life behind the lens documenting the beautiful world around me


The Dukes | Family portrait session at Vulcan Park, Birmingham AL


“Katie Mae, are you going to let me take your picture?”

(Katie Mae promptly cracks a smirk and looks away.)

The Duke kiddos are dressed in some snazzy white outfits. Lindsey, their mama, is doing the equivalent of gripping Jell-o as Cooper squirms in her arms. Our fearless baby helper, Katie Whitley, swooped in to grab the little hunk as I finished assembling my gear.

Photographers, particularly when shooting outdoors, have to learn quickly how to improvise. While preparation is always important – doing preliminary research on the venue, having back-up gear on hand – there is always an element of controlled chaos. Photographing families and kids, on the other hand, can feel like an episode of “Whose Line is It Anyway?”

That being said, today’s chaos came not from Cooper and Katie Mae, but the weather. We were at Vulcan Park in Birmingham, AL. The park, known for its giant metal statue, is not exactly where you want to be before a thunderstorm.

We (the adults) checked the radar.

“I think we’ve got about 20 minutes,” I said.

Lindsey, never one to be intimidated, replied “Let’s do this thing.”

Now on the clock, the five of us made our way up the hill. While hurrying to avoid the weather, we took a brief moment to catch a beautiful glimpse of Birmingham from one of the area’s highest points.

Propped on her mama’s hip, Katie Mae too looked out over the vast horizon. As a plane flew overhead, she traced it with her eyes. While desensitized to most things that would seem out-of-this-world to a child, I am continuously in awe of how children can find amazement in the most common of sights, sounds, and experiences. I’m so grateful for a job that allows me to document these precious moments between parents and their children, preserving treasured flashes of innocence.

By the time the first thunder bellowed, we’d successfully taken all of the pictures that we needed for this afternoon family portrait session. Thank you to the Dukes for an awesome afternoon!