Lifestyle

The Perks of Being Back East – Our Day Upstate

Day Trip Upstate | Cold Spring NY | Pound Ridge NY | Apollo Fields Wedding Photographers | Family Photos | 6 Month Pictures

One of the perks of being back east is reconnecting with friends that I’ve known from different walks of life. After our blogs about the ectopic pregnancy, I had so many women reach out to me to share their own stories, check in, or just say hello. Watching those connections happen was one of the many reasons that speaking so openly about our situation was the right decision for us. One of the sweet messages that I received was from an old friend, Julia, who was a few years ahead of me at The Ethel Walker School. She extended an invite to her farmhouse in Pound Ridge, NY to share a meal and good conversation. Catching up with Julia Johnson, talented food stylist, was nothing short of a great day spent.

We had a crazy cold spell last week in NY and this day was at the threshold of those freezing days. It was that east coast kind of cold that goes straight to your bones and bites you right in the face. It makes cozy homes seem like a paradise which is exactly how Julia’s farmhouse felt. A few years ago, she and her husband purchased this old home that was in need of a lot more than a simple facelift. They did tons of work on the house to bring it back up to code and stay within the historical society’s legislation. The whole design was executed by them and you could see Julia’s vision throughout the whole home. One of my favorite features were the big front-facing windows that let the sunlight flood each room. Bright and airy walls with minimalist decor are a photographer’s dream! I kept thinking to myself that I couldn’t believe how immaculate everything was despite having a baby and an adorable dog, Miles!

We arrived to the cozy, warm home that smelled so so good – Julia had cooked up a few fresh loaves of focaccia, one for lunch and one for us to take home (we ate half of it on the drive back)! She had prepared a delicious and fresh salad, and we sat in the best company just catching up over a delicious meal and hot coffee. Her daughter, Eliza, had just turned six months and we quickly realized that she was not only a beautiful baby, but so easy going and full of life. We only snapped photos for a few minutes before it was time for her nap, but it was so great to be able to capture their little lives and be able to give them these photos of their joyful home.

Photography: Apollo FIelds

Location: Pound Ridge, NY

"Did you guys miss New York?"

New York City Wedding Photographers | Colorado Weddings | Apollo Fields Photojournalism | NYC Photography


“Did you guys miss New York?”

This is one of those questions we have been asked by everyone since moving back East.  And it’s a good question, but the answer is complicated… When we moved to Colorado in 2016, we were veryready to move.  But it wasn’t because we hated NYC, it was just time.  It was time to be in nature and time to be in an unknown place together.  Big moves like that can make or break a relationship, and for us I guess we got lucky. 

When I first moved to New York City a few years before that, I barely knew anyone and the people that I did know were in different boroughs.  Despite always having the city close by, the UWS was as much of a mystery to me as if I had moved to Los Angeles by myself.  I learned a lot about myself in that first year while I was getting my MA and living in a tiny studio apartment on 105thStreet.  It was just me and Riddle, a mini fridge, an oven that leaked Carbon Monoxide, and a sort-of-view of the Hudson River if you hung your head out of the prison-sized window.  

I was still living in that death trap of an apartment when I met Terrence.  I was riding out my lease before moving farther uptown, but I can still remember one of our first dinners together there. We were eating on the couch because I only had one dining room chair and Terrence was cautioning me about how he didn’t eat onions, fish, tomatoes, etc.  I had no idea how to feed such a picky eater, so I just went ahead cooking like I normally did anyway.  How far we’ve come since those days.  
 

For as much as I learned about myself being single in NYC, I think we learned as much about each other when we made the move to the mountains together.  We had very few connections in CO when we first moved and had to learn how to lean on one another in ways that we hadn’t before. Even though we had lived together in New York, we always had additional roommates (such is life in Manhattan). We had a very familiar neighborhood in New York filled to the brim with drinking buddies, walk-able pubs, and enough libations to stay busy until 4am any time we felt like it.  

