Moon over Agoura

 

I love the hours between dusk and dawn.  Sunsets, Sunrises.  Those mysterious colors that happen before in the hour leading up to the explosions of colors.  And the dark.  The dark when the only light is from the moon or a sliver of the moon.  Stars.  The hours between dusk and dawn are some of my favorite for my personal photography.
The other night there was a half moon peeking through a cloudy dark night.
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Night 24 of The Rock and Roll Highway at the Jazz and Rib Fest | Columbus, OH | Covington Rock

7/18/14

After the show the night before, Angela Perley told me of the towns Jazz & Rib Festival that was happening that weekend.  A whole weekend devoted to music and good eating!!  She convinced me that it was a time that I could not miss, so I opted to stay in Columbus for another night.  Angela said that I must not miss Forest & The Evergreens so after a somewhat lazy day….I was tired…This journey down the rock and roll highway had been both incredibly exhilarating and incredibly exhausting.  It will happen again, though perhaps with a kindred spirit to share the exhilarating exhaustion!

The dreary day quickly faded away as soon as I got within earshot of the North Bank Stage,  some sweet funky tunes peppered with joyful horn blasts picked up my pace and I hurried over.  When I walked up to the stage the drummer was jumping up and down as he ecstatically beat on his drums.  It was a pure badass ANIMAL moment.  This was funk pumped up on the joy of life!  YES!  THANK YOU ANGELA for stressing the importance of getting to experience Forest and The Evergreens.  These guys are not to be missed.  The jam hard and come to make a party.  The singer, Parker Muntz, has the perfect vocal quality to match the groove of the band.  He has that bluesy voice without the roughness.  He sings the funky blues pretty and with passion.

sorry for the shaky camera work.  I had the wrong lens on for video but didn’t want to miss the exuberant drumming.

The rain didn’t keep the crowds of hungry people away and the lines to the best of the best, best, best rib joints were in full display.  I must give a shout out to the city of Columbus for their trash system.  I never found myself looking for a trashcan nor did I ever see an overflowing trash can.  This city is prepared, I’ve never seen trashcans that large.
I had an uber delicious corn dog.  Yeah, yeah, I know I was at a Rib Festival but I love Corn Dogs.  I love them.  A Corn Dog once saved me from being trapped on the L train underneath the East River during the blackout.  Corn Dogs rule.
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and I had some of the best ice cream ever from a local place called Jeni’s.  I had the Salted Caramel and The Milkiest Chocolate in The World and I know I will be back to this town for this ice cream (and the amazing music scene).

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Walking back to see Jeff Lorber, a man yelled out ‘Angela Perley’ with a huge grin on his face.  I was rocking the t-shirt she had given me at the show the night before!  He was Angela’s high school counselor and couldn’t have been prouder of her!

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Came back and found Jeff Lorber tearing up his keys with his jazz buddies.  His fingers flew around the keys and with a badass on trumpet bringing that smooth sexy jazz, this foursome made me feel like I was in a dark intimate club with their practiced and perfected passion.  The dummer’s grin was as infectious as their grooves!

Headed over to try and find the Jazz Cafe Stage and some funky jams lead the way and I found The Dubfunk Quartet.  Woo Hoo!  The singer, again Woo Hoo, made me pick up my pace as I rounded the top of the hill.  Funky and bluesy, she has that big voice, rich and layered and with a full on belt that will blow you away.   She commanded that stage.  A fellow in the crowd pointed to my Angela Perley shirt and came over to chat (This makes about 8 times of someone coming up to me to tell me how much they love Angela Perkly & The Howlin’ Moons at the festival).  He also told me that most of the peeps onstage are in another band call MoJoFlo and recommended I check them out.  I have and they are some badasses of funk.  Hope to catch a show sometime.

