Admiring, Vacation

Glacier National Park August 2015

OHMYGOSH what a gorgeous place!  I have been busy shooting people lately and I haven’t had a chance to work on my vacation pics until now.  This place!  I can’t even…  There were wildfires in part of the park when we were there, so the photos aren’t as magically delicious as they could’ve been without the smoke in the air, but it was still a magnificent place.


More to come…

Admiring, Vacation

Sympathy for the [hike to] Devil [‘s Bridge]

Please allow me to introduce myself…

{{Sorry if this causes you an unwanted ear worm, but I couldn’t resist. The hike to Devil’s Bridge in Sedona was not easy.  Lend a sympathetic ear and I will tell you all about it. (groan/eye roll/cheesy grin)}}

It started out pleasant enough.


Interesting looking flora…_NLG3575

Beautiful scenery…


Beautiful, yes, but not much shade… OH LOOK!  Mountain-shaped shade!

cool cloud, huh?

The problemS began when we realized where we parked was nowhere near the trailhead.  We started out on a primitive trail.

my people

About 2 miles in, we saw a sign that the trailhead was “that way” (arrow pointing farther down the road)

is that it? please tell me that's it
is that it? please tell me that’s it

About a mile after that, we saw the trail head.  The actual hike up to the bridge from that point is only 0.7 mi, but by that time, the joy of “let’s go hiking!” was gone.  It was replaced by “we came all this way and *now* we have to climb up to the top of that rock?!”  We were hot and tired (we had Camelbaks because none of us had a deliberate death wish when we started out) and the youngest in our group was just d-o-n-e-done.  Since I’m the momma, I had to surrender as well.

Long story short, the only view I got was OF Devil’s Bridge rather than FROM Devil’s Bridge.


I was disappointed since I didn’t get the shot I had hoped to get (from the top), so I played with sun flare to make myself feel better.

this ended up being my favorite shot

It’s funny how the little things can brighten your day.  Literally.

Smiling, Thoughts, Vacation

Feeling Infinite

*this post is more about the feels than the photo, which isn’t all that great*

What is is about looking up that makes us all universally feel good?  “Keep your chin up!”  “Cheer up!”  If feeling sad is known as feeling “down”, the converse must be true. #nikkilogic

We visited GCNP a week before the official full moon, but what we saw was pretty enough. (I didn’t have my tripod – GAH!!!)


I remember including the people in the (lower right of) photo on purpose, for perspective.  Not to convey size, but to convey a feeling.  In that moment, I “felt like” a quote from a book I loved. (If you haven’t read it, DO!!!  The movie was surprisingly good, too, but I am a BookGirl at heart.)

“Because I know there are people who say all these things don’t happen. And there are people who forget what it’s like to be sixteen when they turn seventeen. I know these will all be stories some day, and our pictures will become old photographs. We all become somebody’s mom or dad. But right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening. I am here, and I am looking at her. And she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive. And you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you’re listening to that song, and that drive with the people who you love most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite.”
― Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower

Hope you feel the feeling of infinity sooner rather than later!  Happy Friday!

PS…I said I was going to make my next post about sunset, but I felt like sneaking this one in first.  I hope you don’t mind 🙂

Thoughts, Travel, Vacation

Changing Light in the Grand Canyon

What is the single most important element required in making a photograph?


There are many aspects of that single element that affect how a photo turns out – quality, strength, color, angle.  In a studio setting, all of these aspects are within the control of the person making the exposure.  In nature?  Notsomuch.  You are at the mercy of the sun.

I was able to see the landscape of the Grand Canyon change over the course of the day simply because of the changing light.  Unfortunately, we stayed about an hour away from the park, so I wasn’t able to make it there in time to see the sunrise.  BOO!  (Hello, Bucket List item!)

We arrived at the South Rim at mid-day and the sun was directly overhead, which caused the canyons to look like this:


The colors are there, but the photo looks “flat” to me.  I was able to gauge depth in person, but it’s hard to tell by looking at these photos how deep the canyon is.


As the sun moves across the sky, the cracks and crevices begin to pop.


