Engagements - Becca and Todd






Engagements at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and surrounding areas.  Becca and Todd were delightful - they were dancing and laughing... made me smile throughout the whole session.  If we can all be happy, photoshoots are fun!  It doesn't even feel like work.







Here's a fun story:  These two met online (rather common for many of the couples I come across these days!) and there first date was ... wait for it ... to the DMV.  They renewed their licenses together at the start of the relationship.  I think that's kind of adorable!












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.






STOCK PHOTOS - Snowboarding


Another stock photoshoot!  Brighton Ski Resort, snowboarding.  It was such a perfect day, we took jackets off for a couple of the runs.




The model: Rob Bennion.  He is actually a DJ and saxophone player as well as the owner a talent agency, but today he was our snowboarder!  I love it when people have multiple interests in their lives!  Rob is a very positive person and always loves being outside.  When we saw how sunny it was, he was quite excited that he didn't need his winter coat.  It was a great positive energy to have around for the shoot.





And here are a couple behind-the-scenes shots of me taken with an iphone:




It was quite a challenge to board with the camera on my back!  And a little bit nerve-wracking to hold it on the ski lift.  So high up there...  one wrong move and Oops!






My Little Sister Gets Married


Angela and Dallin got married on a cold winter day at the Bountiful LDS temple.  Generally, photos are only taken outside the temple, but the Bountiful temple has a beautiful area downstairs that they allow photos for the cold weather times.  And I am so glad we had that option!  Poor girl, she was freezing.  Here they are symbolically walking away into their new life.  (Maybe a little cheesy, but I'm going to say it anyway!)





Now, Dallin grew up with all sisters and is an incredibly thoughtful person.  He actually surprised Angela with this beautiful necklace the day before their wedding.  So sweet!





As I mentioned, Dallin is the only boy in his family and as I've had the chance to get to know some of his sisters, I can't help but love them.  Such a positive, caring, supportive family.  And Angela fits right in.  My favorite photos of all the job I've done are always of people laughing.  I thought this one was a perfect moment:




There's always a big debate about having a family member photograph a wedding. I walked Angela through options of other photographers, looking at different styles, but she told me she's used to my photos and just likes my style.  So, I brought an assistant I trusted and had him take the photos I needed to be in.  Thanks Justin!  It was neat being part of both, but I don't think I could have relaxed enough to sit and watch someone else do the photography for hers.  I wanted to make sure it was done right and I wanted to be catching those moment.  She's beautiful, and they are so happy, and the photography needs to show it.  The balance between being part of the experience and working was surprisingly perfect for me.  Exhausting!  But definitely worth it.








Elegant Wedding Reception


Earlier this week, I met someone whose job is installing escalators.  For some reason, this struck me as really cool!  I had never met anyone with a job like that, never even occurred to me that someone had that job (because obviously the new escalators just magically appear).  But it got me thinking - how many of us actually work in a field we planned on?  I know I never considered photography as a career until 2008.  In kindergarten I wanted to be either a doctor of a garbageman because "doctors help people and garbage men get to ride on the back of the truck."  (good thing I didn't go for garbage man because now the truck does most of the work and the guys don't even ride on the back of the truck!)  In 5th grade I wanted to be the President of the United States.  And in middle school, I decided I wanted to be a band director.  My opinion hardly changed after that - I finally found my calling.  I wanted to teach band in a public high school.  And when I went to BYU, I got accepted in the Music Education program and worked very hard towards it.


But life threw me a curve ball and I had a sudden onset of health problems that changed my path.  I was unable to finish my music education degree and instead found a more flexible way to spend the time I wasn't in bed - photography.  What a blessing this has been in my life.  There are still times when I ache to be in the teaching world, but then I get to work with an awesome couple and I'm reminded how lucky I am to be a photographer.  Each event is so unique, so well put together, so full of personality.


Working on this wedding was a great reminder for me to see how amazing it is to have two people commit the rest of their lives together and also have an elegant reception to celebrate that!  And I got to be there to photograph it.  So without further ado, I present: Alicia & Craig's Wedding Reception at Highland Gardens

Highland Gardens Reception




The decorations were gorgeous...






The kids adorable...





The photo booth lots of fun (thanks Dustin Izatt)...






The cake was delicious and so unique...







