SkySight Photography: Blog https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog en-us (C) SkySight Photography [email protected] (SkySight Photography) Mon, 03 Jun 2024 15:35:00 GMT Mon, 03 Jun 2024 15:35:00 GMT https://www.skysightphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u906324525-o341593969-50.jpg SkySight Photography: Blog https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog 108 120 John & Elise's Wedding at Chestnut Ridge https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/6/john-elises-wedding-at-chestnut-ridge BLOGAuvilPerry_0036BLOGAuvilPerry_0036

 

 

Elise and John were such a joy to work with on their wedding day. When I first spoke with them about their wedding, about a year ago, they told me that their focus for the day would be on each other. They preferred the intimate nature of a wedding without a bridal party, or too many events at the reception. I knew that little moments like the first look, portraits with each other on the golf course (they're big golfers!) and the vows were the most important things to focus my attention on. Although we did take some time for all the fun traditions of wedding photography too! such as detail shots in her hotel room, and fun dance party pictures at the end of the day! We had an amazing time photographing this beautiful wedding, and capturing the emotions of the day. I hope for nothing but the absolute best for this newly married couple ~ Congrats Elise and John! 

 

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/6/john-elises-wedding-at-chestnut-ridge Mon, 03 Jun 2024 15:33:15 GMT
Maria & Brett's May Wedding in Irwin https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/5/draft---maria-bretts-may-wedding-in-irwin Maria Palarino Brett Laffoon_0810Maria Palarino Brett Laffoon_0810

 

Maria and Brett

5.18.24

On a gorgeous May afternoon, Maria and Brett said their wedding vows in their hometown church, Immaculate Conception, in Irwin PA. The weather was looking very rainy in the forecast for days prior, but as Maria's dad put it... her grandmother took care of that. We had gorgeous sunny skies, warm temps with a perfect breeze. Their wedding concluded and we took off to White Oak park for a few photos with the newly married couple and their wedding party. Just a few minutes down the road and we arrived at their wedding reception, Stratigos Event center. Their guests were waiting and ready to party! Of course they had the Pittsburgh tradition... the cookie table... I mean the cookie room (YES I said cookie ROOM!) was beyond fantastic, and their dance floor didn't stop. It was a such a fun wedding to photograph!

Congratulations to this beautiful couple!

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/5/draft---maria-bretts-may-wedding-in-irwin Tue, 28 May 2024 15:36:16 GMT
Travel with a photographer to the Amalfi Coast, Italy https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/5/travel-with-a-photographer-to-the-amalfi-coast-italy Travel with a photographer
to the Amalfi Coast 

TRAVEL OFF THE BEATEN PATH TO AMALFI COAST ITALY

SEPTEMBER 2025

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*PORTRAITS TAKEN OF YOU AND YOUR TRAVEL COMPANIONS

*LEARN SOME TIPS ON PHOTOGRAPHY

*SEE THE BEAUTIFUL AMALFI COAST AND CAPRI 

*STAY IN A FOUR STAR HOTEL WITH A SEA VIEW ROOM

Have you dreamed of visiting the Amalfi coast of Italy? Stay in Sorrento and visit the coast for a week with me! As a photographer who loves this area, I can't wait to share my secret spots with you, teach you some tips as we travel, take you to the best places at beautiful times of the day for amazing light, and capture portraits of you in this amazing location! This tour is for ANYONE. Not just photographers! This is for the person who always wanted to see the Amalfi coast and has zero photography experience, or someone who is a professional and wants to join a group of like minded people who love photography and travel. This group will see, feel, taste and experience everything that this area of Italy has to offer, so please... Come join this amazing tour. Spots are already filling up, so don't delay... jump on board! This tour is catered to adults, or children about 12 and up. A future travel opportunity with Autumn for families with kids will be available soon for a child friendly experience in a new exciting location, so stay tuned.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

A full day private boat tour to Capri 

Private coastline tour - Visit the Amalfi coast to see Ravello, Positano, Amalfi 

Stay in a four star hotel on the coast with a sea view room and pool at Hotel Minerva

Hike the path of the Gods

Have your photos taken throughout the week by Autumn at picturesque locations

Learn photography tips and/or hone your already fantastic photography skills

Have a pro camera or just a smart phone? ALL are welcome & totally accepted!!

Have free time to explore more on your own, and not be tied to the group 24-7

No boring lectures - just an amazing travel experience 

Meet your group in advance via group zoom sessions and get tips on packing, ask questions, and get to know your fellow travelers 

Tips for your days at leisure with options to add on visits to Pompeii, lemon groves in Sorrento, cooking lessons, beach days and more. Options for photos shoots with Autumn on these days at sunrise and sunset! 

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Fine print details

We will be aiming for the goal of booking 16 people for this trip. The trip will be canceled if we do not reach a minimum of 11 people. The rate is based on double occupancy, per person. If you plan to travel alone, you can pay a single rate or opt to be paired with a roommate. (fun fact, I was paired with a "stranger" as a roommate in Morocco for a group trip and she is still one of my closest friends to this date! so get prepared, your new BFF might just be born out of this trip!) 

A $250 per person rate will be charged upon booking with Autumn, this rate will be your photographer rate for the WHOLE TRIP. For this rate, you'll receive instruction and guidance from Autumn as well as portraits taken throughout the week! This tour will be open for booking starting May 1, 2024. After this deposit is made, you will not have a deposit with the travel company until May 31st. This $250 deposit is totally refundable until May 31st, or in the event our minimum is not reached and the trip is canceled or postponed.

 

View our Kensington Tour Itinerary HERE

View the Kensington Tour Fine Print HERE!

Check out the amazing HOTEL MINERVA HERE!
 

 

Cost per person based on 14-16 occupancy

$3920

+ $250/pp photography fee flat rate

**single room will be $5750
 

Cost per person based on 11-13 occupancy 

$4080
+ $250/pp photography fee flat rate

**single room will be $5900
 

 

Payment schedule details

 

1.  Open enrollment time for initial deposit of $250:   May 1 - 15, 2024      

This $250/pp is your photographer's fee, this is refundable for 30 days, or if trip minimum is not met by May 20th and the trip gets canceled or postponed to 2026.

 

2.  Initial travel company deposit of 30% ($1176 based on full occupancy) due between May 15-May 25, Kensington Travel fine print applicable, please refer to link above 

 

3.  Final payment to travel company of remaining 70% ($2744) due by 90 days prior >>  Or pay off balance monthly with just $228/month for 12 months!

 

 

A waiver provided by Autumn Stankay will be required by all travelers to sign. 

Trip insurance is highly suggested to protect your investment in the case of a situation out of your control canceling your ability to travel. Trip insurance can be purchased for an affordable rate, and two insurance companies will be referred for your choice *or you can purchase with your own/current insurance company/agent.

 

 

ARE YOU INTERESTED?

REACH OUT!

Contact Autumn by email at [email protected] or through the contact page of this site!

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/5/travel-with-a-photographer-to-the-amalfi-coast-italy Wed, 01 May 2024 17:03:11 GMT
Chic and Modern Office Headshot Set https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/3/chic-and-modern-office-headshot-set DSC_1612DSC_1612

 

Chic & Modern Office Headshot Set!

 

We have a new set for headshots! This set has a little more character than traditional backdrop based headshots. Whether you're a writer, realtor, actor, lawyer or anything else - this is a great option for a compelling headshot with a little more context. View our sample images below and reach out to [email protected] to reserve your session today!

 

See more of our studio headshot work here!

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) headshot photography headshots photographer pittsburgh https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/3/chic-and-modern-office-headshot-set Thu, 21 Mar 2024 17:16:04 GMT
Angel Wing Mini Sessions https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/2/angel-wing-photography-mini-sessions- SPREAD YOUR WINGS & SOAR 

Angel Wing Mini Sessions

MARCH 2024!!

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There is something new at our studio! For the first time ever, we're having a fine art mini-session special with angel wings.

Be bold... make a statement in these sessions with so many options.

Come with the one you love, or all by yourself. Anything goes!

 

So, what do you want your wings to represent???

LOVE.  STRENGTH.  CONFIDENCE.  MEMORIES.  ACHIEVEMENT.  INDEPENDENCE.  UNITY. 

 

DETAILS:

  • I will take on the mission of representing something meaningful to you. Perhaps your child is your miracle baby that you consider your earthly angel. Maybe you overcame trauma or something difficult in your life that the wings will represent a new journey beginning for you. Possibly a new found love for your body that you want to showcase in a mini boudoir session.  Or maybe you just want to represent your proudest accomplishment you have in your life, whether it is a career achievement or kicking ass at motherhood. 
  • There are backdrop options in dark & light, colorful & simple, or black/white and bold. Honestly - options are pretty endless, especially with our new digital backdrop solutions. So choose your attire, mood/style you prefer, and we'll make an amazing cohesive color style. 
  • Our sample sessions below are of two beautiful mothers with their daughters, but these sessions are not limited to who can take advantage of this special photo event!  Mother and son, a couple in love, mother with all her children, a grandmother with her grandchild, a single child by themselves, even someone with their beloved pet or a female wanting a mini boudoir session... this mini special can be adapted to what YOU want it to be. What do you want the wings to represent, and with who? 
  • Clothing... Our studio closet is full of MANY options for you to wear. We have children's clothing available from baby to size 10, in both boys and girls options. Full disclosure, we do have a lot more options for girls, since we carry a full line of Dollcake dresses and more brands of the same style. We also have a full closet of dresses and items for women, in various sizes. I can't guarantee I have the right clothing for you - but I can assure you I do have a LOT of options.  So when scheduling, just ask about what I have available for your size(s) and I'll send you some photos. I always encourage clients to bring an extra item from your own closet to be sure you have something just in case. 
  • The photo sessions will take place on several dates, inquire for availability. We won't be posting dates/times here because availability changes quickly and often :)  These sessions will be in MARCH ~ so don't delay in scheduling, it is right around the corner! 

 

Rates are listed at the bottom of this blog! 

 

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RATES FOR THE ANGEL WING MINI SESSIONS

  • 1 set (ie: dark or light), 1 outfit, Up to 10 digital files with basic editing, 5 of those with fine art editing, copyright release, digital download link to access files $349
  • Full Gallery digital upgrade $150
  • Add a second set for $50 (dark or light backdrop) 
  • 20% off Day-of special for canvas, metal, acrylic, etc. print products
  • First 5 bookings get a free flash drive
  • Touch ups - additional editing available at $5 per image for any requests (body/face touchups and more)

 

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/2/angel-wing-photography-mini-sessions- Wed, 07 Feb 2024 04:46:44 GMT
Wedding Venue Photography Feature - Rizzo's Malabar Inn https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/2/wedding-venue-photography-feature---rizzos-malabar-inn  

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Wedding Venue Photography Feature!

Rizzo's Malabar Inn

 

Rizzo's is a local favorite! If you live in Westmoreland County, chances are you've had the pleasure of eating a delicious meal at some point at Rizzo's. Some may not realize that they actually have a beautiful large venue building to host weddings as well, in fact they even have a gorgeous outdoor ceremony space. I wanted to highlight a few weddings I've photographed there, to give you a sneak peek of this hidden gem in Crabtree, PA! 
 

THE OUTDOOR SPACE

Tucked away behind the venue space is a beautiful pergola, large enough for a big bridal party to stand under. The backdrop is a landscape of trees perfect in every season. The stone walkway from the venue to the ceremony makes a perfect walkway for the bride coming down the aisle. 

