Through a Child's Eyes

  I aspire to live a childlike life every day.  But what does that really mean?  I spent so many of my younger years wanting to grow up, I've consistently viewed myself as 5-10 years older than I am.  I mean, really - I was MATURE.  And everyone around me knew it. Age is still a funny thing to me, and I often get uncomfortable when people ask how old I am.  I am not too old, I am not too young, I simply don't want to be defined my age.  So, here's what it is really about: when I was 12 years old, I believed that being immature was bad.  It wasn't "cool" if I got too excited about life, or too inquisitive.  In my life now, I have definitely changed my mind - those are some of the qualities I value most.





Seeing the world through a child's eyes.  Everything is new, everything is exciting, and everything is an adventure.






I want to ask the "why" questions, explore the "what would happen if..." questions, and allow the changes all around - in nature and in people - leave an impact on me.  I want to open my eyes.  To have a sense of wonder for everything around me, an excitement to help and to share, and always unconditional love.  I love this photo of my niece looking out at a rainy day.  I want to feel what she feels.  What a perfect moment.





Watching a young soul discover the world is beautiful.  And, even more inspiring is watching an old soul see the world through young eyes again.  To live a child-like life.  To see the world through a child's eyes.  To really catch the vision of the adventure in every moment.

The Lights of Las Vegas




I have not always loved Vegas.  I used to think it was tacky.  And my opinion of its tacky-ness has not exactly disappeared.  As a photographer, though, I've learned to see it in a new light each time I visit (and I've visited often since a couple years ago when I started shooting weddings in Southern California!  It's the halfway point, made my drive much easier.)  And now I love it.  So much art, music, and people watching!  Even nature, believe it or not.  The Vegas area has a lot to offer.





So much discovery and adventure - something new every time.  My last visit was no exception.  The highlight of my trip was definitely Valley of Fire!  But I will get to that later.



First, a selfie:









And now, the lights of the Las Vegas Strip.










One of my favorite things walking through all the Casinos is looking up.  The light fixtures, the textures, the colors, there's an unbelievable amount of details that most people never even see (like the photo above, at the Encore).












And this next photo has an interesting story behind it.  It was one of my... well...  less-than-graceful moments.


Here's the boring setup to the story:  An amazing night - dancing to a jazz trio at Tuscany Suites, then a peaceful hour walk (yes, I walked alone and accidentally had to cross I-15 on foot.  But it was peaceful, I promise!) to see a funk/soul band called Sante Fe and the Fat City Horns (there will be photos tomorrow).  I was at the concert with my friend Wyatt and he offered to give me a ride back to my hotel, but I just wanted to jump out at the corner on the strip so I could do more photography that night.  The city never sleeps, right?



Well, here's where it gets interesting:  There is a railing in between the sidewalk and the street.  For good reason.  Way too many drunk tourists would be happy to take their stilettos right into the road without thinking twice about the cars or, you know, potential death.  So, dozens of cars on the road, hundred of people on the sidewalk... I hop out of the car at a red light and say goodbye, then climb through the railing to get to the sidewalk.  Yes, you can probably see where this is going.  Sigh... I forgot about my photography backpacking backpack ON MY BACK (it's a fantastic backpack, by the way.  Every photographer should have one)  as I try to climb through the railing.  Yeah, that was an oops.   After a few seconds, there's a semi circle of drunk pedestrians on the sidewalk staring at me and wondering how to help get me out of the railing.  That was my assumption, at least, I have no clue what they were really thinking!  Maybe they were seeing three cherries in a row...  And I'm wondering which side would be the least embarrassing to roll towards - back to the cars still waiting at the red light or forward to the sidewalk of people?  Eventually, I shimmied my way through and did a little summersault onto the sidewalk.  It was the strangest thing, though, they were all standing there, still staring like deer in the headlights. It was as if they were waiting for me to say something before they had permission to move on.  So I said "Well, that was graceful!"  and apparently it was sufficient direction for the masses to move forward.



To hide my embarrassment and to redeem myself and the camera gear on my back, I pulled out a tripod, tried to look as official as possible, and started working.  This (below) is the photo that came from it:







They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Well, I got a story AND a photo out of that one!





Check back tomorrow for photos of the concert with Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns.











I am still overcome with emotion each time I look at this photo.  And when I start to write my thoughts or the story behind this photo, I end up deleted them.  They say "a picture is worth a thousand words," and sometimes I feel that my words detract from the impact of a photo.  So, I've been thinking the last 48 hours of a title instead of a paragraph.  Finally, I'm content.  These four words and the title describe the impact of this image for me.



















