Smoky Mountain National Park {St. Louis Landscape & Nature Photographer}

March 25, 2020 · Landscape & Nature, The Great Outdoors, Vacations

It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago, I was exploring Smoky Mountain National Park with my parents, husband, and children. We were at the very beginning of the pandemic known as COVID-19, and on the brink of a very different way of life.

Upon our arrival home on March 17, 2020, we stepped into a new reality. I was grateful to have secured enough toilet paper for our family of five a week before leaving for Tennessee, as well as a decent amount of food, but I was still forced to make a few trips to multiple grocery stores over the course of the next five days in order to get more food to sustain us. I did thoroughly shower immediately upon returning home!

Photography events for which I was scheduled to shoot this Spring have been rescheduled for the Fall, many art shows have been canceled, and Spring portrait sessions are not being booked. My husband is working from home and the kids are soaking up as much screen time as they can before jumping into “Distance Learning” in a couple of days. Who knows what the next few months will bring! Until then, here are some images I captured during our time in Tennessee. I hope they bring a little bit of happiness and inspiration!

With Love,

Neshama

I took this image by panning my camera downward with a long shutter speed.

We were lucky to see a mother Black Bear and her three cubs as we drove through Smoky Mountain National Park! Here’s one of the babies before she realized her mother and siblings were on their way up the mountain.

Mama Bear (with a baby in front of her):

Baby Bear calling for Mom:

We saw a lot of waterfalls as we drove through the park, some trickling down the mountainside and others only accessible by hiking on trails.

The trailhead to Laurel Falls is located 3.8 miles west of the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg or 13.7 miles from the Townsend “Y” intersection near Cades Cove. To get to the falls, it is a 2.3 mile round trip hike and is rated 2.93 (easy).

Please be careful when you get to the falls. Not only is it likely to be crowded, but the slick rocks between the top and bottom of the falls can be slippery and dangerous. We saw a number of people fall on the slippery rock.

It was practically a miracle that I was able to get this image from the bottom of the falls without any people in it! What appears to be the top of the falls is actually a big rock in between the upper and lower cascades. It took a lot of patience for me to finally have a few moments when that area wasn’t filled with visitors.

Abrams Falls is located about halfway through the eleven-mile drivable loop in Cade’s Cove. To get to the falls takes a 5.2 mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 675 feet. You’ll be at 1,758 feet at the highest elevation point. The trail is rated 6.55 (moderate).

A lone tree stands in the valley of Cades Cove with low hanging clouds drifting by the mountains in the background…

Located along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina is Newfound Gap, a mountain pass near the center of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Tennessee and North Carolina state lines crosses the gap, as does Newfound Gap Road. The view below faces Tennessee.

Here are two of my favorite images, both taken along the drive through Great Smoky Mountains National Park…

Great Smoky Mountains National Park {St. Louis Landscape & Nature Photographer}

One Comment

  • Kevin Luecke · Posted March 25, 2020 at 5:14 pm · Link · Reply

    So beautiful! Makes me want to go back so bad!

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Fall Kayaking on the Meramec River {St. Louis Nature & Landscape Photographer}

November 26, 2019 · Landscape & Nature, Vacations

I am so happy that I was able to go on a kayaking trip a few weekends ago to capture the last of the Fall colors on the Meramec River in Missouri. Luckily, I had my trustee assistant (my awesome hubby) to make fires, cook, make coffee, and set up the tent while I took nature and landscape photos on the riverside. We went to Ozark Outdoors and chose The Bluffs trip, taking us down the Meramec River and past the Huzzah River. There weren’t nearly as many colors as I was hoping for, but I still had an amazing weekend. Although the morning was frigid and wet from fog, the weather was gorgeous during the day. Aside from one other couple camping down the river, we were the only people on the entire peaceful 10 mile trip, and we were even lucky enough to see four bald eagles, a hawk, and a snake. Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip!

Cooking dinner on the side of the river at sunset…

Sunrise on the Meramec!

One of the four bald eagles we saw!

I love trees with white bark…

This snake wanted nothing to do with me!

Fall Kayaking on the Meramec River {St. Louis Nature & Landscape Photographer}

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Welcome to the World Baby Jason! {St. Louis Newborn Photographer}

November 19, 2019 · Family Bonds, Just Born

Oh BOY!! I got to spend a few hours last week with this adorable, cuddly, perfect newborn baby and his sweet parents. Newborn photography is one of my two favorite types of photography with people, and it has been a little while since I’ve had a newborn portrait session, so this one brought me extra joy. To make it even better, Baby Jason stayed asleep for almost the entire session. That’s always a bonus! I’m so happy for this new growing family and wish them lots of luck, patience, sleep, and LOVE! Here are some highlights from their newborn photography session…

Welcome to the World Baby Jason! {St. Louis Newborn Photographer}

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Adorable Family Portraits {St. Louis Family Portrait Photographer}

November 18, 2019 · Family Bonds, Kiddos

What fun it is to spend time with four adorable children (and their awesome parents, of course), especially when I’ve been lucky enough to have photographed them as they’ve grown up over the last eight years! I’ll admit, at these ages, family portrait sessions can be quite challenging, but are also full of energy, fun, and laughter. Here are some of my favorite images from our beautiful Fall photography session a few weeks ago!

