Packing Silver


© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Packing Silver

Packing Silver

Today was one of those days. Capt Awesome took off for North Carolina before the sun greeted the day and I was left in a state of perpetual funk. When he leaves, traveling for work, I immediately divert back to my old single habits of dirty dishes, an unkempt bed, cereal for dinner and late evenings well past midnight. It’s inevitable. It cannot be helped.

But with these crazy habits bring a rain cloud to follow me through my days, despite the near perfect weather outside.

It’s hard to believe how one person can have such an effect on another.

But beyond that, aside from a few telephone calls, I didn’t engage in any other human interaction, outside of some mindless chit chat at the dog park. I don’t know how you introverts do it because after a day of this, I start to come out of my skin. But when I stop and think about it, the reality is – I did this to myself, choosing to sulk in my cheerios instead of reveling in a little freedom…the freedoms that often get put on the shelf along with your single self. Such as blasting Tori Amos throughout the house and singing at the top of my lungs, snacking that results in eating an entire bag of chips all while binge watching romantic comedies.

Which reminds me…I currently have sole possession over the remote control! On that note…

(And that’s how you turn a frown upside down!)


© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Packing Silver
Despite the gloominess of this day, it was actually filled with lots of excitement and shutter clicks from a collection of photographers in the surrounding area as Joel Robison, Shane Black and Sarah Ann Loreth came through town on their Wild Ones Tour. Each one of these photographers have unique styles and interest and all of them are out in the world making a living with their work and at such a young age. My eyes filled with hope and possibilities. It’s never too late and you’re never too old to start over, start fresh, and do something you love.

This concept fastened roots many months ago during a low moment, waiting for the right location, right scene and right weather pattern to demand attention. Overcast and damp. Enough moisture to make you question your footing and make you weigh the importance of items in your possession. Save the camera or break a leg? A couple of close calls and a rolled ankle but luckily no serious bodily or mechanical injury took place that day.

Really, any day with a camera, a bunch of crazy photographers and some creativity is a good day. A big thank you to AJ Coley for modeling this concept for me.


© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Packing Silver


Mar 26, 2015 - 8:47 pm

John Sarabia - Great photo. ..

Amongst the Elders


© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Amongst the Elders

Amongst the Elders

I awoke to a dream this morning. I wouldn’t quite call it a nightmare, although it wasn’t particularly pleasant. Not only had the grey hairs on my head multiplied like guppies in a fish tank, but apparently my roots showed evidence that I’d been secretly dyeing my hair for months. Now revealing the truth that I had a full head of grey hair! I remember staring at myself in the mirror, picking through strands of hair, mouth aghast and horrified at the discovery!

What in the world is going on in my subconscious mind?

I never cared so much when I was younger. You never quite imagine, I mean really, what you would look like after the glow of youth starts to wane. How the crinkles slowly turn into crevasses. How the bones creak upon that first step out of bed. I remember Mom commenting when I was 25 that I should wear sunglasses to avoid the squint that would eventually result in wrinkles. I then recall dismissing the thought as if it was a Mom being Mom saying…you know…in one ear and out the other. Now that “serious” wrinkle line bought real estate between my eye brows. Rat bastard! All attempts to deliver an eviction notice have been rendered useless. (Botox is NOT an option, so don’t even bother suggesting it!) We can just tack that on to the list of Should’ve listened to Mom.

Moving beyond outward appearances, I’ve noticed other changes. The body doesn’t recover quite as quickly after a tough day at the gym. Ice cream doesn’t always agree with me and quite frequently challenges me to a duel. 50/50 shot between winning and losing on that front but I accept every time regardless! My memory is starting to fly away. Remembering words, let alone phone numbers…fogetaboutit…You know, smart phones have made us stupid! I grow more and more intolerant of the youth, their vernacular, their sense of entitlement and their clothes. Perhaps this might be different if the Capt. and I brought one of our own into this world, but since we haven’t, I see us falling into the traps of Walter Mathau and Jack Lemmon sooner rather than later. Actually, I have to stop and laugh here, as I often made my mother’s eyes roll with my own sense of teenage style. (Yes, we all had to be different in our own conformist kind of way, didn’t we!?)

But the reality truly is that I don’t feel any older mentally. There’s that part of me that still laughs uncontrollably at the silliest things. I burst into song (and/or dance) at a moment’s notice, much to others’ dismay. Yes, I sing Happy Birthday to both my mother and sister every year, in the most horrible of operatic voices. It’s tradition. I wax nostalgic to all the movies of my youth. Tank Girl is now on Netflix!!! (You know you liked it…I promise I won’t tell!) Puppies, kittens, dolphins, horses, anything soft and fuzzy immediately turn me into an 8 year old in 0.5 seconds. It can’t be helped. I have to touch them. I have paid plenty the pretty penny to hold and pet exotic animals. You name it…koala (2), a baby lion, a pink dolphin, a beluga whale. There was even one illegal touching spree on the pier in San Francisco with a sea lion, but I digress.

