Rebecca Ames Photography | Chapel Hill Wedding Photographer

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Family vacation | The Great Smoky Mountain National Park. North Carolina and Tennesse

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Day ONE

We headed out to The Great Smoky Mountain National Park on my husband's birthday. A great way to celebrate a birthday, if you ask me. The girls were so excited. They were thrilled to be going camping in the mountains for a few days. THRILLED! Especially, once we actually made it into the park because it was just gorgeous. All those rolling mountains and landscapes that seem to go on forever. We made it to the Smokemont Campground on the first day and took a little hike from there. A 3/4 mile loop right off of our campsite. Cool little bridges, a beautiful creek, and all sorts of pretty everywhere. 

Day TWO

We packed up our gear and headed to the Elkmont Campground with a quick stop at Clingman's Dome. This is the highest peak in the park and we were excited for the views. Unfortunately/fortunately it was foggy and sprinkly, but still stunning with all that pretty hazy light.  We have never been to the Smokies before and wanted to see which part we liked the best. This was great because there was a creek right behind our tent and we got to listen to the rushing water all night and the girls got to play in the water and, again, gorgeous. 

Day THREE

We left the Elkmont Campround and headed towards Cosby, but on the way we had to stop and surprise the girls with horseback riding. It is one of my favorite childhood memories and the girls needed that one too. 

After that, we hiked the mountain to Grotto Falls. It was gorgeous and well worth the walk. I love waterfalls. LOVE. They bring me such a calm joy that makes me so contently happy. 

note: I didn't bring a tripod on this trip and tried to handhold to blur the water. This was at 1/10th of a second on my knees. I couldn't go slower than that. Bah.

Day FOUR

We headed over to the Catalooche Campground via a windy dirt road. It took a while. This place may be the most remote in the whole park. It was well worth the drive. It was just gorgeous. The girls were thrilled to find a swimming hole with a rope swing. We spent most of the day right there in the freezing river. Then we played bocce ball and Greg and I kicked the girl's butts. 17-6. It was awesome because they were talking to much trash. 
And yes, I did make everyone stop what they were doing to pose for family photos. 

and then we went home and the kids ate the most giant plate of pancakes ever.

Also, I wish I could go on vacations with people and document all their adventures. Why isn't this a thing? This should be a thing, because it would be awesome.

Colorado: sessions of all kinds | Denver and Aspen, CO.

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This photo was NOT taken by me. I lifted it off of the Visit Aspen website. They told me to go hike here. I want to photograph here, which means I will hike.

This photo was NOT taken by me. I lifted it off of the Visit Aspen website. They told me to go hike here. I want to photograph here, which means I will hike.

COLORADO!!!! My flight is booked and I'm on my way with my camera and a very short, very silly assistant in tow. I will be in Denver and Aspen, hoping to photograph wonderful people, giggling and in love with real mountains in the background. REAL mountains! Not that the mountains of North Carolina aren't awesome, they just aren't 14'ers. Could I be more excited?!? NO! I have two slots available in between May 28th and June 1st (not counting May 30th because Lizzy and Dan are getting married!!!!)
Shoot me an email or give me a ring, to get your session in my calendar and share this with any local friends you think should be in front of my camera!!


Macro photography | North Carolina Botanical Gardens. Chapel Hill, NC

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I spend 99.9% of my time photographing people, or wedding sentimental items and I realized that I've never really tried macro photography. Not really. Well, here's a go at it. I took the little ones to NCBG to give them a little photography lesson and I tried something new too. If you want a print for your own, head on over to the gallery. I think I'm going to make postcards out of a couple of them. I haven't decided which yet, if you have a favorite let me know. You may just get a note in the mail.

Helping out a friend | Danville, VA

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I met a photographer who recently suffered a great loss, the other half of her husband/wife wedding photography team. She still has weddings they booked together and this one was her first one back after her family's tragedy, so I went up to Danville to help out a little, to take some photos, to do something nice. I am not blogging this wedding, since it wasn't my own, but I did get to walk around for 30 minutes before in this neat old tobacco town and take a few photos. I really love to travel to places that make me feel like a time traveler.  I like to be in places that make me feel like the history is still part of the city. It's just neat.