"The Hands of Time"














Dan and Whitney's Excellent Adventure: Day 1 (drive to Vegas)


Dan and Whitney's Excellent Adventure



Partners in crime: Videographer Dan McBride and Photographer Whitney Lewis

Purpose for the  trip: Video interviewing artists for FantasyCon (in Las Vegas and Los Angeles), stock photography, meeting strangers and telling their stories through photo and video, and lastly - finding inspiration for the love of the art.  Nature, people, the beautiful world we live in.




Day 1: Road trip from Salt Lake to Vegas


I love road trips.  Listening to music, telling life stories, asking strange questions, getting sentimental about all the memories from past trips along these roads, and of course stopping along the way for photos.





Here was the first sunset of the trip, just on the side of the freeway.  I left Dan at the car and took a walk down the path:









Above and below, the photos on the left were taken from the car, the photos on the right were taken... well, at a certain fast food restaurant with a big yellow M.  I am not generally a patron of this establishment, but when you have to pee...  sometimes a McDonalds will have to do.  Also, they have an awesome playground!!!  I am almost ashamed of how proud I am that I waited in line behind half a dozen children to go climb through the tubes.  What I really wanted was a ball pit!!  But alas, I shouldn't be picky.  After all, we walked in, used a restroom, played on the playground, took photos, and left without buying anything.  Thank you McDonalds!









Every time I drive over the hill on I-15 and see the lights of Las Vegas emerge, I always think "I should stop and take a take a picture" but fear stops me.  Parking on the side of the freeway in low visibility is something I do frequently for photos, but it's not exactly safe.  The danger of our trip began here and I finally took the photo I've been dreaming about.  (slight exaggeration on the importance of this photo, but it set a great tone for the trip to stop anytime the voice in my head tells me to pull out my camera...)







Checked into the hotel, and wandered Fremont Street.  I stopped and danced Charleston with a street drummer.  Hugged a few strangers...  It's a fun place, full of interesting people, activities, music.  I think my favorite was the electric cellos.







And it was St Patricks Day weekend, so we got festive with the tacky green sequins! Awesomeness.







And this photo I love.  There are locks and names and all kind of things attached to this sculpture of a  heart.  It sounds cliche, but I still feel strongly about it - Wouldn't the world be an incredible place if we all just loved each other?  I am ready to live in a world of unconditional love.  I appreciate and admire artists who use their talent to remind us to love the people in our lives.  I will strive to do the same.






See the other blog posts from this Road Trip:

Day 2: Red Rock Conservation Area

Day 3: Lake Las Vegas

Day 4: Arches National Park








For the Love of Music


Another stock shoot.  And another chance to celebrate beauty in life.  Music is a language of the heart.  When I can't find words, I can often find a song to express what I feel.


So this was an interesting shoot.  And one I hope to revisit.  3 lights, a couple roses, and a piano (keyboard).  Just at home, a typical Monday evening :)




Behind the scenes:






And the first two photos from the session accepted by istockphoto (click on the photo to see it or purchase it on istock's page):


Love of Music Royalty Free Stock Photo Rose Reflection on Piano Keys Royalty Free Stock Photo





One other thing I learned today:  I'm so keenly aware of visual beauty being a photographer.  Then the music - my ears are always listening.  But I often forget to smell (except those smells that make us wrinkle our noses, right? ugh).  So, stop and smell the roses.  Or any flower you see (on the side of the road, in a vase, whatever it is!)  Who cares if people are watching?  The simple things like this help me feel truly alive.  And that is a reason to smile.






I know, I know, I'm a little more poetic than usual.  Sentimental.  Reflective.  Maybe even cheesy.  But I want to make a difference with every photo I take, and it's an exciting journey as I re-discover how to see the world through a camera lens every day.  It makes everything worth it.  I share these photos because I am a photographer.  And I am grateful.







Inspiration - A Winter Night in Park City


It can be easy for me to get stuck in a routine - get the camera gear ready, shoot a wedding, hope I got everything the clients needed, then spend hours at the computer editing the photos.  Please don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my job - I love the variety of people I get to meet, I love the emotions I get to capture - to freeze a moment forever.  I love how beautiful the world is.  Nature, people, buildings, light, all of it.  And I have an amazing career of showing people how I see the world.  Showing how beautiful the world is.  But still, photography is a business to me.  I'm working for clients, and even though I love it, it's still work.  Hard work.  So I am generally less inclined to pick up the camera unless I'm getting a paycheck.



A recent debate in my life is whether photography is art.  For me, the answer has been no.  I feel like I capture what is already there when I take photos, whereas music or other artistic pursuits in my life are creating something internally and finding a medium to communicate it externally.   However, I received quite a compliment this week.  And this helped me rethink my approach.  There was a comment on one of my photos that said: "...You have such an amazing eye. I'm one of those people who's always sort of thought that photography wasn't really 'art' but seeing some of the truly astonishing photos you've posted, has changed my mind. You really have a gift for framing scenes in a way that shows others the beauty in the world, which we might not see on our own."  Wow...   That one comment gave so much purpose to what I do.  It's beautiful.



