Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits: Blog en-us (C) Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:32:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:32:00 GMT Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits: Blog 120 80 Always Enough Always Enough


"My favorite of the night...the bottom of the photo is a mess with is messy. The sky across the water is stunning. But there is so much water between the two. Today the water was calm. Sometimes it's stormy. Other times it's so foggy you can't see to the other side. But tonight, the sky was stunning and I could see it; hope of something beautiful in spite of the mess in front of me. I know my God will get me there, to this beautiful place from this mess created. Sometimes He builds bridges...board by board and it's a slow process. Other times He parts the sea at a dead end He's led us to and we miraculously walk safely on dry ground or He just calms the storm with His voice and we safely sail to the other side...and even other times He calls us through the crashing waves, says come to me, and we walk for a few moments with miraculous faith only to be caught again by His hand. Regardless of the method He chooses, maybe a combination of all of them, the destination may not be known this side of Heaven, I know without a doubt He's got this, He is good, and that will always be enough..." - March 5th, 2019


I wrote this a year ago yesterday with the above photo. I love how the Lord gives reminders and moments of reflection. I love this place. It wasn't far from our house and there were so many times we'd just jump in the car and spend a few moments breathing in the fresh air and taking in the beauty of the river. I hold to the truth of the words today and thought I'd share them here with a few more (ok maybe a lot more) of my favorite images. And yes...He's still got this, I see the fingerprints, and that will always be enough.


"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God...Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:1&2, 18&19.


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama blog landscape photography Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer personal photography River" Tennessee Fri, 06 Mar 2020 18:32:24 GMT
True Value “For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.”  - Claude Monet


I absolutely love this quote. Monet is my favorite painter. He studied light. He painted the same scenes numerous times with different interpretations of light. He appreciated change, perspective, color, and the unique ways thoughts and emotions were brought to a particular setting. Our mental state has an effect on what we see.


These photographs posted are taken from the same place but the atmosphere was so completely different from the top and bottom. They are all beautiful in their own way. I never grow tired of visiting my favorite places in nature. Each time something different can be seen causing reflection, refreshment, or simple appreciation of the beauty experienced. In the lush green image above, there isn't a lot of water flowing. In the photographs below, I love how the barren cold brought with it the most water I've ever seen at this location. Looking at the falls from a different angle also revealed a rainbow. We had to wait for the clouds to pass, but once they passed, the sun could reflect off the water and there was a faint rainbow in the waterfall. Day made. I love rainbows.


Sometimes the Bible feels the same way when I sit down to read. Different verses may speak differently depending on where my heart is. Yes, there are certain solid truths, but the scriptures may convict our hearts, bring confirmation and encouragement, or simply reaffirm the love of the Lord depending on where we are in our journey and where our heart is at when we read. There are times when I've read familiar passages and find encouragement I've never experienced before. If I'm 100 percent honest, there are also times I've opened my Bible and felt empty. There have been moments when I tell the Lord I just can't right now, it's too much, but it doesn't change the fact that I still believe the Lord speaks. And that doesn't make my perspective right but the struggle is still so very real. I do know He is continually drawing us into a deeper relationship with Him.  Regardless of where you are in life, take the time to read. The Bible speaks of hope and life. If you read two verses and it's too much or it's empty, talk to the Lord before you read. I'm so thankful for His patience when I struggle. Keep searching, keep reading, keep choosing to follow, and sometimes just be still...He knows your heart.


"We never receive a complete knowledge through mere research with our minds. Knowledge of God comes through our hearts - the windows of our souls." - Charles Spurgeon.


The heart. The "wellspring of life" - (Proverbs 4:23). Choose to daily give your heart to Him and be amazed at the "true value" He gives to life. The "atmosphere" of His love opens up a whole new way to see and experience the journey (Ephesians 1:15-23).  


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Alabama landscape photography north Alabama personal photography waterfalls Tue, 25 Feb 2020 03:41:31 GMT
Into the Wilderness

This hike was brutal. I mean it's not that far, but you have to find your way through so many thorns, brush, and stickers. The area had recently been burned in an attempt to clear some of the underbrush. The smoke was still lingering and the thorns still remained. There is no trail at all in sight and it looks like the thorny terrain is unending. The payoff though...The most beautiful wild canyon and pristine waterfall. It's my personal favorite. I've been here 3 times and have never been disappointed. The day started out with over an hour drive in the rain to meet friends. We drove through rain to get to where we park and there was still a drizzle as we set out through the briars. But was worth every bit of the thorns.


As I sat at home editing photos from the day and reflecting, I realized I didn't get a single photo of what all we traveled through to reach this beautiful destination. I sent my friend Amanda (she led this little expedition) a text asking if she took any photos of the journey. She took a video and a few photos (shown above). Of course she took photos. She's hiked off trail for years. Me however...last year with Amanda and a few others would have been the first time I'd ever wandered into the woods with no trail, no map, totally reliant on people I met on the internet to take me on an adventure and get me safely back to the car. We still tell stories of my first off trail adventure.  So while I now have a few off trail hikes under my belt I still get nervous at the overwhelming nothingness of thorns, brush, and briars we enter into to get to these beautiful destinations. I don't always document the entire journey, but eventually I'm going to learn how to navigate through it all and maybe take a few photos along the way. 


My thoughts turned to my own personal life and then to life in general...the struggles and moments when we can't seem to find our way. The moments we don't document. The ones where it's all we can do to put one foot in front of the other. In those moments, I pray you can look up and find someone who is comfortable and confident enough to help show you the way to something incredibly beautiful. I also pray that once you've experienced the incredible beauty they can also help you look back and see just how far you've come and the terrain you were able to cross.


I was reminded in a very real way of the Lord's love, protection, and provision. How he takes us through the unknown, dark, and sometimes even painful places but He knows just what's on the other side. He knows the beauty we will encounter if we continue to follow. He knows the destination of the journey through the wilderness. We just have to trust Him. One of my favorite scripture reminders that I've shared before from Deuteronomy 31:8 - "He goes before us". Here's to trusting Him one step at a time. Here's to this wild adventure we call life.

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama blog landscape photography photograph waterfalls Fri, 14 Feb 2020 20:25:15 GMT
Confessions of a Coffee Roaster So I've started this new thing as a part time coffee roaster. Part time nurse, photographer, coffee roaster. I like diversity and the day of the selfie, I wasn't sure exactly who I was. All three happened that day. Shameless plug...Shoals Coffee is fabulous. Link to the website here. Check it out! The coffee sales benefit a great cause. It's an honor to be one of the roasters.

This next photo is what I had planned for my early morning start to the week. A Bible, alone, and the sounds and smells of freshly roasting beans. The photo is totally deceptive though. (a photo on social media that's deceptive?!?!) You cannot hear what is actually taking place. There is this incredibly loud and annoying squeaky sound from a drum bearing that needed attention. I attempted to continue to roast through it since everything was all heated up and then tend to the noise afterwards. I didn't make it as long as I had planned. The noise wasn't hurting anything in its current state but wow was it interfering with the reverent stillness I desired in my brain. If left unattended for a long period of time however, this squeaking would eventually cause grinding of the bearings and damage to the machine. Transfer that thought process to my faith. Psalms 139, particularly verse 23 when David asks the Lord to search his heart and reveal if there is any offensive way in him. Sometimes there are other issues that must be addressed and tended to before our hearts can experience the fullness of what it desires. It's so important to ask the Lord to search our hearts. When we ask Him though, we'd better be prepared for Him to answer, and to tend to the things He shows us (with His help). So much easier said than done. This cut deep this week...unintended, not so fun, convictions roasting coffee :) The whole chapter of Psalms 139 is so good by the way. The Lord "knows" us. 


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) coffee personal photography scripture love the shoals weekly favs Fri, 10 Jan 2020 04:37:49 GMT
You Have Taken Account of My Wanderings

"You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in your bottle." - Psalms 57:8

I love the imagery David uses here. I love his profession of faith in this whole chapter. Quotes, words,'s how I relate.

As the raindrops fell this weekend my excitement in anticipation grew. I have a love hate relationship with rain. The clouds hide the stars. A recent example being I missed a great meteor shower the other night. Perfectly timed rain and the right conditions however can also mean incredible waterfalls.  We had already planned to photograph a local favorite waterfall at night. A waterfall that has actually been witness to many tears of mine (personal side note). Cane Creek is my go to for solitude and reflection. The rain poured. This rainy Friday morning also included an Oswald Chambers reading. "Jesus came as the Light of the World, to perform a work of grace in the hearts of individuals."- Chambers. Light, grace, tears, Jesus, rain, waterfalls, darkness, weekend plans, and the images started coming together with the words. Adding to those words another scripture about the heart from Proverbs. "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." - Proverbs 4:23

This...isn't it incredible what raindrops, perfect timing, and a little light in the darkness can create?

He saves our tears, our sorrows, our heartaches. He sees you. Guard your heart. Trust Him. When the timing is right, through His grace and mercy, springs of beautiful life and light will flow through the darkness. The streams that flow just might help refresh someone else along the way as well. Thankful for a beautiful night under the moon and stars. Thankful for the people this experience was shared with too. An unspoken part of my own personal story as well. What an incredible night at Cane Creek.  


"Many men walk by day; few walk by night. It is a very different season." - Henry David Thoreau

So thankful for "a very different season."

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama cane creek preserve landscape photography personal photography travel waterfalls Sun, 05 Jan 2020 06:38:38 GMT
Here's to 2020  

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:11-13


These verses... my naive 22 year old self picked these verses to write in sharpie marker on my wooden handmade bunk bed in Malawi, Africa. We were encouraged to write a verse that would be left behind for the future missionaries who would occupy those beds. We were the first. Almost 20 years later, I have no idea if that bed still remains. What I do know is at 22, I had a strong desire to find contentment in the Lord and this photo sits by my desk as a reminder. I spent almost 6 weeks one summer and 2 weeks the following summer with beautiful smiling faces that may have lived in poverty but their souls revealed a joy that inspired. I wanted that. I missed however, a word recently discovered in those verses that changed everything for me. "Learned"

In her book Relentless, Michele Cushatt quotes Timothy Keller "this is a dark world. There are many ways we keep that darkness at bay, but we cannot do it forever. Eventually the lights of our lives- love, health, home, work - will begin to go out. And when that happens, we will need something more than what our own understanding, competence, and power can give us " This hit home... "more than our own understanding, competence, and power". Michele's book encourages readers to identify the presence of the Lord throughout their own lives. She referenced Joshua and encouraged readers to identify 12 different markers, a chapter dedicated to identifying each marker, where we truly see the Lord. These 12 "stones" create a memorial altar testifying to God's relentless presence with us.

As encouraged by Michele's book, the photo from Malawi is one of my altar stones. It's a reminder of very real moments where I determined to always find joy. That however is not exactly how life has played out and has proved to be so much easier said than done. Attempting in my own power, I know I have often forced life with a determined attitude to be positive. Throughout these past couple of years however, the "lights have gone out" which has led to a reliance on something outside of my own power. "Sometimes you can't bootstrap yourself to health. Sometimes, broken is all you have to offer" - Cushatt. Brokenness is so very real and brokenness is ok. Sitting in a Sunday school class, discussing the wandering Israelites, the discussion led to contentment. That wooden bunk bed with that verse flashed through my mind. It required a reread of scripture when I got home. I'd never focused on the word "Learned" - Webster's definition: "to gain knowledge or understanding of, or skill in, by study, instruction, or experience". Adding to that C.S. Lewis' view of experience - "Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn."

The reread of scripture, classroom discussions, Michele's book, and reflections on life, brought the realization that the years following desires in Malawi are full of reminders that God has continued to prepare, equip, and teach. I haven't always seen the good. It is such a process and some of the most difficult lessons being that contentment comes through the Lord, not in our own power to create joyful moments for ourselves. It also requires a faith that survives doubt and as she describes "for the men and women who feel beat up by a faith that has failed them and a God who has disappointed them". My own faith has felt these very things and failure has been a very real word in my own thoughts. Reflecting on these 12 stones gives joy through a whole lot of tears. Not only is there contentment, but Paul also describes earlier in chapter 4 a "peace of God which transcends all understanding". I can't explain how. I can't say there isn't fear at times. I can't say there isn't a struggle, but I can definitely share this peace has stood "guard" over my "heart and mind" in the most difficult moments as promised in scripture. It's every bit of a journey, both good and bad. He teaches and guides...we "learn". If you found yourself in a difficult place in your own journey this holiday season, I'd encourage you to grab a copy of Michele's book Relentless. Let her help walk you through the difficult places and see the Lord once again. When you can see the fingerprints of the teacher, know He loves you, and know He's with you, you really can find joy in the journey. The "peace of God"..."in Christ Jesus". C.S. Lewis also writes "Can we do it if God helps us? Yes, but what do we mean when we talk of God helping us? We mean God putting into us a bit of Himself, so to speak. He lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think...When you teach a child writing, you hold its hand while it forms the letters: that is, it forms the letter because you are forming them. We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it." God is with us and He holds our hands. 

I honestly wrote this a couple of weeks ago after reading Michele's book without knowing what the second photo would look like only knowing where it would come from. The contents didn't matter, only what it represented in how everything worked out. I also knew this second photo may not ever happen. I was ok with that too. Life changes in an instant and we are never guaranteed tomorrow. I am so thankful for these memories. Clayton really wanted to see us and I just didn't know how that would work. He's at an Airforce base over 18 hours away in the middle of New Mexico and can't take a lot of leave. Flying 6 people to see him wasn't an option. Clayton isn't one to ask for a whole lot and this crew has missed him so much too. He asked more than once and I finally agreed still not knowing how it would all work out. We drove a little over halfway and he met us in an area of the U.S filled with incredible beauty that I never knew existed. Oklahoma actually has mountains and canyons and not just plains. Who knew??? More photos from this adventure soon. The Lord continues to work things out for our family. This family photo, yet another precious reminder of the Lord's constant provision and the latest altar stone. So thankful. Humbly and maybe a little cautiously, because my faith still struggles at times, walking into 2020 doing my best to let the Lord hold my hand, look for Him in the journey, and embrace the learning process. He always goes before us. He promises to. Daily steps...Here's to 2020 and hopes of many more fabulous adventures! Happy New Year from our crew! 



]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) family personal photography travel weekly favs Wed, 01 Jan 2020 04:31:56 GMT
As A Man Speaks With His Friend...


I decided last night this had to be my waterfall Wednesday for today. We discussed in Sunday School class the Israelites wandering for 40 years...40 years. For those that know the story, sometimes there is quick judgment on their grumpiness wandering in the desert. Let me tell you though, I'm a few years into this praying for freedom and direction thing, and had I known it would look like this I would have opted out and never strung up a hammock in the woods years ago and prayed for my intended version of it. I'm not even in the desert either. I have been so guilty of grumpy. 40 years....and then it was also brought up about the journey, about a relationship built in the desert, not just the destination of the promised land they were headed for. Enter the "Walls of Jericho" hike in my brain. It is rated as the most difficult hike in Alabama. During my second hike the waterfall was dry. I've been 3 times and only seen water running into the bowl that first time. It is incredible standing at the bottom of the falls when it's running. Disappointment must have been so obvious that second hike because a friend commented about the look on my face as we took a break at the waterless pit. As we were hiking back out the question was asked, "What is the most important: the journey or the destination?" My vote was on the journey and my rationale...You can't always control the destination, might as well enjoy the journey. That speaks so much now. How in the world do we bring joy to this journey in miserable conditions? The answer is in the relationship. Moses had this relationship with the Lord. Exodus 33 states that Moses talked with the Lord "as a man speaks with his friend"...what an incredible relationship to have with the Lord. The Lord asked a whole lot of Moses, but Moses was also able to experience the Lord in such a rare way. Burning bush?? Cleft of a rock?? Can you even imagine??  It has always been about a relationship. I played ball growing up. What makes conditioning and sprint after sprint bearable? It's the relationships with your teammates, the future experiences you hope for as a team, you are in it together and you trust the coach. How did my boy survive basic training in the military? Probably a healthy fear for his superiors, but also the comrodery built among his crew. What made what is rated as the most difficult hike in Alabama fun even though there was no waterfall at the end? It was the people we were with (and probably the fact that we didn't lose anyone this time haha). When the Lord asks you to walk through the wilderness, He goes with you. King David echoes the same in Psalms "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me". The joy in the journey is found in the relationship with the One you are with. I'm still going to be guilty of complaining even though I know the outcome...I mean the 3rd time I hiked this trail I knew what I was in for and definitely still talked about how rough it was as we hiked out. Look at the photos at the end though, it was still beautiful even though it was again dry. It isn't always easy. There will be moments where you are grasping for air and it hurts deep. Keep hanging in. Express the realities of your emotions to the One by your side. He's a big God, He can handle it, and then watch in amazement as He he knows exactly what you need. He encourages, provides, carries, comforts, or my least favorites...He might even let you struggle in your stubborness or maybe convict and encourage you to step your game up a bit. Trust Him to know what's best. He's been there before and He knows. I honestly wouldn't trade this journey. There have been some absolutely amazing experiences along the way. 

