Muggs Leone: Fredericksburg, VA

The spring rain is coming a little bit late in the season, but before we were inundated with grey skies and wet feet I had a chance to shoot some headshots (and other fun shots!) for a local young actor. Muggs Leone is in my opinion a rare gem amongst kids his age. Rarely do you find him bored or at a standstill. If he is not busy getting A’s across the board at Fredericksburg Academy, he is grabbing his stuff and zipping out the door to make one of his many extra curricular activities happen. This little guy can do it all. He is busy learning and practicing everything from piano and voice to swimming and chess. If you’re into local FXBG theatre like I am, you’ve definitely seen Mr. Leone on stage. He has made debuts with several theatre groups and continues to build his extensive resume all at the age of 12. He’s been cast with Riverside Dinner theatre, Stage Door Productions, and Fredericksburg Theatre Ensemble – to name a few.

The way Muggs speaks about the things he is doing is passionate and exciting, all with a sparkle in his eye. This talented fella has big summer plans for modelling and in the fall will be attending an arts-centric school to further build on his skills and learn new ones. That is one thing I love about this kid – he is always learning and trying new things. No fear for this one! His kind and inquisitive nature means he can be found on his Kindle grabbing a new recipe for dinner (and yes, he does cook, too!) or sneaking off to the Butcher to buy his mom her favourite icecream as a surprise. Big heart, big smile, big talent.

We can’t forget to mention BB Leone, Muggs’ trusted loyal companion. BB is a American Staffordshire Terrier that he rescued from the shelter through Bully Paws as a birthday gift. I told you – big heart! BB and Muggs are well known to frequent the downtown area on family walks and patio brunches. It won’t be long before this unique and determined boy makes his way into your heart or onto your screen!

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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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EOD Wounded Warriors Polar Bear Plunge 2014

It’s Fe-brr-uary so that means the Annual Fredericksburg EOD Wounded Warrior Polar Bear Plunge has taken place! I was out there early again supporting the local derby girls – but it has become so much more than that to me. I still feel like an outsider – a spectator and an appreciator of this event. Don’t get me wrong, I love that feeling. It’s like watching a live documentary before my eyes. The camaraderie and relationships that form from diving into a cold river for charity seem to be everlasting as the anticipation for this event happens year round. I love the change in facial expressions that happen from point A to point B. It’s anticipation, smiles, dread, OH GOD WHY, more smiles and then relief. I was able to witness and capture it all in great fun. I absolutely love this foundation and the caring, hardworking people behind it. Check out for more information on the organization and what they do. For those who may not be aware, EOD stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal. These are guys and gals who literally diffuse unexploded bombs and other stuff that can ka-plode. Can you imagine doing that job? I don’t even like to light my own BBQ. I couldn’t imagine the strength and stress that comes with being an EOD tech and have SO much respect for these professionals. It is with great honour and respect that I attend the Polar Bear Plunge and am able to showcase these photos. Between the Polar Bear Plunge and Tribal Quest, I have decided that I am secretly obsessed with people plunging in muddy waters. The full set is available on my Flickr account, but please enjoy this selection I have chosen for the blog.
Click here for the FLICKR SET

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Tribal Quest 2013

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I had the most wonderful opportunity to photograph this years Tribal Quest 2013. Let me tell you I had a blast. I’ve loved obstacle courses since I was a child watching American Gladiators. My brothers and I used to tip over the ping pong table and couches in the basement and set up our own courses to run through over and over again. I never really grew out of that, so instead of turning my house upside down – I allow the professionals to set up wicked awesome courses! There has been an influx of these mud type runs lately, but always 60 miles or more away. The guys at FredEvents have taken matters into their own hands and set up a local run for the city of Fredericksburg. I respect these guys so much for creating and hosting an event of this magnitude! They not only blessed us with our own event, but they made it safe, fun and not for the faint of heart! From start to finish it’s a party you work for. Music, food and children’s courses were there to enjoy on the grounds. Racers wore a grimace and a smile at the same time plunging deep into mud pits and climbing up and over ropes and tubes. I got crazy muddy just photographing the event – and I loved every second of it. Here are some of the photos I got from this years event. Others can be seen and purchased at

