Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits: Blog https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Sun, 31 Jul 2022 01:45:00 GMT Sun, 31 Jul 2022 01:45:00 GMT https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u1044708080-o694350820-50.jpg Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits: Blog https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog 120 80 Power When We Worship https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2022/7/power-when-we-worship

There is power when we worship!!

These photos showed up in my Facebook memories from a couple of years ago. The sun had just set, a comet barely visible (to the left beside the tree line), the stars were shining, and my kids were laughing in the background. It was July 2020. The year of so much change but so much to be thankful for too. The Lord has created so much beauty found only in the darkness. 

“Unveiling beauty is our greatest expression of love, because it’s what the world needs most from us…we offer beauty so that their hearts might come alive, be healed, know God. That is love…” - Stasi Eldredge. What is one way we can unveil beauty? Worship Him in the darkness. Give thanks in the darkness. Rely on His promises in our toughest moments. The Lord used the night sky to make a promise to Abraham. He got Abraham outside of his tent, outside of his place of comfort, and said look up (Gen 15:5). It didn't mean easy for Abraham. In fact the journey would become a lot harder. Worship would involve sacrifice. But the Lord gave a promise in the darkness and a visible reminder to trust. We are the continued fulfillment of that promise. 

There is power found in worship. Will it relieve your immediate situation? Maybe not, but it brings your heart to the One who can grant peace and courage to walk through life’s difficulties. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalms 22:3) If it’s been a minute since you’ve looked up, said “thank-you Lord”, and taken time to reflect and remember, then get outside. Isaiah writes in chapter 40 “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength not one of them is missing…He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak”. And if you look up and see a bunch of clouds blocking your view. Keep the faith. Those clouds will eventually pass and the stars will be visible again. The stars are there even when you can’t see them. Your Father in heaven is also very much alive and faithful. He exists in the darkness even when we can’t seem to find Him.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess his name." - Hebrews 13:15

There is power when we worship....take a minute to listen to this song!

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) blog encouragement nightscape outside personal photography praise https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2022/7/power-when-we-worship Sat, 30 Jul 2022 18:04:38 GMT
Carry Each Other's Burdens https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2022/7/carry-each-others-burdens "Carry each other's burdens... - Galatians 6:2

Rainbows are my absolute favorite. I love seeing them in the sky or in the spray of a waterfall. If there is sunshine and rain, I’m looking up and opposite of the sun trying to find a bow. A couple of weeks ago I saw this cloud while driving. I knew it had promises of a rainbow in it. I was close to a familiar county road so I drove to where I could pull over. I waited and prayed. It had been the type of weekend where I just needed a little assurance from the Lord. As I waited, a text from my daughter “its so pretty” and a picture of a rainbow. I realized we were looking at the same cloud. She could see from where she was standing what I knew was there but couldn’t see with my own eyes. I actually drove down the road, slightly jealous, to get a different angle after her text but never saw anything. I did get to witness a beautiful sunset and as the sun was setting, I thanked the Lord that she could see. It's one of my greatest prayers. "Lord these kids have been through a lot. May they always be able to see evidence of Your goodness." 


I posted both of these cell phone shots to my social media and went to my meeting. Afterwards I checked to see multiple notifications. Friends had posted images of their rainbow view. My heart smiled. Isn’t this how the body of believers should work? When a fellow Christian struggles to see the Lord (who we know is there), other Christ followers can come alongside, encourage, and point out evidence of His existence. Chapter 6 of Galatians is so good. "Carry each other's burdens". "Let us not become weary in doing good". "As we have opportunity let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers". 

 

Rainbows and shooting stars are God reminders for me. In 13 days my crew saw 7 rainbows in the sky. He is good. He is faithful. He is slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Whatever reminders you need from the Lord, I pray He gives them. If you’ve waited and waited to get a glimpse of Him and just can’t see the evidence with your own eyes, I pray there is someone who comes along side you and says: "look, He’s right here!! He see you and He loves you so much." 

 

Take time to encourage someone today. It can be as simple as texting a few words or an image of their favorite thing. You just might be the glimpse of the Lord they needed to see. "Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts." - Colossians 3:16
 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama blog encouragement landscape photography personal photography rainbow https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2022/7/carry-each-others-burdens Mon, 18 Jul 2022 13:51:57 GMT
Like the Dew... https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2022/7/like-the-dew Like the Dew "But his favor is like dew on the grass" - Proverbs 19:12

My daily Bible reading this morning finished with this Proverb. I looked up from my cup of coffee and noticed the dew on the blades of grass. I went back inside to get my camera. In the way the sunlight hit, there were thousands of tiny beads of light. As I was appreciating the beauty of thousands of tiny sunlit rainbows of color too, I smiled. I'm sure I looked pretty ridiculous. I was literally laying on the ground, on my belly, covered in grass. And then it hit. Isn't that how we find ourselves sometimes before we ever notice the light? Isn't this where we end up sometimes before we will ever allow the Lord to refresh us with His living water? 

The "valley of the shadow of death" (Psalms 23) is and feels like every bit of that description. But He is with us even there. The first part of Proverbs 19:12 - "A king's rage is like the roar of a lion"... and sometimes we experience that too before we are ever in a position to experience His favor. Choose to follow Jesus. He will "love freely" and turn away "his anger". He will "be like the dew" - Hosea 14:4&5 (also a great chapter). Let Him refresh you with His love today. 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama blog dew landscape photography macro photography personal photography The Shoals https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2022/7/like-the-dew Fri, 15 Jul 2022 14:07:49 GMT
Starting Over https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2022/7/starting-over-2022 Starting Over

First Sunrise of 2022First Sunrise of 2022

It's been over 2 years, March 6, 2020 actually, since the last time I’ve shared a “blog post”. I had no idea at the time just how much that date would impact my life. I actually forgot about this little part of my website in the chaos until earlier this year when an eHarmony “match” found it and shared his favorite post. Total embarrassment by the way…the internet has a way of keeping up with things we forget about if we leave our marks in writing (and photos). I quickly went back through and deleted MULTIPLE posts, insert facepalm emoji, but for the most part, I left the page intact. This page has been nagging at me ever since. When do I start it back??? Do I start back??? How…what to say…why??? But the nagging hasn’t subsided. So here’s to the sharing of words and photos again from this platform. 

