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While shopping for greeting cards two years ago, I walked into Nota Bene, a fine paper boutique near my home in Aspinwall. I was impressed by the incredible collection of custom invitations. If you’ve ever shopped for a wedding invitation or holiday card online, everything looks flat, making it difficult to choose what card you want. You may be asking “what is the difference between these invitations?” and “what is letterpress?”

At Nota Bene, you can sit down in their showroom and view thousands of actual samples. While you’re there, you can also find personalized stationary, personalized wedding gifts, and greeting cards. This year I returned to Nota Bene to take some photographs for their new website. I’m still impressed!

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At this year’s Turkey Bowl (our eighth year!) we saw that Rich still doesn’t the rules to Rock, Paper, Scissors. If you look at his face in the photo, you’ll see that he’s suppressing a laugh. He’s either a bad liar or he really wants to win.

We also saw our first injury, someone finally invited Kevin, and the blue team defeated team “too much mustard.” Or did they? Let the countdown begin to next year’s game!

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Coordinating a vacation for a family of working adults isn’t easy, but it is nearly impossible when only one of them has a nine-to-five job. When the others are photographers, contractors, and a nurse, it takes a while to find the right time to get out of town. Nicki was planning to run a half marathon (spoiler alert, she did it!) in Arches National Park at the end of October, so we all hopped onto the first part of her trip out west.

We started at the incredible Albuquerque International Balloon Festival in Albuquerue, New Mexico. The balloon launch happens at dawn on select days of the festival. The following photos were collected during two different days of the event.

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At the Sandia Peak Tramway, the view was great! Until we made our way into the clouds where there wasn’t much to see.

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Four Corners. Family of four.

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Our next stop was Glen Canyon and Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon is slot canyon (a tall, narrow canyon) located on Navajo land near Page, Arizona. We took a guided tour of the Upper Slot Canyon  and a somewhat more adventurous tour of the Lower Slot Canyon–with stairs and ladders!

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(Below is one of four iPhone photos in this post. Can you spot the others?)

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Horseshoe Bend

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Our trip took us to a few small towns where light pollution is limited. It was the perfect time to practice some wide-field Astrophotography. Here are some of the many, many, many practice shots of the night sky near Monument Valley.

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Our final stop was Arches National Park. Such a great trip!!

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  • SisterDecember 9, 2014 - 23:07

    Sister!! These are great!!

  • BradDecember 9, 2014 - 23:17

    Super jealous of your experience. Awesome pictures!

  • DarcyDecember 10, 2014 - 20:40

    These are so pretty they look fake. I’m starting to think maybe you didn’t go at all! Those nighttime shots are unreal. I love them all!

  • Rich dembskiDecember 10, 2014 - 22:07

    First time I saw the ones from Antelope
    canyon with the shadows and the night time photos are unreal.

Caitlin and Steven were setup on a date by their mothers. It sounds old-fashioned, especially since their mothers were childhood friends. Steven had traveled in Egypt with the help of some travel guides. Since Caitlin was planning to study abroad in Egypt, their moms thought that they should get together to exchange books and information. Caitlin did receive the books before her trip, but she and Steven didn’t meet until her semester was over. When she returned to Pittsburgh, Steven had no interest in meeting “some college girl” in Pittsburgh, but he was eager to hear about her trip that coincided with the Egyptian Revolution 0f 2011. Obviously, they both had something interesting the share and their moms had a good idea to get them together. Maybe they’ll make it back to Egypt some day!?

Caitlin and Steven were married at St Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland. After the wedding, we stopped for some wedding portraits in perfect fall light in Schenley Park. Our next stop was Carnegie Museum for a few more portraits where they were nearly (!)  crushed by a piano.  Thankfully they survived for their grand entrance into the stunning Carnegie Music Hall Foyer. Steven Vance provided the evening’s entertainment including a jazz trio and fantastic live music performance. Guests had a great time at the reception. I’ll be posting more proof later this week when I share some of their photos from ShotBox.

Thank you to Nicki for providing such excellent photography and lighting assistance throughout the day.

Congratulations, Steven and Caitlin!

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  • Anna MarkovichDecember 5, 2014 - 10:08

    Good Morning,

    I am the grooms mother and am overwhelmed by the pictures. You are indeed a genius at photography. Take Care and again thank you for the beautiful pictures.

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