O Lorien! The Winter Comes.

We here in Virginia got a slight bit of winter weather, so the inner hobbit in me grabbed my best gal Friday and screamed “WE’RE GOING ON AN ADVENTURE”. My wonderful model braved the snow on a beautiful and crisp winter day to help me make some stunning images. I am a huge fan of the works of Tolkien, so this shoot was inspired by my longing for his world to be my own. At first concept I took more of a fairy approach over an elven one, but in the end the sad song of forgotten lore called to me.  Enjoy <3

Galadriel’s Song of Eldamar
-J.R.R Tolkien

I sang of leaves, of leaves of gold, and leaves of gold there grew:
Of wind I sang, a wind there came and in the branches blew.
Beyond the Sun, beyond the Moon, the foam was on the Sea,
And by the strand of Ilmarin there grew a golden Tree.

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Beneath the stars of Ever-eve in Eldamar it shone,
In Eldamar beside the walls of Elven Tirion.
There long the golden leaves have grown upon the branching years,
While here beyond the Sundering Seas now fall the Elven-tears.

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O Lórien! The Winter comes, the bare and leafless Day;
The leaves are falling in the stream, the River flows away.
O Lórien! Too long I have dwelt upon this Hither Shore
And in a fading crown have twined the golden elanor.

Elven Siobhan Young Photography
But if of ships I now should sing, what ship would come to me,
What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a Sea?

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Catherine and Josh Marine Corps Museum Wedding: Triangle, VA

Wow! This last season just flew right by me. It was a whirlwind of weddings, events, and sessions – and somewhere in there we had holidays, too? And suddenly – here’s the end of January! I hope you’ve held onto your resolutions, I didn’t really have time to make any so February will be my official New Years! I’m so excited to wrap up the goodness of last season and look back on the wonderful and crazy year I’ve had, with a nice cup of tea and maybe some one on one time organizing my hard drives. My very last wedding of 2014 was Catherine and Josh’s Marine Corps Museum wedding. I used to live right beside the museum and am ashamed to say I have never been inside before. I thought the building looked cool on the outside, well, the inside is … *channels my inner Zoolander*… at least THREE times as cool! The glass chapel let the warm glow of the sunset pour in around Catherine and Josh as they said ‘I do’. However, I don’t think the sunset was noticed at the time, all eyes were on the couple and the bride and groom had eyes on each other. The grounds are beautifully kept and I highly suggest walking them on a warm fall day. I was pretty overwhelmed (in a good way) walking into the museum. Airplanes and helicopters hanging on display – not to mention the maze of history that fills the building. As we all know my favourite part about weddings are all the little details that make up the big picture.  The pearls from Catherine’s grandmother, the custom made walnut rings, loving family creating Winnie the Pooh cake pops/table coverings and all the special meanings behind them. I especially loved the father-made slideshow of Catherine and Josh! There were many giggles of high school haircuts and awwws of cuteness that filled the theatre. The guests were given free roaming of the museum after a relaxed cocktail buffet dinner and some delicious desserts. Catherine, her father and I went to the Frozen Chosin exhibit to grab a quick photo because it was a battle in which her grandfather fought and survived. A beautiful and calm night enjoyed by all – I’d say it was one of the most unique experiences for me to capture a wedding surrounded by such rich history. I will definitely be taking another trip back on some down time to explore and learn more!

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Fall Family Fun: UMW Fredericksburg

Okay, so I may very well have a penchant for shooting photo sessions at the University of Mary Washington Campus. I can’t help it, it’s ridiculously beautiful any given day of the year – but magical in the fall. It begs you to walk it’s historic grounds with some type of hot beverage from the Hyperion, craning your neck at the huge colonial style buildings while shuffling your feet through crisp, autumn leaves. I may have mentioned once or twice or a million times my ultimate jealousy of the students that are blessed to be taking classes on such a beautiful campus. Buh. Someone please sponsor me to go back to school just so I can be there everyday. ;)

I met my family of four on what was possibly the most perfect day of the season and I had such a great time shooting with them. I felt as if I was doing a catalog shoot with a model family! I love the way mom styled the session and picked out the perfect clothing for an afternoon in autumn. To get some choice conversational content with the young’uns at the beginning of the session, I asked the little boy who his favourite superhero was and he said “SPIDERMAN!”. Then I asked the girl who her favourite superhero was and she said, “DADDY!”. My heart melted! So sweet. I smiled the whole time editing this session remembering how much fun I had and how adorable this family was!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by your family and friends! Even though being Canadian I’ve been over Thanksgiving for a month now, I will still partake in the tradition of stuffing my face! Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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Jennifer’s Autumn Senior Session: Fredericksburg VA

I am lucky that in my line of work and in my extra curricular activity as a volunteer for a theatre group to be able to work with bright, young and vibrant high school students. I hate/love to admit that I am no longer a teenager, but considered a young adult (at least for a couple more years.. I think…wah!). People always assume I am much, much older than I am, and when they realize they are off a decade make stumbled justifications like “but you’re so mature ” (yeah, right), or “but you’ve accomplished so much!” (thanks, I think). I married young, ditched my motherland and started my own business so that’s an easy assumption. However, I’m going to assume it’s because I drive like a grandma and already have my forehead wrinkles that say “I am unclear of the reference you kids are making”.

