Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits: Blog en-us (C) Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) Mon, 18 Jun 2018 00:53:00 GMT Mon, 18 Jun 2018 00:53:00 GMT Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits: Blog 120 65 Great Exuma 2018

“For words, like Nature, half reveal and half conceal the Soul within.” - Alfred Tennyson

     I love this quote...for a variety of reasons, mainly the truth in it. Photos are like words for me, so while the photo above and the beaches in the ones below portray an incredible beauty, the things that stuck with me the most on this little excursion aren't photographed and I don't even know how to begin to share. We'll keep with the photos...Exuma is an incredibly beautiful place.

    The Exumas...a group of over 365 cays stretching 130 miles. We stayed on Great Exuma near Georgetown the capital. We also visited Little Exuma and Stocking Island. We found this little place when Delta opened service 8ish years ago. We were the second flight to the islands, the first one to refuel on the island, an experience in itself for the terrified to fly person I am, but it hasn't kept us from going back. This was our 3rd trip. I used to work at a scuba diving shop, love to dive, and I've been to over half a dozen different Caribbean Islands and Exuma is our favorite because of the solitude. We don't even scuba dive here. It is not for everyone by any means. There is no party night scene, no crowds of people anywhere, relaxed pace, make your own adventure, a different way of life. There are a few resorts on the island, all inclusive, but you miss out on the experience if you just stay put in one place. We have stayed at Hideaways, a condo type place we found on VRBO, and then here at Augusta Bay. They are all about the same. We aren't picky...just a place to sleep and wash away the salt and sand from the day :) 

 Augusta Bay


     We arrived early in the day and took out the double kayak (I wanted single ones lol, but we couldn't find two singles, just one, so we managed to kayak together haha). The beach in front of the hotel isn't terrible, again, just not where you want to stay. We kayaked around the point to Jolly Hall Beach. It's a beautiful beach that you can walk to just down the road if you don't want to kayak. Kayaking however, allows you to snorkel around the point. Exuma has a lot of beautiful have to work a little to find rocks and reef that make for good snorkeling. Jolly Hall beach itself is beautiful. We didn't see another human being the entire time we relaxed on the sand and in the water. 

Jolly Hall Beach


     The next day we decided to head to Coco Plum beach at the northern end of the island. I checked the tides before going (you want to go at low tide) and low tide was around 10. It is about a 30 minute drive, no road signs to get you drive on the left side of the main highway. The roads are not crowded, in fact we took a round about the wrong direction and saw no one but when all you see is the back of the yield sign you know you are going the wrong way lol. Renting a car is the way to go. Taxi's are expensive, easily 30 dollars per way, I overheard $80.00 quoted for one location, and we rented a little car (pictured at the end) for 60 dollars/day, went all over the island more than once, and filled it back up for $25.00. We travel as cheap as possible. A car, or a boat to visit the different cays, are definitely worth looking into renting.

     Coco Plum is beautiful. It's where the first photo was taken. The water is low and you can literally walk for miles in the ocean which we did. I wore my GPS shows us going a mile into the ocean and the water never ever reached our waist. Here at Coco Plum you can find sand dollars. We have a basket full, only keep the dead white ones, throw the green ones back. We also found a few star fish, a few shells, and endless views of incredible clear/blue water. This was the most crowded beach we visited although at times just a few people there and there are literally miles of beach. I didn't edit people out of any of the photos...we were only around people for brief moments in passing. After enjoying the water, we walked back up towards the entrance and hung hammocks. Dave already fell out of his once, which was hysterical but not on camera, and then I wanted a photo of us both so I set up a the tripod, auto timer, 10 second delay, ran to get in my hammock, fell out, and of course that's what is captured on camera :) :) :) This is such a fabulous place to attempt to quiet your mind. 

