Heller Ritz Photography
A day without Sunshine is like, you know, night. ~Steve Martin


Thank you for stopping by! Here, you can join me in my eternal quest for sunshine. You will find posts of my latest photography ventures, peek into the lives of my private sunshine subjects, and learn about my quest for spreading kindness Because of Heller. I would love it if you left a comment to let me know you were here, and to share your sunshine too! If you would like to follow my journey, scroll down to Spread Some Sunshine and join me.

xo Hayley

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Monday, May 31, 2010

On This Memorial Day...Thank You

Thank You USA

Barbecues. A parade filled with patriotic colors. A day at the beach. Cookies or cupcakes with stars on top. This is what Memorial Day looks like to so many. On the outside, this is what Memorial Day looks like on me.

On the inside, however, I am truly in awe. I could not personally identify one of the 5,462 faces of the fallen in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. I have never left a memento alongside the grave of a loved one lost. I never bore witness to the site of a flag-draped casket holding someone near and dear to me. I never had to say goodbye like this…or this…or this.

My thoughts and prayers today are not only with those fallen, but also with those grieving parents, friends, siblings, husbands, wives and children. For your sacrifices, I honor you, I pray for you, and I thank you.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Photo Story Friday - Be Happy...

Glass Half Full_Tagged

...Your Glass is Half Full

We call this Nicholas's "Be Happy!" face. When he senses (or knows darn-well) that someone is angry or sad, he puts on this cheesy grin and (as more of a retort than a reminder) he makes his command—“Be Happy!”

When he first started doing this, I found it trying. "I don't want to 'be happy' right now," I would inform him. "Mommy is upset."

A few days into this new routine, however, my teen-aged daughter picked it up. In the same, high-pitched, clipped tone, she would glance over at me from across the room and, for no reason at all, slap on the identical cheese-grin and imitate her brother-- “Be Happy!”

Then, we laugh.

In those moments, I realize that perhaps the smartest person in the room, the one that is teaching the lessons, is the three-year-old. He’s the one who sees the glass as half full…the eternal optimist because he knows nothing else. In his mind, why not be happy? The alternative is so much less appealing.

I often hear that the key to positive thinking is to practice positive affirmations. These are tools that reprogram your unconscious mind from negative thinking to positive. The process is easy. Think of positive statements that you wish to see manifested, and repeat them over and over until they are a part of your way of thinking.

So, Nicholas offers this one—your glass is half full, so “Be Happy!”

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecilyand Mamarazzi

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Week 21 - I Heart Faces "Yellow"

With Honors_2010

I've been preparing my "yellow" photo for weeks. Other than selecting which photo, of so many photos, that I loved best, I was completely ready to post.

Then, out of the blue we received a letter--"I am pleased to announce that your student has been selected to receive recognition during our annual Awards Ceremony..." Yes, our Jenny will graduate with honors!! Yesterday evening, Jenny received her "yellow" honor cords. In just a few, short weeks, she will walk across the graduation stage, and she will proudly display her accomplishment.

Until then, however, I will proudly display it here!

Congratulations my Jenny! Congratulations Class of 2010! The world is waiting!!

Check out other
IHeartFaces yellow photos this week here. They are filled with sunshine and sure to make you smile.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ocean Treasures

We finally made our appointment with the beach, and the treasures awaiting us made it worth the wait!

Ocean Treasure_Sea Urchin

"Handle with Care"

Ocean Treasures_Traveling Sea Urchin

Ticklish Traveler

Ocean Treasures_Large Clam 2

"Clammy" hands

Ocean Treasures_Large Clam

Smile for me!

Ocean Treasures_Conch out of Shell

Show yourself

Ocean Treasures_Delivering Home Again

Going Home - Take only pictures...leave only bubbles.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What is Your Reason for Cloud-Dreaming?

Capturing Sunshine While Cloud-Dreaming_May 20

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray."

Heller. For those of you who don't know, Heller means, "Brilliant, like the sun!" Yes, my darling little boy, my sunshine, my Heller, was brilliant--just like the sun.

"The other night dear, while I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms...
When I awoke dear, I was mistaken, so I hung my head and cried."