 

He sees you and I hope through the use of these images, words, quotes, lyrics, verses etc, you can get a glimpse of Him too. The image above is from the first sunrise of 2022. So many resolutions are made with the start of a new year, but we can start over at any time. He doesn’t change. He gives strength and courage regardless of where we may find ourselves. He loves us always. He walks with us. He's in our "journey steps". I’m so thankful for His constant love and the hope He instills in our hearts. Hebrews 10:22-25

 

“We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

And I hope if you've struggled in your relationship with Him, you find the courage to trust Him one more time…He "is able” - Ephesians 3:20 

 

June 2022 Sunsets in the Shoals

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama blog landscape photography personal photography sunrise Sunset The Shoals https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2022/7/starting-over-2022 Mon, 11 Jul 2022 22:19:29 GMT
Always Enough https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2020/3/always-enough Always Enough

 

"My favorite of the night...the bottom of the photo is a mess with debris...life 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.

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama blog landscape photography Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer personal photography River" Tennessee https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2020/3/always-enough Fri, 06 Mar 2020 18:32:24 GMT
True Value https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2020/2/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).  

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Alabama landscape photography north Alabama personal photography waterfalls https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2020/2/true-value Tue, 25 Feb 2020 03:41:31 GMT
Into the Wilderness https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2020/2/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 this...it 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.

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama blog landscape photography photograph waterfalls https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2020/2/into-the-wilderness Fri, 14 Feb 2020 20:25:15 GMT
Confessions of a Coffee Roaster https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2020/1/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. 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) coffee personal photography scripture love the shoals weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2020/1/confessions-of-a-coffee-roaster Fri, 10 Jan 2020 04:37:49 GMT
You Have Taken Account of My Wanderings https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2020/1/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, images...it'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."

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama cane creek preserve landscape photography personal photography travel waterfalls https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2020/1/you-have-taken-account-of-my-wanderings Sun, 05 Jan 2020 06:38:38 GMT
Here's to 2020 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2019/12/heres-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! 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) family personal photography travel weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2019/12/heres-to-2020 Wed, 01 Jan 2020 04:31:56 GMT
As A Man Speaks With His Friend... https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2019/12/as-a-man-speaks-with-a-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. 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama landscape photography personal photography waterfall wednesday waterfalls https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2019/12/as-a-man-speaks-with-a-friend Wed, 04 Dec 2019 06:01:00 GMT
We Shall Not Cease From Exploration https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2019/12/we-shall-not-cease-from-exploration

 

 

“We shall not cease from
exploration
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 hit...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".

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama landscape photography photograph travel waterfalls https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2019/12/we-shall-not-cease-from-exploration Mon, 02 Dec 2019 04:22:45 GMT
To Strive, To Seek, To Find https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2019/12/to-strive-to-seek-to-find  

Confession...it 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

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama landscape photography photograph waterfalls https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2019/12/to-strive-to-seek-to-find Mon, 02 Dec 2019 04:12:33 GMT
Monday Highlight: Light Out of Darkness https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/3/monday-highlight-light-out-of-darkness Light Out of Darkness

     I had a wordy blog written...it's been an interesting  month of reflection...but I erased it all. This photo is painted with light, a headlamp actually...so 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 headlamp...no idea which one, I have several in my bag lol. Always be prepared :) :) :) 

And one more time :) :) :) 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) landscape photography skyscape weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/3/monday-highlight-light-out-of-darkness Mon, 05 Mar 2018 00:19:02 GMT
Weekly Highlight: Sunset Over Mobile Street https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/2/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

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/2/weekly-highlight-sunset-over-mobile-street Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:36:22 GMT
Monday Highlight: Experience is the True Value https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/2/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)

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 2018 release behind the scenes landscape photography monday highlight personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/2/monday-highlight-experience-is-the-true-value Mon, 12 Feb 2018 16:34:02 GMT
Weekly Highlight...Always Go: Beauty Awaits https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/2/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!!! 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) behind the scenes landscape photography monday highlight personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/2/weekly-highlight-always-go-beauty-awaits Mon, 05 Feb 2018 14:43:34 GMT
Monday Highlight: Finding Your Peace https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/monday-highlight-finding-your-peace Finding Your Peace

     Welcome to the Shoals...love 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

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project landscape photography personal photography the shoals area weekly highlight https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/monday-highlight-finding-your-peace Mon, 29 Jan 2018 15:31:12 GMT
Monday Highlight: Patience After the Setting Sun https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/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 know...you 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 trail...it 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.

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (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 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/monday-highlight-patience-after-the-setting-sun Mon, 22 Jan 2018 14:52:04 GMT
End of the Favs: Winter Reset https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/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!!!! 

 

   

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer maternity photography personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/end-of-the-favs-winter-reset Mon, 22 Jan 2018 01:54:45 GMT
Weekly Favs: January Week 2 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/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

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography landscape photography personal photography reclaimed spirit weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/weekly-favs-january-week-2 Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:42:23 GMT
Weekly Favs...First week of January!!! https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/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

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project birth photography landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/weekly-favs-first-week-of-january Wed, 10 Jan 2018 01:49:51 GMT
End of December Favs :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/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 thing...so 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 family....so thankful for their love and support :) 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2018/1/end-of-december-favs Mon, 08 Jan 2018 18:52:14 GMT
Births...Book Your Free Birth Session https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/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! 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama birth county florence lauderdale photographer photography stories https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/births-book-your-free-birth-session Sat, 30 Dec 2017 19:14:24 GMT
Weekly Favs: December Week 2 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/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!!!! 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography shoals landscapes weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/weekly-favs-december-week-2 Tue, 26 Dec 2017 17:05:50 GMT
Weekly Favs: December Week 1 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/weekly-favs-december-week-1 What a fabulous week in photos :) :) :) 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography senior session weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/weekly-favs-december-week-1 Wed, 13 Dec 2017 04:21:27 GMT
Weekly Favs: November Week 5, Tree Farm Mini Sessions https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/weekly-favs-november-week-5-tree-farm-mini-session

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 :)

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) family photographer lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography tree farm mini weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/12/weekly-favs-november-week-5-tree-farm-mini-session Mon, 04 Dec 2017 06:46:03 GMT
Weekly Favorites: November Week Four https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/weekly-favorites-november-week-three 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

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project lauderdale county portrait photographer newborn photography personal photography shoals landscapes weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/weekly-favorites-november-week-three Wed, 29 Nov 2017 17:35:58 GMT
Black Friday, Small Busines Saturday, Cyber Monday, end of November Specials!!!!! https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/black-friday/-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

Maternity

Birth

Fresh 48 hospital sessions

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography birth session birth stories florence alabama birth photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/black-friday/-end-of-november-specials Fri, 24 Nov 2017 03:24:03 GMT
Favorites: November Week 3 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/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!!!

