Category Archives: Blog

2016 in Review

2016 was full of fun adventures! Here are some of the highlights…

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In February, my work took me to Tucson, Arizona. I went out and explored Saguaro National Park every day, and ate lots of great ethic food (Tucson is teeming with great restaurants).

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I wrapped up work in Tucson, then headed to Phoenix where I picked up a couple of my girlfriends at the airport. We headed north, spent the night at the trailhead, then descended into Havasu canyon. We spent 3 days exploring the glorious waters of Havasu and only encountered a handful of people down there…February is definitely a great time to visit this area.

More photos from this trip on my blog.

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We also celebrated Alaina’s birthday in the canyon…complete with a candle in the oatmeal!

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We visited family in Sanibel, Florida at the end of February, and I got to watch my nephew play in the ocean.

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In honor of International Women’s Day in March, the women of City Star Brewing (the brewery I work for), collaborated on a special beer…a tart cherry Gose.

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Later in March, I did maternity photos for this beautiful mama. Her son, Jackson, is already growing up to be an adventure stud!

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In April, my sister, my nephew and I went camping in Moab and Fruita. We pushed the limits of a baby in the car, learned that sweet ukulele tunes go a long way and stopping for a hike up to Hanging Lake is always a good idea.

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In May I got engaged! Aaron I went camping in the San Rafael Swell area of Utah, and he popped the question. We camped at a spot overlooking the Little Grand Canyon and watched the moon rise (do you see it?). Also pictured here is our sweet truck-camping rig…because I’m really proud of it.

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In June I captured this wonderful couple’s wedding…and almost passed out over excitement at the light that came over the wedding. Really though, look at that light!

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At the end of June, I road-tripped to Weiser, Idaho for a music festival. I drove back with one of my best friends and discovered Stanley, Idaho. There are few places I have seen with such incredible beauty. Stanley holds a special place in my heart (you would know based on the number of souvenirs I brought back from there).

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On the drive back from Idaho, Anna and I stopped at Craters of the Moon National Park…that place is crazy and weird…and I love it.

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…then we spent the night in Grand Teton National Park. We found some peace by a river before heading home.

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In July, Aaron and I spent a few days backpacking around Mount Zirkel Wilderness in Colorado. Lots of fishing and hiking was involved (of course!) and we got to eat our first homemade, freeze-dried backpacker meals! They were delicious…though the eggs still need some work.

More photos from this trip on my blog.

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At the beginning of August I photographed a wedding in Philadelphia…in a planetarium. Need I say more?

More photos from this wedding on my blog.

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In August, Aaron and I went backpacking in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. I hope these photos can somewhat depict the beauty of this area, because I can’t put it into words. We are already planning our return to this area in 2017, but probably to tie the knot this time.

More photos from this trip on my blog.

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Aaron and I spent 2 weeks traveling around Belize and Guatemala in September. We did plenty of jungle exploration and found a new interest…caving!

More photos from this trip on my blog.

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Fall in Colorado. Here’s a shot from just below Long’s Peak.

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In October, one my best friends and I celebrated our birthdays with a good old fashioned road trip to Utah. We ate lots of bacon and an entire cake…but we hiked a lot. Ideal, in my book.

More photos from this trip on my blog.

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In November I hiked to Ouzel Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park…and found a pot of gold!

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Later in November I witnessed the Supermoon rising beyond some corn fields in Berthoud, Colorado.

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After Thanksgiving, we visited some friends in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. This photo was taken in the morning, when it was burning cold and incredibly foggy…and dreamy.

Most of these photos were shot for personal projects, though I also had a number of amazing clients that I had the pleasure of working with over the year. With two trips already in the works for January, 2017 is gearing up to be an even more adventurous, exciting year!

Happy New Year, everyone!
Emily

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Birthdays, Utah Style!

Amber is a good friend of mine. She is always up for getting out of town and seeking out adventure. Our birthdays were just a few days apart in October so we decided to head west to Utah for the weekend. We hit Moab and headed south to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

Utah is unique, weird and awesome. I absolutely love going there (this was my third trip this year!), and every trip I find myself smiling and shaking my head, “this is so crazy”.

Enjoy the snaps!

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Bouncing around Belize

Photos from Belize.