INTERIOR SPACES

Rizzo's offers a large event room, able to seat up to 250 guests. A cocktail hour room is spacious enough for all the guests to mingle while they devour their amazing appetizer spread, and a Pittsburgh cookie table large enough to win "best of the best" cookie tables of all your friend's weddings. 

 

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/2/wedding-venue-photography-feature---rizzos-malabar-inn Thu, 01 Feb 2024 17:00:37 GMT
NEW YEAR, NEW HEADSHOTS!  Join us for a headshot mini session day 2024 https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/1/new-year-new-headshots-join-us-for-a-headshot-mini-session-day-2024 BEALKO_0114BEALKO_0114
 

NEW YEAR, NEW HEADSHOTS! 

Come join us for our headshot mini session day! 

 

DATE:

Mar 1st

*once full, second date will be added

 

PACKAGE DETAILS:

You can do one outfit per time slot, feel free to purchase additional time slots. Each slot will be approx 20 mins, and you will receive a collection of 15-20 proofs online to choose from, then 2 of images of your choice from the proofs will be fully edited and emailed to you as digital file for your usage however you wish (print, online, etc).

Package total: $225

$25 nonrefundable deposit at booking  |  $200 due at session 

 

UPGRADE OPTIONS

  • Additional outfit (xtra 15mins of shooting) $50
  • Additional digital images - 5 for $150, 10 for $200, 15 for $250 
  • (download link is included) add physical flash drive for $25 
  • Add square cropped / social media and LinkedIn optimized images for $25
  • Additional editing requests*  $5-10/image depending on requests 
  • *Editing includes but not limited to: teeth whitening, body slimming, facial blemish/wrinkle retouching, smoothing of skin, lighten bags of eyes or redness around pupils, hair flyaways & MORE! 

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/1/new-year-new-headshots-join-us-for-a-headshot-mini-session-day-2024 Tue, 23 Jan 2024 20:19:41 GMT
Boudoir mini session day 2024 valentine special https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/1/boudoir-mini-session-day-2024-valentine-special  

Our boudoir sessions are back!

PERFECT FOR VALENTINES OR AN UPCOMING BIRTHDAY OR ANNIVERSARY IN 2023!

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This is the time to get boudoir photos taken & store that gift for your loved one's next big day that you plan to celebrate together. Perhaps this Valentines day! Or maybe to give to them at your next date night as an unexpected surprise! Or even save it for your upcoming anniversary this year!

 

SATURDAY FEB 3rd 

**This date not work for your schedule? Just ask about scheduling another date to see if available.
 

$350 for first set, $175 to add on second set, $150 to add on third set
 

 

 

Details:

There will be several sets for you to choose from... a bed, a vintage couch, and more. Each slot you pick is priced for one set and one outfit. For example, you can choose one set and wear one outfit, or you can book more sets each with an outfit change. So, if you book three slots you'll get three outfits and three sets! All sessions come WITH your digital files and also a discount code to order albums and prints online as well! 

**Time slots vary, email Autumn to reserve your spot now! 

[email protected] 

 

Check out the sample sets below! 


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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/1/boudoir-mini-session-day-2024-valentine-special Wed, 10 Jan 2024 04:02:20 GMT
Fulton Commons Headshot Day 2024 https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/1/fulton-commons-headshot-day-2024 DSC_4183-EditDSC_4183-Edit

 


FULTON COMMONS HEADSHOT DAY 2024

LAST YEAR SOLD OUT TWO DATES! We've had a great response to more people wanting more headshots here so we've booked another year at this wonderful unique spot in Pittsburgh! Take a peek below at some of the photos from our shoot and all of the information you need to get your photo spot reserved.

DATE: FEB 9

* second date TBD if this sells out

TIME SLOTS AVAILABLE BETWEEN 10AM - 2PM 

* extended times beyond 2pm added only if 10-2 fills up

 

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LOCATION:

Fulton Commons Pittsburgh PA

This is a coworking space with amazing vintage furniture, decor, and a funky office vibe. If you work from home or want a unique headshot in a creative work environment, this is the perfect place for your photo shoot.  While we are there shooting, there will be some people working so we'll be conscious and respectful of them, but does not hinder our photography experience. We also have arranged for Fulton Commons to include a few hours of free coworking space time for you to stay before or after your session if you would like to. So bring your laptop, and stay to enjoy the coffee and check some items off your to-do list.  First item to check off - new headshot complete! Next up, tackle the day's inbox. 

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INCLUDED: 

Headshot session - 30 mins slot (one outfit)

Editing & post processing on all images

At least 20 proofs

All photos included as digitals with copyright release 

Images via download, jpg format, basic retouching on all images

Bonus editing - You choose 5 images for extra retouching (teeth whitening, wrinkles/blemish removal, stray hairs, body adjustments)

2 hours free rental time to stay and work at Fulton Commons before or after your session (build your photo shoot into work time that day!)

Full access to unlimited coffee (from Elementary Coffee) and tea (from Gryphon Tea) while onsite for the duration of your time there

 

 

HEADSHOT PACKAGE:

Regular $699

****40% off special**** 

= $425 per booking! 

 

Book with a friend and you'll each receive an additional 2 bonus images for xtra retouching! Plus if 2 slots are available, we can schedule you back to back.
 

 

HOW TO SCHEDULE:

(1) EMAIL TO BOOK A SLOT! You will pay a non refundable retainer of $25 when booking 
(2) REMAINDER ($400) DUE AFTER SESSION 

NOTE: Email to ask about cash discount! 

 

Please keep in mind, if you are late your time slot will still remain as is and you will still be responsible for the full cost (if you are 10 mins late, you will only get 20 mins of shooting time) so please plan to arrive 15 mins early to park, use the restroom, fix hair/makeup, and be ready to go at the start of your time slot. 

 

 

 

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And here are the rooms! 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/1/fulton-commons-headshot-day-2024 Wed, 10 Jan 2024 03:55:18 GMT
Shenandoah National Park tips, travel log, photography and trail suggestions https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/1/shenandoah-national-park-tips-travel-log-photography-and-trail-suggestions

Shenandoah National Park Guide 

View our Shenandoah prints here!



Hello there! Welcome to my Shenandoah National Park Guide. I live only a few hours from the entrance at Front Royal, so I've traveled there to hike/camp it many times over the last decade.   

As a side note, I'd suggest you print this out or screen capture to save to images on your phone, because you may not have cell reception in a lot of areas once you are there - one of the best parts about being there :) the lodge has reception/wifi, but on the trails and many areas on skyline drive you wont. (no problem getting 3g/4g access at the pull off lookout points though to send texts!)

The park itself runs north to south, a tall skinny vertical piece of land that is 100 miles long.  Its literally along the ridge of the tops of the mountains. The famous Appalachain Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine goes straight through the park. You'll often see hikers along your trails that are doing the AT (Appalachain Trail) and you'll know to see them, they're on a several month long hike! very cool to experience chatting with any of them to see what they're up to and how long they've been "out there".  The AT runs pretty much straight along Skyline Drive, and the trails through the park that I'll explain below are off of Skyline Drive, and usually go in and out, or in a small few mile loop.  

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Skyline Drive - it starts at the entrance of the park at the northernmost point (Front Royal, Virginia is the town) at MILE 1 and ends at the exit of the park in southernmost point at MILE 105.  there are a few other exit/entrance points about a quarter of the way, halfway  and near the end.  There is 4 total.  So in general, the park is laid out REALLY simple.  There are NO other public roads except Skyline which goes from top to bottom.  As you drive it, there is a mile marker on small wooden posts at EVERY MILE.  So the guide below is really easy to find the trails, you'll just go to the mile markers.   If you're on mile 40, and the trail you want is at mile 35, you'll just turn onto Skyline north for five miles and you'll find it with signs.  There is also a pull-over lookout point every 5 or so miles, through the entire park. Its pretty amazing to see, and a lot of people will enter the park just to drive Skyline for the day, stop at the lookouts and have picnics, and exit the park later and go home.  We have spent hours just driving skyline many times with stopping points.  So once you enter the park, the experience truly begins pretty quickly. You'll climb to the tops of the mountains and swivel the park along this road, and find yourself enjoying the view that the drive doesnt even seem long anymore. Skyline Drive is about 45 mph so it takes a while to get from mile 1 to mile 50, its not like highway driving for sure. So thats why you may want to go into the park at the second entrance, and save a few skyline miles to get to your cabin quicker (see below) if staying at Big Meadow.

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Getting there... From Greensburg(my home town) to the entrance of the park at Front Royal, VA is 3.5 hrs.  However from Pittsburgh, add a half hour on turnpike, and then maybe another half hour to the second park entrance at Thornton gap.   For us - We take the turnpike to Breezewood, then from there follow GPS to Front Royal. We like to enter the park at Front Royal and take the "long route" along skyline to Skyland/Big Meadow (we have stayed at both).  But if you're more interested in getting to the lodge/camping quicker, then you can go down around the outside of the park on either the east or west side. You can put into your gps either Luray, Virginia or Sperryville, Virginia (I pasted below the info and GPS coordinates, also link to directions page, but its pretty straight forward).... and enter the park there at the Thornton Gap entrance.  That entrance is only around 10 miles or so along Skyline Drive to get to Skyland Resort. It would get you the majority of the way there on highways, then you can take your time on skyline drive for less mileage. 

 

Thornton Gap

East of Luray, Virginia and west of Sperryville, Virginia, off Highway 211 (also called Lee Highway) 

GPS Coordinates: 38.660959, -78.320761

https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/directions.htm  (THIS LINK HAS GOOGLE MAP LINK TO THIS ENTRANCE)

**This link above also shows the four entrance/exit points of the park. 

 

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Skyland Resort - (at Skyline Drive mile 41.7) - this is a really cool historic place.  It is in the CENTER of the park, which is great because its closest to Big Meadow (see more below) as well as close to the best hikes. It is at the highest point on skyline drive I believe, around 4000 feet.  There is an amazing view right from the deck alongside the restaurant.  When you arrive, follow the signs to the office to check in.  Next to check in, is that deck with view points, and restaurant, shop, coffee shop, and lots of areas to just relax and chill out.  Cabins are all around the resort and they'll direct you where.  There are two restaurants, one is more the bar food side, one is the more fine dining side... but regardless everything is 100% casual clothing.  People will hike all day and then go there to eat, even the "fine" side. Any clothing is acceptable, so just dress comfy and don't overpack.  

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Big Meadow - A few miles from Skyland (around mile marker 51) is the other resort/lodge in the park.  We love Big Meadows and have found the prices cheaper at that lodge, however we mostly use the campground there. Here's what Big Meadows has to offer: 

- Gas station (see more below) 

- Small diner 

- Camp store with groceries (if you need basics like gallon of water, snacks, anything "camping related" from rope to batteries, its in this little store) 

- Visitors center with rangers present to talk to (great place to ask about trails or things to see/do, and learn about wildlife etc)

- An actual "big meadow" which is ALWAYS full of deer, sometimes lots of babies with their parents, and large roadway through the middle of it that you can walk through the meadow. Its kind of unique that there is a meadow on top of a mountain, so there's always wildlife here (lots of birds too). 

- campground (we've tent camped here many times, they have showers etc) 

- Lodge with both rooms to rent as well as cabins - there is a cool gift shop, restaurant, rooms to stay, and great big public "porch" you can go out and view the mountains from 

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What to pack -

- If you have small children (under age 2) consider a hiking pack for your back because they would definitely struggle to do some of the full hikes by themselves

- hiking shoes/boots or decent  running shoe or sneaker, pair of flip flops for hanging around cabin, layers like windbreaker type jacket, sweatshirt, a pair of pants, pair of shorts. just prepare for it to be 90 degrees or 45 degrees cuz the temps shift from morning to night a lot.  

