Gary Senise & Robert Irvine

8 05 2016

So Thursday evening at dinner with my friends James and Irma, James asks me what I’m doing the next day (James and I are working on some content for the Hearing Loss Magazine and have a photo shoot and interview to do this coming week).

The next thing I know, I’m eating bbq with him in the parking lot of BAMC (Brooke Army Medical Center, where my mom spent many hours in the care of her remarkable doctors and nurses) and photographing celebrity chef Robert Irvine (from Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible) and actor/activist/director/musician Gary Sinise (best known as Captain Dan in Forest Gump; currently starring in Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders)! I didn’t get a lot of photos because of the crowd, but here are some that made the cut. (The man with Robert and Gary is the Commander of BAMC, Col (P) Jeffrey J. Johnson.) Good use of my Nikkor 80-400 lens!

In 2012, the Gary Sinise Foundation began building specially adapted custom smart homes for America’s severely wounded veterans through its Building for America’s Bravest partner program. Each home features automated amenities to ease the daily challenges these heroes face. In 2013, the Gary Sinise Foundation expanded these efforts by establishing its R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence & Supporting Empowerment) program.

For more than a decade, Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band have toured the globe in support of our troops. As a part of the Foundation, the band is raising spirits and awareness for military and first responder causes worldwide.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Robert Irvine 1

Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine, from Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible series

Robert Irvine 2

Robert Irvine being interviewed at the Gary Sinise Foundation event at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC)

Gary & Robert 1

Actor Gary Sinise and celebrity chef Robert Irvine

Gary Commander Robert 1

From left: Actor Gary Sinise, BAMC Commander Col (P) Jeffrey J. Johnson, celebrity chef Robert Irvine

Robert Gary Commander

BAMC Commander Col (P) Jeffrey J. Johnson presented plaques and t-shirts to Robert Irvine and Gary Sinise.

Robert Gary 2

Celebrity chef Robert Irvine and actor Gary Sinise


Published on!

25 11 2013

My friend and freelance writer/editor, Nancy Dunham, wrote a great recap about the ZZ Ward concert we saw at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. on September 28. One of my photographs accompanied her article, which you can read on the Relix website here

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ZZ Ward at the 9:30 Club

29 09 2013

I photographed ZZ Ward at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. last night with my freelance writer friend/neighbor, Nancy Dunham. She was on assignment for Relix magazine and I’m providing the photos to accompany her concert recap. I was shooting with my Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 and was only about 10-12 feet away from her, so I’m happy with the shots. The color was all over the place due to the gels on the lights. Sometimes she was neutral colored (top photo), the rest of the time she was pink, purple or Oompa Loompa orange—but that’s concert photography for you!

Learn more about ZZ Ward and her music here:

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

ZZ Ward lorez

Published: American Songwriter

19 04 2013

My friend, writer Nancy Dunham, wrote a recap of the Emmylou Harris/Rodney Crowell/Richard Thompson concert from last month for Five of my photos accompany the article below:

Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 4.32.27 PM

P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm, Part 1

14 12 2012

Last week I flew to Huntsville, AL to visit my friend Sue and her mother, Wanda. On Thursday we hit the road headed to Little Rock, AR to visit Sue’s Aunt Gay, whose late husband was former Arkansas Governor Frank White. The occasion? We were all signed up for the open house tour and luncheon at P. Allen Smith’s Greek-Revival-inspired estate located 30 minutes outside of Little Rock. The home sits on top of a ridge overlooking the Arkansas River Valley and is spectacular.

It was love at first sight for me and I shot hundreds of photos with my Nikon SLR, a Coolpix and my trusty iPhone (believe it or not, all of the images in the collage below were shot with just the iPhone). Because there were 90+ people meandering through the house, it was much easier to shoot with my phone than to use my pro stuff. I did get some shots with the other cameras and will share those in later postings.

The collage below shows the main room in the front of the house, plus the sitting room and dining table next to the gorgeous kitchen. I shot every little vignette I could, not wanting to miss even one tiny detail. Learn more about this beautiful property on P. Allen’s website hereMany more photos to come!

PAS Collage 1 lorez

Published on!

19 10 2012

My friend and freelance writer, Nancy Dunham, wrote a great recap for about the Kathy Mattea concert we saw at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA on September 26. One of my photographs accompanies her recap! I photographed Kathy Mattea with Nancy after the concert (at right).

Check out Nancy’s recap of the concert here and see more of her work on her website here. Thanks for the exposure, Nancy!

Kathy Mattea at The Birchmere

27 09 2012

Just got back from a really great Kathy Mattea concert at The Birchmere tonight! Thanks again to my friend, Nancy Dunham, we sat in a great spot for me to get shots. Thanks to the lighting crew for spilling a bit more light on stage than they did for the John Hiatt concert last Friday—I was able to shoot at 1600-2000 ISO instead of pushing it to 3200 (plus adding exposure compensation!). I shot with my Nikon D300 and my Nikkor 80-400mm VR lens. Mattea sang many familiar old songs as well as several songs from her newly-released CD, Calling Me Home, about her native Appalachia.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Friday night at The Birchmere

22 09 2012

I had the opportunity to do some photography during the John Hiatt concert tonight at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA. He has such energy (he just turned 60 last month) and is the epitome of cool. It was a great concert!

Shooting photos in low-level light is quite challenging, but I have really come to enjoy it. Most of these images were shot on at least 3200 ISO, Nikon D300 with my Nikkor 80-400 VR lens handheld, wide open aperture in most cases. The gel lights were especially tricky and auto white balance wasn’t always the way to go, so I kept switching my white balance options to compensate for various color hues. Thanks to my friend and freelance music and entertainment writer, Nancy Dunham, for offering me this great opportunity to shoot concert photos again! Below are some of my favorite images from the evening.

In the photos below are: legendary singer/songwriter John Hiatt (top two photos), guitarist and Nashville producer Doug Lancio, bassist and singer Nathan Gehri (two members of The Combo) and the last photo is of Joe Pug (the opening act)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Lyle Lovett at Wolf Trap

16 08 2012

Last night I went to Wolf Trap to see Lyle Lovett and his Acoustic Group perform. Nancy Dunham, my neighbor/friend/freelance writer, interviewed him last week for a music publication and he invited her to the concert and she in turn invited me. We picked up our guest passes and my photo pass, which allowed me to photograph from a designated spot on the sidelines for the first three songs.

Obviously, flash was out due to the distance from the stage. This didn’t stop some people in the audience using their iPhones with flash from 100 feet or more away! I definitely knew I had to bring my longest zoom—my Nikon 80-400 VR lens f/4.5-5.6. Next time I’m able to do something like this, I’ll be bringing a monopod, too (another photographer was there and used a monopod, but he didn’t have a powerful zoom, so I imagine his shots weren’t nearly as close as mine were). I braced myself against a wall and held my breath for all of these shots. I was also shooting at my highest ISO—3200—and wide open at 4.5. Some images were shot with exposure compensation, too. All in all, not too bad for handheld—in low light and variable light and with distance restrictions.

