Saturday, December 28, 2013

Outside Christmas Ornaments

We decorated the tree in our front yard with some oversize ornaments; my plan is to slowly accumulate more of these over the years until the tree is fully decorated! While enjoying the beautiful weather this week over Christmas, I grabbed a few photos of the ornaments in the daylight.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Light Bokeh: Let's make shapes!

 One of my photography-related Christmas presents this year is a Bokeh kit. I've wanted one of these for a while now, but didn't really have any reason for it - that's what Christmas is for! I've posted previously some shots I took using Christmas lights to get that nice bokeh effect, but there's only so much you can do about the shape of the bokeh, as it's based a lot on the sensor for your camera. In order to alter the shape of the lights, you need to place something over the front of the camera lens. You can create your own cut outs in different shapes to alter the light, but I've never really had the patience to do that. So, bring on the kit! It comes with over 20 differently shaped cut outs that I can place over the lens and change the shape of the light. It was then just a matter of finding a subject and the right cut out...and here's what I came up with!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Portraits

 The holidays provides a lot of opportunities for adorable photos of the kids, and this year was no different. I was only able to get a few of the more traditional shots that I wanted to get, as my son would not cooperate. But that's ok  - my daughter made up for her lack of brother by bringing on the cuteness!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Light Bokeh

This year is the first time that I've had the physical space, equipment, and time to truly try to capture Christmas light bokeh. For those of you who may not know, "bokeh" is a Japanese term for how the lens renders the out of focus part of a photo - for example, the light in the background. By positioning objects in different locations in the foreground, you can make some very interesting effects! I've had a lot of fun this week experimenting with bokeh, and will have more to share! For now, here are the Christmas-y subjects I used earlier in the week.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A snowy birthday

Two weeks ago today was my daughter's birthday. We woke up to gray skies and heavy snow falling, but were able to go outside twice that day despite the weather! Later in the afternoon, when the sun came out, I headed outside to take photos. She wanted to take photos with me, so of course I took the chance to grab some unique photos of the birthday girl in the snow. It doesn't hurt that they are also photos of her being a photographer!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter Wonderland

Two weeks ago today, we had the first real snow of the season. It started Monday night (exactly two weeks ago), and when we woke up Tuesday (which also happened to be my daughter's birthday) the snow was thickly coming down. It was too snowy to risk going outside with my camera, but I grabbed a few shots of the snow on the pond with the geese from the safety of my kitchen (using my 70-300mm lens). So beautiful!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Two family photo shoots

In November I had the pleasure to do two separate family photo shoots - it made for a busy month! I put full sneak peeks of both families on Facebook, but wanted to show my favorite shots from each shoot here. Both shoots were at Morven Park, but ended up so different from each other! That's one of the things that I love most: finding a beautiful location and then personalizing it for each person/family.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Making Art

On Black Friday we took our children to the Crayola Experience in Pennsylvania. I've posted details about the trip on my family blog here; while there, we were surrounded by so much creativity that I had to get a few artistic shots of my own to share here!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Disney on Ice

Back in October, my family and I attended Disney on Ice: Celebration! At the Patriot Center. We were up fairly high, but that's ok - it let me put my telephoto lens to good use!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Great Falls National Park

There are so many winter and holiday photos that I want to share here, and plan to, but I know if I don't get around to sharing some from this past summer/fall I will never get them up! So, before I dive into my snow photos from this week, here are some I took in August at Great Falls National Park. I'm sure it looks absolutely stunning now with the snow and ice, but it's also nice to remember how it looks in the warm sun!

The weather was beautiful - I went hiking there with two friends (who also wanted a photography adventure) and we spent a couple of hours just shooting the Falls from various angles and vantage points. I hope to be able to go back in all seasons to see how it changes over the year! I also hope to be able to hike some of the trails, as we really only stayed near the Falls/Potomac River.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wedding Part 3: Portraits

The last set of Vermont wedding photos! When going through these, I found so many that I had taken of my kids, as well as the other flower girl, that I put them together into a single post here. I just can't get enough of these beautiful faces!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wedding Part 2: Little Touches

Some of the fun of wedding photography is focusing in on the little touches throughout the day. I started with the wedding bouquets in the room as the bride was getting ready.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Wedding Part 1: The dress

Prior to my brother-in-law's wedding (so far I've only published about the rehearsal, but there are photos on my family blog about the wedding), I had the honor to take photos of my (now) sister-in-law getting ready, with particular focus on some artistic shots of her wedding dress. I absolutely love getting to take photos like's art and fashion rolled into one!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


While in San Diego last week, my boss and I attended a private reception at Sea World. When we arrived to the cocktail area, we spotted this little guy sitting on a table with his trainer.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Autumn in Vermont: Part 3

For the final part of my photo excursion in Vermont, I headed into the local town of Waitsfield. The (nearly) duplicate photos I took there begged for different edits, evoking different feels for the same view.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Autumn in Vermont: Part 2

These photos were taken after the ones I posted in Vermont: Part 1. This lovely river (the Mad River) wound its way through the area where we were staying, and made for beautiful landscape photography.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Autumn in Vermont: Part 1

When in Vermont for my brother-in-law's wedding, we had some time to kill on Friday before the rehearsal dinner. Given the beautiful autumn foliage everywhere, I really wanted to get out and take some photos. So we drove around the nearby town and I had the opportunity to capture these shots. The first is of the oldest covered bridge in Vermont.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Vermont Wedding: Rehearsal

One month ago, we traveled to Vermont for my brother-in-law's wedding. Not only was I a guest, but I was also asked to be the "unofficial" official photographer for their rehearsal and for the morning before the wedding, to document the bride and groom getting ready. I haven't done much wedding photography (with the only foray being this New Year's Eve wedding I photographed last year for a good family friend. Because this was family, I really wanted to get everything right  for them!

