Everything Happens for a Reason | A Personal Session in Park City, Utah

A few years ago, I "met" @lindseasnow on Instagram.  She commented on a few of my snowboard-related posts, and we soon realized that she used to snowboard at my "home" mountain.  We quickly determined that we seemed to have a lot in common and joked that we were practically the same person - just separated by 10+ years in age. ;)  I hoped I would meet her in person one day, but that possibility seemed a bit far-fetched once she packed up and moved from Baltimore, MD to Utah.

Fast forward to this fall...  

If you know me personally, you know that snowboarding is kind of a big deal in my family. ;)  My oldest daughter is competing in the Nor-Am Cup for alpine snowboard racing, and had a last minute race added to the calendar for November.  The race was supposed to take place in Jackson, Wyoming.  The cheapest airfare we could find required that we fly in to Salt Lake City, Utah and then drive 4 1/2 hours to Wyoming.  I made our travel reservations, and then remembered that my Instagram friend, Lindsay, lived in Utah!  I reached out to her to see if she lived anywhere near the SLC airport, and as luck would have it, she was very close!  I told her that we would be in town and we decided to meet up for lunch while I was in Utah!

I also found out that Lindsay had recently undergone a prophylactic double mastectomy and reconstruction, and I wanted to use my photography passion to help celebrate her strength, positivity, and kick-ass zest for life!  So, I offered to donate a photoshoot while I was there.  I'm so glad that she immediately took me up on my offer!

The week before the race was supposed to take place, it was cancelled due to lack of snow.  And when I say lack of snow, there was literally no snow to be found in Jackson, Wyoming.  Winter got off to a very late start in Wyoming this year, so there was no way the race could go off as scheduled.  They got a few inches of snowfall right before the race was supposed to happen, but it was too little too late.  Our airfare and hotel were prepaid in order to get the best rates at such short notice, and were nonrefundable.  So, my daughter and I decided to make the best of a crummy situation and take our trip anyway.  And, I'm so glad we did!  Not only did we manage to see some incredible wildlife while in Wyoming (one day I'll post those pictures when I find the time), but we also managed to meet up with Lindsay for lunch, incredible conversation, and an amazing photoshoot.  We even managed to squeeze in one more dinner (and dessert!) with her on our last night in Utah before we flew back home!

Here are some of Lindsay's blog posts that discuss our online friendship and our in-person meeting, since she's way better with words than I am:



If you browse around her page a bit, you'll learn more about her story and her incredible outlook on life.  I highly recommend that you pour yourself a nice cup of coffee or tea and check it out!

Since I'm much better with photos than with words, I'll leave you with a few of my favorite images from our brief time together.  (Her photoshoot took place at Jordanelle Park and Jordanelle Reservoir, some of her favorite spots in Park City.)  Thank you for agreeing to meet with me, Lindsay!  I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and I know that our meeting was meant to be.  I have a feeling our Instagram meeting years ago was just the beginning of what is to become a long friendship.

A "Me" Day at Longwood Gardens | Water, Flowers, and a Whole Bunch of Frogs

A few days ago, I saw a post on Facebook from a photographer who had registered for a photography class at Longwood Gardens but then couldn't attend.  She was looking for someone to take her spot.  I read about the class and loved everything in the description!  (I later found out it is one of the most popular photography classes at Longwood - and has been sold out for months!)  I looked at my calendar, and besides my seemingly-never-ending PhD work that I was supposed to get around to working on that day, I only had a photoshoot scheduled for the late afternoon.  The calendar Gods were smiling upon me that day, and I decided it was a sign!  The PhD work could wait!  (And, my photoshoot clients decided to change their location to Longwood Gardens once they found out I was going to be there anyway!  It worked out perfectly!!)

I bought the ticket from the other photographer and woke up at 5am to be at Longwood Gardens by 7am.  I am not a morning person (putting it very mildly), but I can do it when I absolutely have to.  It ended up being more than worth the early wake up and drive!  I was able to watch the sunrise while I drove to Longwood, and wished I was a little bit more of a morning person.  Once I arrived at Longwood, I realized we had the entire property to ourselves for a few hours before it opened to the general public.  It was awesome, to say the least.

Our class started with a little bit of instruction and shooting tips, then we were broken into three groups.  Each group was going to be allowed access in the world famous waterlily ponds for an hour at a time - and we got to go in twice!  And, I'm not talking just any access - we were given waders and actually allowed to get INTO the ponds and take photos from a "frog's eye view".  It was so amazing being able to get that close to the flowers I have stared at in wonder for years.  I also got up close and personal with a few critters - including frogs, damsel flies, dragonflies, tiny fish, bees, and lots of other insects that were flying and hopping around.  When we were not in the ponds taking pictures, we spent time wandering around the gardens taking photos (and making some new friends).  If you look at my photos closely, you'll even see that we were visited by a stunning Blue Heron!

Here are a few of my favorites from the day!  I took HUNDREDS of pictures, so this is just a small sampling of them.  (I wouldn't have time to get anything else done this weekend if I didn't force myself to stop going through them!!)  I hope you enjoy my photos - and if you haven't ever been to Longwood Gardens, or if it's been a while since your last visit, you really should go. :)

Thank you for the opportunity, Krista!  Thank you for lending me your filter for a few shots, Andrea!  Thanks to Jon (the light ninja) for a great class and a lot of laughs!

A Just Because Session | Owen

I'm an empath... perhaps to a fault.  The energy around me strongly affects me, for better and for worse.  In case you haven't noticed, television and social media have been filled with a lot of negativity lately.  On top of that, I've been under the weather and covered in poison ivy from my last few photoshoots.  It's been a rough few weeks for me, physically and emotionally.  I desperately needed to recharge.

A few days ago, a group of photographers organized a meetup at this amazing flower field and invited me to join them.  I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to meeting new people and was going to decline their offer, but I knew the timing was perfect - I needed to venture out and take some photos just for me... and I needed to do it soon.  So, I texted my friend Brooke yesterday morning and asked if she and her son Owen were available to meet up with me at the location.

They were available!

So, in spite of my anxiety and poison ivy and general sense of misery, I packed up my camera gear and went.

The photoshoot was amazing.


It was epic.

My husband always says that my camera is my 'binky'... and my husband is usually right.  (Well, I don't know about usually, but I'll say more often than not.)  In any case, it worked last night.  I'm feeling a bit better already.

I am gifting these photos to my friend Brooke and her little guy Owen.  Brooke started out as a student of mine in graduate classes I taught, and has since become a close friend.  She trusted me to take photos of her precious Owen when he became one of my very first newborn clients (unfortunately, that was before I knew how to create the froggy pose)!  Whenever I see them, they bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart.  (And it has nothing to do with the fact that they bring me Wilbur Buds whenever they come to visit - that's just an added bonus!)  Thank you for being so supportive of me over the years, and for being incredible friends.  You are two of my biggest supporters and cheerleaders.  I love you both.  I hope you enjoy these photos as a small token of my appreciation.

For what it's worth, the photoshoot was just the pick-me-up I needed right now.  I knew in my heart if I got over my anxiety and pushed through my discomfort that I would be rewarded.  And I was right. <3

Fireworks on the 5th of July

Each year, a family in my neighborhood organizes an incredible fireworks display.  They purchase these themselves, and just recently started asking for donations to help with the cost.  It's become a wonderful tradition that brings many families in our neighborhood together, even if only for one night.  This year, due to downpours on the 4th of July, they were held one day late. The wait was worth it - this year's show was even better than in the past!  My neighborhood rocks!

This was my first 'real' attempt at taking fireworks photos.  I love how they turned out, and I can't wait to try again!