Laurel Highlands Newborn Session | Meet Eliza |

Meet the newest member of the Tetkoski Crew, Eliza! This gang is no stranger to the blog. You might remember them from their first daughter’s (Ellie) Newborn Session or their Family Session with their sweet cousins while they were visiting in Texas. I was so happy to hear that their brand new addition arrived shortly before my arrival in Pennsylvania and that we would get a chance to meet this brand spanking new Family of 4!

At Day 15, Eliza is adjusting well. Like any second child, she is adapting to her new surroundings and all the hugs from her big sister. I arrived at the Tetkoski home and Ellie made sure to introduce me to her new baby and to show me that they would indeed be wearing matching dresses for their first photo shoot as a Family of 4.

While Mama fed Eliza, Daddy, Ellie and I headed out to their big and bright backyard for a few shots of Daddy with his firstborn. They have the most incredible backyard and loads of beautiful landscaping so this location would be a breeze for a backdrop.

One thing I love about coming home for Spring Minis in the Laurel Highlands is just how green everything is and their gorgeous backyard was no exception. Daddy kept joking that we were shooting in front of the weeds but I told him to just trust me. And, I am glad he did because this green against Daddy’s blue shirt, Mama’s glow and her ginger hair mixed in with two adorable babes made for some magical images!

Like any firstborn, Ellie sure does love her baby sister but she might be having a little trouble adjusting to sharing Mama with her new bestie. As we ran around the yard, I made sure to capture a few of Mama with her baby girl to allow Ellie some one on one time with her #1 Mama. They picked dandelions and blew wishes into the wind. Ellie was over the moon!

And, of course we had to get a few of Jesse with his sweet little love, Eliza. She seemed so very comfortable lying in Daddy’s arms. She kept smiling in her sleep and when she grabbed onto his finger, I was more than happy to capture such a sweet image of this baby doll and her Dad.

Because we had captured Ellie’s Newborn Portraits at their home as well, I made sure to recreate a few of the photos from that session. Above, that’s Carly’s Spring baby, Eliza, on the left and her Fall baby, Ellie, on the right. How sweet is that???

The humidity was getting the best of all of us and we decided so head indoors to Eliza could have the spotlight for a bit. At 15 days young, this sweet baby girl didn’t make a peep throughout her session. She just laid on her favorite blanket and gazed at the natural light streaming through their back door. It was the perfect spot to capture those blue eyes and keep little missy nice and warm! We captured her toes and her “guns” and even a few sweet moments with her big sister.

I have always said that my favorite part of this job is watching these little beans grow up and seeing this family expand brings my heart so much joy. Congratulations to the Tetkoski’s on their bundle of joy! I hope to see you guys for play dates soon!!

 

If you would like to book your unique Lifestyle Newborn Session or even a Fresh 48 contact Angelina at therustienailhead@gmail.com. I love capturing those first raw and real moments for families that reflect the miracle that is bringing a new baby home!

 

 

PA Mini Sessions: Abbie & Gabby

OK, y’all, it’s about to get sentimental up in here. These are my baby sisters. Yes, I said baby sisters. They don’t look it though, right? I know…because they are so grown up. It’s kind of breaking my heart. I want to go back to the days of Hannah Montana karaoke in the living room and Barbie dream houses. You know, when they were in diapers and they idolized me. Click here for a sneak peek of those days! But, those days are gone. Now, these buttheads are all about making fun of me for wearing skinny jeans and tennis shoes and I kind of hate it.

I blinked and now the both of them are about to make their way to the adult table and I’m just so “shook” by how fast the time has gone. I swear I could’ve cried when I saw them during this last trip home. I just cannot believe they are 11 and 13.

Abbie is all attitude but in the best way possible. No one is going to tell her what to do. She has a mind all her own and she isn’t afraid to let you know how she feels. She is kind and generous, constantly thinking of others. I find myself in awe of her more times than not. During this shoot in particular, I was so proud of how she took charge. She was constantly corralling the younger girls with a patience and grace that I wish I had at her age.

