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Photography by Amanda Wilson

Blog Home

▣ Gone Fishin'

April 29th, 2010

I spent three days last week scouting locations at the beach in Maryland for some upcoming weddings I have in that area.  At one point last wednesday as I'm sitting in a little restaurant by the bay - eating the best potato chowder and drinking hot tea with lemon, staring out through the rain at the boats bobbing in the bay - it occurs to me - (run-on sentence alert) - it's been too long since I've been fishing.  So when I made the 6 hour drive back and Sean asked me what I wanted to do last weeked, I already knew - go fishing.  (Being near the ocean for three days makes you feel very nautical.)

So last Saturday we ignored the rain, got our fishing licenses, bait, and Turner's ice tea (no excursion is complete without Turner's ice tea) and headed to the nearest body of water we could park a lawn chair next to.  This was the first fish I caught - and I said that we had better take a picture of it in case it was the only one we got.  After that - we caught two more - but they were even smaller!   I think this may actually have been a goldfish that got too big for someone's bowl and so they set it free and then it turned green in the  lake water ;-)




The look on the fish's face reminds me of the look my dog gives me when she's just eaten something she wasn't supposed to.  Like - uh-oh - who me?



Sean sat on the stump next to me - he was aiming for bigger fish.  I don't mind the small fish, as long as I'm catching ANY fish.  Sometimes its nicer just to sit for a few hours with my best buddy :-)



These three birds were just sitting out there taunting me - they would have made a great picture if I had my telephoto, but I packed light and only brought my wide angle lens.  (The three birds are the three little specks sitting on the stump in the water.)



Anna and I are packing up and leaving in a few hours for a wedding in Chesapeake Bay tomorrow  - the weather is going to be sunny and 82 degrees wooo!  I will probably feel like fishing when I get back.



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▣ Aimee & Scot - E-session at Phipps Conservatory

April 28th, 2010


I'm so lucky!  I get to hang out with the best couples!  Meet Aimee and Scot :-)  I first met them last year when they booked me for their wedding this July.  With the weather finally nice and just a few months left before "I Do" - it's engagement sessions galore!  We decided to visit Phipps Conservatory for their outdoor photos and spend some time in Schenley Park.


We were totally hoping none of the security guards saw us - ** no flowers were harmed in the making of these photos ** - we were IN FRONT of the flower bed.  This was one of my favorites from the day!  It was so worth the risk ;-)



Over at the Schenley visitors center - I love Aimee's smile :-)



This warm buttery light was provided by Anna who was holding a big diffuser screen between them and the bright evening sunset.




These guys were great to shoot with!  After a while everyone relaxed and started to have fun - Scot really got into it.  I told him not to worry about what I was telling them - if he wanted to go freestyle then just do it!  The best photos are the ones that come naturally.




Back at Phipps, we explored the front lawn and the trees. 






One of my favorites from the day - there's a story here.  Phipps has a public garden that's open dawn till dusk everyday.  It's free and open to the public to enjoy but has a set of rules posted on the fence out front.  The sign reads, " Park is open dawn to dusk, NO skateboards, NO drugs, No alcoholic beverages, NO professional photography."  I'm so glad that professional photography ranks right up there with drugs and alcohol...?  We decided that since it was only open for a few more minutes, and we were the only people there, that just this once we could bend the rule and venture inside for a few quick photos.  I really like this shot of the fountain with the oakland skyline in the background.  The last picture we took there has Aimee smiling towards the camera and Scot looking warily over top of her head at the Phipps staff member striding our way. 


We decided to call it a wrap and beat a hasty retreat to the exit!  (They locked the gates behind us.)


I can't wait till the wedding at Penn Scenic View in July!




