Hey, YOU!

Yes, you: the bride & groom-to-be, the marketing manager, the family cheerleader, the… – I’m reaching out to YOU.

I’ve been photographing weddings, senior and family portraits, special events, and outdoor adventures, and providing marketing material for companies for a while now – consistently for a little less than 5 years. Before that, it was occasional “official” shoots, but a lot of time behind a camera for myself.

Now, with a new year quickly approaching, I’d like to take it to a new level. New assignments, new locations, and new challenges.

I would absolutely Love to be your photographer.

I want to capture your moment and help document and share your story. The wild ride that is your wedding day or special event, or maybe the new product you want showcased to reach audiences. Maybe it’s the pinnacle of your high school time and you need senior photos, or the annual family photo. Whatever your needs, I want to be the gal you call to get the shot.

On my day-to-day, I work for a great agency, but I want to dedicate more time to capturing images – the most memorable moments so that when the memories fade, the photographs are there to brush off the dust and enrich the mental image…the season’s raddest new gear to get everyone stoked to get out and play…and on and on and on.

You see, I never thought I would be the gal that would have the nerve or confidence it takes to have to get “the shot”, but when it happened for the first time, I was hooked – and have been ever since.

The “I do”, the skier hucking off some crazy high cliff, the moment that perfect sun flare hits the season’s newest piece of gear – those are the moments I love!

SO what do you say – you wanna give me a shout?

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family fat biking

If you follow my blog, you likely know about my fat biking & fly fishing videos earlier this summer…well, due to some unforeseen injuries and travel, we didn’t publish quite as many as I was hoping. Not to fear though, with fall upon us and winter knocking on the door (and my husband FINALLY recovered from his riding injury) we’ve got some ideas in the works!

I hit the river late last week after my mom headed back east in hopes of landing a birthday trout. It was slow, but it felt good to be on the water. But, mid-way into my forth or so stop along the Rio, the wind picked up. And by picked up, I mean it ripped down the river corridor and tangled my tandem rig in ways I’ve never seen – and I’ve seen some serious tangles! I packed up and headed home, promising myself I’d get back on the water once the wind subsided…

So, Sam and I planned to get out with Forest this weekend to hopefully land some fish, eat some yummy food, and enjoy the forecasted sunshine in the valley. Of course, Saturday morning came around and the wind had yet to letup. So, we ran errands most of the day, drank hot tea in the evening, passed out, and I woke up on Sunday with thoughts of big fall browns on my mind; and wouldn’t you know it –  40mph+ gusts were ripping through the neighborhood.

We had a feeling this was going to happen. So, we decided to skip the fishing and celebrate the fact that there is finally some snow blowing it by packing up the fat bikes and exploring some forest roads we had not been on before…

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We pulled off at the Poncha Pass Loop along 285 just below the pass itself. 8000 feet, windy and gorgeous! No fishing up here, but the breeze (which is an understatement) kept us cool on the uphill grind – and Forest was bundled up and loving it, too!

The trail is called the Bonanza Off-Highway Vehicle tour, but we ditched the Jeep and Soob and took it on with 4-inch fatties and a soooooped up Chariot instead!

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After Forest passed out for a while, he was ready to get out and stretch his legs, so we headed back down – and BOY! that downhill was soooo nice! That’s Sam indulging in a little woopdywhoooop!

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Sometimes, I wonder if we’re crazy for dragging that little nugget along on these haphazard outings we affectionately call “adventures” and then I rethink it. I mean, if we get him addicted to things like skis and bikes and being outside early on, hopefully he won’t have any money (or energy, for that matter) left for less healthy habits. I guess we’ll just keep on keeping on and see where it takes all of us 🙂

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Alright everyone, that’s it. No fish, but we did get some mud on our big ol’ fat tires, that’s for sure!

if you like what you see, follow along on my Instagram for more adventures!! And if you’re in the market for a fat bike, consider demo’ing/checking out a Framed option – I was riding the Alaskan Carbon Fat with a Manitou suspension fork and Sam was rocking the Framed Wolftrax Alloy Custom Fat setup. There are pros and cons to both of these rigs and we’re hoping to tweak several things before heading out on our winter fishing and yurt/backcountry lodge trips. If you have any suggestions (or questions), leave a comment below!

Adventure on, y’all…

stewardship

When I was in college, I did this “thing” called Outdoor School.