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I love team events where I can witness people getting into the spirit with displays of camaraderie, and there was no shortage of this at Tribal Quest. (I’ll admit I love the outfits, too) I saw everything from people pulling their team mates out of slippery mud pits, encouraging them with words and carrying their limping partners over the finish line. Photographing the event made it hard to decide if I wanted to photograph it again next year, or be a participant in the race. Either way, I’ll see you at Tribal Quest 2014.

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Just for funsies, here’s what happens when you shoot on continuous.
I really hope someone knows this guy and he finds as much amusement in his spray down dance as I do!

Riley and James – Marine Corps Wedding – Fredericksburg, VA

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The rainy weather finally broke last week just in time for Riley and James’ Marine Corps wedding. James is visiting from being stationed in Okinawa and what better treasure to travel back with than a beautiful new bride. Can I just preface this with the fact that I am in love with the uniform and gown? So beautiful, simple, crisp. It was a quiet, family oriented wedding that began in Stafford and ended up in downtown Fredericksburg for a brunch at Foode and photos. Riley and James have known each other since high school and after we were finished they were on their way back to their old stomping grounds to visit their teachers. How lucky for the teachers to see their pupils back as young adults together on one of the happiest day of their lives!

At some point during the afternoon I proudly walked forward, leading the way to the Sunken Road. A spot I had discovered a few days before and was itching to shoot at. Noticing I could not hear the pitter patter of newly weds in step with my own, I turned around and I caught James leaning down picking a bouquet of dandelions for Riley. The look on her face was probably one of the most priceless and adorable moments of my career. You just can’t stage those romantic moments.

Besides seeing how undeniably cute they were together, my favourite part of the walk was learning about the Marine Corps. For instance, I had no idea they had to salute the flag if they came across it. Don’t be too hard on me for not knowing – I am Canadian… but I’m learning! We ended off with a visit to the Fallen Heroes memorial where James saluted the flag and explained what the Navy anti-aircraft gun was. I had previously driven by it one time and assumed it was a prop from a Michael Bay film (okay not really but cut me some slack I was driving and paying attention to the road!).

I could go on and on about how cute these two are together – so I will just end this post with photographic evidence. I wish Mr & Mrs Booth all the best in their travels back to Okinawa and am grateful to have been a part of their wonderful wedding.

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Le Petit Rouge – Alum Springs Park, Fredericksburg, VA

Have you ever driven through a river? Because I have. To get to the magical Alum Springs Park in Fredericksburg. A little squee always escapes me when I go there and get to drive across the stream into the park. It’s a fantastically adorable park nestled in between Historical Downtown Fredericksburg and modern Fredericksburg. I knew this was going to be the perfect spot to get some portraits of the beautiful Cassie in our Little Red inspired shoot. Miss Cassie was possibly made to wear red lipstick, forever, am I right? She is a gorgeous model and fantastic conversation I might add. There was much talk about Hogwarts and she even had her own wand just in case we ran into some problems on the field. I’m thinking if I ever do a Harry Potter themed shoot, she will be my direct coordinator and model. But for now, may I present Cassie in Le Petit Rouge!






Five 40 Roller Girls – Fredericksburg, VA

Lovely ladies galore! I’ll be the first to admit I know nothing of Roller Derby. I know that I’ve always had friends who played in the league, but I never got out there to find out what it was really about. I’ve been to a few games on and off for sponsorships, but never had the chance to see what goes on behind the scenes. It wasn’t for lack of interest because Roller Derby has always been something I wanted to get involved with! Well, the Five 40 Roller Girls gave me the opportunity when they invited me to a practise while we got our head shots on.

