Category Archives: news

the blonde photographer is now a boozehound.

jaime windon // lyon distilling company

nearly five years ago i said yes to perhaps the craziest idea to date: launch a micro distillery on the eastern shore of maryland and become the first in over 40 years to distill rums & whiskeys in the free state. with no money, no plan, and nothing more than a desire to create something unique, i followed my business partner’s dream and we began distilling rum in tiny batches, from louisiana sugar cane & molasses. just a few weeks after we opened, we mashed our first batch of true maryland rye whiskey, and then the press started rolling in, followed by more customers than we ever imagined. it’s been a boozy whirlwind, and i’m still catching my breath.

now in our 4th year, Lyon Distilling Company is a delightful little booze factory built from the ground up, where we make rum & whiskey from scratch, all day, every day. our team has grown from 2 to 10, and we have an array of rums, whiskeys & liqueurs. you can come visit us anytime – we are open every day, and i live across the street in the charming town of saint michaels. i’m also the president of the Maryland Distillers Guild and a town commissioner. my new mission: getting people to drink more rum & promoting american-made spirits through education & legislation.

read all about what we are doing here.

my photography is now mostly tiki-inspired instagram snap shots of my booze factory, funky cocktails i drink, & eastern shore scapes, as seen from the seat of my bianchi. you can follow me here.

Lyon Distilling Company American Rum & Whiskey

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blonde (i)photos & other news.

i’ve been busy.

me, on stage for Mortified DC – School’s Out for Summer, 2012
photo by Mary Kate McKenna Photography, LLC

in fact, the last 16 months have been straight up tumultuous. exciting to say the least, and downright harrowing at times. but good – all very good.

i know, i know – moving to kenya, shooting weddings & photo projects all over the states, mexico & africa, becoming a kenyan resident & starting a kenyan business, then narrowly escaping somali pirates, leaving my beloved lamu island, kenya, teaching in india, falling in love, traveling some more, becoming a storyteller, becoming an innkeeper, and taking up woodworking are not excuses for ignoring my blog for over a year…but there are some things you just can’t plan for. sometimes life takes over, and really, i blame my iphone. it’s true – i love having a camera with me all the time that fits in my pocket and takes great images. and i love uploading those photos directly to facebook and sharing them with friends, family & fans. plus, it has helped me begin to separate photography work & photography fun, since that line was starting to blur (in a bad way) after working so hard the past 7 years.

just so you know, all of my recent work from the last 16 months (weddings, portraits, travel, documentary) can be found on the blonde photo | facebook page. if you aren’t a fan, and you want to stay up-to-date on everything i’m shooting & doing, then you should go ahead and click here.

sometimes i miss blogging, but it’s no longer part of my workflow, and i’m not yet sure if i will get it back anytime soon. more so, i’ve been working on my personal writing lately, turning some of my crazy stories into performances, and yes, you can see some of those on my new youtube channel. and blonde brouhaha site! i’m also dreaming up a new website to highlight all of my crazy creative endeavors, but still figuring out how to combine my three loves:

blonde photo | blonde brouhaha | blonde voyage

…and i was serious about everything i mentioned above, especially the fact that i am running a beautiful, historic bed & breakfast, so if you are interested, you can find out more about that here.

and now, for your visual delight, here are some of my favorite blonde (i)photos from the past year.

enjoy.

iphone :: kenya – key west – dc – india – eastern shore – puerto rico

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July 19, 2012 · 9:52 pm

BLONDEVOYAGE!

my *new* travel blog!

i am *so* excited to share my new travel blog BLONDEVOYAGE – which will chronicle my adventures for the next few months, while i’m based off the coast of kenya, in the village of shela, on lamu island!

i leave in just a few hours (woo!) and won’t arrive on the island until tuesday afternoon (!!), where i will be greeted with sunshine, white sails, and the gorgeous smiling faces of the people who live there! for the next three months i will have the privilege of calling this beautiful island my home…i am so looking forward to relishing in the simplicity of village life. along with photographing an amazing wedding on the island at the end of the month, im looking forward to spending the next few weeks focusing on writing (my first love) and photography (my passion) in this incredible environment. in all my travels around the world this is the *first* time i have ever returned to a place i have traveled previously! my plan is to update BLONDEVOYAGE often with news, stories, and photos — so stay tuned!

also, i *just* posted FIVE blogs from my travels to this very place earlier this year, so if you are curious as to where i’ll be, what i’ll be doing, and why i absolutely love this island so much, check it out!

enjoy!

* * *

lamu island, kenya – 2010:

part I :: lamu :: shela village.

part II :: lamu :: maulidi.

part III :: lamu :: dhow races.

part IV :: lamu :: shela primary school.

part V :: kiwayu :: island life.

