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Native Sky Photography blog bio picture

Native Sky Photography

Hey there, and
welcome to my blog! I am Kerry -- the photographer behind Native Sky Photography.  I am mother to incredible boys, take delight in the outdoors, and will freely admit that I am a
sucker for all kinds of animals.  I love coffee, watching old
episodes of Northern Exposure, and loud, funky music.  Hanging out with my
family is my favorite thing to do....and creating images for amazing people is
what fuels my soul.


Hope you enjoy my blog!  Please feel free to add comments below so that I
know you were here.  

Sometimes our light goes out,  but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being.   ~ Albert Schweitzer






Homecoming | Maryland Family Portrait Photographer

Ahh….where do I start with this post?  Normally I begin by telling you about the people in my photos — about their families, their characters, where our session was, why they chose to have images created, all about their lives… But I feel like this time, I need to begin by writing about my own life in a way– as a military wife.  To me, the military life has proven to be tough and wonderful, and everything in between.  On the one hand, we military folks get to have experiences, real and deep experiences, in parts of the world we may not otherwise have had the opportunity to even see.  We get to meet amazing people and form solid, long-lasting friendships based on genuine kindness, a sense of community, and a common understanding of the kind of small world we are all experiencing together.  We adapt easily.  We are grateful.  We are strong.  We believe in honesty and integrity.  We are part of an incredible, complex, and unique group of dynamic and patriotic citizens who truly love and care about this phenomenal country of ours.  We work together and for each other, selflessly and compassionately.  And we are proud to be a part of it all. On the other hand, we also experience heartbreak in every way possible.  Each time we pack up our lives and move ourselves to some new town, we are leaving family, friends, and local communities we have come to love.  We get left behind when friends leave us after receiving their orders.  We, including our children, have to start over constantly….learn about new places…make new friends….miss our families. Then we have to deal with the deployment of those we love so dearly.  Each moment without them is agonizing, filled with worry, fear, and a quiet emptiness. And the ultimate — the loss of our beloved who are in harm’s way.  We have all been affected in one way or another by such loss, and the grief, at times, seems endless and unbearable.  The sacrifice is immeasurable.  Still, we are proud to be a part of the United States military, with all of it’s highs and lows.  It’s a life more fulfilling than we could have ever imagined. It’s our life.

This family…this fantastic family…is one of the greatest examples of strength, perseverance, loyalty and love that only comes from somewhere deep in the purest of hearts.  I met Paola when we first moved to Maryland and the moment we began talking, I knew that this was one gal who could take about anything that came her way.  And I was right.  Paola’s husband Todd has been deployed to the Middle East multiple times since I first met her, and she has endured those long months without him…clearly missing him and wanting him home, but also, with tremendous strength, holding her head (and her heart) high with the hope that Todd would once again be near enough for her to touch.  She also knew she had to be that pillar of strength for her three girls, making their day-to-day lives as normal as possible while at the same time gently reminding them that even though their daddy was far away, his love was always close by.  When it came time for Todd to return home, Paola asked me if I would photograph this long-awaited reunion at the airport.  I was honored to be asked to document such a moment as this and immediately and enthusiastically agreed!  I simply understood what was behind this moment in their lives and was just about as excited as they all were when the day came for Todd to come home!  Bright and early one morning, we met at the airport and I could literally feel the anticipation pouring from this beautiful bunch of girls!  We walked the long halls to Arrivals, checked Todd’s flight status, and waited…  So instead of more words….just have a look at the moment they all laid eyes on each other — once again.  And please, please remember to thank our military men and women for their selfless service to our country.  Don’t ever forget that we exist in this great country because of these remarkable people who put their very lives on the line for all of us, every – single – day.  Welcome home, Todd.

October 29, 2010 - 11:21 pm Calanthe Wilson-Pant - Kerry, such a special moment--what a contrast the home "sea of estrogen" (to quote Jeff Foxworthy) must be to the deployed environment! The ones of the couple are wonderful--but the black and white of Todd with his daughters--a-a-a-ah!

November 1, 2010 - 4:42 pm jacie lee almira - beautiful words and photos!

November 7, 2010 - 8:39 am Hollie Hanson - All I can say is WOW. And Thank You! Both to them and you and all our military. With a brother currently serving in Iraq this pulled at my heart string. There are no holding tears back when you get to see such deep emotional moments like this. Thank You!

Jamie & Frank ~ Engaged! | Maryland Engagement and Wedding Photographer

Photographing these two was such a blast!  I couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day or a more stunning couple!  Frank and Jamie were absolutely adorable to observe — sooooo in love.  Both are big sports fanatics which couldn’t be more fitting because they themselves make an awesome team.  We met at the National Harbor — a super-cool (relatively new!) place with great restaurants, shopping, and activities galore.  I am excited for this couple and their new life together!  In April they will fly off to the islands for a destination wedding and I just know they are going to have a beautiful celebration.  Frank and Jamie, I wish you all the best in your adventures together!  You are truly fabulous people who have so much to offer each other.  Congratulations, you two!