Then I have a day like today.  Today, I saw the beauty of the seasons changing from Fall to Winter.  And I couldn't help myself... I pulled over on the side of the highway, put my camera on the car, and started taking photos.  It was inspiring to breathe the fresh, crisp air, to photograph a scene I knew (the famous Park City barn) in a new light.







It was simply beautiful.





And this is what I want the world to see.  There were dozens and dozens of cars that drove past me while I was taking these photos.  None of them stopped to see what I saw, and that's ok.  They were on their way to whatever night life was going on, or maybe headed home after a long work day. I don't know that any of the drivers were even aware that there were mountains with a beautiful field and snow covered barn... it was quite dark.  But I wanted to yell "The world is a beautiful place!  Open your eyes!"







The 30 second version of the rest of my night - I met a pleasant crowd of people at a karaoke bar on Main St, sang several songs, then walked through the beautiful night in an area of Park City I had never been.  Inspired by beauty.  The people, the nature, the air, the energy, the little stream, the way the leaves sat on the pathway, the way the light hit that wall... I believe with all my heart that there is beauty everywhere we look.  If we are willing to look for it.








And now, goodnight!!  Sweet dreams to all.






Influential People In My Life

Hi friends.  Thanks for visiting my blog.  It's quite apparent that I've struggled keeping up with writing posts and updating this site... but I've just made a resolution that I believe will change this.  Yesterday, I had an amazing photoshoot, and then I met with some prospective clients that made me say "wow.  I love my job.  I get to work with some of the most amazing people."  So, here's my lightbulb moment:  The reason I love my job is because of the people, so I want to tell their stories here on my blog instead of just showing you the photos.  I have a lot of catching up to do and a lot of people to tell you about, but I'm really excited to write these posts now!  

Let me back up to 2012 and tell you about my little sister and her husband.


Angela is amazing.  She is caring, beautiful, talented, and extremely dedicated.  I am constantly impressed by her ability to work hard on school and work, even when it seems easier to give up...  I took this photo just for fun back in 2010 when they were dating, before she traveled to New Zealand as a missionary for a year and a half.



Now, through the years I have learned that while my siblings are quite grateful to have a photographer as a sister, it's also kind of awkward for them.  I remember putting a couple of these photos of Angela and Dallin on facebook and several people thought they were engaged - why else would you have professional photos as a couple?  But then, two years later, I took some more photos which actually were engagement photos!  What do you think?  Do they look older to you?




These were taken at our family reunion in upstate New York the DAY they got engaged.  How's that for pressure?  The boyfriend comes to the family reunion to ask permission for the daughter's hand and to propose to her there.  Wow.  But Dallin is so mature and respectful, he handled the pressure quite well.  It was so fun for me to do photos of them - to watch them let go of inhibitions a little bit and actually kiss in front of me!!  Of course I have to tease my sister a little bit about it... isn't that what siblings are for?   But I couldn't help smiling and actually got a bit emotional just to see how happy he made her.  In fact, if I can make myself vulnerable enough to admit it, I actually get tears in my eyes looking through the photos now.  I am so grateful she found someone like him who will treat her well and make her happy!


  OK Whitney... enough of that sentimental emotional stuff for now.  Time to see more of their photos!




Choosing which photos to put on a blog has always been difficult for me.  I know which photos look the most professional, I know which photos they put on their wall, which photos their friends comment on... but instead of the most professional photos, I want to show you the little bits of uniqueness, the reason why I love my job.  Every couple brings such a different emotion to it, a different personality and looking through photos like these - the laughing, the romance, the funny faces - it makes me smile.  Besides, Angela has a pretty amazing monkey face in this next photo :)






Ok, now this was just adorable.  I've done the "first look" a few times to capture the moment when the groom first sees the bride in her dress.  I have never seen a couple this cute, though.  Angela couldn't stop laughing and Dallin kept telling her how beautiful she was.  And it was true.  She looks amazing! These are some of the photos from the formals at Bountiful temple.





I feel pretty lucky to have the opportunity to capture such special moments as these.  It's really amazing that all I have to do is click a button and then that moment is recorded for the rest of our lives.  It wasn't hard to find moments with Angela and Dallin, though, they were so in their own world that sometimes I wasn't even sure if they knew I was there!  The day for this formals shoot was FREEZING too.  I am so impressed with how "cheerfully cooperative" they were.  (That's the phrase from my wedding contract that most people laugh at, but I think it's the perfect phrase.  I love to work with cheerfully cooperative people!








