Freshly home from about 11 days of travel, including a few days in London before one full week in India.
The India portion of my trip was to visit my organization’s (the International Fund for Animal Welfare, IFAW) wildlife rescue and rehabilitation project in Assam and Kaziranga National Park. Absolutely incredible stuff, face-to-face with baby elephants and rhinos (and leopards!) who will soon grown strong and confident enough to be released back into the wild. Other than bottle feeding, human contact and voices are at a minimum around these magnificent creatures. The center is not open to the public.
As we moved toward the city of Delhi for continued strategy meetings, I loved the chances to sneak out for visits to a couple of local markets and the stunning Hindu house of worship called Akshardham.
Textiles such as scarves and blankets were my favorite to indulge in. While the majority of our travels showed extreme poverty, there is still a vibrancy to the Indian culture at every turn. Laundry drying on the highway guardrails, women crouched in the tea fields, children begging on the streets – all in beautiful prints and colors.
Our meetings included more than 30 colleagues from all around the world: Australia, the Netherlands, France, China, Germany, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, Canada, the UK, Mexico, India and the U.S. I’m filled with inspiration and a boat-load of new ideas for the year ahead!
It’s such an honor to be able to travel the world with my camera, and to share images and experiences from these cultures. Don’t forget to join me on Instagram at @staceyhedman!
New Years is deeeefinitely my favorite day of the year. I mean, 4th of July is my favorite holiday, but on January 1st, I love nothing more than to curl up with some quiet time and a notebook. How ‘bout you?
The thing is, New Years is almost always preceded by New Years Eve, and that’s the kind of holiday when we all party and rage with friends or even strangers until the wee hours of the morning. This fun-but-predictable ritual results in a groggy start to the fresh new year.
We are heading up to spend an awesome weekend with friends at Jay Peak in northern Vermont this New Years 2017, and I couldn’t be more excited! Snow, fresh mountain air, laughter – can’t beat it! But I’m already setting some physical and mental space aside for my notebooks, pens and quiet time! Actually, when everyone else is swooshing down the slopes on New Years Day, I plan to be hiking UP the 4000-foot peak of Big Jay by myself (unless someone wants to join me, which is totally great too!). Sounds like a pretty great way to start the year, if I may say so!
Some other great New Years essentials:
Notebook: I’m a huge Moleskine fan and recently acquired the perfect shade of navy blue by Leuchtturm from a bookstore in Moscow. I also can’t let go of a unique paint-splashed journal I found at Adorn last winter. The question remains: lined, graph, dots, blank paper? Do you write more, do you draw, do you draw in a straight line or all over the paper? I do all of the above, and I like to add some clippings and quotes using other mediums when I can.
Pens: The coolest options can be found at Goulet Pens. I love following along on their Instagram, and I’m always wanting to buy their pen collections as gifts. I must have also told you about these gel pens from Japan that you can erase?
Vision Boarding: I mean, of course I’ve heard of vision boards before, but it seems to be quite a trendy thing right now. I googled it to see what the latest was. The Huffington Post says “If you think vision boards are bogus, then the joke’s on you,” sooooo, I’m in. They also suggest your vision board should focus on how you want to feel, not just on things that you want. I highly recommend this quick read. I’m actually very excited to implement this in my 2017!
Tarot Cards: I get it now, why these whimsical cards are also trending. I heard Anthropologie was selling the same pack I have in their stores: The Wild Unknown. You can check out BiddyTarot.com’s list of 10 Tarot Decks to Add to Your Holiday Wish List. The general rule here is that there are no rules. Pull a card out in the morning to help guide you through your day or a big decision, or dig deeper into the techniques for full readings. Overall, it’s just like a Magic-8-Ball, and it’s all up to your own interpretation – which it turns out can be extreeeemely valuable!
Anyway, I wish you the absolute best as you welcome your New Year 2017 this weekend! Find a little balance (drink water) along the way and celebrate where you are in this wild and beautiful life!
Bonus tip: Treat each Monday as a fresh new start as well! Mondays can be pretty amazing!
Taking it back a bit to Julie and Dave’s Chatham Bars Inn wedding, because they had one of the most beautiful AND hilarious wedding days I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing!