Coco Plum Beach

Coco Plum Beach

     After Coco Plum we had intentions of eating at one of our favorite places, Big D's but they are closed on Mondays so we road tripped it to Santana's on Little Exuma. The BEST place to eat. We found this little gem on our second trip, it's a reason in itself to go back to the island. You never know what you are going to get though. They were out of ribs and shrimp this time, it's all fresh, but I go for the lobster, Dave got grouper so we were totally fine. Santana's is on the water...another beautiful view of incredible beach and water. We also made a stop after eating at the Tropic of Cancer Beach. We didn't play around here, just took a photo. There were about half a dozen people at this beach, but there would have been plenty of beach to walk and get away from the "crowd" had we wanted to stay. 

Santana's (the beach at Santana's has the grass and sea weed) and Tropic of Cancer Beach

     Day 3 we decided to take the water taxi over to Stocking Island. It makes two different drops...Hamburger Beach and the Chat n Chill. We've done the Chat n Chill before, wasn't our thing, the closest thing to a local beach hangout. We love Hamburger Beach though. It's $20.00 per person for the taxi, only $15.00 if you just want to do Chat n Chill. The solitude of Hamburger Beach is worth the extra $5.00. There are actually hiking trails all over Stocking Island. The entire Island is only 3.5 miles long or something like that. This wasn't a hiking adventure lol...this was Dave's beaches vacation so only a little light hiking. I wanted to hike to the top of the salt beacon and Dave agreed. We met another couple who seemed a little like Dave and I. He told his wife she wasn't even allowed to bring her running shoes on this vacation. We saw them at dinner the first night, then at Coco Plum the next day. We told them about Hamburger beach, hiking to the top of the beacon, that it was a short hike (although I was told by the guy that probably meant 30 or 40 miles lol) they rented a boat for the day, and we actually saw them here too. We exchanged photos...We were on the cliffs, they were on the beach and I've posted one of them and what she sent me. Love it! For the record though, it is only about a third of a mile round trip from the dock on the beach to the beacon. It's a little climb, but it's not far. We hiked more than that, but round trip to the beacon...1/3 of a mile lol. 

The trail and view from the salt beacon

Salt Beacon and Nev's Trail        

     This trail connected to what's called Nev's trail which leads to the other side of the island. Here there are incredible views of the Atlantic from the cliffs and as you follow the trail along, some points are just foot widths wide, which I didn't photo...didn't want to lose footing, the rocks are sharp, and you eventually get down to a the bottom. We found a hollowed out rock basically. Perfect shade for a beach towel, lunch, and shade. The tide was still low, you could lay in the tidal pools created by the rocks, see fish, and plenty of tiny shells to sift through. Beautiful, peaceful, and a beach with no footprints. We walked in the water and on the rocks a bit further looking in the tide pools, but left that part of the beach with no footprints. 

Nev's trail

Stocking Island Beach on the Atlantic side

     It rained on just about every beach but it was getting close to time for the water taxi to pick us back up, dark storm clouds, so we packed up and walked back over the Elizabeth Harbor side of the Island to wait on the taxi. If you have more time, you can hike north on this side to star fish beach and find quite a few Bahama star fish. We did this the first trip we made to Exuma. Our taxi had to make a pick up at the Chat n Chill so we were able to ride through one of the blue holes where the sail boats anchor.  

Hamburger Beach and a Blue hole

     We decided to drive back to Little Exuma after our taxi ride and look for a beach we remembered from our last trip. We couldn't find it the day before after Santana's and I hate being defeated. I told Dave it didn't matter, we could snorkel back at our hotel or drive. He chose to drive. I'm so thankful he did. This little beach is actually at Forbes Hill. Another beach with no people and a great place to snorkel. You want to snorkel when the tide is coming brings the clear water from the ocean towards shore rather than the tides carrying some of the beach sand out. We timed it wrong on our last trip and weren't able to snorkel, the visibility was terrible. This time, even though it wasn't planned, the water was so clear. We snorkeled along the rocks (til I got scared, I don't like being deep in the water unless I'm under the water (scuba gear) I don't like to feel like shark bait on top of the water lol). A few people showed up which was no problem. We walked across the rocks to another beach and then through a little grass trail to get back to our car.

