Nicole O'Neil Photography
This client was referred to me by a current client. She wanted a shoot to include her adorable son and daughter and also her niece. When we did the shoot, they were 2.5 yrs, 10 weeks, and about 2 weeks. They have the most beautiful eyes (yes, I do have a slight obsession with eyes). They were all super cute and for 2.5, big brother/cousin was so sweet and cooperative through the long shoot. Enjoy!
Okay, there are a lot in this one post, but I decided it was just easier to fit my last two days into one blog. I had a little bit of a later start since I got in late the night before. I also had to move to the new apartment I was staying in for my last two nights. Once settled, I went back to Portovenere (the place I had taken the night photos the night before) via Ferry. This view is of the Church I had photographed at night and the following ones are from around the town.
The next few are from Riomaggiore when I got back from the Portovenere. I had a little rest down on the harbor and then went off to Monterosso to meet with Connie, my new friend from San Fran. We met the day before on the ferry and since we were both traveling alone, we decided to meet for dinner and drinks. We had an amazing dinner (shocking, I know).
Last day. :( It was a cloudy and rainy day. I went to Monterosso for two reasons. One was that I wanted to start a hike from there to the town of Vernazza. The other was that they were having a lemon festival. Lemons are one of the main things they grow there. There are lemon trees everywhere including right outside their doors and windows. It's awesome. The next bunch are from the lemon festival. They had lots of things made from lemons. I decided to try a torte. It was SO Decadent.
The next bunch of pictures are from the hike I took from Monterosso to Vernazza. It was another great hike with a million stairs and up into the mountains. It wasn't as beautiful as the other big hike, but still good. It rained pretty hard, but a little rain never hurt anyone. The downside was that I couldn't use my camera much during the hike, so less pictures. :)
This is apparently how they get things to and from the gardens up high in the mountain. Yeah, there's no way i'd get on that thing.
The area was devastated by heavy rains and flooding on October 25. Monterosso and Vernazza were affected the most with homes, business, and the main roads being destroyed. The next pictures show this devastation. The first two are of a home that was ruined and the third shows the rebuilding happening.
Next, I wandered through town until grabbing an artichoke pizza for lunch. Individual pizzas are enough for 2-3 people, but they do taste good...as much as you can eat of them at least.
My last really good cappuccino at the local Bar, Bar Centrale.
I spent my last evening shooting pics in the harbor and of the local kids playing. I was totally bummed to have to leave and can't wait to travel again, whether it's to Italy or somewhere else.
I woke up even more sore on Thursday...but only in my calves. So weird. I mean it's not like I don't do stairs. I live on the 2nd and 3rd floor and do the stairmaster. hmmm... Oh well, like in all things, I power through. I woke up at 5:30 to take some pics which I'll have to share another time since I forgot to download them. Then, I went back to bed for an hour and got up to start my day. I started with another omelet and tomatoes but added a "fruit drink" aka a smoothie. BEST smoothie. Seriously.
I decided it was going to be a long day so I started with laying on the beach and reading/listening to music. You'd think this beach would be uncomfortable, but NO. Loved it.
I love how clear and beautiful the water is here.
I took the ferry to the last town, Monterosso after lunch. I was going to meet up with a photographer who has a gallery here. He is popular in this area and has even been in National Geographic. I had met him last year and visited him on Tuesday. He told me that if he brought his car on Thursday, he would bring me to the best spot for night photos. So, it was now Thursday. I also met a new friend on the ferry. Her name is Carrie and she is also traveling alone. We chatted and agreed to try and meet up the next day.
I went to meet the photographer, Mauro. We drove through the countryside which was awesome. We stopped at this church which is the oldest shrine in Liguria. Learn more here: Oldest Shrine
We then went to Portovenere, a beautiful town on the water outside of Cinque Terre. We had amazing pizza and then set out to take pictures. The first is before it was too dark and the rest are after dark. I am still working on my night photography and felt lucky to be with such a talented photographer. I was also happy with the results. :) Mauro told me that the buildings were built so tall and thin because when pirates came in to port, the residents would go all the way to the top and poor things like hot oil down to stop them from coming in. The way they are all connected was also because of protection.