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama landscape photography personal photography waterfall wednesday waterfalls Wed, 04 Dec 2019 06:01:00 GMT
We Shall Not Cease From Exploration



“We shall not cease from
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”


“For last year's words belong
to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.” -
T.S Eliot


I was nervous about driving out here again. This place is incredibly beautiful but there are bittersweet memories tied to it. Exactly one year earlier I had dropped my oldest boy off at the recruiters office to board a bus for a day of briefing. He would be officially sworn into the United States Air Force the following day and fly out to Texas for 8 weeks. Our family spent the day of briefing with friends off discovering new places in North Alabama. We showed him pictures of how we spent our day while he was being prepared to head out to basic training. He instantly stated "that's not fair, you guys go see places like this without me. When I get back home we are going back here."


Exactly one year later here we are and we brought Clayton with us. This year hasn't been an easy one. It is no secret that I find refreshment and comfort in nature. I also enjoy reading. Wild at Heart (written for guys but I loved it) is authored by John Eldredge who has written a few other books as well. Desire by Eldredge discusses a view of heaven and also quotes T.S. Eliot which meant I had to read T.S. Eliot's work in its entirety because I'm weird like that. The closing of "Little Gidding" is beautiful. Go read it...Eliot talks about waterfalls, rivers, and exploration but he eludes to something even greater. Perhaps a view of heaven.


Every time I have been to this waterfall I have had a heaviness in my heart for unspoken reasons. Every. Single. Time. Whether good or bad, we all bring our perspectives and our hearts with us when viewing some landscape. The scene speaks to each of us in different ways. As I looked out over this waterfall (after taking the vain 10 second auto-delay selfie shown lol), I thought of Eliot's words. At this point, I was only familiar with Eldredge's quote of the first four lines above. I wouldn't read the entire work until a few days ago. Isn't it true though, that something so familiar can feel totally new and different when circumstances change. I imagined what it would be like to gaze upon scenes such as these without an ache in my heart. When I hit the play back of my camera to view the vain selfie, I immediately noticed the leaves covering up the waterfall and another quote came to mind. This one by C.S. Lewis... “At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.”


And then it's just not meant to be yet. The ache will always be there. Some days it's more intense than others, but this world is not our home. One day, we will be complete with our Lord. The longing for heaven is a good thing and there isn't a single thing on earth that can satisfy it. So for today, after the brief moments of reflection, I captured the scene the best I could and then enjoyed time with 4 of my precious kiddos. We made more memories in these beautiful surroundings and went home exhausted and happy with the stories, videos, and photos to show for it. I love these kids and their laughter. I love their sense of adventure and desires to explore. So thankful for places of refreshment like these. Thankful for the ability to capture and experience moments of beauty. Thankful for the hope that one day we truly get to "mingle with the splendours we see" "And
know the place for the first time".

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama landscape photography photograph travel waterfalls Mon, 02 Dec 2019 04:22:45 GMT
To Strive, To Seek, To Find has been so long since I've added anything to this website blog. Life has not gone quite according to planned. Priorities needed to shift for a little while and that's ok. The goal is to get back to sharing perspectives behind the images. A new series is set to be released soon as well.

I love this first view. It's a reminder of this journey. We could hear the falls before it was visible. We knew we were so close. Our first attempt did not lead us here however. We literally spent hours of wondering, no trails, no blazes, nothing but wilderness, creek, and I was with a group of strangers that I had just met. There was fear in the unknown. In that wondering however, we were able to see and appreciate things we would have missed out on had we hiked directly to the falls. I also was able to spend more time with a great group of people that I now consider friends.

My life lately has paralleled this little hike in so many ways. Things haven't gone according to planned but that is ok. I still have hope in the destination being incredible. I have been allowed to see glimpses such as this first photo that remind me I'm one step closer. Glimpses of beautiful, but it's still not the right perspective to really appreciate the fullness of beauty. I have to believe in the progress made one step at a time...we all need to believe in the ultimate goodness of difficult journeys. I know I have chosen to submit to the Lord as my guide even though sometimes I don't always follow well. I know He has promised a helper in "weakness". I know "all things work together for good" - Romans 8 is such a great read full of life direction, conviction, and hope.

As we continued in this journey, climbing down and over a few more rocky places, everything opened up and we were finally able to see the treasures we had been looking for. I will forever remember this little hike and the beauty of hidden treasures found in North Alabama. May you always remember to never give up in the wilderness and never yield to the doubts that can so easily entangle you along the way. "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" - Alfred Tennyson

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama landscape photography photograph waterfalls Mon, 02 Dec 2019 04:12:33 GMT
Great Exuma 2018

“For words, like Nature, half reveal and half conceal the Soul within.” - Alfred Tennyson

     I love this quote...for a variety of reasons, mainly the truth in it. Photos are like words for me, so while the photo above and the beaches in the ones below portray an incredible beauty, the things that stuck with me the most on this little excursion aren't photographed and I don't even know how to begin to share. We'll keep with the photos...Exuma is an incredibly beautiful place.

    The Exumas...a group of over 365 cays stretching 130 miles. We stayed on Great Exuma near Georgetown the capital. We also visited Little Exuma and Stocking Island. We found this little place when Delta opened service 8ish years ago. We were the second flight to the islands, the first one to refuel on the island, an experience in itself for the terrified to fly person I am, but it hasn't kept us from going back. This was our 3rd trip. I used to work at a scuba diving shop, love to dive, and I've been to over half a dozen different Caribbean Islands and Exuma is our favorite because of the solitude. We don't even scuba dive here. It is not for everyone by any means. There is no party night scene, no crowds of people anywhere, relaxed pace, make your own adventure, a different way of life. There are a few resorts on the island, all inclusive, but you miss out on the experience if you just stay put in one place. We have stayed at Hideaways, a condo type place we found on VRBO, and then here at Augusta Bay. They are all about the same. We aren't picky...just a place to sleep and wash away the salt and sand from the day :) 

 Augusta Bay


     We arrived early in the day and took out the double kayak (I wanted single ones lol, but we couldn't find two singles, just one, so we managed to kayak together haha). The beach in front of the hotel isn't terrible, again, just not where you want to stay. We kayaked around the point to Jolly Hall Beach. It's a beautiful beach that you can walk to just down the road if you don't want to kayak. Kayaking however, allows you to snorkel around the point. Exuma has a lot of beautiful have to work a little to find rocks and reef that make for good snorkeling. Jolly Hall beach itself is beautiful. We didn't see another human being the entire time we relaxed on the sand and in the water. 

Jolly Hall Beach


     The next day we decided to head to Coco Plum beach at the northern end of the island. I checked the tides before going (you want to go at low tide) and low tide was around 10. It is about a 30 minute drive, no road signs to get you drive on the left side of the main highway. The roads are not crowded, in fact we took a round about the wrong direction and saw no one but when all you see is the back of the yield sign you know you are going the wrong way lol. Renting a car is the way to go. Taxi's are expensive, easily 30 dollars per way, I overheard $80.00 quoted for one location, and we rented a little car (pictured at the end) for 60 dollars/day, went all over the island more than once, and filled it back up for $25.00. We travel as cheap as possible. A car, or a boat to visit the different cays, are definitely worth looking into renting.

     Coco Plum is beautiful. It's where the first photo was taken. The water is low and you can literally walk for miles in the ocean which we did. I wore my GPS shows us going a mile into the ocean and the water never ever reached our waist. Here at Coco Plum you can find sand dollars. We have a basket full, only keep the dead white ones, throw the green ones back. We also found a few star fish, a few shells, and endless views of incredible clear/blue water. This was the most crowded beach we visited although at times just a few people there and there are literally miles of beach. I didn't edit people out of any of the photos...we were only around people for brief moments in passing. After enjoying the water, we walked back up towards the entrance and hung hammocks. Dave already fell out of his once, which was hysterical but not on camera, and then I wanted a photo of us both so I set up a the tripod, auto timer, 10 second delay, ran to get in my hammock, fell out, and of course that's what is captured on camera :) :) :) This is such a fabulous place to attempt to quiet your mind. 

Coco Plum Beach

Coco Plum Beach

     After Coco Plum we had intentions of eating at one of our favorite places, Big D's but they are closed on Mondays so we road tripped it to Santana's on Little Exuma. The BEST place to eat. We found this little gem on our second trip, it's a reason in itself to go back to the island. You never know what you are going to get though. They were out of ribs and shrimp this time, it's all fresh, but I go for the lobster, Dave got grouper so we were totally fine. Santana's is on the water...another beautiful view of incredible beach and water. We also made a stop after eating at the Tropic of Cancer Beach. We didn't play around here, just took a photo. There were about half a dozen people at this beach, but there would have been plenty of beach to walk and get away from the "crowd" had we wanted to stay. 

Santana's (the beach at Santana's has the grass and sea weed) and Tropic of Cancer Beach

     Day 3 we decided to take the water taxi over to Stocking Island. It makes two different drops...Hamburger Beach and the Chat n Chill. We've done the Chat n Chill before, wasn't our thing, the closest thing to a local beach hangout. We love Hamburger Beach though. It's $20.00 per person for the taxi, only $15.00 if you just want to do Chat n Chill. The solitude of Hamburger Beach is worth the extra $5.00. There are actually hiking trails all over Stocking Island. The entire Island is only 3.5 miles long or something like that. This wasn't a hiking adventure lol...this was Dave's beaches vacation so only a little light hiking. I wanted to hike to the top of the salt beacon and Dave agreed. We met another couple who seemed a little like Dave and I. He told his wife she wasn't even allowed to bring her running shoes on this vacation. We saw them at dinner the first night, then at Coco Plum the next day. We told them about Hamburger beach, hiking to the top of the beacon, that it was a short hike (although I was told by the guy that probably meant 30 or 40 miles lol) they rented a boat for the day, and we actually saw them here too. We exchanged photos...We were on the cliffs, they were on the beach and I've posted one of them and what she sent me. Love it! For the record though, it is only about a third of a mile round trip from the dock on the beach to the beacon. It's a little climb, but it's not far. We hiked more than that, but round trip to the beacon...1/3 of a mile lol. 

The trail and view from the salt beacon

Salt Beacon and Nev's Trail        

     This trail connected to what's called Nev's trail which leads to the other side of the island. Here there are incredible views of the Atlantic from the cliffs and as you follow the trail along, some points are just foot widths wide, which I didn't photo...didn't want to lose footing, the rocks are sharp, and you eventually get down to a the bottom. We found a hollowed out rock basically. Perfect shade for a beach towel, lunch, and shade. The tide was still low, you could lay in the tidal pools created by the rocks, see fish, and plenty of tiny shells to sift through. Beautiful, peaceful, and a beach with no footprints. We walked in the water and on the rocks a bit further looking in the tide pools, but left that part of the beach with no footprints. 

Nev's trail

Stocking Island Beach on the Atlantic side

     It rained on just about every beach but it was getting close to time for the water taxi to pick us back up, dark storm clouds, so we packed up and walked back over the Elizabeth Harbor side of the Island to wait on the taxi. If you have more time, you can hike north on this side to star fish beach and find quite a few Bahama star fish. We did this the first trip we made to Exuma. Our taxi had to make a pick up at the Chat n Chill so we were able to ride through one of the blue holes where the sail boats anchor.  

Hamburger Beach and a Blue hole

     We decided to drive back to Little Exuma after our taxi ride and look for a beach we remembered from our last trip. We couldn't find it the day before after Santana's and I hate being defeated. I told Dave it didn't matter, we could snorkel back at our hotel or drive. He chose to drive. I'm so thankful he did. This little beach is actually at Forbes Hill. Another beach with no people and a great place to snorkel. You want to snorkel when the tide is coming brings the clear water from the ocean towards shore rather than the tides carrying some of the beach sand out. We timed it wrong on our last trip and weren't able to snorkel, the visibility was terrible. This time, even though it wasn't planned, the water was so clear. We snorkeled along the rocks (til I got scared, I don't like being deep in the water unless I'm under the water (scuba gear) I don't like to feel like shark bait on top of the water lol). A few people showed up which was no problem. We walked across the rocks to another beach and then through a little grass trail to get back to our car.

Beach at Forbes Hill

Second Beach at Forbes Hill

     We stopped by our hotel to wash off the salt and then back to Big D's which we hoped was open. The food is fabulous and the views along the water are too. We've been told you can snorkel the rocks at this beach too, but we still have yet to attempt it. We stopped by Jolly Hall at sunset, although it was cloudy and sunset is actually on the opposite side. I didn't know if the clouds would turn, which they didn't. Still beautiful, quiet, and not a single person on the beach. I also included sunrise photos from the hotel every morning :) 

Big D's Beach, Jolly Hall, Sunrises from Augusta Bay

     We thought we were waking up to our last day on the island. I was hoping for stars (I love to photo the stars) and they were covered by clouds every morning. I got back up for should have known, yes it made me nervous, it was stormy to the left, but you have no choice to fly home. We packed up and headed to one more little beach I'd seen across from the airport. We didn't see a single person here either. This is a great little beach to say good bye :)

Sunrise at Augusta Bay, Beach in front of the airport turn off, Our car :)

     Our day didn't go according to planned at all. Long story, I about panicked in that little airport watching right out of the terminal gate window, front row, as they tried to fix our plane. They day ended with a grounded plane on an island that shuts down at night and definitely doesn't wake up for a 7a flight. The island airport personnel did their absolute best though, managed to get taxi's together to pick us all up that early, even though breakfast didn't happen, and found us all a bottle of water while we waited at the airport. Once on the plane, the attendants gave anything in their cart for food since no one had breakfast, and made it work the best they could. We all made it safely back to Atlanta. I'd go back in a heart beat. I love Emmerson and his Nature writing. "We must trust the perfection of the creation so far, as to believe that whatever curiosity the order of things has awakened in our minds, the order of things can satisfy" - Ralph Waldo Emmerson...So many different meanings and I'll continue to do my best to "trust the perfection of the creation" and the One who created it :) Thankful for moments to distance and encounter/experience different surroundings. A huge thanks to my parents for keeping the littles too!!!  





]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) great exuma personal photography vacation photography Sun, 17 Jun 2018 21:12:42 GMT
Monday Highlight: Light Out of Darkness Light Out of Darkness

     I had a wordy blog's been an interesting  month of reflection...but I erased it all. This photo is painted with light, a headlamp many thoughts, memories, parallels, etc but nothing can compare to 2 Corinthians 4, especially verse 6, which is actually from Genesis (fascinates me)... "Let light shine out of darkness"...the only way this photo/life is possible is because the light shines out of darkness. The perspective is totally different when these flowers are lit by the sun in the day time, or simply as a silhouette in the darkness among the stars. Only when the light shines out of darkness, does it create this stunning, unique perspective.

"Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken." Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians Chapter 4


     So grateful for the perspectives He gives, even the hard convictions...definitely thankful for the light He has given and continues to give us through the darkness, and the ways He daily provides renewal. We aren't granted exemption from troubles...but we are guaranteed "an eternal glory that far outweighs them all".

