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Cades Cove, The Great Smoky Mountains

Tuesday, October 2, 2007
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I've been working hard the past few months and have several big weddings coming up. Fortunately, I didn't have a wedding booked for this past weekend so I was able to take a little break. My family and I went camping at Cades Cove. The nights were a bit chilly, but it was nice to get out and spend some time together. Cades Cove is the most visited area of the Smokies which is the most popular national park in the country. Crowds are common on the weekend (avoid Saturdays in October), but it is a beautiful place to visit if you've never been.

Of course I couldn't go all weekend without fitting in some photography. One of my 2006 brides brought her family to Tennessee for the weekend so that I could shoot a senior session on Saturday with her twin daughters Carissa and September. It was a beautiful day in the cove, and the girls were great at both modeling and assisting me. We ran short on time and had forgotten to bring a towel so we didn't have the opportunity to put anyone in the creek as planned, but we had fun and got some great photos. Aren't they gorgeous? I wish that everyone I work with could smile on demand as well as these two. In fact, the most difficult thing for them is to look serious and NOT smile in front of the camera.

Carissa & September's senior photography session

Carissa & September's senior photography session

Carissa & September's senior photography session

Carissa & September's senior photography session

Carissa & September's senior photography session
Carissa & September's senior photography session

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The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards, Lake Keowee, SC

Tuesday, October 2, 2007
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It's fun and educational to shoot with other photographers so when Alecia (of Alecia Lauren Photography in Atlanta) contacted me about second shooting a wedding with her, I was excited to go. Alecia and I met at a photography workshop put on by Jessica Claire and Liana Lehman in NYC last year.

The wedding for Elizabeth and Chris was held at Lake Keowee, South Carolina. The weekend festivities included a welcome barbecue on Friday, a lakeside picnic Saturday morning, the ceremony at McKinney Chapel, a reception at the Watsons' lake house, and a send-off brunch Sunday morning. Everything took place within a resort community on Lake Keowee called the Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards.

The setting was beautiful. McKinney Chapel is a quaint, little clapboard chapel that served as both school and church for the community when it was built in the late 1800s. Many of the guests, including the photographers, were given houses to use for the weekend. The wedding ceremony was black tie so all of the men wore tuxes and the women wore evening gowns, but the rest of the weekend was casual and fun with lots of alcohol and good times for everyone.

For the welcome barbecue, Elizabeth wore a simple sun dress and a Haku-lei (a head wreath of fresh flowers) that her brother brought from Hawaii. Her brother also presented the parents with beautiful flower leis, and Chris wore a green leaf lei. For the wedding, Elizabeth looked stunning in a simple, elegant alencon lace dress by Monique Lhuillier.

Guests arrived at the reception by boat to a dinner that included raw oysters, buffalo burgers, and lobster tail tempura. In addition to the wedding cake, there was a dessert buffet with platters of the cutest (and tastiest) little pastries and an ice cream bar. The ice cream had been frozen into half spheres of ice which, I thought, was a brilliant way to keep it from melting as the chefs scooped and served.

Kealoha/Watson Wedding September 22

Kealoha/Watson Wedding September 22

Kealoha/Watson Wedding September 22

Kealoha/Watson Wedding September 22

Kealoha/Watson Wedding September 22

Kealoha/Watson Wedding September 22
Kealoha/Watson Wedding September 22
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Fountain City, Knoxville, TN

Friday, September 28, 2007
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I will be out of the loop from now until Monday so all phone messages and emails will be answered early next week. Have a great weekend!
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The Museum of Appalachia, Norris, TN

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
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Peggy and Aaron were married in late May at the Museum of Appalachia. Last week I met up with them again at the museum to do their couple session. It was sunny and warm just like their wedding day, but it was nice to have all the extra time to roam around the grounds and really take advantage of the setting.

By the way, the museum has their annual homecoming festival coming up the weekend of October 13. I have two weddings that weekend so I wont' be able to go, but I have been several years in the past. It's a good way to spend the day - listening to bluegrass and folk music; eating chicken-n-dumplins, cobbler, homemade ice cream, funnel cakes, and BBQ; visiting with the artisans and authors, viewing old-time life demonstrations, walking around the antique engine and tractor show, and shopping for crafts. It isn't cheap, but it's a good way to support the not-for-profit museum so take a lawn chair and make a day of it. If you act fast and purchase your tickets by September 28 then you can save some money.

Peggy and Aaron's Couple Session Photographs

Peggy and Aaron's Couple Session Photographs
Peggy and Aaron's Couple Session Photographs
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Chattanooga, TN

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
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Nothing stays at the top of the blog for long at this time of year! Yet another couple celebrated an anniversary yesterday. Natalie and Josh were married two years ago at Grandview atop Lookout Mountain.

Grandview truly does have beautiful views. The ceremony was held on a patio overlooking the Chattanooga Valley and the Smoky Mountains. The weather was perfect with a blue sky and fluffy, white clouds. It was an afternoon wedding, but a cool mountain breeze kept everyone comfortable. The whole day was beautiful and stress free.

I could take this second shot at almost every wedding. Guys are always playing with their rings.

Anastasia/Green Wedding Anniversary September 25

Check out the mountain "breeze" picking up Natalie's veil. (OK. It was a bit windy.)

Anastasia/Green Wedding Anniversary September 25

Anastasia/Green Wedding Anniversary September 25

Anastasia/Green Wedding Anniversary September 25
Anastasia/Green Wedding Anniversary September 25
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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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