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Nocking Point Event Raises $3,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation!

Congratulations to Andrew Harding and Stephen Amell (actor portraying Oliver Queen in The CW series, Arrow), Co-Founders of Nocking Point Wines, on the success of their wine-club kick off event, which I photographed last Saturday evening. Along with a fabulous celebration with their guests, they raised $3,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation!

My long-time friend, Sarrah pictured below (and sister to Andrew), is the behind the scenes do-it-all Nocking Point guru, and so a big congratulations goes out to her as well for the planning and completion of their celebration on Saturday.

Having lost my own mom to cancer, and being impacted by so many other’s stories as well, (read more about my personal journey with cancer here), I donated my time to photograph the event, and will be donating a portion of all print-sale proceeds as well.

And a big shout out to Dancehall Days, a band out of Portland, Oregon, for their fabulous music at the event. They made it hard to do my job at times, since I just wanted to be outside enjoying their performance! {Check them out, and if you are ever in Portland, look up their performance schedule!}

For those interested, the full photo-booth gallery from the event, featuring lots of happy fans, can be accessed here – as mentioned above, a portion of all print order proceeds will be donated to Make-A-Wish and/or F* Cancer, an organization with whom Nocking Point Wines has partnered to help raise money in the fight against cancer. To visit the facebook gallery of select images, go here.

And finally, here are just a sampling of images below, including Stephen and fans enjoying each other in equal doses.

Nocking Point Wines Kick-Off Celebration photographed by Heather Pearce Photography

 

Stephen Amell and fans photographed by Heather Pearce Photography
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Nature and Loss :: Personal Post on Healing

Skagit Valley
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In case you missed the title of this post, I am adding a warning here: this is a personal post on loss. Skip it if you think it might be too much for you today. {Although you are still welcome look at the pretty pictures if you like nature and tulips.}

I haven’t always shared really personal details about loss. Though for most people who know me, I think they would probably consider me pretty open. I think it is important to share our journeys, especially where it might help someone else along their own journey, and I think stories do just that. But sometimes, certain things feel safer, at least for a time, kept closer to the heart. There has been plenty in my life that I have kept close to the heart. But I am learning more and more about the importance of sharing especially when we feel most vulnerable, and I share what I’m about to share with the hopes that it might help someone along their journey as well.

Where to begin?

With sadness. Last week was a bit tumultuous. The long and short of it is that we were pregnant and now we are not. This is our third miscarriage, and so one would think we might be quite good at the process, but each time it has involved a lot of heartache. Each time we have made big room in our life and in our hearts (as you do when you are trying for children) with the news that we were expecting! We plan, we look at dates, and begin to fall in love with the special person that will join our family and everything that goes along with such a tremendous change. Like many women, I begin to feel a bit nauseous, and as awful as it is, it is a constant and joyful reminder of good things to come.

So when I, for the first time in each of these pregnancies started to have the nagging thought that something didn’t feel quite right, though I may not have even been able to place my finger on it immediately, it was really hard to hear that still small voice and want to believe it – instead, it was so much easier to talk myself out of worrying, at least for a day or two. (“Trust your body. Trust that things will go the way they should.”) But in the end, my instincts have always been right (sadly), and my body did know. And there are times where I wonder in a big way whether I can trust my body following three miscarriages.

Each of the miscarriages has appeared to happen for different reasons – and they have ended in different ways. Sometimes with hospital stays and procedures, other times at home following a medication-induced miscarriage. And one with multiple hospital stays even following a medication-induced attempt at miscarriage. This last one involved lots of natural remedies to induce miscarriage following prescription medication that appeared not to work. It’s amazing how physically different the experience has been each time, and yet how emotionally similar. The first two happened before we had Aiden, and the second was even more heartbreaking than the first — all of the thoughts and questions came rushing in again and even harder – thoughts and questions and fears that so many couples face when embarking on, or getting partway through this journey only to have heartbreak hit (and sometimes multiple times).

Luckily we now have Aiden  – and so it seems that we are capable of producing healthy babies. We can hold on to that hope. But this third miscarriage was still a big shock. There is something about going through a healthy pregnancy and having a child that makes you think “It’s clear sailing from here, Bob!” when unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

We are grateful that we are able to conceive. We hold on to that as a positive sign as well. And we certainly are grateful for good doctors and medical care. (As difficult as it is to be facing them on the other end of each of these miscarriages as well). Even after the third miscarriage and with additional fears and thoughts swirling in my head about hormone or genetic testing, etc, etc, our doctor very calmly said “No, I wouldn’t recommend any of that, even now.” His calm, gentle spirit (he has been an amazing doctor since the beginning) carried over into helping me reach peace instead of continuing into a place of fear.

