The Aerialist; This was Worth the Bug Bites!

Hello All,

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently opened myself up to challenges to build my portfolio. Part of that challenge is never saying no to the opportunity to photograph a friend. A friend of mine contacted me and informed me that she wanted photos to showcase what she had learned during here six and a half months of circus training, specifically on the Lyra. She is a student in the Beginner Lyra Course at Baltimore’s Mobtown Ballroom, which requires no previous experience. Although, judging by her moves I’d say that flexibility is a must. It was clear that this practice takes an enormous amount of strength, flexibility, and balance. To me, it also equates to what I could see as the dictionary definition of grace. The practice is centuries old, and although there appears to be conflicting reports on its origins, the use of hoops for aerial dance seems to date back to around the late 18th century. Steve Santos (2014) noted that in 1893 a performer named “Caedo” performed an act which featured a Lyric Hoop for an advertisement for the New York Clipper. It was also believed to be one of the first aerial apparatuses built by Edward Wyck, a famous equipment rigger who seems to be a household name for those who study the art (Santos, 2014).


My subject had a clear passion for her craft. We discussed her attire at a friends birthday party the weekend prior. I suggested a jewel tone leotard as I thought it would look lovely on her complexion and could easily be manipulated in Lightroom to best reflect the light. She went searching online as the only leotard she had was black and I was unsure if she had found one she liked. I was pleasantly surprised when I showed up and she was wearing a purple leotard and had taken the time to get her nails and toes done to be the same color. She had also taken time to carefully do her makeup in way that was both flattering and would easily pop on camera. This is a skill that as a 27 year old woman I have yet to master. She is lucky enough to live right in front of a rather large field that can be accessed from her yard. I asked her to send photos of various locations and we found a lovely area at the edge of the field which created a dense background of trees. My subject had a indoor rigging system which allowed her to practice at home. It consists of metal polls, a center bar to connect them, a clip to attach the ring, and the ring itself. This thing, especially the ring is not light. It took a bit of assembly but she was a pro and we were able to start the shoot pretty quickly after getting everything outside.


We started the shoot around 1840. My subject had planned ahead deciding to do her most difficult poses first to avoid exhaustion. I do not know there names and will not attempt to name them here as I’m sure each and every successful execution of these poses is a major milestones in the life of an aerialist, but lets just say they were impressive. In between poses I was able to get some lovely portraits and at rest photos. Well…as least as at rest as you can be while straddling a metal hoop. We captured a few shots of her stretching as well. As for my part, I utilized my new 18-300 mm Nikon lens, which gave me such incredible versatility I didn’t need to change my lens once. I brought a step stool to me a slightly higher vantage point, but ended up spending the majority of the shoot on my belly in the grass. I was attacked by nats but it was worth it to get the shots I wanted.


As far as the picture composition goes, it was difficult in this case to follow the rule of thirds. In order to get her full body and see the details of the moves I stood close, and she was largely centered. I could have stood back farther to get this vantage but largely I felt that this would take away from her moment to shine. Overall, I’m happy with my decision. I was also happy that I choose to shoot into the light, as the sun was low falling into sunset. It’s presence made her hair shine which added to the overall ethereal feeling I was hoping to capture. I hope you enjoy these photos. I certainly do ūüôā Goodbye for now!


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Santos, S. (2014). Introduction to Rigging: Aerial Fabrics. ISBN:978-1-304-76403-4. Retrieved from


The Engagement, I Might Be Able to Do This!


A little over a week ago, a friend of my husbands and I contacted me via Hangouts. This was a little strange because we had never talked outside of a group chat. I knew instantly something was going on. I figured he was going to ask me to go ring shopping with him for his long time girlfriend, another close friend. Well turns out he already had the ring! She had seen it at a local antique shop and feel in love. He went out the next day an bought the beautiful orange sapphire pictured below. He wanted me to photograph the event, a request I happily replied yes to. We then started making a plan!

Last weekend, while meeting up with a group for Baltimore’s Hon Fest, at which the soon to be bride was in attendance, I floated the idea that I needed models to practice photography. ¬†I had already set the stage by posting the message on Facebook I described in my last post. I told her specifically that I was looking for couples and I thought they would be perfect for it. The soon to be groom had picked a local arboretum as the possible venue. Stupidly, when I was telling her my plan I said conservatory. Her eyes lit up! She was super excited about visiting Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens of Baltimore and stated that she had been wanting to go for so long. My misstep ending up working out in our favor! The arboretum didn’t live up to expectations but the conservatory far exceeded them.

We arrived at 10 am on Saturday morning. The soon to be groom and I had already worked out a signal. We used the symbol for “Ok” used by scuba divers. After getting some lovely photos inside the conservatory, we stopped under a pretty archway, surrounded with greenery. I was using my portrait lens so the archway isn’t pictured but the couple loved it. A nice gentleman, a tourist from North Carolina, offered to hold the door for us and waited for his family who were in another room. Just as his family came in, our friend got down on one knee. Her reactions were absolutely priceless. With tears of joy she said yes! The tourists also got a great story to take home.

I had the foresight to instruct him to bring her makeup to touch up so we could continue our session. We managed to capture some gorgeous shots near the coy pond. The fish were nearly identical to her Citrine colored Sapphire.  We captured a few more shots and led the couple outside. Her best friend, and the couples friend and roommate were waiting outside to congratulate them. She rushed to her friend with open arms, and they had a beautiful moment together.

