We love the holidays here at Lauren V. Allen Photography & Design! So for a limited time, we are offering 20% off all session fees & products when booked by 12.6.13! We have so much to be thankful for including all our clients, family, friends & furry friends so we wanted to pass along all our gratitude through our black friday/cyber monday client appreciation sale! Go visit laurenvallen.com to contact us for prices!
I cannot believe this girl is already 4-years-old! I remember her as a little baby nugget at Thanksgiving after she was born, chasing her around a farm as a sassy two-year-old, and then as a romping toddler at my wedding! I couldn’t have had more fun at this shoot! What’s better than turning 4, playing with “pixie dust,” crowns, leaves, and running away from evil trolls? Absolutely nothing! I piled my car full of crowns & sparkles and met Lauren & Anabelle at Waynesborough Village. The light was totally gorgeous, the leaves were abundant & golden, and that little playful look in Anabelle’s eyes were about to let loose! The love between Lauren & Anabelle is bigger than a 4-year-olds imagination and it’s apparent in every one of their photos! I have enjoyed all the years I have photographed these two & am looking forward to capturing their life as the years go by! Thanks for making a lovely fall afternoon turn into an epic adventure!
Oh, to be 4-years-old again and twirl like a princess whenever I could! Thanks for such an awesome day, Lauren & Queen Anabelle!
The air is starting to get chilly, the leaves quintessentially sum up autumn in North Carolina, the golden sun sets early, and high school football is coming to a close. For this session, I got to photograph one of our senior cheer captains in the beautiful and historic downtown Durham. For Northern High senior, Bianca Decatur, her year is rushing by! She is such a brilliant, intelligent, independent, and inhibition-free young woman with so much life ahead of her! And I have absolutely no doubt that she will take the bull by the horns (haha, corny Bull City pun intended!) and rule this world like the strong-willed and cheerful soul that she is! This Durham girl isn’t afraid of anything! Bianca, it was great to spend time with you outside of our cheer practices and hear about your dreams and aspirations! Enjoy the rest of your senior year as it’ll fly by faster than you’ll ever imagine!
Enjoy all this time you have left! And let your momma love on you all she wants :)! Best of luck, Bianca!
These photos, god bless my brother’s patience, have been a long time coming. His band, Villes & Boros, performed at a side show during Hopscotch 2012…last Labor Day…and I was asked to photograph for the heck of it. While I got some free banana bread beer out of it, I’m happy to finally have these sweet photos ready for that hoodlum I call my brother.
Holy Schmidt! This weekend, Katlyn & Eric tied the knot on her family farm and what a wedding it was! The sky was to die for, the weather was just perfect, & the love between these two is enormous! This country wedding absolutely fit Katlyn & Eric to a tee! The details and thought put into it were so personal, and when placed at a location with so much meaning, you couldn’t have had a better fit for these lovebirds! I wish y’all all the love and blessings imaginable! It was such an amazing opportunity for you to allow me & my awesome second shooter, Stephen Mitchell, to photograph your marriage! Here’s to many years of love & happiness between you two!
Stick around for a full blog of this gorgeous farm wedding soon!
Phew! This is the last installment of our summer travels to England & Ireland. The last few days have been full of great feedback & I wish I was able to take all of you with me! Unfortunately, I could only fit 50 lbs. in my luggage and my camera equipment is about half of that weight and Cadbury Chocolate was definitely the other half of that. If you missed the earlier parts to this, you can see part 1, 2, 3, and 4 by clicking on their link! Once again, going through these pictures, I just sit and thank God that I’m so blessed to make all these expeditions. I really do hope to be able to do this for some sort of good one day, so if you know a way I can impact the world through photography or a story that needs to be told, hit a girl up.
For my photographers, these photos are all from my D800 or my Nikon FM with Fuji Pro 400h film (side note: how coincidental the light leak on the opening image!). These are from 3 different day trips to the towns of Dingle & Cork and the Cliffs of Moher. Each such a different place, but each with a gorgeous, jaw-dropping drives through the Irish countryside. Never in my life have I seen such beautiful light just pick and choose what it wants to illuminate and actually be able to capture it in a single frame. Never have I seen such thick fog become a luscious gray backdrop for some of the most colorful buildings & street life I’ve seen. Never have I been able to stand over 700 ft. above sea level & look down to not only see the sight of where Harry Potter & Dumbledore’s quest to destroy horcruxes began, but to also just inhale such a fresh sea breeze, that I realized that everything I’m doing in my life now has some sort of purpose and not have my fears overcome me. And never have I been able to meet such wonderful people, who despite terrible economic conditions, continue to strive to make their lives and their country beautiful by just caring and being thankful for what they do have in life.
