travel

EXPLORING SANTA FE & BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT // FROM THE ARCHIVES

 

In 2015, our family spent Christmas together in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had briefly been through New Mexico on a road trip when I was 10 years old, but other than that I had no real knowledge of the area. I didn’t know what to expect, and I certainly didn’t predict that the landscape would captivate me as much as it did. I think about this trip often. I can’t even fully explain it. As I walked through Bandelier National Monument, there was just something so overwhelmingly powerful and beautiful about it. The colors of the rock and moss and cactus against the overcast Winter sky were creating the most incredible color palette. The evidence of human presence in the region that goes back at least 11,000 years. The way the rock became large scale abstract sculpture - some carved by humans and some carved by wind and rain and time. Between our time spent here, as well as exploring the food and art and textures in the area, it was a trip I’ll never forget and a place that I hope we are lucky enough to visit again.

These are just some of the images from this trip, and they make up this week’s “From the Archives” post.

 

UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY // FLORIDA KEYS // ISLAMORADA

 

Our Southern Road trip at the end of March took us all the way to the Keys for some diving.  If you follow along with us on Instagram you may have already seen some sneak peeks ;)  We found a perfect Airbnb in Islamorada and spent three days diving through Islamorada Dive Center.  It was a greatly needed getaway for us, with just the right blend of relaxation and adventure.  Below are a handful of our favorite shots.

 

ERIN & MICHAEL // WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PREVIEW // CANANDAIGUA, NY

Michael grew up outside of Rochester, New York so we love it when we have a chance to visit for work!  Canandaigua is a really cool little town and it was absolutely perfect for Erin and Michael's fall wedding.  Erin had the most amazing 'first looks' with both her dad and her brother.  In the church before their ceremony Erin and Michael stood on opposite sides of a pillar and read letters that they had written to each other.  We took portraits in the amazing Sonnenberg Gardens and the party lasted well into the night with tons of energy.  By the looks of it, the rest of their lives will be one great party!  Cheers E & M!

 
 

LEE & MIMI // WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PREVIEW // NEW ORLEANS

I still have to pinch myself and say "Yes, we were really in New Orleans last weekend".  It still feels so amazing to me that Lee and Mimi asked us to come down to NOLA to photograph their wedding.  I am truly honored.  We had an unforgettable time working with these two absolutely wonderful people.  It was a day that represented a beautiful mix of family, with personal touches reflecting the special character of New Orleans.  In my opinion every wedding from here on out should have a Second Line!  Cheers to Lee & Mimi!

 
 

Venue: New Orleans City Park, Floral Design: Poppy & Mint, Hair & Makeup: Make Me Pretty Please, Videographer: Contrast Films, Transportation: Platinum Coaches, Band: Storyville Stompers, DJ: Ronnie Roux, Caterer: City Park Catering, Dessert: Creole Creamery, Swiss Confectionary & St. James Cheese Company, Bride's Attire: Town & Country Bridal, dress by Watters, Groom's Attire: Perlis

TAHOE CABIN WEEKEND

This week on the blog we are looking back at our time in California.  With such huge changes happening over the past year, the blog has gotten very far behind.  Before we move forward with blogging about 2014 - I want to make sure we cover a few absolutely amazing experiences and projects we had in Northern California.

So for starters, we have to thank our friend J for attending Dartmouth.  It just so happens that Dartmouth has an alumni cabin in Tahoe that is the epitome of a rustic mountain getaway.  We had the chance to spend a weekend there with some of our closest friends.  To our California friends and family - thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing in a very special time in our lives.  We look forward to our future visits, and we are also excited to share the next chapter of our lives with you - both on this blog and in person.

P.S. Mike is slightly embarrassed by a few of these photos, so enjoy.

 
 

YOSEMITE: PART II : TUOLUMNE MEADOWS

The other day I just needed a mental break - a chance to look at something relaxing, and calming and awesome.  So I decided I would start working on some photos from my second Yosemite trip with Mike which I had failed to pay attention to for so long.  I made tea, put some bluegrass on pandora, and away I went.  As a soundtrack to this blog post, I highly recommend you click on this link here, before scrolling down.  Click on the link, let the song start playing, and then start reading this post.  Trust me on this one.

So to begin, this Yosemite trip was far more successful than our first one.  It might not be quite as eventful and intensely seared into our brains as the last one was, but this trip was a different kind of amazing.  We decided to head north of Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows (don't ask me how you are supposed to pronounce this).

 
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Gorgeous open spaces, mountains, and trees.  We both think about these types of places often when we are feeling trapped indoors... these places with so much undiscovered.  Places with nothing and everything at the same time.

 
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Since we have only had weekends - so far - to explore this amazing wilderness, we have had to do short loops.  We were hiking to Young Lakes via Dog Lake Trail.

