Photostory: Milky Way Dreams

Can you see the Milky Way from where you live?

I can’t; there’s too much light pollution from the city in which I reside.  Therefore, when I go camping, I make a point to look skyward.

I have always marveled at the beauty of the night sky.  There are so many more stars than I ever expect.  But even more impressive is how the darkness comes alive through my camera with a long exposure.  Our eyes are pretty powerful, but leaving a shutter open to soak in the faintest light proves how wondrous the universe is.

The Big Dipper framed between two trees | LotsaSmiles Photography

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Vigeland Park – Oslo’s Sculpture Park

The first night we arrived in Oslo, we were beyond exhausted.  It had taken us nearly 24 hours to travel to our final destination in Norway; aboard two planes, a car, a bus, a train, a streetcar, and our own two feet; and upon very little sleep.  Our hosts in Oslo were delightful, and I was tickled pink with their super friendly cat, Sputnik.

Our host's cat, Sputnik | LotsaSmiles Photography

They happened to be having a graduation party that evening, and they graciously invited us to join.  However, as the room filled with strangers, our energy waned, and Aaron and I made a polite escape to seek quieter ground for a while.

Not far from their home, we discovered the impressive Vigeland Park.
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Soggy Sakura

When we were planning our trip to Japan, we only briefly considered the cliche cherry blossom spring season. Sure, the beauty is unparalleled, and it’s classic Japan. But it’s also what everyone does (and we all know I like to stand out whenever possible), it’s crazy crowded – with tourists and locals, alike – and we have our very own sakura right here in our own back yard.

Benches under sakura trees in the pre-dawn morning | LotsaSmiles Photography

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A Winter Day at the Coast

I have just a quick one for you this week, as we leave soon for our next adventure: Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park!

Things have been incredibly busy for us lately; activities seem to come in waves.  So it was a relief to catch a break and escape to the coast for a day.

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We lucked out with perfect weather (rare at the beach, and even rarer this time of year), and it was nourishing for our souls to be away from the hustle and bustle for just a short time.

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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

WC: Varying my Hobbies

I tried something new.

While I understand the world is full of unique experiences and packed with far more ways to spend my time than I could logically sample in a lifetime, I still endeavor to explore as many opportunities as possible.  As a result, I end up a collector of hobbies – music, coding, hiking, writing, photography – and it’s difficult to choose which activities I wish to prioritize.

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Even when I do focus on one thing for a while, the activity splinters into a thousand variations, any one of which could demand my full attention in itself.  Continue reading

Weekly Wow: Sunrise

Welcome to my new Weekly Wow!  Wednesday Wow?  Weekly Wednesday Wow?  I’m not sure.  I can’t promise these’ll be exactly weekly, as I’ll have other stories and adventures to share, but as I mentioned before, I wanted an opportunity to focus more on fewer, better photos than spamming you with an entire album.  We’ll see how it goes!

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WC: A Break in the Weather

This time of year in the Pacific Northwest, it’s typically dreary.  We’ll get nice days as well, but “nice” merely means “not actively raining.”  These days are usually accompanied by a thick blanket of clouds, threatening, but not yet releasing any precipitation.

Every so often, though, we get true sun with bright blue skies.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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Backpacking Alaska – Day 1: Distance

Who’s ready for backpacking adventures?  I know I’ve been promising them for a long time, and you’ve had a taste here and there, but I’m finally getting into the heart of my epic adventure into the Alaskan wilderness.  I appreciate your patience.  It was truly a remarkable journey, and I’m excited to share it with you.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

After an hour’s bush plane flight out of Anchorage, we found ourselves on the beach in Chinitna Bay, and once our pilot departed, we were on our own.  We had finally arrived, and I was ready.  This was my first time truly backpacking, and I couldn’t wait.

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