This weekend Elsa and I visited Storybrook Farm B&B in Jonesborough, Tennessee where my second cousin was married. Storybrook is quite lovely. And one of its outbuildings, gardens, and views reminded me a tiny bit of Blackberry Farm; after all, they’re both in Tennessee and rural. My father was especially keen that Elsa and I be there, and that I bring my camera to capture a photo of “the next generation” of he and his sister Jean’s descendants: my daughter Elsa and my second cousin Ryan’s children Eliza and Colin. Eliza and Colin live in Texas and Dad thought this could be the only time the three might see one another in their whole lives. You see, we’re one of those families whose cousins and second cousins and third cousin’s ages aren’t exactly parallel and that’s because my father was a change of life baby who was born when his sister, Jean was almost quite grown and ready to leave the nest to marry. So my father is quite close in age to his nephews and I am too young to hang with my cousins and about a decade older than my second cousins; ever betwixt and between.
Dad’s greatest wish was that Eliza, Elsa, and Colin be preserved on film, ahem, digitized, for posterity. It’s these simple, yet major dreams of my father’s that I yearn to fulfill most of all. That was my mission, and I was not leaving without making it so. Snapping this photo, despite it’s obvious imperfect–Colin not looking at the camera because he had just returned from having his diaper changed, plus being cranky–is all good. No, it’s not perfect. But it captures a moment in time. Nor would I insist on retake or repose after another to “get it right” to make Colin fret even more. I was happy with what I got. No doubt, everyone else will be, too.
Before the photo Eliza, Elsa, and one of Eliza’s other female cousins twirled on the dance floor. Seeing three such different girls dance and play and get on so well together made me happy, especially knowing that within their veins they share DNA, but only a few of us at the reception may know that. They spun and passed Eliza’s bouquet so that each girl felt like a princess with a special treat in her hand.
Last week Jessica made it to my house and changed into her gorgeous gown just past sunset. Her hair took an hour. Her makeup took an hour and a half. Both were gorgeous, and I only wish that my photos did them justice. Missy Dorton of New Image in Weber City, VA is Jessica’s regular stylist, and she arranged her hair in the way Jessica wanted. Katherine Thrower applied Jessica’s makeup and her work is astonishing. Jessica is a gorgeous woman, but Katherine’s work brought Jessica’s beauty to all new levels. The smokey eye she created and the liquid line she used created a stunning effect.
We had no light to work with, but I tried. I didn’t want to use my flash, plus I know very little about it, so I didn’t want to ruin what photos I might take with overwhelming flash, anyway.
First stop was Emmanuel School of Religion. Since it is high upon a hill I thought we might capture the waning light. Wrong. I managed to capture details on Jessica’s shoes in the lights at the steps. Otherwise, ESR is a lovely place for photos that I’d love to use again.
Jessica added the bling to the back of her shoes: Her new initials JTH. She’s craftier, more creative than she lets on, most of the time. Clever woman!
Next place we stopped was by my vet’s office which has canned lights outside its new rock facade. Trouble was the overhead lighting was somewhat harsh and its location adjacent to a convenience store/filling station opened us to to public scrutiny and catcalls, whistles, whatnot.
Plus, the night cleaning lady peeked out the Venetian blinds at us, no doubt, wondering what we were up to. Phone in hand, I’m sure she was ready to call the police in case we were going to, I dunno, turn the building into a bridal centerpiece or some such? Nevertheless, we didn’t linger and we were off in search of artificial lighting. love the bokeh in this shot. And, quite obviously, we had fun. Lots of fun.
Quite randomly, we happened upon a well-lit parking garage, a Godsend, really. And that’s where we spent the last few moments of our shoot before raucous noises (and our empty stomachs) had us scurrying for the safety of the Subaru. You can see a bit of her deep, delicious eyes and sweet mouth from this shot, but the low-light conditions made my lens work overtime and I never got the precision focus I longed for.
Now you have a better idea of what her hair looks like, lovely waves and ringlets with a braided crown holding it all together.
And this last shot, is decidedly soft-focus, or let’s just say, terribly unfocused, but I love it anyway. It’s vauge enough that you get a sense of what the bride may look like on her wedding day, but it does’t give it all away, either, so I’m doing no harm, there.
Several months ago (in July, that’s how lax I’ve been about sharing these photos) I told my sister I’d take photos of her and her new beau.
I thought it would be nice for each of them to have photos of the other since theirs was a long-distance romance.
She lives in Virginia. He lives in Nebraska.
Little did I realize that a month later he’d move to Tennessee, propose, and they’d be walking down the aisle in mid-October.
I’m shooting bridal photos of her in her wedding dress later this week. Pray the rain stops. It won’t matter. She’ll be stunning no matter what.