What I’m saying is.. I’m kinda, sorta an adult now. I’m at that age where I look back and think “MAN. I thought things would be a LOT different by the time I was this age!” and feeling that change of “you have time” to “where’d the time go”. It’s not a bad feeling, and I am proud of where I am and my accomplishments. But now I’m at the point where I see teenagers and they are all bright eyed, bushy tailed with the world in front of them. They have decisions  and opportunities and a few more years to decide who they want to be.

It’s a great opportunity to have a shoot with a senior who is as awesome as Jennifer. Chatting with her as we walked the UMW campus I learned about the things she wants to accomplish after high school and the field of work she is interested in and why. I found out that her mother’s alma mater was UMW and I unknowingly had her pose on the steps of the building where her mom took classes! What a happy fluke. She also brought her flute to take photos with because she is a rockstar flutist! I also found out we both like to make dinosaur faces at people. Because sometimes, that is the only appropriate response to things. (See, I’m totally an adult). It was a gorgeous afternoon spent with a gorgeous girl who has big ideas and a bright future. I was thrilled to be able to capture her on the picturesque campus of the University of Mary Washington. A school she maybe, just maybe, is applying to… No pressure! But you’d get to enjoy the Autumn season in class like this…

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Double, Double. Toil and Trouble

 

Phew. Okay, so I’ve been waiting a YEAR to post these photos! Last year in late October I had a wonderful opportunity to work with Miss Ellie Retrophilia. She is a GRORGEOUS pin up model and a fantastic make up artist. Seriously, I recommend any brides or ladies looking to do portraits (especially pin up) check her out. She is professional to the max and is great conversation. I met Ellie at the Karb Kings Rockabilly Rumble in October of 2012, and I believe she will be at the Rumble that is happening tomorrow here in Fredericksburg. October is an exciting and busy month for me, one of my busiest actually, so I really wanted to share these photos with you guys before I get swamped! I did not have time last year to share them and by the time I got around to having the time to sit down and edit personal work like this, it just didn’t make sense to share photos of witches and kitties. So I hope you enjoy them! Ellie makes the most adorable little classic witch and is fierce in that catsuit! MEOW!

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I’ll Give You Safe Passage To The Wasteland.

Oh, Drumheller.

You are my Neverland.

You are my memories and my happy thoughts. Your badlands span the corners of my imagination with dinosaurs and dusty adventures.

Growing up in Alberta is a magical experience, and it’s a pity the rest of the world does not get to experience it. It’s exciting explaining to people how in a few short hours you can go from badlands with its coulees and hoodoos, to prairies, to vibrant canola fields, to skyscrapers and city life, to enchanting rocky mountains and turquoise lakes!  It is exhausting and exhilarating trying to make people understand.  But oh, when you do – life will never be the same. I admit I took the proximity of all these things for granted when I lived there. I assumed I’d be there for the long run and my adventures would be planes, trains and automobiles elsewhere.

My favourite memories of Drumheller – the land of dinosaurs – were with my father and brother. Going on adventures to the Royal Tyrell Museum and hikes to see the Hoodoos, the abandoned Alberta mines and running up and down the layered sediment coulees. We even partook in a paleontological dig that was happening at the time. In truth, my brother is what set my obsession with dinosaurs up for advancement. Of course he loved dinosaurs, so being the younger sister I HAD to like exactly what he liked. That obsession never went away and eventually it grew into something that still, to this day, I get crazy excited about. My husband knew for Christmas that a Blu-ray box set of Jurassic Park was better than anything he could have gotten at Jared’s. (No offence Jared, but diamonds will never beat out a piece of copal containing a mosquito with paleo-DNA.) I was never a strong math student so unfortunately my dreams of becoming anything in the sciences field of paleontology were quickly diminished. Wah, wah.

Fear not! I discovered the arts. And those arts eventually brought me back to do this super wicked Mad Max inspired photo shoot in my Neverland.

I wanted to take advantage of my time in Alberta to do this photo-shoot that had been in my mind for a while. I was at an art show in downtown Calgary when I was introduced to this dashing looking fellow. I told my friend whom I was with, “He’s handsome. He looks like Jon Snow. I want to take him to the desert and shoot him.” Of course to anyone else that is entirely creepy and sounds like I’m about to murder this poor, ridiculously good looking man and dispose of the body. But to an art student that sounds like every other Tuesday. So the next weekend the three of us became our very own road warriors and began the road trip to Drumheller. Due to schedules, flights and commitments, we were only there for an hour, but in that hour we had managed to pack in a tourist/photoshoot extravaganza. Zack, the male model is from the east coast and had never been to the Badlands. We waited for the magical moment where the prairies and canola fields dropped off into the coulees. If you’ve never been there, you just don’t get it. You’re driving along, thinking you will never ever ever ever ever get to Drumheller. You begin thinking that it’s going to be a disappointing grass field with a giant dinosaur statue. Yawn. Then it happens.

It goes from this….