After the concert we went backstage to meet him, and Nancy introduced me as “a fellow Texan,” so that definitely helped to break the ice. Mr. Lovett (may I call you Lyle?) is as gracious, humble and down-to-earth as he is talented! The last shot in series of photos below is Lyle with Nancy. I highly recommend that if you have a chance to see him in concert, do so. While his upbeat songs had me bobbing my head and tapping my feet, I loved the ballads—heartfelt and passionately delivered.

I’ve told Nancy that I’m available “anytime, anywhere” to accompany her as a guest to a music venue; she’ll have her own personal photographer! Nancy, thank you, thank you, thank you for this opportunity. I’m a new Lyle Lovett fan and had a blast photographing and meeting him.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Hearing Loss Magazine: 2011 Recap

23 11 2011

The last issue in 2011 of the Hearing Loss Magazine (HLM), published by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), just arrived in member mailboxes. I design the bimonthly magazine and provide photography services to HLAA.

January/February 2011: I photographed Bill and his wife Mary Beth this past summer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was there as the keynote speaker for HLAA’s annual convention in June 2010. Bill is one of 15,000 people in the United States and 100,000 in the world with Usher Syndrome Type II, which is the leading cause of deaf-blindness. Bill has worn hearing aids since he was five years old, but in 1987 he discovered that he had been slowly going blind his whole life. Usher Syndrome Type II is an inherited condition. The vision loss is due to retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative condition of the retina, and the hearing loss is due to a genetic mutation affecting nerve cells in the cochlea. Despite their challenges, the Barkeleys are the most down-to-earth, upbeat and positive couple that I’ve ever met!

In his article, No Barriers, Bill wrote about dealing with hearing loss since early childhood, marrying Mary Beth and raising their three sons, then being diagnosed with Usher Syndrome Type II. By 2007 he had worked his way up to being a director of sales and marketing for a Fortune 500 company. He then decided he “needed a challenge and a vision to help take me on the next phase of my life.” At age 45, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, utilizing the latest hearing aids, FM systems and Bluetooth technology. He said it changed his life. “I retired from my 25-year career. I became a deaf-blind adventurer and storyteller, traveling the globe while sharing a message of inspiration, aspiration, hope and faith for those with hearing and vision loss.” Read Bill’s article here: HLM Bill Barkeley

Also in this issue: Mary Beth Barkeley’s For Better or Worse, Lise Hamlin’s The Future is Here: The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Jennifer Stuessy’s “Organic” Solutions, Sam Trychin’s How Were Your Holidays?, Get in the Hearing Loop by Brenda Battat and Patricia Krikos, It’s Good Business to Walk4Hearing by Ronnie Adler and Rebecca Lander, Hiding My Hearing Aids? Not Anymore! by Hayleigh Scott, and Is Auditory Training Effective in Improving Listening Skills by Mark Ross.

March/April 2011: The 2011 HLAA Convention in Washington, D.C. was the cover focus for this issue. Also in this issue: Come to the 2nd International Hearing Loop Conference by Dana Mulvaney, Cell Phone Inventor Forsees a Universal Ear by Larry Herbert, Small and Convenient: Today’s Hearing Aid Designs by Mark Ross, Lise Hamlin’s Standing Up for Movie Captioning, Walk4Hearing Keeps Stepping Forward by Ronnie Adler and Rebecca Lander, and author Jennifer Rosner’s At Bedtime, a story about her daughters, Sophia and Juliet. HLAA Executive Director Brenda Battat asked members to participate in a survey about jury duty in this issue.

May/June 2011: This month’s cover feature was my dear friend and HLAA member Lynn Rousseau. Lynn’s love of dance and performing garnered her several “15 minutes of fame” moments—in her teens she was just one of three girls chosen to perform every Saturday on the Rick Shaw Show and the Saturday Hop Show in Miami. She performed at legendary Miami Beach hotels and her first television show was with Paul Revere & the Raiders, Simon & Garfunkel and Neil Diamond. She also had a small part on the big screen in Smokey and the Bandit, starring Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason, had the opportunity to dance with the June Taylor dancers, and was an extra on the movie, Doc Hollywood, with Michael J. Fox.

In her feature article, The Beat Goes On…, she shares both the sad and funny moments in her life concerning hearing loss, introduces us to her incredibly supportive family (husband Joel, three children, and eight grandchildren), and reveals her diagnosis of and subsequent recovery from breast cancer in 2008. My father, H.M. Dyer, co-authored and edited the article. He also has a blog— I photographed Lynn at the HLAA 2010 Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for this cover. You can read Lynn’s article here: Lynn Rousseau

Also in this issue: Living Well with Hearing Loss: Professional and Consumer Collaboration for Hearing Loss Support Programs by Patricia Kricos, HLAA Convention 2011 by Nancy Macklin, Mark Ross’ On the Job: The Effects of an Untreated Hearing Loss on Workplace Compensation, Sam Trychin’s Making Changes: Tools from the IDA Institute, At Work with Hearing Loss by Kathi Mestayer, Judy Martin’s In Complete: Walt Ivey—Musician, Audiologist and HLAA Member, and Lise Hamlin’s Emergency Preparedness—Once Again.

July/August 2011: This month’s cover subject is my friend and fellow blogger from Oslo, Norway—Ulf Nagel, accompanied by his handsome son, Oskar. I discovered Ulf’s very insightful, well-researched and painfully honest blog, Becoming Deaf in Norway, on Abbie (Cranmer) Hlavacek’s blogroll a few years ago. With editing and compilation assistance from Hershel M. Dyer and beautiful photos by Anne K. Haga, Ulf’s story—From Silence to Sound: My Quest to Hear Again—debuted in this issue. Ulf works as an IT consultant. He and his fiance, Mette, recently added a baby girl, Joanna, to their family, which includes sons Oskar and Gabriel. You can read Ulf’s article here: Ulf Nagel Feature

Also in this issue: From a Body Hearing Aid to a Cochlear Implant by Mark Ross, A Look Into the Mind and Heart of Caring Physician by Barbara Liss Chertok, Pam Stemper’s We Finish Only to Begin, Penny Allen’s The Important Stuff and Lise Hamlin’s Jury Duty: Will You Serve?