This is the Church of San Pietro, the most sought after church for weddings in this area. It is beautiful and lit up perfectly at night.
We walked up to the top of the church and took pictures of the sky, which was amazing with vivid color, looking back onto Cinque Terre.
To end, we went farther up in the town and took pics of the church from another angle. How beautiful is this place???
Last, we stopped on the way out so I could take a shot of the whole town from above. Great end to another great day. Not as many pics because I was taking some down time. :)
I had trouble falling asleep Tuesday night. I think I had reached a point of being overtired and excited all at the same time. So, I felt even more exhausted when I woke up Wed than I had on Tues. And my calves were SO SORE. Apparently, I don't work them enough at the gym since the rest of my muscles were perfectly fine. I decided the best way to loosen muscles is to keep them moving so I got up and started my day! I went with a better breakfast of cappuccino and a prosciutto and cheese omelet with tomatoes on the side (um, I said it before and i'll say it again...best tomatoes ever here). After breakfast, I set out. I had a plan to take a hike from the next town, Manarola to the third town, Corniglia. I decided that rather than take the train which was a 15 min wait and then 6 min ride, that I would just walk Via dell'Amore since it's only 20 min. The seas were extremely rough today so the waves crashing and the intense color of the water were great to walk alongside.
The hike is about a 2 hour hike. In Manarola, you start off on this tiny path and make your way across a road to stairs...and then the stairs just keep coming. They are steep at times and pass by gardens and old stone buildings. I took little side paths to get a view of the ocean and towns below. Here are pics from that first path.
Hey Moms, you can show this to your kids and tell them this is where "Mommy's juice" comes from. ;0 There are little vineyards everywhere. And as you walk along through gardens and vineyards, all you can smell is flowers and herbs.
I took a pic of this because, I was trying to figure out how in the world it got there. Below and above this were only stairs and not stairs wide enough to fit this. Hmmm....
At the top of the trail, you walk into a small village and then the path goes left. The beginning barely looks like a path and then you come out and realize you are right on the side of the mountain. The path is narrow and, for much of the walk, there is nothing (fence/wall) on the left hand side except a 6 ft drop down to gardens. It then appears to fall right off, but I'm pretty sure there are gardens below that. For someone who is a little afraid of heights (at least when not feeling completely secure/closed in), it was challenging. However, I just watched my footing and stopped to take in the AMAZING view.
So, it's one thing to pass other people coming toward you on this path because there's literally no where to go for most of it. On the left side, there will be a drop into a garden and on the right, a huge step up to a garden that is surrounded by wire or fence. Then, there are random obstacles such as the one below. Not bad. You just go under and make yourself low enough that your backpack doesn't get caught. ;)
And then, you're suddenly in someone's yard. The trail loops around one side of this house to the other.
The third trail is right through the woods, but still on the edge of the mountain. No more flower smell and many of the trees are brown, an effect of the large rainstorm and flooding that hit the area in the fall. Again, random obstacles. This one had a strip of wood to cross over...right on the edge..um, no thank you. I climbed over.
Once you get through the woods, you start to see Corniglia. It's one of those, "Look how close it is now. But it's not." moments ;)
Lunch was cappuccino and a salame e panino al formaggio.
The next two areThe oratory of S.Caterina over Largo Taragio. It was the most beautiful church I saw this week...at least to this point.
Today's gelato selection: Coco e Caramel (no need to translate, right?).
When I got back to Riomaggiore, I decided it was a good time to rest and enjoy the view. I sat out on the rocks in the harbor for a while listening to the crashing waves. Heaven again.
I finished my day with a quick trip to Vernazza. The town is still rebuilding from the devastating floods in October, but they have come a long way. Monterosso and Vernazza were hit hard and had a lot of damage. This is just a picture from the harbor.