Christos & Valerie | Virginia Wedding and Engagement Photographer

Couldn’t resist sharing a few more engagement photos of Christos and Valerie taken back in April!  Photographing their wedding was such a beautiful experience and I can’t wait to add their wedding photos to the blog!  While I had a moment though, I just had to add these to the blog.  Check back soon for those shots of their amazing big day…. In the meantime, enjoy this little bunch of sweet moments of love between these two.  Gorgeous!

Emily + Luke | Fredericksburg | Virginia Wedding Photographer

So I got to be the 2nd shooter at another wedding!  And as an extra bonus, I had the privilege of working with one of my greatest photography mentors, Julia MacInnis! Such an honor!  Julia has a big heart and big talent, so I knew it would be a gorgeous day.  And I was right!  Emily and Luke are such a sweet couple — that’s easy to see just at a glance.  After spending the day with them, we discovered just how awesome they were!  So laid back, so kind, and so beautiful.  I feel honored to have been part of their special day, and so grateful to help document it.  A big thank you also to Julia who invited me along… I loved every minute of working with you!  These are just some of my favorites from the day…I hope you all love these photos as much as I loved shooting them!

October 14, 2010 - 9:43 am Elizabeth - Great job. The shots of the wedding are awesome!

October 15, 2010 - 9:35 am Carly Zakutney - Looks like you had a fabulous time capturing all the love and excitement for this beautiful couple. Wonderful photos, each one.

October 29, 2010 - 11:15 pm Calanthe Wilson-Pant - I love the shot with the wedding dress on the beautiful antique bed, and the "Mootsie Tootsies". The church is remarkably like the Methodist church in Fort Benton, in which I grew up. The couple look so happy, and the family so involved! Great job, Kerry.

Together at Last | Virginia Portrait Photographer

This was the first time I’d been up to Fairfax Station and WOW — LOVE this area!  And this family was such a treat!  They are always on the go and rarely have time for family portraits, so they called me to set up a date to finally get those images taken…and I’m WAY glad they did!  The entire session was done on their property and I couldn’t have asked for better light, though I did try to ask for cooler temps — it was hot hot HOT!!!  Even at 10am!  But this family was full of energy and big, beautiful smiles (and just a few quiet and subdued moments!), and we had a blast working together.  Photographing such a sweet family of four, along with the beautiful mother and her daughter, and the lovely and delightful grandparents were the best way to start my day.  Of course, as always, I found it hard to stop snapping away….but they graciously put up with me and let me do my thing (thanks, guys!).  I absolutely love what we ended up with… Hope you enjoy it too.  Have a look!

October 15, 2010 - 9:33 am Carly Zakutney - Kerry, awesome photographs. I just love the tones and the natural connection you have with your subjects...just beautiful.

Illuminating | Maryland Family Portrait Photographer

This family has touched my heart…absolutely.  Even if we had never had a conversation but had only stood near each other, I believe I would have been able to sense their innate goodness, simply because it radiates from their soulful eyes, genuine smiles, and wraps itself around you like a breeze.  I am honored to have worked with them once again, and once again they made me feel welcome as I crafted images of this one moment that will last a lifetime.  Although it was an intensely hot and humid evening, you never would have known it by looking at them!  Their confidence shines brightly and it is clear that they truly understand the power of family.  They love each other deeply, and you’ll see that here…  Enjoy these shots of this beautiful family!

August 2, 2010 - 7:21 am Chris Bikowski - VERY NICE natural environment..... very pretty colors! You are doing great work Kerry.

August 2, 2010 - 11:40 am Carly Zakutney - You capture the love so perfectly, fantastic!

August 3, 2010 - 8:04 am Jennifer - Great work! Beautiful images, beautiful family!!! So proud of you and how your work as evolved!

August 3, 2010 - 11:23 am Keshia - Gorgeous family.

August 9, 2010 - 4:16 am Lina Reyes - Beautiful family (:) thanks for sharing.

Dream Family | Maryland Family and Child Portrait Photographer

Sometimes I think I’m just the luckiest girl…  How IS it that I end up connecting and photographing the most amazing people?  I mean, my “job” includes the privilege of spending time with phenomenal human beings, hearing their fascinating stories, eliciting bright and genuine smiles, and creating images for them that last a lifetime. Don’t get me wrong — this “job” isn’t always easy.  In fact, behind every photo, there is so much more than most people realize.  But it’s a challenge I adore… It keeps me on my toes and I like that!

However….I do have to say that a lot of the time my job does seem pretty easy!  This family illustrates exactly what I’m talking about… They are brilliant, gracious, dynamic, and grounded.  They know what is important in life — love, trust, honesty, faith, and kindness.  Photographing them this day was pure pleasure for me!  The weather was exquisite and the light sheer perfection.  Six month-old baby “N’ was such a serious little guy at the start.  Totally loved sucking in his bottom lip — adorable!  But he quickly got used to my camera and silly noises and gave us sweet smiles all around!  And the mom and dad….I love encouraging parents get portraits together — this can be a rare occurrence and they truly deserve a special spot in the limelight that is all their own.  Naturally we included Bella, their cute little pomeranian!  She was a tough cookie to follow but did her very best to pose for a few shots.  Big thanks to the “E” family for being such a dream to capture… Enjoy this (big) sneak peek of your session!  See you soon!

