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How many photos can we take in sixty seconds? Apparently way more than I thought! I was so excited to finally get to visit Craggy Gardens in Asheville, NC. Due to the weather in NC, our photo shoot with Jenny & Bryan of had gotten rescheduled twice already! The weather report said there was a chance this time and we took it!
Jenny & Bryan are the amazing videographers behind HeartIsTree Studios! We made sure we had plenty of time to shoot and got to Asheville early, met for dinner, and started to drive up the mountin. As we drove things started to look sketch. Up until that point it had been sunny with short passing rain storms that lasted 5 minutes at most. I was confident that was all we would get at Craggy. However, the further we went up the mountain, the darker the clouds got, and my heart started to sink. We arrived at the Craggy Gardens visitor center minutes before the storm engulfed us. Even then, we risked the rain and started to shoot. As you can guess, it didn’t take long for the sprinkles to turn into a water fall of rain and we ran back to our cars.
A light rain we actually welcome. We love shooting in it and creating some epic photographs! But, when it down pours and lightening strikes, we know it’s not safe for us and our gear! So back down the mountain we drove, discouraged but not broken!
We’ve already made plans for another attempt in just a few weeks! I’m now more excited to make it to the pinnacle of Craggy Gardens. Jenny & Bryan’s range of emotion in sixty seconds is spectacular. I especially love the series where you can see Jenny & Bryan’s reaction to the pouring rain! Priceless!
I’m so happy we tried to get this session done. Not only did we get some serious quality time with two new friends, but we have a hilarious story to share with everyone! One day we will conquer Craggy! I promise!



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A Quick Craggy Gardens Rainy Photo Shoot – Jenny & Bryan

A Black and white image of a couple kissing at Doughton Park near Sparta, NC. Photo by Mabyn Ludke


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Doughton Park

Selecting the right location for your session is way more important than one might think. It adds layers of depth and attachment that don’t happen with the pretty park down the road. We searched and searched for the perfect location for Casey & Andrew’s anniversary session. One night, Andrew told us a story of this amazing park his family visits every year. We knew immediately this was the perfect spot! Not only did it have epic views of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but it had immense personal value to these two. We even ran into Andrew’s father & grandmother while we were scoping out the best place to shoot! The love for this place is still strong with the whole family.
I got to meet Casey & Andrew for the very first time while visiting Wilksboro, NC this time last year. Daniel & Andrew have been friends & fellow musicians for years. After our encounter last year, I knew we needed to capture their relationship. These two are the perfect blend of silly & sweet and it’s easy to tell why they adore each other. Their photo shoot became a mini reunion where we caught up, told stories, and snag some awesome photos too! What a great way to spend a Sunday evening!



Couple walks hand in hand on top of a mountain at Doughton Park in the Blue Ridge Parkway, NC. Photo by Mabyn Ludke.

When we first arrived at Doughton Park, we hiked up the top of the hillside and were rewarded by this super cool tree. I couldn’t help but want to add his gnarled branches into the background. It’s such a great contrast to these two & their love.

A couple kisses a top the Blue Ridge Parkway near Sparta, NC. Mabyn Ludke Photography.

The day was so beautiful & clear, the perfect conditions to see mountains for days! Those Appalachian mountains get me every time!

A Black and white image of a couple kissing at Doughton Park near Sparta, NC. Photo by Mabyn Ludke

Wind always makes a beautiful photograph epic! Just a little ruffle of the hair and this moment just takes my breath away!

A couple hugs a top Doughton Park overlooking the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC. Mabyn Ludke Photography.

At first Casey & Andrew didn’t know how to pose or what to do with their hands. It took a little nudging, but once they realized that all they had to do was be themselves & love each other, well nothing else was needed!

Black and White photo of a couple looking over the Blue Ridge Parkway at Doughton Park in NC. Photography by Mabyn Ludke

Andrew & Daniel use to play in the band Hot Vegas together. I dubbed this shot Casey & Andrew’s album cover for whenever they choose to start up their own band. 😉

Married couple snuggles atop the breathtaking Blue Ridge Parkway near Sparta, NC. Photography by Mabyn Ludke.

Or they may choose just to snuggle each other for life in stead…I guess that’s okay too!

An excited couple celebrate their wedding anniversary at Doughton Park in the Appalachain Mountains of North Carolina. Mabyn Ludke Photography.

This is joy! Just beautiful, loving joy!

This married couple is jumping for joy in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Photography by Mabyn.

I saw this spot of negative space and I couldn’t help myself. I don’t have couples do the jump shot often, but if anywhere was a perfect spot THIS was it!

Mabyn Ludke Photography captured a sweet moment of a couple celebrating their anniversary at Doughton Park in the mountains of NC.

One of the funniest parts of this entire session was that Andrew directed the entire thing and not in the way you might think. He didn’t tell me what to do, but whenever we took our camera’s further away you’d hear him tell Casey things like “Okay now look into my eyes, now look over there and smile, now kiss me!” He did it over and over and the best part was IT WORKED!

