Latest Vanessa Pics

As promised, here are some more pictures of our little sweetheart Vanessa. And yes, I'm biased, but I think she is just the cutest little thing I've ever seen (no offense to you other parents out there!).

Vanessa just loves bath time with Mommy.

Mommy gets lots of big smiles when bathing Vanessa.

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day! Our little "Love Bug" sends her love out to all of you! Isn't that skirt adorable?

"I love you THIS much!"

Pap-pap has a little "tummy-time" of his own with his granddaughter.

What a pair! Mommy and daughter.

Early one Saturday daddy got to have some play time with little 'Nessa. To get her to smile, I had to hold the camera to the side of my face so focusing and composing was a little tricky.

"Who, me?"

She's getting that neck nice and strong. And don't tell her, but if she ever wants anything for the rest of her life, all she has to do is smile like that.

Crying, 3AM feedings, diapers, bottles, laundry, 4 hours of sleep...and then WHAM! She throws one of these at you and it's all so worth it.

OK, so we're finally caught up with Vanessa pics. There's plenty of events on the books so I'll try to find time to keep the blog up to date.

Prescribed Burn

I have more Vanessa pictures to come, but first I wanted to throw in some recent pictures from my day job. By day I work at MacDill Air Force Base with the Environmental Flight managing the base recycling program and helping out with some of the natural resources programs. I promised myself this would not become an environmental blog so I will keep the background short. Fire is an integral part of many Florida ecosystems. Suppressing wildfires can help protect homes and people, but the natural environment suffers. So in an effort to balance the needs of the plants, animals and people, environmental land managers have taken to burning pieces of land in a controlled situation. To learn more about prescribed (aka controlled) burns, visit

MacDill AFB has a nice chunk of land in the middle of Tampa Bay and is working to implement an ongoing prescribed burn program to efficiently manage the large areas of upland habitat. The FL Division of Forestry helped us out by executing a burn on a recent day when all the right weather conditions came together. These images were taken with our work camera/digicam and were not processed with any editing software.

A Forestry employee (lower right) sets a fire on the edge of some palmetto.

The saw palmettos burn extremely hot (lower right), and when the sabal palms have lots of dead fronds clinging to their trunk, the fire can sometimes creep up into the crown. These images may look devastating, but the burns trigger new growth and an overall rejuvenation of the ecosystem.

One of the benefits of fire is the maintenance of invasive species. This non-native cogan grass will creep into an area and take over, outcompeting the native species. After killing the grass with an herbicide, the fire will clear out all the plant material and allow new native colonizing species to move in and return balance to the habitat. (This is the before picture...see below)

The DOF employee lights the cogan grass.

The dead cogan grass went up fast and hot.

Here is the after picture. All that nasty cogan grass is gone and the slate is clean. Hopefully we'll see some nice native species popping up soon. Since native plants have evolved with fire, most of them develop deep root systems able to sustain the plant through tough droughts and wildfires. So although this area looks dead, there is life below the surface!

This is just a cool picture showing the fire moving back into the woods.

The piece of land that was burned is mostly open grassy scrub and some pine flatwoods, but there is an oak hammock there as well. The rain from the previous night still hadn't drained completely from this area so it didn't burn too well. But as the low fire crept through some areas, the smoke provided a nice filter for the falling afternoon sun to stream through the forest.

I hope I kept your attention through today's environmental lecture. Pictures of fire always help! More Vanessa pics to come and I have 3 weddings in the next two weeks, so there will be plenty to post. Check back soon!

More Vanessa Pics

OK, you asked for it. Back by popular demand: more pictures of Vanessa. She is now three months old! I can't believe it.

Here is the birth announcement we sent out. There are templates you can use at online photo labs but I prefer a custom design that fits the style of pictures that are being used.
Here are some of the other images from the same photo shoot. What a peaceful little angel.

(insert your own funny caption here)
We love this image. We let my mom throw this one in with her Christmas cards this year.

My brother Mark and his wife Leah came down to visit and enjoyed snuggling with their new niece.

Mommy grabbed the camera so daddy and daughter could get a shot together. (Vanessa's first thanksgiving)

Three generations. Karen's mom came down to visit and there were plenty of special moments to capture.

Here they are out in the backyard.

So peaceful.

Mommy giving little V a kiss.

And here is little Miss Claus all decked out for the holidays. (I couldn't resist!)

There are still plenty of pics to come so stay tuned. All I have to do is find time to post them!

Lt. Col. Coddington Promotion Ceremony

Major Elizabeth Coddington is now Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Coddington and she asked me to cover the ceremony honoring her promotion.

The Honor Guard presents the colors to begin the ceremony.

Col. Williamson was on hand and had plenty of good things to say about Lt. Col. Coddington's career thus far.

Lt. Col. Coddington's two daughters place the new silver oak leaf clusters that symbolize the rank of Lt. Col.

You may remember MSgt. Denby (ret) from his retirement ceremony.

Lt. Col. Coddington's parents also attended and participated in the ceremony.

Lt. Col. Coddington's husband, son and daughters pose for a shot after the ceremony. The patriotic balloons helped spruce up the plain backdrop.

Congratulations Lt. Col. Coddington. I wish you the best of luck as you continue your career in the U.S. Air Force, dedicating your time and energy to serving our country. (Thanks for that by the way!)

Dawn and Brent

Wow, I know it's been a while since I last posted. Thanks for hanging in there. Baby Vanessa has been keeping us busy, and yes, there will be more pics of her soon.

But first, we check in with Dawn and Brent who were married at the end of January at lovely Lange Farm. As a nature lover, I always enjoy shooting this venue. Kevin was there shooting video.

We started out with Dawn on the wrap-around porch before Brent arrived. She was a natural at striking a pose.

Then it was Brent's turn out on the balcony. The sun acted as a rim/hair light and the reflected light from the white building provided nice fill.

The newlyweds walk out of the ceremony that was held under this magnificent live oak.

As the guests move on to the party, Brent and Dawn share a few quiet moments.

A classic Lange Farm shot incorporating the white fences and even a horse in the background for good measure. The setting sun was providing us with a wonderful backlight.

I always love to highlight the huge trees in a few shots when at "the farm."

After the sun goes down, the warm lights of the reception stand out against the cool blue dusk sky.

As usual, I got a few safe "standard" cake shots before moving on to experimenting with some creative lighting. Here, a flash is placed on a stand directly behind the cake topper, aimed toward me. This produces that lovely edge light. The light-colored wall next to me bounced the light from the flash back on to the cake for an even exposure. I increased my shutter speed to make the background go black.

As a new father, I now find kids to be cuter than ever!

Congratulations Dawn and Brent! I had a blast shooting your wedding and I think we got some great shots. Best of luck from all of us at Tampa Photo!

And stay tuned for more pics! I will try to update again soon!