The Jazz & Rib festival was not slowing down and the crowd watching Organ Monk featuring Reggie Woods was reveling in the funky jazz as I strolled over to The American Electric Power Stage.  The sky kept spouting little bits of rain but you could hardly notice for all the spontaneous dancing that I was witnessing (& partaking in) as I strolled around.  Organ Monk is jazzing up the best with spontaneous improve on the master of improve, Thelonious Monk.  The show was energy and you could see the players were enjoying the show just as much as the crowd.  Maybe even a little more!  Greg Lewis played those keys hard, he played those keys with soul and he played those keys with a giant grin on his face.  His smile was matched in intensity by drummer Jeremy “Bean” Clemons.   It was beautiful to watch them enjoying Reggie Woods take center stage and blow that beautiful tenor sax.

 

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Night 16 of The Rock and Roll Highway (Part 2) | Lincoln, NE | The Zoo Bar | Covington Rock

7/10/14 – Lincoln NE

After The Soft White Sixties, I didn’t know how the evening could get any better.  I mean, I was just rocked the fuck out, it is hard to come after that.  As I stood outside chatting with the boys of the Sixties, I heard a soulful jam coming out of the door, gaining in intensity, with those fast high hat hits that make my shoulders move.  I found my feet dancing towards the door and I yelled bye over my shoulder as the funky jams pulled me back inside the Zoo Bar.  This was soooo good – nasty jam music that makes your lip curl with that funky beat that gets the hips moving.
The drummer, Cal Harman, blew my mind when he opened his mouth, I had been forewarned but it still made my mouth fall wide when this skinny glasses wearing white boy opened his mouth and Barry White came out.  WHAT THE AWESOME!!!   A Ferocious Jungle Cat got everyone in The Zoo Bar dancing and grooving to a good time.  The stage was packed with talent.  I want everyone to look up their song “Lady” and listen to it right now.  You won’t be disappointed.  Then you should buy their album.

 

I must give a shout out to Pete and the fantastic staff at The Zoo Bar.  Easily, one of my favorite places from the summer’s tour.  This is a dive bar with history, with soul, with damn good acoustics too.  The music sounded great from every spot in the bar.  I don’t know if it was the shape, long rectangular with very high ceilings, yet still very intimate, that gives the special sound but lordy, music sounds good in here!!  I highly recommend going to this spot if you are ever passing through Lincoln, NE.  Pete and his crew have made a wonderful place that I am going to call my home away from home on this musical adventure.  I felt like a member of the Zoo family after minutes and I cannot wait to find myself at this wonderful spot again.   By the end of the evening, Pete had convinced me that I had to stay in Lincoln for one more night.  The next night was ZooFest, an annual festival that he puts on.  The whole street out front would be blocked off with a huge stage at one end and there would be music all night long….

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Night 4 of The Rock and Roll Highway | Amarillo, TX | Covington Rock

I had asked my new friends at The Mercury Lounge in Tulsa where I should go in Amarillo and everyone unanimously said The Midnight Rodeo.  So when I got back to my nest for the night, after that amazing night of music, like, wow…blow me away night of music,  The Dirty Creek Bandits and Tyrannosaurus Chicken just knocked my socks right off, I googled The Midnight Rodeo to see what was going on.  There was a fella called Charlie Worsham playing.  His website said that he was the opener for Brad Paisley, so I knew he was country and had to be good as I know the name Brad Paisley, I don’t know his music other than its new country but I know his is big.

I love me some honkey tonk, ole classics, rockabilly, western, just haven’t explored new country, outside of the tv show Nashville.  Since I was going to Texas I had to add a bit of country to the tour and I figured it would be fun to pretend I was on an episode of Nashville all night.  I freakin’ love that show.   I reached out to the venue and tried to get a bit of sleep.  When I woke up, I had a message from The Midnight Rodeo saying  if I could make it to Amarillo by 7pm, they would introduce me to Charlie’s tour manager to see about photo permission.   It was a 5 1/2 hour drive and it was nearly 2pm.  No problem. Made it to Amarillo and found the place mostly on time, always on time, on the right time.  The peeps at The Midnight Rodeo are fantastic.  They welcomed me in and Winter gave me a full tour of the spacious dance hall/bar/club.  I loved it.  Texas does it big.  There was a racecourse of a dance floor that went around a bar in the middle of the room, 4?+ bars that were on the outside and a spacious stage.  The place is awesome and at night the lighting gets sexy and there is a lot of smoke.  A lot of smoke.  There were even ashtrays in the bathroom stalls.

