County Fair Engagement Session // Upstate New York // Julie & Greg

County Fair Engagement Session // Upstate New York // Julie & Greg

this is love: to fly toward a secret sky // rumi

When Julie & Greg first said they wanted to do their engagement session at the County Fair I was all in.  I'd never shot anything at a county fair, or even been to a county fair actually- so challenge accepted.  I was away in the Adirondack Mountains the week before so I had a lot of time to think about this one and I just knew I wanted something different than what I had seen in the past.  I wanted to capture the earthiness of the fair and avoid that bubble gum quality.   We met up and hit the demolition derby which was SO COOL before we started shooting.  These two were just such an absolute blast to hang out with and the constantly changing light and motion was so fun to play with.  I may have had a few moments of panic as I was furiously changing settings every half second but so worth it because I really, really love these images and this couple and the county fair!  Also the funnel cakes.  Fair food is something special : ) 

Colorado Engagement Session // Andrea & Tyler

Colorado Engagement Session // Andrea & Tyler

To the ends of the earth would you follow me?  There's a world that was meant for our eyes to see. Lord Huron

 

In August, my husband and I rented a camper van and adventured around Colorado shooting and hanging and hiking and drinking really killer beer.  It was awesome. I was so pumped when Andrea & Tyler, whose wedding I will be photographing in New York next year came to our campground so we could explore together and create some images with those breath taking Rocky Mountains.   They are on a year long adventure of their own living in some of the most amazing places around this fine country together.  So glad our paths crossed in beautiful Colorado.  I think all four of us are madly, deeply and truly in love with Colorado. 

Waiting for Charlotte...

Waiting for Charlotte...

Well I've known you for just a little while, but i feel i've known you- I feel i've seen you when the earth was split in fives. Sufjan Stevens

These two lovers are getting ready for the biggest adventure of them all...parenthood.  They are going to rock and it was so fun to watch them together and see the joy and anticipation and excitement while they wait for their little girl.  There is something so crazy about those last weeks and months, it's like you have always known this person living inside of you and yet you have never seen them and then that moment when you see them and the world is never the same.  You are never the same.  Baby Charlotte you are one lucky girl to have such amazing parents and I can't wait to meet you.

Ash & Dan at home

Ash & Dan at home

You are the one thing that I know.  {Drew Holcomb}

I really dig marriage.  Not just weddings (I absolutely love weddings too) but I think there is something so powerful and amazing and challenging and worthwhile about promising someone you will always be there and then actually doing the work.  So these at home sessions of married couples are something I am really excited about.  Ash & Dan opened up their home to me and let me just hang with them while they did all the ordinary stuff that makes up their life.  I loved it.

Thena & Matt

Thena & Matt

Well you still make sense to me.  Your mess is mine.  {Vance Joy}

December weddings in killer locations with couples who totally get it...that is as good as it gets.  Thena and Matt were so incredibly kind and sweet to each other and focused on all the things that really matter.  This day just rocked in every way. This was also my first time shooting at F.E.A.S.T at Round Hill in Washingtonville NY.  Roaring (real) fires in gorgeous old fireplaces and beautiful artwork and the friendliest, most helpful staff...I loved this place and hope to get back soon.

 

Venue: F.E.A.S.T at Roundhill

DJ: Nick Ruggiero

Florist: Tom's Greenhouse

Dress: Badgley Mischka from BHLDN

Cake Artist: The Pastry Garden, Poughkeepsie

 

Waxes Go West // Part 2

Waxes Go West // Part 2

Our Family Adventure  //  Part 2

Glacier National Park, Montana

After days of hiking in the dry heat and cooking sausages late night over an open fire we knew we wanted food that someone else cooked that did not involve Bry building the fire.  Also the new Harry Potter book had just come out and Addie needed a book store.  Bozeman, Montana seemed like a great stop on our way to Glacier where we could accomplish both of these things.  If you are ever in Bozeman please have breakfast at Nova Cafe.  You won't be sorry.  And no one will mind if you look like forest monsters who have not showered in days.  This was the best breakfast we have ever eaten and just an all around awesome town.  If you missed Part 1 of our cross country road trip you can find it here.

