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

Frame the Feels!

pappaw's things



I often work with couples and families that have never met me, and while this is exciting and a little scary, it can provide some challenges. I've been told that my appearance is somewhat intimidating to those who don't know me on a personal level. The funny thing about this is despite my outward appearance, I am very easy to get along with. I am also very comfortable taking charge of the session when the need arises. Some of these points I'm sure I've made in the past, but I'm also a very determined person, so let's move on. What I want to speak about today is something that is a little uncomfortable for me at times. Ready to hear what that is? What makes me take a deep breath before speaking? Ok, so what could possibly make a grown man, who is heavily tattooed and weathered by life uncomfortable? A specific conversation is what. Doesn't make sense? Well now you will know how I feel starting this talk every time. Let me paint a different picture quickly before diving in with both feet. Take a moment, think of anyone in your life, either past or present that has influenced you in a monumental way. Got it? Come on, we don't have all day here......... Ok, times up. Now picture this person that you’re thinking of. I'll use my grandfather for my example here. I only knew one of my grandfathers in this life, and he was enough on his own. He was funny, aggravating, a hard worker and loved me and all of us grandchildren immensely. I was the first grandson, and he was a father of 5 girls ( my mom and aunts in case you’re not paying attention ) so I was also the first boy period for my grandfather. This is a title, I hold very dear but often know I wasn't the grandson he always wanted. I didn't want to hunt, work the farm, stomp out the cow shit patties, or watch Nascar on Sundays. I was an athlete early on and that was my jam, heck still is. #crossfit

This didn't mean he didn't love me and spoil me rotten. We still had our truck rides, which is something I love to do now with my boys. We had 8 track tapes, Ray Stevens, and Jerry Clower joking along the way. I did go hunting with him on a few occasions and those usually ended badly, with me stomping through the woods, falling in the creeks and never shooting anything but the breeze, but I was glad to be there because he was there. I am honestly pretty emotional even thinking back on these details, as I haven't thought of them for many years. I told my story to say this- When he passed away, he allowed me to choose one of his rifles to keep as my own. Being the first and oldest boy, I chose first. I didn't choose the 30/30 or other high caliber options, I went with the nicest looking one, the .22 bolt action. So anytime to this day I hear or see anything related to a .22 caliber, I think of his gift to me and the time we had. I don't think about how sick he was in the end, but just how excited he was to scare me every Halloween, the candy he snuck me anytime I was sick that he called medicine, and how he would act so mad as I pressed his knee down as hard as I could to make the truck go faster. He was the best.

Ok, so you have your person in mind, yes? Ok, what do you think of when you think of them? Is it a material possession, a special place, a moment, or one of their favorite things? ( my papaw ate circus peanuts, orange foam, gross candies ) Ok -so if you were having a photoshoot with me, or anyone else and somehow we can incorporate those memories into your story, how much more are you connected to the process and the final product? Would you not want a photo of that on your wall to remember in every passing? Maybe you’re engaged and you have a special thing that only you share with one another. My wife will squeeze my hand 3 times to non-verbally say she loves me. So if I see a photo of our hands, or hands in general, I think of her. It may seem silly, but having that conversation often times makes my couples feel bad. They feel bad if they don't have something like this and those aren't my intentions. I am your biggest fan, especially when my camera is on you, so the last thing I want to do is sow doubt or make anyone feel bad. So when you're planning your session with me, (because come on, you didn't read all of this to choose to hang out with anyone else) think about it, take this into consideration. Consider how you can make the session even more memorable for your special person. Maybe they are a sports fan and you can sneak their favorite hat away to incorporate. Maybe its butterfly kisses, or Eskimo kisses. Maybe it's simply a tee shirt you picked out together for the first camping trip you took together ( we had those too right Sweetpea? #hotspringsNC ) or the first concert you went to. Maybe it's only a reference to a specific time that we can work in together. Basically, you are required to participate to produce the best possible outcome. Can I direct you? Yes, until I am blue in the face if needed. Can the images be stunning with none of the above ever happening? Every single time yes! Guess what- an image isn't special because its technically perfect, or sharp as a tact. It gains its power over us and our emotions for HOW IT MAKES US FEEL. Let's make something that means more than a glimpse in time on your facebook wall. Go on back to my homepage, scroll to the bottom and contact me today to start planning something unique.

She said YES!


Its not often than I get the privilege to capture a proposal, but I am beyond grateful that I was able to capture a new one this past weekend! Funny story actually--as Brittany's mother had a different photographer hired to capture this special day, but due to the flu she was left looking for someone to procure the milestone. I was referred to her by a past client/friend and was happy to be available so the planning ensued. We discussed the location, and the plan, but even feeling prepared, I found myself nervous. I rarely get nervous but I always feel out of place, almost stalking my clients as they do not know me  ( yet ) and I don't know them either.Their families came together to create a wall to hide Jacob as he was prepared with his own special way to ask for her hand.  I prefer to let the images tell the rest of the story for me as its the best way I know how. So congratulations to Jacob and Brittany, and here is how the story goes!


Jacob and Brittany Proposal
Lifestyle photographer. Proposal, engaged
She said YES!! I told you earlier lol

She said YES!! I told you earlier lol

The emotion is so genuine here.

The emotion is so genuine here.

Diamond Ring, Gshock, Wedding photographer
#marryme, #globe #mr&mrs
"Let The Adventure Begin",,,,,,,

"Let The Adventure Begin",,,,,,,

Surrounded by Family is the perfect end to a beautiful day in downtown Kingsport, Tennessee,

Surrounded by Family is the perfect end to a beautiful day in downtown Kingsport, Tennessee,

Im Back!

Well its been a long time since writing here and that's for a few reasons. I had taken a new chance and changing my business platform and Ill just say that, things did not work out. I'm not wasting any more time on said project but more importantly, I'm not wasting time on the "what if's ". I have hit the Reset button and bigger and better things are going to happen, because I'm not capable of settling for anything else. I am making life changes and putting my Faith and Family first and then and only then can I succeed in the matters that mean the most. 

If I were world known and rich beyond measure, but didn't have my family and my Faith, it would all be for not. I'm making steps to trust the Lords plan for my life and my business and I am extremely blessed and excited by this decision. 

I am booking for 2018 now and would love to meet new people and create something truly meaningful and put my work in new venues. This year I print more, I shoot more, but I will also laugh more, pray more and be more present in this life. I have started bullet journaling to help keep me on the path and help get the negativity out of my life.  I will be attending more seminars, classes and looking for a business mentor. Someone I respect and can trust. I'm also, for maybe the first time truly, working on myself. I'm currently listening to a wonderful book, suggested by my lovely wife, called " The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod. So far its incredible and I highly recommend it. I'm also go to try and help the industry more. Maybe teach classes or start a photo walk for children. Lots to work on and its time to get to it.. if you find yourself reading this  I hope you can remember, times get tough, things are not always the way we want them to be, but we are meant for so much more. Dust yourself off, chin up, and smile.. smile in defeat but count the lessons in it, smile at a stranger it may change their day, and smile because we have great things to accomplish in this wonderful thing called LIFE!

#motivational #jgp #steppingoutinfaith