Real Life | Week 3: Camping in the Uintas

Now that life has slowed down a tad and I’m not on full-time National Guard duty anymore, I’m picking up where I left off in my Real Life Photography series. This week’s theme was nature. Luckily we had planned a camping trip with the in-laws to the Uinta Mountains, so I had a lovely landscape to practice on.


I tend to prefer photos of people, so when it comes to landscape photography, I’m really picky. There’s definitely a certain look that I like, and it’s not necessarily the wide-angle, everything in focus, HDR shots like the one above. But as long as I was practicing, I had to take some time to whip out my tripod and explore the HDR function on my camera, which is how I got the photo above. Not too shabby, I think. And that was literally the view from our campsite! Like when I took that picture, I was sitting on a rock next to the firepit, facing away from everyone else, while my family members were giving me the ol’ side-eye for doing my own “fancy pictures” stuff while they were roasting marshmallows.

But as I was saying, there’s a certain look in nature photography that I like, and that’s what I was working on capturing this weekend. I like shots that highlight the details and show the texture and depth of a landscape. So this next photo is probably my favorite from the weekend. It’s basically the same view as the one above, but with a slightly different angle, plenty of depth, and a focus on the details.


I love being in nature and enjoying the natural beauty of the earth, but carrying around a camera and looking for specific things– lighting, texture, contrast, etc.– made me experience it and appreciate it in a whole new way. It also really made me appreciate good nature photography– it’s hard to capture nature through a camera lens and still preserve all the beauty that your eyes can see.


William snuck himself into some of the shots too.


In looking for color contrast, I started noticing all these little white flowers with purple and green leaves. I’d never seen them before, but I think they’re absolutely beautiful! But again, I’m not sure my photo really does them justice. Something to work on, for sure.


Obviously, I couldn’t go camping with the fam and NOT take pictures of people, so to prove that we were actually all there together, here are some pictures of the crew.


It’s been so hot in the Salt Lake Valley recently, which made the cool mountain air and the even cooler nights around the campfire that much more enjoyable.

Oh, and our dog, Remy, came along too.


The kids have always loved camping with their Grandpa and Grandma. My in-laws have a giant RV with all the amenities and they always bring tons of food, so obviously that’s a plus. But last fall Garrett and I bought an old pop-up trailer. It’s really only one step above an actual tent since the gas line doesn’t work so there’s no heat or refrigerator or anything, but we love it anyways. This was our first camping trip parking our little pop-up next to my in-laws’ giant 5th wheel. They brought the UTV, too, so we went on plenty of trail rides. (The kids, of course, only went on the gentler roads, and reeeeaaally slowly. Safety first.)


Hopefully we’ll be able to get a couple more camping trips in before the end of the summer. The kids honestly sleep better in their beds at home, so if we can just get them a little more accustomed to sleeping in the pop-up, it would pretty much be the perfect way to spend a relaxing weekend!


If you’re just joining in on my Real Life Photography series, be sure to check out Week 1 and Week 2 to catch up. And then subscribe by email or follow me on Bloglovin’ to be notified of new posts!


Days of 47 Rodeo

I went to my very first rodeo this week! The a brand new rodeo arena was just recently completed right in our neighborhood, and Garrett and I were able to get free tickets to the inaugural event through our church. So we ditched the kids with the grandparents and made it a date night.


Before the rodeo, they dedicated the arena with the usual Salt Lake City fanfare– the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang and a prominent leader from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was there to give the dedicatory prayer. Nothing happens in this city without a blessing!

The arena was built specifically for the Days of 47 Rodeo. In case you’re unfamiliar with the Days of 47, they’re kind of a big deal here in Utah. We have our own state holiday to celebrate the pioneers founding Utah in 1847– July 24th, Pioneer Day– and the Days of 47 is Salt Lake City’s multi day, multi event celebration of Pioneer Day.


The rodeo itself was a blast. I liked it so much, in fact, that I went back the second night with William. We didn’t buy tickets that time either– I knew his attention span wouldn’t make it worth the money. But they don’t check tickets after halftime, so we wandered around the fairgrounds for the first half of the rodeo and then went into the arena for the second half to see the barrel racing, bull riding, and fireworks.



Now that I’ve discovered the exciting world of rodeos, I’m definitely going to make this one a yearly tradition for our family!




Lush Mountain Photo Shoot

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Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to be photographed by the talented Jen Rosse of Rosse Photography. We’ve been having this never-ending heat wave here in Utah, which actually, now that I write this, seems to be going away finally to be replaced by some slightly cooler weather. Anyways, it was darn hot and super dry leading up to this photo shoot, and then the day of the shoot we finally got a little rain, plus the mountain air is always cooler than the valley, so it was a refreshing change indeed!

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This was my first time since senior pictures (more than a decade ago!) being the lone subject of a photo shoot. And aside from feeling suuuuper awkward trying to pose, it was a really fun experience!

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These pictures were taken in Alta, Utah– a place that up until this week I had only seen covered in snow. It’s Garrett’s and my favorite local ski resort! Turns out, buried underneath all that snow is an absolutely gorgeous landscape with tons of texture and life… and wildflowers!


The rain, which thankfully held off for most of the shoot, really brought out the deep greens of the landscape. I couldn’t get enough! I can’t wait to take my kids up there and explore some more. Apparently there’s a lake, too, up the trail just a little higher. Where we were, though, it was a lush and mossy woodsy wonderland.

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Jen, the photographer, was so friendly and professional– it was fun getting to know her! She teaches classes too, so I’m hoping to take one in the near future to work on my own photography style and technique. And she shoots boudoirs, so I’m totally adding a boudoir session with her to my bucket list!

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As we were leaving the mountain at the end of the shoot, the rain picked up again. And honestly this was the best part. The sun was low in the west so it shone under the clouds, making the rain absolutely sparkle. There was a pretty epic rainbow too! Since we were at the end of the session, I didn’t care about getting wet, so Jen snapped a couple last photos– which ended up being a couple of my absolute favorites!

So if you’re in the market for a great photographer here in Utah, definitely check out Jen on her website or Instagram!