September/October 2011: Michael Eury’s article How My Hearing Loss Made Me a Superhero was the cover feature for this issue. Michael approached Barbara Kelley (the editor-in-chief) and me this past spring and proposed writing his story for the magazine and pitched an idea for a conceptual cover. With the help of fellow photographer Ed Fagan and set assistance by Michael Schwehr, we captured his superhero spirit! Eury wears binaural hearing aids and has been a member of HLAA since 2005. He is the state president of HLA-NC and is a 2011 recipient of the Spirit of HLAA Award. He lives in Concord, North Carolina, with his wife, Rose, who has loyally stood by his side during his journey through life with hearing loss. Michael is the editor of Back Issue, a comics history magazine published eight times a year by TwoMorrows Publishing of Raleigh, North Carolina. He is also a prolific published author. You can read his article here: MichaelEurySuperhero

Also in this issue: Unbundling: A Way to Make Hearing Aids More Affordable? by Stephanie Sjoblad and Barbara Winslow Warren, Decibels and Dollars: A Look at Hearing Aid Features Across Price Points, Lise Hamlin’s Make Hearing Aids Affordable: Insurance Coverage in the Workplace, and Peter Yerkes’ Listening Closely—A Journey to Bilateral Hearing. Hearing Loss Magazine‘s new Seen & Heard column debuted in this issue with profiles on HLAA members Danielle Nicosia and John Kinstler.

November/December 2011: Senthil Srinivasan’s article, Opening Up, is our cover feature for this issue. I met Senthil online after discovering his website, Outerchat, and asked him if he would be interested in being profiled for the magazine. I first met him and his parents at the HLAA Convention 2010 in Milwaukee. He flew to Washington, D.C. in September so I could photograph him for the cover. Senthil lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and for the past six years has worked as a web designer for PowerSports Network in Sussex, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Visit his blog at You can read his article here: SenthilSrinivasanOpensUp

Also in this issue: Carleigh’s Story by Syndi Lyon, Brad Ingrao’s 21st Century Connectivity in Hearing Devices, Barbara Kelley’s It’s Football Season! Where is Reed Doughty Now?, Scott Bally’s The Indomitable Spirit of the Kennedy Center’s Betty Siegel, Lise Hamlin’s The FCC, HLAA and Technology, and Seen & Heard with HLAA member Judy Martin.

Join the Hearing Loss Association of America!
Do you have a hearing loss or know someone who does? Consider membership in the Hearing Loss Association of America. Student annual dues are $20, individual annual dues are $35, and family/couple annual dues are $45. Fees outside the U.S. are slightly higher. All memberships include discounts on hearing-related products, convention and special event early bird discounts, AVIS and Alamo car rental, and the award-winning Hearing Loss Magazine. Sign up for membership here.

Iron Chef Bobby Flay and the Sneeze Guard Heiress

21 09 2011

This afternoon Barbara and I went to the Westfield Annapolis Mall in Annapolis, MD for a booksigning by Iron Chef and author Bobby Flay at the Williams-Sonoma store. You can learn more about Bobby Flay here.

I have watched every season of the Next Food Network Star, so it was fun to meet one of the judges/hosts in person. Unlike a few well-prepared line-waiters, we did not bring a folding chair. That would have come in so handy. We did get a chance to sample several things from the cookbook—Williams-Sonoma salespeople brought around samples of a pumpkin soup with toasted pumpkin seeds, chives and cranberry-maple creme fraiche (delicious!), a red velvet cupcake (good!), hot potato chips with blue cheese sauce (yum!), and apple chopped salad with toasted walnuts, blue cheese and pomegranate vinaigrette (really, really tasty!).

We stood in line beginning about 1:00 p.m. until we finally got into the store to meet him and have him sign our copies of his latest book, Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook. How’s that for perseverance? The last image I shot was time stamped 15:34:36, so we waited exactly 2 hours, 34 minutes and 36 seconds to get the photo of Barbara and Bobby below! Barbara did get a chance to mention to Bobby that she is a Sneeze Guard Heiress (to learn more about that story, click here). Barbara had him sign my book as well, but I had to get the shots! At last count, there were more than 200 copies sold when we made our way through the chain in the store. (Jeff Evans—you would be happy to know that Bobby shares your love of black and white Converse sneakers. He be stylin’!) Check out Barbara’s blog, Kelley Hospitality, here.

Joe McNally Presents: A 9/11 Remembrance, In Pictures

6 09 2011

Joe McNally is one of my very favorite photographers. He has been shooting for more than 30 years and was LIFE magazine’s staff photographer from 1994-1998. He has contributed to National Geographic magazine for 20 years and is the author of The Moment It Clicks and The Hotshoe Diaries (which I highly recommend adding to your library!). Wikipedia reports, “McNally has been described by American Photo magazine as perhaps the most versatile photojournalist working today and was listed as one of the hundred most important people in photography.” Check out McNally’s website and blog here.

I attended one of his Flash Bus Tour workshops in Austin this past spring. He paired up with local photographer and flash guru, David Hobby of fame, for the entire tour. Dave lives in nearby Maryland and his website is a great resource for lighting tips. (I intend to blog about that fantastic workshop and share photos soon. I shot this photo of Joe during the workshop).

McNally recently guest blogged on Scott Kelby‘s Photoshop Insider blog. Scott, another of my favorite teachers, is a graphic designer, photographer, the editor-in-chief of Photoshop User magazine and the founder of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals). Scott is a best-selling author as well, having penned more than 40 books. He is also president of Kelby Media Group, an Oldsmar, Florida-based software training, education, and publishing firm. He is most definitely a Renaissance man—there’s not much he can’t (or doesn’t already) do!

In his guest spot, McNally writes about shooting 246 portraits of NYC firemen with the Giant Polaroid camera in the aftermath of 9/11 in Joe McNally Presents: A 9/11 Remembrance, In Pictures. It is an inspiring read with amazing photos accompanying it. Head over to it here.

My cover shots for Hearing Loss Magazine

5 08 2011

I design and produce the bimonthly Hearing Loss Magazine for the Hearing Loss Association of America. I also provide photographic services and have shot 23 covers to date. (There is one more in production right now. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a super one—our first concept cover ever!). While anyone visiting this blog knows that I love photographing flowers and bugs and such, you might not know that equally love photographing people.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

National Geographic Live! events: Don George interviews Frances Mayes and Andrew McCarthy

30 06 2011

On April 12 Michael and I attended one of two travel writing lectures, part of the National Geographic Live! series. At the reception prior to the lecture, we feasted on Italian appetizers (an unexpected surprise, and welcomed since we hadn’t eaten dinner first!).

Frances Mayes was the guest author that evening. Mayes is the best-selling author of Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany. Her recent book is Every Day in Tuscany, which chronicles her latest renovation project—a 13th-century house in the mountains above Cortona.

National Geographic Traveler editor Don George hosted the interview. George is a legendary travel writer who has worked as a travel editor at the San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle and was the Global Travel Editor of Lonely Planet Publications. His books include The Lonely Planet Guide to Travel Writing, The Kindness of Strangers, Tales from Nowhere, By the Seat of My Pants, and his latest book, A Moveable Feast. He also writes the “Bookshelf” column in National Geographic Traveler magazine.