While there, we taught local students all about working together and lessons on natural history, cultural history and all the cool things you can learn while playing outside.

At the end of the week, after all these lessons about conservation and the importance of natural resources, we hosted a scenario where we’d talk to kids about a private landowner coming in to build on public lands that were traditionally being used to explore, experience and learn outdoors (ie: the camp we were at).

We hosted a public hearing, shared the proposed development plans, and talked about how the land owner didn’t really care about the wildlife using that space or natural processes taking place on those lands. Rather, what they cared about was creating an experience for paying customers and paying the bills (logical, right?).

Kids would be in an uproar! They would debate how we need to “speak for the trees” and fight for what’s right for the natural world…and I would be blown away by how emotional they would become. But sometimes, I wondered if we were living in a bubble – if what we were doing would go the distance and stick with these kids so that they would become stewards of the places they know hold more value as natural sites than anything else.

Well, tonight, for the first time in my life, I sat in a public hearing to discuss exactly what our mock scenarios used to cover. And the moment I heard the landowner say “don’t let your emotions get in the way…this is a useless piece of land” I was back at Penn State’s Outdoor School and so much energy came flooding in…

But outside of the emotion I was feeling, I heard a community member next to me say “useless for who?” and another one say “depends on the use – you can’t build on it, but a wetland for a frog is heaven!”. And then the arms and hands start raising – more people wanted to speak out against just how “useless” this piece of land is.

And I realized something: we were not in a bubble and stewardship is alive. It’s alive in ourselves and in our communities.

Then my amazing husband – a voting member of a board that will ultimately make the final decision for the sale of this property – spoke up.

The landowner admitted to clearing the “useless” space and he said we have a bigger issue before us than whether or not a town will sell a piece of public property to a private business: first, clearing a public piece of land without consulting the town is “technically” a trespass, but more importantly, a rare or endangered species could have inhabited the nearly 3 acres that person unlawfully cleared – species that are, in fact, present regionally.

And at that moment, I heard My husband speak for the trees and the birds and give each of the community members in the room an even louder voice than we had for just sitting in that town hall room.

Not only was I amazed that this whole thing was happening, but then I became so proud of someone I appreciate SO much for speaking up and reiterating that the proposed land was, in fact, NOT “useless”.

It’s a wild thought, especially in the way our current world appears to function – that we still have the ability to influence our environment, community, and maybe even our government.

A decision was not made as to the fate of this “useless” piece of land – a piece, might I add, that connects to an existing river walk and could potentially be included in the larger community river walk zone. But our voices were heard, and the town plans to investigate further; and I certainly hope, in the end, that the vote is whole-heartedly in favor of the community and the land.

And to those of you who were with us tonight: thank you. Thank you for coming to the table and representing the space, species and experiences that public piece of land exemplifies. Sometimes, it takes the voices of a few to help a whole community win. Fingers crossed…

season

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth. ~ H.D.T

Tonight, we accepted the passing of a season.

If you were to look out my kitchen window on any given afternoon this week, a few things would be very apparent:

  • And pair of skis, a busted home-welded (attempt) bike frame, and other odds and ends nailed to or hanging precariously from our garage
  • A fire pit that doesn’t get used nearly as much as it should
  • A border collie standing on a wood pile and a blue heeler with her noes to the neighbor’s fence…among other things

However, what you may not have noticed this week were the once-full-of-life, but now sad (yet still green!) leaves of several garden plants – namely, the zucchini, pepper and tomato plants.

About a week and a half ago, our little 7,884 feet above sea level town got its first frost of the season. And by 2PM the next day, the leaves of these three plants were nothing more than shriveled, dangling, blobs. And though we had an amazing zucchini harvest this year – with multiple loaves of bread and countless dinners of sautéed goodness – only 4 small red tomatoes and one green pepper were harvested from our garden.

Growing up in northeast Pennsylvania, I never had a real vegetable garden. In fact, it wasn’t until my husband and I moved back to central PA that I actually felt inspired to start a garden. I had spent the summer of 2009 as a counselor at a science camp and helped build some geothermal garden beds and many summers before that indulging in local produce at famers markets from Scranton to State College – so I knew about gardens and loved looking at and eating from gardens.

