So I’m sure all of the Christmas decorations have been packed away by this time. And, I’m sure you’re just a little sad that the holidays are over… Well have no fear, because I have one more day of Christmas cheer for all of you, my dear readers. Of course I planned it this way, it was not because I don’t have nearly enough hours in the day to fully involve myself in my hobbies and quite frankly got a little behind this year and therefore the final day of Christmas is now taking place in January… I just wanted to extend the joy for you all. Hey that’s my story and I’m sticking to it;)

I’m pretty sure its obvious that photography is one of my favorite things in life. My fascination with photography began when I was in 9th grade at East Coweta High School, in Ms. Shankel’s English class. We were assigned to present a “demonstrative speech” and I chose the topic that I thought would require the least amount of effort and still produce the highest possible grade, that topic for me was photography. Throughout the course of researching the craft, presenting a decent speech and attaining a better than decent grade I discovered that this topic was something that I actually enjoyed, was fairly good at and possibly might want to pursue in the future. It wasn’t until two years later, in Ms. Greene’s AP US History class that I knew photography would play a huge role in my future. We were studying 1968 “The Year That Rocked the World” and Ms. Greene had prepared a bulletin board full of photographs and facts from the happenings of that particular year. She gathered the class around the board to go through the history it contained and I remember, almost like an out of body experience, my 16 year old self honing in on one singular photograph and when I did something within me said “I want to do that! I’m going to do that!” This was the photo that changed my world:


It was raw and real and held nothing back… It was a significant moment captured forever in time with the single click of a shutter. At 16, the adventurous side of me wanted to run out of that room, catch a plane to anywhere and take photographs that would travel through generations and have the same affect on some other kid as that one particular shot was currently having on me. On the other hand the overly cautious side of me said “Don’t even think about it, they probably don’t have indoor plumbing wherever it is you think you’re going and you’ll get shot!” If you know me, you obviously know which side I listened to, but still, to this day there is a wild and crazy girl inside just waiting to hop on a plane and photograph the latest breaking news. (If anyone out there would like to pay me to do so, I am open to any job offers starting… Now!) This duality of mind is one I have struggled with my entire life and probably will until the day I die, but I’m working on letting that wild girl free…

Choosing safety over passion is what led me to a six year stay in college, trying to avoid not having a stable career after college in a roundabout way led me right to the place I was trying so desperately to avoid, needless to say I was “taking the long way” to quote the Dixie Chicks, back to the place I was always meant to be. At the moment I may not be photographing majorly historic world events, but I find joy in photographing the major life events of my friends, family and clients. It is always the quirky photos that become my favorite, the ones where you know you have captured that special smirk between spouses or the unique look of a child that embodies their little personality, the look you know they will carry into adulthood… These are the moments that are caught with the single click of a shutter at just the right moment, these are the images you will cherish forever, these are the moments that I love to capture. There is one photograph that I have of my grandparents that is my absolute favorite, it embodies everything that I remember about them from my childhood and it’s the silliest thing you’ve ever seen, but it’s true to them and I love it!


Those are the kind of candid and honest shots that make me fall further in love with photography every time I pick up a camera… I would like to take this opportunity to share this love of mine with the final winner of the “12 Days of Favorite Things” holiday giveaway… This lucky winner will have the chance to gain some of their own treasured family photographs during a one hour photo shoot provided by Amanda Duke Photography. And the final winner for 2012 is Erica Morgan! Congratulations Erica, I hope we can capture a few photographs that you will treasure forever!!!

It has been my joy to share my favorite things with you all again this holiday season, here’s to a happy and prosperous 2013, see you in December for more “favorite things”!

P.S. Oh yeah, I promised I would answer the question that I posed to all of my readers, so lets do that now… What would I do in 2013 of I knew I could not fail? Well, as hard as it is to leave the past behind and start a new life, I’d do just that. I’d leave my safety net behind, I’d become a full time photographer and writer and pursue the goals that make me happiest. I would spend 3 or 4 months in Europe seeing all the places I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid and I’d finally put all of those stories that have been constantly rolling around in my head onto paper. When I came back to the states I would drive across the US and overcome my “fear” of talking to strangers, I’d indulge the part of me that always wants to know the untold story of that random person on the street and I’d photograph anyone that would allow me. Then I would write that book I’ve been thinking about for three years now, a New York Time best seller no doubtOf course there are thousands of others things I want to do in the future, but hopefully we have a lifetime remaining for all of that… But, for 2013, my 30th year on this great planet, I think that is a pretty good start! I hope you all go out and do something this year that scares you to death and it is my sincerest hope that whatever the leap may be that it brings you true happiness in the coming year! Happy holidays (just a few days late)!!!