A note from the photographer

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Check out my photography website at J. Commons Photography

Contact me to find out what I can do for you! Jennifer.commons@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kayleigh ~ Senior Photo Session ~ Milligan College, TN

Saturday, I was blessed to do the senior portraits of a young lady I have watched grow up the last few years.  We had a beautiful day on the campus of Milligan College, a school she is now considering! Here's a little sneak peek of her day.

Kayleigh desperately wanted pictures on the stage at the Gregory Center, but when we went to check it out it was locked.  We found a helpful maintenance worker who was kind enough to unlock the stage for us and let her have her shining moment. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October Photo Trip - Cades Cove, GSMNP

Sunday, Deanna and I took our friend Denise on her first trip to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  My dad works in Cades Cove, so I have spent a lot of time there and have been fortunate enough to spot a lot of wildlife.  Deanna and I went a couple years ago and were blessed to see a bobcat, a very rare sight, but no bears.  Well, this time the whole park was on display!  We saw six bears, a couple coyotes, a grey fox, several deer, a dozen or so turkeys, and a pileated woodpecker!  It was an incredible wildlife display!!  I am so happy that Denise was able to see so many things on her first trip.

How many times have I driven Little River Road?  A lot.  How many times have I spotted this waterfall?  Um, I think this was a first!

The Sinks. 

The Loop.

I love goldenrod.  My allergies are not so fond of it.

Don't mind me, just gonna climb down this tree.

I've never seen coyotes in the cove, but this one greeted us almost at the beginning of the loop.

Primitive Baptist Church

I can't pass up an animal that poses for me!

My first grey fox! (Photo cred - Denise Schweers)

Love this cub walking the limbs.

We could actually hear one of the bears crunching its snack of walnuts!

 We had been discussing pileated woodpeckers and how Mike and I saw one at the park on our honeymoon.  While stuck in a bear jam this one flew over our head and landed in a nearby tree! (Photo cred - Deanna)

We drove the loop three times because we were having such a great trip!  As the leaves deepen into their fall colors the park will get busier, but I am ready to hop in the car and head back down there!

Mine and Deanna's MD trip: MD RenFest 2015, Baltimore, Antietam

Dreams do come true!!!  Several months ago, I found out that the great Diana Gabaldon would be attending the Maryland Renaissance Festival on September 26th to do a reading and book signing.  I have loved her books for many years and have reread the series multiple times.  Earlier this year, or may be late last year, I started my friend, Deanna, on the series.  She fell instantly in love.  We joked about how great it would be to go and see her.  I have wanted to take Deanna to Maryland for a long time.  Then we joked about having my Uncle Terry make us costumes for the festival.  (He's amazing, as you will see shortly.)  Finally, we just said, "Let's do it!"  I asked my uncle and he was more than happy to make us amazing outfits!  He went above and beyond and even drove to my house to do a fitting and drove home the same day (it's about 7 hours one direction.)  We entered an email lottery to win a spot to have Diana sign our books.  Miracle upon miracle, I won!  My aunt won, also, and was kind enough to stand in line with me to have Deanna's books signed.

A peek at our amazing outfits. (iPhone)


As we waited for Diana Gabaldon to take the stage, we were treated with two wonderful acts - Cu Dubh (pronounced koo-doo; translates to black dog) a Celtic bagpipe and drum band; and Mediaeval Baebes, a classic choral ensemble from London.  Both were very talented and very entertaining.

Diana Gabaldon holding storytime.  If you have a love for reading you need to add "Have my favorite author read to me" to your bucket list.  It was incredible to hear her speaking her words.

Me and Diana.  She was amazing.  She complimented me on my outfit and smiled nicely while I babbled! (iPhone)

Me.  Directly after meeting Diana.  Think I was excited? (Photo cred - Deanna)

A "street" act.  They were singing an Irish folk song that I knew!

Death Wheel.

As the King and Queen, Aunt Holly and Uncle Terry hand out necklaces and rings to the little kids.  It was really sweet to watch.

Yes, Uncle Terry made all these outfits.  They are incredible.  Also, check out the mad photo bombing skills by the mimes!

On Sunday we ventured into Baltimore.  I try to make it to Fort McHenry every visit, but it doesn't always happen.  So much of my childhood, and even my teens, were spent at the fort.  It has truly become one of my favorite places.  

Oh, Say can you see . . .

You never know what you will find when you open things!

Orpheus has always been my favorite statue at the fort.

Francis Scott Key Bridge

Selfie with the flag flying in the background (iPhone)

Another of my favorite Maryland spots is Antietam National Battlefield.  I have visited several battlefields over the years, including Gettysburg, but there is just something about Antietam.  Quite frankly, it gives me the willies.  When I stand at Burnside's Bridge I can feel the presence of all the soldiers that fell on that day in 1862.  It's a quiet, eerie place that has such a strong pull.  It's amazing, if that's the right word to describe the spot of the bloodiest day in American history.  

Dunker Church

Sherrick Farmhouse

 Strange bug on the bridge

Burnside's Bridge

Witness to history - That big old Sycamore tree, on the left side of the photo, survived the battle and saw the entire thing unfold.  There are photos from the time following the battle that show a much smaller, younger version of that old tree.  As Deanna said, "Oh, the stories trees could tell."