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, January 31, 2011

2 Kids/12 Times/12 Colors

The end of 2010 found me desperately trying to fill a photo album with photos of my children (taken together) over the course of the last year. I found that it could not be done. I was forced to settle for separate, yet similar, captures. It seems that their fourteen-year age difference does not contradict the definition of sibling rivalry. I could see it in their photos--my children each competing to define who they are as a person, and each wanting to show that they are separate from their sibling.

Well, that just would not do.

It has been said that our siblings are the people we practice on. They teach us fairness, cooperation, kindness, and compassion. Jenny is beginning her adult life this year. Nicholas barely knows the joys of being a full-fledged kid. They are still learning and growing together, and I intend to capture these moments while I can.

If I had the pleasure of raising them together as small children, I confess, I would have dressed them the same and paraded them around in all their cuteness. Sometimes, it happens naturally, and I secretly love it. For my project, it will happen at least once a month.

So begins a new project--2 Kids/12 Times/12 Colors.

This is not a new concept. I admit, I borrowed it from several members of my photographer community. Thank you. I don’t know what I would do without your inspiration.

So it begins…

2 Kids/In January/In RED

Two Kids - January 2b_TaggedTwo Kids - January 1_TaggedTwo Kids - January 3_TaggedTwo Kids - January 4_TaggedTwo Kids - January 5_TaggedTwo Kids - January 6_TaggedTwo Kids - January 7_TaggedTwo Kids - January 8_TaggedTwo Kids - January 10_Tagged

I Heart Faces - Best Face Photo of January 2011

Strike a Pose_80s Nite Tagged

For those of you that missed her the first time I posted this (one of my favorite photos of Jenny EVER) from our fun 80s night shoot, here is another chance.

I Heart Faces is asking for our Best Face of January! The good news--if you like Jenny's photo as much as I do, your vote counts! Please go to
I Heart Faces and vote for Jenny! Perhaps your vote will help inspire her to keep posing for Mom. She's a natural!

And, check out other Best Faces this week

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another Visit from Mapa--Another Train Hat

One of these days, we're going to get on the train.

Waiting for the Train_Tagged

Waiting for the Train 2_Tagged

Waiting for the Train 3_Tagged

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Heart Faces - Innocent Wonder

Wonder Friend_Tagged

Wonder Friends

Sometimes, when you have a friend that is so awesome, so fearless, so fantastic, and so fun, it makes you just sit back and wonder, "What comes next?"

This week, I Heart Faces explores Innocent Wonder. The subject is open to interpretation. Are you wondering what fabulous photos others are posting? Be sure to find out here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On Pin Trading and Theme Selection

Pin Trading_Tagged

Our Disney Pin collections were always themed as follows:

Jenny kept on the lookout for Tinkerbell and other fairies. Ford let the kids find Pluto, Goofy, and other dogs for him. As for me, I searched for pins that reminded me of my own Disney days, scuba diving, and memories of my kids. Having a theme made it fun and easy to decide when to make a trade.

But, Heller’s was always my favorite theme. It still makes me smile. He never seemed to have a problem finding the perfect pins for his lanyard. The day he made his theme decision, I knew I had a smartest kid on the block.

“So Heller?” we asked. “Did you decide what pins to collect?”

“Yep.” He responded without a bit of hesitation. “My theme is pins I like.”

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Yellow Wall

When life hands you a giant, yellow wall of sunshine...

The Wall_TaggedThe Yellow Wall_TaggedThe Yellow Wall 3_Tagged
The Yellow Wall 2_Tagged

Sunday, January 16, 2011

80s Nite

Tonight is the night! Thanks to a well-planned Christmas gift from my sister, Ashley, we are going to see Rock of Ages! For those of you who don't know what it is, here is a bio.

In 1987 on the Sunset Strip, a small-town girl met a big-city dreamer - and in L.A.'s most legendary rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the '80's. It's Rock of Ages, a hilarious, feel-good love story told through the hit songs of iconic rockers Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Whitesnake, and many more.

A few nights ago, Jenny and I decided to "get into the groove" by tapping into the spirit of the 80s. There is no mention of Madonna in the bio. Really? I can't imagine the 80s without the Material Girl.

Without further ado, here is my very own Material Girl.
Strike a Pose_80s Nite Tagged80s Nite 9_Tagged80s Nite 4_Tagged80s Nite 7_Tagged80s Nite 6_Tagged80s Nite 5_Tagged80s Nite 2_Tagged80s Nite 3_Tagged80s Nite 8_Tagged
As a side note: Does anybody know what happened to Madonna's original 80s videos? In an effort to "set the mood," I attempted to YOUTUBE the oldies but goodies. It seems Madonna as recreated her videos, and nothing is available from the actual 80s. Believe me, Madonna still looks pretty good, but it isn't the stuff this 80s girl grew up with.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Stryder Rider_Tagged

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. ~Proverbs 16:9

“Look!” someone said, “He’s starting to crawl.”
And, that was the very first start of it all.
The next thing I knew, in the blink of an eye,
You were walking and running and climbing quite high.
And now, here you are, on a bike with two wheels.
Striding, then gliding, and lifting your heels.
Your balance—magnificent.
You are fearless and fast.
And, I find myself wishing this moment could last.
But, I know you’ll keep growing, with each passing day.
And, I know God’s design says it’s perfect this way.
So for now I will store in my memory’s heart
The gift I am given, as I witness each start.
And to my story, one day, you will listen in awe,
As it begins with a baby, before he could crawl.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Costume Night!