     This photo was taken with a Canon 5diii and a 50mm 1.4 lens. ISO 3200, f/7.1, 25 second exposure on a tripod. Flowers lit/painted with a backpacking idea which one, I have several in my bag lol. Always be prepared :) :) :) 

And one more time :) :) :) 

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) landscape photography skyscape weekly favs Mon, 05 Mar 2018 00:19:02 GMT
Weekly Highlight: Sunset Over Mobile Street Sunset Over Mobile Street

   Most of the time, shots are carefully planned. I know the location I'm wanting to shoot, the time frame I want to shoot it in, and I have the image planned out in my  mind. Sometimes it goes according to planned, more often than not however, it requires multiple trips to the same location. This shot however, was a spur of the moment, 3 images on a quick walk back to the car, and has since been featured by a couple different Alabama instagram feeds.  You just never know...

    I was downtown doing a senior photo session. This senior happened to be the big sister of one of my girls best friends. My little girl joined in as well as her friend and we walked the streets of downtown Florence taking senior photos. Carlie Rocked her session and I'm pretty sure everyone had a great time, in fact, I totally lost track of time. I realized my little girl was about to be late for a choir performance at church. We were almost finished taking photos anyway, just not even close to where we had parked :) Addi (my little girl) and I rushed to our car...relative term, I was only about a month post op from knee surgery. Along the way I happened to look at the sky as we crossed Mobile street and saw this...I had no idea what my camera was set on but I took 3 quick photos, framing up the best I could, and we were on our way.

(these girls...and then just a couple of Carlie, more from that session here)

     When I got home, downloaded these photos I couldn't believe what how incredible the sky was over Mobile street.  This was such a beautiful view of Florence and the small town that I love. I love the stone part of  Mobile street between Legends and the Shoals Theatre.  You can see mainstreet/Court street and the sky...just look at that sky. I am so thankful for these moments and pieces of beauty. Not every day ends this way, nor does a spur of the moment shot become a favorite. In this instance however, I was so grateful to have captured this view of downtown Florence and thankful for time spent with my little girl doing what I love. May you always take a few moments to look up.

Taken with a Canon 1-DSii and Canon 100mmL-lens. f/3.2, 800ISO and 1/8000 shutter shot in aperture priority mode


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:36:22 GMT
Monday Highlight: Experience is the True Value Experience is the True Value

     Fresh air is fabulous. I've tried to instill in my kiddos the same appreciation for the natural refreshment of the soul that can be found in nature. Sometimes it involves them waiting on me to photo the perfect moment, but most of the time, they have just as much fun as I do. This week's highlight, part of the first 2018 release found at Reclaimed Spirit, (in downtown, Florence) was taken along a favorite little walking trail that begins at the Old Railroad bridge. I have multiple photos in the 2018 release from different places along this trail at different times. It just communicates  "this is the Shoals" at so many points along the trail. We brought a friend along for this one...a good friend, who probably gets just as tired as my kiddos get  sometimes with my slight photo obsession ;) The kiddos played, throwing and skipping rocks in the river while I watched and waited on the sunset.



     Sunset from this spot...beautiful as always. It doesn't matter if it's cloudy, partly cloudy, the sky lights up as the sun sets, fades to pink and purple as it goes away, or on evenings such as this one where there isn't a cloud in the sky. The unpredictable show is part of the glory and refreshment found in the watching. Favorite quote by Monet, who painted the same scenes multiple times in different light....“For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.” - Monet

"the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life"...the light, the weather, the people you are with or if you are a witness alone..."true value" is found in the simplicity of the experience. Appreciate and enjoy the changes...Get outside and explore :)

Taken with a Canon 5diii, 24mm L lens. ISO 100, f/20, and a 1.0 second shutter on a tripod :)

(weekly favs found here)

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 2018 release behind the scenes landscape photography monday highlight personal photography weekly favs Mon, 12 Feb 2018 16:34:02 GMT
Weekly Highlight...Always Go: Beauty Awaits Always Go: Beauty Awaits


     This week I chose to highlight a favorite taken this week that we almost missed out on. My kiddos talked about taking a little hike to watch the sunset somewhere and we debated where to go. The sky was partly cloudy and looked promising. We were still undecided as to where we wanted to go but as it got closer to time to leave, the sky was totally overcast and completely filled with gray clouds. We didn't really have motivation to go but my husband came inside from working in the yard and said let's just go, we need to get these kiddos out a little bit. We chose a local view of the river in Killen where the kiddos enjoy skipping rocks from the dock. The river water level was down so we ventured off to the right where a little creeks enters the river. We found a rope swing!!! The kiddos had fun swinging out over the water and thankfully neither of them let go :) It is way to cold to swim lol.











     The clouds began to part when we got there and the sky transitioned from the beautiful golden sunset colors to firey pink, then the purples and pinks shown above, and finally the beautiful blue photos where I finally turned the camera from the sky to my kiddos. So thankful we made these memories that we almost missed out on. Always go...reminds me of a favorite quote :)

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”― H. Jackson Brown Jr., P.S. I Love You (I actually had Mark Twain, but read where this quote has been misattributed to Twain...who knows)

     This photo was taken with Canon Mark iii and 24mm L lens. ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/13 shutter speed. I should have slowed down the shutter just a bit but I had already taken the camera off the tripod to photo the kiddos and the sky started to turn purple. I quickly placed it back on the tripod and snapped just two photos before the color in the sky was gone. It all happened so fast. So thankful we decided to get outside!!! 

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) behind the scenes landscape photography monday highlight personal photography weekly favs Mon, 05 Feb 2018 14:43:34 GMT
Monday Highlight: Finding Your Peace Finding Your Peace

     Welcome to the it! The TVA trail is a local favorite of mine. There are actually quite a few side trails and paths along the TVA trail. These aren't really wilderness trails, but a great place for a quick breath of fresh air. This particular photo is taken off the paved path leading to the Rock Pile waterfall. I noticed a flat little area to the left off the trail, down the rocks, along the rivers edge. I honestly forgot my tripod for this one but it actually ended up being a great thing. Sometimes you just use what nature gives you. This time it was a flat little rock barely above the water. The water gracefully flowed around the rocks in this little area sheltered from the Tennessee river by larger rocks. You could see them dam in the distance, a definite Shoals landmark, and the sun had just started to peep over the bluff to the right. I sat there on the rocks for a bit watching minnows, listening to the river roll by, and then took a few photographs.

     This particular photo was taken with a Canon 1-ds ii, 24mm L lens, at ISO 100, f/18 and a 1 second exposure with a neutral density and polarizing filter attached. It was taken in the morning, but I don't remember around what time. It takes the sun some time to rise above the bluff and I'm not sure just how late it was. I sat there for a little while before and after photos... didn't really think about the time.

     So thankful for simple places to get away...places where you can crawl down rocks, find solitude, disappear, pray and reflect, even in the business of the Shoals. 

"I think it's very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person" -Oscar Wilde 

**This weeks highlight is an image from the 2018 premier collection at the studio...weekly favorites from this week here

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project landscape photography personal photography the shoals area weekly highlight Mon, 29 Jan 2018 15:31:12 GMT
Monday Highlight: Patience After the Setting Sun Patience After the Setting Sun...


     Florence, Alabama and the surrounding Shoals area is blessed with diverse local beauty that is easy to access. There are places to bike, swim, hike, kayak...all outside and close by. On this particular evening colder weather was moving in to the area, like dropping into the teens, and I am just not a fan of cold weather. The kids and I explore often and found this quiet little rock bar with an amazing view of the Old Railroad bridge and O'Neal bridge. We've since been to this spot a few times. The clouds in the sky were promising a great sunset and my kids were off on an adventure of their own.  I asked my husband David to take me back. You never just never know what the sky will do until you are there in the moment. Sometimes you simply get the experience of being outdoors with someone you love, which is fabulous in itself,  and then sometimes you get this...a phenomenal and rare view of a familiar location.

     The water had receded even further than a few days earlier, more than I'd ever seen it, and we were able to walk quite a ways out. The colors in the sky and reflections in the water had changed from the blues with white clouds to beautiful yellows and oranges with a mixture of blue and white. I took photos of that too...those photos will be for another day, I took a whole series of keepers on this evening. I set my tripod up in a few different locations. Here I attempted to frame up the bridge, the docs, and the rocks below with the incredible sky.

     The sun set, the canon fired, and we were cold. I told David to hold on for just a little bit longer...the sky is still going to turn, it's not finished yet. We waited, I felt guilty for making him wait, knowing we still had to walk back to our vehicle on the trail, in the cold, possibly in the dark, knowing he was ready to make the hike back...and then the pinks and purples began to appear. They lasted only a few minutes, but a few minutes was all that was needed to capture this photo with my hubs along with this weeks highlighted image of the incredible sky over O'neal and the Railroad Bridge.

     The TVA goes from the Old Railroad bridge all the way to Wilson dam. You can bike it, hike side trails, walk/run it. This view is from one of the side trail and the closest access is the Old Railroad Bridge parking lot. Adventure awaits...views like this await and it doesn't require walking very far to experience them. Love the Shoals!!!

Taken with a Canon 5D iii and 24mm L lens on a tripod. ISO 100, f/20, 4.0 second shutter.


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama fine art florence alabama landscape photography lauderdale county landcape photographer monday highlight old railroad bridge oneal bridge reclaimed spirit the shoals Mon, 22 Jan 2018 14:52:04 GMT
End of the Favs: Winter Reset This is the end of the favorites blog....posting a day early because Monday starts a new trend. I'm resetting things this winter and this is one way I'm doing just that. Stay tuned for other changes here on the website and in studio as well. I'll always have on my website a public album each week of images from that week. All of my albums are private and locked with a password. The intent of weekly favorites was a way to share images that clients have approved but it all seems pretty impersonal. I'm changing it up to highlighting a photo a week from the printed art collection at the studio or simply a favorite from the week. I'll talk about what went into it, settings, etc. In addition, I'll also do blog posts from each photo session or outing. A little more personal, information for those that care or want to learn, a little more condense, and not overwhelming with photos. If you want to scroll through photos, I'll always post when the weekly public gallery is posted, but it will just be that...a gallery of photos you can go look at. If you want the story behind the photos, feel free to head on over to the blog. Here's to the start of something new after these January week 3 favorites. These are mostly my kiddos and our experiences during the arctic Alabama snow week with a fabulous maternity session mixed in. A week out of school and a week of fabulous memories even though this momma is definitely ready for school to start back this week!!!! 




]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer maternity photography personal photography weekly favs Mon, 22 Jan 2018 01:54:45 GMT
Weekly Favs: January Week 2 Cold temps and prepping for spring both in studio and prepping for all these births that have signed up :) I love birth photography and I love having my landscape artwork at Reclaimed Spirit in Florence. The new series release is available in new 6x6 stands outs!!!! Prints of these available soon :) The kiddos and I also took some time to visit my parents in South, Alabama this week. Enjoying the break before crazy schedules begin :) Spring sessions, senior sessions, family sessions, and lots of birth as well as crazy kiddo schedules!!! Can't wait!!! A little quote love and a few photos from this week!!

“There is so much beauty in these moments He is giving you. And even when you already know it to be true, sometimes it is the little things that remind you His never-ending goodness has never left you.” – Morgan Harper Nichols


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography landscape photography personal photography reclaimed spirit weekly favs Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:42:23 GMT
Weekly Favs...First week of January!!! The first week of January was pretty brutal for north Alabama. I think we had an entire week where it never got above freezing. It also meant icy photos and scenes we aren't used to that were absolutely beautiful. I took a couple of my kiddos out and we enjoyed these freezing temps as much as possible. I also photographed one family who fabulously braved the cold weather as well as photographed a birth (not posted). Take a look at the free birth sessions I am offering here...due to the success of this style already, I've decided to permanently offer this as an option in addition to traditional birth sessions and full package birth stories. I will also be continuing to sell fine art local landscape images printed on various mediums at Reclaimed Spirit in downtown Florence. I love being a part of this studio as well and it has been such a huge blessing in 2017. Thank you so much for your support at the studio, with portraits, and births in 2017!! I love capturing all these moments on camera. I can't wait to see what this year has in store. Here's to a fabulous 2018 despite its cold and brutal start!!! Love this Hemingway quote too. It brings hope for warmer days!!!

...But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen..." - Ernest Hemingway



]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project birth photography landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography weekly favs Wed, 10 Jan 2018 01:49:51 GMT
End of December Favs :) Favorites from the end of December...The end of December up until about March, life slows down a bit. No more ball til spring, few portrait photo sessions except the rare ones that embrace the cold, and schedules aren't as busy. I used to dread it as a photographer, almost makes me want a studio...I've had studio space offered before, but it is just not my now I embrace it and love the down time. It's time to reflect, refresh, and renew :) I have shot a few birth sessions too but they may not ever be posted (I'm always ok with that)...but for the most part, during this time of year, I read, educate, and grow. Enjoy these photos. 2017 was such a great year!! Nothing went according to planned for my family I don't think lol, but in reflection, we made so many great memories as well. The last photo is my beautiful thankful for their love and support :) 



]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography weekly favs Mon, 08 Jan 2018 18:52:14 GMT
Births...Book Your Free Birth Session 2017 has been such a great year in births...highlights to follow :) I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store. I absolutely love birth sessions and they are my favorite to photograph. I would love to capture your birth story as well. There are two different options for booking your birth sessions. You can pay in full and reserve your date before hand (information here, savings of at least $150.00) or you can choose to use the free birth session option and pay for what you want through various packages (read here). I look forward to capturing your birth story!!! Message for details. Now enjoy these highlights from 2017. All birth photos that are posted to social media are selected by family. Privacy is always respected. There are some birth sessions captured this year that were never posted or made public due to family preferences :)

  I love what I get to do. Looking through all of these and compiling them together brings tears to my eyes. The miracle of life is such a beautiful thing. Thank you to all of those that allowed me in the delivery room. Being in the delivery room with a camera is one of my favorite places to be. I love being a birth photographer! 

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama birth county florence lauderdale photographer photography stories Sat, 30 Dec 2017 19:14:24 GMT
Weekly Favs: December Week 2 A week late on week 2...I'll post last weeks favorites tomorrow :) :) Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! What a great week in photos!! This week includes a birth session!!!! 

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography shoals landscapes weekly favs Tue, 26 Dec 2017 17:05:50 GMT
Weekly Favs: December Week 1 What a fabulous week in photos :) :) :) 


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography senior session weekly favs Wed, 13 Dec 2017 04:21:27 GMT
Weekly Favs: November Week 5, Tree Farm Mini Sessions

Mini Sessions...I am definitely not a fan. They stress me out. Being a mom of 5, I cannot imagine the stress of prepaying or agreeing to pay up front for a session, getting a crew of kiddos ready, and then praying that they perform perfectly for 15 to 20 minutes. For those photographers that thrive off of this type thing and can get a family to perform, props to you, we all have our strengths :) I am not that girl...I prefer engaging in the lives of the people I am photographing for about an hour. I want to photograph the character of my clients. I want them as relaxed as possible for photos (no session fee or payment up front). And not just spend any hour, but a perfectly timed hour with the sunlight. I'm also a landscape photographer, which means outside...not a studio girl either. I shoot natural light...I find the light...and I love being outside. Problematic when it's 20 degrees outside, yes I know this, but if you plan for it and know business will die in January and February except for a few brave souls, it's all good. Thank goodness I'm a birth photographer too :) Those take place inside, and again, I love capturing the story of the moment with those too.

With all that being said, two years ago I offered my first set of mini sessions. They were offered to friends who really wanted sessions at the Christmas tree farm. As I said earlier, I love to engage in the lives of those I photograph. That is so easy with friends. The best of friends at that and a 20 minute session with the purpose of tree farm photos is fine with people you know. It was a stressful busy time of year, it rained, we took photos in the drizzle and breaks in the drizzle. I only had one day to get them in and we didn't have a choice. We still had a great time and the photos were still a success. The unimaginable took place shortly after however. My dear friend's little boy was diagnosed with a brain tumor and passed away a few months later. The tree farm mini sessions are the last family photos of them all together. Needless to say as a friend I took it hard, as a photographer I took it hard as well. I should have photographed more moments, more expressions, more smiles as this family interacted with each other. When approached by a few to do tree farm sessions the following year I said no. There was just no way. I went to Shell's with my family, but no way could I go and take photos for others.