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography lauderdale county portrait photographer newborn photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/favorites-november-week-3 Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:37:02 GMT
Births Are My Favorite: Meet Ann Wallace :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/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 :) 

 

Maternity

Birth

(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!!! 


 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography florence alabama birth photographer north alabama medical center https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/births-are-my-favorite-meet-ann-wallace Sat, 18 Nov 2017 19:27:15 GMT
Favorites: The First two Weeks of November :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/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!!!!

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography portrait photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/favorites-the-first-two-weeks-of-november Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:20:26 GMT
October Favorites: Births, Landscapes, Portraits, Lifestyle...life :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/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

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project birth photography landscape lauderdale county portrait photographer lifestyle personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/11/october-favorites-births-landscapes-portraits Sat, 11 Nov 2017 18:21:00 GMT
September favs (birth, maternity, landscapes, seniors, NICU) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/september-favs-birth-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 :)

  

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project birth photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/september-favs-birth-landscapes-seniors-NICU Fri, 29 Sep 2017 18:21:26 GMT
Birth Story Slide Show...Bennett https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/birth-slide-show-bennett
    

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography slideshow story https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/birth-slide-show-bennett Thu, 28 Sep 2017 12:57:19 GMT
Birth Photography...Where It Started to Where It Is Now https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/birth-photography-where-it-started-to-where-it-is-now Birth Photography...one 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 :) :) :)

 

 

  

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography personal photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/birth-photography-where-it-started-to-where-it-is-now Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:09:39 GMT
August Favs :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/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) 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project birth photography landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/9/august-favs Thu, 07 Sep 2017 05:14:50 GMT
July Favs :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/8/july-favs "Every day I discover more and more beautiful things" - Claude Monet...true story. This has been a great month :)

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project birth photography personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/8/july-favs Tue, 01 Aug 2017 13:16:30 GMT
A Few Favs from June :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/7/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, though...photos 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

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer love the shoals weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/7/a-few-favs-from-june Wed, 12 Jul 2017 19:43:07 GMT
Weekly Favs weeks 21 and 22 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/6/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!!!

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer shoals landscapes weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/6/weekly-favs-weeks-21-and-22 Mon, 05 Jun 2017 20:23:32 GMT
Weekly Favs...Week 20/52 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/5/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

 

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/5/weekly-favs-week-20/52 Mon, 22 May 2017 16:21:46 GMT
A Month of Favs :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/5/a-month-of-favs It's been a month since the last post. I should have posted Monday, but well...it'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!!!

Births

 

Prom and Leadout

Families

 

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!!!!

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project landscape photoraphy love the Shoals personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/5/a-month-of-favs Fri, 19 May 2017 21:34:16 GMT
Havasu Falls...Supai, Arizona https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/4/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 two...it 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 wrong...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'am...you 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

 

 

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) havasu falls personal photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/4/havasu-falls-supai-arizona Mon, 17 Apr 2017 17:58:50 GMT
Weekly Favs....week 13ish https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/4/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 falls...it 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!!!

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer birth photography love the Shoals weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/4/weekly-favs-week-13ish Fri, 07 Apr 2017 15:22:38 GMT
Weekly Favs...11/52 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/3/weekly-favs-11/52 “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” - Confucius

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project love the Shoals personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/3/weekly-favs-11/52 Wed, 22 Mar 2017 01:35:38 GMT
Weekly Favs...10/52 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/3/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.

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/3/weekly-favs-10/52 Mon, 13 Mar 2017 14:54:21 GMT
Weekly Favs...week 9/52 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/3/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 Wiesel...google Elie Wiesel if you have no idea who he is by the way :)  

 

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/3/weekly-favs-week-9/52 Mon, 06 Mar 2017 16:28:39 GMT
Weekly Favs...Week 7/52 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/2/weekly-favs-week-7/52 Weekly Favs...Week 7/52 :)

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/2/weekly-favs-week-7/52 Tue, 21 Feb 2017 01:16:20 GMT
Weekly Favs...6/52 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/2/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!

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/2/weekly-favs-6/52 Mon, 13 Feb 2017 15:47:41 GMT
Weekly Favs...5/52 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/2/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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project birth photography personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/2/weekly-favs-5/52 Mon, 06 Feb 2017 16:59:21 GMT
A New Year...January Weeks 1-4 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/1/a-new-year "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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2017/1/a-new-year Fri, 27 Jan 2017 03:55:20 GMT
Weekly Favs 34/52 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/8/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.)

 

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/8/weekly-favs-34/52 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 14:37:35 GMT
Weekly Favs 33/52 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/8/weekly-favs-33/52

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/8/weekly-favs-33/52 Mon, 22 Aug 2016 16:01:41 GMT
weekly favs 32/52 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/8/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 had...my 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)

   

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/8/weekly-favs-32/52 Fri, 19 Aug 2016 17:26:18 GMT
Weekly Favs 31/52 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/8/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!!! 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/8/weekly-favs-31/52 Mon, 08 Aug 2016 23:28:37 GMT
Weekly Favs...Week 30/52 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/8/weekly-favorites-week-30/52 Weekly Favs :)

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/8/weekly-favorites-week-30/52 Mon, 01 Aug 2016 16:46:37 GMT
Weekly Favs...Week 29/52 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/7/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 :)

 


 


 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/7/weekly-favs-week-29/52 Mon, 25 Jul 2016 14:11:11 GMT
Weekly Favs...week 28 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/7/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!

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/7/weekly-favs-week-28 Mon, 18 Jul 2016 17:52:12 GMT
Week 27...Weekly Favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/7/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. 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) weekly favs https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/7/week-27-weekly-favs Mon, 11 Jul 2016 01:26:43 GMT
Wow What a Year!!!! https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/6/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 :) 
 

Nora
 


 


 

Kennedy
 


 


 

Maggie
 


 


 


 


 


 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer birth photography newborn photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/6/wow-what-a-year Thu, 30 Jun 2016 21:49:58 GMT
Sweet Angel Babies https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/6/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 point...how 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.   
 


