A Beautiful World

  I just got off the phone with a client, feeling inspired and excited.  It's funny, because I found myself saying phrases that may sound cliche, but words that ring true for me.  Why I keep doing this.  Why I love my job.  Why I love my life.  I enjoy that chance to discover myself - to hear words come out of my mouth and realize just how true they are.


Just before saying goodbye, I said "Yes! It's a beautiful world out there, and I have the chance to PROVE it."



So there we go!  I found another motto.  I am celebrating beauty - and proving it!





One of my favorites (click on the photo to see it on istock):


Red Rock Canyon - A Place to Sit Royalty Free Stock Photo

This photo was a few months ago, sunrise at Red Rocks Conservation Area - just outside Las Vegas.  I am happy to say I'll be returning to Nevada a few times between now and October.  Next time, I'll be photographing the Valley Of Fire State Park, it's been on my bucket list for a long time!  I will also have time for a few portrait sessions, send me an email if you're around Vegas and would like to set up a photoshoot while I'm there.










Dan and Whitney's Excellent Adventure: Day 3 (Lake Las Vegas)


A whirlwind morning!! - I worked out, swam laps, then visited the Container Park in old downtown Vegas.  There was some crazy dirt bike convention where they blocked off several blocks and I experience a culture of people I had never experienced before! But the Container Park was pretty cool. It reminded me of a shopping center I visited in Christchurch New Zealand in 2012.  They set up the shopping area with brightly-colored containers while they were rebuilding the city from the earthquake.  A little stage in the middle with live music, an oasis in the midst of all the destruction.  Apparently the container thing has become a trend!



The one place I always go when I visit Vegas is The Beat Coffeehouse.  They have an entire building of rooms turned into an art gallery.  Each artist has a room and each room in a different style.  I never know quite what I'll find when I walk through.  My favorite this time, was a jewelry guy.  Through our conversation, he shared that after having a stroke last year, his whole life has been about family.  He quit his job and joined his wife in their jewelry making business, they sell the daughter's art on the walls also.  I love those conversations - why people do what they do.  The perspective that comes from our experiences.





And then Lake Las Vegas.  A deserted shopping area, almost a ghost town with all the buildings empty and "for lease" in the window.  But beautiful.  Simply beautiful.  We got there for sunset and went on a stroll.  No hurry, just some photos, some relaxing, and a few moments to take it all in.







  I spent an hour sitting under this bridge.  I wrote, I sang, I meditated, took pictures, and watched people walk by.  The acoustics were magical!  And I love the ripples from the ducks in the water.  It was nice to slow down, no pressure to take certain photos, not running around doing, but instead, just to be.





Sooooo.... I'm getting pretty good at these selfies!  Except no awkward arm out in front of my face.  I set the camera up, focus on the spot intend to sit, then a self timer and 9 photos in a row with 2 seconds in between.  Yes, yes, I know.  I feel a little vain and little ridiculous.  But even photographers need new profile pictures for Facebook!  Or memories.  Oh yes, that's right.  Photos are for memories, not just Facebook :)






And the amazing Dan McBride...










See the other blog posts from this Road Trip:

Day 1: Las Vegas

Day 2: Red Rock Conservation Area

Day 3: Lake Las Vegas

Day 4: Arches National Park











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








Celebrating Beauty

  I had a wonderful conversation with an artist friend this week about photography, the purpose, and what really drives me.  Yes, there are times I get burnt out.  There are times when I want to give up photography all together.  But the people, the places, the beauty... That's what keeps me connected to my camera.  I have the opportunity today to show you why you are beautiful.  To let you see it through my eyes.  And the world.  This beautiful world we live in.  Every day, I see the mountains, I see a new sky - cloudy, sunny, colorful, or dark is dismal.  It's all beautiful.  And those moments of reality - tears shed, a crying baby, a playing child, the sun rising over the mountain, or even simply the way the light shines on the leaves of the trees.  Moments in weddings or families.  Moments in events or activities.  And moments of peace in nature.



Today, I am alive and that means I get to open my eyes and celebrate the beauty all around me.  As a photographer, my job and my opportunity is to show the beauty in the world as I see it.



Through my eyes, my lens, here are a few examples of the beauty in Turks and Caicos (Caribbean).  There's a story behind every moment, but today I just want to share the photos and let you see what you see.

















A Bountiful Wedding


Today, Mattie and Carston are getting married at the Bountiful Temple!  I'm just packing up my gear and getting ready to drive there, but I wanted to post a few photos from their formals session to celebrate this day:




I often ask the couple if they have any specific poses or places they want photos.  When I asked Mattie, she got the cutest twitterpated look on her face and said "I want one of him hugging me like this."  That moment was precious!  It's fun seeing two people so flirty, so excited to be next to each other.  And they both have such beautiful smiles!!





