Biweekly Wow: Pacific Northwest Sunset

I only have one more post planned for Norway, but I’m taking a break this week to share something a bit closer to home.  We went backpacking this summer in the spectacularly beautiful Olympic National Park, one of our closest national parks.  (Fun fact: from Portland, Olympic National Park and Crater Lake National Park are almost exactly equidistant (ONP is barely closer – by a mile).  Mount Rainier National Park is closer than both of them.. but we’ve surprisingly never been!)  Ever since my epic adventure to Alaska last year, I’ve really taken a liking to backpacking, though I still haven’t quite figured out how to bring my bag weight down with all my imperative camera gear!

This particular sunset has a story behind it (don’t most photos?).

Sun setting behind a sea rock in Olympic National Park | LotsaSmiles Photography

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Biweekly Wow: Bryce Canyon’s Fire & Ice

About two months later, and we’re finally to Part II of our little trip to Bryce and Zion National Parks.  Much like Yosemite, we ventured out to these parks in late winter not only to avoid crowds but also in the hopes of finding snow.  We were pretty disappointed in that endeavor with Zion, but Bryce was ready to deliver.

If Bryce Canyon is beautiful in the summertime, with its rust-red hoodoos and fiery vistas, snow only takes it up a notch by contrasting those rich colors with its pure white.  Continue reading

WC: When Happy Meets Good

If you didn’t know by now, I’ll let you in on a (not-so-)little secret: I’m a bit obsessed with photography.  I experience much of my life through the lens, and I remember through pictures.

It’s difficult for me to separate photographs of good technical quality with those that have a strong sentimental tie, because I have similar reactions to both.  The former are like the good child – always doing well in school, someone who brings great pride.  The latter are also like children (they’re a piece of you), and while they may not perform as admirably, the mother loves them for all of the happy moments and experiences.

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Puebloan Sun and Moon

Being a photographer, of course I had certain plans on my agenda when we went to Mesa Verde (and really throughout our trip).  Wherever I go, I think about sunrise and sunset opportunities.  Every location is different, and I love the beautiful golden hours.  I try for sunrises and sunsets as early in my trip as possible so I have other chances if the first fall through, but sometimes, even that isn’t enough.

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Weekly Challenge: Mixed Shine

If I thought last week’s challenge was.. well.. challenging, this week’s really made me think hard about how to fit the topics.  The discover challenge is mixing media; the photo challenge is shine.  “Shine” is easy.  But I already write blog posts with lots of pictures – words and photos – so what could I do to mix it up?

I decided to do something I’ve never really done before: mixing photos. Continue reading

Hawaii: Mauna Kea

If you’re going to the Big Island, and if you have any fascination with the night sky, you won’t want to miss Mauna Kea.  Home to the world’s largest observatory and nearly 14,000 feet above sea level (and above most cloud layers), you won’t see more beautiful stars, especially if you live anywhere near a metropolitan area.  And for a photographer?  Just, wow. Continue reading