I remember playing dress-ups as a little girl. Perhaps it is the drama queen in me, but it was always one of my most favorite things to do. I remember scarf or pom pom wigs and my mom's old bridesmaid dresses. I am blown away by the options that are available to little girls now. Just walk down any little girl aisle in a Target toy section, and you will see what I mean. Wigs, shoes, dresses, makeup--their options are limitless. I can only imagine the productions my parents would have endured.

Dress-up Tinkerbell_Tagged40s Costume Nite_TaggedTinker Bell Three_TaggedCostume Nite_TaggedDress Up Tinker Bell 2_Tagged

Little boy options are fewer. That is where the Halloween costume closet comes in handy.

Showstopper Costume Shoot

And, while we were sharing costumes, Nicholas thought a little "show and tell" of his most favorite Christmas gifts would be appropriate as well. Santa got off easy with this little "Puppy in a Cage" request. If this was Nicholas's only gift, he would have been quite content.

Puppy Christmas_Tagged

And, there was no better gift under the tree than a hand-made quilt from Nicholas's Mapa.

My New Quilt_Tagged

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Heart Faces - Smile

His Cotton Candy Smile_Tagged

Oh for those sticky pink lips, delectable cheeks, and eyes that sparkle with sinful delight...

In just a few, short weeks, I Heart Faces will offer us the soft and sweet challenge. I almost hesitated posting this one now. Almost.

But, with a smile this delicious, I could just eat him up!

Wanna see more sugary goodness? Check out other smiles this week at I Heart Faces!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday Sunshine


Friday, January 7, 2011

Twenty-Eleven - Ready or Not!

Twenty-eleven snuck up on me when I was totally looking the other way. I am not certain how it happened, but I think it all started with Santa. See, I was good last year. Santa knew it. He checked his list. Good/Very Good/Hayley/Photography/ Thingamajigs and Doohickeys. Santa’s list was in order. But, somewhere along the way, Santa forgot to stock the sleigh. Enter Christmas morning. “Dear Hayley”, the notes began, “here is your IOU.” Well, not exactly, but you get the idea.

Add to Santa’s slip, a New Year’s Eve bon fire turned forest fire. Where was my camera? Tucked neatly inside its bag. FAIL. No neato photos to share or remember it by. (In truth, I am thankful it was put out before I could even consider attaching my lens.) And, kudos to hubby, who is proud to say, "I was a first responder!"

Did I mention my external flash broke a few days prior to Christmas? No? Good, because I would have been lying. It wasn’t my flash at all. No, it wasn’t until I ordered, paid for, and received a brand new (though undeniably better) flash that I discovered it was my camera that was broken. Ugh. So, I entered the New Year without my doodads from Santa, and a broken camera. Happy New Year!

Before you start to get teary-eyed from my stories of woe, I am here to tell you that things are looking up. Just take a look at these baby browns.

My Baby's Browns_Tagged

I took this shot, today, with my broken camera, just before we traveled to the repair shop—yes, the repair shop—where they fixed my camera and shined it up like new. I can't wait to try it out with my new flash.

And, while we are enjoying the brown hues of this photo, I’d like to mention a new journey I will be taking with Marta Locklear, as she explores hues and textures in a 52 week project. This week's hue is brown. Check it out.

Finally, I want to share some exciting news. Lola is here! Santa delivered on one of his IOUs! My beautiful camera bag just arrived and she is as marvelous as I knew she would be. Take a look.

Meet Lola

I Love Lola

We're ready--Lola, sparkly camera, more amazing Santa gifts, and me--to take on Twenty-eleven. Great things await us. I hope you will join me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I Heart Faces - Best Face Photo of 2010

Best FACE 2010_Mom Tagged

Dear Mom,


Papa isn’t the only one who thinks so.

A few weeks ago, after spending the day with you, Jenny commented, “I felt like I was with you all day, Mom. Mapa would say something, or do something, and I would think, ‘Yep! That’s just like my Mom.’” What a lovely compliment. I can’t think of anyone else I would strive to be like.

I took thousands of photos this year, but have so few of you. Of course, I snuck in a few. One day, your grandchildren will cherish them.

I hope they will also learn to value another trait I may have received from you—tough love. Since I was a little girl, you have always been honest in your opinions (photography included). If it wasn’t good, (if we didn’t give it our best) it didn’t go on the refrigerator. But, when it did, we knew we could accomplish greatness.

Gone are the refrigerator days. With all the miles between us, and separate refrigerators, we have to make adjustments. Enter Facebook.

When you selected THIS photo as your Facebook profile pic, MY photo, and a photo of YOU, I felt prouder than a kid in front of her very own refrigerator art display.

As a result, out of the thousands of photos I took in 2010, this one stands at the top! I call it “Who Loves Ya Babe?"

I do.


Wanna see more Tops in 2010? My selection came easy, but can you imagine picking your favorite from the entire year?! Check them out this week at I Heart Faces.

2010 - Let's Review

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by scrolling to bottom of page and clicking "pause" on the player.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year_Tagged