Friday, December 26, 2014

My extended family: holiday portraits | Outer Banks Portrait Photographer

I don't often post photos here that I'm in (as instead I'm normally the one behind the camera!), but this was a rather unique family photo shoot that I wanted to family!
We all met at the Outer Banks for Thanksgiving last month, and as we so rarely all have the chance to be together, I thought it would be nice to do a big family shoot. In addition to the group photo above, I also took photos of the different components that makeup our family. And despite it being a bit chilly, the overcast skies actually provided us with a very nice background!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The P family: Christmas card photos

Last month I took photos of my former housemate from college and her beautiful family, for use on their Christmas cards this year. We met at the Point of Rocks train station in Maryland, just on the other side of the Potomac, and took photos throughout the park there. After warning me that her kids may not cooperate, it turned out that they were perfectly delightful! They were all so much fun to work with, and we captured some really great moments.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Disney's Animal Kingdom | Nature Photographer

We began our day in Disney's Animal Kingdom by going on the Kilmanjaro Safari. Disney is home to a 110 acre wildlife preserve, where the animals are completely self-sustaining (they are not fed each day by the employees, unlike at a zoo). There are over 34 species of animals that live there, and according to our guide we were able to see just about all of them! We were very fortunate that the animals were all up and about so early in the morning. Here are my favorite shots of the morning.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Day and night in the Magic Kingdom: Part 2

On our second day at Disney in October, we spent a full day at the Magic Kingdom, which meant we got to spend a lot more time covering all areas of the park. Here are some of the highlights of what we saw throughout. We once again started at the front of the park; while we were waiting to meet Minnie Mouse, I grabbed this photo of some of the Halloween scarecrows. How gorgeous are these colors?!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Day and night in the Magic Kingdom: Part 1

At the beginning of October we spent 3.5 days at Disney, with the first 1.5 days in the Magic Kingdom. I went through my photos from the first day we spent there and pulled out a few of my favorites, highlighting my favorite shots taken during the afternoon (with quite cloudy skies, and some sun later on), as well as later that night.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Macro photography: Trees

For a photo project this week, I needed to photograph "something from a tree". While walking the dog early one morning, I saw drops of water hanging from the nearly bare tree branches and had to go back with my camera. Using my 85mm lens, set at the widest aperture (f/1.8) I captured a few macro shots; these proved to be my favorites.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fall in Leesburg | Virginia Nature Photographer

At the end of last week, I walked around the grounds of my office complex capturing some photos of the beautiful fall foliage.While the leaves are on their way out, some of the trees in my complex are only turning red now, and the morning light coming through the trees was lovely.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Little Miss E: Newborn photos

During the last week of July, a good friend of mine here in Leesburg gave birth to a beautiful baby girl! Not only did I get a chance to visit with them in the hospital, but a few days later after mom and baby had returned home, I went to their house for a newborn photo shoot of the beautiful girl. This is the third shoot I've done with this family, and I'm so happy that they continue to ask me to photograph their life! Especially with this adorable new addition.

We started off with some "lifestyle" photos in her nursery.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

State Arboretum of Virginia | Nature Photography

On Saturday I did a photo shoot at a new location: the State Arboretum of Virginia. The shoot went really well, partially because of the amazing location. The setting was stunning, and on my way out I encountered these beauties who were good enough to pose for me!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Back to School 2014 | Leesburg Child Photographer

I love back to school photos! This year I did a separate photo shoot for each of my children. For my daughter, I did the same as last year and took her out by our pond for an evening photo shoot. Unfortunately the weather was not as cooperative as last year, but I still captured her beautiful spirit and excitement over being in first grade.

For my son, there unfortunately was not time to take his before or after his first day of preschool (and the weather wasn't great that day either!), so at the end of his first week I did a shoot in front of the building that houses his school. One of the best things about little boys is their sheer enthusiasm and ability to have fun just running around!  I was also fortunate that, unlike some other times I have tried to take his photo, he was very cooperative with me. I think he was also very excited to be in the 4s preschool class; one step closer to kindergarten!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ms. L: Author Photos | Northern Virginia Photographer

About a month ago I met up with the lovely Laura, a friend of a friend. Laura is getting back into freelance writing, and needed some photos taken for an article she was writing. I was happy to help, and so I met Laura at her house and we took some photos to go with her article.