Fast forward another year later to this year. Again approached to do tree farm sessions and this time I said yes. Again for a group of friends and people I know. I cannot express how thankful I am that we took these. I LOVE them. Loved them enough to offer a second date, and time has run out for a 3rd but next year I will plan better. There is just something about the season, the tree farm, being outside, and families interacting together that makes my heart smile, especially with lessons learned from two years ago. Yes these are quick, not my style because I'd love to spend an hour with everyone, but the lighting or timing doesn't allow it. I shoot the light. Each of these sessions has a slightly different look based on the sun. I like to shoot in the "golden hour" and the only way to do that or get close to it, is to stack sessions back to back and limit them to 15 minutes so everyone gets a piece of that time frame....the Mini Session :) :) :)   

So my favorites this week come from the tree farm (minus one family who is using tree farm photos as a gift) followed by a few from the first tree farm mini sessions in honor of Cooper...I picture him just like he is in some of these...running around enjoying life in heaven. I'll post next week from the other sessions I did this week (loved those as well, and the families I was able to interact with). Included in next week however, taken this week though, photos announcing the pregnancy of my sweet friend (Cooper's mom). This baby has been handpicked by his or her big brother in heaven :) We also say God sometimes lets Cooper paint the sky...and take a look at the sunset the last night I was at the tree farm :) Love it!!! The emotions of this week...this week has been such a blessing to my soul. This week I am so thankful for the blessings seen behind the lens of my camera. I truly love being a photographer and love the families I photograph. 



Cooper and his family :)


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) family photographer lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography tree farm mini weekly favs Mon, 04 Dec 2017 06:46:03 GMT
Weekly Favorites: November Week Four November hasn't been the easiest of months physically, and a more chaos than normal has been the norm it seems. The physical hardship is temporary and we have so much to be thankful for. Thankful for family, thankful for the "village" of friends and church members. This week was spent with family, celebrating traditions, and a few session that can't be shared just yet :) So thankful...anything experienced here, the good and the bad, is only temporary :) 

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” - Hebrews 12:28, 29. 


Photography by H. Sumner: Florence Alabama and Shoals area landscape, portrait, and birth photographer



]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project lauderdale county portrait photographer newborn photography personal photography shoals landscapes weekly favs Wed, 29 Nov 2017 17:35:58 GMT
Black Friday, Small Busines Saturday, Cyber Monday, end of November Specials!!!!! Birth Sessions and Birth Stories are on Sale!!!!!!!

Birth sessions booked between now and December 1st are now $75.00 off. Full Birth Story packages booked between now and December 1st are $125.00 off. Deposits must be paid by December 1st in order to receive the discount. Please message for booking instructions. Check out the Birth Photography section of the website for more information. Enjoy these few images from previous sessions :) 


Birth Announcements

Gender Reveal



Fresh 48 hospital sessions


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography birth session birth stories florence alabama birth photographer Fri, 24 Nov 2017 03:24:03 GMT
Favorites: November Week 3 Thankful for this week, I love weeks where I get to photograph births!!! I'm still limited on how much I can get out and about to photograph landscapes and this isn't all of the sessions by any means. It's portrait gift time and some clients want photos to remain a surprise :) Week 3 of November favorites here on the blog!!!

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography lauderdale county portrait photographer newborn photography weekly favs Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:37:02 GMT
Births Are My Favorite: Meet Ann Wallace :) I love to photograph births and love birth stories (more info here)!!! Meet Ann Wallace! This little cutie was born on November 14th at 12:50pm weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce and 21 inches long. She is absolutely adorable and perfect in every way. Congrats Blakely and John!!! You two have so much to be proud of! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of these beautiful moments :) 




(one day hopefully ECM will allow photographers in the operating room!!! I still love these though!!!!)

The day after birth

I mean she really is absolutely perfect!!! 


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography florence alabama birth photographer north alabama medical center Sat, 18 Nov 2017 19:27:15 GMT
Favorites: The First two Weeks of November :) A little late...but here are the favorites from the first two weeks of November. It hasn't quite gone according to planned, evident by the surgeon, crutches, and brace. Thankfully I have amazing clients who are patient and I've still been able to photo a little bit :) I also realized this probably wasn't the best time to start back weekly but that's ok too lol. Landscapes have been limited and although I've taken quite a few more family photos, they are being saved for gifts, Christmas cards, etc and not public :) (I always respect privacy and client wishes as far as social media) It has been an interesting two weeks but I still love what I get to do!!!!




]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography portrait photography weekly favs Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:20:26 GMT
October Favorites: Births, Landscapes, Portraits, :) So I'm going to start back to weekly favorites...Monday will be two weeks of November, then every week. There are just way too many. Minor injury and surgery set back towards the end of this month...late posting and I'm not going to include them all but will include the gallery link plus a slide show if anyone wants to see them :) :)

The first photo is definitely a favorite, slide show and gallery link to follow...attitude and sass...may we all have it, in just the right way, and in just the right amount, whenever we need it :) :) :)  


"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” - Winston S. Churchill 


Slideshow :) :)



Gallery Link

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project birth photography landscape lauderdale county portrait photographer lifestyle personal photography weekly favs Sat, 11 Nov 2017 18:21:00 GMT
Milky Way Favs 2017 Ever since I was about 8 years old I have loved the night sky. I had a telescope, subscription to earth sky magazine, and watched Space Camp about 100 times. A few years ago, I learned how to shoot the galactic center of the milky way. I learned it has seasons, the time to shoot it best changes during those seasons, the weather has to be just right to get the best images, and you need a dark sky (no moon or city light pollution). I also updated my lenses just a bit mid season this year to capture stars better :) We don't get too dark here in Florence, Alabama...but dark enough to get some fabulous images above the Forks of Cypress and another county road. I've also taken photos at family property in Fort Deposit, Ashford, and a few different places we've traveled to this summer like above the misty canyon of Little River Canyon Preserve. I've taken a few from my own backyard as well. The last image was taken last night in Fort Deposit. I was hoping for one more photo before the season is over however it didn't really happen. The galactic center is already too far to the west and the humid air as well as the lights from Greenville drowned out the center. It's all good though. Hoping for a better season next year in new places (photo goals...a dark sky park somewhere) and better shots from my favs here in Florence :) Soooo here is 2017, from barely above the trees as the season began in my own backyard, to a not so visible season closing in Fort Deposit, Alabama :) 


"It is all very beautiful and magical here---a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breathe it...The skies and land are so enormous, and the detail so precise and exquisite that where you are you are isolated in a glowing world between the macro and the micro, where everything is sidewise under you and over you, and the clocks stopped long ago." - Ansel Adams




]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) center galactic milkyway nightscapes personal photography Wed, 11 Oct 2017 01:44:55 GMT
September favs (birth, maternity, landscapes, seniors, NICU) Goals....after this month's post, it's back to weekly favs...there are just too many to narrow down each month!!! Here's the favorites from Florence landscapes, birth, maternity, seniors, and even a visit to the NICU :)




]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project birth photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography weekly favs Fri, 29 Sep 2017 18:21:26 GMT
Birth Story Slide Show...Bennett     

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography slideshow story Thu, 28 Sep 2017 12:57:19 GMT
Birth Photography...Where It Started to Where It Is Now Birth of my passions. I fell in love 3 years ago as I photographed my own baby boy shortly after birth. The full story is here, for anyone interested (long and wordy, think hormonal post partum woman), but ever since then I've known this is what I've wanted to do. It has taken time to learn how to balance life, family, and 2 part time jobs. I've spent 3 years becoming more educated, studying, and photographing births as well as being a nurse on the 4th floor at ECM (women's health, post partum) for 5 years, and 6 total years in business behind the camera. I've also become a member of the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers. The IAPBP is and continues to be a great resource for education, community, and ideas.  My equipment has vastly improved from these moments right here as well. I'm so proud of what I was able to get here but improved equipment has helped the images even more. I bring 3 professional Canon cameras (d-series, and ds-series) with top of the line Canon L-lenses. I shoot 2 cameras, use the 3rd as a backup. I am so comfortable now photographing in the delivery room. Point...after lots of prayer, starting at the beginning of October, I will no long function as a nurse at ECM but will be completely focusing on photography. The goal is focusing on birth photography however I will still continue to photograph my usual portraits (lifestyle) that I've offered for years and sell local landscape images at Reclaimed Spirit in downtown Florence. I am so excited to be offering this service full time. Honestly, even though I love these images I captured of my own birth, I wish I would have had a photographer in the room to get the special moments of the actual birth and moments with my husband and I. I have no real regrets though. Soooooo here's a tribute to where it all began, feel free to browse the blog, facebook, and my website for images of where it is now...and I can't wait to see what all the future holds. Thank you, as always, to those who allow me into the delivery room to capture the beautiful miracle of life :) :) :)




]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography personal photography Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:09:39 GMT
August Favs :) I've been slightly quiet in my posts over the last few days...two of my favorite quotes...

"With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things." - William Wordsworth

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy, is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be." - Anne Frank

True stories...I just love quotes and reading the works of others. Changes happening soon. For now...a little late, and only a few photos from each session, here are August's favorites! (which includes a preview to a post coming in October) 



]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project birth photography landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography weekly favs Thu, 07 Sep 2017 05:14:50 GMT
July Favs :) "Every day I discover more and more beautiful things" - Claude Monet...true story. This has been a great month :)

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project birth photography personal photography weekly favs Tue, 01 Aug 2017 13:16:30 GMT
A Few Favs from June :) Who am I kidding...I do not have the time to do weekly favs...sooo here is June, and not even all of June. I don't post everything I take or everywhere I go  ;) This month, featured by This is Alabama, Only in Alabama, and Visit Florence :) Also a photo like from Richard Bernabe....maybe one day I'll be photographing Africa as his apprentice lol :) :) :) I love his work, made my day. I also love what I do...and remember prints, wall art, and small gift items from my Florence work is available for purchase at Reclaimed Spirit in downtown Florence. Anything else (in the category of landscape art) is located here and can be purchased as digital downloads and printed from there. Thanks for all the support...

"Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough" - Emily Dickenson


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer love the shoals weekly favs Wed, 12 Jul 2017 19:43:07 GMT
Weekly Favs weeks 21 and 22 Slightly behind as always. Favorites, minus a few portrait session that haven't been publicly posted yet :) Always respect privacy (always get permission before posting)...even if those are a few of my favorite photos!!!

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer shoals landscapes weekly favs Mon, 05 Jun 2017 20:23:32 GMT
Weekly Favs...Week 20/52 This week, this month...when everything with the school year comes to a close. I've photographed quite a spectrum of life events this week and spent a little time alone outside in an attempt to process the past few weeks. A newborn, a senior, a family, my own kiddos making memories with their classmates, and visited the grave of the most precious little super hero. My oldest boy is almost a senior and my oldest girl came home from college for the weekend. We spent a little time together as just us girls and spent time with everyone around the dinner table. It was good to be together. This week went by so fast. None of these session or moments in time lasted long...I love John Mayer's song. It is so perfect. This week, even though my husband was gone all week, the baby got sick, and it was chaos fitting everything in, there were moments where I definitely wanted to "stop this train".

Once in a while, when it's good
It'll feel like it should
When you're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing
'Till you cry when you're driving away in the dark

Singing, stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know, I can't
'Cause now I see I'll never stop this train - John Mayer





]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project personal photography weekly favs Mon, 22 May 2017 16:21:46 GMT
A Month of Favs :) It's been a month since the last post. I should have posted Monday, but's the middle of May. EVERYTHING seems to happen in May. I've photographed births, proms, senior sessions, family sessions, and have made time to get outside a little bit as well. I've organized these into categories. I have resolved to do better. We'll start with what I've have photographed this week in next week's favorites. Week 20 posting on Monday...goals!!!



Prom and Leadout



A Little bit of Newborn Love


A Little Bit of Senior Love


And finally...Adventures :)

And if you've hung in this long go and visit Reclaimed Spirit in Florence, Alabama where my Florence, Alabama landscape artwork is for sale on wood, bamboo, and fine art prints :) This is my baby boy holding up my 16x20 matted and framed (20x24 frame) of Havasu Falls as well as an 11x14 wooden print of Mooney Falls. The hubs and I backpacked to this beautiful place. Blog here...and if you want photos of Havasu for your walls you can download here. I LOVE printed photo artwork!!!!


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project landscape photoraphy love the Shoals personal photography weekly favs Fri, 19 May 2017 21:34:16 GMT
Havasu Falls...Supai, Arizona      If I have a lot to say, more like if I have a lot that I feel, I always start out with "I struggle for words". This time is no different. I debated even sharing photos. They do not do the place justice one, and was a really hard trip. We joked quite a bit before going, and while I knew it would be difficult, prepared for the difficulty, but that last mile...preparing your mind for it as you've already walked over 2 miles in the afternoon sun (never ever do this), 7 total that day already, looking around, seeing no one (not the case on the hike in), your spouse about 50-100 yards back bent over not having the energy to go back to him, knowing you just need to sit a minute, drink some fluid, it's gonna be ok. Putting that camel back bite valve in your mouth to get that sip and nothing...try again...nothing...let's just say it isn't a great feeling. Thankfully we found a rock that provided some shade, which we stayed under for 2 hours debating the best options, knowing we were drained, already on the trail 6.5 hrs, knowing we had a 1000ft mile long climb and not quite knowing exactly how far we had left before we started that climb, not even being able to see the trail on the canyon wall because it's just that narrow, knowing we were both out of water, not knowing how much we'd lost...dry heat, you don't sweat (we had 3 liters each for the record when we started that morning, and then a liter of water with electrolyte mix). Thankfully 3 girls who were starting the hike later afternoon did walk by, I asked them how far before the switchbacks started. They gave the info and encouragement that we were close, and also offered water, because they had plenty (it's not the hike in, Dave had a 1.5 liters left that night after we got in, I had about a liter left, it's the hike out in the heat after the 14 miles the day before that make it hard)...that, a lot of prayers, and the sinking sun, not nearly as hot, we were able to make that last climb out of the canyon. Was it worth every bit of it...the first 30 minutes under that rock my mind probably would have said no lol...we were that exhausted and thirsty. But when I realized Dave and I both had this, we just needed to let the sun go down some, regain some energy, yes it was worth it. I know what we'd do different next time, better shape for one lol, have more time, not hike in the heat, and have about 100mls of water in a bottle reserved for the climb :) It is such an amazing place and definitely worth the hard :)

     Havasu falls, just google it...all kinds of info out there I won't rehash. In looking at the images and reading all the experiences online, I knew I wanted to do this. It didn't take a whole lot of convincing...Dave agreed. I couldn't wait. I had a backup campsite in a campground near the Grand Canyon National Park just in case we couldn't get permits (you have to get permits to camp, read on that too...almost impossible to get). We secured permits on the second day they went on sale before the internet booking system crashed. I was so so so excited. It was starting to become a reality. I won't continue in the planning details, but my pop became very ill. We talked of not even going, and even in all that, comfort was given and we made the decision to fly out. We landed in Phoenix. The best two options to the Hualapai Hilltop are from either the Phoenix airport or Vegas airport. You drive 4 to 5 hours to the trailhead. The drive itself is beautiful for someone who has never been to that side of the United States...and the speed limit was 75...yes, I took a photo of that too! And a rainbow cloud...needed that cloud :) We camped the first night at Grand Canyon Caverns, about an hour from the trailhead.


I can not say enough about the people of this campground. I had read mixed reviews. We left here later than planned. It was on route 66 towards Indian Road 18 (the road that dead ends into the trailhead) where we got enough signal that a message came through my phone. I could not get enough signal to call out. We went back to the campground. She let me call home. I knew the news, mom told me what she'd post if she had to leave, but the sweet sweet lady who worked the desk let me use her phone. After I took some time outside with Dave, because even knowing the news, it doesn't make it easy to hear, again discussing options, the lady asked who my cell provider was and told me where we could drive to get signal. I could have made all my phone calls from that desk, but I wanted the privacy and she helped me get it. Yes it's camping (they also have a lodge), yes it's in the middle of nowhere, but I will always have positive things to say about the campground.

