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... beatrix potter

Author & philanthropist, Beatrix Potter, often visited her Uncle Fred and Aunt Harriet’s rambling Welsh estate at Gwaenynog Hall.  I had the privilege of visiting this idyllic property a few years ago on a shoot for Canadian Gardeningmagazine. Gwaenynog Hall is a 2000 acre estate located near Denbigh whose beautiful walled gardens inspired Beatrix to write her charming Flopsy Bunny books.

Janie Smith, Beatrix’s great grand niece, showed around the gardens – she and her daughter Frances have worked tirelessly to restore the gardens back to what they might have looked like when Beatrix visited.  The garden’s were was so lovely even though we visited in the fall – ivy was still crawling on the walls, ruby red apples ripe on the trees, purple thistles blowing in the wind, iron gates opening up to secret gardens and horses peacefully grazed in the fields –  I really could imagine Flopsy & Mopsy, Cottontail & Peter hopping through the flower beds looking for a nibble, can’t you?

On a visit in May 1895, Beatrix Potter wrote in her diary . . .

“The garden is very large, two-thirds surrounded by a red brick wall with many apricots, and an inner circle of old grey apple trees on wooden espaliers.  It is very productive but not tidy, the prettiest kind of garden, where bright old fashioned flowers grow amongst the currant bushes.”

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 . . .

for the love of... italia

I joked on Facebook that I have almost run out of the best aged balsamic vinegar and so I decided to go to Italy tomorrow.  Some thought I was joking but I really am headed out tomorrow for a dream come true shoot at Il Borro, a luxury Relais & Chateaux property in the hills of Tuscany!  My dear friend Krista is coming from Scotland to assist for the shoot and then we are actually going to have a real holiday.  It has been so long since I have had true rest.  I can’t wait to taste the organic olive oil on the farm we are staying and enjoy all the amenities at Il Borro too.  I will be in Firenze for Easter and for a couple of days afterwards – it will be a time for soaking up art and amazing architecture, taking walks down long country roads and drinking wine & eating local food.  Here is a photo from my last trip to Italy.  Arrivederci!

for the love of | cousins

After seeing the pear orchard near Fenwick, Ontario I was longing to do a little shoot there amongst the striking red leaves and greenish yellow pears.  My cousin Sylvia volunteered to be my model and she even had a retro red bike.  We had lots of fun running around the orchard – I even forgot to ask permission but no one seemed to mind.  .  . I have been encouraging Sylvia to do some modeling – she is so naturally beautiful, don’t you think?

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.