From Bozeman we headed to St. Mary on the eastern side of Glacier and our next campsite.  By this time the kids were settled into the routine of setting up camp and everyone knew their jobs.  As we pulled in to the campground tired, filthy and starving the attendants led us know they had free hot showers AND a pizza delivery service by way of 4-wheeler that would deliver pizza right to our tent.  I don't think we have ever been so happy.  This made up for the fact that we ran into a black bear right outside the campground  (luckily we stopped in time and he was unscathed) and the fact that our tent site was in a berry patch.  We had been warned to be especially careful around berries to avoid snacking bears and now here we were with berries literally hanging over our tent.  One of life's greatest lessons...beer and pizza make almost anything ok.

We woke up to a cold and rainy day but this place has so much magic even the clouds just made her more beautiful.  It was also our 14th wedding anniversary which was pretty awesome. We drove Going to the Sun Road through the park and stopped and hiked around again and again and again because every stop was even more gorgeous than the next.  We saw bears every single day we were there- and I even got a picture of one. Of all the places we went on this trip Going to the Sun Road was the most magical for me.  Glacier is so wild and rugged and felt the most desolate.  There were far fewer tourists due to the road being impassable for buses.  This is a place I will return to.  This is a place I hope my kids return to someday and remember me.  It is also a place predicted to be completely without glaciers by 2030 due to global warming.  Glacier National Park will have no glaciers left.  Let that sink in.

Hiking with Kids.  I included this first picture because people often say to us that our kids must be so cool- I think they are pretty great but they are still kids.  The reality is that hiking with your children is hard and they aren't always into it. They get tired and cranky.  This was a trip Addie and Abe both had reservations about and anxiety about before we left.  My daughter loves everything planned...where we will be sleeping, when and what time we will be eating.  She doesn't love to come across wild animals without a lot of warning.  My son loves to spend his summer swimming with his cousins and he was worried about missing soccer camp and time with his friends.  All of us had to stretch our souls a bit and deal with being uncomfortable.  To see what a tired cranky kid looks like see the image below : )

Banff National Park, Alberta Canada

From Glacier we were headed to the place that was the impetus for our whole trip.  Bry has always wanted to go to Banff National Park in Canada and we we couldn't wait to see that turquoise glacial water.  We crossed the border relatively quickly at a remote crossing and made our way north...way north to the Tunnell Mountain Campground.  Our tent site was amazing with a killer view AND wood is free at Canadian National Parks.  How cool is that?  However, there was a water issue and the showers and bathrooms were locked and unusable.  Not cool considering the water temperature in the lakes.  Oh and it started pouring.  So that was fun too.  And then Addie got super sick and had to be taken to a hospital but when I googled "closest hospital" it said "Closed for the Weekend".  Luckily, we found a clinic and I ran in like Shirley McClaine in Terms of Endearment screaming for someone to help my kid who was at that point puking all over the car.  Did I mention we had to pay for everything with cash since we were in another country?  After many bags of IV fluids, 3 different kinds of anti-nausea meds and an IV of Demerol I found out that healthcare is SO, SO much cheaper in Canada and Addie was on the mend.  My nerves, however, were fried. Bry scored us a hotel room since she was a bit out of it and it was still pouring and our tent waited patiently for us to return.  Just another day on the road y'all.

We spent two days recuperating and had to really scale back the hikes we had planned.   We were all just so happy Adeline was ok.  And really how can you be sad with two healthy kids and a view like this?  We were still able to see and hike around Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and Peyto Lake and drive the Icefields Parkway.  

Moraine Lake looks every bit as amazing in person as it does in pictures.  It also involves a scramble over floating logs to get to the famous rock pile which you can climb up to enjoy the view.  Abe looked at it like his own personal American Ninja Warrior course and sailed over to the other side.  I struggled with the slippery logs and poor Addie slid completely off and plunged her leg into the glacial water.  We laughed a lot about that but when her foot went numb it was less funny.  That water is cold.  