After rearranging, talking to the airline and knowing our options, talking to friends, my mom...we decided to cut the trip short a day meaning we hiked in on day one, out on day two. It isn't ideal, maybe a little selfish...maybe a lot selfish instead of going home immediately to be with family and get my kiddos. I do know however, for what it's worth...I am so incredibly thankful for all those that allowed me the chance to see the waterfalls and for my husband, who knew he was giving up that day of rest in between, but still willing to hike to the falls :) We set out...even the roads out here are beautiful.


It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to get to the trailhead from the campground. Again, I can't express the beauty of the canyon...and now for the photos...they can speak for themselves although I'll explain a little. God is so diverse in His creation and so thankful to be able to see a part of it I'd never seen before.

This is the view from the hilltop in the morning. It looks totally different in the afternoons. The sun falls behind this part of the canyon as it sets. The sandy trails in the middle are the trails towards Supai. They break to the right and follow down the canyon. The ground looks semi flat towards the right at first glance. But if you look (very right of photo is the best place to tell) you can see where it narrowly dips into even more canyon. This is where the trail goes. In between the narrow canyon walls.


The terrain changes as you walk the trail...You start out with narrow switchbacks that drop you 1000 feet in the first mile. Mule and horse trains use these as well and you definitely want to be cliff side when they pass. Everything, even the mail, is carried by the horses or helicopter.


This next photo I should have studied going in...I should have studied what the canyon wall really looked like after we descended and were on the sandy flat. It looked slightly different on the way back. The sun was on the opposite side. But after the almost 2 miles in the heat on the sandy trail (9 total), and then seeing that canyon wall, a dot of a helicopter landing on top of it, with no apparent trail, even though you see the signs that you are on the right path (footprints, horse poop, etc). You doubt...(and your husband doubts), and you are alone. I knew I saw the signs, but that canyon wall, not remembering how it looked, did we approach it is so intimidating. There is a lesson in that, now that I'm out of it. 

You descend ever further into the canyon and again the terrain changes a bit. It's absolutely beautiful. I read a lot before going (although I'm sure now I should have paid more attention) and some didn't appreciate the walk in compared to the falls. I loved every bit of it. I thought it was all beautiful


We reached the sign to Supai meaning not a whole lot further. I only took the two following photos in Supai...I know other people take all kinds but for me it was a respect thing. I wouldn't want my life on display all the time every time I went outside. I'm not sure these people do either.

After checking in Supai, getting our permit bands, resting a bit, we continued to last two miles to our campground. On the way to the campground you pass 3 waterfalls. 50 foot falls, Little Navajo Falls, and Havasu falls. There was a trail leading to 50 foot. David waited while I walked down it a bit but I turned around before getting to the end. We were tired. We were able to see if from a lookout point at Little Navajo. I did walk down to the bottom of Little Navajo. Absolutely beautiful.

After these two falls you get to Havasu falls...but I'm saving those photos. I took them on the way in, but because of the sun, the images on the way out look so much better :) We made it...I can't put into words just how beautiful. We set up camp, rested a bit, and then without a whole lot of daylight left, decided to walk down to Mooney falls (the 4th waterfall) without the weight of our big ole backpacks :) We brought packable day packs...the plan was to explore without the full load on day two. I think packable day packs is a fabulous idea btw...even though we didn't get to use them much since we cut the trip short, it was so much better than lugging around a pack.

We only descended about halfway down Mooney. There are two tunnels and a series of chains and ladders to get you to the bottom. From Mooney you can go another 4 miles to Beaver....on the bucket list for next time ;) We took a few photos, enjoyed the view a bit, and then back to camp. We camped between two streams of water and slept better here than any other night, even the hotel the next night after we were exhausted. Those who know me know I love the sky. Well, this was planned at the wrong time for the night sky, but the only time I could get permits and we had a free few days to go. I did take some images of the night sky against the canyon wall and the waning moon.

Camp life was fabulous. Short, but fabulous...We slept, I took a few photos about 2a, slept some more and then we prepared for the journey home. There is a spring that runs called fern spring with drinkable water. On occasion they post to filter the water anyway. We brought a katydyn base camp filter and filtered the water anyway. It holds 10 liters. We filled our 3 liter each camelbacks, liter empty powerade bottles that we added dry powder propel to (because I left my others on the kitchen sink lol), cooked breakfast, broke camp in the process, and headed out. We stopped by Havasu on the way out and had the waterfall to ourselves. LOVED it. I didn't want to leave.


We stopped by the pools of little Navajo as well. And then the next collage of photos is from Havasu to Supai and then slightly further on the trail. The helicopter in Supai. It's a 10 minute ride out of there. 10 minutes...that thought taunts you the entire way back (however it quit flying when we were under the rock...the winds were horrible and I'm guessing too rough to fly. It started back up shortly after we left the rock). Dave and I may or may not have had a discussion about flying out...I may or may not have listened...the fact that we ended up under a rock with a mile and 1000 ft climb to go lets you know the answer to that. But we got out of the canyon without flying out...and I would go again if given the opportunity with a little experience and lessons learned under my belt.

I have never been more thankful for a Walmart gallon jug of hot water that we left in our vehicle waiting for our return :) You can use a trekking company to get here, they guide you, supply permits, you carry daypacks, they take care of gear, etc. but it's expensive...You can also fly in, stay at a lodge in Supai, hike two miles to the falls, hike two out, fly back out...and we saw a lady with her two kids in flip flops, sling bag, who I'm guessing did similar. In fact she had the nerve to say to us (probably meant nothing by it, we were just tired) as we were walking to Supai with our packs and we took a break at little Navajo already winded "what we are like just a mile in"...we saw this same lady celebrating after her helicopter ride out (the helicopter landed close to where we park, which also means that line to get out was long, they give preference to locals, supplies, and then hikers. Sometimes it can't fly either due to winds which we noticed as well) She was giving her kiddos high fives that they did it. Initially it made me so angry if I'm honest. No ma' didn't do it. And then the more I've thought about it, the more it's ok. If I had the means, I might give my kids the same experience, or wait til they are older and work for it...who knows, they may not ever have the desire. However, I do know, she'll never have the same appreciation for the journey that we have. We chose it...and I'll be forever grateful for those that let me choose :) I also know that everyone has their own journey...I'm sure so many other people are in much better shape, more prepared, and find humor in our struggle. I know there are far worse struggles than choosing to struggle on a hike in the canyon...The struggle was real for us though, just like the success of that lady was to her and her two kids. And these photos are so real too. I'm so thankful we have them and the stories to tell. My 53 year old hubs does have bragging rights :) We did it, maybe after 10 hours to get out, but we did it...and well, we won't tell my age lol. I took a photo almost at the top of the trail of something that has meaning to Dave and I and then the sunset on route 66 after we'd traveled off Indian Road 18. I can not say thank you enough to my parents and friends who allowed this experience to happen.


"In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks" - John Muir


and maybe a little dramatic...but I love this song....

"A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand" - Frances Jane Crosby






]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) havasu falls personal photography Mon, 17 Apr 2017 17:58:50 GMT
Weekly Favs....week 13ish Soooo I have no idea what week it is. I'll officially figure it out later. I know I'm about 2 weeks behind. I've photographed a wedding, a birth, a birth announcement, a senior, and all kinds of stuff in between. It was also spring break so I also took a break with the family. I'm also trying to get all my landscape stuff prepared to sell in the store Reclaimed Spirt, which has a soft opening today, first Fridays, and a grand opening May 1st!!!! Go check it out!!!! We are also trying to prepare to go off the grid for a few days...yes literally, off the grid, Havasupai, Supai, Havasu Canyon, Havasu has many names :) The kids will be left behind with this village we are a part of and my parents. I'm so incredibly thankful for my parents and the village...all kinds of things going on...all kinds of things that need prayers. Anyway...point. I've about lost my mind!!! But here are the favs for the past two weeks and then hopefully to follow in a couple more weeks will be amazing pictures from Arizona. Fingers crossed. It's all in the good Lord's hands and I'm still trying to live one day at a time and not get all nervous about all that is ahead. There are so many photos this time! I've also been trying to prepare for this little backpacking adventure with a super light "tripod" if you can even call it that. Miggo splat, google it, check it out. There are photos quite a few landscape photos using that. I can't go all 300 dollars on a lightweight large tripod so this has been one of the best little 25 dollar photography investments ever!!!! So many of these photos deal with such important moments on this timeline we call life...I LOVE the road photo that is in this set as well...the road to the sunset. Sorry to overwhelm!!!! It's been a crazy two weeks!!!

and for real...anyone who wants to offer up a few prayers next week feel free!!!

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer birth photography love the Shoals weekly favs Fri, 07 Apr 2017 15:22:38 GMT
Weekly Favs...11/52 “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” - Confucius


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project love the Shoals personal photography weekly favs Wed, 22 Mar 2017 01:35:38 GMT
Weekly Favs...10/52 Love what I do!!! So many different experiences photographed this week and I enjoyed every moment :)

I only posted two birth photos....because there were so many amazing images. You can see what has been shared by the family here. :)

and then 10 hours later....missed sunrise and sunset because I had places to be :) but this just shows what hours can do to a scene. The same is so true for life...everything is so different.


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project personal photography weekly favs Mon, 13 Mar 2017 14:54:21 GMT
Weekly Favs...week 9/52 "Ask yourself, "Why am I seeing and feeling this? How am I growing? What am I learning?" Remember: Every coincidence is potentially meaningful. How high your awareness level is determines how much meaning you get from your world. Photography can teach you to improve your awareness level." - Ansel Adams

This is late and the grammer is terrible. Be forewarned. It's two weeks worth of photos actually. I got a day behind this past week and then so much happened in between so I never posted. This is a random photo set for sure but they all represent the above quote. I need a photo of my hubs and other kiddos, parents, and brother's family but for the most part these past two weeks are photos with so much meaning to my world. Photography is my outlet...some days capturing what God has placed in front of me is the only thing that makes sense. He knows what I need...the rainbow in the waterfall, a reminder of His solid promises (last photo, it's my favorite)...a representation of hard work and what this country survived on for so long; we've definitely gotten away from what it means to work...a reflection of how amazing the growth of a child is in the first year of life (I did Annslee's birth photos and have watched the miracle of growth unfold from birth to this one year session)...time with 3 of my kiddos both in nature and on the playground...the darkness and stormy weather that must also be accepted with the sunshine...a friendship I would struggle so hard to live without (she is going to kill me for posting this. I still can't believe I got her to take this photo by this new wall where we work as nurses. The lighting is terrible. It won't ever happen again lol, but the photo was part of these two weeks and is a friendship that means so much in my world)...and even walking by the UNA fountain, scouting out a photo request representing new beginnings. I couldn't get that photo yet, the water will be up and running soon, but the intent was there and I still love the photo. Never take advantage of the little things...never take advantage of the coincidences in life. I'm so thankful for all photography has allowed me to experience, feel, remember, and grow from.

"Whatever you do in life, think higher, feel deeper" - Elie Elie Wiesel if you have no idea who he is by the way :)  





]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project personal photography weekly favs Mon, 06 Mar 2017 16:28:39 GMT
Weekly Favs...Week 7/52 Weekly Favs...Week 7/52 :)

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project personal photography weekly favs Tue, 21 Feb 2017 01:16:20 GMT
Weekly Favs...6/52 Just a few for this week :) May everyone have a fabulous week!!!


my crew minus the oldest boy who was taking his ACT. It was a perfect day for a hike in the woods!



]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project personal photography weekly favs Mon, 13 Feb 2017 15:47:41 GMT
Weekly Favs...5/52 This is definitely a diverse set of images...unless you know anything about me. Then you would know these images represent so many of my favorites things. Birth photography, nature, friends, family, the stars, and last but definitely not least...the most important

" Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat

for he grants sleep to those he loves." - Pslam 127: 1 and 2

It is so very important to keep the Lord as the center focus and He definitely gives us what we need when we need it most. So proud of my boy and his courage to present this message in song in front of so many people.









]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project birth photography personal photography weekly favs Mon, 06 Feb 2017 16:59:21 GMT
A New Year...January Weeks 1-4 "There is divine beauty in learning...To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps." - Elie Wiesel

     January and February...difficult months for this little photo business of mine, depending on how you look at it. I have been doing this for 5 and a half years and these two months are without a doubt the slowest. I do not own a studio (I'll never own a studio, not my thing) meaning most people will not embrace the cold weather which I totally understand. I hate the cold too. Aside from a few birth sessions, or a portrait or lifestyle/home session here and there, these two months see little business activity. At first, this would frustrate me. I would try and figure out how I could make these months "business" productive. I still try and push birth sessions a little, but I now embrace the cycle and actually enjoy the break. While I'm always reading and learning, these two months allow the freedom to really process, reflect, and learn. There are always ways to improve and learn from those who are more seasoned/experienced in the art of photography. January has actually been a fabulous photographic month. Despite the cold, I've enjoyed getting outside and shooting images that make my heart happy.

     Last year towards the middle of the year, I began sharing weekly favorites. I totally let it slide by the end of the year. This time I'm going to stay committed to posting and sharing weekly (yes I know I'm already almost 4 weeks into 2017) These are mostly scenic photographs from nature, but I did mix in a few here and there of my brother's family and my own. January: Weeks 1-almost 4.














































































































]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography weekly favs Fri, 27 Jan 2017 03:55:20 GMT
Instead of "Weekly Favs" this week...JSU to Little River Canyon, to DeSoto Falls :) Whenever I photo a family trip, I always or just a facebook album. Blog is usually the easiest way to share a lot of photos and explain what we did...Not that it's so great that anyone cares, but if you are interested in taking a weekend trip and cheap sometimes the experience of others is beneficial. We go just about the cheapest route can add so much more and spend more, but we strive for cheap lol and have seen a lot of great places :) UNA/JSU football first...then DeSoto weekend. We are definite supporters of UNA football. We have season tickets and attend most of the games. Our oldest daughter attends Jacksonville State University. Camping at State Parks have become a new Sumner thing...mainly it's a cheap way to see places. I looked to see what all was on that side of the state and found DeSoto State Park. Since it was full, we stayed at Tranquility campgrounds (definitely quiet and we enjoyed the solitude). My parents have just recently invested in a camper and expressed interest in Little River Canyon so our little weekend trip emerged. We had a great time seeing Britt at the game, even if we didn't stay the entire game and UNA lost :) She seems happy and it does our heart good to see her happy. We asked her to join in on Friday and Saturday but she would rather go see the boyfriend and his sister in Tuscaloosa...hmmm :) It's ok, we get it, she isn't a camper and we won't force her to be :)

Joseph loves the band. We sat behind the band at the game and then when they left for half time he had freedom to roam the bleachers a bit...Just a little bit.

We arrived at camp later after the game. It didn't take long to set up camp. Tranquility is along county road 165 (maybe highway...I don't know). It's about a 20 minute drive to Little River Canyon National Preserve. We woke up that morning and went to explore the Preserve with the parents...well see Little River Falls and then we hiked to Martha Falls while they drove and explored the canyon by car. There is a parking lot that you can take a short hike down to see Little River Falls. My little photographer had her camera too...I'll have to upload her album soon :)


We then hiked the 3/4 mile trail down to Martha Falls. The trailhead starts at the parking lot although there is another parking area shortly down Highway 35 with a shorter but steeper trail (from what I've read, we didn't do the shorter one). The trail was rocky but not too difficult except the last part. The last part of the trial, down to the actual river bed, was the hardest and you can't get around it no matter which trail you take. Once to the bottom you take a left and it will dead end into Martha's falls (hippie hole) and the cliff overhangs that people jump from. Follow along to the right of the "rim" and you can enter the water that way. It is a fabulous swimming hole. I have no idea how deep but definitely way over my head and deep enough in places to jump from the cliffs. The kiddos had a great time. Definitely worth the hike. Joseph enjoyed a nice little nap on the way back :)


After Marth's falls we drove half of the Canyon rim on 176. There are numerous places to pull over and snap the traditional photos that you see from this area if you google it :)

We headed back to camp night 2 at Tranquility. I can't believe these are the only two photos I took of camp life :) Nathan building card houses and Joseph's little place to sleep. Kiddos had hammocks hung, mom and dad cooked a fabulous dinner, and we enjoyed our camp set up.

