Cape May, NJ

There is something about a small beach town on the East coast – the blue skies, salty air, and history in the buildings.  Did the early settlers know that these places would become the ultimate summer tourist destination?

My husband and I took a long weekend and drove down the Jersey shore to the furthest point you can go – Cape May.  There are no fist pumps and Pauly D’s here… just quaint bed and breakfasts, sandy white beaches, and the best pecan banana pancakes you can find.

This town has so much history, including the original Congress Hall and the Cape May lighthouse which has been in operation for over 100 years.  For eight bucks, you can climb the 107 stairs to the top and see the most spectacular views of Cape May’s finest.

The climb was much needed after three days of lounging in cabanas consuming endless rose and snacks. Beach days were followed by amazing meals with homemade pasta and fresh seafood.  I highly recommend: 410 Bank Street and The Blue Rose Inn for dinner.  Both places are running out of old houses converted serving the most unique and delicious fare.  Like the majority of places in Cape May, these were BYOB, which was a nice treat to bring our favorite bottle of wine.

I have typically been the type of person who likes to visit a different place every time I travel.  My philosophy has been to explore new places.  I never saw the appeal of going somewhere you had already been.  However, there is something about Cape May that draws me too it.  I am still thinking about the miles of beach, the charming downtown with boutiques and art galleries, fresh flowers, and rocking chairs on the porches.  It is a place I could imagine our family going to every year – a home away from home.  Any one else have a place they continue to visit every year?  Let me know!

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sima + curtis – mehndi ceremony

A few months back, my sister approached me with an opportunity to photograph a mehndi ceremony.  Her best friend was getting married and was looking for someone to capture the moments. I happily accepted the chance to photograph an event and capture details and candid moments. I started researching traditional mehndi ceremonies, henna, and what to expect.  My head was bursting with ideas and shots that I thought would be great.  When I arrived, the bride, Sima, was already sitting on a couch and had started the lengthy henna process.  I started snapping right away and getting all those details that were important to this tradition.

The mehndi ceremony is a tradition that happens a few days before the wedding.  The bride typically has her arms, hands, and feet painted with intricate designs.  The process takes hours and the bride must sit steady to wait for it to dry.  The longer she let’s it sit, the darker the color will be on her skin.  Her family and friends were getting henna on their hands as well.  The groom is also there talking to the family and guests.  His initials are hidden in random places in the henna that he later needs to find.  I love the bright colors and patterns that make this event so special. The overwhelming love and happiness that surround’s these two is contagious.  I feel so honored to have been a part of this special day!

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Love the way he looks at her!
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The blushing bride
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First arm completed

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The handsome groom

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bridal henna
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Curtis’ initials

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maid of honor’s henna
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These ladies are ready for the wedding!
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Always better with your sister and maid of honor by your side.

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Congratulations to Sima and Curtis!  Wishing you both many years of love and happiness!

xo

 

spring has sprung

Spring in New York is officially here, which means us East coasters are using any excuse we can to be outside.  For my husband and myself, that means t-shirts, ripped jeans, a picnic basket, and my camera.

When my husband Will and I started dating, he surprised me with an afternoon picnic in the park.  He had a real wicker basket including the classic red and white checkered blanket and an endless spread of wine and cheese.  Since that date, going on picnics have been a regular thing for us.  We pack up the basket, grab the blanket and head to a park.

Being cooped up all winter has us in desperate need of vitamin D.  The first glimpse of sun and warm temperatures has us running outdoors.  New Jersey and New York have the best scenic parks with views for miles – a photographer’s dream!

See a few of my favorite shots from our recent picnic dates…

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The basket that charmed my heart in the early dating days 🙂

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Dinner and a view
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Will enjoying the view… and pretending I am not taking his photo lol

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Do these geese even realize the million dollar view they have??

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View from the other side

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Blooming trees
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Spring blooms!

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This photo here is the reason I love my husband, Will.  He is the best photographer assistant and always ready to jump in the shot… even if that means jumping on a rock overlooking the Hudson.

mountains, sunrises, and ducks – oh my!