We thoroughly enjoyed the interview. Frances Mayes weaves a verbal tale as well as she writes one and Don George asked a wide range of questions about her life in Italy and her writing process. I learned that Mayes was born and raised in Georgia, where many of the relatives on my mother’s side live. During the book signing, I got a chance to chat with her about Swan, the town she lived in. I told her that as a child I spent a few weeks every summer in Georgia with my maternal grandmother and various aunts, uncles and favorite cousins. Mayes and her husband now divide their time between their homes in Cortona and North Carolina. We bought several of her books and she signed them for Michael while I got the record shot. Check out her website and journal here.

On May 12 we attended the second lecture in the series. Don George conducted the interview with actor/director (and now award-winning travel writer) Andrew McCarthy (what girl didn’t crush on him in his younger days…hello?). While I was able to get some shots during the Mayes lecture, the McCarthy lecture was being filmed and the audience was specifically told “no photos.” Bummer. I had my gear with me, of course, and was all set with my ISO at 2000 or something like that, but I didn’t want to risk getting thrown out. So, no photos of the older (but still as handsome) McCarthy.

McCarthy is a two-time Lowell Thomas Award winner and was named the 2010 Travel Journalist of the Year. He discussed his acting and directing career at length, but then the conversation (finally!) shifted to how he got involved in travel writing. At the end, the mic was opened for the audience to ask questions, and brave little me had the perfect question ready (after working up much-needed courage)—“Are you a published photographer, too? Do you take a camera with you on your travels?”

One of the National Geo employees saw me raise my hand and came down to kneel by me while McCarthy answered a question from the other side of the room. Before I could ask the question, another attendee stole the question right out from under me. Bummer. McCarthy’s (paraphrased) answer: “No, not really.” (This would have been a very short interaction with him!) Apparently National Geo either has someone travel separately or must use existing stock to illustrate some of the places he writes about. While he has had photographers travel with him, he said he much prefers traveling solo.

Learn more about his acting career (St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink, Weekend at Bernie’s, and Mannequin, to name a few) and directing career (Gossip Girl and several theater productions) and read some of his writing on his site here.

Read his profoundly moving essay, “Going Back In,” which he wrote for the August/September 2009 issue of National Geographic Adventure. You’ll find that article by clicking here, then click on the Adventure magazine cover in the second row.

HLM Cover Feature: Lynn Rousseau

9 05 2011

The May/June 2011 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine (HLM), which I design and produce bimonthly for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), is hot off the press! This month’s “cover girl” is my dear friend and HLAA member Lynn Rousseau. I first met Lynn in October 2008 in Denver, Colorado, when we both received a Focus on People Award from Oticon, a leading hearing aid manufacturer. Barbara Kelley, Deputy Executive Director of HLAA and editor of Hearing Loss Magazine, secretly nominated me for the award. Oticon flew all the winners (and a guest) to Denver for the ceremony, and I wrote about that amazing experience (thanks again, Barbara!) on my blog here.

Lynn and I hit it off instantly and talked for hours that weekend. She was very funny, sweet and a great listener. Last year I told her that she needed to share her life story with the hearing loss community. She has led quite a colorful and creative life, so I knew she would have great photos to illustrate the article. She didn’t fail me with the visuals—she mailed a big bag of newspaper clippings and photos collected from a lifetime of dancing, performing and modeling. It was hard to decide which ones to use first! I had the pleasure of photographing Lynn for the cover when we met up at the 2010 HLAA Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin last June. Lynn confessed that while she didn’t think she was a writer, she would do her best to repeat some of the stories she shared with me when we first met. I enlisted the help of my father, Hershel M. Dyer, as editor (thanks, Dad!). He crafted a beautiful article from Lynn’s notes and stream-of-consciousness prose. You can read more of his work on his blog at

Lynn’s love of dance and performing garnered her several “15 minutes of fame” moments—in her teens she was just one of three girls chosen to perform every Saturday on the Rick Shaw Show and the Saturday Hop Show in Miami. She performed at legendary Miami Beach hotels and her first television show was with Paul Revere & the Raiders, Simon & Garfunkel and Neil Diamond. She also had a small part on the big screen in Smokey and the Bandit, starring Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason, had the opportunity to dance with the June Taylor dancers, and was an extra on the movie, Doc Hollywood, with Michael J. Fox.

In this month’s feature article, she shares both the sad and funny moments in her life concerning hearing loss, introduces us to her incredibly supportive family (husband Joel, three children, and eight grandchildren), and reveals her diagnosis of and subsequent recovery from breast cancer in 2008. On this month’s cover I wrote Lynn Rousseau: Fearless, Persistent, Resilient. Lynn is all those things and I’m thrilled that readers will get to know a little more about her colorful life. My father has always told me that I march to the tune of a different drummer. Lynn most certainly does, too, (sometimes literally!) and I am so proud to call her my friend. To read the entire article, click to download the pdf file here: Lynn Rousseau

From my library: The Hunting Years

3 05 2011

In June 1983, while working as a fashion illustrator for Jones & Jones, an upscale department store in McAllen, Texas, I accompanied my friend Andrea (also the store’s book buyer) to the American Booksellers Association convention in Dallas. (This was the same convention where I got up close and personal with several celebrities who had released books at that time: Dick Cavett, Erma Bombeck, Shirley MacLaine (can’t believe I actually found a recap from People magazine of her actual breakfast talk here!), Art Buchwald, Leo Buscaglia (‘King of the hug’ author—and yes, he did hug me, unsolicited), Leroy Neiman, Lana Turner and Richard Simmons (got a hug from him, too). I had them all autograph my badge; wish I knew where I squirreled away that item!) In the exhibit hall I picked up an “advance reading copy” of The Hunting Years, a novel by David Kranes. It was later published by Peregrine Smith Books in 1984.

Here’s the synopsis on the back: Hunt is an artist. To his wife Leah, he is an enigma. To his young sons, he is merely “sometimes weird.” In this melancholic/comic third novel, David Kranes gives us Hunt as an artist and family man trying to reconcile the life in his imagination with his life in The World.

Obviously I loved this book—it is still in my library after all these years. I’m not sure if it’s because I can somewhat identify with Hunt “trying to reconcile the life in his imagination….” or just because there are so many passages that are just painfully poetic. After I read it, I could envision it being translated into movie form. (I felt the same way after reading Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, and voila! the producers read my mind and the movie materialized a few years later. And Hollywood, if you’re still listening, how about a film adaptation of James McBride’s book, The Color of Water?)

In my favorite passage in The Hunting Years, Hunt’s wife Leah, who loves feeding the birds outside their home, is watching the weather suddenly change from sunny to a full-blown ice storm. She had put out food for the birds just before the drastic change in weather and twenty minutes later she returns to the window and sees the birds frozen in place on the lawn.

