Sunday, August 10, 2014

Feral Ponies of Grayson Highlands State Park | Travel Photographer

Recently I've been feeding my creative soul with adventures. Nature really is inspiring and you don't have to travel half-way around the world to experience something beautiful.  Instead, just walk out your backyard, do a Google search or ask friends on Facebook.  Even if you aren't the 'nature' type, just give it a try.

My family and I made the trek from my mom's house in East Tennessee to Grayson Highlands State Park to visit the feral ponies.

When I started researching this leg of our trip, I had a difficult time finding any posts, entries, or websites (including Grayson Highland's own website) that included detailed information about seeing the ponies.

Luckily, I had a couple of friends on Facebook that had recently visited and as I continued to search I came across a couple of blog entries about the ponies.

What I learned:  1) it is a short, easy hike up to see the ponies, 2) you are all but guaranteed to see some ponies, and 3) they are quite tame.

What I also learned: The drive is one of the curviest drives through the Virginia mountains I have ever driven.  {insert green, pukey face here}  I feel the need to share this with anyone that *might* get the least bit carsick. 

The short hike up the mountain is filled with gorgeous views and a well-worn path makes the trek easier.  The elevation is quite a bit higher than where we live in Pennsylvania, so my husband and I both had slight headaches, but nothing major.

 The short hike is well worth the effort.  The view and the ponies are amazing.

 We even had an unexpected encounter with a steer.  Thankfully there was a fence between us and he seemed quite docile.

 This pony pictured below- he was just incredible.  I told Matt he reminded me of an 80's rocker!  His mane- so long, wavy and white-blonde.

 Told you he was 80's! :)

About 30 minutes after we arrived, a few ponies started following one male in particular- probably their leader.  They walked up over the little hill, so of course we decided to follow.  After cresting the hill, we came across the following area, filled with ponies (about 22 by the time we were ready to leave).  This must be their eating and sleeping area.

Many of the foals were peacefully feeding here.

I hope you've enjoyed these images from Grayson Highlands as much as we enjoyed the visit!

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Be Blessed.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ricketts Glen Waterfalls | Travel Photographer Harrisburg, Pa

Earlier this week, my husband and I spent a day at Ricketts Glen.  Specifically, the Highland Trail and Falls Trail.

Being a gal from the South, spending time outdoors and enjoying all nature has to offer is just sorta in my blood.  This hike though, it defies all I have ever seen in the Smoky Mountain!

Imagine: 21 waterfalls in ONE BIG LOOP!

Yes, it should now be on everyone's Pennsylvania Bucket List (or even your true bucket list!).

We decided to park in the Lake Rose parking lot after a moderate amount of research and thought as to which direction we wanted to finish.  From this lot, its a quick walk down to the fork- left is the Highland Trail and right is the Ganoga Glen side of the Falls Trail.  

One thing I only realized late in the planning stage: most people also hike the Highland Trail to complete the loop.  Makes complete sense, but it just wasn't clicking in my mind.  :)

Our thoughts:  Finish with the falls and see the Midway Crevasse first.  So, off we went down the left hand path.  The path was a nice flat walk, so we made some pretty good time through here, but decided once we reached the Midway Crevasse that we were hungry!  So we ate some snacks, enjoyed the peaceful area and sharp rock formations, and then we were off again.  I liked how quickly this portion of the trail passed, yet there was so much to see in terms of vegitational varieties.

Once we reached the Falls Path, we almost immediately came upon our first fall of the hike: Onondaga (15') and it was beautiful- the perfect way to start our hike!

Pssst: Be sure to check out our fun Power T shot at the top of F.L. Ricketts (our 2nd falls) over on Instagram :) {@BellaVitaPhotoPa}

After passing the Shawnee and Huron falls in short order- we hiked a little ways, then came upon Ozone (60').  At first glance it didn't seem to be 60 feet, but after we hiked further down, I turned around and saw the following:

While hiking the Glen Leigh side first, you are walking down each fall, rather than up the fall, so you need to stop and take it all in several times (well, at least I did and I cannot be the only person that does this!). :)

This scene is like something out of The Hobbit or Last of the Mohicans.  It is just so serene.  So beautiful.  So pure.

After passing 3 more falls, including the falls for which Ricketts Glen State Park is named after: R.B. Ricketts, we can to Waters Meet.  This was a fairly populated section.  Many hikers were having lunch, resting on the bench, reading the historical landmarker, kids were playing in the shallow waters and rocks.  It is definitely a great stopping point.

We continued on down the bottom of the 'Y' of the Falls Trail, since we decided to see all of the falls on this trail during our hike.  The first we came to was Harrison Wright (27') and I can see the allure of this fall to photographers.  Especially those photographers seeking the creamy water, summer haze, and serenity that follows this particular fall.

I spent a little time here, soaking in this gorgeous fall, hearing the rush of the water.  If I listen closely, I swear I can hear the falls by looking at this picture.  What a fond memory!

We finished the next two falls quickly and returned to Waters Meet.  Off we headed up the Ganoga Glen side of the Falls Trail.  This side was significantly wetter and muddier than the Glen Leigh side.  I am really glad we started on the Glen Leigh now, as I would NOT have wanted to hike down the wet surfaces on Ganoga Glen today.

After passing Erie (47') right away, we hiked a little ways, came upon Conestoga (17') and then Mohican (39') which was just inspiring, then Delaware (37') and Seneca (12') came shortly there after.  Before I knew it, we were upon Ganoga (94')! 

We decided to stop, enjoy the view and eat our lunch here.  So did several other hiker families, as well as out for a short view of the falls.  It was peaceful, then a little crowded, but if you waited out the loud talking and selfie-taking- it is well worth it and I am really glad we spent the time having lunch here.

Who wouldn't love a lunch-time view like this?

There are only a couple falls past Ganoga and it was thundering, so we were moving at a pretty quick pace.  I was at set to get a shot of Oneida (13'), but when choosing between the shot and the camera potentially getting wet... the husband won the battle.  It is just another reason to go back! ;)

The final leg of the hike back to the original fork only took us about 10 minutes, so in reality, this hike is loaded with falls, all the way to the end!

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband!  9 years of loving commitment to each other- the best 4015+ days of my life.

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Be Blessed.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Emily {4 days new} | Newborn Photographer Harrisburg, Pa

This beautiful little girl was a dream.  She slept almost the entire time and just woke long enough to have a good feeding.

I also loved hearing her name story!  Her mother read a book, as a young girl and the heroine made a profound impact on her, thus securing this little girl's name on her "must name my baby this" list!  

I cannot wait to see how much this little girl grows over the next year- welcome to the BVP family, baby girl!


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Be Blessed.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Miss E is 3 Months | Baby Photographer Hershey, Pa

I am just loving all of the Newborn clients that have become Baby's First Year clients recently!  Meet Miss E, one of our recent BFY clients.  I am so excited to continue to watch this beautiful little girl grow and grow during her first year!

After a week and a half of rainy, rainy weather, the skies parted and beauty shone down on us!  

This session is exactly why I reschedule sessions if the weather isn't perfect.  My goal is to produce beautiful images you will always cherish.  

How does the saying go?  Oh yeah, "The sun always shines after the rain."  I am a chaser of light and sunlight feeds my soul.

I hope you enjoy these!

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Be Blessed.