And, then there is Gabby. She is still my wild child of a baby sister. She is constantly climbing trees and barns and about anything she can find. I really hate that she is growing up. All these years, she’s been the baby and now I’ve got to find a way to stop treating her like one because the fact of the matter is, she isn’t one anymore. She’s this ridiculously smart and charismatic kid who is on the brink of the dreaded JUNIOR HIGH! Though life is moving so fast all around her, she still manages to stay grounded, holding on to that unyielding sense of humor and I just love this about her.

This shoot was a little different than most, in that Jaime Lonigro of Lonigro Photography , was along for the ride. She set us up at the most amazing backdrop, her aunt’s farm in Marguerite, PA and brought her camera along so we could take advantage of second shooting for each other. Boy, was I glad she was there. I am always snapping photos of the girls but I never get any of the 3 of us and Jaime made sure to snap a bunch of us three together.

We worked our way up to the field above the farm for some photos in that golden wheat. It wasn’t the prettiest of days but the fall foliage was lighting up the trees and those cloudy skies cut the afternoon light and really created a different mood for the shoot. We told them to dance together and they interpreted that as square dance together. lol That’s Southwestern Pennsylvania for ya!

Before we finished up, I had Gabby pose with the umbrella for a few shots. The result was magic. Though we ended up missing the rain, the umbrella against her blue dress and the overcast sky made for an incredible portrait.

I was so thankful for yet another wonderful shoot with these girls. It is always a blast when I get to let them skip school and have a few photography lessons with me and it really melts my heart that they have taken a liking to portraiture. This year for Christmas, I hooked them up with their very own camera. They have been such a huge help with my shoots every time that I come back home and I just love watching them enjoy the process of posing clients and knowing which lens to use in which situation. I cannot wait to see where their camera takes them!

For information on how to book your unique Portrait Session here in Texas or when I am traveling in Pennsylvania, inquire with Angelina at therustienailhead@gmail.com. I would love to hear what you have in mind!

The Kramer Family Portrait Session

Hey guys! I’m back at it again with another adorable Family Portrait Session. This time around, I met up with the Kramer Family in Grapevine, Texas to snag a few family photos. Meet Joey, KD, Joss and Emily!

You may notice this little girl, Josslyn. She has been featured on our blog before during the Waters Family Portrait Session. That shoot was all about cousins, brothers and sisters but this shoot was all about the immediate Kramer Family, just Mom, Dad and their sweet baby girls.

KRAMER -28We initially met in downtown Grapevine near Tolbert’s to take a few pictures of Dad, Joey. He was in need of a few headshots for his up and coming chiropractic office and we both thought Main Street would provide the perfect backdrop. But more about those Headshots later…

After Daddy’s photoshoot, we headed to a section of shoreline called “Katie’s Woods”. Located near the boat ramp at Grapevine Lake, the cypress trees lining the small beach front would be perfect for blocking out that harsh morning light. Both babies were all smiles.

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KRAMER -38After a few test shots, I was ready to start posing these guys. But, they were all about play. Joey and KD lovingly tossed their little ladies in the air while each of them giggled endlessly. These 2 photos pictured above are my absolute favorites from their session. You can see how stoked the girls are by just looking at the huge smiles on their faces. Pure Joy Y’all!

Once we all had calmed down a bit, Joss was all about loving on her baby sister, Emily. She kept reaching over to tickle her and give her kisses on the cheek. KD and Joey have some heartbreakers on their hands so they better watch out!

After we managed to get a few of all 4 of them looking at the camera, Dad headed back into work for a little bit while mom, KD, stayed behind to grab a few photos of just the girls! While KD changed their outfits, I got a small blanket out so we could set Miss Emily down without getting her all dirty.

Does this girl have the prettiest blue eyes or what? And man oh man was she a happy little girl. She kept smiling at her Mommy and not once did she try to take her headband out of her hair. She even let me love on her for a little bit. While KD was changing Joss into her 3rd Birthday tutu, Emily and I bounced around in the shade.

We managed to get a few of the girls together but it was getting pretty hot out by then so I didn’t want to test their patience. We had started at 7 AM and it was nearing 8:30 when we realized how high the temperature outside had raised. Luckily, the breeze blowing off the water kept everyone in a good mood.