Beach at Forbes Hill

Second Beach at Forbes Hill

     We stopped by our hotel to wash off the salt and then back to Big D's which we hoped was open. The food is fabulous and the views along the water are too. We've been told you can snorkel the rocks at this beach too, but we still have yet to attempt it. We stopped by Jolly Hall at sunset, although it was cloudy and sunset is actually on the opposite side. I didn't know if the clouds would turn, which they didn't. Still beautiful, quiet, and not a single person on the beach. I also included sunrise photos from the hotel every morning :) 

Big D's Beach, Jolly Hall, Sunrises from Augusta Bay

     We thought we were waking up to our last day on the island. I was hoping for stars (I love to photo the stars) and they were covered by clouds every morning. I got back up for should have known, yes it made me nervous, it was stormy to the left, but you have no choice to fly home. We packed up and headed to one more little beach I'd seen across from the airport. We didn't see a single person here either. This is a great little beach to say good bye :)

Sunrise at Augusta Bay, Beach in front of the airport turn off, Our car :)

     Our day didn't go according to planned at all. Long story, I about panicked in that little airport watching right out of the terminal gate window, front row, as they tried to fix our plane. They day ended with a grounded plane on an island that shuts down at night and definitely doesn't wake up for a 7a flight. The island airport personnel did their absolute best though, managed to get taxi's together to pick us all up that early, even though breakfast didn't happen, and found us all a bottle of water while we waited at the airport. Once on the plane, the attendants gave anything in their cart for food since no one had breakfast, and made it work the best they could. We all made it safely back to Atlanta. I'd go back in a heart beat. I love Emmerson and his Nature writing. "We must trust the perfection of the creation so far, as to believe that whatever curiosity the order of things has awakened in our minds, the order of things can satisfy" - Ralph Waldo Emmerson...So many different meanings and I'll continue to do my best to "trust the perfection of the creation" and the One who created it :) Thankful for moments to distance and encounter/experience different surroundings. A huge thanks to my parents for keeping the littles too!!!  





]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) great exuma personal photography vacation photography Sun, 17 Jun 2018 21:12:42 GMT
Monday Highlight: Light Out of Darkness Light Out of Darkness

     I had a wordy blog's been an interesting  month of reflection...but I erased it all. This photo is painted with light, a headlamp many thoughts, memories, parallels, etc but nothing can compare to 2 Corinthians 4, especially verse 6, which is actually from Genesis (fascinates me)... "Let light shine out of darkness"...the only way this photo/life is possible is because the light shines out of darkness. The perspective is totally different when these flowers are lit by the sun in the day time, or simply as a silhouette in the darkness among the stars. Only when the light shines out of darkness, does it create this stunning, unique perspective.

"Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken." Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians Chapter 4


     So grateful for the perspectives He gives, even the hard convictions...definitely thankful for the light He has given and continues to give us through the darkness, and the ways He daily provides renewal. We aren't granted exemption from troubles...but we are guaranteed "an eternal glory that far outweighs them all".

     This photo was taken with a Canon 5diii and a 50mm 1.4 lens. ISO 3200, f/7.1, 25 second exposure on a tripod. Flowers lit/painted with a backpacking idea which one, I have several in my bag lol. Always be prepared :) :) :) 

And one more time :) :) :) 

]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) landscape photography skyscape weekly favs Mon, 05 Mar 2018 00:19:02 GMT
Weekly Highlight: Sunset Over Mobile Street Sunset Over Mobile Street

   Most of the time, shots are carefully planned. I know the location I'm wanting to shoot, the time frame I want to shoot it in, and I have the image planned out in my  mind. Sometimes it goes according to planned, more often than not however, it requires multiple trips to the same location. This shot however, was a spur of the moment, 3 images on a quick walk back to the car, and has since been featured by a couple different Alabama instagram feeds.  You just never know...

    I was downtown doing a senior photo session. This senior happened to be the big sister of one of my girls best friends. My little girl joined in as well as her friend and we walked the streets of downtown Florence taking senior photos. Carlie Rocked her session and I'm pretty sure everyone had a great time, in fact, I totally lost track of time. I realized my little girl was about to be late for a choir performance at church. We were almost finished taking photos anyway, just not even close to where we had parked :) Addi (my little girl) and I rushed to our car...relative term, I was only about a month post op from knee surgery. Along the way I happened to look at the sky as we crossed Mobile street and saw this...I had no idea what my camera was set on but I took 3 quick photos, framing up the best I could, and we were on our way.