Hunt! It was Hunt! Hunt had done this! Somehow it was all connected in her mind. And all confused. All of Hunt’s sorry seekings and indecisions had made a heaven, had made a sky that acted with such swift and stupid cruelty. Leah ran outside. No birds moved. It was thirty degrees, another upswing, and sun broke everywhere, splashed carelessly through trees and all over the yard. It made no sense. Leah moved in one direction. Then another. Her throat unwound sounds. She was a murderess! She made a word: “…Bird?” But the world was motionless. No wind even. The food globes hung around like still crystal from their strings. Unable to bear any more complicity, finally, Leah bent and snatched up a glistening husk, an evening grossbeak in its shell of ice, and hurled it, high as she could, into the white pine branches. It was a dozen forms of denial, the act. But it was fury and rage, too. It was terrible anger. But a miraculous thing happened. The boughs of the pine delicately brushed and cracked open the ice. And it dropped away. Like pieces of the finest wineglass, bough to bough, the casing fell. And the bird…! Leah’s mouth swung open. It was as though, ice free, its down and feathers radiated from some center, took on a shape, substance, grew. Leah thought she was imagining. She believed that the madness she had thought possible throughout the whole winter had arrived. But the bird rose! Wings unshackled, it assumed the air. And its freedom…and its flight…were both real. Leah shrieked a new, wild, victorious scream. She ran from imprisoned bird to imprisoned bird, falling repeatedly but lifting and unfurling them high, high into the releasing pine. Now the temperature was thirty. Now above. The sun grew generous; there was a new benevolence in the air. Fractured ice crystals fell, sounding like windchimes. Another grossbeak took flight! A chickadee! A junco! Wings beat! and Leah was spinning and falling and hurling but shouting, “Fly!” to the birds. And, “Fly!”

Although this book is rather old, I did find this excellent review below by Miriam Berkley on the The New York Times website: “Like the ambitious and provocative novel he inhabits, the hero of The Hunting Years is brilliant and elusive. An artist living on a New Hampshire farm, Hunt is a well-intentioned man but not easy to deal with as he wanders through life seeking his proper relationship to the world. His paintings vary widely in both the style and subject matter, reflecting his state of mind. He fantasizes frequently, communicates erratically and equally exasperates his wife, Leah, and his paramour, Anne. (The affair with Anne is brief—the traits that make Hunt a difficult husband, especially his inability to let another person get close, also make him a frustrating lover.) One of two young sons observes, ”Sometimes dad lives on another planet.” When the novel opens Hunt is in his ”Blue Period,” a time of emotional and artistic paralysis during which his canvases remain empty and his marriage goes sour. One morning he awakens literally paralyzed and unable to open his eyes; a doctor’s punch in Hunt’s solar plexus finally unclenches them. Later, while visiting London, he tries to slit his wrists. The landlady at the rooming house tells him, ”don’t be blue,” and upon returning home Hunt follows her injunction and begins painting outsized fruits and vegetables in brilliant colors. As Hunt’s adventures continue—he travels to Las Vegas, Nev., and Tucson, Ariz.—we witness the gradual emergence of his capacity for love. And along the way, there are some wonderful set pieces and humorous scenes—a sendup of the art world, for instance, in which Hunt works as a ”ghost painter,” the visual equivalent of a ghostwriter, and produces a series of paintings that he cannot acknowledge, or the description of Hunt’s turning to minimalism as a way of life and art after being accused of excess. David Kranes’s prose is spare and lovely, his portrait of Hunt as well as that of Leah is compelling, even if at the end his hero remains mysterious. In the final scene Hunt realizes, ”this World is too large. It’s too vast. No wonder, for a while, I was painting only avocados.” Nearly killed in an accident, he’s glad simply to be alive, and thinks, ”It was all startling.” Readers following Hunt’s adventures will agree.”

Lunch at Threadgill’s (Old #1) in Austin

29 03 2011

After Brian (my former boss/lifelong photography mentor) finished teaching a wildflower photography workshop on Saturday morning, we went to lunch at Threadgill’s, a local eatery in Austin. That’s Brian holding the menu in the collage below. He founded the Austin Shutterbug Club over a decade ago and teaches digital photography at the University of Texas a few times a week. He and his wife, Shirley, have published two books, Texas Cacti and Grasses of the Texas Hill Country. They are currently working on a coffee table book about Texas wildflowers. Check out his work here.

Excerpted from Threadgill’s website (

Perhaps country music lover and bootlegger Kenneth Threadgill had more in mind when he opened his Gulf filling station just north of the Austin city limits in 1933, for the day that Travis County decided to “go wet ” in December of the same year, Kenneth stood in line all night to be the first person to own a liquor license in the county. Soon, the filling station became a favorite spot for traveling musicians since it was open 24 hours for drinking, gambling and jamming. Kenneth would sing songs by his beloved Jimmie Rodgers nightly. Musicians who came to play were paid in beer. Such was the atmosphere at Threadgill’s, it was only when a curfew was enacted in 1942 that its owner had to get a key for the front door, before that it had yet to have been locked. The quintessential Austin beer joint continued to flourish into the sixties, and changed with the social climate of the era by inviting the folkies, hippies and beatniks to his Wednesday night singing sessions with open arms. Threadgill’s love for people and music smoothed out the conflicts that usually occurred when longhairs met with rednecks at the time, and because of this, a new culture tolerance emanated from the club, which had a profound effect upon its patrons and the music that came from it. It was here that Janis Joplin developed her country and blues hybrid-styled voice that would blur the lines between country and rock n’ roll.

In 1974, when Austinites and the nation were extolling the benefits of living in the heart of the Lone Star State, and the “Cosmic Cowboy” movement, which had its roots directly planted in the history of Threadgill’s and Armadillo World Headquarters, was at its peak, tragedy struck Kenneth Threadgill when his wife Mildred died, and he decided to close his club.

After nearly succumbing to the city of Austin’s desire to demolish the original Threadgill’s site which had become an eyesore, it was purchased by Eddie Wilson, owner of the Armadillo World Headquarters, a sister venue of a kindred spirit. Wilson’s idea, however, was to make Threadgill’s a Southern style restaurant, based on the success of the menu that he offered at his kitchen at the Armadillo. So, on New Year’s Eve 1980, the Armadillo closed, and on New Year’s Eve 1981, Threadgill’s opened as a restaurant. It was an instant success.

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

First studio portraits using the Westcott Spiderlite TD5 system

7 02 2011

I got to use my new Westcott Spiderlite TD5 2-light kit system for the first time last night when I photographed my friend Karen for her website and business promotion. She owns Karen Wyatt Skin Care in Burke, Virginia. (See how pretty her skin is? You could have skin that nice, too—book an appointment with her now!) Although I usually use strobes or my Nikon Speedlight setups in my studio, I became an instant fan of these “constant” what-you-see-is-what-you-get cool lights. I can’t wait to experiment with them more!