- Water bottles and bring your own gallon jugs of water so you're not buying water bottles there for hiking, we usually pack a cooler from the house with ice packs and bring our own small snacks and drinks, that gets us through the day  and we'll do two meals typically at restaurant (big breakfast, and big dinner). 

- Bug spray is a good idea, but I honestly never ever come home with bites from there. And I rarely put a lot of sunscreen on, since you're in the woods more than in full sun. But I definitely pack/bring it, however won't use as much as when I'm at the beach for example. 
 

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***HOW BIG MEADOW BUILDINGS ARE LAID OUT: 

Right along Skyline drive, across from the "actual" big meadow, is the visitors center, camp store/diner, and gas station.  Then from there, continue back "away" from skyline drive about half mile and you'll come to the campground and Big Meadow Lodge.  there are signs for everything. When you get to that area, the campground is to the right of the fork in the road, and the lodge is to the left.  A LOT OF deer including lots and lots of baby deer hang out all through the campground :) they're really tame and you can get pretty close to them! 

 

phone/WIFI - you can get a signal on phone and wifi at either big meadows or skyland, and usually at any pull off point along skyland drive I can get a text to send because there is a break from the mountain blocking signal :) 

 

Gas - the only place to fill up gas tank inside the park is at Big Meadow.  We usually make sure we enter the park with half tank, then refill once inside the park (its usually cheaper gas $ there!)  before we leave to head home.  luckily big meadow is only a few miles from skyland.  

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Black Bears - shenandoah is bear city! they are everywhere.  Keep in mind, they are safe and calm, just give them their space and they won't charge you. We have seen at least 50 bears in the trips we have been there, but then again we do a LOT of deep woods hiking. however, sometimes the most we see are closer to the roads and around the resorts.  There has never ever been an attack on record in shenandoah, and in general black bears do not bother people.  Especially in this region.  We have even been between a mom and her two cubs and she didn't bother us. They are busy eating berries and bugs, they do not hunt any large animals, and they've never BEEN hunted in this national park. So they aren't violent, and do not get spooked by humans since they dont have the instinct that we will hurt them.  I always preface this trip that anyone goes on by saying this because theres just no reason at all to be scared if you see one.  Just be smart - keep your distance, and try not to spook them.  In very rare circumstances, they might bluff charge at someone. meaning stomp their feet towards you, or clack their teeth loudly. this is ONLY been when people try to approach them. So If you do, just stop and observe, we've watched them so many times and they could care less about us.  Keep talking loudly, let them know you are there. We usually say "Hi Bear! how are you! we're just passing through and going to walk slowly, we dont want to spook you". haha. it feels a little funny but its kind of cool, just seeing how they really just ignore you and go on with their day.  They move along quickly and if you just wait it out, they'll be gone before you know it.  Its honestly no different than seeing a deer.  We have seen cubs climb into the trees (they will do that for safety if they are scared seeing people), and have even seen this from the car on skyline dr.  Very cool thing to witness! :) 

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Wildlife - we've seen a lot there.  every animal is friendly and keeps its distance.  bears, deer, woodpeckers, lots of rare birds, squirrels, etc.  Its fun to try to spot them :)  a LOT of wildlife appears on skyline drive, so keep your eyes peeled.  If you are early risers, get out early.  We've done hikes at sunrise and we often will see some cool wildlife eating along the trail in the middle of the woods and there are less people too. Bonus is that you're going mid-week so you probably wont have to worry about it being TOO busy, although summer there is busy no matter what. Its very popular. 

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TRAILS! .........

 

Ok here is my list of trails that I think you might like near Skyland and Big Meadow.  THERE ARE SO MANY MORE TRAILS NOT IN THIS GUIDE THAT RUN THE ENTIRE 100 MILES OF THE PARK! But if you stay in the center at either lodge or campground, this is a great guide for your first trip to the park.   I have a trail guide book I'm copying some of this info from, but I've done EVERY one of these hikes, some of them several times. There are a few hikes I am going to skip on this list that I would probably recommend if you wanted longer difficult hikes, so I'm keeping the list pretty tailored to what I think majority of people would be able to handle and really enjoy! These all have at least one the following ... #1 has a great summit, #2 is flat and really easy,  #3 has an amazing waterfall.  

 

Easy to get to them by following the mile marker :) 

 

1.  Stony Man Trail - Skyline Drive Mile 41.7 *THIS IS AT SKYLAND PARKING LOT*

-  total distance 1.4 miles, out and back (not a loop), approx hiking time 1 hr

-  this trail is fairly easy, an increase of 350 ft of elevation, so its not too vertical, should be easy to do with the baby on your back. 

-  to access the trail its really easy from Skyland, its walking distance from the resort, or you can drive over to the parking lot at the trailhead (you can ask at the front desk to point you to the correct lot).  From the Stony Man parking area, access the Appalachain Trail at the cement post, follow the trail right.  At 0.4 mile, the AT reaches the Stony Man Horse Trail, which branches off to the left from the AT at a cement post, go toward the left on the blue-blazed (marked on the trees) which is Stony Main Trail.  At 0.5 mile the trail forks, either way will take you to the summit, because that Y is a small loop. Follow signs on cement posts. 

- at the summit, take your time and really enjoy the view.  Its a rocky outcropped area and lots of people are usually there trying to get to the edge. its a really great view, and second highest mountain in the park. Look for falcons, they usually nest around there and you'll see them flying around just off the cliffs. 

- to return, just follow the way you came back up 

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2. Limberlost - Skyline Drive Mile 43, turn east at the Limberlost Trail sign and park in the parking lot 

- total distance 1.3 miles via a loop, approx hiking time 45 mins to 1 hr 

- EASIEST hike in the park because its actually completely FLAT the entire way through, they even have benches along the way. its a good one to bring a backpack and have a snack along the way. there's not a lot to see in terms of summit or waterfalls, its just a nice "stroll" hike. 

- I was told that the mountain laurel flowers bloom in june and are REALLY plentiful on this trail. apparently they really line this trail and are really a beautiful thing to see when all are in bloom.

-  it was once lined by ancient hemlock trees, 400 years old, but an exotic insect pest wreaked havoc on them and most died. you can see them laying on the forest ground as you walk this loop. this trail also has some of the oldest and largest red spruce trees, some as old as 250 years old. one of them stands alone by a small stream on the walk. 

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3. Dark Hollow Falls - Skyline Drive Mile 50.7 (right before you get to Big Meadow) 

- Total distance 1.4 miles, out and back (not a loop), total elevation gain/loss is 440 feet 

-  ALL DOWNHILL on the way in, and ALL UPHILL on the way back. So plan to take extra time coming back up. Bring snacks, rest along the way. 

-  The bottom of this trail is the base of an amazing waterfall

-  This is a really popular trail, I suggest doing it early in the morning before it gets really busy with people all over the trail and taking up the good view at the bottom of the falls haha 

-  To access the trail, just pull into the parking lot at mile 50.7 , you'll see a sign for dark hollow falls 

-  At mile 0.6 there is an overlook of the top of the falls looking down to the bottom, you have to go off the path a few feet but you'll see people stomped down a way through. be careful, no railings :)  the rocks can be wet and slippery so just use caution.  from there continue down switchbacks to the bottom. 

- take your shoes off and walk through the water at the base of the waterfall, its freezing but feels so good! :) get lots of pics here!!  

(some people even wear bathing suits!) 

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4.  Rapidan Camp 

This is really interesting, but its a far hike to get to the camp. However, I believe they run a bus back here through the fire road to bring tours, you could ask about it if you're interested. Rapidan camp was president Herbert Hoover's camp, he used to come there from washington DC for working vacations while he was president. one of the camps was restored and you can go in for a tour.  The hike from skyline to the camp is gorgeous with a waterfall halfway there, but might be long. Its a total of four miles and probably would take about 3-4 hours.  Maybe ask about the tour to the camp without hiking it.  If you are interested in hiking it, you'd go to mile 52.8 and pull into the Milam Gap parking lot, cross the street, go about 40 yards on the AT, turn left onto Mill Prong Trail, at mile 1.5 you'll come to Big Rock Falls (really cool), and continue another .5 miles from there to the camp.  Then return, retrace your steps back out (2 miles in, 2 miles out).   Its not extreme on the incline/decline though that I remember (we did this one a few yrs ago).  

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5.  Hawksbill Summit

Another great summit similar to Stony Man, if you want a little more challenge ,and an amazing view at the top with a lookout deck, is Hawksbill. Its the highest point in the park.  Its about double the distance of Stony Man Trail though. 

- to access, go to mile 45.6, hawksbill gap parking area (there is upper hawksbill and lower hawksbill) the upper lot is out and back, no loop, and shorter than the lower. 

- total distance 2.8 miles , approx 2-3 hrs 

- total elevation gain/loss 800 ft 

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BONUS TINY HIKE! 

- there is a great summit right from the big meadows parking lot, its barely a trail because it will take you about 5-10 mins to hike to the summit.  from the parking lot, go to the far end away from the lodge/lobby (if looking at the big meadows lobby door, walk to your left, past the playground and cabins).  After the cabins there, you'll see a small trail that goes upwards. Its a short climb and in 5 mins you'll be at the summit. this is a great place to watch the sunset quick and easily, faces west :) Or just a nice daytime stroll to another summit point. Good place for a picnic at the top (big rocky area you can sit and enjoy the view and have lunch/snacks) 

This is also a great place to stargaze at night because you could walk from Big Meadows lodge with a headlamp to the peak.

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THINGS TO DO OTHER THAN TRAILS.... 

- Stroll through Big Meadow (the actual meadow) - there's a parking lot there 

- Go check out the view from the porch at Big Meadow Lodge (walk THROUGH the lobby and restaurant, its open to public to sit on the chairs and lookout areas) 

- Restaurants inside Skyland and Big Meadow

- Live Music at night inside Skyland and Big Meadow 

- get coffee at the shop inside Skyland and hang out on the big patio at the tables, enjoy the view 

- shop in the gift shops (skyland has a great one) 

- go to the diner next to big meadow visitors center for breakfast 

- check out the visitors center and talk to rangers 

- talk to hikers on the trails! 


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IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, THE PEOPLE WHO WORK AT SKYLAND,BIG MEADOWS OR VISITORS CENTER ARE SOOOO HELPFUL!!!! AND DON'T STRESS ABOUT BEING "OFF THE GRID" OR STUCK IN THE PARK WITHOUT EASY ACCESS TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, THERE ARE FIRE ROADS TO EXIT THE PARK IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, AS WELL AS FOUR MAIN EXITS YOU COULD GET TO THE MAIN RAODS WITHIN AN HOUR :) HAVE A GREAT TIME! GET AWAY AND FORGET ABOUT LIFE'S WORRIES & ENJOY EACH OTHERS COMPANY :) 


MORE PHOTOS TO SHARE! ENJOY!! 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/1/shenandoah-national-park-tips-travel-log-photography-and-trail-suggestions Mon, 08 Jan 2024 19:10:04 GMT
Road trip west - Pittsburgh to Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/1/road-trip-west---east-coast-to-new-mexico-colorado We have prints available from this trip here! 

New Mexico Prints

Colorado Prints

 

In 2022, my husband and I took our three year old across the country in our van from Pittsburgh to New Mexico, north to Colorado, then home. Below is a photographic journey of that trip and some notes between the photos of where some of the locations are at.  nm tripnm trip

We left Pittsburgh and drove west for days, with a small child we didn't put in more then 6-7 hours a day on the road. We stopped in St Louis, walked through the big arch to "officially" cross into the west, as the arch represents. Thirty days later we returned home.

