Scotland on Film | Part 1 - Glasgow + Edinburgh

Isle of Skye Scotland Elopement Photographer | on Film | Glasgow, Edinburgh, Loch Ness, & Isle of Skye | Part 1

I've always wanted to go to Scotland.  I imagined myself roaming the moors with my pocket sized Jane Eyre tucked in my coat, next to my heart.  I imagined how the rain would feel as it hit my face, pressing on, climbing up the next hill to find... something.  Something beautiful and soul crushing.  Something melancholy and breathtaking.  I knew that my spirit would dance and sing in this landscape.

I was supposed to be in Australia with Chris (my husband).  He was going to be there for three weeks for work and the plan was that I would come at the end.  We'd meet in Brisbane, rent a car, and drive along the Gold Coast together - like a second honeymoon.  I bought the ticket for my flight, started making plans to not get eaten by sharks and kicked in the face by kangaroos, and the kids made plans to go to their grandparents' house for two whole weeks.  Then, Chris came home and said the dates for his trip had changed.  Instant bummer.

I had already purchased the very expensive flight without the option of getting a full refund and the kids were so excited to go to their grandparents (and the grandparents equally,  if not more excited).  It seemed rather lame to drop them off for two weeks alone back home and lose money on the flight, so I decided I'd still leave to go somewhere.

And then I was left with the choice of where to go.  I could - 1. Go to Australia alone.  Do this second honeymoon thing by myself, which seemed not very romantic and maybe slightly dangerous considering all the poisonous and scary things that these nature/wildlife documentaries say live there,  2.  Go to Australia but then hop a flight to New Zealand for just a couple hundred dollars more.  I've always wanted to find The Shire and return the ring to Mordor, but without a Sam, I probably wouldn't make it or 3. I could go exchange my very expensive ticket and go to either Isle of Skye or Barcelona.

I wrestled with this for a bit, but as I was 6 weeks out from the date of departure and don't have a Sam or time to research what a proper Australian snake bite kit might entail, I had to make my decision quickly.  I decided on option 3 - and since I'd be there in July (and I don't enjoy heat very much) and a few weeks isn't much time to learn another language, I changed my ticket to fly into Glasgow.

So then, which cameras to bring with me?  I had purchased a Pentax 645n** in the Fall, so that and my trusty Olympus 35mm that I purchased at a thrift store for $25 (with a big ziplock back of film) became my travel partners and most of my trip was captured on Portra 400 film (35mm + 120mm).

**I've since sold my Pentax 645 and miss it terribly looking through these photos.



I got very little sleep on the flight to Glasgow from JFK.  The airport in Glasgow was empty - no shops in the terminal on the way out.  It felt like no was there.  The bus wasn't where the signs said it would be and once on the bus, it didn't make my scheduled stop.  I suppose that afforded me a bit of time to walk around on the way to finding the train station I should have been at.  I went to George Square and saw a large statue of Sir Walter Scott.  The pigeons were plentiful, several seemed to think it was a game to see how closely they could fly to my head without hitting me.  Queen Street Station was right at the square, conveniently.  It's a small glass covered station.  I purchased a ticket to Edinburgh and stood around until I realized there was already a train to Edinburgh waiting.

Once on the train, passing through the countryside, I realized a bit how lost I felt.  I had left all of my travel planning notes behind by accident with only sketchy memories of the plans I had made a couple weeks before.  Several people within view had chosen seats with outlets so that they could plug their phones in.  Mine wasn't dead, but it was rather useless.  I was back to the days when not so long ago I followed maps to get to where I was going.  Except that I didn't have a map at the moment either, so back to relying on my memory again.  I kept telling myself that as long as I could get to my first Airbnb, I would be fine.


It was mostly fine, getting off the train and finding my way to Tron Square where my Airbnb was located.  I got a bit turned around since some of the streets didn't meet up where I thought that they would.  It reminded me of our honeymoon in Rome, the streets curving around and never taking you to where you thought they should.