We set out one day to explore the Dingle Peninsula & then the town of Dingle, home to the famous Murphy’s Ice Cream! The countryside was amazing, and the peninsula unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. There were even surf lessons happening in that 55-degree weather! More power to you, Irishmen, you couldn’t pay me to get in that water.
Meet Frank, one of our drivers! He was such a sweet and hilarious guy! He also knew the best spots for photos & stew!
So many Irish wildflowers were picked for pressing!
ICE CREAM & STEW!
The next day we headed out to the city of Cork. We did some shopping, some exploring, and found some utterly delicious food at the Idaho Cafe! I even found a sweet shop that had my favorite Haribo eggs & gummy dolphins, which reminded me of my years in England as a kid. Although, when I thought the gummy dolphins were sharks, the clerk was quick to correct me that they were “dolphins, not sharks, because the Irish are nice and the English are sharky people.” After we left Cork, we stopped in Blarney to visit the castle & kiss the Blarney Stone. While I decided to overcome my fear of spiral staircases and heights, I leaned back head first and kissed the stone for luck. Then wiped hand sanitizer all over my lips, haha. May favorite part though were the poison gardens, which made me feel like I was in Professor Sprout’s class at Hogwarts!
Our last day, we headed out to the Cliffs of Moher. Such a beautiful place. We stopped along the way to grab some photos of some very, very old (I’m talking Middle Ages era), graveyards that just hang out in old castle ruins or along the beach. Once we got to the Cliffs, the view was just spectacular. No photo, I think, could ever do it justice. It really just makes you stop and take a breath of fresh air. I wish we could’ve been there during sunset or sunrise, but it was just too far away for a day trip to try and get there at a certain time, but nevertheless, the Cliffs are stunning anytime of day!
What I would give to be a cow who lives at the Cliffs!
We stopped in Adare, on our way back to Springfield Castle and stopped in to this quaint little Abbey Church. Adare was a beautiful little town with thatched cottages, but was really overrun with senior citizen tourists. Must be the golfing!
And here are some of the Instagram’s from the last leg of our trip! Enjoy!
Thank you again for following along with these adventures! I’m always up for shooting, so let me know if you’re in!
After our couple days in Dublin, we caught a train and headed out to West Ireland in County Limerick. We hopped in a van, drove through some tiny villages and ended up at Springfield Castle in Dromcolliher. A. Castle. Sleeping. In. A. Castle. How awesome! We stayed in the tower house of the castle, which had been in the gatekeepers’ family under the name of Lord Muskerry since 1281! The castle’s decor and knickknacks are even family heirlooms that date back throughout the 19th and 18th century. That, my friends, is an old castle! The grounds were stunning. The woods surrounding Springfield were enchanting, the farm land was beautiful, and you could literally just walk around the property for days. At night the temperature in July is just absolutely pleasant, and you can sit to watch the sparrows fly around the grounds feeding on bugs in the air. Such busy little birds. Springfield is just such a peaceful and relaxing place. On the grounds, Jonathan & Betty have horses, raise deer, raise trees, grow shitake mushrooms & other organic produce, and brew their own beer. Betty is an avid gardener and her rock garden in the front of the tower house is amazing, even Pete the Peacock thinks so, too. Jonathan is an all around handyman and they are currently working on restoring the 2nd tower of the castle. And their dog, Fitzy, just follows along behind them during their day. Jonathan & his wife, Betty, have such a beautiful piece of history in their hands & were such gracious hosts!
I have just a handful of photos of Springfield here today, because believe me, I couldn’t quit taking photos of how beautiful it was. I have a solid mix of digital, black & white film, and colored film for you guys! Enjoy!
Pete the Peacock was our dear friend while we stayed at Springfield. He ate homemade french fries, steak, lots of lettuce, and would surprise us in the most peculiar places. Such as a second story window sill, the back kitchen door, or even on top of our car.
The wall behind the bronze dogs was probably my favorite that included receipts, papers, and posters from Lord Muskerry and his family. So amazing to be able to have all these antique documents from your family!
If you ventured far enough out on the trails around the property you came upon a little cemetery. Some tombstones were new, while others were hundreds and hundreds years old. Tess & I found the “Kneel & Pray” tombstone to be our favorite.