The bouquet toss was fun...





And the dancing made me smile...





All the pieces came together beautifully for a perfect wedding.  Congratulations Alicia & Craig!





Winter Wedding at Timpanogos Temple

  For some reason, I don't have many chances to shoot at the Timpanogos temple.  My first year in business, the most popular choice for LDS weddings I shot was the Bountiful temple.  Last year it was definitely Salt Lake.  I travel around to other states a lot too, so now it's more evenly spread out.  But the Timpanogos temple has a special place in my heart because it's where Thomas and I got married.  Alicia and Craig's wedding was a beautiful winter day.  Snow on the ground, but no precipitation from the sky.  An awesome group of people there, I love to photograph happy people!



From here we went to a ring ceremony and reception at Highland Gardens.

Denver: The Trip Home

  Life is about the journey, not the destination.  I have always believed this, but it's hard to apply when focused on academic or occupational success.  At many points in my life, I've been so focused on where I'm going, I forget to stop and smell the roses.  When I went on the Caribbean cruise with my sister, my perspective changed dramatically.  Yes, we went to Jamaica and Haiti, but the experience was just being on a boat with no cell phone and no computer.  No work to do, nowhere to go (unless you REALLY like to swim!)  So I learned to slow down, to breathe, and just to be.  What an amazing feeling that is!  To enjoy the moment, not worrying about the future.  If I wanted to be really cheesy, I'd bring up the quote I heard as a teenager.  Ok, ok, here it is.  "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, that is why we call it the present."  In trying to live this principle, I decided to take the 14 hour train ride back home from Denver to Salt Lake.  Yes, an early morning and a later night with no where to go except the train car, the observation car, the dining car and the other train car... haha.



And I LOVED it.  I met so many interesting people.  An older woman who doesn't like to fly but travels the continent with her husband by motorcycle or train.  A man who had 24 hours before entering a monastery.  A man who sings for a band but hasn't had his big break yet, so he works in a restaurant until his musical career can take off.  A girl born on February 29th so her dad wanted to celebrate with a trip - she was technically turning 5 years old, even though she'd been alive for 20 years :)  A chef moving from Colorado to Washington to start at a new from-scratch kitchen.  And a National Geographic photographer.  Everyone traveling the same journey for a completely different reason.  Absolutely fascinating to me.  14 hours of talking, eating, looking out the window, and taking pictures.  I couldn't be happier!


And what amazing views we had!  One of the cars, called the observation car, had big windows everywhere so you could sit and enjoy the landscape (not like those little airplane windows!)



It wasn't easy to shoot through the windows, but after the plane shoot, I had become a pro! (ok, not really.  But I did have some practice.  It was a challenge.)



The seasons seemed to change as we traveled, too.  Started out in winter...  then spring, and finally ended in summer.  Then the sun went down and when I got off the train in Salt Lake there was a snow storm.







There were 5 or 6 stops along the way, but we had only 3-5 minutes at each stop.  While some people hopped off to take a smoke break, I usually took a couple seconds for a photo break!  On the left here is the other photographer I had the chance to shoot with.  Learned a lot from him!





aaand.... back to my favorite views from the train.  Last 30 minutes of sunlight.  The way the rock got so orange with the sun going down was gorgeous.







Denver Adventure: Part 2



I am not a morning person.  If you catch me in a good mood at 6am, most of of the time it's because I haven't gone to sleep yet.  But you should have seen the amount of energy I had the morning of this photo shoot.  I barely got 3 hours of sleep, I was so excited!  We met up with the other photographer, Brody Hall, around 7am and ate donuts to celebrate his birthday!  Now, I definitely have a sweet tooth, but as I finished that Crispy Creme donut, I had flashbacks of motion-sickness - swimming 100m at summer swim team age 10 and throwing up the donut at the end.  Uh oh... hope the plane ride wasn't going to be too bumpy!  Oh well.  :)  Happy birthday Brody.


But I got all my nerves out the day before, so this morning, I'm not nervous at all - I'm just bouncing off the walls.  Literally running away in middle of a conversation because I see some cool photo on the wall over there...  Brody said I "pranced."  I did feel a little bit like a little girl, but at least I was having fun!