Most of these photos are a bit out of order and seeing as how this was all a year ago and I have no one else to remind me of the goings on of that trip - I'll have to refer to my travel journal where I kept maps, notes, day entries, and film log.

7/18, 8:00pm -

I found Edinburgh Castle and a burrito bowl in Greenmarket Square. I almost got hit by a taxi crossing the street. Someone stalled their car out in the square where I was earlier. I think that will be me on Friday when I get my rental car. I am regretting the decision to get the car in the city.

It felt like it took forever to get to my Airbnb. Will - the host - is so nice. He mad eme a sandwich when I arrived. After taking my shoes off and devouring the sandwich, I took a shower and a 90 min nap. Best shower. Best nap.

There are couples and families everywhere. There's a daycare behind the apartment building that I'm staying in. All the signs that I should be home with my own - or they should be here with me. Everyone appears to be a tourist in this part of the city.

The sun sets at 9:43 tonight and will rise tomorrow before 5am.

The plan is to visit Edinburgh Castle, Prince Street Gardens, and ride the Ferris Wheel there.

Part 2 will include sunrise at Arthur's Seat, an extinct volcano in Edinburgh, and cover my adventure out of the city to Loch Ness and the drive to Skye.

2017 Love Letter to my Family | Richmond Virginia Wedding Photographer

Y'all are wild - just wild.  Which just so happens to be something that I can get wild about.  We've had so much fun this past year and it's difficult to image how we could make things crazier, more fun, and more ridiculous (at times) than we have this year after adding Moose, the shaggy sheepdog, to our family and as you boys keep growing.  You often eat more than adults do - you questions us more than I imagined you would by this age - and you challenge my brain to keep up with a lot of stuff, including home school that we took on for the 2017-2018 school year.

Next year, we add another boy, just like the two of you.  You will teach him all these little crude boy jokes that you roll around in fits of giggles over.  You'll fight over which one of you gets to fetch me wipes and diapers this summer.  I couldn't be happier to be your boy mom - to soon have three sons - and keep this adventure with you going.  I love you all to pieces.

2018 Goals | Richmond Virginia lntimate Wedding Photographer

Here we are again - December.

I always imagine the proper time to reflect on the year to be the first month of the new year - when each day of the year has been exhausted.  However, because I love to plan ahead and get a jump on things (like 2018 in this case) and because the holidays are quickly approaching, I am taking a good chunk of December to reflect and plan before the overwhelming task of adding up all the pennies and cents and doing taxes.

Before talking about my plans for next year, we have to look back at the one we are currently to observe both my successes and my failures.  I feel obligated to say how challenging and fun 2017 has been.  I had goals personally and professionally, as I always do and some things were accomplished much better than others.

2017 Goals

Live healthy // This was a goal for 2016 and 2017 and I will be completely honest that although I did eat healthier, I have yet to figure out how to balance my time in a way that allows me to be more active.  I would love to hear how other ladies with children, husbands, pets and their own business find the time and mental discipline to focus on physical fitness.  I'm sure it's as simple as making it a priority, but there really are only so many hours in the day.  I would love to find a way to check off this goal and continue checking it off.

Camp more and go to Spain //  We didn't camp more, but we did take more opportunities to get away and be together.  In the Spring, we escaped for a week to the mountains of North Carolina.  We took the kids, took the dogs, and stayed in a wonderful private cabin - in the evenings sitting around a fire making s'mores and the days deep in the trees and high in the clouds.  Chris went to Australia while at the same time I went to Scotland solo.  I had a wedding to photograph in New Orleans in October and although I was not planning on it, our flexible circumstances this year allowed me to bring Chris and the children.  Before moving to Hampton Roads, we lived in southern Mississippi for two years and it was so nice to get back, visit our favorite restaurants, and walks the streets we haven't seen since that time.

Be in more photos //  I did this.  My wonderful friend, Val, came to our house one afternoon in the Spring.  We ate take-out, played with the dogs outside, and cuddled on the sofa together.  And when we went to the cabin in North Carolina, I handed my camera to Chris enough to keep myself in our tangible memories.

