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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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday

True Love and Sunsets_Tagged

Nicholas: Can Whiskers come for a walk with us?
Me: No, because I will be the one who ends up carrying him.
Nicholas: Please. Whiskers wants to go for a walk with us.
Me: Whiskers doesn't walk. Again, I don't want to be the one to carry Whiskers.
Nicholas: Mommy, Please can Whiskers come on the walk with us?
Me: What did Mommy say?
Nicholas: (Silence)
Nicholas: (Already on the walk with Whiskers in his arms.) Mommy, can Whiskers come for a walk with us?
Me: Really Nicholas? Really? Well, obviously we aren't going to go back home with him. We'll miss the sunset.

So Whiskers walked with us. And, shared the sunset. And behaved himself in Nicholas's arms.

The Entire Way.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Falling Down


No man is a failure who is enjoying life. ~William Feather

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Heart Faces - Sidewalk Chalk

Serious Sidewalk Chalk_Tagged

This is an oldie, but it's still a favorite. Nichoals was serious about his sidewalk chalk that day. "I make our house, Mommy!" he told me.

I will always remember the day. One of my most favorite photos ever came from that shoot! Nicholas's post-chalking jeans and bright yellow sneakers makes a magnificent 20x30 poster, and now hangs over his bed.

Check out other sidewalk chalk creations at I Heart Faces here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Madison and Jessica - A Sneak Peek

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” ~Coco Chanel

Homecoming Beauties_Tagged

Homecoming season has arrived, and I was delighted to have an opportunity to capture these two beauties as they prepared for the big dance! I can't wait to share them with you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

His Word Wednesday - Freely Give

Freely Give_Tagged 2

7 Random Things

Sweet Pepper 7_Tagged

A little less than 10,000 miles away, I have a friend who “speak-a my language.” Though, we have never met face-to-face, I know she hates vegemite. Can you imagine an Australian hating vegemite? I guess it is possible. If Men At Work are accurate in their song lyrics, however, then in Australia “women glow.” If my friend Rikki represents all women in Australia, then Men At Work doesn’t lie. Rikki Glows! Just check out her blog, Rikki Reid Photography, and you will see what I mean.

This week, Rikki passed the 7 Random Things Kreativ Blogger Meme on to me. And, I get to tell you 7 Random Things about myself. So, here goes:

1. Celebrations surround me on my birthday each year. Tequila and Tacos flow, because my birthday falls on Cinco De Mayo.

2. Speaking of Tequila, I can’t tolerate even the smell. No margaritas for me.

3. However, pass the salt please, because I happen to salt everything else. Pizza, watermelon, soups, you name it.

4. Not cherries though, or apples, or carrots, or peaches, because I am allergic to those.

5. Here I am at number 5. I could take this time to mention that the number 5 happens to be my most favorite number in the world. You could say I have loved that number since the day I was born—5/5.

6. That was also the day my mom named me, Hayley. In kindergarten, I decided I hated my name. Nobody else was ever named Hayley. And, the lady on Romper Room never saw me—not once! Of course, I grew to love its originality as I grew older. Then, I grew older still. Now, Hayleys fill the kindergartens.

7. Finally, speaking of kindergarten, here is something random. The year I entered kindergarten, my darling husband entered his freshman year of college. Yikes!

Whew! Now that my head is spinning with randomness, I am passing it along to some of my favorite bloggers.

Kate from
K8tography (Beautiful photos, beautiful family, beautiful soul)
Lisa at
Boondock Ramblings (Fun stories and insight from a small town girl)
Jill at
Free People (A recent blog discovery that I simply cannot get enough of)

If you choose to follow a bit of fun, the “rules” are:
Copy the award to your blog.
Insert a link to the person who nominated you.
Share seven things about yourself
Nominate other bloggers and share the love.
Tell the nominees about their award.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Heart Faces - SMIRK


I truly heart this face! Today, Nicholas celebrates his 50th appearance in an I Heart Faces post!