This old smoke filled bar is something I’m not used to.

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The ladies room also had a giant comfy sofa and I took a lovely 20 min snooze.  Awesome music and amazing drives leave little time for sleep, so the sofa was a most wonderful surprise.  When I emerged from the ladies room, the bar had gotten packed with dancers and I mean DANCERS!  wow.  Those Texas men know how to spin their ladies around. There was one fella who looked like he was ready for front row at a Slayer concert, I saw him and wondered how his pretty, boot wearing lady convinced him to come to this bar…  Never judge a book by its cover and that long haired metal fella turned out to be the best country dancer in the place.  He swung his lady (and his hair) all over that race course dance floor.  He spun her, he flipped her, he boot scoot n boogied her all night long.  wow.  It was beautiful.    This was their warm up dance.  I forgot to video later due to my whooping and cheering as they flipped by. Yes to the men who can scoot and twirl a lady around the floor like that.

& then it was time for the show!!!   One thing is for certain, Charlie Worsham is an entertainer.  That fella knows how to work a stage.  He made every person in the room feel like he was there for them.  He held hands, he read notes, he sang happy birthday, he even let one girl attempt to play his guitar and he smiled at her even though she couldn’t strum to any sort of rhythm.  He made eye contact with each person there and I could see life long fans forming in front of me.  It was easy to see that he loves what he is doing and he wants everyone there to be as happy in the moment as he is.  Busting out covers of Michael Jackson, Hall & Oates, Ozzy Osbourne & Katie Perry made me grin and he had me 100% when rocked Eye of the Tiger.

After the show, the dj came out and everyone started rocking their way around the racecourse dance floor.  New Yorkers always find each other and I’ve spent so much time in that city with the ole day job that I feel >almost< like a proper new yorker.  There were friends from Columbia and were on an adventure weekend and had stumbled upon this wonderful place unlike anything in our pavement jungle.

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We were all standing and watching in awe when all of a sudden the music took a drastic change and a whole new sorta line dance started happening..except for that one couple doing the outercourse.

I had a great time at The Midnight Rodeo.  If you are in Amarillo, this is the place to go!

 

Night 3 of The Rock and Roll Highway | Tulsa | Covington Rock

I had a fantastic time in St Louis, many thanks to When Particles Collide for letting me crash with them, it was so much fun catching up, they were heading west into Kansas and I was on the road south(ish) to Tulsa.  My head was already running the Steve Martin scene from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels over and over! “Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma!!”

The landscape was getting flatter and flatter but it was still green and pretty.  Beautiful yellow and purple flowers lined the highways.  The best wild flower displays always seem to be in the middle of the highways.  I was loving this drive and then I found the best stopping place EVER!!!

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 The World’s Largest Gift Store in Phillipsburg Missouri. This place was awesome and huge and had a whole other building that just had candy!!!  What more could a road tripper want?  I stretched my legs and wandered around the warehouse of stuff and couldn’t even see it all.  You would need several hours to see everything contained in here!

I had to buy that white hat thought I doubted I would need it for anything till winter time back on the East Coast…  that would be proved wrong later..but for now I confused myself at having to buy a fuzzy winter hat when it was getting hotter by the day on this trip.

I knew I was in the right place when I found the weiner mobile.

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I headed over to The Mercury Lounge for the show and walked in to find a crowd rocking out to the sounds of The Dirty Creek Bandits, the Tulsa band opening for T-Chicken.  I had no idea what I was going to see nor did I have any idea that I was about to listen to the band that made what was soon to become my favorite cd to listen to on the drive.  I jumped into the mix and immediately made friends with a gal named Ashley (Ash’s rule no matter how they spell it, except for maybe the Ashleee’s of the world, and we won’t blame them as it is their parents fault)
The Dirty Creek Bandits are a folk/rock/bluegrass AWESOME mix of sounds.  6 people giving their all and creating cool grooves that you cannot (and do not want to) get out of your head.  I’m still singing ‘One by One’ – I am freakin IN LOVE with that song.  The songs are lyrically driven, they give you words you want to sing along with, while also having a depth and a texture, due to the harmonies and variety of instruments.  Their sound is smooth and tight and the music just rolls over you and wraps you up in hugs.  I ❤ them.  I feel like I’m coming home when I listen to their music.  This is damn good stuff.

