Little babies from the rural parts of Ethiopia were cute enough… but Mike’s kindergarten class? WOW. All of them stole my heart. They were so welcoming and eager to talk to me and full of light and love. Their faces and enthusiasm and pure joy out of just being near you is enough to make you want to drop whatever it is you’re doing in your life at that moment and hug and squeeze and cuddle with them FOREVER. Okay, I think I made my point. I just miss them dearly.

When I first met them, I was pretty shocked. Mike made them excited about my visiting every time they held class, so they were pretty excited a few days ahead. They made signs with my name and little handprints. By the time I popped my face inside of their window in their tiny mud-built classroom, I was overwhelmed with their reaction. The whole class jumped out of their seat and raced to fight over who would get to hold my hand and literally tackled me with kisses and hugs. I almost fainted with happiness.

His class made me sort of stop and admire how innocent children truly are.  They are pretty cut off from technology and the fast-paced life of the Western world, and although difficult to keep up with information at times, it’s really a blessing in their community. They are able to carry on with life as it’s been done for thousands of years and there are many family get-togethers and not to many “I can’t make it, I’m so behind on work” excuses. I saw a great quote recently by philosopher Lao Tzu:

“ If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present. ”

Everyone has nostalgia, perhaps regret, and anxiety about their future, but overwhelmingly I saw that Ethiopians knew how to live in the present. Isn’t that what life is about?


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“First Looks” are becoming a becoming a popular way to snap a few pictures of the intimate moments before the wedding ceremony. I’ve done a few of these.. but this was the first occasion where I did one for the Father of the Bride.

Watching the bride, Whitney, stand behind the screen door with a nervous smile as her Dad approached the porch instantly took me back 20 years to when she was a little girl. I really saw a young Whitney who had been waiting for this moment her entire life. Tender moments like these make me realize why I love my job. Being a part of such a huge moment in a family’s life is so special.

Read the rest of the post on Washingtonian’s blog!


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One of the best aspects of being a wedding photographer is the intimacy with which I get to know my clients. I feel as if I am invited into their world and the love story that brought them together. Never have I felt so attached to such a story as with Brian and Whitney.

Last May, Brian came to me with the idea to photograph his surprise engagement at the Jefferson Memorial. I hid behind a column as Brian got down on one knee and asked Whitney to marry him.

The wedding was an extension of that beautiful day, an outdoor affair with wonderful people and perfect light bouncing off of the gorgeous bride and groom. The highlight for me came when Whitney read a handwritten note from Brian, saying only a small portion out loud to keep from crying.

“There are not enough minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even years to tell you how much I love you..”

So I feel lucky to be a small part of their fairytale story, the privilege to share these special moments with them, and to share these special memories for them now.

Venue: Sundara 

Second Shooter: Michael Waidmann

Planner: White Peony

Makeup Stylist: Danielle Smith

Florist: Melinda Amos
Cake: Mary Ogilvie

String Duet: Classic Strings Duo

Invitations: Appalachian Press

Wedding Signage: Brent Ellis (Maid of Honor)

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One of the most striking aspects of Ethiopian life was their traditional houses, gojobeits. Made of intricate weaving of bamboo or teff straw, sticks and mud, their structure becomes sturdy and undoubtedly beautiful. Seeing them scattered along the Ethiopian countryside was one of my favorite parts of the drive into the rural wilderness. The photo above was taken on Thanksgiving, as the smoke was rising from grilling meats. And the photo below was taken on the drive into Mezan Tefari, a region far south.

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So I’ve been meaning to post a photo or two each Tuesday talking about my adventures abroad and local, and the stories behind them.

As so many folks in the metro area begin their daily commute this morning, I’m reminded of one of my favorite photos. It offers such a unique contrast to our style of transportation.

This photo was taken up in the mountain of Chiri, Ethiopia where paved roads are a foreign luxury, and individual vehicles are unheard of. Many men climb aboard any moving vehicle to get to the top; which is typically an hour long commute to start the days work. The less fortunate begin a day of walking to get to nearby markets.

This photo represents another aspect of life in Ethiopia that I find so endearing. Public transportation is rough, smelly, and dangerous but it’s part of their collective identity. Notice the kid second to the left with the big smile on his face. This is one of those days I’d gladly trade my ride for his.

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