The TD5 system uses five fluorescent bulbs (in each light) to provide daylight balanced light, but without the intense heat that my old Lowell Tota-lights would produce (which reminds me—I should sell those things since I never use them!). My main light had a 24×32 shallow softbox and the other softbox (used as a hair light in most of the shots) was a stripbank measuring 12×36. My only complaint (and it is a small one) was that Westcott didn’t include any instructions on assembly. The one sheet of paper included showed us how to screw in the lightbulbs. Duh. We figured it out despite the lack of direction—smart women that we are!

Scott Kelby, my favorite Photoshop guru and an all around genuinely nice guy, highly recommended them after seeing wedding and portrait photographer Monte Zucker use them at a seminar. (A Washington, D.C. native, Zucker died of pancreatic cancer in 2007 at his home in Florida. He was 77).

I met Scott Kelby way back when he was teaching his wonderful $99 day-long workshops, right before he founded NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals). Scott is the editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, editor-in-chief of Layers Magazine, training director and instructor for the Adobe Photoshop Seminar Tour, President National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), CEO of Kelby Media Group, and the author of a slew of bestselling technology books (many of which I own!). I attended the very first Photoshop World Conference & Expo in Orlando with my friends Cammie and Paula (can’t remember the year, though). I’ve been a member of NAPP ever since and try to attend at least one day-long workshop each year. Check out Scott’s website/blog here. I’m a die-hard Scott Kelby fan!

Check out the seminar schedule for the Photoshop CS5 for Photographers Tour with Matt Klowkowski here, the Photoshop CS5 Power User Tour with Dave Cross here, and the Photoshop CS5 From Focused to Finished Tour with Ben Wilmore here. If you have the opportunity to attend any one of these workshops, it will be the best $99 you’ve ever spent! NAPP members pay just $79 for the day-long seminars. If you’re serious about photography and Photoshop, consider joining NAPP. You’ll receive Photoshop User Magazine, which is $9.99 per issue if you buy it at a bookstore—the $99 annual membership includes that subscription and many other discounts—including savings on hardware, software and NAPP’s excellent DVD training series.

In the two videos below, Scott talks about the first time he used the lights, how they work, and he also announces the holiday light kit special from Westcott.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Peek at the past: Guess who?

7 01 2011

I photographed these two performers in the mid 80s. I ran up to the stage to get a quick shot and saw my graphic design professor who happened to be sitting right by the stage. He offered to let me stowaway under the table so I could have better access to photographing the group. I was so close that I couldn’t get the other two members of the band in this photograph. Do you know who these two are and who the group is?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Tom & Bernie

6 12 2010

A photo I shot of my good friend Tom with his father, Bernie, was recently used in a brochure for Cochlear Americas (brochure shown below). Bernie has a cochlear implant. I photographed Tom, his wife Holly, and their dog Bailey at their new home in Arlington when Bernie was visiting this past spring. Tom wrote about his father’s hearing loss for the July/August 2010 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published by the Hearing Loss Association of America.

My favorite memory he shared was about when his dad won a Corvair during a prize drawing that People’s Drug launched in 1960 to celebrate the opening of their 100th store. In his article, My Dad, the Ford Man, Tom writes, “We have a picture of the whole family posing with Bozo the Clown (Willard Scott). Although my dad was thrilled to win the car, he is a lifelong Ford man. As you may recall, the Corvair inspired Ralph Nader to write the book, Unsafe at Any Speed. So much for that prize! Dad grumbled about the Corvair for four years before going back to a Ford.” (Thanks to Tom’s sister for providing the 1960 photo.)

You can read Tom’s article here: BernieHedstromArticle

Published in Japan!

6 12 2010

Thanks to my friend, Charles Mokotoff, for alerting me that I’ve been published in Japan’s Gendai Guitar magazine. Charles is a classical guitarist and was featured in the January 2010 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published by the Hearing Loss Association of America (see cover at right). You can download and read that article here: hlmArticle12_09.

I did several photo sessions with Charles and we became fast friends. He graciously performed a live concert during our first-ever Tapas Party in November 2009. Check out photos from that soiree here.

Check out his website and listen to him play here. Charles produced his CD, Autumn Elegy, in 2008 and it is available for purchase on CDBaby here and on Apple iTunes here. Read a glowing review of his CD by Acoustic Guitar magazine here.

In the video below, he plays Sevilla by Isaac Albeniz in a live concert at St. Albans Church in Washington, DC this past spring.

Design Studio: Exhibitor Prospectus

10 09 2010

Here is the cover and a few spreads from a 20-page exhibitor prospectus I just finished for the Hearing Loss Association of America’s (HLAA) Convention 2011 marketing campaign. The convention will be held on June 16-19, just about 15 minutes from where I live—Crystal City, an area near Washington, D.C.

The keynote speaker for Convention 2011 will be Chris Artinian, president and CEO of Morton’s Restaurant Group, Inc., whose family is the subject of the 2001 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature, Sound and Fury. The film documents one family’s struggle over whether or not to provide two deaf children with cochlear implants—devices that can stimulate hearing. The film was directed by Josh Aronson, produced by Roger Weisberg, with Jackie Roth as coordinating producer.

From the PBS website: As the Artinians of Long Island, New York debate what is the right choice for two deaf cousins, Heather, 6, and Peter, 1-1/2, viewers are introduced to one of the most controversial issues affecting the deaf community today. Cochlear implants may provide easier access to the hearing world, but what do the devices mean for a person’s sense of identity with deaf culture? Can durable bridges be built between the deaf and hearing worlds?

I designed a logo for the convention as well as the logo for “Get in the Hearing Loop,” a joint project of the Hearing Loss Association of America and the American Academy of Audiology. The 2nd International Hearing Loop Conference will be held on June 18-20. Both events will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City. Learn more about Convention 2011 on HLAA’s website at Learn more about the 2nd International Hearing Loop Conference here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

In the studio: Micah Doughty

12 06 2009

Just a few images of Micah Doughty from the photo shoot yesterday morning

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Micah Doughty

P. Allen Smith Luncheon at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion

30 04 2009

smithbookOn April 21, Sue, her Aunt Gay and I attended a lecture and luncheon honoring outdoor living expert and gardener P. Allen Smith at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. The event was hosted by The Friends of the Mansion. He was also selling and autographing his newest book, Bringing the Garden Indoors (which, of course, I had to have!). Check out his website here—it’s nicely designed and very informative. Click here to find a plethora of short gardening videos featuring Smith on

Smith’s lecture started at 10:30, followed by an outdoor luncheon and leisurely tour of the gardens, which he designed. He has worked on the gardens for the past 25 years. Allen is a very engaging speaker and quite funny. We really enjoyed the presentation and although we didn’t win any of the “guess the plant and win a plant” prizes, we still had a great time.

