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, July 7, 2011

Where Have I Been Wednesday

Busy at work. I can't wait to share my most recent family shoot with you. Moms, dads, children, grandparents, and babies--captured together--in one afternoon. Sounds like a day at the beach, doesn't it? Well, it was! For now, so many photos to edit. But, how can I complain when my "cubicle" looks like this?

The Yellow Bucket_Tagged

Yes, that is Nicholas above. He was invited to come along. After taking this lighting test shot, I knew the rest of the day would be a success!

Monday, June 27, 2011

I Heart Faces - Whimsical

Afternoon Swim on a Whim

She knew it would not be long before her brother noticed his tube was missing, but the afternoon sun was insufferably hot, and the water seemed to summon her…

Check out other I Heart Faces "Whimsical" photos this week here.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

An Unexpected Kindness

Little Reid

In all his perfection, he traveled from across the globe, and completed his expedition upon my doorstep on this otherwise dreary afternoon.

I am unable to discern whether it was he that made my heart sing, in all his glorious reds and hippo-ness.


Was it her, the friend whom I have never met face-to-face, who knows my heart so well that she organized his journey?

Thank you so very much, Rikki. Each time I catch a glimpse of “Little Re(i)d,” I find myself smiling. Yes, he is a perfect reminder of my “Hippo.” And, of my friend on the other side of the world.

I truly hope we meet one day. Perhaps the next journey could be yours.


Friday, June 24, 2011

His Heart

My Heart

“How far away is my heart, Mommy?” Nicholas asks me.

“Your heart is inside your body, baby. It isn’t far.”

“Yes, it is far. It’s very very far away. That’s why Heller is far away.”

“Heller is far away, to you, because you can’t see him. You can’t see him because he is in Heaven. But, he is also in your heart because you love him. We say, ‘he is in our hearts’ because our hearts feel our love, and we love him forever.”

Nicholas is insistent. “My heart is far far away. Very far. Further than the farthest far.”

I try again.

“When we love somebody, or something, we say that it is in our heart. It means, our heart holds a part of that thing forever and ever. You are in my heart, Jenny is in my heart, Daddy is in my heart. It means we love someone.”

Nicholas gets the final words. “Well, I love my stuffed animals, but they are not in my heart. They are at home, on my bed.”

I’ll try again tomorrow.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Heart Faces - Let's Hear it for the Boys!

Lets Hear it for the Boys_I Heart Faces

These boys are fierce! They’re the roughest, toughest soccer team around! So, when it came time to choosing a team name, these fearsome four-year-olds didn’t mess around. Their motto—“Mess with us, and you won’t forget it!” This may be "Bitty Sports," but there's nothing bitty about the Orange ELEPHANTS!

Yeah...we don’t get it either.

Let’s Hear it for the Boys this week at I Heart Faces!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

There is nothing on this earth that would please my son more than hanging out with his Daddy. May today find you happy with someone you love, doing what you love to do!

Happy Father's Day!

Relaxing with Daddy_Tagged

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Silhouette Photography Fun

I particularly remember the fun I had as a child, making silhouette portraits from cutouts of black paper, and framing them for my mom. Even more fun, I discovered, is being the mom and dressing up your entire family for a silhouette portrait photo shoot. Over the course of the last few weeks, I have enjoyed participating in a 30 Day Photo Challenge. Today's shoot, as you can see, called for silhouettes! Easy peasy mac-n-cheesy!

As dynamic as they appear, it is hard to believe that a silhouette capture is probably one of the easiest photo light tricks. Simply find a location that offers little background obstruction, position your subject between the you and the light, and voila--silhouettes!

Silhouette Shoot 3_taggedSilhouette Shoot 7_taggedSilhouette Shoot 2_taggedSilhouette Shoot 5_taggedSilhouette Shoot_taggedSilhouette Shoot 8

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Heart Faces - Vivid - To Infinity and Beyond!


They meet their instructor along the side of the pool, and their lesson begins promptly at 6:45. Moms and Dads watch from afar as they gather together along the water's edge on blankets, towels, and whatever empty chairs they are lucky enough to locate. This is no “mommy and me” class. These boys are in the big league now.

First, the instructor lines her little eels along the edge of the pool wall, securely fastened into what she playfully calls their “space backpacks.” She begins her address on the rules of safety. They listen. Next, she proceeds to demonstrate the goal. They watch. Finally, she pulls each boy into the water, one at a time. They do.

I am intrigued by the instructor’s ability to capture the focus of these boys for the full half hour. Whether she is teaching them one on one, or in a group, these boys offer her their undivided attention. They seem to know that this is important. I am focused too. I am thankful for my camera’s zoom.