If you take a look at a map you will see that Banff is quite far from our final destination which was the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  This was a long haul.  We drove through Canada much of the way and it amazed us all how incredibly flat the great plains are.  F L A T.  You can watch complete storm systems miles away.  Between podcasts (Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History was our favorite) and storm watching we were quite entertained.  We stopped at a motel in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and then another in Minnesota. Easily one of the coolest parts of the journey was looking at a map and picking a random town as a stopover and just driving around.

So we get to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan and it's raining. It keeps raining.  And I had chosen a primitive campground with no water- so no showers or flush toilets- just pit toilets in very wet outhouses.  But the water of Lake Superior was more than warm enough to swim in so all was well.  Who needs to shower anyway? And the next day the sun came out.

Our last night we toasted to our adventure.  We were all sad and also all very dirty.  It was the absolute best month of our lives and as anxious as the kids were to see our dog (shout out to Caroline- the best dog watcher in the whole world) they were also in awe of all we had done and seen.  For kids who had been a little nervous about the adventure they were so adaptable.  They were so damn fun to be around and they never complained.  They may have been tired and hungry and cranky but they never once asked if we were there yet.  They didn't fight.  They didn't have cell service or tv or a bed or a toilet that flushed for weeks at a time but we had them and their undivided attention for a whole month and that was everything.  

Waxes Go West  //  Part 1

Waxes Go West // Part 1

Our Family Adventure

Part 1

We had dreamed, plotted and planned this trip for a little over a year.  There were a few things we knew right away.  1. We did not want an RV.  We were not going to be taking our living room with us.  We were tenting almost exclusively with a few motel stops and if it did not fit in our old Nissan X-terra it was not coming.  2. We wanted to take a month and we wanted to find that right mix of planning and happenstance.  We wanted room to change course and find magic but we also didn't want to be wandering around at midnight trying to find an open tent site.  3. We wanted to trap our 11 and 13 year old children and make them hang out with us for weeks so the lack of cell service, electricity and all their usual comforts was a plus. 4. We wanted to end up in Banff.  

Our first day started with breakfast in New York, lunch in Ohio and a late dinner in Wisconsin.  Then a whole lot of Minnesota before we reached our first planned destination on day 2.  We drove into the park at sunset.

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

It was hard to leave the Badlands.  It was magic and I've never seen a night sky so pitch black and full of stars.  Bry and I sat in camp chairs after the kids had gone to sleep and opened a bottle of wine and watched the sky explode in shooting star after shooting star.  Our tent was all alone in this vast land and it felt like being in a snow globe of stars.  Before we left we had asked the kids if there was anything that was a must-see our daughter surprised us with her only request: Mount Rushmore!  Mount Rushmore?  I had been ready to drive right on by but I'm so glad she wanted to see it.  The smile on her face was well worth the trip.

Back on the road it was on to Wyoming; Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole.  But thanks to some expert advice from my Aunt and Uncle who had done the same trip we knew the drive through the Wind River Valley would be as my Uncle Monty said "spectacular".  And he was so right.  This endless sparse valley was unlike anything I had ever seen.  We drove by an active forest fire right outside of Dubois, Wyoming and were close enough to have the car fill with smoke and see the flames.  We stopped in town where all the fire fighters were resting in shifts and everyone was asking how close it was getting. 

Grand Teton National Park & Jackson Hole, Wyoming

There were definitely more than a few people who thought we were crazy to drive and tent the way we did but they were all people who had never done it.  Every person we asked who had made a similar trip said it will be the best time of your life.  They were right.  This country's vastness is meant to be experienced by and on its trails and roads not in an airplane.  Watching the flatness of the great plains make way to the sparse and rugged mountains and then watching the Grand Tetons rise in the distance.  I can tell you friends there is nothing like it.