Organize the house and finish projects //  I got to work on this early in 2017, painting the dining room and the entry way.  There was a 5 gallon bucket of paint sitting by our front door for all of 2016 and I have managed to use most of it.  There are some projects still open, like our third floor which always gets delayed by other things going on, but we've opened new projects as well.  We've made an effort to rid ourselves of the clutter that so easily happens when you inhabit a space.  Adding children and animals makes it worse.  I leave the mail in the mailbox for a couple days sometimes just so that I don't have to go through the process of throwing most of it out.

Explore medium format film //  My Pentax was my main camera when I went to Scotland.  It was scary to rely on a format that I couldn't see right after taking a photo.  It was expensive - but it was worth it.  I do wonder a bit what the photos would look like if I had taken all of them with digital, but I'm sure they wouldn't have been nearly as magical.  There's something about the way that film captures light and shadow and I'm so glad to have stacks and stacks of prints from my trip.

Budget //  I was so optimistic about our budget for 2017.  We did a wonderful job for approximately six months and then the budget upkeep began to trail off.  We made some changes in our family - particularly related to our children's education - and the expenses and time related to that have been a challenge.

Serve more // In the Spring, I announced a project very dear to my heart.  That project will have its own post, but for the moment, I'll mark this off as completed for 2017.

There were a number of goals that I didn't publicly talk about.  They weren't the main focus and I wasn't quite sure what the purpose was of them.  I feel like it's awkward to talk about my profit goals as well, so there's that.  But of course, as in any business, there are goal markers to hit - in terms of both quality and quantity of work, including growth and education.  It will be forever my unspoken goal to provide every client, every couple, my best work that is better than the last work that I produced.  Your commitment to one another, your love, your story that I'm privileged to be witness to deserves it.

So that leaves us outlining goals for next year. 

2018 Goals

Have a baby //  I haven't officially announced this anywhere - even on Facebook.  If you're one of my Spring wedding clients, you aren't surprised by this news, but not many people other than close family and friends have been told.  Chris and I are both extremely excited to be welcoming our third son into the world in late May of next year and crossing all of our fingers and toes for an uneventful pregnancy.  I'll be taking a good chuck of time off from the beginning of May until the middle/end of August and I'm looking forward to having the summer with all of my many boys in the house.

Own less stuff //  In the Spring, we will be celebrating 5 years spent in our home.  We purchased the house and moved in with the intention of moving someday since that's what military families, like ourselves, usually do.  We assumed that we would spend 2-3 years at most here and be selling the house at that time.  To get rid of furniture that didn't fit, to go through all the boxes that had been moved from our previous duty station - it all takes a lot of time.  We've sorted through things over the last few years, but there's quite a bit more to do and every year the holidays come, birthdays come, and we somehow acquire more stuff.  This year, we are going to make a large effort to downsize and only keep the things that fit in our home.  I won't tell you that in the end we will be minimalists, but I know how much a clean simple space lifts my spirits and inspires me to love my home all the more.

Learn to surf //  There are mornings when my husband gets up before the sun comes up and watches the sunrise over the wave tops while he sits on his long board.  Those mornings, he comes home smelling like sea salt with the biggest smile on his face.  I can see how much the ocean changes him on those days and every time he comes home like this, I wish more and more for that same feeling in myself.

Give myself room + space + time //  Keeping in mind that we'll soon have three children, I have to remind myself all the more to give myself grace while growing our little one, bringing him into the world, and the months after.  I certainly try my best to do and be all the things that my family might need, but this year, I need to remember how much is going on and remember the things that keep me happy and healthy, both physically and emotionally.

My list isn't quite so long this year.  I have other goals - other dreams - other trips we want to take - but at the moment, keeping simplicity in mind, these stick out as the most important ones.  Family time is always important, as is the growth and success of my business.  I will still keep loving and learning - embracing all of you and your families as if you were my own.

I'd love to know what your hopes and dreams are for 2018!  If you feel like sharing below, please do, or if you'd like to keep them more private - shoot me an email.  I'd love to hear from you!

