First Hike of 2019!

Atlas soaking up the magnitude of the waterfall.

Atlas soaking up the magnitude of the waterfall.

Today just happens to be Monday the 7th of January and that is only important because it marks the first hike of the year for us. Today is the last day of Christmas break for Atlas and Austin while Jaryn had to start back last week. Atlas and I decided to take advantage of the uncommon warm weather and our itch for adventure and put left foot over right in nature. His growing adoration for hiking and exploring excites me and I love watching him see the world for himself. We wanted to discover somewhere new to us so after a few minutes of searching, we landed on Sills Branch Falls. We packed our bags, his with waters, snacks, his GoPro, and first aid kit; mine with all things camera related and we were off. The directions we used were terrible and led us to the end of Bumpus Cove in Erwin, TN. I was quick to grab my phone and dig unit I found another site with better descriptive directions. It took us longer than we preferred but it was nice to have the morning on the road with Atlas, singing songs and asking questions. This hike is quick and easy. Only has one real climb and even it was short and sweet. You will find yourself at a fork in the trail just before this climb where you bare left, and cross a small stream and up you go. Once you top the hill, you are rewarded by a magical waterfall. The canyon walls are almost round cut out above the fall walls and feels so other-worldly. The walk is short, not even a mile in according to my Apple watch. Almost every step you take from the parking lot at the trail head ( left side of the road ) is accompanied by the melody of the stream that flows from the feet of the waterfall above.

A rare selfie with my hiking buddy. Hes growing up to quickly.

A rare selfie with my hiking buddy. Hes growing up to quickly.

We made our way pretty quickly to the top where we had our snacks that Atlas prepared. We then took some time to enjoy the spoils of our short walk among the trees. I took photos as this is what I do, and he explored our surroundings. I brought the Pentax 645n and shot the last of the pre loaded Ilford Hp5 BW film. I also finished up a roll of 35mm film in the Minolta. The only digital shots I took are below and all shot on my Ricoh GRii. I have a few on the phone as well but I rarely share those the same way.

Fall Break Adventures

Chimney Rock, North Carolina

Chimney Rock, North Carolina

Life never hesitates to throw complications and we have two choices. We can roll over and hope it passes soon, or we step up and push threw. This summer has had many highs and lows but so far, this fall break with Natasha and the boys, has been one of my favorite adventures yet! We love to hike as a family, and I long to complete the entire AT someday. This love for nature, and wonder I am blessed to share with my family, so when we stated talking and planning our trip it only made sense to include a trip outside. Natasha and I have backpacked alone, and I have taken Jaryn on a one night trip as well, but Austin and Atlas had never been. More importantly we have never been all together, so it was time to change that. Upon lots of options weighed, tents borrowed ( thanks Simerly ), we had a plan. We decided to hike the Appalachian Trail from Indian Grave Gap, to Uncle Johnny’s Hostile in Erwin. Speaking of Uncle Johnny’s this is were we started our adventure. We hired them to shuttle us up to the trail head. We ended up hiking in to the shelter which was a double decker beauty and was about 4.2 miles in. The boys did incredible, considering the weather was dreary and they were toting their own bags and belongings for the trip. Once we found the shelter we quickly went to work setting up camp for dinner, and searching for dry firewood. An hour later, we have fire, and the jet boil was up and running cooking a much needed hot meal for the day. We were greeted by a Thru Hiker names Patrick, his trail name I unfortunately cant recall as of writing this, and was happy to share the space. He is headed South to Georgia from his home town in PA. Day 2 was much nicer to hike and we easily completed the 4.1 miles out and to our car. We quickly loaded up Valak and grabbed some lunch. Then our adventure continued to Hickory Nut Gap, North Carolina were we planned to visit Hickory Nut Falls, and Chimney Rock State Park. The weather was dark, and power lines were down, and after some driving around we found a place to stay for the rest of the week. The boys were quick to hit up the arcade were we played way to much air hockey per Atlas’ request. Jaryn and Austin shot pool and the pinball machine was a classic. The small town was very close to being flooded and washed away but luckily it was only a scare. We had some hick up’s but we are tough and unified so on the last day we took the boys to the Park for the views and Waterfalls. The rest you can see below. I didn’t take a camera on this trip so everything is a cell phone shot and I feel that needs to be stated. Thanks for reading

PS. Atlas even pulled a tooth on this trip as seen in the photo below, and I apologize for how random some images fell.