The outstanding sunset our last night in Ireland. This shot is from the top of the tower and you can see the sparrows flitting around. I shot this on digital, film, and my iphone and got different colors with each. This was the most accurate, although throw in a little more magenta, just a tad, and that’s the true color. Beautiful, nonetheless, and definitely makes me thankful for the traveling opportunities I had this summer.
And what would be a blog post without some instagram’s!
Up tomorrow-our excursions in Cork, Dingle, & the Cliffs of Moher!
After a couple of days in London & finally meeting up with Big Jerry & Tess after their eventful mission trip to Belize, we ended up in Dublin, Ireland. First of all, the flight from Heathrow to Dublin is the easiest thing ever. Hop on, sit, drink some hot tea, hop off, catch a taxi, and bam!…Dublin. By the way, it’s SO GREEN. And there is free wi-fi everywhere you go. #winning
We were only in Dublin for 2 days, so we researched some things you cannot leave Dublin without seeing & pretty much did the touristy thing. Although, it wasn’t too bad considering Dublin is a hoppin’ city, but it’s small & very easy to navigate (at least compared to London!). We stopped by St. Stephen’s Green, Trinity College & its Old Library, Grafton Street, Guinness Storehouse, 3fe Coffee, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Murphy’s Ice Cream, and Temple Bar. All in 1 day. It was awesome!
I only shot black & white film and with my iPhone in Dublin. I love capturing city life in black & white, however Dublin is such a colorful city so I’m glad I at least shot on my iPhone to capture it all! To see all the details on the instagram shots below, go check out my page!
I love quiet little moments like this girl feeding the geese. It reminds me of my childhood when we would take all our old bread to the parks in England and get swarmed by the ducks and geese.
We stopped by the Old Library at Trinity College early in the morning on our second day in Dublin. This was such a beautiful place. A library that you dream about…of course, I dreamed I was Belle in the Beast’s library. We went to go see the Book of Kells, which was stunning. The exhibit before the Book discusses the details of creating books and illuminated manuscripts, something incredible to see after my art history class of medieval monsters in religious books! While there are no pictures from there, here are some beautiful shots from the Library upstairs!
The Dublin Dental Hospital & School for Jerry!
Inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Such a colorful place inside, but quite a hefty fee to go in. Since when do churches charge to go to church? Although, considering the economic hit Ireland took in the last 5 years, I don’t blame them.
After St. Patrick’s Cathedral, we trekked across the city to the Guinness Storehouse…that’s a good walk by the way so be ready, or take a taxi. This was a neat museum on Guinness and the company as a whole. It was all inside of “the world’s largest pint glass,” which decided to be clever and add a “foamy head” to their ceiling in their top-floor pub. It’s amazing the impact Guinness has on Dublin and Ireland. They were one of the first companies in the world to offer paid vacation, so I’ll drink a Guinness to that!
And what’s better than Ice Cream after a day of miles of walking? Murphy’s Ice Cream is what Ireland is clearly the best. Ireland is very proud of everything Irish. And they should be proud! Locally grown, locally produced, locally consumed & mostly always organic! They have figured out the system and it’s quite a delicious one. Murphy’s Ice Cream is handmade in Dingle, a small little coastal town (post coming soon!) and their signature flavor is Sea Salt. SO GOOD! They also have crunchy peanut butter, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Guinness, & Brown Bread just to name a few flavors!
Also, the best treat of all to me (& thank you for walking 1.5 miles for a great cup of coffee), was to find the best coffee-house in Dublin. 3fe Coffee had tons of people talking online, especially about their latte & home-roasted beans. So we walked…and walked…and walked just so I could get a cup. It was so worth it though. Just as smooth and creamy and absolutely beautiful (love their latte art!) as I expected it to be! And as a plus, we got to see a cool little school multicultural parade while we were sipping away!
Thanks for following along! My plan is to have some photos of our Castle Tower house in Limerick up tomorrow!
I hope y’all enjoyed my first post on our Summer trip to England & Ireland. London is such a magical place with incredible history. I hate that we only just stopped by to say hello! This post, I’m showing you photos from my day with Uncle Dana & Aunt Lin. I haven’t been out to their place, Nottler’s Lodge, since I was 7 or 8 and haven’t seen Uncle Dana & Aunt Lin in forever! They live just outside of London in a small village called Bricketwood, about a 20 minute train ride outside of London. When I was a kid, I would camp in their back yard, go visit Aunt Lin’s dad, Reg, ride their tractors, talk with their foxes, fly across their land on my little bike, and once I even buried a baby bird that fell from its nest! I was a pretty decent kid, I think. Anyway, they picked us up from the train station and we traveled around the countryside with them visiting where I romped around as a kid, a beautiful cathedral, & a 900-year-old Royal pub. And even better, Jerry and his mom, Donna, had never met the legendary Uncle Dana, so this day was just amazing! Needless to say, family, traveling, & Pimm’s make for one awesome day!