(these girls...and then just a couple of Carlie, more from that session here)

     When I got home, downloaded these photos I couldn't believe what how incredible the sky was over Mobile street.  This was such a beautiful view of Florence and the small town that I love. I love the stone part of  Mobile street between Legends and the Shoals Theatre.  You can see mainstreet/Court street and the sky...just look at that sky. I am so thankful for these moments and pieces of beauty. Not every day ends this way, nor does a spur of the moment shot become a favorite. In this instance however, I was so grateful to have captured this view of downtown Florence and thankful for time spent with my little girl doing what I love. May you always take a few moments to look up.

Taken with a Canon 1-DSii and Canon 100mmL-lens. f/3.2, 800ISO and 1/8000 shutter shot in aperture priority mode


]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:36:22 GMT
Monday Highlight: Experience is the True Value Experience is the True Value

     Fresh air is fabulous. I've tried to instill in my kiddos the same appreciation for the natural refreshment of the soul that can be found in nature. Sometimes it involves them waiting on me to photo the perfect moment, but most of the time, they have just as much fun as I do. This week's highlight, part of the first 2018 release found at Reclaimed Spirit, (in downtown, Florence) was taken along a favorite little walking trail that begins at the Old Railroad bridge. I have multiple photos in the 2018 release from different places along this trail at different times. It just communicates  "this is the Shoals" at so many points along the trail. We brought a friend along for this one...a good friend, who probably gets just as tired as my kiddos get  sometimes with my slight photo obsession ;) The kiddos played, throwing and skipping rocks in the river while I watched and waited on the sunset.



     Sunset from this spot...beautiful as always. It doesn't matter if it's cloudy, partly cloudy, the sky lights up as the sun sets, fades to pink and purple as it goes away, or on evenings such as this one where there isn't a cloud in the sky. The unpredictable show is part of the glory and refreshment found in the watching. Favorite quote by Monet, who painted the same scenes multiple times in different light....“For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.” - Monet

"the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life"...the light, the weather, the people you are with or if you are a witness alone..."true value" is found in the simplicity of the experience. Appreciate and enjoy the changes...Get outside and explore :)

Taken with a Canon 5diii, 24mm L lens. ISO 100, f/20, and a 1.0 second shutter on a tripod :)

(weekly favs found here)

]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 2018 release behind the scenes landscape photography monday highlight personal photography weekly favs Mon, 12 Feb 2018 16:34:02 GMT
Weekly Highlight...Always Go: Beauty Awaits Always Go: Beauty Awaits


     This week I chose to highlight a favorite taken this week that we almost missed out on. My kiddos talked about taking a little hike to watch the sunset somewhere and we debated where to go. The sky was partly cloudy and looked promising. We were still undecided as to where we wanted to go but as it got closer to time to leave, the sky was totally overcast and completely filled with gray clouds. We didn't really have motivation to go but my husband came inside from working in the yard and said let's just go, we need to get these kiddos out a little bit. We chose a local view of the river in Killen where the kiddos enjoy skipping rocks from the dock. The river water level was down so we ventured off to the right where a little creeks enters the river. We found a rope swing!!! The kiddos had fun swinging out over the water and thankfully neither of them let go :) It is way to cold to swim lol.











     The clouds began to part when we got there and the sky transitioned from the beautiful golden sunset colors to firey pink, then the purples and pinks shown above, and finally the beautiful blue photos where I finally turned the camera from the sky to my kiddos. So thankful we made these memories that we almost missed out on. Always go...reminds me of a favorite quote :)

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”― H. Jackson Brown Jr., P.S. I Love You (I actually had Mark Twain, but read where this quote has been misattributed to Twain...who knows)

     This photo was taken with Canon Mark iii and 24mm L lens. ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/13 shutter speed. I should have slowed down the shutter just a bit but I had already taken the camera off the tripod to photo the kiddos and the sky started to turn purple. I quickly placed it back on the tripod and snapped just two photos before the color in the sky was gone. It all happened so fast. So thankful we decided to get outside!!! 

