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Wild Dunes Resort, Charleston, SC

Monday, November 3, 2008
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Obviously my work gets processed before my personal pics so this is a little late but... Marcus's sister Sara and her boyfriend came to visit us from Sweden last month. While they were here, we did go to the Smoky Mountains and Cades Cove, but we also used their visit as an excuse to take a little vacation. I know that I'm always a little stumped when it comes to planning trips so this is my trip recap in case anyone wants to copy our itinerary.

First we went to Charleston which is really a GREAT place to visit. For the same price as a downtown hotel, we stayed at the Wild Dunes Resort out on Isle of Palms. We had a great room in the Village, but the whole resort was very nice. I'm pretty sure that they have facilities to do weddings there, and I'd definitely recommend checking it out if anyone is interested in a beach destination. Just be sure to take me with you because it's a beautiful area, and I would LOVE to do a bridal shoot in Charleston. In fact, if someone hires me to do a destination wedding in Charleston then I'll include a free day-after session with the couple. It's also not a very bad drive from Knoxville.

Trip Recap: Charleston & Atlanta Photographs

Our whole first day was spent at Patriots Point. We toured a submarine, an aircraft carrier, and a destroyer like the one that my grandfather served on in the Pacific during WWII. The aircraft carrier is huge, and you can spend several hours seeing the ships. From the dock there, we also boarded a boat that took us out into the harbor to tour Fort Sumter which is where the Civil War began.


Trip Recap: Charleston & Atlanta Photographs
 
The next day, we spent some time on the beach, but it was a little chilly. Then Marcus and I went on a bus tour of historic Charleston. The tour left from the visitor's center and gave us a good overview of the history and buildings. We debated taking a carriage tour instead, but the bus is much more comfortable and can cover more of the city so that you end up seeing more. I'd recommend taking the tour first thing in Charleston and then you can decide which areas you want to go back and explore on foot or which houses and churches you want to tour since several of them are open to the public.

Trip Recap: Charleston & Atlanta Photographs

We really wanted to tour Drayton Hall which is Charleston's only remaining original plantation home (pre-Revolution). There are several plantations to choose from though, and some of the others are newer and prettier. We just didn't have enough time because we needed to head over to Atlanta. You really need at least 4 days to even just hit the high points in Charleston, and we had less than two. If you were planning a longer trip, it would be fun to spend 5 days in Charleston and then go to Savannah for another 4. It's another beautiful little city with lots of history, and the two aren't that far apart.

From Charleston, we drove to Atlanta where we stayed at the Marriott Marquis in downtown. I got a good price on it with priceline, and the room was nice. The inside of the building is what's really cool though, and my sister-in-law Sara enjoyed their pool. My only complaint was the expensive valet parking.

Trip Recap: Charleston & Atlanta Photographs

The hotel is downtown so you could walk to the sights. However, we moved our car to the lot directly across from CNN Center and arena. The CNN tour was short and not super informative but you do get to see inside the studio. They also have a nice food court there, and you can walk across Olympic Park to both the Georgia Aquarium and The World of Coca-Cola to hit all three in one day.

Marcus and I toured the Coke museum several years ago at their old location, and I thought it was fun. We didn't really have time to do it on this trip, but we did go to the aquarium. We apparently visited on a good day because the place wasn't very crowded. It isn't very spectacular if you've been to Ripley's and the Chattanooga aquarium, but they do have some nice exhibits including one with beluga whales and a huge habitat with plenty of rays, sharks, and even some whale sharks. Whale sharks are the world's largest fish species, and this aquarium is the only one outside of Asia that displays them. I don't think that it's a good thing to keep these huge guys in an aquarium considering that two of these beautiful creatures have died there this year, but they really are interesting to see.

I collected some new, cool texture photos from Fort Sumter and got a few pics on the ships, but my favorite photos from this trip were from the aquarium. This first photograph was taken through a viewing window on the six million gallon tank holding the whale sharks. It looks like a little fishbowl, but that fish is 15 feet long!

Trip Recap: Charleston & Atlanta Photographs

Trip Recap: Charleston & Atlanta Photographs

Trip Recap: Charleston & Atlanta Photographs

Trip Recap: Charleston & Atlanta Photographs

Trip Recap: Charleston & Atlanta Photographs

After the aquarium, we went to a Thrashers NHL game. Unfortunately, they didn't win, but hey... I'm from Tennessee so I'm used to that, right? It was still a lot of fun and a good ending to a great trip.

Edit: I saw on tv that Live at Five did a segment on the aquarium and swimming with the whale sharks.
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Cades Cove, The Great Smoky Mountains

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
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Bridal and couple sessions always produce some of my favorite photographs. Whether you wait several months or do it the day after the wedding, it's always fun to dress up again and go out for more relaxed photos as a married couple. If you do it soon after the wedding, you have the added advantage of being able to re-use the wedding flowers and can often avoid a second tux rental. Chris went with the current trend and wore a nice suit for the wedding so that a tux wasn't even an issue.

While Jill and Chris are busy cruising around the Mediterranean on their honeymoon (I'm so jealous), here are a few of my favorite shots from their post-wedding portrait session last week.