Adorable Family Portraits {St. Louis Family Portrait Photographer}

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2020 High School Senior Abby! {St. Louis Senior Portrait Photographer}

November 8, 2019 · High School Seniors

Here’s another awesome, beautiful 2020 senior! I feel lucky during this busy Fall portrait season because I’ve been able to photograph three seniors who I also had the pleasure of photographing five years ago for their B’nai Mitzvah. It’s really special for me to be able to see how they’ve grown up and matured. Good luck in film school Abby! I know you’ll do well! I wish I had time to post more of my favorite images from our session. Here are a couple that I love!

2020 High School Senior Abby! {St. Louis Senior Portrait Photographer}

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2020 High School Senior Jack! {St. Louis Senior Portrait Photographer}

November 6, 2019 · High School Seniors

I’m so excited that I was able to spend some time with this awesome senior! He is such a fun, sweet, easy-going young man! The last time I was able to hang with him was while taking photos at his Bar Mitzvah five years ago. What fun to see him again.

I wish I had time to post more of my favorite pictures. Here are a couple, at least!

2020 High School Senior Jack! {St. Louis Senior Portrait Photographer}

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2020 High School Senior Ben! {St. Louis Senior Portrait Photographer}

November 5, 2019 · High School Seniors

I’m working on this handsome, smart, sweet guy’s high school senior portraits! The last time I was able to take his pictures was during his Bar Mitzvah! His adorable portrait is still on the front page of my website. Ben, I have no doubt that you will succeed in whatever you put your mind to! Good luck and congratulations!! Here are a couple of my favorite images from your session.

2020 High School Senior Ben! {St. Louis Senior Portrait Photographer}

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Homecoming Dance 2019 {St. Louis Portrait Photographer}

November 3, 2019 · Events

Last night was my daughter’s high school Homecoming Dance. We’re lucky that her dance is later in the year because we get the beautiful Fall colors in the background!! Here she is with her best friend.

Friendship Dance 2019 {St. Louis Portrait Photographer}

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My First Baby's Sweet Sixteen Birthday {St. Louis Portrait Photographer}

August 13, 2019 · Birthday Shoots, Kiddos

Sometimes it’s a little crazy for me to think about the stages we all go through as humans and the many experiences we share. For some of us, that includes bringing a baby (or babies) into our lives and then soaking (and sometimes drowning) in the moments between the first few hours of birth and the day our children leave the nest. I’ve been told countless times to appreciate it because everything goes by so fast. So from the very first day that each of my three children were born, I really did all that I could to consciously enjoy as many moments as possible. However, as often as I took the time to cuddle with my babies, to read to them, to take them outside to explore nature, to visit the library with them, to teach them life skills in the grocery store or at the park or with friends, and to create so many other special memories, I still can’t believe that my very first baby is now already sixteen years old. As much as I thought time wasn’t really going by as quickly as everyone said it would, I look back now and feel like it truly is like the “blink of an eye.”

As a photographer who loves photographing newborns, it seems even more surreal that I am so far past the stage of experiencing life as a new mommy. Yet, there are so many moments when I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing! There were many, many years that I wasn’t sure I’d make it through motherhood with my sanity intact, but as time goes by, I watch proudly as my three children continue to grow and mature. Taliyah, my first daughter, turned sixteen years old at 11:53am (MST) today. With each passing year, I see her becoming more compassionate toward people, animals, and our planet. She is a talented flutist with big dreams and is a smart, beautiful, young woman. I am so excited to celebrate this special birthday with her!! She is the first of my three babies to help me realize how happy I am to have been blessed with the opportunity to learn how to be a better person through being a mother.

Happy sweet sixteen Taliyah!!

My First Baby’s Sweet Sixteen Birthday {St. Louis Portrait Photographer}

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2020 High School Senior Levi! {St. Louis Senior Portrait Photographer}

August 8, 2019 · High School Seniors

I am so excited to have been able to take Levi’s senior portraits yesterday!! We returned to Faust Park, where I last took his pictures when he was 13 years old right before his Bar Mitzvah. It’s so fun to see him as a high school senior now! He was incredibly patient during his portrait session despite the many¬†hungry mosquitoes.

What a great way to start the 2020 high school senior portrait season! Thanks so much Levi, and have a great year!! Here are a few of my many favorite images…

2020 High School Senior Levi! {St. Louis Senior Portrait Photographer}

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