My preference for black and white is obvious, but I had to throw in a color shot to show off these lovely flowers. And her overall gorgeousness. I know, Adam serves as a backdrop in the photos I shared here, but I snapped quite a few of this very handsome man who has captured my sister’s heart.
My sister Jessica is my muse, and she’s a dear for posing for me. So much fun. I love the energy she brings to everything she does. Working with her is a dream. I’ve taken photos of her since she was born and she’s always up for anything I propose. We’ve several shoots in the works and wanted to pull off a fabulous forties inspired thing. And, I sort of half-did. We have a fantastic rockabilly salon in town and I meant to call ahead and book a session for them to style her hair and make up but one of my big flaws is procrastination. I ended up doing her hair and make-up after studying a YouTube video and using lots of spray and bobbypins.
We visited the costume rental shop in town who had a few forties outfits. But the one darling green wool suit (and it was a hot, humid day) was actually too tight on my size 2 sister. So, we opted for just the hair and make-up to pull off the look, which we shot at the Veteran’s Administration at Mountain Home, which has stunning views and unbelievable light. I can’t take my eyes off it most times and am always posing imaginary dozens of models in various settings as I make my way through the property. As for props, I have a replica WWII sock I’ve been knitting on for years that I wanted her to hold, but couldn’t find it because it’s so tucked away in my knitting which I haven’t had time for since darling Elsa arrived.
Alas, I believe that I may have to use my sewing skills to whip up a few frocks for our future shoots. The cherry-patterned western shirt is mine, and she drowned in it. I should have advised her to bring several changes of clothes. Here are a few of my favorites, and hers. We shot these just before Memorial Day weekend and the Veteran’s Administration was decked with all its red, white, and blue bunting.
What else can I say? My sister is gorgeous. I’ve never looked at the colors of her hair so closely before. I always thought it was dark brown, but she has so many red and chestnut glints to it, it’s simply amazing how a bit of sunlight enhances everyone’s natural beauty.
Blooming lilies were everywhere and made a lovely backdrop for our photos.
And by the end of the shoot–we were both hot and sweaty–it wasn’t terribly hot that day in May, it just felt that way, the light was gorgeous.
Last week Laura and I traveled to Virginia Tech to a photography workshop, because she’s an alum, but there weren’t any opportunities to build our portfolios with portraits so much. We learned a lot and had a great time though. An interesting observation I made was that all the photographers presenting were male, and they all shoot landscapes or still life. Put two and two together.
The first night we learned blue light painting. Basically how to do light effects and leave our shutters open for long lengths of time to capture streaking stars and what not. We had a blast. We downloaded flashlight apps to our iPhones and did jumping-jacks and other ridiculous physical acts to capture our antics on film. But this star I drew was one of the best ones I captured of myself. I still don’t have all my settings perfect and so the background should have been much darker than this funky bleached out look. The workshop offered us the opportunity to experiment and have fun and learn from other photographers, so it provided a great laboratory environment.
I mostly shoot aperture priority because I do portraits. Or food photography. Food doesn’t move. At least, the dead food I shoot. But we learned about shutter speed and that was pretty cool. We used our tripod and did a bit of time elapse photography with our shutters set at slower speeds to capture somewhat ghostly figures of people, cars, objects, etc.
At some point in the workshop Laura and I approached the leader with our cards and he looked at our work and decided which images he wanted to download to share in the slideshow at the Saturday night banquet. Laura and I both had several of our images chosen, so that was pretty cool. This shot of macarons was something I took in our room, sort of on my own time just because I love food and food photography is my not-so-secret passion. He liked it and chose it for the slideshow. We stopped at Our Daily Bread, a fantastic Blacksburg bakery, early Friday for cookies, and ended up getting macarons, macaroons, grasshoppers, scones, and a few other yummies as well.
One of the interesting things at the banquet was that they asked if they could use images from the slideshow in the alumni magazine. Can’t wait to see whose images they use.
Naturally any chance I get I snap a self-portrait. This was with my 35mm lens which is perfect for that trick. Plus the light was stellar.
Plus, I got Laura to pose, too. One of our “assignments” on our “photo hunt” (I’ve since lost my sheet listing all the scavenger hunt-like items we were supposed to shoot) was a photographer at work, a sidelit portrait of someone.
This is the ugly in the midst of the pretty. It’s some type of mechanical thing surrounded by pansises, and either salvia or veronica. I wasn’t sure which. Always have trouble differentiating the two.
The lighting in the Alumni Center attached to the Inn at Virginia Tech was awesome. It’s a great place to shoot, especially since it was bleak and drizzly outside, which I understand it typical weather for Blacksburg. So this is an ottoman that I shoved nearer the patio doors. Gorgeous texture and dimpling. And twas lovely to sit upon too, when Laura and I posed, pretending to be Miss Muffett sitting on her tuffet.