I love traveling.  I love exploring new places, trying new food, and experiencing the local culture.  Traveling has been a huge inspiration for my photography.  Not only do I get to document the places I have gone, but I get to see the world with a different pair of eyes.  I am constantly on the look out for artistic shots, little moments that no one is noticing, and details of what makes this place so great.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I traveled to Utah.  Neither of us have ever been and with him being an avid skier, we wanted to see what the west coast mountains were all about.  Although skiing didn’t end up working out for me (first time on the slopes!), I was able to capture the mountainous views and breathe in the fresh air.  Who knew this even existed in the United States?  With the surprising sunny weather and warm temperatures, I was able to wander for hours with my camera.

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Being on East Coast time, I was wide awake at six in the morning and able to catch the sunrise over the mountains.  We were staying across the street from a hot spring, so all the little ponds were radiating steam into the cool morning air.

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It was so peaceful in the morning to be surrounded by miles and miles of views – just pink skies and snow capped mountains.

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Later in the day, we were able to go swimming in one of these hot springs.  It was 90 degree crystal clear water inside a cave, called The Homestead Crater.  This cave was naturally made up of beautiful limestone with a 60 foot pool that is known to have healing minerals inside.

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The wildlife in Utah was amazing.  I was fascinated with the colorful birds and several species of geese and ducks all in one place.  At one point, I was crouched down to get a close up of some ducks. I hear my husband behind me “He’s getting closer and he looks aggressive – run!”  Made for a great couple of shots before I had to run for my life…

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So I survived the ducks and was able to catch a bird in flight.  Look at those orange wings! I have never seen a bird like this…

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I love watching people and the interaction they are having with their loved ones.  Being a new photographer, I get nervous that I am invading people’s privacy and look like the paparazzi.  I loved this father and son fishing together as I am sure it is a memory they will have for a long time.  I wanted to capture the moment and was lucky enough to be walking by when they caught a fish! I was hesitant to get too close which left the fence in my way but I was able to score a shot of that fish the little boy caught.

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You know those images you see in travel books and movies where the water is so clear you can see reflections?  Well now I know those are all taken in Utah!

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I can never get sick of these views!  I am still in awe of how beautiful this world is.  Whether it’s the majestic mountain ranges or the light coming through my window, I know that life is developing one moment at a time.

 

a first for everything

This weekend, my husband’s adorable niece hit a huge milestone – she turned ONE!  You can imagine her special day was not short of balloons, princess tents, two outfit changes, and glitter cake.

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Being new to the photography world, this was my first chance to take photos of people and get some nice candid shots of the birthday girl and the family… not as easy as I thought! There were so many amazing moments, my mind was overwhelmed.  Everyone wanted to hold her, kiss her, play with her… it was challenging to capture everything!  Half my photos ended up with closed eyes, back of heads, or other people’s cell phones in the frame.

 

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The entire time, I was nervous to put the camera down or make any adjustments as I did not want to miss a thing.  Some of my photos during cake time were dark, but I am so glad I kept snapping… look what I captured!  She’s feeding Mommy some cake!

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Through this journey, my biggest insecurity is being that annoying girl with the camera in everyone’s face.  However, this experience showed me that when people are having fun and enjoying themselves, they do not even notice the camera.  Which gives me exactly what I wanted to come through the lens… real life unfolding… the unforgettable moments. DSC_0581 - CopyDSC_0491 - Copy (2)DSC_0364 - Copy (2)DSC_0362 - Copy (2)

first things first

When I started toying with the idea of becoming a photographer, my first thoughts were “I am entering unknown territory!”.  I have been in the fashion industry for 8 years, which is essentially all I have known.  I wasn’t sure if I was ready to start over and take on a completely new industry.

For my 30th birthday, my very supportive husband surprised me with a shiny new camera – Nikon D3300 in the fun red color!  He wrote in the card “now you can go fulfill your dream”.  I felt so inspired and ready to take on the world!  The only thing was I had no idea how to even use this thing…

I felt scared, intimidated, and kept talking myself out of taking this risk.  Eventually I signed up for a beginner’s photography class with a friend at the Art Of Intuitive Photography.  It was a 3 hour crash course at an indoor park in midtown Manhattan.  I learned everything about using a camera in manual mode.  We did several exercises showing that the same subject with different settings can result in a completely different photo.

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A little bit of knowledge has left me feeling ready to take on the world!  Well maybe not quite… but it has left me feeling inspired to use all my new found tools to start capturing what is all around me.  Stay tuned to see what moments I develop next.