We hiked around Jenny lake, we climbed to Inspiration Point, we drove old dirt roads and we stopped for bison crossing.  We sat in the river and watched the sunset and read books and did nothing at all. We walked around Jackson Hole and did some of the tourist things. We white water rafted on the Snake River and we did some laundry.  Then it was time for our happy hour ritual the night before we moved on to our next destination...drinks and maps.  

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming & Montana

We decided the best plan of action for Yellowstone was to wake the kids up at 3 a.m. (yes 3 a.m.) and make it to Old Faithful by sunrise to beat the crowds.  We hate crowds.  All of us introverts agree crowds ruin everything.  So we packed our sleepy kids up and brewed some very strong coffee and set out in the dark only to stumble upon an entire field of Moose.  Big giant ones and cute little tiny ones.  Bry rolled his window down and chatted with them.  We woke the kids up.  The moose just kept eating and occasionally looked up at the crazy guy carrying on a conversation with them. Then we pulled in to Old Faithful and heard someone yell "5 minutes till she goes off!"  We ran and made it just in time to watch her with only a handful of other people...not the thousands that would be there for the rest of the day.  It was like a private show just for us and the lack of sleep was well worth it.

If we are friends on Facebook you probably already know the crazy story of how I thought I would give the kids a treat by putting a roof over the head for a couple nights but it turned out what was sold to me as as early settlers cabin with no water or electricity was actually a chicken coop filled with mice surrounded by snakes.  My kids can tell you their own version of our midnight exodus from the coop in our pajamas in search of lodging.  They LOVE to tell this story.  It is pretty funny and also how we ended up with my favorite tent site of our whole trip.  If you have never been to Yellowstone you are missing out on life.  When I tell you this place defies description believe me.  And then go.  We saw bubbling cauldrons of turquoise water and felt the air change and fill with sulphur.  It's like being in one of Addie's post apocalyptic novels she loves so much.  But we also hiked the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, had campfires and counted stars, watched an insane lightening storm over a valley, swam in the Yellowstone river with bear markings all around us, watched a white wolf swim across that same river, saw bison, pronghorn, elk, coyote and bear, and did a sunset drive through the Lamar Valley that Abe says was the best thing he has ever done in his life.

Abe took a lot of  <very> short videos.  Here are a few.

Next Stop Glacier National Park, Montana!

Melissa & Jeff

Melissa & Jeff

If the sun refused to shine I would still be loving you.  If mountains crumbled to the sea there would still be you and me. {Led Zepplin}

Melissa & Jeff drove up from Brooklyn on the most beautiful November day.  We talked marriage and cider donuts and climbed rocks and laughed a lot.  It was everything I love and we get to do it all over again in September at their wedding in the Catskills. 

Lauren & Jeremy

Lauren & Jeremy

Wanna pack your bags, something small. Take what you need and we disappear...You and me together, we could do anything, baby.  {DMB}

There is no greater compliment than having a fellow artist choose you to photograph their wedding so when the creative forces behind the amazing LaRose Media asked me to run away to Virginia with them to a secret elopement my bags were packed.  When I found out it was Dave Matthews' vineyard that was even better.  Lauren is the most kick ass person and getting to hang out in Virginia with her and even drive her to her wedding was pretty much the highlight of my year.  This couple rocks and their wedding rocked and I'm just so honored they wanted me to be a part of it.

Venue: Blenheim Vineyards in Charlotteville, Virginia

Dress: True North Bridal

Officiant: Rev Claire Frances

Guitar: Billy Caldwell

Event Styling: Herberger Event Co.

Hair: Erica at Top Knot Studio

Make-up: Linda Livernois

Film: Brighter Lights Media

The Stritsmans

The Stritsmans

Wilder than a brushfire burns deep inside the bramble.  Baby, I think God made your soul born to ramble.  {Brandi Carlile}

Oh this family...my heart could burst from the love I have for him.  They get it.  They get me.  Every year we have the most fun adventures and make the kind of images that are honest and real and so dang beautiful.  This is what I love to do.  All of this right here. 