Another thing I am grateful for in this process is learning about what is healing under these circumstances. A good cry or two (or three or four) is, for me, very healing. Learning to let go of ideas about timelines and about how life is “supposed” to go really helps me detach from preconceived notions rooted a little too strongly in my mind and not in reality. Writing is healing. And time in nature is extremely healing.

The timing of our second miscarriage certainly wasn’t planned, but couldn’t have worked out any better. I was in the hospital for a D&C on a Friday evening. Because my blood pressure remained low (as it always is), they wouldn’t release me from the hospital. Phil and I were scheduled to leave on our 4th of July vacation to Montana for a national parks trip to Glacier and Yellowstone the following morning (and because we were going to be driving to Glacier in one day, we had hoped to leave at the first peep of dawn).

So as it got later and later in the evening that Friday night, I took matters into my own hands and flexed my legs and feet and tried to increase general levels of frustration to get my blood pressure up, and attached to tubes and all, took myself on approximately 20 or 30 laps around my hospital floor. When that didn’t garner any attention, I simply put my clothes back on, walked to the nurse’s station and asked them to unhook me from all the tubing, which they did. I got myself released around midnight. We drove to Issaquah, a short distance from Seattle, and stayed in a hotel that night. The next morning we hit the road at 7 am.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid of what might happen in a week spent in national parks in the middle of Montana and Wyoming following miscarriage and a D&C (and particularly given my experience with my first miscarriage, involving multiple D&Cs, emergency trips to the hospital, and lots of blood loss), but we threw caution to the wind and went anyway, and it turned out to be exactly what I needed.  I was not eaten alive by grizzly bears (big fear number one, given my physical state). I didn’t need a follow-up trip to any hospital for any reason (thank goodness), and time in nature with my sweetie turned out to be the perfect antidote for the (emotional) pain. Hope springs eternal, and something about time in nature really allows this process to move more quickly than it might otherwise do.

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Equipped with this knowledge (and facing our third miscarriage), although we couldn’t pick up and leave with a toddler and drive 12 hours across multiple states to get our fill of nature for a full week, we could still seek solace and healing in nature, which is what we did. Our day trip to the tulips fields (and a nursery) in the beautiful Skagit Valley, pictured above, brought a lot of peace.

Time with things that are growing and rooted in the earth and sharing their beauty and inspiration with us do give me hope. They give me hope that I can get myself rooted a little more firmly (at least from time to time), they give me hope that I can make a bigger effort to slow down and enjoy the journey, they give me hope that one day I might arrive in that place of giving life again, as so many things around us do.

PS. As a side note, I only decided to write this post once I received a text from a close friend who said, “If you are, know that you don’t have to grieve alone.” It made me reflect on what a lonely process going through a miscarriage can be, how very alone I have often felt in the process, and how sharing my story might help even one other woman feel less alone.

Ashley Mathews - April 24, 2014 - 7:35 pm

Love you sis!

andrea - April 25, 2014 - 10:02 am

Hi Heather,

I am so sorry for your loss. You are such a great person and a wonderful mom. Thank you again, for sharing what’s true.

Andrea

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Book a May Portrait Session by May 3, and HELP FIGHT CANCER!

Heather Pearce Photography offers on-location custom family portraits in Seattle

Have you ever had periods in your life shaped by a persistent theme? For the past couple months, for me personally, that theme has been cancer. Turned on its head, that theme has also been CELEBRATION, STRENGTH, PERSEVERANCE, and JOY.

When faced with fear, or discouraging news, I am a big believer in DOING SOMETHING. It doesn’t always matter exactly what that is — just DO. SOMETHING. Every step forward is a step forward. And that is the only direction to go. And how much do we appreciate those in our lives around us, that in the face of our struggles and fears and scary news, DO SOMETHING for us or on our behalfs? I can think of numerous people in my life who are do-ers and who I love so much because of it!

No doubt we all know {and many of us have lost} loved ones with cancer. It’s one of those yucky words that pops up and scares the bejeesus out of you and causes a total shift in being and in thinking and in appreciating the day to day. Whether we want to think about it this way or not, we all have a relationship with cancer. (I would say very rarely these days does someone not know anyone at all affected by cancer). And some people are lucky enough to survive cancer and be stronger and live more beautiful lives because of it. Others live with cancer for years before succumbing. And then some are simply gone far too soon without much warning or choice at all in their journey.

My personal relationship with cancer began when my mom was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at the young age of 45. I was 22 and had just started law school. It was a devastating and life-changing and inspiring experience to watch her grace and beauty and her nine months of suffering. Life has never been the same for me or the rest of my family, since cancer entered the scene.