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Mike snapped this picture, and I think he was getting impatient by how long I was stopping to stare at this view.  I think this was one of my favorite points on the loop.  We had just finished a long gradual climb and to be rewarded with something this incredible was perfect.
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Towards dusk we reached Young Lake where we camped for the night - at the proper, respectable, distance from the water I might add.  We ate dinner and watched as the sun sank lower and lower in the sky, slowly illuminating the trees on the other side of the lake.  It was amazing, and almost surprising how much the light changed the look of the landscape at this time of day.
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We kind of like each other.

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I don't usually experiment with longer exposures without a tripod - but now I think I should try it more often.  And I have to admit, I LOVE the neon pink I am able to get by doing this.  Normally I am not a pink-kind-of-gal, so I guess it just has to be a pink mountain to get me interested.  We haven't been backpacking with tripods, so I always feel like I am not a "real" photographer somehow.  I mean Ansel Adams dragged ridiculous set ups all over the Sierras, and I don't feel like carrying one measly tripod?  But ultimately, due to that very lack of stabilizing gear, I have found myself getting more creative when dusk comes around and I am not ready to put my camera down.  I love these images.

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There is nothing quite like reading Joseph Campbell discuss ancient mythology when you are curled up in a tent, with the wind whipping around you, and darkness approaching, and the closest place resembling modern civilization is a day's walk away.

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The first glimpse of daylight was incredible.
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I am doing a quick jump back in time so you can see the difference between the light in late afternoon:

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And the light in the morning:

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Yup, I could eat breakfast here everyday.
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I would have loved to spend more time at the lake during the day, but we had to get back on the trail... and it was mostly downhill for the second half of the loop :)

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Nice dirty toes at the end of the hike.  Ok, I guess I like pink mountains and pink nail polish.

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We drove by Tenaya Lake on the way out of Yosemite.  We stopped to have a snack and take a couple shots... it's too stunning not to.

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And of course we HAD to stop and get burgers at the Iron Door Saloon.  It is our kind of place, and it is the oldest alcohol-selling establishment in the state of California.

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Until next time,

With love,

Turtle & Moose.

YOSEMITE: PART I

A few weeks ago, Mike and I quickly planned a trip out of town to Yosemite when we realized we both had a weekend off together.  Neither of us had ever been, so we successfully checked off an item on our California bucket list.  It really was a whirlwind trip... nowhere near long enough.  Friday night we left the bay area after work (Mike ate a falafel hut sandwich faster than I thought humanly possible).  We made it to Jamestown, CA, closing in on midnight, and stayed at this pretty darn nasty hotel which I had google searched that morning.  We paid $80 for this room that did not even have toilet paper.  Thank god we were backpacking and came prepared.  We had been warned about trying to visit Yosemite in the summer, especially last minute, so this incredibly overpriced hotel was just the first example of why those warnings are true.

Here is a glimpse of the hotel's hallway.  Definitely has an old California gold rush kinda feel.

 
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The next morning we woke up early and after grabbing some gas and gas station coffee, we headed to Yosemite Valley.

 
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Our drive into the valley was absolutely ridiculously mind blowing.  Beautiful.  Massive sheer rock faces rising up on either side of us.  It really is the kind of thing that you have to experience for yourself.  But a million people do experience it, or at least a miniscule part of it, in the summer (4 million people visited the park last year).  We also read a statistic on one of our Yosemite maps that because the wilderness area is so large, 99% of visitors only see 2% of the park.  Here are people interacting with nature.

 
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I really can't criticize... I know I have most likely been seen doing this too.  Anyway... because of the massive number of people in the valley itself, parking was a challenge.  We ended up parking on the side of the road next to an overnight campground... crossing our fingers that we didn't get a ticket.  The shuttle buses in the valley were also totally packed at the stop near our car, so we ended up adding 2 miles onto our hike by walking through the valley to the trailhead.  Oh well.  We were just dying to get started.

 
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We decided to hike the Yosemite Falls Trail/Upper Yosemite Falls trail.  I should have known not to blindly take the recommendation of Mike's older brother who completed Ironman Canada last summer.  Oh, and his last experience backpacking this trail was with their middle brother, a fantastic triathlete who has competed at worlds in Australia and has been known to gleefully subject himself to push ups with a full pack on.  The first four miles were straight uphill.  Literally hiking up to the top of the massive cliffs lining the valley.

 
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I don't consider myself to be a wimp.  I played competitive soccer for 10 years, I have backpacked in 90 degree heat in Madagascar, camped for a month in Iceland, and been diving with sharks.  But this shit was hard.

 
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Ok, there were some nice views.

 
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I have to admit it really was worth it (maybe it took me a few weeks after the fact to realize it, but hey...).

 
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It was also pretty fabulous after we made it to the top and truly entered the backcountry... no more people.

 
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Camp for the night.

 
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And the mini bar I packed.

 
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Enjoying said mini bar.

 
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Can't take me anywhere.

