A year and some change ago, I had just moved to Southern Maryland. This area never ceased to amaze me with its landscape... and serious amount of corn.
I finally lived in a place where I could experience all 4 seasons.
So you bet I was constantly breaking out my camera to snap some photos.
One of the first things we did after I moved up here was check out Solomon's Island for some good crab cakes.
The Solomon's Bridge, to this day, gives me such anxiety. I swore I would never drive over it myself, but I've done it about 4 times now.
I swore I was going to fully focus on my business, but 2 weeks in I was BORED OUT OF MY MIND. So I got a job at the Navy Lodge on base. I needed to make friends, and those connections could help my business flourish.
& I also got a little tiny puppy.
A miniature dachshund, whom we named
He's my baby boy. #obsesseddogmom & seriously, he's probably one of the best things that ever happened to me.
I saw the leaves change, and they make for some amazing pictures.
My boyfriend knew a couple people up here already, since a lot of guys from his old squadron in the Marine Corps got a job at the same company he currently works at. I became friends with one of the guy's wife.
Racie, and her daughter Kyra, graciously went location scouting with me multiple times, and let me chase them around with a camera.
We went hiking to see Calvert Cliffs.
We arrived at the cliffs right at sunset, and it was absolutely breathtaking.
Another day, we also checked out some farms!
We celebrated Halloween.
In November, another photographer in the area contacted me to do family portraits for her, which made me feel simultaneously elated and nervous. It's amazing that another photographer likes my work enough to actually book me, but will I do a good enough job?
Well I'm glad she booked me, because we ended up being really great friends. (Christina of Avery Spencer Photography.)
Behind the scenes: my boyfriend is actually incredibly amazing, and helps me out with sessions if he's available.
I would also add random photographers in the area on Facebook, interact with their posts, but never message anyone directly. I still tend to be shy over the internet.
But I had one who ended up messaging me instead - Emma Hill (Emma Hill Photography). We made plans to hangout, & that was the beginning of our friendship!
I invested in my first actual winter jacket. From North Face, naturally.
Snow is pretty freaking magical. I would stare in amazement that water was cascading down from the sky as a fluffy solid (as opposed to, you know, hail). I was aware of what snow was, but it was so awesome (weird) to see it in person.
& it was just my luck that my first actual winter was the most extreme that Southern Maryland had seen in 30-something years.
Maryland was hit with a blizzard, with news headlines reading The Winter Awakens (The Force Awakens recently came out LOL).
All this snow in a matter of 1.5 days.
I was stuck at work. Maryland was under a state of warning, & no one was to be out on the roads.
Good thing I worked at a hotel and had a bed to sleep in.
& thankfully the Navy Lodge is pet friendly!
Archer: Ugh, why do you have to work so much, mom?
I loved snow.
Until it was the 3rd or so day after.
Then the snow plows came by and it all ended up on the side of the road (or the middle of parking lots), along with plenty of dirt. These mounds of now-hard-snow/ice also slowly melted during the day... causing problems when I would drive home from a night shift at the Navy Lodge (after midnight) having to watch out for ice on the roads.
That's the stuff you don't really see in movies.
Life can be frustrating where it snows and you have no 4 wheel drive vehicles.
This was about when I was starting to hate living in Southern Maryland. Maybe it was the cold. Maybe it was the short days and long nights. Or maybe it was working at a job with an inconsistent schedule, not being able to fully invest myself in my photography.
Then spring, slowly but surely, came.
I was location scouting for a client that day, when I ran into Christina! There are only so many locations that Southern Maryland photographers shoot at - it's way too easy to run into other photographers. :)
I checked out Calvert Cliffs Marine Museum.
Shortly after the new year, one of the friends that I ending becoming very close to, Meggan, found out that she was PREGNANT! After trying for 6 years. I was so ecstatic for her and her husband.
I shot my first pregnancy announcement session.
By the way, I thought Florida had bipolar weather.
But one week in April, I was on my way to a wedding I was second shooting for with Alycia Goddard (Charles St. Photography). The week prior, the high was 85. I was happy that Spring was here and I could break out my flip flops again.
It snowed on my way there. Seriously.
Regardless, this was my first time second shooting... & I loved it. Thanks, Alycia!
I couldn't be any more anxious for Summer.
But Spring was still pretty alright here. I never realized how quickly, or short-lived the blooms were.
I wasn't able to make it to DC (or maybe I knew I didn't want anything to do with the crowds), but I was still able to see some cherry blossoms.
I quit my job at the Navy Lodge to fully pursue my business.
& scouted a few new locations, like Historic St. Mary's City (with my film camera as my subject LOL).
I also checked out Jefferson Patterson Park, with Archer. We played. & he made friends with Emma's daughter.
I checked out Historic St. Mary's City AGAIN a couple weeks later, & just look at this.
At some point, Christina, Emma & I even decided that we wanted to start a Pax River Photographers group, so local photographers associated with NAS Pax can meet & have a support system. Especially when you/your spouse is in the military... you move.. a LOT.
Community over competition, y'all.
We had a meet up, and I met some more amazing photographer friends.
Kyra turned 2, & I did a cake smash session for her! (She had grown SO much!)
I also had the amazing opportunity to fly back to my alma mater to photograph spring grads! I won't share the photos here, since this post is about Southern Maryland. But, finally, I reached the point where I felt like my business was actually successful. & that's a big deal.
The weather warmed up. It was lovely.
Meggan was also finally starting to show, so I took advantage of that & we did her maternity session. (See more from the session here.)
It's fairly rural in Southern Maryland, so I took advantage of this opportunity & captured the stars.
They weren't the best photos, but I (of course) forgot my tripod, so I sat my camera on top of my boyfriend's car LOL.
& I eventually took a month break from my business.
It was proving to be too much. I felt uninspired. I felt stressed.
I wasn't feeling the same passion or fulfillment from it. But I knew I didn't want to give up entirely.
Funny enough, following my month break, I captured one of my more favourite sessions yet. Lauren + Justin drove about a hour away to have a session with me, and they were one of the sweetest clients I've worked with!
My inspiration & love for this craft was restored.
Because of how often the landscape changes, I scout locations again just to be prepared. We decided upon Historic St. Mary's City for their session, so I checked it out the day before their engagement session.
Look how much it changed!
One of the last sessions I got to do here was another birthday session - Emma's!
You truly experience every season in Southern Maryland. This summer has been HOT. Like, hotter & sometimes more humid than Florida hot.
All in all..
I do have to say that I'm actually going to miss Southern Maryland.
I'm glad I had the opportunity to move up here, even if it was only for a year.
It challenged me. I was pushed to be my best, to put myself out there, or fail as a business owner.
& I couldn't be any more grateful.
Prints from this entry can be purchased here.