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,

Bisbee-3

To high,

Bisbee-16

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

Learn a simple trick to make your photos pop!

12/7: Angles

It’s December!?

Holy Cow

I can’t believe December is here already! It’s going to be a huge month for my honey and I. We’ll be moving across country – twice! Not to mention Christmas and New Years squeezed in there somehow.

It’s going to be a challenge to feel Christmas-y this year. Starting with the desert weather here in AZ, then moving cross-country twice, and being away from family for the first time during The Holidays… Oy.

But I have a plan!

‘Tis the season of sharing, so I’m going to share 25 Holiday-themed tips and tricks to help make your season shine bright. From family recipes, to camera tricks, to decorations. A new post every day to inspire even the scroogiest of us! Stay tuned this afternoon for the first one.

If you have an epic tradition you’d like to share, please do! 🙂 All faiths are welcome, don’t be shy.

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.

BrownCanyon-53

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.

BrownCanyon-8

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.

BrownCanyon-14

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.

BrownCanyon-23

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.

BrownCanyon-16

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.

BrownCanyon-38

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.

BrownCanyon-51

Mother Nature is awe-inspiring.

BrownCanyon-47BrownCanyon-49

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 ❤

Body Art

 I’m a huge fan of tattoos and have two myself. I think it’s absolutely rad to boast your inspiration, favorite memories and tributes right there on your body. To be able to look down in a moment of weakness and see something that will give you strength and push you forward? That is awesome. Not all tattoos are created equal – those that are tattooed while drunk in Vegas may not have so much meaning – but when an artist can portray what you want, it’s magic.

Bobby had some more work done on his newest piece this weekend, and I jumped at the opportunity to photograph it.

TattooSession1-4

My husband is a huge fan of this painting called “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper. Instead of simply getting the painting, he asked his artist, Raquel, to add the twist of a zombie apocalypse – mixing classic with modern in an epic work of art.

TattooSession1-22

He’s spent a total of 15 hours in the chair at Broken Clover Tattoo, watching his imagination come to life.

TattooSession1-18

I absolutely love that his artist is female. She truly has an eye and is incredibly good at what she does.

TattooSession1-32

She’s also fun to watch in that she’s meticulous and careful, thoughtful in what she does with that needle.

TattooSession1-15

And she clearly enjoys her work – a mark of a good artist, doing what she loves because she loves it, not for fame or fortune. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see her making big bucks in the future!

TattooSession1-8

I wanted to make this post as much about her as it is about her work because art is often a reflection of the artists themselves. This certainly holds true for me and the photos I take.

TattooSession1-7

This is my favorite shot from the 4-hour session. I haven’t figured out why quite yet, but it definitely speaks to me.

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.

Exploration-36

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.

Exploration-1

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.

Exploration-22

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!

Exploration-23

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?

Exploration-19

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.

Exploration-27

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.

Sunset_11_21-1

Magic hour is incredible in the desert.

Delilah

Upon reaching Sierra Vista, we moved in with a wonderful little family who are generous enough to share their house with us. Justin and Samantha, and their sweet 7 week-old baby girl Delilah.

You can imagine my excitement upon hearing that I’d be sharing a house with a baby! I mean look at that face!

11_17-4

She was in an especially good mood on this day, so obviously I had to introduce her to my camera.

11_17-5

I think she liked it, little ham!

11_17-2

We’re already planning a Christmas-themed family photoshoot. I can’t wait to see this cutie in a Santa hat!

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…

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 3.24.56 PM

…and then Phoenix to Sierra Vista.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 3.25.35 PM

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.

Arizona or Bust!

As many of you know, my husband and I recently road-tripped from Kansas to Arizona. We saw 4 states within 8 hours: Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, spent a total of 18 hours driving, saw The Blue Hole and visited our first hot springs, all in the 100+* desert weather. It was a very long, very straight and very flat drive. I thought Kansas was flat, but Texas really is something else – I have never seen for so far!

 All the hours spent in the car were worth it. He’ll be in Arizona for almost 6 months, training for a safer job with more opportunities while I’m home in Portland, photographing everything. We are both thrilled for the future and this next year!

Anyways, here are my favorite photos from the drive 🙂

ArizonaOrBust-85

ArizonaOrBust-5

ArizonaOrBust-30

ArizonaOrBust-32

June Photo Challenge: Day 9

Childhood Memory

Let’s take a little trip down memory lane to Tombstone Arizona circa 2004.

My mom’s parents, fondly known to me as Grammy and Papa, used to fly south for the winter to Mesa, Arizona to escape the cold and wet Oregon winters. When I was 10, my mom and I took a trip down to the desert to join them. We played in the pool, took walks in the cool twilight after the sun went down, went to markets filled with the neatest Native American goods and saw infinite kinds of cacti. Those things were great to see, but mostly I remember our trip to Tombstone.

ArizonaOrBust-88

Down in southern Arizona, almost to Mexico, there is a fold in time. Tombstone was established in 1879 by a young miner who struck silver and started what would be the largest productive silver district in Arizona. Miners all over the country heard about the underground riches around Tombstone and within 7 years the population exploded to 14,000. The town had a theater, countless saloons, brothels, stables, a wine house and even a bowling alley. Many of these buildings, like the Bird Cage Theater, look the exact same as they did over 100 years ago. Stepping into them is like stepping back in time.

Tombstone is known as “The Town Too Tough To Die” – mostly because the town survived 2 fires in 2 years, not to mention the fires that broke out in the pump houses at the mines. The town also earned this nickname in partial thanks to the Earp brothers and Doc Holiday, who were the heroes in what is arguably the most infamous gunfight of the Old American West and also one of my favorite childhood memories:

The Gunfight at the OK Corral

ArizonaOrBust-41

When rogue cowboy Billy Clanton and his minions Tom and Frank McLaury attempted to rob a stagecoach carrying $26,000 of silver bullion (that’s $635,386 in today’s money), Marshal Sheriff Virgil Earp pursued the cowboys with his brothers Wyatt and Morgan.

ArizonaOrBust-64

After 7 months of cat and mouse, the cowboys and the law had themselves a standoff.

ArizonaOrBust-83

ArizonaOrBust-46

On October 26th 1881, Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers shot and killed all three rogue cowboys.

ArizonaOrBust-17

 Law and order was restored to the town, at least as much as the “wildest town in the west” could stand. All of the lawmen survived the gunfight, but again the law crumbled in the wild town of Tombstone and both Virgil and Morgan Earp were shot and killed. Virgil was ambushed on the streets by assailants shooting from second-story windows and Morgan was shot in the back while playing billiards. Both men died within just 6 months of surviving the OK Corral shootout. All of the men who shot Virgil and Morgan were identified, but were released due to alibis and technicalities of the law.

Wyatt Earp found this to be unacceptable and, along with Doc Holliday, led a posse seeking justice for his brothers. They eventually tracked down and killed four of the men responsible for the deaths of Virgil and Morgan. After exacting his revenge, Doc Holliday became very sick with tuberculosis in Colorado and eventually died of it in 1887. Wyatt Earp continued to explore much of the west before eventually settling down in Los Angeles, growing old and dying in his home in 1929.

You can see all of the history of the shooting at The OK Corral, like this re-enactment, and even shake hands with the actors who portray these legends of The Old West. Tombstone is chock-full of history – everywhere you look, it is like looking into the past. I was thrilled to return and see the gunfight again, and also to share the special childhood memory with my husband. Maybe someday in the (very distant) future we’ll get to share it with our own kids!