A beautiful woman poses in an elegant red dress and floral crown in the woods of Doughton Park near Sparta, NC. Mabyn Ludke Photography.

Casey brought along this gorgeous red dress that she searched tirelessly for. It was a gorgeous pop of color against the sleeping brown of the woods at Doughton Park.

A beautiful couple embraces in the woods at Doughton Park near Sparta, NC. Photography by Mabyn.

Dark moody woods + gorgeous couple + the perfect light = Mabyn’s happy place! UGH!

An intimate close up of a sweet couple kissing during their anniversary session in the Blue Ridge Parkway of North Carolina. Mabyn Ludke Photography.

Casey has the florist hook up to make her an incredible floral crown! The attention to detail was fantastic and it was the perfect accent to shoot in the woods!

The woods in Doughton Park area beautiful backdrop for this gorgeous couple during their mountain anniversary session in NC. Mabyn Ludke Photography.

This shot is all Daniel! Isn’t he getting good? Dang! He makes his wifey proud!

Mabyn Ludke Photography stayed till sunset as this adorable couple celebrated their anniversary at Doughton Park in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Parkway.

And of course we had to stick around for that gorgeous sunset! This time it was a vibrant orange, the perfect contrast to those blue mountains in the background. Oi…I love my life!

A black and white of a sweet couple keeping warm on a cold evening in the Blue Ridge Parkway of NC. Mabyn Ludke Photography.

This time around the wind was a little quieter than our last mountain session. However, there was just enough of it to give us a beautiful wind blown tendril or two.

Couple kisses atop a mountain cliff in the Blue Ridge Parkway during their anniversary session by Mabyn Ludke Photography

The wind also obliged to give us a couple of epic dress shots! THANK YOU MOTHER NATURE!

An epic view of the Blue Ridge Parkway during this anniversary session at Doughton Park by Mabyn Ludke Photography

I love the contrast in this shot, the dark moody mountains & the sweet emotion in Casey’s “sleep face” as she likes to call it. I like to call it GORGEOUS!

A beautiful woman watches the sunset over the appalachain mountains at Doughton Park North Carolina. Photo by Mabyn Ludke.

I of course had to get Casey up on that mountain top by herself for an epic dress shot. I love you Andrew, but you’re just not as pretty as your wife. 😉

A sweet embrace atop the Blue Ridge Parkway at Doughton Park by a couple celebrating their anniversary session with photograph by Mabyn Ludke

But we’ll add you back in anyway. 😉

The Appalachian mountains create a stunning backdrop for this couple's anniversary session with Mabyn Ludke Photography

This time I wanted to stay a little longer after the sun was gone to capitalize on that rich vibrant sky. We broke out the flashes and created some super cool night shots!

One last embrace at Doughton Park overlooking the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina during a beautiful anniversary session by Mabyn Ludke Photography.

These two were tired after our epic adventure, looking this good takes a lot of energy! Thanks Casey & Andrew for being completely amazing!


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A Doughton Park Anniversary Session I Blue Ridge Parkway I Casey & Andrew

A silly moment in the mountains of NC during Mallory & Peter's engagment session. Photography by Mabyn Ludke.


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Since moving to North Carolina and getting to experience the beautiful Appalachian mountains, I’ve dreamed of getting a couple to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway with. When Mallory & Peter came along, it quickly became clear that they were going to be the perfect couple to realize this dream with their engagement session. Daniel & I were not disappointed! I may still be on a mountain high, because we all know how I get, but this may be my favorite session to date! It was the perfect combination of a beautiful couple letting their guard down for our cameras + one of the most amazing settings in NC – the Blue Ridge Parkway! I think I’ll always swoon over this engagement session!

Getting to know Mallory & Peter, their love for each other, & their dedication to serve & protect this country has been more amazing than I can express. These two have found the real deal in each other and it shows in every single look, smile, and touch. It’s days like this that set my heart on fire for photography. Thank you both for trusting us to be your genuine loving selves!

Mallory & Peter snuggle at the Moses Cone Manor in Blowing Rock, NC

We started the day at Moses Cone Manor in case the weather proved to be nasty. Thankfully everything was sunshine & beautiful! Especially Mallory & Peter’s snuggles. There is nothing more sweet!

Wide shot of an engaged couple at the Moses Cone Manor of Blowing Rock North Carolina

There was an amazing row of giant and beautiful old tree’s lining the road at the Moses Cone Manor & I was drawn to them like a moth to a flame. The were the perfect frame for our sweet couple!

Mallory & Peter walk together while visiting the Moses Cone Manor in North Carolina

Sometimes during a photo shoot we’ll give our clients prompts to get them interacting together. Something and simple as walking down a hill hand in hand can create some gorgeous moments!

Julian Price Lake was a great backdrop for this sweet couple on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Snuggles are my favorite and these two do it so well it’s ridiculous! Add in that gorgeous afternoon sunlight and there is just pure magic going on!