Below you will find my journal entries from the trip that I posted to Facebook along the way.

 

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ENTRY 1

We have embarked on a month long road trip. Will plan to share more of our travels as we go. For now we have officially  driven several states, walked through the "gateway to the west" and have an amazing little 3 yr old copilot helping us decide our next route. Her seventh trip since birth, she is a road warrior for sure... But this will be our longest yet, so wish us luck! We will post some of what we see & hear so you can all travel along with us 


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ENTRY 2

Oklahoma surprised us immensely. The earth was bold in color, the sunset so golden, and winds sounded like music. There were more stars than I've ever seen on a night drive from Ok City to Amarillo. We discovered an amazing state park full of red rocks, Roadside attraction of the friendliest whale on Rt 66, the most interesting BFF potty, and some of the nicest people in every small town we stopped.  As an added bonus we can now say we once passed a sign that said, Warning: Hitchhiker's may be escaped convicts. The adventure continues on...
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ENTRY 3 

Our time in Amarillo was BIG.  There were big steaks, big arrows, big sun, big winds, big cowboys and big cadillacs.  But we did find a great little library in a nature center to swap for some new books for the journey.  The adventure continues westward bound...


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ENTRY 4

Amazing adventures in Albuquerque! 

We are almost 2500 miles in ­č嬠 

Journey continues south...

 

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ENTRY 5

This trip is not without challenges. (in fact many of my friends with toddlers have randomly sent words of encouragement and check in messages to see how we are doing and my sister has offered to fly out to give us two days of babysitting break time lol). There are meltdowns and tantrums of course that probably have woken our hotel neighbors, my child is NOT perfect. But there are nights of jumping on hotel beds and giggles so loud we probably are ALSO  disturbing the neighbors.  There are days of literally dancing to music in the streets of the old towns. Yes, there are exhausting driving days, times of trying to find ways to cook roadside to keep healthy food in our bodies, and digging deep to find the energy for giant hikes while carrying camera equipment PLUS a toddler on your back. But there are things my daughter is learning about life through this exploration and time with her parents we can't begin to quantify.  We have learned how to be better parents in so many ways during the last 10 days that I can't imagine I would have learned at home. The memories made are worth every grueling minute.  While on this trip, we have managed a toddler through 2500 miles so far, Bill has recorded the sounds of nature for his project, I've photographed nearly everything I see, and we have filmed for a documentary.  We are filled with the love of our daughter, the nature around us, and the memories and art we are creating.  We're almost halfway there.

 

ABQ gifted us new friends, wandering old streets full of art, mountains with sunrises and sunsets that Orsa called magical, and petroglyphs that were 700 years old and left you feeling something you couldn't really explain. There was an off road that was meant to be a shortcut, but ended up being 11 miles at 15mph extremely bumpy off road quality which turned out to be a blessing of great  serendipity because beautiful views and immense laughter got us through it - which gave us memories we won’t forget. We took one of the most amazing drives I've experienced, south to the White Sands. And with shaking hands and legs, I crested the top of the first dune as we arrived just in time for sunfall at 6pm the first day - and literally gasped with shock.  I've seen sand dunes before but these were beyond this world. Our country is quite incredible, I encourage you to get out and explore the uncommon, far off places that exist here. The adventure continues...


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ENTRY 6 

White Sands. Leaving here with big emotions after our week here, a truly magical place.  More to share soon. Journey continues north now…

 



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ENTRY 7 

Here are some more White Sands photos of some various days there  before i switch to the next part of our trip.  Can't be more thankful for Bill's photography that captured these moments with Orsa and I. Post WSNP we traveled to FarmingtonNM and Bill explored the unknown wild of the Bisti Badlands while Orsa and I rested a few days, made some local friends in playgroups,  and got the car serviced since we hit 3k miles.  The people of NM have been extraordinary to meet and this state [east west north and south] has truly been an amazing adventure. We immersed ourselves in researching the area and Native American culture. I have learned to love green Chile on eggs and found amazing New Mexico cookbooks. We have just crossed in to Colorado and can't wait for more.


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ENTRY 8 FB POST 

After the Bisti Badlands (photos to come later) we headed north for a few day stop to see more sand dunes. The Great Sand Dunes are absolutely huge.  In comparison to the White Sands in NM, the colors are so different and the mountains that tower behind are 14K footers.  The dunes themselves are massive and take hours to get to the top despite what it seems like from far away.  They're quite deceiving.  We were fortunate to see the dunes in several sunrises, sunsets and different weather. 

We continue on in Colorado to Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs, and the Paint Mines! 


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Pikes peak snow to play in!! 

 

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Manitou Springs! 

 

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Royal Gorge Route Railroad! 

 


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Skyline Drive near New River Gorge - with actual dinosaur tracks fossilized (below)   DSC_6707DSC_6707 DSC_6781DSC_6781 DSC_6810DSC_6810 DSC_7017DSC_7017 DSC_6918DSC_6918 DSC_6829DSC_6829 DSC_7270DSC_7270 DSC_7182DSC_7182 DSC_7328DSC_7328

 the paint mines! just an hour east of Colorado Springs!

 

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FINAL ENTRY

 

I love creating art as a family. I’ve come to realize what seems normal to us while traveling, others find foreign. Toddler on your shoulders while both carrying 40 lb packs of camera and audio gear, water, snacks and toys is our norm. Since Orsa has grown a little older, I think she enjoys the process of it as well. She has begun to notice things like mountains and sunsets and point out how beautiful they are, she asks to hear how the sand or water sounds under the surface, and for the first time is asking to take some photos herself with the camera. I am happy for her to learn appreciation for nature and art so young. Kudos to Bill, who woke up daily before dawn to hike mountains and dunes before the first light, because sunsets just were not enough. I can’t thank him enough for capturing the mother/daughter moments of us together on this trip, they’re priceless and as a photographer you’re often not captured on camera. Also for encouraging me to model for him, something I wasn’t so sure about, but creating these images together was really exciting and fun. Something I always tell my clients, to be brave and let yourself be glamorous on camera - I finally listened to my own advice. So as this trip comes to a close and I head back, I embrace all of the art we bring back with our memories. Landscapes, portraits of each other, Bill’s project about earth sound and music, all while creating a documentary about the process. It was a month of adventure, art and family. I am so thankful for all of it. 

I wasn’t so sure midway through this trip, but I realize now, Orsa really did grow and learn so much as a little human on this adventure.  She is different now in some ways and I hope that somewhere, some of these memories will stick in her brain. She still talks about some of the road trips we took the last few years to the northeast and the south, whether they are real memories or not, who knows. But there is hope this adventure will stay with her. Even if not tangible, i know it impacted her. She has been a road warrior since only a few months old and I think that teaches children a lot of patience and instills a sense of wonder.  And so, I encourage everyone with children to hit the road and wander this beautiful earth. Its good for you and them. Go without a plan, let yourself experience serendipity. You’ll fight - no doubt. You’ll have anxiety and nerves. But you’ll learn, see, experience, & feel SO much more. When we left our home on March 1st, we had not booked a single night hotel or airbnb. We just started driving west and planned this trip as we drove our mini van. We knew our key locations we would go to, that’s about it.  It can be done, and yes children are tough on the road,  but malleable too. This was our longest adventure yet as a trio and the journey was more than we even imagined it would be. 

As my little Orsaline and I fly back to Pittsburgh from Denver, Bill is continuing on to finish the journey north - more Rockies, Wyoming, Badlands then turning east.  Help me send him off with lots of safe travel messages! He is officially 40 as of a few days ago, so I think his last month in his 30’s was definitely one to remember. 

 

 

30 days and 4000 miles with a three year old... if I can do it, you can too! Go for it! 
**Peace, Love & Adventure**

-Autumn

 

 

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/1/road-trip-west---east-coast-to-new-mexico-colorado Fri, 05 Jan 2024 02:11:54 GMT
Romantic Fall Wedding at Disalvo's Station https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/1/romantic-fall-wedding-at-disalvos-station Romantic Fall Wedding at Disalvo's Station - Latrobe, PA

 

Jill and John came to me about their wedding plans about a year prior, and of course I remembered Jill - I photographed her senior photos over a decade ago! I was so excited to hear from her again and that she was engaged to be married. She told me about her fiance, John, who was a pilot in the military and how she met him while working as a nurse in California. I knew immediately their wedding was going to be a blast to photograph!

 

On the day of the wedding, John had us come to the KLBE Air Museum for his pre-ceremony getting ready photos. This created such a unique backdrop for the traditional shots of the groom getting dressed and portraits with the groomsmen! Jill was just down the road at her childhood home with her parents. After the ceremony at the beautiful St Vincent's Basilica we ventured across the road to the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve for photographs in their gorgeous fields. Then we were off to the reception at Historic Disalvo's Station. Jill had a great idea to take fun photos with her bridal party in the cigar bar basement, with a vintage flash style. Then their party got started and never stopped! They had a dance floor packed all night.

 

It was truly a pleasure to photograph this wedding for Jill and John and we wish them all the best in their new life together! 

 

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2024/1/romantic-fall-wedding-at-disalvos-station Thu, 04 Jan 2024 20:59:13 GMT
Extended Family & Generation Portraits in studio https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/12/extended-family-generation-portraits-in-studio This is the time of year that we get many calls for generation photographs, or as we usually call them - extended family portrait sessions. This is a time to get everyone in the family - starting with the eldest generation in a portrait. That means grandparents, their children, and their children! Typically three generations, but sometimes even four! Our studio has two sets with a 20 ft wide backdrop wall that accommodate large groups. We can photograph up to 20-25 people in one photo, in fact we actually squeezed 32 into a photograph in our studio a few years back!

 

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We have two areas for your extended family session set up this December! A light set with white boxes and lighter fabric furniture (soft, light tan wall and floor) as well as a darker "Vanity Fair" group photo inspired set, with rustic elements like ladders and old crates! 

Can you picture your extended family photo here???

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Here are more studio extended family photos and generation portraits for you to be inspired by! 

 

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If you prefer on location or outdoor... inquire for details! Here are a few locations/examples of extended family photos in some beautiful locations! You can schedule in any season - if willing to dress for the weather! Otherwise, its never too early for scheduling a spring session, especially if you want a weekend appointment date.  

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/12/extended-family-generation-portraits-in-studio Wed, 13 Dec 2023 16:24:49 GMT
Greensburg, Christmas Mini Sessions https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/12/greensburg-christmas-mini-sessions  

LAST MINUTE HOLIDAY SESSION DEAL!!!!!

Did you miss out on a holiday session in our studio in November? Never fear! A last minute option is here!

**Unique and different option for holiday photos**

**High quality, beautiful portraits with an experienced photographer**

**Wear holiday gear  -  or not! Perhaps you prefer a non-holiday clothing color scheme! Anything goes!**

 

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Downtown Greensburg Holiday Mini Sessions
$299 + tax

We're hosting a day of holiday mini sessions in downtown Greensburg on Sunday, December 10th. If you're looking for holiday photos but aren't looking for a full blown studio session, this is the perfect photo shoot for you! 

*December 10th - various times avail, inquire for details

What's included?

- 20 Minute session

- 20 digital images included

- Full gallery available for upgrade

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/12/greensburg-christmas-mini-sessions Fri, 01 Dec 2023 14:36:17 GMT
Wedding Venue Photography Feature - Disalvo's Station Latrobe, PA https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/10/disalvos-wedding-venue Disalvo's Station in Latrobe is one of my "regular" wedding venues! I absolutely love getting booked for events and weddings here. I photograph several at Disalvo's each year and am very familiar with the venue, surrounding areas for photos in Latrobe, as well as St Vincent's Basilica just down the street where many ceremonies are held, although many take place right at the venue!  

