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!

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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 🙂

Road Trip: Leg 1

Our first leg was from Portland, OR to Reno, NV – the longest of the three legs: a 9 hour drive.

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I drove from Portland all the way down to Weed, CA, where my mom took over the driving and I got to shoot Mt. Shasta and the beautiful forests of Northern California, not to mention the incredible mountains off Interstate 395.

These are in the same order that they were taken so you can feel as though you were there too 🙂

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Mt. Shasta was beautiful off in the distance, as seen from the city of Weed, but even more impressive up close.

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Highway 89 in Northern Cali was lined with the most perfect, picturesque evergreens I’d ever seen, and topped with a sky so rich in blue I couldn’t believe my eyes.

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As we headed into Lassen National Forest, the elevation rose quickly and mountains loomed all around.

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The scenery changed pretty quickly from summery forests covered in sunshine to mountain peaks and evergreens topped with snow.

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We’d crest the top of one peak and descend into the valley below, usually filled with cows munching on cud.

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The highway wound around tons of beautiful little town nestled into the forest – McCloud was my favorite.

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The farther south-east we went, the more snow we saw.

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This is one of my favorite shots from the entire 24 hours we spent in the car:

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The road was almost completely empty, aside from a semi here and there. It was incredibly peaceful and serene.

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After finally descending out of the forest, we passed through another sweet little town called Susanville. The sun setting over the mountains surrounding it only added to the town’s charm.

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I’m such a sucker for a sunset. If you look close, you can see wisps of fog at the base of the mountain and cows in the pasture. I was starved and wanted to eat one for dinner, but we snacked on Sour Patch Kids instead – much healthier 😉

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This was the last photo I took that day, and I’m bummed that it doesn’t do the view justice. The entire sky was painted in pastel pink and orange, and was beautiful when offset by the bright white of the mountains.

We rolled into Reno at about 6, checked into our hotel, had dinner and passed out shortly after. We woke up to blue skies and 26* temps. BRRRR!

After waking up early to get a kick start on the traffic, we started our trip to Las Vegas!

Stay tuned for leg #2! 🙂

Happy Friday!

The sunrise was absolutely incredible this morning! In case you missed it:

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Let’s make today great, and this weekend even better!

Freezing Time

When I think about it, my job is really to freeze time. To capture a fleeting moment that we’ll never get back, and then turn it into a memory that we can relive over and over. I had plenty of opportunities for just that with Clair and Hayden, so here are some more of my favorite moments frozen in time.

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Their love is absolutely tangible. Don’t these just make your heart smile?

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Am I crazy or do these two look like professional models?

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I hardly had to direct these love birds – they couldn’t keep their hands off one another and are insanely photogenic to begin with.

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Absolutely no fake smiles here!

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And don’t even get me started on their dancing!

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(I love that the cement in these shots looks like glittering gold.)

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Everything about this session went perfectly, especially the weather! Thank you, Oregon, for cooperating 🙂

More of Clair and Hayden to come! I’ve also got a maternity shoot today, and the second half of Kadyn’s senior photos. So many fun, fall photoshoots!