All I can say is: this country exceeded my expectations. The culture was immense and beautiful. The people were wonderful and diverse. The food was super tasty, especially the stew beef, garnaches, panades, coconut rice, Johnny cakes, seafood, ice cream, and just about anything else you find on a menu…don’t forget the Marie Sharp’s hot sauce. Rainy season…shmainy season–the weather was beautiful with some cooling showers and powerful thunderstorms during the night. Oh, and there’s not much to do there…unless you like snorkeling, diving, spelunking, exploring ancient Mayan ruins, relaxing in a hammock, fishing, birding, eating, high-fiving kiddos, hiking, or kayaking (river and ocean).

Cheers (clink from my Belikin beer) and enjoy!

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Wedding in Philly

I had the pleasure of traveling to Philadelphia a few weeks ago to capture this wedding at the Franklin Institute. Becca and Max said “I Do” under the stars in the Fels Planetarium, and the reception and dancing took place in a grand hall at the feet of Benjamin Franklin. Here are some favorites from their special day…

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Backpacking in The Winds

Part 1 of 4 || Wind River Range, WY || We set out in the earliest morning light, which had a twinge of orange from a fire burning nearby. We put one foot in front of the other, winding through the forest and eventually reaching lake after lake. A beautiful great gray owl crossed our path and landed on a nearby tree, just watching us as we watched it.
Keep an eye on those mountains in the distance as they get closer and closer…

Part 2 of 4 || Wind River Range, WY || We made it to Island Lake. I typically believe that “it’s the journey, not the destination”, but in this case, it’s totally the destination…okay the journey was pretty awesome too. When I say that my photos don’t do this place justice, I really mean it. Sitting on the rocks at our campsite, I just stared at the mountains, trying to record every feature to my brain. After a cup of insta-Joe, we wandered down to the lake. We threw rocks and sticks in the water for Merle to chase. The stars came out quick that night, and we dreamed about where we were headed tomorrow–Titcomb Basin.

Part 3 of 4 || Wind River Range, WY || Merle and I crawled out of the tent early in the morning to watch the sunrise. We scrambled down the hill from our campsite and meandered toward the Titcomb Basin. We found ourselves surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, ponds, and –still– beautiful, jagged peaks in the backdrop. Aaron threw some casts along the way, trying to catch the elusive Golden Trout.

Part 4 of 4 || Wind River Range, WY || We reached the end of the Titcomb Basin, the part where you are just staring up at giant, rugged mountain peaks. The water below them is so clear, and so beautiful. Lunch and more fishing ensued before heading back to pack up camp and move along. We found ourselves camped above Seneca Lake that night. Our new location was a bit more sheltered from the sun, and we found the evening chill setting in earlier than before. We polished off the rest of our tasty Spirit Hound Distillers whiskey, and fell asleep. The next day we hiked out and grabbed some fried food and beers at Wind River Brewing Company in Pinedale.

Before heading out, we stopped at the outdoor shop and picked up another map of the area, ready to come back and cover some more terrain in the Winds next year.

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Mt. Zirkel Wilderness

We wandered through the pine and aspen forest that wound through Mt. Zirkel Wilderness. Unfortunately, this area has been greatly devastated by the pine beetle, though the rugged peaks and wildflowers easily pick up the slack. After we settled on a camp that had a wonderful view of the peak, which we named “Twelve-Double-O” *, we enjoyed some afternoon coffee and headed up to Gilpin Lake for some evening fishing. We were surprised to be the only people up at the lake, but were psyched nonetheless. Gilpin Lake is truly one of the most beautiful, pristine lakes I have encountered. Aaron caught tons of trout, and Merle couldn’t contain his excitement as they were reeled in. Back at camp we cooked some of our own freeze-dried pasta bolognese, had a sip of whiskey, pulled back the rain fly and watched the stars until we fell asleep.

In the morning, we packed our things and moved them to safe place while we headed straight up toward Mt. Zirkel. Given the location of our camp, the traditional route was too far away, so we made a slow traverse up the steep valley toward “Twelve-Double-O”. Finally, we hit the ridgeline which led us up the peak, and across another rugged ridgeline to the backside of Mt. Zirkel. Behind the mountain is a beautiful meadow filled with wildflowers and you can see the lowlands of Walden in the distance, as well as smoke from fires raging that way. We eventually scrambled up the boulders to the top of the mountain and enjoyed the summit all to ourselves. From there we spotted Mt. Agnes, which we vowed to come back and attempt next time we are in the area.