Years ago I told Sue that I thought Arkansas was the most dreadful state in the U.S. She has been determined to prove me wrong ever since. My opinion was not unfounded. Almost every time Michael and I made the road trip from here to visit my family in Texas, we took the “shortcut” (as if a 1,600 mile one way trip can even be associated with the word “short”) through the Little Rock area, and we never really had a pleasant experience. All I saw was flat, flat, FLAT earth. Grassy fields. Wire fences with Red-tailed Hawks perched on every other post (yes, I even counted them to pass the painful time away). Red-tailed Hawks swooping in to terrorize tiny field mice. Heat. Lots of it. Sometimes even in November.

One year we decided at the last minute to surprise my parents and drive down for the holidays. We found ourselves with a week off during Christmas and hadn’t planned to do anything. I called my younger sister, who was staying with parents at the time, and told her about our plans. The last thing she said was, “you’re going to hit those ice storms in Arkansas!” I dismissed her warning and we packed up the car and left that same night. Yes, in the night (young and foolish, we were). We were vagabonds. Gypsies. The blue highways were calling. Ice storm, smice storm. The next evening, we were on the outskirts of Little Rock. It was night—very cold and very dark. Michael was asleep; I was on driving duty. It was as if the pavement went from bone dry to black ice with a line you could actually see. I went from 65 mph to barely 3 mph in seconds. There were freight trucks jack-knifed in the ditches on either side of us. I punched Michael awake and hollered, “if we’re going to die in this, you’re going to be awake for it!” Even with my foot off the gas pedal, we were still sliding forward. There was nothing to do but slide toward the nearest exit and find a hotel. What we hadn’t bargained for was that everyone else had the same idea. There was no room at the inn for Mary and Joseph. I suggested we pull over and sleep in the car. Michael nixed that idea, stating we would surely die from exposure. (He hails from Ohio; I’m a South Texas native—just imagine who knows more about cold weather).

The last hotel we went to directed us to the temporary Red Cross Shelter at a local Baptist church. After a restless night on a hard church pew, followed by cold grits (with no salt or butter in sight—hello?) and even colder biscuits (yum!), Michael and I looked at each other and silently agreed—we were leaving even if we had to skate to San Antonio. As we headed out the door, we were pummeled with, “you shouldn’t leave….it will be 3-4 days before it’s safe to leave!” Spending three more nights sleeping on a hard church pew was more than we could bear (Yes, we were grateful for the refuge, but driving 17 hours straight had rendered us both a tad grumpy). Michael and I linked arms and elbows and glided (sounds graceful, doesn’t it? Trust me, it wasn’t) our way to our car in the church parking lot. We looked over our shoulders at the group of ice storm refugees just shaking their heads in disbelief. We didn’t care if we had to drive 3 mph the remaining 11 hours to San Antonio. We drove through a residential area, heading on a detour south. Not even one mile from the church, the roads were ice-free. We were jubilant! A few years ago, I started a new Virginia-to-Texas road trip tradition—as soon as we hit the Arkansas border, Michael would have to drive and I would sleep through the entire state until he could declare that we had crossed the Texas state line.

So there you have it. This was the basis for my opinion about Arkansas. I never gave Arkansas a chance. Never ventured off the interstate and into the hills, mountains, valleys and streams. Until this past week, that is. (I felt the same way about New Jersey, when all I ever saw was the Jersey Turnpike, en route to NYC. Then I got a chance to see other parts of the state—changed my opinion completely!)

Sue’s Aunt Gay lives in Little Rock and Sue was determined to show me another side of Arkansas. I told her the only way I would go is if I could meet Mike Huckabee and P. Allen Smith (two of the only celebrities I could think of from the (formerly dreaded) state—and when one has a blog, one is always looking for adventures to write and photograph about!). She pondered this request and said, “Lemme get back to you.” Not long after, she called to say her Aunt Gay had gotten us tickets to this luncheon honoring P. Allen Smith, and although Mike Huckabee wouldn’t be in town, the luncheon would be at the Governor’s Mansion, so technically I would be somewhere he had lived. Was that close enough? I conceded that it was. Little did I know that Huckabee’s wife, Janet (who is a friend of Gay’s), would be a last-minute guest and I would have the opportunity to meet, talk and photograph her. She was kind, gracious, and even co-signed an autographed copy of her husband’s seventh book, Do the Right Thing, for my mother (who is a Huckabee fan). She gave us a mini-tour of the living and dining areas of the mansion before the lecture and even served as an impromptu photographer, too, with my camera. In my searches online, I came across an article by Danielle Burton, compiled the U.S. News & World Report library staff. It’s titled, “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Janet Huckabee.” The first one mentioned she was a star basketball player at Hope High School, a fact that didn’t surprise to me—she’s quite statuesque, as you can see by the photo of her next to shorties Sue and Gay!

Gay is also an Arkansas celebrity—she’s a former First Lady of Arkansas. She was married to former Arkansas Governor Frank Durand White, who was only the second Republican governor of Arkansas since Reconstruction. He was the 41st governor of Arkansas and served a two-year term from 1981 to 1873. He was best recognized as “the little-known Republication candidate who defeated Bill Clinton in 1980 after Clinton had served only term as governor.” Frank passed away in 2003. Click here and here to learn more about Governor White.

After the luncheon, we toured P. Allen Smith’s city home, just two blocks away from the Governor’s Mansion (photos to come). Thank you, Gay and Sue, for arranging this wonderful day as well as the opportunity to meet P. Allen, Janet and Ginger. I have solemnly promised that, after a week of wonderful weather, ample subjects to photographs, visits to gardens (photos to come), a lovely day at Gay’s lake house (photos to come), and shopping in Hot Springs, I would no longer think unfavorably about Arkansas. Gay’s hospitality and Sue’s road trip companionship has made the great ice storm adventure a distant memory. Almost.

Did you know that Arkansas grows 85% of the rice consumed in the United States?