Our first stop was to St. Alban’s Cathedral, a beautiful medieval Abbey church who had a great take on its art & architecture. Being the art history nerd that I am, I have absolutely loved visiting churches across Europe & actually knowing what the art means, and the style of architecture, and just…well, being an overall nerd. St. Alban was a martyr for the Church. He was converted to Christianity by the priest of Alban, and when the Roman soldiers came to execute the priest, St. Alban impersonated the priest & died in his place. He was beheaded on the site of the Abbey & legend has it that his body rolled down the hill after his death. Gross, huh? But such a stunning church. The stained glass above is was done in memory of Princess Diana, and the colorful modern-day saints had me in love. I mean, who lets a local group of students create modern-day saints of John Lennon & Martin Luther King, Jr. to stand at the altar? St. Alban’s does.
After we traversed around St. Alban’s Abbey, we hopped in the car and took some beautiful back highways (and of course avoided all the highwaymen) to The Royal Standard. This pub claims to be the oldest pub in England, and while all pubs claim that, this is the only royal pub in England. This pub has some amazing history, so click this link if you want to know because it’s a lot. A lot happens in 900 years, people. Definitely too much to blog about. But the coolest part I will talk about. In this lovely pub that smells of wood, beer, and fish & chips (just the tip of the aroma-iceberg), lies a hidden room that housed King Charles I when England was in a civil war. The pub was also an inn, and the hidden priest’s hole housed the King when he disguised as a servant to escape his enemies. The priest hole, or hidden room, is seen labeled in the picture below, saved His Majesty’s life. Pretty awesome, huh?
Somehow, just somehow, that awesome beer glass & it’s mate will forever be with us. I had to get rid of some coffee mugs, but it was well worth it.
This was our table guest. Such a loving cat who just wanted the “fries with eyes,” which were little fried Whitebait fish. And I love the old glass windows where the glass has warped over the years. Such a beautiful thing to look through & hard to get anything in focus with a camera.
Oh, and you have to love good ol’ Uncle Dana! He can’t stop talking for one second to take a picture! Here he is with his lovely wife, Aunt Lin, & Mrs. Donna! Such a great day with y’all! Thank you for being such lovely tour guides!
Tomorrow-be ready for some photos of Dublin. And beer. And books. And ice cream.
Hello lovely blog readers! It’s been a good while, but alas, all photos & film from England & Ireland are edited, imaged, & ready for you to see. Sorry to those I made wait, but you don’t have to anymore! This summer, I traveled abroad with Jerry’s family after getting back from Texas the day before. Head’s up, traveling 8,000 miles in 3 days is exhausting, but it was an experience that I wouldn’t give up for anything! Basically, London pounced on me this summer! Between the Jubilee & the Royal Baby, London was one crazy busy city in July that surprised me out of nowhere! Between school, graduation, Journalism Camp, then traveling to Texas, then back to NC, then overseas, I’m still not sure I’ve had a chance to take a breath since last summer, let alone be prepared to welcome a Royal Baby! Either way, I couldn’t be more blessed to travel the world & take my cameras along with me.
For all you photo nerds out there, this summer, I stuck with my 3 best friends, my D800 & my dad’s trusty ol’ Nikon FM & my handy dandy iphone. I decided to try my hand at more color film this summer along with my black & white, so for all you film nerds out there, TMAX 400 & Fuji Pro 400h are what you’ll see (although the pro 400h doesn’t come in until Ireland).
Breakfast tea & dropped scones served in only the shiniest of silver at Browns Hotel.
Green Park & Harrods: two of my favorite London places to explore.
The days after the Jubilee, Carnaby Place stayed decorated in sequined Union Jacks.
Jubilee flags grace the streets of London.
From the top of the London Eye.
Anxiously awaiting the Royal Baby’s grand entrance into the world!
The clock wall in the Kitchen Supplies section of Harrods.
Exploring the Supreme Court.
King’s Cross Station…
…& then this happened (me, not Jerry)! Off to Hogwarts I go!!
More chocolate…Just can’t ever get enough of this stuff. Followed by some night shots of the city!
And if you want my play-by-play of the city, go head over to my instagram account, @viedfinder, to view these pictures in a not so tiny way!
My day with Uncle Dana & Aunt Lin is up tomorrow! Get ready for some really awesome 900-year-old English pubs!