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Sweet baby Isabel

Hey guys!

Remember this beautiful beach maternity shoot that I did over the summer?

Well, she had her sweet Isabel in September and while they were in town for Thanksgiving I was lucky enough to take some pictures of this adorable little girl.

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Pumpkin Patch at Congaree and Penn

Every fall since my oldest was only 2 months old, I’ve loved and looked forward to pumpkin patch season. We’ve been to many over the years and have had fun at most of them. I soak these moments in because there will come a day that my girls will be too old to want to visit a pumpkin patch. This year we had heard through friends about this new patch at Congaree and Penn. This farm is really beautiful with its orchards, outdoor eating, and oak trees. After taking a few shots of the kids we let them loose to explore the property. They ran down the long dirt paths and just enjoyed their time together playing. I highly recommend Congaree and Penn. They seem to always have fun events and are so kind and welcoming.

Do you guys visit pumpkin patches or pick one up from the store?

 

 

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Challanging your photography

I challenged myself with this session because I shoot at this location a lot. It can become dull or lose its spark when you become familiar with a location. I decided instead of focusing on the location that I would stretch my imagination and focus on the angles and getting outside of my normal location shots. I played with the camera settings and pivoted my body to change the look. I ended up having a lot of fun. It is funny how we can slip into a comfortable bubble of how we shoot and angles we like and all it takes is taking away one aspect of photography and honing in on other skills. I took the location aspect out and zoned in on framing. I challenge you to go to a spot where you always shoot and think about how you can get different shots. Pivot, change settings, get low or take a step back and really take a look around and stretch your imagination.

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Washington Oaks Park. Three areas to check out during your visit.

Last weekend was my birthday and one of my wishes was to spend some time exploring with my family. I had been once to Washington Oaks Park before and knew that next time I needed to bring my husband and two daughters. I knew they would find this location to be beautiful and magical. So, we set off Saturday afternoon and headed south. Washington Oaks Park is located in Palm Coast, FL. It is approximately an hour and 15 minutes south of where we are located. We took the A1A scenic route and enjoyed taking our time looking at the houses along the ocean. While we were there we explored The Rose Garden, The Large Oak Tree, and The Gazebo.

Rose Garden

After exploring the Rose Garden we then followed the path to The Large Oak Tree. If you do any research on Washington Oaks Park you will find many pictures in front of this tree. I’ve seen engagement and small wedding pictures taken in front of this beautiful tree. My girls were in awe of how large it was and how its branches spread out like it had arms. They enjoyed running around its base and resting in its shade.

The last spot we visited was the Gazebo. It was nearing the end of our adventure and it was getting warmer. We stopped and rested here and enjoyed the views before heading home. If you are looking for a day trip to a state park here in Florida. I highly recommend Washington Oaks.

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What to see at The Biltmore… Anniversary Trip part 2

I highly suggest visiting The Biltmore Estate if you are in Asheville area. We had a great time exploring The Biltmore and seeing all the intricate details in the home.

Since this home was built in the late 1800s there is no air-conditioning. Our visit was in July so it was very warm inside during our tour.

My husband and I saw all of the gardens on property and I highly recommend a pair of good walking shoes. As you can see from the pictures above that the gardens are absolutely amazing.

  • The ITALIAN GARDEN had 3 ponds that not only had some interesting flowers I have never seen before but also hosted the blown glass sculptures from Chihuly.
  • SHRUB GARDEN– This area had the feel of a maze. The trees and shrubs provided some nice shade and beautiful scenery.
  • We then proceeded to go through WALLED GARDEN and ROSE GARDEN. The trail opened up to these two gardens and all my husband I could say was “wow”.  Here is a little bit about these two spectacular gardens

This four-acre formal garden features flowerbeds planted in the “bedding out” style popular in the late 1800s. Two arbors totaling 236 feet serve as its spine.

ROSE GARDEN This garden features heirloom roses and historically inspired rose displays, plus a selection of varieties that are undergoing trial. Each two-year trial includes up to 40 varieties which are judged on length of bloom, fragrance, disease resistance, and landscape versatility

  • THE CONSERVATORY was filled with exotic flowers that reminded us of flowers we see often in our home state of Florida.
  •  After the conservatory we passed through THE AZALEA GARDEN and unfortunately they were not in bloom.
  • We then went to check out the BASS POND & BOAT HOUSE. We really enjoyed this area. Tall beautiful trees with winding little streams. It opened up to a large pond and boat house. It was like a secret garden back in this area.

BASS POND & BOAT HOUSE Frederick Law Olmsted created this water feature by greatly enlarging an old creek-fed millpond. A rustic boat house provided rest for the Vanderbilts’ guests enjoying the gardens, and housed rowboats for fishing or exploring the pond. Be sure to notice the many species of birds that abound on nearby trails. Bass Pond Path: 1/2 mile loop; easy walking Meadow Trail: 1/4 mile loop; moderate walking Creekside Trail: 1/4 mile loop; easy walking

After visiting Biltmore Home and Gardens we headed off to the The Winery at Antler Hill Village. Included in your ticket is a free wine tasting. We decided that after walking for hours that this would be a nice treat on our way out. We enjoyed the wine tasting and ended up buying a few bottles.