KRAMER -63Or maybe my iPhone playing Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” on repeat kept them in a good mood! Seeing that Joss is a Trolls fan, like so many of us have been or are, I figured this song might help Princess Poppy with her twirling!

We ended their shoot by letting Joss don her 3rd Birthday tutu and wand! With that big pink bow in her hair and the colored pom-poms on the inside of her rainbow colored tutu, Joss proved to be just about the cutest 3 year old in the whole wide world! I had a blast shooting this family’s session and I look forward to seeing lots more of these guys in the future!

For information on how to book your unique Portrait Session, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com or head to our Instagram page (@therustienail) to follow along with upcoming events, mini session and travel dates!

Milestone Session: Jacey & Kessa

Hey there! This session is another one of my impromptu Laurel Highland Minis and I cannot wait to share because this session in particular is a part of our Milestone Series. I have been photographing these girls for as long as I can remember and I love being able to document the transitions they’ve made over the years! Y’all, meet Jacey & Kessa!

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My longtime childhood friend, Jessy, and I had made plans to spend the morning at the park in downtown Latrobe, Legion Keener. Seeing that this place was a favorite pastime of ours, both Jess and I thought that this spot would be the perfect backdrop for the girls’ shoot.

We figured we could bribe them with swings and jungle gyms so long as they both behaved during the shoot. Which, thankfully, they did. Jace has taken on this older sister role with such grace. She helps with Baby Kessa and is constantly looking after her, holding her hand, giving her a hoist up somewhere she shouldn’t be, all the things big sisters do for you when you are too tiny to get in real trouble by yourself.

KESS+JACE_07.17-10We walked behind the park and headed towards the train tracks above the Loyalhanna Creek. After walking around the tracks for a little while, we headed down a dirt path that led us to a clearing near the water. All the while, Jacey filling me in on school, boys, how bad Kessa is and all the usual elementary gossip!

Kessa, or “Goose” as I like to call her,  stumbled around the park, honking at any and everyone in her way. She was on a mission. If we turned around for one second too long, she would already be down a different path, taking off into the woods. She’s a handful, quite like someone else I know, cough Mommy cough. But, that’s what our mothers’ would call our penance. Payback for all their sleepless nights.

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By the time we made our way to the water, Kessa was ready to get in. Nevermind that she was wearing white shoes or that Jacey was grossed out by all creatures residing even remotely near the creek, they both jumped right in. We had to stop Kessa from drinking the water a few times but she was loving it. She kept splashing around giggling at her big sister. And, we even managed to stumble upon a small waterfall!

Jacey resumed her big sister role and managed to help keep Kessa from diving in head first. Not one spot landed on either of their pretty dresses! Jacey especially loved showing off her “toothless” status since the fairy has recently come to visit. It really was kind of crazy seeing Jace being so grown up. I remember her running around in her diaper like it was yesterday. Isn’t it amazing how fast the time goes by!?

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And Kessa, one minute, she was this teeny tiny baby who only slept and ate and now she’s this little human running all over the place with her precious blonde locks and those big blue eyes, constantly getting into everything. It’s time like these that I wish I could just freeze her at this age. She still wants to snuggle every now and then but she’s also craving her independence. She wants to do everything on her own…until she can’t. Then she is super sweet. Anyone say heartbreaker??

Both these girls need to slow down. I feel like every time I come home, they are 2 feet taller and ten times prettier than the last time I saw them. More than anything though, I am thankful for the opportunity to not just document their lives through photographs, I actually get to be a part of their memories and play with them. Since I am gone most of the time, I really try to make an effort and show them how much I love spending time with them when I am home and I hope these photos are a reminder of our time together.

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If can’t already tell, Jess and I go back…like wayyyy back and I am so thankful for her friendship. I am even more thankful that she was the first one to make me an “Auntie”. Both Jacey and Kessa are such a wonderful addition to my tribe of little ones and boy do they know it. I don’t think it’s a secret that these girls have me wrapped around the finger. But, then again, who isn’t at this point? It’d be hard to say no to either one of these little princesses! Love ya girls. See ya soon!

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For more information on how to book your unique portrait session or for more information on our Pennsylvania travel dates, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com.

