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Happy Thanksloving

“There is one day that is ours. There is one day when all we Americans who are not self-made go back to the old home to eat saleratus biscuits and marvel how much nearer to the porch the old pump looks than it used to. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.”

This whole week, namely because the Thanksgiving holidays are on my mind, I am reminded that I have a mountain load of things to be grateful for. Just so you know, this is about to get a little personal. Being in another place far away from family has me relishing in the simple joys of family-hood: Presence. I live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but the tradition of a Southern- American Thanksgiving has me longing for my first home.

First of all, I serve a God who loves me beyond my wildest imagination. Secondly, I am totally in love with my husband who out-does my affections on a daily basis. I am thankful that we laugh together, and I hope we always find something worth laughing about. I wake up every morning with the freedom to be an artist and to create, and I get to do it for a living! My friends are loyal and love my unconditionally, as do my families on both sides. And one of the most exciting things is that I will be welcoming my first nephew next Spring. I’m seriously tempted to buy him every single crocheted hat for newborns on etsy.com.
I find that it is so important to sit down and put life into perspective and see that yes, we have it so good.

“Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life… a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year – and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God.” ~Ray Stannard Baker

What are you thankful for?

V - November 25, 2010 - 2:47 pm

Beautiful words! You have made me stop, get out of the kitchen……. and count my blessings. We miss you terribly but if you must be away I take comfort in knowing God is blessing you too, on the other side of the world.
Now, close your eyes….take a breath, and tell me…….can you smell the yeast rolls?
Love you,

Sarai - November 27, 2013 - 12:22 pm

First of all beautiful pictures! I just love autumn and now winter is on its way! So excited. Thanks for the reminder to be thankful and yes we do live in a place where compare to most parts in the world we are wealthy people.
Being away from home and not being able to go back to Texas for the holidays does make me be grateful and cherish my family and friends more. Thanks for this wonderful post.
By the way, I am a fan of your photography and films. May God bless you and your family dearly and may God continue blessing your career.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Ah, fair Verona! Northern Italy Photography

We hadn’t planned on going to Italy. When Colleen and Kasey began planning their European vacation, Paris was on their minds. I have personally never been to Paris, so I was ready to jump on the wagon and go with them. Well, as they sometimes do, plans changed and Paris was no longer an option for various reasons. Because the girls were intent on traveling to as many countries as possible, we spontaneously decided it would be a good idea to drive to Verona, Italy in our 98′ Peugot, a mere 6 hour drive in mild traffic, located between Milan and Venice. Gabriel put his work aside for the weekend and came with us, awesome for me. Italy, husband, sweater weather, American lady friends, pizza and sunshine… it doesn’t get more “ideal” than that.

We brought our walking boots and spent an entire weekend exploring Verona, a city known as Shakespeare’s inspiration for writing Romeo & Juliet, a couple that may or may not have existed. Verona has one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters, the third largest in all of Italy, known as the Arena di Verona. Yep, gladiators fought there. We had a brief but delightful encounter with the romantic city and headed back to Winterthur on Sunday afternoon.

I also must mention that the lovely Kasey Brennan took some of the photos in this blog, but I cannot be sure as to which ones since we were all sharing cameras over the trip. I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures and don’t forget to continue checking for more updates. Ciao beautiful friends!

S. W. K. - November 8, 2010 - 10:41 am

Sigh. One day…one day.
Also, my favorite picture is the one of the city and the river running through it. Magnifique!

V - November 8, 2010 - 4:44 pm

Beautiful,,,just beautiful! I love the one with close up of the brick road with the light shining at the top of the arch. It is hard to say which is my favorite. I have chosen to live through your lens. Thanks.

Anonymous - November 8, 2010 - 5:28 pm

Rachel, these are delightful. Thank you for sharing. PS – if I were the Juliet Museum, I should like to have your pictures for my brochure.
-Miles Baker

Anonymous - November 10, 2010 - 2:29 pm

it's as if i could feel, smell and see the city through your pictures – as if i'd been there myself… amazing. //naemi

Colleen - December 15, 2010 - 6:45 pm

I’ve looked at these before, but I had to reminisce tonight! You are such a lovely photographer and captured Verona just as I remember it! Perfectly enchanted! Miss you dearly!

Jens’s Baptism + Malans, Switzerland

I had a sweet time seeing some of my huge family in Malans a few weekends ago. With so much traveling going on these past two weeks, I’ve made it a priority to create some personal posts to show everyone the happenings around here. These photos are from Jens’s baptism at the Reformed Church in Malans, Switzerland and the lunch afterwards at the Gasthaus Krone.

