Upstate New York - Life as a photographer in the Adirondacks



I've got a week and a half in upstate New York.  I've been looking forward to this time, but I've also been nervous about it.  There are a few reasons:  being away from my computer (I have a beautiful iMac with a second monitor that I edit all my photos on.  I spend more time with my computer than anything else - it's a huge part of the life as a photographer!), being so off the grid with no cell service and minimal wifi, and a little stress about family dynamics.  I love my family and I love seeing them!  I get nervous because I often become the 14 year old Whitney when we get together and the progress in becoming who I am as an adult goes out the window.  It is interesting to step back and observe this!  I am now Whitney, a professional photographer, and someone who loves learning, people, nature, and arts.










I’ve been here before, but I don’t feel like I’ve ever really SEEN it.  My goal in photography is to show people what a beautiful world is out there and how to open their eyes to it.  Well I’ve been here 3 times in the last 10 years and this week, I finally finally opened my eyes and saw it.  We drove in at 4 am and I was exhausted.  But I saw the room, the view of the lake, and the super moon that night, and I was so inspired that I couldn’t sleep, so I started hiking around with my camera.  This photo above is the very first photo I took here.  That's part of the magic in it for me.  I enjoy looking through 100 photos and finding the best ones (I have 500 photos from this night, and others that I think are prettier) but when it is the very first exposure, it feels different.  I often debate whether to post the photos that I connect most to or the photos I believe that you will connect most to.  Today, this one is impactful to me and I wanted to share.


I stayed out for 4 hours running around the lake, finding reflections, in awe of the fog, and taking photos the whole time.  It felt like a sacred space for me.  For miles and miles, I was the only one awake.  Except for a few animals - there were squirrels or chipmunks or something in the trees literally throwing pine cones at me.  The grass was wet from the dew, and the moon was so bright.  I lifted a beautiful old wooden canoe, much too heavy for one person, but somehow managed it and saw the sunrise from the water.  It’s a large lake with a couple little islands, but I was there in complete solitude.





I watched the sunrise from the middle of the lake on a beautiful old canoe with fog surrounding me.  Yes, I was brave and took my camera with me, just trusting that that the canoe wouldn’t tip. :)  And it was worth it -  The lake was golden, and I have never seen anything like it.





I feel I am finding a piece of myself out here.  The beauty, the connection with nature, the lack of connection to technology.  It's almost like a creative retreat.  I have much to be grateful for today.





In My Own Backyard

As you may remember, I've been visiting all the National Parks, with a plan to photograph all of them by 2020.  This has been an incredible adventure, a chance to prove the world is a beautiful place, to really open my eyes and share it!  But every time I travel, I am even more impacted by coming home.  I get to rediscover my own backyard, to see it as though I had traveled miles to get here.  I have mountains as a backdrop to my life!  How much better does it get?  





Well, this particular Sunday, I visited a place I knew well, somewhere I often shot for engagement photos.  3 or 4 years ago when I lived in Utah County, Utah Lake was one of my favorite sunset locations.  I had no clue it was a State Park at the time.  In fact, I had NEVER even visited or photographed it other than during an engagement or bridal session.  I got to explore somewhere I'd already been, but never really seen.  To discover something I already knew, but never acknowledged.  I sat on the rocks and wrote, I walked, dipped my toes in the water, watched the clouds move across the sky.  I even started singing songs!  It's inspiring to be surrounded my nature like this.



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Lexi & Brett Engagements




  There are not words to express what it was like to do the wedding photos for this couple.  Lexi is a dear friend, an amazing person, a super-mom, and I couldn't be happier to see her with Brett, who is an equally outstanding human!  And the personality of Lexi's little girl... well, it doesn't get more adorable than her.  I'll let the photos do the talking now:












Downtown Salt Lake Engagements - Jordyn & Colton





This photo with the blue wall looked AMAZING printed on metal!  I feel like they should be fashion models here...  Adorable :)




City Creek was a really fun environment to shoot!  There was a cute old security guard who insisted we needed to stick around an extra 15 minutes because there was going to be FIRE coming out of the fountain.  (you can see in the photo above that it wasn't that exciting...  but it made me smile!)




This photo above is one of my favorites because I feel like I caught Jordyn and Colton on a date, not just a photoshoot.  Like they happened to be enjoying the atmosphere around City Creek, and they look like they were having fun.  I like to tell my clients that engagement photos are just supervised flirting.  Yes, I will give some direction, but mostly if you can just make each other laugh and enjoy the evening, everyone will be happier! I love seeing moments like these :)






I think this is the first engagement shoot I've ever done with a videographer there, but I've got to tell you - I would trust Chris McClain with my life.  Or my camera.  Or photos... Something like that!  It was wonderful to work as a team, his energy was so encouraging and positive.  Some photographers have horror stories about the video guy getting in the way, but in all the times I've worked with Chris, he's been amazing.






Britney and Taylor - Engagements in Park City

Engagement sessions are often my favorite.  There's something fascinating about meeting clients in Park City and getting to know them through the process of the photo session.  I've often gone to dinner with the bride to sign a contract, but we don't really get to know each other (and I've usually never even met the groom) until I pull out the camera.  So, here on Park City main St, I have a record of how I got to know Britney and Taylor.

These two have such contagious smiles, every time I look at this photo, I can't help but smile also!

istockphoto - Family at Liberty Park

  This was a beautiful day at Liberty Park.  Green grass, blue skies, and the sun was shining!




We met up with Rob and his kids for a quick stock shoot and playing at the park!




Rob is good friend and amazing musician.  He is a dj, a saxophone player, does clubs and weddings. But beyond that, he's an incredible and loving father.  It was so sweet to see him with his kids here...



Life is good, isn't it?




istockphoto - Little Girl at the Park



Another quick stock shoot at Sugarhouse Park!  One of my favorite little girls, and the daughter of the bride for a wedding I'm shooting in August :)  Lindy is such an opinionated child.  An adorable girl full of personality.  She is definitely her own person.


But watching her there at the park, exploring the flowers and the swing set brought a new perspective to me.  Everything seemed like a new discovery.  All I could think was "seeing life through the eyes of a child."  The beauty of the pink flowers.  The funny feeling of the grass on her feet... the way the sun touches the grass and how she wants to sit in the shade instead.


As is normal with kids, she wasn't exactly cooperative the whole shoot... (And I don't blame her.  Play at a park vs. pose for the camera?)  But her excitement as she picked up those flowers made everything worth it!















istockphoto - Family at the Park


One of my highest selling photos on istock is of an adorable red-headed preschooler playing on a playground.  I was thrilled to spend an hour with little Collin and his siblings at Sugarhouse Park to do a second shoot last week!  Such happy happy kids.  And beyond that, I think this session proved to me that winter was over.  An hour at the park with the sun shining down... It's going to be an amazing couple of months!



Here's the best photo from last year:




And here are some of the photos from this recent session: