Lambertville Station Wedding Photos in New Jersey: Jenn & Jeff

One of our favorite weddings this summer took place in a beautiful colonial town on the East Coast, right along the Delaware River: Lambertville, N.J. Two of Dan’s college friends — and former University of Richmond running teammates — were fixing to be hitched. We were honored to be there to photograph the day.

But there’s a thing about the East Coast in the summer: It gets rather hot and humid, the latter of which is foreign to anyone who lives in the Rocky Mountains. Still, you couldn’t even really feel it in the excitement surrounding the last few hours of preparation before Jeff and Jenn met each other down the aisle.

Both the ceremony and the reception took place at Lambertville Station. And the town surrounding the place was as perfect an East Coast enclave you could ask for, rich in Revolutionary War and U.S. colonial history.

Beautiful colors, natural light and the joy and laughter expressed by both Jenn and Jeff throughout the day made this wedding a delight to document. Jenn and Jeff: We love you both, and wish you many happy years together!

Lambertville Wedding Photography: Wedding of Jenn Ennis and Jeff Strojny at Lambertville Station on July 18, 2015, in Lambertville, New Jersey. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/A&D Photography)

Lambertville Wedding Photography: Wedding of Jenn Ennis and Jeff Strojny at Lambertville Station on July 18, 2015, in Lambertville, New Jersey. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/A&D Photography)

Lambertville Station Wedding Photography: Wedding of Jenn Ennis and Jeff Strojny at Lambertville Station on July 18, 2015, in Lambertville, New Jersey. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/A&D Photography)

Lambertville Wedding Photography: Wedding of Jenn Ennis and Jeff Strojny at Lambertville Station on July 18, 2015, in Lambertville, New Jersey. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/A&D Photography)

Lambertville Wedding Photography: Wedding of Jenn Ennis and Jeff Strojny at Lambertville Station on July 18, 2015, in Lambertville, New Jersey. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/A&D Photography)

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Maroon Bells Engagement Photos in Aspen: Kevin and Ellery

Maroon Bells engagement photos for Sept. 19, 2015, in Aspen, Colorado.This is a session that I hold near and dear to my heart. First of all, the groom-to-be is my cousin, Kevin, so I’m perhaps a little biased. Our families grew up just a few streets over from each other which meant many holidays and Super Bowls and birthdays were spent running around backyards, all the cousins in a pack playing games and joking around. My siblings and I had a really wonderful childhood, and having our cousins right down the street was a huge part of that.

Second, Kevin has found the most fabulous and lovely gal to share his life with, and getting a chance to spend an afternoon with the two of them was a true delight. We shared a lot of laughs as we chased the quickly fading light, and despite the stress of being stuck at a ranger station because of insufficient parking while we watched the sun slip, slip, slip behind the mountains, we still managed to have a wonderful time.

Third, look at Colorado in the fall! It is glorious and beautiful.

So let’s get into it.

Maroon Bells engagement photos for Sept. 19, 2015, in Aspen, Colorado.

Maroon Bells engagement photos for Sept. 19, 2015, in Aspen, Colorado.

Those are the Maroon Bells featured there so nobly behind Ellery and Kevin. The fall colors have been a bit sporadic in Colorado this year, due to frost and a very wet summer, but we still managed to find some of those vibrant yellows to play with.

Maroon Bells engagement photos for Sept. 19, 2015, in Aspen, Colorado.

Engagement of Kevin Stuth and Ellery Kendrick

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Engaged to be Married — Anya and Dan

Engagement of Anya Semenoff and Daniel Petty on the Shaffer Trail in Ken Caryl, Colo., on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2012. (Photo by Daniel Petty)

“What are you doing?!”

Normally, we’re focused on celebrating and planning and being with couples who have recently become engaged and are preparing for marriage — and looking to find a photographer for their wedding.

On Saturday, we found ourselves in reversed roles.

As I told Anya 7,000 feet atop the Shaffer Trail in Ken Caryl Valley just outside Littleton, Colo., on Saturday, kneeling on a rock with a ring in by hand and a PocketWizard in the other (more on that later), I felt even before we were dating that I would ask her to marry me. We’ve known each other for nearly 3 1/2 years and been together for 2 1/2 years, part of that spent photographing weddings for our own A&D Photography.

So how did we get here?

I sent a message to Anya’s sister Emily in early December as I started looking at different rings. But before I proposed, there were a few things I needed to address. First, I asked and graciously received a blessing from her family and parents a few days before Christmas, right before I left for the East coast to visit family and friends. Second, we visited Florida over Christmas to see my grandparents — whom I wanted Anya to meet before I made it official.

Like the sane individuals we are, we planned to drive after the visit from Florida to New Jersey to be with my family there (Anya’s idea, I swear). We drove for 24 hours through 11 different states, with an overnight stop in western North Carolina, plus a train from Philadelphia to Trenton, N.J., to get to our destination. My college cross country coach, Steve Taylor, once told me — while relaying the story about how he knew his wife was right — that you learn much from a person by being confined in a car with them for a few days traveling. We hadn’t been on a road trip this long, and Anya had never seen any part of the southern United States. Anya’s a trooper: Long hours in the car, way too many rest stops to count, but a drive through some of the most beautiful land stretching through this country. The trip felt right and didn’t feel forced (and hey, we made it out alive!)

Anya actually thought I might propose along the way, which I expected (and no, I wasn’t going to that, because I wanted it to really be a surprise). By then, I had selected a ring that was being shipped from Denver to New Jersey, just in case I decided to propose there.

We arrived at my parents’ home and then the next day jumped on a train to New York City (no rest for the weary, eh?) to meet friends and see Coldplay and Jay-Z perform in Brooklyn on New Year’s Eve. I had told her in Florida this was her Christmas present — which I knew would be another disappointment — though she reacted with both excitement and smiles when I told her. When we left on Jan. 3, I packed the ring in my carry-on bag, successfully got it through TSA and carried it home (I was sweating going through security).

Now for the details: Days earlier, I had asked if she wanted to go on a hike in the valley of her childhood home — offering the reason that my dad, grandmother and mother had all overfed me during the trip (which was true) and that I needed to get a good climb in to work off some calories (also true). She’ll tell you that she thought I was crazy for wanting to hike in early January, with snow on the ground, little light and temperatures hovering near freezing. But the plan was set: We would hike on Jan. 5.

I consulted with one of my photography friends, Justin Edmonds, about the possibility of planting a photographer near the top to capture the moment. With little time, I scouted out the trail early that Saturday morning (telling Anya I needed to go for a run before our hike). And after hiking up part of the trail, and recalling the last time Anya and I had done the hike, I decided it would be too hard to get a photographer with a giant lens up to the top, scrambling over rocks. So, it would have to come down to me, a tripod, cameras and PocketWizards to capture the moment.

Our journey began in earnest in the early afternoon, later than I had hoped. We followed the long way to the lookout point — where it’s easy to see the valley where Anya grew up, the city of Denver in the distance and be in relative solitude. Anya had tried a few times to offer excuses for why we shouldn’t go or why we should turn back early, echoing those sentiments to her sisters and brother, all of whom knew about the plan ahead of time. Her entire family did wonderfully keeping the secret.

I had strapped a tripod to my backpack, which was filled with two PocketWizards — remotes used to trigger cameras without someone standing behind the lens — a camera, 17-35mm lens, a motordrive cord, a bottle of champagne, two plastic cups, and the ring — zipped in the left pocket of my red jacket. We moved quickly. I was growing increasingly concerned that the light was fading too fast, because the last place you want to be is on a trail where curious mountain lions roam once dusk sets in. Anya probably thought I was crazy for pushing as hard as I did, though I did my best to keep a straight face despite the possibilities racing through my mind. I offered the feeble excuse that I wanted to start hiking this late in the day because “I knew the light would be good for pictures.”

To normal people, that remark might sound eccentric, but it’s not too far-fetched for me — not crazy enough to arouse any more than an eye-roll from Anya. I explained the tripod away by saying I wanted to take a real self-portrait this time, not a “selfie” with the camera either in my hand or precariously placed on a distant rock. Again, she bought it.

We trudged through snow, ice, a prairie dog field and up the mountain, through evergreens and Aspen tree fields, shade and sun. At one point, we were certain we were lost, but re-found the trail (who needs a map anyway?). Finally, after two hours, with me sweating profusely, we made it to our clearing and rock outcrop near some campgrounds with no other people in sight.