The wind blows gently through Mallory's hair at Julian Price Lake

Our original plans for their engagement session got derailed due to the weather, so when we met up we looked at all of the fun places we could visit on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mallory & Peter loved the idea of having some water in their shots so we ventured over to Julian Price Lake and found it to be most accommodating!

A sweet kiss on the nose at Julian Price Lake in North Carolina

Engagement sessions + nose kisses = melting hearts!

Mallory & Peter walk hand in hand on the Rough Ridge Trail in the mountains of NC

Our third location in our adventure with Mallory & Peter was to climb the Rough Ridge trail. There were so many perfect spots to stop along the way!

Engaged couple make silly faces on the rough ridge trail

I got to snag funny little moments like this one all day long! It’s so much fun being silly together!

Mabyn Ludke Photography captured an amazing engagement session at Rough Ridge in North Carolina

These two are already amazing, but Mallory definitely added bonus points when she blazed the trail in her adorable booties!

Bride smacks her groom's butt at their engagment session

Mallory & Peter had us laughing all day long…case in point.

bride looks lovingly at her groom on the blue ridge parkway

The way these two look at each other…there’s no one else in the entire world!

a sweet embrace during an engagement session on the blue ridge parkway

This engagement session was more than just a dream come true, it is an incredibly important time in the lives of Mallory & Peter. In just a few short weeks they’ll be deployed to serve & protect our country. I couldn’t be more honored to capture a couple and their love and I pray it will bring them comfort during their time apart.

black and white of a couple on the rough ridge trail in NC

Knowing this kind of love is such a gift and Mallory and Peter understand that like few people do. We truly loved every moment we got to spend with them that afternoon.

A silly moment in the mountains of NC during Mallory & Peter's engagment session. Photography by Mabyn Ludke.

After navigating the muddy trail at Rough Ridge we made it to the top where the winds practically howled they were so strong!

The wind blows bride's dress during their mountain engagement session on the blue ridge parkway photos by Mabyn Ludke Photography

See what I mean about rocking those booties? Mallory is something fierce!

an epic view of the appalachain mountains at Mallory & Peter's Rough Ridge engagment session

It was so clear on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you could see for miles!

the sunlight kisses this engaged couple during their photography session in the mountains of North Carolina. Photography by Mabyn Ludke.

Our last stop during their incredible engagement session was at the Beacon Heights trail where we discovered hundreds of amazing spots to shoot!

A sweet embrace on a mountain top in NC by Mabyn Ludke Photography

By that time the sun was on it’s way down and the light just got better and better.

Engaged couple poses for their session on the Beacon Heights Trail in NC. Mabyn Ludke Photography

Look at how the light just filters so beautifully through those trees? It was like butter!

A black and white sillohuette of an engaged couple at Beacon Heights in NC

Beacon Heights offers another spectacular view of the Appalachian mountains, we just can’t handle it!

A romantic kiss on the mountain top at Beacon Heights on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo by Mabyn Ludke Photography

There were mountains and kisses for days on top of Beacon Heights!

A gorgeous mountain view for this engaged couple during their photography session by Mabyn Ludke in the mountains of NC

I’ll never get sick of love & mountains!

The Appalachain Mountains in NC are the perfect backdrop for an engagement session by Mabyn Ludke

A funny story, as we prepared for Mallory & Peter’s engagement session, I got a little distracted by an ad for a beautiful dress. I was considering buying it…guess who wore it to their engagement session? Mallory’s got great taste!

A sunset mountain view during Mallory & Peter's engagment session at Beacon Heights. Photo by Mabyn Ludke.

When Daniel & I visited Beacon Heights a few weeks prior to this shoot, it was at least 15 degrees colder & there were tons of people there trying to capture the sunset. Somehow at Mallory & Peter’s session we got it all to ourselves!

Mabyn Ludke Photography captured this silly moment from Mallory & Peter's Beacon Heights engagement session

We had to push Peter to do this shot a little bit. It’s something they both do on a regular basis, but Peter didn’t want to get makeup on his tongue! These guys were SO funny!

This romantic moment was captured by Mabyn Ludke Photography during Mallory & Peter's Blue Ridge Parkway engagment session

When you’re in love & you let it show, there’s no need for poses. It’s raw & real and we love that!

A romantic sunset kiss during this engagement session on top of the Beacon Heights Trail

This shot looks like it was taken right out of an epic romantic movie doesn’t it? So much happiness!

Mallory & Peter hug as the sun goes down during their Blue Ridge Parkway engagement session by Mabyn Ludke Photography.

This, THIS is why I love engagement sessions people. When else do you get several hours to just breathe each other in? We get so busy in life, everyone needs to hit that pause button and remember why we love!

An epic view of the Appalachain mountains from the top of Beacon Heights during a Mabyn Ludke Photography engagement session

Blue mountains at the end of our Blue Ridge Parkway adventure. Just perfect!



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Blowing Rock Engagement Session – Mallory & Peter