To see more of these Milestone Sessions, take a look at our other photo shoot with the Ray Girls! Or check out Kessa’s Newborn Session. It is seriously the sweetest set of photos!!

Garden Party with the Foley Sisters

Hey guys! I am just getting back from another whirlwind vacation home to the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania and I am so excited to share a few sneak peeks of the Portrait Sessions that I crammed in during my visit. My first session was a long overdue play date with my younger cousins, Kaylee and Ryan! Their Momma is my first cousin and we have been trying to work her family into my books for months now!

We decided to meet at one of our family’s favorite restaurants, Rizzo’s Malabar Inn. In fact, Russell and I had our Rehearsal Dinner here. Settled into the quaint, country farming community of Crabtree, Rizzo’s has grown and evolved over the last 75 years from a small sub shop during the coal mining days into a fine-dining establishment with a massive banquet hall and outdoor patio!

After initialing launching Bar Rizzi, the company chose to adapt the space to fit the needs of their clientele. They turned the Bar into a Banquet Hall. Weddings, company meetings, baby showers and many other events have graced the adjacent ballrooms but the staff still felt like something was missing. Just this year, Rizzo’s chose to add on an outdoor ceremony site, a gorgeous water feature and they even added a Fireworks Package for those who book the space.

Because these little girls have a Daddy with a major hookup at Rizzo’s (He’s one of the longtime chefs!), we were able to sneak out onto the property and use this location as our shoot site! I must say, Rizzo’s has done a fantastic job with the space! The pergola is simply decorated with Boston Ferns and the water feature was exquisitely designed making this site a perfect backdrop!

We spent the first half of the morning frolicking through the freshly planted flowers and practicing our best dance moves! Kaylee was her usual self; quiet, reserved yet silly and polite at the same time. From the time that she was little, she was always good at taking direction and this shoot would be no exception. She patiently waited for instruction and followed them meticulously. You could tell that she has come into herself over the years. She knew which side was her “best” side and which smile was her “best” smile. She has become quite the little lady and I am so proud of her for being so responsible all the while maintaining her childlike wonder!

Ryan, on the other hand, is Kaylee’s opposite. She is crazy and wild and has a short attention span. I guess that’s the way it goes with sisters. Ryan is constantly moving. Whether she is exploring a new place or telling a story, there are always a lot of ideas running through her little mind. She told me all about her summer plans and how NOT excited she was to go back to school in the fall.  Ryan is a handful, in the best of ways. Even when she was a baby, she could find a way to keep the whole family in stitches. We are kindred spirits in that sense and I am so happy to see that someone else on the Miller side of the family, besides me, got the “wildchild” gene.

We ended our shoot by jumping in the water. I had promised them in the beginning that if they were good, I would let them get dirty and play in the water feature. Both girls were so excited when I told them it was time to make “Martha Washington” hair! They built houses with the rocks they found in the riverbed and even tried to climb into the massive water bowls at the base of the fountain. We ended the shoot by drying them off and giving them both their first photography lesson. I let each of them have a turn at taking a few photos! I loved getting to spend some time with my baby cousins and I look forward to seeing them every time I come back to visit!

For more information on this location or how to book your next event at Rizzo’s, head to www.rizzosmalabarinn.com. And for information on how to book your Portrait Session or to learn about our Pennsylvania Travel Dates, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com.

Mommy & Me Mini Session

My favorite little ladies are back up on the Blog this week! Last week, my good friend, Pida, stopped by with her little ones, Zoee & Paizlee, to set up their Mother’s Day shoot! Every couple months, these girls participate in our Mini Sessions and I swear each session gets better and better.

We started the shoot at one of my favorite locations, Bear Creek Park. In all season, this space provides ample light and gorgeous backdrops. This time would be no different. We headed to the park and immediately made our way into the Spring Wildflower patch. Full of Indian paintbrushes, blue bonnets and sweet pea, this spot would be perfect for the girls to run around!

I was a little nervous about heading deep into the flowers. Last time I headed out with these girls, we ended up in a sunflower field. Though the photos turned out adorable, it was definitely a nightmare shoot. Though now we laugh about it,  all of us were badly bitten by chiggers as we made our way through the flowers. For the whole story on how my husband came to the rescue, head to their Summer Session.

