Ice storm scheduled for the eastern seaboard ! Ok - so it's not that exciting. But it does remind me of a day two christmases ago when I met my colleague and friend Sandy Yetter to shoot a wedding at Lingrow Farm. It was a day that was the stuff of legend - eight inches of snow fell in less than 24 hours ! (Incidentally, Snowmageddon 2010 blew this legend out of the water). Judi and Josiah had flown into western Pennsylvania from sunny California and they boarded the hotel shuttle buses for their winter wedding at the farm.
The landscape was quieted under a heavy blanket of snow which made driving difficult, but made for a beautiful and intimate wedding day for everyone who made the trip.
Judi watched the snow falling through the window, her satin wedding gown was stunning !
Her handsome fiance, Josiah, fought back wedding day jitters. (and shivers !)
Before the ceremony, Judi peeked out from the stairwell with anticipation.
Her father snapped a quick memory of his daughter - breathless on her wedding day - before walking her down the aisle. The photo on the right is the indoor ceremony space at Lingrow set up before the guests arrive. In warm weather, the deck is open to the air. Once the nights get cooler, the staff closes up the deck with clear heavy plastic for the winter so that the deck heaters can keep things cozy.
The happy couple stood among their family friends and exchanged their lifelong promises to each other.
During the ceremony they presented gifts to their parents. Their flowers were by Leechburg Floral and I loved the pink heather in her boquet!
After the ceremony, we all braved the FREEZING weather to get a few outside photos in the storm.
We took advantage of the christmas lights - winter weddings really make for unique and excellent photos!
This might be one of my favorite photos from the whole wedding ! The reception aglow inside the barn while we stood in the swirling snow just outside. I love the chance to get creative with the environment.
Here you can see Sandy moving as a blur with her ninja photographer skills !
Warming up by the christmas tree .. !
Their whole wedding had a music theme since they met and did their engagement session in a record store. They used vinyl albums as their centerpieces and guests each recieved their own 45 in a brown paper sleeve as their favor. Judi and Josiah were happy to autograph them for the occaision!
I love photos like this. LOVE. THEM.
Just a parting shot on the stairs, I was at the bottom while Sandy was shooting from the top. To see her angle, make sure you click HERE to see the post on her blog !
Snow is a good thing ;-)
Ceremony & Reception Location: Lingrow Farm
Catering: Addison House
Entertainment: DJ Rockin John
Florals: Leechburg Floral
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I can't think of a better day than today to post January's calendar photo now that we have 5 inches of new snow out there ! This is a shot from January 2010 on the way to Megan and Jon's wedding at Stonehenge Lodge in Acme, Pa. We took a long winding way to get there and along a two lane road over laurel ridge we reached an elevation just high enough that we encountered 'freezing fog' ! I'd never seen it before - the only time I'd ever even heard of it was from Jim Cantore on The Weather Channel. Every branch down to the smallest pine needles was completely encased in frozen snow. It wasn't ice like an ice storm, it was white grainy snow that landed softly on every surface and then in an instant froze completely solid.
It was really amazing to experience ! Sean and I pulled over and got out of the truck just to walk around in it.
Here's a close up of the road sign so you can see what I mean!
Also - Megan and Jon celebrated their one year anniversary on the 9th !
Congratulations to you both and best wishes for many more happy years together!
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Wedding rewind!! I got a request this week to see photos from a very unique venue the Penn Scenic View which I had the privilege to visit back in July to shoot Aimee and Scot's wedding ! I decided it was high time I blogged all of this goodness!
The Penn Scenic View is a special place, it reminds you of what summer camp was like as a kid. There's a lake, lots of fish, tons of pine trees, a lodge, small cabins to rent, and a lookout tower on top of acres and acres of fields and forest. When Aimee and Scot saw it, they knew it was the perfect location for their wedding ! And on a sunny afternoon in July, we all met in the foothills of the laurel mountains to witness them tie the knot.
The girls were finishing up hair and make up in the chalet when Anna and I arrived on the scene. Aimee's dress was light, classic, and comfortable for the outdoor ceremony. Left image by Anna.
