Lupins I Nova Scotia

Do you know what happens in June in the Maritime Provinces?  The lupins, pink, white and purple, burst into glorious bloom on every roadway, ditch and path.  In a way I took them for granted when I was growing up in Nova Scotia, but now when I go home, I marvel at the beauty of these renegade wildflowers.  

Lupins are a relative of the pea and are extremely hardy.  Apparently they are native to the West but made their way to the East Coast and decided to flourish!  If you heard of the bluebonnets in Texas, they are actually a lupin as well.

I just returned from visiting my home town of Antigonish to celebrate my parent's wedding anniversary.  Unfortunately my mother became very sick and the festivities had to be postponed but I am happy to say my mother is feeling better and we plan to do a re-anniversary party in August.

I loved seeing the last of the lupins along the roadside last week and thought you might too.

Also!  We have added a few selections of these lupin images to our SVB Print Shop so be sure to take a look!

A bientôt!




equine bridal

Horses are a huge part of my life as you may have noticed!  I just bought my first horse this July (see her first portraits).

But just a few years ago, I didn’t have a horse and only took lessons sporadically.  Then I randomly saw a Facebook post for a Dutch Warmblood for lease by Karen Brame of Red Letter Farm. I took a huge leap of faith and sent an inquiry.  I ended up meeting Karen and big Gable and they’ve both become an important part of my life.  And as a bonus,  I have become a part of of our little riding community as well – we are women & girls from all walks of life, have different riding skills & levels & different goals but we are all horse crazy and it is this that binds us together.

So when Karen got engaged last year to a kind hearted man named Bobby, I knew we had to shoot the bridal portraits.  So, on a pretty sunny day last April we made these photos of Karen with her beautiful equine family :  Gable, Bella, Olivia & Drake.   And because Karen knows how busy I am, she forgives me to taking so long to post these photos! (right Karen?)

for the love of... Brontë

As some of you may have noticed, I bought my first horse!  She is a Percheron/Thoroughbred cross and she came into my life just a month ago.  I have longed for a horse since the day I was born so this is a big moment in my life.  We are just starting to get to know each other and I have fallen in love already.  Brontë is sweet tempered and so pretty.  She is like a fairytale horse which suits me very well.

The big moment job of naming my first horse left her nameless for a couple of weeks.  I did agonize over what to call her but in the end I chose a name that meant something to me and spoke of my heritage and love of 19th century British novels.  Bréagha (Bree-uh) Brontë – Beautiful Brontë.  The Gaelic for my Scottish heritage and of course Brontë for one of my favorite writers, Charlotte Brontë.

I have had very little time to spend with her because at SVB Photo we’ve been swamped with work this last month.  So unfortunately I haven’t been able to photograph her much or ride her either.  But the other day I drove out around dusk and these are the few shots I was able to take.

for the love of... fox hunting

I can’t even really describe the feeling that still wells up in me so many years after photographing the Blessing of the Hounds Thanksgiving hunt in Southern Pines, NC.  I still get shivers thinking about the beauty of this spectacle that has it’s roots in mediaeval times.  I can still hear rhythmic beat of horses galloping off in the distance and remember seeing horses & riders emerge from the thick mist.  There were a thousand cinematic moments.  Truth be told, I cried as I ran through the wet fields with photo gear in tow.  The beauty of the moment overwhelmed me. . .

Please understand that I am not a lover of hunting per se – but I am a fan of the equestrian sport where a scent is dragged through the fields for the hounds to follow.  Remember my undergrad degree is in 19th Century British History & literature so it just make sense that I  love the idea of galloping through fields dressed in a tweedy coat & jodpurs.!

As you look at these photos, I hope you can hear the call of the bugle and the pounding of hooves!

for the love of . . . emily

Occasionally I do portrait commissions for special clients and friends.  I really enjoy this change of pace from my commercial work.  So one overcast day in October we made our way to this stunning flax colored field I had my eye on.  Melissa Peacock-Rohme did Emily’s hair and makeup and I think Emily looked gorgeous – her hair the same color as the field. . .

And then we decided to do a Kentucky Derby themed shoot when all the blossoms were on the trees.  Big beautiful hats, flowers & tea – so feminine and pretty!

Emily has been working with us for over a year now & we only have a couple of months left before she heads off to East Carolina University to study interior design.  We will miss her very much but wish her the best of all things with her new adventure!

Here are a few of our favorites of lovely Emily . . .

my little sister's graduation

I am so excited my former little sister Brittany – she graduated from the Bennett Middle College last week!  She also received a full scholarship to study at North Carolina A&T University where she plans to study criminology and work towards being a police detective.  Can you tell I am proud?

I absolutely loved the ceremony at the Bennett College (read about their proud history).  The junior marshalls dressed in white, down to the gloves and pearls, ushered us into the beautiful Ann Merner Pfeiffer Chapel for the ceremony.  Mayor Terry Bellamy of Asheville gave the young women an inspiring speech about working hard for their dreams and the choir sang some wonderful gospel selections.  The exuberance of the families was so heart warming as they cheered for their daughters, sisters, and granddaughters.

I hope you enjoy the photos and celebrate Brittany’s big day with us!