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▣ Rebecca & Chan - E-session in the rain

April 26th, 2010


Today was such a rainy rainy day - it reminded me of last year when I drove to Latrobe to shoot Rebecca & Chan's engagement photos.  I hoped that the clouds would part and the sun would shine through - but no such luck.  The one bit of good fortune that saved the day was that we were meeting at Rebecca's mom's house and they have a HUGE porch.  (I love big porches (and sweet tea!!)  I may secretly be a southern belle :-) 


Eventhough it was pouring like crazy, there was enough space on the porch to hide out from the weather !  Rebecca and Chan are such a fun couple, they are so relaxed together they didn't let a little downpour dampen their spirits.





Chan has such a great smile, but when I asked him to try a serious face - he really turned it on!  Yowza :-D



Stuck in one location because of the inclement weather, we got creative and called Rebecca's mom who was on her way home from the store to stop and grab some sidewalk chalk.  We engineered our own unique save the date images!  (Confession - I tried to draw the heart and it was so lopsided we couldn't erase it and had to move to a different section of cement.  Rebecca took over and drew a perfect heart - and it made more sense because then I could take pictures of her drawing it.)  Can't you tell their wedding is going to be fun??



I love this shot :-)






Their wedding is less than a month away at the Latrobe Country Club !  I can't wait !!




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▣ Gillian & Mike - Edgewood Country Club Wedding

April 25th, 2010


  It was a warm hazy day back in August when Anna and I met up with Gillian and Mike at Edgewood Country Club near Churchill, PA for their wedding.  The girls were downstairs in the ladies locker room and the guys were hanging out in the foyer.  Gillian and I met in the seventh grade - she's always been fun with a calm and cautious personality.  In fact, our seventh grade math teacher gave her a book that was the "worst case scenario survival handbook" which gave detailed instructions on how to escape from a mountain lion, or what to do if you fell out of a plane and landed in a swamp full of crocodiles.  (She was always level headed and prepared.)  Her wedding day was no exception - all of the last minute preparations were taken care of and the girls were just hanging out in the air conditioning doing make up and getting dressed.


Left two images by Anna.




Image by Anna.




Mike and I went to elementary school together and rode the same school bus for years.  I never would have pictured Gillian and Mike together when we were kids, but seeing them at the wedding - they are a perfect match :-)




Because of the hot and humid August weather, (and the ever present threat of a pop up thunderstorm), they decided to hold their ceremony in one of Edgewood's banquet rooms that had a wall of windows that looked out over the greens.  Gillian's father walked her down the aisle while a string quartet played softly to the crowd.




They chose a sunny happy mixture of blues and yellows for their color scheme.  Right two images by Anna.





The banquet room at Edgewood is not only gorgeous, it has a positively HUGE dancefloor.




They chose bottles of red and white wine as their favors.

Top right image by Anna.






After they had heard the toasts and cut the cake, we snuck the bridal party outside while the rest of the guests were still eating for some fun photos on the golf course.  (I love the jumping shot...there's nothing like a classic ;-)




While I was setting up some formals, Anna was hanging back in the distance with the spy lens ;-)

Image by Anna.




Gillian's engagement ring had not only the diamond center stone, but also two deep blue side stones.




When we were walking from the back of the green around to the side of the club we had to hike up a pretty steep hill - as we crested the hill we realized we had popped up right at the outdoor dining area for the country club's restaurant where regular club patrons were enjoying their dinner.  When they saw Mike and Gillian appear over the top of the hill in their wedding attire - all of the customers outside eating dinner stood up and broke into a round of applause for them!  Mike and Gillian were touched and Gillian leaned in towards her new husband and whispered " this is the best day ever :-D " 



They were very happy :-)











Back inside the reception, it was time for their first dance.



The DJs did a great job of keeping the party kicking.  They had props for the YMCA and everyone joined in.




No story of this wedding would be complete without talking about THE OTHER MIKE.  Not only was it Mike and Gillian's wedding day, but their best man was also named Mike.  This is him. We've known him since high school as well.  He was the DJ at all of the seventh and eighth grade dances for years.   He was hilarious - all day - he was an excellent best man and new where the groom was at all times.  This is just a random group of the OTHER MIKE photos, I could have posted about twenty hysterical faces and crazy stuff - but just suffice it to say there's one in every crowd - and it's usually him ;-)




Congratulations Gillian and Mike!!  Hope you're having a great year!






