Mason City IL

St. Jude Runs | Mason City to Peoria 2019

The Mason City team did it again! They raised $136,000 for the kids of St. Jude during the 2019 fundraising campaign for this year’s run. We started out at Illini Central High School and left the parking lot promptly at 5:45am. The team runs down the main stretch of Mason City with the first stop being at the cemetery at the other edge of town. We always place flowers at our team captain Jessie’s grave and say a few words and quick prayer. Jessie was a St. Jude patient who lost her battle with cancer in 2010. Jessie’s mom Nancy and brother Zach coordinate the run, and let me tell you, it is a huge undertaking! The Mason City run has become a well-oiled machine and this year’s run went so smoothly. Can’t wait for next year!

#jessiesteam #10yearsandrunning #mcstjuderun

Senior Concept Shoot | Make Small Town Life Beautiful

Part 2 of my concept shoot with Carlee was two-fold "Make Mason City look beautiful" with a bit of "ugly places, pretty faces" inspiration.  I think there is a definite charm of an old small town with old dilapidated buildings like this abandoned warehouse, along with beautifully restored buildings.  A couple of key people in the town have made an effort to keep some original structures as they were originally built and restored their facades to preserve a piece of the town's history.

I may be in the minority here, but I see beauty in this old, ugly white building.  I've driven by it for years (decades, really), and recently started wanting to shoot there. Carlee and her mom Brenda new exactly the place I was talking about when I first mentioned it.  We also chatted about her actual senior session we're planning for the fall, and she first said she thought she wanted all nature/park type photos, but I think I may have her convinced to add in a bit of grunge too! ;)  We'll also be doing some volleyball photos in the Illini Central gym, so I cannot WAIT for that!

And without further ado, I give you Mason City in all her glory, along with a member of the Class of 2019 Miss Carlee!  (OMG -- I just realized that means I graduated 19 years ago -- ack!)

Ashlei + Dave | Tinley Park Odyssey Country Club Wedding


After a long winter with not much of a chance for outdoor portraits, I was so raring to go for the 2015 wedding season! I got started with a bang with Ashlei + Dave's wedding in Tinley Park, where we started with both the guys and girls getting ready at the Holiday Inn. The hotel was just a few-minute drive from the Odyssey Country Club, which was a GORGEOUS venue I hope to photograph at again. Though the sun was shining, the air was still pretty chilly, but the entire wedding party dealt with it well and did whatever I asked of them. Ashlei wanted lots of portraits and lots of details shots and I was happy to oblige! Once we'd gotten several of the "safe" and "must have" shots, I told her we were going to shift gears and do some more creative and romantic poses, and she was thrilled. :) I also love love love the navy + gold + champagne color scheme they chose, and especially the navy suits, which is something I don't see very often. The colors made for amazing details shots from the table settings to the flowers to the rings. (Obviously I had fun with the rings since I posted 4 different versions just on the blog!!). My favorite memory from the night was when Ashlei pulled me over to the window overlooking the golf course and pointed down to one of the gazebos where another wedding couple was getting photographed after dark. She said "Can we go?" And said of course, and said her photos would be even better than theirs! LOL -- thanks to the groomsmen who trekked out there with me to hold my flash!). Those photos are the very last two of the set -- be sure to check them out! #hbpweddings #hbpbrides Ashlei + Dave, thank you so much for having me photograph your wedding day -- I had so much fun and have a few new favorite images for sure! Hope you're enjoying St. Lucia!!

Leave a comment below for Ashlei + Dave and after 50 comments, they'll receive a complimentary 11x14" print of their choice.

Tinley Park Holiday Inn getting ready

Holiday Inn Tinley Park bridal suite

bridesmaids getting ready

wedding party Odyssey Country Club

off-camera flash Odyssey CC

First Look Reveal

beige champagne bridesmaid dresses

navy tux groomsmen

white navy champagne wedding decor

wedding candids

white blue candy bar bouquet

macro ring shots

bridal portraits

bride and groom portraits

bride and groom at ceremony venue

portrait time

bridal ceremony entrance

Here comes the bride

ceremony candids

First Kiss and celebration

wedding day celebrations

blue skies March wedding portraits

Odyssey Country Club wedding

wedding toasts

Odyssey Country Club reception venue

father-daughter dance

mother-son dance

couple's first dance "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran

bouquet and garter tosses

reception dancing candids

off-camera flash portraits at end of night

Vendor Team Venue: Odyssey Country Club, Tinley Park Dress: Candice's Bridal, Springfield Bridesmaids: WTOO Tuxes: Jim's Formalwear Limo: Chicago Elite Limo DJ: Admit One DJs Hair & makeup: Mici Birch & Ashley VanEtten Jewelry: Mark's Jewelers Programs & Invitations: Cortineo Creative | The Wedding Studio Florist: Kloeckner Preferred Flowers Photographer: Holly Birch Photography