Because of shadowing, you are able to see individual peaks and their spines leading downward toward the floor of the canyon.



You get a sense of not only depth but also space between the peaks.


But then, the time comes when the sun dips so low in the horizon, you are back to the “flat” look.


BUT! The wonderful thing about the quality of the light at sunset is that it gives colors a different tone.  The colors of the same landscape vary at different times of day.  I can’t wait to show you my sunset pictures in the next post!

Rambling, Traveling, Vacation

South Kaibab Trail, GCNP

We were told that if we only had time for one day hike, this should be it.  This trail has the quickest elevation drop and is the fastest way to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Not that we went all the way down… {{On that note, hiking with kids is hard.  Even if you think they are “old enough”.  They probably aren’t.  Just FYI.}}

at the start of the trail head
looking down at the trail (holy switchbacks, Batman!)

My first thought wasn’t of being overwhelmed with splendor.  It was, “Ummmm…where do I catch the elevator back up?”  (Not gonna lie -it sucked, but yes, it was totally worth it!)

I’m probably letting my Nerd flag fly here, but I was overly intrigued by this:


What is it, you ask?  It’s the dead-end of a branch of the canyon.  Tell me that you haven’t looked out at this and wondered what the point where all those little “arms” ended looked like?

_NLG3860Just me?  Oooookaaayyyyy….

The views of the horizon don’t change much other than light hitting it in different places and causing beautiful color changes (sunset pics to come in a later post!).  However, after going down and looking up, you get a totally different sight:

I don’t know why I loved this view but I did


I love, love, love the striations!  And yes – OF COURSE! – we visited the Yavapai Geology Museum before going down, for maximum effect.  I highly recommend you doing the same on your visit to GCNP!

 Sooooo…the trip back up…there was no elevator or even escalator.  I would’ve settled for a rickety old funicular.  Instead, I walked [slowly] while trying to remember what I learned in the museum and “studied rocks” on the way up.

I found some cool ones!  (Remember the heart from my previous post?)  I won’t bore you with them.  Wellll…maybe I’ll share just one:

you can just seeeeeeee the individual layers!!!

Wellll….maybe just one more…

 I was OBsessed with those purple geode-looking rocks embedded in the walls

I took so long “studying up on geology” (certainly not “resting every 5 minutes”) that my family was kinda far ahead of me on the trail…

2 of my people

There’s a reason they advise against going to the bottom and back in one trip.  The “short” hike we did was enough for one day!  My daughter vomited right after she got to the top. Poor thing inherited my EXTREME HATRED of the heat.  (Did I yell that?)*

The next time I go, I wanna camp at the bottom!

* hard to believe, but the Grand Canyon was cooler than where we live…

Beauty in Unlikely Places, Pondering, Rambling, Vacation

PNW Part 12 (Sol Duc Falls)

This is the final post in my Summer Vacation 2013 Chronicle, so forgive me if I get a little verklempt.  Maybe it’s because I’m listening to some tragically beautiful tunes (think Ellie Goulding, Ed Sheeran, The National), or maybe I’m just sad at having to say “goodbye” (in a way) to one of the most hauntingly beautiful places I’ve ever visited.

I wouldn’t use the word “magnificent” to describe Sol Duc Falls.  I’ve not been to Niagara or Angel or Iguazu Falls, but I know they are so large that you can’t get near them without being overwhelmed by their power and majesty.  You could feel the falls here, but you could also walk over the top of them without being literally blown away.  They were peaceful, beautiful, and accessible.  You could hear the roar, feel the spray; it felt very personal.

_NLG0860 _NLG0875

At the top of the falls, my kids played on the rocks that I took the picture above from.


Also? I’ve always wanted to use my fish-eye lens to take a picture like this:_NLG0880Yes, I lay down in the middle of the trail to get this photo and yes, people looked at me like I was cray-cray.  But did I care? Nope.  It was worth it to be able to cross that off my photo bucket list.

Of course there was more beauty to find along the trail on the way to and from the falls.  Here’s my favorite, but you can find more by clicking on the gallery below.