Aimee's mom and sister helped her plan out all of the DIY details of the event from the decorations to the music.
Bottom right image by Anna.
They quickly slipped Aimee into her dress since she didn't want to be late !
Aimee and Scot planned something special for each other on their wedding day, a first look. Instead of sticking to rigid tradition, they opted to set aside some time for themselves and agreed to meet half an hour before the ceremony to see each other for the first time. Scot was to wait for her at the top of the hill by the lookout tower.
No wonder Aimee was nervous about running late - she had a handsome groom anxiously waiting for her.
When she arrived, it was like a scene from a movie. She crossed the field and crept up behind Scot. He waited facing the view for her to reach him. They had the whole field to themselves. Just the two of them and the grass and the sky on their wedding day. (Anna and I hid in the pines ;-)
When he turned to see his bride for the first time, I've said it before - it was like magic. Elation and pride and surprise and joy. They had all the time in the world to enjoy the moment without a hundred pairs of eyes watching them. It was perfect. Whenever a couple is comfortable with the idea, I always recommend that they agree to see eachother before the ceremony. When they do, they always agree it was one of the best decisions they made during the whole wedding. It's an opportunity to make a memory that will be etched on your heart forever. And it makes for amazing pictures!
Since we were all together, it was a great time to get photos of the whole bridal party and free up time later in the day.
Love this image by Anna.
It's like the opening scene of the The Sound of Music with the helicopter circling over Julie Andrews..... "The hills are aliiiive !!!!....." Ok - so I might have done some singing while we were shooting...
After seeing Scot and having some fun time with the wedding party, Aimee was totally relaxed and all smiles :-)
Once Scot and the wedding party had left the lookout tower, we stayed with Aimee while she waited for her Dad. It's tradition in their family for the Dad to transport his daughters to their wedding. Except that 15 minutes after the ceremony was set to start - it was still just Aimee, Anna and I alone on top of the hill ! Apparently communications had gotten crossed and Aimee's Dad had mistakenly received a message that she was riding to the wedding with Scot. We waited on the hill and the three of us giggled that they couldn't possibly start the wedding without Aimee ! Just a few minutes later, her Dad rounded the bend in his Jeep. And after having the opportunity to photograph Aimee and Scot seeing eachother for the first time already that day, we were right there for the first moment that Aimee's Dad saw his little girl in her wedding dress.
Then we totally booked it to the ceremony.
This was a shot taken of the ceremony area earlier in the day before the guests arrived. Aimee and Scot took advantage of the lodge's deck which held all of their guests, the musicians and provided and elevated view over the lake.
They crafted a lot of their own wedding details. They printed the programs themselves and made small drawstring bags of dried lavendar for guests to throw like rice. One of my favorite details of the day was the ceremony music and how it set the scene. They hired three folk musicians who played a mixture of relaxed blue grass and soft waltz. When Aimee's Dad brought his daughter down the aisle, there was not a dry eye on the deck. Even Scot fought back tears seeing her for the second time that day.
Their vows were honest and sweet :-)
After the recession, the guests lined up and Aimee and Scot ran through tunnel as they were showered with lavendar buds. The smell was heavenly ! Anna and I each brought a sachet home and store them in the camera bag so every time we unzip the top to get the cameras out, we recall that perfect sunny afternoon.
Their cocktail hour was a blast with lawn games and an ice cream station where you could make your own sundae!
A few family photos in the shade by the lake.
The sweet beginings of a long happy marriage.
Bling on ice ;-)
*swoon* Having a great time at their wedding and hamming it up a little for the camera.
Since the weather was nice, their reception was held under the outdoor pavilion complete with plaid table runners, lots of mason jars and milk glass vases, and homemade fabric penants.
The usual suspects were in attendance ;-)
Dinner was grilled on site and smelled delicious!
Later on the pavilion was lit by strings of white lights through the rafters as they cleared the tables from the dance floor.
One of my favorites from the day.
It was a great party that went long into the night!
