Born in Wheeling West Virginia, April 29 1970.
Grew up on military bases until Mom moved us to Vermont in 1979.
Lived in Vermont until 1994, when I moved to New Hampshire to be with my to-be-husband.
Lived in NH until 2006, when we moved to Montreal, QC so I could do my PhD.
Now I live in La Crosse Wisconsin, and am a professor of education at UWL. My research involves social cognition, and the Russian theorists (Vygotsky, Bakhtin, Voloshinov).
I am, in particular, passionate about photographing graves of women. Early records research relies heavily on fathers or the men to whom they were married or the children that they bore. I'd like to preserve the important life work of other women whenever possible.
Finally, I only create memorials if I've photographed a local grave and can't find a match in the database. If you are a relative and would like the few I manage transferred to you, then I am happy to do so.
I use two digital cameras - One is a Nikon, and the other is a Kodak DLSR. As to which I use when, it really just depends as to which is charged and ready to go.
When I photograph, I try to photograph whole sections and/or whole cemeteries. I then batch upload these, unless I am looking to fulfill a specific individual request.
The time of day really influences the quality of the photo. I try to go mid day, or late afternoon to get the best light. Another factor is how the stones or marker are placed. I can often get great shots of some stones at some times of day...and the stone next to it is in shadow. That's one of the reasons I try to go mid day - when the sun will most likely be "most neutral".
I do bring a couple of types of brushes to try to clean the stone up prior to photographing. I can't tell you how many I have lost in various cemeteries! One is a rather stiff bristled brush and I do my best to try to loosen any fungus or debris so an inscription can be read more clearly. I do not use any sort of cleaning products on stones, although I occasionally use water to encourage movement of the fungus.
You might notice that I often shoot from an angle. I am trying to keep a photo free of my shadow or reflection. With highly polished stone, you can frequently get reflections of the photographers feet. I try to be highly conscious of shadows and reflections when I take photos. I make mistakes of course, but I do try.
I am happy to do re-shoots of existing photos and have done many of these for folks who wish for a clearer picture. Digital photography has advanced mightily in the last ten years and the "first" picture may be of a lower quality that we can get today. It's not a slight on the original photo or photographer, it's just technology.
I do this as a labor of love. I am not competing with anyone for how many photos I can be "first" with or how many memorials I "manage". People who want to complain that I have added a photo where one photo exists already get blocked. Families can enjoy and appreciate more than one photo of a memorial - we have capacity for 20 photos per memorial now. I am not arguing with strangers over whether or not their photo is better than mine. I have far better things to do with my time and frankly, they should too.
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