September 10 on 10 - Virginia Beach Family Documentary Photography

August was a blur.  July was a blur.  The summer has disappeared before our eyes and while I wouldn't say that we wasted even a second of our time - it does feel like it all went by faster than usual.  Probably because we were making such good fun.

Summers for us are always full of family visits, trips to the pool and the beach and the zoo, Henry's birthday in August, William wishing his birthday was in August, misbehaving and turning the hose on outside, and other general silliness.

The boys are growing and changing so quickly.  I know that people say, "It All goes by so fast."  While their childhood is far from over, it's true.  It feels like these little people have been with me my whole life and for only a second at the same time.  Every wedding that I photograph the mother son dance I am touched and saddened with the reminder that someday my boys too will grow up.

You'll find a mix of our summer here... I can't tell you if there are only 10 photos.  I am not inclined to count but these are my favorites from what we managed to take during the Month of July and August.  We purchased an underwater camera/housing to take to the pool.  Unfortunately I used it twice and took it with me somewhere and forgot the housing part in another state so we'll try again when I retrieve it.  Ha!  Henry's Birthday and the second year in a row that I have cleaned their faces, combed their hair, and forced them to stand near the window to have their portrait taken.  Henry didn't change quite so much, but William with his haircut looks so much the little man. 

Papa Jeff came to visit the last week of August and we went to the zoo and the beach a few times.  We finally got to see the lion clearly - after living here for 4.5 years!  Through a crack in the rock enclosure, we could see him relaxing in the shade.  Henry finally became comfortable in the water.  We've tried spending time in pools, taking him to organized swim lessons, taking him to lakes, even just filling up the bathtub at the house so that he could practice floating - nothing until this summer has worked.  I have never seen a person sink so naturally like he did.  Humans are supposed to float!  He needed to take his own time to get comfortable and trust himself as well as the water.  He has always held back until he's ready, no matter my encouragement or assistance and I try to remember to give him the space he needs.

So that's most of our summer - short lived, and busy, but traces of magic here and there.

As is the tradition in our little blog circle of friends that post our favorite 10 every month (I'm absent sometimes)... after looking through our summer, continue on to see how Sarah's summer has been going by clicking here or here.

July 10 on 10

The first week of summer, we spent in the mountains of North Carolina, somewhere between Asheville and Boone.  As were making the trip from Hampton Roads, all loaded up in Chris's truck, I realized the last time we were on a real vacation, not just a long weekend, was 3 years ago.  What have we been doing?

This trip was so good for our souls.  For our spirits.  For our family.   The kids weren't able to pull up anything that they wanted on Netflix.  Chris and I weren't overwhelmed doing busy work around the house - the endless chores and projects that are always ongoing.  I wasn't pulled to my email and Chris wasn't checking his phone because there was no service.  To get around the mountains, we relied on maps that had been left behind by the countless guests that have called this cabin their mountain retreat throughout the years.

One evening, the kids were playing in the loft and I leaned against Chris while he read a chapter out of a book to me for the first time ever.  I felt so at peace in our tiny cabin in the woods with our children and our pups.  Every morning we would get around, pack our lunch,  and find our hiking destination for the day.  By 3, we were done and headed back to the cabin to get dinner started.  The evenings were spent outside by a fire, making s'mores, or rocking on the wrap around porch.  The skies weren't full of light pollution, like at home, and the stars shined so brightly for us.

We saw waterfalls, climbed to the top of mountains, hiked around lakes, used film cameras, swam, jumped, yelled, laughed, rested, and gave thanks.  We thought we were just getting away.  What we didn't know is that we would be renewed.

If you don't know how this 10 on 10 thing works - several of us photographer mamas post 10 photos from the month, talk about our adventures, and then link to one another.  Some of you cats call that a blog circle.  I have been a bit absent this Spring, but am so happy to be joining for July.  You also might notice that I couldn't decide on just 10 (sorry not sorry).  We had so much fun adventuring, I could barely get my selection down to 15.  

I invite you to continue on to see what Sarah has been up to.  She lives in Kalamazoo - not too far from where I grew up.  Small world!