The wedding (and therefore, rehearsal) took place in a small but beautiful old church.

I wanted to gather some shots of the bride and groom without getting in the way during the rehearsal. It wasn't easy in the space and with the lighting, but I did my best!

The maid of honor, the bride, the groom, and the best man.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Little Miss M

My previous post was of the photos that I took of my colleague's daughter for her back-to-school photos. A former colleague of ours tagged along on the shoot with her adorable 2 year old; I couldn't help but take some photos of her, as she is a fantastic model and absolutely gorgeous!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Back-to-school High School shoot

About two months ago I had the pleasure of doing my first back-to-school shoot of the year, and my first ever of someone in high school! She is the lovely daughter of one of my colleagues, and I had a fantastic time shooting her. We headed over to Morven Park to take advantage of the beautiful setting.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pink Sunset

The first couple of weeks of the month produced some absolutely gorgeous sunsets in our neighborhood. I've been reading about how "cliche" sunset photos are, and how hard it is to take good ones. So, I've been trying not to take too many unless they provide something visually different or interesting. When the sky turned a beautiful shade of pink a couple of weeks ago, I just couldn't resist. So, I grabbed my Powershot and quickly snapped a few to capture that color.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A day in Richmond

About a month ago I spent a couple of days in Richmond for work. I had some time one afternoon between appointments, and found myself in the downtown area, so I headed over to Maymont Park, as I hadn't been there in a very long time. I actually did not go where I had intended to, but instead found a lovely man-made lake with this beauty sitting in the middle. Time for the 70-300mm lens!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nutcracker Audition

Last month my daughter auditioned for a local production of The Nutcracker. I wasn't sure what the situation would be in regards to taking photos during the audition, but I was able to sit in on it and use my 70-300mm zoom lens to snap a few photos. The lighting was difficult, and I of course could not use a flash, but I think I was able to make do with the situation at hand.

The role her age group tried out for is "gift bearer", so during the party each of them would come forward with a gift to the front of the stage, curtsy, and return to the back. The older girls (chosen to play the main role of Clara) helped them out with their nervousness on the first run through (they each did it 3 times).

Monday, October 14, 2013

National Zoo: Animal Portraits

 I posted on my family blog about our most recent trip to the National Zoo with our friends. In addition to the great posts of the kids that I got, I of course took some animal portraits as well.

We were fortunate on this trip to see the orangutan's cross on the O-line, and I captured this shot of them kissing as we walked away.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Philadelphia at night

Last month I went to Philadelphia for work. I only had one evening there, but I brought my camera in hopes that I might be able to take some photos. I was really tired after dinner, but my hotel was just down the street from the beautiful city hall, so I grabbed the camera and headed out to try some night photography.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

All Dressed Up

 About two months ago, we had a neighborhood yard sale and picked up a dress for my daughter. She jumped at the chance to put it on with some makeup for an impromptu photo shoot. I jumped at the chance to have a willing model on which to practice using my external flashes and lights. I love the different looks that I can get just by moving around the lights.

Monday, September 30, 2013

NJ Grounds for Sculpture

In August, I took a trip to NJ and had time in my schedule to visit the New Jersey Grounds for Sculpture. I'd heard about this place from a fellow photographer I met on a Facebook group, and was excited to have a chance to go and shoot. Unfortunately, I did not have my DSLR with me, but good photography isn't about the gear, it's about the eye, right?

The first thing I encountered was this sculpture of American Gothic. It was about 2.5 times taller than life size

Monday, September 16, 2013

Headshot Practice

Late last spring, I purchased a new studio lighting set. Previously, I had purchased a very basic lighting setup comprised of two lights with umbrellas for shooting through. I've done a couple of boudoir and child shoots with these and I've been happy with how they worked. However, after talking to some photographer friends, reading online, and learning more how to shoot indoors, I felt that the best way to move forward with studio lighting would be with off-camera flash. So, I purchased two higher-power off-camera flashes than the one that I had (a simple Canon Speedlite; the new ones are Yongnuo, and came highly recommended by a couple of photographers I know), and a wireless trigger/sync system to get them off camera. Then it was just a matter of practice! Luckily, my sister was visiting and was willing to sit for me while I figured out the triggering and light placement. For a first try, I think they came out quite well, and I love the effects that I can create with the flashes.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Political Event: Office Opening

**Disclaimer: This post is not an endorsement of any candidate, simply noting some photos I took at a local political event.

A friend of my husband is running for Delegate in the state of Virginia. We don't live in her district, so we can't vote for her, but he wanted to support her so we went to her office opening in Berryville over Labor Day weekend. She had asked if I would take some photos of the event; these are my favorites.

Her office is in the old Berryville Pharmacy building (the whole town is so quaint!).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Preschool Photos

My son does not permit me to take his photo as easily as my daughter does; at 3.5, standing still and posing nicely for photos just isn't in his DNA! However, he started preschool this week, so I was able to convince him to take a few photos before (and during) his first day of preschool. 

 I cannot resist close-ups of his beautiful little face. And his eyelashes should be outlawed (as one of his teachers noted)!

Happy first day of preschool, big guy! Can't wait to see what this adventure holds for you.