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To this.

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Enjoy. And remember: Just walk away.

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Tribal Quest 2014: Fredericksburg, VA

It’s that time of year again! The most wonderful time! That’s right ladies and gentlemen – it’s Tribal Quest Time! Summer means heat, mud and a chance to push your limits yet again. I was lucky enough to be one of the official photographers on the Tribal Quest Team again for the 2014 obstacle race.

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I opted for the Mud Crawl this year, because apparently I have a penchant for watching people face plant into things (Polar Bear Plunge – I’m looking at you) This years course seemed more exhausting to participants and I can see why. The mud crawl and pole pit were at the very end of the 5 mile trek and I think that there were some mixed feelings about that! Some people were screaming out “Sweet dear baby pickles WHYYYY would you do this to me!?” and others saw it as a chance to lay down and cool off in the “mud spa” for a bit. Either way, kudos to the organizers – what a great race and fun course to photograph!

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I was especially honoured this year to be able to witness Operation Enduring Warrior in action. Please visit http://www.enduringwarrior.org to read about this incredible non-profit and see what else they are up to. Directly from their website – what they are all about: “Operation Enduring Warrior is a veteran operated non-profit whose mission is to Honor, Empower and Motivate our Wounded service members through a physical, mental and emotional rehabilitative cycle modeled for overcoming adversity and hardship through innovation, teamwork and perseverance.”

Incredible, right?

Incredible and honoured are the two words I use in my mind over and over to describe what it was like witnessing and photographing Matthew White jump from a plane and be greeted by other soldiers, including Franz Walkup. There were soldiers on the OEW team in full gear including gas masks. From talking with people, I believe they symbolize the struggle wounded warriors go through, seeing as how the oxygen wasn’t at 100%. The blacked out gear kept anonymity keeping the focus on the wounded soldiers. If I am wrong in this fact I apologize and I would love to learn more about it! I didn’t see OEW again until they ended up at my station: the Mud Crawl.

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The crawl by the end was no easy feat. The sludge only got stickier and heavier with the participants mixing it up throughout the day. It sucked a couple people in pretty deep requiring some runners to stop and help dig and pull people out. I know first hand of course, seeing as how I went too far in at 8 am with no one in sight and had to dig myself – and my shoes out! May all the shoes that were lost in that pit find good homes in the earth!

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It was a wonderful day for a race and to see some of the teams going through was touching. One that stood out for me was Strong For Dom. I had to look it up when I got home and their story is very moving. Team Go Hard was out again this year going strong! And the Foranything.com Mudd Dogs made a big splash. The organizers of this event should of course be proud. The race was fantastic, the camaraderie was ever-present and the food and fun was overflowing. Everyone seemed exhausted and accomplished by the end. For full coverage and available purchases by all the photographers involved in Tribal Quest visit HERE.

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World Of Warcraft – The Lich King

Did you all enjoy the East Coast snow storm we had this past week? While most people were wide eyed and shut in their houses, I (amongst many other photographers) were elated at the big fluffy mess that mother nature bestowed upon us. It’s not common to have snowfalls like this in the DC/Virginia area. With 17 inches of accumulation in one night/day, there was a lot to work with.

Cavan had approached me a few months ago asking if I’d be willing to do a cosplay photo shoot in the snow with a costume he made based on the Lich King from World of Warcraft. Of course I jumped on the idea because A.)Geek love and B.)Snow photo shoot opportunity. This was his first ever Cosplay outfit and SPOILER ALERT: It’s made mostly of paper.

PAPER! I’m so impressed. It’s a fancy thing called pepakura, which is apparently just another word for black magic. Because really, how do you go from flimsy paper to armour? It must have some sort of sorcery involved. Or a lot of cutting gluing, printing and coating… and patience. So much patience. The fact that this was his first costume and it turned out this amazing says a lot about his skills, creativity and craftsmanship.

Over the span of 1 year, Cavan put in hundreds of hours into this costume. I helped him put it on so I understood the intricate engineering that went into it. I have a background in technical theatre, and the inside strap set up to hold everything together impressed me. From the paper base start to the detail finish – I asked him to break it down in hours he said:
-60 on the helmet
-30 for each of the pauldrons
-20 on the breastplate
-15 on each of the upper leg plates
-20 on each of the lower leg plates
-6 on each of the hand plates
-25 or so on the straps and harness
-25 or so on the chain mail
-4 for Frostmourne, the sword
and 6 for the cape

If your jaw hit the floor, you aren’t the only one. Google “pepakura” to see exactly how and why this process takes so very, very long but achieves such magnificent results with the right person. If I could find time I would love to make my own pepakura Blood Dragon armour from Dragon Age, but alas with that kind of commitment I will be finished in the year 2079.

On Thursday we were lucky enough to get caught in the crossfires of the second snowfall and create some awesome photos together. I came out soaking wet like a mop at a carwash, but it was all so very worth it! I’m just glad I don’t have to suffer through 8 months/year of this weather anymore. Like a good little Canadian geese, I flew south. The novelty of cold weather has worn off this week and I’m ready for cherry blossoms and hyacinths in my yard. However until then….
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