* * *

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women by women.

dc fotoweek + wpow = fantastic photo exhibition!


unkonda, thrilled to be back in shela, lamu island, kenya, laughs aboard felice.

i am so excited to announce that the above image was chosen to be included in WPOW’s annual photo exhibition women by women.” i absolutely love this portrait (and the subject!) and i am so proud to see it on display this week in dc! unkonda is an incredible woman with an exuberant spirit and infectious energy. her magnificent laugh and broad smile are among her best features and just looking at this image makes me so happy! the photo was taken earlier this year off the coast of kenya, but unkonda is currently working with the peace corps in burkina faso. i miss her and her amazing laugh, but i am so proud of the work she is doing and count myself lucky to call her my friend.

the juried show features the work of some of dc’s most notable photographers and i am so honored to be among them! the images are on display during fotoweek at AYN studio in dc from 11/5 – 11/14, with the opening reception on tuesday november 9th. below in an excerpt from WPOW’s event page and you can read more about the show is HERE.

“In association with FotoWeekDC, WPOW: Women Photojournalists of Washington is pleased to announce the opening reception on November 9, 2010 for our annual juried photo exhibition, “Women by Women.” The event is open to the public and a silent print auction will be part of the festivities, the proceeds of which will help WPOW continue our mission to educate the public about the work of women photojournalists. All 16×20 prints will be signed by the photographer.

Images were selected by renowned jurors: New York Times photographer Ruth Fremson, Reuters photographer Larry Downing, and Aperture Books editor Denise Wolff.

The photographers featured in the exhibition are Irene Abdou, Andrea Bruce, Gabriela Bulisova, Mary F. Calvert, Michelle Frankfurter, Alexandra Garcia, Alexis Glenn, Melissa Golden, SERLI, Nikki Kahn, Yanina Manolova, Jenna Isaacson Pfueller, Astrid Riecken, Molly Riley, Jamie Rose, Erin C. Schwartz, Allison Shelley, Vanessa Vick, Sarah L. Voisin, and Jaime Windon.

The prints, which were generously donated by Nations Photo Lab, will also be presented as a national traveling photo exhibition to photojournalism schools.”

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Filed under art, dc, exhibit, news, photography, photojournalism

it’s wise to be well.

children’s national + united medical center = improved pediatric care.

earlier this week children’s national medical center hosted a very fun event at united medical center to celebrate the new forthcoming pediatric emergency department — made possible in large part by an amazing $11 million grant from the DC government. the event was a wonderful opportunity to introduce the community to the nurses + staff, and everyone had a great time.

“it’s wise to be well” focused on educating parents through information on children’s health, from identifying flu symptoms and ear infections, to basic injury prevention, healthy eating + exercise practices, as well as free car seat checks! the tents were set up in the hospital parking lot, alongside the community farmers’ market, complete with balloons, awesome music, snacks, great give-a-aways, and face painting for the kids! as always, i had a great time documenting another fabulously fun event for children’s national medical center — enjoy!

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peace out.

next stop :: vancouver island, BC!


peace + love in shela — lamu island, kenya.

it’s been a very busy few months since i returned from kenya — i’ve photographed lots of amazing weddings, sessions, and events! by now everyone knows that my all-out photo marathons always give way to long trips!

i’m actually editing images from shela at 30,000 ft while en route to vancouver island for the next few weeks to unwind and explore! i plan on kayaking with orcas, camping with bears, fishing from helicopters, boarding my first seaplane, driving the logging roads and hiking the rugged coast!

photos from kenya + vancouver island to come in august when i return!

ciao!

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national marine sanctuary foundation: leadership awards dinner.

celebrating capitol hill ocean week.

for the 3rd year in a row, i was honored to photograph the national marine sanctuary foundation leadership awards dinner at the famed ronald reagan building + international trade center in DC. the event, held annually during capitol hill ocean week, honors top leaders in marine conservation and draws the most notable oceanographers, explorers and activists in the field.

master of ceremonies boyd matson of national geographic fame, once again entertained guests and introduced speakers dr. jane lubchenco, jason patlis, dan basta, jean-michel cousteau + bob talbot – all of whom reflected on issues related to the current state of our oceans, especially in light of the recent and devastating oil spill in the gulf.

this year’s award recipients were as impressive as ever – congresswoman lois capps + congresswoman ileana ros-lehtinen, co-chairs of the national marine sanctuary caucus, received the 2010 leadership award in recognition of their support of the national marine sanctuaries. julie packard, executive director of the monterey bay aquarium, was honored with this year’s lifetime achievement award for her commitment to ocean sustainability + leadership in marine conservation over the past three decades. and steve kroll, from the thunder bay national marine sanctuary, was named national volunteer of the year.

additionally, the evening celebrated the 10th anniversary of the national marine sanctuary foundation as well as the 100th anniversary of jacques-yves cousteau‘s birth – with special presentations by the cousteau family + a “red-cap” tribute to the amazing french captain, naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher of the underwater world!

for more about the leadership awards dinner, capitol hill ocean week, and the national marine sanctuary, visit their website, follow them on twitter or become a fan on facebook!


“her deepness” dr. sylvia earle.


director of NOAA’s national marine sanctuaries systems, dan basta.


national marine sanctuary foundation president, jason patlis.


jan + philippe cousteau, jr.


my first crocheted cumberbund!


leadership award recipients congresswoman lois capps + ileana ros-lehtinen.


julie packard accepting her lifetime achievement award from jason patlis.


boyd matson + dr. jane lubchenco.


jean-michel cousteau.


the amazing nominees for volunteer of the year.


signed copy of jacques-yves cousteau’s the silent world.

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