This is a repost for this image, but when I did Aimee & Scot's engagement photos we all talked about how cool it would be to get photos with fireflies. Thanks to chilly nights leading up to the wedding, there was not a lightning bug to be found. So before we left, Anna and I drove to the top of the hill to the lookout tower once more to do some painting with light. It's not a field of fireflies, but a night with that many stars was worth the shot!
It was a long drive home from Rockwood that night, but looking back it was one of our favorite weddings of the summer!
Rehearsal Dinner: Oakhurst Tea Room (the food was sooo good)
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Penn Scenic View - Rockwood, PA
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The most beautiful thing about photography is the way that it records the little moments in our lives. It takes the little things and freezes their space in time and gives them the quiet recognition to be the 'big things'.
This past sunday was very special - I got an email from Minda and Brett whose wedding I was honored to shoot in May 2009 - you can see their photos by clicking HERE
Truly an amazing couple. It's like they have a secret between the two of them - a beautiful little miracle that hasn't quite arrived yet. They are waiting until the delivery to find out if they're having a little girl or a little boy.
There is nothing like a first baby - that wondrous thing that happens when there is so much love between two people it creates a life.
I told Minda she should have been a pregnancy model. She says this shot is the "mommy view" the view looking down ;-)
Brett is going to be a great Dad - we laughed and said this was like pressing the intercom button to speak to the belly.
One hot Mama.
Winter is a great time to be pregnant, you can snuggle up and wait and wait and wait.
Minda is going to be a wonderful Mom. She hand painted the walls of the nursery with a big tree with blue birds and toadstools. That way she can hang photos of their family on its branches.
Thank you so much for inviting me to visit you while you wait for the big arrival.
I'm so happy for you both :-)
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Greetings to a new year! Photo calendars are back! They are 12 month calendars which are 11x17" in size and feature twelve 8x10 photos of some of my 2010 travels.
Calendars are just $20 and make great gifts ! If you'd like one for yourself or one to share, please email me at :
Have a great week!
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Remember last Jan 1st when I posted my 101 in 1001 list of goals? Well I didn't do too bad in the past year, but I only completed 18 goals out of 101. Definitely 18 good goals though and I've got plans for lots more in 2011! Here's the recap!
1. Shoot a destination wedding
April of 2010 - we went to Chesapeake Beach, MD for Russell and Heather's wedding at the Chesapeake Beach Resort!
22. Visit the Pittsburgh zoo and new aquarium
May 2010 - I got to attend and shoot a Behind-the-Scenes event at the Pittsburgh Zoo ! We hand fed a giraffe and got to pet a black bear and feed it peanuts. It was totally wild ! Definitely a once in a lifetime experience to be so close!
30. Back up all 2009 photos on external drives
Got this one done in January 2010 and was able to streamline the process which really cut down the number of DVDs I have to burn, therefore regaining precious hours of my life. Now all weddings and engagement sessions get backed up on 2 external drives and burned to DVD. Senior and family sessions get backed up on the 2 externals with an extra temporary copy on my laptop.
70. Go to yoga class once a week for two months in a row
This one was tough. It took me 4 months at the beginning of the summer to pull it off. I was on a roll in June and then got so busy I couldn't make it to class and had to go through July and August to get it done! I still try to go once a week when I can because it's SO GOOD for me. This may shock you - but keeping your life together while running a business is stressful ! Even more unbelievable, weddings are quite stressful as well. There is a lot of pressure to deliver the goods no matter what the weather or time contraints and while I love a challenge, sometimes I need to take 5 minutes and just breathe. Yoga helps me do that. It's 1 hour a week where I can unplug from the phone and the internet and just be alone with my brain. Besides the stress relief, it's great for the muscles and since I'm usually lugging around over 40 lbs of camera gear at a wedding, hopping rock to rock and concentrating on holding absolutely still no matter what weird position I'm crouched in - yoga is key for balance and holding strong.
75. Get a fancy camera strap
Sandy gave me a hand with this one! We teamed up for a shoot and as a thank you she gave me a gift certificate to PhatStraps fancy camera straps. I LOVE my camera strap! It's like a necklace, makes my black on black ninja getup look a little more refined, and has been a great way to tell my two identical canon cameras apart.