 


 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) angel babies https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2016/6/sweet-angel-babies Mon, 27 Jun 2016 03:32:15 GMT
Maggie Elizabeth Cox https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/6/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.
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/6/maggie-elizabeth-cox Sat, 27 Jun 2015 17:40:11 GMT
Kennedy :) From Before Birth to Newborn https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/6/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!
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer birth photography newborn photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/6/kennedy-from-before-birth-to-newborn Sun, 14 Jun 2015 02:49:59 GMT
Charlotte's Birth https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/6/charlottes-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.
 


 


 


 


 

   
 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/6/charlottes-birth Sun, 07 Jun 2015 03:21:34 GMT
Brittany and Tyler Prom https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/5/brittany-and-tyler-prom      So let's be honest...senior prom and senior prom pictures of your own child...so 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)...it'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!!!
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/5/brittany-and-tyler-prom Sun, 17 May 2015 18:06:06 GMT
Marlie's Birth https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/5/marlies-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!
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/5/marlies-birth Fri, 15 May 2015 16:17:23 GMT
Abbie and Jacob Prom https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/5/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!
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/5/abbie-and-jacob-prom Fri, 15 May 2015 04:53:14 GMT
Kinsey and Kemper Prom https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/5/kinsey-and-kemper-prom      Prom...it is such a big deal. The dress, the hair, flowers, date...so 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!
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

 
 


 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/5/kinsey-and-kemper-prom Fri, 08 May 2015 15:37:27 GMT
Adam is 9 Months https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/5/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 :)  
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/5/adam-is-9-months Fri, 08 May 2015 04:39:51 GMT
Sweet Baby Nora https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/4/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.
 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/4/sweet-baby-nora Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:37:09 GMT
Sweet Baby Abigail https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/3/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.

 

 

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) newborn photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/3/sweet-baby-abigail Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:19:32 GMT
Take 2-manual focus-The 52 week project continues https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/1/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

 

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project personal improvement/experimental photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/1/take-2-manual-focus-the-52-week-project-continues Tue, 13 Jan 2015 03:28:19 GMT
Happy New Year https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/1/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

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal improvement/experimental photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2015/1/happy-new-year Sat, 03 Jan 2015 19:14:54 GMT
Shell's Christmas Tree Farm 2014 https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2014/12/shells-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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2014/12/shells-christmas-tree-farm-2014 Sun, 14 Dec 2014 03:39:00 GMT
Baby Joseph :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2014/5/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 partum...one week apart, and soooooo in love with our little blessing.

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography newborn photography personal photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2014/5/baby-joseph Wed, 07 May 2014 16:27:00 GMT
"From this Moment On" https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/11/-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!

 

 

         

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography wedding photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/11/-from-this-moment-on Wed, 06 Nov 2013 18:23:09 GMT
Audrey and Luke https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/11/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 :)

 

 

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/11/audrey-and-luke Mon, 04 Nov 2013 04:26:03 GMT
Beautiful Sun Flare https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/7/sunflare Time for another Rock the Shot photo challenge. You can read more at www.rocktheshotforum.com. 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!

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Contest https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/7/sunflare Tue, 09 Jul 2013 19:51:51 GMT
"These are the flowers that fly and all but sing" -Robert Frost https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/7/butterflies 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.  

Can't find the author of this poem. . . it is unknown. . . however if anyone knows I will edit this post and give credit. Just a reminder to see God in the things we take for granted. His creation is so beautiful and we experience His miracles daily.  

 

The man whispered, “God, speak to me”
and a meadowlark sang.
But, the man did not hear.

So the man yelled, “God, speak to me”
and the thunder rolled across the sky.
But, the man did not listen.

The man looked around and said, “God, let me see you”
and a star shone brightly.
But, the man did not notice.

The man shouted, “God, show me a miracle!”
And a life was born.
But, the man did not see.

So, the man cried out in dispair, “Touch me God,
and let me know you are here!”
Whereupon, God reached down and touched the man….

But, the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/7/butterflies Mon, 08 Jul 2013 16:10:34 GMT
4th of July https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/7/4thofJuly I can't sleep!!! Call it being a night shifter. . . taking a nap on this rainy post 4th of July day (which I totally should not have done). . . knowing I have so much to do and I need my rest so bad that I can't get it. . . who knows. When I can't sleep I edit photos and between my friend Christy and I we sure took a lot on the 4th. The setting was not ideal at all. As rain poured down we sat in the garage, snapping away as the kiddos played (most of them, the Lett boys wouldn't have much to do with the rain, I really think they just didn't want their pictures taken because their mom is as bad as I am with a camera lol) but what more beautiful setting could you ask for than just watching our kiddos enjoy life, in the rain. I have tried so hard to teach my kids to enjoy life regardless of circumstances. Even on the most difficult days it is possible to at least manage a smile at some point :) We couldn't control the weather, so why not enjoy it. I think I get that from my mom :) as I distinctly remember just last year us trucking away through the various Disney parks during tropical storm Ernesto or something named like that. . . Rain or shine, there is a blessing in life. . . thank God for the blessings (Addisyn and I thanked God for the rain that made the flowers grow that night, and thankfully it was just rain, not thunder, or she definitely would not have been outside), and just go with it. Not always easy. . .I think my favorite card of all time, during the most difficult time in my life, when smiles were rare (but manageable at times), read something like this. . . "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade, when it hands you a load of crap. . . do nothing, make nothing at all, trust me on this one" (love it and it made me smile at the time lol) Some days are definitely like that and not much you can make of them except hope tomorrow is better. This 4th of July was for sure NOT one of those. Plenty of smiles and laughs to go around. The kids had a great time splashing in mud puddles, riding bikes in the rain, bringing out the umbrellas, pogo sticks (yes even the older kiddos lol), sparklers and little fireworks, and we just enjoyed watching them (and supervising when needed lol). I think I got some pretty fabulous photos in the rain too if you ask me :)

and my favorites, in black and white as always, of the littles :) Love the 3 littles!!!!

Finally, my personal favorite! Only because she is the youngest one of the bunch and she looks like she's got enough attitude to take them all :) would be sweet little Millie. . . who smiles most of the time, is super sweet, but I would not want to mess with this little girl! I just couldn't decide if I liked the black and white or color better so you decide :) Happy 4th everyone and hope everyone had a great holiday!

