52-Week Photo Challenge: Week 2

I've challenged myself to a 52-week photo challenge to strengthen my photography and editing skills. Each week's post will feature seven photos - one for each day of that week. 

Week 2: November 5, 2017 through November 11, 2017

Seneca Creek State Park - Gaithersburg, Maryland

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52-Week Photo Challenge: Week 1

I've challenged myself to a 52-week photo challenge to strengthen my photography and editing skills. Each week will include seven photos - one for each day of that week. I'm excited for the next year of learning and creating!

Week 1: October 29, 2017 through November 4, 2017

Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park - Rockville, Maryland

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Rise and Shine: Stacey Shifflett

When I approached Stacey about a photo session a few months ago, she was on board immediately. To be honest, I was both excited and surprised. I knew of Stacey back in high school, but we didn't know each other. She was pretty and popular, and I was awkward and quiet. We were nothing alike, or so I thought at the time. Fast forward fifteen years later, and I've come to realize that we both share many life experiences that have brought us together as friends.

Stacey is thriving as a health coach, hair stylist, wife, and mom, but her journey hasn't been easy. She endured the heartbreak of losing her father from suicide a few years after high school, which led to over a decade of coping with anxiety and depression, including self-medicating with food. Two years ago, she decided to take control of her life and focus on her well-being by eating healthy and finding fitness. But that wasn't all. She used her experience to inspire others by becoming a health coach.

It's amazing to see the sparkle in her eyes as she has realized her passion and, more importantly, has realized that she deserves to be the best version of herself. Her story really resonated with me as I lost my father unexpectedly ten years ago and have battled with anxiety and food. I'm also at the point in my life where I'm ready to make a change and do what I love. We all have our struggles. No one's life is perfect. We're all going through something and trying to rise from it. And once we do, we shine.

I'm honored to feature Stacey as the first strong woman in my Rise and Shine Photography Series. Her spirit is amazing, and I'm inspired by her drive and determination to take the reins and go after all of her dreams for herself and her family. She is on her way to creating her best life, and I'm excited to cheer her on. Way to rise and shine, Stacey! You are beautiful!

"Sometimes we need to sink in order to know the next time we rise. And sometimes we need this to repeat a few times until we realize we have to make a new choice." - Stacey Shifflett

Photography Spotlight: Surfing the Waves in the Outer Banks

Two of my biggest loves are photography and the beach. During our honeymoon in the Outer Banks, my husband and I decided to venture to Jeannette's Pier in Nags Head to capture some surfers soaking up the sun and riding the waves, which were larger than usual due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria swirling off the coast.

For a mere $2 admission fee, I was able to wander the pier and scout the best spots to zoom in on the action. Here are a few of my best shots. Enjoy!

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