 
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Despite a few challenges, we will be back... there is already talk of a potential fall/winter trip.   And disregard any warnings you may hear, you really should experience Yosemite, even if the only time you can go is in the summer.  We both love that feeling of being "out there" too much not to go back.  The silence.  The way the air smells.  And even I will admit the excercise backpacking provides feels pretty great.  I am kind of hoping we take a slightly more horizontal trail next time though.

 
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With love, Turtle & Moose.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC {PART I}

I will probably be posting multiple times about my experiences in the Dominican Republic... it was a short trip but it was jam-packed with photos and adventures and just plain awesomeness.  I am also waiting to post the actual reason I was in the D.R. in the first place :)  More to come...

 
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THE BOY AT LA CALETA

I have wanted to use an underwater housing with a digital SLR for years now.  It’s been a craving really… an intense desire to combine my love of art, photography, and being in and around water.  Throughout art school I constantly wished I could find some way to get my hands on one.  Last week I finally had my first opportunity to use one.  Thanks to Underwater Archaeology Professor Charlie Beeker from Indiana University.  Charlie asked me to come down to the Dominican Republic last week and document a research project he has been working on with his students, Peace Corps volunteers, the D.R. government, and other archaeologists. I will most likely be posting about the project in more detail in the weeks (and maybe months to come), but for now I just want to show this image and talk a little bit about how important it is for me.

 
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I took this image on the first day Charlie handed the camera and housing over to me.  He basically gave me the reigns and there I was using a multi-thousand dollar tool that I have been drooling over for years.  It was pure joy.  And to come away with this image, on that day, is so meaningful for me.  This is not a “perfect” image.  There are visible droplets on the dome port, maybe the composition could be adjusted, but for me the feeling is so right.  This is, for me, an image about the experience of being in water.  The droplets make it great, the alignment makes it feel real… just like a snapshot should be.  This is about a moment where I was in the water with this camera for the first time, feeling such incredible happiness, and so were these kids… playing and swimming towards the end of the afternoon.

So thank you Charlie and Indiana University for giving me this experience. 

WASHINGTON STATE

At the end of August I headed to Penticton, BC for Ironman Canada.  My boyfriend's dad and older brother were racing and I am happy to report that both successfully completed it.  The trip was kind of a whirlwind through Seattle, Eastern Washington, British Columbia, & Vancouver.  Needless to say, a lot of my pictures were taken out the car window & I definitely have to go back.

 
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ASSATEAGUE ISLAND

After only a week back in Michigan, I headed to the east coast for my cousin Pete's wedding.  After the wedding, my family went camping on Assateague Island in Maryland.  Although I think the images look peaceful and calm, they don't do justice to the ridiculous heat we dealt with during our time there!  The heat was so intense and overpowering.  My toenail polish actually began to melt.  I LOVE camping, but even I was getting a little exhausted by our shade-less site.  To distract us from the heat, and because my dad and Uncle Ron need to go fishing everywhere we go, we also learned how to fish for blue crabs using chicken necks.  It ended up being a highlight of the trip, we had a blast.  Thankfully we are all looking back on everything with laughter now... and I am happy that I came away from the experience with pictures I am truly happy with.

 
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FLORIDA KEYS

I was able to cap off my great experience in Florida with a trip to the Keys.  We had a blast diving the Vandenberg, diving Looe Key, visiting the History of Diving Museum, eating Key Lime Pie, checking out Earnest Hemingway's old hangouts, and of course taking photos. 

 
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BLUE SPRING STATE PARK

While working in Winter Park, FL. this summer in the Sport Diver and Scuba Diving Magazine offices I was able to work with ScubaLab to complete dive computer testing.  The first round took place at Blue Grotto Springs and the second round took place at Blue Spring State Park.  After the testing, I walked around the park with Katy Danca Galli, the photo editor of Scuba Diving Magazine, taking scenic shots.

 
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BLUE GROTTO

I have been unbelievably bad at blogging!  But I am going to try to summarize my crazy traveling summer through these blog posts! 

Early in the summer went on assignment with Scuba Diving Magazine's ScubaLab in order to document dive computer testing, which took place at Blue Grotto Springs.  I shot the above water images for the day and two of my images will be published.  I hope to share the print article with you on this blog soon!

 
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FLORIDA

I was able to briefly visit family and friends in Florida a couple weeks ago.  Most of the time was spent on the beach, hanging out, fishing, reading, and enjoying a few drinks.  I will be returning to Florida in June to work as the OWUSS Sport Diver Magazine publishing intern for 2011.  I'm very excited about the opportunity and you will be able to see more work from Florida in the months to come.

 
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TOMALES BAY, CA

In October I spent a day in Point Reyes & Tomales Bay with my roommate and friends.  There were so many great things to photograph that I am hoping to go back soon and take more time to explore.  It is hard to take all of the photos you want to without slowing everyone down :)

 
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