Muggs Leone: Fredericksburg, VA

The spring rain is coming a little bit late in the season, but before we were inundated with grey skies and wet feet I had a chance to shoot some headshots (and other fun shots!) for a local young actor. Muggs Leone is in my opinion a rare gem amongst kids his age. Rarely do you find him bored or at a standstill. If he is not busy getting A’s across the board at Fredericksburg Academy, he is grabbing his stuff and zipping out the door to make one of his many extra curricular activities happen. This little guy can do it all. He is busy learning and practicing everything from piano and voice to swimming and chess. If you’re into local FXBG theatre like I am, you’ve definitely seen Mr. Leone on stage. He has made debuts with several theatre groups and continues to build his extensive resume all at the age of 12. He’s been cast with Riverside Dinner theatre, Stage Door Productions, and Fredericksburg Theatre Ensemble – to name a few.

The way Muggs speaks about the things he is doing is passionate and exciting, all with a sparkle in his eye. This talented fella has big summer plans for modelling and in the fall will be attending an arts-centric school to further build on his skills and learn new ones. That is one thing I love about this kid – he is always learning and trying new things. No fear for this one! His kind and inquisitive nature means he can be found on his Kindle grabbing a new recipe for dinner (and yes, he does cook, too!) or sneaking off to the Butcher to buy his mom her favourite icecream as a surprise. Big heart, big smile, big talent.

We can’t forget to mention BB Leone, Muggs’ trusted loyal companion. BB is a American Staffordshire Terrier that he rescued from the shelter through Bully Paws as a birthday gift. I told you – big heart! BB and Muggs are well known to frequent the downtown area on family walks and patio brunches. It won’t be long before this unique and determined boy makes his way into your heart or onto your screen!

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Double, Double. Toil and Trouble

 

Phew. Okay, so I’ve been waiting a YEAR to post these photos! Last year in late October I had a wonderful opportunity to work with Miss Ellie Retrophilia. She is a GRORGEOUS pin up model and a fantastic make up artist. Seriously, I recommend any brides or ladies looking to do portraits (especially pin up) check her out. She is professional to the max and is great conversation. I met Ellie at the Karb Kings Rockabilly Rumble in October of 2012, and I believe she will be at the Rumble that is happening tomorrow here in Fredericksburg. October is an exciting and busy month for me, one of my busiest actually, so I really wanted to share these photos with you guys before I get swamped! I did not have time last year to share them and by the time I got around to having the time to sit down and edit personal work like this, it just didn’t make sense to share photos of witches and kitties. So I hope you enjoy them! Ellie makes the most adorable little classic witch and is fierce in that catsuit! MEOW!

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I’ll Give You Safe Passage To The Wasteland.

Oh, Drumheller.

You are my Neverland.

You are my memories and my happy thoughts. Your badlands span the corners of my imagination with dinosaurs and dusty adventures.

Growing up in Alberta is a magical experience, and it’s a pity the rest of the world does not get to experience it. It’s exciting explaining to people how in a few short hours you can go from badlands with its coulees and hoodoos, to prairies, to vibrant canola fields, to skyscrapers and city life, to enchanting rocky mountains and turquoise lakes!  It is exhausting and exhilarating trying to make people understand.  But oh, when you do – life will never be the same. I admit I took the proximity of all these things for granted when I lived there. I assumed I’d be there for the long run and my adventures would be planes, trains and automobiles elsewhere.

My favourite memories of Drumheller – the land of dinosaurs – were with my father and brother. Going on adventures to the Royal Tyrell Museum and hikes to see the Hoodoos, the abandoned Alberta mines and running up and down the layered sediment coulees. We even partook in a paleontological dig that was happening at the time. In truth, my brother is what set my obsession with dinosaurs up for advancement. Of course he loved dinosaurs, so being the younger sister I HAD to like exactly what he liked. That obsession never went away and eventually it grew into something that still, to this day, I get crazy excited about. My husband knew for Christmas that a Blu-ray box set of Jurassic Park was better than anything he could have gotten at Jared’s. (No offence Jared, but diamonds will never beat out a piece of copal containing a mosquito with paleo-DNA.) I was never a strong math student so unfortunately my dreams of becoming anything in the sciences field of paleontology were quickly diminished. Wah, wah.

Fear not! I discovered the arts. And those arts eventually brought me back to do this super wicked Mad Max inspired photo shoot in my Neverland.

