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Sara Hoover: Senior Portraits

October 11, 2018

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Exactly one month ago Sara, Kristin and I embarked on an  extraordinary adventure. We spent the evening dodging rain storms and finding cool places throughout the city of Harrisburg to take Sara’s senior portraits. We wanted to do some of the spots that someone would expect to see if you would get your senior pictures taken in Harrisburg, or any portraits taken in Harrisburg, but also some places that you may not think of. Kristin and Sara knew some really cool places, I was on an adventure.

I could go on and on about all the places we went, but some of them are top secret. (Not really). But I would rather talk about the fun time I had, and all the fluffy squirrels we saw. Though that is the only sentence I was planning to mention the fluffy squirrels, but you never know they could always make an appearance. Squirrels are like that.

Sara showed me around the capitol during our shoot and told me about how she had been there multiple times growing up, it wasn’t my first time seeing the outside. But when it rained they naturally scanned us for everything to make sure we were not a threat to ourselves or others, I greatly appreciated that. The Pennsylvania capitol building is a really cool building it really makes you look up. And of course Sara had no issue with filling me in during the “Rain directed”- spur of the moment with all of the historical data and tour information that she remembered along the way.

Not long after the rain had stopped I learned there was a backside to the capitol building, talking about being blindsided. I had no idea it was there at all. On the backside they had beautiful stone stairs draped around a very large fountain. All the while Sara just kept going with the flow, spending her whole evening with me, taking countless pictures. And never complaining. And a shout out to Kristin who just kept running back to the van to get stuff that was forgotten or needed shelter from possible downpours. I had a lot of fun hanging out and getting work done with this shoot together. Thanks so much for choosing me to be your photographer for your senior portraits. I hope you like some of the pictures

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Dustin and Antoniette Lawrence: Wedding Photography

August 25, 2018

 

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Dustin and Antoniette Lawrence Forever together under God. Dustin and Antoniette Lawrence Married together from this day forth bound by love. Dustin and Antoniette Lawrence best friends. Dustin and Antoniette Lawrence each other’s “Ride or Die”. Yeah I think thats a little more suited for them. I mean the fancy formal stuff was great and true too don’t get me wrong and all. But the more I have come to know Toni over the years and for the long time that I have known Dustin I believe they are each other’s “Ride or Die”. You all know I am very savvy when it comes to the cool lingo that is going on in the world, I mean I did in fact know the words Ride or Die all on my own. But to go into depth and make sure I wasn’t saying something inappropriate I did have to go to google. And it turns out I was right. It meant exactly what I was hoping it meant.

When I googled “Ride or Die” the first site it took me to referenced the song by Jay-Z and Beyonce “03 Bonnie and Clyde”. It talked about a lot of other songs but in the long run it broke down the definition to mean its someone that is your “Air” your “Oxygen”. To mean someone you could not live with out. Someone who will be there through all of life’s adventures and never leave your side when times get tough. That is Dustin to Toni. And Toni to Dustin.

Let me just “fast-back” as my son would call it or rewind as the rest of us would call it a week prior to the wedding. I could go back a little further back but for the sake of time and the small chance that someone will actually read to the bottom of this page I’ll attempt to keep it shorter. The week of the wedding all is seemly going well until Central Pennsylvania gets nailed with tons and tons of rain. So much so that we all start to ignore the flash flood warnings that beep in on our favorite tv shows and even roll our eyes in annoyance when the show switches off to the weather report of more rain to come, only to change back to realize you missed half of the season’s best episode of your favorite show. I know you can sense some hostility there. But honestly, I am just joking its nothing compared to what I am about to share. So back to the week of the wedding. I can’t remember if it was Tuesday I saw Toni’s Facebook post saying the water was rising from the creek/ stream behind her and Dustin’s house and that her and the kids were going to her Mom’s house, and Dustin was staying at the house. The rest of Tuesday and Wednesday was just a waiting game her and I texted back and forth when she could. When she wasn’t texting and when I could we were saying prayers. Our meal prayers had her, Dustin and the kids in them, and any other prayers too. Then Came Thursday, and I know it was scary for me but I just can’t imagine the fear for her and Dustin and Aunt Lee, Rodger, and Erika. Dustin was trapped and the water was still rising, and because of all the trips he had taken to get stuff out he was out of fuel and toni was going to bring him some but she could not get to him.

