I'm a born and raised Detroit girl currently anchored near Galveston, Texas.
I'm mostly known as the girl that is obsessed with Disney. I had the great pleasure of working at Walt Disney World in my younger years. It was amazing and so hard to leave, but it gave me some of my very best friends and happiest memories.
I love hanging out with my husband and family. Seriously, the men in my family are hilarious and there is never a dull moment. I'm also one of those lucky people that gets to be an Aunt. When my nephew was a toddler and just starting to talk, he called me Auntie Cheese before he started calling me Aunt Dawn. It was definitely one of the highlights of my life!
I didn't always want to be a photographer. In fact, I joke that my career path originated in a closet in the midst of an identity crisis. When I was a little kid I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. I was, to downplay it quite extensively, obsessed with this future. From the age of seven until the age of 30, everything I did was toward that goal. Here is just a quick synopsis of my very long journey.
Decided at age 7 to be a Marine Biologist.
Relentlessly bothered parents about getting a "real" pool for years, they finally caved.
Went to high school, headed right to pool to sign up for the swim team. Did all four years.
Worked as a Veterinary assistant 4+ years during high school and college.
Enrolled at community college and got SCUBA certified.
Applied for and was offered a position with the Disney College Program. Sold turkey legs and princess dresses for seven months at (then) Disney's MGM Studios, stayed on another year working at Pizza Planet!
Returned to Michigan for school.
Applied for and was offered an Advanced Internship with the Disney College Program in the education department at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Returned to Michigan (again), finished Associates Degree.
Left the Navy, moved to Texas, got married to Navy sweetheart.
Started college at Texas A&M University in Galveston for the bachelors degree homestretch.
Halfway through second semester, exhaustion caught up with me and I withdraw from classes vowing to return.
Two months later found a box of old cameras in a closet while on an emotional cleaning spree.
Enrolled in photography classes and never looked back.
A few days before I left for Navy Bootcamp, my Dad gave me a compass. Not a new, fancy one, but an old, clear, plastic compass that no longer worked. In a note he explained that his father had given it to him when he was 12, not as a sentimental gift, but as a practical necessity. He needed a compass, because they spent a lot of time in the woods and such a tool was important.
Over the years he used the compass regularly on all their adventures in the wilds of northern Michigan. Eventually the compass broke, but out of sentiment and habit, it remained in my Dad's pack...and it traveled.
When he passed it to me, the compass had been to the frozen tundra of northern Quebec, the thick timber woods of Alberta, and the sweltering bush of South Africa, just to name a few. I've carried it with me on all my travels since. In the years I've had it, it's witnessed the rush of Niagara Falls, climbed to the top of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, stood at the foot of the Siene gazing up at the Eiffel Tower, and strolled along the San Antonio Riverwalk…and it's been a secret observer of every love story I've ever photographed.
Most people think of a compass as a simple navigational tool that guides you in the direction you want to go. But when used with a map, over time, it can also show you where you've been.
I saw it three times in the movie theater! Lilo is me in toddler form; always has her camera, loves dogs, is a beach baby, and has a particularly strange affinity for all things Elvis.
Can a girl have too many? No, no she cannot. I have nine watches and counting…
My husband may have picked the best groom-walking-down-the-aisle-song ever. He chose a song called La Caution by French hip hop duo Thé à la Menthe. This instrumental from the movie Ocean’s 12 opens with the line “How did you get by the laser field in the great hall?"
If you catch me shopping online, I’m probably tossing dollars at Shop Disney Parks (I obviously have the app on my phone), Crate and Barrel, Nisolo, Barnes and Noble or Pandora.
Like any respectable Detroiter I’m a hockey fan and the Red Wings are my team. During the playoffs we partake in the decades old tradition of throwing octopi on the ice by tossing a beanie baby octopus, lovingly named Stanley, at the TV.
I hate those little strings that come lose when you peel a banana. Root beer is gross. I like to swim with fish but not eat them.
I love having my nose stuck in a book. There is so much to know, so much to be inspired by. I generally prefer nonfiction, particularly travel stories and history, but I’ve been known to get lost in a well worn copy of Green Hills of Africa.
Besides growing up in Michigan, America's high five, and living in Texas the last 10 years, I've also had the pleasure of living in Florida, South Carolina, New York, and Virginia.