Mini vacation | Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

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A couple weeks back we went for a quick little jaunt out to Ocracoke Island. I really love it there. Not too touristy. It kinda feels like what the Outer Banks would be like if you actually lived there. It's home-y. The kids love it. We spent all day at the beach and ate ice cream. Life is perfect.

I took a ton of photos of water. I had just got this underwater housing and wanted to test it out in the ocean. I was hoping they would be all spectacular but the waves were just not big.


Adventures with film

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I picked up an old Pentax K-1000 last month at an antique store for $15. It's pretty sweet and it makes me all nostalgic for the good old days when I learned how to shoot on an even older Canon AE-1 back in high school. I shot black and white back then and got to develop and print the photographs myself and it was way fun. But I never shot color and I had never sent film away to get developed and I really had no idea how it would turn out.

The first roll was exciting, but quite honestly most of the images were underexposed and muddy. I was a little disheartened. The second roll, I pushed it one stop and still overexposed. This roll came out much better. Here are just a few.

I really like how it slows me down. I love the sound of the shutter click and cocking the film to the next frame. I love having to think more about each shot, to have to plan it out. I love the excitement of the prints coming back to me, like it's Christmas.

Traveling photographer | Dearborn, Michigan

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I have been so lucky to get to travel for weddings this year! YAY! I love getting to see more of the world all in the name of work. It really is the best. On this trip, I get to photograph an amazing couple at Henry Ford Lovett Hall, which I am super excited about. So, I am heading to Dearborn, Michigan and possibly Chicago. Shoot me an email if you're interested in getting in front of my camera or if you have any questions!

Lemon Curd Cheesecake

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Lemon Curd Cheesecake

Lemon Curd Cheesecake

You should make the lemon curd list. You'll want it cold and you'll want to lick little bits off the side of the bowl while the cheesecake is baking.

Lemon Curd

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup Sugar + 2 Tbl

3 oz. Lemon juice, about 2 1/2 lemons

4 Tbl. Butter

Pinch of Salt

2 tsp. Lemon Zest

In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest with the 2 Tbl sugar. Really smash it together with the backside of a spoon. It helps to release the oil from the zest.

In a heavy saucepan, beat the yolks and the 1/2 cup sugar until well blended. Stir in the remaining ingredients except for the  lemon zest. Cook over med-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and resembling a thick hollandaise sauce, which thickly coats a spoon so that if you hold it up and swipe the spoon with your finger that it doesn't drip down the spoon like milk. The curd will change from translucent to opaque. Don't let it boil, it will turn to scrambled eggs. Remove from heat when it hits 140 degrees F.

Cheesecake

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F

You're going to want a stand mixer for this, or the very least a good hand mixer.

3.5 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature

6 eggs

1 pound sugar

Mix the cream cheese until smooth. If it's cold, it'll get lumpy. Add the eggs very slowly, one egg at a time. After that, add the sugar very slowly 1/4 cup at a time.

12 graham crackers

6 Tbl Butter, melted

Mix together until it can be squished into a form. Flatten it out onto the bottom of a spring form pan. Bake the crust for 7 minutes.

Pour the cheesecake batter over the crust and swirl a little of the lemon curd on the top of the cheesecake batter. Bake for 45-55 minutes until the cheesecake cracks. Let the cheesecake to cool in the fridge for several hours.

 

Pour the lemon curd on top of the cheesecake and top with strawberries and blueberries, but this part is very optional.

This is what six frames per second looks like. | at home. Durham, NC

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I really love my dog. I love playing with my dog and teaching him new things. My new mission, to teach my dog to shake on command so I can get more photos like these. This is just the first of what I hope will become a great series of photos until I capture one that is perfect. This is the beta version. This does not quite catch the essence of his wrinkly shar pei-ness. Work in progress.