September 18, 2013

~ Opportunity looks a lot like hard work ~

In early Spring I was given the opportunity to shoot for the Cardinal Glennon "Homers for Health" campaign, featuring the St. Louis Cardinals.  I wasn't sure of my exact job assignment, but I knew a couple of the players would be there.  I was excited, I really like baseball and it's fun to do something different once in a while.  Then a few days later I was emailed my job assignment - "You got David Freese," the title said - translation: I was following around David Freese all day being his personal photographer for the event.  Okay, okay, you don't have to twist my arm.
(Matt Holiday, Allen Craig, Dan Buck, David Freese)

I've worked with David before, I was thrilled I got him.  He is one of the easiest guys to talk to and he is awesome with the kids.  I can't show you most of the photos because they involve kids I don't have consent for, but here he is with one of his favorite Cardinal Glennon patients, and Rocky's little friend, ViVi.

And it's kind of funny how one thing leads to another… Ashton Kutcher gave a great acceptance speech at an award show a couple weeks ago where he talked about opportunity.  He said "Opportunity looks a lot like hard work," - and as I spent the day last Monday shooting for Mike Matheny's Catch 22 foundation, an absolute dream job for me, I thought a lot about how I got here.

I won't bore you with my train of thought, but it's a long and and winding path that starts at a station of my life when my first-born baby was so sick, and cared for, at Cardinal Glennon hospital.  I can clearly connect the dots from that horrible time in my life, to where I am right now...with this camera and with these great opportunities that are falling into my lap.  All with a lot of hard work in between.  That train had a lot of stops, a lot of hills to climb, and a lot of cars to pull with it.  But I can clearly see the tracks it had laid for the path of my life and career.

I'll be honest- when I parked my car and walked up to the building, I was scared to death to open the doors to the clubhouse...because I knew exactly who was behind those doors.  Nearly the entire St. Louis Cardinals roster and then some.  It had nothing to do with being starstruck and everything to do with this being a big, big job for me...I wanted to knock it out of the park (pun intened).  

I called my husband for a last minute pep talk, took a deep breath, got the confident nod and wink from my assistant Erica, and in the doors I went.  Head held high, smile on my face, and about 3 steps into the door, I rolled my 60 pound camera bag right over Whitey Herzog's toe.  Yes, this Whitey Herzog.


I wanted to turn around and walk right back out, but Whitey was very forgiving.  I recomposed myself and got to work.  Before I knew it, I was shooting just like it was any other job.  Evaluating light, checking my aperture, changing out cards, and going through the motions of every other photography gig I have. 
(Matt Carpenter)
(Jim Edmonds)
(Daniel Descalso, John Mozeliak, Jon Jay)
(Mo, Matheny, and Bill DeWitt)
(Beltran, Jay, Carpenter, Robinson, Descalso, Kozma)

Photography-wise, the gig was really simple.  Just some basic event coverage and then riding around with Mike Matheny all day on golf carts and shooting some of the tournament. 

The hardest part of the day stemmed from the fact I know nothing about golf.  You want to talk about Hockey, Baseball, Soccer, or a little Football?  I'm your girl.  So after being kicked out of the drivers seat of the golf cart for terrible driving, being shushed for talking on someone's back swing, and a couple of other ridiculous golf faux pas, I thought for sure Mr. Matheny was regretting hiring a girl.  But I think I grew on him by the end of the day.  :)  We got along swell.  He was happy with the pictures, and his assistant called me the next morning and invited me to shoot some more events with them later this year.  
(Mike Matheny and Adam Wainwright)
(Andy Benes,  Michael Wacha)
(Shelby Miller, Mike Matheny)
The Catch 22 Foundation is a brilliant charity dedicated to making playgrounds accessible for disabled and handicapped children.  The cause stretches my heart and the speakers brought me to tears.  I'm so proud to be on their team and bring attention to their meaningful mission.  If you would like to learn more about the foundation, or to make a donation, you can visit their website here.   All of my photos should be up there soon :) 
It was a great day, beginning to end.  I'm still on cloud 9.  My only regret is that my two favorite Cardinal fans aren't here to see this.  They would be so excited and so proud of me.  I'm sure my day with the Cardinals would have been the talk of the beauty shop for weeks.  I love you Mama Manno and Grandma Sally,  I miss you all the time.