From where we camped you could hike a 3/4 mile trail to DeSoto falls. My mistake in a fork cost us another half mile, but we still made it and well worth the hike. I DO NOT endorse this first set of photos. Physically nauseated...I don't do heights, or overhangs with nothing to grab. This was above the falls. My crazy husband had no worries though and even let each kid, one at a time, look over the edge. I never would have forgiven him if one fell but he claims they were all safe. Credit to him for the photo of the falls from this angle. No way was I standing on that ledge to take it. It is a very very long way down...


 We could see all the people who parked vehicles and looked at the falls from that point. We were told from the camp ground we could cross the dam and visit the center there to do the same however we were limited in time and I wanted to try and find the bottom of the canyon. From this point we took a trail away from the falls which led to the bottom. Probably another not so wise decision, but the view was worth it. It is a climb down. Literal climb. At one point we had to unstrap Joseph and pass him down in his carrier because getting down with him on my back was not an option I felt comfortable with. At the same place back up I had to be shoved with Joseph saying "hold mommy...hold" because I couldn't pull up enough. Getting out was a have to and falling back not an option :) We were safe though in my opinion, thanks to Dave. Clayton helped the other two littles and they didn't seem to struggle a whole lot. I was not a sheer climb, but not one with free hands either.

Our family enjoys exploring and I've been so impressed with the State Parks and National Preserves we were able to see this summer. We hope to expand our adventures each year...maybe lol...ask Dave ;) Camping is slightly expensive on the front end but it is definitely a great and inexpensive way to explore beautiful places. This is the 6th State Park this summer that we visited and most within a day or less driving distance. DeSoto and Little River Canyon are beautiful and we hope to return at different points of the year such as fall with colorful leaves and in the spring with higher water levels. I enjoyed photographing what we saw. Not ideal...I would love to capture the different falls at sunrise/sunset lighting, but definitely perfect for capturing the images we have of the places we explored together as a family :)  

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography Sun, 04 Sep 2016 20:36:41 GMT
Weekly Favs 34/52 I only had one official session this past week (which I loved taking those) but I think this is the largest "Weekly Fav" album posted to date. I'm still working on a "Friend Mini Session" post. Gonna snap a few more "friend" photos before posting (not hot sweaty boys lol, but they sure are adorable and definitely real life!). Pricing is $50.00 per friend for digital downloads. The number of images included in the album depends on how many friends (2-6), but they will be a mixture of individual and group shots and will always be available just like my "Mini Stages" sessions. Can't wait. Friends make everything better! Details soon!


​(look midway between the bottom and top of this photo towards the left hand side and you can see two faint dots...Venus and Jupiter. This is the closest the two of these will appear in our sky for another 10 years.)





]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs Mon, 29 Aug 2016 14:37:35 GMT
Weekly Favs 33/52

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs Mon, 22 Aug 2016 16:01:41 GMT
weekly favs 32/52 Yes it is Friday...and I'm just now posting my favorites from last week. The struggle is, however, my grandmother was extremely sick in the hospital last week and my mind still revisits those last moments. I did not take a lot of images nor did I even have a session scheduled for last week. That would be the first week that I haven't intentionally taken off in forever that I can remember no sessions. Now looking back, I know there was a reason...I needed to focus on my kiddos/family with the energy I mind exhausted from the events surrounding my grandmother's hospitalization. So a few from my kiddos last week...they make me smile, and then my favorite photo memories of my grandmother. Most before I was a photographer or when I just started out. Frozen moments in photographs mean the world to me. If I could have one of me brushing her hair, or going through photos together on my phone, or her reading the cards my kiddos had made, or even the look in her eyes and I'm sure mine told the same as we said goodbye with the gut feeling it would be our last here on earth, I would have captured it and they definitely would have been favorites from the past week. They will forever be favorites in my mind. So thankful for all the memories I have with my grandmomma. I know my grandmomma is celebrating with no pain in heaven and that makes my heart smile :) "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." - Dr. Suess.


My favorite poem or short story, or whatever the correct term from this week following the photos.



“At birth, we boarded the train and met our parents. We believed that they would always travel on our side; however, at some station our parents stepped down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.  As time goes by, other people boarded our train and they are significant such as our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.
Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum.  Others will go so unnoticed that we do not realize that they vacated their seats.  This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos,  goodbyes, and farewells.
Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: we do not know at which station we ourselves will step down.  So, we must live in the best way: love, forgive, and offer the best of whom we are.  It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave, we should leave behind beautiful memoires for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life.  Reap success and give lots of love.  More importantly, thank out God for the journey.  Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.”     Author Unknown

​(and if anyone knows the author feel free to message me. There are so many variations and I could not find the author to credit...thank you)


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs Fri, 19 Aug 2016 17:26:18 GMT
Weekly Favs 31/52 I took the week off to spend some time with the family. I also photographed an event at our church. This was more than just an "event"...these little guys built boats, sailed them, talked about Jesus, ate some food, and honored a special friend. We love and miss you supercooper but so thankful you are healed from this terrible thing called cancer and having a blast up there in heaven :) Definite favorite is the boys and those who organized everything sending balloons up to supercooper! Love you little buddy!!! 

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs Mon, 08 Aug 2016 23:28:37 GMT
Weekly Favs...Week 30/52 Weekly Favs :)


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs Mon, 01 Aug 2016 16:46:37 GMT
Weekly Favs...Week 29/52 "Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams." - Ashley Smith

Great week of photos...and an entire album from Jake's Senior Session coming to the facebook page soon :)




]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs Mon, 25 Jul 2016 14:11:11 GMT
Last Minute Getaway      I or album. I decided I could get more in a blog rather than just photo after photo so here it is. We tend to be spur of the moment at times and this weekend trip was no different. David was speaking at his home church in Ashford, Clayton's flight dates got moved, I wasn't working til Monday meaning a free weekend. We've already vacationed with my parents and Key West with just Dave and I which means free weekend and not a whole lot of cash. Nathan and Joseph love airplanes (I hate them, terrified of them, don't know how this happened lol). I have tried to find an air show close to us for months. The 2016 and 2017 calendars are out for the Angels and Thunderbirds with nothing close til next year...and then thanks to my sister in law (so thankful), I realized that the Blue Angels were going to be in Pensacola the same time we were in Dothan. I had no idea what a fabulous weekend this would turn out to be. We had intentions of David's dad (who served in the Navy) as well as anyone else who wanted to go, join in on the adventure. This ended up not working out. I found an open campsite, cancelled our hotel room, and the weekend became even more of an adventure. Since we had more space, new (old) vehicle, campsite and not a hotel room, it also opened up a spot for Britt's boyfriend Tyler to go...adding to the adventure :) Great times, 30 dollar accomodations, a very difficult trip lol, but so many memories.

     The adventure started on the way down, road delays made the 3 hour trip to my parents about a 4 and half hour one. Mom fed us, we made it to Pop's (David's dads), and spent the night. First stop was the Naval Aviation Museum. Highly recommend! Most of the photos have Nathan in them because he absolutely loved it. I allowed 3 hours here but for this crew I should have allowed more...well for a few people in the group I should have allowed more. David and Tyler could have stayed forever. I loved their expressions as we walked in the door and into the first hanger.



They were in awe...there was so much to see. Again, if you get a chance...go see this. If you are a history buff or fascinated by the evolution of our Navy and aircraft, you could spend days 


After the Museum we set up camp at Big Lagoon State park. This is on the opposite side of Pensacola Beach (so is the Naval Air Station where the Museum is also located). It was hot, stormy although no rain fell. After the storm passed, the kiddos had fun walking along the trails, bridges, and beaches. Clayton even found a few pokemon...yes he is slightly obsessed. And yes....the middle photo is just what you think it is. Joseph decided "tee teeing" off the top of the lookout tower would be a good idea. I however, did not and David decided to photo it lol.



Here is out campsite. No shade, even if I had explained we would have shade. oooooops....and the Sequoia decided it wasn't really happy either. Red lights everywhere (it's all good now though). But again 30 can not house 8 people for 30 dollars or feed them for even cheaper than that (hot dogs, smores, chips, etc) anywhere else lol. The star photos weren't the best. The late setting moon (about 3a) and the setting of the galactic center (brightest part) of the milky doesn't make the typical "milky way" photos. This is the part you could see at this time of the year at 3a with a lot of light pollution. There is also a meteor shower in progress too...saw 6 :) 



We broke camp and set out for the beach. I had NO IDEA what we were in for. People seriously get there at 5a...didn't know that either. David has a friend who lives there who informed us after the fact. We however, were loaded and on the road by 11 which meant we were way way behind. Parking was non existant basically anywhere along the beach or right as you crossed the toll bridge into Pensacola Beach. We drove down the the Fort Pickens enterance where there was a large lot (which was filling up quick), pavilions, and a small space of beach. We were umbrella to umbrella just about by the time the show started. Totally worth it. Joseph napped and woke up when they flew overhead. The Blue Angels were absolutely amazing!!!!! Heart hurts for their loss this year. I can't imagine. Thoughts and prayers.... 


I loved everything about the show...and what it represents as well. So thankful for those who serve to protect our freedom. We loaded up our gear, again, having no idea just how many people came out to see the Blue Angels. We drove out of our parking space, 3rd car from the exit, and literally waited 3 hours without moving. The GPS gave an ETA of 2 days...not a lie...2 days. The kiddos did as well as could be expected, we'll know better if there is ever a next time lol, but the experience was worth it in my book. We drove to David's dad's where we stayed the night. David preached at his home church "homecoming" and we were able to visit with our own Navy hero "Pop". Love spending time with family and wish we were able to see the crew in Ashford more often.


And please look at Tyler's plate lol...he says we fed him enough, but this plate of food was already halfway eaten before I took a photo...his plate told a different story. I didn't mean to be so cheap that I starved the boyfriend :) And I love the photo of David drying Joseph's hair :) Sweet baby. Great memories made! Wordy with terrible grammer as always ;)




]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography Wed, 20 Jul 2016 02:44:25 GMT
Weekly Favs...week 28 Here are a few favorites from this week aside from our family weekend getaway. I will do those in a day or two in a separate post!



]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs Mon, 18 Jul 2016 17:52:12 GMT
Week 27...Weekly Favs I realize I'm way way behind but decided to start somewhere. Just a few of my favorite images from this past week :) Saving the final images of the family sessions from this week for a later post but did share a few from each of those too. 



]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs Mon, 11 Jul 2016 01:26:43 GMT
Wow What a Year!!!! I love love birth photography. I fell in love when I decided to capture the birth of my own kiddo on camera...story here. I knew I wanted to do this and knew I needed experience before I offered it. Thanks to my fabulous coworkers who were expecting babies, I got that experience with their deliveries...even family post section photos too (ECM does not allow photographers in the operating room and family photos afterwards are all we can offer for C-section patients) I have been able to shoot quite a few births this year since these and so grateful for the initial experiences. Not only did I get to photograph these three births, I was also able to photograph their one year photos too. I can not believe these adorable little babies have all turned a year old! They were all smiles, made my heart smile, and I loved every bit of these sessions! Thanks guys for allowing me to capture your memories and celebrate one year milestones too!!!! Highlights from birth to one year! Meet Nora, Kennedy, and Maggie! Love them :) 













]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer birth photography newborn photography Thu, 30 Jun 2016 21:49:58 GMT
Sweet Angel Babies I haven't written a website blog in forever...more than a year ago actually. I set out this afternoon to update. All those sweet babies that I first did birth photos for (my favorite sessions) have all turned a year old. I did their one year photos as well and thought what a perfect highlight and platform to jump back into this blog thing. I mean those kiddos are precious and I love them! That post will come, after I get back from a mini trip to the family farm, but today...and for a while actually, something else has captured my heart. I hesitate to share, I share with permission, and I'm not sure how to raise awareness of a service offered without sharing. I honestly wasn't sure after my very first few "sessions" that this was something I could handle because it was so hard to do...and then these two weeks happened...two weeks that have brought me to this point and placed on my heart this service to offer to grieving families if they desire it. In two weeks I have been asked to photograph more death than life. More hurt and heartache than smiles as loved ones and families mourned and said goodbyes. It changes you, your mind, almost makes you question your faith...and more accurately I did question and asked difficult unanswerable questions in my mind and voiced a few of those questions out loud or in messages to dear friends/family through tears. These were not my first photographic encounters with death, I'm sure not my last, but definitely the most difficult two weeks I've ever experienced as a photographer and I can't even begin to imagine just how difficult for the families forced to say goodbye way to soon. Dealing so close with death is a lot to process, my heart hurt, still hurts....and then I thought of this business...what this small side business means to me. I also thought about all of those who support it. I thought about how all the pieces have fit together to bring me to this God is present and gives strength, even if it's just enough to get through the day. Were it not for the emotional support, encouragement, and you who trust me to capture those happiest moments, I would not have been able or asked to be present during the darkest moments. No family who experiences loss pays for anything...I don't post images (aside from these three), no watermark, no trace. The images are totally given as keepsakes and memories of loved ones. Your support of this little business allows support to be given to those who desperately need it in the form of a photograph. It isn't enough for them, but it is at least something. These two weeks have rocked my world. I just don't understand. I'll never understand. I know I don't have to. I hate what these families have gone through and will continue to endure. I know the Lord leads and comforts. I'm not totally sure what the future holds for Photography by H. Sumner but I do know that in some capacity, I will definitely continue to give memories when able, and I ask for prayers as I figure out the right way to offer this service on a more consistent basis. Thank you to my nurse friends who also give care and support to these families. Thank you again for your prayers and support as well. I love capturing your happiest moments and will attempt to be more active in writing posts and sharing those memories for friends and families to see. But for today however...these 3 photos are posted with permission from those 3 families who in a two week time span, have forever changed my mission and mindset as a photographer. Please continue to remember those who have been forced to say goodbye way before anyone's understanding.   



]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) angel babies Mon, 27 Jun 2016 03:32:15 GMT
Maggie Elizabeth Cox      I loved this birth session. This was my very first birth session involving a Cesarean section. For those who are not aware, photographers can't go back to the operating room. I hope this changes in the future because those first few seconds of life are not documented as in a vaginal birth. I have seen some amazing images of birth from the operating room and maybe one day that opportunity will be given here. For now, however, it is not an option but I can honestly say the results of this session were not lacking in any way. 

     We were still able to capture so many  "firsts". Those precious moments were a momma holds her baby for the very first time. The moments where mommy and daddy hold their new little one together, checking out all the tiny details. Images of those tiny details and moments where siblings meet.  There were so many priceless images captured that brought tears to my eyes.

     Thank you sweet friend for allowing me to be there and experience such precious moments. I loved every bit of it. You did amazing and were so strong. It was inspiring to see all the support and encouragement you had around you as well. What a "party" :) Thanks for allowing me to share your experience here with others. I want all those families who give birth, regardless of the method, to realize that each birth experience is unique, and should be captured on camera in a way that can be treasured privately or shared with the world if desired. Great job friend, real talk lol...and congratulations to you and your family! Maggie is beautiful and perfect in every way.












]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography Sat, 27 Jun 2015 17:40:11 GMT
Kennedy :) From Before Birth to Newborn      I have been holding on to this blog for months. I will probably never do this again, because it is so hard not to share photos on my blog, especially the birth session, but I had this "great" idea to travel from pregnancy to newborn and post all together. I loved every bit of it and so thankful I was able to photograph these three phases from maternity, to birth, to newborn. I will just post individually from this point on however, I did thoroughly enjoy going through all of these images again as I chose which ones to include here. Thank you Haley for allowing me to take these, you have been amazingly patient. Your family is beautiful and I enjoyed being able to share these moments with ya'll. I can't believe all these moments have passed so quickly, although I'm sure at some points seemed like they would never get here. So here they are...sweet little Kennedy, from the anticipation of her arrival, to birth, to newborn session. Love these and love that all these moments can be cherished for years and years :) Thanks again guys. It has been such an honor!