Next up was Tyrannosaurus Chicken, this was the band that gave me call to be at The Mercury Lounge that night.  I had seen their name in a long list of what was happening in Tulsa that night and had to check them out.  I mean, come on!  Tyrannosaurus Chicken!!??!!  How can you not want to know what is up with that band?  I had listened to about 15 seconds of one of their songs (my allotted time frame to make a decision) and loved the dark, intricate feel of the music.  I was psyched to to see what they were about.  The stage was literally covered in musical instruments at this point.  There were only two people in the band (I knew this from their fb page) but easily enough instruments for a band of 15.  What was this going to be??  I was so excited and so was the crowd.  Here is what I knew about T-Chicken..  The band is made up of of Smilin’ Bob Lewis who plays slide guitar, dobro, dulcimer, keyboards, mandolin, banjo, bass, harmonica and drums; and Rachel Ammons, on the fiddle, cello, viola, Jew’s harp, ukulele, slide guitar, drums and clawhammer banjo.  And they both sing and have two mics each, one clear and one full of effects for vocals.  This was a stage full of instruments and I couldn’t wait to see what they were going to do.

and wow.  wow.  just wow.  I don’t even know how to really describe their psychedelic, rocking, energetic, giddy sound.  They are like the moment you take a shot of whiskey.  They light up the place and you can’t stop watching and you can’t stop pounding your foot on the floor.  Their mastery of all the instruments was impressive as was their taking old standards and making them something new, something almost unrecognizable, something brand spanking and awesomely theirs while also introducing the crowd to originals that are COMPLETELY original.  I’ve never heard anything like them and I was blown away by their ability to introduce me to a new type of music – ‘Psychedelta’ – (one of their fans told me about this new (their) genre of music. 100% fan right here.  Wow.  Tyrannosaurus Chicken you bowled me over with your sound and I just want more, MORE, more!!

I had a blast in Tulsa.  This town and the people here are fantastic.  I made a lot of new friends and people that I look forward seeing again down the road.  Yeah Tulsa!!
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For more sneak peeks check out Instagram.com/AshlyCovington

The start of The Rock and Roll Highway |Louisville, KY | CovingtonRock

When I set out in my brand new rental car (8 miles total on dear Elvira), I had no idea that my spontaneous (due to the fear of flying with my camera gear) road trip to shoot The Wedding in LA was going to turn into a cross country Discover Music Tour.  I was driving because about a week before my flight, I got a dread so deep in my stomach about flying with my gear that I cancelled my flight (refundable) and rented a car (unlimited mileage – woot) and began what I was told was an insane – crazy – boring – horrible – LOOOONNNGGG drive across the country.  Now, I’ve driven across and around the country before and I find it none of those things.  I find it thrilling – beautiful – exciting – unexpected and awesome, course that was doing the trek with people.  I was a little hesitant about covering 6,000 miles solo…

well, mostly solo.  I did have Miss Head to keep me company.  Miss Head is a brilliant roadtrip partner.  She never begs to stop to pee, doesn’t care about being left in the car (..Mike Sag screaming out the windows when Nancy and I locked him in the van that time in Northern Cali – HTFSUAA) and she doesn’t force me to listen to that damn Rihanna song over and over again (love you Lalee, but that cd HAD to be thrown out the window – HTFSUAA-2).  So for the HTFSUAA-3 (How To Fuck Shit Up Across America 3) it was going to be me & Miss Head.