We landed in Colorado and everything quieted down.  We only had each other and our little cottage.  We found ourselves less intrigued by urban life and much more content hanging at a local brewery in town with a couple beers and a board game.  We got bikes and went hiking, we spent afternoons at the dog park and evenings cuddled up on our couch.  Life was good and it was hard to miss NYC at that time. 
 

We were still flying back East multiple times a year for weddings and holidays.  We were always happy to come back to familiar faces and good ethnic food.  Distance helps you weed out the drinking buddies and bring family to the surface, or at least that was the case for us.  Don’t get me wrong, we can still throw back a few shots at a dive bar, but suddenly, we were more interested in making a push for spending time with our siblings instead.     
 

Our decision to move back was multidimensional.  We are looking to buy a farm to turn into a wedding venue and the numbers just weren’t adding up in Colorado.  The real estate market there was pretty volatile: we were part of a huge boom of fellow transplants making the Rocky Mountain move and we got in too late.  By the time we were ready to look at properties, everything was selling above already-high asking prices.  Zoning was a nightmare, and anything with a mountain view was just plain cost prohibitive.  With the average all-in price of a CO wedding coming in at $26k and NY suburbs at roughly $65k+, we weren’t about to take that kind of business risk just to keep our beloved mountains in our backyard.  
 

So as you all know, at the end of September we packed up our little cottage into our Highlander and drove back East.  Animals and cameras in tow, we hit the ground running—getting married, wrapping up busy season, and honeymooning in Jamaica while settling into a new house.  We are finally slowing down (but not for long). 

We’ve moved into a cute yellow house in East Northport, five minutes from Terrence’s dad and stepmom. We went from a 550sq foot cottage to a real house, which after a few Salvation Army raids is beginning to feel like a home.  We are living well by Long Island standards:  fenced-in backyard, walking distance to the LIRR, and a ten-minute drive to the North Shore.  

Despite being an hour train or car ride from the city, this is a very different lifestyle than when we were actually living in NYC.  We are very much in a commuter / family town.  The delis and pizzerias are good, but that’s about it in the way of local flavor and small town charm.  It is nice to be closer to family again.  We have been into the city a few times and it’s been great.  We hit The Whitney for the Andy Warhol exhibit and gorged ourselves on international food.  We ride the subways like nothing has changed, and traversed up and down the blocks with the sharp cold air lingering on our cheeks.  

New York will always be our city, even though if we’re being honest I don’t think I’ll ever live in it again.  It doesn’t fit our lifestyle, business trajectory, or relationship anymore. In a perfect world, we won’t be on Long Island for very long, either.  We would love to end up on a farm in Bucks County PA or upstate NY. We have big dreams of hosting weddings, homesteading, and photographing more and more amazing couples.  We envision an old barn, a big fireplace, chickens and kiddos running through the fields, and a labor-of-love property that gives us as much as we give it.  

So the short answer is, yes we missed New York but we also miss Colorado.  We like walking through museums as well as walking up mountains.  We love our family here and love our friends in CO.  We miss the big western skies and the “300 days of sunshine” that we got so used to.  But we’re glad to get a decent bagel again.  We are lucky because we get to experience such a range of landscapes, and because of our business, we don’t have to choose one or the other.  We get to go back to the Rockies for work and play, and in the meantime we are stoked to start to look to the future to find the quirky farm venue that will turn into the biggest passion project we’ve taken on so far.  

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Erica & Matt's Romantic Engagement Session at Standley Lake

Erica & Matt's Romantic Engagement Session | Standley Lake, Arvada | Colorado Engagement Photography | Adventure Wedding Photographer | Rocky Mountain Photos | Apollo Photojournalism

Erica and Matt had an epic engagement session showered with beautiful golden light.  It was a photographer's dream!  As I was driving to Standley Lake, I could see the sun getting closer to the horizon and I knew we had timed the session perfectly.  We snagged some fun family shots of them with their two children dirt biking, which is one of their favorite things to do together.  The kids had a blast and hammed up the camera, making my job easy as we just hung out together snapping pics.  