Here in Switzerland it is customary for the Godmother and Godfather to participate in the Baptism and vocally commit themselves to being a part of the child’s life. After doing so, we receive an official paper and and become their legal Godparents.

Anonymous - November 11, 2010 - 3:06 pm

A big thanks from UK friends of the family for posting! A beautiful day captured perfectly.

admin - December 7, 2010 - 4:24 pm

sososo cute!!

Malans, Switzerland | Vineyard Country

Two weeks ago, Gabriel and I traveled to Malans, Switzerland to visit my sister-in-law and celebrate the Baptism of her youngest child, Jens. Back in May, I posted photos of Jens’s a few days after his birth and this was my first time seeing him since then. He’s so big now! Serena says he hardly fits in his clothes and is about half the weight of his 5 year old sister, Mia. I made lots of photos of the family as we walked around the vineyards in their village. The scenery in Malans is breathtaking, rain or shine, but this time of year is significantly beautiful because the vines are fat with grapes awaiting their picking. Mia taught me how to find fallen chestnuts on the ground and we collected a bunch to roast in the evening. We caught glimpses of people harvesting the grapes as we strolled along and ended our adventure with a tour at the local winery with fistfuls of chestnuts. Tomorrow I will post photos from the actual Babtism, but today the focus is on the beauty of Malans and the simple joys of a long walk with family. Stay tuned because a lovely trip to the romantic Verona, Italy is coming up soon!

mandii - November 7, 2010 - 9:47 am

loooove all this. would love to see more posts like this! a day in the life of rh. <3

V - November 7, 2010 - 8:15 pm

Beautiful photos Rach. I love the vineyards! Looking forward to seeing more.

Natalie + Beautiful

Natalie is all grown up! I sound like a typical nostalgic grandmother when I say it seems like only yesterday Natalie was 5 years old and I was feeding her vanilla wafers in my mom’s Sunday school class. She has truly blossomed into a beautiful woman and will graduate from high school in the coming May. This post isn’t too long because it was only a mini session, but I’m thrilled with the pictures we got!

Helena | Dothan Alabama Portrait Photography

Making this little lady look beautiful was not a difficult task. We embarked on this mini session around 6am in downtown Dothan because my schedule was getting full and Helena was getting ready to leave for a month to Denmark. We had a really sweet time enjoying the golden sunrise, which is a rare event for me (and other artists, I assume? Why are we all such night owls?) What piercing eyes on such a gentle face, right? She is all that is glamor without one ounce of effort.

mandii marie - October 13, 2010 - 9:47 am

absolutely LOVE the first pair of images in the white dress- amazing couple of pictures! love her expression and gesture so much!

Helena Eilersen - January 18, 2013 - 1:44 pm

hey Rachel i don’t know if you remember me from a couple years back , but I’m Helena Leigh Ann’s cousin. i was wondering when of if we could possibly make a time when your in dothan or we could meet you somewhere to get some pictures done. if you want to or can you can contact me at 850-419-7173 or at helenaeilersen@hotmail.com:) thanks

Vintage Tea Party | Little Women

Oh I can hardly stand how cute these photos are! It killed me to even wait a day before posting but here I am, 48 hours later, showing off two of the sweetest and charming little ladies I know. (And I’m not being bias, even though they are family). After brainstorming with my talented mother, we were able to stylize this vintage tea party and dress the girls in MY hand sewn dresses from childhood. Essential props included my mother’s beautiful and supposedly quite expensive tea set which required delicate little hands, exchanged glances of silliness, whispered secrets, and a pair of my hot pink wedges. This is truly some of my favorite work to date, and I know I say that a lot, but I mean it!

Mrs. Whitaker - August 15, 2010 - 10:23 pm

I am ABOLUTELY in love with the art of your photography. Your choice of lighting and colors, whether they are neutral, black and white or vivid demonstrates your vibrant imagination. I am also impressed with the fact that you stray from the normal cookie cutter poses that most photographers place their subjects in. (you know, the ones where the family is looking slightly off to the side of the camera, as if something amusing is happening in that direction). I love the offset positions of your subjects, and your ability to capture the candid life-like moments. You also have a knack for getting children to stay focused and to sit still long enough for a photo! THAT is talent! If we in life grow with experience, then I am sure that you will be one of the most sought after photographers around! Keep up the incredible work!

Tabea - August 16, 2010 - 3:03 am

Wow! This is a truly amazing shooting! Makes me remember my tea parties I used to have with my sister as a child… only that this one is much fancier! ;-) wonderful!

Anonymous - August 16, 2010 - 9:20 am

Well this is amazing of my grandchild and Andy you captured the most beautiful looks and if you can believe this I rememeber the dress that anna ryan is wearing. love it love it would like to purchase one of the pictures of anna ryan if I can

v - August 16, 2010 - 11:49 am

I knew they would be good but these are priceless! I am so proud of you! I am also very proud of the precious little girls in the photos. They were angels and real "ladies" while having their tea. What a blessing!