]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) behind the scenes landscape photography monday highlight personal photography weekly favs Mon, 05 Feb 2018 14:43:34 GMT
Monday Highlight: Finding Your Peace Finding Your Peace

     Welcome to the it! The TVA trail is a local favorite of mine. There are actually quite a few side trails and paths along the TVA trail. These aren't really wilderness trails, but a great place for a quick breath of fresh air. This particular photo is taken off the paved path leading to the Rock Pile waterfall. I noticed a flat little area to the left off the trail, down the rocks, along the rivers edge. I honestly forgot my tripod for this one but it actually ended up being a great thing. Sometimes you just use what nature gives you. This time it was a flat little rock barely above the water. The water gracefully flowed around the rocks in this little area sheltered from the Tennessee river by larger rocks. You could see them dam in the distance, a definite Shoals landmark, and the sun had just started to peep over the bluff to the right. I sat there on the rocks for a bit watching minnows, listening to the river roll by, and then took a few photographs.

     This particular photo was taken with a Canon 1-ds ii, 24mm L lens, at ISO 100, f/18 and a 1 second exposure with a neutral density and polarizing filter attached. It was taken in the morning, but I don't remember around what time. It takes the sun some time to rise above the bluff and I'm not sure just how late it was. I sat there for a little while before and after photos... didn't really think about the time.

     So thankful for simple places to get away...places where you can crawl down rocks, find solitude, disappear, pray and reflect, even in the business of the Shoals. 

"I think it's very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person" -Oscar Wilde 

**This weeks highlight is an image from the 2018 premier collection at the studio...weekly favorites from this week here

]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project landscape photography personal photography the shoals area weekly highlight Mon, 29 Jan 2018 15:31:12 GMT
Monday Highlight: Patience After the Setting Sun Patience After the Setting Sun...


     Florence, Alabama and the surrounding Shoals area is blessed with diverse local beauty that is easy to access. There are places to bike, swim, hike, kayak...all outside and close by. On this particular evening colder weather was moving in to the area, like dropping into the teens, and I am just not a fan of cold weather. The kids and I explore often and found this quiet little rock bar with an amazing view of the Old Railroad bridge and O'Neal bridge. We've since been to this spot a few times. The clouds in the sky were promising a great sunset and my kids were off on an adventure of their own.  I asked my husband David to take me back. You never just never know what the sky will do until you are there in the moment. Sometimes you simply get the experience of being outdoors with someone you love, which is fabulous in itself,  and then sometimes you get this...a phenomenal and rare view of a familiar location.

     The water had receded even further than a few days earlier, more than I'd ever seen it, and we were able to walk quite a ways out. The colors in the sky and reflections in the water had changed from the blues with white clouds to beautiful yellows and oranges with a mixture of blue and white. I took photos of that too...those photos will be for another day, I took a whole series of keepers on this evening. I set my tripod up in a few different locations. Here I attempted to frame up the bridge, the docs, and the rocks below with the incredible sky.

     The sun set, the canon fired, and we were cold. I told David to hold on for just a little bit longer...the sky is still going to turn, it's not finished yet. We waited, I felt guilty for making him wait, knowing we still had to walk back to our vehicle on the trail, in the cold, possibly in the dark, knowing he was ready to make the hike back...and then the pinks and purples began to appear. They lasted only a few minutes, but a few minutes was all that was needed to capture this photo with my hubs along with this weeks highlighted image of the incredible sky over O'neal and the Railroad Bridge.

     The TVA goes from the Old Railroad bridge all the way to Wilson dam. You can bike it, hike side trails, walk/run it. This view is from one of the side trail and the closest access is the Old Railroad Bridge parking lot. Adventure awaits...views like this await and it doesn't require walking very far to experience them. Love the Shoals!!!

Taken with a Canon 5D iii and 24mm L lens on a tripod. ISO 100, f/20, 4.0 second shutter.