On March 3, 2009, I first entered Nicholas’s “Messy Face” into an I Heart Faces’ weekly challenge. Since, I have posted 68 entries. The first 48 submissions were posted on my original blog, When I Grow Up. Thanks, in part, to I Heart Faces, I grew. Now, you will find all of my future entries here at Heller Ritz Photography’s Capturing Sunshine.

You might say I remain joyfully committed to "face"ing each of the demanding challenges that I Heart Faces throws my way.

“Demanding?” you say, “Really?” You try capturing Autumn Beauty in Florida. (I placed in the top ten in that one by the way.) And let’s talk about sun flare…ugh. (I think I may be a little bit blind now.)

The very most challenging captures; however, are the ones where I insisted that Nicholas participate. He’s the little guy that you will see attached to my knees most days, so that is why he gets the task. And, sometimes most times, I Heart Faces photo shoot is a task that he just isn’t up to.

“Wait!” you say. “Then how did he make the cut 50 times?” Well, it goes something like this:

Each photo challenge offered by I Heart Faces presents an opportunity for inspiration. With a goal in mind, I set out “on assignment.” After shooting for a while, I start to get some of those smirky “Mom, just take the picture and be done with it” faces that you see above. (For example: I took this photo during I Heart Faces’ “Yellow” week. Of course, you can’t see it in black and white, but there were yellow goggles, a yellow tube, and even a yellow flower during the shoot.)

Then, photos such as these are saved for a rainy day.

I believe that true smirk comes from within, and cannot be set up, so there will be no shoot this week, Nicholas. But alas, I am prepared. So, here is your 50th appearance!

Check out other smirks this week at I Heart Faces here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Heart Faces - Vroom Vroom

Cuddle Bus_Tagged

Cuddle Bus.

A bedroom filled with primary colors and vehicles galore--Heller's three-year-old bedroom.

The "Vehicle Collection" for a child's room was our favorite motif in the store.
Of course, we purchased the wall clings, comforter, sheets, and sham.
We grabbed the lamp shade and car shelves too.
A hard, stuffed bus seemed the least necessary addition to the room's decor.
The bus remained on the shelf.

"Mommy," Heller told me as I tucked him into his beautiful new room that night, "I love my room, but I really wanted the bus pillow."

I didn't understand the need. "The pillow doesn't even look comfortable, Heller." I told him.

"It does to me!" was his reply.

The next day, we returned to the store. The bus pillow was gone. I have to admit, I wasn't disappointed. A $20 pillow wasn't high on my priority list.

A few days later, we found ourselves in the store once again. As we passed through the children's' decor section, a delighted Heller ran to me with the bus in his arms! A shipment had come in!

Cuddle Bus came home with us that night. Like many children come to cherish their stuffed dogs and blankets, Cuddle Bus made his way into Heller's heart. Cuddle Bus became "the thing!"

Six years later, in 2007, when Heller joined his Father in Heaven, he left Cuddle Bus in my care. My need for Cuddle Bus surfaced a few nights after Heller left us, and every night since, as I fall asleep, I hold a worn out Cuddle Bus in my arms.

Heller was right. Cuddle Bus=Comfort.

On special occasions, Heller's brother Nicholas, whose Vroom Room now sports a similar decor as Heller's once did, enjoys a snuggle or two from Cuddle Bus. But, Nicholas knows that "Heller gave Cuddle Bus to Mommy."

This week, I Heart Faces celebrates vehicles. For my photo submission, no other vehicle would do

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Heart Faces - Summer in Review

The Beach--My favorite place to capture sunshine. Thankfully, many of my friends decided The Beach was the place to be this summer too, so we captured sunshine together!

I love the challenges the beach offers my photography endeavour. Beach shots are tricky--the bright sun, reflective water, sand, and spray. But the rewards...oh the rewards! With so much practice, I'm convinced I could write a tutorial about capturing beach shots! (read: lots and lots of trial and error)

This week, I Heart Faces asked us to share our Summer in Review. I thought the best way to approach this would be to share my Summer Beach Excursions in Review. Each collage and map represents a new beach location (identified on the map). Each beach was different, and each beach was marvelous for different reasons.

And, since summertime isn't the only time to enjoy the beaches in Florida, we'll be back all year for more.

