Engagement Portrait Session at Standley Lake with Matt & Hannah

The wind was blowing like crazy as Matt, Hannah and I walked along the trails of Standley Lake for their engagement portrait session.  Tucked in my jacket pocket was a colorful bracelet made of pipe cleaners that formed a flower on one side.  I suggested bringing something of significance from their relationship to our shoot.  Matt gave me the pipe cleaner bracelet as we started out and they both told me about how Hannah had made it when they first started dating and gave it to Matt as a gift.

From the little time I got to know these two the pipe cleaner bracelet, playful and sweet, seemed to be fitting for their relationship.  Matt and Hannah met through some mutual friends and actually were roommates before they started dating.  They both saw something in each other but waited till they moved and weren’t living together to see where their relationship would take them.

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As I snapped the shutter, the beautiful late afternoon light light bounced off of Hannah’s lovely blue hair and gave Standley lake a dreamy feel with the mountains off in the distance.  Although the wind was blowing strong these two were happy and excited to be outside for their shoot.  We had a great time as they told me details about their love story and about their lives.

Matt popped the question when they were on a trip to New York City.  They laughed at how everyone on that trip but Hannah knew what was going to happen that day.  “It took her a few moments to say yes,” said Matt.  Hannah told me he just caught her by surprise and at the time she was at a loss for words, but it all worked out well!

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Matt & Hannah, thanks for sharing a little bit of your lives with me and for braving the cold and wind.  You two were so light-hearted and fun.  I enjoyed hearing about how you two met, who was the messiest, and who farted the most :).  Thanks for trusting me to capture this special moment in your lives!  Much love to you two!!

 

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Light the Fire Series: Nichole & Craig’s First Date Part 1

“We got to plan another trip”  we often say to each other, my husband Craig and I.  Its easy to get caught up in the monotony of day to day life spending time on things that are necessary but not of value to fuel our hearts and souls.  Something that’s always strengthened our love for life and each other, and kept the fire alive in our relationship has been adventures, big and small.  In this series I’d like to share with you some of my favorite adventures I’ve had with my husband over the past 10 years we’ve been together.  I encourage you to light the fire with your own relationships and make time for a new adventure whatever that might be and see where life takes you!

Nichole & Craig’s First Date

Everything around me had a layer of chalk dust on it as I sat behind the front counter killing time by practicing knots with extra rope we had lying around in the climbing gym.  Craig and I both worked that morning at the climbing gym together, and it was really slow.  We sat on wooden stools behind the counter waiting for people to walk through the door.  “Have you done much trad climbing?”  I asked him.  At that time I had been climbing for about 3 years, and was interested in learning more about trad climbing, which was more complicated than a lot of things I had been doing but sounded exciting and fun.  It was a chance to climb longer routes in more remote places.

Craig who had done a good amount told me about some stories and we agreed that we should go out together sometime soon.  At the time my parents lived in a tiny mountain town called Idyllwild which has a spectacular piece of granite that rises over 8,000 ft called Tahquitz with a ton of climbing routes on it.  Our plan was to crash at my parents house the night before and then wake up and hit Tahquitz in the morning.  At the time I wouldn’t have really considered this a first date because I was more interested in the climbing really than Craig.   But I was super grateful and excited to have him as an experience guide who made climbing at Tahquitz that day a reality.

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I woke up to the sound of Craig singing some bluesy or metal song and gear clanking together as he organized what we would bring with us that day in the living room.  My mom and I chatted before she went off to work and I told her we’d probably be done around 8pm and would check in with her before heading back down to San Diego.  “Have fun” she said to us as she walked out the door.

There’s something about waking up in a comfy bed and not a sleeping pad and a tent that makes me a little lazy.  With that being said we didn’t get a super early start that day to our climbing.  I trailed behind Craig up to the base of the rock because I’m slow and the hike is pretty steep.  My lungs were working hard so I stopped a few times to breathe and take in the view, looking out over the mountain and the valley below.

We chose a route that was difficult but not too hard.  As we climbed over the next 4 hours we got to know each other a little more in terms of how we climbed together and also who we were as people.  I was quickly coming to the realization that Craig was pretty awesome and that I’d like to spend more time with him.  He was super safe and knowledgeable in setting up his gear, he was really patient with me, and was also pretty goofy and liked to sing and make jokes as we traveled thousands of feet into the air.