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/7/4thofJuly Sat, 06 Jul 2013 06:59:45 GMT
Sweet Baby Evan https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/evan6months Have I mentioned just how much I love baby packages. . . well if I haven't said it lately, let me say again, I love it when a family books a baby plan. It means I get to spend 5 sessions and watch little ones grow. These were little Evan's 6 month photos. We went to the train bridge and let him take it all in. He was fascinated by the wood of the bridge and flowers in the grass. It is so much fun capturing the wonder of a child. Here are just a few pictures of his 6 month session. Can't wait to see him again!!!

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/evan6months Fri, 28 Jun 2013 18:54:45 GMT
Little Samuel https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/little-samuel The blog is hopping today! Its called back from vacation and coming up on a week stent as a nurse. So for today, the blog is on fire, maybe some fire tomorrow and then silence for another week :) Meet Samuel Larry Sewell. . . born May 14th, 2013 at 7:38 pm. He weighed in at an even 6 pounds and was 18 inches long. Congrats to his parents Jenny and Larry. Thanks for letting me take pictures of this precious little guy. Love sleepy newborns!!!!

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/little-samuel Thu, 27 Jun 2013 19:17:27 GMT
Thanks for the Memories and Service to Our Country https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/thanks-for-the-memories-and-service-to-our-country I will never forget the first time I talked to Penny. I was headed to visit my parents having just started out in my photography business. I had been shooting for a year previously, gaining experience, but this was the first time I had 4 shoots in a weekend with people I did not know. I received a phone call about 5 minutes earlier with a cancellation and being a firm believer in prayer, knew my heart's desire was to have as many shoots as possible to gain much needed experience. I prayed, wanting that 4th shoot. My phone rang and it was Penny. She had heard from a friend I was in town, she just had a baby, and wanted to know if I'd be willing to fit them in. Of course I said yes! Since that phone call, I've taken pictures of the Riddles for over a year now while they have been in Montgomery with their military service. They have been called to serve in another location and while I am greatly going to miss them, I am so thankful for their willingness to serve. Sooo forgive me while I take a walk down memory lane as well as post pictures from our final shoot mixed in with the last collage. . . Thanks so much for allowing me to grow in my photography skills by taking pictures of your boys. I have enjoyed them so much and am really going to miss you guys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/thanks-for-the-memories-and-service-to-our-country Thu, 27 Jun 2013 15:06:23 GMT
"Summer" a Rock the Shot forum contest https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/contest Huge fan of www.rocktheshotforum.com. So many ways to connect with some fabulous photographers and products. I've found so much inspiration from the site including inspiration for this photo here. Taken in manual mode with a Canon EOS 5D and a 24-105 L lens just after sunset in Destin, Florida. Edited with Lightroom 3.6. My boy loves to skim board and he's not too bad at it either. Love summer days and enjoying every bit of sunlight possible.

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Contest https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/contest Thu, 27 Jun 2013 03:36:45 GMT
Baby Rhett https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/baby-rhett Love babies. . . and I've had the privilege of taking pictures of quite a few lately. The best time to take newborn photos is before the two week mark. Sometimes with my schedule at work, it being summertime and summer travel, that just isn't possible. I so appreciate Whitney's patience and we had to wait until Rhett was 4 weeks old before being able to do his shoot. Sleepy poses are difficult after two weeks but we were fortunate to get a few. Rhett was wide eyed and a little mover. He is so strong already. He's holding his head up, trying to push up with his legs, and most of the "sleepy" poses are actually when he blinked.

Rhett Daniel Emmons was born at 10:18 am on May 9th, 2013. He weighed 8lbs 12oz and was 21.5 inches long. Congrats to his parents Dan and Whitney! Can't wait to see this little guy again. He is already full of personality!

 
 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer newborn photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/baby-rhett Wed, 12 Jun 2013 21:11:17 GMT
Baby Love. . . Sweet Little Bretley https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/baby-love-sweet-little-bretley I love babies. . . so sweet and innocent. This little guy was so tiny. He was born weeks early on April 26th, 2013 and spent some time in Huntsville before coming home. He weighed 3 pounds 15 ounces at birth and was 17.5 inches long. Just adorable. . . and thanks to his parents for letting me take his pictures. Two of my little ones were at the house when he came for his photo session. They asked if we could keep him. Highlight of my day :)

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer newborn photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/baby-love-sweet-little-bretley Thu, 06 Jun 2013 16:24:19 GMT
Cutest 10 Year Old Ever :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/cutest-10-year-old-ever Good times on the train bridge with this guy. He was full of laughs and always ready with a smile. He struggled through the serious poses but we managed to get a couple of those in as well. Loved it, laughed a lot, and had a great time as always :) Thanks Paden for enduring a photo session. Getting pictures made is not really a highlight in any 10 year olds life, and thanks to his family for asking me.

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/6/cutest-10-year-old-ever Thu, 06 Jun 2013 02:59:26 GMT
Forbs Wedding https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/5/forbs-wedding "I am not a wedding photographer" would be the first thing I tell people when asked to do weddings. I have this whole little spill lined out as to why I don't do them and why someone who focuses on weddings should be their photographer. Give me a 5 year old and I can nail it (usually). I love the 2-8 age range and enjoy families/teens. Weddings. . . not my thing. On rare occasion I agree to photo them. This would be one of those occasions. So after that mini spill, let me introduce you to a fabulous couple who entrusted me with their wedding :) I had such a great time and combined with some pictures from my photo friend Christy, this couple has some wonderful memories captured that can be printed and cherished forever :) The bride was stunning, the wedding day weather perfect, and loved, loved, loved the outdoor barn setting. Congrats to Tim and Whitney! Thank you so much for your trust and letting me be a part of your special day. I greatly enjoyed it. Will post a public album on fb at some point but for now here is the infamous "highlight collage" :) and it was soooo difficult to pick which ones to include.

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) wedding photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/5/forbs-wedding Thu, 09 May 2013 21:51:36 GMT
Love this Little Plaid Family :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/5/love-this-little-plaid-family How do you spend a rainy Monday???? You spend it catching up on photo edits. I can not believe these pictures were taken more than a month ago!!! Love my brother and his plaid family :) Aren't they beautiful!!!! These were taken at our grandparents farm, a place where my parents and brother spend quite a few days a week trying to maintain it. We love this place and I wish my family could get down there more often. So glad we were able to spend some time here with family over spring break :) Can't wait to get back!