St. George’s Island Family | Southern Maryland Portrait Photographer

What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.
— George Eliot

This family truly understands what it means to just be with each other and to create sweet and vivid memories of summer on St. George’s Island in Southern Maryland.  These three incredible families traveled here to be together, to laugh, to love, and to strengthen those alliances that represent and define who they are, where they came from, and quite possibly, where they are going.

When I arrived on that hot, humid, and hazy day to photograph these nine beautiful children, ages 1 to 14, it was instantly clear to me that they all appreciated each unique connection they had with one another.  I was struck by the natural joy and honest spirit they all embodied and a joyous display of what childhood should be like!  I had SO MUCH FUN photographing them!  I loved that they genuinely care for each other and if there was ever any discord, I didn’t see it.  All nine children were so polite and kind, and just inherently so!  I knew beforehand that this session was to capture the essence of these children for their Nana who loves them so dearly, and it was extremely important to me that I do my best to bring out their sweet spirits as well as their individuality on this day.  And so, these are photos of the amazing brothers, sisters, cousins…the way I saw them….and of the unwavering love and devotion they have for each other.

By the way….  One of the hardest things about my job is deciding whether to process some photos with vibrant color …or striking black and whites…so I included both here!  I just love them all….

July 6, 2010 - 11:52 pm Carly Zakutney - They made me smile....beautiful work my friend!

Sunny Happiness | Maryland Child Portrait Photographer

Who do you think of when you hear the words “sunny disposition” ?  And how does this person make you feel?  I think of this little guy, right away! “G” is truly a happy baby, through and through, and every time I see him, he makes me smile and laugh with his perfect cuteness!  And just look at those amazing blue eyes!  So vibrant!  I think I could say with quite a lot of certainty that “G” is a smiley, giggly baby with a sunny disposition, almost 100% of the time.  Knowing his parents and big brother, this fact doesn’t surprise me.  They too are incredibly positive, kind, and gracious people, and those qualities have definitely taken their place inside this little baby’s heart.  His expressions show such JOY and it’s totally clear when you see him in his photos.  This is the third time I’ve worked with the “V” family — taking the gorgeous Mom’s belly photos, then “G’s” three month photos, and now his six month photos!  We had a lot of fun using their yard as a pretty backdrop, and soaking in that awesome early evening sun.  We had two sessions — this one being the first half.  Before we left on vacation to visit my family in Arizona I dashed over to their house to get these shots and then finished the session when I got back… So check back to see more family photos from “V” session part 2!  Enjoy this super happy baby!

A Flawless Bond | Maryland Family and Pet Portrait Photographer

“He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea. He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.) When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags. Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself. He has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant. His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me… whenever… wherever – in case I need him. And I expect I will – as I always have. He is just my dog.” – Gene Hill

Mr. Hill’s words above, with one exception, quite accurately describe how dogs have affected and influenced me throughout my life.  The exception being that I have never felt “all-powerful” in my dog’s presence as Mr. Hill expressed…. Quite the opposite, actually.  I am often humbled by my dogs, especially knowing how perfectly sublime their love is and how hopelessly flawed I am… but how impossible it is for them to see that.  Maybe they just choose not to make a big deal of their divine spirits or my crummy shortcomings.  Either way, even though I continue to trip up in my life, they still think I am incredible, and that humbles me and encourages me to try to be as amazing as they perceive me to be, even though I know I will never, ever in reality reach such heights.  But it’s good and right to try….and for the reward of their truest, purest love, it’s well worth the effort.

Last Sunday afternoon I met “K” and her dog Mozart for a sunny afternoon session…. and I was humbled once again to be invited to witness and document the powerful bond these two share.  Only those who have experienced such a bond between dogs and their humans can fully recognize the strength it holds.  I felt so honored and simply elated to be brought into this world of theirs that only the two of them can truly comprehend.  These two are clearly breathtaking on the outside, but most importantly, possess beautiful souls on the inside.  It’s not by chance that these two crossed each other’s path at just the right moment… It was decided long ago that Mozart and “K” needed each other, and though the place and time would appear a coincidence, their encounter was destined to happen at an instant and on a level we’ll never be able to fathom.  They are a pair…who share a powerful, equally mutual admiration for each other.  And it’s such a delight to observe, because I know that they will never, ever let each other down.  I know all this, because I saw it.  Have a look for yourself:

“My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am” -author unknown

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France

May 20, 2010 - 1:01 pm Nicole - Wow... what beautiful pictures Kerry!! You clearly captured the great relationship that they share!

May 20, 2010 - 7:44 pm Carly Zakutney - They turned out great Kerry!