Category Archives: Family

Smoky Mountains, 2018

Confession: it took me several months to get my photos from my family’s 2018 annual visit to the Smoky Mountains developed due to a large backlog of undeveloped film. But even when I got the photos developed, I hesitated to post them for another couple of months. Honestly, I felt as if I didn’t photograph a wide enough variety of things while we were on our little getaway. To me, it didn’t look like we’d DONE much while we were in the Smokies.  It seemed most of  my film had been spent at Dollywood (a very worthy subject though!!) And then some photos of my family playing mini golf?? Who wants to see THAT?!

But then, I realized  a few things:

1) My Instax Square* photos helped round things out.

2) Even though it looks like I basically went to Dollywood and mini golfing, I know there was more to our trip than that! There were just some activities we did that weren’t suited to being captured on film with the particular cameras I had with me (though I have a couple of hundred digital photos from the aquarium which I took for my brother-in-law!) For instance, the restaurant where we had dinner that had animatronic chickens around the perimeter of the dining area which “performed” throughout the dinner – kind of hard to convey that in still images. (I might share a video with you of it…)

3)  Regarding photos that are just “family snapshots”  – just this week, I watched a program on PBS called “Family Pictures USA,” and it does what the title implies: through family photos, it explores both the cities where these families live and how those people shaped the communities they were in. So maybe a photo of my niece narrowing her eyes at me because she doesn’t care to have her photo made doesn’t necessarily have a lot of interest or merit to those viewing it, it matters to me and my family in the long run.

Having gotten all that out of the way, I can now proceed to share the photos! We drove up to the mountains on Halloween, so our little vacation took place during the first few days of November 2018.

A few shots from one of my favorite areas at Dollywood: The 1950s themed Jukebox Junction 

Double exposure from the County Fair section 

It’s Dolly’s banjo from her childhood, y’all! We had never gone into the little Dolly Parton museum in Dollywood before, but it was pretty cool!

On the steps to the chapel in Dollywood 

There was a pumpkin carving artist at the park for their harvest festival *heart eyes*

Stained glass in the Southen Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame in the park…it was interesting 

I burned through most of my film at Dollywood because, that evening, we experienced one of the most lovely things ever. We knew there was something called “Dollywood Great Pumpkin Luminights” going on at the time, but we didn’t really know what to expect. It was so cute though! There was what I would call “cute spooky” music playing throughout the lighted display. We loved it so much!

This is was taken the day we went to the Ripley’s Aquarium. It would have been better photographed at night, but this was a decorative tree outside the aquarium that lit up at night 

View from the hotel in the morning. Not half bad, is it?

We went back to The Island in Pigeon Forge to have lunch at Pommes Frites. That’s a fancy way of saying we had fries for lunch! Always have to photograph the Giant Wheel when at The Island though.

One of our visits the the Apple Barn. Apple cider 4 lyfe.

Old MacDonald’s mini golf in Pigeon Forge 

Sharing theses particular photos for one main reason: It’s obviously a photo of my mom trying to hit the golf ball in a round of mini golf. But what I didn’t know at the time, and what I came to realize when I saw the photos when they’d been developed months later: this weekend was one of the last times for quite some time that my mom would have normal mobility. This may be a little more personal than you’d normally find on a blog like mine, but few weeks after this was taken, my mother had a slip and fall accident at work, cracking her scapula in the process. The following week, she fell and broke her hip. She’s doing much better now, but seeing these so far down the line, knowing the events that followed shortly thereafter, it really hit home that things can change in the blink of an eye, so as someone who documents her family’s life via photography, it is important to photograph little everyday things too.

Mom’s form had improved a little by this point but not by much! 

Beautiful evening to have dinner at the Old Mill Pottery House and Cafe –  I may have petitioned to eat there that night even though we dined there a couple of days earlier…

Ice cream shop in the same at the Old Mill 


Part of a Hogwart’s model made from toothpicks, at the Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum

Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium 

The entry of the Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, taken from the balcony above it

*sigh* what more fitting way to portray the end of a vacation that took place the week of Halloween than to photograph this discarded pumpkin I saw on our journey home that Sunday?


All photos taken with a Lomo LC-A, Canon Sure Shot Z90W, and Fuji Instax SQ6. 