Congratulations Mattie and Carston!  And may you have many happy years ahead of you.







San Diego

  ...more from the California trip!  Justin and I arrived in San Diego and had a couple hours to kill before the photo shoot was scheduled, so we went to  Point Loma, some kind of cool historical overlook.  I found a lighthouse, which for some reason is always exciting to me.  I'm never quite sure what I'll do with photos like this, but at least it's pretttty :)



On our way back down, we were trying to find access to a beach somewhere and figured we'd turn left at the next spot since the water was... somewhere over in that direction.  (I discovered I've been really spoiled with Utah's directions... you can always see the mountains and know that that's East.  From there I can figure it out, but in California I was getting really turned around!)  Back to the story though, apparently the next left turn was into some Naval base!  I was "greeted" by a suspicious and heavily armed Navy guard wanting to know exactly why we were turning in there and what we wanted.  I tried to assure him that we were just tourists looking for the beach!  But it took a little while before he was convinced.  Maybe it was all the camera gear that made him nervous, I'm not sure, but I sure was intimidated!  After that, we gave up on trying to find a beach and found a very small park to sit and wait instead.






And then Jeremy showed up, the man that made this trip happen.  I met Jeremy back in December on the cruise with Jasmine.  Just for kicks, here he is wiping out on the simulated surfing back then:




Jeremy had 2 reasons for the photos in California.  The first was head shots of him: personal, approachable, and authentic.  Sure, he wanted a new Facebook profile (who doesn't?) but primarily, he wanted these for his efforts in the cause for childhood cancer.  Jeremy spends a lot of his time working with kids with cancer and I've loved the opportunity to see that perspective of learning about and giving time to a community and a cause.  I get so caught up in my own life, sometimes I forget how many people out there could use some help - or even just a smile.  Thanks Jeremy for that example!  You can read about what this means to him and look through the rest of his website here:  The second reason for the photos was business, and you can see those photos (with the San Diego skyline) tomorrow!  But for now, here's Jeremy.



Jeremy grew up in Denver, but has lived in San Diego for several years.  He chose all the locations for the photos on this trip, and I was impressed!  Today was at Sunset Cliffs.







The photo to the right here is what we call the "Jasmine" pose (named for my older sister).  Because she was there when I met Jeremy, we wanted to give a tribute to her.  She's always been more confident posing for the camera and she just has fun with it!  I would much prefer to be taking the pictures than to be in them, and Jeremy was also learning the art of being himself during the photoshoot.  It's always a challenge!  We often teach kids to smile and say "cheeeeeese" which turns into photos with cheesy smiles and shows very little of their personality, I prefer to see people laugh or find a genuine smile.  I'm glad we could take a que from Jasmine and have some fun with it.


(This is a flashback from 2010 to give you an idea of just how much fun she has...)



And back to Sunset Cliffs-


Jeremy always wears his "sTAY strong" bracelet, and he wrote a blog post about the story behind it here:






St. George Temple at Sunset


I made a goal this year to visit 50 temples - 50 temples in 2012.  So far, I've been to: Salt Lake Temple, Provo Temple, Timpanogos Temple, Draper Temple, Jordan River Temple, and this one is #6 for the year.  I was so glad we got to stop here right at sunset!, loved seeing the changing colors in the sky!


^My favorite picture from the evening.  In the past, I've always tried to avoid the gate in temple photos, I thought it got in the way.  I was excited to find a way to use the gate to add to the photo instead.






Normally, LDS temples have an Angel Moroni with a trumpet on the steeple.  It was interesting to see that the St. George temple did not.  We asked in the visitor's center and apparently, there are a handful of older temples that still do not.  According to, "Eight (8) temples do not have an angel Moroni. They are the St. George Utah, Logan Utah, Manti Utah, Laie Hawaii, Cardston Alberta, Mesa Arizona, Hamilton New Zealand, and Oakland California Temples."





Check back tomorrow for photos from Las Vegas!




Alicia and Craig's Formals


If I had to describe Alicia as a bride in one word it would be: elegant.  She was poised and beautiful, it was really hard to get a bad picture of her!  And Craig looked alright too :)  Actually, I loved the suit and thought he pulled off the skinny tie quite well!  We started at the Utah State Capitol and shooting there was rather interesting this day.  There was some meeting in progress - state senate or something - so we had lots of official looking people as an audience or even showing up in the background of the pictures.









Then we drove to the Timpanogos temple to catch the sunset as the temple lit up.  It was so cold!  But worth every minute.  We got such a gorgeous sky that night!





Even the view in the parking lot was amazing!  Alicia was excited because her colors were pink, grey, and white (or cream.  I admit I don't really remember) but the sky cooperated perfectly for the pinks!






Alicia and Craig's wedding day was Saturday and we had a perfectly beautiful snowy day.  Check back tomorrow for the photos!