On This Day 3 Years Ago…

On this day 3 years ago, Hailey and I embarked on yet another one of our photoshoots. We’ve done some pretty wild photoshoots over the years, with crazy outfits and unlimited creativity, but this is still one of my favorites. I was still studying photography and my assignment was to imitate the work of the great David LaChapelle. His portfolio is eccentric, colorful, exotic, arresting, and completely unique.

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These aren’t my typical style, but it’s really important to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while and remember what you’re made of. You might find yourself out there.

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I didn’t have the incredible studio space or budget, but I did have a very creative model with a vast wardrobe and an amazing (secret) location. Can you say improvisation?

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 There was something so freeing about forcing myself to take wild photos like this, especially with my favorite model. It is so much fun to look back at these and see how much we’ve changed and grown. Here’s to even more growth in the next few years!

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New Opportunities and Favorite Memories

I have totally neglected my website as of late and I feel terrible! I have good reason, though:

I’m a nanny! This is my first week caring for the cute kiddos, so I’ve been trying to fall into a routine. I get to hang out with a toddler all day and read Frozen books, swing, color and decipher babble. 😉

I’m also a fresh part of a really cool new app called KKTalkee, which helps people in China learn better English through live video broadcasting. Basically, I deliver a bunch of content and then answer any questions and encourage them to speak. I’m really loving this because those who know me well know I’m a total stickler for grammar and spelling, and I’m also following in my grandma’s teaching footsteps – just in a modern way.

It’s been a week of firsts! Glad to have the nerves shaken off and ready to grind 🙂

When Moo.com has a sale, I always take advantage. It seems like these sales happen right as I’m running out of business cards – win! Anyways, I was taking advantage of this sale last night, which meant perusing my photo catalog to pick out my favorite photos from the last few months, so I can print them onto my new set of business cards. It sounds silly but I hardly ever look back at my work, so going through all of these photos totally brought back memories. And made me homesick.

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorites from last fall:

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Seriously missing Clair and our pho dates. Nobody understands my obsession with Cilantro like this beauty.
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Are they the absolute cutest or what?!
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This is hands down one of my absolute favorite shoots, ever. I had so much fun documenting their love. I don’t think they could be anymore photogenic!
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There are so many amazing shots from this session, it was incredibly hard to narrow it down even this much!
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Can you tell I love sun flares?
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There are few things in this world that bring more joy than teaching one of your favorite things to a group of young ladies who are dedicated and determined. Oh, and absolutely hysterical. This is the 2015 RHS Varsity team. Shout-out to my JV & JV2 girls also ❤
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I could do an entire pack of cards with just volleyball action shots (like I did last time). Hard work pays off and it shows.
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These ladies also clean up pretty darn well 🙂 Kadyn asked me to take her senior photos and they turned out beautifully, with her bubbly personality shining right through!
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Speaking of seniors, my brother is one and graduates in a few months! WHAT?! Time seriously flies, people.
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What happened to the little cutie playing rec basketball? He’s 6’4″ now, an entire foot taller than me. It is so cool, yet so weird, watching siblings grow up.
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Kassidy and Kate are the cutest sisters ever. We had a ton of fun during this shoot!
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Sisters by birth, friends by choice, together for infinity.

 

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This is easily my favorite photo from their photoshoot. I don’t know what it is about this one but I just love it.
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Last but not least, this little ham! I’ve been taking his photos since he was about 3 months old. It was so special for me to be able to see him grow and to document it. I even got his first steps!

I think I’ll look back through my work more often. This was just what I needed to cure my homesickness ❤ I can’t wait to start networking here so I can get some more amazing clients!

12/7: Angles

A quick tip to make your photos pop: Angles. Change them, both in your camera and in life. I love to see things from new perspectives, so I’ve made it a habit as a photographer to push myself to be constantly changing my view.

From low,

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To high,

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We explored the quaint old mining town of Bisbee, Arizona.

Learn a simple trick to make your photos pop!

12/7: Angles

Brown Canyon

The weather here has been phenomenal – mid 70’s for the last week! The Oregonian in me had to get out there, so I researched hiking trails in the area and settled on Brown Canyon.

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I was not disappointed! My hike through the high desert forest was incredible. The trail closely followed a creek bed, sometimes even joining it to wind through a tunnel of trees.

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I had no idea I would find such diverse and colorful plants out here! The leaves are just about finished turning and would float to the ground on the gentle breeze that flowed through the canyon.