Giddy with mountain high, we slid through scree and snow and made our way down the mountain. We grabbed our packs and continued back to Gilpin Lake, where we put our feet in the cool water, snacked, and moseyed on to Gold Creek Lake. We found ourselves a beautiful site near the creek, set up our tent, and let Merle inside to rest—he was so tired. After a while, we headed to Gold Creek Lake, where once again, we found solitude. Aaron caught more fish, and we watched a spectacular sunset light up the sky. The creek hummed our tired minds to sleep.

Once again, we packed our things and hiked 2 miles out to the trailhead. We found gyros in Steamboat, and with full bellies and content minds, we drove east — feeling so happy to call this beautiful state our home.

*The actual name of “Twelve-Double-O” is “Point 12,006″. It’s a pretty impressive peak for such a lack-luster name. Anyway, we actually thought that peak was Mt. Zirkel until we were on it…”ohhhh, Zirkel is over there!”

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Havasu

If the turquoise blue waters of Havasu Creek don’t knock your socks off, the size of Mooney Falls will (nearly 200 feet tall). The twinkling waters flow at a temperature of 70 degrees year-round, which is welcoming, even to a backpacker visiting in February. Be sure to check this place out for yourself and see how insane these falls are that flow into the Grand Canyon.

Arizona sure holds some amazing places.

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Why Myanmar?

The gal checking us in at the Denver International Airport didn’t know how to process our Myanmar visas–hadn’t seen one before. We were not on our way to a popular travel destination, and that made the trip all the more glamorous. Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is not a completely virgin land, but it has opened up to tourism and become more easily accessible in recent years. Because of this, we encountered some of the most genuine people who were perhaps more curious than we were.

Since Myanmar is newer on the travel circuit, it felt like a perfect place to visit before it explodes, and trust me, it will. The more touristy locations such as Bagan, Inle Lake and Mandalay were already ready for tourists. Everyone spoke very good English and everyone was trying to sell you something. Other areas including Mrauk U, (our personal favorite) Hsipaw, Hpa-An, and Sittwe are a little bit further off the tourist circuit and not only could we walk around interesting sights hassle-free, but people actually gawked at us and some asked to take pictures with us. One man took us to his house, fed us, gathered neighbors to meet us, took us to meet a monk at the local monastery, then drove us back to our guesthouse.

When people ask, “how was your trip?”, I don’t even know where to begin. I have never met such genuinely friendly people. Regardless of our level of communication, people are ready to help and assist you in any way possible. Everyone has a huge smile: kids, men and women with red betel spilling out of their mouths, even toothless grannies. The scenery? Incredible. From pristine white sand beaches to vibrant green rice paddies, this country is not lacking on beautiful landscapes. Even more, the food was outstanding. The curries, the Shan style noodles, fermented tea leaf salad…I could go on forever, but my mouth is watering.

So, it’s not just the epic Bagan sunrise that lured us here (which was thoroughly fantastic). This trip was a once in a lifetime experience. Myanmar is at a political turning point and on the cusp of major tourist expansion. As with many other countries that see an epic number of tourists per year, eventually this beautiful country will follow suit and some of those raw experiences will be less available. I feel so fortunate for the time that we spent in Myanmar.

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Ah, skiing.

Crisp mountain air, it’s the best.

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Tattoos on their faces, cotton in their hands.

A boat ride up from the town of Mrauk U (pronounced ‘mraw-oo’) leads to a smattering of remote Chin villages where there exists only a handful of women with tattoos covering their faces. Once these beauties have passed away, so will the tradition in those villages. Many years ago, girls around the age of 10 would have their faces covered with tattoos (“ink” consisting of soot, cow bile, pig fat and other plants) in order to make them unattractive to Burmese kings who might steal the women away. Over time, the tradition became a sign of beauty and girls looked forward to having their faces tattooed, a coming-of-age experience. Now women are more often marrying men in other villages and moving away from their homes, or even moving to towns or cities. The tradition is no longer seen as a mark of beauty, and human-rights groups have helped make the process illegal in Myanmar (officially banned in 1960). I have read that there is another village in the Chin state that has someone as young as 30 years old with tattoos covering her face, meaning that traditional facial tattooing ended in the late-1990’s.

When we visited the villages, the ladies were happy to show us the textiles they had woven from cotton in the surrounding hills and feed us fresh cucumber. I really enjoyed watching this woman work so effortlessly on what appeared to be a highly complicated loom. It was a cultural experience that I can tell I have already taken for granted. These women were so brave, and now they just touch their skin and grimace…

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