed the shoot. Even Frank the cat made an appearance! After our designed session we headed to the inner harbor and federal hill to end out the night. I think we hit all Baltimore Must Haves… Natty Boh, Domino’s Sign, Fed Hill, and the Love Sign!

I am so happy that Stephanie from Dream Day Planners recommended them to me! I can’t wait for their New Years Eve Wedding at the Admiral Inn!

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The Jaguar-

Travel & Wildlife Photographer Kathleen Hertel- A Month in South Africa

February for Wedding Photographers can be deadly. It’s slow and it’s cold outside. Typically for me that means spending money coming up with new marketing schemes, eating junk food and watching way too much tv, throwing off my already bad sleep schedule, and having unreal panic attacks about my business. It had been a rough 2 years, the loss of my mom still sitting hard on my heart and dealing with some other problems both with my business and personally. I needed to be reinspired, to find myself again… I needed to get Happy. Two weeks before the start of February I was in the shower (My favorite thinking spot) and I thought to myself… What would make me happy… what would get me back to me…It took two seconds to flash into my head…I need to go to Africa. Now granted this wasn’t completely an out of the blue concept. I had talked about the possibility of going to Africa with a friend earlier that year. So I talked to my husband who is the most wonderful and supportive man in the world and he said it was ok. Two days later I booked my flight and found a Wildlife Photography program, everything was falling perfectly into place. Two weeks later I was off to South Africa for 25 days.

The trip was everything I needed and more. I met some amazing people from mostly the US and Australia but also from Ecuador, Holland, and the UK. I experienced some of the things I had been dying to do for years. I cage dove with Great Whites, Walked with Elephants and Lions, went on a safari, swam and pet blue sharks, and I learned… not about Photography but about something just as important to me Wildlife Conservation. Throughout the next few months I’ll share some of the information I learned to go along with the photos.

This trip also helped me to get reinspired and rejuevenated just in time to kick off the 2014 wedding season! Below are a few of the many images that I collected during my trip. I am currently working with an Event Company to have these images on display and for sale in a gallery in June.

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Maryland Wedding Photography-Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore- Zaineb & Ayman

From the moment I received a phone call from Zaineb I knew I was going to love her. It may have had something to do with being recommended from one of my favorite brides Phyllis or maybe it was just the excitement in her voice. I don’t know what it was but I had an amazing and exciting feeling about working with her right away. Zaineb & Ayman are an amazing couple. Their parents are the closest of friends and they grew up together because of that. However, like all childhood friends they lost touch during their college years… that was until Ayman was at Zaineb’s parents house and saw a photo of grown up Zaineb… That’s when he drove 2.5 hours to Virginia to see her (just to define halfway between the two of them… halfway meaning 20 minutes from Zaineb and 2.5 hours from Ayman). That was it. They continued a long distance relationship while Zaineb finished up her degree in San Fran and that’s when he proposed.

Some of my favorite moments from their wedding are with their families. Zaineb and Ayman have such a close relationship with their families but also with each others families. There were some seriously touching and funny moments with Zanieb and her siblings. And both Zaineb and Ayman’s dads were hilarious! The night before the reception I was able to join their families for a traditional Islamic ceremony. I watched as the two proud fathers told stories while waiting for their cousin to arrive.

Their reception took place at the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel in Downtown Baltimore. One of my favorite Baltimore Wedding Destinations!

I tend to fall in love with all my couples. When your a photographer you really get to know couples on a personal level. They become more then just another wedding couple… They become friends ! Love you guys!

Flowers: Marlow, McCrystle & Jones of Lutherville made the bouquets and centerpieces using pink and ivory roses, white hydrangeas, and stephanotis.

Her dresses: During the ceremony, the bride wore a traditional Middle Eastern wedding gown with long sleeves and embroidered gold beading from Beirut.

At the Four Seasons reception, she wore an ivory silk taffeta ballgown with cap sleeves and floral embroidery on the bodice by Watters from Betsy Robinson’s Bridal Collection in Reisterstown.

Bridesmaids’ dresses: For the reception, the women wore floor-length, cobalt blue strapless chiffon gowns by Jim Hjelm from Bella Bridesmaid in Fells Point. There was no bridal party for the ceremony.

Men’s attire: For the reception, the men wore black tuxedos from Jos. A. Bank. They also wore Ravens cuff links from Nordstrom, which were given to the groomsmen as gifts.

Music: The couple entered the reception escorted by a traditional Arabic zaffe band. DJ George Haddad of Baltimore played a mixture of Arabic and English songs throughout the night. Ayman and Zaineb’s first dance was to “La Vie en Rose” by Edith Piaf.

Food and dessert: The Four Seasons provided beef short ribs and crab cakes for dinner. Patisserie Poupon of Baltimore made a five-tier hazelnut cake.

Favors: Following Arabic tradition, Zaineb says, only their female guests received favors — pashminas from Beirut.

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