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So I set out!  Late…  cuz I had to stop at The Virginia Moonwalker where Russell filled my car with the music of my friends to keep me company.  Chrissy – Tick, Tock…I am IN LOVE with your new song…I can’t wait to hear how that stuff grows.
So with the sounds of RVA filling the car, Miss Head and I hit the road.  Left Richmond around 8:30pm and drove through the night.  I stopped in Charleston, WV cuz the capital building looked AMAZING from the highway.  There were incredible clouds in the night sky and the moon lit everything perfectly.  I HAD to take a pic. So I jumped off the highway and found my way to the building and started to figure out what equipment I would need to capture the scene.  The beautiful scene was interrupted by fighting cats and suddenly I got sketched out.  The area that I was parked in, didn’t look so great on a 2nd look and here I was, with only Miss Head to protect me and my gear from any troublemakers in the night.  The screaming cats continued to hiss and make such a fuss that it started to get to me.  Now, I’m not one to get easily scared but I am one to always listen to my gut and my gut said ‘go’ so I left and found a Holiday Inn Express (my jam) on the outskirts of town and checked in.  So there I was, in bed at 4am and pissed off.  How the hell was I supposed to enjoy this drive, if I couldn’t stop and make pics of anything I wanted, anytime I wanted??  See, here is the thing that I learned…  Miss Head might allow me to HOV it and look like there is always someone sleeping in the car when it is parked full of my stuff….but she isn’t good at having my back.  And when you are a solo female with A LOT of camera gear, it isn’t the greatest idea to be out and about focused on shooting and not paying attention to what is around. DAMN IT.  This was going to be annoying.  I suddenly wished that there was someone with me.  This was going to be a long drive.
Sitting in bed, pissed off, I pulled out my ipad and googled my next destination.  St Louis.  I was scheduled to create images of a fave band of mine, When Particles Collide, on Thursday.  It was Wed morning at 4am…so there was tons of time to get there.  It was only about an 8 hour drive.  hmmmm….went my brain…..and my eyes saw Louisville on the map halfway tween.  I wondered if there was any music happening in good ole Louisville on a Wednesday night?  Google makes things super easy and found an event called  Wednesdays on the Waterfront sponsored by 91.8 WFPK, the local radio station.  I didn’t know any of the bands but this video that was on the festivals site made me perk out of my pissed off mood.

yes.  That was awesome.  This would be the show.  & this would be how I would get around the country.  I would discover music in each city I hit.  So at 4am, I shot an email to The Whigs and went to sleep.  When I awoke, there was an email waiting for me with a ‘hey! Def come take photos plz!’
and so I hit the road.

Made it to Louisville and figured out where to go, somehow got rockstar parking when 8 lots out were allready full..  wow.  I wasn’t expecting ALL THIS. The waterfront area was PACKED.  People were everywhere, cars were everywhere.  This was going to be a huge show!
I knew I was on the right path….
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It was about 2 hours to show time and I headed over to the stage where I met Billy, the guy who was running things.  The Whigs were at a recording session for a local station and hadn’t gotten there yet so I wasn’t on the list.  He took my name and said he’d get the photo pass ok from them when they arrived.  I decided to walk around a bit to get the lay of the land and noticed two guys who had to be musicians walking across the lawn.  I walked up and said ‘hey, y’all have to be musicians, which band are you playing with tonight?”  They laughed and said “we are with Dawn!”  I introduced myself and what I was doing and they sent me backstage to chat with Dawn about my spontaneous Discover Music Summer 2014 Tour.  She turned out to be as sweet as she is beautiful and later I learned as she is talented.  The lovely songbird had Billy add the blue stars VIP bracelet to my wrist and I was set for the show.

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Dawn Landes was up first and I was excited!  My brilliant 4am idea was about to START. It was all happening.  🙂  I was about to discover some music and wow, discover it I did!  Dawn, in a sweet tasseled shirt and black & gold boot pumps took over that stage.  She got the people settled down on their lawn chairs up and dancing, even with the sun beating down.  It was around 6pm and it was one of those sultry summer nights where the heat from the day is as strong as the sun is still high.  and that sun was still high…
Dawn’s voice lightened the air, her voice!! wow!  Songbird.  She has an album called Bluebird and she is.  She is a beautiful bird who sang and the Louisville night answered, giving sweet relief with a steady breeze.  Her voice is sweetly awesome.  One song would be all bluegrassey swing with her voice rich and snappy and then she would switch to a ballad with a quivering and fragile quality.  She pulled me in right away.  Her backing band was fabulous.  I’m always a fan of a lap steel.