]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer birth photography newborn photography Sun, 14 Jun 2015 02:49:59 GMT
Charlotte's Birth      As always words are a struggle, however as I edit and compose this blog the struggle is mixed with tears. I can't thank Megan enough for the care she gave (along with Dr. Hurd) while I myself was pregnant. It was such an honor to be present at the birth of her precious baby girl and I really find myself speechless as I reflect over the miracle witnessed. Birth is such an intimate experience and rather than continue to try to find words I will just share a few photos. Thank you Megan and Chad for sharing just a glimpse of these moments experienced. All birth photos are approved by the family. Charlotte was born on May 26th at 12:29pm. She weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and was 21 inches long. Perfect in every way :) Congratulations to your sweet sweet family.







and one of my absolute favorites (aside from watching clint meet his little sister)...everyone focused on the baby but dad :) He's still looking at his beautiful wife. Precious precious moments. You guys have such a beautiful family. Thanks again for allowing me to be a part.






]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography Sun, 07 Jun 2015 03:21:34 GMT
Brittany and Tyler Prom      So let's be honest...senior prom and senior prom pictures of your own many different things come to mind. Add to the mixture of emotions David being out of town (yes he had to miss his oldest daughter's last prom), the baby being sick, rain, end of season ball games, medals,  and parties, my  emotional state, and it complicates things. Partially complicated because she knows what she wants but yet wants my help but then again doesn't...because she's, well, a teenager :) Partially complicated because I feel guilty being pulled in so many different directions, and partially complicated because it is our family. Nothing is ever easy lol...Sooooo she took it and went with it. I offered different options, we've known it was going to be a struggle, but in the end, she decided, and quite honestly she did almost all of it. David and I just handed out the cash and have prayed quite a few prayers. Regardless of what goes on, deep down you always want your child to be successful and make good choices. And while that is more of a life goal, prom is no different. I wanted her to look beautiful, to be happy, to get the photos she wanted, to have a wonderful time, and for everything to just come together and fall into place. Even though quite a bit didn't go according to planned or the way I would have liked for it to, I think all in all it was a success. She laughed, she smiled, she said thank-you, she looked beautiful. She made me proud. So proud with the way she handled everything this weekend. Tyler, the kiddos, and I pretty much went with what she wanted. So when she says thank-you, when I see that smile, when she says thanks even a second and third time, even though I'm sure I've done a million things wrong trying to be her "mom", even though being a parent of a blended family is difficult, even though her daddy wasn't here, even though she had all of her siblings with her invading these moments, even though I absolutely hate seeing her grow up and soon to enter this big world as an adult, (I can't believe it's sooo close)'s so refreshing to know that we as a family did something semi right :) Tonight was beautiful. Tonight was fun. Tonight did my heart good and was much needed. Yes it was the day before actual prom...but when you want silhouette photos and you do not want all of Florence and Muscle Shoals to be at the train bridge, that is just what you do. I love you Brittany, you are beautiful, proud of you and your wonderful/flexible attitude this weekend, and I hope you and Tyler have an amazing time with all of your friends at your senior prom! And a huge huge thank you to Millie Cate Photography who did a fabulous job with prom day photos. You can view images by Millie Cate Photography here and here. I absolutely love them!!!














]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer Sun, 17 May 2015 18:06:06 GMT
Marlie's Birth      Birth images are by far my most favorite captures. I always struggle with words. Always...they just never can do justice telling the story. There are so many emotions wrapped up in a few moments as this little miracle enters the world. I work with Chelsie as a nurse in post partum and what an honor it was to be present for the birth of their little girl. It is never my goal to "be a part" although I find myself always thanking families for letting me be a part. I simply want to step back and capture the moments as they take place. From the actual birth to the moments when family and siblings meet and everything in between. Thanks Chelsie and Cody for the honor of allowing me to be there. You guys did amazing and sweet little Marlie is so perfect. Congratulations!











]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography Fri, 15 May 2015 16:17:23 GMT
Abbie and Jacob Prom      Prom sessions are so much fun and this one was no different. Loved it! The location was fabulous. The dress, flowers, hair, truck, couple...all of it perfect. And that is all there really is to say about this session...Perfection :) The images do a much better job telling the story than I do. So here they are. Enjoy :)  I'm so thankful they asked me to be a part. Abbie and Jacob I hope your day/night continued to be perfect!










]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer Fri, 15 May 2015 04:53:14 GMT
Kinsey and Kemper Prom is such a big deal. The dress, the hair, flowers, much behind the scenes work goes into it. I loved this session. I wish we could have had a little more time to think haha...and yes this session may have been only 20-30 minutes long due to other circumstances. We worked pretty quick but the whole experience reminded me so much of life with my own family :) I still laugh when I think about it (and I hope that's ok)  because we could not have asked for a more beautiful day and it all worked out in the end. Thanks Margo for asking me, Kinsey you looked stunning, and Kemper, take care of that sweet girl. I hope prom was everything you all wanted it to be!











]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer Fri, 08 May 2015 15:37:27 GMT
Adam is 9 Months Most days I love my job as a nurse.  Most of the time I love my coworkers :)  Most of the time I love photography and photo sessions. I always love however, when all of these worlds collide. Working with people for 12 hours at a time you learn a lot about them. Especially on night shift and during our 3am confessionals lol. They become family. I have said many prayers on this sweet family's behalf. I always enjoy capturing moments with their little miracle baby who many people prayed so hard for. Love this family. I can't believe little Adam is already 9 months old! He's soooo perfect guys :)  









]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer Fri, 08 May 2015 04:39:51 GMT
Sweet Baby Nora      It is impossible to find the words needed to adequately describe the miracle of birth or express what an honor it is to photograph such a miraculous event. Honestly birth photography is new to me, something I will offer in the future, but still new. I work with Jenny and work as a post partum nurse however the only birth experience I've ever captured on camera was my own. The goal is simple. Capture this miracle without being a part or taking anything away from it in any way. No posing, no getting in the way, etc. but simply capturing the moments as they happen and captured in such a way that images can be shared if desired. The experience was sooooo beautiful and intimate. Congratulations Jenny and Lee. You guys did amazing. Thank you for letting me be a part. She is so precious. (I've also included a few images from Nora's newborn session as well.)









I want to note nothing is shared publicly without permission and if Jenny would have wanted this entire experience kept private, I would have happily done so.  Jenny and Lee have selected the photos to be publicly shared.

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:37:09 GMT
Sweet Baby Abigail There is something so precious and miraculous about being in the presence of a newborn. I am blessed to be able to work with moms and newborns at the hospital as a nurse and love being able to photograph newborns during those first few weeks of life outside of the womb. They are simply amazing and looking at them never gets old. They grow and change so fast. Sweet Abigail was born at 5:57 pm on January 18th weighing 7.5 pounds and 20 inches long. Congratulations to her proud parents Barry and Alyssa and also to her big brother Evan. Thank you for allowing me to spend time in your home and photograph your beautiful baby. Blessings to all of you as you enjoy your new little addition.






]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) newborn photography Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:19:32 GMT
Doerflinger Wedding I always give my wedding spill when asked to photograph a wedding. "I am not a wedding photographer" and then continue with the many reasons why I am not. Yes I feel I am a professional, but I also think it is good to set limits and not doing weddings is one of those. However, there are the rare occasions where I am still asked, by friends, even after my wedding spill, and secretly I get excited. Secretly I love the experience and this wedding was no different. Thank you so much to Kristi for asking me. The small, private, family ceremony was absolutely beautiful and I was honored to be a part of it. Congratulations Dane and Kristi and wishing you many years of blessings together.










A special thanks to Christina Brommer of Millie Cate Photography for photographing this wedding with me. I think we make a fabulous team :)

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) wedding photography Fri, 20 Feb 2015 21:58:48 GMT
Including the Surroundings I've been slacking slightly in the personal "lessons". Rather than much of a lesson I've spent time editing a wedding, newborn session, being a nurse, and mom. I did however do a little personal shooting. I tend to gravitate towards faces and close up shots. I don't typically include too many shots where I frame a large portion of the setting. I usually shoot with a telephoto zoom lens and prefer tight shots. I purchased a new wider angle lens and have made it a goal to include more images that encompass more of the surroundings. I am so excited about experimenting more with this lens. I had about 5 to 10 minutes during a session my friend was doing with mainly my kiddos (although I am in a few pictures) to experiment with the lens and captured my favorite image of the day/week. The first image, which I love as well, is what I tend to gravitate towards. The second image is shot with a conscious effort to include the entire setting. Love it. Both images taken with a Canon 7d and 17-55 EF-S 2.8 IS USM lens.


ISO 500, 50mm, aperture 2.8, shutter speed 1/800 at about 3:45pm standing a few feet from the subject


ISO 500, 55mm, aperture 2.8, shutter speed 1/500 around 3:45pm

]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal improvement/experimental photography Tue, 03 Feb 2015 03:42:33 GMT
Take 2-manual focus-The 52 week project continues      The project continues…same lighting as last week, same subject, but different lens and setting. Last week I shot in aperture priority. The best advice to give anyone who wants to improve their skills and make the most of their dslr is get off of the auto mode. Yes aperture priority automatically sets the aperture, but it is a giant step from shooting in full auto. I typically shoot at this setting. However, someone gave me some advice after viewing the last series…get off of aperture priority mode. So today, in the same weather/lighting conditions, same subject, I shot in manual. I typically only shoot manual if I use a flash and have dabbled around with it here and there. After today however, I will be using it more often. I could tell a difference. I also used a Canon 50mm 1.4 usm lens. Love this lens. It is a cloudy, rainy day (you can even see some of the misty rain in the shots). All of these images are taken with the Canon 7d and post processed in lightroom.

ISO 640, 50mm, 2.5, 1/640


ISO 640, 50mm, 2.0, 1/500


ISO 640, 50mm, 2.0, 1/500


ISO 640, 50mm, 2.0, 1/500


ISO 640, 50mm, 2.0, 1/500











ISO 640, 50mm, 2.0, 1/500





]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project personal improvement/experimental photography Tue, 13 Jan 2015 03:28:19 GMT
Happy New Year      As a photographer I am constantly studying and learning in an attempt to better communicate the story/feelings of a session through images taken. In the past 3 years of business, improvement has been guided by online workshops, yearly subscriptions to online educational material, textbooks even, and following favorite photographers. Practice and then more practice is probably the most important aspect to gaining confidence and skill in what I've learned in order successfully capture images for clients. Thankfully I have quite a few beautiful subjects in my household to practice on and I practice often (just ask them lol). This year, I invite you follow along in my journey. The goal is to shoot every week, or at least every other week for an educational purpose. Each personal "lesson", guided by a book on weekly improvement sessions, I will post a few images explaining how I captured the images, the goal, technical aspects, etc. Feel free to follow along. I will post a link to my blog on my facebook page so if you don't follow specifically here, you can like my facebook page in order to see the updates. Thanks to those who have allowed me to capture your images. I hope to improve every session and I thank you for being part of the journey. I absolutely love what I do.

     This first series doesn't really have an educational goal in mind other than referencing as a starting point and explanation of format. I will typically shoot and experiment with just one lens at a time. Under each image I will list the setting of the camera. These images were shot using a Canon 7d, Tamron 28-75 2.8 lens at about 10 am on a cloudy/rainy day. The lighting for cloudy/rainy days is termed flat light and there is not a lot of contrast or harsh shadows. The Tamron, or at least this copy of lens, is a slightly softer lens then my Canon L lenses.

                                  ISO 1000, 60mm about 6 feet away from subject, aperture 2.8, shutter speed 1/500


                     ISO 1000, 75mm about 3 feet from subject, aperture 2.8, shutter speed 1/1000



ISO 1000, 75mm about 3 feet from subject, aperture 2.8, shutter speed 1/100


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal improvement/experimental photography Sat, 03 Jan 2015 19:14:54 GMT
Shell's Christmas Tree Farm 2014      Our Shell’s experience…fabulous! Way too much to include in just an album so the rare blog it is...

     My family and I have never been to Shell’s. I never even knew a place like this existed. I have no idea how I’ve missed out, because so many people apparently tag their tree at Shell’s.  A friend of mine took her family and I fell in love with the images she captured. Our oldest Brittany has begged for a real tree since we switched to artificial. My thought has always been, why spend money that could be spent elsewhere on a tree when you don’t have to. That may be a little grinchish, but when things are really tight you make cuts where you can. We’ve only had a “real” tree for the first two years of mine and David’s marriage before I picked up an artificial tree at 75 percent off, after Christmas, that we have used ever since. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that at all. We still have the same over 10 year old lights, combination of what David had and what my mom gave us because she updated and didn’t need them anymore. (although hitting the after Christmas sale on lights this year when I get off work the morning after Christmas). I love the memories we’ve created around our tree, picking out branch by branch, fluffing them, and putting each individual branch in the little slot (it takes forever). And mainly my memories, because I started putting the tree up while the kids were at school leaving just the decorations for them to finish. We have definitely saved some cash over the years too. When I saw my friend’s pictures, however, and saw the actual experience, I realized I wanted to create similar memories for my kiddos. I mean how much fun to select, tag, cut, and carry out your Christmas tree :)

      It is an adventure in itself just to get our entire crew together. Our experience consisted of a thirty minute tagging trip and about a 30 minute cutting trip. Now that we realize how much fun it is, we will be making our trip to Shell’s more of a priority each year and allow ourselves more time to enjoy the surroundings, capture more moments on camera, and have time to just breathe. The place is beautiful and my family is hysterical. Not always in a fun way, but definitely laughable moments after it’s all said and done. I’m sure me and a camera are as annoying to them as them not cooperating while I’m trying to take my own family photos is to me :) Here are the memories we created this year. Looking forward to many more! My tree is always a reflection of my kiddos…they decorate it, have made quite a few ornaments on it, and the chaos and randomness of the decorations make me smile. Thanks Shell’s for being a part of our Christmas this year! We love our tree!














]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography Sun, 14 Dec 2014 03:39:00 GMT
Rock the Shot Beach Contest This is my favorite shot from our beach trip a couple weeks ago and my photo submission. This shot was taken in Ormond Beach, Florida. My husband and I decided to watch/photograph the sunrise before the rest of our crew (5 kids total) decided to get up. It is just a spontaneous shot I captured between my husband and my infant. Joseph is a little over 7 weeks old in this image. Taken with a Canon 5d classic at 28mm. I also had a fisheye lens and if this had been a planned shot I might have tried to capture it using the fisheye because they are fun images, as well as made the rest of my children get up for a group kiddo silhouette. This is an image I will treasure forever.



]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Contest Mon, 30 Jun 2014 17:10:00 GMT
Family Vacation 2014     Vacation...My family attempts to do a large family vacation every summer. Sometimes it means work on the farm and then spend a couple days at the beach. Sometimes it is all out, such as this one, where we travel and spend a week together somewhere different. Regardless of the destination, the important thing is we get together and attempt to catch up, bond, create memories, and just get away for some relaxation. These are my parents...the fabulous people that make this happen every summer :) Love them.

    With this being an annual thing, plans are made way in advance before our "all out" vacations meaning this year's was planned before we even knew about little Joseph :) The kids absolutely love Discovery Cove in Orlando and we promised if we did a "farm vacation" last summer, this summer would be a big Orlando vacation. So rather than break a promise...we loaded up our 6 week old and took off for the promised adventure. Being totally is not something I would recommend lol. But also being honest, I gained a new/greater appreciation for my children, parents, husband, and brother's family as I watched them all step in and make everything possible and enjoyable for me as well. I had a great time. I don't think I did but like half a dozen dishes (a chore we normally split), didn't have to do the grocery run, everyone was patient as it always took us an eternity to get anywhere, they took turns holding Joseph, and my husband always, always made sure I had something to drink and food as soon as we would get in and I would have to feed Joseph. That may not seem important but a hot baby who wants more to drink than normal, and a hot momma who is equally thirsty and tired, don't always go together. It was a struggle to keep up with the physical and emotional demands of an infant :) But we did it...have memories and stories to share, and all in all we had such a wonderful time. I didn't come back with as many pictures but thankful for the moments captured. (I was always worried about keeping Joseph in the shade since sunscreen isn't the best thing on little littles, or at least from what I've read, guess I could have asked my pediatrician, so don't quote that, ask a doctor).