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/5/love-this-little-plaid-family Mon, 06 May 2013 17:52:34 GMT
Meet Roman Stutts https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/meet-roman-stutts It has been the two weeks of newborns and I have absolutely loved it!! Meet the latest little newborn in my world. . . Roman Stutts. Roman was born on April 11, 2013 at 12:49 am. He weighed 5 pounds 15 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Congrats to Amanda, Drew, and their extended familes. These two are going to make fabulous parents and it was such a pleasure to spend some time with this precious little boy. Thanks guys for letting me take his pictures. I had a great time!

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer newborn photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/meet-roman-stutts Sun, 21 Apr 2013 17:32:41 GMT
Where it all started. . . https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/where-it-all-started1 This is where it all started. . . my children :) Love everything about them. . . Clayton being such a great big brother and helping out Nathan, Britt on her phone as she is most of the time, the pure joy of Nathan as he learns how to spray silly string, and Addisyn who didn't care how hard of a hit she took, she wanted to get close enough to whoever she was spraying to get them good! . . . Love my family :) So thankful for the 30 minutes here and there we manage to squeeze into our schedules to just let them be kids. . . and I think everyone should bring silly string, water guns, water balloons, etc to end a photo shoot with!!

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/where-it-all-started1 Sat, 20 Apr 2013 04:13:38 GMT
Grant https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/grant1 Love snuggly newborns. . . Not a care in the world. Grant just snuggled all in while big brother played and crashed cars all around. As long as he was warm, had a full belly, and all snuggled in he let us move his little arms and legs without much fuss and even gave us an occasional smile of content :) Such a fun shoot. Grant was born on April 4, 2013 at 4:09 pm. He weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces and was 19 inches long. Congrats to his mom, dad, and big brother. Thanks for letting me spend my morning with you guys. He is just adorable!

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer newborn photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/grant1 Fri, 19 Apr 2013 14:04:38 GMT
Little Waflers at the Train Bridge https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/little-waflers-at-the-train-bridge I've been taking pictures of little Zoey since she was a newborn. I can't believe how much she has grown. . . she is such a cutie!!! We let them explore around the train bridge and just be kids. Sometimes it's difficult to get this age to sit still for a pictures but managed to get a few posey ones however this is my favorite age as you just run around and chase them as they explore. The lighting as the sun went down made for some perfect sunny haze. Thanks for a fun afternoon Myles and Zoey!

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/little-waflers-at-the-train-bridge Fri, 19 Apr 2013 13:32:40 GMT
Welcome Ella Austin :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/welcome-ella-austin     Enjoyed spending the morning with these little redheads :) I love red heads and these two are so sweet. I actually brought my boy along on this shoot since he is good friends with little Bailey. The two of them had a great time but I loved how Bailey was willing to stop playing for a few moments to spend time with her new baby sister Ella. I was able to capture the beauty of their already precious bond.

    Ella was born on April 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm. She was 19 and a half inches long weighing 7 lbs 4 ounces. Most of these images have her wrapped in a quilt made by her dad's mom and she is laying on a quilt that her mother's mom made before she passed away. They are also laying in front of the door way to their house. I so enjoy creating unique images that hold senitmental meaning and pulling pieces of individual homes into the photographs. Congrats to her parents and big sister Bailey. Thanks guys for letting me be a part of your family for the morning :)

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/welcome-ella-austin Thu, 18 Apr 2013 19:05:22 GMT
Welcome William "Reid" Myers :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/welcome-william-reid-myers Welcome to the world little Reid. Weighing in at 7 lbs 12 oz and 21 inches long, Reid was born on March 22nd at 10:14pm. What an amazing shoot. . . absolutely loved getting to meet this precious little red head. I've sooo been looking forward to his arrival. Congrats to his parents and big brother Gray (who is going to be a fabulous big brother). Total perfection. . . and they both decided to nap at the same time for some priceless moments captured. Thanks guys for letting me be a part :) I had such a great time.

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer newborn photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/welcome-william-reid-myers Fri, 05 Apr 2013 16:53:31 GMT
Sumner Kiddos part 1 :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/family Definitely not the ideal situations for a family photo shoot at the beach. It was cold. . . like lows in the upper 30's cold. But the kids still enjoyed braving the sand in their sweaters and pants until the sun came out and then even took a dip into the freezing cold water (although probably warmer than the air temperature) before heading inside. With some encouragement from me :) they decided to get dressed for an attempt at family photos. We braved the cold for about an hour. Thanks to my parents for a great couple days at the beach with the kiddos while David was gone and thanks to my brother and sister in law for letting my nephew join the fun as well. This is highlight part one of the kiddo session attempt with part two being at my grandparents farm and to be posted later.   

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/family Thu, 04 Apr 2013 23:32:31 GMT
The Perfect Photo https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/the-perfect-photo Saw this quote the other day and made me think of my kids. I attempted family photos of kiddos and wanted perfection. . . frustrated because far from it. . .for instance this photo, with her hair all in her face. . .but then I realized she is perfect just the way she is. . . this is who she is. I pray all of my kids will never focus on the clothes they wear or being what others see as "perfect" but guard their hearts as directed in Prov. 4:23 and become who they were created to be. The quote that got me thinking :)

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It's the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”
Audrey Hepburn
 
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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/the-perfect-photo Thu, 04 Apr 2013 18:35:09 GMT
The Importance of a Photograph https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/3/the-importance-of-a-photograph     Welcome to the almost complete new look of Photography by H. Sumner. In the words of a friend, it's "slammin". Thanks so much to Crisp Publications. . . You can find links to her portfolio and facebook page here http://www.hannahcrisp.org. She recently started a facebook page. Go like her page and show some love :) Love her work!

    Now the plan was to reopen so to speak with new website, products, etc. none of which are going according to my planned time frame. . . shocker in my world lol (please note definite sarcasm). Flexibility is key and I felt the need write now, bringing you to the new slightly unfinished site now. Expect more blogs to follow with new products, pricing, etc. in the upcoming weeks as well as a facebook facelift :) I can't wait! For now, a simple post from my heart with a picture of my kiddos plus my nephew. This photo was taken at my grandparent's farm. The only place I've known them to live and the place where they raised their 4 children as well. Granny wasn't feeling well on this particular day and I went with my mom and nephew to visit her before we left. I haven't been inside her house in a long while. Mom and dad have a trailer on the property which we normally inhabit (our crew can be a bit overwhelming). Sitting on her couch and taking it all in, I was hit pretty hard with the realization of just how important a photograph is. Her living room is covered in photographs. I so take it for granted that I can pull out my phone, sit at a computer, kindle, ipad. . .whatever means of electronic device I choose, and scroll through whatever moments I have captured. At the touch of a button, I can enter into the lives of others close by or hundreds of miles away. I can keep in touch. . . There is no computer, no fancy phone, no interet tablet at my grandparent's house. Since distance and life keep us from frequenting her house often, she sees my children, her other grandchildren, and great grandchildren most often through photographs. Printed, hardcopy, on paper (which I know is almost a thing of the past), photographs. 3 things come to mind. . .

