The Kjenndalen glacier from the rock wall that rises right next to the glacier proper | LotsaSmiles Photography

Photostory: Discovering Norway’s Kjenndalen Glacier

Every day in Norway brought yet another magnificent wonder.  Just when we thought we had reached the ultimate level of amazement, Norway ratcheted it up another impossible level.

See this stunning waterfall?  Now feast your eyes on this!  Think this view is beautiful?  Wait till you get a load of this!

Kjenndalen from a distance, the sun illuminating just the highest points of the snow-capped wall beyond | LotsaSmiles Photography

And this was before we discovered the glaciers.

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Photostory: Seagull Attack at Kyrping

We saw plenty of fauna in Norway (though certainly not as much as in Costa Rica).  And while the species didn’t really surprise us, their behaviors did.  We passed lounging yaks, curious goats, and baying sheep (were we in Norway or Scotland?).  And I was attacked by a seagull.

A seagull attacking another on a rocky island in Kyrping, Norway | LotsaSmiles Photography

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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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Photostory: The Duane-venture

I’m taking a slight break from the Bryce posts to bring you a local photostory.  As the weather continues to improve, we’re getting out more, and I’m taking more pictures of the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

The trip involves closed paved roads, easy trails, tough trails, tunnels, scrambling, and really nice scenery.  The distance is 5-6 miles.  Elevation gain is approximately 800 feet.  There will be ropes.

Equipment:
– Layers of clothing you don’t mind getting dirty
– Sturdy boots with good traction
– Flashlight (yep)
– Work gloves
– Sunglasses for protection against branches
– Spare clothes to change into afterwards
– Definitely bring camera gear, but keep it light.  Tripods are recommended.

The Duane-venture

Woman in a riverbank in a mossy forest, photographing the water | LotsaSmiles Photography

We have a friend.  His name is Duane.  He knows a lot of the local hikes, and he’s kind enough to share those with us.  He likes to chase waterfalls.

Duane’s also familiar with many “off-road” trails – ones without parking lots or paved paths or crowds.  Most don’t have bathrooms.  Many don’t have officially marked trailheads.  Some don’t even have well-established paths through the underbrush.

These are the hikes we’ve dubbed the “Duane-ventures.”  And these are oftentimes the highlights of my summers.
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Angels Landing rock formation in Zion National Park | LotsaSmiles Photography

Photostory: Angels Landing

So I love surprises.  But sometimes, that affinity comes at my own detriment.  Because of this proclivity, I was hardly involved in the planning for our recent trip to Bryce and Zion, and I didn’t know anything about the Angels Landing hike.

I had no idea what I was about to experience.

Black and white image of the Angels Landing rock formation | LotsaSmiles Photography

We set out for a 5-mile hike.  That’s fine.  I can handle that, no problem.  There would be some elevation gain.  That’s fine, too; I’m used to such hikes from Colorado.  There will be epic views.  Awesome!  Sign me up!

Somewhere in there, I either didn’t hear or forgot all mention of chains.
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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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Photostory: The Bean

I love observing the world around me.  Over the years, I have found there’s so much to take in, to appreciate, to love.  I enjoy photographing the everyday wonders – sunrises, vistas, waterfalls – and I get excited for the less-common opportunities: events, travel, candids.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2011

But when I come across a surprise that catches me completely unaware.. well, then.  I lose all sense of rational adulthood as I devolve in the presence of sheer joy.  The object of my delight becomes my sole focus, and I’m as giddy as a kid in a toy shop.

You think I’m exaggerating, but I assure you, I’m quite serious.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2011

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Photostory: Secret Cliff Discovery

Nowadays, most of the best cool spots are overrun with people wanting to see such locations firsthand.  With the prevalence of the internet, once secret or obscure places can be broadcast to millions of people within an instant – complete with GPS coordinates.

I do whatever I can to avoid crowds, and it’s sad to see some of my favorite spots reduced to a mere tourist attraction.  Therefore, I have decided to make an effort to not disclose the precise location of all of my photos anymore, instead sharing only the beauty therein.

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Photostory: How to Not Photograph a Waterfall

I’m still working through my many Costa Rica pictures, but I thought I’d take a little break to share a photostory with you.

I do some crazy things sometimes, and I don’t always consider my own safety while getting lost in the excitement of photography.  As a result, I can get caught in some precarious situations.  It’s only then that I realize I might have had a slight slip in judgement.

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