My last tip would be to keep in mind that visiting The Biltmore Estate may take a few hours. I would plan on spending a fair amount of your day exploring and enjoying the Estate.

So, have you been to The Biltmore? What area was your favorite?

 

 

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Shortoff Mountain Trail. Anniversary Trip, part one…

My husband and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary back in March 2018. We had to wait till summer to go on anniversary trip. We live at the beach and typically vacation at the beach so we were itching to visit the mountains. We decided to go to Asheville, North Carolina. We stayed in an adorable HomeAway cabin on the side of a mountain in Swannanoa, NC that was just minutes away from downtown Asheville. The biggest priority for us besides for us to spend just some one-on-one time together was to get some hikes in. We decided that we should do our most difficult and longest hike early on in our trip while we we still had energy. My husband did the research and found Shortoff Mountain trail in Morganton, North Carolina about an hour away from us.

Shortoff Mountain Trail is a 5.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Morganton, North Carolina that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

We started the hike at 10:30 am and finished around 2:15. We did stop and take pictures and have a picnic while enjoying the beautiful views. This trail was a bit difficult and some moments felt like we were taking stairs but the views were definitely worth it. It was not a crowded hike and we saw 4 people total. If you have any plans in the future to visit Asheville and are looking for a challenging hike with a beautiful view payoff then I recommend Shortoff Mountain.

 

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Beach Blue Hour Photography

My oldest daughter had been asking recently to see the sunrise, she wanted to know what it look like. Here on the East Coast during the summer that means waking up before 6 am to make our way to the beach. I wasn’t too excited about the thought of spending a summer morning waking up that early. After she asked, and asked. I finally obliged under one condition, we get coffee afterwards.  To make it a bigger event I decided to let my two daughters sleep with me the night before so that waking up that early would be a little easier. After a long night of tossing and turning, we woke up a little after 5:30 am. We had our bag packed the night before and set off to the beach. I am lucky, the girls woke easily and were still very excited at the thought to see the sunrise. We arrived at the beach and laid our blanket down and I instantly loved the peace and quiet that welcomed us. The beach was calm and my daughters were still quiet. Not long after we were settled my youngest continued with the typical 5-year old question “when will the sunrise?” x100. I noticed that there was a very large cloud covering the area that we’d be actually seeing the sun rise. I took out my camera and about 10-15 minutes before the sun was supposed to rise I walked with my oldest down to the water. I simply just let her explore and took some shots while she felt the water and looked at the jumping fish. The sun never really came up until much later because of the clouds but in the meantime my girls were able to explore underneath the blue clouds and watch how the morning unfolded with people taking walks, runs and even paddling out on to the calm waters.  Hope these pictures bring some peace to your day, like they did mine.

Oh and by the way, we ended visiting a newish coffee and donut location that morning. It’s called The Mini Bar. I highly recommend it. They serve some very delicious mini donuts with interesting toppings. Ours were PopTart, S’mores, Oreo and pink sprinkles and the coffee was perfect after a early morning blue hour photoshoot.

Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T5

Lense: 50mm 1.8

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Maternity Shoot at the beach

BEACH MATERNITY

I had such a wonderful time shooting this soon-to- be first time Momma’s maternity pictures. The sunset worked in our favor that evening  giving us some pink warm light to match her flowing dress.

One of my favorite locations is North Guana Beach. The beach there is mostly shells and the sunsets are breathtaking as they set behind the untouched beach dunes. I highly recommend this locations for some warm, beachy feel photos.

 

 

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How I took negative space photos

I love a great photography challenge and ran across a blog called Tea Break Tog in search for how to improve my own photography. I noticed that they offered a weekly photo challenge in their Facebook group. If you’re unfamiliar with what a photo challenge is, they give a theme for the week and who ever wants to participate can by submitting a picture that goes along with that particular theme. At the end of the week they chose one picture to be featured. I thought this would be a great way for me to step outside my comfort zone and learn different styles and challenge myself. So, this past week it was to submit a picture with negative space. By definition a negative space picture defines and emphasizes the main subject of a photo, drawing your eye to it. So, I grabbed my oldest daughter, my camera and headed to my garage. First, I had her change into a white shirt and darker shorts to help with the contrast. I moved my trash cans and had her up against our garage white wall. I set my ISO to 1600 my f/5.6 and my exposure 1/320 sec.  Once taking my shots I edited them in Lightroom. I changed it to black and white so that the majority of the color would be white therefore drawing your eye to her. I adjusted the contrast and shadows and then smoothed out all the dirt marks on the wall with the spot removal. With negative space I think its important to not feel like you have to fill up the frame. Be generous with the amount of empty space you leave.

Do you enjoy taking negative space pictures? I challenge you to step outside your box and see what you can do with negative space. I loved the challenge and hope you do to!

-Hayley

camera: Canon EOS REBEL T5

canon 50mm 1.8