A Day in Fort Worth by Londen Wheeler

Wow! This is the first post of 2019! At least this January blew by pretty quickly because last year, January took FOREVER to end! Last week I ended up in Colorado for an unexpected work trip and I must say, Colorado is a beautiful place! My coworker and I flew out last Monday and arrived in Denver pretty late in the evening. After arriving in Denver, we had to drive an hour south to Colorado Springs and as soon as we got to the hotel, it started snowing. And I mean heavy snow and high winds! It was the first time I had been in any snow since I moved to Texas over two years ago. Texas has me pretty spoiled so I was not feeling too excited about the snow or the super cold weather! I will say that I would love to take another trip to Colorado but I would need it to be Spring or Summer before I go. I feel like they would have some amazing hiking spots there. So if you live in Colorado and/or have been there before, let me know of all the hot spots to hike!

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Another day, another donut. 📸: @wanderbabexo

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Well, enough of that! Back to my life in the “Great State of Texas!” My good friend Letty (@Fashionablylateboymom) and I planned to spend a day in Fort Worth to attend the Snap151 Pop Up Shop. Kayleigh (@wanderbabexo), Letty’s best friend tagged along with us for the day and helped to bring more fun to the party. Our day of just planning to go to Snap151 ended up turning into going to eat at this awesome restaurant called BarTaco and then over to the Lumen Room for their open house. Letty and I took a few photos there but it was PACKED with people wanting to create as much as they could with the beautiful space that was available. I was even able to create a beautiful shot of a model that was there.

If anybody has been wondering why I haven’t been posting much to Instagram, it’s because I’ve been crazy busy and really not feeling very creative lately. Spending the day in Fort Worth this past weekend was refreshing. I felt energized and charged up after being around creatives, meeting new people, networking and creating beautiful images. I’m ready to start the new year off right with more traveling through the country and it’s definitely one of my resolutions to shoot more. Last year was a super slow year for me even though I had some really nice opportunities come my way. Time to focus more energy into going out to shoot and not being afraid to ask people to work with me. It’s even been hard asking people to shoot with me because we would schedule a day to shoot and then they would cancel on me day of. So that’s frustrating. I’m hoping that I can start meeting people who would actually want to do a shoot and would feel the enjoyment that I feel when I’m in front of or behind a camera. Pray for me on that, guys!

On a positive note! Let’s kick butt this year, y’all!

Maria & Family by Londen Wheeler

Sup, everyone!  Long time no see!  It's been a while since I've done a blog post.  My coworker and good friend, Maria finally got a free day for us to go do photos with her kids.  We literally planned to do this since the summer and have both just not been able to do a shoot because of our lives being so hectic.

The day before the shoot, we confirmed where we wanted to go. The photos that I saw online made the locations look beautiful and a place that would be good for family photos.  Well, that wasn't the case after we got there!  We pulled up, looked around, and everything was brown, dead, and ugly.  I had another location as a backup and we made our way to that spot.  Literally the exact same thing.  Everything was ugly, the park was extremely small, you could see the back of people's houses, fences.  Just a pitiful park.  Should it have even been called a park?  Maria mentioned that she had a park where she used to do her morning runs that could work.  We hopped back into the car and made our way to Rockwall, Texas.  This park in comparison to the first two was perfect for what we needed.  What really made this shoot so great was that it was almost 70 degrees!  Perfect December weather if you ask me.

After the shoot, Maria's son wanted some Wendy's so we stopped and got him a 4 for 4 because he killed the shoot and had a great time!  No better way to end a long afternoon of shooting than a pitstop for some food and a Wendy's frosty.

I'm always interesting in meeting more people in the DFW area so if any of my readers know anybody, send them on to me!  I'd love to do more work with families and couples.  I'd really like to do some lifestyle shoots with couples in an Airbnb or some really awesome location.  So again, let me know if you all know some folks!

NCAA DI Softball Regionals at Baylor University by Londen Wheeler

People still can't spell my name right, guys! 

People still can't spell my name right, guys! 

It's funny how I ended up in Waco for four days, especially because I never really expected to be shooting any sports any time soon.  This past Monday, I got into work pretty early, like 5:30 am early, and my coworker who sits behind me asked if I had any photography gigs this weekend.  There weren't any Instameets going on and I didn't have any portrait sessions so it was an unusual, "no."  Literally an hour later, I get a text from my former internship supervisor asking if I had any plans this weekend.  I told her no and that I was just going to chill and probably hang with some friends.  Which then sprung up her next question...  "How far do you live from Waco?"  My response was roughly two hours depending on traffic because anyone who lives in Texas knows that if you take I35, be prepared to plan your day accordingly.  She then asked if I was interested in shooting the NCAA Division I Softball Regionals at Baylor University.  Being that I was upset that I would miss another Regional with JMU, and after finding out that they weren't hosting this year, I sprung up and said, "when, where, and how long do I need to be there?!"  She told me the weekend game plan and I told her that I was in after talking with my manager and getting approval to go.  Before you know it, I was heading down to Waco with a car full of camera gear, bumping my Spanish worship playlist on Spotify and catching minor cases of road rage.

Caught texting on ESPN in between innings! - Photo courtesy of Scott Eyre

Caught texting on ESPN in between innings! - Photo courtesy of Scott Eyre

Once I got there, I was feeling pretty nostalgic to be traveling with a JMU sports team again and seeing all of the familiar and friendly faces from Harrisonburg, Va.  I also got to meet the extremely talented Director of Video, Clayton.  It was awesome to watch him work and create the videos that he does for the athletics department.  I also got to see my friend, Curt Dudley, the voice of JMU athletics and I met Ty, one of the team administrators.  We had some great conversations and got to know each other in the little bit of time that we had in Waco.