As the photographers, we had to work really hard with space (or lack thereof), the windows (shooting through them was difficult!) and the angles (trying to tell one pilot to fly higher or lower so we could see them).  I had my feet up against one wall and my back up against the other with my elbows on my knees to stabilize the lens - I've never had to shoot from such a fast and bumpy vehicle!  As I've been shooting weddings full time for the last year, this was a brand new experience for me and I was very grateful for Brody's suggestions.  I even got to shoot with his 300mm f/2.8 lens!  That thing was heavy!  But looking through the photos afterwards, I'm almost as excited as while I was flying.  It was a challenge, so unique, and I got what I wanted!


Say "hi" to Shane!




And the Denver skyline.

















A Denver Adventure: Part 1



What an amazing week!  A week of new experiences and perspectives, beautiful scenery, lots of people, places, and music.  Here's the beginning of the story:




I have never been in a small plane like a Cessna, and I've always wanted to.  (I rode in a private jet as a teenager with some very generous family friends, but that's just like a smaller commercial plane.)  And secretly, I'm an adrenaline junky.  That slightly unsettled feeling in my stomach before I'm about to do something dangerous is quite the thrill.  I think I get that from my mom.  She pretends to be cautious and careful, but she broke her tibia and fibia in half skiing, broke a rib Kite surfing, and I've even seen her start wake boarding from a dock, pulled into the water, then bring herself closer to the boat and continue wake surfing.  Adventure!


Anyway, when I was asked if I'd be interested to go to Denver for an aerial shoot, I was speechless from excitement.  Giddy, even.  There were not words to describe how I felt.  Maybe "wahooooo!" haha.


So part 1.  The drive from Salt Lake to Denver with two amazing people and some pretty incredible views.  I forgot to take pictures this day (I think it was because I was still wearing my pajamas, but I wouldn't have been in the photos anyway!)  Oh well.  The couple I was staying with for the weekend took us to a very tasty Korean restaurant.  Another first for me!  Then I had the pleasure of listening to the band In-2-Wishin.  These guys were really good!  Just one new thing after another.  Woke up the next morning and headed to the airport for the flight.  I was rather quiet all day because, well, as much as I hate to admit it, I was actually getting nervous.  The shoot was set up to have two pilots and a photographer in each plane shooting the other plane.  Both pilots have had their licenses for about 10 years, one flies commercially, and the other is an instructor with the flight school.  So I knew I was in good hands, but I was still getting a little nervous...


Here was our plane:



I was sitting in the airport awkwardly trying not to think about being nervous, so when people started taking pictures, I had to prove that I was excited.  Here's my "oh wow, I get to go on a plane" face:


Then things actually got scary.  We'd been sitting in the airport waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive and watching other planes take off and land.  And several of them were having some trouble. The wings were wobbling and a few of them couldn't land, so they went back up into the air.  Wind speeds were insane!!!  We walked out to the plane and watched the parked plane move left and right.  Ummmm.... yeah.  I'm very grateful everyone wanted to be safe, so after 3 hours or so of waiting for winds to slow, we postponed the shoot to day 2.  And of course, an hour later, the winds did drop.  So before we took the plane back to the hanger, we decided to take the plane up for a quick flight, not flying in formation, not for the shoot, just for the experience.  And what an experience it was.  There is no feeling in the world that matches what it feels like to fly.  I was singing and smiling and laughing and giggling... what a thrill!


I'm in awe of the mechanics of the plane itself and how far we as humans have developed to just hop in a metal thing with wings and take it up in the air.  And the skill it takes to fly it!  Shane (the pilot) had me do a flight simulator on the computer after the flight and as my fake plane landed in LAX, I almost crashed and it spun around in an amazing 180.  I didn't crash it, but I ended up on the grass.  The fake passengers walked away alive, but in their fake world I'm sure many of them would never get in a plane again...  Let's just say everyone was grateful I wasn't the one to land the real plane!


Here's Shane in full concentration, just after take off:


And a few other favorites from the short trip:






With the photo above I learned that every pilot needs two things to be identified as a pilot - aviators and an awesome watch.  Needless to say, I was feeling pretty cool with both of them...  There's also the pilot's hat, but that didn't show up until the next day.



So thank you Shane for making my day!  And for being safe when the winds were a little too crazy :)




Look for part 2 with the actual photo shoot tomorrow!