Visiting Daddy’s Alma Mater: Saint Vincent College

Hey guys! I am so excited to share this particular Portait Session with you all because I have waited far too long to photograph this adorable family! These sweet babes, Jake & Elliana, were one of the first sessions that I ever did. Elliana wasn’t more than a month old the last time I had these 2 in front of the lens and I am so pumped to see how my work has evolved since then.

If you don’t know them, it is past time you met the Greece Family! Tony, his wife, Emily and their two adorable kiddos are my first cousins. Tony is a local school teacher and Emily is the girl you go to when it’s past due for a new hair “do”. Just this past year, they moved into a new home in Latrobe, PA and I wanted to help them decorate their house with new family photos.

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We chose to set up the shoot at the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve at Saint Vincent College mainly because Tony graduated with his masters here not too long ago but also  because the scenery here would make the perfect backdrop for their shoot! Located just off of Route 30 in Latrobe, this place around sunset is a gorgeous stroll.

I wanted to get the “Family of 4” shots done first simply because kids have no patience and I wasn’t about to test the patience of two small Greece children. We set up the first image along the driveway into the Reserve. The flowers are in full bloom this year and the image would look perfect with the Cathedral in the background.

After running around in the flowers for a bit, we managed to make our way down to the big red barn located near the entrance. Since the little ones have the shortest attention spans, I figured I would start shooting the individual portraits of Elliana first and boy, is she a ham! This girl was sniffing all the pretty flowers and showing me all the pretty bracelets she had worn for her shoot. Though chalk full of giggles at first, this Mama’s girl made sure we knew who runs the show!

After snapping a few photos of Emily and Elliana in the gardens, we headed to the back of the barn to snap a few of Tony and his little guy, Jake. I was thinking of different Father-Son poses when my little buddy suggested that he sit on Daddy’s shoulders. With the barn in the background and my little buddy squealing “Angaweena!!!” to get my attention, the moment was picture perfect.

Like most Family Sessions, my sweet cousins wanted to focus on the kiddos but I always make an effort to get a few good pics of Mom and Dad together. It’s almost like after kids come into the fold, couples forget that their love story should be documented too! But, I wasn’t about to let them get off scot-free. I made sure to get a few photos of Tony & Emily posing “prom-style”.

We made our way down to the historic Lochry Block House and snapped a few more of the whole family together in the adjacent garden before we decided to head for a walk around the paths in the park. We passed a small pond and marched our way towards the Observation Deck all the while catching up on life and what we’ve missed since my last visit home.

It was so nice to catch up with them. But, even better spending time with the little ones. I feel so lucky that after all these years, Tony and I have remained close. Like most cousins, we have this shared history of family dysfunction but beneath the surafce of forced family interaction, Tony, Emily, Russ and I have formed this genuine friendship. When they got engaged, we got the call. When we got engaged, they got the call. When they found out that their family would be expanding, we heard the news of Jake’s arrival first. Through a flood of Facetime tears, I met Jake just hours after he came into this world and when I found out they were expecting their 2nd baby, I immediatey bought my plane ticket to be there when Ellie was born.

During that visit back home, I had the great pleasure of photographing my new baby cousin for the first time. She was so perfectly pink, just the prettiest baby I ever saw. She had big blue eyes and the tiniest little toes. I couldn’t of imagined then but later that day, Tony and Emily would honor me by asking me to take on the role of being Elliana’s Godmother. Cue the ugly tears guys.

We ended this shoot by wrapping up quickly and heading to the Red Brick for pizza with our friends and family! I am so thankful for any time that I get to share with these guys especially because our time together is few and far between since I am in Texas. Tony, thank you, for being such a great role model and constantly encouraging me to chase my dreams. I’ve always looked up to you and I am so happy to see all your dreams coming true. Emily, thank you, for being the best addition to the Greece Family. You are kind and God-fearing, ambitious and graceful. I could not imagine a better match for my big cousin! Jake, thank you, for dubbing me “Angaweena” and for just being the smartest cookie in our family. You are one crazy little guy who always knows how to put a smile on my face. And, Elliana, thank you, for reminding me that life comes full circle. You remind me so much of another sassy little girl we all used to know. Though we miss her everyday, you help keep her memory shining bright. You are a light in the world little girl and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you.

For more information on how to book your Family Portrait Session, please contact me through email at therustienailhead@gmail.com and I will provide you with our Pricing and Packages! If you would like to book a session or to inquire about our Fall Mini Sessions in the Laurel Highlands and our Travel Dates, just give me a ring at 724-216-8185 and we can get you all in the books!

Texas Tulips: A Girls Day in North Texas

A few weeks back, my bestie and full time petal pusher, Tiffany of Wanderlust Floral Designs, headed out to the U-Pick Tulip Farm in Pilot Point, Texas. Just north of Denton, you can find this traditional Dutch tulip farm. Truth be told, this was our 2nd go around at this particular farm. Last year, we headed there bright and early but were soon swarmed by Spring Breakers. To check out our last trip to the Tulip Farm, click on this link. I’d like to say we prepared better this year but I’d be wasting my breath. Though we managed to beat the crowds, we happened to go on a particularly dreary day.

Thank goodness we brought our coats because the sun chose to hide behind the clouds most of the morning. It was chilly!! Luckily for us, overcast makes for some pretty great floral photos.

The colors were so vibrant and the variety was insane. They must have had 50 variations of tulips in every shape, color and size. From fringed parrot heads to to willowed lush petals, we found an interesting array of Holland’s best known blooms.

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We strolled the rows and rows, picking one of each kind it seemed like. I was going to bright and lush. I love the way they float from a vase. Tiff was more interested in the pastels. Her arrangement felt a little earthier than mine which I am always envious of. Tiff has a way with picking the right bouquet. She knows which sizes and colors are going to coordinate well together. You really do need to check out her work, she has been up to some pretty exciting things this season. Follow along on her Instagram at @wanderlustflorals.

 

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Did I mention it was chilly? Ya, and muddy. Very, very muddy. We may have beat the crowds, but we didn’t get any better at planning. Case in point, check the shoes yo. Neither one of us dressed appropriately for our girls day. Word to the wise: Check the weather.  By the end of our romp around the farm, we were soaked and caked in mud. We got a good laugh out of it but ended up stopping at Ross to buy a new pair on the way home.

 

 We witnessed photographers out on shoots with little girls in their Easter hats. You could easily see the potential for an amazing backdrop. Seriously, could this place get any more adorable?

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At $3/cover and $2.50/stem, this place can add up quick. But, we agree, it was totally worth it. We soaked up the aroma and beauty of this little piece of heaven in North Texas and we will be back again next year!  For more information on how to visit Texas Tulips, head here to www.texas-tulips.com.

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 play. 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. Photography Services start at $300. If you would like to book your unique portrait session, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com.

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Sunday Funday in Austin, Texas

This past week, my bestie just so happened to be traveling in Texas so I took her up on the offer to make the drive south and have a Sunday Funday! We spent our afternoon kayaking the Colorado River and then decided to stop by the HOPE Outdoor Gallery, a space for creatives to bring a can of spray paint and go to town on this abandoned building near Castle Hill. I wasn’t sure what to expect, considering that this space changes so often but it truly was awesome. Amongst the political angst splattered on each and every wall, you can find kids painting peace signs and vibrant artwork of their own. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to wander around this hidden treasure. Regardless of who you are and where you come from, Austin’s Hope Gallery provides an essential space for those who wish to voice their opinions, wishes and dreams through an alternative form of debate, art. I highly recommend stopping by, with a few art supplies and checking it out.

Address: 1008 Baylor St, Austin, TX 78703-4940

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