Many trips to Mountain Lake

We've been up at Mountain Lake several times this year for different jobs and were just there again this past weekend. The last time we were up there it was Labor Day weekend--it was sunny and we were wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts and sweating a lot. What a difference a month and a couple thousand feet in elevation makes! At nearly 4,000 ft, the temperature up there was already like winter, and all the vegetation is well into the autumn season. Mountain Lake, formed 6,000 years ago, used to be a lake that covered 50 acres and one of only two natural lakes in Virginia. Due to natural occurrences, the lake has been slowly draining since the 90's and is now just a fraction of the size. A lot more info about the lake can be read here:

Reminders of a once full lake and the summer recreation that went along with it are still strewn about in what has now become a pretty gorgeous meadow--old paddle boats, canoes, docks--abandoned with hope that the water might return. But the meadow and new ecosystem that has sprung up in place of the lake is spectacular and lends itself to lots of exploration and general traipsing around.

We'll be posting more photos over the next week or so from our many trips to Mountain Lake from the last year.

Mountain Lake meadow at dusk

Mountain Lake meadow at dusk

Personal Work | Kenn

We photographed our friend Kenn back in March for the heck of it, and because he's such a cool dude. He was super kind in letting us use him as a model and his awesome shop as a backdrop while we had some fun with different lighting set-ups. Kenn is a gear head, rocks out to good music--and gives a great haircut. He just opened up his own barber shop in downtown Blacksburg and has done a bang up job inserting his personality and vision into it, outfitting it with old car and garage signs, a retro radio he restored, a steel tool chest for all his hair cutting tools and a glass jug filled with "moonshine" in the corner. He even has hair products that are packaged like fuel cleaner. His place has a warm nostalgic feel--it really isn't like any other hair salon you'll go to, and Kenn backs it up with haircutting skillz. If you are in Blacksburg and need your do done, stop by his place for the best haircut in town.


The Annual Shaving of the Beard

It's the end of March, and that means Dave was itching to remove the five months worth of manliness he's grown on his face. It also means it's time for a beardy (or not-so-beardy) photo shoot. Not sure if it was the Beatles 50th anniversary, or Elton John's 40th anniversary, or all that Oscar-nominated costume design in recent films (American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club) that inspired this year's photo, but there is no question that Dave looks like his Dad from the early 80s in that third photo.

I'll post a few more of my favorites from the shoot over the next few days.

Rediscovering analog

We recently had an urge to add analog/film cameras back into our workflow, to get us thinking differently about photography and also just to have more tools in our toolbox. Our past experience with film has mostly been with 35mm, which feels very similar to current digital cameras. So to change things up a bit we jumped into two platforms we have much less experience with and picked up a Century Graphic 2.25"x3.25" view camera (with 120 roll film adapter), and a Polaroid Model 100 Land Camera (using Fuji Film instant film). These cameras both feel so different from a DSLR, making you slow down and approach photography from another angle. Here are a couple images off the first roll/pack for each, be on the lookout for us to use them in upcoming work.

Carolina Beach

A couple weeks ago, while in Wilmington, NC for our friends' wedding, we took a morning to slip down to Carolina Beach to check out Britt's Donut Shop (we'll have another post specifically about those donuts soon!). After chowing down on a half dozen donuts, we wandered around the Carolina Beach Boardwalk and stuck our feet in the ocean. Morning time at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk was quiet and still and it felt as if you just stepped back into time where the physical structures still exist, but all the life has moved on. But I imagine that feeling only lasts a few hours. Later in the day the boardwalk will begin to fill with the hustle and bustle of shoppers, families, high school couples, the whirring and flashing of amusement park rides, and screaming kids running around with cotton candy.

Just on the other side of the sand dunes though, beach goers were already strewn on the beach with umbrellas, chairs and towels. Little heads bobbed up and down with the waves in the water and whole castles were being built with plastic shovels.

Winter's dormancy and camera phones

We went to Brown Farm (a.k.a. Heritage Park) not too long ago, an open-space in town that provides nice walking paths, trails, and a place for Eastwood to run around and pee on all the things. Going out on short trips like this, I tend to forget or leave my camera at home and usually end up regretting it. Thank goodness for the continuing advancement of camera phones. Perhaps I shouldn't still be amazed...I mean, new astounding technology has just become the norm these days. But the camera on my phone has come to mostly replace our little Canon point-n-shoot, and is a fine fill-in for times just like these, when I notice the lovely things around me while on an afternoon walk. It's been an unusually warm winter for the most part here in the southwestern part of Virginia, but the landscape is still stark and quiet as it always is this time of the year, allowing us to really appreciate the contours of the land.

Kappas and the tree

Over two years ago, life-long Blacksburg resident Chris Kappas asked if I could take some photos of him and the big Sycamore tree that resided just outside his office in downtown Blacksburg. It had just been announced that the tree would be cut down come summer. The tree had been sickly for sometime, and a lot of residents had noticed that each year it was a little less robust, standing a little less strong, and never leafing out as much as the year before. Nearly 140 years old, it had become a much loved icon and institution in Blacksburg, and Chris, a town institution himself, remembers climbing its trunk and branches when it was still small enough to do so. For many of us that have grown up in this town, the Sycamore was a constant figure, always providing a hillside of shade during our humid mountain summers and adding a burst of brilliant yellow in the fall. In most of these photos, Chris stood posed, looking straight into the camera, but I was able to sneak a frame or two of him being more reflective.

Appalachia Press & Business Cards

With our recent re-branding and creation of marketing materials, we really wanted to have business cards that would stand out and let our personalities shine through, so we turned to the über-talented John Reburn of Appalachia Press in Roanoke, VA. John had previously letter-pressed our wedding invitations, and it was an absolute pleasure working with him. He was kind enough to let Christina hang out in his workshop while he printed our cards. She documented the whole process, here's a quick look into what it takes to print a business card the old-fashioned way.

Fire Station One

On Saturday we decided to do a little photo expedition in downtown Roanoke, VA just for the heck of it (and we may or may not have had a craving to go to the Roanoke Weiner Stand). While Christina was photographing the outside of what we later found out to be Fire Station One, a gentleman came out and, after asking why she was taking photos, invited us to see the inside. Needless to say, we were a just a little excited. More images to come.