Of course, there have been more road markers in my journey involving cancer through the additional stories of family, friends and acquaintances.
A few years out of law school, I joined many, many others and walked 60 miles for cancer and helped raise several thousand dollars for the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Shortly following that walk, a co-worker’s young daughter was diagnosed with a rare, very aggressive form of breast cancer.

Then my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer.

And one of my closest friends was diagnosed with malignant melanoma.

And then I met and married my hubby, Phil, whose mom has been living with stage 4 breast cancer for the past 10 years. She has received weekly chemo treatments for. ten. years. Her journey has had many peaks and valleys and is both heartbreaking and inspiring.

And there have been more stops along the way since that time, involving more family and friends, involving my own tears as I stood, like so many women do, getting my first mammogram and worrying about a lump.

Fast forward to recent times – in the past few months, a good friend (who lost her own mother to breast cancer at a young age) was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is my age. And she inspires me. I felt extraordinarily sad and overwhelmed by the news for days – and then I received a follow up message from her (going out to all of her friends) saying “bring it, cancer!! for all of you who know me, you know that I am pretty tough ….” and went on to say how she was facing it head on. WOW.

Additionally, two of my recent clients both lost their beloved dogs to cancer (both of whom I created pet portraits of shortly before their passing). These were members of their family whose losses were deeply and suddenly felt.

I also had the most amazing and beautiful opportunity last month to photograph Janet (a fellow Seattle photographer who has become a friend), and her family in their home on a beautiful Sunday morning. Her husband, Tim, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma several years ago, and he has since outlived the timeline originally projected by his doctors. Their session, which included their gorgeous, spunky, 10-year old daughter Ellie, is one of my all-time favorites. I was so honored to share time with them in their home and feel the love they have as a family and the bonds that have held them together since the beginning, as well as through the recent years of uncertainty and fear, celebration and joy, tears and worry.

And finally, in reconnecting with a high school friend, learned that she is helping her family get their new winery off the ground – and the best part? Nocking Point Winery has partnered with a charitable organization, F* Cancer, based in Canada, and they donate a portion of their proceeds from every sale to help support this organization fight cancer. Founded by her brother, Andrew Harding along with his good friend Stephen Amell (star of The Green Arrow on CW every Wednesday night), the winery is hosting a kick-off party and fundraiser for Make a Wish Foundation and F* Cancer this weekend in Walla Walla. And I will be there, donating my time to photograph the event! {Stay tuned for more on this event}.

And so when I was also recently asked to be the new Guest Relations Manager for Get Hitched, Give Hope, a fabulous organization that works very hard to raise money every year for Dream Foundation and Young Survival Coalition, organizations that support individuals with terminal illness in making some of their final wishes come true (Dream Foundation), and offer support to young women living with breast cancer (Young Survival Coalition), of course I jumped at the opportunity!

There is one additional thing that I am doing for the remainder of this month and next to help fight cancer — for any clients who book a portrait session (to be used by the end of May) by Saturday, May 3rd, I WILL BE DONATING $100 of their session fee to support the fight against cancer. We both win! I get to support a cause I believe in AND create your portraits, and your money gets you a beautifully-designed custom portrait session AND $100 of it goes to a great cause.

This offer is good for any type of portrait session – family, couples, children, business/head-shot portraits. You name it, I’m going to donate!

Please contact me by May 3rd to book your May portrait session to be used any time in May and help fight cancer now.  206.799.2539

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Seattle Attorney Headshots :: Professional Portraits

Congratulations to Dana! She recently joined Lorber, Greenfield & Polito here in Seattle. It turns out that Dana was just one year behind me in law school – what a small world! {Yes, I went to law school, but that’s a whole ‘nother story!} It was great to meet up with her and hear about her transition from the public sector and government work into private practice {thus the need for a new hadshot}, trade notes about being mommies to busy little boys, and to learn that she is also on the board of MAMAS {Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association}. What a fabulous lady!

It was “casual Friday” at her firm, so she definitely got the best dressed award for the day. Dana, congratulations again on your new position! Check back on the Lorber, Greenfield and Polito website link above soon to see Dana’s updated profile!

Seattle attorney headshots professional business portraits
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August in April :: 10 Months :: Seattle Baby Portraits

What a sweet hour I got to spend with little August. Having photographed his older brother, Ellis, one of my favorite little boys ever {did I mention his amazing hair?!} it was such a super treat to get to spend some time with August and his beautiful momma. Seattle blessed us with a gorgeous afternoon, and August got to spend some time doing one of his favorite things :: trying to eat rocks. Like many little boys I know, my own included, rocks rank at the top of the list of favorite things to play with. And the fascination starts young!

Check out beautiful little August, and his gorgeous momma.

Outdoor children
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