I got to know these two for their Cotuit engagement session, and I felt like I had a decent idea of who they were and what a great wedding they would have… but I never foresaw the all-night 90s hip-hop party that would ensue (and 90s hip-hop is the way to my soul, by the way)! Guess that’s bound to happen when an incredible couple follows my [brilliant] advice to hire The Classic Yellow as their band – in addition to apparently living a double life as rap stars themselves!
But truly, Julie and Dave are beauties on the inside and out. Welcome to their Chatham wedding day in the rain!
The rain came and went, and came and went again. Thankfully there’s no shortage of indoor photo locations and a huge wrap-around porch at the Chatham Bars Inn. We made it outside for plenty of portraits though!
I always capture a bride’s bouquet on these adorable Tiffany-blue wicker chairs down by the waterfront. I hope they always have them there!
The groom, his pals, and that incredible 90s hip-hop I was telling you about…
Julie and Dave, I hope life has been beautiful for you as you welcome another new year together! You remain among my fondest memories of wedding bells and certainly dance floors! XO
Florist: Lilacs| Invitations: Judy Paulen Designs | Catering: Chatham Bars Inn | Cake & Dessert: Chatham Bars Inn and Four Seas Ice Cream | Video: The Pros Weddings | Music: The Classic Yellow | Hair & Makeup: Lisa George | Officiant: Rabbi Sharon Forman | Transportation: Cape Destinations | Dress: Lazaro | Shoes: Miu Miu | Suit: Vera Wang | Favors & Escort Cards: Pink Polka Dot
Wishing you and your loved ones a cozy and thoughtful holiday week ahead!
A few of my favorite things today, á la Julie Andrews:
Starting the day with yoga, followed by a hot cup of pour-over coffee, burying my face in some dog fur, the twinkle of Christmas lights throughout the house, midday rain that I’d love more if it were snow, being ahead of the game on cooking and wrapping, the possibility of reading a book, the greater likelihood that I’ll be able to knit (while chatting), the sound of football on television even though I’m not really watching, seeing my mom happy with a full house of family, the positive side of social media and sharing in festivities with friends around the world, the clink of ice in my low-ball glass of bourbon, curling up close to the man of my dreams, and the anticipation of waking up to a fun new day.
As you’re singing o’er the hills this weekend, what are a few of your favorite things? Snap me something fun at @staceyhedman on Snapchat!
I haven’t really taken the chance to share with you the details of my current gig at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). You may have caught some Instagram photos from my travels across multiple continents recently – but here’s a little about why!
About a year and a half ago, a friend reached out with an opportunity at IFAW – one that would call upon my 15-year career in corporate marketing strategy. I said no for two reasons; (1) because I had quite selfishly grown accustomed to working for myself and from home for the last five years, and (2) I didn’t think I could handle the subject matter. IFAW works to rescue and protect animals all around the world, and this can often be a pretty emotional subject to “promote”.
But this initial discussion did spark feelings of missing my marketing career. I went on to launch a combined social-marketing-and-photography aspect of my business one year ago, and boy was I pretty amped to do it all (my typical M.O.)! Very shortly after, said friend reached back out to say, essentially, “are you kidding me?” I began a four-month contract with IFAW almost immediately, in March 2016.
Well, this contract became a full-time position over the summer, and I couldn’t be happier! Turning 40 this year, it suddenly seemed like I was living a dream instead of a mid-life crisis! I’ve photographed (and Tweeted, Facebooked, Instagrammed and Snapchatted!) from the floods in Louisiana, an incredible rescue transport at JFK airport, IFAW’s first Hollywood film premiere in LA, an influential three-week convention in Johannesburg, a mobile animal clinic reaching poor slum communities in South Africa, the rescue and rehabilitation of endangered African penguins, an amazing elephant collaring project in Kenya to support the protection and conservation of local populations, a recent visit to the Kremlin in Moscow to increase awareness around our whale, tiger, bear and antelope programs, and next up in January, a week with our global team in India at Kaziranga National Park.
I’d love to share more of these photos and stories with you, so get ready! My photography career began with rescue dogs in 2009, so it’s pretty incredible to see where life is leading me now! Elephants, rhinos, primates, whales, tigers, giraffes, bears and so much more!
However, I also want to assure you that I’m still photographing weddings – I LOVE weddings! I’ll probably be doing less of the average weekday photo sessions, but I’ll never give up that glow of a wedding day.
So I’ll see you around? More soon!