Anonymous - August 16, 2010 - 1:49 pm

absolutely unbelievable…how do we print these? amy

Anonymous - August 16, 2010 - 5:38 pm

This is fabulous. I truly love everything about the series. lovely, lovely…and magical.

Corinne Sekinger-Clark - August 17, 2010 - 4:35 am

Sooooooo pretty! I look forward to doing some pics when my two girls are a little older!

Anonymous - August 19, 2010 - 8:04 pm

Rachel, you never cease to amaze me with all your talents. These pictures are definitely priceless. The poses, the coloring, the details, all are so wonderful. The two little girls could not be any more beautiful. I am very proud to be the great aunt of the two precious little girls and the aunt of the very talented photographer. These pictures are just wonderful. Sue

Anonymous - August 26, 2010 - 11:10 pm

these look fresh out of a high fashion magazine!

Waddell Family | Rosemary Beach Family Photography

What a joy to mix business with travel! I got all pumped up when Stacie asked me to drive down to Rosemary Beach, FL, a humble 1.5 hour trip, and photograph her family while they were on vacation. I’ve known Stacie since I was a little girl, so it was neat to come down and see everyone and meet her children. This family radiates with adorable. So much fun.

Sydney + Senior Glam

Sydney and I spent two rainy afternoons taking some very natural but glamourous photos in and around rural Dothan. The clouds kept a blanket between us and the scorching sun which helped us keep our cool and have a good time without sweating to death. Sydney was a trooper, carrying an essence of natural beauty and presenting it so well on and off camera. And I know I say this a lot, she was also so ridiculously EASY to photograph!

Colleen + Radiant

Man oh man, I had no idea how busy one summer could be! Being back in Alabama is so different from my home in Switzerland because of all the things to do and the people to see. Time has passed so quickly because of it, and now here I am a month late on posting my summer sessions. Tis the season to take lots of photos! I’ve finally had some time to post some of my favorites from Colleen’s Vanity Fair themed golden hour session taken in June. Personally speaking, this is some of my favorite work to date, and I have Colleen and the sun to thank for that.

Anonymous - August 15, 2010 - 10:26 pm

WOW! I really love the way you position the sun in the pictures. It really gives an angelic appearance perspective!

Mrs.Whitaker - August 15, 2010 - 10:34 pm

I am in love with the art of your photography. I think that the way you use your lighting and colors, whether they are vivid, neutral or black and white demonstrates your vibrant imagination. I also love the fact that you have strayed from the norm in family portraits. Most photographers place their subjects in really cookie cutter positions. (you know, where the family is looking slightly off to the side of the camera, as if something amusing is happening in that direction) Your ability to capture candid and genuine life like moments is incredible, not to mention your ability to get the children to sit still and stay focused long enough to snap the picture! THAT is talent! If you only get better from here, then you I am sure that you will be one of the most sought after photographers around! Keep up the amazing work!

Mrs. Whitaker - August 15, 2010 - 10:36 pm

p.s. I didn't mean for that last comment to sound like you need to get better! What I really mean is tht if we only grow in life…then I can't imagine what you're going to do next!

Rebecca | Bridal

These are just a few of my favorite photos from my session with radiant Rebecca! I just love bridal shoots. In my experience, they’re always so relaxed and fun because what woman doesn’t feel gorgeous standing in front of the camera in a glamorous wedding gown? Rebecca was no exception. I wasn’t able to be there for her wedding, so fortunately we could do a golden-hour session a few months later.

Caleb + Rebecca | Pure Romance

“Oh on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
so soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
the smiles that win, the tints that glow
but tell of days in goodness spent,
a mind at peace with all below,
a heart whose love is innocent!”
- Lord Byron

The light and the heat were both boiling the sweat on our brows, but I still couldn’t help but feel amorous after working with these two. I don’t mind this Alabama heat as long as I can escape to some AC after a hard few hours with the sun blazing. What blows me away is when a couple is trump enough to withstand it and still look glamorous. These photos look like they were taken somewhere in California. Caleb and Rebecca had such a sweet presence and I’m thrilled they allowed me to come into their life for a couple of hours and capture some of that sweet intimacy you share with each other.

Casey - June 24, 2010 - 11:07 am

These are absolutely stunning!!! Way to go girl!

Amy Sharp - June 24, 2010 - 11:08 am

these are awesome rach!

Rebecca - June 24, 2010 - 11:12 am

Rachel… I am in tears… I just fell in love with my husband all over again! You have captured what Caleb and I love in and about each other…