So, after living in apartments and having semi-successful potted veggie plants, I was ready for the big leagues; and by 2012, we rented a farmhouse on a 60 acre horse farm and got to work…

In Pennsylvania, you can have zero gardening skill or experience – I mean, like, none, as in, you don’t know zones or growing seasons, spacing or watering techniques, or what the seed you just stuck in the ground will look like when it actually sprouts something edible – and you can STILL be successful!

In PA, we had more volunteer tomatoes in a bed next to the front door than we could have ever imagined (and I didn’t even know that was a thing – volunteer tomatoes?!)! We had dead plants that we stuck in the ground “just in case” that flourished. And even with the bunnies, chipmunks, deer, groundhogs, and who-knows-what-else roaming the property, we had a harvest I could only dream of! Giant green (when ripe) tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, orange and purple tomatoes…and the peppers! Bell peppers, Anaheim chilis, ghost peppers, orange and yellow and purple peppers. And then there were the cucumbers and the beans (yellow wax beans – OH! to grow and harvest yellow wax beans again!) and all the greens we could ever hope for.

But up here, in a high alpine desert at nearly 8,000, my tomatoes just won’t ripen. And my peppers? Forget about it – they barely flowered!! But my spinach, mixed lettuce greens, and kale. Now that’s where the money is 🙂

But I digress…

So today, I finally accepted the fact that the tomato plants, in particular, were done. And if there was any hope, I would need to pick the three dozen green, unripe, hard, tomatoes and bring them inside.

But to do that, I needed help – well, I didn’t know I needed help, but that little boy of mine knew it all along. So, we ate our supper and headed into the garden.

That little boy knows how to pick some tomatoes. Sure! He called them apples, but wouldn’t you?! He knows tomatoes. Yes, this kid knoooows tomatoes. He eats them on the daily. Organic, beautiful, little plump nuggets of freshness (thanks to City Market & our local co-op, of course).

So we picked, and we picked, and we picked, and we thanked the summer for all it gave us. I appreciate that I can stay connected to life-giving plants by growing them in my backyard. Kale, chard, root veggies, squash – all these great things will grow up here. So next year, I’ll be prepared. Sure, I’ll likely stick a couple toms and peps in the ground too, but next year is going to be different than the last few – I promised Forest, too. More goodness planted by our hands and grown outside our home.

For now, I’ll keep sipping my tea, embrace the gorgeous colors of fall and resign myself to the influence of the earth while we wait (hope and pray) for these apples…er, tomatoes…to ripen up.

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I am.

Last night, I took a little walk up the local hill. When I got to the top, I set up my tripod, attached my camera, added a few filters to the mix and waited for just the right moment.

And then I waited some more. I snapped a couple shots, wondered what the family was doing down below, and thought about drinking a beer – all as the perfect light I had for the hike up was slowly engulfed by a thick band of precipitation-filled clouds.

And then, it started to rain.

I sat for another moment and figured I might as well accept the situation. And on the hike back down, I think I finally came to terms with what I now know to be fact: that I am not a landscape photographer.

I love shooting. I love photography. But I like capturing a moment that evokes something…more…you know?

I want the unexpected – wildlife on a secluded trail, or maybe the boozy broad in the corner on a street photo scene. I want the passionate holding of hands and gazing into each other’s eyes from a wedding or an engagement couple, or the depth of parental love you can feel when you look at a mother or father and child in a family portrait.

I can climb to the top of a mountain and wait for that perfect moment – that sunset or sunrise or storm blowing in, or make it just in time for that golden hour, and I can click the shutter and capture an image, but I just don’t know if that’s what I want. I mean, I thought I did, but maybe I would rather be spending that time as a mom playing with my child. Instead of sitting on that hill alone in the rain trying to snap a shot of something I thought would be there, but just isn’t, maybe I would rather go outside in the rain and hike that mountain with my wild kid and amazing husband?

I guess I am not a landscape photographer.

I appreciate the way photographers can capture still life in a landscape and how it can make me feel or take me where it can take me, but I don’t think I am very good at being that kind of photographer.

A good friend said to me “you can’t be awesome at everything” and I like that. I’m going to take that. I’m going to put it in my pocket. And I’m going to hold on to it. Thanks friend.

In the end, I’m okay with what I am. I get out and see amazing places. I meet incredible people and I adventure with the best family I could ever hope for. I like being that person, especially when I get to be that person with those people and capture it all from behind a camera. I like that.

rambling across the mountains of colorado seeking adventure and inspiration…