After taking a few quick photos in the wildflower patch, we decided to head into West Lake. A short drive up the street led us to a series of water features located on a walking trail near Vaquero. The girls were loving it. They immediately jumped right into the overflowing pond.

We ended the shoot at a series of columns near 121. As the sun set in the west, Mama Bear, Pida, jumped in for a few pictures with her monkeys! They were sweet as ever. It’s always so cute to see them battle for their Mama’s attention. Zoee just snuggles in, always wanting to be closest while Paizlee waits for their Mama to give her direction.

It is always a joy working with these sweet girls. They are always flexible and Pida is the best stylist I’ve got. Her girls always come dressed to the nines. I learn more and more about each child’s personality after their shoots. I’m also learning more about their relationship together.

Watching these sisters love on each other is something I look forward to doing year after year. Each time they surprise me and each time, I find myself loving them a little more. They are so comfortable with me taking their photo and they seem to thoroughly enjoy being a part of the process. In fact, at the end of every shoot, we have a small photography lesson and I let the girls take a few photos with my camera! I hope we keep this ritual up and one day, these girls can become my assistants/stylists!!

If you would like to book your Mommy and Me Session before Mother’s Day, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. I am offering a 20-30 minute portrait session within Dallas Fort Worth for just $100! I’ll include 15 hi resolution images and special surprise for Mom!

***Special note for all the dads out there, I will honor this price and package in the form of a gift card if you want to surprise your special lady this Mother’s Day!

Laurel Highlands Portrait Session

These 2 goofballs are back up on the Blog! Their first official photo shoot took place at a waterslide at Linn Run State Park in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Today, we are not going to talk about the shoot. You guys know the speal, We took pictures in a park and it was super awesome. Instead, we’re gonna chat a little about having these buttheads for baby sisters and the wild ride it was been.

The first thing you should know is, my sisters are 18 and 16 years younger than me.  I’ve been out doing the whole college-marriage-adult thing while they have been dancing on stage at the Palace and learning to play the saxophone. In the past, the girls would talk about my brother and I to their elementary school teachers and they’d laugh and think “How long have I been teaching?“, knowing very well it had been more than over a decade since a Greece had last sat in their class. It’s amazing how kids can do that to you. Abbie actually asked me one time what Saved by the Bell was and Gabbie has no idea how truly awesome NSYNC’s Christmas album is. They have no sense of 90s culture and it breaks my heart. But, they have taught me about Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, Ed Sheeran, Zac Efron, Ruth B and about a million other things.

My sisters have also taught me that life is this huge circle and and we just keep going round. It’s true what they say. Time flies. It feels like just yesterday that they were swimming in the baby pool with Reyna (my pup) at my old house on Tollgate. They loved that little pool. We pretended Reyna was the shark and she was gonna get them and we ate popsicles and pretended the Barbies were mermaids. And, then I blinked. Now it’s all Twenty One Pilots and Harry Potter, Selfies and Makeup. The world was much simpler back then.

 Truth be told, getting to be there for all their stages of life has been one of the greatest joys of mine. It’s all in the little things. Like, how they love to sing old Stevie Nicks jams in the car or how they are in constant search of their Troll dolls and how they always wanna go to the Skate Hop. I mean…deja vu much? Guys, this is stuff we all did, 20 years ago!

It is crazy to think that I used to worry about our age gap. Schmage Gap! I’m hip. I’m cool. Or, at least I’m gonna try to be because I always want these girls to know that they can come to me with anything that is weighing on their mind or peaking their interest. That’s what it’s all about, right? Being their role model is something that I was never prepared for but somewhere along the way, I found a rhythm that worked. Abriana and Gabriella have taught me to look at the world with a different set of eyes and I am thankful for them. In a way, they have always kept me grounded yet always looking towards the future.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON’T KNOW ME: My name is Angelina Norris. I am natural light photographer based in Dallas-Fort Worth, with roots in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. I specialize in family and lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on real moments. I believe that the best portraits are a combination of  genuine intimacy and playful experience. I live for the opportunity to test out the waters of new shoot locations and discover new places all around the globe. If you would like to book your unique portrait session, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com.