Pleasantly exhausted after a good swim, my boy goes to bed early on lesson night. I am able to sit down and browse through my photo captures of the day. In these quiet moments, I can vividly see the future as I imagine he sees the future.

I pretend to hear my little guy talking to his friend. “One day,” he says, “we are going to cross the pool!” Yes, my little one, even without your backpack, I know you will go “to infinity and beyond!”

This week, I Heart Faces wants to see our Bright and Vivid photos. Check them out here!

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Heart Faces - From a Distance

Holland America_At Port

Recently, my family was blessed with the opportunity to take a Disney Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. For several days, we sailed the ocean blue. Each morning, my daughter and I would order room service, and sit on the verandah of our room and watch the water go by. It was magical!
The most fun mornings, however, were those when our ship would arrive in port, and pull up alongside other cruise ships. With only a pier between us, we had the pleasure of spying on neighboring decks and balconies.

"Check out their lounge chairs!"
"Do you see the size of that balcony?! Is that an outside shower?!"
"Look at that cute couple in their matching bath robes."
"Seriously? Does he have to drink his coffee, on his balcony, in his speedo?"

I am sparing us all the Speedo shot. (Of course I had to take it. Don't judge me. You would too.) But, I really love this (distance) capture of several sailors taking a morning break aboard the Holland America cruise ship.

"Look Jenny! Sailors! There's your boyfriend."

Standing there, looking so official in their sailor hats, aren't they just adorable?

Check out what others view from a distance this week at I Heart Faces!

Friday, June 3, 2011

And SEW, I Try Again

I am still attempting to sew a masterpiece. I must admit, I am quite happy with the outcome of this one. But, there is still work to be done.

My original goal--to sew matching newsboy caps for Nicholas and his cousin, Teagan--sent me on a pattern search. As you can imagine, I was delighted when I discovered
this magnificent tutorial on You Tube.

My first attempt was quite successful (for Teagan), but Nicholas's hat (exactly the same) would only fit on, well, Teagan. So, I decided to try again.

I had some leftover giraffe material that I used to make Teagan's towel. (BTW, he wasn't a fan.) So, I enlarged the newsboy cap pattern and began again.

For those of us, like me, with large heads, my hat is perfect! For those of you, with puny average sized heads, I will have to give it another go.

Giraffe Hat_Day 2Giraffe Hat on BlueDISNEY CRUISEJust Say No to Animal Print Towels

See? Not a fan.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Baby Girl "J" is Number Four!

Of course, we are convinced that she will have fewer legs and less fur than her "siblings," Dory, Nemo, and Squirt. At first glance, you would think they stole the entire show, but when you take another look at this beautiful mommy and darling dad, you will see that this shoot did not go to the dogs.

Thank you both for allowing me to capture such a wonderful time in your lives, and for enduring the heat. I cannot wait to meet Baby "J" when she arrives!

Baby JBaby JBaby J_3Baby JBaby JBaby JBaby JBaby JBaby J_11Baby J_10Baby JBaby J_12Baby J_13Baby J_14

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Keepin' Up!

One year old and on the move. It was almost impossible to keep up with this kid! But, Aunt Hayley is determined. I don't get enough time with this little guy, so we need to make every minute count!


Just One More Photo Please
You again?
Never Give Up
Never give up!

Seriously On the Move
On the move.
On the Move
Time to give up the camera, or put it away.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Choosing Sunshine!

Fever of 101. Sinus infection. Double ear infection. As we arrive home after a visit with the doctor, Nicholas has two choices--cozy up on the couch, or head outside and Capture Sunshine!

New Bike_TaggedRider_TaggedRustic Biker 2_TaggedRustic Biker_TaggedShoe Stuck_TaggedTree Climber_Tagged

"But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds," declares the LORD. ~Jeremiah 30:17

Friday, May 13, 2011

Look What Mommy Made!

Made by Mommy_Cookie Towel

...and thanks to a fresh dumping of chlorine on the YMCA deck, Nicholas managed to bleach the bottom only moments after using it for the first time. ;( Oh well. More to come. It was easy and fun!

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Heart Faces - Motherhood


I always swore I wouldn't encourage this shot when capturing moms-to-be. It seemed so unnatural. I equated it to telling a child to "Say Cheese," while trying to capture a genuine expression. Can we say Cheese Face!?

But someone--I'm not naming names, but you know who you are--yelled, "Make a heart on her belly with your hands!" seconds before the click.

This seemed to crack Mom up, and her spontaneous expression is priceless!

So, here is my Motherhood entry this week for I Heart Faces. Check out more