They had planned for him to leave before then because he needed some of his medications, but not even the fire department would go in. Eventually after talking to the State police via 911 things were figured out and he found a way out. Before during all the uncertainty the wedding was almost canceled; which to some may seem small and petty but celebrating love is never small in petty in my opinion. But the safety of those to celebrate that love is important, very important. Since he was able to get out safely the wedding was able to go on as planned. Friday the sun came out and dried up all the rain…. well not all the rain but it was nice to see the sun again. I do think it did rain again on Friday for a little bit. Friday was also the day that one of the twins was diagnosed with a double ear infection. Why not? I kept telling Toni all along if all these things happen now then at least when the wedding actually happens that one fluke thing that always happens at a wedding that people brace for, she wouldn’t have to worry about at all. Then Saturday the 28th day of August Dustin and Antoniette made it official they became each others “Ride or Die” sealed and signed by law and with love and by the power alone of Jesus Christ.

Oh and I did want to mention how absolutely beautiful the wedding ceremony was, and the reception. Erika, Toni’s mom, did a lot of the decorations in the reception hall area. And the room was really transformed, it looked wonderful. The reception was where the ceremony which was all out at a state park but the reception was at one of their large banquet cabins. Dustin’s Mom and Dad cooked all the food, it was absolutely amazing! I know everyone had so much fun. And the sermon given by Pastor Carlin was beautiful love can do all things. It’s a sermon that if you’re a wedding photographer, or work in the wedding business you tend to hear a lot of different versions of, but it never really gets old for me. Truthfully if it is done well I even usually get “smile chills”. (They are kind of like goosebumps, but I am coining the phrase, because I made it up. It’s when you smile and get goosebumps all at once, and usually like in this case it’s followed with an Amen nod… Self explanatory).

The sermon usually goes something like this 1 Corinthians 13 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs.” For anyone that knows either Dustin or Toni knows that they epitomize 1 Corinthians 13. They won’t tell you that, but I will. When we moved into our house 1 year and some months ago we found out from a neighbor that some of the roof pieces weren’t on right. Josh called his cousin Dustin that weekend and I believe the next day he was at our house up on the roof. I was concerned about him coming over because he had 2 newborn twins at home that I am very certain Toni could use a hand with. Knowing Dustin and Toni though they are always there when you need a helping hand. They are truly great people.

Oh and when they did get back to the house, I like this part, the water that surround the house. It did surround the house, but it did not enter the house. That is not to say there was not any damage. All the moisture over time caused mold to grow in various parts that needed to be cleaned and there was lots to be done. But I have seen love conquer all things. I am a witness to the many miracles of God’s greatness.

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The Stumbaugh Family: Forever Love

May 15, 2018

 

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It has taken me sometime a bit of thought to figure out what to say for this blog post. I am still at a loss. Other then just acknowledging how blessed, lucky and thankful I am for the family God has gifted me with, I am just at a loss. So I will start with this; a huge huge thank you to Lindsay Schwartz for taking time out of her busy/ check that very busy schedule to come over and take our pictures. There was no way I was going to be able to do this one solo. Right now Lindsay is doing a bit of a super human thing, she is working a full time job as a nurse and still traveling and being an awesome friend among a million other things that just aren’t my business to share. So I will just say “Super Human”. Because that really does sum it up. So thank you Lindsay for forgoing sleep to come over the other week. We really appreciate it.

