Saturday, May 15, 2010


Hope everyone had a sweet Mother's Day! It was Mother's Day last year that I was in Nashville for a taping of a Reba television special. You may have seen it on CMT. It is called CMT Invitation Only: Reba McEntire. You can purchase it on DVD. Somehow, I was chosen to participate in the audience of this show taped in Studio A at the Grand Ole Opry. I was so excited to go. Not only have I always been a fan of Reba's music, but she was a Rodeo Queen and champion barrel racer. Her entire family is made up of authentic cowboys. I was also extremely interested in the production aspect of the show and found it really fascinating. It was a small, intimate grouping, making for a very dynamic energy. I was there alone but had a fantastic time getting caught up in this unique experience with everyone there. What a blast! I'll tell you what, she has one bad-ass band! Long story short, you had to be there and it was one afternoon I'll never forget.

The story isn't over, though. The next night I was out at Jackson's restaurant in Nashville with some musician friends when Taylor Swift walked in with an entourage. She stood there right in front of me. I looked at her and decided she was adorable in person. Respecting her privacy, we didn't say anything to her, but that is my big story. In one weekend I had a photo shoot with Reba and had dinner with Taylor Swift!!

So by now, perhaps you may have been wondering who my musician friends in Nashville are (besides Reba and Taylor Swift. Lol..)
Another long story, but I won't drag it out. About 2 years ago, my siblings and I took my Mom to Graceland in Memphis for her birthday. On the way to Memphis, we stopped in Nashville to celebrate my big bro's 50th birthday. We stopped in Rippy's Bar and Grill on Broadway and stayed all night. Another experience we'll never forget! A father/son duo called The O'Donnells were playing and blew us away!! Darryl and Klinton O'Donnell not only have had hits on the charts and are extraordinarily talented, but are two of the kindest men you will ever meet. Funny as heck and sweet as pie, these 2 are nothing short of amazing. Next thing you know, we did a few photo shoots, designed a cd cover, did some web work and a few other things. They are currently working on a gospel album this time around. Check them out at

Through the O'Donnells, I was really lucky to have met Tommy Townsend. (He and Darryl O'Donnell have a hit you can find on iTunes called "Cowboys Want It") Tommy is now the front man for the Waylon Jennings band who got back together now called Waymore's Outlaws as a tribute to Waylon. Talk about bad-ass!!
I had the privilege of photoshopping an image for them last year which appeared in Country Weekly magazine. For all you Photoshop fanatics out there, the first problem was the background. They wanted something more edgy than the cinder block wall. The first thing I noticed, though was the fact that the photo was taken under a tree casting shadows and weird bright spots. This is why I like to take the photos myself. I didn't have much time so I did what I could and focused on creating the background from scratch and pumping up the detail and color a bit. What took the longest was probably making sure the masking was accurate. By the way, did you hear? Photoshop CS5 is out! With the new HDR technology built in and the new and improved "refine edges" feature, production time should be speeding up!! If you tried these techniques or anything else new, please share.



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