Chris & Jill's Couple Session Photographs

Chris & Jill's Couple Session Photographs

Chris & Jill's Couple Session Photographs

Chris & Jill's Couple Session Photographs

Chris & Jill's Couple Session Photographs

Chris & Jill's Couple Session Photographs

Chris & Jill's Couple Session Photographs

Chris & Jill's Couple Session Photographs

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Norris Dam State Park, Norris, TN

Tuesday, October 21, 2008
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I love fall! The leaves are changing, and we're finally having some great jacket weather, the sort that makes you want to sit around a campfire making s'mores. The temperature on Saturday may have been a little cooler than Jill and Chris would have wished, but it was still a beautiful fall day for their outdoor wedding at Norris Dam State Park. After a few photos around the park, the couple said their vows at the ampitheater and then walked across the street for a dinner reception at the Tea Room.

Jill and Chris had their private meeting on this leaf-strewn lane outside the rustic cabin where she had gotten ready.
King/Jones Wedding October 18

There was another wedding staged at the old mill and barn in the park, but we found some more creative places to do a few pre-ceremony photographs.
King/Jones Wedding October 18

King/Jones Wedding October 18


King/Jones Wedding October 18

The ampitheater is surrounded by large trees and made for a very natural, serene ceremony site. This was their first kiss as husband and wife.
King/Jones Wedding October 18
I love the idea of having a petal toss as the couple exits the ceremony. I had a couple try this before, and none of the guests (not even the friends and family who knew about it) threw the petals. Jill did a good job putting explicit directions on the petal cones: Please shower Jill and Chris with petals at the close of the ceremony. However, guests still seemed a bit confused. While it was still a fun exit, anyone copying this idea may get even more petals in the air if they ask the officiant to give directions just before the exit.
King/Jones Wedding October 18
Jill's grandfather and his friends provided live music at the reception.
King/Jones Wedding October 18
The guests had fun using the photo booth, complete with fun props and costumes.
King/Jones Wedding October 18


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Nashville, TN

Wednesday, October 8, 2008
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Candi and Ryan had a fabulous wedding on Sunday. The ceremony was in Wightman Chapel at the amazing Scarritt Bennett Center in Nashville. SBC has beautiful arches, windows, stone, and woodwork that make it a beautiful wedding venue. A photographer could spend several hours exhausting all of the stunning photo spots there. Candi and Ryan did choose to see each other before the ceremony and do all of the formal group photos - a decision that lets couples spend more time together on their wedding day and get more great photographs together.


Nunley/Hammonds Wedding October 5

While candid shots can capture the action and mood of the day and are a very necessary part of wedding coverage, I do love a beautiful portrait.

Nunley/Hammonds Wedding October 5

Nunley/Hammonds Wedding October 5

Nunley/Hammonds Wedding October 5

Nunley/Hammonds Wedding October 5

Nunley/Hammonds Wedding October 5

While most of the day was very relaxed, Candi and Ryan were excited to run through their recessional and bubble exit (although Ryan had some trouble keeping up).

Nunley/Hammonds Wedding October 5

Nunley/Hammonds Wedding October 5

After a few night portraits, we headed to the reception at Maggiano's Little Italy. As perfect as Scarritt Bennett is for ceremonies, Maggiano's is an excellent choice for a reception. Although they don't seem to have room for really large crowds, the food ranks right up there with some of the best wedding food I've ever had, and they definitely don't skimp on the serving sizes. Although most of the guests seemed to be too full to even eat another bite, I always appreciate a good dessert, and there were lots of delicious choices. There was even a "bleeding armadillo cake" just like in the movie Steal Magnolias. After the couple cut the cake, Ryan ceremoniously presented the tail piece to a special guest.

Nunley/Hammonds Wedding October 5

Although there wasn't any real cake smashing going on, Candi did manage to smear a bit of icing on Ryan's face. She proceeded to cleaned him up with a napkin, but he took a quicker route to cleaning the icing off of her.

Nunley/Hammonds Wedding October 5

The guests were treated to a fun photo slideshow from the couple.

Nunley/Hammonds Wedding October 5

Some wedding crowds go a little overboard with the bells on the tables, but this group rang them just often enough. When you hear bells, you know there's a great photo opportunity.

Nunley/Hammonds Wedding October 5

With the beautiful venue, sweet and happy couple, and amazing food, it really was a great wedding day. After a road trip through the North East (which is beautiful this time of year), the couple will be heading to Hawaii where Ryan will be reporting for duty at Pearl Harbor. As part of the armed forces, they both deserve our respect and gratitude, and I was very honored to have been a part of their important day.

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Farragut, Knoxville, TN

Friday, October 3, 2008
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Over the last two weeks I have heard from several clients who have either become pregnant or given birth recently. Many of these happy couples are now asking about maternity, baby, or family portraits. To celebrate everyone's exciting news, I'm offering a portrait special to all of my existing clients. I'm taking $100 off the regular $125 session fee for all portrait sessions including maternity, high school senior, baby, family, boudoir, model portfolio, and non-wedding couple sessions.

Details: All sessions are done on a weekday at a location of your choice within Knoxville, but I will travel up to 1.5 hours with a travel fee. A $25 retainer and contract are required to hold your date and cover travel within Knoxville. You must commit to a week on the calendar, and we will agree on the specific day during the week prior. A $200 minimum purchase is required in the form of a deposit to be paid on the day of the session. The entire deposit will be applied to your first order. All sessions must be booked before November 1 and completed before May 1, 2009.

Email (link to the right) or call today for more information or to book.

Congratulations Special for existing clients



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Welcome to the Nancy Hellsten Photography blog! This is the place to be if you’re looking for wedding ideas and photography promotions or if you just want to view some great photos and see what I’ve been up to. If you or someone you know are getting married, having a baby, or just want some relaxed portraits with the family, please visit my website or contact me for more information. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and check back often to see what’s new.
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