    Sea World :) Included in our package with Discovery Cove and where we ventured first. Love this place. I know quality of animal care has been publically debatable, but our family enjoyed the experience. Lots to do with the littles as well as the older kiddos and we split up to allow each "group" the chance to enjoy their time. We did this park twice so photos from both days. Brittany and Clayton finished our last day out with us and the littles had a big time riding with their older siblings. We finished the day out with a little PF Changs :)

    As mentioned before Discovery Cove is a favorite. This is an all inclusive hands on experience. By all inclusive I mean breakfast, lunch, all snacks, drinks, parking, mask, snorkel, sunscreen, towels, showers, need it they have it. Even a photographer that will follow you around and capture your experience. That part is extra as well as a 30 minute dolphin swim, but each family does get a group photo taken at the beginning to keep which is included. You can play on the beach, swim the reef, swim beside sharks, feed birds, watch marmosets and otters, float a lazy tropical river, and also includes 2 weeks of unlimited play at Sea World and Aquatica. They give you a name badge (even little Joseph) and that is your ticket into the other parks. If you decide to start your 2 weeks of "other" parks experience before hand, you can print your tickets online and bring them. Best value in Orlando in our opinion.

    We finished our Orlando experience with Aquatica. The last Orlando trip we did not do aquatica, we were just exhausted. After reading mixed reviews and unpromising weather, we weren't totally sure about venturing here this time either but now thankful we took the chance. The park was not that crowded due to weather however the rain held off for a while and the kids were able to ride every slide they wanted to, played in the wave pool, and road the "rapid" lazy river. There were only a few slides that Nathan was not able to ride (one in particular however I wish he wasn't able to ride lol but he had a blast) and they had a kiddie area that we didn't even go to because Nathan could do most anything the "big kids" could do. We enjoyed the park since it was not that crowded but on crowded days I've read you wait forever in lines. Thankful this was not our experience and glad the kids had a great time. Nathan even specifically thanked me for bringing him to this park. I didn't get many pictures here so threw in a few from fish feeding at our condo :)

    We finished up at the beach. It was soooo good to relax a little after running around Orlando. The Condo was on the beach making it absolutely perfect to have an infant and beach it too. We spent time in Ormond beach which is a neighbor of Daytona. I spent my elementary years here as a kid and it will forever hold a dear place in my heart. It is always good to go back and see old friends and those that looked after us when we were little. I love the ocean, the sand, atmosphere, watching dolphins swim in the sunrise and lines of pelicans fly, people, everything about it :) Little Joseph was also able to dip his little feet in the crushed shell sand and the Atlantic ocean. We added this part of the trip and it all depended on if a condo came open as to if we could. It didn't matter to us if it happened the weekend before or after. Such a blessing it even happened, and perfect that we were able to end the trip here.

    It is a wonderful blessing to have my parents, family, and that we are all able to get together for trips like these. Family is what it is all about and the most important blessing of it all. Thanks mom and dad for making these trips possible and thanks to my family for helping out with Joseph. We had a fabulous time.

And.....I saved the best for last and actually halfway embarrassed to show the difference in years haha :) We ate at Aunt Catfish's (one of our favorites) for lunch as we waited on our beach condo to get ready. We took a picture here 8 years ago, the second time we came back and visited "Daytona" as the Sumner family. I was 5/6 months pregnant with Addisyn. We had taken Brittany and Clayton on their first Disney adventure. This trip I wanted a picture of how things had changed and WOW have they changed lol. David and I look like babies...well maybe not David haha. This picture is a digital picture taken of a film picture. Digital is fabulous since we can see if people are actually smiling lol. A lot has changed, we've added blessings, pounds, aged, gone through good and bad...but it's been a great adventure. The bottom photo is sooooo far from perfect, lighting was absolutely horrible and I had no flash to fill with, kiddos were hot, tired, we had survived Orlando :) but it reminds me just how important it is to have photos to look back on and see how things have changed. At least it is important to me anyway. I love capturing our adventures together and hope my kiddos will look back on these pictures as they continue to grow and smile :) 






]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography Sat, 28 Jun 2014 20:19:40 GMT
Baby Joseph :) I've written and I've erased...written and erased...and its been an eternity since I've written anything anyway. I'm just not a writer and I haven't had time to write much these last 9 months, but it is so much easier to share a bunch of pictures from my blog. I struggle to find words to express the mixture of emotions...from the very beginning, the initial shock and attempting to adjust, to my OB saying levels aren't as high as he hoped they would be (meaning blood work wasn't promising for where I should have been early on in the pregnancy. But we now know why :) I was just way early), 3 months of morning sickness, unmentionable swelling, horrible calf cramping, (yes I'm whining about the joys of most pregnancies lol) breech baby for a little while, to watching contractions role across the screen every 2 minutes at only 32.5 weeks pregnant praying this wasn't the way things were going to turn out. I know I'm not in control, but I selfishly wanted a healthy baby with no interventions...and during my time at the hospital wtih pre term contractions on that Monday and Tuesday, and then the monitoring afterwards, I was reminded at what a gift "normal" pregnancy and delivery really is. I also selfishly wanted to be taken care of in the hospital where I worked, among friends (you learn a lot about people working 12 hour shifts together), and I wanted my Doctor to deliver, not some stranger, in a strange place, just to have Joseph taken away. I realize this happens, and I knew it was possible. I prayed and prayed, and we waited. We were given the gift of 6 more weeks, and even though I had signs of early labor a few days before, I still ended up inducing. This may not be for everyone, but my body was exhausted, swollen, contractions weren't regular, and honestly my older children have pretty big events at the end of the school year that I just didn't want to miss out on such as proms, graduations, and performances. So after discussion, we decided to go ahead and speed up the labor process a little. My sarcastic goal was to be able to have a natural labor and hold my camera. It soon became a strong desire...and again I just can't express in words what it was like. Not completely "natural", I did end up having to get Pitocin to keep contractions consistent. It wasn't easy, painful, but amazing how my body just took over at the end, and we were able to meet Joseph. Birth is a beautiful thing. The photos aren't perfect, but they are perfect to me, because I captured the birth of our child from my own eyes. From when I remember him being handed to me (I really don't remember the first time, just remember being asked to hold his leg and then if I wanted to cut the cord, which David captured) to him meeting family. But so much more importantly than that, even if I wasn't able to snap a single picture, our family was given a perfect little gift from God. The name Joseph means "God will increase" and He has definitely done that in our family. Joseph needed no interventions, no time in a NICU, and we are soooo extremely blessed to have him as a part of our family. And thanks to my husband, my dad, and my doctor for getting a few pictures with me in them :) I do want Joseph to know I was actually a part of all this lol.   









I honestly cannot believe the experience is over. . . it went by soooooo fast. And again, I love our staff at ECM Women's Pavillion. I am blessed to call them friends. And while I appreciate all of our doctors and nurses, special thanks to those directly involved in my care and the intense moments of the whole process :) My OB, Dr. Hurd, was fabulous. . . I can't thank him enough for the way he took care of Joseph and I from the very beginning and especially during delivery. We discussed options, he allowed for an epidural free delivery, and supported my decisions. Great sense of humor...maybe a little off-color sometimes haha, but my husband and I so appreciate the way he took care of us. So thankful to Erica for getting me started :) even if I wasn't the best of patients at the beginning, and then Val for taking over. Val coached me through the most difficult part and again, allowed me freedom to move and willingly gave the extra support needed during delivery. I love the picture my husband took while Joseph was on my belly. Her smile is what it is all about and why we as nurses find joy in what we do. Knowing we helped bring another little one to meet his or her family and help them adjust the first few days...and I know I could not have made it through in the way I desired without her help. Emily was Joseph's nurse most of the time. Love her :) and her sense of humor. . . she's fabulous and a wonderful nurse. Christy was both mine and Joseph's nurse during our time there and I was taken care of by Brandi, Suzanne, and Debbie while Joseph also had Katie and Jennifer, Dr. Colvard, and Dr. Allen. I still have preggo brain so if I left anyone out I'm sorry. Everyone was wondeful. I love my nursing family...and I hope if you are in need of some fabulous OB doctors, pediatricians, anesthesia department, and fabulous nursing staff, you will allow our family at ECM to take care of yours :) We love what we do (most of the time lol). A huge thanks to my parents as well...David and I could not have made it without them either. They were on standby in Montgomery. I let them know things were progressing Tuesday (even though nothing happened lol) and they were here for almost a week. They are truly a blessing and selfless. . . they weren't there for delivery, but running around picking up children so that we could all be together shortly after Joseph arrived. Last photo...and I can't believe this week has gone by so fast...38.6 weeks pregnant (the day before I went to the hospital) to 6 days post week apart, and soooooo in love with our little blessing.


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography newborn photography personal photography Wed, 07 May 2014 16:27:00 GMT
"Family" -a Rock the Shot Photo Contest There are so many different ways to represent a family. . . but my eyes kept coming back to this picture. A happy couple, adorable little girl, and the perfect family dog :) This family loves to hike, loves adventure, and I loved the pretty fall leaves along the trail as a back drop. (actually being honest this was the road before the trail started). This picture was taken about 3:45 in the afternoon with the sun behind me. The sun was sinking low in the sky as to still highlight the trees in the background but the family was in the shade. It was taken with a Canon 5D, 50mm 1.4 lens, at a 2.8 aperture, 640 ISO and 1/400 shutter. Edited in Lightroom. Love photo challenges. You should check out their website for great inspiration, information, education, free giveaways, and all kinds of fun stuff!



]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Wed, 20 Nov 2013 22:32:18 GMT
"From this Moment On"  

"From This Moment On". . .Heath did such a beautiful job singing this song at my father-in-law's "Pop's" wedding and I couldn't help but use it as the blog title. I think anyone who was in attendance was inspired by what this couple committed to from the moment they got engaged and said "I do". With over 150 years of living experience between the two of them, they decided to marry and two huge families became one :) I did not even get a chance to personally speak to everyone on Momma Sarah's side of the family. And to give you an idea of just how large this family became, the large family picture taken still had 4 people missing that I attempted to "crop" in! No one even noticed that they weren't there (and two of those might have been mine lol). So forgive the crop, but we have a picture though, I THINK of everyone (if not let me know and we will try to crop some more in). If anyone is like I am, they will be using this picture to ask Pop and Momma Sarah "ok, now who is that, and who is that, and who does he belong to" :) Fun times though, and I was thankful to be able to capture a few moments of the day.

Confession however, I'm not a wedding photographer and if you are in the Florence area I'd recommend Amelia Wilson Photography, she's fabulous (and has a studio if wanting indoor photos of anything, not my thing either). Not only am I not a wedding photographer, I'm especially not an indoor wedding photographer. I do have a fancy flash that I hardly ever use, not much of a manual shooter (usually shoot in aperature priority), and don't feel I have the professional lenses needed for an indoor event. Outdoor more confident, inside, not so much. I attempted all of that during this wedding. Not the first time, just not confident. In addition to attempting all that, I'd find myself pausing for moments enjoying the experience of these two or enjoying myself visiting with family at the reception and would forget that I need to be capturing shots. Thankfully Momma Sarah has a family member that also enjoys taking pictures and hopefully between the two of us, we have some great shots that Pop and Momma Sarah can be proud of and I apologize in advance for my wedding photography weakness :)

So here is the highlight collage and for family, more photos of the day will be available on my website and I will get that info to you as I get them edited. The most laid back ceremony ever. Like no one even arrived at the church that was in the wedding until about 1:15, the wedding was at 2:00. These two just wanted to get married and didn't want much fuss over it. Loved it! Congrats Pop and Momma Sarah! We love ya'll!




]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography wedding photography Wed, 06 Nov 2013 18:23:09 GMT
Audrey and Luke     It has been almost 4 months since I've last posted a blog. I limit my photography during the school year to family, friends, coworkers, church members, and people I personally know due to my chaotic schedule that those who know me know I keep. 4 kids playing ball in the fall and spring along with the hubs and I's jobs are no joke. Plans are to reopen during the summer months to the public but for now I'm so enjoying working with people I know. Ball has ended until February and the timing couldn't be more perfect. Time to catch up on a little blog highlights :) Forgive the rambling about my schedule, but in all honesty I struggle for the words to use to write about this session. This session was with one of my littles. . . and I really, really hope she forgives me, but this is how I remember her.


    In high school I had 5 little ones that I just about claimed as my own. This little one use to fall asleep in my lap on the way home from ball games. Her mom being my high school coach, Audrey and Carlie were always with us. So many stories and great memories from those days. Time passes by sooooo quickly as it always does. We all grow up, yes I was a baby then too, and we move on with our own lives and who we were created to be. It has probably been 10 years since I've last seen Audrey (well that's a total lie...I saw her at my cousins wedding a few weeks before but had to be 10 years before then lol). I was so honored when she sent me a message asking if I would do engagements. Of course I said yes. I keep up with all my girls on facebook but I still struggled a little through the shoot. It just doesn't seem right that she is getting married :)  

    As I'm sure I've expressed a million times, my favorite sessions are when sentimental locations, props, etc are implemented into the photographs. Add to a sentimental location, the sentimental meaning of the individual being photographed and you have probably one of my favorite sessions. The location for this shoot was Audrey's great grandmother's place outside of Florence. Coach Ainsworth drove up for the shoot as well. I enjoyed stories of the past, the special meaning the property has to the family, and just getting a chance to catch up a little bit. I brought my own littles along on the shoot and enjoyed being able to introduce them to Audrey and Coach Ainsworth. The best part, however, was being able to spend time with such a fabulous couple and capturing a glimpse of the love they share for each other. I told Audrey I don't care if she hates these pictures and wants to get someone else to do them :) I just had a great time seeing them and honored she thought about me. It was such a fun time! I wish them the best as they continue their life together. Congrats Audrey and Luke!!!!   



And you definitely can not forget about this sweet baby :)






]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer Mon, 04 Nov 2013 04:26:03 GMT
Beautiful Sun Flare Time for another Rock the Shot photo challenge. You can read more at Fabulous website with ways to connect with other photographers, give aways, and other bits and pieces of photo advice. This month the challenge is sunflare. I loved this shot. I'm sure it has too much sunflare but there was just something magical about it and my favorite from the session. Highlights from the entire session can be found here. I have not posted a blog yet so the facebook highlights will have to do for now. This picture is just slightly edited more than the facebook post but it is 100 percent natural sun flare :) You can compare and probably notice the subtle differences. Taken with a canon 5D and 24-105 L lens. Used spot metering at f/4.0. Taken about 6:45pm in the beautiful North Alabama sunlight. Love it!


]]> (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Contest Tue, 09 Jul 2013 19:51:51 GMT
"These are the flowers that fly and all but sing" -Robert Frost So thankful for the time I was able to spend with my kids and friends last night. It wasn't suppose to be that way but an unexpected phone call allowed me the chance to stay home :) I have the rest of my life to work, which I love my job for the record, but my kiddos will only be little for a short time. I honestly debated when I got the call, but thankful I chose to take the night off. While watching the kiddos swim a butterfly decided to land on my hand. Not only did it land on my hand, but allowed us to gently pass it off between the kiddos. Addisyn's reaction was hysterical lol and so thankful to have my camera and capture the moments :) even if my camera battery died in the process and I didn't get many of Nathan. Posting my favorite poem about butterflies after the pics. Thanks to God for the special "touch" last night :) and I will always teach my children to notice God in the little things. Just pray it takes and that they will always remember to take the time to appreciate daily miracles.