I have been quite MIA lately. Recovering from ankle surgery was tougher than I thought it would be, we had the late snow and it’s done nothing but rain–rain–rain for the past few weeks! I had an amazing senior session last weekend and while I can’t share anything from that yet, expect B.I.G. things from that young lady!! I had one scheduled for this weekend and rain is going to wash that out. I have a super fun assignment for next weekend: the 8th grade dance. I literally cannot wait to do this again! It was so much fun last year and I’ve known most of these kids since they were in first grade so I’m super excited!
But, it’s also time to get a move on and market, market, market for my favorite time of year: seniors!!
In the meantime I’ve been planning several styled sessions with my daughter! I’ve been planning a fairytale series since January and was finally able to squeeze a little mini-session with Juliet last weekend! We started with Sleeping Beauty. I found these lovely dresses online and have been collecting props and other fun accessories for this series. Hope you enjoy them as much as I’ve enjoyed planning them! Still several princesses to come!! This was seriously a mini-session after my senior session last weekend. It’s amazing how many fun photos you can get in a short time when you have been planning it for months! If anyone knows a boy who’d be willing to participate in some upcoming fun styled sessions let me know, so far I’ve been striking out on that front!
I had my husband get behind the camera in February when I was taking photos of the adorable Baby M. Since this was the first time I used my home studio for a full session I thought it would be good to show you how it looked while I was taking the photos and the afters. I always like to see these myself, and I learn a ton from seeing those posted from other people. One thing I know, my studio space is quite tight, but functional, especially after my big studio clean up in January! Hope these help you, too!
The hardest part of this whole shoot was I still recovering from the ankle surgery and had to keep my right leg out like this most of the time since I could not sit on the floor in the boot!!!
It’s supposed to be spring. The groundhog said we’d have an early end to winter, and in Central Virginia that is usually the case. This year, however, we have snow even after the calendar says spring has officially sprung. I took a vacation day to stay home with the kids, and not fight those who do not know how to drive when any precipitation is on the road. This is how my daughter & I spent some of the morning.
And yes, that’s a soccer goal in the background of the last set. We wouldn’t be us if we didn’t have some ode to soccer somewhere in there.
I had never really spent any time Staunton. We spent the first day walking around the city, enjoying a lovely winter day before we went to the Blackfriar’s Playhouse to see “Henry VIII.” I didn’t know they did behind-the-scenes tours of the only recreated of Shakespeare’s Blackfriar’s Playhouse in the entire world, so we stayed on Saturday morning until we could enjoy that and made it back over the mountains to Greene County before the weather turned a bit dangerous (higher elevations got snow, we didn’t).
Before the playhouse opened for the tour, we had breakfast in a little cafe and walked around the “wharf” district. The wharf district was listed National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The area is full of old warehouses around the train depot. The train came to Staunton in 1854, turning a rural area into a center of commerce. The main passenger terminal was built in 1857 and “modernized” in 1902, according to a sign. Amtrak still meanders through, as well as freight trains. During the Civil War, Staunton was a “vital link” between the valley and Richmond, according to a sign. The last two photos below show what I just think is a neat temple, not near the tracks, but still a neat building!
If you have the chance to do the tour I highly recommend it. For $5 you learn so much about what theater meant in Shakespeare’s time, among many other fascinating facts! The Blackfriar’s in Staunton keep the lights on while you watch the play, as you would have encountered in his day, and so many other little facts like that. The cast will play to the audience and you can sit right on the stage, almost becoming part of the performance (you can see what I mean in the photos below)! Or sitting in “Juliet’s Balcony” above it. Those sitting on the stage in the photos below were graduate students at Mary Baldwin College rehearsing for a graded thesis the following week! We could not use flash with them on the stage. The hand-drawing below is by Pablo Picasso of what he believes Shakespeare would have looked like. There are tapestries all around the playhouse. We had front row center seats for “Henry VIII!” I’m hoping to get the same seats for “Romeo and Juliet.”