The article is very moving and personal. It's hard to read at times, and eye opening, and I really respect Laura for putting herself out there to hopefully help others who may be in her position. I highly recommend clicking through and reading her very personal story.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Little Miss J Turns 2 | Leesburg Child Photographer

A few weeks ago, my neighbor asked me to take photos of her daughter for her second birthday. She was an absolute gem to work with (which you can't say about a lot of 2 year olds!), and I could not be happier with her shoot! I mean, who can really get enough of those cheeks?!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Little Miss S: Lifestyle Newborn Photos

At the end of July one of my best friends gave birth to her second daughter. I visited her in the hospital, as I did the first time, only this time she asked me to also take some photos of her beautiful new baby girl. I was happy to oblige, as the love in the room was overflowing! Plus, who wouldn't want to photograph this beautiful baby girl?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Practicing with a macro lens

At the end of August I was invited to one of my client's sites for a one-day meeting. I didn't have too much to do that day, just listen to the talks and see the facility. It turns out that the man who put the meeting together also enjoys photography, and had seen my site. He brought all of his gear with him, and gave me full license to play! He's got my dream camera (the Canon 5D Mark III), and wow was that fun to get to use! He also had a 100mm macro lens (the one that I really want to buy next), and in addition to taking photos on his camera, I put the macro lens on my camera to see how well it worked. I am definitely a  fan of this lens now, and wanted to share a couple of my favorite shots that I took while messing around.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ocean City, NJ | Travel Photography

At the end of July I had the chance to meet up with a photographer friend in Ocean City, NJ. She lives near there, and it was convenient for me to get to from my last appointment of the day, plus I had never been to that part of the Jersey shore, so it worked out perfectly! I hadn't actually met her in person before, and she is as lovely as she seemed over Facebook. We went to her favorite place at the beach, near a mostly washed-out pier, and had some fun discussing photography while we snapped away.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Elsa" outside

I finally found an Elsa costume for my daughter, and she loves nothing more than to wear it as much as possible. While we've tried to keep the costume inside, I wanted to get some outdoor photos of her. Unfortunately, after about 5 minutes we started to get rained out, but before then I was able to grab a couple of fun ones, and then play with editing to make them really pop!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Little Miss S: 1 day old

Just over a month ago, one of my best friends gave birth to her second daughter. Just like the first time, I wanted to visit her in the hospital, as I know how nice it is to get people to visit you during that time! Plus, you're of course very excited to show off your adorable new baby! This time, I brought my camera with me to capture some sweet newborn hospital photos for her and her husband. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lilies at Rust Nature Preserve

Last week I went to the Rust Nature Sanctuary with my family. At the end of our excursion, we came across these lovely lilies blooming in a garden. I adore photographing flowers! My new 85mm lens made the process even more fun, as I was able to play with focus and depth of field.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Puppy love

During a newborn photo shoot at a good friend's house last weekend, I captured these photos of my daughter with their dog. The light coming through this window was stunning, and the two of them together were just so sweet.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekly Photo Project: July 2014

June 30 - July 6: "Red, White, and Blue"
The theme for this week was a fairly obvious choice, given that it was July 4th! On the beach on July 4 morning we came across a lifeguard team moving one of the lifeguard chairs. I saw their ATVs with the flags and knew this would be my submission.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Still life with tulips

For a photo challenge this week I chose as my subject a bouquet of tulips that have been on my kitchen table for a while. I moved them in front of my living room window, with the evening light coming through, and experimented with shallow focus. Since these flowers only lasted another day after this, I'm glad I was able to capture them. And what beautiful colors!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lego Castle

A couple of months ago I received an interesting request from my boss: a photo shoot not for a person but for a still-life session. What was the subject? A 4-foot tall Lego castle!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

J&A Wedding: Cumberland, MD

At the end of May I had the honor to attend my aunt's wedding to her partner, and act as the official photographer. The wedding was held in Cumberland, MD, which is only about two hours from where I live and was surprisingly pretty!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fireworks July 2014

Unlike the past three years, where my family just set off some small fireworks ourselves, this year I went to the beach to watch the town fireworks get set off with my daughter. Prior to those fireworks starting, some other viewers on the beach were setting off some of their own. Before it was fully dark, I was able to do some long-exposure shots (camera on my tripod) and obtained these first few photos. For those who care, here are  the settings that I used: iso 640, f/22, 3.2s

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 4: Sunset on the beach

On July 4, my daughter and I headed over to the beach in Kill Devil Hills, NC to wait for the town's fireworks to start. We arrived during sunset so I had some time to practice with my new Canon 60D and 85mm lens...and what better subject to practice on than my beautiful daughter?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Under the pier, before the storm

As Hurricane Arthur approached the Outer Banks on July 3, I really wanted to head over to the ocean and see how it was looking with the storm on the way. We still had clear blue skies overhead, so I didn't feel we were in much danger.