Okay, so I slept 9.5 hours and still woke up feeling like I had slept 3. I hoped my body would just adjust fast, but am realistic that won't happen. haha. However, I couldn't let that stop me from getting up right then and tackling all that I wanted to see! I got ready and went to the local bar (coffee shop) for cappuccino. I also got a chocolate croissant. It was not the best breakfast and very different from my breakfasts at home (oatmeal and spinach/banana smoothies), but hey, i'm in ITALY! And, I think it was canceled out by the yogurt I had before leaving the room (right? No? Oh well!). It was delicious and so worth it. I mean, this is why I eat healthy and go to the gym, right?
I planned on taking it easy and ease into all of the hiking and steep hills I would be climbing this week. So, I wore a dress and sandals. I figured, "Hey, i'll just walk the flat trail that leads to the next village, walk around a bit near the harbors of both villages, hit the beach, and take it easy." Uh, no. I walked up the street of Riomaggiore (where i'm staying) and found a hiking path I had no idea existed. I decided to check it out (yes, stupidly in sandals). Luckily, it didn't both me at all. It was quite a hike though. The thing about the trails (and villages in general) is that they are filled with stairs, rocky pathways, and more stairs. It wasn't bad. I guess the 6-8 hours I put in at the gym every week help! I made my way up passing through many gardens and small vineyards. They grow EVERYTHING here. The gardens are all up in the mountains and older woman and men go up and work in them. As I walked, I mostly heard rushing water and birds. There is running water through and under every village. You can hear and see it through grates in the streets and in small waterfalls and streams. Occasionally, I would hear people or cars once I was near a road. I was pretty far up and came across a bunch of little baby animals (NO idea what they were) blocking the road. Then, their mother came and started making some weird noises in my direction. I decided to turn around since I was alone and hadn't even seen another person for about 20 minutes. So, I don't know what's at the top, but I hope to get back there and at least the view and scenery on the way up were fabulous!
Flowers just grown out of every wall, nook, and pathway.
The next picture is in Riomaggiore. It is Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista (the Church of San Giovanni Battista).
Those who followed my trip last year may remember "Lover's Lane" which connects Riomaggiore to the next village, Manarola. It goes all along the coast. You look down and just see rocks and then the crashing waves. There is a great history of Via dell'Amore here: The Love Story behind Via dell'Amore. The first picture is the view of Riomaggiore from a pathway up above the church. And the following are the iron hearts linked together over the entrance gate.
The View of Manarola from the trail.
And, here we are in Manarola! The bright sunlight is KILLING me during the day taking pics. Oh well, This place is beautiful no matter what. ;)
And because I know some of you are all about the food (You know who you are. haha), here is what I had for lunch. A caprese on fresh focaccia. Seriously with the food though. Everything is so fresh and good. The tomatoes are literally the sweetest and best i've ever had and I say that every time I come. And of course, the cheese and bread are amazing.
The boat ramp.
View to the next village, Corniglia.
When my sister and I were here last year, we had walked through Manarola. I discovered a new path this year though and it was amazing. It was a path up along one side of the village that was straight through the middle of gardens and small vineyards and the view was AMAZING of Manarola! Here are some shots from my walk.
After that fabulous scenic walk, I took the train to the 5th village, Monterosso al Mare. I decided to have some gelato to cool down after a lot of hiking and walking. Stracciatella and Nutella...yum. Don't fool yourself with gelato back home. It is nothing compared to gelato in Italy. I went recently to the N End with my friend and we got some. I mean, it was good. But not great. Here, you could easily get addicted to it as well as Nutella. They literally put Nutella in everything...gelato, crepes, croissants. They love it!
And then, I went and took a break on the beach for 1.5 hours with my book and ipod. HEAVEN.
A look back at the other villages.
And a look back to the beach.
The other beach in front of the main village.
The village and mountains above.
