Durham–UK Adventure Part Three

You’ve probably heard of Oxford and Cambridge, the top two schools in England. But, what you may not know is that the University of Durham is the top third school. I sure hadn’t heard of it until Ben (my brother-in-law) applied and was accepted there last year. (Way to go Ben!) Needless to say, Durham has become something of a college town, though its history is rich and long.

Perhaps the most well-known Durham features are its castle and cathedral, both of which date from the 11th century. If you care to read more, I’m sure you’ll find this wikipedia article to your liking.

For now, more photos.

After our day in Wales, we drove all the way back to Durham and had a bit of rest. Liam was glad to finally be out of his car seat.

Sweet boy.

I didn’t prompt him to do this.

Martha’s “back yard”–they have a great view.

Then we walked to the city center and cathedral.

It’s a peculiar mix of old and new.

Pardon the angle of this picture–there was a big ugly tent they had set up for graduation on my left. This is the cathedral.

They wouldn’t let you take photos inside.

The castle–now part of the university.

One day, when I grow up I’m going to have a purple door on my house.

I could live here.

The towers of the cathedral are on the right.

Then it was back home and a game of patty cake.

The next morning, Jay and I headed back to the cathedral to climb the tower. Unfortunately, the notorious English weather we’d been avoiding decided to join us.

This courtyard was used in the Harry Potter films–it was the quadrangle for Hogwart’s. Sweet. More nerdiness.

And this was on the wall–can I say creepy?

When we got back, Liam had just woken up from a nap.

Arm rest?

And then it was time for Martha and Ben to take us to the train station for Edinburgh. I wish these were tears for us leaving, but I think Liam just didn’t want to get back into his car seat.

So I pretended to be a horse, and that cheered him up.

I miss this little fella.

Next stop…Edinburgh!

Kara - aw, such cute pictures of Liam. I like the black and white one of him pouting. Also, amazing cathedral.

Amy’s Bridal Portrait | Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer

“I’m not from around here.” Yes, most of you know I’m originally from Texas, and in Texas (and the South in general), one of the big traditions is to have a bridal portrait. Yes, a session where the bride dresses up in her wedding gown–usually sometime before the wedding–and has pictures taken. The photos are sometimes displayed at the reception venue. I, of course, had a bridal session–and that photo is still hanging in our room.

But things are different in “the North.” I haven’t found quite the demand for bridal portraits here–(but they’re so much fun–what are you waiting for?). Of course, we do have cookie tables…but that’s for another post.

Anyway, Amy is actually from the Pittsburgh area but has been living in “the South” for a couple of years and, hence, knows all about the bridal portrait craze. So, last Friday we met up around Heinz Chapel for her portrait. Now, Ian has not seen the dress, and I don’t want to give it all away. So, I can only share a few headshots and one teaser. Just sit tight and you’ll see more in a few weeks!

Can I just say gorgeous?

Amy’s actually holding up part of her dress here as her friends bustle her up.

Beautiful eyes.

Now Ian don’t look!

Anonymous - WOW! How beautiful! Thanks for the peek! Can't wait to see how lovely you'll be on the wedding day!

Agnieszka - Ohhh!!! How pretty. Love the one where she's laying on the ground, and the very last one, what a beauty. Beautiful series!

Kara - those silly northerners. yay for the south and traditions.

Wales–UK Adventure Part Two

Perfectly enchanting. That’s what I think of when I remember Wales. On the second leg of our journey we visited the northern area of Snowdonia and stayed in a town called Caernarfon. It had everything you could want–fish and chips, a castle, and a beautiful countryside. What more could you ask for?

And yes, the people really did speak Welsh, which is nothing like English. Like I said, enchanting.

See for yourself.

It was a sleepy start to the day for Liam with another long car ride.

This is my version of drive-by shooting.

First view stepping out of the car.

This had to be one of my favorite things…but you have to look closely..

That’s right, the Welsh word for Prime Minister is “Prif Weinidog.” Nice.

I didn’t know they had helicopter launch pads back then…

We climbed lots of these…

…so we could see this.

Verbose English signage.

Stretchy castle.

Then it was off to the countryside.

More drive-by shooting.


Mr. Handsome with Cute Nephew.

We hiked through the countryside and mostly saw shrubs, fields, and flowers…

Until we came through a clearing and saw this…

And this.

Show off.

If we didn’t have to hike back, I would’ve liked to join them.

Still, we had this lovely church.

And we ate dinner in the little village.

Later that night, after we got back into town, Jay and I walked around and enjoyed the sunset.

It’s a post post office.

Next stop is Durham!

Rachel Clayton - Wow Mary! I have to say your pictures are AMAZING!! You truly have a God given talent for photography! I don't think I've ever seen vacation pictures as great as the ones you have! Some of them are hilarious too! I could look at your pics all day!

Kara - yay for castles! I like the verbose English signage, haha. And the Post Post office. I liked seeing signs in German that if you thought about them as English sounded weird – like exit is ausfahrt and emergency exit is notausfahrt which makes me think hm, not-exit. So every emergency button and level was definitely not. Anyway, great pictures and beautiful countryside!

David Dunton - Mary, I feel compelled to flatter you here. In every set you post, your superb eye shows through, even in these vacation photos.

Your creative and elegant compositions, your awareness and use of light, and your artful post-processing create a beautiful end product that few photographers achieve, especially in the brief span of years you've been working on your craft.

It's been a pleasure watching you develop your passion into a full time career, and I hope people will value your product as the premier-level work it is, above and beyond that of most event photographers out there (and I've looked at a lot of them!).



martha - I like the one of us going into the castle – I look really tall!

Steph and Justin | Pittsburgh Wedding Photography | 6/20/09

It was going to rain. All week long the weatherman said it was going to rain–and not just a little sprinkle, it was going to rain, thunder, and lightning.

I’m so glad the weatherman was wrong, because Steph and Justin’s wedding was held a couple of Saturdays ago on the Gateway Clipper Fleet. Rainy weather and boats don’t mix well.

But Steph and Justin sure do! (Ok, lame segue, but seriously, these two are totally in love with each other and had a wonderfully sweet wedding). There was a bit of a scare when a few drops began falling from the sky, but they soon passed and Steph and Justin boarded the boat with their friends and family. They held the ceremony on the top deck, while the poor captain fought the wind to keep Point Park in view. It was actually kind of fun, though, to get different views of Pittsburgh in the background. Then it was downstairs for dining and dancing as the city shoreline slipped by.

I have to start by saying I absolutely loved Steph’s hair and hat! She looked GORGEOUS–(but I’m also a bit partial because I had a similar tear drop hat and veil for my wedding).

Steph and Justin saw each other before the ceremony.

Justin walked up the aisle to meet Steph, and then they walked back down together.

They wrote their own vows to each other.

Real men cry on their wedding day.

Just beautiful.

Think Captain Planet…

Love the details.

The best man had a good night, too.

Thanks Steph and Justin for letting me be a part of your day!