After seeing the news reporting from Avalon Pier (about 1.5 miles north of my parents' house, on the beach road), I wanted to head there and see if the fog coming off the ocean was as beautiful in person as it was on the news. Turns out, yes it was! Not only that, but the pier itself provided some very cool perspective for photographs.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Wall Street, NYC

About a month ago I spent about 24 hours in NYC for work. I was with a coworker who hadn't really spent a lot of time in NYC before, so we wandered about quite a bit of the city after arrival. I wanted to head down to the financial district to see my old building on Wall Street, and ended up with these few images of these lovely high rises. 

First one: Deutsche Bank headquarters, across from the building I lived in. Love that reflection in the glass windows!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Portraits with my new gear

Last weekend I finally ordered my new camera gear! That's right, it was finally time to upgrade from my "starter" DSLR, the trusty Canon Rebel T2i I've been using since January 2012. I'd saved up for almost a year, and did a lot of research (both on my own, and talking to some of my photographer friends), and ultimately settled on the Canon 60D and 85mm f/1.8 lens . There were many reasons for both, which I'm not really going into here, but let me say that after my first 4 days of working with this combination, I very much feel that I made the right choices! 

Note that these are from the very first time that I used both the camera and lens, so I was getting used to both, particularly the focus on the lens. So the focus is definitely a little off on some of these photos, but I think you can at least see the potential inherent in the gear, and in me as I get better and better!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Weekly Photo Project: June 2014

Time to finish catching up on my Weekly Photo Project submissions! This post gets me through June 2014. Let's not wait!
June 2 - 8: "Create a Mood"
For this one, I chose a photo that I took of one of my best friends during her wedding day shoot. I was tagging along as driver for her, her husband-to-be, and their photographer. I was able to snag a couple of shots of my own in between bridesmaid duties, and love how this one came out! Certainly a mood of "Beauty".

Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekly Photo Project: May 2014

I'm a bit behind in posting this, as June is just about ending now, but better late than never! Here's my wrap-up of my photo submissions to my Weekly Photo Project on Facebook for the month of May 2014.
April 28 - May 4: "Food"
I took this photo with my iPhone, and did small editing in Instagram. The food in question were two delicious chicken tacos I purchased from a food truck in Bethesda, MD.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Experimenting with "mattte"

Last week I took my daughter and a few of her friends to the Seven Oaks Lavender Farm in Catlett, Va. I went last year and did a photo shoot with my friends' daughters, so I knew it would be a lovely location for photos. Not only that, but I just purchased a set of matte presets for Lightroom 5, and I wanted to use some of these photos to try out the presets and see what kind of artistic looks I could get in my photos. I'm still tinkering with them, but for the first try, I am happy with the results.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Recital Performance: June 2014

About three weeks ago my daughter had her very last "Rising Stars" dance recital with the Loudoun School of Ballet. I love taking photos of the girls during their dress rehearsal; they look so great up there on the stage! Back in January, the pinks and teals her class wore popped, but I think the green stood out quite nicely as well. Our little jazzy tappers did a great job!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The I Family: Black and Whites | Leesburg, VA Family Photographer

Last month I had the pleasure to once again shoot family photos for some good friends of mine. Last year we did their shoot at Ida Lee park; this year we headed to Morven Park and the beautiful scenery there. I could not have been happier with this shoot - they are a lovely family, soon to add a fourth. I've already been asked to take their newborn photos; I cannot wait!

I've posted a sneak peek album on Facebook; while the colors they were wearing and the lovely background were stunning, here I wanted to focus on the black and whites that we got from this session. There's something about a gorgeous black and white portrait that really stands out!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Palm Beach Florida

Just before Memorial Day I had the opportunity to travel to Palm Beach, Florida for work. We were staying about 6 miles from the ocean, so we drove out to Singer Island (still a part of Palm Beach), parked, and walked on the beach for a bit. Despite being on the Atlantic Ocean, and facing away from the sunset, the light was still stunning.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Seussical Dancers

Just over a week ago was the Rising Stars recital for the Loudoun School of Ballet. For the first time this year, the teachers and interns (older students who assist the younger ones) did an opening number together. This year's theme was "Happy birthday Dr. Seuss", and the opening number was "Oh the thinks you can think" from Seussical the Musical. It was really great, and choreographed by my friend Danielle (the head of the program). The girls did such a fantastic job!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mommy & Me Spa Day

For Mother's Day this year, my daughter and I attended a "mommy and me" spa day in Vienna, Va. While there were a few hiccups with the event, she and I had a lovely time together and the setting was truly lovely!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The S family: Kids | Leesburg, VA Family & Child Photographer

In mid-April, my neighbors asked me to do a family photo shoot for them. We had a last minute change of venue due to an event at our planned site, but I scouted out a lovely covered bridge and walking path, and I think everyone was very happy with how the photos turned out - I know I was!

