Deb + James | Peaks of Otter Elopement | Blue Ridge, Virginia


Mountain Elopement | Peaks of Otter | Blue Ridge Parkway | Virginia Wedding Photographer

Deb and James had a ceremony with family planned when they decided to take a trip to the mountains to say their vows, privately - without a minister, at Sharp Top in the Virginia Blue Ridge mountains.  The parkway was fickle with us, sprinkling rain at times and billowing in fog.  Then suddenly, it was sunny.  You really never know what you're going to get in the mountains , but these two kept an open mind and for that, they were rewarded.

I had been out to the mountains just a couple weeks prior, hiking in the rain and in the snow, looking for the perfect place for these two to say their vows.  We didn’t expect the snow, but it came anyways.  When we came to Peaks of Otter, the sun was shining and it would have been a challenging (and rewarding) hike, but with my 30 week belly bump, I decided that I wouldn’t climb the (seemingly) million steps to the top, regardless of the weather.  A quick stop into the lodge revealed that in the warm season, there’s a van that takes folks close to the top so that it’s only a short hike to the peak.  I must say - that was extremely cheering news.

We arranged for a van to take us on a special trip to the top so that we could be up there to catch the sunset, if it ever decided to come out.  Mostly, the sun stayed hidden, but shone through just before it set on the horizon when it dipped below the blanket of clouds in the sky.  Needing to catch our ride back down the mountain, we couldn’t stay, but the light glowed on Deb and James’ smiles as we set off back to the lodge.

It’s a wonderful location and I encourage you to take a hike out that way if you’re in the area. For hiking information, visit HERE. For the Lodge, click HERE.

Big thank you to Jessie, who accompanied me there and back.  There are a few of her shots mixed in here.

Romantic + Industrial Elopement Inspiration | Richmond Virginia Wedding Photographer

If you would have asked me last year at this time what 2018 would look like, I would have given a very different answer than I do now.  I would have told you that I wanted to book twice the amount of weddings that I've laid out and given you a very full list of personal and business goals that I've now reduced.  The Fall of 2017 changed our plans when we decided to try for another child and we were blessed by the realization in October that we were expecting.  I like to think of myself as a flexible person, but I do find it difficult to cram all of my goals and to-do items into a reasonable time span.

I planned this inspirational shoot while turning the room that was my office into a nursery.  The freshly painted walls and the beautiful light that comes in made me want to explore something different - something that I don't often get to do.  I love being in nature, and I'm sure anyone who views my portfolio will attest to that, but I also love to work in the city - in the grit on the streets with intense shadows from buildings.  I spent my college years a few after living in Philadelphia and I so miss riding my bike through the city streets. 

This entire shoot takes place indoors, in a private home and at a local warehouse location, with the dim winter light as my guide.  The models didn't have their hair and make up done - I wanted to create a look that was more natural and ethereal.  The dresses come from a vintage clothing store in downtown Edinburgh from my trip to Scotland last July.  I bought them imagining the beautiful scottish ladies that must have worn them decades ago when they promised themselves to their charming, rugged beaus.  The tablescape items are from Target and the florals by Forbidden Floral CoCollectorNorfolk was gracious enough to host half of our shoot - a warehouse location that hosts many types of events, including weddings.

Best of 2016

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.  --Hermann Hesse

I couldn't have planned the way this year turned out.  I made a list of goals, certainly, but I lost that list.  If you're interested to read about my wins and losses and my plan for the next trip around the sun - you can do so here

Over the last 365 (or so) days I made so many friends, drove miles and miles, hiked mountains, learned, laughed, and cried.  To my friends, old and new, the folks that fed me yummy southern food, let me sleep in spare bedrooms, and my colleagues that let me work along side them - thank you.

A special thanks to - Megan, Justin, Alicia, Lindsay, Julia, Molly, Val, Jessie, Evelyn, and Stephanie.

Here are some of my favorites from 2016.  Catch you all next year.

Craggy Gardens Elopement | Asheville, NC

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This spring I was lucky enough to intern with Megan Gielow of MorningWild.  Over the course of three months I second shot 10 weddings and 2 elopements, drove tons of miles, breathed so much mountain air, listened to so many epic podcasts, stepped in horse/cow poo on a couple occasions, learned a lot, and laughed a ton.  Even now, as summer dwindles and fall tries to take hold, I am realizing more and more what I've learned from Megan - things that didn't make sense at the time.

I've been lucky enough to learn and be able to share all of it with you.  This is one of my favorites.

Quincy and Tyler drove from Indiana to elope in the mountains of Asheville.  On the hunt for beautiful mountain views for their intimate ceremony, we convoyed up and up, into a curtain of thick wispy fog.  We met them in the parking lot, and realized that we had lost the officiant who was (previously) on our heels. 

Nothing could dampen Quincy and Tyler's spirits - not the loss of the officiant or the overcast skies blocking their breathtaking views.  Regardless of the uncertainty ahead, whether or not they could officially become husband and wife that day, they ventured ahead, climbing to the pinnacle and keeping faith that it would all work out.

They held each other on the edge of the mountain as the fog quietly rolled over their happiness, keeping their secret, keeping them afloat.

Not to worry - we did find the officiant after driving up and down the mountain a bit, and on the edge of an overlook just below the bottom of the clouds, the two exchanged their vows and their smiles never left their faces.

Play the song and enjoy. <3

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