Pass-a-grille Beach_TaggedClearwater Beach_TaggedTreasure Island_Tagged

Since we took our vacation at Treasure Island this year, it gets two collages.

Treasure Island 2_TaggedIndian Shores Beach_Tagged
Anna Maria Beach_Tagged
Holmes Beach_Tagged

Check out how others spent their summers here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

His Word Wednesday - Prayer Practice

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. ~ Romans 12:12

Prayer Practice_Tagged

Prayer Practice 2_Tagged

God is great and God is good,
And, I pray to God just like I should.
I know he watches me all day;
He guides me in my work and play.
And, just before I go to sleep,
I pray to God my soul to keep.
But, please God, I don’t understand,
Why Mommy makes me fold my hands.
It’s not easy to keep them still;
Wiggling and waving gives me a thrill.
So, God, I hope you will help me out,
And tell Mommy what it’s all about.

Well, Mommy looked it up. And, the answers she found make sense.

Our bodies are polarities. We have a positive side and a negative side. If we bring the sides together (as in folding our hands in prayer) we are able to neutralize our energy. This enables us to focus and center ourselves, and allows us to pray directly to God from our hearts.

Yes, Nicholas, neutralize our energy…

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Because of Heller - A Reminder

Because Heller was my Sunshine, and because I want the world to know him...

Kindness is Attitude_Because of Heller

Did you know that the name Heller means "brilliant like the sun?" Did you know that my little boy, Heller, along with his brother and sister, was the sunshine that inspires Capturing Sunshine?

On December 22, 2007, we lost Heller to an undiagnosed brain tumor. He was nine years old. In his nine, short years, Heller spread more sunshine and kindness then many of us do in a lifetime.

To celebrate his life, each year on December 22nd, Heller’s friends and family honor his memory by spreading random (and deliberate) acts of kindness. We also encourage you and others to go out and spread some kindness of your own.

For those of you who already join us, thank you! For those who would like to learn more, visit Random Acts of Kindness Because of Heller, or join us on Facebook.

December 22, 2010 is less than four months away. Of course, it is my sincere hope that you celebrate kindness today, and every day! But, on that day, we hope you will make a change, do a good deed, and let the world know that a little boy once lived for that special reason.

If you are a blogger, please feel free to copy Heller's button located at the bottom of this site.

We hope you will join us!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A and J - Building Memories

Because I promised more of these two; because beach fun is timeless; and because I am still feeling in a retro mood...

Beach Fun with a Retro Twist_TaggedBeach Fun with a Retro Twist 2_TaggedBeach Fun with a Retro Twist 3_TaggedBeach Fun with a Retro Twist 4_TaggedBeach Fun with a Retro Twist 5_TaggedBeach Fun with a Retro Twist 6_TaggedBeach Fun with a Retro Twist 7_TaggedBeach Fun with a Retro Twist 8_TaggedBeach Fun with a Retro Twist 9_TaggedBeach Fun with a Retro Twist 10_TaggedBeach Fun with a Retro Twist 11_TaggedBeach Fun with a Retro Twist 12_TaggedBeach Fun with a Retro Twist 13_Tagged

A and J - A Sneak Peek

What do you get when you cross one photo shoot,

Fun in the Sun_Tagged

Two blue-eyed beauties,

Beach Blues_Tagged Blue Eyes and the Beach_Tagged

Loads of sand,

Sand Fight 1_Tagged

Volumes of water and sunshine,

Soaking Up the Sun_Tagged

And a few fun tricks?

Flipped Over the Beach_Tagged

Check back later to find out. (And, these aren't even my favorite shots!)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Retrophilia - A Love of Things from the Past

Retro: It is derived from the Latin prefix retro, meaning "backwards" or "in past times." Generally, when we think of retro, we think of moving toward the past. It seems quite ironic, however, that it took today's latest technology for me to create this lovely photo of my most favorite place. Thanks to my new HTC Droid Incredible, I can download applications such as The Baerbl camera on Retro Camera for Android to "capture the past." If you have an Android phone, you really need to check it out!


By the way, did you know that the first Starbucks opened in Seattle, Washington in 1971. That was the year I was born. Ahhhhh....good year.