Above: Sue, Gay and Janet Huckabee at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion

Below: Sue with her Aunt Gay in the gardens at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansionsue-gay-gov-mansion-lorez

Below: P. Allen Smith at the podiumdsc_0226-lorez

Below: P. Allen signs his newest book, Bringing the Garden Indoors, with the assistance of Cathy Crass from the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion

Below: Dining alfrescoluncheon-panoramic1

Below: Gay White with the current Arkansas First Lady, Ginger

Below: Sue and Carolyn, a master gardener and Arkansas resident. I told Carolyn she reminded me so much of the actress Ellen Burstyn. Do you see the resemblance?sue-carolyn

Below: Sue, Gay and Janet before the P. Allen Smith Lecturesuegayjanet-5x71

Why I’d make a terrible papparazzi

17 07 2008

I just can’t do it. Even when I have all my pro equipment with me, I can’t bring myself to stalk someone famous when I spot them (and I’m apparently really good at spotting them…even when they’re wearing their “disguises.”) Now, if I’m hired to photograph an event where there are celebrities in attendance, that’s a whole ‘nother situation (see my recent assignment in May to cover a political roundtable at the National Press Club here and here.) But stealth photography? I’m as bad at that as I am at math (and that’s pretty bad, trust me on this). I worry too much about the possible rejection. If they reject or dismiss me, I’ll then have to boycott all their movies and tv shows as a show of defiance. I’ll have to go out of my way to hex their autobiographies at Borders. I just can’t go there. I’d rather just lurk, whisper, scheme, and sign up for Stealth Photography 101.

JOHN BRUCE — interior designer for TLC’s “While You Were Out”
Picture this…a hotel in Baltimore about 4-5 years ago…my photographer friend Ed and I are there to photograph a conference for the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)…in the lobby I pass a slightly-built man, long hair, dark glasses (as always!), slumped on one of the oh-so-hip contemporary sofas. I glance at him, think to myself he looks mighty familiar, then glance away and see the “While You Were Out” truck parked outside of the hotel. I glance back at him. It’s interior designer John Bruce! He doesn’t notice me noticing him. He’s too comfortable, slumped in his incognito-ness. I have a full bag of cameras, lenses, flashes, etc. Everything an annoying papparazzi would need. Do I go over and introduce myself? No. (For one, I do not remember his name—this is what flashed in my head after I saw him, then the truck, then realized why he looked familiar: Dan-Jumbo, something orange (I later remember it’s Stephen Saint Onge), and envisioning how upset I would be if I ended up with designer Hildi Santo Tomas decorating my room, gluing 7,000 silk flowers all over my bathroom walls.) I just did a search on that episode and one commenter wrote, “I remember that flower-bathroom fiasco. I personally would’ve taken that staple gun and fired a few brads into Hildi’s forehead.”

Whew…okay, back to the famous incognito slouching guy…do I pull out my camera and fire off a quick one without permission? No. I simply whisper (excitedly) to Ed, “That’s a designer from “While You Were Out! See the truck there?” Ed does not know the show, so he is singularly unimpressed. Trust me, it was him.

And speaking of DAN-JUMBO…
Michael and I went to one of those National Home Shows in Chantilly a few years ago and saw Andrew Dan-Jumbo, the hunky carpenter on While You Were Out. I didn’t want to push through crowds just to see him, so I discovered a hole in the nearby exhibitor curtains that I could safely view him through! No camera on hand, not even a point-n-shoot. Trust me, it was him.

And still on the subject of home shows—
SUSIE COEHLO, designer/entertainer/tv personality

Michael and I met her at one of those same home shows and she autographed a copy of her recent decorating book I had brought with me. I think her appeal to me at the time was not so much that she was a decorating/entertaining expert, but more that she was once married to Sonny Bono many, many years ago. Why do I know this? I just do. Was I a Sonny Bono fan? Not so much. But it was still cool to meet her. Do I have proof? Yes, in the form of her signature in some book somewhere in my library. A photo? Nope, no point-n-shoot and no cell phone at the time. Trust me, it was her.

RICHARD CHAVIRA—”Carlos Solis” on Desperate Housewives
I have already prepared a rather long blog posting on this celebrity stalking incident. I spotted him (hidden behind dark glasses, of course) at the San Antonio Airport at the end of Easter weekend this year. It’s reasonable to assume it could be him because, a) he’s from San Antonio, and b) his father lives there. This upcoming post will detail how I called three different people (repeatedly), had one of them use to discover his real name just in case I got bold enough to ask for an autograph, attempted to appear nonchalant, pretended to learn how to use my cell phone, coughed each time the shutter clicked, and almost missed the gate change for my flight! As soon as I can figure out how to get the photos off my new cell phone, I will report back to you. Trust me, it was him.

JIMMY FALLON—Saturday Night Live
When Michael and I were at Reagan National Airport last Monday waiting for our plane to board, a dark haired, 30ish, (wearing sunglasses, of course) man walked past me with a camera on one arm and a bag on the other…sauntered right by and the minute he passed me, I immediately thought, “Saturday Night Live!” I turned to Michael and asked, “who is that guy who does the SNL news with Tina Fey? He just walked by me!” Michael said, “Kevin Nealon.” No, not old SNL. New SNL. I jumped up and watched him walk down the corridor. I racked my brain trying to think of the name. He came back by and I reconfirmed it was him (there was never a doubt in my mind, though). He walked over to the food court and bought a drink. Two teenage boys stopped him, handed him something, and he started writing. They were smiling. Clearly it was him. Who stops a total stranger to ask for an autograph? What is his name what is his name SNL name Tina Fey name name. He headed back our way and I pointed him out to to Michael when he passed within four feet of us. Michael confirmed his identity. I whispered, “I wish I had my camera.” Michael replied, “You do. An expensive Nikon with lenses and flashes and CF cards. And a point-n-shoot in your purse. And your cell phone, too.” As we were walking down the ramp to the plane, I went through the names again. Kevin, Tina Fey, James, Jimmy. JIMMY FALLON! Trust me, it was him.

So, all I have to show for the above celebrity sightings are three “trust me, you had to have been theres,” an autographed decorating book, and a few photos of Carlos trapped in my cell phone.

I’ll dig up a so-so cell phone photo of me with Paul James, HGTV’s The Gardener Guy, one of my favorite fellas! And yes, he is exactly as you would imagine him. Personable, extremely funny, and very cute (and he put his arm around me in the photo, tee hee).

Years ago, I photographed political consultant James Carville when he was the featured speaker for a National Pest Control Association convention (don’t know the correlation there). These photos were taken when he was a) running Clinton’s campaign, b) had more hair, and c) before he was married to Mary Matalin. And yes, he is just as hyper in person as he appears on tv. I used a fast shutter speed. Want to see the photos? Please say no. I would have to dig really deep to find them.

Somewhere in my archives are a few slightly out-of-focus prints (shot in pre-digital times with a crappy disposable camera through a chain link fence), of John Denver waving at me from his Winnebago next to the Lincoln Monument at a Fourth of July concert in 1985 or 86. Trust me, it was him.

Oh, and do remind me to tell you about meeting Shirley McClaine, Dick Cavett, Leo Buscaglia (got a hug from him!), Erma Bombeck, Art Buchwald, Lana Turner (and her large Swedish bodyguard), Leroy Neiman, and Richard Simmons (a hug from him, too!)—and getting (almost all of) their autographs at a book buyer’s convention in Dallas a few decades ago. Do I have photos? No. You’ll have to trust me. It was them.