Wasser Christmas Party

On Saturday night, I photographed a totally fun Christmas party for the Wasser Family. This was the 25th year in a row that they have done a Christmas party to celebrate with their friends. So, this one was special for them. They set up a fun background with stringed lights behind white fabric with some silver trees and champagne for photographing couples as they arrived. Later during the party I printed the portraits and put them into cardboard ornament frames for the Wassers to give their guests as gifts. Unfortunately, I didn’t think of it at the time, but I should have photographed the printed images in their frames once they were complete so I could show you how smashing they were. The prints were a big hit. There was also some great food, a live singer, and some super cute elves to greet guests and take their coats. A great time was had by all!

The Wassers

The Wassers

The Elves

The Elves

Party Food

Party Food



The Crooner

The Crooner

Party Time

Party Time

Shooting Independence Day Fireworks

So, I made recent inquiries (to the Loudoun Photo Club and on Twitter) for tips on photographing fireworks since July 4th is quickly approaching. I thought I would consolidate the advice I received into this post, test it out, and then show the resulting photos from this weekend in a future post. Thank you to all who sent your suggestions! Feel free to add more to the comments.

  • Use a tripod to keep the camera steady.
  • Get to the display early to find the best vantage point.
  • Consider having foreground or background elements in the image as they make the scene more interesting and add scale.
  • Use manual focus and focus on an object close to where the fireworks will be set off from.
  • Plan to take lots of photos and delete about 75% of them.
  • Set shutter speed to “bulb” mode. This allows you to keep the shutter open while you press the button and the shutter won’t close until you release the button.
  • Use a remote or cable release instead of the on-camera button to prevent camera shake.
  • Open the shutter when the rocket starts it’s flight and close as the firework explodes so there is not a gaping black whole in the center of the firework. Should be about 2 seconds, but can range from 1/2 second to 5 seconds. Keep the shutter open longer to have multiple bursts in one image, but not too long or you’ll end up with “big blobs of light.”
  • Most recommended setting the aperture to f/8, but the suggested range was anywhere from f/8-f/11.
  • Set White Balance to Tungsten.
  • Set ISO to 200.

One person recommended this page and which seems to have some good information: http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-photograph-fireworks

Have a very happy and safe Independence Day!

UPDATE: Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to photograph any fireworks this year. So, I’ll have to wait until next year to try out these techniques.


Well, the second snowfall of the year has been a little overwhelming to the state of Virginia. Deucehartley jokingly coined the hashtag “#dcsnowpocalypse” on Twitter to describe the snow storm as it approached our area. It started snowing around 9 p.m. here in Alexandria on Friday, and it’s still snowing. Some parts of the DC area are reporting as much as twenty inches of snow! Compare this picture that I took this afternoon around 4 p.m. with the one from my previous blog entry.

Everything has been covered in this fluffy white snow.

The poor owner of this car.

Weekend at Brampton Inn – Chestertown, MD

This past weekend my husband, Nick, and I spent the weekend at a very cute bed & breakfast called Brampton Inn in Chestertown, Maryland. Unfortunately, it rained the entire weekend, but we made the best of it by checking out the little Maryland town, building a fire, spending lots of time snuggling, and eating delicious food.

The common area of the B&B. 

The B&B had an older, home-y feel to it.

We loved the old feel of the Brampton Inn.

The beautiful exterior of the B&B.

The cozy fire we curled up by.

There is beauty in everything. Even this corn!

Such a picture-esque walkway.

Our lovely scenery.

Happy Independence Day! – Norfolk, Virginia

This weekend my husband, Nick, and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary by spending the weekend in Norfolk, Virginia. We enjoyed a dinner cruise and fireworks from a cruise boat, a festival in the city, and an afternoon at Virginia Beach. It was a great time!

It was all blue skies on this beautiful Fourth of July.

One of the boats on the water.

Look at this display of patriotism!

Mario Kart on the water!

We ended the night with a fantastic fireworks show.