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Happy holidays, everyone!  We’re so close to my favorite holiday of the year: Christmas.  For us, it’s a time of coming together with family I only see once a year, eating far too much of my mother’s amazing cooking, boisterous laughter over drinks and games, and the excitement of seeing someone unwrap a lovingly-prepared gift.  I wish you all a very happy Christmas, even if you don’t celebrate it.  I hope the holidays bring much joy, fun, and relaxation 🙂

This first photo from Instagram this week was from my trip to Alaska.  Check out the size of that paw print!  I’m glad we didn’t have any unwanted bear encounters while backpacking.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

This next one is my only grid for this week.  This is our beautiful Oregon coast, and when we’re socked in for a winter of rain, it helps to look at pictures like these.  I love the coast when the storms roll in, but sunny days are rare and treasured.

Next, another from Hawaii.  This little guy was just sunbathing for hours at Two Step, and he went unnoticed for so long!  Like a true Hawaiian, he was totally chill, letting us get pretty close for some decent pictures.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

From Hawaii to Alaska (did I do that last week, too?), this is another bear we saw while backpacking in the Alaskan backwoods.  This is my response to my monthly photo challenge for December.  Read all about the prompt and how to submit your own photos here.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

So many places!  This next one is from another national park, Yosemite.  This was one of our favorite spots with an excellent vantage of Bridalveil Falls.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

This is one of my favorite photos from our trip to Boardman last fall.  A friend of ours had the brilliant idea of bringing a costume for our planned shoot of the autumn colors, and it made all the difference.  You can read all about that day here.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

Finally, my favorite this week is from Palouse.  I had just gotten a new ND filter, so I was anxious to try out some long-exposures.  A friend of mine calls this “moving but not moving.”  I love the Windows-desktop-like bright colors, and the blurred clouds just add a hint of excitement.  This isn’t just my favorite this week; it’s one of my all-time favorites.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Another week has gone by, but I’ll have more for you next week!  Be sure to follow me on Instagram for daily posts, and I’d love to hear your comments below!

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