I'm Rachael, a wedding and senior portrait photographer for the joyful & adventurous! I hope you'll grab a cup of coffee and enjoy viewing some of my latest work and getting a sneak peek into life behind the scenes!
Hello, and welcome to my little online home! I'm Rachael Leigh and I am a wedding and senior portrait photographer in Southwest Ohio! I do hope that you will grab a cup of coffee and enjoy viewing some of my latest work and getting a little sneak peek into life behind the scenes!
Vacations with the Curtis family usually look a bit different. And that’s why I love ’em! We tend to be spontaneous, enjoy sleeping in a bit and also just being together! There may be a few musts on our agenda that we make sure to hit up, but most times we just explore the area we’re staying in. This trip was no different! Belmont and Gastonia, North Carolina are the cutest little towns not far outside of Charlotte! We stayed in an adorable and magazine worthy, farmhouse Airbnb and it was absolutely perfect! I’ve come to love Airbnbs because of the experience of staying in a home and being able to get off the beaten path. Hotels are great and all, but where else can you stay in a fully remodeled farmhouse that looks like it belongs in Magnolia magazine?
Our must see for this trip was the Billy Graham library. My dad has been wanting to visit it for a long time and it didn’t disappoint! I knew a bit about Billy Graham before going, but being able to see his ministry from start to finish and realize that his beginning was as humble as it gets was such an encouragement. God can really use anyone, if you’re willing. And He is still working through Billy’s legacy even today. The things that he accomplished in his years on earth and the way that God was able to work through him amazes me! Literally millions came to know Jesus because Billy was willing to be used by God to do whatever he called and to go wherever he directed! Being there and just walking through the exhibits and listening to his entire story challenged me so much. Especially a statement he made at the end of his life. He was asked, “if you had to do it all over again what would you differently?” And his answer was that he would: study more and pray more. A man who dedicated so much of his life to those two things, who knew God so intimately, he would do more of the thing he spent so much time doing. I think I could go on talking about that statement forever because it fires me up, but I’ll leave it at that! If you ever have a chance to go to the library, please do!
The rest of our trip was pretty chill! We explored quite a few great restaurants, grabbed some coffee, played on a playground and had a movie night! Between all of that, it was fun to just relax and be away from home. Honestly, I love trips that are full of excitement and events, but some of the best times just include swinging on a swing or spinning on a crazy piece of playground equipment! We can make just as many memories doing the normal things as we can the extraordinary things. And that’s another things I love about trips with my family.
All together, I think our trip was just too short! I definitely could have stayed at least three more days in that cute farmhouse! And had a whole lot more nights where we just sit together and play games and eat popcorn for dinner! I could take another day of just sitting in a chair with sunlight streaming in and reading a book for a while. I could take another day listening to the laughter and hiding behind a corner waiting to scare someone when the walk past! There’s a whole lot I could do more of and trips with people you love always end way too soon. But I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be able to go in the first place!
As I was putting together this post I can think of so many things that we did that I didn’t get a chance to document. But, I’m glad that the moments I didn’t have a camera in front of my face are etched into my memory. So, enjoy getting a peek into the little bit of craziness that occurs when my family gets together! And hopefully it will make you smile just a bit! 🙂
Day One! First stop: a cute little barbecue place called Peace ‘n Hominy and then on to the Billy Graham Library for the rest of the day! Day Two! We went into town and grabbed some coffee and then went to the park across the street for a little while! Yes, most of us are technically adults, but that didn’t keep us from playing like the kids! Lunch on this day was from The String Bean and it was so good! All of us thoroughly enjoyed our food! After lunch, my parents and Hannah headed to visit her horse Simeon who is being trained not too far from where we were staying. The rest of us hung out at the Airbnb and decided to “adventure” for a while in the backyard! This swing was so much fun! Shawn liked this one better! Our Airbnb was a farm and so we visited the cows that lived in the barn behind the house! I’ve never seen more photogenic cows, like ever! They were really hamming it up for the camera! This is my favorite! The dogwoods were in bloom in North Carolina! So pretty! We got off the beaten path, climbed a fence and went for a walk down a gravel path no too far from the house! It was fun to explore a little bit! Then we found some amazing light and a great tree, so I decided to give Md a little lesson on framing and composition! This was what resulted and I think I’m going to be using these “headshots” pretty much everywhere now! ha ha! This one may be a little out of focus, but it’s definitely still my favorite! Never underestimate the power of a fence post and a timer to capture a group when there’s not enough hands! I love this one! Honestly, I didn’t think it was going to turn out.. the light was rough. But I’m so glad it did!! I think it looks like film. Now for all the fun pictures of our Airbnb! This place was absolutely gorgeous and totally could be found on the cover of a home decor magazine! So naturally, I had to photograph every little thing! Enjoy! Pizza for dinner! On the last day, we set up my camera on a tripod and got a few family pictures! We never get everyone in front of the camera!
Since Hannah was off riding her horse when we took swing pictures, she had to get her own right before we left!
A few more of my favorite iPhone pictures from the trip! And some from when we stopped at my Aunt and Uncle’s on the way down!