When we reached the top, we had a snack, took in the view and then looked for the way down.  Sometimes finding your way down off a big feature like that can be a little tricky especially if its new terrain and you have someone like me that gets lost easily.  After a little bit of searching Craig spotted a cairn (pile of stacked rocks), marking the way down.  We told stories and laughed together as we hiked down to where we left our backpacks.  “Should we do another?”  Craig asked me once we got to the bottom.  “Sounds like fun!” I said as I smiled back at him.  We both looked at where the sun was in relation to the horizon.  We decided we didn’t have a ton of time but we’d probably be fine and if we were going to do another route while we still had daylight we should get started as soon as possible….TO BE CONTINUED.

 

5 Places to go for Beautiful Outdoor Portraits along the Foothills of Colorado

My favorite type of portrait shoot is outdoors in a nature setting, so I just wanted to share with you tips of 5 places I’ve found to go for beautiful outdoor portraits in and around the foothills of Colorado.

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1.  Legacy Park/Lee Martinez Park in Fort Collins This park isn’t a super popular place to go in Fort Collins but it has some really nice features including a variety of winding trails through sections of fields, trees and shrubbery.  There’s also a lovely river that runs through the park with an interesting bridge crossing over it and connecting the two locations, Legacy and Lee Martinez.

2.  Golden Ponds Park in Longmont This park is small but still offers a variety and isn’t super well traveled so avoiding crowds is easy.  There are more water options here with a variety of little ponds spread out throughout the park.  It’s also nice that you can stroll a short distance away from the parking lot and you’re able to get a view of the mountains like Longs Peak off in the distance.

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3.  Boulder Reservoir The northwest side of the reservoir is beautiful!  Trails wind in and out along the shore line dotted with trees and views of the flatirons in the background.  This trail is pretty popular among runners and hikers but it’s easy to pick a section of the open space just off the main trail where you can find some peace and quiet.

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4. South Boulder Trailhead This is one of my favorite places!  The views of the flatirons up close from this park are stunning!  Also it’s a little bit quieter than going to some place like Chautauqua in terms of staying away from crowds.  In the summer, wildflowers spring up around the fields and make for beautiful pops of color.  Any season at this location is pretty amazing, it always quiets my heart a little and makes me smile.

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5. Lookout Mountain Park in Golden This park offers some pretty stunning views looking off into the distance over the mountains that stretch out behind Golden.  There is one main trail here studded with lovely evergreen trees.  The trail leads you to a rocky hillside where you can scramble around and enjoy the views.

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Running with Love, Half Marathon in Salida

Besides my love of photography and my husband of course, my two other big loves are running & climbing!  I just wanted to share some of my personal life with running being one of my favorite things…

All three of us huddled around on the bed of the air b&b looking at the laptop as Courtney pulled up the course information for the half marathon we were about to do in the morning.  As you can tell, we were all super prepared as we sighed a little bit when we found out there was 1500 feet in elevation gain along the course.   We all laughed and started to set out shoes and clothes for what we were going to wear in the morning.

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Courtney, Andrew & I signed up for this race months ago, with a brief thought to maybe to do the full marathon and then thought better about it and decided to sign up for the half.  It’s been years since I ran a half marathon but knew I was capable of it.  Life just sneaked up on me in weird ways these last few months and I didn’t get to train as hard as I would have liked.

At least we were all in the same boat, they hadn’t trained much either.   But that didn’t really matter, we were just excited to be doing it and be hanging out with each other.  So with a positive attitude we started the 13.1 mile run in Salida this past Saturday.  The skies were clear and the trail was dry as 250 pairs of feet set out onto the path.

Running’s always been a grounding force in my life.  It brings me into beautiful places I wouldn’t normally go on a normal day, gives me peace, and brings me together with awesome people.  Courtney and Andrew, thanks for taking this race on with me,  I’m glad it wasn’t as painful as we thought it might be.  I had a wonderful time and hope we can do more soon!

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Winter Wedding at Dillon Reservoir

There were just a handful of us at this intimate wedding outdoors at Sapphire Point Lookout over the Dillon Reservoir.  Chris wore his sunglasses to protect his eyes from the glare of the snow.  He looked up waiting for Ashley his new bride to be to come down the aisle.

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They picked that spot partially because they wanted an easy trail for Ashley’s dad to be able to walk down and also for the beauty of the trail and the prospect of snow.  Ashley’s dad walked down the aisle/snowy trail with his cane holding on to his daughter’s arm.  They walked slowly being careful to avoid the icy patches and talked with each other along the way.

 

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Chris who was a pretty serious person smiled as he saw Ashley and her dad come into view.  They wanted it to be a super snowy day and picked a place high in the mountains where that was likely, but there was no snow storm that day.

The sun shone brightly in the sky and the snow sparkled all around them.  Ashley wore a beautiful cloak over her wedding dress with blue highlights that matched Chris’s tie.