So, I'm just going to share some of my photos from the games, which is the whole reason behind this post.  Also, check out this photo that my friend, Scott took of me on ESPN!

Thursday - Practice at Baylor University

The ambitious Dukes take the field at Getterman Stadium to get some practice in.  The weather from Dallas to Waco is very different.  The humidity in Waco was enough to take your breath away and before I knew it, I was sweating profusely and feeling dehydrated.  Other than that, it was nice to get back on the field to get some shots after not shooting any real sports since January when JMU's football team won the national championship in Frisco.

Friday - JMU vs. Oregon State University

Ok, so nobody ask me how I was able to get Coach Dean to give me a thumbs up but I sat there for a good five minutes waiting for him to do something.  As a result, this is what he did.  Can't complain because the shot was totally worth it and if you know Coach Dean, I'm sure it is meme worthy because someone like him has to have a ton of funny phrases that would be perfect for memes.  The Dukes had a great first game against OSU and it was tough at first to get my eyes back into seeing action again.  Everything was moving way faster than what I had practiced for earlier last week (See my Neighborhood Basketball post).

Saturday - jMU vs. Baylor University - Game 1

The Dukes went into this game ready to go and I was confident that we were going to get this dub and go home for the night.  We were up 2-1 going into the sixth inning, but Baylor had a heckuva hit and ended up with a three-run home run.  That homer gave Baylor a 4-2 lead over JMU.  Upset?  Yes, but the ladies responded in the next game against Kent State.  The rest of the tournament was on the line going into that game and in order to move on, we would have to beat Kent State.

Saturday - jmu vs. Kent State - Game 2

This was it.  The moment we were all waiting for.  If we won this game, we would move on and play Baylor again on Sunday.  This one wasn't a nail biter thankfully.  The ladies marched right by Kent State to go home for the night with a 4-0 win.  The media guys didn't leave the field until a little after 10 pm so we were pretty tired.  We went back to the hotel room, I plugged up my camera batteries to charge, took a shower, and knocked out before I could count 3 sheep.  It was a long day, especially in that Waco humidity having your energy and every ounce of water drained from your body.

Sunday - jmu vs. Baylor University (Again)

So, here we are.  The game that would decide if we go home or play Baylor for a third time to take him the Regional Championship two years in a row and advance to Super Regionals.  The day started off pretty chilly and I think that I was more nervous than the ladies were.  I was pacing and walking all over the stadium because I just wanted the game to start so we could get to this second game and decide the winner of the regional.  After the game started, things were going as they should.  Both teams were giving it their all and only time would tell when the winner would be decided.  While trying to intentionally walk the batter who hit the three-run homer on Saturday, JMU's pitcher threw a pitch that went left and Baylor's runner on third bass took the opportunity to slide into home plate and score a run.

Outside of that one point that was scored, neither team was able to get points from hits.  There were a lot of great plays being made in the outfield by both teams.  But just when we thought there was light at the end of the tunnel, a senior batter from JMU smacked a ball to center field!  I mean, it looked sooooo nice.  I thought to myself that this was going to be it, the home run that could get us out of the hole.  The ball fell just a few feet short of going over the back wall and was caught by Baylor's center fielder who wasn't letting a single ball touch the green the entire game.  Defeated?  For now, yes.  But there's no doubt in my mind that these ladies will be just as great next year.  I see them being twice as successful as they have been the past few years.  I'm ready to see this team make it to the Women's College World Series!  It's only a matter of time now, ladies.  Let's do this!

I want to send a super huge shoutout to JMU athletics for allowing me to photograph this tournament.  It is always an honor to be apart of this amazing program, surrounded by amazing players, coaches, and staff.  You all made the experience a million times better and I am truly grateful for all that you have done for me.  Can't wait to see you all again!

To see more content from this weekend and to follow JMU athletics, visit their web site.  Click the link under the photo.

Dallas InstaMeet by Londen Wheeler

So today, I took a really big step out of my box and met with a huge group of photographers from all over the DFW area... Wait, before I begin, calling the group "photographers" would be an complete understatement because these folks are true CREATIVES. When they see a shot that they want, they make it happen and they capture it well!  These folks have some of the most brilliant minds that I have seen in a long time.

Anyway, I found out about this Instameet via Instagram and thought that it would be a great idea to go and check it out.  This was an awesome way to get your follower game up on Instagram (P.S. follow me @lonwhlphoto) too!  I somehow ended up talking to this one guy and told him that I lived a little ways from Dallas so I'm not here often.  He asked me where I lived and he flipped out because he only lives about 10 minutes from me.  I'm hopeful that a really awesome friendships will come from this meet up.

Last week, I attended a march/rally that took place at the JFK Memorial in Dallas and today, we ended up stopping at the memorial again.  It was pretty cool to see that we had over 40 people come together for photography, music, laughter, and yes, freestyling.  Who would've thought that we would get a mini concert in the memorial?  I've noticed that the JFK Memorial is a place that brings a lot of people together, no matter the occasion.  The presence and atmosphere felt great and I felt like I was really starting to make friends in such an unfamiliar place.

Check out this video that I took of this raw talent!

I'm super excited for the next event and opportunity to go shoot with these amazing creatives.  I hope you all are ready to see my photography evolve!  I learned a lot in just a few hours so imagine the progress when it's warm outside and still daylight at 9pm.  I'm ready for the challenge. I'm ready for growth.  I'm ready for friendships.  I'm ready to be a creative.