I love when my couples bring their kiddos along to engagement sessions!  It makes the kids feel like they are a part of the wedding and they feel like an important part of the family.  Plus, the pics are so cute!  After we did their lifestyle shots, the kids ran around the lake and Erica and Matt changed into their formalwear.  Her red dress was the perfect pop to the dramatic landscape.  

I just adore the emotion and movement in these photos!  I look at their gallery and I feel like I really know who Erica and Matt are just by the love they have for each other, and the sweet way that they play with one another and how happy their kids are.  

We had such a great time enjoying the beautiful views while the sun set, and I got to snap away while Erica and Matt loved up on each other.  I always encourage my couples to take advantage of an engagement session, even if they don't feel like they "need" it, it's a great chance to get in front of my camera and gives them a chance to feel comfortable working with me.  Plus, I think it's actually really fun.  My couples will often tell me before our session how they don't like having their photos taken, or that they feel awkward in front of the camera, or they promise me that they are un-photogenic.  

One of my brides for this season gave me a half-smile and just said, "good luck" to me when she got in front of my camera for her engagement photos.  I love a challenge, so I secretly got really excited when she thought she wouldn't look good in any of her pictures.  My favorite part is delivering the galleries and then getting their feedback.  "Oh my god, I don't know how you did it", she exclaimed!  "I'm speechless".  

Hearing that kind of excitement from clients who don't think they photograph well is what I love so much about my job.  Everyone deserves to have photos that they love and are proud of!  

Colorado Adventure Photography:  Erny Photo CO | Apollo Photo

Location:  Standley Lake | Arvada, CO

Our Engagement Session

Our Engagement Session | Arvada, CO | In-Home Engagement Photos | Apollo Fields Wedding Photographers

Ever since we got engaged, everyone has been asking "who is going to be your photographer!?" And rightfully so... We are lucky to have so many photog friends that this is simultaneously a hard and easy question to answer!  I wanted something more intimate and laid back than traditional engagement photos for us to have so it only felt right to do an in-home session with the lovely and talented Sarah Valencia Photography.  

We met Sarah briefly in Kansas City while visiting friends, and she was coincidentally moving to Denver.  Her style is both engaging and unobtrusive.  We spent most of the time just lounging around and laughing with each other.  We casually made dinner and ate together and Sarah snapped away as we just played games, cuddled with our pups, and cracked a couple beers.  It goes without saying that we highly recommend her for her personality, aesthetic eye, and charming company.  

This type of engagement session felt super personalized and unique, which is why we both really enjoyed taking the pictures.  In every way, it reflected our relationship: cozy, fun, sentimental (I could go on-and-on)!  Without getting too sappy, our everyday life is so good, and these pictures represent all of that for me.  We have this balance that just seems to work.  I'm lucky...

We've also created this home together, and the reality is, we're not going to be here forever.  In fact, if all goes as planned, we'll be moving on sooner-rather-than-later from this little cottage that we have been renting for the last 1.5 years.  We have hopes to purchase our own place and big dreams to fill for our next home.  But in the meantime, this little cottage on Cody Street has become so much our own and I love that these pictures tell our story of us in our home that we have created.  

When we first moved into this house, it was blue.  The window frames were also blue.  And the inside walls?  Bright blue.  We quickly got hold of some paint and rollers and repainted every square inch of the house.  It then began to fill up with quirky second hand pieces of furniture that we renovated.  And then it began to fill up with plants, photographs, memories, and eventually more pets.  

So now what?  We are keeping wedding planning simple, heartfelt, and wholesome.  We aren't cluttering our plans with tons of vendors, unnecessary purchases, or timelines.  We are, however, looking to spend real quality time with the people we love the most.  We want to share adventures and dances with them.  We want to laugh and love alongside our friends and family and can assure you that we will be having fun the whole time. 

Love,
Heather & Terrence