Ceremony & Reception Site:  Edgewood Country Club

Entertainment:  Len and Ed Thomas DJs




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▣ Easter Weekend Camp Out

April 17th, 2010

 Easter weekend was so nice and warm that we couldn't help but get out and enjoy it!  Sean and I packed up our gear and headed down to Ohiopyle State Park for the opening weekend at their campground.  Sort of a spur of the moment - throw some stuff in the truck and take off - kind of trip.



I love any trip that starts with a sign like this.  (shooting through the windshield)



 It was a cloudy afternoon when we arrived just after dinner time with enough light left to grab one shot of the natural water slide and then go to our site.  (Which I didn't like when we got there cause it was a big mud puddle so we ended up switching to a different campsite on the point of the ridge). 




 In a rare instance, we actually got the tent up and a fire built before it was dark.  Sean lit the lantern and we sat cooking dinner and listening to the train whistles blow from the railroad tracks that run along the river and through town.  They run almost every 45 minutes all night long - and at first it can keep you up night.  But after an evening, you get used to it and it seems kind of peaceful.  The train whistle echoes through the valley probably with the same sound it did a hundred years ago when it rumbled past the general store and across the bridge over the river.






Meat on a fire = happiness :-)





Cool shot - this was a 30 second exposure with my camera propped up on a picnic table.  The warm light is from the lantern we had lit and there's a litte haze from the campfire smoke - but there were so many stars to be seen.




Saturday we roamed through all the outfitters in town and then took some snacks and hiked down to the first set of rapids below the falls.  Sean had the 70-200mm lens so he got all the good close up shots.





We spent the afternoon hanging out on the rocks, munching on cheese-its and taking the occaisonal nap in the sun.  (Some of us napped  a little too long and woke up looking like a tomato.)


Image by Sean. 




This guy had a sweet wooden double bladed paddle.  Image by Sean.



Probably my favorite rafting subject of the day - although all my photos were from much further away and therefore -

Image by Sean



(Sean's pic again)



Sweet whitewater !  There's a boat underneath him somewhere!  Image by Sean.



If you look closely, you can see that there is a fossil of tree bark in the rock I was sitting on.






AAAAAAAhhh!  Caught you looking closely, right?  Sorry if anyone was just blinded by my white legs...  Image by Sean.




Just a final shot of Cucumber falls before we headed back to camp that night.




Sunday morning we got up early and went hiking in our pajamas (there is no dress code in the woods).  The sun had just come up and the light on the water was soooo pretty.  I got a bunch of great shots - but I'm saving some for next year's calendar!  So you'll have to see them then :-)





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▣ Christa & Zach - Schenley Park Engagement Session

April 15th, 2010

A few weeks ago Sean and I travelled downtown to Schenley park to meet up with Christa and Zach for an engagement session.  The weather was beautiful and Sean didn't even complain very much about sitting in traffic.  ( He is the worst sitting in traffic backseat driver. ) 



We met at the Schenley visitors center and walked all around that corner of the park. 

Christa and Zach make a GREAT couple!  They chose this image for their save-the-dates.


Since the arched bridge was undergoing some repairs, we ventured down the old stone steps to the smaller bridge.  This was shot under that bridge, I thought it looked like a sea cave.  I have no idea what kind of rock that is, but I'm not sure I'd have built a bridge out of it.  Like random rock chunks cemented together...hmm pittsburgh...?  Christa said the texture reminded her of their trip to Hawaii. 




We had a lot of fun - I can't wait for their wedding this October!






Only six more months!



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▣ Spring Seniors

April 14th, 2010


The weather is sunny and the leaves are coming out, that means it's time for senior portraits again!  We waited all winter and it's finally here - SPRING.  I've been lucky to be out and about the for the past few weeks shooting lots of engagement and senior sessions!  Here are a few favs :-)



This is Alex from Serra Catholic High - he brought his saxophone, clarinet, and bagpipes to the Duquesne campus where he will be at student in the fall for some great portraits in the early evening light.