 I have already posted their full sneak peak album on Facebook - it wasn't just the 4 of them, but also their extended family (brother, sister-in-law, their two kids, and Grandpa!). Doing a shoot for 9 people is a  bit different from anything I have done before, but it was a lot of fun. Here, I wanted to focus on the four adorable kids! They were so good for the shoot, and lovely to photograph.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sweet Justice Concert: Petersburg, VA

About six weeks ago I once again had the pleasure to see the Richmond-based band Sweet Justice. Previously I posted some photos I had taken of them at my sister's boyfriend's house, which was an outdoor event. Because that was done on his backyard stage, there was not a full lighting rig set up, just what he has at his house. This time, they played at a roadhouse near Petersburg, VA, on my sister's birthday. It was a great night, but to my photographer's eye, the best part was the lighting! It led to some really fantastic shots.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

En Wageningen

In my previous post, I mentioned that two months ago I went to the Netherlands for work. After our two days in Brussels, we took the train up to Wageningen, NL where my company's home office is located. When I visited there in the fall of 2012, I posted photos of the beautiful forest outside of Wageningen, where our hotel was located, but none of the town itself. This time, we were given a couple of very nice tours of the town by a few of our Dutch colleagues, so I was able to capture and share photos of the beautiful location!

Monday, May 26, 2014

En Brussels

Two months ago I went to The Netherlands for work. My colleagues and I spent the weekend before our work trip in Brussels: despite two of them having been there before, we all agreed due to the many things to see and the city's proximity to The Netherlands, it was the ideal location for us to spend two days.

Upon our arrival, we began walking around the city center. We started in the Grand Place (Palace), where there was some sort of ceremony taking place (we never did find out exactly what was going on). The buildings and grandeur of the ceremony were simply beautiful.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Baby E: 2 months

After taking headshots of a friend of mine, I had the opportunity to take photos of his two month old daughter. Her mother brought an absolutely adorable hand-made dress for the photos. This was a great opportunity for me to use a basket that I purchased specifically for baby photos!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Professional Headshots

Recently I've been asked to take a number of head shots for different reasons. It's something that I've had a desire to get into, and it seems to be a case of "when it rains, it pours" as I hadn't done any in well over a year and then suddenly had an influx of requests!

I did a few for a friend to use on his website/promotional materials for drumming up business (he's a composer). Here's my favorite of the many shots I took.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Pittsburgh in the snow

In February I spent a couple of days in Pittsburgh for work. I knew the city was going to be covered in snow, so I brought my camera with me in the hopes I might be able to grab some photos. I was lucky that my last appointment before heading home ended early, so I was able to grab my camera bag out of my car and wander about the main Pitt campus for a bit. With the setting sun, the light was absolutely stunning and I was able to capture some interesting play between light and shadow. And to play with backlighting, which is always fun.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

So many photo opportunities!

As I do only rarely on here, tonight I'm blogging about photography, but not showing any new photos (well, maybe one. We will see how the post goes as I write it!). After a bit of a slump through the winter, where I was really only photographing the things that I wanted to (and trying to find some topics to get through the cold days), things have really picked up!

Over the past month I've done a family shoot for my neighbors down the street; here are my favorites from the shoot, on Facebook.

Shot some professional headshots in my home studio for a friend from college. This shoot also included photos of his adorable 2 month old daughter, which was new for me but I'm very happy with how they came out! I'm almost done with them (I just shot them on Sunday), so will have them to share here soon.

And then just this week I took a few hundred additional photographs for different reasons; none of these were paid, but were things that I'm not used to shooting very often so it was nice to stretch my creative juices. This includes:
- shooting an approximately 4' tall Lego castle made by my boss's daughter (I'll explain that in more detail when I show the photos)
- more professional headshots of all of my coworkers, as we need to update them in our system

Today I wrapped up my week of shooting with a special outing with the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) Photoclub. I joined the club a couple of months ago, but had yet to be able to attend any events. Two days ago I received an email about a special opportunity just for Photoclub members: a sneak peek at the lion cubs, before they are revealed to the public tomorrow! I had thought about taking the day off of work anyway, as I had some other personal things to do today, so this was the perfect reason to actually take the day. I am so glad I did - it was amazing to get to photograph these adorable cubs with only about 20 other people. It did make me realize the sheer amount of gear that true wildlife photographers had - my 75-300mm camera, with basic tripod, was vastly insufficient compared to theirs! Despite that, I am happy with my pics and can't wait to share them. I would post one now, but we're actually not allowed to put them up publicly before their reveal tomorrow. Next week, I promise! Instead, I leave you with daddy, who was in the enclosure with them (but was brought out prior to them, so he could get used to it first). He's gorgeous!