1. Thanks again to Crisp Publications for the new look. . . love it!

2. Our family and especially my Granny, Pop, and her children would appreciate prayers as they continue to walk with her "home" as far as this life will allow whether that be a week longer or years longer. The day following this photograph, she was taken to the hospital with uncertain news and we are just asking for prayers.

3. Don't forget those in your life who are not connected to the internet. I'm sure they have indirectly or directly put their heart into your life in some way. Doesn't have to be a professional photograph, but spend a dollar to get some instagram photograph printed at walmart or wherever, buy an envelop, put a stamp on it, (I know, all old school ways to communicate) and send it to someone who only gets a glimpse into your busy life through printed photographs.    

   

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) personal photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2013/3/the-importance-of-a-photograph Sat, 30 Mar 2013 21:35:40 GMT
Savoring this Day https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/9/savoring-this-day I've been debating about writing a blog on this subject for a couple weeks and in all honesty still praying, editing, and trying to determine whether or not to post this. If you are reading, obviously it got posted :) The inspiration behind this post is Sara Walker. Our Sunday school class did a donation only photo shoot fundraiser type thing for the Walker family a few weeks ago. I've known the Pigg family since junior high. Mrs. Pigg was my algebra teacher, makes amazing M&M cookies :) and I played softball with Dinah and Sara. Sara was a fellow lefty who after she graduated, let me use her glove since my right shoulder just wouldn't cooperate. The options were surgery, sit out, or play with another arm. . . I opted to play with another arm and thanks to Sara for letting me have her glove for a season of ball so I could learn how to switch throwing arms. I was so excited to wear "Sara's" glove :) Michael graduated with my brother and Mr. Pigg was always there as well cheering us on in our various sports. I was able to play both softball, basketball, and travel softball with Dinah. I also went to college for a couple years with both the Pigg girls and thanks to their generosity because I had nowhere to live for a couple weeks one summer, lived with them while taking a May-mester class at Lipscomb. All that time together during those years has left me with some fabulous memories. Who would have known however, that our paths would again cross here in Florence, Alabama. I have spent time with Dinah since being here, Olive garden is our favorite :) on the rare occasions that our schedules allow but in all honesty I haven't seen Sara since college that I can recall and have never personally met Brian or her boys. Sara and I have had facebook conversations but haven't actually seen each other in years. I can still remember exactly where I was sitting when I got the text about praying for my sister. I had switched phones and lost a bunch of numbers during that process (I have no one's number memorized) and had no idea who it was from. It was a 615 number, meaning Nashville TN, and there were only two people I could think of that had sisters with Nashville numbers who had my number and I didn't like either option that was in my head so I waited in the orthodontist parking lot for the text reply, praying the whole time. I find it so not fair that my strength has increased a million times over thanks to the words written by Sara throughout her journey and ultimate victory in her battle with cancer. I can't deny the fact however, that her strength in her circumstances, her unrelenting faith, and her willingness to share the entire picture of her heart, not always the positive, but the reality, has strengthened and drawn me closer to my Father in heaven during my own not so outspoken trials. Selfishly, I will miss her writing. I always looked forward to her updates and how God was working in her life. It gave hope that He could work in my dark circumstances as well. Her life still inspires for the record, death hasn't diminished that. . . And I am just one person. . . for anyone watching the numbers at the bottom of the screen of viewers online at her celebration of life, I'm sure these same feelings (even on a more intimate level for those who knew her better), apply to thousands (over 4,000 at one point) of others who were drawn to her and encouraged to follow with her in her journey. I have included a group of collages in this blog. . . The first two come from the first shoot we did (before and after the messiness). . . It was so encouraging the turnout in support of Sara and brought me to tears when the event was over. She inspired the activities. . . I just wanted to capture all of our children having fun so in my mind came up with a 50 foot slip n slide, (courtesy of my own childhood memories of another dear grandfather type friend who passed this month as well and taught me how to slip n slide at an early age, and nicknamed me slip n slide btw. . . and when he met Addisyn called her little slip n slide) silly string, cupcakes, swimming, bubbles, and had a blast in fellowship while I took pictures. The last two collages come from a second Sunday School get together following her death. The first one is the little kids, the second collage is of the "big" kids :) Our class had such a great time the first time, we offered again to come to our house and just have a good time. Again we had a fantastic turnout. So the reason I share is in honor of Sara, the initial idea was all a result of an inspiration to do something small for a friend. . .it was such an enjoyable event we did it again, and even more so I personally savored the day, enjoyed time with our children, didn't focus on pictures although obviously took a few, and fellowshiped with each other because of the bond we have in Christ and our Father in Heaven. It gives us all hope. . . and a hope that even death cannot take away. Thanks Sara for that reminder, and her entire family for displaying that same hope on Friday. If you'd like to view or read more, at the bottom of this post are links to Sara's website, caring bridge page, and even her celebration of life. And to Mr. and Mrs. Pigg, Dinah, Michael, Brian and kiddos/families. . . any time you are in town or on this side of the river and want to slide down a big ole silp n slide come on over. I think all the kids (and even adults) would have a blast!!!

The First shoot. . .Pictures of kiddos for those who wanted before we got all messy :)

The second slip in slide day!!!! Savoring this day for sure!!!! :)

If you want some encouragement and proof that God is alive and working in our lives regardless of circumstances you can visit any of these three websites and read about an amazing Christian woman, in my opinion :) 

To visit Sara's Website you can go to: http://www.savoringtheday.com/

To visit her caring bridge site which was also updated by her sister during the later part of her battle with cancer visit  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/sarawalker/journal

To watch her celebration of life you can go to http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/25088570

 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/9/savoring-this-day Tue, 04 Sep 2012 02:23:52 GMT
The Reas :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/7/the-reas God sure knew what He was doing when he placed this family in my life. Little did I know when I met the Rea's years ago in Montgomery, Alabama as Stephanie's assistant college volleyball coach that they would come to hold such a dear place in my heart (as I'm sure they do in many hearts around this state). Who knew we'd end up living in the same city :) Love them and it was an honor to get to spend a little bit of time with them taking pictures. This collage is actually a combination of two different shoots. I met Josh and his family earlier that morning in downtown Florence and then back out at the Rea's house for a quick family shoot. 

