The Guardians

6 hours. 5 women.

Out somewhere in the mountains of Virginia where phone service is nonexistent.

Traveling through a landscape that doesn’t seem real and even though it is, you feel too unworthy to be in its presence.

A group called “The Guardians” comes to life.

Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia photography
Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia

Over the past few weeks in the Summer of 2015, I planned this magical shoot.

Working like a little fairy godmother in my space, gluing and painting mushroom crowns and fern skirts.

I made it an unconscious tradition to have a big shoot every Summer!

The thrill, stress and chaos has always been my favorite and I learn new things every time I do something like this.

I recognize strengths, triumph over weaknesses and learn from failures.

This group is special to my heart, these are women who have been with me from the start of my photography journey and have stuck with me since those awful days.

They agreed to spend their weekend with me- waking up at unearthly hours, climbing waterfalls, sword fighting underneath them and photographing until nobody could feel anything.

Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia

The day started at 4am, I remember waking up sick with 5 women sleeping in my loft trying to pack the car without breaking anything.

Swords couldn’t stab through dresses, crowns couldn’t be smashed, it was quite the task to do early.

But with the magic of coffee and good team members, all things are possible.

The guardian caravan made its way over to the hundred acre wood in Berryville where the founder of Verity Varee opened her home to us.

With doughnuts and cinnamon buns in the oven, Emy and I went to work on the four women’s hair and makeup!

Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia
Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia
Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia

The hours of driving were blended away with funny stories and T-swift jams.

The occasional adorable baby deer with spots, stunning mountain views or swarm of vultures (straight out of a scene from birds).

We were so deep in the mountains the phones and GPS wouldn’t work and I was relying on my poor memory to get us to where we need to go.

Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia
Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia
Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia
Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia

What I thought was going to be a peaceful morning started out chaotic the moment we arrived.

Everyone and their brother decided to be there that morning!

We had an audience of locals trying to figure out what on earth was going on with this crazy looking group.

It was hard to focus and I was immediately thrown off my game. But we worked through it and did what we came to do.

There were plenty of nice people with interesting comments, even a police man who wanted a photo op with the Guardian group.

Soon the distractions fell away and it was workable.

It isn’t every day you see a group of women in dresses scaling rocks and waterfalls.

Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia
Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia
Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia

I fell in love with the waterfall itself and the layers rock and moss that grew up around it.

If I could build a little shack of a house in such a place I could live there for the rest of my days.

The falls were extremely loud, I was practically screaming and using gestures to get anyone to understand what I wanted them to do.

The water was freezing and the pressure of the pounding water HURT.

I am proud of Sam and Kerry for sticking it out for one of my favorite shots of the day.

Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia
Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia

The rest was a blur! Between the freezing water, mega photographer squats and cave mysteries (and cave nasties).

It was a day that took every ounce of energy out of me.

My group is always supportive, this shoot could not have happened without the help of others.

It was a lot of work but it was a lot of fun and I would do it everyday if I could.

Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia
Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia
Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia
Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia
Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia

These shoots scare me the most because I am a woman of detail.

I obsess over small things and I had to come to the crossroads where I can’t with 5 women!

I couldn’t get overwhelmed and I couldn’t jump in the water (the many times I felt like).

But thanks to the wonderful angel Liz I was able to make it. She was there as a BTS/Videographer but ended up being my second hand.

Fighting off creepy people, throwing capes and doing so much more- without her I would have keeled over!

If you are ever lucky to meet her, you’ll understand all this ranting and raving.

Jessica LaRue Photography Loudoun County Virginia

I want to thank my family for allowing me to have all these women take over our cabin for a day,

the Deans for the early morning sweet hospitality,

all the models for their time and to the lovely Liz.

Below you will be able to view her incredible video that captured the whole day.