I wanted to take advantage of my time in Alberta to do this photo-shoot that had been in my mind for a while. I was at an art show in downtown Calgary when I was introduced to this dashing looking fellow. I told my friend whom I was with, “He’s handsome. He looks like Jon Snow. I want to take him to the desert and shoot him.” Of course to anyone else that is entirely creepy and sounds like I’m about to murder this poor, ridiculously good looking man and dispose of the body. But to an art student that sounds like every other Tuesday. So the next weekend the three of us became our very own road warriors and began the road trip to Drumheller. Due to schedules, flights and commitments, we were only there for an hour, but in that hour we had managed to pack in a tourist/photoshoot extravaganza. Zack, the male model is from the east coast and had never been to the Badlands. We waited for the magical moment where the prairies and canola fields dropped off into the coulees. If you’ve never been there, you just don’t get it. You’re driving along, thinking you will never ever ever ever ever get to Drumheller. You begin thinking that it’s going to be a disappointing grass field with a giant dinosaur statue. Yawn. Then it happens.

It goes from this….

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To this.

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Enjoy. And remember: Just walk away.

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Wounded EOD Warriors 6th Annual Polar Bear Plunge – Fredericksburg, VA

On Saturday, I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and begrudgingly heated some water for the french press. I bundled up in my robe and thought of the day ahead of me. Was I excited to watch a bunch of people jumping in the freezing cold water of the Rappahannock River for a good cause. YES. I was. But after 2 hours of not so great rest all I could think about were problems and whine to myself. I am cold. I am tired. I am upset that my flash is away at Nikon for repairs. Ugg, battling the midday sun at a live event. I watched the sun rise as I drove down to meet the Five 40 Roller girls for breakfast before heading over to the city docks in Downtown Fredericksburg for the event. They have members that are in the military and were jumping as a group in their uniforms. Nothing says team building like jumping in freezing waters dressed in fishnets!

At about 8:30am people started flooding in to do their registration for 9 o’clock. Which is what time I had thought it started. So I sat on the windy dock and begun to complain silently to myself again. I forgot my hat and gloves and am getting icy winds whipped at me. I should have brought a blanket. It doesn’t start for a couple hours, but I don’t want to lose this spot to the crowd. Why did I have so much coffee? Ugg. I wrapped my scarf around my ears and sat curled up on the dock in a tight ball, occasionally flipping around to face the sun and warm up until the next gust of wind came.

Then it happened.

What happened?

It happened.

I began to see the event unfold. People arrived, barely clothed, decked out in bathing suits and costumes. Besides their registration numbers they were all wearing one similar thing – a grin from ear to ear. I saw people hugging, squeezing shoulders, laughing. Jokes being thrown around about the temperatures, but never a complaint. Never. A. Complaint. These are people that either have family, or themselves risking their life to diffuse bombs. THAT’S KIND OF A BIG DEAL. These are people that have been wounded, making the world a safer place. Goose bumps formed on their skin as they shivered in a line up waiting to take an icy plunge into the river.

As I watched and photographed, I no longer felt the overwhelming urge to complain. In fact I felt silly having even had those minor, mediocre thoughts. These were warriors. True warriors. Not because they were diving into cold waters, but because of what they had chosen to do with their lives. Sacrifice. Protection. Love.

The plunge was finally underway to start. Tears were wiped away after a prayer and a beautiful rendition of the national anthem was sung. I watched as brethren helped their wounded friends in and out of the freezing waters. I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the facial reactions of people as they made their way out to the Fredericksburg Fire Department Rescue boat and back. Some people went waist deep and then turned around with a loud “NOPE!” and quickly ran back to the shore. Waves of people waited at the shore in colourful, fun costumes… holding each others arms and squealing when it was just about their turn to take the dive.

It’s not secret that with my theatre and photography background that I absolutely adore any chance to dress up in costume. There were superhero’s and pro wrestlers. Two girls dressed as cars stuck in I-95 traffic with witty bumper stickers and personalized plates (NOVA people, you know what I’m talking about). Another two dressed as human loofa scrubbers. There were men with chaps cut out of their wetsuit, and Borat-type bathing suits. Some wore their BDU’s while others wore hardly anything at all. In the end they all wore a grimace as chilly winds greeting them when they emerged from 36 degree waters, and pride from raising money for an amazing cause.

Please check out http://woundedeodwarrior.org/ for more information or to donate!

To see my full gallery of photos from the event please visit my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SiobhanYoungPhotography

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