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…

Rambling, Smiling, Travel

I Left My Heart in GCNP

Some people collect refrigerator magnets from their travels.  Some collect bumper stickers.  I collect hearts.  No, no, I’m not a heartbreaker.  {ANYmore… :p….}  I collect hearts mostly in the form of rocks I bring home.  This one, however, I had to leave in the wall of the Grand Canyon. 

Grand Canyon, South Kaibab Trail August 2014

Other hearts I’ve collected along the way:

First Beach, Oregon USA August 2013
First Beach, Oregon USA August 2013
Ruby Beach, Oregon USA August 2013

I know there are more but unfortunately, I didn’t label them as such.  So… that’s all for now.

What do you collect on your travels?