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.

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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.

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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.

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William snuck himself into some of the shots too.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

 

 

 

Baby Animal Festival

On Friday, I took William and Winter to the Baby Animal Festival at Cross E Ranch. By most people’s standards, the weather was pretty horrible. It cold and gray and wet and fluctuated between regular rain and freezing rain. I’m so glad we went when we did, though, because after spending most of the week inside due to rain, we all had cabin fever and bored toddlers are never fun. On top of that, it wasn’t busy at all so it was like a private little event for us– no lines meant we could spend as much time with the baby animals as we wanted to!

After taking a quick look at some sleeping piglets, we headed to the baby goat pen. Apparently expecting us to feed them, the goats were all over us. One literally jumped on Winter’s head twice, and each time I bent down to help her up, I had baby goats crawling up my back like I was a mini mountain. After that, I honestly thought Winter was going to develop a lifelong goat phobia, but she eventually warmed back up to them.

After the goats, we headed into a warm room where we got to see baby ducks, chicks, and bunnies. William really loved getting to hold the little chicks.

When the weather got really bad, we headed inside the activity barn where they had sand boxes and tables full of dry grains. I bought us some fresh-made donuts while the kids played, and we waited out the storm before heading off to feed the calves.

William had a great time helping to mix the formula for the calves. There were tiny kittens and wrinkly little puppies in the house too!

William enjoyed feeding his calf at first, but he lost interest pretty quickly so I had to finish the bottle feeding. Which was totally fine with me!

When we got home, it was definitely time for warm baths and hot cocoa. But overall, I think it was one of the best things I’ve ever done on a rainy day.