]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama fine art florence alabama landscape photography lauderdale county landcape photographer monday highlight old railroad bridge oneal bridge reclaimed spirit the shoals Mon, 22 Jan 2018 14:52:04 GMT
End of the Favs: Winter Reset This is the end of the favorites blog....posting a day early because Monday starts a new trend. I'm resetting things this winter and this is one way I'm doing just that. Stay tuned for other changes here on the website and in studio as well. I'll always have on my website a public album each week of images from that week. All of my albums are private and locked with a password. The intent of weekly favorites was a way to share images that clients have approved but it all seems pretty impersonal. I'm changing it up to highlighting a photo a week from the printed art collection at the studio or simply a favorite from the week. I'll talk about what went into it, settings, etc. In addition, I'll also do blog posts from each photo session or outing. A little more personal, information for those that care or want to learn, a little more condense, and not overwhelming with photos. If you want to scroll through photos, I'll always post when the weekly public gallery is posted, but it will just be that...a gallery of photos you can go look at. If you want the story behind the photos, feel free to head on over to the blog. Here's to the start of something new after these January week 3 favorites. These are mostly my kiddos and our experiences during the arctic Alabama snow week with a fabulous maternity session mixed in. A week out of school and a week of fabulous memories even though this momma is definitely ready for school to start back this week!!!! 




]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer maternity photography personal photography weekly favs Mon, 22 Jan 2018 01:54:45 GMT
Weekly Favs: January Week 2 Cold temps and prepping for spring both in studio and prepping for all these births that have signed up :) I love birth photography and I love having my landscape artwork at Reclaimed Spirit in Florence. The new series release is available in new 6x6 stands outs!!!! Prints of these available soon :) The kiddos and I also took some time to visit my parents in South, Alabama this week. Enjoying the break before crazy schedules begin :) Spring sessions, senior sessions, family sessions, and lots of birth as well as crazy kiddo schedules!!! Can't wait!!! A little quote love and a few photos from this week!!

“There is so much beauty in these moments He is giving you. And even when you already know it to be true, sometimes it is the little things that remind you His never-ending goodness has never left you.” – Morgan Harper Nichols


]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography landscape photography personal photography reclaimed spirit weekly favs Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:42:23 GMT
Weekly Favs...First week of January!!! The first week of January was pretty brutal for north Alabama. I think we had an entire week where it never got above freezing. It also meant icy photos and scenes we aren't used to that were absolutely beautiful. I took a couple of my kiddos out and we enjoyed these freezing temps as much as possible. I also photographed one family who fabulously braved the cold weather as well as photographed a birth (not posted). Take a look at the free birth sessions I am offering here...due to the success of this style already, I've decided to permanently offer this as an option in addition to traditional birth sessions and full package birth stories. I will also be continuing to sell fine art local landscape images printed on various mediums at Reclaimed Spirit in downtown Florence. I love being a part of this studio as well and it has been such a huge blessing in 2017. Thank you so much for your support at the studio, with portraits, and births in 2017!! I love capturing all these moments on camera. I can't wait to see what this year has in store. Here's to a fabulous 2018 despite its cold and brutal start!!! Love this Hemingway quote too. It brings hope for warmer days!!!

...But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen..." - Ernest Hemingway



]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project birth photography landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography weekly favs Wed, 10 Jan 2018 01:49:51 GMT
End of December Favs :) Favorites from the end of December...The end of December up until about March, life slows down a bit. No more ball til spring, few portrait photo sessions except the rare ones that embrace the cold, and schedules aren't as busy. I used to dread it as a photographer, almost makes me want a studio...I've had studio space offered before, but it is just not my now I embrace it and love the down time. It's time to reflect, refresh, and renew :) I have shot a few birth sessions too but they may not ever be posted (I'm always ok with that)...but for the most part, during this time of year, I read, educate, and grow. Enjoy these photos. 2017 was such a great year!! Nothing went according to planned for my family I don't think lol, but in reflection, we made so many great memories as well. The last photo is my beautiful thankful for their love and support :) 



