Photo Journalist

545371_10150940796765376_1314888666_nIn 2010, Kara Counard started coming regularly to our local shows in Northeast Wisconsin. She would show up with her son, friends and a handful of brightly colored hula hoops. Her spirit was humble and as she engaged with our music, a joy would permeate through out the venue. If there was a show where she wasn’t present, we would all make note afterwards, stating that we missed her dancing and jovial hooping. At a certain point, I remember approaching her and declaring how much we appreciated her presence and noted her commitment as a “fan” but that we were keen to share community and story with her and wanted her to be our friend. She shyly agreed to joining us for dinner on our patio one summer evening and that was the beginning of our dear friendship.

Besides being an excellent hooper, Kara has a natural gift and honed talent as a professional photographer. In fact, her eye is prolific, capturing not only the perfect composition but seeing and embracing the light that makes life look absolutely beautiful.

At the beginning of 2015, a conversation began about her desire to ride along on the Hollands bus, as a photo journalist, documenting life on the road. This spring she flew to Asheville and rode with us for a solid week, camera in tow. She chronicled intimate family time, exploring Asheville, a house concert in Pittsboro, historical Richmond, and a beach day in Virginia Beach.

Prior to Kara’s arrival, our son, Banjo, had developed a desire to try his hand at photography. He had been researching camera’s for months and hoped to purchase one for his 14th birthday. So, while Kara was on board, he really sought her expertise on the subject, discovering even more information about brands, lenses, and the art of photography.

IMG_2500A few days into her time with us, her camera started acting up and we had to visit a camera store. Although it was unfortunate the problem was solvable and she had a rented camera within the hour. Her inconvenience ended up being a blessing in disguise for Banjo, as the forced visit to the camera store accelerated his purchase and he walked out with a used Nikon D90 and 50 millimeter lens. Immediately the photography lessons commenced and before the day’s end, with Kara’s guidance, Banjo conquered the Nikon’s components, ready to practice honing his “eye.”

It’s been a blast watching him explore his new-found love, especially with his sister, who is always looking for a photographer for her Dutchygazelle Blog. Big thanks to Kara for taking time away from family and friends, for honoring us with her amazing gifts and talents and for being our friend!

To see more of Kara’s awesome work visit www.bloomphotographybykara.com

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Golden Gate

2/15-2/17   Excited to visit with dear friends, we pulled in and set up shop in the little sleeper town of Vacaville, CA. It was our first stop where we were parking on the street and we were unsure about it all. The first night went smoothly and after our experience at the camp ground we were becoming old pro’s at leveling out Celu’haven.  However, the next morning we had a run in with a cadet who told us we had to move. And so, after much debate we ended up packing our bags and bedding and parking at The Mission, a church down the road from our friends. That afternoon we were enjoying a little hula hooping in the driveway when a squad car rolled by. He had a confused look on his face, rolled down his window and asked if this was a certain address? We answered yes. He glanced back and forth and then said, “Hmm, I don’t see a bus. Was there a bus here?” We laughed and said yes, that it was ours and it was moved a few hours ago. He smiled and asked what it was all about. We told him our story and he was delighted. He shared about his travels with the military, about his joy of music and wished us well. And that was that.

  

Besides the initial excitement our time in Vacaville was quiet and refreshing. We had time to just rest, do laundry, school and enjoy everyday life with dear friends. The kids picked fresh oranges and lemons from the tree in the back yard. We played a few songs with Kathryn Grace, meet some really lovely kinfolk and we watched The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which is a new family favorite. Yep, that’s one cuss of a movie.

2/18 SAN FRANCISCO- Although we were on a tight budge we had a wonderful day filled with sites, sounds, culture and fantastic overstimulation. We did the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, watched the seals swim and frolic, road a trolley downtown, admired street performers, walked  Lombard Street, Chinatown and Haight-Ashbury. The only places we didn’t see was Alcatraz and Ghirardelli Square and that is unfortunate because we love rebels and we love chocolate.  But there is always next time.

  

We spent about half the day in Chinatown. It was rich in unique smells, colors and flavors. As we wandered through the park there was traditional music blaring over the loud speakers as the old fella’s played their pipas, yuehus, dizi and tonggu. There was a man and a woman singing along to the ancient sounds as men and women were huddled in groups of five to eight. They were each playing a gambling game of some sort. Across the park there were folks practicing Falun Gong. We sat for quite sometime taken by the sights and sounds.

  

Later we made our way down the main drag and found ourselves in a long line in front of the Golden Gate Bakery. We asked what all the fuss was about and found out this particular Asian Bakery specializes in Custard Tarts. So, we we’re hard pressed to leave our spots and found our way to the ordering counter. They were worth the wait and we enjoyed those tarts! Later that evening we decided to take google’s advice and eat at Sam Wo’s. That was quite the experience. I felt like I was in a Jerry Lewis film as we walked through the kitchen, up the stairs and to our table. The waiter made is orders and lowered the ticket down through a little dumb-waiter. When the order was ready a buzzer would sound and the waiter would pulley up the meal and serve it up. It was a dirty little hole in the wall but it was unique, the food was good and we didn’t get sick afterwards. So, maybe we’d go back?