Anya hurried me along, asking me to set the tripod quickly so we could descend before dusk. But by now, the light was nearly perfect. I set up the camera with her on the rock, adjusted the lens, fired off a few shots with the remote in my hand, then walked next to her, took a photo of me standing next to her — again with the remote, and then told her, “I need to go back to make sure it’s exposed and focused correctly.” It was my chance to see if the picture had turned out. I looked at the back of the camera, then told her, “We need to take just one more.”

Finally, it was my big moment. By then, I was too tired from hiking to really stop and think too much more about what I was about to do (I had been rehearsing in my head the entire way up). And instead of standing next to her again, I knelt down on one knee, which prompted these romantic words from Anya:

“What are you doing?!”

Engagement of Anya Semenoff and Daniel Petty on the Shaffer Trail in Ken Caryl, Colo., on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2012. (Photo by Daniel Petty)

She says yes.

If I hadn’t convinced her before the hike I was crazy, this was it. I pulled the ring out of my left pocket, opened it, put it in my right hand and the held the remote trigger in my left, away from the camera, and asked if she would do me the honor of being my wife. We met in the Denver Post newsroom, and weeks and months after that day in September 2009, after I finally convinced her to go on a date with me, I remember leaving the cafe and thinking: “I’m going to marry her someday.” I had never told her that before.

At some point between the tears gathering in her eyes, the hands touching her face in shock and surprise, and the shutter from the camera firing off way too frequently during my speech, she said, “Yes.”

The hike was (and I know this is going to sound trite) a metaphor for what I believe life will be: Some days I’ll be leading the way up the mountain, some days she’ll be. Sometimes we’ll traverse flat parts and open spaces where the path is easy to see and anticipate. Other times, you’re left unsure of what’s ahead, walking through thick forest in deep snow, occasionally having to ask others for help and guidance along the way. Eventually, you make it to the top so you can look back on everything that life gave you. But it’s always while working together — and never too far from each other.

So here we are. Anya Elise Semenoff is my better half. I say that without reservation and hesitation. In fact, I’d probably be living in the back room of the windowless Denver Post video studio if it weren’t for her influence, patience, steady guidance and encouragement. She celebrates my successes, and I celebrate hers. She picks me up during my disappointments and I — imperfectly at many times — try to do the same for her.

We are a team. We’re already best friends, and now instead of also just being business partners, we’ll be life partners, too.

Oh, and thanks to remote cameras and PocketWizards for making the images possible. 😉

Edit: For those asking, there was no photographer taking these pictures. I had a remote trigger in my left hand, away from view, pressing a button that fired the camera several times per second. I took nearly 200 frames in the span of a few minutes.

Engagement of Anya Semenoff and Daniel Petty on the Shaffer Trail in Ken Caryl, Colo., on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2012. (Photo by Daniel Petty)


Editor’s Note (OK, that’s just fancy talk to give me an excuse to say hi): Hello, all! Anya here. I just wanted to pop in and offer my own thanks and gratitude to you all for your support and love. Dan took me by complete surprise this Saturday, but what a happy shock! We couldn’t be more excited. Thank you especially to my family and Dan’s for giving Dan their unwavering compassion as he planned what I can only imagine was a nerve-wracking moment for him. We love you all so much. 

p.s. For those of you wondering, yes, I thought Dan was completely insane leading up to him getting down on one knee. OK, and maybe a bit after that, too. I think somewhere in the middle of his proposal I babbled something to the affect of, “I can’t believe you’re still snapping pictures!” as the shutter clicked over and over each time he hit the remote button. Luckily, I think our individual brands of crazy mesh well. I saw this quote once that said, “All you need is someone who joins in on your weirdness.” I couldn’t agree more. All right, we’ll be back soon with more photography posts and tales of our own wedding planning (mis)adventures!


Boulder engagement photography: Grace and Joey

I remember very distinctly when Grace told me about Joey. We were working at the same copy shop on campus, I believe during our junior year of college. She told me about this guy, a friend of a friend, who kept giving her all sorts of attention — sitting near her when they went out in big groups, urging her to hang out more frequently, asking her out on a date.