Heller Ritz Photography Capturing Sunshine is about Heller. Sleeping, awake, day or night, I dream of my sunshine. I dream of "Capturing Sunshine," holding it in my arms, and never letting go.

Sunshine can be found anywhere and everywhere, but I know the best place to look. And that, my friends, is why I cloud dream.

I am not alone, Cloud-Dreamers can be found far and wide, and the reasons for cloud-dreaming are countless. Check out this lovely community of cloud-dreamers here. As its creator, Fran, has noted, "Your heart will thank you."

You can also visit My Angel Hippo is Happy--my first official cloud-dream post at Cloud-Dreaming

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Heart Faces - Week 20 - Faces and Flowers

"The Earth Laughs in Flowers!" ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Earth Laughter_Tagged

Keep it laughing!!

Check out more beautiful faces and flowers this week here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Walk on the Wild Side - Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay

God made the wild animals according to their kinds...and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. ~Genesis 1


BG_Baby Duck_Tagged

BG_Momma Duck_Tagged



BG_Lion Lunchtime_Tagged


BG_Hippo Collage_Tagged

Friday, May 14, 2010

Longing for Some Beach Therapy

Calls from the Beach_Tagged

Note to Self: Schedule an appointment--soon!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WW (Wordless Wednesday) - Kilroy Was Here

Kilroy Was Here_Tagged

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I Heart Faces - Week 19 - "Celebrating Mom!"

Moms Focus_Tagged

You know you are a mom when...

You receive a bright, beautiful bouquet of flowers for Mother's Day,
and the only thing you can possibly focus on is the giver.

Check out other photos that celebrate Mom this week here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Mothers Day Flower_Pink

As I grow a little older each year, I look into the mirror and find my mother's reflection staring back at me. As I grow a little older each year, I grow a little wiser too. In my wisdom I have learned, it is my mother's reflection that looks the best on me.

Mom, I love you. xo

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

And the Award for Best Actress Goes to...


Meet Jenny_Tagged

A typical night in Jenny's life with her photographer mom may sound something like this:

Mom: Your room is a mess. Clean it.
Mom: Why didn't you give me this information before today?
Mom: Watch your brother for a little while.
Mom: Did you finish your homework?

Mom: Why is your room still a mess?
Mom: Quick! Brush your hair and let's go take some pictures in the front yard.
Mom: Are you really going to wear that to take pictures?
Mom: Hurry! I'm losing light!

Mom: Jenny? Why don't you look happy?
Just try to "act" happy then.

My Jenny. She's quite the actress. ;)

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Summer Begins_Tagged

sum·mer·time (noun): the summer season or a period like summer. ~Merriam-Webster

Sorry, Merriam-Webster. That definition just won't do.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Forever on My Toes - One Year Ago, Today

About a year ago, I was given an opportunity to develop my photography skills through a workshop provided by a wonderfully talented photographer, Sheye Rosemeyer. As a workshop assignment, we were asked to capture "ourselves."

I am sharing this photo and post with you, as I shared it one year ago, today.

Forever on my Toes_Tagged

I was what you would call a “girlie girl.”

Like many aspiring ballerinas, I dreamed of the day when I would pirouette across a New York stage to the music of The Nutcracker Suite. But, life is funny. You never know where you will end up.

When it was time for me to have children, I knew that I would have girls. "Girlie girls" have girls, right?! So, imagine my surprise (with two deliveries) when I heard the words, “It’s a boy!” It was time for me to begin to learn the ways of boys…I had no idea I would remain forever on my toes.

Nicholas’s car crocks have made an appearance in several photos on
this blog. When he picked them out, I cringed. The word, UGLY, came to mind. But, over the last several weeks—and by force—these shoes have grown on me. I love the car face. I love the character. I love that they are red (Heller’s favorite color). I love that as I post this, Nicholas is running through the house in a diaper and his car shoes.

With this photo, I hoped to capture the juxtaposition of life’s direction—where we are at one Pointe—pun intended—is not necessarily where we will end up, and it’s not a bad thing…just different.

This leads me to one of my favorite quotes from the Bible, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, “plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I have faith that we will all eventually land where God plans, even if we don’t recognize the vehicle—pun intended—that takes us there.