Next up was the reason that I was in Louisville.  The Whigs video had me wanting more and they delivered.  They are rock & roll at its most vibrant, with hard hitting drums and delicious songs that keep you rocking hours later.  Energetically loud and awesome, they bring it. & you can tell they enjoy it beyond measure, that the road leaves them excited and ready to share their sound when they hit each new town.  The rock n roll super trio is a damn good time.

WFPK & the city of Louisville throw one heck of a show.  The first Wed of each month, they have incredible bands play in one of the most gorgeous locations I have seen inside a city.  The stage was right next to the Ohio River with this beautiful walking bridge spanning the two states.  There was a huge lawn area and a food truck row.  Most delicious quesadilla, well worth the 30 min wait in line.  Hollah to Brooke who I got to pass the time with in the drink line, I hope to get back through to see your band on another trip!

I got to chatting with Todd, one of the fab members of security, and Marion from 91.8 WFPK.  They filled me in on the awesome of Louisville and how supportive the city is in supporting music and the arts!  There are a lot of cool things going on in this rich and vibrant city.  The backdrop for the show is the Big Four Bridge.  The bridge opened this past May and connects the city to Indiana with the walking/cycling bridge.  Apparently the KY side was open in Feb of 2013 but Indiana took a while to complete their side…….  Slackin’

The Big Four Bridge was a former railroad truss bridge that was finished in the late 1800’s, at some point in the 1960’s it fell into disrepair and was left to sit without entryways getting the nickname ‘The Bridge that goes nowhere”  until the city launched a campaign to refurbish and restore it and create a walking bridge between the two states.  I will walk it next time, this time I was tired and my camera bag was heavy so I decided to just stay and focus on the music and some more badass music was about to start.

The Old 97’s took the stage and the crowd was 15,000 deep at this point and everyone was amped up from The Whigs and ready to party.  The Old 97’s are a well seasoned machine of awesome ‘get drunk & party’ songs.  They sing the anthems of the boys that drink too much whiskey, get scorched by wild women & left heartbroken with only a bottle and a guitar.  They play the songs of the conquests in towns left in the rear view mirror with an emotional intensity that leaves you aching for late nights lost in bourbon.

Next up –  When Particles Collide in St. Louis.

if you would like to follow the adventure in real time, I post phone shots on instagram.com/ashlycovington  🙂

a Sunset drive through the Virginia Countryside | Covington Portraits

I love when I see an amazing sunset in my rear view mirror and have nowhere to be!  It is even better when my camera is sitting next to me!!!  I do dislike the cold of winters but the sunsets that they brings are so beautiful.  I’ve almost forgotten now, how cold it was that particular dusk during these warm beautiful days…  .  & I really, really, really want to forget how cold it is going to get in a few more days.  Oh, Polar Vortex, you Hollywood sounding winter evil, please be quick and merciful to us on the East Coast and at least bring more skies like these.  Thank you!

❤ what you do.

VA Living | a Home Story | Covington Portraits

My mom makes the best pancakes in the world.  She makes them from scratch and one time tried to fool me once, because she was out of milk or eggs, so she made them with some mix from a box.  She put a layer of flour all over the counter and made the kitchen look like she had been hard at work creating my favorite breakfast….  I took one bite and pushed the plate away.  My palate for pancakes does not allow for subpar.  She hadn’t thought I would know the difference.  She doesn’t realize she makes the best pancakes in the world and that the taste is more than just noticeable.  Non mom pancakes are almost offensive.  🙂  These are my moms pancakes.  These are the real deal.

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My mom’s BLT’s are also well above average on the tasty scale.  She does the right and with Hanover Tomatoes, the best in the country, picked from our neighbors garden.  Delicious.  Nothing beats this sandwich in the summer time.  YUM.