After exploring and stopping in a photographer's gallery that I went to last year (and talking shop and making plans to go out and take pics together), I went back to Riomaggiore.
Okay, so for the foodies, I went to dinner down on the harbor and sat outside. I brought my sister's nook so I could read since I was by myself. It's SO nice to read. It's been forever. I finished "Heaven is for Real" between when I got here and the end of dinner. :)
So, I started with a delicious white wine that was made right here in Cinque Terre.
I then had a mixed salad that was the best salad I have ever had (and huge!). Everything here is extremely FRESH which I think I said before. I ate about half of it so I could keep room for dinner and desert.
My main dish was Tuna (UNBELIEVABLE) and Mediterranean style vegetables. All of it was amazing! Don't worry people. I'll eat pasta the other two nights I do sit down dinners. I know that's what most of you are really waiting for. ;)
I finished it off with some Tiramisu. Of course, the best tiramisu ever and I couldn't finish all of it. Also, some Grappa, which there isn't a pic of. But it was good. :)
To end my night, I sat on the rocks out on the harbor and took it all in. I listened to the waves crash and just enjoyed. Hope you enjoyed Day 1! I'm off to finish my Day 2 and take some sunset and night pics in another village!
Not surprising, but slowest internet ever to upload these photos.
After 17 long hours of travel (that's what happens when you pick a more remote place to visit) between planes, layovers, and train rides, I finally arrived in Cinque Terre, and more specifically, Riomaggiore. Riomaggiore is the first of the "5 lands". Some of you may remember I came here last year for 2 days on a 10 day trip with my sister. It was in March, so the hiking trails were not open and it rained a lot, so I vowed to come back. So, HERE I AM! Here is my little room and the view from my window to the main street. It is the same B&B I stayed in last year and then, I will move to a studio apartment for my last two nights. It's perfect for one person who doesn't do much but sleep here.
I was totally exhausted when I arrived, but unpacked, cleaned up, and headed out. I mean, how could I pass up going to see the harbor at the golden hour to take pics and to sit and enjoy the sunset? After all, I am in fishing village on the coast of Italy! Here are some of the pics.
This view goes all the way to the last village, Monterosso al Mare.
Baby A's mom received a gift certificate from her sister for a newborn session (GREAT GIFT!). She was very excited and so was I. I had a string of newborn girls and definitely wanted a boy to mix it up. Every newborn shoot is awesome, but it definitely was good to have a boy. Baby A's mom brought an adorable knit crown to incorporate, which was perfect. His two older cousins (girls, 2 and 4) came in half way through and were super cute watching the session. They sat and watched and asked some questions. I loved Baby A's mom and grandmother (who I already know) and look forward to future sessions with him and his adorable cousins. ENJOY!
I was very excited when Jen contacted me to do her wedding. Not only is she just a fabulous person in general, but she is also a cousin. Jen and Rob have been together FOREVER and seem even more in love every time I see them. They are perfect together. We did their engagement shoot back in the summer and a joke came out of it. Rob never has any idea what to do with his hand to a point where he actually makes it look awkward. (Love you Rob!) And, no matter how many times I told him to keep it in his pocket unless I said otherwise, the hand made many appearances and I will share some of those fun pics below.
I knew this wedding would be a ton of fun and I was not disappointed. Rob, Jen, and the rest of the wedding party were up for anything. We had a long stretch of time to do the photos, so there was no stress or rushed feelings (which always helps!). And, by the time we got to Danvesport Yacht Club, it was the golden hour, so the lighting was absolutely perfect. Everything about this wedding was amazing, from how great they all looked to how much love was present to how much fun everyone had from beginning to end. I feel blessed to have been a part of capturing such a momentous day for such an amazing couple.
There's nothing like the first moment he sees her coming down the aisle.
The HAND made an appearance during the ceremony....
And there's the HAND again....
Two favorites. Love how much fun they had.
"I'm not sure what to do with my hands."
She is SO gorgeous!