Carvers Gap, where more often than not, fantasy becomes reality! I write about this location often and passionately for several reasons. I grew up in Roan Mountain, went to school there and until I was 18 it was my home. The sad part about this is, while living here I never visited Carvers Gap. Like never. I'm very glad that I have found the amazement that it offers at this point in my life, as far too often I think we live our entire lives and miss the magic around us daily. Growing up and attending school here led me to meet Sundae. I think we may have even rode the bus together after my parents moved closer to my grandparents. I say that because today's post is about Alex, Sundae's daughter. I had never met or spoken to Alex prior to our session but that was not an issue because she is awesome. Sundae and I went back and forth on a few dates as the weather was insane this year and ever-changing and at this point, I also believe its because we were supposed to be on the Roan on this particular day. You can never truly predict the weather on the top of the Roan, and today was one of those days where every few minutes, it changed. This was a bit of a challenge as a photographer, but one I gladly welcome anytime. Let me start in the parking lot.

Once we finally found a suitable day and the time was set, we were good to go. We agreed to meet at the trailhead parking lot for introductions and to strategize. This never takes more than a few minutes, so we donned our rain jackets, umbrellas, and were afoot. Luckily the rain never really set in and never developed into something unusable. We were greeted with dramatic racing clouds over us and the mountain tops, misting rain, and even had a brief appearance of a rainbow. I mean minus a unicorn or bigfoot running out of the neighboring woods, what else could I ask for? As an adventure photographer, an avid fan of anything AT, I was enchanted. I'm not great with words and will not try to be, but will simply let the imagery speak for me. I hope you find the joy, the excitement, the wonder in these that I do. Alex was incredibly patient with my direction, open to any and everything I threw at her and with a lovely smile the entire time. I truly couldn't ask for more. I would love to know if you have a similar place that you love to frequent and I'm always open to more unique experiences like this one was. Now to the meat and potatoes, because what post by a photographer is complete without pictures?

As always, all images shot with my Fuji Xpro2 and combination of my xf16mm and xf90mm lenses. 

“We clutch that picture to our hearts because we expect each other to always be the people in that picture. But people change. People aren’t pictures. And you can either take a new picture or throw the old one away.”
— https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/18278582-i-wrote-this-for-you

Creativity and why you should bring yours to your session!In

In this VLOG I discuss how bringing your own version of creativity to your session and how that is beneficial. Since I'm trying this new format I would love to hear thoughts about what you like or dislike about this VLOG vs my old blog. Lets go-

I truly appreciate you stopping by here and listening to me even when I couldn't find my thoughts lol. I am not above laughing at myself obviously. Here is the link to Katy's Blog as promised for you adventurous people, HERE


Planning and timing your Wedding Exit

#meadowviewconventioncenter #militarywedding #sparklerexit #wedding #kingsporttn #magmod

In this blog I'm going to share how and why I approach your exit on your wedding day a little different than some other photographers and how it works wonderfully for me. If your reading this your most likely in one of two categories: Your either engaged and planning your special day, or maybe your a fellow photographer curious to create more dramatic exits for your happy couples. I hope this helps and lets get into it!

I'm not going to discuss lighting, or posing here but I will say that its important to trust the photographer you hired to create something from their vision, hopefully combined with your own. So your probably wondering what I could possibly be referring to when I say planning  and timing for your exit. The normal response if asked when this will happen, is the end of the night so what am I talking about? Let me take a second to explain why and how I like to do this differently. 


So if your planning the wedding, then you are fully aware how hard this process can be. You are also aware how much time and effort you have spent over the guest list among the other details. So you clearly invited those your surrounded by and are glad they are celebrating with you so why wouldn't we utilize them to maximize the effect of your exit? It never fails, the weddings that decide to keep with traditions and have the exit at the end of the night are missing a large number of guests at this point. Maybe they brought the kids, or maybe they are older and not wanting to dance the night away so they have said their goodbyes, hugged necks, and wished love and blessings over you. So the list of people available to send you off in style is diminished by the end of the party. While this is not the end of the world by any means, I like to suggest a different option to have a dramatic send off. 

How do I do this? WE FAKE IT!! Yes you read that correctly. With a little planning, and 10 to 15 minutes of your time, you can have a much grander tunnel of loved ones to send you on your way.  So we line up everyone we can get our hands on and create a line as big as space allows. This can be achieved inside or out, and with whatever method you choose to use. Sparklers, bubbles. etc. PSA- order your sparklers in advance if this is your preference and make sure to get the correct ones.. Regular sparklers will not work. They wont last long enough or put off enough sparkle for lack of a better term.

So in short, we take a few minutes, fake the exit, then let everyone return to the after party! This way everyone can relax knowing its taken care of and the night can end organically rather than orchestrated. This is simply my opinion but a method that has worked well for me for years. I would love to know your thoughts on this and how you may prefer the exit differently!