As the ceremony continued hikers walked along the trail by us and a few of them stopped to listen to the couple’s vows and the see the end of the ceremony.  The hikers clapped and cheered as Ashley and Chris kissed and congratulated them on their new marriage.

It was a lovely day that they were able to share with their most favorite people.  I even caught Chris smiling and laughing which seemed to be rare.  It was a pleasure to share in the joy of this ceremony with the stunning nature of Colorado as the backdrop.  Thanks to Lynette Seelmeyer of Picture This Photography who brought me along to help capture this day for Ashley and Chris.

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10 Tips for Creating a DIY Bride Emergency Kit

With so many details going into one day its easy for something to not quite go as planned.  Usually the joy of the day outweighs any hiccups.  Getting married to the love of your life is really what matters, but it never hurts to have a few things to help the day run smoother just in case.  Here are 10 key things to include in a bride emergency kit, whether your preparing this for yourself or for a friend as a gift.

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1. Waterproof Mascara – Just in case no one remembers to bring this.  Emotions run high on wedding days and waterproof mascara is your best friend to keep yourself looking beautiful while teary moments happen throughout the day.

2. Small First Aid Kit – Make sure you cover the big 3, pain, allergy, indigestion.  Pain killers are great in case someone has a killer headache or perhaps they had a little too much fun the night before.  Allergies can happen quickly and cause havoc, especially in Colorado during the summer and fall when there is a ton of pollen in the air.  Indigestion can happen especially when you’re nervous so something to help with this is good to have just in case.

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3. Dryer sheets & White Chalk – Deodorant stains are hard to get out on dark colors but dryer sheets are a great trick to make them go away, just rub them across the stain and it will come right out.  As the bride if you get something on your dress, usually you can use a little white chalk to mask the stain for the day and no one will notice the difference.

4. Needle & Thread – Having a small sew kit with a needle and some thread is good to have for any clothing mishaps anyone in the bridal party might have.

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5. Q-tips & Makeup Remover – Have a little makeup oops?…keep q-tips and makeup remover around for an easy fix.

6. Baby Powder – Help keep yourself dry and comfortable when its hot outside and emotions are running high.

7. Snacks – Some easy to pack snacks are great to have one hand.  People are going to get hungry and with a lot of running around its easy to forget to eat.

8. Tampons & Panty Liners – Even if you’re sure you won’t need them, its always a good thing to have just in case, and most likely someone in your group will use it.

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9. Extra Undergarments in White or Cream Colors – On my wedding day I accidentally wore all my light colored underwear and had a pair of red panties which were the only ones I could find.  Of course you could see them through the white dress and had a small freak out moment.  My sister came to my rescue with a new extra pair she had stashed away.

10. A Small Toiletry Bag – Just in case someone forgets one of these key getting ready items: deodorant, razor, dental floss, toothbrush & toothpaste, lotion, bobby pins & hair ties, tweezers, nail clippers.

Hope this helps to keep the day running smoothly!  To all those planning weddings right now, have fun with it!!

 

 

Favorites from 2017 – Boulder Wedding at Sunbeam Farm with Erin & Alan

As I photographed Erin & Alan’s wedding at Sunbeam Farm in Boulder, the thing that stood out the most to me was the close relationship with Erin and her dad.  He held the mic in his hand looking out onto Alan’s family that was now part of theirs across the table.  He looked to his own family and Erin’s close friends who were remembering the stories as he told them with laughter.

He spoke of the trouble Erin got into as a kid, the books he read to her, and how proud he was of the women she had grown into.  He said his dad told him when he was a kid getting into trouble, “I hope you have kids someday”.  So he passed that along to Erin and Alan, “I hope you have kids”, he said to them with a loving and joking attitude as he recalled stories of being a worried father.

The day was filled with joy and celebration, with a rustic farm feel.  Yellow and blue colors were the theme.  Erin’s ring with blue stones was picked out by Alan to match her eyes; what a sweet romantic!

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Family and friends pitched in for all the details, making beautiful center pieces and setting out mason jars as glasses that then turned into gifts.  An aunt and uncle played the guitar and sang for part of the music during the reception, while guests roasted smoores at the campfire in the back of the property.  We couldn’t have asked for a lovelier day.

Erin & Alan, it was a pleasure to be part of your celebration this day.  Thanks so much for including me and trusting me to capture these moments for you.  You two fit very well together and I can see you growing old and worrying about your kids in a loving way, just as Erin’s dad worried about her.

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It was beautiful to hear about both sides of your family and the strong support and love you all have for one another.  I’m so excited for you guys as you are going into this new chapter of your lives.  May your love grow for each other as you continue on adventures together as husband and wife!

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