80. Go to a drive in movie three times – 1 – 2 – 3
This one was fun - we are lucky enough to have The Riverside Drive-in close to home (www.riversidedrivein.com) . It's old fashioned as it gets. Everyone parks in a big field along the river and behind the bowling alley, follow the Tiki Torches to the back rows, tune your radio in to the show and hit the snack bar. We saw Sorcerer's Apprentice - loved it !, Iron Man 2 - awesome! , Twilight - can't remember which one it was but it was as dark and dramatic as the others, She's Out of Your League - totally filmed in pittsburgh and sean loved this one!, Toy Story 3 - I cried through almost the whole movie..
There were more since they're all double features but I can't remember off-hand. Going to the drive in reminds me of when my mom would take us as kids. It's still just as fun - and you can get funnel cakes anytime you want. Plus by going to the drive in, we are helping to keep an old landmark alive in our home town in a time when the economy is not the best.
90. Get an eye exam
Took care of this early 2010 as well. Boring, but a necessity. Just wait till I get health insurance next year !
91. Personal goal
59. Update the layout of my blog
Completed in Feb 2010 the new layout has the fancy flash slideshow you see at the top of your page and I gave the whole website a basic facelift with new colors and fonts, etc.
94. Camp in a YURT
This was such a fun weekend !! We liked it so much we are going back in May 2011 !
95. Go fishing
Sean and I took quite a few little fishing trips this past year. Just an hour here and there at the lake or down to the river at the end of the day when we needed to get out and do something. I caught my first trout ! (It's the second pic here)
99. Put a face to my name on my website
This one took some doing too - if you click on the ABOUT page of my website there are a few pics of me and I've tried to de-lurk myself on the blog too and shoot and share more personal photos.
92. Visit the Baltimore relatives
This past April I visited my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins in Baltimore and they took me to visit Washington DC for the first time!
Will show photos of that eventually, but for now they are tucked away on another hard drive.
39. Pay off my student loan
Yes. I did it !!! I paid of my student loan and am now totally free of my college debt - just in time to buy a house, get married, and start shopping for a newer used car ! So that I can have some married real estate debt and a car payment - yeehaw ;-)
50. Play laser tag with 2 or more friends
I'm sad that there are no pictures of this ! I've never been much of a birthday person, but this year for my birthday I was determined to relax and have some old fashioned kid fun. So I invited a bunch of friends and relatives to play laser tag with me. IT. WAS. EPIC. We played Skeeball, shot some pool, got bruises from playing air hockey, played 2 EPIC games of laser tag. And then we bowled. And we made up names for each other to use in the bowling alley score keeping machine.
So big thanks to :
and all the rest of the gang who made it the best birthday in a long time ! They even put all their game tickets together and got me a silly hat which I wore proudly for the rest of the night.
64. Photograph a bald eagle
This is an ongoing project. I've photographed eagles from 2 seperate nesting sites for the past 4 years with varying levels of success. This year I had the best equipment I've owned with me, but the weather and conditions weren't ideal. Still we came away with some pretty cool shots!
81. Start recycling
Inspired by my cousin Jon and his new wife, Ellie's green wedding this past labor day, I've started a somewhat dedicated recycling initiative at the house. They did a fantastic job hosting an environmentally friendly event where everything from the flatware to the decor was recycled and even the table scraps from the wedding feast were separated and composted.
Since we don't have any recycling service in our part of the county being so rural - I've started separating out our aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic containers, and catalogs and papers. The aluminum cans go to the boy scouts who turn them to scrap, the paper goes to Abitibi who runs a fundraiser program for organizations in return for collected recyclable papers, and the glass and plastic is being stored in a big bin until I can find a drop off center for it. If you save those items for one month you would be surprised how much you accumulate - and if you multiply that amount by everyone in the neighborhood, it's shocking that we don't all live in a landfill for the amount of garbage the average person makes.
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Monroeville, PA 15146 Area Photography • Phone: 724-875-9809 • Email: PhotosbyAW@aol.com • ©2007. All rights reserved.