I’ve already warned my daughter, whose name is Juliet to her dismay some days, that we’re going to see “Romeo and Juliet” this summer. I will allow her to bring her boyfriend so she’ll go–begrudgingly. She isn’t actually named after the play, however. She’s named after the Dire Straits song by the same title (which she HATES, by the way). It was one of her father’s and my songs in college and we just knew if we had a daughter we would name her Juliet. And you know what? There isn’t another one in her entire school system, unlike a lot of more popular names! You’re welcome, kid!
After a fun time photographing the sweet Baby M my son yelled that a hawk just landed across the street. How could I not grab the camera and run out…as I usually do? I didn’t even bother with something as pesky as a coat or SHOES! And I stayed out there for 30 minutes in winter because there were two of them that quite honestly didn’t seem to mind me being out there with my camera. It was so fun to watch. If I wasn’t frozen solid I may have stayed out there for hours! Posting this on my birthday. Today I turn 39!! This is a little gift to myself, even if it was a few weeks early!
I had never really spent any time Staunton. Once, years ago, I went to Cranberries for a magazine I was working on for a few photos and story. I didn’t explore much, though. I have visited several soccer fields over the years as my daughter has played travel soccer against Augusta County for about 5 years now. Still, never explored historic Downtown Staunton though. I’ve always wanted to go to the Blackfriar’s Playhouse and see a Shakespeare play, but never got around to it. I mean, it’s only an hour away…what have I been waiting for exactly? I finally got myself in gear last year when I started to plan my husband’s Christmas gift–12 date nights, one for each month! He’s a big history buff (especially the kings of England) so when I learned the American Shakespeare Center would put on “Henry VIII” I knew that had to be one of our date nights. We took off work on Friday, Feb. 15 and drove over the mountains to explore the city and see the play! We stayed at the historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel (it’s amazing), which happens to allow pets, so our golden got to be the Queen of Staunton for the day as well! I don’t know if it’s the most perfect date night I planned, but it will be pretty close. We had to reschedule January’s to a night out to dinner (it was supposed to be snow tubing at Massanutten but with the ankle surgery that wasn’t happening) and March’s to seeing “Casablanca” on the big screen at the Paramount Theater because it was supposed to be hike and picnic to Crabtree Falls (another thing I’ve always wanted to do!) because of the ankle. Can’t tell any of the rest of the fun events I have planned though…he’s not allowed to open them until the first of the month! HA!
Our first stop in town was a beautiful Catholic church. I HAD to take a photo of sweet Lita looking so thrilled to get to come out with us and then another with the sign of the church since St. Francis of Assisi was such an animal proponent.
The next thing we visited was Trinity Episcopal Church which is an incredibly historic building. First, it’s the oldest church in Staunton, the first of three buildings on the site completed in 1763! There are some very old tombstones surrounding the church and Neil and Lita had a great time walking through it while I went inside. The third building, the present church was completed in 1855. The Virginia General Assembly met there from June 7-13, 1781, after fleeing Richmond to Charlottesville and then fleeing there to Staunton after the British Army was on its tracks (see plaque toward end of photos below). The church is home to 12 Tiffany windows! It’s open to the public and wonderfully knowledgeable people offer free tours (I, of course, left a donation!). The first window isn’t Tiffany but is by Wippell Studioes in 1970. The inner doors were carved in the Passion Flower design (see toward end of the photos) which is repeated throughout the building. The second photo of a window below is a Tiffany window, dedicated in 1937, of the Madonna and Child and was the final Tiffany window installed in the church. The triptych is believed to be the first Tiffany windows installed at the church. The window of St. Luke was a Tiffany window but the Sermon on the Mount next to it was from Wippell-Mowbray Studios. The next window, the Benedicite Window is made fully from Stained Glass–not painting on it whatsoever. It’s Tiffany at his best, the pamphlet from the church notes. Archangel Michael is the next window, also from Tiffany.
Walking throughout the town I couldn’t help but take photos of the beautiful and historic buildings.
I went into the Camera Heritage Museum with antique images and thousands of cameras and accessories. Of course I found a new vintage camera to add to my collection and this one works! I have purchased some film online, but it hasn’t been delivered just yet! Can’t wait to play with that either!
The Stonewall Jackson Hotel is beautiful!
The next post will show images of the Blackfriar’s Playhouse indoors and more beautiful historic buildings, as well!