*I literally got the Instax Square camera the evening before we left for Gatlinburg, so I was having to learn to use it as I went along. I’ll post a proper review of the camera with more photos soon!


The promised video from Frizzle Chicken Farmhouse Cafe

“Let it Go,” Frizzle Chicken Farmhouse Cafe from Amanda Raney on Vimeo.


Nikon N80 {Mother’s Day}

Last year on Easter weekend, I happened to have my handy dandy Nikon N80 loaded with film and took it with me when I did various things with my family that weekend. I so enjoyed the ease of shooting (auto focus! aperture priority exposure! ultra wide angle lens!) and the results I got, I really wanted to repeat the experience over Easter 2016. Unfortunately, I discovered the batteries were dead in my N80, and I wasn’t able to grab a fresh set in a timely manner. I lost out on my chance for Easter weekend, so I decided that Mother’s Day weekend might be the next best thing! I procured some new batteries, loaded the N80 up with some Kodak Portra 400, and set forth on documenting the weekend. What ended up happening was, I did a little shooting here and there, with most of the roll of film being dedicated to a little photo shoot of my mom in her Mother’s Day garb and wearing some of the presents she received that day. It’s okay. The day was all about her anyway!

Mother-daughter painting party at my sister’s church

My excitement when I realized that my N80 could do multiple exposures

A snowflake-shaped Christmas light set hanging above our table at the Mexican restaurant 😉

Honeysuckle, one of our mom’s favorite flowers

Mini photo shoot of mom! I was just crazy for her dress!

Ring one of her dear friends had given her the week before

Cherry red pearl bracelets we gave her that day

My “tattooed mom of Instagram” (that’s a “thing”, but she’s not on IG except when I put her on there!)

Absolutely crazy about the pretty little cut-out at the back of the dress!

Such a cutie!

Showing off the shawl my sister-in-law gave her for Mother’s Day

The subject of my daily photo project shot for the day

The paintings we’d done Friday night

Rare photo of my dog Dilly (mom’s fave!) since she doesn’t stand still long enough to be photographed usually

Showing my love for my sister’s “tin roof sky” porch and the globe lights strung on it

Nikon N80 • Sigma Super Wide II 24mm f/2.8 lens • Kodak Portra 400

“Fall Portraits in the Summer,” Part II

Back in September, I posted a set of photos from a little shoot I did with my niece (and explained my her apparent “sulkiness” in that original post.) When I took those with a digital camera, I was shooting my Fuji GA645i alongside it. I wasn’t sure if it would be redundant to post another set of photos from the same shoot, but I hope you, like I, find some merit in seeing the film versions of photos from that previous post (plus, I got some real smiles from my niece in here 😉 )

Fuji GA645i • Kodak Ektar 100

“Fall Portraits in the Summer”

“The stories behind the photos…”

I’m a sucker for this kid. I know it. She knows it. Everybody knows it. She doesn’t like being in front of my camera very often these days, so I started giving her a little compensation when I wanted to take more than just a photo or two here and there. I told her it’s because models get paid to be photographed, and that she is my #1 model. I think I am going to start sharing this tip with all my photographer friends who have photos weary kids! Bribe them with video game money (that’s what this kid spends her modeling fees on anyway!)

Anna Marie actually initiated this photo shoot because she wanted money for a particular thing. Having her initiate the photos is fun for me, because her enthusiasm is really cute when it’s her idea to do the photos. I jokingly told her that she could just clean her room for chore money instead, but she wasn’t having it…

As a seasoned model ( 😉 ) she has her “serious model face” down pat (not smiling, just like runway models and Kanye!) But, in this photo shoot, I got to capture her beautiful smile too. We actually laughed SO MUCH while we were taking these photos. I will have to bribe her into doing this more often!

I initially just wanted to do these photos on film, because it’s always been my preferred way to document my niece as she’s grown up. I do have a new digital camera and lens combo to test though, so I couldn’t resist taking these along with film photos!

Samsung NX300 • Samsung 30mm f/2 pancake lens

So how much did I have to pay my model for this photo shoot? The fee she requested was $6! I gave her an extra dollar and a nectarine (her new favorite fruit) as a gratuity. She was happy with that. I hope the film photos turn out well so I can share those with you too!

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