The Zion valley floor from atop the Angels Landing hike with the canyon walls dappled in spotty sunlight | LotsaSmiles Photography

Weekly Wow: Atop Angels Landing

After such a rainy start to our trip to Zion National Park, we didn’t expect the sky to clear out so beautifully.  And when it did, we further didn’t expect it to invite a few elite clouds back into the scene to perfectly diffuse the harsh sun at just the right moment, providing a spectacular view of the valley below.

Yes, we survived the famed (infamous?) Angels Landing Hike (though six people, sadly, have not), and we were in for quite a treat when we reached the top.  I have a more in-depth photostory to share with you about the full hike next week, but for now, I wanted to focus on this one photo.

View of a valley far below the summit of the Angels Landing hike in Zion National Park - Weekly Wow: Atop Angels Landing | LotsaSmiles Photography

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Photostory: Zion’s Canyon Overlook

I have fallen in love with Utah and its many national parks, and I seek to add many more from across the country to my list.  We were in Utah quite recently to explore Arches National Park and Canyonlands, and we couldn’t wait to return.

Photostory: Canyon Overlook | LotsaSmiles Photography | Click through to read all about our exciting adventure hiking in the dark and shooting a Zion sunrise in the rain!

We had arrived in the famed Zion National Park, and we were ready.  After a long, five-hour drive in from the Salt Lake City airport (word to the wise: Las Vegas is actually much closer), our fingers were itching for our shutters.

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TWOI: 3/5/18

Good morning, and welcome to a new week!  This week on Instagram featured shots from Hawaii, some local spots, and, hot off the press: Zion National Park!

This first one was from our trip last year to Yosemite.  A bunch of us were photographing Yosemite Falls with this field in the foreground, and this photographer wandered out into the field and into all our shots.  Momentarily annoyed, I quickly saw an opportunity to shoot a photographer in the mist.  This was my submission for last week’s Monochrome Madness by Leanne Cole.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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Weekly Wow: Zion’s Watchman

A visit to Zion National Park often comes with seeking out the iconic shot of The Watchman.  Generally viewed from atop the Canyon Junction Bridge, I wanted to (excuse the pun) shoot for something different.  I love getting close to my foreground so I can make full use of my wide angle, so I ventured down to the riverside.

Weekly Wow: Zion's Watchman | LotsaSmiles Photography | Every photographer takes the same picture of Zion's famous Watchman landmark.  Click to see a different point of view!

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TWOI: 2/26/18

Happy Monday!

As I mentioned before, I’m switching up my schedule, moving these previously-Friday posts to Mondays.  Some wistful scenery from distant locations should start your week off well 🙂

With the move, this also means I have a couple of extra pictures this week; I’m sure you won’t mind.

Boy, this week was really tough to sort!

This first one was from the train in Alaska.  I passed almost the entire ride standing between the cars, braving the rushing wind to capture as much of the passing landscape into pixels as I could.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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TWOI: 2/16/18

This week has been crazy busy.. I’ve been scrambling to process PDXWLF photos (I’ll have a post on that soon!), entertain family, and prepare for a trip to Utah!  We just spent our first day in Zion National Park, and I can’t wait to share some of the photos – what an amazing place!

This first photo from Instagram this week was from another national park: Denali!  We had some beautiful clouds to contrast the lush landscape.  I’d love more time to explore there.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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TWOI: 2/9/18

This week on Instagram featured a lot of scenic shots.  I’m trying to shoot for a more consistent look on my Instagram, so I’m going to be a bit more particular with the images I choose to feature there.  Let me know what you think!

This first one is from Hawaii.  This was a beach we wanted to reach, but we had a really late start.  We did make it down there (through the mosquitos), just in time for sunset and a darkening trek back up the massive hill.  You can read about that adventure in depth here.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

This next one is also from our trip to Hawaii – the beautifully cracked lava fields with Mauna Kea looming in the distance.  It barely even looks like a mountain the incline is so gradual.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

We saw this little guy at the summit of the Savage River Alpine Trail in Denali National Park.  And while this isn’t quite a groundhog (he’s a ground squirrel), I chose this image for last week’s Monochrome Madness and for my February 2nd Instagram post.  These little guys are so curious!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

This is also from Denali National Park.  I couldn’t get enough of that mist.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

And another from Hawaii.  When it’s all rainy and dreary here, I dream of those tropical beaches – of a simpler time.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

Getting down to the final two, this was tough.  This was for my Weekly Wow this week, though my actual wowing picture is a panorama.  You can check it out right here.  We were clouded in for the lunar eclipse, but the city sure was beautiful that morning well before dawn.

portland-2

And finally, my top pick for this week is from beautiful Crater Lake.  It’s crazy to think this spot was a complete blizzard only 24 hours prior.  Those clouds added some nice texture to the sky, and I just love the colors.

This was also an image from my weekly challenge post this week for the theme “beloved” where I talk about how I wound up shooting the things I do.  You can read the post here.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

Which image do you like best?  I’m always curious to hear what people think, as my personal opinions seem to differ from everyone else’s.  Feel free to leave a comment below, and check out daily posts over on my Instagram account.


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Weekly Wow: Cityscape

Last week saw a spectacular celestial event: a trifecta of super moon (the moon was physically close to the earth), blue moon (second full moon within a single month), and a lunar eclipse (self-explanatory).  We woke well before the dawn to get ourselves into position and prepared to shoot this rare conjunction.

However, in true Portland fashion, the weather wouldn’t quite behave.  Continue reading

TWOI: 2/2/18

Happy Groundhog Day!  Apparently, Phil saw his shadow, which foretells six more weeks of winter, but the weather has been rather mild in our area, so I’m not so sure.  I’m hoping for drier weather, in any case.. for the photography, of course!

This week, there were only six photos on Instagram, and here they are.

This first one is of Chicago’s illustrious Cloud Gate sculpture, fondly referred to as “The Bean.”  I had a mild obsession with this beauty when we found ourselves in Chicago for a weekend.  You can read all about that discovery and my dance with its photogenic reflections here.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2011

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