Next up "Working with your photographer and making time for wedding portraits"



#boonenc #ido #northcarolinawedding #ocf #weddingportraits #lightingiskey

My favorite locations for adventurous couples!

My favorite locations for adventurous couples!

Sunset over Sams Gap after a day of fly fishing #sunset #easttennessee #blueridgemountains #samsgap #wolfpackoverland #jgp

A walk in the woods

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. John Burroughs
— https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnburrou101053.html

It's not often than you meet someone that shares many of the things you care about and someone that is genuinely a great person all in one. I would like to introduce you, in case you don't know her or of her work, to my friend and fellow photographer- Katy Sergent of Katy Sergent Photography & Design.

Camera , coffee and Chaco's #winning

Camera , coffee and Chaco's #winning

I met Katy through our local chapter of The Rising Tide Society, called Tuesday's Together. She is one of the leaders of the group and it didn't take long to realize she and I were going to be friends. Ok, that may have been one sided at first but who can say for sure lol. She recently reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in taking some portraits of her and even though the thought of working and shooting for a fellow photographer is daunting, I was quick to say Yes! We agreed to meet for coffee and to chat because whats a meeting without coffee? Boring is the short answer! We met up at my favorite coffee house, as I've mentioned in the past called Open Doors Coffee House and worked on the details and set the date for the session.

open doors coffee house- johnson city tn- portrait- candid


She and I both share a passion with nature and with the Appalachian Trail, so what better place to hang out and put my Fuji threw its paces? We agreed to meet and ride up to Dennis Cove where we jumped on the upper trail head to Laurel Falls. We took our time, laughed, swapped stories, and drug our Chaco's threw the mug. It was AWESOME!


hiking- laurel falls- hampton tn- AT

I probably made the mistake of not starting as early as needed because after our hike, we headed off the mountain and were chasing the sun as it was setting trying to grab as many rays as we could for our project. I have driven the road many times and have always wanted to take a portrait at one of the corners ,but its a windy and busy road so I have never had the chance. That is until we came upon the "Spot" and she was a great sport and trusted me to jump out, Chinese fire drill style almost, slap on the hazard lights and get the shot I wanted.

Here is Katy, braving the traffic but if memory serves correctly it was more like battling the sharp edge of that guardrail! LOL

Here is Katy, braving the traffic but if memory serves correctly it was more like battling the sharp edge of that guardrail! LOL

Ok, Ill stop trying to write further and leave you with a few lasting images that hopefully not only captures Katy as I know her but as she also see's herself. That is often times the most important shot you ever take. One that might instill confidence or rekindle a passion for something forgotten about ourselves! 


Laurel Falls - Hampton - Adventure Photographer - outdoor lifestyle photography
Cameras where out and firing all afternoon!

Cameras where out and firing all afternoon!

sunset- watauga lake- hampton tn- east tn- lakelife
portrait photographer - intimate portraits - getoutside

Adventure Therapy

It is better to travel well than to arrive
— Buddha

I am happy to say that I am sitting down to write this entry as Matisyahu is filling the air and Atlas dances around the living room! He has been a little sick for the last 2 days and I would be lying if I didn't admit that I miss having him home with me during the day and Ive soaked up as much time with him as I could.  I hope you can find time to dance today to a song that has meaning, not just a great beat, but man I do love a great beat! ( Rosa Parks-Outcast or Shake Yo Head- Busta Rhymes just for examples lol )

soho- south holston -adventure photographer - flowers

Ok the real reason for this post! Today is a big day for me because I get to photograph one of my favorite photographers. She and I have very similar callings to nature and adventure and I am truly excited to see what we can create together. Its rained all day here and is supposed to move out before our session, but if you know me well you know I don't mind the rain. Not At All. I hope she and I can tap into nature for the beauty it offers and the untold stories it keeps hidden in the leaves, dirt, rocks and droplets of water upon its surface. Dear Appalachian Trail, here we come!

We will take our time and approach every shot with the attention and patience it deserves. As a mirrorless shooter, and Fujifilm X series fan boy, I don't shoot as many images as most but every shoot is unique and the results should be as well. I have been working today on some personal preset development and cant wait to see how I can make those work to fit the day.  Well its time to load up the Sequioa aka Valak, and run some errands to ensure all goes as planned.  

valak - sequioa - wolfpack overland - east tennessee

What are you shooting today, and if you were 100% honest with yourself what Would you be shooting today if you could choose? I can honestly say, today is what I do. Its where I merge my love for people, nature, the Appalachian Trail, and pushing buttons all in one artistic cocktail! 

Holston River- soho -fog on the water - bridge