Brittany became my little sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters over 10 years ago and it is so rewarding to see her do so well and have plans for the future.  Please consider becoming a mentor because it does make a difference!

for the love of... visits

This time last year, Simon Henry and I were in the Niagara region visiting family on the way to shoot for Style at Home magazine in Toronto.  The autumn leaves were so vibrant and beautiful in my aunt Gwenn & Uncle Gerry’s yard we decided on an afternoon walk.  My cousin Sylvia brought her daughter Katy and their dog Jackson to come for a romp with Simon.  The dogs were so excited we never did get a closeup photo of them!  But they had a good time running through the pale yellow fields and wrestling in the leaves.   What a wonderful visit with family. . . stay tuned for some photos of Sylvia in a pear orchard

pumpkin roasting

At one point in the summer, my pumpkin vines were climbing up the roof – I was so proud of them.  Finally the time came to roast some of these little beauties.  I followed the advice of Lynn at Simple Bites to make sure to drain the pulp before freezing and I think it made all the difference.  I also saved the pumpkin juice to use in soups and roasted the seeds with a bit of olive oil and sea salt.  Can’t wait to make pumpkin smoothies or pumpkin pie.  Yum!  What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

visit with margot austin

As the 2011 Fall High Point Furniture Market approaches I was reminded that I never did get the time to mention the special visitors I had last spring.  Margot Austin, senior design editor from Style at Home and her husband Kevin Austin, owner of Chair Table Lamp in Toronto stopped in for an impromptu late night dinner at my place.  We had a super busy day at the studio so I went to the Fresh Market to get lots of yummy bits.  We ate and talked long into the night and a good time was had by all. . .

for the love of... my food stealer

Simon is a wonderful dog in so many ways but his ability to steal food is pretty extraordinary!  He waits until your attention is diverted and then he strikes as quick as lightening and all you are left with are a few pieces of plastic or a plate.  Don’t let his innocent stance fool you . . . one time he ate a whole pan of fudge, another time a whole rotisserie chicken!

for the love of | fame

There is no doubt that Simon is a beautiful dog. . .  I am not just saying it just because he happens to be mine.  People stop me on the street all the time to tell me how pretty he is.  This past Sunday Simon and I both appeared in the career section of the Greensboro News & Record in a story on the photo school I attended to study commercial photography.

But the best part is that I brought Simon to be a prop at the photo session and he ended up appearing in his own photo!   So you see . . . Simon really is famous!  Simon also appeared in a story about Lake James in NC Signature magazine a few years ago as well – see those stories below.

for the love of... rescuing pedro

I have become the dog whisperer of my neighbourhood.  I seem to keep stumbling across stray dogs or they just show up in my yard.  In the last few months I have rescued 4 dogs!  With the help of friends, local rescue groups such as Triad SPCAAlmost Home Dacshund RescueRed Dog Farm and the power of Facebook – 2 of the dogs found loving forever homes, one was adopted and one still awaits adoption.  My Vizsla, Simon Henry Haines, is also a rescue from the Vizsla Rescue.  Simon has been so good to the dogs who have passed through even sharing his dog bed and my attention.

Little Pedro went to live with him forever family on Sunday – I think Simon misses his little pal a little but is glad to have my lap entirely to himself!

making dreams come true

I was thrilled to join up with UNCG Threads designers, fellow photographer Chris Fletcher & Make-a-Wish Foundation to do a fashion shoot with a lovely young lady named Hannah.  Hannah was a joy to photograph and we were happy to make her feel like a princess for a day.

Designed by Kerrie Rogers

Designed by Rachel Fisher-Shultz, Dianrea Campbell & Ashley Corsi

Designed by Lindsay Watkins

Designed by Erica Payne

tea & dogwood blossoms

After a lovely dinner dinner with special guests (more about that another day) I was too tired to clean up.  The next day I came downstairs and noticed that in the glowing light of morning the remnants of our apres dinner tea looked so homey.  A little turquoise teapot, a few dogwood branches and candles burned down, little reminders of a pleasant evening spent with friends.

for the love of... naps

Simon Henry Haines is my wacky and beautiful four year old Vizsla who came from the Vizsla Rescue of the Carolinas.  He bounded into my life all energy and sweetness with a big streak of mischieviousness. There were days in the beginning that his tasmanian devil ways brought me to tears but when he snuggled under the covers with me, he won my heart.  He is like a person to me – we communicate – me with words, him with gesture and eye contact.  He cracks me up daily with his antics and I marvel at what a wonderful creature he is.  I am so blessed to have him in my life.  I thought I might make him a little project and share a few photos each week of him with you.  Hope you enjoy!

for the love of | peonies & apple blossoms

I love spring flowers!  Flowers are so cheerful and uplifting bringing life and color to any space.  I was in NYC for work and on the way home I had the pleasure of spending a little time at the flower markets.  I bought the peonies with my mother in mind and took them back to North Carolina to photograph for her.  The lovely apple blossoms were found right here in Greensboro.

i feel so french!

Today the weather was so warm here in North Carolina that I was able to get out into my garden to do some work.  I ambitiously trimmed the rosemary, lavender and rose bushes & pulled up some of the dead flower stalks.  Yes, I should have done this in the fall but I just ran out of time!  I gathered up a bundle of rosemary and boxwood and a bit of lavender and decided to make a few arrangements for the house.   I love that you can bring a little of the outdoors inside to remind you that spring is on the way. . . I feel so French!  Which makes me think of pain au chocolat, comte, and street cafes. . . . .