Point being that the inner child doesn’t recognize the face staring back in the mirror anymore. It’s a strange reality to be faced with on a daily basis.

But if I had the chance to go back and re-live my youth again, I’d say, hell no! (The hot-headed, emotional and somewhat irrational Marisa is long gone replaced with a much calmer and patient alternative.) But I suppose more than anything, it’s the ability to recognize that I really don’t know everything. That wisdom lies in the experience with those whom have walked this planet a few years longer, have touched the hot stove, felt the burn, and had their heart broken once or twice. Yet we brush them off with a nod and a “yeah, yeah” before heading out the door. I miss those long talks with my grandmother until 2am over a plate of sopapillas. The stories she would tell! The stories I will take with me when she’s no longer here to tell them.

 Unfortunately, I do not have any behind the scenes images from this particular piece. That particular day was unseasonably warm for three days post Christmas; cloudy and threatening rain for hours. We had just reached this tree, when the sky decided to break. It was a frantic 5 minutes of shooting fearing the inevitable massive downpour before climbing back up a rocky, yet slippery slope and back to the car.

But I did happen upon this image of the exact same tree taken 6 months earlier in the middle of summer. It’s amazing what a couple of seasons can do to the shape of the landscape. This particular park, Great Falls Park (Virginia and Maryland sides), has become a fan favorite of ours. A big thank you to Tom for meeting up during the holidays for some much needed creativity.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS - Amongst the Elders

Mar 17, 2015 - 4:37 pm

Tom Newforge - We need to meetup again soon!

Mar 18, 2015 - 2:49 am

John Sarabia - Your Grandpa once remarked to me while moving your sister back to school how sometimes he feels like he was seventeen. Not again but initially. I miss him.


© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Allurement


It’s that time of year again, when my toes beg and plead to be released from their woolen prisons. When morning awakens to scratchy throats and itchy skin from heater over-usage and the poor dog refuses to go outside. Cabin Fever sets in.

Schools shut down for the day….again. It’s March for God’s sake!

I miss Texas.

But the sun streaming through my window provides a glimmer of hope. Of what’s yet to come. Those long, blinding rays seduce me with a burst of warmth across my skin, ever attempting to coax me from my cocoon. Then I remember the bargain I made. The devil is not without a sense of humor. As to appreciate the sweet of Spring, one most endure the full spoonful of Winter. And if a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, then that would explain the strong pull toward chocolate, ice cream, and the banana bread Capt Awesome made last night complete with cream cheese spread….Mmmmm. It’s true, I’ve been hibernating with a sugar jar grasped firmly in my grip. I have no shame!

But it’s the tease that frustrates the most. Today’s sun rays pave the wave for another bout of icy rain and deep freezes that seriously make me question my driving skills. Seriously. When you consider walking a mile and a half to work over driving and parallel parking between and over ice chunks…well, let’s just say, that’s a mental debate I never expected to quarrel over. Even the poor Robins are confused. Their little red-breasted bellies appear, disappear and reappear with the flux of temperatures.

To add insult to injury, Mother Nature cancelled my first introductory meeting with a gallery for a solo show! That b*tch!  It’s been a couple of months wait after receiving my acceptance letter and the anticipation built like a child waiting for Christmas. Only to find that Santa passed over my house. Luckily, the meeting is set for rescheduling, but the disappointment remains ever-present. (More info to follow so stay tuned.)

Persephone, where are you?

Needless to say, it’s time for Winter to pack it’s bags and hit the road. Let Spring follow suit with golden rays, warmer days and the display of daffodils along the highway. It’s time for the cherry blossoms to gear up for that puff of cotton candy to take to the wind like confetti.

I’m waiting.

Allurement was conceived one fine morning in the South of France. And by morning, I mean early. Brooke spoke of an enchanting scene about 3 miles out and the only time our schedule allowed for this side adventure was at 5am. Now, I wish I had that beautiful gift of greeting the sun with a smile and a hop but here I sit at 10am after 8 hours of sleep, 2 cups of coffee and I already feel like a nap. Mornings and I don’t get along. We never have.