 

Disalvo's coordinator (Mike) and owner (Joey Disalvo) are top notch in service for their brides and grooms.  Everything at this venue goes smoothly for each and every wedding. The food is phenomenal, and the venue is so very unique which is one of the main reasons for this blog! I wanted to highlight the history and interesting features of this cool wedding venue by sharing several weddings we have done here over the last few years. As a photographer, I can tell you that not all venues are created equal... this one checks all the boxes for "cool" factors. just read on and check out the photos below to see what I mean.

 

For those who are not familiar with Disalvo's Station, it is a historic landmark event venue in the Laurel Highlands, a beautifully restored 1903 train station which still has active trains passing through daily.  As a photographer, I love that I have so many interior & exterior photography opportunities. We always capture some portraits of the bride and groom at the waiting area of the train tracks above the station. It is a classic looking photo spot, where I love to capture shots of the couple as if they are waiting on a train to arrive. It takes you a century back in time.  Not to worry, I practice safety over and above all else when we are photographing next to the tracks - we never pose couples or bridal party ON the tracks, and always stay behind the yellow line, because trains do speed past often, in fact we are usually able to capture images of it flying past behind the couple.   Inside of Disalvo's we are able to use the "Prima classe" railroad car, the cigar bar in basement with more railroad car seating, and the architecture of the old station like the tunnel and track signs for this Latrobe, PA stop.

 

A few amazing benefits to having your wedding here?  Great food by an amazing chef, interior and covered photography options for the weddings that have unfortunate rain (train track waiting area is covered!), unique structures inside, a "conversation starter" for your guests about every angle you turn in the venue, as well as some options for having your ceremony on site.  As a photographer with 20 years of experience, I have the knowledge of how to properly light all of the darker lit areas in very beautiful and unique ways.

 

For those who want a beautiful off site location for the photography, Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve is only a few miles away and is a hidden gem in the area for nature photos. This reserve requires a yearly approved photography pass to photograph there, which I have renewed every year. I have a great relationship with the reserve and approval each year due to the fact that I always keep my pass up to date and follow all of the photography rules they have set in place to preserve nature there. So when booking us for your wedding at Disalvo's you'll get this extra bonus to be able to do your photos here, than not every photographer can offer.  You can check out more of the nature reserve on this page of my site. 

 

Enjoy the photographic beauty of the lovely Disalvo's Station in Latrobe PA as you scroll below... and to contact them for your next event email Mike at vipevents@disalvosrestaurant.com

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/10/disalvos-wedding-venue Mon, 23 Oct 2023 18:47:45 GMT
Holiday sets for 2023 are posted! https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/9/holiday-sets-for-2023-are-posted  

 

It's Official!

The 2023 Holiday Sets are Complete!

Check out the sets here! Many photos below!

For pricing, scroll to the bottom of this blog.

 

 

Our Christmas season in the studio will begin in just over a month! Each year I post a blog in September with the final sets so that my clients can see what they look like before purchasing their outfits for Christmas photos. Below are the choices for this year! I am very excited about every one! We have a few new ones, a few repeat faves from last year too! If you are ready to schedule your session reach out to me now! Email me at [email protected] or click here

 

 

 

SET 1

This set is an antique couch with my non-traditional take on red/green decor. I love the vintage look of this, and the images you see below have been taken before the set is actually 100% complete. By the time our season starts there will be more strings of lights, and some additional pine added. The clothing colors I would suggest on this set are brown, gold, deep red/maroon, deep green, olive green, tan, burnt orange, sage green, black.


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SET 2

This set on white with vintage ladders and green winter decor is perfect for kids and families as well. It works great with clothing in the following colors... brown, white, blue, green, ivory, tan, or a DEEP red/maroon. Sweaters, casual looks, mittens/gloves/scarves OR even elegant clothing can work on this.

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SET 3

This cozy warm set is designed for a lighter, softer vibe. Clothing suggestions for this set are ivory, tan, brown, light or dark blue, navy, light or dark green, red, maroon, and more. This set is very flexible on clothing styles and colors. You could be elegant, but I think a casual "warm winter" vibe is best, such as cozy ivory sweaters, or a nice pop of color like blue as you see below.
 

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Our snow machine will make a return this year as well! :)

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SET 4

This set is a repeat from last year, it was a favorite among everyone so I decided to repeat it. I suggest clothing that is elegant for this set - colors such as gold, silver, black, deep green, and/or pops of red work great. 

 

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SET 5

Another repeated set from last year will be the white boxes and giant snowflakes. Clothing for this can be varied! It is all white so feel free to be creative! 


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SET 6

Also we're having our New Years set again! Clothing suggestions for this would be elegant, sequins, black, gold, silver, or red!
 

 

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SET 7

A return of our red holiday set from 2022!

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AT HOME SESSIONS...

A special holiday experience - at your own house or location of choice!

pricing separate from our studio sessions

 

 

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2023 HOLIDAY SPECIAL RATES

 

[STUDIO]

*DATES AVAILABLE THROUGH EARLY DECEMBER, PLEASE NOTE TWO WEEK TURNAROUND FOR PHOTOS SO SCHEDULE EARLY IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO USE YOUR PHOTOS FOR HOLIDAY CARDS!

5 SETS / 3 OUTFITS / 90 MIN SESSION  - $799 +tax...  includes session & copyright license release w/ digital files

4 SETS / 3 OUTFITS / 90 MIN SESSION  - $699 +tax...  includes session & copyright license release w/ digital files

3 SETS / 2 OUTFITS / 60 MIN SESSION  - $599 +tax...  includes session & copyright license release w/ digital files

2 SET / 1 OUTFIT / 30 MIN SESSION  -  $499 +tax...  includes session & copyright license release w/ digital files 

Siblings only - suggested 30-60 mins

Family of 3-4, or young children who need extra time - suggested 60 mins 

Family of 4-7 suggested for 60-90 mins

 

[OUTDOOR]

*LIMITED DATES, inquire for openings.

60 MIN SESSION / UP TO 4 CHILDREN - $650 +tax...  includes session & copyright license release w/ digital files

 

[AT HOME]

MAGICAL AT HOME CHRISTMAS SHOOT - A FULL EXPERIENCE WITH A CATALOG OF PHOTOS YOU'LL CHERISH FOREVER 

2 HOURS - MAKING COOKIES,  DECORATING TREE, HOLIDAY LIGHTS OUTSIDE, YOUR CHOICE!

PRICE $999 

INCLUDES: 2 hr session, all digital files, copyright release (approx 200-300 photos)

 

 

 

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/9/holiday-sets-for-2023-are-posted Mon, 18 Sep 2023 17:55:52 GMT
Fall Photo Sessions 2023 https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/9/fall-photo-sessions-2023  

 

Fall sessions have begun booking! We are so very excited for the fall foliage to arrive again in Pennsylvania, as it is truly the most magical time of the year for photography!

 

This blog has all of the info you're probably searching for, but don't hesitate to email me with any further questions! Thanks and can't wait to photograph you! -Autumn

 

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FALL PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A ...

 

DO YOU HAVE A FALL COUCH OR PUMPKIN/PROP SET THIS YEAR?

This year I've decided to go back to basics for fall photography. "Fall sets" and couches in the woods have all been done before, and to be honest I found that the images were beautiful but were lacking personality and connection in my subjects because there are only so many poses to be done on a couch setup with props or pumpkins, before they all seem to be redundant. Without props I am able to concentrate more on connecting my subjects together via beautiful poses and moments with wonderful PA fall foliage color and sunlight as my "prop"! This makes the photos truly timeless. It helps personalities and love really shine through the photo.

I enjoy taking a walk through the woods and fields with my clients to find pockets of colorful foliage and light beaming through. Each session then has its own look and uniqueness as well. It is now much less about the vintage couch or props and pumpkins in the woods and more about the connection of you and your relationships with your spouse/children, as well as beautiful portraits of the kids individually of course! I have found this to be more preferable to not only myself but my clients as well.

 

ARE YOU DOING MINI SESSIONS?

I also do not not have mini sessions, because I truly believe it takes about full hour to get all of the family combinations captured and children's personalities to truly shine through. As well as get to all of the great locations (both woods and fields) so that you have amazing images in all of those spots, with combinations of both posed and candid photos. Although if you have children who are a bit older or feel that a half hour is enough for you, I do have a shorter session option on sale (see below).

 

WHAT TIME SLOTS DO YOU HAVE OPEN?

I have various dates between Oct 21 and Nov 4. The color always peaks in Westmoreland County closer to Halloween, with an exception in 2021 of being about 5-7 days early due to weather that year being colder earlier. We are predicting normal foliage dates this year. So I usually just plan to start around oct 15 at the earliest! if the color changes significantly early, I will contact you. It is never later than that final week of October however. The magical light are the sessions that take place at golden hour, so book early for the best lighting slot! Midday sessions are great for lighting too, because the early sunset time in fall allows for nice daylight starting around 3pm each day (golden hour will be closer to 4-6pm timeframe)

 

WHAT ARE YOUR LOCATIONS?

Sandhill Berries apple picking - date TBD (one day only)

Bushy Run Battlefield - fields + forest - dates various available

Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve - available for fall fields earlier in October 

 

 

SPECIAL RATE PACKAGES

 

Option A)

$550+tax  

Included: 30-40 min session, editing/post processing, online album, flash drive, all digital files with copyright release to do your own printing. 
 

 

Option B)  60 m Session + all digitals with copyright release

$700+tax

Included: One hour session, editing/post processing, online album, flash drive, all digital files with copyright release to do your own printing. 

 

 

Option C)  90 m Session + all digitals with copyright release  *families over 6 suggested for this session length.

$900+tax

Included: 90 min session in studio, editing/post processing, online album, flash drive, all digital files with copyright release to do your own printing.

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/9/fall-photo-sessions-2023 Mon, 18 Sep 2023 17:15:20 GMT
Fireworks https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/8/fireworks Labor day is upon us! I am extra fond of Labor Day weekend because my birthday often falls on it! Since my birthday is Sept 4th, this year it will be on the holiday itself. So I decided that today I would post a blog full of fun fireworks shots from some weddings the last 3 years!! Enjoy!  And wishing everyone a fun, safe, and enjoyable Labor Day weekend to celebrate the ending of summer... and welcoming of pumpkin spice lattes! 

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/8/fireworks Tue, 29 Aug 2023 17:12:08 GMT
How to Survive the Holiday Season Capturing Memories in Photography https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/8/how-to-survive-the-holiday-season-capturing-memories-in-photography  

 

HOW TO SURVIVE THE CHRISTMAS SEASON

~ TIPS FROM A PHOTOGRAPHER+MOM ~


 

People ask me all the time - how do you survive the holiday season? I'll admit... its rough, it's not easy, but it can be managed with planning. I have the most weddings all year long in fall, then we go straight into fall foliage portrait week (which is really like 2 weeks honestly), holiday sessions start Nov 1st, and I have a daughter with an early December birthday on top of that. If I can do it, anyone can. Here are my tips to surviving the holidays, making memories last through photos, and having fun while doing it all. 

My tips are more like a timeline. Follow along and I hope this helps bring some enjoyable memories to you and your family! 