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I  love the time I get to spend in VA.  I spent my whole life coming home to this house.  My dad built most of it and most of the things on the property and this place will always be home.  I don’t even mind the lack of technology here.  No cell phone, no internet, no cable.  It is quiet at night, that is for sure!

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In addition to her mad pancake making skills, my mom also has an incredible green thumb and repurposing mind.  She loves to find things and incorporate them into her “wild garden.”  She added some sort of wire and stone piece that she found with moss into this dead log to create a border for part of the wooded garden.
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This is the tree that my daddy planted for me when I was born.  It is a Magnolia and I love it.

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home-va-45-20130717Mom’s mad flower arranging skills.  Also a bit of my dad’s woodworking skills.  He made anything in the photograph that is wood.   

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My dad’s work shop has remained much the same since he passed away 8 years ago.  Projects still waiting and tools all nicely organized.  Sometimes there are places that need to stay the same for awhile.  

 

❤ what you do.

Magical Marfa (TX) | CovingtonPortraits

I went to Marfa, Texas and found it to be on the of the most amazing places on earth.  My semi last minute decision to go was because of a great friend and fellow photographer, Marissa Welsh owner of Marissa McInnis Photography.  She had told me about this cool workshop going on in a cool town with a cool photographer named Clayton Austin.  Clayton is a wedding photographer and seeing as to how I have three weddings on the books for this year, it sounded like a great idea to join her and have a little photography education vacation.  What neither of realized is that the whole experience was going to be magic.  And that is Marfa.  Marfa Magic.  The air is magic there.  The people are magic there.  The food is magic there.  We even saw the magic marfa lights.  Well, they aren’t magic, but we couldn’t explain them.  They were definitely there.  It was simply awesome and beautiful.    (Clayton’s workshop was as inspiring and beautiful as his photographs are.  Seriously, check him out.  He is amazing and a really cool guy.)2013-06-12_0009.jpg

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The dog on below is a sweetheart named angel, who clearly had an angel watching over her as she was a rescue from an animal hoarder placed into the loving care of the sweet fella that works at the Marfa Book Company.  2013-06-12_0015.jpg
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Marissa and I wanted to see a great sunset so we headed up a road that went up figuring that would lead us somewhere!  We knew the sun was setting on the other side of the mountain so up was the best option.  She spotted a pull off point and after a slight detour to make some photos of the mountains, we made it just in time to catch the last little bit of the setting sun as it raced to get dark.  As I was enjoying the view, I noticed a couple holding up an iphone of themselves with the sunset behind them to try and make a photo.  I could see by their disappointed faces each time they looked at the screen that they were getting the sunset but that they were just black shapes blocking part of it.  There was still a few minutes left so I ran to my car and switched out the battery & card, changed the lens and threw on my flash.  I ran over and asked them if they would like me to make a photo that I could email to them.  We snapped three or four images and then they told me their story about living across the country from each other.  Brandon was stationed in El Paso and Michelle lived back in Chicago.   She had two more nights on the visit and then it was back to living on other sides of the country.
It was one of those moments best summed up by Winnie The Pooh,  “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

As I was typing this, I just got an email from Michelle  as I just emailed her copies of the images  “I’m not sure if we mentioned it, but that was the first time we’d gotten to spend time together in 5 months, so these photos will always be very special to us.”
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The chance meeting lead us to an area outside of El Paso that we would never have found on our own.  While we were chatting, I asked if there were any spots around that would be cool for chilling out in the desert with our cameras after dark.  He suggested we find our way to Montana Avenue and just drive!  The best advice ever, it was so fortunate that we all met at sunset.  As we were heading out of town on Montana Ave, I spotted a road side stand with these amazing blinking swords.  They were closing up shop but I u-turned it and the gal pulled out her entire supply and I stocked up because you can never have too many blinking swords.

We drove by loads of strip clubs and eventually found ourselves in nowhere with a dirt road leading off to the right.  We spent far too many hours out there making photos and I commend Marissa for making her early flight the next morning.  My flight was 2 hours after hers and I had trouble rousing myself.  Well worth the tired eyes though.
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