But when in Rome. And it’s not often that night owls see sun rises like this…

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Allurement

Behind the Scenes Image by Kory Zuccarelli

Behind the Scenes Image by Kory Zuccarelli


Behind the Scenes Image by Kory Zuccarelli

Behind the Scenes Image by Kory Zuccarelli

Photo by Delphine Millet

Behind the Scenes Image by Delphine Millet

With some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met…

So after a half a cup of coffee and a croissant, we hit the trail with an hour walk down to this beautiful little river. The color of that water did not look of this world. It appeared to glow from within. A strange luminescence. You see places like this in fairy tales or designed sets in movies, but to think they really exist….they do.

My crazy companions, with the exception of about three of us, decided to take a dip into the water.  Mind you, it must have been 45 degrees outside. The sun remained hidden behind a blanket of clouds and it was now only 6am. And I was hungry! There was no way I was submerging myself. There’s nothing worse than a cold, wet and hangry Marisa that early in the morning. Just ask Capt. Awesome!


Behind the Scenes photo by Jen Brook

Behind the Scenes Image by Jen Brook


© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Allurement

But it was fun watching the plunge, hearing the screams and living vicariously in the (dry) moment.

Afterwards, our model, Jen Brook, took to the scene like the professional she is to brave the cold water while everyone gathered round to photograph in this magical setting.

Behind the Scenes Images by Delphine Millet

Behind the Scenes Images by Delphine Millet

There were many gorgeous shots that came out of that morning.

The Anticipation

The Anticipation by Lieke Anna Photography


by Bonnie Caton Photography


by Tom Newforge of Newforge Studios

While I sat and watched the others circle around Jen’s newest pose and differing location I began to visualize a different scene around this intricate tree. Many times I will come to a place with ideas in mind, other times I’ll let the scene inspire the idea. This moment clearly defined by the latter. So after everyone cleared away, I asked Rebeca (who is also an extremely talented artist…check out her work here) to bring my concept to life. With help into the tree and a wrapping of the only prop I brought along on our morning walk, Allurement came to life.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS Allurement

Thank you, Rebeca for agreeing to model. To Emmanuel for turning into a human stepping stool. And to Jessi for clicking the shutter so I didn’t trip over the twisted, tangle of tree roots! And to Bonnie, for not only agreeing to embark upon this adventure, but for also supplying the bag full of cherries to stave off the awakening giant of ultimate hangriness for the hour’s walk back that morning!

The journey is always worth it.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Allurement

Unearthing Unknowns

The Reveal

Unearthing Unknowns


Buying a new house can be an exhilarating and often daunting experience. I’ve always been drawn to the charm and beauty of the past. Those craftsman houses and architects of the 40’s had such a specific attention to detail. Down to the ornate glass door knobs and skeleton keys, I easily find myself mesmerized feeling like I’m walking into a place unknown, off the map, otherworldly…from another time. So when Capt. Awesome and I saw this cute little town home for sale, we jumped at the chance. He bought me a house for my birthday! (It’s going to be hard to top that one!)

It’s in an artsy part of town complete with local eateries, mom & pop shops and within walking distance to everything. A weekly farmer’s market. Close to the metro. The dog park. Old Town. Really, we found a little piece of heaven to call our own.

But with the excitement of home ownership come the discoveries of what lies beneath. This house brings a history of decades long before we were born. You can almost count the years by layers of paint on the wall, the thickness of window frames and the drafts of cool air drifting under the door frames and around the electrical outlets. These old bones hold sturdy, yet creak and moan with every step. The walls, firm, but wrinkling and creasing at the seams. We bought an old mistress. And if we listen closely, she might reveal her secrets. Sharing her stories of the many generations before us. How many families lived under this roof? Four? Five? Eight?

As we drift from room to room, painting and arranging pieces to make it our own, I stop for moments to imagine what it looked like when it was new and shiny. Tiny and tidy. No need for extravagance. The simple kind of life. (With very little closet space!)


This image marks the first time I’ve collaborated with another photographer(s) for stock imagery. Usually I just photograph my own. However this time, a group of us fine photographers from the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, organized by Anne Abernathy, decided to join forces with one another to create a single image. By luck of the draw, I paired up with Heather Gill, a talented food photographer out of Las Vegas. Not only does she make your mouth water with delectable images of everything edible under the sun but she also photographs amazing interiors that alone spark my imagination.

This was her original interior shot before I went to town manipulating it. Such beautiful details to an old dilapidated house. Almost too many details! So much of what I attended to, besides the obvious color shifting, was removing the paint flaking graffiti and water damage, darkening areas and blurring bits and pieces to allow your eye to rest. Oh and let’s not forget…I shifted the hole in the wall to the left to allow some breathing room for my model to stand without “falling out” of the frame!