 

Early September

 

Call your photographer to schedule an appointment for your family Christmas card. Start planning styles of clothing with your photog, based on what they suggest for their sets/locations they are offering this year. I suggest planning your photo shoot as soon after Halloween as possible. Your photographer will need time for post-processing, then delivery, and of course either he/she or you will need time to create your holiday card + order + write out envelopes and ship by early December.  I am a big fan of doing these in small batches, which you'll see more below. 

 

Once you have scheduled your photo shoot - Call to schedule your hair appointments for 2 weeks before your photo shoot.  Everyone in the family should be cut, trimmed, and color touched up if necessary.

 

Start shopping for Christmas gifts. 

 

 

Mid September 

 

Start ordering outfits for your family for your photo session, props for baking cookies (will explain more below), as well as jackets/coats/mittens/hats. 

 

Shop a little more for Christmas gifts!

 

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Early to Mid October 

 

If you plan on doing your own Christmas card on a site like Mpix, Minted or Shutterfly - start looking at the templates now and pick a few you like. Narrow it down. This process can take a while and finding the template you want now can save you time later when its holiday crunch zone time. 

 

Have everyone try on their outfit for family photos to be sure it fits. If something doesn't look right, you have a little bit of time to scramble and find something new.

 

Shop a little more for Christmas gifts!  

 

Purchase your postage now for your holiday cards to break up the spending that is to come later in November! 

 

Order toe and hand warmers! You can buy them in stores usually starting in late fall, or can order online. I like to have these on hand for photo shoots (if doing outdoor), going to see holiday lights, and setting up Christmas lights in my yard.

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Early November 

 

Put away your fall decor and start pulling out your Christmas decorations. In my house, we put them up over the course of a few days because if we wait for that one full day we are completely free - they'll never get put up. If you have a busy household, I think it's best to do it in parts. We have lots of decorations so we'll do strings of lights outside one day, then yard decor like our reindeer and light up moose on another day.  We also divide and conquer - my husband takes on certain parts and I'll do others.  We even break it down even more, such as one day we do nothing but get everything out of the garage, test light strands, and then set it aside ready to be put up the next day.  For us, small pockets of time work best. 

 

Your photo shoot will be taking place around now - or soon - so be sure you have everyone's haircuts completed. Manicures are a good idea, even if just DIY at home, for everyone. Be sure that kids nails are filed - dad too! 

 

Buy wrapping paper. It will be on the shelves Nov 1st, if not sooner.   Start wrapping!  But I do suggest putting post it notes on wrapped gifts, or making a list somewhere secure that no one will find.  If you wrap a lot of things you'll forget, and start guessing whether or not you have enough for certain people. 

 

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Mid November

 

Everything Christmas related will be on the shelves in the store by now. If you need anything for your home decor, photos, props for photos, frames, etc - grab it now.  The one thing I usually get this time of November is everything to make our holiday cookies and gingerbread house (a kit is great!). Sometimes these things will sell out once December hits and I like to have my props ready to go.

 

Start marking off your calendar for a few dates that might work for your family to go see holiday lights. I like to make it a point to write "go see lights" on a few dates of my calendar, because its so easy to forget about it until late December and then suddenly its too busy and the lights are closed up for the year. 

 

Order your Christmas cards as soon as your photographer has delivered your photos. Either through your photographer's lab, or if you purchased digitals then through your choice website - like Mpix, Minted or Shutterfly.

 

Plan for light up night. There are many options for light up nights - local and in the big city too. We don't typically venture to Pittsburgh for theirs, but will definitely do so in the future when my daughter is a bit older. This past year we had a great time at the Westmoreland Museum Light Up night. It was local, they had outdoor firepits with marshmallows, hot chocolate, live music and scavenger hunts. Everything was free and we had a great time. 

 

Continue wrapping gifts! 

 

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Late November

 

Address your holiday cards as soon as they arrive, take a few days to do it if you need to. Or put on a Christmas movie and finish it in under 90 minutes. Last year I found it helpful to have them out on the dining room table and each time I had 15 mins to spare, I did a handful of cards. I was done in a few days and I barely felt like it was a huge task at all. 


Holiday lights begin everywhere! Kennywood, Phipps, Overly's, Oglebay, you name it - the lights are up everywhere by Thanksgiving weekend (sometimes the week before).  Remember to bring cameras, dress warm, pack extra socks and layers! Photos with holiday lights are so much fun, so you may even want to inquire with your photographer if they are willing to do a photo shoot at one of these locations. 

 

I think its a good idea to order New Years Eve outfits around this time! Don't wait until too late! 

 

 

Thanksgiving Weekend

 

I like to put up my tree on Thanksgiving weekend, and gives us a really great break from being super busy to take two days to complete the interior of the house if necessary. One thing that I always decorate my mantles with are past Christmas photos of my daughter. She has had four Christmas's to the date of writing this blog, and I absolutely love having all of those different holiday sessions displayed in one spot. I pick up a few new holiday frames each year for the new photos around this time.  I also know some clients who frame their Christmas cards every year and those become decorations every year thereafter. 

 

 

Here are my tips for photographing your children decorating the tree! 

1. Enjoy the process of decorating, don't photograph too much. Put the camera down most of the time. 

2. Start decorating in daylight, so you can capture some great natural lighting in your photos.

3.  As you finish the tree,  it will likely be dark outside and you can get some great glow to the images as well. 

4. Capture details - like your children's hands on the ornaments, their expressions when you open the ornament box, a mug of hot chocolate on the table next to a family heirloom like the tree topper. 



 

 

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If it snows... 

 

GO outside! grab any images you can of your children in the fresh falling snow.

 

Don't assume that darkness means you can't capture any more photos. Try using your car headlights to illuminate the kiddos.

 

If its daylight, try capturing them right at dusk when its light enough to see their faces, but dark enough to capture your Christmas lights in the yard. 

 

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First week of December 

 

Mail your holiday cards. Also, order any last minute photography gifts. Canvas, prints, calendars, blankets, mugs - are all wonderful gifts for grandparents! 

 

Finish wrapping gifts if you are all done shopping. 

 

Find out about local events or Santa visits! For example, our local fire department comes through our neighborhood with Santa on a firetruck passing out treat bags every year, so I make sure to contact them around the first of December to ask what date they will be doing it this year. I add it to my calendar so we remember to stay home that day. 

 

I like to make holiday cookies a few times throughout December. We do it just for fun, but also to have some homemade sweets throughout the whole month, rather than an overload of TOO MANY cookies all at once the week of Christmas.  You can freeze them as you make them, saving them for the holidays when you start visiting too.  I also love to photograph the process of baking cookies.  Here are my tips for DIY cookie making photos.  

1. Remember to have fun, and let your kids enjoy the process without making it all about the photos.  

2. Have towels handy because you'll be switching from messy flour hands to handling your camera a lot. 

3. clean your camera or phone really good before you start, so you don't transfer germs from phone to cookie dough! 

4. Pick the time of day when the sun is most bright in the room you plan to make the cookies. If using your dining room and the window faces east, plan on morning.  If you prefer to do afternoon but the light is best in your living room then, consider moving a table into there if its not too much hassle.  You can even use your Christmas tree as a wonderful background for lights.

5. Capture several angles - down as low as you can go to the table, directly overhead looking down, and details of their hands alone. 

6. Photograph the whole process. So grab some photos right at the start, then midway kneading dough, then cutting out shapes, and after they have come out of the oven and ready to decorate - and don't forget the best part, a photo of your children eating them! 

7. Let them get messy!! 

8. Use your timer and get photos of yourself with your kids too.

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There are tons of great at-home activities that we love to do starting early in December, other than just baking. All of these things are great opportunities for capturing amazing photo memories. 

- Set up a train under your tree 

- Turn sugar ice cream cones upside down, paint them with green icing and decorate with candy and sprinkles to look like Christmas trees. You can make an entire tree farm! 

- Build and decorate a gingerbread house 

- Make a Christmas chain with 25 links made of paper. Hang it up and start ripping them off one a day til Christmas. I think making the last 7 in blue/white/silver is fun so you can continue the fun until New Years.

 

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Second week of December

Make holiday plans. Talk to family and decide where and when everything will go down!  I also think its a good idea to plan your food that you'll be cooking now. If you are hosting or not - likely at some point you'll be making a dish for dinner.  I suggest buying your non-perishable items (or long shelf life stuff) at this time like spices, baking ingredients or canned goods that you'll need in your recipes.   If you wait to buy a can of pumpkin until Dec 23rd, you probably will be bringing a cherry pie instead to family dinner.  Make your list for the fresh ingredients you'll need and mark your calendar for Dec 23rd now to get those items. 

 

START TO enjoy the season's festivities.  Plan family nights out to do everything you can that is happening around Pittsburgh. Here are some ideas...

- Outdoor ice skating downtown Pittsburgh

- Visit Santa 

- Mall shopping 

- Outdoor lights (Kennywood, Phipps, Overly's etc) 

- Charity events such as volunteering for Toys for Tots 

You can also make up your own events... 

- Cook a meal and deliver it to someone in need 

- Take a neighborhood walk to see all of the lights around your own house. Pack a wagon with hot chocolate in a thermos, snacks, blankets, extra mittens and hats, a bluetooth speaker playing holiday music - and your dog too! :) 

 

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Third week of December

 

Remember to start making your New Years plans and buying props like hats, noisemakers and outfits now! 

ENJOY THE HOLIDAY!!! Don't stress over the things that didn't get done, or that you should have bought more presents. Whatever you did was perfect, and more than enough. 

 

 

Fourth week of December 

 

If you haven't gotten a chance to go to see any holiday lights, go this week!

Have a fun New Years Eve!

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/8/how-to-survive-the-holiday-season-capturing-memories-in-photography Wed, 16 Aug 2023 19:30:00 GMT
Autumn Ridge Farm https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/7/autumn-ridge-farm I am so excited to have discovered this amazing new photo location! The owner of Autumn Ridge Farm in Scotdale, PA has such a keen eye for photography set ups! Currently the farm is set up to pick your own bouquet of flowers, along with a few styled spots! I am in love with the greenhouse and the clothesline set, not to mention old trucks, chairs, bikes and more. This summer setup will only last a little longer so if you're interested contact me T-O-D-A-Y to get a spot!  This location is awesome for families, children, or even engagement sessions. How about a best friends photo shoot???? Below you can check out a few photos of my daughter (in blue) with her best buddy (in yellow!) and her little bro! 

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/7/autumn-ridge-farm Wed, 26 Jul 2023 16:58:12 GMT
A photographer's visit to Maui https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/6/hawaii-maui-tour-guide-by-photographer  

 

Autumn’s Photography Guide to Visiting Maui!

View our Maui prints here!

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In February, I traveled to the west side of Maui to explore, capture, photograph the area, and help film a documentary that I am co-producing. I wanted to share some of my favorite places to photograph. So, if you are planning to visit there, you can use this guide to help you plan your trip!

 

VIEW OF COASTLINE AT LAHAINA FROM THE WATER:

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Winter in Maui, specifically late January and early February, is peak season for breeding humpback whales. I’ve been whale watching in Alaska and Cape Cod, but was not prepared for the sheer number of whales we would see in the basin off the west coast of Maui. Do not skip out on seeing this once in a lifetime experience. My recommendation for a whale watching company would be Ultimate Whale Watch; they are eco friendly, respect the rules and regulations of the whale reserve, and are affordable.  If you have the funds to spend a little more, I highly recommend scheduling a private boat tour for 3 hours with them. It is worth every penny and much better than fighting to get a glimpse on a boat with 25 others.  The private boat is the same vessel they use to film shows and research/rescue whales. They provide meals and incredible service for an experience that is unmatched.  
Whoever you plan to tour with, be sure to ask them if they have a hydrophone so that you can listen to the singing whales.
*Photography tip: have a zoom lens on your camera, because unless the whales choose to come toward the boat on their own, the boats can not approach the whales closer then 100 yards.