]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography weekly favs Mon, 08 Jan 2018 18:52:14 GMT
Births...Book Your Free Birth Session 2017 has been such a great year in births...highlights to follow :) I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store. I absolutely love birth sessions and they are my favorite to photograph. I would love to capture your birth story as well. There are two different options for booking your birth sessions. You can pay in full and reserve your date before hand (information here, savings of at least $150.00) or you can choose to use the free birth session option and pay for what you want through various packages (read here). I look forward to capturing your birth story!!! Message for details. Now enjoy these highlights from 2017. All birth photos that are posted to social media are selected by family. Privacy is always respected. There are some birth sessions captured this year that were never posted or made public due to family preferences :)

  I love what I get to do. Looking through all of these and compiling them together brings tears to my eyes. The miracle of life is such a beautiful thing. Thank you to all of those that allowed me in the delivery room. Being in the delivery room with a camera is one of my favorite places to be. I love being a birth photographer! 

]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) alabama birth county florence lauderdale photographer photography stories Sat, 30 Dec 2017 19:14:24 GMT
Weekly Favs: December Week 2 A week late on week 2...I'll post last weeks favorites tomorrow :) :) Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! What a great week in photos!! This week includes a birth session!!!! 

]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography shoals landscapes weekly favs Tue, 26 Dec 2017 17:05:50 GMT
Weekly Favs: December Week 1 What a fabulous week in photos :) :) :) 


]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography senior session weekly favs Wed, 13 Dec 2017 04:21:27 GMT
Weekly Favs: November Week 5, Tree Farm Mini Sessions

Mini Sessions...I am definitely not a fan. They stress me out. Being a mom of 5, I cannot imagine the stress of prepaying or agreeing to pay up front for a session, getting a crew of kiddos ready, and then praying that they perform perfectly for 15 to 20 minutes. For those photographers that thrive off of this type thing and can get a family to perform, props to you, we all have our strengths :) I am not that girl...I prefer engaging in the lives of the people I am photographing for about an hour. I want to photograph the character of my clients. I want them as relaxed as possible for photos (no session fee or payment up front). And not just spend any hour, but a perfectly timed hour with the sunlight. I'm also a landscape photographer, which means outside...not a studio girl either. I shoot natural light...I find the light...and I love being outside. Problematic when it's 20 degrees outside, yes I know this, but if you plan for it and know business will die in January and February except for a few brave souls, it's all good. Thank goodness I'm a birth photographer too :) Those take place inside, and again, I love capturing the story of the moment with those too.

With all that being said, two years ago I offered my first set of mini sessions. They were offered to friends who really wanted sessions at the Christmas tree farm. As I said earlier, I love to engage in the lives of those I photograph. That is so easy with friends. The best of friends at that and a 20 minute session with the purpose of tree farm photos is fine with people you know. It was a stressful busy time of year, it rained, we took photos in the drizzle and breaks in the drizzle. I only had one day to get them in and we didn't have a choice. We still had a great time and the photos were still a success. The unimaginable took place shortly after however. My dear friend's little boy was diagnosed with a brain tumor and passed away a few months later. The tree farm mini sessions are the last family photos of them all together. Needless to say as a friend I took it hard, as a photographer I took it hard as well. I should have photographed more moments, more expressions, more smiles as this family interacted with each other. When approached by a few to do tree farm sessions the following year I said no. There was just no way. I went to Shell's with my family, but no way could I go and take photos for others.

Fast forward another year later to this year. Again approached to do tree farm sessions and this time I said yes. Again for a group of friends and people I know. I cannot express how thankful I am that we took these. I LOVE them. Loved them enough to offer a second date, and time has run out for a 3rd but next year I will plan better. There is just something about the season, the tree farm, being outside, and families interacting together that makes my heart smile, especially with lessons learned from two years ago. Yes these are quick, not my style because I'd love to spend an hour with everyone, but the lighting or timing doesn't allow it. I shoot the light. Each of these sessions has a slightly different look based on the sun. I like to shoot in the "golden hour" and the only way to do that or get close to it, is to stack sessions back to back and limit them to 15 minutes so everyone gets a piece of that time frame....the Mini Session :) :) :)   