Flash from the past - this is John and his shots from last fall - I know I'm late in posting them but I wanted to share because John said he didn't want photos that looked like everyone elses, he wanted to think outside the box and break all the rules.  I planned ahead when I took this shot and then did some fancy post processing through photo shop.



We were all over Butler - in a parking garage, at the museum, in front of the court house, etc.  I think that right photo looks like Sting.



And now the segway - john is good friends with Curt who I photographed last week in Saxonburg.  He liked John's photos outside the box so we visited some really out of the way spots including an abandoned house and a tire dump in the middle of the woods.  Curt brought his guitar - it was like shooting an album cover.  Don't you just love these sunsets lately?





So many favorites from this session - I wish I could post them all!






I tried out some different post processing techniques on these last two shots, what do you think?



Leave me some comments!!

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▣ Lena & Cole - the good stuff

April 8th, 2010



So excited to be bringing more of Lena & Cole's wedding - just because I got behind on blogging over the last few months doesn't mean I won't catch up!  After formals at the church, the wedding party caught a ride on their rented limo bus up to Lenape Heights Golf Course where the reception was held.  Lenape has recently redone their facility and is a fabulous spot for weddings because the surrounding grounds are very pretty.




I love this tree that stands just behind the club house.  What a great crazy group :-D



Inside the ballroom was decorated with orange, yellow and red flower arrangements.  Guests were greeted at the front door with a long table that held a bottle of wine that acted as their place card and their favor. 



I love it when couples host their reception at a location where there's great photo opportunities right outside the hall!



Long view from the top of the course.



When we were done outside, Lena's mom and the girls set to work bustling her dress.  I swear there were like twelve little ties!  They blended in so seamlessly with her gown that it was hard to find them!



The best man toasted the couple before dinner -


 - and then there was cake!



While the rest of the guests were still finishing their dinners, we snuck outside for some couple photos of just the two of them.  This one of my favorite things to do when there's good photo opportunities at the reception venue.  By this point at a wedding, the pressure is off, the bride and groom have survived the anxiety of repeating their vows in front of all the guests, they've had something to eat and drink, and from here on out - it's party time.  This is also a great time for photos if you're a little self concious in front of the camera because the rest of the guests are happy to stay inside and eat their dinner instead of following along with all of their cameras.




Love this moment - capture by Anna.



We were travelling the grounds in STYLE.  Lenape was nice enough to drive us around in a pro-cart to all the good locales.



We had no trouble getting Lena and Cole to just have fun!



Another great shot by Anna.



I want one of these carts for my house!



And just like all perfect days - the universe provided a perfect sunset with fog rising out of the valley.



Back inside - the party was in full swing!  Their DJ kept the dance floor rocking with lights, fog, lasers - the works!






One of the best moments of the night - at the end of the reception Lena's mom danced with her to Martina McBride's "In My Daughter's Eyes" and just before the song ended she led Lena to a chair, sat her down and unpinned her veil from her hair.  They hugged goodbye and it was Cole's turn to come on the dance floor - swept her off of her feet and carried her out and into their future life together.



Just a last shot for the evening in the lobby before they had to do the quick change out of their wedding clothes into beachwear.  They left on the airport shuttle in shorts and sandals just before midnight with their parents and friends waving a tearful goodbye holding lena's gown in their arms. 


It was a perfect day.  Thank you so much for letting us be a part of it. :-)





Ceremony:  St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church

Flowers:  Community Market

Reception & Catering:  Lenape Heights Golf Course

Entertainment:  DJ the DJ  (his name is actually DJ and then he became a DJ)



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▣ April

April 7th, 2010


I'm a little late posting April's calendar image - I've been working on updates to the site!  As you can see, the blog looks a little different today!  We've changed up the layout and added some new features.

I have lots to blog about - now that this is done I can cross it off my 101 list!



Finally the leaves are coming out - I love green.



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