 

PHOTO OF BILL RECORDING A BREECH:

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THE SIZE OF THE RAFT BOATS THRU ULTIMATE WHALE WATCH, LIKE YOU SEE BELOW, MAKE IT EASY TO SEE WHALES OVER & UNDER WATER: P1366170P1366170 _1036488_edit1 LR - Copy_1036488_edit1 LR - Copy

A little more about whales before I move on to the rest of my blog about Maui…


In the Maui Nui Basin, there is more than half of the humpback whale population who will migrate for breeding and birthing their calves. This was the third whale trip with my husband Bill as part of his efforts to record their singing and communication. We started several years ago in Alaska, then tried some more in Cape Cod and completed the multi-year process in Hawaii.  Bill's project is called Earthtones  - an amazing creative blend of earth sound, music & visuals. Several years ago, we started filming the process of how he creates his music through the recording of sounds in nature. Most of this documentary we are producing was self filmed by Bill, himself, while hiking the areas he records, but I've also been a part of the filming process in many locations. Can't wait to share when the project is complete!
I would estimate that we had over 80 whale sightings total (not sure how many were the same exact whale). We had a variation of private boat tours with expert whale guides as well as some group public boats as well. Here are some fun facts about the humpback songs that I've learned!


- Males are the singers, although the females can and do communicate, only the males sing their "song". Researchers do not know why they sing. It was originally thought it was for mating purposes because they only do it in mating season, however when they sing it only attracts the other males and not the females. Many theories exist as to why this happens - one is that they are teaching the family song to the others to pass it on (I like to think its their family history being passed down through stories). Some believe that it is when a whale is lonely and the other whales come to sing with it perhaps for a sense of community. One of the top researchers in Maui says that after 40 years of studying the whale song, he knows less now than he did when he started.  That makes me realize that whales are so much more intelligent than we realize.

- The song they sing is specific to those whales and they all sing the exact same song within that whale group. For example, the whales in Mexico do not sing the same song as the whales in Maui (who migrate to Alaska for feeding in summer, then return in winter for breeding).

- The song they sing is in a chorus like an orchestra with many parts. They sing it in round, repeating certain parts and coming in and out like a symphony with movements - all in tune with each other. It is a song repeated exactly the same all year long, then it changes slightly the next year.

- Each year they add and/or remove one part of the song. It is the same symphony with just a slight change. I was told that this year the part added sounds like a microphone feeding back (very high pitched).  The different parts can sound like a screech, a low bellow, a growl, a creaky door, an opera singer, a clicking, and much much more.

If you plan to be in Maui, Alaska or Cape Cod and would like a referral of a trusted company to hire for sight seeing (public or private), please reach out to Bill and I anytime. We would love to connect you to any of our amazing guides. A special thank you to Derek and Meaghan, our Hawaii guides who gave us the best experience and taught us so much (they will also be in Seward, AK in summer!)

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Lahaina is where we made our home for several weeks while in Hawaii. I suggest staying here for accessing most of the island that I have listed here in this article, as well as getting on the boat to visit the whales. Not to mention, you can see whales spouting and breeching from the beach and shore anyday, anytime.  We spotted many just driving along the coast. If you are like me, I like to have a home away from home with bedrooms and a kitchen etc. So I always book a VRBO or Airbnb, which is what we did for this trip. We had an apartment and lived with the locals in a real neighborhood which was lovely. I am sure a resort would offer an amazing experience as well, so whatever type of travel you are looking for, you’ll surely find options there. But keep in mind, accommodations book up very quickly and there are more travlers than places to stay in Maui!

You’ll hear a lot of buzz about driving the Road to Hana. But if you don’t have the time to do so (it takes all day), another wonderful day trip by car is the Road to Kahakuloa. I personally found this drive to be more beautiful in certain ways than the Road to Hana.  You can make so many stops at overlooks while adding stops at the Nakalele Blow Hole, Karen Lei’s Gallery, and the Waihee Ridge Trail. The way we did this daytrip was to take the southern route from Lahaina to Waihee Ridge along Rt 30. We arrived in morning and did the trail until about noon (I loved this trail! It was challenging but not difficult at all, my 4 year old even managed the entire way to the top!). We then drove back to Lahaina via the northern route which is the road I referenced at the beginning of this paragraph, through Kahakuloa - stopping at the gallery and blow hole I mentioned on the way. Keep in mind the gallery was literally the only public place we found to stop and use a restroom or purchase a drink. There is no gas or food along this route (as is the same with many roads in Maui so be prepared always!) Try to time it you so that you leave the blow hole as your last stop approximately 1 hr before sunset, because the drive along the west coast from the blow hole to Lahaina at sunset is very magical! Be aware that the drive from the Waihee Ridge Trail to around where the blow hole is can be difficult for some who do not like winding roads, steep cliffs or narrow roads where barely 2 cars can squeeze past one another! However the adventure of that road was quite exciting!
 

 

NAKALELE BLOW HOLE: blow holeblow hole

OVERLOOK ALONG THE ROAD TO BLOW HOLE FROM LAHAINA (ROAD TO KAHAKULOA)
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OVERLOOK ALONG THE ROAD JUST A FEW MINS NORTH OF DRAGON'S TEETH
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Every beach is simply amazing! They are all SO different. Baby beach was loaded with sea turtles! Slaughterhouse Beach was simply gorgeous and very natural. Kaanapali Beach was beautiful too! There are many beaches, so I suggest you google them all and hit up as many different ones as you can, even if its just for a walk at sunset. Some beaches are pebbles or rocks and some are soft warm sand. There are some black sand beaches, but that is at the end of the Road to Hana and does require timed entry/registration.

Photography tip: bring an underwater go pro to capture the turtles, but remember to not get too close or touch them. Always respect their space and natural environment under the sea.

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There are many MANY chickens and roosters all over the island! You'll see them walk under your car as you pump gas, hang out on the beach, and cross the trail in front of you on the way to a beautiful waterfall! They're very friendly (and so cute!!), but as with any wildlife... don't touch or feed them! 

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The Road to Hana is amazing! But it is quite long and takes time just to get to the start of the road from Lahaina. If you plan to do this, beware that you should start your day at sunrise and expect it to take until sunset. If you don’t want to travel the entire road, consider just doing the first 15 miles or so. You can see some great places in the first 15 miles and then turn around and return to Lahaina! Here is a short list of a few great spots in that beginning stretch:  Twin Falls, Garden of Eden Arboretum, Waikamoi Nature Trail, and the Eucalyptus Rainbow Trees. I would estimate even just the first 15 miles with these stops is at least a half day if not more.
Photography tip:  stroll through Garden of Eden with a camera to capture every flower and plant you can imagine that Hawaii has to offer.  Practice slow exposures on the many waterfalls on this road to get that soft streaming look of the rushing water
Hit up Mama’s Fish House on the way home from the Road to Hana - but be aware you need to make reservations months in advance.

 

GARDEN OF EDEN ARBORETUM:

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ROAD TO HANA:  road to hanaroad to hana road to hana (2)road to hana (2)

 
A few things that are close to Lahaina you will also want to check out are Dragon’s Teeth, Kapalua Coastal Trail, the Honoapiilani Food Truck Park and the amazing jungle trees at the Honolua Bay Access Trail.  You could hit up these four suggestions as well as Slaughterhouse Beach in one day.  Photography tip:  Get to Dragon’s Teeth 15 mins before sunrise and capture the golden light hitting the waves.

 

HONOLUA BAY ACCESS TRAIL:

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SUNSET AT DRAGON'S TEETH: dragons teeth (2)dragons teeth (2)

KAPAULA COASTAL TRAIL: kapaula coastal trailkapaula coastal trail


The last location I would highlight is Haleakal─ü National Park. I almost did not take the trip there but couldn’t be happier that I did. I felt the magic of watching the sunset from on top of this volcano. It's something you will never forget. I suggest leaving Lahaina around noon or 1pm for this trip. It will take you a few hours to drive from Lahaina to the top of the volcano. The switchback drive to the top was not too bad in terms of car sickness or steep sides and cliffs! Very easy to drive and wide enough for two cars to pass each other! You’ll want to arrive at the top at least 1 hr before sunset, if not earlier if you want to park at the summit and/or walk around to explore a bit. Once you reach the top there are two areas for parking. If you arrive close to sunset, the top parking lot (actual summit of the volcano) will likely be full, so you can park in the lower lot near the bathrooms and walk to the summit. There is also a trail we discovered that went to a very similar high point from that lower parking area, which we chose to take instead of fighting the crowd at the actual peak since it was packed full. Capture the sunset from this point, you’ll be above the clouds and watch the most magnificent display you can imagine. Be sure to bring WINTER clothing - coat, hat, gloves, etc. It is extremely cold at the top especially after the sun goes down. After the sun has set, make your way back to your car and take a rest for a few minutes. Let the other cars rushing off the peak go ahead of you and enjoy the ride down without traffic. This gives you a chance to let the stars come out. About halfway down the switchbacks you’ll begin to think that someone speckled your windshield with magical white dust until you realize it is the most dense display of stars you’ve ever seen. Plan to pull over at an overlook and get out of the car to take it all in. We took our time coming down that volcano and still made it back to Lahaina by 11pm.  Photography tip:  get there early for sunset, bring a tripod if you like star photography!

If you plan to go there for sunrise you must get a timed entry ticket, or book a tour! 

 

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Before going to Hawaii, it is important that you do some research on best ways to respect the culture, locals, and rich history.  The Hawaii Vacation Guide is a wonderful site written by a married couple who lives there and not only do they have the best guides on what to do, they also have great tips on respect for Hawaiian culture. https://thehawaiivacationguide.com/

 

Lastly, I suggest supporting the local photographers who live there (Or bring me along with you, wink wink) to have a family photo session scheduled while you are there! 

PHOTO CREDIT BELOW: SEA LEVEL PHOTOGRAPHY, MAUI

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LAST PHOTOGRAPHY TIP...

Always always have a camera ready to go! This shot below in the rain happened because we had a tripod set up for a family photo in the sunset lighting, and as we pushed the shutter and ran back to the spot it suddenly began to rain and this was truly the most magical photo I could have imagined! sometimes you gotta take those lemons in life and make some sweet lemonade :) 

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If you are going to Maui... Have a wonderful time! I hope this guide will help you plan. Remember, be courteous to the locals and culture in Hawaii... we are guests there and must treat it as so! DSC_5097DSC_5097

 

I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of my trip to a very special little island in the Pacific :)

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/6/hawaii-maui-tour-guide-by-photographer Wed, 07 Jun 2023 19:03:24 GMT
Wedding at Oglebay Resort in May! https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/5/wedding-at-oglebay-resort-in-may  

 

This spring wedding at the Oglebay Resorts in West Virginia had the most picture perfect day on Cinco de Mayo! From stunning bridal details and sunny skies, to an amazing lighting display at the reception - this wedding was just beautiful! These two were beaming with smiles and love for each other the whole day through.

Congrats to Ashley and John on tying the knot!
 

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/5/wedding-at-oglebay-resort-in-may Tue, 30 May 2023 19:55:33 GMT
Dance Mini Studio Sessions https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/5/dance-mini-studio-sessions  

Dance Mini Studio Sessions - MAY, JUNE, JULY 2023

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We've been approached by many parents who want photos of their dancers, so we've decided to have a community-wide dance school photo day! If you're dance school isn't offering a photo day, or if you just want some professional and fun dance photos, this is your opportunity to book them!  Reach out through the contact page or email us directly [email protected].