A chance to photograph lovely ladies who know how to get down with their bad selves? Woo!

Practise was a lot of fun to sit through. Even being a fly on the wall I was able to decipher a lot of the rules of the game I hadn’t previously been able to. There’s lots of determination and drive behind this fairly new team and I have no doubt that with lots of practise and exposure they will be a force in the league.

I witnessed quite a few bumps and spills and a lot of cheering on from team members. Not to mention – how can you not love the outfits! I am excited to be able to work further with the team and venture to several upcoming bouts. Their website is still under construction, but if you want to go to a game or say hello! to the team you can find them on Facebook!

Via Colori: Fredericksburg, VA

The end of September was full of fun fall events but none so vivid as Via Colori in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I was lucky enough to be invited to photograph the event with some other fellow photographers from Create Photographics and we had a blast! Via Colori is a big street art festival that showcases local artists by giving them a space on the street to draw in. They each get a box of pastel chalk and a square – and they get to sit there over the weekend being the muses of the town. Each square is sponsored by a company or individual, and all profits go to art based education. I was there to watch and photograph their pieces unfold on the pavement as each hour passed. We were very lucky the weather held out (sort of) this year. Talking with the artists I found out last year it had rained and washed all their hard work away. It must have been a sight to see all those colours trickle down the street, but I am glad the artists had time to let spectators enjoy their work this time around. There was a light drizzle overnight that required some patch up work by the artists in the morning.

One of the great things about this event is the diversity of the artists themselves. There was a lot of student/teacher combos from schools around the area , freelance artists, professional street artists and people doing it just for fun. The quality of the work from all were outstanding. The thing I really enjoyed about the festival was the lack of stress and the non-competative nature that surrounded it. Everyone was filled with smiles and greetings to each other, borrowing chalk colours and chatting about their pieces. Some people had great stories about what they were drawing. There were a few artists who were recreating photographs from their photographer friends, which I thought was fantastic! If anyone wants to draw any of my photos – feel free! I already have had people tattoo my work onto them, so that would be another cool thing to add to the books!

Everywhere you turned there were vivid colours flying at you. Yes, I write colours because I am Canadian ;) I kept accidentally writing Via Colouri instead of Colori, too! There were artists covered from head to toe in chalk by the end of it. Not only did the colours stand out, but the street performers did as well. Mike Taggert was not only a fantastic magician, but he also sponsored the Via CoThrowie LED project that Fredericksburg All Ages created. It was an adorable artistic event where local kids could throw LED’s that had been taped to magnets onto a metal van at night. Mike Taggert donated his Plumb Magic Van to be the subject.  It was a lot of fun to photograph and the kids loved it! Check out this video here for a deeper understanding of how it unfolded: LED Throwie . There were also Luminaries in the evening. The streets were lined with paper bags of light which was so beautiful. It reminded me of the candlelight ceremony I took part in at CreationFest.

 Everyone walking about seemed to have a cup of Rita’s Italian Ice. Can I just talk for a second about Rita’s? I haven’t been able to find a decent slurpee since moving to the US. The 7-11’s down here actually pump air into their slurpees and it makes them styrofoam-y and gross. Rita’s is Italian ice, I know… but I’m slightly addicted since trying it at the festival. I tried their Swedish Fish flavour. I’m pretty sure they have a bunch of oompa loompas in a factory liquefying the little fish candy and freezing them into this delicious treat. So. Good.

I can’t express how much fun this was and how much it lifted my artistic spirit. Walking down the street was so inspirational. Talking to the artists about their pieces and their backgrounds was even more eye-opening. I can’t wait for next year (this was their second annual event). I might even get a square to draw on. The last time I worked with pastel was in 7th grade and I loved it. I always knew my career would have to be something creative. It’s amazing how one creative field bleeds into the next and so on. I met some really great people this year and cannot wait for next years showcase!