I knew I wanted to photograph inside my new home while it was still a blank canvas. Only walls and floors, no furniture yet to obstruct my line of sight. The only obstacle to overcome was the mere fact that these old homes were built with humble beginnings. Space was and still is a commodity in this part of the country. Nothing like 12 feet and a 50 mm lens to make you get a little creative…and say, shoot on the stairs for an extra foot or two of distance.

So here’s the lovely Annabelle, holding still for the shutter, probably wondering what the heck she got herself into by agreeing to be a model! She did a great job imagining there was a bird flying through the air!


Col Sam Snowy-129 copy

And a big thank you from Lori at Focalocity, for providing this beautiful image of a snowy owl. We don’t see too many (or any) snowy owls in these parts. One would have to visit Canada for a glimpse of something so magical.

There’s just something about these creatures…I almost believe them to be mythical…like a unicorn. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never seen one.

Maybe I need to go back to Canada.

…when it’s warmer.


R & R and C

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - R&R and C

R & R and C

In typical fashion, I’ve started writing down goals for the year. What I want to accomplish, hope to achieve and a path to get me from point A to point B…hopefully. Naturally, when looking toward the future, one often reflects upon the past. Experiences. The good, the bad and the ugly. But I have to recognize that it was a pretty damn epic year. We moved from CT to VA. I discovered what it truly meant to experience the season of Spring. I met some incredible, talented and inspiring artists who I am happy to call friends, traveled with my sister to the Pacific Northwest after a year apart, stuck my foot in the door of the DC area art community, and planted my flag in the ground.

That’s the good.

While I won’t dwell on the bad, I was reminded of how precious this fleeting thing we call time is in our daily lives. And while there are plenty of tasks at hand that require our attention….most of which we really don’t want to do (doing dishes is one of them….making the bed another) I am reminded that I am completely in control of continuing to create positive experiences in this life. To weed out all the drama, be it people or situations, and try to live each day with passion and intent. With a sense of presence.

Going back to the goals of the year, I’ve begun my first series. This presents new challenges as my mind tends to be a bit A.D.D. on most occasions. Ultimately, I have trouble focusing on a concept unless the emotion at hand requires strict attention. So concentrating on an extended idea will require some discipline and will power. However the subject matter of time tends to reoccur, constantly floating around in my head. It’s an intangible that presents itself with the elliptical path of the sun and moon, the passing of seasons and the wrinkles of age. It discriminates against no one. Yet we often dismiss it like the old uncle we haven’t seen in years. We spend our days wrapped in the worries of tomorrow or regretting the mistakes of the past. Rarely do we sit and just be.

So aside from this series, I’ve making a mental note to just be. Here in the now. Enjoying the conversation. Song, Gentle breeze as it catches the leaves and sends them flurrying through the air. Putting the technology aside for longer moments at a time and give the present the proper attention it’s due.

After all, this second is now gone. Never to be seen or heard from again.

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS - R&R and C
I met Harvey several months ago. He greeted me in typical kitty fashion…took one look at me and ran the other way! But I have a hankering to touch and befriend all things soft and furry so a little skittishness didn’t stop me! I’ve loved cats all my life. When my mother moved to Alaska in the early 200o’s, she left our cat, Poppy, with me for safe keeping. I was 11 years old the day he walked into the house, claiming us as his new owners. When he passed after 20 glorious years, I was devastated.

Then my beautiful, marvelous mutt, Shelby, found her way into my life. And while I love her like no other, I do still miss having a cat. Unfortunately, Capt. Awesome is allergic. (He’s just lucky I didn’t have a cat when we met!) So I’m left to my own devices to get my cat fix when I can!

Then I met Annabelle, Harvey’s human, while home visiting from college during the holidays. Despite her youth, she held herself with a confidence I wish I had at the age of 19. Together, both her and Harvey made the perfect pair in my mind for this particular concept, which had been simmering on the brain for several months now. Annabelle, made the perfect model. Harvey, well….like any gato exposed to a new environment, was rather vocal about his new surroundings. But all in all R & R and C was born to the idea that nothing beats rest and relaxation like the presence of happiness. Or in this instance, cats.

Time spent with cats is never wasted. ~ Sigmund Freud

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS - R&R and C

“If you don’t stop photographing me I’m going to eat you!”

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - BTS - R&R and C

Jan 9, 2015 - 9:37 am

Tom Newforge - Thats a lot of cats! Here’s to an amazing 2015:)

Jan 9, 2015 - 2:28 pm

Bonnie Boyd Taylor - Oh, those came out GORGEOUS!!! I love it!