Norway: Ascending Brekkefossen

Norway is known for it’s countless fjords, each meticulously carved by waterfalls and glacier melt. Most of these fjords are embraced by towering arms of land, rising up from the seawater in steep ridges and sharp cliffs. So it’s no wonder that most of the hikes will send adventurous hikers up thousands of feet over minimal horizontal distances.

Aaron and I don’t mind a strenuous hike here and there, but I’m all about the photos. Too much huffing and puffing, and I don’t get as much photography in. Therefore, we tend to prefer moderate hikes with wonderful scenic opportunities – much like this one.

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Bryce Canyon: Hiking the Rim Trail

These adventurous photographers spent our last day in the beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park soaking up every view we possibly could!  We rose early for one last fiery sunrise, and we kept our boots on the trail as long as we could before taking the grueling trip back to Salt Lake (why, oh why didn’t any of us look at a map before we booked our flights??).  We were loath to leave, but we could only shoot so many hoodoos… right?

Close up of Bryce hoodoos | LotsaSmiles Photography

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Bryce Canyon: Call of the Trail

After a spectacular morning being awed by Bryce, the trail called.  And this wasn’t an “oh, we should check that one out later” or even a “that trail looks interesting; let’s pack up our camera gear and go for a hike!”  Nope.  This was a “ooh, I wonder what’s down that way… I must find out now; forget that I still have all of my camera equipment on me!”

Snowy Bryce Canyon at sunrise | LotsaSmiles Photography

Trails do that to some folks.  Especially explorers like us.  And especially in a place as beautiful as Bryce.

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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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Zion’s Emerald Pools

Day 2 of our stay in Zion National Park was fairly low-key.  After all, we were pretty beat after the crazy climb to the top of Angels Landing!  We started the day with a cold wait for sunrise at the Canyon Overlook, and then we took a leisurely stroll to see the Zion’s Emerald Pools.

The muddy path that winds behind the trickling waterfalls at the lower of Zion's Emerald Pools

Spoiler alert: It was somewhat disappointing.

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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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This Week on Instagram: 6/9/17

So I kind of liked posting my pictures in the order that I like, so I think I’ll just do that from now on.  After all, I don’t really care about the likes (and I shouldn’t), so why focus on that?

This first image was from our trip to Washington’s Palouse region.  Those beautiful rolling hills don’t get old, and they go on forever!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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This Week on Instagram: 6/2/17

I’ll be honest – this post was scheduled about a week ahead of time.  Usually, I do these the day of, but I couldn’t be sure of my connectivity, and I wanted to make sure you still got a post.

So, instead of posting these in order of likes (since I don’t have that data yet), this is in order of my own personal preference.  I’ve commented before how I tend to like some photos more than the Instaverse masses, so I guess this is a chance to show you what an artist thinks of her own work.  I welcome you to let me know your favorites below!

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