We captured some photos outside, most of which didn’t pan out because I had my camera set on manual rather than automatic and didn’t know enough about it to understand why my images were blurry. Luckily, lesson learned. It wasn’t a total loss, my husband figured out the issue and we still managed to capture a few of my favorite shots of the day. Our other friend even got some aerial footage with his camera equipped drone! Afterwards we went to lunch at Hampden’s Rocket to Venus. The soon to be bride was in shock, the groom was hyped because everything went perfectly!

I learned that I need to get to know my camera better. I had to foresight to bring an extra battery, but my camera could have easily died mid-shoot had I not. This was my first time shooting in raw and it seemed to drain much faster. I also learned that props don’t matter is you have a great environment to shoot in. I wish all the love and happiness in the world to the new couple.



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My First Portrait Session, I Might Have Bit Off More Than I Can Chew

I purchased a new lens last week. It’s Nikkor AF-S 85 mm. I also finally invested in Lightroom 6. If you are into photographing and not using it, stop what you are doing and get it. It makes all the difference in the world for post processing. I started getting familiar with its mechanics through various Youtube videos. I was super giddy when I was able to figure out how to do simple edits, like removing bag under eyes, brightening skin, and removing unwanted objects from my shot. In order to learn anything you have to practice right? I think so, so I made a post on Facebook stating that I was really interested in learning more and offered some free shots to my friends and family.

Almost instantly after doing so I had responses from several of my friends. Some wanted pictures of their children, mostly around their birthdays. Others wanted pictures of them doing circus arts, some just wanted new pictures for use on social media. Within a few hours I had six tentative sessions booked! Obviously, I’m not getting paid yet but it was a rush to feel wanted. ¬†Additionally, a friend hooked me up with an invitation to a Facebook photography group, and another provided my name to his father, who is an avid photographer. Something else really exciting happened but that will be in my next post.

My first session was with a close friend of my husbands and I, who wanted additional photos to choose from for social media. He didn’t have any updated pictures so we decided to do a shoot on Friday night in Hampden, a local neighborhood of Baltimore, famous for the Hons. I mostly shot with my 85mm, and used lightroom to enhance the images in the slide show below. I learned a few lessons from this shoot. The first was that I don’t need a tripod in most instances, and if I do want to use one it should not be a cheap one I bought from Amazon for $16 dollars. The second was that posing someone in position that isn’t natural for them results in awkward photos. The third was to dress appropriately for the weather and to account for the extra heat added by carrying around heavy equipment. Overall, I ended up with about 150 shots, out of that I loved about 13 of them. This is pretty par for the course from what I understand, and it taught me that about 10 percent of my shots will turn out the way I desire. As I learn, hopefully that ratio will increase.

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Ireland 2017, The First Post

Hello All,

If you are reading this it likely means you have seen my photography on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. ¬†You may also be a friend or family member wishing to show support. Either way, ¬†thank you for visiting. This is my first post so I think I’ll start with explaining why I started this blog. First, I am a writer. I spend my entire work day writing products seen by a very small audience but that serve an essential purpose. I am also in graduate school full-time. You may be wondering why I would possibly want to write more, and why you should care to read it and the answer is that I write because I am passionate about it. Passion is inspiring and therefore, maybe I might just inspire you. If not with my words, then maybe with my pictures. I love photography but have very little experience with it. This blog will follow my growth as a photographer and maybe even as a person.

Recently, my Husband and I traveled to Ireland for our official honeymoon. We eloped in April of 2016, ¬†followed by an unforgettable mini-moon to New York City. We decided that we still wished to have a big wedding and renewed our vows in front of all of our friends and family exactly one year later. ¬†This was my husband’s second international trip, following a trip to England & Scotland in 2015. I was bit more well-traveled having been to the following countries: France, England, ¬†Scotland, Ireland, ¬†Afghanistan (Go Navy!), Mexico, Jamaica, Honduras, and the Bahamas.

I decided shortly before, that it was time to purchase my first DSLR. My husband checked several classifieds and found a great deal being offered by a member of the U.S. Army. Turns out the owner recently upgraded and was looking to make some cash for new equipment. We purchased my Cannon D5300, with its stock AF-S Nikkor 18 to 55 mm lens from him and got some test shots at a nearby park. Other than that, my experience with DSLR’s was basically zero when we landed in Ireland.

Ireland was a breathtaking experience from start to finish. We arrived on 4 May 2016, and spent the evening in Ennis before our three-day stay in Doolin. We stayed at lovely B&B run by a woman named Susan Daly. She was one of the warmest and jovial women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. With her guidance we got stunning views of Cliffs of Moher, had a wonderful musical experience, saw the stunning almost prehistoric beauty of The Burren, and got to experience the Doolin Cave. Our trip followed the Wild Atlantic way, so we continued to Clifden, where we were entertained by some live music, including my favorite song Galway Girl. After a one night state we drove through my favorite area of the trip, Connemara , and that’s not just because I love Connemara Whiskey. We visited the national park which gave us an incredible view of some of Ireland’s various bodies of water and a loving mother horse nursing her new born baby. We stayed one night in Galway, a quirky, bohemian college town before heading to the quite and delectable food scene in Kinsale. Our last stop was in Killarney where we took a carriage ride and got the opportunity to interact live owls and hawks. I also kissed the Blarney Stone, so we can credit this whole blog to my new found gift of gab. Our grand finale encompassed the whole of the Ring of Kerry, we were in the car for 9 hours but it was 100 percent worth it. Our departure on 16 May was welcomed, mostly due to pure exhaustion but for a while our world was in technicolor. The pictures from our honeymoon mostly speak for themselves, ¬†so I wont burden you with all the details but here is my advice. If you have the opportunity to go, do it! The Guinness is much better there and if you are like me, ¬†Ireland’s beauty will be a near constant presence in your dreams for many years to come.