 

Price: $100 for half hour with product credit

DETAILS: Your package includes the 30minute session fee($25), up to 2 outfits, two full length backdrops and one headshot, and an online gift card code worth $75 which you will be able to use to purchase ANY print/product and sizes/quantities that you wish through our website. Additional a la carte prints available beyond your initial investment.

ADD ON:  $20 SESSION FEE PER ADDITIONAL OUTFIT

 

DATES AVAILABLE IN MAY, JUNE & JULY 2023

 

Location: SkySight Photography 409 Coulter Ave, Greensburg, PA 15601

Link to our studio

 

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/5/dance-mini-studio-sessions Tue, 09 May 2023 16:33:56 GMT
A photography tutorial: How my mom makes pasta https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/5/how-my-mom-makes-pasta If you've ventured over to my commercial side of the Skysight Photography website lately, you'll likely notice a growing food photography portfolio. I've been working a lot on food recently and decided to do a little fun project on a snowy Sunday afternoon with my mom.  

I come from a family of cooks. My mom has passed down all the ways of the grandmothers' (plural) cooking tips over the years, and making homemade pasta is one of them. We've made homemade pasta in my home since I was a kid, because well... its easy, cheap and tastes amazing.  The Italian side of my family was from Italy only a few generations back so the way we do it is how Nunny showed us.  

My mom told me the "recipe" as we made the pasta, and I photographed her hands.  I'll explain it as we go below...  Just a warning, if you like real measurements, this isn't the recipe for you LOL.  Me? I love recipes that are a little pinch of this, a dash of that, a juice glass full of this, and a "lot" of that.  Especially recipes I can learn from heart and make over and over. 

Even if you don't want the "recipe" (if I can even call this that) - I hope you enjoy this beautiful photographic journey of my mother's hands making a classic meal enjoyed in my family for generations.

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Start off with some eggs, milk, salt and flour.  Mom says to keep the eggs and flour equal.  One cup of flour? Then you use one egg.  For this shoot, we used two cups of flour and two eggs.  It made about four servings for dinner that night.

 

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You don't need a mixing bowl, but you could if you want. The way Nunny did it was right on the table.  Pour out the two cups of flour onto the table, then make a little hole in the middle like you're building a little pool.  

 

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crack the eggs right into the "hole"  (yup, thats official recipe language)

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start mixing it up with a fork, like your scrambling the eggs

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If the wall caves (above pic), just pull it back in (below pic)

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As you mix the eggs, start to fold the flour from the sides of the walls into the middle. Slowly keep going...

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Pretty soon you'll notice it getting thicker and closer to a dough you can form and roll.

 

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Add a big pinch of salt.  We added a few big pinches. How much? Ummm... Told ya this isn't a recipe for those who need exact measurements haha.

 

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Soon enough you'll be able to start working it all together with your hands into a ball of dough. Now its time to add the milk.  Nunny's recipe said a "juice glass full of milk"....seriously. So you can interpret that the way you want. Remember a juice glass from the 40's or so? Little things.

Mom says to add the milk slowly and you'll see how much you "need" to make the dough the right consistency and not too dry. Basically, little splashes here and there. work the dough, a few more splashes. Ok you're good.

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Form the dough in a long roll. 

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Cut the roll into segments, like this...

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Add some flour so it will be smooth and roll easy through the rollers of the pasta maker.

If you don't have a pasta maker you can obviously check online, but usually Italian stores like Delallo's in Greensburg or Labriola's in Monroeville/PennHills/Wexford will have them, you can call and ask.  My brother bought this one for me years ago for Christmas, I'm pretty sure from Labriola's! 

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The segments get rolled through the pasta maker. Start with the flat roller set on the widest setting first. Roll it through, then close the gap and roll again, and again. Each segment will go through about 3 times. You want it really thin! 

 

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Keep adding flour generously to the pieces you are rolling through! 

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When you get them thin enough, they're almost paper thin and really long! 

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Switch your handle over to the pasta side and choose which you want - we decided to go with fettuccine. 

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Dont forget to keep the dough covered in flour!

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And important tip, be sure to catch it when it comes out the other side. One hand to crank, one to catch and lay flat immediately. 

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Remember - crank and catch! Its a quick moving process, so be prepared. Two people is even better/easier.

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When its all done you'll have a mess that is the stuff dreams are made of. You can let it dry out and save it, give it to friends and family, or cook it right up for dinner that night. We only let it sit about an hour and it was into the boiling water. I noticed it cooks quicker than store bought pasta, so be careful not to overcook it. I pulled it from the water just a smidge after it tasted al dente and it was absolutely perfect. 

Bon appetit!
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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) cooking photography photography tutorial https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/5/how-my-mom-makes-pasta Thu, 04 May 2023 13:38:03 GMT
LEXI https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/4/lexi  

HELLO WORLD! 
MEET LEXI...

Lexi has been a model with SkySight Photography for about 10 years, since she was a preteen! Our latest shoot was too good not to blog, so check it out below! 

PS: Hey High School Seniors... Outdoor photo shoots are definitely beautiful in every way, but if you want something different and unique you may want to consider a studio model session like Lexi did! 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/4/lexi Tue, 25 Apr 2023 16:15:35 GMT
Fulton Commons Building for headshots https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/4/fulton-commons-building-for-headshots Hey there! Looking for a really cool location for headshots or senior photos that is indoor with bright color and vintage furniture galore? I got you! Look no further than the Fulton Commons building in Pittsburgh. The fee to shoot here is our regular rates plus $110 per hour of shooting there which covers our travel fee and their rental fee. Check out the recent shots we've captured here! 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/4/fulton-commons-building-for-headshots Tue, 25 Apr 2023 15:27:08 GMT
Spring and Mother's Day Special 2024 https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/1/spring-and-mothers-day-special-2024  

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Spring is Here!

This spring I've decided to host a special set for a combination spring special / Mother's Day event. I've absolutely loved doing the Mommy & Me sessions last year on the bed, so I wanted to bring that event back, but add an amazing new set as well! I finished the new set just a few days ago, so I jumped in to model it myself. I know you'll love it as much as I do! I've been wanting to try a more boho floral vibe for a few years and finally decided to design one with my own spin on it. 

The special is your choice between doing it as a Mother's Day session, or just the kids for a spring session. You can do either, or both! read more below and I'll explain further!

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So here are the details! 

There will be two sets. You can choose one or two, but I highly suggest doing them both for a longer session, they're both so beautiful and very different.  You can also choose if you want to do it as a mother/child set, or just the kids which I am calling a spring set.

 

The sets are:

Set 1) Boho floral ladders (shown above)   

Set 2) Loft white bed (shown below)

 

Clothing:

You can bring your own attire or look through the studio closet to wear something that I have. I don't have every size available, but many common sizes for moms, and young children (boys and girls).  You can do different clothing for each set, or the same if you wish.  Feel free to inquire on what styles and sizes are available.

 

 

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Pricing:

Package will be based on the length of your shoot that you pick, and if mom does photos with children, or only the kids as simply a spring session.   Be sure to let me know what you plan on choosing when you schedule so we can book the appropriate amount of time for you.

 

OPTIONS FOR SESSION WITH MOM:

- Mom & children together on 1 set  $425

- Mom & children together on 2 sets  $525

- Add portraits of children alone to session  $75
 

OPTIONS FOR SESSION OF JUST THE KIDS:

- Kids only, without mom on 1 set $400

- Kids only, without mom on 2 sets $500

 

 

Scheduling/Dates: 

Various dates available in April and May! Email [email protected] to find out more or to sign up!

 

Discounts

 

I welcome you to take a stroll through the gallery below to view more of the set sample photos!

 

Set 1...
 

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Set 2...

 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/1/spring-and-mothers-day-special-2024 Mon, 09 Jan 2023 04:56:54 GMT
Easter egg dying 2023 https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/1/easter-egg-dying-minis-2023  

Easter 2023 

Egg dying sessions

For the last few years I've captured some amazing moments of my daughter dying Easter eggs, a tradition I remember so fondly from my own childhood and excited to pass on to her. I decided that this year I will offer Easter Egg Dying Sessions! The sessions will include candid moments of your children, close ups of their adorable small hands and their proud faces when they see the results of their amazing eggs! 

You can schedule a regular one hour photo session at your house, and we will capture not only some egg dying, but family portraits at your house as well! For pricing on home sessions, visit our rate information page.

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/1/easter-egg-dying-minis-2023 Mon, 09 Jan 2023 04:56:20 GMT
Spring outdoor blossom sessions 2023 https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/1/spring-outdoor-blossom-sessions-2023  

This year's spring blossom sessions will take place between April 14 and 18th, which is when these gorgeous pink blooms will appear! the sessions take place in Pittsburgh (Location revealed before session) so if you are interested and available these dates, book early to secure a spot! 

Pricing for these sessions as follows... 

OPTION 1)  

30 mins - $500 including digital files

OPTION 2) 

45 mins (two outfits or for larger families or engagement) - $650 including digital files

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/1/spring-outdoor-blossom-sessions-2023 Mon, 09 Jan 2023 04:56:12 GMT
Valentines Special 2023 https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/1/valentines-special-2023  

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! 

February 14th is one of my favorite days of the year! Its all about L-O-V-E ! ! ! 
Our sets are ready for 2023, and if we get snow we'll have the bonus of outdoor sessions too! I will only be taking sessions through Jan 29th, because I am heading to the amazing island of Maui for February :)  Check out some sneak peeks below for set pics! 

If you're interested in a Valentines Day session, you can schedule: 

one set $275

two sets $375

45 mins - outdoor/snow with props $450

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/1/valentines-special-2023 Mon, 09 Jan 2023 04:55:57 GMT
Kaela & Steven's Fall Wedding at Mansions on Fifth over Thanksgiving Weekend https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/1/kaela-steven-wedding-at-mansions-on-fifth-fall-and-photos-at-mellon-institute-columns Kaela and Steven had a beautiful fall day in late November for their wedding at Mansions on Fifth! Their families came together from locations near and far for this special occasion on the day after Thanksgiving.  After an exciting first look, we went to the columns at the Mellon Institute for some absolutely amazing portraits of these two. My job is so easy when the couple is so stunning... you'll see what I mean! Take a look below at their gorgeous day! 


Congrats to Kaela and Steven on your wedding and best wishes for a beautiful future together. Bill and I had the most wonderful day photographing you and your families! 

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[email protected] (SkySight Photography) https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2023/1/kaela-steven-wedding-at-mansions-on-fifth-fall-and-photos-at-mellon-institute-columns Wed, 04 Jan 2023 17:46:13 GMT
Holiday Portrait Sets Released for 2022! https://www.skysightphotography.com/blog/2022/10/holiday-christmas-portrait-sessions-studio-greensburg-pittsburgh-pa-2022  

Holiday Portraits 2022
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Our holiday sets are ready to go! We had a visit from Buddy the Elf and in one night, the studio was transformed into a beautiful holiday portrait wonderland! Well, not really but I totally wish that was true! Great news is, the studio truly IS ready to go for portrait sessions so email ASAP to get your session booked. The best time slots (weekends, evenings) tend to get booked up first so keep that mind - and call early! Ready to see the sets for this year? Scroll down to view all of the options we have in store for you. Several color options, sets for both Christmas, winter, and/or New Year's eve, snow, and more! Don't stop scrolling, check out all the options. All special packages are listed at the bottom! Please reach out with any questions or to schedule by emailing me at [email protected]

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