I'll often do photos at a few locations for a shoot like this, but Ang and Dallin said they'd rather have more photos with the temple. Not only does it make a beautiful backdrop for an evening shoot, but it gives more meaning to the photos as the location also represents the commitment they are making to each other.  I think this photo sums it up - the temple, the romance of the sunset, two happy and beautiful people.  I'm so proud of them!





A New Perspective

  My grandfather passed away 2 years ago and it was a time of perspective and learning for me.  Each person understands death, and life, so differently.  We react and cope differently.  Some people reach out and want love and comfort, want to come together and a family and feel the closeness and reassurance of love.  Some people prefer to separate themselves from life, to look inside and evaluate emotions and memories for a while, and wait a while before reaching out to people.  It's often a time of spirituality in reflection - what does death mean and is there a God?  I've only had a couple experiences with people close to me passing away, and it's always been difficult.  I don't like the idea of funerals or cemeteries, I find myself feeling bitter, feeling the loss of this person in my life.  But I've wanted to learn a new perspective, the perspective of rejoicing in their life even after they are gone.


The most interesting thing to me when my grandfather passed away is how my mom and her siblings used to talk about taking walks through the cemetery when they were growing up. Grandpa would even take a picnic lunch and go with them on a Sunday, it was almost like a park.  My described something beautiful that I couldn't begin to understand. Death is painful, I've always wanted to tried places that represent death in my life.  But my last day in London, I saw a new perspective.



I love to get lost in a new city.  So many people just hop on the tube (the underground train system) when the destination would've been less than a 10 minute walk.  I had about an hour, so I opted to walk this time.  Turned out I walked in exactly the wrong direction, but I keep telling myself I enjoy being lost, it worked out :)


I stumbled across a beautiful stone archway that led into a picturesque park, flowers and trees and everything was so green.  There was an older couple walking arm in arm down a dirt path and I couldn't help but smile.  So I said "hey, I'm lost anyway.  May as well take my time and walk through the park".  Relax, breath, clear my head, and take a few pictures.  A few steps in and I saw a tour group , with the tour guide pointing to headstones and crosses and talking about something.  I got really confused.  If this was a cemetery, why would people other than family members of those buried here come visit? But dozens were just walking around, so I convinced myself to keep going. And it was beautiful. And heartwarming. Walking past the gravestones and the flowers placed by the cross, I felt peace.  I felt something about death that wasn't just uncomfortable.  And I'm grateful for that.  There was something so perfectly beautiful about the way in which these people's lives were honored with this atmosphere that was more like a park.  Seemed perfect to me.



I took a few photos for istock as well, you can purchase them here




And I walked away with a new perspective, a new appreciation, and greater understanding.  I hope to hold it in my heart forever so I can remember the beauty and the peace, the joy that can be found in celebrating someone's life even after they have passed.





A Rainy Day and a Walk Down Memory Lane

  What an incredible day. I have so many stories! But I'm about to run out and find dinner and traditional Irish music, so the stories will have to wait. Just this photo today and the emotion behind it.


I love the rain. I've always loved the sound, the smell, and singing in it! This was the first time I really noticed how beautiful the streets are when they get wet. This was taken in Temple Bar area before most people woke up. When I look back at this photo, the only way to describe my emotion is to close my eyes and take a deep breath. There are not words. It's just beautiful.





There's a song I like to sing when it rains - "In His Eyes" from the musical Jekyll and Hyde. I don't remember when I first heard this song - some time when I was a teenager I suppose, but I often cry when I sing it, it is so emotional and rain representing that is perfect.



"I sit and watch the rain And see my tears run down the windowpane I sit and watch the sky And I can hear it breathe a sigh...


I think of him, how we were And when I think of him Then I remember... remember...


In his eyes, I can see Where my heart longs to be. In his eyes I see a gentle glow. And that's where I'll be safe I know


Safe in his arms, close to his heart... But I don't know quite where to start By looking in his eyes Will I see beyond tomorrow? By looking in his eyes, Will I see beyond the sorrow That I feel?


Will his eyes reveal to me Promises or lies? But he can't conceal from me The love in his eyes!


I know their every look, His eyes! They're like an open book, His eyes! But most of all the look That hypnotized me!


If I'm wise, I will walk away, And gladly... But, sadly, I'm not wise, It's hard to talk away The mem'ries that you prize!


Love is worth forgiving for! Now I realize - Everything worth living for Is there, in his eyes!"



I remember singing this song with my childhood friend Katherine Morriss, we'd just sit at the piano and sing Broadway tunes for hours, it was a perfect sentimental day, what a walk down memory lane!