And she couldn’t stand it. She just didn’t feel the right connection with him, and wished he would take a hint.

Well, given time, Joey did take that hint and gave Grace the space she wanted. I think we were both rather surprised when she one day told me that she sort of missed him. And that maybe she did like him. And perhaps she should give this a chance. Joey, with his patient heart, was more than happy to do so.

And now, several years later, they are engaged to be married. I am beyond thrilled to be photographing Grace and Joey’s wedding next summer. Grace is one of my dearest friends, and I’m honored that she asked us to take part in her celebration.

Last weekend we went up to Boulder to photograph an engagement session. We got a little late fall color and a lot of really beautiful moments between these two.



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Denver engagement photography: Lindsay and Chris

I’m a city girl at heart. (Except for when I’m in the mountains, because there’s no beating them. Of course, the beach is pretty darn irreplaceable, too…conflict!) So when Lindsay and Chris decided to shoot their engagement photos in lower downtown Denver (LoDo for those in the know), we were extremely excited to immerse ourselves in the urban landscape.

We had a bit of an expiring light problem due to a few delaying factors outside of our control, but these two were total champs (as well as their pup, Ewing) and owned this engagement session.

Lindsay and Chris: We can’t wait to photograph your wedding next summer! Thanks for exploring LoDo with us!

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Princeton, N.J.: Wedding of Brian and Lauren

We had just finished photographing the bridal party formal shots, and miracle of miracles, we had extra time to play with before the reception started. Lauren, who deserves all credit for orchestrating this well-planned wedding day, took a look around at all of us as we stood in the shade, trying desperately to stay cool in the hot, summer, New Jersey day and said, “I could go for some ice cream right now.”

Who could object to an idea like that?

Lauren and Brian’s wedding day gave us many great elements to work with: great venues, beautiful weather, an impromptu stop at an ice cream shop, and most importantly an amazing couple.

To the two of you: Thank you, thank you! You were a dream to work with. May you have many happy years ahead.


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Princeton Wedding Preview: Brian and Lauren

I’m writing to you tonight from New Jersey, on the eve of another east coast wedding. As such it seemed only fitting to give you a little sneak peak of the last wedding we shot out in these parts: Brian and Lauren’s Princeton, N.J. wedding.

We had a really fantastic time with these two, and I’m looking forward to showing you a more complete overview of their wedding.

Until then, here are a couple of shots that Dan captured that day. I love them for their fine art quality — they almost look like paintings.

I hope you’re doing well, my friends. More soon! Love, -anya


Chautauqua Park Wedding Photography: Brice and Jamie

Her father admitted, as he held a glass of chilled champagne, that when he first heard of her plan, he thought, “This would make a great romantic comedy.”

She was moving to Colorado and needed a place to live for her and her dog; he was looking to rent out his basement. Sight unseen, man unmet, she signed a lease, and at the Chautauqua Dining Hall in May, her father’s romantic comedy prediction came true.

Brice and Jamie have a love story that you wouldn’t expect existed outside of Hollywood (come on, it’s not every day that you find your future husband on Craigslist!) but it’s as true and beautiful a story as you’ll ever find.

Brice and Jamie: Dan and I had a great time documenting your Chautauqua Park wedding — despite the uncooperative weather! Thank you for letting us be a part of it! — Anya

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Chautauqua Wedding Photography: Brice and Jamie preview

There seems to be a theme in our engagement photos and weddings so far this summer season: rain. Not exactly what you might expect to be up against as a photographer in a notoriously dry state.

However, part of being a photographer is thinking on your feet and making do with what you’ve got. No amount of reverse-psychology rain dancing will make the weather change its mind (though don’t think I haven’t considered giving it a shot!). So, when the rain started to fall for Brice and Jamie’s Chautauqua wedding a few weekends ago — forcing them to move their ceremony inside — we all just went with it. Their ceremony was still beautiful, their excitement absolutely palpable, and no amount of rain could dampen their elation to be promising a lifetime to one another. They were exactly the kind of clients you’d want in that situation. Therefore, when the rain finally let up and we were able to shoot their portraits outside, it was just icing on the cake.

Here is just one shot of the resulting sunshine. More coming! –anya