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I stumbled across a little path about halfway up that led to what used to be an old building that seemed to be destroyed by mother nature and was now scattered about a clearing. I couldn’t believe my luck! The history there was palpable – walking around there in the absolute silence of the high desert forest was amazing. I especially love what was left of this rusty old wood stove.

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The winter sun was low in the southern sky and so warm. The only indication that winter is just around the corner are all of the orange leaves scattered about. I couldn’t stop staring at each of these that I passed – they stood out so well against the dull yellow of the grass that dominates most of the canyon.

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I thought I was hallucinating the sound of trickling water, but I eventually found a small pipe wandering along the trail. It wound all the way up to this little stream, which was where I turned around and headed back down the mountain to beat the setting sun.

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It was so peaceful out there, I can’t even explain it. I totally felt back in my element, soaking up the sun and the incredible views it gave as it set.

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Mother Nature is awe-inspiring.

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There is something peaceful about being truly alone in the silence and beauty of nature. No traffic sounds or dogs barking, no airplanes roaring above or phones buzzing, not a single voice to be heard except the one in your own head. It’s nice to escape this non-stop, hectic world and take a break from it all.

Today, just as every other day, I am thankful for this Earth, my life, and the ways I live it ❤

My New Views ~

It turns out the desert is not deserted, and is actually quite beautiful. I finally explored the area beyond our backyard and caught some of its beauty on camera.

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I’m used to the lush green of NW Oregon, where there are enough trees around to make one feel borderline claustrophobic. Here in Arizona, there is space.

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Until I arrived, I didn’t realize how much I missed the huge expanse of open sky that dominates the southern US. My thirst for change and different scenery is quenched – for now.

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This area of Arizona does see plenty of rain, but only during Monsoon Season when violent rain and thunderstorms plague the mountains and valleys below. The rest of the year (or so I hear) is pretty dry. In fact, it’s not as desert-y as I expected: there are lots of little reminders of home!

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I don’t have to look far to see the sun burst through a colorful tree – this beauty is just beyond our temporary backyard. I wonder if it will ever lose its leaves?

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There are even a few pine trees (Pinyon Pines) to make me nostalgic for home. It’s been nice to see these pine trees here this holiday season; they are everywhere in Oregon, especially around Christmas. The smell, the cones, the needles everywhere – it all reminds me of going to a tree farm and picking out the perfect tree to bring home and decorate with memories. A very popular tradition in Oregon that is nearly impossible here in Arizona.

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There’s nothing like a little taste of home, no matter how simple and small it may be 🙂

Magic Hour

Ahh, our first clouds here in Sierra Vista in almost a week! I’m not complaining; the sunshine has been wonderful, but our sunsets have been a bit bland until tonight. The skies here remind me of Kansas – so incredibly wide, a complete 180* view uninterrupted by trees and mountains. That effect also makes the clouds look close enough to reach out and grab.

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Magic hour is incredible in the desert.

Road Trip: Leg 3

Waking up in Vegas was nothing like the Katy Perry song – I was ready to hit the road bright and early. No hangover and no regrets, ain’t nobody got time for that 😉

This leg was split into two: Las Vegas to Phoenix, where I dropped my ma off so that she could fly home the next day…

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…and then Phoenix to Sierra Vista.

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See that hard black line at the bottom? That’s the Mexican border! We’re super, super close – Mexico is just beyond yet another mini mountain range.

We left Sin City before 9am, me driving first again. In fact, I was so excited to hurry up and get there, we never even switched drivers. 😆 I wish I would have so I that could have taken photos. Though there isn’t much to see other than the canyon that Hoover Dam sits in. More desert, mini mountain ranges and roads that stretch on for what seems like forever. Thankfully, the temps finally warmed up and we were able to roll the windows down and get our “car tan” on. 😎

After a yummy lunch in Phoenix and a tearful goodbye (<3), I hit the road for the final stretch of 184 miles. Windows down, music blasting and a smile plastered to my face, I raced to the place I’ll be calling home for the next month or so.

I checked my dashboard stats when I pulled in and saw that we had been driving for 23 hours and 57 minutes total on this trip. 😱 And even with a car load of stuff, my car averaged 35.8 miles to the gallon – which is seriously impressive considering we averaged speeds of almost 80mph. AND I only spent $105.38 total on gas, which is $130 less than what Roadtrippers estimated. Ha! Talk about a success!

I’d say it was “worth it”, but that goes without saying because it was tons of fun exploring, and being with my ❤ is worth more than anything.

Here’s to new beginnings and fresh starts!

Next Road Trip: Arizona to Kansas, coming this winter.