So my favorites this week come from the tree farm (minus one family who is using tree farm photos as a gift) followed by a few from the first tree farm mini sessions in honor of Cooper...I picture him just like he is in some of these...running around enjoying life in heaven. I'll post next week from the other sessions I did this week (loved those as well, and the families I was able to interact with). Included in next week however, taken this week though, photos announcing the pregnancy of my sweet friend (Cooper's mom). This baby has been handpicked by his or her big brother in heaven :) We also say God sometimes lets Cooper paint the sky...and take a look at the sunset the last night I was at the tree farm :) Love it!!! The emotions of this week...this week has been such a blessing to my soul. This week I am so thankful for the blessings seen behind the lens of my camera. I truly love being a photographer and love the families I photograph. 



Cooper and his family :)


]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) family photographer lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography tree farm mini weekly favs Mon, 04 Dec 2017 06:46:03 GMT
Weekly Favorites: November Week Four November hasn't been the easiest of months physically, and a more chaos than normal has been the norm it seems. The physical hardship is temporary and we have so much to be thankful for. Thankful for family, thankful for the "village" of friends and church members. This week was spent with family, celebrating traditions, and a few session that can't be shared just yet :) So thankful...anything experienced here, the good and the bad, is only temporary :) 

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” - Hebrews 12:28, 29. 


Photography by H. Sumner: Florence Alabama and Shoals area landscape, portrait, and birth photographer



]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) 52 week project lauderdale county portrait photographer newborn photography personal photography shoals landscapes weekly favs Wed, 29 Nov 2017 17:35:58 GMT
Black Friday, Small Busines Saturday, Cyber Monday, end of November Specials!!!!! Birth Sessions and Birth Stories are on Sale!!!!!!!

Birth sessions booked between now and December 1st are now $75.00 off. Full Birth Story packages booked between now and December 1st are $125.00 off. Deposits must be paid by December 1st in order to receive the discount. Please message for booking instructions. Check out the Birth Photography section of the website for more information. Enjoy these few images from previous sessions :) 


Birth Announcements

Gender Reveal



Fresh 48 hospital sessions


]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography birth session birth stories florence alabama birth photographer Fri, 24 Nov 2017 03:24:03 GMT
Favorites: November Week 3 Thankful for this week, I love weeks where I get to photograph births!!! I'm still limited on how much I can get out and about to photograph landscapes and this isn't all of the sessions by any means. It's portrait gift time and some clients want photos to remain a surprise :) Week 3 of November favorites here on the blog!!!

]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography lauderdale county portrait photographer newborn photography weekly favs Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:37:02 GMT
Births Are My Favorite: Meet Ann Wallace :) I love to photograph births and love birth stories (more info here)!!! Meet Ann Wallace! This little cutie was born on November 14th at 12:50pm weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce and 21 inches long. She is absolutely adorable and perfect in every way. Congrats Blakely and John!!! You two have so much to be proud of! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of these beautiful moments :) 




(one day hopefully ECM will allow photographers in the operating room!!! I still love these though!!!!)

The day after birth

I mean she really is absolutely perfect!!! 


]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) birth photography florence alabama birth photographer north alabama medical center Sat, 18 Nov 2017 19:27:15 GMT
Favorites: The First two Weeks of November :) A little late...but here are the favorites from the first two weeks of November. It hasn't quite gone according to planned, evident by the surgeon, crutches, and brace. Thankfully I have amazing clients who are patient and I've still been able to photo a little bit :) I also realized this probably wasn't the best time to start back weekly but that's ok too lol. Landscapes have been limited and although I've taken quite a few more family photos, they are being saved for gifts, Christmas cards, etc and not public :) (I always respect privacy and client wishes as far as social media) It has been an interesting two weeks but I still love what I get to do!!!!




]]> (Photography by H. Sumner/ Births, Landscapes, Portraits) landscape photography lauderdale county portrait photographer personal photography portrait photography weekly favs Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:20:26 GMT