Senior Portrait Session: The Tucker Twins

Hey guys! Happy Friday! This week on the Blog, we are highlighting the Tucker Twins Portrait Session at Beaver’s Bend State Park in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. I had the great pleasure of meeting and photographing one half of this duo, Raina, back in the spring. You can view that session with her puppy dog, Pumpkin, here. Since then, I have been itching to get this sweet girl in front of the camera. Luckily for me, Raina and Brooklyn found themselves in need of Senior Portraits and knew just who to call! I was over the moon when Raina reached out to ask about having their photos done in the fall. As the summer months went by, Raina and I kept in contact discussing their vision for the shoot while impatiently waiting for the leaves to change in Hochatown.

Overall, the girls were pretty laissez-faire about what they had envisioned though they did throw a few curveballs at me. Their requests were simple, they were both hoping for rain and they wanted to incorporate smoke bombs and smores! All of which was going to be a challenge but I was up to it and so were they. When we started shooting, I was sure that the girl’s dreams of a rainy shoot were out the window. It was a beautiful fall day. It had been all week. Russ and I even managed to get a kayak trip down the Lower Mountain Fork the day before. After scoping out a few different areas with good light, the girls threw me one last request. “Any chance we could take a few pictures in a canoe?”, they asked. Insert me jumping for joy! I was stoked. I love water shots. I love the way the water plays with the light and how the prisms bounce color and flare  highlighting the golden arch of fall in the Ouachita Mountains.

Once the girls finished up with hair and makeup, we headed to Beavers Bend Paddle Floats to jump in the canoe. I was totally blown away when they got out of the car. Both of them looked so great. Brooklyn was wearing a sheer maxi dress, black booties and her ombre made the oranges and reds in her dress pop every so beautifully. Raina showed up in an olive green mini, black knee high boots and a black and white striped top. I was so surprised by how different they both were but how comfortably they complimented one another. As the girls paddled around the cove and swim beach, I got in chest deep to capture the magic that was unfolding before me. As the sunset over the Ouachita Mountains, we made our way to the second shoot location.

We stopped by a dirt road for a few good lines and eventually made our way down to a pavilion area so my hubby could get to work on building us a fire for our smores shot. We decided to try our luck with the smoke bombs before we lost the light. This was soooo fun! Raina and Brooklyn brought white, blue and orange bombs and stated that they preferred the shot to be in a wooded area. These girls were specific about their vision and it was much appreciated. We scoped out an empty creek bed and decided it would be the perfect place to set off the bombs. We tried the white first and after we put out a small fire, we had gotten the hang of how to set up the second one. The colors were so vibrant and the girls had posed in juxtaposition which made the shots that much more dramatic. Though we scared half the park with the smell of sulphur, the images turned out beautifully. Word to the wise when it comes to using smoke bombs, read the instructions, have water available and be ready to think fast. Before you know it, the smoke dissipates so make sure to have your models ready and willing to move on a clear path.

We blew up the last bomb and made our way to the pavilion to change outfits. As we began our way back to the campfire, the first crackle of thunder made its debut. Turns out, the girls’ dreams were coming true. We were going to get rain! I quickly turned my reflector into an impromptu umbrella and we made our way to the firepit. Both of them showed up in carefully worded t-shirts, flannel and jeans. Even with the rain dampening their perfectly coifed hair, these girls braved the lightning to get a few cuddly campfire photos. We burnt a few marshmallows and then closed up shop.

At one point, Raina kept asking me about her makeup and I couldn’t quite understand why. She looked great. It wasn’t until after the shoot that I realized that my makeup was ruined, mascara running down my cheeks and my hair was a mess. What can I say? To get these shots, I had to be willing to swim in a river, run from the flames of a smoke bomb and get soaked to the bone in a full blown Oklahoma thunderstorm. All in all, this was seriously the most fun I have had on a shoot. I love that these girls provided such a heavy-duty challenge and I am grateful that they trusted me to capture these images. They say you should put your dreams out into the universe and that they will come back to you in greater folds. This shoot is proof that no matter the obstacle, one can always rise to the occasion and sometimes, even surpass it!