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/7/the-reas Thu, 19 Jul 2012 19:45:51 GMT
Zimmerman Boys https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/7/zimmerman-boys I have been waiting forever to post a blog about this photo shoot. This was one of my all time favorite shoots. Yes, the subjects were fun to work with :) but my favorite part was the secrecy invovled. No posted photos, hidden payments, no facebook album or anything in an attempt to pull off a huge suprise. Success!!!!!!! These boys got together along with their dad and gave their mom a CD of pictures as well as a framed print for her birthday. Sweetest thing ever :) Melted my heart when they asked me to do it and of course I was willing to keep things a secret! It feels so good to finally share. You can view the shoot here http://photographybyhsumner.com/zimmerman and I will upload a facebook album soon. Thanks guys for allowing me to be a part! Such sweet boys!

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/7/zimmerman-boys Thu, 12 Jul 2012 23:59:51 GMT
Grandkids!!!! https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/6/grandkids This would be another shoot where I've wondered just exactly what I am going to say about this family. I really can't put into words how much the Weaver family means to mine. Mrs. Diane was David's administrative assistant at AUM during our time there but more than that, she was a dear friend. I met Mrs. Diane as a college student (which is where I met David as well lol) and she has ministered to David and I during times of difficulty individually and together. Our family's shared many ups and downs together and our lives have truely been blessed by knowing her. It was such an honor to get together when them and photograph her grandchildren. I can't believe how much they have grown. I had never met the youngest before and they were all so much fun to be with. Mrs. Diane brought out the slip n slide and the kids had a blast!!! I figured it is best to keep this short and sweet because I could go on and on about how special Mrs. Diane is and even a little teary eyed about how life continues to go on as we all have gone our seperate ways. Thanks Mrs. Diane for everything you did for the Sumner family (before and after I was a part of it) and you will always hold a special place in our hearts!

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/6/grandkids Fri, 29 Jun 2012 20:14:01 GMT
Mia Kate https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/6/mia-kate This little girl is precious (along with her cousins who came to join in the fun for some family pictures as well). We spent about an hour in downtown Florence letting little Mia Kate and her cousins play around. A two year old is never still lol and Mia Kate was no exception. Her sweetest smiles were captured just letting her run up and down the walkway. I must admit however, my favorites are the no smiles and not looking at the camera. She is beautiful no matter what expression. . . even her little pout at times :) Thanks Mia Kate and family for letting me spend an hour with you. You are such a sweet little girl.  

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Lauderdale County Portrait Photographer https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/6/mia-kate Mon, 25 Jun 2012 00:57:49 GMT
Shelby :) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/6/shelby I love this girl :) She is so beautiful inside and out and extremely talented. She plays the cello, sings with Soul's Desire at Woodmont Baptist church, plays softball, and I'm sure is good at everything else she does. As always, I had such a great time taking her pictures. Wishing you the best during you Soul's Desire travels and it is always great getting to see you! So proud of you!

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/6/shelby Thu, 21 Jun 2012 16:11:11 GMT
Andrea and Robert https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/5/andrea-and-robert I've been debating on how to write about this beautiful day since I started editing these pictures. What do I need to say, how do I approach it? Do I talk about the day, discuss it from a photographers viewpoint and talk about lighting, challenges, first wedding experiences, my lack of confidence doing a wedding, etc, and the questions in my head could go on and on. Honestly, I am a child photographer. It is my niche. I love children, love playing, and am pretty confident in photographing them. This is the first all day wedding I have ever shot. Probably shouldn't admit that on my photo website blog either but I never want to be deceptive and attempt to sell experience that I don't have. I fell in love with the bride and her family. Genuine down to earth people who are about as relaxed as I am. I met them through the brides sister. She is one of my best friend's sister in laws. I was totally upfront about my lack of experience (only one small outdoor wedding previously) and after getting to know this family a little bit better, I could not have had a better family to work with for my first all day wedding shoot. They were wonderful. I was discussing the whole shooting a wedding thing with a friend and was asked "how are you going to approach this, are you going to tell a story, just focus on making sure you get the main wedding shots, what are you going to do?" I thought about this a lot. I had a list of photos the bride wished to get, the important, definite wedding portraits that get passed down for generations since they contain all the family members, but I decided in addition to that, I wanted to tell a story about the day and bring out the families' personalities from my perspective in spending the day with them. So I guess to answer my friends question, I attempted to do both. I enjoyed the little things about the day such as the mother of the bride heming the matron of honors dress the day of the wedding, the fact that the mother of the bride made the bride's dress (with pockets) as well as her other daughters dress, and the mother of the bride's dress was also made by her own mother (wow that got confusing), older sister (matron of honor) doing hair and makeup with determined concentration that was improved with her tongue covering her top lip, the groom who also loves to take pictures and was taking his own wedding photos when he got the chance, the natural beauty of the bride, her smile, and glow, the grooms expression when he realized what keepsakes were attached to the bride's bouquet before seeing her, and the most lasting impression of this family was the love that could be felt between family members. I adored watching through my lens flowers being pinned on loved ones and the exchanges of hugs and greetings. Sooooo the "wedding story" of the day will eventually be posted on my facebook page. I'm pretty sure I'm going to tell it in black and white but not 100% sure yet. Black and white to me is simple and no distractions. I love it. The colors of the day were absolutely beautiful and I know not everyone prefers black and white so I'm still debating. It is just becoming my thing to go black and white most of the time. There is a link under information on my home page to view my facebook page and I hope to have the "story" up by the end of the week. For now, I've included quite a few photos here. Thanks to the families of Andrea and Robert for such a wonderful day and allowing me to be a part of your wedding. It was such an honor and I wish ya'll the best!!!

 

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photographybyhsumner@comcast.net (Journey Steps Photography: Births, Landscapes, Portraits) wedding photography https://www.journeystepsphotography.com/blog/2012/5/andrea-and-robert Wed, 23 May 2012 12:59:17 GMT