As for family. Its a crazy word: Family. We typically think of family as ones who share our blood and share our DNA. And that is so true, I do not disagree. But when I dive in deeper I tend to think of family as a group of people journeying together through this world bound together by love. Families work together to work out their differences, find each other’s strengths and weaknesses and do their best, though at times do test; to build each other up to the best version of themselves that they can be. Family, bound together by love, hopes for one another, teaches and learns with one another. Family is vulnerable to one another, sharing their deepest fears, losses and tears, and overcomes together. Families in the face of their worst adversaries, bind together finding faith to move forward knowing that they will prevail together as a whole. The one thing that is family through and through even on its worst days, is forever love. A love that transcends, that when words fall short, love does not. That is and will always be family.

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Maggie and Her Elmo Cake!!!

April 30, 2018

My Dear Maggie

First I would like to make sure to thank Jamie Hund and Frosted for making Maggie’s smash cake. It was such a beautiful and yummy Elmo cake. And I would also like to add a second thank you to Jamie from Wyatt, he loved his cupcake. And it really helped as an incentive for him to help us in the studio when we needed him. Technically we paid him in cupcakes. Which is sometimes how I feel I would like to be paid. Especially Jamie’s cupcakes. They are amazing! Here is her site if you are ever looking for any thing for your upcoming parties or special events. She makes all sorts of wonderful baked goods. I especially love her shortbread cookies too. But there is one problem with them they are very very addictive. She also has crazy skills when it comes to getting what ever design you want…

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Maggie 11 months

April 6, 2018

My Dear Maggie

My Dear Maggie Pie,

I just can not believe it you are less then one month away from turning 1 year old. Over the past 11 months you have grown into a very fun, loving, silly, smart, beautiful, and very sassy little girl. And while I didn’t know it was at all possible, as each day passes my love for you grows more and more.

Months ago it seems you said your first words. And yes Mama was on the short list. But it wasn’t a word you used often, or really at all. It was really just a word you used when you were upset with me. The only time you really said it was when you grunted it or when you yelled it at me when I wasn’t moving fast enough. But over the past few days it has been so nice to hear Mama come out of…

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Maggie 9 Months Portraits

February 15, 2018

Dear Maggie,

Wow a lot has happened in this past month. You are so much fun to be around. You just love your brother with all of your heart. Just yesterday we were at the Ash Wednesday service at church and while we waited to have the ashes put on our foreheads you started pulling Wyatt’s hair and laughing out loud. I won’t lie the service made me think I was in a circus at times. You were throwing toys on the floor as we handed them to you. You were turning around and saying hi to my friend Allen behind us. You figured out that there was an echo when I took you out of the service towards the end. And you just kept yelling things to hear the echo. But the cutest thing you did was when any music came on you started clapping and sometimes singing along. You even had some sort of clapping thing going on with Emma as she sat next to you. You are just so much fun to be around.

You still love the cats, you have stopped grabbing their fur. But instead you tend to hit them, but you are trying to pet them. The only problem the kitties are having now is you can catch them. They walk away and you crawl and chase after them, often all over the house. You also love to read books. But we have to make sure they are your books. Because you have this thing with paper. You have this radar and as soon as you see it, or I feel “sense” it you are right on top of it. And it immediately goes into your mouth. I don’t know why you love to eat paper so much. But it has become a daily thing that I have to pull paper out of your mouth. Even though we have done our best to hide it or make sure it is put away at all times.

You absolutely love Elmo and Sesame Street. As soon as the show is on, no matter where you are you will find a way to see the tv and watch Elmo. Everytime Sesame Street is on and they start singing a song, you sit up and start clapping. And your claps make noise. I have never known a baby to clap and make clapping sounds like you do. It just makes me smile.

As for milestones you are pulling yourself up on everything to stand. You are even starting to try and stand with out anyone or anything around you. You are crawling all over the place. Sometimes you are standing on your own for 10 or more seconds. You are finally showing signs of starting to sleep better at night. You are only waking up once a night. You are getting really good at feeding yourself. So you have decided that you are the only one that can feed you. You won’t take any food from me or anyone else, only when you feed yourself.

