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Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Great Alaskan Adventure

Part 1: Fairbanks

Well the wife and I decided an Alaskan trip was what we would do to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We flew into Anchorage then drove up to Fairbanks to start the trip. A beautiful drive as there are mountains on both sides of you and the leaves were beginning to turn a bright yellow in many areas.

In Fairbanks we spent 2 fantastic nights at A Taste of Alaska Lodge, a bed and breakfast like lodge. The owners Kory and Lily are just fantastic and friendly. We enjoyed hearing stories of the lodge and other tidbits that personalized the stay. This is a shot of the dining room using the original shot on a tripod and +/- 2ev HDR.

Later that evening we went out in search of the Northern Lights. It was chilly, but the warming yurt in the meadow served us well. One of my last shots around 2AM was the best even though the show was only moderate according to local websites that monitor the Aurora Borealis. This is a shot of the sky facing North East with the lodge in the foreground. Camera (Canon 80d) settings were manual, bulb, f3.5, ISO 2000 and 30 seconds on the shutter.

A few of the guys, Phil and Tim were out with me...Tim ducked out early around midnight and Phil hung around to about 2AM as well. He had an awesome flashlight, so we flooded the lodge for about a second so as to have something other than trees and windows with lights. Turned out pretty darned good...thanks Phil!

Part 2: Denali

After 2 fantastic nights in Fairbanks we headed to Denali. Don't get me wrong but, Denali was majestic but the only way for mere mortals to see it is on a long bus ride over very windy roads with many step cliffs having no guard rails!

We opted for the ride to Wonder Lake and back on the transit bus service....11 hours on the bus with a few stops was no bueno for this old man!

By the time we made to a location where Mt. McKinley was camera worthy, it had started to cloud up....and the sun was just in the wrong spot for dramatic photos.

On a high note, we did see most of the wildlife beginning to do their thing as dusk approached. This guy just would not turn around ... he has a great rack and butt though!

Not a great shot since I did not have time to throw the telephoto lens on, but it was so cool to watch these 3 through the binoculars!

We came upon mama and two cubs at dinner time....when this little one realized mama was not in line of site, it went crazy looking for her. Mama was only about 50 feet away with sister munching on something like berries or such.

Part 3: Kenai Peninsula

The drive from Denali to Anchorage to Seward is amazing. Highway 1 around Turnagain Arm was beautiful...on the way to Renfro's Lakeside Retreat near Seward the tide was out and on the way to Girdwood from Seward the tide was in.

Seward Harbor as sun was setting behind me.

Harbor as we pulled out for a 6 hour wildlife and glacier trip from Major Marine...highly recommend this tour!

We took a ton of pictures of the Aialik Glacier and watched small calving occur....none captured in camera though...

The scenery as we headed out and then back to Seward Harbor was filled with great photo ops...We were like little kids at the zoo snapping pictures of all the wildlife...Here are some...sea lions and orca whales...we saw humpback tails and cute little sea otters but those pics did not make the cut.

The seal lions were basking in the warm sun as we passed this amazing rock...looked better in BW.

Friday, May 12, 2017

River Road Chateau Outdoor Upgrades

I just have to share with you some images I was asked to take of River Road Chateau’s outdoor upgrades. Larry Wormington, the owner, and his staff, led by the amazing Krysti Peabody, have been busy little bees with one goal in mind: making this the top outdoor wedding venue in DFW. Since the transfer of ownership earlier this year, Larry, Krysti and the fine folks at CMD Residential Construction have nearly completed the remodeling of the interior of Belle Manor – a five bedroom plantation style home available for rent by brides and their friends / families, (pictures coming soon to show you this transformation), and have just completed a major upgrade of the grounds in front of the elegant chateau.

Brides and their wedding photographers are going to go nuts when they see what they have waiting for them. In the area where parking was previously set, (yes, they built a new, fully-graveled parking area due east of the venue) the owners have created a fantasy garden setting incorporating a gazebo, four, half-moon, seated trellises - modelled after those seen in the incredible gardens at Villandry Castle in France’s Loire Valley, a wine barrel and roses trellis pathway, six garden benches with stone walking paths, river rock beds with foot bridges, an antique wagon, and a three-tiered fountain!

The entire south section of the venue, located between the Chateau and the Wedding Meadow is flowing with rock paths and a wide variety of flowers and shrubs that enhance the photo shoot locations.

Although I love gazebos, my favorite area is the four, French-replica, half-domed trellises - complete with benches and soon to be dripping with foliage. The structures were arranged such that no matter what time of day or season a bride will be tying the knot, one of these beauties will be set in the best possible light.

If you are interested in renting River Road Chateau for your special day or perhaps for your wedding anniversary photos, contact Krysti Peabody at for available dates and hourly rates.

Additionally the front walk of Belle Manor now sports an array of flower pots leading up to the magnificent plantation style home.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Senior Photo Shoot - Andre Joyce

One of the many services available at River Road Chateau’s Elegant Wedding Venue is allowing photographers and local seniors use of the full grounds for a Senior Photo Shoot. Recently, I had the pleasure of shooting some for Andre Joyce, son of my good friend, Chad Joyce at ZaccariaUSA

We started our journey at a local coffee shop in Van Alstyne, (Kryies Coffee Co), to discuss where in town we would shoot, poses, and outfit changes. It provided a great meeting place and of course the coffee is wonderful!Just outside the coffee shop is an awesome mural of how the town might have looked in its early days. Next up and only a block away is an uber cool Dr. Pepper mural followed by a Coke mural just across the street. On our way to the old train cars near the railroad tracks we stopped at a handful of doorways, stairs, rustic metal gates, etc that this wonderful city has to offer. The shots at the train cars were some of my favs.

Being a member of the Anna High School soccer team, we had to stop by the school for a few shots of Andre posing at the field house and soccer nets. Then it was off to River Road Chateau and an outfit change!

This magnificent location has a plantation style home and wedding venue with acres of farmland and treed grassy areas, prime targets for the shoot. We started at one of the two bridges that span the creek and then headed over to the wedding meadow. Shots of Andre at the old treehouse, the meadow bridge, followed by the very cool carved entry doors turned out fantastic. My favorite from the entire day is Andre standing inside of a multi tree base in his formal attire and shades.

If you are interested in renting River Road Chateau for your Senior Photo Shoot, contact Krysti Peabody at for available dates and hourly rates.