Shaina & Matt

Shaina & Matt

Shaina & Matt vowed forever in the fields of their generations old family farm turned farm brewery.  It was sunny and then it stormed and then there was the most beautiful rainbow over the horizon but none of that really mattered.  The only thing that really mattered to them was each other and it makes me so happy when people truly get that.  Celebrate what has brought everyone here to this place and let me capture it all.  These are the moments I live for.  The beginnings of forever for Shaina and Matt...

Sarah & Eric

Sarah & Eric

I'll be the ocean so deep and wide and catch the tears whenever you cry.  I'll be the breeze after the storm is gone to dry out your eyes and love you warm.  That's how strong my love is.  {Otis Redding}

Sarah & Eric live in Brooklyn but have a cabin retreat tucked away in the Catskill Mountains.  It is such a special place and not a surprise they chose to be married in their little town's old chapel and the community center down the dirt road.  The entire day was a do it yourself labor of love and these two art and music lovers made it their own from start to finish. 

Florist: Hops Petunia

Venue: Spruceton Hall

Caterer: Brushland Eating House

Cake Bakery, Bread and Pies: Bread Alone

Dress Designer Bride: Ulla Johnson, Groom's suit: J Crew

Coordination: Events by Jesse

DJ: Honky Tonk Radio Girl Rebecca Birmingham

Ceremony Musicians : Todd Yeager

         Wine: Kingston Wine & Co
         Cheese: Cricket Creek Farm and Chaseholm Farm
         Dishware rentals: Events Unlimited party rental

         Event Styling/Table decorations: Sarah Mitchell

         Invitations: Milkfed Press

 

 

Jennifer & David

Jennifer & David

There was a dream and one day I could see it.  Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it.   Avett Brothers

This is just the beginning of what will be soon be After All Farm.  What was once the childhood home of David in Old Chatham, New York will be the living breathing dream of he and his wife Jennifer.  Walking around I could feel the magic of the place and the love of the couple who will transform it.  I can't wait to see what's next.

Jaclyn & Kevin

Jaclyn & Kevin

I have an entire forest living inside me and you have carved your initials into every tree.  Pavana

Make-up:  Flawless by Tina

Hair: Kyle Anne Garcia

Dress: True North Bridal

Cake: Melissa Martuscello at Make Me a Cake Next Door

 

Erica & Roger

Erica & Roger

And as the world comes to an end I'll be here to hold your hand
'Cause you're my king and I'm your lionheart.

Of Monsters and Men

Hannah & Jacob

Hannah & Jacob

Wherever is your heart I call home.  Brandi Carlile

There is just something about the desert... the colors, the starkness and especially the light.  For real, it was almost hard to believe that such perfect light existed.  Wandering around Vasquez Rocks with Hannah & Jacob feeling that California desert wind was a dream.  It felt like a wild adventure which is exactly how I like it. 

Jiyeon & Torian

Jiyeon & Torian

The cool, grey city of love.  George Sterling

Traveling and shooting the California coast was magical and meeting these two in San Francisco was a big part of that magic.  There is nothing scarier than shooting other photographers but this beautiful and wildly in love couple was just a dream.  Now that I am home it's hard to believe it was even real.  If you are looking for some amazing photographers check out the The Allens Photography.  They are kind and funny and talented and have the most intense connection. Really they rock!

Cooper & Dane

Every year I get all kinds of excited to see these boys.  I've been photographing them since they were babies and somehow every session is even more fun than the last.  They can be themselves and be silly and laugh and run around and I can freeze time for just a moment by capturing it all for their parents.  It's pretty much the greatest thing ever.

Lauren & Jeremy

Lots of love for these two. and mountains. and sunsets. and the most perfect night.  I can't imagine a better way to start my new adventure than with Lauren and Jeremy.  They are the amazing artists behind LaRose Media and it was just an honor they chose me. Thank you both so much and I can't wait to do it again with a tent and a few beers and that starry, starry night.   I could not be more excited for your 2016 wedding.