Your new favorite thing to do is to Skype or FaceTime with people. And anytime anyone is talking on the phone and you are around, we have to put it on speaker phone so you can hear or talk too. You don’t like being left out of phone conversations. Your other favorite thing to do is to wait at the storm front door as soon as we open it waiting for Wyatt to come home. You start to get excited as soon as you hear and see the bus. You and Wyatt love to play together in the ball pit in our living room. You get so excited and throw the balls all around with Wyatt. Wyatt is still the one who can get the most smiles and laughs out of you. In fact a lot of the smiles in these pictures are because Wyatt was willing to help after he got home from school. As much as you love him, I can tell he loves you. I can’t wait for the days and months to come as you two grow closer together, and as we grow stronger as a family. We love you so so much.

Love,

Mom

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Maya: Love can heal cancer

February 10, 2018

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I know none of you would ever tell me that I am one to be at a loss for words, but honestly I am. There is just so much going through my head right now to say, but I just don’t know where to start. What I would like to share with you in this post isn’t what I normally share. So I will start with what is most important. If you read nothing more then this and stop, please do this one thing for her. Say a prayer, good thoughts, happy healing vibes, whatever you want to call it. And to whomever you want to pray it, or tell it or say it. Send love. I truly believe that the greatest gift we have as the human race is love. The Bible says “and these three remain, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I quote the Bible here not to encourage walls to be brought up and boxes to be formed around certain beliefs, but instead to encourage the opposite: inclusion. Love. So if you read only this, please, I beg you, send love.

If I have learned anything from Maya in the few years I have known her, it is that: Love. Yes, it’s just four letters, but when you put them together they can mend hearts, move mountains, and heal cancer. A few weeks ago I got a call from my best friend Angie that her daughter Maya was diagnosed with leukemia. I am not going to go into the details here, but I will say that with this diagnosis came some scheduled vacations in the children’s hospital, and some vigorous treatments. In those first days of visiting her I expected to walk into a room filled with anything but faith and hope, but I was wrong. Walking into the room the first thing I was greeted with was hope, and faith built on not just any rock, but a concrete foundation. Worry isn’t for warriors. I was met with words like “Our God is faithful, the devil is a liar, weapons formed against me shall not prosper, for I walk in favor everywhere I go.” And Love. Love was everywhere. While I was there, not long after I arrived Maya asked me what I told her little buddy Wyatt about why I was visiting her in the hospital. I told her that I just told Wyatt that she was sick and would need to be in the hospital for a little to get the bad stuff out of her blood that was making her not feel so great. I mean can you honestly imagine that? She was worried about him. My son. She was sick and just told that she was going to be in the hospital for a while, and she was worried about what I told Wyatt. Not wanting him to be scared or upset. Love.

She has always been so amazing with Wyatt. Ever since the day he was born she was there for him. And now that he is older (6). The two of them, no matter how much time has passed since they have seen each other, they get along like brother and sister. Maya is like his adopted big sister. And let me tell you Wyatt can be whiny, and demanding. And on the ride over come up with a list a mile long of what he wants to do with her and her brother in his head. And if you bring a 5/6 year old over to a teenager’s house with expectations like that, usually you are up for issues. But other than a few brother/ sister like arguments and frustrations, they would play all day together. And he would leave, unwillingly, but eventually leave with a smile on his face. And pass out from exhaustion as I pulled the car out of the driveway. Love.

In all the years I have known Maya, she has always been one of the strongest and most loving people I have ever known. So I know she will get through this. But for one of the most loving and caring people I have ever known in my life, say a prayer today, tonight, whenever. Send good thoughts, happy healing vibes. And please send love. Because those four letters can mend hearts, move mountains, and heal cancer. Love,

Jen

I have also attached the link to their gofundme account. Please donate to them if you can. This is going to be a long process, and anything you are able to contribute will help. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. And please share this with everyone you can. Keep the love spreading and sharing. Together we can surround Maya, and her family with love.

https://www.gofundme.com/maya-shapiro

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